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MONDAY, OCTOBER 01, 200714 years ago
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The Protestant Reformation
AUDIO BROADCAST: The Protestant Reformation
Let the Bible Speak Radio
Dr. Alan Cairns

October 31, 1517 marked the birth of the Protestant Reformation. On that day an unknown, black-cloaked Augustinian monk in an obscure German town waked to the castle Church and nailed a paper he had written in Latin to the door of the church. That monk was Martin Luther and his paper contained his now famous 95 Theses, his argument against the pernicious traffic in indulgences that the Pope was using to raise funds for his building program at the Vatican. Within two weeks, those inauspicious hammer blows as Luther nailed his Theses to the church door began to change Germany and Europe for ever. Soon the Pope himself felt the power of the German monk's criticisms. At that point in history, their power was well nigh irresistible. The Protestant Reformation had been launched, unwittingly it must be said, for Luther had no intention of breaking with Rome. Indeed, he believed that the scandal of the sale of indulgences must be taking place without the Pope's knowledge or consent. Surely, once the Pope learned how John Tetzel was denying the gospel he would move against him. But Luther was wrong in this assessment. He was right in the thing that mattered, which was the truth that the gospel of free grace is received by faith in the merits of Christ, not bought by paying for indulgences.

That truth lies at the heart of the Protestant Reformation in all its legitimate branches. Luther had learned the truth of justification by faith after a long night of personal turmoil during which he, as a faithful son of the Church of Rome, had sought to gain salvation by works, sacraments, suffering and service. He was overwhelmed with a sense of his sin and of the righteousness or justice of God. The phrase, "The righteousness of God," struck fear into him. To him it meant that God in wrath was ready to strike him down and cast him into hell. Then he learned that in Paul's writing the phrase "The righteousness of God" means the righteousness that God has provided for believers in Christ. He entered into the liberating truth of Romans 1:17, "The just shall live by faith."

This is the gospel that Luther began to teach. This is the truth that underlay his protest against Rome's trade in pardon by payment for indulgences. He soon learned that the Pope was furious. Summoned to appear before the Diet of Worms, with the Emperor presiding, and commanded to recant his doctrines, he uttered one of the most illustrious statements ever made: "Unless I am convinced from Holy Scripture I cannot and I will not recant. My conscience is captive to the word of God. Here I stand; I can do no other; God help me."

Rome did all it could to murder Luther and failing that to muzzle him. But Luther was neither murdered nor muzzled and lived to see the Reformation he had unwittingly begun sweep across Europe. This month we celebrate what the Lord did through the Reformation. We are heirs of that great work, the greatest revival since Pentecost. Under God, we owe our civil and religious liberty to it. And we owe it to our God and to those who gave us this rich heritage to stand fast in the liberty wherewith Christ has made us free-and to proclaim the gospel of a free justification on the sole merit of Christ received by faith alone to a world that needs it as urgently today as it did in Luther's day.

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FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 28, 200714 years ago
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The Lunatics Are in Charge of the Asylum
AUDIO BROADCAST: Valedictorian Refused Her Diploma for Mentioning Jesus Christ
Let the Bible Speak Radio
Dr. Alan Cairns

Has this nation gone mad? You may think so when you listen to the following.

Erica Corder was the valedictorian at Lewis-Palmer High School near Colorado Springs in 2006. Before graduation in May 2006, Principal Mark Brewer told the valedictorians they could choose one student to speak, or all 15 could deliver 30-second messages. The students decided that all should participate and picked a general topic for each speaker. Corder and one other student were assigned to deliver concluding messages. During her address Corder added a word of personal faith in Christ:

"We are all capable of standing firm and expressing our own beliefs, which is why I need to tell you about someone who loves you more than you could ever imagine. He died for you on a cross over 2,000 years ago, yet was resurrected and is living today in heaven. His name is Jesus Christ. If you don't already know him personally I encourage you to find out more about the sacrifice he made for you so that you now have the opportunity to live in eternity with him."

