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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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MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 17, 200714 years ago
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Did Mother Theresa Believe in God?
AUDIO BROADCAST: Did Mother Theresa Believe in God?
Let the Bible Speak Radio
Dr. Alan Cairns

Did Mother Theresa believe in God? To many people the question will sound both ridiculous and impertinent, even bigoted. But it is a question that arises not out of the skepticism of her critics but from the letters she wrote to her priestly advisers over a period of over 50 years. In those letters she confessed that try as she might she could not experience anything of the presence of God. She also described the “darkness, loneliness and torture” she constantly felt, which made her doubt the existence of Heaven and God. The woman who always appeared cheerful in public despite the rigors of working among the poor and dying, said that she was in inner turmoil and that her life was one of almost constant “torture.” She wrote to her adviser, “My smile is a mask--a cloak that covers everything.” To another adviser she confessed, “I spoke as if my heart was in love with God--tender, personal love. If you were there, you’d have said: ‘What hypocrisy.’ ” She wondered if she was involved in “verbal deception” of the millions who believed from her words that she knew God intimately and loved him heartily, while all the time she felt nothing “neither in her heart or in the Eucharist,” according to her biographer Brian Kolodiejchuk, a Roman Catholic priest and a member of her Missionaries of Charity movement.

You would think that all this would be a little disconcerting for those in the Roman Catholic Church who are lobbying to have Mother Theresa recognized as a saint. That movement is strong and will undoubtedly succeed, for the Pope has already accepted as fact one reported miracle attributed to her and is currently looking for a second. So, it looks like there will be a Roman Catholic saint who lived and died without any assurance of the very existence of God and confessedly without any comfort of His presence or power in her life. It seems strange that Rome should proclaim the operation of God’s power from even a medallion bearing her picture when she had no knowledge of His power in her own life. The line being taken by Mother Theresa’s advocates is that she followed Christ though suffering and darkness. She loved the poor and the needy, the outcasts of society, and in serving them she loved and served Christ.

The problems with that line of defense are insoluble. Mother Theresa told an atheistic British journalist that she was not working for the poor but for the church. A greater problem is that according to Christ’s gospel personal salvation is not earned, either by suffering or by serving. It is the gift of God, purchased for us by the blood of Christ and received by faith alone.

It is unutterably sad to think of a woman who devoted her life to the service of her church living and dying in the darkness of personal despair, without the slightest knowledge or comfort of God’s love and saving grace. How many others are in the same sad state! Are you? You can find no relief in personal effort or suffering. God’s grace is all in Christ. He saves all who receive Him by faith as Saviour and Lord. And when He saves you, you won’t need the pathetic machinations of the Vatican to weave a web of deceit to constitute you a saint. The Lord Jesus will do that the moment He saves you—and you will know His love and presence in life, in death and for all eternity.

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FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 14, 200714 years ago
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God’s Warriors
AUDIO BROADCAST: God's Warriors
Let the Bible Speak Radio
Dr. Alan Cairns

In late August CNN ran a three-part special report titled God’s Warriors. The first two-hour report focused on God’s Jewish warriors, the second on God’s Muslim warriors, and the last on God’s Christian warriors. The thesis of the programs was that in Judaism, Islam and Christianity there are those who feel that modern society is increasingly antagonistic to their religious values and who want to call it back to the standards of what they believe is God’s law. The Jewish warriors were the religious Jews who settled in or supported settlements in what others consider “occupied territory” but that they believe is rightfully their land by divine gift. The Muslim warriors included the Islamic radicals who support suicide bombers and worldwide terrorism but also highlighted other non-violent Muslims whose struggle was inward as they sought to follow their religious convictions in a secular society. The Christian warriors were right-wing or evangelical Christians who used their religious and political power to confront and overcome the influence of secular humanism and its baneful influence on the moral fabric of American society.

