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FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 22, 20089 years ago
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“Church of England Would Collapse without Gay Clergy”
AUDIO BROADCAST: The Church of England Would Collapse Without Gay Clergy
Let the Bible Speak Radio
Dr. Alan Cairns

The ordination of openly avowed and practicing homosexual Gene Robinson as Bishop of New Hampshire split the worldwide Anglican Communion wide open. Where all the turmoil and talk of separate communions will end it is difficult to say. Meanwhile, the homosexual bishop of New Hampshire has been on a visit to England and has been stoking the flames of controversy.

Robinson, who was once married and is divorced and is living with his homosexual partner said that he found it mystifying that the mother Church of the Anglican Communion was unable to be honest about the number of gay clergy in its ranks. He said that many of the English Church's clergy lived openly in their rectories with gay partners, with the full knowledge of their bishops. But he criticized the stance of bishops who threaten the clergy with enmity should their relationships become public. Speaking in an interview in London, Robinson said: "I have met so many gay-partnered clergy here and it is so troubling to hear them tell me that their bishop comes to their house for dinner, knows fully about their relationship, is wonderfully supportive but has also said, ‘If this ever becomes public then I'm your worst enemy.' It's a terrible way to live your life and I think it's a terrible way to be a Church. I think integrity is so important. What does it mean for a clergy-person to be in a pulpit calling the parishioners to a life of integrity when they can't even live a life of integrity with their own bishop and their own Church? So I would feel better about the Church of England's stance, its reluctance to support the Episcopal Church in what it has done, if it would at least admit that this not just an American challenge. If all the gay people stayed away from church on a given Sunday the Church of England would be close to shut down, between its organists, its clergy, its wardens . . . it just seems less than humble not to admit that."

Robinson's sanctimonious rantings are enough to make you sick. Here is a man who vowed to live with one woman until death, yet he divorced and started living in a perverted relationship with a man. And he has the gall to talk about integrity! However, he may well be right that if you took the sodomite element out of the Church of England or the Episcopal Church they would collapse. If he is right, then I say the sooner they collapse the better for you can be sure that no church that has any claim to be recognized as Christian is sustained in being by the number of practicing sodomites in its ranks. God has placed such perversion-and therefore the institutions that are sustained by it-under His anathema. He says He has given them up to judgment. It's time that all true Christians who remain in such divinely rejected communions gave them up too. How can any Bible believer continue to worship in and support a denomination that depends for its existence on holding on to the vast number of sexual perverts who have gained access to its membership and ministry?

Homosexuality is by the plain standards of Scripture unclean. Yet it fills and is welcomed in many churches. By contrast, the Bible says, "Have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them" (Ephesians 5:11). This is God's command and the duty of every Christian. No more prevaricating. It is time to obey God, time to get out.

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THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 21, 20089 years ago
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The Missing Link Is a Fish Finger!
AUDIO BROADCAST: The Missing Link a Fish Finger
Let the Bible Speak Radio
Dr. Alan Cairns

There's something decidedly fishy about this story.

The Times of London carried the provocative headline: Scientists find missing link-and it's a fish finger! Listen carefully:

HUMANS could be closer to pond life than had been realized. Researchers have linked a raft of our anatomical and genetic features with fishy ancestors that lived hundreds of millions of years ago.

They have found that the origin of human hands and fingers could lie in the emergence of a finned fish 365m years ago. Similarly, the sophisticated joints that give us the ability to run, grip and turn may owe their existence to a sea creature known as the tiktaalik that lived in the Arctic 375m years ago.

Even our acute vision may be a legacy of an even earlier ancestor, similar to a jellyfish, whose genes have been adapted to play a crucial role in the human eye.

