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FRIDAY, MARCH 28, 200815 years ago
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Homosexual “Families” Too Much Even for Some Liberal Baptists
AUDIO BROADCAST: Homosexual Families Are Too Much Even for Liberal Baptists
Let the Bible Speak Radio
Dr. Alan Cairns

Broadway Baptist Church in Fort Worth, Texas, has a long history of liberalism. Since 1979 it has been at odds with the Southern Baptist Convention because of the resurgence of theological conservatism in the Convention. It is a congregation that has accepted practicing homosexuals into its membership, without, of course, "affirming" their lifestyle! Accepting but not affirming-that's typical liberal doublespeak for utterly rejecting what the Bible teaches on the subject of homosexuality.

Recently, the church decided to issue a directory of its members, complete with photographs. Included among the church families were some "homosexual families." Remember, the church does not "affirm" the homosexual lifestyle-but those pictures were set for inclusion in the directory none the less.

For some members of Broadway Baptist Church that was going too far. They had put up with a lot from their senior pastor, Brett Younger, who has led the congregation since 2001. They had watched as he brought a noted liberal theologian to the pulpit and as he had welcomed practicing sodomites into the membership of the church. But seeing those "homosexual families" was more than they could accept. So they have rebelled, forcing the deacons to call for the exclusion of all photographs from their directory. In other words, the congregation is so divided, with an apparent majority in favor of including the offensive pictures in the directory, that the deacons decided that to reject the photographs of "homosexual families" they would have to reject the photographs of all families. Remember this is not "affirming" homosexuality as an alternate lifestyle to legitimate marriage. The more you consider the facts of this case the clearer it becomes that the ultra-liberals of Broadway Baptist want to do just that.

The result, as I have intimated, is a divided congregation. Opponents of the inclusion of the homosexuals organized a petition to the deacons with 162 signatures; supporters gathered over 200 signatures. The first group wants the pastor to step down and has prepared a list of complaints against him. Members of it even offered him $50,000 to resign. The other group commends him and calls for him to remain and then calls for reconciliation.

This is an issue on which a truly Christian church can have no division of opinion. When a church goes so far into compromise as to accept and affirm practicing homosexuality it must either be drastically changed from within and its liberal wing brought under discipline, or else those who have any regard for Biblical truth and purity must separate and either form a new church or join in the work and witness of an established church that is faithful to Christ and His gospel.

You may find it difficult to believe that a Baptist church would adopt this line toward practicing homosexuals but remember that the same thing is going on in just about all major denominations. Apostasy is rampant. Homosexuals need to be saved. We should love them for the gospel's sake, even as we "hate the garment spotted by the flesh." You can't do sinners good by denying the gospel for the undiluted gospel is the only thing that can lead them into the liberty of saving grace.

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THURSDAY, MARCH 27, 200815 years ago
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Jim Bakker Rebuilds His Empire
AUDIO BROADCAST: Jim Baker Rebuilds His Empire
Let the Bible Speak Radio
Dr. Alan Cairns

Jim Bakker is famous, or perhaps infamous. Here's his resume.

1961 - Marries Tammy Faye LaValley. Both had attended North Central Bible College in Minnesota.
1964 - Begins working on Pat Robertson's Christian Broadcasting Network.
1974 - Starts broadcasting "The PTL Club" with Tammy Faye from Charlotte, N.C.
1978 - Bakkers open Heritage USA, a resort and theme park in Fort Mill, S.C.
1987 - Details emerge about Bakker's 1980 affair with church secretary Jessica Hahn. Baker had been paying her hush money. He resigns as PTL president. Within months, PTL files for bankruptcy.
1989 - Heritage USA shuts down. Bakker is convicted of 24 counts of mail and wire fraud and sent to prison.
1992 - Tammy Faye Bakker files for divorce. She remarries the next year.
1994 - Bakker is released after serving almost five years in prison.
1998 - Bakker marries Lori Graham.
2007 - Tammy Faye dies.

With such a resume a preacher would appear to have no chance of a productive ministry. Indeed, I don't think that a preacher with this background should ever again impose himself on the public. Having brought disgrace to the name of Christ, he should be satisfied with taking a humble position and function in a well supervised capacity in a local church in which he may begin to undo some of the harm he has done. Obviously Jim Bakker entertains no such thoughts.

