No, Joy Behar, it’s not a ‘mental illness’ when the Lord speaks to us through his Word


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ABC NEWS AFFECTED BY NEWS ANCHOR’S ATTACK ON CHRISTIANS

TOM LAMPRECHT: Harry, in the ABC News Department, they’ve got a program that, many may be surprised to know, it’s a part of their news department, “The View”. One of their panelists on this show, Joy Behar, recently made a comment concerning Mike Pence and his Christian faith. She said she understood how Christians prayed to God, but she went on to say, “When God starts talking to those people, don’t they call that mental illness?”

This bruhaha recently came to the ABC shareholders’ meeting in which Bob Iger, who is the president of ABC News, said he was happy to report that Joy Behar made a personal phone call to Mike Pence and apologized for her comments. However, while the White House is saying while he appreciates the apology, Joy Behar needs to apologize to the millions of Christians she insulted over the program.

DR. REEDER: Now are there some Christians that believe God is directly speaking to them with special revelation? Yes. Has God done that? Yes, that’s how we got the Bible — 40+ human authors through which God spoke. When they write, they don’t write, “Thus says Paul about God,” but they write, “Thus says the Lord,” so God has engaged in revelation, that is, He through divine inspiration, has given us His Word, praise the Lord.

GOD SPOKE DIRECTLY TO PROPHETS IN OLD TESTAMENT

But, now, most orthodox Christian theology believes that God has, quote, Book of Hebrews, “finally spoken in His Son.” this revelation has ceased, but God’s illumination continues, that God, through teachers, through your Bible reading, through your prayer life, through your reflection, through your meditation can “speak” to His people.

Now, what is meant there is not a direct revelation of God’s Word that goes beyond the Scripture, but an understanding of God’s Word to our heart to give us wisdom as to how we are to live.

THE SPIRIT OF THE LORD CONTINUES TO GUIDE HIS PEOPLE

To Ms. Behar, I would only mention to you the Book of James, for instance, tells me that, “If you lack wisdom, pray for it and God generously gives wisdom.” Now, how does He give wisdom? He gives wisdom by His Spirit, the same Spirit of God who gave the ability to bring forth the Word of God to the prophets in the Old Testament and the apostles in the New Testament. Now that same Spirit is within us and He who reveals God’s Word through the word now illuminates God’s Word when we go to God’s Word. In the preaching of the Word, God speaks to the hearts of his people.

Here’s what the Bible says, “Whoever should call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.” How should they call upon Him in whom they have not believe? How should they believe in Him whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear them without a preacher?” Faith comes by hearing the Word, the Spirit-born Word of Christ.

Part of our theology is that God speaks to us from His Word by His Spirit. We speak to God in prayer. God’s wisdom, when we pray, can actually lead us to some good public theology in life and that what we need to do is to listen to the Lord through His Word and by His Spirit.

She has decided that that’s a mental illness; we have decided that’s wisdom. In fact, we believe that the beginning of wisdom is the fear of the Lord and, in the fear of the Lord, you seek the wisdom of the Lord. “God, would you speak to my heart from Your Word and by Your Spirit so I can have wisdom as to how to lead my life?”

I am so thankful that God has spoken to me in His Word. I was in South Florida and I did a series of talks there in a conference. Tom, I was sitting there listening to a talk from the Scriptures by Dr. Peter Lillback and it was amazing all of the insights that came, that God began to speak to my heart showing me my sin, showing me the way of obedience, showing me what needed to be removed, showing me what I needed to accomplish. God was speaking and showing it — that’s what we call Christian Doctrine of Illumination and that’s how God works in our heart.

GREAT TIME TO LEARN ABOUT REPENTENCE AND RESTITUTION

Let’s go back to her broadside against Mike Pence. Well, it was tacky, it was ill-mannered, but I love the way Mike Pence said, “It didn’t offend me” — but he was right to say this — “I’m glad to receive your private apology.” He said, “What I think you really need to do, if you really believe in that apology, is that, by coming after me, there are millions of Christians who believe the same thing I do. I speak to God in prayer; God speaks to my heart through His Word in my prayer life and in the preaching of the Word and in my reading of the Word.”

Let me go to another issue here. This is a wonderful time for us to learn something about the Doctrine of Repentance. The Bible says that, when we are saved, we are saved by faith and repentance. Repentance is turning from sin to Christ and it’s making a 180-degree turn and, when there is true repentance, a couple of things happen.

