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Reflections from Israel — and how it has changed in the past 30 years


Listen to the 10 min audio

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A VISIT TO THE HOLY LAND AFTER THE U.S. EMBASSY DECISION

TOM LAMPRECHT: Harry, I’d like to review with you something that you’ve been involved with personally — you do this every other year — that is your latest trip to Israel. You’ve been over there for the last couple of weeks. Give us an update on what is happening politically and what is happening spiritually.  

DR. REEDER: Tom, I did ride by the proposed site of the U.S. Embassy. I also stayed in Jerusalem at a hotel that’s next to the old U.S. Consulate. I did talk to many people and, as you would suspect, the Palestinians I talked to, both Muslim and professing Christian, were not happy about it. The Jewish people I talked to pretty much across the board were grateful for it and they felt like, “This is our capital.”

I still am of the opinion it was the right thing to do in terms of normative geopolitics to put the embassy at the capital. It’s the right thing to do, it was done and I think, actually, it may move the discussions for peace further down the road. It’s a complicated situation and you have to understand the War of Independence in 1948.

GETTING TO KNOW ISRAELIS AND PALESTINIANS 

It’s also interesting that I ended up with an Arab bus driver and a Jewish licensed guide. I had conversations with Jewish leaders, I had conversations with the everyday people who are Jewish and shared the Gospel — our perspective, what does it mean to have a personal relationship with Christ as Lord and Savior. By the way, it has moved from 80 percent professing Christians in Bethlehem now to about 18 percent.

Tomorrow, you and I are looking at doing a program in terms of the denial of security and privacy in terms of public accommodations for the necessities of life, if we can be appropriate in our language, and I actually had the opportunity in one of the ruins site and what did the Romans do, and what did they do from a pagan world and life view and what is it that you can learn from that?

It’s really interesting how you’re able to take a look at our present popular culture and the unraveling of our culture because of the loss of a doctrine of creation and what does it mean that men and women are made in the image of God and what are the sanctities of life and compare that with pagans.

THE APOSTLES INSPIRE US TO EVANGELIZE

And, when I was in Bashan, I also had the opportunity to stand at kind of the epicenter of New Testament Christianity which is a place called “The Upper Room.” The building actually is a reflection of the crusader building, a church at that site, but there were other churches built on that site all the way back to the third century.

And I just said to people, “I want you to stop and think of what happened here. First, the last Passover was here and the fulfillment in Christ as the Lamb of God. Second, the first Lord’s Supper was here. Third, the fulfillment of the prophecy of Joel 2 happened here as the Spirit of God came upon the 120 people in prayer after the ascension of Jesus. Fourth, it is here that they were praying when James had already been killed — that is, the brother of John — and Peter was threatened and, in their intercessory prayer, Peter was free while they prayed here. It was an upper room of a house that was owned by the parents of John Mark. It’s also the place where they selected the disciple to replace Judas and that was Matthias,” which, of course, is the name of my grandson, so that makes it a special place for me.

I just shared with people, “Don’t despise small places and small things. It is amazing what God does there. What God did with these frightened disciples, giving them courage after the resurrection, the power of the Holy Spirit, the lifting up of the name of Christ, 120 including the family of Jesus that got converted after the resurrection and, out of that place was a tsunami wave of a gospel earthquake that has moved throughout the world.”

We also had the opportunity to go to a number of places, not the least of which was the new synagogue in Magdala. It would have been one of the places where Jesus taught. The Bible says that he went to the synagogues around the Galilee — there are seven of them — to stand there and sense what it was on those floors, those mosaic floors, that Jesus stood.

VISITING THE HOLY LAND BRINGS FAITH TO LIFE

It reminds you that Christianity is not an ethereal abstract philosophical concept, but it is something that has happened in space, and time and history. The God Who created men and women, who sinned against Him, so loved us that in no coercion, the Father so gives His Son Who redeems us. The Son comes into the world and he actually has a true body, lives in true places and there is a historical reality to His atoning death — it wasn’t just a concept, His resurrection, His ascension as well as there is a prewritten historic reality that He is coming again.