In 2003 he commenced a new television ministry, "The Jim Bakker Show," which he broadcast from Branson, Missouri. He ran the show from a bare bones studio that once served as a restaurant but he had visions of a return to the grandeur that was once Heritage USA. Now he has it. A supporter is in the process of building a community that is modeled on Bakker's Fort Mill empire. Bakker is quick to point out that he owns "none of this." He still owes the IRS over six million dollars. His church and TV show are not registered in his name but in the name of his mother-in-law. Soon he is to move into a $250,000 condo-modest by Bakker's former standards-that he is buying from his developer friend.

The developer has sunk $25m into the project already and has provided the ex-head of PTL with a 40,000 square foot space for his TV show. Already people are flocking in and already many, even some who lost a lot of money in his fraudulent Heritage USA scheme, are giving substantial amounts of money. Bakker's new wife is modeled after the late, flamboyant Tammy Faye-appearing at the first show on the new premises in a leopard-print blazer, black pants and blouse with a strand of pearls dangling. Well, that was one of her outfits that day. In pictures, she looked and seemed to act as a Tammy Faye clone. But none of this did much to dampen the enthusiasm of the Bakker faithful. Jim Bakker is back, or at least he is making one huge effort to regain the empire he lost through lust and greed. That he has the chance to launch a replica of his first discredited career is a telling commentary not only on human gullibility but on the state of America's "Christian" pop culture, which has little culture and is more pop than Christian.

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WEDNESDAY, MARCH 26, 200815 years ago
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Muslims Better Theologians Than Christians?
AUDIO BROADCAST: Muslims Are Better Theologians Than Christians
Let the Bible Speak Radio
Dr. Alan Cairns

According to Chuck Colson, Muslims would make better theologians than most Christians. He cites an opinion survey that shows that many professing Christians cannot name even five of the Ten Commandments. How much the average Muslim knows of his religion is open to question. If you take him beyond the more radical shibboleths of Islam he may be as ignorant as the average professing Christian. But still, Colson's observation is interesting and we should take it seriously.

Colson's point is that the U.S. and Europe are under a twin threat, from secularism and Islam. He believes that historic, orthodox Christianity provides the only real defense of these nations against the threat. Yet there is a glaring and widespread ignorance about the core beliefs of the Christian faith.

I have no doubt that Colson is right. Ignorance is everywhere. The problem is in some ways less than he makes it out to be and in some ways even worse than he thinks. I say the problem may be less widespread than he reports because of how he and the pollsters whose report he relies on define a "Christian." They define the term in a way that includes many whom Bible believers would not see as Christians but as lost people who need to be saved. Perhaps "church members" or "church attenders" would be a better description of many of the people in the survey than "Christians."

Nevertheless, ignorance of core Biblical truths is a widespread problem. I said it may be worse than Colson claims for there are truths that many evangelicals know little or nothing about and yet according to Scripture they are foundational truths. Justification by faith alone, the Saviour's blood atonement and union with Christ are just three examples of truths about which most people who sit in church week after week know nothing or next to nothing.

So, who's to blame? I would say that preachers are the chief culprits. Some of them have never expounded such themes in all their ministries. If they do not teach the people it is a fair assumption that the people will not learn them. Preachers have become business executives, PR men, social directors, psychologists, entertainment agents and a host of other things. But in many cases they have forgotten their first calling. Many preachers spend little real time in studying God's word. They dredge up topics from current affairs or from preachers' manuals. Those who do study often feed their people dry husks instead of "the finest of the wheat." As a result, few Christians can really give an answer to those who ask of them a reason of the hope that is in them. That is sad, really sad for it takes away one of the surest and most Scriptural methods of spreading the gospel.

So, what's to be done? It would make good sense to get into a church where there is a solid Bible ministry. Then read and study diligently for yourself, praying for the Spirit's guidance in your studies. Learn the truth-and then "tell it around and let it abound." If to knowledge you add godly zeal you will be a good theologian in the best sense of the term.

