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Harry Reeder on sexual reckoning: Our conscience tells us ‘something’s wrong here’ even while our culture promotes sin


 

 

 

 

 

Listen to the 10 min audio

Read the transcript:

TOM LAMPRECHT:  Harry, I’d like to take you to a number of stories today. I’m going to highlight it with a story out of The Washington Examiner.

Of course, our listeners are probably, no doubt, familiar with the situation with Roy Moore down in Alabama and the accusations about him dating underage girls. Now we have Al Franken in the news and his situation, groping an individual on a Middle East USO Tour for our military.

Now, The Washington Examiner is reporting an individual by the name of Bill O’Neil, who is an Ohio Supreme Court justice and Democratic gubernatorial candidate, and last weekend he came out on Facebook and said, “Hey, I’m going to save my political opposition some research time. I’m just going to go ahead and tell you that I’ve had illicit affairs with over 50 beautiful women.” There was a lot of pushback and he offered an apology.

The odd thing about this is an individual would have been ashamed about this behavior just a few years ago, but now we have a gubernatorial candidate that, in a sense, he’s bragging about it.

DR. REEDER: Tom, this cascade – what did one commentator say – it’s raining evil men in the culture who are doing these things, but the fact is there’s clearly this bubbling up – almost shouting out, now – sexual orgy cultural behavior patterns that all of us feel a right revulsion to.

From a Biblical world and life view, I want to point out three things.

It is very clear that, while this is throughout the culture, notice where all of these reports are coming from: They’re coming from the seats of political power in our governments, state and federal. And the second arena from which they’re coming is the entertainment celebrity culture.

Our forebears understood this from their Christian world and life view: Those positions have power and prominence and prestige.

And, whenever you begin to accumulate power and prominence and prestige and you do not put in a structure in your life to hold you accountable and to keep your life transparent, the power, the money, the prestige and the prominence begins to almost numb your brain to sensibilities and you begin to think whatever you want, you deserve. Your appetites can be gratified in any way you want them to be gratified.

Therefore, we’re in a culture where the powerful and the prominent have been running rampant with a thinly veiled façade over the top of their behavior and now it is coming out.

Secondly, we are in a culture that has fostered that. Recently, Hugh Hefner died and all of the accolades came out. Well, what is the “Hefner Playboy Culture?” One of self-gratification and self-absorption and a predominant attention is given to gratification of one’s sexual desires with the result that women are objectified, marital boundaries are erased and sexual ethics are destroyed.

We then embrace, in the name of self-gratification, the “Hefner Playboy Culture,” now we’re getting the results of it. Back during the Clinton episode and the Monica Lewinsky affair in the Oval Office and the things that took place, instead of dealing with them and addressing them for what they were, we absorbed them into the culture, making certain practices the norm in the culture and certain considerations that the prominent and the powerful get a wink and a nod.

That’s even been built into the culture of our Senate and they do not actually exist under the same consequences of sexual harassment laws that the rest of the population – they have their own set – and they even have an ability to pay off any settlements using taxpayer money so they have no personal liabilities in those areas.

Here is the celebrity culture of Hollywood, here is the powerful culture of government and it is no accident that that acts almost like an anesthesia and a stimulant at one and the same time for behavior like this because there is no salt and light being spoken to it with clarity.

The prophetic ministry of the people of God and the lifestyle of the people of God, instead of standing distinct and calling people to a way of life that honors what God has created to be sacred, such as sexuality within the bounds of marriage and marriage, itself, as sacred, the church has lost its voice and has lost its impact.

The third thing I want to mention, the only ethic our culture now embraces concerning sexual behavior is the ethic of consent and that is erased very easily.

The reason this is bothering everybody is that, in our God-given conscience, even though our conscience is not an infallible guide – God’s word is an infallible guide – but our conscience tells us something’s wrong here.

Romans 1 describes the pagan lifestyle of sexual immorality, sexual perversion and social approval of it and then it makes the comment, “Even though they do these things,” – they know the sinfulness of these things – “and the work of the law is written on their hearts.”

In other words, the Ten Commandments and all of their sanctities – the sanctity of God, the sanctity of worship, the sanctity of marriage, the sanctity of life, the sanctity of work, the sanctity of sex– all of those are covered in the Ten Commandments – and the work of that, the ethics of God’s law, deep down inside, we know that that is what is right and what we’re doing is wrong.

Therefore, what you’re seeing is a culture now in revulsion against the very thing that promotes it. And there’s a revulsion, why? The revulsion is there because the work of the law is upon our heart and we know this is not right. There’s something wrong here, but it’s not only wrong because of its effect upon the victims, it’s wrong because it’s wrong.

Because it’s wrong, it will have deleterious effects, it will bring destruction to the culture and it will bring a sense of vileness and a feeling of filth that just pervades everything. And, inside, our conscience is saying, “This isn’t right,” but, at the same time, in our rebellion against God, we promote it and the powerful and the prominent, they have the avenue to do what they want whenever they want it with a thinly veiled cover over top of it.