The school principal was furious and one of his assistants escorted Corder to his office where he informed her that she would not receive her graduation diploma unless she apologized for her improper conduct in mentioning Jesus Christ at her graduation. Because she feared the school actually would withhold her diploma and that officials would put disciplinary notes in her file and generate negative publicity that could affect her plans to become a teacher, Corder wrote a statement that the message was her own and not endorsed by the principal. Even that was not enough for the school who wanted an addition: "I realize that, had I asked ahead of time, I would not have been allowed to say what I did."

Now the school is facing a law suit. Liberty Counsel are suing on constitutional grounds alleging a violation of Corder's First Amendment rights. The suit complains of an unlawful imposition of standards on religious speech that is not applied to other kinds of speech. It also claims that the school continues to criticize Corder, who is now at Wheaton College. According to Liberty Counsel, school officials have refused to issue any apology for their tyrannical behavior. They have "thus far taken no remedial steps. Meanwhile, Erica continues to be the subject of public criticism from school officials."

So it appears that the lunatics are in charge of the asylum. Now a Christian can be charged with misconduct and denied the academic diploma she had rightfully earned for the crime of speaking a couple of sentences about the Lord Jesus Christ. Meanwhile, school districts are falling over themselves to make sure that Muslim girls may proclaim their religion by wearing their headscarves. Secular students can proclaim their secular humanist creed. Only Christians are targeted. Only the name of the Lord Jesus Christ must be banned. As I say, it's madness. But it's worse than madness; it's malicious madness that is trying to make sure that the power of the gospel is banned from our education system so that secularists may have a free hand in subverting our kids. I hope the Liberty Counsel law suit will go some way to undoing this evil.

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THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 27, 200714 years ago
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Divorce Should Shut the Pulpit
AUDIO BROADCAST: Divorce Should Shut the Pulpit
Let the Bible Speak Radio
Dr. Alan Cairns

Consider the following news article.

At one time, divorce among clerics meant the instant demise of a pastoral career. But across denominational lines, the reaction toward clerical divorce seems to be softening.

Jim Bakker - Former head of PTL ministries. Marriage to Tammy Faye ended in 1992. Remarried.

John Hagee - Pastor of the Cornerstone Church in San Antonio. First marriage ended in 1975. Remarried the next year.

Noel Jones - Pastor, City of Refuge Church near Los Angeles. Divorced in early 1990s. Single.

Clarence McClendon - Senior pastor of Full Harvest International Church, Southern California. Divorced wife of 16 years in 2000. Remarried.

Joyce Meyer - Leads Joyce Meyer Ministries. Divorced first husband in 1966. Remarried in 1967.

Robert A. Schuller - Senior pastor of the Crystal Cathedral Ministries in Southern California. Divorced in 1984. Remarried that same year.

Charles Stanley - Senior pastor of First Baptist Church of Atlanta. Marriage ended in 2000 after 44 years. Single.

Robert Tilton - Former head of the Word of Faith World Outreach Center Church. Twice divorced. Remarried.

I should remind you that there are many points of difference in the cases mentioned. But this was the report. Now comes news from Tampa that a husband and wife team who acted as the joint pastors of a mega church announced publicly to their congregation that they were divorcing-they ending their marriage but not their ministry. And most of their 22,000 members support their continuing to minister!

I must say that my heart goes out to people whose marriage gets into trouble and folds. I particularly sympathize with devoted spouses who are betrayed by unfaithful partners and end up divorced. And I should say that there is compassion and forgiveness with the Lord, even for husbands or wives who have been guilty of deep marital infidelity-and there should be the same gracious attitude among His people. Having said all that, there is no way a man can measure up to the standards set by the word of God for the Christian ministry and continue to minister after he has divorced. There may be many things he can do to help the work of the kingdom but the pulpit should be closed to him.