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TUESDAY, MARCH 25, 200815 years ago
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An Abortion, a Suicide, and a Cover-up
AUDIO BROADCAST: An Abortion, a Suicide, and a Cover-Up
Let the Bible Speak Radio
Dr. Alan Cairns

Emma Beck was a talented artist. When she found out that she was pregnant with twins she told her boyfriend (isn't it scary how boyfriends and girlfriends have taken over from husbands and wives?). Her boyfriend, whose identity has been protected, was most unhappy at the news and so he and Miss Beck decided she would have an abortion. She did  and, overcome with guilt at the heinous thing she had done, she killed herself. She was found hanging at her home in Helston, England, on February 1, 2007. She was declared dead early the following day-her 31st birthday.

She left a suicide note that is absolutely heart rending. "I should never have had an abortion. I see now I would have been a good mum. I told everyone I didn't want to do it, even at the hospital. I was frightened, now it is too late. I died when my babies died. I want to be with my babies: they need me, no-one else does."

Miss Beck clearly stated in her suicide note that she had told the people at the hospital that she did not want to go through with the abortion. She was clearly troubled and in a volatile state of mind. She saw her family doctor before the abortion, but missed an appointment at the hospital. She then cancelled, but later turned up to an appointment at a clinic at another hospital. She needed to see a counselor but the counselor was on vacation. So a doctor referred Miss Beck to a pregnancy counseling telephone service eight days before carrying out the abortion when she was eight weeks pregnant.

This is the information that was presented to an inquest presided over by a lady doctor. She ordered that the identities of the doctor who performed the abortion and the woman's lead counselor be kept secret. Miss Beck's mother wanted to know why her daughter had not been able to see a counselor. The only answer she received was not an answer at all. It was an excuse from the hospital that, according to the abortion doctor, "It is normal practice to give a woman the number for telephone counseling when a counselor is not available." She added, "I am satisfied that everything was done to make sure that Emma consented to the operation,"  but went on to assure the inquest, "We have since appointed more counselors so there is more holiday cover."

The coroner recorded a verdict of suicide but found no fault with the hospital or the abortionist. She glibly stated, "It is clear that a termination can have a profound effect on a woman's life. But I am reassured by the evidence of the doctors here." If she was reassured, she must have been the only one. It was generally admitted that Miss Beck had problems with depression. Yet, despite her telling hospital professionals that she did not want to proceed with an abortion they pressed on anyway. That they obtained her later permission is not the point. How did they obtain it? What counseling was available? Why was there no hesitation in proceeding even after the doctor in charge had noted that she was alone and unsupported? If a church were accused by a suicide note of actions that contributed to the death of the victim the police would be all over the case and the press would be full of the story. But in England a coroner can bury the identities of those whose actions had an immediate influence on the commission of a suicide.

This story is a tragedy. Little twin babies were mercilessly killed. Their mother has killed herself. Yet the "boyfriend" can wash his hands in anonymity, as can the abortionists who contributed to the tragedy. This is wrong. It is a whitewash and the culprits should be held accountable.

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MONDAY, MARCH 24, 200815 years ago
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Ted Haggard in a Hurry to End Counseling
AUDIO BROADCAST: Ted Haggard Is In a Hurry to End Counseling
Let the Bible Speak Radio
Dr. Alan Cairns

A year ago Ted Haggard agreed to counseling under the direction of New Life, the church he had led to mega-church status. This came in the wake of a scandal that rocked not only the New Life Church but the whole evangelical community and gave the enemies of the Lord plenty of ammunition to shoot at God's people.

Haggard occupied a position of great prominence. As well as being pastor of a mega church he was the President of the National Association of Evangelicals, in which position he got to represent a large section of the country's evangelicals before President Bush and other top political figures. Haggard also took a leading role in opposing so-called gay rights in Colorado, where he lived and ministered. Thus when it was discovered that he had carried on a three year relationship with a homosexual prostitute and had purchased illegal drugs from him, Haggard's ministry was in shreds.

