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FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 01, 200813 years ago
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Minister Resigns from State Government after Hindu Attacks on Christians
AUDIO BROADCAST: Minister Resigns After Hindu Killing of Christians
Let the Bible Speak Radio
Dr. Alan Cairns

Earlier this week I reported on projections for 2008 about the persecution of Christians. One of the places I mentioned briefly was India. Here's a story that will show just how dire the situation is in those parts of India where radical Hindus can apparently run wild.

According to a report a government minister in the state of Orissa, has resigned following communal violence in which rampant radical Hindus attacked a group of people from various Christian denominations who had erected a tent and were gathered for Christmas celebrations. 500 furious Hindus attacked the tent; reportedly some of the Hindus fired weapons while others used sticks and swords to attack and injure their victims. In addition in the days following, 13 churches were demolished or razed to the ground, three Christians were shot dead and several others injured.

The minister, Padmanabha Behera, who represents the local district in the state parliament, met the Chief Minister of Orissa at his residence on December 28 and tendered his resignation.

"I decided to step down from the minister's post owning full moral responsibility for the violence and disruption of communal harmony in my district," he told the media.

"In the last few days, misinformation and misleading statements in my district were spread through media. In order to remove this public misconception and to restore age-old harmony between Scheduled Castes and Tribes in my district, I decided to tender my resignation," he said.

It seems that all sides were happy to see the minister resign. A lot of this violence is tied into the Indian caste system. In the Christian Church there are no castes. It appears that there was a move afoot to grant tribal status to converted Christians who hailed from the tribal area dominated by the radical Hindus. A Hindu Community Rights organization opposed the grant and sparked the fatal violence and arson. That organization called for the minister's resignation. Minister Behera said, "I am a victim of a conspiracy hatched by my opposition by political opponents."

It is difficult to see how his resignation will cool the situation. Radical Hindus will never give up their "Holy War" until they are soundly defeated-and no state government is going to display the necessary intestinal fortitude to confront the people on whom it depends to keep it in power.

These are testing times for believers in parts of India. If any good comes out of the December massacre, perhaps it will be that some of our politicians may follow the Indian minister's lead and take moral responsibility-and resign because of the disastrous results of their political theories and policies.

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THURSDAY, JANUARY 31, 200813 years ago
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Rome and Illegal Immigration
AUDIO BROADCAST: Rome and Illegal Immigration
Let the Bible Speak Radio
Dr. Alan Cairns

Illegal immigration is a hot button item all across America. With millions of illegals already in the country and with millions more trying to get in-and of course with a Presidential election looming-it's a subject that is going to be debated more and more over the months to come.

Have you ever wondered why the Roman Catholic Church has taken such an interest in protecting illegal immigrants? For years, her priests and bishops have encouraged illegal immigration, have sheltered illegals and have fought to have them receive all the rights, privileges and protections of American citizens. Recently I listened to a bishop interviewed on National Public Radio and he vehemently defended the "right" of illegals, arguing that human rights-for example, the right to live and to work, to have health care and welfare-were the gift of God and not of any government. Of course, what he didn't say was that there is no divine mandate that everybody and anybody has a God-given right to live and work in America!  The bishop hastily went on to say that of course he was not advocating that America do away with its borders! Sure he wasn't! He just wants it to do away with its southern border!

Now, it is not my purpose to debate the issue of immigration, legal or illegal. That's a political issue and this is not a political commentary. My interest is in just why the Roman Catholic Church is so involved in the issue and has openly challenged every government initiative to deal with the problem of illegal immigration. The politically correct answer is that Rome cares for the poor and downtrodden. The real answer is that Rome is dependent on Hispanic immigration for its survival as the major religious power in the United States. 

Since 1960, over 70% of new additions to the Roman Catholic Church in the U.S. have been Hispanics. At the moment, Hispanics make up 40% of the total membership of the Roman Catholic Church in America has about 65 million members. That means that it has 26 million Hispanic members. And that number increases almost every time another illegal immigrant enters the country.