One thing that happens is confession: we confess our sins. We actually say, “I did this. This is a sin. I confess it. I agree with God that this is sin so I confess it.” Then the Bible says that we do deeds appropriate to repentance. Now, this is not penance that we do to get right with God.

Tom, if I say something against you publicly, then I’m not only called to come to you and say to you, privately, “Tom, would you forgive me?” I’m also required to go to that same public arena and tell all those other people, “I was wrong.” That would be deed-appropriate to repentance. If I steal something, I want to pay it back. If I have broken someone’s relationship with someone else through my sin, I want to restore it. Restoration, reconciliation, restitution — those are deeds appropriate to repentance.

REPENTENCE AND RESTITUTION ADVICE FOR MS. BEHAR

Therefore, Ms. Behar, it’s fine that you called Mike Pence, but I would remind you, you did not privately criticize him — you publicly criticized him. You don’t need to give him a private apology; you need to give him a public apology. That would be appropriate. Let your repentance match your sin.

And then, secondly, by attaching Mike Pence because of the Biblical doctrine of guidance — of how God guides His people when they’re making decisions in life — you attacked millions of Christians at the same time so, if you really think what you said was wrong when you called the Christian Doctrine of Divine Guidance mental illness, then you need to respond to all of them. You did it on a public venue, so you need to repent and ask for forgiveness in a public venue.

Why is it important to learn repentance? Let me give you two reasons and we’ll close with this, Tom. Reason No. 1 is you can’t be saved without repentance. The Bible says faith is believing in Jesus as Lord and Savior. Repentance is the Siamese twin of faith. If you have come to Christ for forgiveness of sins because He lived the life you couldn’t live and died the death for you that you couldn’t die in making atonement for your sins, if you come to Him by faith, then you need to turn from your sins and that’s what repentance is.

Repentance is 180-degrees — not turning from sin to do better, but you’re turning from sin to put your trust in Jesus. And, when you turn to put your trust in Jesus, you do the deeds appropriate to repentance. And, for all of those who are listening to us, Tom, let me tell you where you need to start is the same place that God, by His Grace, called you and me to start: turning from our sin and coming to Christ, Who is ready to forgive you and make it right. He has paid for those sins therefore, you’re forgiven and He will give you His Spirit and His Word and begin to speak to your heart so that you can walk away from sin and walk in the glorious truth that Christ is Lord and Savior.

COMING UP TUESDAY: ANOTHER CHRISTIAN AMPUS GROUP DISCIPLINED

Tom Lamprecht: Harry, on Tuesday’s edition of Today in Perspective, we recently covered the fact that, at Harvard, there was a Christian group that was removed from campus because of a leadership issue. A very similar situation happened at Wayne State University. However, this time, there is both bad news and good news.

DR.REEDER: Let’s take a look at what happened there and maybe some lessons that are inevitably going to have to be learned by Christian organizations in the public square, in general, and in schools, in particular.

(Image: The View/YouTube)

Dr. Harry L. Reeder III is the Senior Pastor of Briarwood Presbyterian Church in Birmingham.

This podcast was transcribed by Jessica Havin. Jessica is editorial assistant for Yellowhammer News. Jessica has transcribed some of the top podcasts in the country and her work has been featured in a New York Times Bestseller.

13 hours ago

VIDEO: Prisons could be built with COVID-19 funds, Shelby endorses Katie Britt for Senate, Brooks battles with Swalwell as a new poll shows big lead and more on Alabama Politics This Week …

Radio talk show host Dale Jackson and political consultant Mecca Musick take you through Alabama’s biggest political stories, including:

— Will Alabama really use COVID-19 relief funds to build prisons?

— Does Katie Britt’s entering of the U.S. Senate race shake things up, or has U.S. Rep. Mo Brooks (R-Huntsville) already won this race?

— Can U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) keep the more radical members of the Democratic Party at bay?

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Jackson and Musick are joined by former U.S. Attorney Jay Town to discuss the issues facing the state of Alabama this week.

Jackson closes the show with a “Parting Shot” directed at those who want to use the illegally acquired tax returns of the uber-wealthy to push for higher taxes. He argues the released returns show that we should implement a flat tax and do away with all deductions.

