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FRIDAY, APRIL 11, 200815 years ago
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Anglican Bishop Heathen in Belief, Hypocritical in Practice
AUDIO BROADCAST: Anglican Bishop - Heathen in Belief, Hypocritical in Practice
Let the Bible Speak Radio
Dr. Alan Cairns

Michael Ingham is the Anglican Bishop of New Westminster in Canada. He has been called "controversial." He is that but he is more. He is un-Christian. To be even more plain spoken, Michael is basically Hindu in belief, a disgrace to Anglicanism and a shame to all the evangelicals who doggedly remain in the fellowship of that Communion.

Ingham wrote a book, Mansions of the Spirit: the Gospel in a Multi Faith World. Note the title and see the error that underlies its writing. Ingham addresses something that we are constantly told is a modern phenomenon, namely, that we live in a multi-faith world. We do. But when has the gospel ever operated in anything other than a multi-faith world? This has always been its challenge. The difference between men like our Lord's Apostles and Michael Ingham is that the Apostles used the gospel to deliver men from false religions; Ingham denies the gospel to create a false union with heathen religion. The Apostles were ministers of life; Ingham is by definition a minister of death for he will destroy and damn the very heathen with who he seeks union.

Writing on "Religious Pluralism," Ingham insists that for a proper dialogue between religions no one should adopt a superior stance. That is why "Pluralists agree that there are diverse paths to God." All religious systems are "limited and fallible," and God works with a "diversity of spiritual understanding." In dialoging with other religions, Ingham claims to reject not only exclusivism but inclusivism and pluralism, believing that to hold an anything would be unhealthy. So in their place he settles on a form of Hindu pantheism.

One evangelical Anglican commentator asked this question: "How does an Anglican Bishop manage to live by a form of Hindu Monism and at the same time say the Nicene Creed on Sunday?" That is a very good question. As an Anglican, Ingham recites the Trinitarian words of the Creed but all the time he holds that the basic reality is monistic-that it, his fundamental belief denies the reality of the Trinity. Monism is pantheism, a theory that ultimately denies the Creator-creature distinction. God is all and all is God. That is pantheism. And that is the basic theology of the Anglican Bishop of New Westminster.

Ingham is just one of a stream of disgraceful appointments as Anglican bishops. Back in the 1960s another Bishop Robinson wrote the infamous book Honest to God, trumpeting the "God is dead" theology-a denial of the Christian belief in a personal, sovereign God. Then there was the Bishop Jenkins of Durham who was a practical atheist, denying every distinctive doctrine of the Christian faith, including the resurrection of Christ. There's Gene Robinson the New Hampshire homosexual and now there's Michael Ingham, more Hindu than Christian. This Ingham is the Bishop who is threatening to suspend J.I. Packer and he obviously feels that his own position is impregnable. You can be an apostate in Anglicanism but don't dare to take a stand against its open wickedness.

How can Bible believers remain in a Communion that exalts such heretics to high office? Why would they want to stay in such a polluted fellowship? Why would any Christian want to be in fellowship with a bishop who is heathen in belief and hypocritical in practice? It beats me.

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THURSDAY, APRIL 10, 200815 years ago
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J.I Packer Threatened with Suspension
AUDIO BROADCAST: J. I. Packer Is Threatened with Suspension
Let the Bible Speak Radio
Dr. Alan Cairns

The worldwide Anglican Communion has been in disarray for a long time now due to the scandalous acceptance of practicing homosexual by some Episcopal Churches, notably the American. The American branch of Anglicanism elevated Gene Robinson to be the Bishop of New Hampshire, despite the fact that he is divorced from his wife and is living in a sodomite relationship. Other Anglicans were revolted by this flagrant departure from even the appearance of Christian practice. Robinson from time to time pours oil on the flames of controversy, most recently by alleging that without its practicing homosexual clergy the Church of England cold not function. There has been almost endless talk about splits and peace plans. The Archbishop of Canterbury is rumored to be pushing a plan to allow "conservative" churches and clergy to serve under conservative bishops. This is typical of Rowan Williams-just let the wickedness continue; shuffle the personnel around a little; give the hotheaded conservatives time to cool down; continue business as usual and soon the whole controversy will have died down.