When you think that apart from the Hispanic growth in its membership, the Roman Catholic Church would be showing the same decline as other denominations, you can see why it is so vociferous about allowing illegal immigration to continue and for illegals to be granted permanent status. In other words, Rome's stand on immigration is neither because of Christian charity nor humanitarian interest. It is purely a self-centered policy of maintaining its prominence and power.

Do not misunderstand me on this subject. I condemn Roman Catholic hypocrisy but I believe that Bible believing Christians should not allow political considerations to stand in the way of evangelizing the lost. Hispanics, like all the rest of us, need Christ and we should do what we can to get the gospel to them. Never think that you should stop to find out a man's immigrant status before giving him the gospel. Rome shows nothing but self love in dealing with immigrants. Let us, as Bible believers, show the love of Christ by seeking to reach them with the gospel.

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WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 30, 200813 years ago
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Good Works Not Enough, Says Pope
AUDIO BROADCAST: Good Works Not Enough, Says Pope
Let the Bible Speak Radio
Dr. Alan Cairns

The Christianity Today headline was tantalizing: Good Works Not Enough-Latest papal document urges Roman Catholics to win souls. Can this be true, that the Pope, historically the champion of works-based salvation, is actually telling Roman Catholics that their works will not merit heaven? Well, no it is not true. The Pope has not changed the old tune that Rome has been playing for centuries. What Christianity Today was reporting was a directive given to Roman Catholic missionaries, telling them that doing humanitarian works is not enough, that it is only part of their job and that they should labor to make new converts..

The Pope's call comes at a time when his church is feeling the heat of competition from Pentecostal and other Protestant churches and also when his Church is under attack from Russia's Orthodox Church for sheep stealing. The directive also comes against the backdrop of the highly politicized theology being pursued by some Jesuits. According to Archbishop Angelo Amato, undersecretary of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, the Vatican's top doctrinal office, "[T]here has been a cooling of missionary spirit in recent years." He specifically cited the work of three Jesuit theologians-Jacques Dupuis, Roger Haight, and Jon Sobrino-suggesting that their work had undermined missionary spirit by casting doubt on the uniqueness of Christ as the universal Savior of humankind. Under the influence of this theology, many Roman missionary priests have come to believe that "it is enough to build communities which strive for justice, freedom, peace, and solidarity." When the Pope says, Good works are not enough," this is what he means. He wants to see his priests make more Roman Catholics.

As for personal salvation, Rome still stands by her utterly unbiblical and deeply cherished notion that the only merit that can get anyone to heaven is the merit of the "good works" that he does here on earth. In the Catechism of the Catholic Church (paragraphs 2008, 2010), Rome teaches that because "God has freely chosen to associate man with the work of his grace," man can obtain merit. "Then follows man's free acting through his collaboration [with God], so that the merit of good works is to be attributed in the first place to the grace of God, then to the faithful." The Catechism has just defined "merit" as "the recompense owed," so it is teaching that God owes men something for the works they do in collaboration with Him. But Rome has even more to say: "No one can merit the initial grace of forgiveness and justification [which Rome says occurs in Baptism] at the beginning of conversion. Moved by the Holy Spirit and by charity, we can then merit for ourselves and others the graces needed for our sanctification, for the increase of grace and charity, and for the attainment of eternal life." In plain language, once a priest baptizes you, you can begin to do good works and merit heaven.

If the Pope says good works are not enough, be sure he means that in salvation God starts the ball rolling but then it's up to you to do so many good works that God will "owe" you eternal life. Of course, it is all a fabrication. Salvation is on the sole merits of Christ received by faith alone, without works. His righteousness is all the merit a sinner needs to enter heaven. Our works in sanctification and service add nothing to our right to do so, though God graciously promises to reward them for Christ's sake. Rome's dogma comes down to this: The merit of Christ saves you from Hell; the merit of your own works alone can get you to heaven. That is blasphemy.