To be able to share that with people and to see that enhance their life and their Bible go from black and white to color, from 2-D, to 3-D to 4-D in its dimensions, is very exciting, as well as the bridges it opens up to share the Gospel with others.

TOM LAMPRECHT: Harry, you’ve been doing this for a number of years now — I would guess 20 years you’ve been going over to Israel?

DR. REEDER: No, it’s been longer than that. I started in my very first year in ministry, 1982, and now it’s every other year so I’ve been there 15 times now.

HOW HAS ISRAEL CHANGED OVER THE DECADES?

TOM LAMPRECHT: How has Israel changed 1982 to now?

DR. REEDER: This doesn’t sound like much to people, but from a miniscule number of Christians that you could almost count on your fingers and toes, now there are 2 percent of the population that are Christian. There is a movement of Christianity within the Israeli army. There has been the securing of the freedom of Christians to build churches legally that used to not be there. There is the constant development of archaeology that keeps affirming the reality of Christianity and the claims in the Bible that liberal seminaries used to dismiss and now have to acknowledge — “Oh, yeah, there was a King David. There was a Pontius Pilate. There was an Elijah that ministered in the times of Ahaziah, etc.”

Those things have come about throughout the years and all the excavations that are taking place. You also begin to see the dynamic of politics and how they play out in the world: that, on the one hand, the world’s shame at what they allowed to be done to the Jewish people under the regime of Nazi Germany and wanting to “do penance” for that, yet in the Balfour Declaration and in the 1948 Mandate, how the nations — under the leadership of Great Britain, by the way — fell short because they did not carry out the mandate rightly.

Now we have this issue of Palestinian displacement and Jewish development of their home state but, because of how it was not dealt with in the creation of a previously unheard-of nation, Jordan, that was done for political reasons by the nation of the world, in general, and Great Britain, in particular, the very provisions that were made in the original declaration, because they weren’t carried out, they continued to have this issue. I believe there’s got to be a two-state solution and somehow, that’s got to be accomplished.

THE JEWISH STATE SEEMS TO BE PROVIDENTIAL

And then, finally, while I am not one of those that believe that God is going to go back and resurrect the Temple and the sacrificial system as is affirmed in dispensational theology, I do believe that the Lord has promised a gospel movement among the Jewish people and now there are over 8 million Jewish people that occupy this land and it continues to grow as many more begin to come. And I see God providentially gathering the Jewish people for the opportunity that is given to us to take the Gospel to the Jew first and also to the Gentile.

And so, I stand with the reformers such as Calvin and Knox, who believed that is a mandate to Christians. The Gospel came to us through the Jewish people and, while I do not believe that Zionism is a requirement of Biblical Christianity, I do believe the gathering of the Jewish people into this nation is a providential act of God to enhance our evangelistic opportunities and relationships with the Jewish people.

COMING UP TOMORROW: BIRTH CERTIFICATE MADNESS IN NEW YORK

TOM LAMPRECHT:  Harry, on Thursday’s edition of Today in Perspective, I want to take you to a couple of news stories. One is out of Fox News that is reporting that, in the city of New York, they are considering a new law that would allow adults to change their birth certificates — go back in time and change their birth certificates from male or female to X.

DR. REEDER: Having already declared parents have the opportunity to declare the sex of their children as “undetermined” or “unknown.” Now, what does this lead to, and why is that here and what is the end game of such regulations of such laws? What does it reveal concerning our world and life view and what will it ultimately lead to?

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

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

 

22 mins ago

Congratulations to all of Alabama’s Congressional delegation on their re-elections

[WRITER’S NOTE: Before I get started, let me just short-circuit 90 percent of the response to what I am about to say is going to get: No, fivethirtyeight.com was not totally wrong about the presidential election. They said Hillary Clinton was going to win the popular vote, and she did.