Nowadays, few churches are willing to obey God in this crucial matter. Is it any wonder that they have lost their authority in confronting the tide of immorality and marriage break-up that is taking place today? Our pulpits and their occupants should reflect the unchanging standards of the word of God, not the moral relativity of today's society. Divorce should shut the pulpit.

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WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 26, 200714 years ago
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Many Americans’ Real God—Sports
AUDIO BROADCAST: Revival
Let the Bible Speak Radio
Dr. Alan Cairns

A few weeks ago I commented on the Michael Vick case, you know the quarterback of the Atlanta Falcons who was accused of, and now has pleaded guilty to, arranging and financing dog fights at his home in Virginia. This case will cost Vick millions of dollars in lost revenue and possibly his career in the NFL, as well as probably landing him in jail for a considerable time. My take on the case when I first commented on it was that abhorrent as Vick's dog fights were, there is something sick about a society that reacts so violently against dog fights and allows the  annual slaughter of a million unborn babies without a pang of conscience. Had Michael Vick fathered a child and paid for his girlfriend to have an abortion no one would be calling for his perpetual banishment from football. But he killed a dog, so let's lynch him. Now, don't get me wrong. I am all in favour of punishing Vick for his crime but I am more than a little sickened by the hypocrisy of the talking heads on radio and TV who are so bent out of shape about the treatment of dogs and say nothing about the legalized obliteration of a million babies a year.

There is another angle to this story. Do you think that if Michael Vick had been a truck driver or a mechanic or some such thing the media would have given all the attention it did to his case? I believe not. In his case, however, day after day we have had headlines about his misdeeds. Why? The answer is simple: Vick was a sports star. Americans idolize sports and therefore in the estimation of the newsmakers anything that has to do with a sports celebrity must be newsworthy.

What does this say about America? Think of all the important things that are going on in the world and in the nation and see if you can find one good reason why most of them should be neglected and the woes of Michael get constant attention. It is a sad day for America when millions worship at the shrine of sports and when what really matters to them is celebrity.

One of the TV networks advertises its package of NFL games with the slogan Sunday night is football night. Sadly, for millions of Americans that is true. It used to be that Sunday was the nation's Holy Day, when churches would be full and the preaching would usually be worth hearing. There was a time when the columns of the nation's newspapers carried the sermons of men of God and people read them avidly. All that is now history. People can't go to church and are not interested in hearing the word of life because for many of them Sunday is for worshipping their real god, sport.

In the mid-1980s a book that had an intriguing title was published: Amusing Ourselves to Death. That's precisely what many in our nation are doing. They are killing themselves; worse, they are condemning themselves to eternal ruin, by worshiping at the shrine of entertainment and sport. So when you read of Michael Vick's crime and punishment, just remember that among those who vociferously condemn him are millions whose crime and folly are infinitely worse. The day is coming when they will stand before the judge of all the earth and give account why they despised His Son and His gospel to bow at the altar sports.

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TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 25, 200714 years ago
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Execute Killers and Save Lives
AUDIO BROADCAST: The Death Penalty Saves Lives
Let the Bible Speak Radio
Dr. Alan Cairns

There are few executions of killers these days. Most industrialized countries have long ago outlawed the death penalty. Here in the U.S. a number of states still have the death penalty but the use of DNA evidence to free a number of prisoners on Illinois' death row led to the governor imposing a moratorium on all executions and caused a nationwide scare that the justice system is so flawed that it is unsafe to put any convicted killer to death. Behind all the politics of the issue there has been a long-standing debate on (a) the morality of the death penalty and (b) its effectiveness. Opponents of the death penalty argue that executions are no better than state sponsored killings and are morally indefensible. 

I am concerned about flaws in the justice system that can make an innocent man a criminal. Unfortunately we don't live in an ideal world and grave mistakes will be made. Should that lead us to the conclusion that no killer, no matter how clearly proven guilty, should ever be executed? I don't think so. The state should retain the power of the sword, the ultimate sanction of the death penalty for the crime of murder-and it should take the most stringent steps to ensure that cases are investigated and prosecuted with the highest degree of honesty and integrity.