Dale Jackson is a contributing writer to Yellowhammer News and hosts a talk show from 7-11 AM weekdays on WVNN and on Talk 99.5 from 10AM to noon.

17 hours ago

Auburn’s David Housel tackles more than sports in ‘From the Backbooth at Chappy’s’

When David Housel retired from Auburn University in 2006, after a legendary career as athletics director for the Tigers, it wasn’t long before his wife urged him to get busy again – and a deli on Glenn Avenue in Auburn was the beneficiary.

“Susan wanted me to do something to get out of the house,” Housel recalls. “I started going to Chappy’s to drink coffee, read the paper. Pretty soon, Kenny Howard would meet me there, and it just kind of grew from there.”

In short order, friends of Housel began to gather, first a few one day a week and then, just prior to the pandemic, 12-16 people nearly every day of the week.

They meet at Chappy’s, where a plaque commemorates Housel’s booth, and they talk – about sports, of course, but about pretty much anything that’s on their minds.

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Housel began to write essays about those mornings, posting them to Facebook. He’s now compiled more than 100 of those pieces into a new book, “From the Backbooth at Chappy’s: Stories of the South: Football, Politics, Religion, and More.” It’s officially released next week at a series of book signings at Chappy’s in the Auburn area from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. each day: Tuesday in Auburn, Wednesday in Montgomery and Thursday in Prattville.

“Consider this Housel unleashed,” the author says. “Most of the stuff I’ve written in my life has been about Auburn on an Auburn platform. Even after I retired, I was a representative of Auburn, even though I wasn’t working there. This is not an Auburn book. It’s about football, politics, religion and more.”

“From the Backbooth at Chappy’s,” with a foreword by Auburn graduate and acclaimed journalist Rheta Grimsley Johnson, evolved as Housel’s morning gatherings at Chappy’s evolved, though he began writing the essays fairly early in the process.

“When something is in your mind, in your heart, in your head, if you’re a writer, it just has to come out, and it just comes through your fingers,” Housel says. “Turns out people like to read it, so I got the Facebook page. I shared thoughts and essays and that kind of thing. It was not a planned thing.”

When COVID-19 came along, Housel decided to listen to a few folks who told him his musings would make a good book.

“I had been thinking a lot about it, and it was time to do it,” Housel says.

Housel has written six other books. Most have to do with Auburn sports history, but one, “From the Desk of David Housel,” is similar to “From the Backbooth at Chappy’s.”

“That one was primarily sports, but it had some other things in it,” Housel says. “This one is about the other stuff, but it has some sports in it.”

Though the three topics in his book’s title – football, politics and religion  – are often the subjects people are warned not to bring up if they want to keep the peace, Housel and his friends don’t shy away from any of them. Housel especially gravitates toward religious topics.

“I like the ones that I hope make people think,” he says of his essays. “The good Lord gave us a mind, and we’re supposed to use it. Too few people who call themselves Christians do what the Lord said and use their minds. … Faith has got to be built not on challenging God but questioning God. I think God likes that, because it shows we’re engaged and that we care.”

Now that the pandemic is ending, the Backbooth at Chappy’s events are slowly but surely returning to normal. On Mondays, Housel eats two eggs scrambled, lean bacon and a helium biscuit; on Tuesdays maybe a parfait with granola; on Wednesdays, it’s blueberry pancakes, and Fridays a waffle.

What remains constant is the conversation. And the writing.

“I’m still writing the Backbooth, and since the first of the year, I’ve written a couple I think are book-worthy,” Housel says. “I started out doing maybe one a week, but I’m old enough that I don’t have to meet a self-imposed deadline. When the spirit moves me, I write.”

(Courtesy of Alabama NewsCenter)

18 hours ago

State Rep. Pringle pushes to ban critical race theory in public schools — ‘Woke culture indoctrination,’ ‘Needs to be stopped in its tracks’

Last week, Florida’s Board of Education banned so-called “critical race theory” from its public schools, and it is a move State Rep. Chris Pringle (R-Mobile) hopes to follow in Alabama.

Critical race theory, a belief that racism is ingrained in some of America’s sacred institutions, is widely panned by critics because it distorts and weaponizes history for political gain.

Friday, Pringle discussed his prefiled bill for the Alabama Legislature’s 2022 regular session to prohibit critical race theory from being taught in Alabama’s public schools.