Now the controversy has taken another turn. One of the Church of England's best known evangelicals is J.I. Packer. Packer is a theologian of international reputation. Time Magazine labeled him as the "doctrinal Solomon" of evangelical thinkers and named him in the top 25 of the world's leading evangelicals. Now Dr. Packer, who is 82, is threatened with suspension from the Anglican Church of Canada as one who has abandoned his ministry.  Along with a number of other clergy, packer is reported to have been involved in a series of meetings in which congregations in four parishes in the diocese have voted to join a foreign Church. On  February 22, the Bishop of New Westminster, Michael Ingham, wrote to the clergy involved asking them to tell him whether they have left the ministry of the Anglican Church of Canada, and if they were seeking admission into another religious body outside Canada. According to media reports, members of the four congregations voted to ask Don Harvey, a retired bishop who resigned from the Anglican Church of Canada, to provide episcopal oversight. Harvey has declared himself to be a bishop of an Anglican Church in South America, the Province of the Southern Cone, based out of Buenos Aires, Argentina.

There is a terrible irony here. All his ministerial life, J.I. packer has resisted every call to separate himself from the apostasy of the Anglican Communion. In that determination he has compromised the glorious theology he has ably expounded by his associations with compromisers and corrupters of the gospel. He is exiting the Anglican Church of Canada over the homosexual clergy controversy, as he should, but apart from that controversy there are multiple reasons why he should have got out long ago. For example-and I'll deal with more tomorrow, God willing-his current bishop is more a Hindu in belief than a Christian. He is as vicious a denier of the gospel as the homosexual Bishop of New Hampshire. Ingham is not alone among Anglican bishops in his repudiation of Christian doctrine and Packer has known this to be the case. Yet he stayed in. Now if he doesn't voluntarily leave the Anglican Church of Canada or quit opposing the acceptance of homosexuality in the church, he will be kicked out. He should have obeyed the Bible and separated long ago.
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WEDNESDAY, APRIL 9, 200815 years ago
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The Pope’s Bridge is a One Way Street
AUDIO BROADCAST: The Pope's Bridge Is a One-Way Street
Let the Bible Speak Radio
Dr. Alan Cairns

Pope Benedict is busy building bridges. After causing a furor with his remarks about Islam and the Koran he is wooing the Muslims-and will find that they are not so gullible or easily wooed as some Protestants have been. It's those gullible Protestants the Pope is now targeting. The latest news is that he wants to build a bridge across the chasm that separates Lutherans from Rome. And how better to do it than to bring Martin Luther in from the cold to the warm embrace of mother church? Listen to this report from the Times of London:

Pope Benedict XVI is to rehabilitate Martin Luther, arguing that he did not intend to split Christianity but only to purge the Church of corrupt practices. Pope Benedict will issue his findings on Luther (1483-1546) in September after discussing him at his annual seminar of 40 fellow theologians - known as the Ratzinger Schülerkreis - at Castelgandolfo, the papal summer residence. According to Vatican insiders the Pope will argue that Luther, who was excommunicated and condemned for heresy, was not a heretic.

I must say, this is going to be interesting. According to Rome, the Pope is the Vicar of Christ, the Holy Father and the head of the entire Christian Church. According to Luther, the Pope was Antichrist! Now my question is, according to Rome, is it heresy to pronounce the Pope to be Antichrist? I must assume that Rome would have to look on that as a heretical statement and the man who made it a heretic. But according to Pope Benedict, Luther, who delighted to condemn the Pope and who mocked him mercilessly, will no longer be looked on as a heretic! I must say that that sounds most magnanimous. It took only the best part of 600 years to do this. While Luther lived the Vatican tried to get its hands on him and would have cheerfully strung him up or made a bonfire out of him. Now, in an effort to win back Luther's professed followers, the Pope is building a bridge.

One thing to watch is whether the Pope will change one iota of the decrees of the Council of Trent, especially on the subject of justification. Trent cast Roman Catholic dogma on this and other subjects in stone. It leaves no wiggle room. According to Trent-the decrees and dogmas of the Council of Trent, Luther was a heretic. Now according to one modern Pope, he was not.

