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TUESDAY, OCTOBER 30, 200714 years ago
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Rome’s Dogma of Justification: the Mark of the Beast
AUDIO BROADCAST: Rome's Dogma of Justification -- the Mark of the Beast
Let the Bible Speak Radio
Dr. Alan Cairns

Martin Luther justly termed the doctrine of Justification by Faith Alone an "Article of the Standing or Falling of a Church," that is, an article of faith by which we can judge whether a church is a true or false church; whether it is stands firm on the foundation of the gospel or has apostatized from the truth and adopted heresy as its creed.

The importance of the doctrine of justification cannot be overstated. It deals with how a sinner may be accepted by a righteous and holy God. It was the main issue that sparked the Reformation. Rome taught and still teaches a complicated system of justification, the salient points of which are as follows:

1.   The merit of Christ, viz. the benefit of His redemption, is conferred by baptism.

2.   Baptism removes original sin, both as to its guilt or imputation and its very existence. In other words, by baptism a person, be he an infant or an adult, is restored to the state enjoyed by Adam at his creation before the Fall.

3.   Yet Rome holds that in such regenerate persons concupiscence or lust remains. She admits that the NT terms this concupiscence sin but declares that this is not on account of sin properly so called in the baptized person but only because lust arises out of sin and leads to sin. If all this sounds a jumble of words it is because it is a jumble of words. It is a deliberate confusion introduced to allow for the development of Rome's pernicious theory of human works in achieving salvation.

4.   Rome teaches that justification is conferred through baptism and that it may be preserved, increased or lost on account of the good or bad works of the baptized person. This insistence on justification as a process that depends on a man's good works for its completion lies at the heart of the RC system. If we take the latest statements of the Vatican in the Catechism of the Catholic Church we must conclude that while the merits of Christ are sufficient to remove original sin and save the soul from hell (though our works may reverse this and damn us), only by the merit of one's own works can a soul actually gain an entrance into heaven.

All such notions come under the direct condemnation of Scripture, as Galatians 1:8-9 makes clear. The Reformation recovered the apostolic doctrine of justification. Justification is not given in baptism. It follows faith (Romans 5:1) and is a completed act of free grace-it is a once-for-all act of God that is equal in all believers. It cannot be increased or decreased. You are either justified or condemned. You cannot be partly one and partly the other. To be accepted by God we need a perfect righteousness. Where can we find perfect righteousness? We cannot find it in ourselves or in any works that we may perform. We can find it only in the One who alone among men "fulfilled all righteousness," the Lord Jesus Christ. His is the righteousness on the ground of which God graciously justifies the ungodly. Hear what the Bible says and note the difference between its message and the heresy of Rome:

"God made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin, that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him" (2 Corinthians 5:21). Here is a double imputation, of our sin to Christ and of His righteousness to us. Note carefully that Paul describes a legal not a moral action. God's imputing our sin to Christ did not make Him morally corrupt. It rather made him legally liable to bear its consequences. Similarly the imputation of Christ's righteousness to us does not make us morally sinless but makes us legally entitled to all it has merited from God.

"By the offence of one [Adam] judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one [Christ] the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life. For as by one man's disobedience many were made [or, constituted] sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made [constituted] righteous" (Romans 5:18-19). The Scripture is emphatic: we are constituted righteous or just before God solely by the righteous obedience of Christ, which God imputes to us, or places to our account, and which we receive by faith alone. As Paul says, "We conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law" (Romans 3:28).

This is the heart of the Biblical doctrine of justification. If a church is wrong here it is not a true church of Christ. It has fallen from grace. That is Rome's condemnation and it will be shared by all (and, alas, they are a great number, including many professed evangelicals) who are seeking common ground with her on this issue. Justification by grace alone in union with Christ alone whose perfect righteousness is imputed by God and received by us by faith alone is a cardinal mark of a church that is standing true. Justification on any other terms is anti-Christian. Rome's dogma of justification is not the gospel of Christ. It is rather the mark of the beast.

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MONDAY, OCTOBER 29, 200714 years ago
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The Cesspool of Enforced Celibacy
AUDIO BROADCAST: The Cesspool of Enforced Celibacy
Let the Bible Speak Radio
Dr. Alan Cairns

Rome boasts a celibate priesthood. It is at first sight astonishing that the religious system that declared marriage a sacrament of the gospel (though there is not the slightest Scripture warrant for doing so) should enact a law that he priests must not marry-that somehow the marriage bond would commit the priest to a lower experience of holiness than a man who remains celibate may attain. It is certainly an incomprehensible conclusion that defies not only logic but Scripture.