His dabbling in drugs-if dabbling it was; he described it in similar terms to Bill Clinton who smoked but didn't inhale!-was wrong and was enough to put him out of the pulpit. However, all that paled into insignificance in comparison with the homosexual liaison. The hypocrisy of Haggard was evident not only in his campaigning against homosexuality while he was having an affair with a male prostitute but in the answers he gave to an interviewer at the 2004 NAE meeting in Denver. Asked if he believed in separation, Haggard replied that he did believe in personal separation and in separation from "other faith groups" but not from "born again believers." The hypocrisy was that, as his immoral affair shows, he did not practice personal separation. It was all a lie.

As I said, in the light of all this scandal, Ted Haggard stepped down from his pastorate. He was all contrite and willing to undergo counseling. Now, he has asked New Life to discontinue the counseling. They say that it is premature to stop now but he has made a unilateral declaration of independence on the issue and has called a halt. In other words, he is cured and ready to go.

That's the part that bothers me. Ted Haggard has to realize that his breach of the trust placed in him makes him ineligible for any further involvement in public ministry. If he has repented and been restored to fellowship with God, as I hope he has, he should quit thinking of rehabilitating himself in the eyes of the public and set about the arduous task of mending his personal relationships. He may in quiet, unassuming ways seek to use his hard experience to help others in need. But he needs to forsake all image-building, which was probably part of what got him into trouble in the first place.

 New Life leaders have stated publicly that Mr. Haggard should go into secular employment and not seek to find a place in Christian ministry. They are right. He is wrong to cut himself loose from counseling. He would be even more wrong to pursue the dream he announced last year of raising financial support to pursue-wait for it-a counseling ministry! He can't wait to end his own counseling so he can start counseling others! If this sounds like madness, that's because it is madness.

Forget about it, Ted.
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FRIDAY, MARCH 21, 200815 years ago
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Rights and Freedoms Saved for the Politically Correct
AUDIO BROADCAST: Rights and Freedoms Saved for the Politically Correct
Let the Bible Speak Radio
Dr. Alan Cairns

Earlier this week, I reported on a British court's decision to fine a Bishop for violating the "right" of a practicing homosexual to gain employment in a church job. Despite the fact that the law specifically exempts religious organizations from sex-discrimination charges, the Bishop's legal rights were trampled under the bogus rights claimed by homosexuals.

Here in the United States, Iowa State University has furnished another example of how selectively "rights" are recognized. In the Astronomy department of Iowa State University Dr. Guillermo Gonzalez has worked as an assistant professor and has established a stellar scientific reputation. He has published 350% more peer-reviewed publications than his department's stated standard for research excellence. He has co-authored a college astronomy textbook with Cambridge University Press. He has had his research recognized by Science, Nature, Scientific American and other top science publications. In 2004 his department at Iowa State University nominated him for an "Early Achievement in Research" honor. Add to this that Gonzalez is Hispanic, which makes him an even more attractive candidate for promotion in state organizations that proclaim their love of racial diversity. Yet despite all this, Dr. Guillermo Gonzalez was denied tenure. Not only that, but the Board of Regents refused to allow him to be heard in oral arguments and finally rejected his appeal.

So why would Iowa State University reject a man whose academic credentials and research record are beyond reproach? The answer is simple. He wrote a book, "The Privileged Planet: How Our Place in the Cosmos Is Designed for Discovery," which supports the idea that the world we live in bears evidence of having been brought into being by design and not by accident. On the basis of that book, the evolutionists in the astronomy department of Iowa State University and a number of their fellow travelers in other departments started an email campaign to have Gonzalez ousted by being denied tenure.

The University's Board of Regents has denied that Dr. Gonzalez's support of Intelligent Design played a part in his rejection. However, the head of his department, Eli Rosenberg, stated that Gonzalez's book did play a part. He went on to suggest that his research record over his six-year probationary period had put his appointment in trouble. The facts utterly confute Rosenberg's statement. The Gonzalez record was more than adequate to gain tenure. As the De Moines register found out from emails that reporters examined, the University's claim that his support of ID didn't play into their decision was patently false. The simple truth is that in Iowa State University evolutionism has gained such a stranglehold that even respectable scientists will be forced out if they question Darwin's theory. Then, having rejected such scientists, the evolutionists who ousted them will assure the public that "scientists" all agree. The falseness of that claim is that it stands on a prior belief that you cannot be accepted as a "scientist" if you don't agree!