The basic thesis of the reports was that the most prevalent obstacle to world peace is religion and those who take their religion seriously. It pursued the idea that people who see the law of God as superior to the law of man and will follow it if the two come in conflict are the intransigent foes of a free and peaceful society. So, despite the opinion of international jurists that Jewish settlements of the West Bank are illegal, Jewish settlers remain there because they are answerable to a higher law, which establishes their right to be there; despite widespread condemnation of their actions, Muslims eye the destruction of what they see as decadent Western society and the establishment of Islam and its peculiar laws across the world; despite being despised, Christians seek to call their nation back to the standards of the Bible on issues such as abortion, homosexuality and other social issues.

On one level the CNN analysis is incontrovertible. Divine and human law often come into conflict and for a genuine believer there can be no doubt that if he has to choose which to obey he must obey God rather than men. However, the CNN report blundered badly by equating the tactics of Jewish settlers who have at times violently defended their beliefs and have dignified the murder of Arab opponents as divine vengeance and the tactic of Muslim terrorists who have embarked on a crusade of mayhem and murder to achieve their objectives with the tactics of “God’s Christian warriors” who use their democratic rights to seek to bring about moral change in their country.

One thought insistently arises after viewing CNN’s reports: how many people claim to speak and act for God! They cannot all be right, that’s for sure. The truth is that in most cases they invoke the name of God to support their own agenda—they try to make God speak for them. As Christians we must recognize that we have the word of God and should obey it in all things. But we should never forget that “the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but are mighty through God to the pulling down of strongholds.” We should remember that our greatest power is the power of the gospel preached in the demonstration of the Holy Spirit. Christians who seek to bring their nation to the light of truth by the power of prayer and preaching will be hated even more than Muslim terrorists. We must not allow that to dampen our zeal to be “good soldiers of Jesus Christ,” people who “war a good warfare” as they seek, as Paul, “by all means to save some” no matter what the cost may be in terms of personal suffering and loss. Such people are God’s true warriors.

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THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 13, 200714 years ago
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Chinese Communists: ‘Don’t Reincarnate without Government Permission!’
AUDIO BROADCAST: Don't Reincarnate Without Government Permission
Let the Bible Speak Radio
Dr. Alan Cairns

The Chinese Communist government has done some bizarre things in the past to maintain its stranglehold of power over its unfortunate subjects. However, I doubt that even the mad mandarins of Beijing have ever issued a more ludicrous directive than the one they issued recently to the Buddhist monks of Tibet. In a nutshell, they commanded the monks not to reincarnate their souls without government permission! And just to make a crazy situation even crazier, the Dalai Lama issued a statement to say that while Tibet remained under Chinese control he will not reincarnate his soul in Tibet but in some other place.

We all know that what he is saying is that he will not go back to Tibet to die. Not only Communists dismiss his claims to be able to reincarnate his soul. What is amazing is that China’s Communist dictators who deny that man has a soul that survives death are taking all the talk about reincarnation seriously enough as to try to control it by government decree. It’s difficult to believe that all this nonsense is being taken seriously by Communists. As usual, they have a very pragmatic reason for their apparently lunatic behavior. It’s all about maintaining political control over Buddhist Tibet. According to Tibetan Buddhists, on the death of the Dalai Lama his soul enters a new Dalai Lama. Now, since the Dalai Lama has immense moral authority over the Buddhists whom China is seeking to keep under control in Tibet, it is natural that the Chinese government would want to dictate who assumes the role of the Dalai Lama. They want to make sure that he will be a man who will toe the line and not cause them too much trouble. On the other hand, the present Dalai Lama believes that by making sure that he dies outside of Tibet he is making it immeasurably more difficult for the Chinese to proclaim his successor. So it’s on the cards that just as there used to be two Popes (in fact at one time there were three!) there will be two claimants to the title and honor of the Dalai Lama.

There is something deeply saddening in all this. The Buddhist notion of reincarnation is a baseless invention as is the associated idea of karma, which is the ultimate assertion of salvation by human merit. What the Dalai Lama proclaims is an empty promise. He will not reincarnate himself in any way. Like all other men, he will die and his soul will go to its own place and he will be judged as a sinner by the standards of God’s immutable law. The Dalai Lama has no power over life or death and certainly has no power to come back to earth in any other form.