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TUESDAY, JANUARY 29, 200813 years ago
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Evolution and Presidential Politics—A Bad “Omenn”
AUDIO BROADCAST: Evolution and Presidential Politics - A Bad Omen
Let the Bible Speak Radio
Dr. Alan Cairns

Evolution and Presidential Politics-A Bad "Omenn"

Evolutionists are losing the debate in the court of public opinion. So they are turning to a tried and tested method of garnering support-fear mongering. They have noted how powerfully this has played out in the global warming debate and have decided to take a leaf out of the Green's playbook. Listen to this.

Electing a president who does not believe in evolution theory is a way to lead a nation to ruin, according one scientist.

"The logic that convinces us that evolution is a fact is the same logic we use to say smoking is hazardous to your health or we have serious energy policy issues because of global warming," said Dr. Gilbert Omenn, professor of Internal Medicine, Human Genetics, and Public Health at the University of Michigan, during a science media day one day after presidential hopeful Mike Huckabee won the Iowa caucuses.

"I would worry that a president who didn't believe in the evolution arguments wouldn't believe in those other arguments either. This is a way of leading our country to ruin," said Omenn, who was present for the release the pro-evolution book "Science, Evolution and Creationism," published by the National Academy of Sciences.

I hope Dr. Omenn's skill in internal medicine is vastly superior to his logic or his honesty. Let's deal with honesty issue first. There is not the slightest correlation in methodology between how medical scientists have determined that smoking is hazardous to one's health and how evolutionists arrived at their theory of origins. To give the impression that evolutionists can produce the empirical evidence in favor of their theory that is available to show the dangers of smoking is downright misleading.

As to logic, I will simply say that to try to expect us to accept the truth of evolution because some scientists with a particular agenda have scared a lot of people into accepting that catastrophic, man-induced global warming is occurring-and that big-government measures can fix it-is ludicrous.

However, it says a lot about how desperate the evolution lobby is becoming these days. They have successfully closed the door of tenured professorship in scientific disciplines against any scientist who does not share their belief in Darwinism Now they want to extend their closed shop policy to the Presidency of the United States.

It's not a Darwin denying President who will "ruin" this country but closed-minded academics who are seeking to make the minds of their students-and if possible, the electorate of this country-as closed as theirs. Pardon the awful pun, but when Dr. Gilbert Omenn speaks so ominously to link America's future to his pet theory of evolution and tries to make the office Presidential the peculiar domain of Darwinian evolutionists, it's an ill omen indeed. It appears that Evolutionists want to grab by spreading fear what they cannot gain by rational debate.

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MONDAY, JANUARY 28, 200813 years ago
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The Axis of Evil
AUDIO BROADCAST: The Axis of Evil
Let the Bible Speak Radio
Dr. Alan Cairns

According to a British advocacy group, millions of people will be persecuted around in 2008 will take place in four "zones" - Islam, Communism, Hinduism and Buddhism. Harassment may originate from governments or their agents-such as the secret police, military, and judiciary-or from non-governmental movements, such as militant Islamic groups.

Consider the following headlines for stories currently running:

I have mentioned four zones of persecution. In the Islam zone, Saudi Arabia stands out not only for its extremely harsh laws against all religion other than the Wahhabi branch of Islam, but also because it spends millions each year disseminating Islamic teachings around the world. There are no greater hypocrites on earth than the Saudi royal family. I recently read a report from a female writer who described her interview with one of the Saudi rulers. They met in a large office with a huge glass wall. That was so that their meeting would be observable. The Muslim view is that where a male and a female meet behind closed doors, Satan is the third member of the group. So they met in a room with a glass wall. But as soon as the interview was finished, the prince asked if his guest would like to meet some friends and ushered her into a room where he and his colleagues watched filthy displays of sensuality and drank Johnny Walker whisky at $130 a bottle. Of course, in Saudi Arabia anybody else drinking alcohol anywhere else in the land would be severely punished. The way these hypocrites guard their tenuous hold on power is by underwriting radical Islam and by persecuting non-Muslims, especially Christians.

This is the country that the United States has supported and upheld for years. We have treated the Saudis as friends whereas they are more like enemies.  They are certainly among the worst persecutors in the world.

