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TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 13, 200714 years ago
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Keep the Pope Out of Northern Ireland
AUDIO BROADCAST: Keep the Pope Out of Northern Ireland
Let the Bible Speak Radio
Dr. Alan Cairns

The pope has been making soothing noises about Northern Ireland. After years of undermining the country both by the personal actions of the incumbent pope and his priestly henchmen in Ireland, the Vatican is singing a different tune these days.

A few years ago, some imprisoned I.R.A. terrorists decided to go on hunger strike. They wanted the British government to recognize them as "political prisoners," that is, prisoners imprisoned on account of their espousal of a political cause, and not as the murderous criminals that they actually were. The entire campaign was a cynical I.R.A. ploy to launch a new wave of murderous violence in Northern Ireland and gain worldwide sympathy for their cause. Some of those hunger strikers died as suicides by self-starvation. Now, according to the Church of Rome a suicide dies in mortal sin. He is damned. So says Rome. Yet the pope at the time, John Paul II, in response to an appeal by the British government to use his power to persuade the hunger strikers to stop their campaign, sent his personal emissary to Bobby Sands, one of the suicides, just before he died and gave him a papally blessed crucifix to comfort him in his dying hours. The pope was willing to ignore his own canon law in the narrow interest of supporting I.R.A. terrorists. He knew that his action would spread a terrible wave of more murders across the province but he went through with it. As usual, the Vatican and the Irish R.C. hierarchy were knee deep in the campaign to overthrow Northern Ireland as an integral part of the U.K. and the last bastion of Bible Protestantism in Europe.

Now, however, the pope is holding up Northern Ireland as an example of peaceful reconciliation between opposing communities. Most people in Northern Ireland prefer peace to an ongoing terrorist war, but the truth is that the actions of the pope and his minions have for years hindered the arrival of peace. Their words were smoother than butter but an unremitting war against Northern Ireland's Protestant majority was their constant policy. That papal hypocrisy is on display again for now the pope wants to inject himself into the current situation by personally visiting the province.

Such a visit would be a grave mistake. It would be seen by many Protestants for what it is, Vatican triumphalism, an in-your-face challenge to Protestants to suck it up and not oppose the pope for fear of undoing the "reconciliation" that has been developing. If there is any genuine political reconciliation, a papal visit would probably wreck it. Protestants who rightly view the pope as "antichrist in the church," as the Westminster Confession of Faith puts it, will certainly oppose his visit. Community tensions will run high. The pope in Northern Ireland would be a lethal mix. The pope knows that and one must ask why the Vatican is floating the idea of a visit at this time. The conclusion is inescapable that the pope has as little real interest in peace in Northern Ireland as any pope has ever had. He has the same old policy. He believes that Protestantism in Ulster is dead and that he can now move to claim all Ireland for Rome. Sadly Protestantism in Ulster is in a moribund state, largely because of ecumenical compromise with Rome. But the pope will find that his coming will stir enough people to make him realize that the verdict of the province's majority is still NO POPE HERE! So, Benedict, just stay home and leave N.I. alone.

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MONDAY, NOVEMBER 12, 200714 years ago
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Anglican Diocese in Canada Endorses Same-Sex Blessings
AUDIO BROADCAST: Anglican Diocese in Canada Endorses Same-Sex Blessings
Let the Bible Speak Radio
Dr. Alan Cairns

In 2003 the first openly practicing homosexual was consecrated a Bishop in the Anglican Communion. He became Bishop of New Hampshire and opened the flood gates for the promotion of homosexuality as an acceptable Christian lifestyle-at least according to the Anglican Communion. That Communion is a worldwide body of Episcopalians that has a membership of some 77 million people, the vast majority of whom reject the acceptance of sodomy as a Christian practice. But since Gene Robinson's consecration to the bishopric Anglican leaders have been having a tougher and tougher time maintaining even a semblance of unity. With Robinson in his Episcopal palace homosexuals see no reason why they should not have the same rights as heterosexuals in the Episcopal churches. If it is OK to consecrate an openly confessed homosexual to the office of bishop how can it be wrong to "bless" same-sex "unions"? The simple answer is that it can't be right. IF it is right to make a homosexual a bishop it is self-evidently right to allow his church to "bless" his perverted union. There's no escape from the logic of that argument. The fallacy, of course, lies in the premise. Though the Anglican Communion, and especially the Episcopal Church in the U.S., had neither the moral conviction nor courage to say so, it is not right to allow a homosexual to serve as a minister of the church, never mind a bishop.