Is the death penalty no better than state sponsored killing? Does it degrade society and make it no better than the killers it executes? This is the argument of many a death penalty opponent but it is specious. God has given governments the right to inflict the ultimate punishment on certain types of criminals, chiefly murderers. If God has endorsed the death penalty-even if He does not always demand it-then no one has the right to dismiss it as immoral.

Does the death penalty deter others from committing murder? This question has long been contested. Opponents of the death penalty have scoffed at the idea of deterrence while proponents have proclaimed it almost as a self-evident fact. Now we have some solid studies by a number of university professors-many of whom are personally opposed to the death penalty-that purport to settle the issue once and for all. They have found that the execution of a killer saves lives-some say up to eighteen lives-while commuting a killer's sentence costs lives. So persuasive is the evidence that a leading liberal lawyer, an opponent of the death penalty said, "If it's the case that executing murderers prevents the execution of innocents by murderers, then the moral evaluation is not simple. Abolitionists or others, like me, who are skeptical about the death penalty haven't given adequate consideration to the possibility that innocent life is saved by the death penalty." So he called for further study of the data.

Some people will never agree to the death penalty no matter what the data say. They are against it, period. However, if execution saves lives, as the data show, we should be more concerned about protecting the innocent than cosseting the guilty. And if, as the data also show, cutting the inordinate periods killers live after conviction saves even more lives we should stop the perversion of justice that allows murderers to avoid their execution for 7, 10 or even 15 years.

I think we all knew all along that executions deter other would be killers. At least they mean that convicted killers will never kill again. It's probably time to bow to the data and reject the hysteria of politically motivated rejection of the death penalty. Execute killers and save lives.

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MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 24, 200714 years ago
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Creation Museum Scares Evolutionists
AUDIO BROADCAST: Creation Museum Scares Evolutionists
Let the Bible Speak Radio
Dr. Alan Cairns

Last Memorial Day, Answers in Genesis opened its new Creation Museum near Cincinnati. The $27 million museum has been a roaring success as people from around the world have flocked to view it. A biology teacher who visited it told me how impressed he was by the entire exhibition and what a clear and cogent testimony it raised in favor of the doctrine of creation and against the theory of evolution. He praised the thorough professionalism of the entire museum and was especially thrilled with the planetarium presentation. This was praise indeed from a highly qualified teacher who does not hand out undeserved plaudits.

So it's not surprising that such a powerful witness to Biblical Creationism should have stirred the fear and the ire of the evolutionary establishment. In June, no less than 900 of them joined to sign an online letter criticizing the Creation Museum and all it stands for. They are members and supporters of the National Center for Science Education, a nonprofit organization that defends the teaching of evolution in public Schools. Here's part of what they wrote: "Students who accept this material as scientifically valid are unlikely to succeed in science courses at the college level. These students will need remedial instruction in the nature of science, as well as in the specific areas of science misrepresented by Answers in Genesis." Marcia Texler Segal, a sociology professor at Indiana University Southeast, was one of the signatories to the letter attacking the Creation Museum. She said, "It narrows our view of what religion is and it narrows our view of what science is. It closes the door on critical thinking."  Segal expressed another fear: "Children and young people will be made to think that they can't accept (science and religion); that they can't be a good member of their faith and understand and look critically at scientific evidence. It's not fair to religion any more than it is fair to science."

I would say here you have a bunch of very scared evolutionists. They know that they are not doing well in the forum of public debate. Their monopoly of the classrooms of our public schools is being challenged and now comes this powerfully professional and persuasive witness to the Biblical account of origins. So those who have a vested interest in denying our children access to anything that may show them the fallacies of Darwinism now try to present themselves as the true guardians of academic freedom-and indeed as the true guardians of religion. The truth is altogether different: these people really want to arrogate to themselves the sole power and right to establish the substance and the role not only of science but also of religion. In other words, they want us to accept them and their theory as both our God and our Bible. They are clearly delusional.