Let's deal with the Scripture argument first. Rome argues for the celibacy of her priesthood from the words of Paul in 1 Corinthians 7:8 where Paul says, "I say therefore to the unmarried and widows, It is good for them if they abide as I am." Rome somehow transposes this advice into a divine requirement for priests (and we should remember that the New Testament church had no such office as that of the priest in the sense that Rome uses the term). But a glance at 1 Corinthians 7 will show that Paul was not addressing what Rome terms "the clergy" but the laity also.  If this passage were a command to celibacy it would require all Christians to live celibate lives, which of course flies in the face of what Paul teaches in this very epistle as well as the general teaching of the entire Bible. We should also note that Paul gives the reason for his advice to the unmarried to remain in that state. In verse 26 he states clearly that he gives his advice because "I suppose, therefore, that it is good for the present distress." In other words, because of the intensity of persecution and suffering many people would be better off without the additional worry of providing for and protecting a family. However, in verse 9 Paul recognizes that in many cases it would be a good thing to go ahead and marry, despite the "present distress." He says, "If they cannot contain, let them marry." That is, where the natural desire to live in the married state is overwhelmingly strong, Christians should marry and not become slaves to lust. Rome ignores this and ordains that her clergy may not marry under any circumstances.

This invention has been productive of deep immorality. In Reformation times it was common for priests to have mistresses and raise children by them. Indeed, Popes produced children by their mistresses and then created them bishops and cardinals, some of whom then ascended the papal throne that their fathers had occupied! While Rome openly permitted her priests to live in illicit relationships, she absolutely denied them the right of marriage! Fornication, yes. Marriage, no. That was Rome's position in Reformation times. Is it any wonder that Luther and the Reformers gave marriage its true dignity and made the pastor's home a model for true and holy Christian marriage?

Rome's insistence on celibacy for her priests is still a source of moral evil. Her priests and bishops are guilty of seemingly endless cases of abuse against women and children and while exact figures are hard to come by, some estimates are that more than a third of RC priests are homosexuals. Small wonder that this self-styled bride of Christ is described in Revelation 17 as the "mother of harlots and abominations of the earth." Rome's enforced celibacy does not produce purity or sanctity. It is rather what it has always been, a cesspool of iniquity.

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FRIDAY, OCTOBER 26, 200714 years ago
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The Confessional, Rome’s Black Box
AUDIO BROADCAST: The Confessional, Rome's Black Box
Let the Bible Speak Radio
Dr. Alan Cairns

As you have probably guessed, I come from Ireland. The Irish can make a joke out of anything. It's not that they don't take important things seriously; it's just that their humor often helps them deal with sometimes unpalatable truths. When I thought of speaking to you today about the curse of the Confessional, I remembered a story. Mrs. Mulgrew went into the Confessional and was about to start when she detected that the man behind the screen was not be her usual priest. "You're not Father O'Rourke. What are you doing here?" she said. "No," the man replied, "I am the furniture polisher." "And where is Father O'Rourke?" asked Mrs. Mulgrew. "I don't know, "replied the furniture polisher, "but if he has heard anything like the stories that I have been listening to, he has probably gone for the police!"

As usual, behind the humor there is a very serious point. North America's most famous convert to Christianity from the Roman Catholic priesthood was Charles Chiniquy, a French Canadian who led a community to Illinois. Chiniquy's conversion is an amazing story, as is his subsequent mission to expose the anti-Christianity of the Roman Catholic system. In one of his most devastating critiques, Chiniquy wrote a book that swept the Christian world in his day. He titled it, The Priest, the Woman and the Confessional and in it he charged that the Roman priesthood was guilty of widespread abuse and immorality. Now remember that was back in the 19th century, before the almost daily exposure of the immorality and deviancy of thousands of Roman Catholic priests.