Protestantism has always held that the church is the creature of the word, that is, that the word of God, the Bible, sets the rules for what is and what is not acceptable in Christ's church. According to Scripture, homosexuality is a perversion and an abomination to God. Abomination means that it is something God hates and places under His wrath. Indeed, in Romans 1 we learn that the prevalence of homosexual practice is a clear indicator of the judgment of God on a nation. No Protestant church-and Episcopalian churches are professedly Protestant-can endorse homosexuality or recognize same-sex unions, "marriages," as homosexuals describe them. To make a homosexual a minister or bishop or to bless same-sex unions as if they were an acceptable alternative to marriage is a betrayal of God's word. It is an act of unmitigated rebellion against God.

That hasn't stopped the Ottawa Diocese of the Anglican Church in Canada from voting by 177 votes to 97 to allow the blessing of same sex marriages. The leadership of the Anglican Church in Canada had refused to allow dioceses to offer such blessings. So now the Ottawa diocese has thrown down the gauntlet by ignoring the authority of the denominational leaders. The Anglican Communion worldwide is once again thrown into confusion. The only principled opposition to the sodomite agenda accepted by the Anglicans of the West seems to be led by some African branches of Anglicanism. In the U.S. and Canada Anglican leaders are spineless and useless. It is small wonder that their churches are fading fast. Soon they will have driven most decent members away and they will be left with nothing but the lunatic and lecherous sodomite lobby.

Every blood washed Christian who still holds membership in the Anglican church should recognize that it is time to obey God's word and separate from such blatant apostasy. You cannot honor Christ by remaining in fellowship with those who have so openly betrayed him.

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FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 09, 200714 years ago
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Harry Potter a Christian Allegory?
AUDIO BROADCAST: Harry Potter a Christian Allegory?
Let the Bible Speak Radio
Dr. Alan Cairns

You can hardly have escaped hearing of the Harry Potter mysteries. British author J.K Rowling has produced seven best sellers that have drawn criticism from a wide variety of religious leaders because of their promotion of sorcery and witchcraft. Even the present pope, when he was Cardinal Ratzinger, denounced Rowling's work. Among evangelicals, there has long been a deep unease about the occult themes that Rowling deals with. There has never been any doubt that her books contain religious themes but they have been evidently anti-Christian themes.

Despite all the criticism, Rowling's books have been an unparalleled publishing success, with her latest volume that finally brought the curtain down on Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry boasting worldwide sales of more than 350 million. Now, after her last book in the series has been published Rowling tells us that she deliberately kept to the end the fact that her work really contains a Christian allegory. In Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Harry visits his parents' graves at Godric's Hollow and sees two biblical references on his parents' tombstones, reading: "The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death," and "Where your treasure is, there will your heart be also." By the end of the book, Harry becomes the "Master of Death" and "resurrects" from the dead the spirits of his parents, his godfather, Sirius Black and his old teacher Remus Lupin.

Rowling explained, "They're very British books, so on a very practical note Harry was going to find biblical quotations on tombstones. [But] I think those two particular quotations he finds on the tombstones at Godric's Hollow, they sum up - they almost epitomize the whole series." Rowling, who was raised an Anglican and now attends the Church of Scotland, rejects criticism that she promotes occultism. She also reveals that she struggles with doubt as to the truth of the Biblical doctrine of life after death. Not much wonder then that her book places pagan and Christian symbols side by side and ends up by giving a pagan twist to the doctrine of the resurrection, even as she includes quotations from the New Testament.

So despite Rowling's protestations Harry Potter is not a Christian allegory. It is anti-Christian. Myths and allegories are as old as humanity. They have their place and can teach wonderful lessons, as is clear from the fact that the Bible uses them (Jotham told a myth and Moses recorded an allegory; see Judges 9:7-20, Galatians 4:22f). John Bunyan's immortal works, Pilgrim's Progress and The Holy War are allegories that are thoroughly Christian. But Rowling-and even C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien-employ and glorify things that God's word denounces as satanic to present supposedly Christian allegories. That is impossible. Satanic themes cannot be the vehicle for divine truth. The only thing that can be expected from such a work is a denial of the truth of Scripture and the elevation of pagan practice as legitimate faith and fun.