Ken Ham, president of Answers in Genesis, dismissed their attack. He pointed out that "the study of origins is very different than studying operational science that has built our modern-day technology." His point is well taken: you can do excellent science in all disciplines without buying into the evolutionary lie. In fact, it is the teaching of evolution that hinders prospective science students. As Ham went on to say: "Actually, the students who are being taught evolution and millions of years as fact are the ones who may need the ‘remedial instruction.' They have been indoctrinated to a false understanding of what ‘science' is."

Well said and more power to his Creation Museum! Anything that gets evolutionists this mad must be good!

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FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 21, 200714 years ago
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Presbyterian Church Promotes Hinduism’s Yoga
AUDIO BROADCAST: Presbyterian Church Promotes Hinduism's Yoga
Let the Bible Speak Radio
Dr. Alan Cairns

Recently I had a letter from a listener who told me of attending a meeting for grieving people who had lost a loved one at which the speaker was a Presbyterian minister whose advice to them was to “look to the trees for healing!” As my correspondent all too vividly recalls, he did not utter one word to direct grieving souls to the Lord Jesus Christ. In fact, he did not speak a single word about Him. As my correspondent said, “That was the last straw for me!” I applaud her courage to repudiate such blatant apostasy.

That was not the only evidence of the downgrade of Presbyterianism in her area. She sent me an article from her local press announcing that the local Presbyterian Church Adult Education Program “will offer gentle yoga classes” with a certified yoga instructor.

The advice to grieving people to “look to the trees for healing” sounds like pantheism. The promotion of yoga is pagan. I know that many will claim that yoga is simply a way of fine tuning the body with exercises or calming the mind with mental disciplines. Wittingly or unwittingly those who make such claims are covering over the truth. Let me give you a dictionary definition of yoga:

“Yoga is a group of ancient spiritual practices originating in India. As a general term in Hinduism it has been defined as referring to ‘technologies or disciplines of asceticism and meditation which are thought to lead to spiritual experience and profound understanding or insight into the nature of existence.’ Outside India, Yoga is mostly associated with the practice of asanas (postures) of Hatha Yoga or as a form of exercise, although it has influenced the entire dharmic religions family and other spiritual practices throughout the world.”

Take another definition:

“The term yoga comes from a Sanskrit word which means yoke or union. Traditionally, yoga is a method joining the individual self with the Divine, Universal Spirit, or Cosmic Consciousness. Physical and mental exercises are designed to help achieve this goal, also called self-transcendence or enlightenment. On the physical level, yoga postures, called asanas, are designed to tone, strengthen, and align the body. These postures are performed to make the spine supple and healthy and to promote blood flow to all the organs, glands, and tissues, keeping all the bodily systems healthy. On the mental level, yoga uses breathing techniques (pranayama) and meditation (dyana) to quiet, clarify, and discipline the mind. However, experts are quick to point out that yoga is not a religion, but a way of living with health and peace of mind as its aims.”

No doubt the Presbyterian church in question will tout the physical benefits of yoga. But the fact remains that claiming that it is not a religion is misleading. I agree, it is not a religion, but Hinduism is a religion and yoga has been historically an integral part of Hinduism. It is a false way of seeking “union with the divine.” Thus it is fundamentally antagonistic to the gospel. It has no place in the Christian Church or in the life of an individual Christian. There are exercise programs that don’t carry the heathen baggage that yoga does. But considerations like that have never weighed much with churches that have added the practices of heathen religion to their profession of Christianity.

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THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 20, 200714 years ago
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STOP BLOGGING—S.B.C. President
AUDIO BROADCAST: STOP BLOGGING -- SBC President
Let the Bible Speak Radio
Dr. Alan Cairns

The President of the Southern Baptist Convention thought that a blog site for Southern Baptists to carry on a mature theological conversation would be a good thing. He and other SBC leaders envisaged “iron sharpening iron” as their members discussed the issues that face them and their churches. It didn’t take long for the bright hope of edifying discussion to fade and for the bitter cold of reality to set in. So now the SBC President has issued a very public plea for the bloggers to stop. I will not repeat the words in which he couched his appeal. They are deliberately provocative and a play on an all too common form of cursing and so I will not use them. Sufficient to say that he vehemently desires all Southern Baptists to quit blogging about church affairs.