By its nature, the Confessional lends itself to abuse. Rome demands that her faithful make confession of grave sins (mortal sins, she terms them) to a priest at least once a year. She calls for a much more frequent confession and exhorts her people to confess their venial or lesser sins as well. This intrusion of the priest into the private lives and even thoughts of men and women has produced an almost endless catalog of abuse. It is corrupting both to the priest and the person confessing. And it is entirely without New Testament warrant. Christians do not need a priest to hear them as they make their confession to God. To be sure, they should confess their faults one to another and at times the things they confess in secret to the Lord will have to be confessed to offended parties or even to the police. But all this is a far cry from Rome's ritualized Confessional where a priest hears confession, doles out what Rome terms "temporal punishment" and then pronounces pardon: "I forgive you."

It is all wrong. The priest is a usurper of Christ's office-Christ is the only priest over the people of God who are all priests unto God. Pardon is not purchased or merited by doing penance or bearing temporal punishment. And no false priest has the power to forgive sin if you meet the conditions he has set for your penance. The Bible way is far better: "If we confess our sins [to God], He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness" (1 John 1:9).

The Irish may make a laugh about it but the evil of the Confessional is no joke. The Confessional is Rome's black box where self-proclaimed priests exercise a non-existent power to pronounce a pardon that is altogether illusory. In Ireland we have a saying to describe wasted breath, as confession to a priest most assuredly is. We say, "Save your breath to cool your porridge!" Good advice if it would keep a poor soul from Rome's black box.

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THURSDAY, OCTOBER 25, 200714 years ago
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No Priestly Caste in Christ’s Church
AUDIO BROADCAST: No Priestly Caste in Christ's Church
Let the Bible Speak Radio
Dr. Alan Cairns

The Protestant Reformation was a movement of glorious liberation. It led to the liberation of entire nations and peoples. But first and foremost it was a vehicle for spiritual liberation. Until then, the Church of Rome had held the people in the vice-like grip of priestcraft. She made everyone dependent on her priests for every spiritual benefit from the cradle to the grave. Indeed, she even placed entire nations under interdict, her chosen weapon to bring rebellious kings and princes to heel, by which, to use a modern phrase, her priests went on strike and refused to baptize the newborn, hear confessions, confer absolution, or bury the dead. Given that she had taught the people that without these ministrations they were damned you can see how powerful a weapon interdict was. It certainly underlined the people's dependence on the Pope's army of priests.

One of the central doctrines of the Reformation was the priesthood of all believers. That is, every Christian has the right of direct access to God through the sole merits and mediation of Christ and without any human priest. The New Testament is emphatic on this point. The Lord has made His people a "kingdom of priests." He has constituted us "a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ" (1 Peter 2:5). The saints in glory celebrate the same truth, singing, "Thou ... hast redeemed us to God by thy blood ... and hast made us unto our God kings and priests" (Revelation 5:9, 10). If all God's people are priests then it is obvious that there is no priestly caste or order in the church.

To make the matter even more certain, the New Testament sets forth the ministerial offices that Christ instituted in His church. It mentions, apostles, pastors and teachers and evangelists etc but it makes absolutely no mention of priests (See Ephesians 4:4-8). Again, it lists the gifts and functions of ministry in the church (Romans 12; 1 Corinthians 12-14) but again makes no mention of any priestly class performing any priestly function. Finally, we may note that in the Pastoral Epistles where Paul deals with various aspects of the life and work of a minister of Christ he makes no reference whatsoever to the existence of a priestly class. Priests are an invention and an imposition on Christ's church. They are imposters and cannot perform the functions they tell their people they fulfill.

When you add the fact that Rome claims that her priests are sacrificing priests, men who have the power to convert a wafer into the God-man and then to immolate Him in an actual sacrifice of atonement, you will see that there is not even a passing connection between the gospel ministry described in the New Testament and the Roman Catholic priesthood.

The office and work of a minister are precious provisions of Christ for the good of His church. Minister means "servant" and that is the basic function of a minister-he serves God and His people. He is a pastor who shepherds the flock. What he most certainly is not is a sacrificing priest, a man who makes himself indispensable to a sinner for his salvation and who stands between the believer and his Saviour for the reception of needed grace.

In the final analysis, priests usurp the place of Christ. The church that promotes them may be a successful religious institution but it is not the Church of Christ.