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“It’s simply a bill that says in public education, you can’t teach or indoctrinate our children with critical race theory,” he said. “People are waking up all around the nation to how bad this stuff is. I mean, this is woke cancel culture gone completely amuck. They want to completely disregard our 14th and 15th Amendment rights, the Voting Rights Act, the Civil Rights Act. If you don’t agree with them — here’s what’s crazy: They want to send you to a reeducation camp. Think about that, a reeducation camp. Don’t they do that in China, Russia and North Korea?  That’s how bad this stuff is. Either you agree with them or you have to be sent off to a reeducation camp.”

“This is just indoctrination — the woke culture indoctrination of our children,” Pringle continued. “That’s all it is and it needs to be stopped in its tracks. I mean, our children need to learn history and we ought to open a frank discussion about history — the good, the bad. But this is not about good or bad. This is teaching our children that our nation is a bad nation, is an evil nation and is not the great country that we live in. We are the safest, freest people in the world and that’s what our children need to learn.”

“Do we have problems? Yeah,” he added. “Have we done bad things? Yeah. But we’re still the greatest nation in the history of the world.”

According to the Mobile County Republican lawmaker, the response to the effort thus far has been positive and supportive.

@Jeff_Poor is a graduate of Auburn University and the University of South Alabama, the editor of Breitbart TV, a columnist for Mobile’s Lagniappe Weekly, and host of Mobile’s “The Jeff Poor Show” from 9 a.m.-12 p.m. on FM Talk 106.5.

21 hours ago

Why Sylacauga marble is known around the world

If you’ve ever visited the Lincoln Memorial in Washington D.C. and stared up at the translucent marble ceiling, you’ve witnessed a piece of Alabama history. The ceiling is made of white marble mined in Talladega County’s Sylacauga (appropriately known as the Marble City).

In addition to lending its natural treasure to some of the nation’s most notable buildings, Sylacauga also holds the title for having the longest deposit of marble in the world. The bed of stone runs 32 miles long, a mile and a half wide, and more than 600 feet deep. The marble found in this quarry is especially desirable for two key characteristics: its purity and its durability. When paired together, these distinct qualities make Alabama marble some of the most desired in the world for large-scale buildings and monuments, as well as homes and sculptures.

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The History of Alabama Marble

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The Sylacauga Quarry (Sylacauga Marble Festival/Facebook)

Marble is formed when limestone is subjected to extreme pressure and heat. In Sylacauga, the conditions are perfect for the formation of metamorphic marble. Sylacauga’s massive deposit was first discovered by Native Americans, but it wasn’t quarried until 1834, 20 years after army surgeon Dr. Edward Gantt stumbled upon the vein while passing through with General Andrew Jackson’s army.

In the years that followed Gantt’s discovery, Sylacauga’s marble business thrived. More quarries popped up, mining the marble for everything from funerary monuments to building projects to sculptures. By the 1960s, the use of the quarried marble shifted toward the utilitarian. Rather than being mined in huge chunks for building material, the marble was being ground down for use in products like cosmetics, diapers, magazine paper, fertilizer, fiberglass, toothpaste, and chewing gum. In 1969, marble was named Alabama’s state rock.

A Timeless Treasure

Sylacauga Quarry (Sylacauga Marble Festival/Facebook)

Today the charge for Alabama marble is being led by the Swindal family, who own Alabama Marble Mineral & Mining Co. (AM3). AM3’s 50-acre quarry in Sylacauga is the world’s only supplier and leading distributor of Alabama marble. Owner Roy Swindal’s goal is to reintroduce the world to Alabama marble, once again marketing it as a prized material for both commercial and consumer construction. According to the Alabama Department of Archives and History, around 30 million tons of marble have been pulled from the ground in Sylacauga since 1900. The Swindals hope to add to that number by continuing and improving upon the state’s tradition for many years to come.

Marble Mania

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Sculptor Enzo Torcoletti at the Sylacauga Marble Festival (Sylacauga Marble Festival/Facebook)

It’s only fitting that a town built on marble pay tribute to the stone that brought its success. For the past 13 years, the city has celebrated its marble mining heritage with the 12-day Magic of Marble Festival. The festival, typically held in April, features several activities and events that are all free and fun for the whole family. Festival participants can take a tour of operational quarries and visit the Gantts/IMERYS Observation Point that overlooks the town’s historic first quarry. The creative side of marble is put on display at Blue Bell Park, where 25 sculptors create original pieces made entirely of marble. On the final day of the festival, the finished pieces are displayed and sold at nearby B.B. Comer Library. Other activities include a 5K run and a scavenger hunt.