"An entire tree of life, from microbe to worm, to fish and mammal, is embedded inside of us. We can uncover our past by studying fossils and understanding our DNA," said Neil Shubin, professor of anatomy at Chicago University

Here we go again. Lacking any sort of credible evidence of the reality of their theory evolutionists love to theorize on what "could" have happened millions of years ago. The origin of human hands and eyes "could lie in the emergence of a finned fish 365m years ago." The joints in our hands and feet "may owe their existence to a sea creature." Our acute vision "may be a legacy from an even earlier ancestor." This is what passes for science among evolutionists. To them anything "may be" so long as it excludes the possibility of a divine Creator!

We need to give the lie to the constant claim from evolutionists that our eyes and joints "could" have evolved from primitive forms. The reality is that they could not. Even Darwin recognized that the complexity of the human eye formed an impenetrable barrier against his theory of gradual change. The vast number of intermediate forms would still have left their bearers lacking our power of sight. In addition, in the evolutionary world where only the fittest survived, the gradual changes would have rendered the modified specimens less capable of surviving, not more.

We must also emphasize that no scientist has ever found any of the millions of intermediate stages between the fish finger and the human hand. They do not exist outside of the fertile imaginations of evolutionary scientists. We give no credence to their mental meanderings or their pseudo-science. We know the difference between fish fingers and human hands. The only connection is when our hands transport the fish fingers to our mouths!

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WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 20, 20089 years ago
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Discovery Channel Airs Lie about Jesus’ Tomb
AUDIO BROADCAST: The Discovery Channel Airs Lie About Jesus' Tomb
Let the Bible Speak Radio
Dr. Alan Cairns

Christianity stands or falls on the truth or otherwise of the Resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ. The Resurrection has been well termed the Gibraltar of the gospel. The Apostles of Christ recognized the importance of this truth. Paul went so far as to tell the Corinthians that if Christ did not actually rise again from the dead the whole Christian faith was vain, empty, worthless. Furthermore, he said that if Christ did not rise from the dead, the Apostles would have been liars and false prophets, for they testified that they had actually seen, touched and spoken with him and had received His teaching in the interval between His Resurrection and His Ascension.

Not only the Apostles recognized the central importance of the Resurrection of Christ to Christianity. So did the Jews. And so did the devil. Thus, ever since, there has been an unremitting campaign to discredit the truth of the Resurrection. Rationalists have attacked it as mythical, for, say they, dead people just don't rise from the dead. We all know that, but that does not for a moment give any logical reason to disbelieve that God, who sent His Son into the world to die for sinners, could raise Him from the dead as a proof of His divine person and mission.

The tomb that Jesus occupied lies outside Jerusalem. After three days occupancy, He left it as He rose again from the dead. However, every now and again someone claims to have found the tomb of the Lord Jesus. Allegedly, it has been found as far away from the Holy Land as the Himalayas! Of course, it is all imaginary. Last year the Discovery Channel aired a documentary about a tomb unearthed by archeologists in 1980 that its discoverer claims to be the tomb of Jesus. The report by a Jewish "investigative reporter" stated that the in tomb a crypt was found containing what were said to be the ossuaries of Joseph, Mary, Jesus, the son of Joseph, Mariamne and Judah, son of Jesus. To make the report a little spicier, the film makers speculated that "Mariamne" could have been Mary Magdalene and that Jesus could have been married to her.

Not surprisingly, Christians and academics slammed the film. However, recently Time magazine reported that Princeton Theological Seminary Professor James Charlesworth, organized a conference in Jerusalem, bringing together over 50 archeologists, statisticians and experts in DNA, ceramics and ancient languages, to give evidence as to whether or not the crypt of Christ had been found. The vast majority of these "experts" canned the idea that they were dealing with Jesus' coffin. I know that DNA is a marvelous investigative tool but its use here to "prove" that a certain coffin or bunch of bones belonged to Jesus of Nazareth is a crazy attempt to lend a pseudo-scientific appearance to prejudice or opinion.

