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Breaking News All | The Vault | United Prayer | SA Newsroom
FRONT PAGE  |  12/5/2022
Choice News FRIDAY, NOV 6, 2020  |  16 comments
A Tribute to Alan Cairns, SermonAudio's First Preacher

My name is Steven Lee, Founder of SermonAudio. Dr. Alan Cairns, my former pastor and mentor, has gone to be with the Lord two days ago. I am still grieving over this loss and as I was sitting in my office watching some of his sermons again, I felt compelled to do what I could to honor the memory of this man of God by telling the story of how he became "SermonAudio's first preacher."

Courage and honesty.

Most people don't know this about me, but although I was studying Computer Science at BJU, I actually had a strong desire to go into the ministry being so moved by the powerful preaching of Alan Cairns week after week. I remember going in to speak with him about this matter and to my surprise he, in essence, told me 'no' as he said he detected other gifts in me. It was a humbling rejection but in retrospect, over 20 years later, I can now see the providence of God in that day. If it were not for his courage and honesty with me, SermonAudio may never have been born.

SermonAudio is born.

Even though my path to full-time ministry was blocked, my love of preaching and my desire to be engaged in Kingdom work never diminished. I sat for a total of twenty years under the preaching of Dr. Cairns and it has had an incalculable impact on my life. Back in the 90's I remember watching this man tirelessly pour his heart and soul into a sermon to a congregation of only a handful of people. 'What a shame that more people weren't able to hear this,' I thought. I remember looking at a wall of cassette tapes in the back room collecting dust and thinking, 'These could still be a blessing to so many people.' There needs to be a platform where small but faithful churches could upload their sermons and reach thousands. That's when the idea of SermonAudio was born and I owe it, under God, to the preaching ministry of Dr. Alan Cairns.

His were the first sermons to go up on the site and so that makes him "SermonAudio's first preacher." If you have benefited in any way from this website, we should thank God for men like Dr. Alan Cairns who inspired other men to use their gifts for the Kingdom.

Q&A with Alan Cairns.

One of the most remarkable interactions I had with Dr. Cairns was back in November of 2008 when I spent a few days recording a series of Q&A videos with him. I came that first day with a list of questions on a notepad and my camera. What happened next astonished me. Without any prior preparation, every question I asked was immediately answered, word-perfect, with full Scripture support—all in a single take! I knew at that moment that I was dealing with an unusually wise and gifted man of God that was able to handle the Scriptures like a skilled swordsman handling his sword with mastery and grace. I have edited a special "behind-the-scenes" video of my very first Q&A with Dr. Cairns so you can see what I mean for yourself.

In closing, I wish simply to leave with you a sample clip of a sermon that is as pertinent today as it ever was when first preached in 2003. Dr. Cairns' legacy will continue on in the 6,000+ sermons that are freely available. Be sure to start with his Prayer Talks that were delivered on the Wednesday evening prayer meetings.


"I have just learned of the passing away of Dr. Alan Cairns, a theological giant in the church. I have long used his Dictionary of Theological Terms as a primary source for better grasping and teaching sound doctrine. His ability to compress profound theological truth into a condensed and accessible summary is a rare gift that will be greatly missed. Though he is now with his Lord, Dr. Cairns remains on my desk and at my side with this invaluable resource."

— Dr. Steven Lawson, OnePassion Ministries

"How greatly I enjoyed Dr. Cairns’ company on those occasions when our paths crossed. He was Spirit-filled, and it showed not only in the pulpit, but also in his daily walk of life. He was serious about eternal Truth and all other things that matter, but he was jocular, and even playful, about ordinary things. God used him and Joan greatly here in their Greenville years at Faith Free. I was always grateful for the influence of their lives and ministry on the students and faculty who attend Faith. They are forever indebted to them for their example and mentorship."

— Dr. Bob Jones III, Bob Jones University

"It was with genuine sorrow that we said farewell to Dr. Alan Cairns on Thursday. At 80 years of age he went to his eternal reward from the hand of Christ whom he served for a lifetime. Alan and I first met in the newly–formed Mount Merrion church in Northern Ireland in the mid-fifties. Since then our friendship has blossomed as brothers in Christ and fellow-workers for the Lord. I wish I could tell you of Alan’s powerful preaching of Christ, his pastor’s heart of love, his happy disposition, and his sense of humour. Please remember the Cairn’s family in prayer. Due to the Covid19 restrictions the last weeks have been incredibly difficult for Joan and also their son Frank, and his family in the U.S. Frank could not attend his father’s funeral. Please pray much for them."

— Dr. Frank McClelland, Toronto FPC

"A great theologian and preacher has entered the presence of His Lord. We will miss our godly friend and mentor in the gospel, but we will see him again. I will never forget his personal encouragement and words of wisdom which have impacted and strengthened my life and ministry. He preached Christ and His righteousness with great passion. The clarity of the gospel delivered from his pulpit has given me great understanding. I am indebted to this choice servant of Christ. His works follow him. As we grieve his loss we remember that "Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His saints."