One final thought: though J.K. Rowling has received rave reviews for her work, is it not intrinsically immoral and even cruel for her to work through her personal doubt in books aimed at children. What a way to live and die-impressing gloom and doubt in young minds, all in the name of "Christian allegory." I pity J.K. Rowling and fear for her soul.

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THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 08, 200714 years ago
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Joel Osteen’s Gospel of Positive Thinking
AUDIO BROADCAST: Joel Osteen's Gospel of Positive Thinking
Let the Bible Speak Radio
Dr. Alan Cairns

Joel Osteen boasts the largest church in America, with some 47,000 people in attendance each week-end and another 10 million joining in by means of television. His first book, Your Best Life Now: 7 steps to Living at Your Full Potential was a huge publishing success with some 5 million copies sold. Now he is doing a media tour to promote his second book, Become a Better You, which has a first printing of 3 million hard back copies. Osteen's "success" sounds impressive and at first glance it may be encouraging to think that a preacher who claims to be evangelical can gain such a hearing. However, there is a lot to be concerned about.

Osteen is the latest in a long list of preachers of positive thinking. Gone from his vocabulary and his preaching are the great biblical truths that deal with sin, guilt, depravity and the wrath of God and the powerful doctrines of free grace such as justification by the imputation of the righteousness of Christ. The very titles of Osteen's books betray the bias of his message. His focus is on the here and now, "Your best life now." His belief is in human potential and he has seven so-called steps to realizing it. Such a message and such a method are fundamentally unfaithful to Scripture. Osteen's message is not just "theology lite" but flies in the face of the core teachings of the word of God.

Contrary to all that Osteen says, a man's deepest need is not to realize his potential or even to become a "better" person, however desirable that may be. His deepest need is to become rightly related to God through Jesus Christ, to escape the wrath and curse of God on his sin and to be clothed in the righteous merits of Christ. Osteen boasts that he doesn't bother people with Greek words or with doctrine. He claims that he just speaks the language of ordinary people and relates to them on their own level. I am not a great believer in preachers spouting Greek words at their congregations but I am totally convinced that no preacher can pretend to convey the message of God to men without expounding the great doctrines of Scripture. Doctrine is not optional. It is God's own way of setting forth the truth that sets men free. To replace it with a program of self-help and positive thinking to release some real or imagined human potential is dangerous for it puts human delusions in the place of divine declarations. It makes man the chief end or purpose of God instead of recognizing that God is the chief end of man.

That I say all this may come as a shock to many well meaning Christians. To them it will come over as unnecessarily negative. That's a pity, for what is at stake here is the very essence of the Christian revelation, the gospel of God. Liberals have been attacking and undermining it for years. Now they have been joined by professed evangelicals such as Osteen, Rick Warren and their spiritual mentor Robert Schuller of Crystal Cathedral fame. These men assure us that they believe the great fundamentals of the faith but they undermine them by preaching a message that cannot in good conscience be described as anything like a New Testament presentation of the gospel.

Osteen's supporters believe his "success" justifies his message and his methods. He "resonates in a society where damnation messages don't," is the claim. In other words, if society doesn't like God's truth, drop the truth and give the people what they want to hear. God save us from that mentality. The "success" that it produces is likely to prove no more than "wood, hay and stubble" when we give account to God.

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WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 07, 200714 years ago
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Schwarzenegger Bows to Sodomite Lobby
AUDIO BROADCAST: Schwarzenegger Bows to Sodomite Lobby
Let the Bible Speak Radio
Dr. Alan Cairns

A year ago California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger vetoed a bill from the state legislature that, under the guise of protecting homosexuals from discrimination, would have forced schools to become what well informed critics claimed would be "sexualized indoctrination centers." At that time Schwarzenegger maintained that California had adequate anti-discrimination laws. This year it is a different story. The lunatic left that runs the California legislature again passed their evil bill and this time the Governor gave up the fight. So Schwarzenegger, the "Intimidator," the man whose physical strength and courage have been spine-chillingly portrayed in movie after movie has proved himself to be just another spineless politician. He either hadn't the guts to fight the sodomite lobby or he lacks the moral conviction to protect his state's children from the vilest forms of exploitation imaginable.