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WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 24, 200714 years ago
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The Monstrous Myth of Seven Sacraments
AUDIO BROADCAST: The Monstrous Myth of Seven Sacraments
Let the Bible Speak Radio
Dr. Alan Cairns

Yesterday I mentioned the seven sacraments that the Church of Rome insists Christ instituted for perpetual observance in His church. They are Baptism, Confirmation, Holy Eucharist, Penance, the Last Rites of the Church, Holy Orders (the Priesthood) and Matrimony. Reading Roman Catholic defenses of these seven sacraments I am amazed at the open self-contradiction. For example, Rome states that Matrimony is a sacrament yet she defends her invention that no priest may marry. She gives a variety of reasons why the law of priestly celibacy should be kept intact (despite the evidence of widespread immorality among her priests) but she never answers this simple question: If Matrimony is a sacrament in which Christ is received and by which His grace is actually conferred, how can it be right to prohibit a man who is professedly seeking all the grace that Christ can give him from a sacrament that will fill him with grace?

Of course, in the Christianity of the New Testament Matrimony is not a sacrament. Nor is Confirmation, Penance, the Last Rites or the Priesthood. Matrimony is a very important divine institution that dates all the way back to the Creation but there is not a word of its being a sacrament or a channel of grace that people receive by the very act of entering the married state. The New Testament says nothing about marriage being a sacrament. If it were, there could never be any ground for dissolving it and the Lord Jesus stipulated that in cases of fornication it could be dissolved. And Rome, for all her proclaimed opposition to divorce, regularly annuls marriages-as in the recent case of Robert Kennedy Jr. in which a long standing marriage was effectively declared never to have happened and the children it produced rendered illegitimate. But how can you annul a sacrament? The thought is repugnant.

We look in vain in the New Testament for any of the five sacraments that Rome invented. They are not even mentioned as sacraments. The Scripture texts that Rome adduces make no sacramental statements. Rome has simply invented them for her own purposes, which is another way of saying that as she developed further and further from the purity of the gospel she introduced innovations to bind the people to her. So, by making a list of sacraments that elevated her priests and covered every age of life from the cradle to the grave, Rome gradually and effectively enslaved her people.

In addition, Rome corrupted the two genuine sacraments of the New Testament church, Baptism and the Lord's Supper. She has corrupted Baptism into the dogma of baptismal regeneration, making it essential to receiving salvation from Christ. She even taught that babies who die before being baptized must be eternally excluded from heaven. The New Testament doctrine of baptism is not baptismal regeneration. As I have stated earlier in the week, Rome has also corrupted the Lord's Supper by making it an actual sacrifice in which Christ is "immolated" as a propitiation for the sins of the living and the dead.

How refreshing to turn from Roman inventions to the simple purity of God's Word! There are only two sacraments, Baptism and the Lord's Supper. Let us cherish them and never surrender them for the ecumenical mess of pottage that offers us Rome's unbiblical liturgical and sacramental system. There is death in that pot!

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TUESDAY, OCTOBER 23, 200714 years ago
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Sacramentalism the Corrupt Root of a False Gospel
AUDIO BROADCAST: Sacramentalism the Corrupt Root of a False Gospel
Let the Bible Speak Radio
Dr. Alan Cairns

According to the Church of Rome, Christ instituted seven sacraments in His church as enduring "symbols and signs that man is blessed by God and saved by Christ's redeeming mercy" (The Teaching of Christ: A Catholic catechism for Adults, p. 403). These seven sacraments allegedly are: Baptism, Confirmation, Holy Eucharist, Penance, the Sacrament of the Sick (Extreme Unction or the Last Rites), Holy Orders and Matrimony. It must be remembered that Rome's concept of worship and of salvation is thoroughly sacramental. That is, she views the sacraments as the necessary vehicles of divine grace. She states that it is through the sacraments that "man clings in worship to Christ to share in the fruits of His paschal gift; they are instruments by which Christ, through the liturgical acts of His Church, in fact confers the graces symbolized by the sacraments."

Please pay close attention to this, for this is the pernicious system of dead legalism from which God delivered us as a result of the Protestant Reformation.

First, I should point out one glaring self-contradiction in the Romish claims. Rome claims that in the Eucharist bread and wine actually become the very body and blood, humanity and deity of Jesus Christ. If this were true, the Eucharist could no longer be a symbol or sign; it would be the real thing and anyone participating would be eating and drinking the actual body and blood of Christ. Even if the participant did not exercise either thought or faith he would still receive the very fullness of Christ's humanity and deity. There can be no escape from the conclusion that if Rome believes her own claims she teaches that anyone who partakes of her Eucharist is saved, even without faith in Christ, for can anyone actually receive the very humanity and deity of Christ without saving benefit?