Why is the Pope doing this? The answer is simple. It will do Martin Luther no good-he doesn't need it. But it may make Lutherans and other Protestants look more favorably on Roman overtures. But remember that with all the Pope's nice words, he will not alter one bit of the dogma that led Luther to denounce him in the first place. In other words, Benedict is engaged in a big PR exercise, a confidence trick to bring Lutherans back to the papal fold. It reminds me of the old nursery rhyme: Come into my parlor, said, the spider to the fly; it's the nicest little parlor that you ever did espy. Sure it is! As Lutherans and other who fall for the Pope's blandishments will discover, the papal parlor is a fatal to their interests as the spider's is to the fly. To change the metaphor, while Lutherans may think the Pope is building a bride, he knows he is building a one way street back to the papal fold.

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TUESDAY, APRIL 8, 200815 years ago
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The Gospel According to Oprah
AUDIO BROADCAST: The Gospel According to Oprah
Let the Bible Speak Radio
Dr. Alan Cairns

As I noted yesterday, in 1976 an atheistic psychology professor wrote a book titled A Course in Miracles. She claimed to be merely the "scribe" of the book and that the contents had been channeled to her in a series of strange dreams by one calling himself "Jesus." The book has spawned a movement and has recently shot to the top of the popularity poll through Oprah Winfrey's promotion of it. Indeed, at the beginning of 2008 Winfrey began a year long course on the book on her daily radio show on satellite radio. Yesterday I looked at some of the basic philosophy of the book Oprah is using as a text book for some 600,000 people through her daily satellite radio program. Today I want you to listen to some of the chapter headings of the book she is teaching. She says she is not teaching religion and I am saying she is blowing smoke in your face. This is Satan's religion, a direct assault on the person and teaching of the Lord Jesus Christ-while falsely claiming His name as the one who "channeled" the message to Helen Schucman, the New York psychology professor who wrote A Course in Miracles. So here are some chapter headings:

Nothing I see in this room [on this street, from this window, in this place] means anything.

I have given everything I see in this room [on this street, from this window, in this place] all the meaning that it has for me.

I do not understand anything I see in this room [on this street, from this window, in this place].

These thoughts do not mean anything. They are like the things I see in this room [on this street, from this window, in this place].

My thoughts do not mean anything.

My meaningless thoughts are showing me a meaningless world.

I am upset because I see a meaningless world.

A meaningless world engenders fear.

God did not create a meaningless world.

My thoughts are images that I have made.

I am determined to see.

I am determined to see things differently.

God is in everything I see.

God is in everything I see because God is in my mind.

I am not the victim of the world I see.

I have invented the world I see.

My mind is part of God's. I am very holy.

My holiness envelops everything I see.

My holiness blesses the world.

There is nothing my holiness cannot do.

My holiness is my salvation.

I am blessed as a Son of God.

After all this, Oprah Winfrey wants us to believe that what she is teaching is not religion! It's not only religion, it's overtly antichristian religion. In a way, what she is teaching is easy to identify: anything that is so openly and blatantly in contradiction to Christ is antichristian.

It's also crazy. Listen to this:

Some of the ideas the workbook presents you will find hard to believe, and others may seem to be quite startling. This does not matter. You are merely asked to apply the ideas as you are directed to do. You are not asked to judge them at all. You are asked only to use them. It is their use that will give them meaning to you, and will show you that they are true. Remember only this; you need not believe the ideas, you need not accept them, and you need not even welcome them. Some of them you may actively resist. None of this will matter, or decrease their efficacy."

What a load of utterly self-contradictory New Age rubbish! And this is the gospel according to Oprah. This is how to realize spiritual health and inner peace. Peace that is based on the rejection of God's word and God's Son is a delusion. The Lord Jesus does not give you the option of disbelieving Him and His word: "He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; and he that believeth not shall be damned." That is the gospel according to the true Jesus. The gospel according to Oprah is the lie of a demonic impersonator of Jesus.  