Here’s what happened. An internet site that was supposed to be a place where Baptists could engage in healthy discussion on issues that are of common concern and where they could learn from the informed opinions of their brethren quickly degenerated into a place for vituperation, name calling, bitterness and the contentious airing of issues that should properly be dealt with in church boards or meetings. Soon people were dragging out all the issues in their local churches that they wanted to weigh in on and, not content with expressing opinions on issues, launched bitter attacks on those with whom they disagreed. So, said the President of the Convention, enough is enough.

Unfortunately, it’s not very likely that too many people will pay a lot of attention to his appeal. There is something addictive about internet blogging. It seems to give people a feeling of power. It certainly gives to people whose stature would never gain them much of a hearing the chance to gain a widespread audience. People whose popular appeal is so great that they could announce that they were going to hold a public meeting to speak on some subject and who would find themselves almost entirely without an audience are understandably addicted to blog sites where they can appear more important than they could ever have thought.

There are serious problems with this culture of blogging. People who publish books usually have to find a publisher who sees enough merit in the publication to back it with his money. Either that or the writer has to put up his own money. Furthermore, with any sort of decent editing standards, published writers usually have a check on the sources they use. However, it costs nothing to blog and unfortunately there are very low (more likely, non-existent) standards of editorial integrity. As a result, people feel that they can state or repeat just about anything. Whatever they read, they often repeat as gospel truth, frequently assassinating the character of a fellow-believer on the mere say-so of another blogger. I have a theory about blogs about church affairs. I think that in most cases they deal with issues that Biblically should be dealt with coolly and deliberately in the courts of the church and blogs are usually an attempt to stir up controversy and “settle” the issue before it can be dealt with as the word of God requires. To me such blogs are an illegitimate attempt to circumvent the proper authority that Christ has established in His church.

That is the crime that the SBC President wants to stop. As I have said, his chances are slim but for the sake of Him whose name we bear, I hope that sane Christians will heed his call.

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WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 19, 200714 years ago
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Ted Haggard’s Gall
AUDIO BROADCAST: Ted Haggard's Gall
Let the Bible Speak Radio
Dr. Alan Cairns

Ted Haggard was expelled from the pastorate of his mega church in disgrace. He was a proven liar, a sexual pervert who carried on a liaison with a sodomite prostitute while publicly campaigning against the sodomite agenda in his state. When he was finally exposed by the sodomite whom he had been using, he had no option but to quit. He went into counseling—the way of choice for celebrities who are found out in some vice. Hollywood stars run to rehab as soon as their drug or drink habits threaten their image. Disgraced preachers run to counseling for rehabilitation. Haggard announced that he had repented and would pursue a master’s degree in counseling with a view to entering a counseling ministry. Haggard has enrolled in the University of Phoenix, as has his wife who is pursuing a degree in psychology.

I have refrained from jumping on the bandwagon of critics of the fallen preacher, a man who served as the leader of the National Association of Evangelicals and who preached weekly to 10,000 people. I have hoped that his repentance was real and that he and his family could be rehabilitated. My heart went out to his wife, for whom the entire ordeal must have been devastating. However, I must say that Haggard’s latest moves do not engender confidence. He has launched an email appeal for money. I quote: “It looks as though it will take two years for us to have adequate earning power again, so we are looking for people who will help us monthly for two years. During that time we will continue as full-time students, and then, when I graduate, we won’t need outside support any longer.” Haggard justified his begging letter by explaining his vision: He plans to move with his wife and two of their sons October 1 to the Phoenix Dream Center, a faith-based halfway house in Phoenix, where the Haggards will provide counseling.