If you are an elected Congressman from Alabama, you are good to go in November, according to FiveThirtyEight.

The least likely winner is Congresswoman Martha Roby, who is still expected to brutalize her opponent.

This should surprise absolutely no one. Alabama is still a red state. The only blue district in the state is a gerrymandered mess that includes Birmingham and Montgomery, so Rep. Terri Sewell (D-Birmingham) didn’t even draw an opponent.

The bigger story from fivethirtyeight.com is that their analysis shows two things:

1. Republicans are projected to lose, but it’s not impossible (this is better than the chance they gave Trump)

2. There are far more Solid D (188) seats than Solid R (146) seats, that means more seats for Republicans to defend, and that means less money for each one.

This could be a tough year for Republicans, but all is not lost yet.

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

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1 hour ago

See where Alabama schools rank in Princeton Review’s list of best colleges

The Princeton Review has released their trademark list of the “Best 384 Colleges” for 2019 and three Alabama schools made the cut.

To compile their latest edition, which is the 27th annual, the Princeton Review interviewed 138,000 students and examined the relevant data on the nation’s colleges.

See which Alabama institutions are on the list, and why, below:

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(Note that the following sub-rankings are only done for top 20 schools in each category)

Auburn University

Best Athletic Facilities – #2
Future Rotarians and DAR – #14
Happiest Students – #19
Students Pack the Stadiums – #5
Their Students Love These Colleges – #18
Town-Gown Relations are Great – #7

Academics, on a scale of 1-99: 75

Read more about Auburn’s inclusion here.

The University of Alabama

Best Athletic Facilities – #1
Best College Dorms – #13
Best-Run Colleges – #11
Lots of Greek Life – #5
Most Active Student Governments – #8

Academics, on a scale of 1-99: 77

Read more about UA’s inclusion here.

The University of Alabama at Birmingham

UAB’s post-graduate programs really push it over the top as a premier high-education institution.

The Princeton Review highlighted UAB by saying, “At the University of Alabama at Birmingham, professors and administrators ‘care about you.'” They also boast a relatively low student-to-faculty ratio.

Academics, on a scale of 1-99: 67

Read more about UAB’s inclusion here.

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

2 hours ago

WATCH: ‘Billboard King’ Alexander Shunnarah sheds tear at the sight of unused billboards

Alabama personal injury attorney Alexander Shunnarah on Friday released a new video poking fun at his unparalleled billboard empire across the state and the southeastern United States.

In the video, the sight of unused and neglected billboards causes the “Billboard King” to shed a tear.

“Not on my watch!” Shunnarah says.

WATCH:

 

NOT ON MY WATCH! #BillboardKing

A post shared by Alexander Shunnarah (@alexander_shunnarah) on

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

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3 hours ago

Mobile Mayor Stimpson’s do-or-die ultimatum jeopardizes city funding for University of South Alabama stadium

Mobile’s University of South Alabama first opened its doors in 1963, but it didn’t play a varsity football game until 2009.

In the span of the nine years since, the urgency for South Alabama Jaguar football has gone from decades to days – a message conveyed by Mobile Mayor Sandy Stimpson. On Wednesday, Stimpson issued an ultimatum to the Mobile City Council: Vote of South Alabama stadium funding or the deal was off.

“At that point, [the University of] South Alabama withdraws their offer to put $2.5 million into Ladd[-Peebles Stadium],” Stimpson said on Mobile’s FM Talk 106.5, reiterating a point he made a day earlier in a press conference. “And neither [USA President] Dr. [Tony] Waldrop nor Sandy Stimpson will sign the letter of intent if it comes up in the future.”

As one might expect, that tack didn’t sit well with members of the council, who saw Stimpson’s gesture as burning a bridge.