Charlesworth, a Methodist minister, thinks that if this is the tomb of Jesus and his wife and son, Christians should rejoice at evidence that He really existed! Now there's liberalism run absolutely mad. The truth is that all the names used were extremely common names in Judea at the time of Jesus. Some think it statistically improbable that all the names should be found together. Actually, there are just three names on the ossuaries that coincide with the Gospels' accounts-Mary, Joseph, and Jesus. Mariamne and Judah the son of Jesus do not appear in the story of our Saviour. The appearance of three common names in one family is a poor basis for attacking the truth of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ. This time the Discovery Channel discovered nothing more than the enduring prejudice of Jews against the Lord Jesus and of liberal apostates against the supernatural elements of the gospel. Some discovery!

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TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 19, 20089 years ago
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Coughin’ and Coffins
AUDIO BROADCAST: Coughin' and Coffins
Let the Bible Speak Radio
Dr. Alan Cairns

The federal authorities recently issued a sobering report. Almost 7000 little children per year die in the United States as the result of their parents giving them over the counter cold and cough medicine. Apparently these medicines are too strong for young children but parents are in many cases unaware of the danger. In their anxiety to alleviate cold symptoms and relieve minor coughs they fail to read the warning labels and often cause the little one they are trying to protect grave harm-as I have mentioned, in 7000 cases a year, fatal harm.

This is the story of a human tragedy. We cannot begin to fathom the grief of good parents who see their little ones die in such a way. Our hearts go out to them. Theirs is a heavy burden, a sorrow that will persist and that will overwhelm them in long, dark, sleepless nights. While the world will forget and make their children mere statistics, they will never forget.

This human tragedy is also a modern parable. It points us to consider a parallel case in the spiritual realm. Every day, parents who desire the very best for their little ones are giving them what will ultimately destroy them. Instead of carefully considering the dangers, many parents give their children a diet of rock music, of Hollywood movies, and of sensual entertainment. They get them hooked on the celebrity cult. We all know parents who have allowed the TV to raise their kids for them. It seems an ideal way to keep rowdy kids quiet or to give bored kids something to interest them. But it is a colossal mistake.

Every TV should come with a large warning label: This machine may bring Satan into your home and may be destructive to the health and life of your family. Of course, they don't have such labels so it is up to parents to recognize the danger for themselves. Most don't and they destroy their children.

Warning labels should also be attached to schools, colleges and even churches that deny the truth of God and the gospel of Christ. Parents should be very careful before allowing their children to be brainwashed-a poor word for the introduction of moral and spiritual corruption into the mind-by academics or clerics whose teaching is poison that will destroy both body and soul.

Our children suffer from much more than the moral equivalent of a cold or cough. They are born in sin. They inherit all the depravity and spiritual corruption of Adam's fall. They need radical treatment-they need the redemption that is found alone in Christ. Anything else, however well intended, will be fatal to their souls.

Let us be wise. Let us read and heed the warnings. Let us not destroy our children for all eternity by failing to make sure that they are exposed to the truth of the gospel and are protected from the poison of the world. In time they will be strong enough to face the evils of the world for themselves. Meantime, don't let us make the mistake of turning their coughin' into coffins.

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MONDAY, FEBRUARY 18, 20089 years ago
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Muslim Leads Iowa Legislature in Prayer for “Victory over Unbelievers”
AUDIO BROADCAST: Muslim Leads Iowa Legislature in Prayer for Victory Over Unbelievers
Let the Bible Speak Radio
Dr. Alan Cairns

Incredible as it may seem, at a time when American troops are being murdered by Muslim terrorists and when the atrocities of 9/11 are just six and a half years removed, the Iowa House of Representatives invited a Muslim imam to open its 2008 session with prayer. After speaking in Arabic, Muhammad Khan of the Islamic Center of Des Moines, spoke in English and prayed, "I seek refuge in God against the accursed Satan in the name of God, most gracious, most merciful." To many Muslims around the world, America is the great Satan. Was Muhammad Khan referring to America and stigmatizing it as "accursed?" In leading the Iowa Legislature in prayer, was he asking his god for the destruction of America? Certainly, the use of the language he chose was incendiary. Without any indication to the contrary we must conclude that he knew very well the connotation of "Satan" as employed by millions of Muslims around the world.