For that's precisely what he and California's legislators have done. The bills that Schwarzenegger signed into law ban anything in public schools that could be interpreted as negative toward homosexuality, bisexuality and other alternative lifestyle choices.  There are no similar protections for students with traditional or conservative lifestyles and beliefs, however. According to the Campaign for Children and Families, "Now on a banned list will be any text, reference or teaching aid that portrays marriage as only between a man and woman, materials that say people are born male or female (and not in between), sources that fail to include a variety of transsexual, bisexual and homosexual historical figures, and sex education materials that fail to offer the option of sex changes. Further, homecoming kings now can be either male or female - as can homecoming queens, and students, whether male or female, must be allowed to use the restroom and locker room corresponding to the sex with which they choose to identify." CCF says that another bill AB394 "promotes the same issues through state-funded publications, postings, curricula and handouts to students, parents and teachers. It also creates the circumstances where a parent who says marriage is only for a man and a woman in the presence of a lesbian teacher could be convicted of ‘harassment,' and a student who believes people are born either male or female could be reported as a ‘harasser' by a male teacher who wears women's clothes."

Schwarzenegger also signed AB14 which according to CCF "forces every hospital in California - even private, religious hospitals - to adopt policies in support of transsexuality, bisexuality, and homosexuality and opens up nonprofit organizations to lawsuits if they exclude members that engage in homosexual, bisexual, or transsexual conduct."

We are in a war for the bodies and souls of our children-indeed for the soul of the nation. No nation can long maintain its greatness if it allows itself to be eaten away from the inside by godless programs that outlaw every vestige of Biblical morality and enshrine the vilest forms of immorality in its laws. And that is what is happening, for the California laws will have an impact all over America as school text book publishers standardize their materials to suit the needs of perhaps their largest client, the state of California. Sodomite activists are just getting started and they envisage even more shocking attacks on traditional moral standards.

Where are those who are fighting this moral pollution? There are organizations that are doing their best but where are the churches that profess to believe the Bible? Unless our churches learn to take a stand-and even more, learn to get through to God to visit them with His power in a mighty revival-this war will be lost and the cost will be incalculable. The "silent majority" must be silent no longer. It must not fold before the Sodomite lobby as California's spineless strongman has just done.

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TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 06, 200714 years ago
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Has Rock Music a Place in Christian Worship?
AUDIO BROADCAST: Has Rock Music a Place in Christian Worship?
Let the Bible Speak Radio
Dr. Alan Cairns

A few weeks ago a leading contender for the Democratic nomination to run for President came to our town. On Sunday morning he visited and spoke at a large Charismatic church, telling them of his faith in Jesus. It is not my intention to examine his speech or to comment on his profession of faith, other than to say that faith in Jesus Christ and support of the agendas of the abortion and sodomite movements do not sit well together. No, what interested me was the newspaper reporter's description of the "worship" service that was taking place as the Democratic candidate visited. From the report it is clear that high decibel rock music and strobe lights gave the place the appearance and ambience of a rock concert. I suppose that most people have seen this kind of performance for themselves as they have watched Charismatic "ministries" promote themselves on self-styled Christian television. So I don't have to describe the scene any further.

To many people there is nothing at all offensive in all this. They look on this as making the gospel "relevant" to our generation. They argue that if the people we have to reach are into rock music and it obviously has a huge impact on their lives we should employ it to bring them the gospel. Why leave it in the devil's hands? Some even go so far as to claim that their adoption of rock as a Christian medium as an example of "redeeming the culture."

It's easy to make such claims, but are they Biblically sustainable? Do they meet the criteria of God's word? Are they pleasing to God? Do they really further the cause of Christ or do they rather weaken it by betraying it to the world, the flesh and the devil? These are serious questions and I would argue that there is no Biblical justification for the adoption of rock music into Christian worship. Far from being helpful it is hurtful to the cause of Christ.