The message from both Britain and America is plain. Rights and freedoms are reserved for the politically correct. Question the godless orthodoxy of the "scientific community" or of the current "liberal" social order and you will discover that your rights either have been taken from you or are in process of being removed. What proclaims itself to be a liberal democracy is in fact becoming an illiberal dictatorship, with its thought police patrolling every area of our lives. That's not an Orwell prophecy. It's here and now. Just ask Guillermo Gonzalez.

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THURSDAY, MARCH 20, 200815 years ago
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What Happens to Christians When They Die?
AUDIO BROADCAST: What Happens to Christians When They Die?
Let the Bible Speak Radio
Dr. Alan Cairns

Just before I prepared this commentary I received news of the sudden death of a longtime friend, a brother in Christ whose testimony was clear and vibrant and whose Christian character was an example to all of us who knew him. I spoke to his shocked widow whose grief is made bearable by the grace of her Saviour's presence with her and by the assurance of His word that her husband, though absent from the body, is present with the Lord. She knows that though his body is in the grave his soul is with Christ, "which is far better" (Philippians 1:23).

Coincidentally, just before receiving the news of my friend's death I read some statements by a leading bishop of the Church of England, N.T. Wright, to the effect that Christians do not go to heaven when they die. According to Wright, in what theologians call the intermediate state-that is, the state of the soul between death and the resurrection-Christians do not go to heaven to live in blessedness as disembodied spirits awaiting the resurrection. Until Christ returns, he insists, Christians "sleep." As he explained it, "We know that we will be with God and with Christ, resting and being refreshed. Paul writes that it will be conscious, but compared with being bodily alive, it will be like being asleep. The Wisdom of Solomon, a Jewish text from about the same time as Jesus, says ‘the souls of the righteous are in the hand of God,' and that seems like a poetic way to put the Christian understanding, as well."

The dogma of soul sleep is not new. It is the belief of Seventh Day Adventism. Now it is being promoted by a well known theologian. This is not Tom Wright's first foray into the realm of the controversial. He is the man who launched what has become known in theology as "The New Perspective on Paul," his redefinition of the doctrine of justification. Far from being new, it is in most of its salient characteristics a return to the old dogma of the Council of Trent. It is in essence a repudiation of the central doctrine of all Protestant soteriology. So it is not surprising that having gone off the rails in such a vital area Wright should also go astray on the subject of the intermediate state.

When the Bible speaks of the dead "sleeping" it uses the term metaphorically and applies it solely to the body, not of the soul. When Paul considered death he said it would be "gain" to him. It would be "better" than his present experience. In his lifetime Paul had amazing experiences of Christ's presence and fellowship. He looked forward to death as giving an entrance into a better state-which could hardly be the case if his high level of consciousness of God was to be replaced by some dreamy sleep or unconsciousness. Again, he spoke of "the spirits of just men made perfect." This is hardly the description of unconsciousness. Perfect sanctification of the soul by definition cannot be enjoyed by unconscious souls.  Indeed, there is nothing in Scripture to suggest that unconsciousness is anything but a physical state. Released from the body the souls of believers are perfected and enter into a far better enjoyment of Christ than ever before. It is not their final state. Their bodies will be raised and body and soul they will be forever with the Lord, perfectly conformed to their glorified Saviour. That is their final hope. But it should not dim the immediate realization of a happy entrance into glory when they die, no matter what Bishop Wright says. In plain English, Wright is wrong. My friend is more alive than ever he was!

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WEDNESDAY, MARCH 19, 200815 years ago
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Bishop Fined for Rejecting Homosexual As Church Worker
AUDIO BROADCAST: Bishop Fined for Rejecting Homosexual as Church Worker
Let the Bible Speak Radio
Dr. Alan Cairns

You have heard the old sayings about the fox being in charge of the hen house and the inmates running the mental asylum. That's the way life is getting to be in what were once known as "liberal democracies." Now they are liberal, in the worst sense of the word but they are becoming more and more dictatorial than democratic.