Of course, Rome protects herself from this conclusion by her legalistic system of ritual observances. She teaches that the justified may increase or decrease their justification by their actions and may actually lose it altogether. The continuance and growth in justification that she imagines depends on a person's participation in the Church's sacramental system. It is noteworthy that Rome makes receiving Christ depend on receiving the sacraments and she makes receiving the sacraments depend on the ritual actions of the Church through her priests. Thus Rome effectively places herself between the sinner and the Saviour. He cannot reach Christ except through the "liturgical acts of His Church."

This is not even remotely related to New Testament Christianity. Salvation is symbolized in the sacraments and our sanctification is strengthened by their faithful observance but we receive Christ directly and need no human intermediary. Later this week I'll show that Rome has invented five of her seven sacraments and perverted the two that have New Testament authority. For the  moment I'll simply make the point that sacramentalism is the invention of a church that has usurped the place of Christ and that has replaced His gospel of free grace received directly through faith alone with one that makes its priest "lords over God's heritage" and brings its followers into spiritual bondage. Let us, therefore, "stand fast in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free."

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MONDAY, OCTOBER 22, 200714 years ago
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Transubstantiation a Blasphemy
AUDIO BROADCAST: Transubstantiation a Blasphemy
Let the Bible Speak Radio
Dr. Alan Cairns

During this month as we have remembered something of the debt that we owe to the Protestant Reformation I have made mention of the blasphemy of the Mass. It comes as a surprise to many, even to those who are Bible-believing Christians, to hear a preacher condemn the central act of the rites and worship of the Roman Catholic Church in such terms. Such people think of the Mass as just a form of the Communion Service, different from what Protestants may be used to but not intrinsically evil. In itself, that tells us a lot about how far Protestantism has drifted from its historic Biblical moorings. It tells us that unless we renew our grasp of fundamental Christian doctrine we are in danger of losing what God gave us through the Protestant Reformation. So let me deal directly with what makes Rome's central act of worship such a blasphemous and anti-Christian thing.

As I do so, I should remind you that what I am stating here is not just my view but is the uniform teaching of the great historic Protestant Confessions and Creeds. The reason for the charge of blasphemy is the Roman dogma of transubstantiation. Insisting on absolutely literal interpretation of Christ's words at the institution of the Lord's Supper-"This is my body; this is my blood"-Rome has evolved a dogmatic statement, the acceptance of which she claims is essential to salvation, that says that at the priest's words of consecration the elements are actually and really changed as to their substance into the very body and blood of Christ. Indeed, Rome claims that when this change takes place the wafer that the priest holds in his hand is made into the total person of Christ, including His humanity and deity. This explains why a Spanish priest I personally witnessed performing this wonderful miracle in Madrid a few years ago held the wafer up before the people and said, "This is your God." No one seemed at all surprised. They had all been reared to believe this blasphemy and did not for a moment consider the idolatrous implications of worshiping a little wafer made of flour and water.

For that's all it was, a wafer. There was no change of substance. Rome concedes as much. She recognizes that if you subject one her consecrated wafers to scientific analysis it is demonstrably the same substance as it always was. Rome falls back on an old medieval philosophical ruse and claims that the wafer really is changed but it retains all the "accidents," that is, things such as the shape, appearance and dimensions, of the original. This is a pathetic attempt to deny the obvious: not only the "accidents" but the very substance remains chemically unchanged, so where is the "transubstantiation," which is by definition a change of substance?

The Bible speaks of us "drinking the cup" at the Lord's Table. Cup is not to be taken literally. We drink the wine, not the cup. The terms are figurative. Bread and wine represent the body and blood of Christ. We must not make these precious symbols into idols. We should thank the Lord for delivering us from the worship of the wafer god that the papacy has foisted on its gullible people. Rome's dogma of transubstantiation is both blasphemous and idolatrous-good reasons for us to repudiate each and every attempt to seek that union with Rome that so many leaders of Protestant denominations are avidly pursuing.