In India, radical Hindus have entered 2008 with their lust for Christian blood unabated. Burnings and intimidation have become regular and more are expected. In Communist regimes such as China, Cuba, and North Korea, believers face a more systemic form of persecution that involves house arrest, interrogation, fines, and imprisonment. North Korea remains probably the world's worst persecutor of Christians. Believers are imprisoned in special labor camps, brutally tortured and even publicly executed. Christians are forbidden to pray or to or read a Bible, either publicly or at home and are banned from evangelizing even their own children.

This is the real axis of evil in the world.

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FRIDAY, JANUARY 25, 200813 years ago
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Romney Gives Christian Supporters Red Faces
AUDIO BROADCAST: Romney Gives Christian Supporters Red Faces
Let the Bible Speak Radio
Dr. Alan Cairns

My Hot Topics don't get into party politics, even presidential politics. However, I do deal with issues that are of vital importance to believers and to the nation. Mitt Romney is a Republican contender for President. He is a Mormon and that has caused many Bible believers to be wary of his candidature. He also has a record that is not very convincing as he presents himself as a man we may trust to uphold the moral values we believe to be essential to keep the nation from self-destructing. Romney has however convinced a number of conservative, Christian leaders that he is the best man for the job of President. They believe he will hold the line on such matters as gay rights and abortion. But is he to be trusted?

During an interview with NBC's "Meet the Press," Romney expressed support for the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA), which adds "sexual orientation" to a list of federally protected classes that prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, sex or national origin. The bill upsets conservative leaders because it grants special protection to employees based on their "actual or perceived" sexual orientation. Moreover, it would force Christian organizations that oppose homosexuality to hire homosexual employees. Such laws as ENDA treat homosexuality as a civil right and are used to push such issues as same sex "marriage," homosexual adoption and the perversion of our school systems to indoctrinate children with pro-homosexual propaganda.

It's not hard to see why Romney's support for ENDA is causing conservatives who promote traditional family values to take a long, hard look at him and to question his reliability. We don't need a president who supports the gay agenda.

Nor do we need one who is weak on abortion. Romney is a Mormon and presumably holds to the Mormon position on abortion. It may be said that the Church of the Latter Day Saints (LDS) is pro-life, but it is on the liberal side of the pro-life movement. The official stance of the LDS Church reflects its relatively liberal position. It allows abortion if the mother's life or health is threatened, if the pregnancy was the result of rape or incest or if the fetus is severely malformed and would not live long after birth.

Rape and incest are hard cases. They are terrible crimes and should be punished as such. But it makes no sense to add the crime of killing an unborn baby for someone else's crime. Protestant theology has always allowed that if the stark choice is the life of the mother or the life of the baby, the mother takes precedence. For example, if a woman needs a cancer surgery to save her life but that surgery would kill the child in her womb, she should have the surgery. But the LDS Church adds a woman's "health" and severe birth defects to the list of reasons for allowing abortion. That is dangerous. "Health" is such a broad term that pro-abortionists have long used it as their justification for killing babies. And killing babies because they have severe defects is crude. We should sympathize with mothers who have to bear such a burden but we should not add to their troubles by helping them kill their babies. Yet the LDS Church-and presumably Mitt Romney-support the right to perform such abortions. As I said at the top, I am not into party politics but I do think Christian leaders who have supported Mitt Romney will have very red faces unless they can get him to take much stronger positions than these.

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THURSDAY, JANUARY 24, 200813 years ago
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Richard Roberts and Other Charismatic Financial Scandals
AUDIO BROADCAST: Richard Roberts and Other Charismatic Financial Scandals
Let the Bible Speak Radio
Dr. Alan Cairns

Three Oral Roberts University professors have filed a lawsuit against the university because, they allege, they were fired on account of their exposing financial mismanagement. They charge that ORU misspent tax-free dollars on Richard Roberts, the President of the school. Back in October, Richard Roberts told CNN's "Larry King Live" that "it sure seems" someone is out to get him. The university's Board of Regents said it would hire an auditor to look into the accusations of misconduct and its founder, 89 year-old Oral Roberts, a pioneer of the prosperity gospel, told King that he supported an investigation: "If there is anything out of line, we will bring it into order, like we have always done."