Here is a man who was paid $115,000 for the ten months he worked for his church in 2006 plus an $85,000 anniversary bonus that he received before the scandal broke. His home, which is on the market, has been officially valued at over $715,000 and he receives royalties on his book sales—though these have probably dried up after he was disgraced, for who in his right mind wants to read the spiritual instruction of a hypocrite who lied and deceived to cover his sodomite activities?

My concern is that Haggard still does not understand the awful gravity of his crime. I fear that he hasn’t grasped just how deeply he has shaken the confidence of people who sacrificially supported him and his ministry. As I said, I would be happy if he could be rehabilitated and do something useful with his life. But for him, with all the equity he has amassed and especially after the unspeakable deception he practiced for years on the unsuspecting evangelical public, to beg for financial support is intolerable and I hope that no one will be so foolish as to fall for his sob story appeal. The man has gall, I’ll say that. But he had that all along. What he needs is grace—and if, as he claims, he has received restoring grace he would better show it by giving than by begging.

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TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 18, 200714 years ago
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Baptism by Fire Hose!
AUDIO BROADCAST: Baptism By Fire Hose
Let the Bible Speak Radio
Dr. Alan Cairns

America is home to many strange sects and self-styled churches. You have snake handlers and holy rollers; spiritists and sensualists; Unitarian Universalists (a mixture of agnostics, infidels, homosexual deviants and just about anybody who denies the Bible) and exclusive cults that limit salvation to their own peculiar little group, all masquerading as Christians. For strangeness, however, it would be difficult to beat the United House of Prayer, which boasts one and a half million members in 140 branches across the country. For the last 81 years this Pentecostal church has had a mass baptismal service. “What’s so peculiar about that?” you ask. Well, how often do you see a baptism conducted by turning a fire hose on a crowd of worshipers? That’s what the United House of Prayer does year after year.

This year on the last Sunday in August, 800 people stood to be drenched by a fire hose as “Apostle” H. Thompson and the 87 year old leader of the House of Prayer, Bishop S.C. “Sweet Daddy” Madison, extolled the benefits of fire hose baptism. “If you have sinned since last year, you need to get into the water and be baptized,” boomed Thompson. “If you have a sickness and need to be healed, you need to get into the water and be baptized.” Madison added his message: “You heard the preacher. If you want to go to heaven, let the waters roll.” So for fifteen minutes the fire hose poured out its torrent on the gathered crowd as a brass and drum band played raucously.

Now, let’s be clear. This is not Christianity; it is sheer superstition. It flies in the face of the plain statement of Scripture: “Baptism is not…the putting away of the filth of the flesh” (1 Peter 3:21). Baptism is not an annual ritual. It is the inaugural rite by which one publicly enters the communion of the Christian church and the sign of repentance and the forgiveness of sins though union with Christ. It is also intensely personal. All of this is lost in the pagan practice of the self-styled House of Prayer. I should add that the notion of turning understand if this were done by professed infidels as a parody of Christian belief and practice. But that it should be done in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ by people who profess to believe the Bible is beyond comprehension.

The gospel presented by these so-called “apostles” is false to the core. It is a lie that is deceiving a fire hose on a crowd and calling it Christian baptism is utterly repulsive. I could

souls. One woman, a 33 year old federal budget analyst who brought her two young daughters to be soaked by the fire hose said that she came every year “for the redemption of my sins.” She also brings an empty jug to be filled with consecrated water that she and family members will drink and rub on their bodies to help them heal when they are ill.

Can you believe that this is what some people accept as Christianity? This is not only strange, it is scary—scary because it obviously has gained acceptance with a lot of people who are trusting their immortal souls to the delusive inventions of men who have seriously departed from God’s word. No doubt many of the participants are sincere but if you are sincerely wrong, your sincerity has no saving power. I fear that people who trust a fire hose to wash away their sins are condemning themselves to a place where no fire hose will be able to extinguish the flame.

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