Thank God we have the gospel of absolute truth. The Lord Jesus Christ had power over life and death. No man could take His life from Him. He had power to lay it down and He had power to take it up again. This is precisely what He did. He rose again from the dead in the very body in which He had been crucified and now lives in the power of an endless life. He is able to give eternal life to souls dead in trespasses and sins. He will not reincarnate them but will in due time raise their bodies from the grave and will glorify them in sinless and eternal glory. That’s not karma; that’s grace, amazing grace, saving grace. It comes as a free gift and by divine decree, needing no permission from any government, Chinese Communist or otherwise.

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WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 12, 200714 years ago
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Evangelicals Welcome Speaker Who Rejects Jesus as the Christ
AUDIO BROADCAST: Evangelicals Welcome Speaker Who Rejects Jesus as the Christ
Let the Bible Speak Radio
Dr. Alan Cairns

Evangelical Christians have mostly been supportive of the nation of Israel. They have seen the emergence of the Jewish state in the Holy Land as a fulfillment of prophecy, especially of Ezekiel 37. Personally, I have no difficulty with this opinion. I know that the Scripture places Israel back in her own land, though still in unbelief and Christ-rejection, before the second coming of our Saviour. That the establishment of the state of Israel in 1948 commenced the accomplishment of this prophecy is entirely plausible. So the generally supportive attitude of evangelicals toward the state of Israel in its unremitting war for survival in the face of constant threats to wipe her out of existence is entirely understandable. That such support should take the form of financial donations to Jewish charities is to be expected and even welcomed.

However, this support of Israel must never be at the expense of fidelity to Christ. In recent years, an American lawyer who has gone with her family to live in a West Bank settlement has developed a peculiar ministry. She visits evangelical churches in the U.S. with a view to raising money—so far so good. But here’s where the story takes an ominous twist. In those visits she speaks to the congregation, telling of the call of God to do what she is doing, exhorting the gathered Christians to get on board. When asked how she dealt with the evangelical doctrine that unless she received Jesus as her Messiah she would perish eternally, she replied (with a stunning absence of logic) that she would not perish in hell for rejecting Jesus because she did not believe that he was the Messiah.

Now that is the opinion of all Orthodox Jews: they reject Jesus as the Messiah. The question is: Is there a legitimate place in the pulpit of a Christian church for a person who openly avows her rejection of Jesus as the Christ? Should such an unbeliever be presenting what purports to be God’s message to a Christian congregation? And out of deference to such a speaker should a Christian pastor prevaricate on the question as to whether Jews who reject Jesus as the Christ will be lost? Certainly the Lord Jesus didn’t. He said, “Except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish.” Again, He said: “If ye believe not that I am he, ye shall die in your sins.” That should be clear enough, so how can an evangelical pastor fumble such a question?

The Florida pastor of the church that welcomed the Jewish lawyer did fumble the question. Having accepted the Jewish lady as his guest speaker and as a representative of God and His word for that congregation he could hardly say she was going to hell. At least, he clearly felt that he could not say such a thing. So one compromise has led to another. Let’s be clear: No matter how much Christians sympathize with the cause of Israel, Christian churches should never turn their pulpits and congregations over to any who deny the fundamental truth of the gospel, viz., that God has made the our Saviour “both Lord  and Christ.”

Dr. Bob Jones Senior’s maxim comes to mind:  It is never right to do wrong to get the chance to do right. There are other ways to give money to needy Jews than by entering into religious fellowship with Christ deniers.

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TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 11, 200714 years ago
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Nine Eleven
AUDIO BROADCAST: Nine Eleven
Let the Bible Speak Radio
Dr. Alan Cairns

This is a solemn day for America. On this day six years ago Muslim terrorists brought their war of terror to America. With reckless fanaticism they killed over 3000 innocent people as they brought down the Twin Towers at the World Trade Center. That day will forever be etched on the consciousness of the nation. It ranks right up there Japan’s unprovoked aggression at Pearl Harbor. Like December 7, September 11 will go down in history as a “day of infamy.”