Consider what recently happened to the Bishop of Hereford in the United Kingdom. He and his diocesan leaders were interviewing candidates for a position in the employment of their church. A 42 year old applicant seemed to have the qualifications they were looking for until the bishop began to putting some personal questions to him. It transpired that he was a practicing homosexual and he took great exception to being asked about such matters. Poor thing, he felt traumatized and suffered deep emotional hurt. On the way home he even cried. And then to cap matters, when the bishop telephoned some days later he learned that he had not got the job.

Clearly the Bishop and his diocesan leaders felt that it was not appropriate for them to employ a practicing homosexual. So the rejected homosexual sued them. And he won. In fact, he was awarded $100,000 in compensation and the Bishop was ordered to undergo "equal opportunity" training. The compensation includes $50,000 for future loss of wages, $16,000 for future pension loss, $14,000 damages for psychiatric injury, $12,000 for injury to feelings, $2,640 for counseling and $50 for costs incurred seeking work.

The case was brought under the Employment Equality (Sexual Orientation) Regulations 2003. Under that legislation, it is illegal to discriminate against people as a result of their sexual orientation, but the law does contain an exemption for organized religion. In his evidence, the Bishop said he had made it clear to the applicant that a person in a sexual relationship outside marriage, whether they were heterosexual, homosexual, bisexual or transgender, would be turned down for the post. He said that the behaviour of the man they had rejected for the post was contrary to official Church teaching and had "the potential to impact on the spiritual, moral and ethical leadership within the diocese."

Clearly, it is the legal right of a church to exercise its religious liberty to refuse employment or membership to anyone who beliefs or practices are contrary to those of the church. Despite this, the tribunal ruled that the Bishop had acted unlawfully and had discriminated against the offended homosexual applicant on the grounds of sexual orientation. So to defend the "rights" of a homosexual the tribunal determined a Church of England bishop's testimony to be a lie, for he testified that the rule by which he and his colleagues judged the merits of the applications before them were the same for heterosexuals and homosexuals alike. Not so, said the tribunal in effect, you discriminated against a homosexual. You are guilty and it will cost your diocese $100,000 plus as much again in legal costs.

Remember this has taken place despite the promised protection of churches against discrimination charges for applying their religious principles to the working of their organization. The sodomite lobby has gained such a stranglehold that even the law must be bent to accommodate homosexuals. If religious liberty is not yet dead in Britain, it's on life support and the plug will soon be pulled. Just ask the Bishop of Hereford.

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TUESDAY, MARCH 18, 200815 years ago
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The Manga Bible Mangles God’s Word
AUDIO BROADCAST: The Manga Bible Mangles God's Word
Let the Bible Speak Radio
Dr. Alan Cairns

A Japanese who hopes to become an Anglican priest has priest has produced yet another version of the Scriptures. Well, not quite for it would be crazy to call the book that Doubleday has published as a version of the Bible. It is a perversion. It is a blasphemy. And yet it bears a blurb commending it from Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury. Of course, after Williams' recent blathering about the inevitability of Sharia law in Britain, his recommendation may be just what is needed to ensure the failure of the publication.

The writer of this latest parody of Scripture is Ajinbayo Akinsiku. He titles his book, "The Manga Bible: From Genesis to Revelation" and in it he reduced the Bible to "a graphic novel." In this novel, according to Akinsiku, "Christ is a hard guy, seeking revolution and revolt, a tough guy." He stated bluntly, "We present things in a very brazen way."

The only thing that is brazen about this book and the entire attitude behind it is the hard-nosed rebellion of its author and his sponsors against God and His word. The New York Times shrewdly remarked:

 "Publishers with an eye for evangelism and for markets have long profited by directing Bibles at niche markets: just-married couples, teenage boys, teenage girls, recovering addicts. Often the lure is cosmetic, like a jazzy new cover. Sales of graphic novels, too, have grown by double digits in recent years. So it makes sense that a convergence is under way, as graphic novels take up stories from the Bible, often in startling ways. In the last year, several major religious and secular publishing houses have announced or released manga religious stories. The medium shapes the message. Manga often focuses on action and epic. Much of the Bible, as a result, ends up on the cutting room floor, and what remains is darker."