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MONDAY, APRIL 7, 200815 years ago
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Oprah Peddles Satan’s Lies
AUDIO BROADCAST: Oprah Peddles Satan's Lies
Let the Bible Speak Radio
Dr. Alan Cairns

In 1976 an atheistic psychology professor wrote a book titled A Course in Miracles. She claimed to be merely the "scribe" of the book and that the contents had been channeled to her in a series of strange dreams by one calling himself "Jesus." The book has spawned a movement and has recently shot to the top of the popularity poll through Oprah Winfrey's promotion of it. Indeed, at the beginning of 2008 Winfrey began a year long course on the book on her daily radio show on satellite radio.

Winfrey claims that the course she is leading is not a religion but a form of spiritual psychotherapy. How she can separate "spiritual psychotherapy" from "religion" is left unexplained. The simple truth is that A Course in Miracles is overtly religious. Its entire basis is religious. Apart from the religious "truth" it claims to present it has nothing to say-indeed by its own axioms, if its religious truth is denied, everything else it says is but a deluded perception. So Winfrey is being less than honest about the content of what she is teaching. A Course in Miracles is a course in flagrant antichristianity. Its Jesus is a demonic impersonation of the Christ of God. I accept the original writer's assertion that she received her text from some outside source-and I assert that that source was not God but Satan. The truth of that assertion is easily established by comparing what A Course in Miracles says and what God reveals in His word, particularly what He reveals in the person and teaching of His Son, Jesus Christ. Here are some of the antichristian lies that Stan peddles in A Course in Miracles. The following quotations are from the official ACIM website (bold type added):

In the realm of knowledge no thoughts exist apart from God, because God and His Creation share one Will. The world of perception, however, is made by the belief in opposites and separate wills, in perpetual conflict with each other and with God. What perception sees and hears appears to be real because it permits into awareness only what conforms to the wishes of the perceiver. This leads to a world of illusions, a world which needs constant defense precisely because it is not real.

Sin is defined as "lack of love" (Text, p. 11). Since love is all there is, sin in the sight of the Holy Spirit is a mistake to be corrected, rather than an evil to be punished.

The Self That God created needs nothing. It is forever complete, safe, loved, and loving. It seeks to share rather than to get; to extend rather than project. It has no needs and wants to join with others out of their mutual awareness of abundance.

Christ's vision is the Holy Spirit's gift, God's alternative to the illusion of separation and to the belief in the reality of sin, guilt, and death.

By this standard, sin as the breach of God's law, the wrath of God, and the atonement of Christ are not real. Indeed, the entire Bible and its gospel are not real! This is what A Course in Miracles is all about-the repudiation and replacement of the biblical paradigm of ruin by the fall, redemption by the blood of Christ and regeneration by the Holy Spirit.

This is what Oprah Winfrey is teaching to multitudes-according to our local newspaper around 600,000 people. I am sure she wants to help people but what she will do is destroy them eternally if they buy into the devil's lies she is peddling.
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FRIDAY, APRIL 4, 200815 years ago
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Christians Arrested for Silently Praying for Homosexuals!
AUDIO BROADCAST: Christians Arrested for Silently Praying for Homosexuals
Let the Bible Speak Radio
Dr. Alan Cairns

When homosexuals arranged a so-called "gay Pride" event in Wisner Park, Elmira, NY, to celebrate the perverted sodomite lifestyle, a number of people decided to go to the park to pray silently for the participants. They carried no placards. They distributed no literature. They made no noise. Indeed, they did not utter a word, even as they prayed. They event they attended had been advertised as being open to the public: everyone was invited. So they went to pray. Their presence drew no disorderly response from the participants in the event.

You would think that their action could not get them into trouble, especially with the law. But it did. A police sergeant informed the group that they were prohibited from entering the park. He told them they could not "cross the street, enter the park, or share their religion with anyone in the park." When they ignored the female officer's instructions they were arrested. According to the authorities, the group "intended" to cause a disturbance! Here's how the Assistant Police Chief Mike Robertson defended the arrests: he claimed that the members were accused of a "combination" of allegations, including the "intent" to cause a public inconvenience, a "disturbance" of a meeting of persons and obstructing vehicular or pedestrian traffic. The fact that they did not accost one single person or obstruct a single vehicle is conveniently overlooked.