Rock music is the music of rebellion. Anyone who lived through its development knows that. Furthermore, from its inception it was the music of a rebellion directed specifically against Christianity and Biblical morality. Rock music was the vehicle of the sexual revolution of the 1960s, the full results of which we are witnessing today in the plagues of venereal diseases, AIDs, fatherless families, pornography, perversion, and general promiscuity. The very name "rock 'n roll" was coined as a sensual description of the act of fornication. None of this can honestly be contested. My question is: how can anyone in good conscience take such a filthy thing and introduce it into the worship of the "high and lofty one who inhabiteth eternity, whose name is holy"? To use rock as a vehicle to carry the gospel of Christ is a shameful thing. The sensuous music of rebellion and promiscuity has absolutely no place in Christian worship.

There is something else. The rock culture in the church goes hand in hand with a watered down gospel that is really "another gospel." The methodology of this gospel works along the line that people can be entertained into salvation. It is a destroyer of souls. By feeding people a diet of rebellious rock it obscure Him who is the true Rock of salvation from souls who desperately need to be exposed to the pure word of God, not entertained by a worldly substitute for it. So then, away with rock music! Let's get back to the real Rock!

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MONDAY, NOVEMBER 05, 200714 years ago
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Blessed Be the Cats & Dogs!
AUDIO BROADCAST: Blessed Be the Cats & Dogs
Let the Bible Speak Radio
Dr. Alan Cairns

I have nothing against pets. I need to make that clear. I have had the good fortune to have owned and enjoyed two of the best German Shepherd dogs that anyone could wish for. Pets can and do play a useful role in providing companionship for the lonely, and the elderly. Often the pet becomes a vital part of a working team, for example on a farm or in the care of the disabled. I have not a word of criticism either for these worthy animals or for the people who gratefully lavish care and attention on them. Anybody who can be cruel to dumb animals that are dependent on him has my wholehearted contempt. I hope that is clear.

Having said that, however, animals are animals. They are not people. They do not have never-dying souls. I know that people loosely speak of a cat or a dog having a "personality," but that is impossible. I remember the unbelief with which that statement was greeted by a class of theology students I was teaching a number of years ago. It came as a shock that only persons can have personality. Only people are immortal souls.

All this came to mind as I gazed at a picture in our local newspaper. There was an Episcopalian priest surrounded by pet owners holding their pets out for him to take them in his arms and "bless" them. Now, understand, this was a religious ceremony-indeed, it was supposed to be a Christian ceremony. The truth is that there was absolutely no religious-certainly no Christian-content in the entire performance. To be sure, there was a lot of fuzzy, touchy-feely humanistic nonsense dressed up as religion. The priest's prayer of blessing for each pet became an inane wish expressed to the animal itself: "May you enjoy the care of your devoted owner" was the kind of "blessing" that the priest pronounced.

Let this scene etch itself into your mind for it will show you the depths of the folly of apostate Christianity. What are we to say when a supposedly Christian blessing is spoken to animals that can neither understand nor respond to what is being said to them? Is this blessing a prayer? Have we then descended to the depths of uttering prayers to animals? Let us suppose that the priest was not actually addressing his "prayer" to the animal. To whom was he uttering it? It would seem that he really wanted to do two things: first to make the pet owners feel good about their devotion to their pets and second to encourage them to be consistently kind to the animals in their charge. Here we touch the real evil in this entire performance. It highlights something that has become almost the essence of modern religion: its prayers and rituals are really addressed to man. So what passes for Christianity is only humanism wearing a religious mask. In Christianity, a "blessing" is an appeal for God's favour or grace, particularly saving and sanctifying grace. That is something that the pet owner, not their cats and dogs and parrots, need. Let humans receive the true blessing of God, His saving grace in Christ, and even their pets will feel the difference in their owners, though they will never understand the reason for it.

Here's the bottom line: a priest who has not a word to say to pet owners about their need of God's salvation through His Son Jesus Christ may sound very loving as he whispers sweet nonsense to their cats and dogs-indeed he may sound like a real "pet" himself. Alas, far from being a real pet, he is wolf in sheep's clothing.