So today is a day for remembering. We should remember the families that were bereaved through the loss of loved ones and that today are still trying to put together the pieces of their fractured lives. We pray for them that the God of all comfort will draw near to them to give then the light of His presence and the joy of His salvation. We should also remember who it was who attacked us and why. We constantly hear that not all Muslims are terrorists and that is true. I recently had the opportunity to speak with a Muslim gentleman—and I use that word in its best sense—and there is no doubt that he would abominate the actions of Islamic terrorists as much as you or I would. But the fact remains that around the world there is a growing Islamic hatred of America and a parallel desire to humiliate this nation. America is not in a religious war and should not be but a large segment of a worldwide religion has declared war on America. Britain’s new Prime Minister has outlawed the use of the terms “Muslim terrorist” and “war on terror.” He wants to treat actions such as we witnessed on 9/11 as crimes, not acts of war. His aim is to allay the fears of moderate Muslims that the West has set out to crush Islam. But all his fancy verbal foot work cannot hide the reality: much of Islam is at war with us. We would do well to remember that.

Today we should also remember the goodness of God. Politicians are apt to take the credit that we have not suffered another attack over the last six years. I know that our security forces deserve all our admiration for their dedication to our safety but at the end of the day we are dependent on the Lord to frustrate the plans of our enemies.

This is also a day to remember the apparent mood of repentance and interest in spiritual things that was apparent after 9/11. And we should mourn that it has evaporated like the morning dew.  The awful fact is that America learned nothing of any spiritual value through the awful experiences of that dreadful day. With alarming rapidity the nation got back to its old, godless ways. What religion it has manifested has been a syncretistic mixture of various faiths, the pattern for which was set in the memorial service for the victims of 9/11 that was held in the National Cathedral.

So today is a day not only for remembering but for repenting. America needs to repent and turn again to the God of our fathers, “the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.” It needs to learn that the dark power of Muslim fanaticism and terrorism will never be repulsed by mere military means, necessary as these may be. What America needs is a revival of true, Biblical Christianity preached and lived out in the genuine power of the Holy Spirit. We need more than the religious hype that has been all too apparent. We need the power of God to call our people back from the abyss to which the sensual secularism of our day has led them. There is no better day than the anniversary of the 9/11 atrocities to start praying, “Wilt thou not revive us again, that thy people may rejoice in Thee? “

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MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 10, 200714 years ago
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The Black Cat of Death
AUDIO BROADCAST: The Black Cat of Death
Let the Bible Speak Radio
Dr. Alan Cairns

I suppose that many of you will by now have heard of a cat named Oscar who lived in a nursing home. Oscar liked to visit the residents in their rooms and jump up on their beds. That was until some people thought they saw an alarming trend. Apparently when Oscar jumped up on a bed its occupant died soon after. When this happened a half a dozen times, residents were none too keen to see Oscar come to their room. Finally, someone decided to make sure he would not do any more visiting: Oscar was found dead and though the nursing home authorities would not give a specific cause of death, the presence of a bedpan with a discernible ding in it beside the body seems to indicate that a concerned senior citizen decided to do away with the feline messenger of death before he could jump on his/her bed.

This story was in the offbeat section of the news with which the media favor us. No doubt cat lovers have voiced their anger at Oscar’s destruction but I think I can understand the fears of old men and women hovering at the edge of the grave when they saw or thought they saw that the cat was the harbinger of death. Was he really death’s messenger? In Ireland there have long been stories of dogs and cats howling or doing strange things as if they could detect the approach of death before humans. But then Ireland is a land of myths and legends—the development and telling of which has not been altogether unconnected with the imbibing of certain potent liquors! I don’t know if Oscar’s visits to the beds of those who soon died were anything more than mere coincidences. I do know that someone took them seriously enough to make sure that he couldn’t do any more visiting!

We may be tempted to dismiss this story as merely bizarre. That would be a mistake for there are serious lessons in it.

Death is real and seldom welcome. Old people still love life and want to hold on to it. Yet death stalks them every day. It stalks everyone and is never more than a heartbeat away from any of us. But it is peculiarly close to claiming the elderly and they know it. Many of them do all they can to keep such a morbid-sounding thought from their minds. So when a cat like Oscar seems to bring death near they kill it. But death is still stalking them. It is nearer than ever and killing a cat, even if it were the messenger of death, cannot keep it at bay for an extra moment.