That was in October. By the end of December, amid moves by the regents to strengthen the university's financial accountability, Roberts resigned. In October, he had done nothing that would cause him even to step aside temporarily. In December the scandal was hurting the school so much that he had to go. Christianity Today reported, "Days after Roberts's resignation, Mart Green, founder of the Hobbly Lobby and Mardel retail chains, donated $70 million to ORU, most of it dependent on reforms in the school's leadership, finances, and governance. The school had been $52 million in debt."

Isn't it amazing that Richard Roberts, if the lawsuit filed by the three professors is to be believed, could have the university install a $15,000 oven for his family, provide him the use of a private jet and spend over $50,000 on modifications to dorms his daughters would occupy while ORU was drowning in debt? But it seems par for the course for preachers of the prosperity gospel to fund their lavish lifestyles on the debt they lead other people into.

Currently Congress is investigating a number of television preachers whose lifestyle is so lavish as to be obscene. Now, Congress has no real business interfering in the theological beliefs of the prosperity gospellers, however crazy their beliefs may be. It does have every reason to examine their use of tax-free dollars. In other words, it appears that some of the super rich televangelists are not satisfied with their multi-million dollar incomes, they want to escape paying tax on all they earn and so use ministry expense accounts, on which there is no tax payable, to cover their personal expenditures.

Some big names are being investigated but after the dust settles foolish people will continue to shell out their hard earned cash to unscrupulous charlatans who will grow rich at their expense. You see, the prosperity gospel crowd has found a chord that resonates with a lot of people. All across America, people are struggling with their finances. Millions are already hopelessly in debt. So when a preacher tells them that God has revealed a foolproof plan for them to become rich, they jump at it. Many even use their credit cards to pay the televangelists, many of whom urge them to do so, getting further into debt in the process. Many of the victims are old or simple minded. Many are not; they are just looking for an easy buck. In every case the televangelists use a few Bible texts out of context and tell a few specious but spurious stories and people cough up the money. It's sad. It's sickening. It's cynically sinful. But it pays, at least for the moment. But the prosperity charlatans have their day of reckoning coming. Congress may do some of them in but whether it does or not, God will deal with them. As I think of that day, Matthew 7:21-22 comes to mind. I wouldn't take all the money in the world to risk being in that crowd.

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WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 23, 200813 years ago
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The Death Agonies of the Church of England
AUDIO BROADCAST: The Death Agonies of the Church of England
Let the Bible Speak Radio
Dr. Alan Cairns

According to the Daily Telegraph, in England more people now attend Roman Catholic Mass each week than the services of the established church, the Church of England. The statistics show that attendance at Anglican Sunday services has dropped by 20 per cent since 2000. A survey of 37,000 churches, to be published in the new year, shows the number of people going to Sunday Mass in England last year averaged 861,000, compared with 852,000 Anglicans ­worshipping. This means that the established Church has lost its place as the nation's most popular Christian denomination after more than four centuries of unrivalled influence following the Reformation.

It's not that English people have suddenly found any great love for the Roman church. It has been in decline just as dramatically as the Anglican Church. But an influx of immigrants from eastern Europe (especially Poland and Lithuania) and Africa has bolstered attendance at Roman Catholic churches that had been dwindling to the point of near extinction.

The Methodist Church also has suffered enormous decline. Until recently Methodists formed the third largest denomination in England, after the Church of England and the Roman Catholic Church. Now it has sunk to fourth place, with Pentecostalism vaulting past it in weekly attendance.

The Church of England stands in danger of becoming a permanent religious minority. Given that it is the national church, the church established by law with the Queen as its titular head, with all the constitutional implications that arrangement involves, minority status would have very serious results.