There is a serious constitutional issue here. First Amendment rights are at stake. Courts have consistently upheld the right of dissidents to express their disapprobation of an event in a public place so long as they do so in a peaceable manner. What the government has done in this case is to place homosexual events above the constitution. If the courts uphold the police action and condemn the people who gathered for prayer, freedom of speech for Christians will have suffered a serious setback.

These considerations led the American Defense Fund to join the action to support the people who were arrested and when the trial began in Elmira. The senior legal counsel for the ADF said, "It seems oxymoronic to say that by walking silently in a public park, with heads bowed, these people somehow disturbed the peace. From the sit-ins of the 1960s to today, courts have repeatedly ruled that the police cannot arrest those who peacefully express their message in public places." But not, apparently, in Elmira, NY.

It's difficult to realize that this sort of thing can happen in America. Having found "rights" for homosexuals in the Constitution that the framers never dreamed of, sodomite supporters and co-operating police departments are now seeking to silence all opposition, especially from Christians. Place this alongside the attempts to apply hate legislation to any faithful exposition of the text of Scripture against sodomy and you will see just how far down the slippery slope this great nation has gone. Sodomites are permitted to flaunt their perversion; they are gaining more and more access to public school children via perverted text books; they get away with riotous disturbances whenever they confront anyone who repudiates their lifestyle-but their "events" flaunting the vilest forms of perversion known to man must be kept clear from any protest, even if it is only a silent prayer.

We stand to lose our First Amendment rights, unless the ADF prevails in the Elmira court case. But America stands to lose so much more. This great nation is in danger of sinking in an ocean of moral decadence. We all need to pray, silently or otherwise, no matter the cost.

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THURSDAY, APRIL 3, 200815 years ago
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Britain Two-Thirds Unchurched—U.N. Report
AUDIO BROADCAST: Britain Two-Thirds Unchurched - U.N. Report
Let the Bible Speak Radio
Dr. Alan Cairns

According to the latest census figure, 72% of people in Britain claim connection to some Christian church. Of course, in Britain we all understand that any church connection for most people is extremely tenuous. Church is for weddings and funerals. The more religious may turn out for a Christmas service or an Easter service. But that's about the extent of most people's church connection. Still, 72% claimed a church connection.

Enter the United Nations. The U.N. has issued a report on religion in the United Kingdom, the work of Asma Jahangir, the UN special rapporteur on freedom of religion or belief. A Pakistani woman who has herself been subjected to house arrest in her native country, Jahangir claims that 66% of Britons claim no religion, no matter what they wrote on their census returns. On that basis she calls for radical changes in British constitutional law with the disestablishment of the Church of England. Basically what she says is that the Church of England no longer represents the majority of the British people, does not reflect the distribution of professing Christians over a number of denominations and so should not enjoy the special privileges of being the State Church.

There may be a lot of truth in her assertions. However, I think that it is outrageous for the United Nations to go into Britain and take it on itself to lecture the nation on its constitution. Jahangir appears to be arguing for the rights of the majority of the people to be free from religion. She asserts that most claim no religion. She makes the same mistake that many foreigners do when confronted with the enigma of the British people. That's nothing new. Hitler didn't understand them. They seemed to docile and unwarlike but, as he found out, they can be the most dauntless and immovable people on earth when the need arises. Ms Jahangir doesn't understand them any better. They may "claim" no religion. They are admittedly an irreligious bunch. But if they had wanted so badly to be free from religion and change the British constitution they were perfectly capable of stating on their census forms that they claimed no religion. In other words, we don't need the U.N. agitating for constitutional change in the U.K. To put it bluntly, it's none of their business.

So why would they make it their business? The report leaves us in no doubt. Ms Jahangir wants Britain to treat its Muslim population differently. She doesn't say whether she thinks that Muslims would fare better if there were no State Church that, however apostate was professedly Christian. But that is the implication of her report. Admitting that there is no evidence of institutional discrimination, she criticizes the country for subjecting Asians to questioning more than indigenous Britons in the wake of terrorist attacks carried out by Asian Muslims. And she finds fault with anti-terrorist laws for being too vague in criminalizing support for and celebration of terrorists.

The report is mostly a charade. Perhaps the U.N. should send Ms Jahangir to Saudi Arabia or some such Muslim country and call for them to change their constitution and to quit their open persecution of minorities, especially religious minorities. Of course, the U.N. knows that while she will gain a polite hearing in the U.K. she would be fortunate to escape with her life in such places.