So when I come to you with a message of impending death, don’t try to silence the messenger. That would benefit you nothing. You are still just a step away from death. The best response to the threat of imminent death is to be prepared for it by receiving Christ as your personal Saviour and Lord. Knowing Him who is “the resurrection and the life” will enable you to live and to face death with the certainty that for a believer death is but the gateway to glory.

One of these days, not Oscar the cat but Death itself will visit your bed. Are you ready for that day? Are you saved? It is time for you to seek the Lord.

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FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 07, 200714 years ago
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Americans Have No Confidence in Churches
AUDIO BROADCAST: Americans Have No Confidence in Churches
Let the Bible Speak Radio
Dr. Alan Cairns

It seems that American’s confidence in churches is at an all time low. In many ways, that is to be expected. After all the public attention that the endless troubles of the Roman Catholic Church with its corrupt priests abusing their parishioners, and the hierarchy assiduously covering up their crimes; after the succession of scandals of pastors and youth pastors who have betrayed the trust of their people and have lived double lives, covering their perversions with a holy cloud of religious rhetoric; and after the sex and financial scandals that have rocked Charismatic television ministries over the past years, it is not at all surprising that Joe Public is not too impressed with America’s churches or their leaders. However, there are deeper reasons for the mistrust. I will mention just two.

First, people tend to look to churches to do things that are really not part of their God-given task and when they fail to accomplish them the general opinion is that the churches have failed society and are not worth a lot of respect. Indeed, many churches have assumed such burdens. So it is expected that churches become the welfare arm of the great society. Now, do not misunderstand me. God’s people are told to relieve the poor, to do good to all me and especially to those who are of the household of faith. These are Scriptural mandates. But churches are not an extension of a godless society. They are not the “do-gooder” arm of the secular state. In other words, what they do must never be divorced from their primary task of preaching the gospel and bringing souls to Christ. Any time churches substitute social activism for Scriptural evangelism the result will be disaster for both church and society. Yet many people want to judge churches on how “relevant” they are to the social needs of a secular society and when they are judged not to be relevant enough, they are dismissed as unworthy of trust.

But there is another reason fro public distrust. Indeed I have already touched on this. I mean the departure of churches from their real job. There are few churches today where you can hear the gospel preached faithfully. There are some and for them we must be grateful to God but there are many, many churches where there is little or no real preaching of the gospel. Some churches are big on liturgy; some on liturgical dance; some on contemporary music; some on the power of positive thinking; some on social action; some on a plethora of programs for human advancement. There are seminars and study groups on marriage, home, family, children and education. There are remedial classes for divorced people, drink and drug addicts and people in debt. Many of these are legitimate endeavors. But what is missing is the core of Christianity—the gospel preached in the power of the Holy Spirit.

People have little or no confidence in the churches of America because most churches are unworthy of much confidence. Really we are not in business to make men trust us but to lead them to trust Christ. If we do that effectively, people will see and feel the value of our work and witness. Without that we labor in vain. Not only will men express little respect or confidence, neither will the Lord our Judge on that great day when we give an account to Him of our stewardship. 

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THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 06, 200714 years ago
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Paying God by Credit Card
AUDIO BROADCAST: Paying God by Credit Card
Let the Bible Speak Radio
Dr. Alan Cairns

More and more churches are encouraging their members to pay their tithes and give their offerings by credit card. Charismatic televangelists have been at this game for a long time. Some of them have openly advocated that people without the ready funds to sow the “faith seed” of a cash donation should step out on faith by putting their gift on their credit card. Today it is not my purpose to deal at any length with the utterly unprincipled charlatan who have abused the trust of gullible people and have corrupted the message of Scripture to dip their thieving fingers into the pockets of poor and vulnerable people. They are despicable beyond words.

Today I am more interested in how many churches are climbing on the bandwagon and welcoming tithing by credit card. Now, there is nothing wrong in a person paying his bills by credit card. And that means there is nothing wrong with others receiving payment by credit card. What is wrong is that many people use credit cards to finance a lifestyle they cannot afford and to cover up spending that is out of control. It may sound like good business for churches that are seeking to ensure that their budget projections are met and that they are able to pay for the programs they have commenced on the strength of members’ pledges, to have members pay by credit card, whether they have the ready cash or not. But it is not sound practice. In fact it is dangerous and probably sinful.