Naturally, people within the Church of England are asking questions. What has happened? Why has the Church declined so much? Can anything be done to reverse the trend and if so, what? There are various answers to such questions. In part, the decline can be attributed to the social, moral and religious climate of the nation. To put it bluntly, England is a godless and irreligious nation. It is prosperous and sold to the pursuit of the here and now. That is one reason for the decline in church attendance.  But it's not the only reason. Another is the apostasy that for generations has filled the national church and the other mainline denominations. Quite simply, people don't go to church for the churches have no message of any importance. The Church of England is a middle class social club with liberal political values and almost no discernible adherence to Biblical Christianity. Here and there exceptions prove the rule but generally it is true that the Church of England is dying because it does not deserve to live.

Can anything be done about it? That's the question Anglicans are asking but it's the wrong question. Why should anything be done to reverse the decline? I can see no spiritual value in keeping the Church of England going unless it were a radically different church. That's one thing that may be done. Get rid of the apostates, repudiate all the false gospels that have found a home in the national church and set about the preaching of the gospel of redemption in Christ. That would be a start. It would be more; it would be a revolution that would turn English society upside down.

Honesty compels me to say that the leaders of the Church of England would rather see it perish than for it to become a Bible believing, gospel preaching church-all of which tells us that what we are witnessing is the death of the church that gave us some of God's choicest servants, Reformers, missionaries, expositors of God's word. There are still a few able men in its ranks but, alas, the Church of England is in its death throes. Sad, but it's day is done. 

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TUESDAY, JANUARY 22, 200813 years ago
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Southern Baptists and Calvinism
AUDIO BROADCAST: Southern Baptists and Calvinism
Let the Bible Speak Radio
Dr. Alan Cairns

Apparently the Southern Baptist Convention is facing a revival of a sort that many of its leaders did not anticipate, a revival of Calvinism among its up and coming ministers. Reportedly, about 10% of Southern Baptist pastors claim to be Calvinists. However, it is estimated that about 30% of its seminary graduates are Calvinists, which seems to point to an increasingly Calvinistic emphasis in the years to come. This scares many Baptists, the main fear being that Calvinism may spell the death of evangelism in the Southern Baptist Convention or at least severely weaken it.

So let's look at the issues. What is Calvinism? The discussion in SBC circles seems to center on the famous "five points of Calvinism." This is a pity for those five points do not really summarize the genius of Calvinism. They are in fact responses to five errors set forth by Arminian theologians in the 17th century. Calvinism is, in the memorable phrase of B.B. Warfield, "theism and evangelicalism come into their own."  Fundamentally, Calvinism seeks to do full justice to all that God says about Himself in Scripture. And it stands firmly on the belief that God saves sinners-He does not merely make their salvation possible, He actually saves them. Calvinism denies that in salvation God does His part and leaves man to do his part. It teaches that salvation is all of God and all of grace.

What worries many people is what is called TULIP theology-with the word being used as an acrostic so that each letter introduces a major doctrinal position: Total Depravity; Unconditional Election; Limited Atonement; Irresistible Grace; Perseverance of the Saints.

These points are interdependent. If you accept one you must accept all. They stand or fall together. Total depravity means that man is a sinner by nature and birth. It does not mean that every man is as bad in his moral behavior as he may be but rather that he is "dead in trespasses and sins" and is incapable of doing anything to merit the favor of God, anything to originate a disposition of will acceptable to God. Unconditional election says that God chooses men by free grace and not on condition of their works or even their foreseen faith. Were it otherwise, salvation would be of human works, at least in part. Irresistible grace refers only to regenerating grace. Sinners are dead in sins and the call of God is like the voice of Christ at the grave of Lazarus, effectual and irresistible. Perseverance of the saints means that when God saves sinners He remains faithful to them and maintains them in grace and faith so that they will never perish. The big sticking point for many is Limited Atonement. But Calvinists don't believe in an atonement that is limited, non-Calvinists do. Calvinists believe that when Jesus died He and His Father had a definite purpose in view and that they completely accomplished it. Calvinists believe that the Lord Jesus suffered absolutely no failure in what He set out to accomplish by His death. Thus all the sins He bore away must actually be borne away. All the debt He paid must be actually paid. If He did this for every man who ever lived, then every man who ever lived must be saved. It is no escape from this conclusion to say that they will be saved only "if they believe." Is unbelief a sin? Did Jesus pay the penalty for our unbelief? He paid for all our sins. All whose sins? All the sins of the saved. All the sins of His elect. All the sins of believers. To believe this does not limit the atonement. What limits the atonement is the notion that Jesus paid for the sins of people who end up in hell. Such an atonement would be at least partially a failure. And if some people for whom Christ made atonement finally perish, what assurance can any of us have that we will not finally be lost? Unless we believe that when He died Christ made a particular redemption for His chosen people we can never make anything He did the basis of our assurance. We will be reduced to depending on the quality of our faith or obedience. By the very nature of the case, these are imperfect and assurance demands perfection as its foundation. Christ's particular redemption or definite atonement provides such a foundation. Nothing else does.