If you can’t wait for next year’s festival and you want to see Alabama’s famous white marble in action now, there are several locations around the state to see it put to good use. In Birmingham, try the John Hand Building, Wells Fargo headquarters, City Federal building, or the Chamber of Commerce. If you’re in Montgomery, don’t miss the “Head of Christ” sculpture at the Alabama Department of Archives and History. It was created by Italian sculptor Giuseppe Moretti, who also happens to be the artist behind Birmingham’s Vulcan.

(Courtesy of SoulGrown)

22 hours ago

The economics of paying ransom

The cyberattack on the Colonial Pipeline by the hacker group DarkSide disrupted gasoline supplies across the Southeast. The company caused a stir by paying a 75 Bitcoin ransom to DarkSide. America historically has been opposed to paying evildoers, as reflected in the slogan, “Millions for defense, but not one cent in tribute,” and President Jefferson sending the Navy and Marines to fight the Barbary Pirates.

Ransomware raises many economic issues. A first question is, do hackers ever give the data back if paid? DarkSide provided Colonial Pipeline a key to decrypt their data. According to Proofpoint, this is the norm: 70% of ransom payers got their data back, 20% never got their data back and 10% received a second ransom demand.

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From an economic perspective, this is not surprising. About two dozen groups, identifying themselves by name and known to insurance companies, carry out most of the sophisticated attacks. Insurers would never recommend payment in the future to a group which has reneged. The hackers must deliver as promised to make money.

Some have suggested making payment of ransom for cyberattacks illegal. If no one ever paid ransom, the hackers could not make money. Refusing to pay ransom though faces two significant economic challenges.

The first is time consistency. Kidnapping illustrates this concept. Before an event, the incentive exists to say, “We will never pay ransom.” If the bad guys believe this, they will never invest the time, effort and expense to stage a kidnapping. Once they hold hostages, however, our incentive changes; negotiating just this one time now makes sense. Our policy to never pay ransom is not credible.

Collective action poses the second challenge. Businesses collectively have an interest in not rewarding cybercrime, yet individual businesses suffer these attacks. A business which does not pay ransom benefits other businesses, creating the challenge. Why should Continental Pipeline suffer losses to make other businesses less likely to be attacked?

Why do businesses pay ransom? Reports mention several factors. A business may face a closure of unknown length and cost. Customers’ personal information will be sold if ransom is not paid, leading to fines and bad publicity. And the hackers might sell proprietary information to competitors.

Good economists know better than to second guess business managers’ decisions. Decisions to pay ransom often involve the business’ executives, its insurance carrier and tech security experts. They know the options and likely costs and should make a good decision, despite the pressure of a crisis.

Insurance companies and government regulations reduce organizations’ vulnerability to hackers, which is good. But what about channeling President Jefferson and going after the hackers? Most of the hacker groups operate in Russia, which provides Safe Haven as long as the hackers do not target Russian companies. Some law enforcement options may exist. Federal prosecutors apparently recovered most of the Bitcoins paid to DarkSide.

Crime is a very costly way to transfer wealth. Stolen merchandise typically sells for one-third (or less) of market value. A criminal might have to steal thousands in property to net $1,000. Ransomware appears much more wasteful than traditional theft. Consider just the value of the time Americans spent searching for gas during the disruption. Remember then that the ransom was about $4.4 million.

Cybercrime makes us poorer. The hackers and defenders at tech security companies are highly skilled computer programmers. But instead of making new apps or games, they are hacking or defending existing computer systems. Add to this the service disruption during cyberattacks, the reduced use of technology for fear of being hacked and the time spent on security training. The costs may be $1 trillion annually, or one percent of global GDP.

We must guard here against comparing the real world to an imagined utopia. We cannot costlessly protect our property from thieves or our computers from malware, or make people no longer willing to steal from others. Economics teaches that there are no perfect solutions in life, only tradeoffs. Vigilance, antivirus programs and backup are the tradeoffs we face with cybercrime.

Daniel Sutter is the Charles G. Koch Professor of Economics with the Manuel H. Johnson Center for Political Economy at Troy University and host of Econversations on TrojanVision. The opinions expressed in this column are the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the views of Troy University.