Americans are sinking in an ocean of debt. Obligations that we are able to meet according to agreed terms are often necessary and legitimate. For example, I have no problem with a Christian taking out a mortgage to buy a house or signing a lease to rent an apartment. These are financial commitments that he should enter into in the fear of God but if he assumes them knowing that he has the means of meeting them he has not incurred bad debt. If he assumes them knowing that he has overreached and that he is not going to be able to pay his way he has erred greatly. And that is what millions are doing. Often they refuse to wait, deny themselves and save for the things they want and just go ahead and charge large amounts to their credit cards. In a short time, they are overwhelmed by heir debt. In many cases people get into debt because of unforeseen illness or unemployment or some such tragedy. But in too many cases the trouble lies in reckless spending, charging without any ability or real intention to pay. That is sin.

That’s where the practice of having people pay into churches by credit card can become morally questionable. For a church member who is out of town to call in a donation by credit card that he can clear when he gets his statement is no big deal. But church members going into debt to pay their tithes or give their offerings is a very different matter. It is a big deal, a very big deal. It is an evil that God’s people must avoid. In their budgeting they should obey the Bible and give to God’s work, but they should do so out of their pocketbook or bank account. Paying into church by plastic and using somebody else’s money that you have no real hope of repaying is not tithing but thieving. 

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WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 05, 200714 years ago
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Text Messages from the Pope
AUDIO BROADCAST: Text Message from the Pope
Let the Bible Speak Radio
Dr. Alan Cairns

I suppose it had to come. It was just a matter of time. In this age of cell phone madness, when it seems that the whole world is so engrossed in constantly yakking and hardly anyone has a moment for quiet meditation, another phase of canned religion was inevitable.

It was recently announced that the Roman Catholic Church is now making text messages from the Pope available. Of course, you must not imagine the Pope sitting there in the Vatican wearing out his lily white fingers by punching endless messages to the faithful. As usual, he will have his appointed lackeys produce whatever it is they want you to receive in his name. It makes no difference, it will be more of the same tired old religious prattle that the Vatican is so good at producing and around the world people will get their daily papal press release. I can imagine many a poor deluded soul feeling excited that he has received a word from the pope to help him through the difficulties of his day.

I don’t want to sound unduly negative. I think that the use of modern technology to spread the truth and comfort of the word of God is a good thing, so long as the method does not dilute or deny the original message. There is nothing bad about sending text messages of eternal truth—the more the better. But that is the problem. The Pope is not in the business of spreading the truth of God. He denies the historical narrative of creation. He embraces the essentially atheistic theory of evolution and is currently trying to deceive people into believing that Darwinism and the Bible can get along just fine, which is an outright lie. He denies the very heart of the gospel and repudiates the only way of justification for sinners that the New Testament allows. No, the Pope is not in the business of spreading God’s word. He may speak against abortion and pose as the moral conscience of the world but the sordid fact is that he presides over the most morally corrupt and abusive set of priests in the world. About one third of them are homosexual; their record of molestation and abuse is now being exposed in one country after another—and the Pope and his minions have done absolutely nothing to deal effectively with the situation. They have been more interested in covering their tracks, while of course uttering pious platitudes to calm the concerns of the faithful. The bottom line is that the Pope has no message from God for anybody and when he speaks on moral issues he does so as one who is utterly compromised, indeed as the leader of an organization that is more part of the problem than of the answer. So while launching his text message service is a cute PR exercise, it’s really a non-event. 

The question is, why would anybody be excited to get a text message from the Pope anyway? We have the very word of God available to us in our mother tongue. Here is truth without error, light without darkness, the genuine revelation of God that carries in it all we need to know to become Christians and to live the Christian life. So switch off your cell phone and your computer and your television and anything else that is demanding your attention. Then open your Bible. Ehud said to Eglon, “I have a message from God for thee.” In a far higher and better sense, that is what the Bible says to you. Take time to read, learn, meditate upon and obey this message that comes not from the pope but from the very God of glory.

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