Meanwhile we have to deal with the millions of unchurched people in Britain. There is a vast mission field, a challenge to us to take the gospel to them and see them saved.

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WEDNESDAY, APRIL 2, 200815 years ago
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Living by the Rules of the Bible for a Year
AUDIO BROADCAST: Living by the Rules of the Bible for a Year
Let the Bible Speak Radio
Dr. Alan Cairns

A Jewish journalist who lives in New York decided to grow his beard, put on his vesture and walk in the sandals of his ancestors. New Yorkers were no doubt puzzled by his Old Testament appearance. They were probably more puzzled by his reasons for doing it. He wanted to find out firsthand what it would be like to live by the rules set out in Scripture. He stuck mostly to the Old Testament but for a few months gave attention to the New Testament as well. He reportedly found the experience enlightening and uplifting, even though he could not understand some of the rules. When asked which ones he found the most difficult he mentioned the ones that affect everyday life, such as not coveting and not lying. With a self-revealing honesty we do not usually associate with modern journalism, he said that the reason he found these so difficult was that the things they prohibited made up about 65% of his usual daily life! So much for objective journalism!

The journalist believed that his journey back in time did him good. He confessed that all his law-keeping did not make him a saint but I have no doubt it made him a better person in his earthly relationships. But it could never change the real man. It could never make him a saint. It could never make him right with God. It could never save him. He even tried to live by some of the sayings of the Lord Jesus. He found His teaching about forgiveness especially difficult but he tried to practice it nonetheless. But even that could not make him a saint.

There's an important lesson here for us all. The laws of the Old Testament were good and proper in their place. The moral law, which is summarized in the Ten Commandments and epitomized in the commands to love God and our neighbor, is still very much in operation for us all. This is what God requires. Many other Old Testament laws were intended to be temporary. These were the ceremonial and civil laws, i.e. the ones that dealt with the ritual of Jewish religion and the government of the Jewish state. Seeking to keep these laws may make a man a better person in his earthly relationships, but he will be aware that the real man has not changed.

Law can tell us what to do but it can never give us the spiritual power to do it. That's where the gospel comes in. Ultimately, the law condemns us, including the man who tries to keep it. None of us can measure up to its standard of perfection, as the journalist found out. So, to justify us-i.e. to free us from the condemnation of the broken law and establish us in perfect righteousness before Him-God sent His own Son to fulfil the law in our place. In life he fulfilled its precept and in death He paid its penalty. He wrought a perfect righteousness and He did it vicariously, that is, for us. We receive it "by faith without works" (Romans 3:28).

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TUESDAY, APRIL 1, 200815 years ago
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April Fools!
Let the Bible Speak Radio
Dr. Alan Cairns

Many of you will hear this program in the morning before you set out for work or school. So let me remind you: this is April 1, commonly known as April Fools' Day. I don't know that there are many original April Fools jokes any more. I think that most of them have been doing the rounds for so many years that most people are on their guard against them. Your kids will use them and laugh at them as if they had just been invented-and the amazing thing is that they will always get some poor character to fall for them. We were the same when we were young. Back in Belfast, Northern Ireland, I have no doubt that the telephone at Bellevue Zoo will ring today as it does every April 1 and a parade of people will say they are returning a call from Mr. C. Lyon. I have to admire the patience and politeness of the staff as they deal with a new batch of April Fools. At least they can laugh and be thankful that it usually happens only on this one day in the year-though, mind you, that puzzles me for I would imagine that more people would fall for it if they found a memo on their desk any other day saying that C. Lyons would like them to return a call.

All this set me thinking about fools. Not April Fools, real fools. There are different Biblical words that are translated "fool." There is one that we should be careful not to employ lightly. Jesus spoke of it in Matthew 5:22, "Whosoever shall say [to his brother], Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire." Here the Greek word translated "fool" is moros and it is the equivalent of the Hebrew words nabal or perhaps moreh, both of which carry the idea of "a wicked, reprobate destitute of all spiritual or divine knowledge." Clearly this is not a term to throw around lightly. In fact, the man who does so proves himself to be the real fool, for only a fool would ignore the words of God's Son and so place himself in danger of hell fire.