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FRIDAY, OCTOBER 19, 200714 years ago
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The Crucifix an Insult to Christ
AUDIO BROADCAST: The Crucifix an Insult to Christ
Let the Bible Speak Radio
Dr. Alan Cairns

You have all seen it in a popish procession or hanging around someone's neck, that figure of a cross with an image of Christ hanging on it. It's called a crucifix and at times you will see a priest hold it up before his congregation as a focus for their devotion or you will see a person take one and kiss it as a sign of devotion, prayer, thankfulness or even of hope for good luck. I have always found something macabre about people making a piece of jewelry out of the cross. The cross was one of the cruelest instruments of torture and death ever devised by man. Death by crucifixion was usually slow and agonizing, with victim reportedly taking up to three days to expire-which will tell you why Pontius Pilate was so surprised that the Lord Jesus Christ had died after six hours. When I see someone with a cross of gold as a piece of jewelry it seems to me to be on a par with someone making the gallows or the electric chair or the guillotine a statement of fashion. It seems more than a little incongruous. I know that many who wear gold crosses don't think of it this way and look on the cross as a Christian symbol that makes a statement that what Christ did for them on the cross is precious to them and worth keeping ever in mind. To be honest, I don't think too many people actually give wearing a gold cross that much thought-so it still seems strange to see the Roman instrument of death hanging as a fashion statement around the delicate neck of a woman who would most likely faint if she actually had to witness a crucifixion.

Making the cross a piece of jewelry is something I think incongruous. But making and wearing a crucifix is something altogether different. It so openly flies in the face of both the law and the gospel that only a church like the Church of Rome (and I know that others have followed her in this) which makes a habit of replacing Scripture with vain traditions could promote. There are good reasons why no Christian should ever wear the crucifix.

First, as I stated in an earlier broadcast, the law of God particularly prohibits making any image or physical representation of deity. Jesus Christ is God. He is the proper object of our worship. We are thus prohibited from making any representation of Him, for such a representation at once becomes an idol. Those who ignore this are therefore guilty of a form of idolatry, something that is clearly seen in the way Rome elevates the crucifix and in the way her devotees finger it and kiss it. This is heathen, not Christian.  

Again, the crucifix leaves Christ on a cross. Thus it does something that lies at the heart of all the false theology of the Roman Catholic Church, viz. it shrouds the glorious truth of the finished work of Christ at Calvary. He died once and for all and made a never to be repeated sacrifice for sins and then He rose again from the dead. A Christ forever on a cross is foreign to Scripture. Our Saviour laid down His life and took it up again and now lives to apply to His believing people all the merit of His finished atonement. The crucifix is just one way Rome has of robbing her people of the glorious reality of Christ's finished work. The Mass is, of course, her main means of practically denying the work of the cross but the crucifix plays no small role in keeping people occupied with the sign of the cross rather than the sacrifice of the cross, with the symbol rather than the finished work of the Saviour.

It is an in-your-face denial of the gospel that no Christian should countenance. It is an insult to Christ.

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THURSDAY, OCTOBER 18, 200714 years ago
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Praying with Rosary Beads a Vain Repetition
AUDIO BROADCAST: The Rosary: Vain Repetition
Let the Bible Speak Radio
Dr. Alan Cairns

My introduction to the use of the Rosary came when I was just a teenager. Our next door neighbors were devout Roman Catholics. We were good friends and our two families were a constant help to each other. So it was not unusual for me to be in their home, as I was at the time I have in mind, when the children were "saying their prayers." I thought I knew all about children saying their prayers: you went to your room, knelt by your bed, closed your eyes and recited the prayers that your parents had taught you, including the Lord's Prayer and a string of petitions like "God bless mommy, God bless Daddy" and so on. But those kids saying the Rosary was something very different.

The Rosary is a string of beads that have been specially blessed so that when a Roman Catholic uses them to count a set of prescribed prayers he receives a special indulgence. These prayers are composed of 15 Paternosters or Our Fathers (the Lord's Prayer, addressed to God the Father), 15 Glorias and 150 Hail Marys. As I watched our neighbor family count off the beads and recite the prayers, it was quite a revelation. It was obvious that the recitation was entirely by rote and I began to grasp something of the mind-numbing ritual of Romish worship.