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FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 02, 200714 years ago
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Sodomites Are Not Saints & Saints Are Not Sodomites
AUDIO BROADCAST: Sodomites Are Not Saints & Saints Are Not Sodomites
Let the Bible Speak Radio
Dr. Alan Cairns

Our local newspaper here in Greenville, SC, carried a full page advertisement that bore the heading in large print "WE ARE CHRISTIANS." Unfortunately, this was not a public witness by Bible believers but an attempt to smear Bible believers by supporters of the sodomite agenda. The advert attacked "fundamentalist" churches that quote the Bible against the so-called gay and lesbian lifestyle. It said that not too long ago people quoted the Bible to support slavery and the clear implication is that the just as that was a misuse of the plain message of Scripture so to quote the Bible against sodomy is equally wrong. After all, the advert avers, the Bible tells us to respect everybody, no matter what our differences.

I must say that advertisements such as this grieve me sore. To equate slaves with sodomites is vicious. There was no moral taint against a man because he was a slave. He was unjustly deprived of his liberty and was held against his personal choice. Such is not the case with the sodomite.  Despite the efforts of the sodomite lobby to show otherwise, the sodomite lifestyle is a moral choice. And it is a choice that is strongly condemned in Scripture. When Bible believers condemn sodomy they are not merely stating a personal prejudice or a peculiar interpretation of Scripture. Neither are they indulging in homophobia-that favorite charge of the sodomite lobby. No, they are simply restating what the Bible clearly says.

Words could hardly be plainer. Paul give a technical description of both the actors in a homosexual relationship. First he describes a man who acts out the "feminine" part in the act and who allows himself to be sodomized and then he refers to the other who does the sodomizing. This is the plain meaning of the Greek text of 1 Corinthians 6:9; the AV has "effeminate" and "abusers of themselves with mankind"). His language is explicit: he is describing a perverted sexual practice and thus he emphatically adds that such people "shall not inherit the kingdom of God" (verse 10). In 1 Timothy 1:10 he repeats the term that speaks of men abusing themselves with men and teaches that the law of God was given to condemn them. When you add the strong language of Romans 1:24-28 where Paul shows that homosexual activity, whether sodomite or lesbian, is under the severe judgment of God, you must see that Bible believers must bear an unequivocal testimony against it. The plain truth is that you cannot be a sodomite and a Christian.

But, our newspaper advert claims, the Bible commands us to receive and respect everybody no matter what our differences. I wonder where in the Bible we read that. The Bible says no such thing. We are not to ignore sin and immorality and accept sexual deviants and perverts as Christians. Nowadays, such bluntness is called hate speech. In fact it is the opposite. Telling a homosexual that his activity is sin is the first step in bringing him God's good news for the gospel tells us how to be forgiven for our sin and then how to be delivered from its dominating power. Homosexuals can be saved and made new creatures in Christ (1 Corinthians 6:11). Actually this is the real reason the sodomite lobby is taking the offensive against Bible Christians and their testimony: they are afraid of the message that God's grace can change homosexuals; they are afraid of losing their constituents.  So they float the lie that sodomites may be saints and saints may be sodomites. You may be one or the other but not both. Christ saves people, including homosexuals, from their sin; He does not save them to leave them as its slaves.

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THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 01, 200714 years ago
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Protestants Line Up for the Confessional
AUDIO BROADCAST: Protestants Line Up for the Confessional
Let the Bible Speak Radio
Dr. Alan Cairns

London's Daily Telegraph recently carried the following report that comes into the category of "You've got to be kidding me." But this is not joke. It's just another sickening reminder of how far professed Protestants have strayed from the gospel of free grace.

 "Americans are flocking to confess their sins as Protestant churches have joined their Catholic counterparts in modernising the sacrament of penance. Thousands of people are attending confession at weekends and just as many are posting their repentance on videos that are played back to congregations or shared on websites such as YouTube.

New technology is fuelling the boom, but so is clever marketing by Churches that are portraying confession as a form of self-improvement - always popular with Americans - rather than some sort of punishment. Church leaders also attribute the boom to the fashion for self-analysis peddled by daytime television programmes such as The Jerry Springer Show and to a wider theological trend in which Christians are looking for firmer moral guidance.

Some Protestant churches are trying to make confession less forbidding, allowing people to shred their sins in paper shredders, for example.