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“The mayor burned a bridge,” Mobile Councilman John Williams said Thursday on WNSP 105.5 according to Alabama Media Group’s Mark Heim. “And he did so at the lead of the South Alabama leadership. I think everyone misstepped on this one. This was not a time to kick us in the pants. They simply threw fuel on the fire.”

It’s a curious situation. The proposal first made it to the city council’s agenda on June 22 according to Stimpson. That’s about a two-month window for elected members of the council to consider not just funding for a stadium but to make a decision that could change the entire landscape of the city of Mobile.

If Ladd-Peebles Stadium ceases to be the primary venue for big events in Mobile, which it appears that will be the case whether the city gives to the University of South Alabama, then there is less of a focus on Mobile east of Interstate 65.

Perhaps the biggest question is if the University of South Alabama will be a responsible arbiter of the venue. If it is 2015 and we’re talking about Donald Trump coming to Alabama, does the University of South Alabama allow Trump to have a rally there?

Given how left-of-center academia is and the possibility of a revolt from the faculty if the institution granted permission (the University of South Alabama is no exception to the diehard liberal politics residing on college campuses), why should the public not be wary of this deal?

If Mobile reduces Ladd-Peebles Stadium to a facility geared for just high school football games, suddenly the City of Mobile has ceded a monopoly on big venues to the University of South Alabama. In addition to that, the taxpayers are subsidizing this monopoly.

This isn’t just about South Alabama football. To say opposition to this proposal means you are against the success of USA’s football program is a demagogic talking point.

The rush to do this is suspicious. If it were supposed to be easy to get $10 million from a municipal government, there would be some other questions about the fiscal responsibility of Mobile’s city government.

There are also questions about the surrounding infrastructure and if the roads can handle traffic for these events. The City of Mobile hasn’t exactly pulled it off with Ladd-Peebles. According to Stimpson, a request to widen nearby Cody Road, one of the major thoroughfares near the proposed site of the USA stadium, had not been requested to be on the list of the Metropolitan Planning Organization’s long-range plan for significant infrastructure improvements until “four or five months ago.”

These obstacles can be overcome, but it takes some foresight. Asking these questions and others like it warrant more time if the council so desires it.

Threats from Mayor Stimpson and the University of South Alabama only stand to jeopardize cooperation between city government and the University of South Alabama on this project and future projects as well.

@Jeff_Poor is a graduate of Auburn University and the University of South Alabama, and is the editor of Breitbart TV.

4 hours ago

Rep. Martha Roby comments on infrastructure priorities, new interstate proposal

A grassroots push to build a new interstate stretching from West Texas to East Georgia has gained significant media attention over the last few weeks, and now Rep. Martha Roby (R-Montgomery) is talking about it.

Roby recently discussed with the Dothan Eagle her vision for broad infrastructure investments, saying those investments could include the new interstate, known as I-14, or a resurgence of the I-10 Connector.

“I want nothing more than the people I represent in Alabama’s Second District to see their federal tax dollars at work for them,” Roby told the Eagle’s Jeremy Wise. “Where there are opportunities for infrastructure improvements, whether it would be a new proposed interstate or any other (idea), I will advocate and fight every time for the district. If there are opportunities there, I will seek those opportunities out.”

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Roby stopped short of explicitly endorsing the new interstate project, suggesting rather that she will wait to hear back what level of support it has among her constituents.

“It’s my job that to make sure the southeast corner of our state has the appropriate infrastructure in place,” Roby also told the Eagle. “Having reliable roads, bridges, ports, and railways are vital for our ability to grow our economy in Alabama. That certainly applies to the more rural parts of our district in order to recruit the interest of job creators.”

A group called the Youth Infrastructure Coalition is leading the campaign to see the new interstate built.

According to Tony Harris, government relations manager for ALDOT, the proposal isn’t seriously being considered.

“There has been no discussion about a proposed Interstate 14 involving state transportation officials in Alabama and the advocates for this idea,” Harris recently told AL.com. “In today’s funding climate, this proposal isn’t likely to get serious consideration.”