The Bible gives us various examples of egregious fools. Psalm 14:1 says, "The fool hath said in his heart, there is no God." What makes his folly so obvious is that every man has God's law written on his heart. To deny God a man has to deny the very root of his being. He has also to commit intellectual suicide. To deny his Creator he has to believe that all that exists came into being out of nothingness for no reason and with no intelligent force behind it. If that sounds crazy, it's because it is crazy. Atheism is the ultimate madness. Atheists may be educated, cultured and accomplished. But they are fools. God says so.

They are not the only fools. If he is a fool who denies that God is, how much greater is the fool who knows that God is but lives as if he did not exist? And what about the type of man of whom the Lord Jesus spoke in Luke 12? You remember, the man whom God prospered so much that he wondered what he would do with his bumper crops. He soon decided: he would tear down his barns and build greater; he would say to himself, "Soul, thou hast much good laid up for many years; take thine easy, eat, drink, and be merry." He had no thought of God, of Christ or of eternity and where he would spend it. He was wrapped up in this world, its possessions and its pleasures-in fact, he was just like most people today. But Jesus called him a fool. He was within a few hours of death and he was so ignorant of his mortality that he gave no heed to the needs of his soul. He was a fool of the worst order.

So let me ask you: on this April Fools' Day, are you playing the fool-and playing for real? "O that they were wise ... that they would consider their latter end" (Deuteronomy 32:29).

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MONDAY, MARCH 31, 200815 years ago
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Bar Room Religion
AUDIO BROADCAST: Bar Room Religion
Let the Bible Speak Radio
Dr. Alan Cairns

A North Carolina church recently decided to go to local bars to give out invitations to its services. There's nothing wrong with that. I can well remember back in Northern Ireland that churches commonly went to the bars to give out the gospel. Often we would have someone who could sing and they would usually be welcomed, especially if they sang "The Old Rugged Cross." That would open the way to give out gospel tracts and to speak personally with the less inebriated patrons. So I find nothing wrong with Christian workers visiting bars to distribute gospel literature or church invitations.

However, the NC church looked at things a bit differently. Its workers were not distributing gospel literature as you may imagine it. What they gave to each drinker was a shot glass with the message, "Give us a shot." I believe that crosses the line. Shot glasses are for shots of highly intoxicating liquor, string drink that can destroy everything in its way. Whether they intend it or not, for Christian workers to give out shot glasses is tantamount to an invitation to put them to their normal use.

The church leaders in NC made it clear that though they knew their latest gimmick would be controversial they stood by their methods. They were not trying to reach churchgoers but non-churchgoers. They were inviting them to a church that had grown from a few people to around 700 in a year or two by being "non-traditional" and so non-traditional evangelism would seem to go along well with the services they were advertising. By non-traditional, they mean that they conduct "contemporary" services, where people dress whatever way they like and are encouraged to sip a drink and eat doughnuts during the "worship" service.

I know that these so-called "non-traditional" approaches are popular nowadays. They have become an excuse for introducing all sorts of inappropriate elements into what claims to be Christian worship. I want you to stop and think. Can you imagine anything less like worshiping Jehovah as He is revealed in Scripture than this casual, man-centered approach to "doing church," as today's jargon puts it? Where is "the fear of the Lord?" In the Bible the fear of the Lord is essential to worship. You cannot worship God without a reverence that is appropriate to who and what He is-and I put it to you that there is not even the semblance of true Christian worship in the non-traditional atmosphere I have described.

I have a real problem with all this talk about traditional and non-traditional. It carries the notion that really the only reason for the kind of church service we conduct is tradition. In some cases that may be true, but we need to get away from all ideas of tradition and get back to what theologians term "the regulative principle" of worship. This is a truth that God's word establishes: God must be worshiped in the manner he has set forth in His word. Worship is not to be subject to every innovation the imagination of man can invent. We must worship God His way, irrespective of tradition or lack of it.

To take the church and the gospel to a bar is a good idea. To make the church like a bar-even if it is a coffee bar-is carnal not Christian. That's not tradition; that's plain truth.

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