And then, when this erupts out of it, we know it’s wrong, and we know why it’s there and we know that there’s really only one answer and that is the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Victims can be reclaimed, violators can be brought to repentance and a Savior can save us not only from the penalty of our sins, but the power and the practice of our sins.

We have to keep speaking prophetically into the public square. We have to keep promoting that which is good and right for public policy if we love our neighbors.

I am being propelled back to the Great Commission of making disciples and of evangelizing and discipling so that men and women of God know how to speak truth into the culture and, more importantly, will embrace truth in their life so there’s something different about them.

And, because of that difference, they become salt and light and this evil becomes restrained and the antidote to evil, which is the power and the grace of God in Christ, is proclaimed.

Tom Lamprecht: Harry, you’ve laid out an accurate sequence of how we’ve had this cascading, as you’ve said, of the sexual sin. Can we see a cascading of righteousness?

DR. REEDER: To use the cascade metaphor, then we just desperately need a Heaven-sent revival. If that happens, what you will then see – can I use another metaphor – you’ll see an artisan well.

You know, Tom, when you and I get together in Greenville and do some taping, we slip over to the golf course. When I had my dreams of golf at East Carolina, we would play that golf course, and I think it’s the 14th hole is that artisan well that just keeps bubbling up, and we would drink from it and how refreshing it was. Now, 40 years later, I go there and, instead of that water bubbling up and running off, they have captured it and now there is a beautiful lake that just keeps getting filled with this artisan water.

And that’s what I’d like to see in my country and throughout the whole world, is the cascading down of the rain captured into the hearts of the church of Jesus Christ bubbling up and filling the world with the truth.

Tom, I love a passage in Acts Chapter 5 when Peter and John are arrested and the charge is this: “You have filled all of Jerusalem with this Gospel of Jesus Christ.” That’s what I would love to happen again with the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

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.

8 hours ago

Aderholt named ranking member of appropriations subcommittee critical to north Alabama’s economy

On Tuesday, Congressman Robert Aderholt (AL-4) was named ranking member of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice and Science, which funds NASA and the FBI, amongst other important economic engines.

In a statement, Aderholt said, “It is a great honor to be named the ranking member of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice and Science. This subcommittee is certainly important to America, but even more so for North Alabama.”

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“This subcommittee is directly responsible for funding NASA and the FBI, along with the Department of Commerce,” Aderholt explained. “The FBI and NASA are two very important agencies to the economy of not only Huntsville, but also the northern portion of our state. NASA, of course, has a long history in this region and gave rise to Huntsville’s name as the Rocket City. And in just the past few years, the FBI has built a presence on Redstone Arsenal and is in the process of growing to a level of approximately 4,000 jobs.”

The congressman concluded, “With my leadership on this subcommittee, I will work to ensure that North Alabama continues to lead as we return to the moon, put boots on Mars and travel into deep space. And with the FBI’s Hazardous Devices School, and growing footprint in North Alabama, I will also be a voice to let my colleagues know that North Alabama is in a prime position to be a hub for matters concerning our national security.”

Aderholt also serves on the powerful House Appropriations Committee.

Sean Ross is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn

9 hours ago

Is Doug Jones a foot soldier in the Democrat Civil War for taking a shot at liberal darling Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez?

If you are Sen. Doug Jones (D-AL) right now, you probably know you have almost no chance of being elected to a full term as a United State senator.

This obviously could change. Roy Moore could continue to crave the spotlight and enter a Republican primary field in 2020, but this is obviously a long-shot for him.

Complicating Jones’ life right now is a number of new Democratic members of the House of Representatives. They are outspoken, silly and contrary to the carefully crafted image Jones wants to sell to Alabama. Jones wants to be Mr. Moderate, a conservative-ish Democrat in the mold of former Congressman Bud Cramer (D-Huntsville), but he can’t do that if he is constantly dealing with a 24-hour news cycle where his fellow Democrats are acting nuts.

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Jones seems to know this, and the clearest way to distinguish himself from members like Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) is to directly scold her to The Hill.

He said, “I think it skews what’s really there for the Democratic Party.”

Jones seems to want to differentiate himself from Ocasio-Cortez’s brand of non-stop Twitter trolling will endear her to the same media that can’t let a Trump tweet go without an analysis of its impact. But Jones didn’t stop there. He also thinks this style of bomb-throwing is ineffective politics.

“When it gets time to get things done, that’s what people are going to be looking at — they’re going to be looking at the middle-of-the-roaders because it’s the only way to get anything done,” Jones stated.

If recent history is any judge, Ocasio-Cortez will not let these comments slide without a response. The fight for the soul of the Democratic Party is on and Jones will likely find himself out-gunned and without many powerful allies.

In response to similar criticism from former Democratic vice presidential candidate Joe Lieberman (D-CT), Ocasio-Cortez responded with the following tweet:

Will Jones double-down or will he slink back to his backbench for fear of his party’s base if she hits back?