The Lord Jesus Christ specifically warned His disciples against vain repetition. Now just remember what the Rosary, one of the basic elements in the personal devotion of Roman Catholics, calls for. You do not simply pray the Lord's Prayer. No, you repeat it again and again. And you recite a total of 150 Hail Marys-ten times more prayers being addressed to Mary than to God the Father. In the Hail Mary, the worshiper prays as follows:  "Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee; blessed art thou amongst women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now, and at the hour of our death. Amen"

I will do no more than make passing mention of the fact that the Bible nowhere authorizes prayer to Mary or any of the saints. God's command is, "Call upon ME." Nor does the Scripture warrant giving Mary the title, "The Mother of God." These things are pernicious, popish inventions. What I want to stress is that the emphasis on the endless repetition of the same words from a prescribed form of prayer, day after day and year after year, is as blatant a form of vain repetition as you can imagine. It is calculated to kill any freshness or spontaneity in personal devotion.

So here we have the fundamental form of Roman devotion and what is it? It is a vain repetition of words addressed for the most part to one who cannot hear or answer. Thank God for the Reformation that delivered us from such mindless ritual and led us to the pure word of God where we have the Lord's own clear instructions on approaching God. Having said this, I will end with a question: How many Protestants who would never think of using the Rosary still rarely rise above the level of vain repetitions? What about the seemingly endless repetitions of many Charismatics, many of whom use the name of Jesus as an incantation, almost as a mantra? God says He does not hear us for our much speaking. He hears us for Christ's sake. He answers us according to His will on Christ's merits. Whether you use the Rosary or some other form of mindless prayer ritual, remember vain repetition may make you feel better for the moment by stultifying your conscience, but it is entirely empty, void of any spiritual good.

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WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 17, 200714 years ago
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The Immaculate Conception a Gross Deception
AUDIO BROADCAST: The Immaculate Conception a Gross Deception
Let the Bible Speak Radio
Dr. Alan Cairns

Some Protestants who know no better imagine that the Immaculate Conception is the description that the Church of Rome gives to the Virgin Birth of the Lord Jesus Christ. His was indeed an immaculate conception, a conception and birth totally without sin. But when Rome uses this term she has an entirely different birth in mind. According to Pope Pius IX, it is "a doctrine revealed by God" that Mary the mother of Jesus was born without sin. Here is the papal decree that established this dogma as a doctrine to be believed on peril of losing your soul:

We declare, pronounce and define that the Most Blessed Virgin Mary, at the first instant of her conception was preserved immaculate from all stain of original sin, by the singular grace and privilege of the Omnipotent God, in virtue of the merits of Jesus Christ, the Saviour of Mankind, and that this doctrine was revealed by God, and therefore must be believed firmly and constantly by all the faithful.

This is what Rome means by the Immaculate Conception: Mary was conceived and born entirely without sin. According to the Pope, when he established it as official dogma in 1864, this is a doctrine revealed by God. "Where?" you may ask. Certainly not in the Scriptures, where Mary rejoiced "in God my Saviour." Only sinners need a Saviour and Mary needed a Saviour. The dogma was unknown in the early church and for centuries after Mary's death. Augustine, whom Rome pretends to revere as one of the greatest of theologians and a saint, spoke of Mary's flesh as "the flesh of sin" and stated that Mary, springing from Adam, died because of sin. So, where did God reveal that Mary was conceived without sin? The Pope claims that He revealed it in the Tradition of the church, which the Pope officially recognized in 1864. Of course, since it was unknown in the early church, the dogma of Mary's Immaculate Conception was not a divine revelation but a late human innovation.

Rome espouses it because she has evolved an entirely anti-Christian system of Mariology and, indeed, Mariolatry. Not content with decreeing that she was born without sin, a later Pope, Pius XII, decreed in 1950 that she had been assumed bodily into heaven. It appears that in every possible detail, Rome is determined to create in Mary a replica of the Saviour, making her His equal in a sinless birth and a bodily Ascension into heaven.

But it is all a gross deception. The Pope has absolutely no right to establish Christian doctrine. To assert otherwise is to brand him as an antichrist. There is only One who was born without sin and that is the Lord Jesus Christ. He is emphatically called "the Holy One," "the righteous One," and the "just One." Mary was a good and great woman but she needed to be saved from her sin-and praise God, she was. Jesus Christ, on the other hand, needed no sacrifice for sin, for He was sinless, and being sinless He wrought a perfect obedience in life and in death to expiate our guilt and propitiate God's wrath against it.

As I said, the Immaculate Conception is a gross deception. Mary was born in sin; she was saved from sin; she died and was buried; her body corrupted like everyone else's. She is utterly incapable of doing anything at all to save or help sinners. Only God's Christ can do that.

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