Khan went even further. He made no direct reference to the war in Iraq but he spoke of his god as "the master of the day of judgment" and asked for "victory over those who disbelieve." Now that is pretty specific. To a Muslim imam, those who disbelieve are infidels. America's troops in Iraq and Afghanistan are, according to Muslims, unbelievers, infidels. I believe that it was for their defeat that this Muslim cleric prayed to ask Allah in the Iowa House of Representatives for the defeat of their own troops. And for whose victory do you suppose he was praying? Since it was a victory over unbelievers he had in mind, it stands to reason that he was asking for victory to given to the forces of "belief," that is, the forces of Islam.

Muhammad Khan was a guest of Iowa State Representative Ako Abdul Samad of Des Moines, another local Muslim leader. I can only suppose that Samad found the imam's prayer to his liking. What concerns me is that I have heard of no Representative who rose up in protest or who walked out of the chamber rather than listen to the sectarian rant of a Muslim insulting the legislature and the nation. Whatever anyone's view of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, for a State Legislature to sit docilely while a Muslim leads the members in prayer for the defeat of his own nation and for the victory of Islam over his own troops is disgraceful.

I have noted that there has been no outcry from the ACLU. If a Christian minister prays in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ or includes anything specifically Christian in his prayer, the ACLU will cry "Separation of Church and State" and seek to silence such public prayer. But when a Muslim prays as Muhammad Khan did in Iowa it goes strangely silent. Even the clearly understood references to political and military matters do not call forth their ire. It seems that the only religious expression that offends the liberals of the ACLU is anything that professes to be Christian.

Islam is becoming bolder by the day. It took a lot of gall for Muhammad Khan to appear in an American State Legislature to pray against "the accursed Satan," and for the defeat of the forces of unbelief, knowing full well that to Muslims, America is the great Satan and her armies are the armies of the infidel. But at least he was loyal to his cause, however perverted that cause may be. The Representatives who sat idly by to listen to him did a spineless thing, a shameful thing. If Americans don't soon waken up they will soon be where Britain is, with Muslims graciously "offering" them sharia law. That's a gift we can do without, along with such incantations as that with which Muhammad Khan disgraced the Iowa legislature's opening session for 2008.

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FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 15, 20089 years ago
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If God Is Everywhere, Why Do So Few People Find Him?
AUDIO BROADCAST: If God Is Everywhere, Why Do So Few People Find Him?
Let the Bible Speak Radio
Dr. Alan Cairns

An internet news service ran a column with an interesting title: "If God is everywhere, why do so few people find Him?" It sounds like a good question, so let's try to answer it.

God is everywhere. That is, God is omnipresent. "The heavens declare the glory of God and the firmament [space] showeth his handiwork. (Psalm 19:1). Again, "The heavens declare his righteousness, and all the people see his glory" (Psalm 97:6).

The whole creation witnesses to the God who brought it into being and who sustains its existence. Paul said, "The invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and godhead; so that they are without excuse" (Romans 1:21).

No man has any excuse for not recognizing that God is. The witness is all around him and within him. Apart from God nothing has any meaning or any purpose. Apart from God there is really no such thing as logic, morality, history or destiny.

So, why then do so few people find God? The answer in Scripture is unequivocal: "There is none that seeketh after God" (Romans 3:11). Men do not find God because they do not want to find Him. They may be forced by the sheer force of the evidence to acknowledge that God is but they are not willing to have God on His own terms. Men want a god, but a god of their own devising, a god they can accept or explain, not the one, true and living God of Scripture, who has fully, finally and exclusively revealed Himself in His only begotten Son, the Lord Jesus Christ.