— Dr. Bill Jones, New York Gospel Ministries

"I now stand in the pulpit from which he preached sermons that have blessed untold thousands of souls. Although I labor in the congregation to which he committed almost 30 years of his life, I am well aware that I am no Dr. Cairns. He was, without question in my mind, one of the greatest preachers of his generation in the English-speaking world. As so often is the case, I believe future generations will appreciate his body of work far more than the current generation. Yet, like many of those to whom I minister, the influence of this mighty preacher is upon us. I last spoke to Dr. Cairns at the beginning of the year—a two-hour conversation via FaceTime. He assured me he was praying for me every day. He always believed that the best is yet to be, and while his voice no longer pierces heaven for the Lord's work, I trust his prayers will yet be answered, and that Greenville will see the revival for which he earnestly prayed."

— Rev. Armen Thomassian, Faith FPC

"Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth: Yea, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labours; and their works do follow them." Revelation 14:13.

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News Item12/6/2020 12:18 AM
Steven Gysler | Cakifornia, USA  Contact via emailFind all comments by Steven Gysler
The first preacher I listened to many years ago on S.A. I used to download them and bring them to work so that other Christians could benefit from his ministry. This video interview is amazing. Thank you for sharing.

News Item11/24/2020 4:32 PM
Eda S | Albania  Find all comments by Eda S
l have listened to several messages of Dr. Cairns on this site and have been very blessed. Praise God for teachers like him! Thank you Father for the legacy he has left us!

News Item11/8/2020 10:46 PM
Jim Fulton | Forest City NC  Find all comments by Jim Fulton
Pastor Cairns holds a special place in my heart as it was under his preaching in Greenville SC that God first gave me faith to trust Christ fully for salvation. I know I speak for many when I say that I dearly loved pastor Cairns and he will truly be missed. And why did we all love Pastor Cairns so much? Well, I believe more than anything else, it was because of the Christ-likeness that he exemplified. Not that he was great in and of himself but rather Christ in him. I thank God for the example that was/is pastor Cairns. We grieve for our loss but rejoice knowing that pastor Cairns has been promoted to glory! Amen.

News Item11/7/2020 9:25 PM
Wayfarer pilgrim | Lubbock, Texas  Find all comments by Wayfarer pilgrim
I am privileged to listen to “ let the Bible speak” 7am CST on vcy radio. The call of the preacher is to preach the Word of God. Dr. Cairns has entered the narrow gate.

News Item11/7/2020 7:27 PM
Dr Charles H Roberts | Mauldin, South Carolina  Protected NameFind all comments by Dr Charles H Roberts
Dr Cairns' home-going marks the passing of another of the old fighters who stood with Dr Paisley and others in the early days. May his, and their, memory be eternal. No Surrender!

News Item11/7/2020 6:37 PM
Samuel Ashwood | Oklahoma  Contact via emailFind all comments by Samuel Ashwood
I never had the privilege of meeting brother Cairns, but have listened to hundreds of his messages, and hope to hear hundreds more. Dr. Cairns was a great gift of God to His church, and although sad to hear he is gone, we thank the Lord for his legacy of faithful gospel preaching

News Item11/7/2020 12:27 PM
FG | USA  Find all comments by FG
What a great great great loss for the church of our day. Coupled with the loss of our dear brother Garry Hendrix, this has not been a good week. I am personally not a great fan of the popular pastors and and teachers of our day, but Dr. Cairns is, with a small handful of others, an exception to that. He has reached me in ways that few others have. Sorry, but that's the reality. His "prayer talk"(s) have ben exceptionally helpful and we could all take a few lessons from him on contending for the faith in the sorry day in which we live. I'm sorry I never had the opportunity of meeting him personally, but I'm thankful to SermonAudio for for his archived materials. Our loss is Christ's great gain, for he endured the turned face of the Father to redeem this saint. And so Heaven rejoices. I extend my deepest sympathies to his wife and son for their great loss. Having just recently lost my wife, I understand that this loss is greatest to them.

News Item11/7/2020 11:45 AM
P J Gordon | Helensburgh, Scotland  Protected NameFind all comments by P J Gordon
I first found about Dr. Alan Cairns back in 2005 here on SermonAudio, while searching Dr. Ian Paisley’s services.

I was listening and watching regularly to Dr. Cairns and week after week the Holy Spirit was convicting me through his preaching. It was like I was in a boxing ring, on the ropes with punch after punch and then one blow I was on the floor and realised I was a sham before God.

I had sinned against Him most of my life in a backslidden hole and I needed to repent and totally turn away from my sinful life back to a relationship with Jesus.

I thank the Lord for using Dr. Alan Cairn to minister the Word of God to me through SermonAudio.


