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Dr. Alan Cairns, Historic Premillennialist

April 8, 2021

A great resource I’ve recently become aware of, a Covenantal Historic Premillennialist, is the late Dr. Alan Cairns.  I had heard the name a few times, in connection with the Sovereign Grace Advent Testimony (SGAT), and from online links and recommendations from a few others.  Dr. Cairns preached for 25 years at Faith Free Presbyterian Church in Greenville, SC, before retiring in 2007, and then continued speaking at some annual conference events until as late as 2018.  

SermonAudio has a catalog of 6,390 sermons from Alan Cairns, content which is also available from the radio program / podcast ‘Let the Bible Speak Radio.’  

I’ve listened to a handful of messages from a few different series so far, and appreciate these sermons.  For premillennialism, this 5 part ‘The End Times’ series from an October 2011 conference is interesting.  Each SermonAudio page also includes a PDF file with outline notes of the content, such as this one in reference to the first lecture.  Cairns makes great points regarding many topics, looking at scripture texts including Daniel, Hosea, and other relevant scriptures, taking a futurist view regarding the unfulfilled prophecies and referencing some of the well-known SGAT resources such as B.W. Newton and S.P. Tregelles. 

In ‘The Millennium’ he briefly mentions his own view of Ezekiel 40-48, a particular sub-topic that has brought forth many different opinions even within historic premillennialism.  Some of the 19th century classic covenantal premillennialists saw these chapters as describing a future millennial church worship structure, such as Charles Spurgeon’s view — and I am here addressing only the issue of the temple structure itself, and not the question of the described animal sacrifices). However, Cairns took the idea I’ve heard from some amillennialists, that the temple was a description of what could be provided, conditionally upon Israel’s repentance; but that repentance did not happen, thus this temple was never built.  Personally, I do not find that idea satisfactory; but the overall material from Cairns is helpful and interesting.

Another series of interest is Millennial Milestones: six messages from the year 2000, with history highlights from the last thousand years, starting with an interesting history lesson from 11th century England, on down through the recent centuries.  In this series Cairns provided summary themes for these eras of time, such as describing the 17th century, with reference to the activities and events of the Pilgrims and the Puritans, both in the American colonies and in Britain, as “The Quest for Purity and Liberty.”  The lesson on the 20th century, Back to Babel, has a good summary of the modern ecumenical movement in its various forms, what Cairns saw — and this was over 20 years ago — as the boldest attempt yet to reverse God’s curse: the return to Babel, the great development of the ‘one world’ church movement with headship of the Roman Catholic Church.  “Watch the Jew” and “Watch Europe” are some key takeaways.

I’ve listened to a few other messages, such as a few on particular Psalms (including some of his series on Psalm 138), and a few messages on the later chapters in Luke’s gospel — part of his Life of Christ series, which included teaching on some but not all texts from Luke and the other gospels. From what I’ve listened to so far, I also appreciate Cairns for his depth of subject matter, including the experimental (he noted his dislike of the term ‘experiential,’ preferring “experimental”) focus of the Christian life, and his descriptions such as in his sermon about Jesus’ temptation, in the Garden of Gethsemane, by the devil, and the reality of demonic activity that affects believers.

So, as others have recommended Alan Cairns, I now add my recommendation as well, for this great resource for sermon listening.

  1. Gerry
    May 5, 2021 at 10:14 am

    Hi Lynda:

    Thanks for posting this.

    I just read the pdf on the Antichrist and found it most satisfying. Ditto on The millennium, The Ezekiel matter of the Temple and sacrifices I find to be a small one, as the bulk of the material is a clear defense of much neglected truth in a time of apostasy as, “because of Lawlessness, the hearts of many grow cold”.

    I thought about moving to join a FP church at one point because of their millennial and experiential teaching emphasis.

    Hope this finds you and yours well,

    In Him,

    • May 5, 2021 at 1:56 pm

      Thanks Gerry. Yes, it’s greate material overall, and I’ve found other FPC material online, good resources. I’ve recently started listening to a series that Alan Cairns preached (back in the late 1980s), on the Holy Spirit — thorough and helpful, more depth than most current day teaching.


      • Gerry
        May 6, 2021 at 7:41 am

        When I was converted The Lord, The Spirt, sat me down and led me through the various passages that deal with the ministry of The Spirit, “the promise of the Father”. Each of these passages had been ignored, slighted, twisted or wrested by my prior teachers, and it was clear that it was to my advantage that Christ must “go away”, just as it was to the advantage of the Apostles to whom He said this, for otherwise He would not send the comforter.

        i still recall reading Goodwin at that and how he said that The Spirit was the neglected member of the Trinity in the teaching of the church… nothing new under the sun.

        Goodwin also taught about the matter of “distinct communion” with each member of the Godhead by which hevwas referring to how each member of the Godhead communes with the child of God in a manner characteristic of their Biblical Role described in The Everlasting Covenant.

        Bunyan saw this and described it in his Pilgrims Progress in various places, one of which is at Christians receipt of various gifts by “the tree shining ones” at the foot of the cross.

        I have observed, with delight and blessing, this same phenomena in my own life at various times.

        It is also interesting to note that Paul made these experiential interactions with The Spirit the very basis of his arguments to his hearers in many critical verses; ie: “The Spirit Himself witnesseth with our Spirit that we are children of God”; and : “the earnest of our inheritance” is also held forth. Is not an earnest a “down payment, an actual part of the full price to be received? Yes, of course it is, and no wonder then that the godly puritans spoke of spending blessed times where their communion was as a bit of “heaven on earth”, for according to Gods Word that is exactly what it is.

        In Him

      • May 7, 2021 at 1:05 pm

        Yes, great points about the Holy Spirit’s role and work. As pointed out in this series from Dr. Cairns, so many people say they want ‘the Spirit’s leading’ — to bless them in whatever activity, material prosperity or other. But they don’t want to be filled/indwelled with the Spirit, to first be walking in the Spirit. Jesus’ beginning of ministry (Luke 4:1) shows the proper sequence and focus: He was filled with the Holy Spirit, and then He was led by the Spirit — and led not to pleasure, prosperity, but led into the wilderness to be tested. This, among many great points that he brings up, on the Spirit, the “neglected member of the Trinity in the teaching of the church.”

      • Gerry
        May 8, 2021 at 7:54 am

        Hi Lynda:

        Oh yes, how very true of our attempt to make The Spirit our “Jeanie”, before He comes “first as a Spirit of bondage to fear” in order to show us our slavery to sin and Satan, and thus great need of Christ for salvation.

        He comes as “comforter”, after we are shown our great need of comfort, as “The Spirit of power and love and sound mind”, after we are shown our powerlessness, lovelessness and madness.

        He is our Illuminator after we see our darkness, our teacher, after we see our need of understanding, our sanctifier, after we see our unholiness by nature.

        Nor do we see any of these needs until He graciously reveals them to us, again and again.

        What do we have that we did not receive?

        In Him

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