This has always been the case. It is a myth that man is searching for God. Ever since Adam's fall, man has been running from God. It is God who does the seeking. He started with Adam and has continued seeking and saving that which was lost. Today, in our society of self-seeking, men are more than ever unwilling to seek the true God. The terms God sets down are offensive to them. "Repent and believe the gospel" (Mark 1:15) was Christ's opening public sermon in His earthly ministry. He has not changed His call. Repent? To most people today that word means nothing. The concept of having offended a holy God whose wrath justly hangs over them and must soon fall on them to their eternal destruction is entirely foreign. Most people have an overweening and utterly baseless sense of their own goodness. Jesus said that He did not come to call the righteous to repentance; only sinners need apply for grace. And that's one major reason so few people ever come to know God in Christ-they have never felt their need as sinners.

Many who profess to want to know God are seeking Him in the wrong place. Mother Theresa was acclaimed as a saint but confessed that she never felt anything of the nearness or fellowship of God or His Son. She thought she would find God as she worked for the poor and she failed. She went to the wrong place, like many others thinking she could connect with God through her good works and religious rituals. Such an effort must always fail. Any supposed knowledge of God so gained is a delusion. God may be known only in Jesus Christ, His Incarnate Son. He is God's last word to the world (Hebrews 1:1-2). He calls sinners to repentance and faith in His atoning sacrifice and death-shattering resurrection. All who heed His call will most certainly know God and to know Him is to have eternal life.

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THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 14, 20089 years ago
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The Death of the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity
AUDIO BROADCAST: The Death of the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity
Let the Bible Speak Radio
Dr. Alan Cairns

In 1908, the Rev. Paul Wattson and Mother Lurana White, an Episcopal priest and nun, founders of a small Anglican religious community in the Franciscan tradition, in Garrison, N.Y., initiated eight days of prayer for Christian Unity between what were then feast days associated with Saints Peter and Paul. These two leaders and their Franciscan Friars and Sisters of the Atonement soon became Roman Catholics, so their week of prayer for Christian Unity was clearly shown in its true light: an attempt at promoting the return of all churches to the Roman fold. According to the New York Times the week of prayer naturally had little appeal to Protestants. That might have been true in 1908, though I doubt it because that very year the American Episcopal Church launched an abortive attempt at church union. That was followed in 1910 by the World Missionary Conference that met in Edinburgh, Scotland and that Conference marked the real beginning of the modern ecumenical movement. What started in Edinburgh in 1910 was consummated in Amsterdam in 1948 with the formation of the World Council of Churches.

The WCC actively pushed the annual Week of Prayer for Christian Unity. Together with the Vatican, the WCC produced the prayers to be used in what was sanctimoniously termed the "Octave of Prayer." So all over the world, churches of many different traditions-Baptists, Congregationalists, Episcopalians, Presbyterians, Roman Catholics-observed the same week of prayer and prayed the same prayers, all working toward the same goal.

But the whole thing was a failure from the start. True, there was an imposing array of churches involved in observing the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity but in reality most ordinary church members could hardly have cared less. So this year, the centenary of the inauguration of the Week of Prayer has come and gone almost without notice.

In a way that is good news-the goal of leading all Protestant denominations back to Rome has come unstuck, at least for the present. But in another way it is not. The Week of Prayer itself is a non-event. It was always the empty dream of professional ecclesiastics and had little interest for the people in the pew. However, its almost total dismissal by the great body of churchgoers results from the success rather than the failure of ecumenism-that ecumenism that has admitted Rome into the Christian fold, and in a position of leadership, so that if anyone dares to quote the old Protestant doctrine of Rome as antichristian he is scorned as an unchristian preacher of hate. Now accepting each other as equally Christian (and thereby denying the essential truths of the gospel, reducing such things as Christ's finished work on the Cross and justification by faith alone to the level of negotiable non-essentials), church people are more interested in their relations with a newly reinvigorated Islam. More and more they want to present a united front to Islam-which is ecumenism, church unity, at work with a vengeance. Since it is a unity that is fundamentally flawed by its departure from basic Bible truth, the front it presents to Islam will be just that, a front-a gutless, powerless religious paper tiger that will find it as easy to make peace with a Christless Islam as it did with an antichristian Romanism.