But what of the worry that Calvinism will kill evangelism? Some professed Calvinists are evangelistically moribund. But genuine Calvinism is essentially evangelistic. Indeed, some of the greatest revivals in history have been Calvinistic in theology.

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MONDAY, JANUARY 21, 200813 years ago
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The Real Jesus
AUDIO BROADCAST: The Real Jesus
Let the Bible Speak Radio
Dr. Alan Cairns

Just before Christmas, the editors of the Vancouver Sun had the bright idea of setting up an inter-faith dialog to discuss the real meaning of Jesus. The newspaper spoke of Jesus as "arguably" the most important figure in history and invited scholars from four traditions-Muslim, Jewish, Roman Catholic and Protestant-to talk to each other about Him.

Muslims believe that Jesus was a prophet, that he was born of the Virgin Mary and that He will come again. They deny that He is the Son of God or that He died and rose again. Thus, for all the fine words about Him, Muslims deny the fundamental truth as to who Jesus is and the equally fundamental truth about what He did by His atoning death.

Jews may speak well of Jesus as a Jewish sage or prophet but their religion adamantly rejects Him as the Messiah. Thus Jews deny that He is the Son of God, that He fulfills the prophecies of the Old Testament or that He died and rose again from the dead. They accuse His followers of misunderstanding Him and His work and creating the myth of His divinity.

Protestantism historically is the religion of the Bible. In Chillingworth's famous phrase, "The Bible, the Bible only [is] the religion of Protestants." What the Bible says is so. The Jesus of Scripture is incarnate deity, the Son of God, who came into the world by means of the virgin birth, lived a sinless life of obedience, died an atoning death as a vicarious sacrifice to save His people from their sins and bodily rose again from the dead. This same Jesus is now seated in Heaven at God's right hand as our High Priest and advocate and will return to earth in the fullness of time. This, in outline, is the Protestant view of Jesus. However, the Protestant participant in Vancouver actually held lower views of Jesus than the Muslim. United Church of Canada minister, Gary Paterson, denied every point of the story of Jesus, His deity, His virgin Birth, atoning death and bodily resurrection. He agreed with the Jewish rabbi.

The Roman Catholic Archbishop who was present insisted on the literal truth of each of the points Paterson denied. Thus there was the strange situation that a Roman Catholic was more Biblical by far than the professed Protestant. All the other participants utterly denied that salvation could be in Jesus Christ alone, the United Church of Canada minister again joining forces with the Muslim and the Jew in rejection of one of the most basic claims of the New Testament.

Though they never really got around to discussing it, the Roman Catholic could have joined the rest in their view of the value of human merit in achieving salvation. In other words, authentic Christianity went unrepresented at the Vancouver Sun's inter-faith dialog. It makes you wonder what useful purpose such events serve. They hardly serve the cause of truth but are one way that rejecters of Christ choose to throw as much doubt as possible on the claims the NT makes about Him. The Vancouver colloquy never addressed the Biblical evidence. It was mostly a session for blowing the hot air of human opinion, while all the time ignoring the compelling evidence of the Word of God. How foolish can you get?

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