News Item11/7/2020 8:44 AM
Susan W | Scotland  Protected NameFind all comments by Susan W
DR ALAN CAIRNS went Home today [Thursday 5th November] to be with the One whom he loved and whom he so faithfully and effectually served all his life. He was a good and faithful servant, to whom so many owe so much.
Please remember his wife, Joan, and the family in prayer.
Thank you, heavenly Father, for leaving such a plentiful legacy behind Dr Cairns that will continue to nourish the souls of many.
Thank you, Lord, for the gracious gift to mankind of this man and the ministry Thou blessed him with. May it please Thee to raise up others with a double portion of his spirit to continue that work in this ever darkening world. May the same gifts of liberty, unction and power in preaching Thy Word, which it pleased Thee to bestow upon Alan Cairns, be the prayerful longing and earnest endeavour of every minister of the gospel today. May neither pulpit nor pew be content with anything less.
Thank you, Lord. Now glorify Thyself as only Thou art able, and let us behold Thy glory for the mutual encouragement of our never-dying souls. In Jesus precious and peerless name we ask.
‘…the LORD gave, and the LORD hath taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD’ Job 1:21

News Item11/7/2020 8:10 AM
John Lee | Wales  Find all comments by John Lee
A remarkable brother, greatly gifted and instructed by the Lord, humble yet authoritative in all his preaching. Produced much fruit. Gone home now, to a far better place.

News Item11/7/2020 5:43 AM
Natalie | Sydney  Find all comments by Natalie
6,274 sermons from Dr Cairns uploaded to SermonAudio. What a legacy. His were some of the first sermons I listened to when I discovered this site some years ago now. He was a wonderful preacher and teacher even from such a distance. Now at home with the Lord. My condolences to his family,friends and colleagues.

News Item11/7/2020 5:18 AM
David K. | Greenfield, Indiana  Contact via emailFind all comments by David K.
When I learned of Dr. Cairns illness over a week ago, I wanted to pray "Lord please deliver Dr. Cairns from this illness, so that he can have years of continued ministry among us." But, I knew, Lord willing, that this could only be part of my prayer. He was Christ's slave. And there has never been a more gracious Master. He knew what was best for His servant. Steven, Christ's ministry through Dr. Cairns will continue, along with many other servants of the Lord, because of the grace of Christ in your life. THANKYOU! May the Lord give you comfort through the gospel Dr. Cairns so readily preached.

News Item11/7/2020 5:15 AM
B. McCausland  Find all comments by B. McCausland
Thank you Mr. Lee for that indebted tribute about the significance of Dr Cairns' ministry in the context of what is known as SermonAudio today.

Benefiting from SermonAudio throughout the years, and aware of the story behind its origins, we appreciate you bringing it up for the knowledge of many and for God's praise.
How wonderful and perfect are His ways.

Dr. Cairns can be rightfully known as a true 'Doctor' of the Word. He did not bear the title in vain, because he did not only tell his audience the what of the Gospel, but the why and the how of it, along with its depth, making his passionate preaching glow with assurance, radiance, conviction, and eternal reality.

We bless the Lord for favouring his church in gifting this unassuming Ulster gentleman with specific gifts of grace to unable him to become a master piece of Christian service.

The seeing in part is become now for him the seeing fully about how we have been loved in the Beloved from eternity, which theme he delighted so much to preach on.

His works follow him.


News Item11/7/2020 2:22 AM
Chrisgp from England | England  Find all comments by Chrisgp from England
I have been greatly encouraged and blessed by the ministry of Dr Alan Cairns exclusively throug the means of Sermon Audio. This dear man had a passion for the Lord Jesus Christ and for His Word and for preaching it powerfully. I have heard sermons, Q & A sessions, Reformation Day presentations, and some years back actually watched a live stream of a complete service at Faith Free when such things were not common. I wrote Dr Cairns a letter, and received a lovely personal reply from him a week or so later. I have no doubt that the ministry of Dr Cairns has impacted multitudes not only in USA and Northern Ireland, in the churches where he preached through his live appearances, and the seminaries where he taught, but also across the world through Sermon Audio, to people who never met him.

News Item11/6/2020 10:48 PM
Youth in Asia | Asia  Find all comments by Youth in Asia
His sermons shaped my Christian life more than I can imagine. Listening to the Let Bible Speak Radio for years made me create my own radio show for my Chinese Bible students, I also called it Let the Bible Speak Radio.

Enjoy your upgrade to heaven Mr. Alan Cairns! See you soon


News Item11/6/2020 8:14 PM
The Quiet Christian  Find all comments by The Quiet Christian
Sincerest condolences, Steve. While the direction of your life is not what you once dreamed, pleae know that Dr. Cairns was correct. The impact of SA has multiplied and preserved many fine preachers, transmitting their preaching across the years and continents.
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