... Although some theologians say that Martin Luther opposed private confession to a priest, the Missouri Synod of the Lutheran Church - which has 2.5 million members - voted this summer to revive the ritual after ignoring it for a century

... Protestant denominations are less averse [than Rome] to using new technology in their confession drives. More than 7,700 people have posted their sins on ivescrewedup.com, a confession website launched by the evangelical Flamingo Road Church in Florida. The XXX Church, an anti-pornography Christian group, videotaped members confessing their use of pornography and put the video on YouTube. It has since been watched 15,000 times. Jordy Acklin, 21, a student who appeared in the video, said: ‘There's a reason why they talk about confession in the Bible - you're not supposed to keep it inside you. The weight just goes off your shoulders.'"

There are clearly cases in which public confession of sin is essential, usually cases in which the person involved is a prominent person in the church or in which the sin involved has caused widespread hurt or great public scandal. But the idea of private confessions that are then made public as some sort of way of feeling whole again is a sad mixture of Roman Catholic superstition and pop psychology. For the Lutherans of the Missouri Synod to adopt the Confessional is just another step back to the darkness of Romanism. For the so-called evangelicals who parade their confessions on YouTube this is an exercise in raw exhibitionism. If you have wronged someone, go and put it right with him. If you need divine pardon-and who doesn't?-hear the promise of God: "If we confess our sins [to God, that is, not man] he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness" (1 John 1:9). This is the only way to gain true easing of an accusing conscience. Anything else is a fraud and a farce.

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WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 31, 200714 years ago
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Martin Luther, the Monk Who Shook the World
AUDIO BROADCAST: Martin Luther, the Monk Who Shook the World
Let the Bible Speak Radio
Dr. Alan Cairns

I suppose there is hardly a person in America who does not know that today is Halloween. What most people don't know, even millions of Bible believing Christians, is that October 31 has an infinitely more important significance than the medieval sorcery connected with the eve of the Roman Catholic Church's invention of All Saints' Day. On this day 490 years ago, October 31, 1517 Martin Luther nailed his famous 95 Theses to the door of the church in Wittenberg, Germany, and so launched the Protestant Reformation-though at that time launching a Reformation was not at all in Luther's mind.

Martin Luther was the son of a miner. As a young man he was educated to become a lawyer, for his father reckoned that his brilliant son could make a lot of money in that profession and so support his poverty-stricken parents. Luther was brilliant enough and was making good progress in his studies when he began to suffer deep anxiety about the state of his soul. He felt the awful burden of his sin and so to expiate his guilt and make himself a true Christian he abandoned the study of law and entered a monastery. He enrolled as a monk and gained ordination as a priest. He set about his work with rare zeal but found that all the praying and fasting and self-flagellation he performed did nothing to allay his sense of guilt. An old monk bade him look to the wounds of Jesus and the head of his order, who had learned a lot of the evangelical faith but had never the stature to become a Reformer, introduced him to the idea of receiving God's pardon freely, without the merit of his own works, simply by faith in Christ.

This was difficult for Luther. He struggled to overcome his bitterness against God. He hated the phrase that Paul used, "the righteousness of God," which he felt condemned him utterly, for how could a God of righteousness accept so vile a sinner? Then he learned the truth of Romans 1:17, "The just shall live by faith" and began to realize that Paul's beloved phrase "the righteousness of God" in Romans referred to the righteousness that God in grace and love has freely provided for believers in Christ. So Luther entered into the joy of a free justification.

Luther was appointed professor of theology at the newly created University of Wittenberg and ministered in the local church. His lectures and sermons had a profound influence. When the Pope and the Archbishop of Maintz sent a priest, John Tetzel, to sell indulgences Luther rose up in righteous anger. Tetzel was betraying the gospel and peddling lies. So the German monk wrote out 95 propositions for debate among the learned aimed at exposing the true nature of Tetzel's evil trade. Instead his Latin text was copied, translated into German and printed. Soon it was known all over Europe. A hundred years earlier Rome had murdered John Hus, a Bohemian priest who had come into the knowledge of evangelical truth through the writings of England's John Wyclif. Hus was known as the Bohemian goose and it is said that in a dream the Elector Frederick, Luther's prince and benefactor, saw a monk write with a goose-feather quill that reached all the way to Rome and toppled the Pope's tiara. Luther was that monk and he certainly did take up Hus's quill and wrote such powerful truth that he did knock over the pope's tiara. Today, on Reformation Day we salute the memory of the great German Reformer. Because of his courageous stand we enjoy the heritage of Bible Protestantism. Thank God for Martin Luther, The Monk Who Shook the World.

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