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WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 13, 20089 years ago
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The Church of England and the Mark of the Beast
AUDIO BROADCAST: The Church of England and the Mark of the Beast
Let the Bible Speak Radio
Dr. Alan Cairns

Newsday carried a report of a lighthearted moment in the British House of Commons:

The beast of the Book of Revelation intruded into the banter of the House of Commons in London [January 10] when a motion calling for the disestablishment of the Church of England was numbered 666. The last book of the Bible says 666 is the number of a beast that "had two horns like a lamb, and ... spake as a dragon," and that "doeth great wonders, so that he maketh fire come down from heaven on the earth in the sight of men." Bob Russell, a Liberal Democrat lawmaker, pointed out that "it is incredible that a motion like this should have, by chance, acquired this significant number." Such motions are used by members to publicize issues and other members may show support by signing them. By [the] afternoon [of January 10], three people had signed.

Given that only three members signed the Bill, it is unlikely to be enacted into law. The Church of England is the national Church, established by law. And it enjoys special privileges. As long as it remained a truly Christian Church it stood as a safeguard for the British constitution. It guaranteed that the nation was self-consciously a professedly Christian nation, whose basic values and laws should reflect the spiritual foundations on which it was built. While I am no great admirer or apologist for the Church of England I am happy that for centuries the British constitution withstood many and varied attacks and, since the Glorious Revolution of 1688, has continued to give freedom to citizens of all denominations. However, the Church of England is hardly even a pale shadow of what it ought to be. Truth be told, it has often been a place in which good men and spiritual delinquents somehow held together in an uneasy alliance. In modern times, however, the Church of England has more and more disavowed its historic Protestantism and has elevated to its highest offices men who openly detest the fundamental doctrines of the Christian faith. It is an entirely ecumenical organization, seeking union with Rome. It is even worse, for at heart it is syncretistic, seeking union with religions that are openly heathen and anti-Christian.

So one part of me would be happy to see the whole hypocritical show disestablished, as the Church of Ireland was in 1870. But I wonder what would follow. Britain has long since forsaken its Christian roots. It is utterly secular. The problem is that in the religious vacuum of the disestablishment of the Church of England, without even the semblance of a Christian basis for society, the door may be open for Islam to impose itself. That possibility is not as far-fetched as it may seem.

I have reported how the bill to disestablish the Church of England bore the number of the Beast, 666. A coincidence, yes, but it serves to remind us of all that is wrong in England and of the dangers that lurk in the way. England's only hope is to cast off the bogus religion of an effete Established Church that is Christian in name only, that is not worthy of the name and that more and more displays on its forehead the mark of the beast, and to return to the genuine Christianity that put the Great in "Great Britain."

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TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 12, 20089 years ago
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The Cold Comfort of Falling Abortion Rates
AUDIO BROADCAST: The Cold Comfort of Falling Abortion Rates
Let the Bible Speak Radio
Dr. Alan Cairns

It's not too often that you get antiabortionists and pro-abortionists celebrating the same event as good news. When it was reported recently that the number of abortions being performed in the United States had dropped to 1.2 million a year, both sides found something to celebrate. It was good news. Or was it?

1.2 million abortions per year means that abortions are at their lowest since 1976. At least this is what a new report claims. Obviously, every abortion less than the grisly norm of recent decades is something to be grateful for. But a closer look at the underlying reality soon wipes the gloss off any celebration.

Some researchers claim that the impositions of more restrictions on abortions accounts for some of the decline. If this is so, I rejoice and hope that more states will place more restrictions on the barbarism that is daily executed-an accurate word under the circumstances-in the nation's hospitals and clinics. A more immediate reason for the drop seems to be the widespread use of the controversial abortion pill RU 486. How many conceptions this early form of abortion has terminated is anybody's guess but one thing seems clear: America's abortion rate is not declining because of any revival of moral standards.