For example, though Akinsiku has room to let his imagination run riot to create stories about Noah and Abraham and a host of other Bible characters, he has no place for such things as the Sermon on the Mount. Yet the author hypocritically says he wants people to come to know the real Jesus. And, as I have noted, Rowan Williams uses his position as Archbishop of Canterbury to assure us that "it will convey the shock and freshness of the Bible in a unique way."

According to Timothy Beal, professor of religion at Case Western Reserve University, reworking Scripture in new ways, including manga "is the end of the Word as we know it, and the end of a certain cultural idea of the Scriptures as a book, as the Book. It opens up new ways of understanding Scripture and ends up breaking the idols a bit."

Don't you believe it! Foolish men have been predicting the death of God's Book for centuries and they have always been wrong. After it has conned a few gullible people into parting with their hard earned money, Akinsiku's blasphemy will soon be on the rubbish heap of history, where it belongs. And the Bible will still be standing, the living, infallible word of the eternal God. It always defeats its detractors and in this case will mortify its manglers.

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MONDAY, MARCH 17, 200815 years ago
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Saint Patrick, Ireland’s First Protestant!
AUDIO BROADCAST: Saint Patrick, Ireland's First Protestant
Let the Bible Speak Radio
Dr. Alan Cairns

Happy Saint Patrick's Day!

You know, there was an actual Saint Patrick. Unlike many of the alleged saints who lived in ancient times or in the Dark Ages, Saint Patrick was a real person. Today he is thought of as the patron saint of Ireland. I hail from Ireland and that makes Patrick a subject of special interest to me. Of course, he is not a patron saint of anywhere. There's no such thing as a patron saint. The Bible knows nothing at all about such beings and the notion that they exist grows out of the pagan ideas that crept into professed Christianity.

However, though Patrick was never a patron saint he was a real man and a real saint in the Biblical sense of the word.  Scholars dispute about where Patrick was born. He said that he was born and raised in "Britain." Unfortunately it is almost impossible to be certain as to precisely where he meant. France claims him. Remember that we still have a "Brittany" in France. Scotland claims him and its claims may be superior to those of any other place. His father was a churchman and he grew up herding his father's sheep until one day he was stolen away by a bunch of marauders who took him to Ireland where he lived as a slave. There on the lonely slopes of Slemish mountain, which is in the northern county of Antrim (some believe the mountain in question is the one now known as Croagh Patrick, Ireland's so-called "Holy Mount"), the young slave boy came into a real, personal and living faith in Christ. Finally he managed to escape and make his way home but his engagement with Ireland was just beginning. God gave him a strange dream, somewhat like the vision He gave Paul concerning the man from Macedonia. In his dream Patrick felt God calling him to return to the dark, misty and bog ridden land of Ireland, with its wild people and its endless dangers to win its pagan inhabitants for Christ.

Patrick obeyed. His own Confession tells the story of his conversion and gives us a brief but profound insight into his beliefs. He confessed himself a sinner and threw himself on God's mercy in Christ. He was never commissioned by a pope or by the papal church. He went to Ireland without episcopal ordination, as a man sent from God with a burden to preach Christ to the heathen Irish. What he preached was the gospel of saving grace. And God powerfully blessed his ministry. He moved all over the country and witnessed both to chieftains and serfs. He founded hundreds of churches-and the interesting thing is that those churches were not set up after the fashion of Romish churches.

The Patrick of papal mythology never existed. The medieval "histories" of his life and work were inventions through which Rome sought to highjack a ministry that had been conducted entirely without any sanction from Rome or its bishops. There was good reason for Rome's effort. The Churches that Patrick founded were among the very last in Europe to bow to the supremacy of the pope-not until Pope Adrian IV "gave" Ireland to the King of England so that he might subjugate it and bring it into the papal fold. But by that time Patrick had been dead for almost a millennium. Thank God, it was not popery but the gospel of free grace that Patrick brought to Ireland. Today, on St. Patrick's Day, we salute his memory. In the truest sense, he was Ireland's spiritual father and he was Ireland's first Protestant.

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