For now, Jones sounds like he thinks his voters want him to get stuff done, but considering that Jones’ main accomplishment at this point in his Senate career is his vote against now-Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation it is likely most Alabama voters would prefer he enjoys his time in Washington D.C. as a spectator before being sent home in 2020.

@TheDaleJackson is a contributing writer to Yellowhammer News and hosts a talk show from 7-11 am weekdays on WVNN

10 hours ago

Trump AG nominee: Sessions ‘probably did the right thing’ in recusing himself from Russia probe

Attorney General-nominee William Barr on Tuesday said Jeff Sessions “probably did the right thing” in recusing himself from the investigation into alleged collusion with Russia by the Trump campaign, according to The Washington Post.

Barr previously served as attorney general from 1991-1993. During his confirmation hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee, Barr was asked by committee chair Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) about Sessions’ decision to recuse himself from the probe because he was involved in the Trump campaign.

“I am not sure of all of the facts, but I think he probably did the right thing recusing himself,” Barr said.

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This came the day after Sessions attended Alabama’s Inaugural Day festivities, including the swearing-in ceremony for all statewide elected officials and reception for state Attorney General Steve Marshall.

During Marshall’s event in the attorney general’s office building, Sessions said, “Do the right thing every day and usually things will work out… [well,] not always.”

After the laughter of the room started to subside, he added, “At least in the United States, when they fire you, they don’t shoot you like they do in some countries.”

Sessions’ relationship with President Donald Trump was eroded by the recusal and the president’s public attacks on both that decision and Sessions personally. He resigned at the request of the president in November.

Sean Ross is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn

10 hours ago

State Sen. Gerald Allen responds to judge striking down Alabama Memorial Preservation Act — ‘Judges are not kings’

On Tuesday afternoon, State Senator Gerald Allen (R-Tuscaloosa), the sponsor of the Alabama Memorial Preservation Act, criticized Jefferson County Circuit Judge Michael Graffeo’s ruling that the law is unconstitutional.

Graffeo made the ruling Monday.

“Under the Constitution, judges are to be neutral umpires who apply the rule of law fairly,” Allen said in a statement. “A judge’s personal beliefs, whether about politics, sociology, or history, have no bearing on how he is to apply the law.”

He continued, “Judge Graffeo has taken it upon himself to know and declare that it is ‘undisputed’ that the majority of residents of Birmingham are ‘repulsed’ by the Linn Park monument, and has thus ruled the Alabama Memorial Preservation Act void. But judges are not kings, and judicial activism is no substitute for the democratic process.”

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“The Memorial Preservation Act is meant to thoughtfully preserve the entire story of Alabama’s history for future generations. The law was vigorously debated for months by the people of Alabama’s duly-elected representatives in the State Legislature, and passed with overwhelming majorities in both the House and Senate,” Allen advised.

He concluded, “The Attorney General’s Office is confident that the Memorial Preservation Act is constitutional, and I look forward to the Attorney General’s appeal of Judge Graffeo’s ruling.”

Sean Ross is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn

11 hours ago

Judge voids Alabama law protecting Confederate monuments

A judge has overturned an Alabama law meant to prevent the removal of Confederate monuments from public property, ruling the act infringed on the rights of citizens in a mostly black city who are “repulsed” by the memorial.

The 10-page ruling issued late Monday by Jefferson County Circuit Judge Michael Graffeo said a 2017 state law barring the removal or alteration of historical monuments wrongly violated the free speech rights of local communities.

The law cannot be enforced, Graffeo ruled, but the state could still appeal.

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The attorney general’s comment had no immediate response to an email seeking comment Tuesday.

The state sued the city of Birmingham after officials tried to remove a 52-foot-tall (16-meter)-tall obelisk that was erected to honor Confederate veterans in a downtown park in 1905.

Rather than toppling the stone marker, the city built a 12-foot (3.6-meter)-tall wooden box around it.

Birmingham’s population of 210,000 is more than 70 percent black, and the judge said it was indisputable that most citizens are “repulsed” by the memorial.

He rejected the state’s claims that lawmakers had the power to protect historical monuments statewide.

The law includes a $25,000 penalty for removing or altering a historical monument, but the judge said the penalty was unconstitutional.

The city has not had to pay while the lawsuit worked its way through court.

The ruling came hours after the inauguration of Republican Gov. Kay Ivey, who signed the law and opened her campaign last year with a commercial that prominently showed Confederate monuments.

“We can’t change or erase our history, but here in Alabama we know something that Washington doesn’t. To get where we are going means understanding where we have been,” Ivey said in the ad.

Supporters of the law contend it protects not just Confederate memorials but historical markers of any kind, but rebel memorials have been an issue nationwide since a white supremacist gunman killed nine worshippers in a black church in Charleston, South Carolina, in 2015.
(Associated Press, copyright 2018)

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