Whatever the reasons, the trend was welcomed by both antiabortion and abortion rights advocates. If pro-abortionists are applauding these latest figures, believe me there is no real reason for pro-life advocates to celebrate. Let the figure sink in: this nation gives the sanction of law-indeed the protection of the Constitution-to the killing of one million two hundred thousand babies per year. And we are supposed to celebrate that as representing a drop of something like a couple of hundred thousand per year?

Here's the cold reality. We live in a nation where sexual morality is trampled in the gutter. Young people who maintain virgin purity are often viewed as oddities. Living together without the benefit of marriage is so common that for anyone to raise an objection to it makes him sound as up to date as a dinosaur. This is the ME generation. Even the life of a baby can be snuffed out if it happens to inconvenience all-important me. With the availability of RU486 more women can live in sin and comfortably destroy any child they may conceive-all without the inconvenience and guilty feeling of having to undergo an abortion procedure. So despite the apparently encouraging figures on declining abortion rates the moral situation in America is as bleak and godless as ever.

That's why these figures are cold comfort to Christians who oppose abortion on demand, as all Christians should. It's why we should continue to oppose the abortion industry by all lawful means. But it is also why we should realize that fighting abortion is not the great answer to America's moral depravity. More than ever we need to see this country caught in the spiritual blaze of the old-time preaching of the law and the gospel-the law to let men know what sin is and does and to drive them to cry to God for mercy; and the gospel show them that mercy in the person and through the blood of the Lord Jesus Christ. This is the only real answer to the moral and spiritual needs of this or any other nation.

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MONDAY, FEBRUARY 11, 20089 years ago
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Banned from the Church
AUDIO BROADCAST: Banned from the Church
Let the Bible Speak Radio
Dr. Alan Cairns

The Wall Street Journal recently ran a long article on the subject of church discipline. Titled "Banned from Church," the article ran with the subhead, "Reviving an ancient practice, churches are exposing sinners and shunning those who won't repent." It is a disturbing article for various reasons.

First, it gives the statistic by scholarly estimates that about 10%-15% of Protestant evangelical churches practice church discipline. That means that in 85%-90% of these churches there is no such thing as church discipline. Given that the Journal article mentions things such as adultery, drunkenness and theft as some of the sins that the minority of churches are disciplining, we are left with the somber fact that in almost all America's Protestant evangelical churches grievous moral sins will go unaddressed and unpunished. That is serious. When you add that in mainline denominations church discipline is almost non-existent you can see that churches have made themselves very comfortable with sin in the camp. Is it any wonder there is so little blessing from God in their services?

Second, some of the reasons given in the article for excommunicating people appear frivolous, or at least whimsical.

Third, in most churches, especially in independent churches, there appears to be little or no established order for church government and for the process of charging and trying a member's sin. This has led to all sorts of public actions that are both unnecessary and often counter-productive.

Fourth, I gather from the Journal article that in a great number of cases, members look at their sins, even those involving a loss of public testimony, not as so many attacks on the honor of the Lord or the testimony of His church but as purely personal affairs. Hence, if they confess their sins when confronted by their pastor, they treat that as a personal, confidential conversation and are ready to sue him if he brings it before the legitimate church authorities.

The Journal article seems to draw no distinction between very different causes for church discipline. It treats people accused of adultery and those accused of speaking ill of their pastor as if they were morally equivalent. Unfortunately, even pastors often seem not be able to draw necessary distinctions in the severity of censurable conduct by their members. Many of them act solely on their own initiative. That is one reason why I am glad to be a minister of a Presbyterian church where I must act in accordance with clearly recognized principles for ensuring due process; and where I must act in concert with the elected elders of the congregation. When a member is disciplined, it is with a view to restoration. Here if a member feels aggrieved by a decision against him he has the right of appeal and may indeed ask the Presbytery (the combination of ministers and elders from a number of congregations) to reverse the decision against him.

When all is said and done, the process of discipline is never easy, but it can be richly blessed by the Lord. Churches need to have properly established church courts (elder boards) and appeals processes; members need to respect them and abide by their decisions; and all together need to make the process one that will seek to restore the erring ones and reflect positively on the public testimony of the church.

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