“Know ye not that there is a prince and a great man fallen this day in Israel” [2 Samuel 3:38]
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. He fell victim to this awful pandemic. 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. Alan left strict instructions that there were to be no tributes, otherwise, we would have written a lot more, so this is in the nature of an obituary. Besides he cannot object to us following Scripture “Let another man praise thee” [Proverbs 27:2].
Alan Cairns pastored churches in Dunmurry and Cabra (now Hebron F.P.C.), and 25 years in Greenville, South Carolina before he retired to Ballymoney. Apart from his beloved wife Joan, theology was the love of his life. He lectured in theology from the early days of our denomination and our church has lost a valuable asset. His Dictionary of Theological Terms, which ran to three editions, has been a great tool for pastors and others. He edited three blessed books of daily readings, Footprints of Faith (1989), Eagles’ Wings (1991), and A Word in Season (2010). A little booklet, Christ is the Answer containing virtually only scriptural quotations on salvation has been a powerful evangelical tool in leading souls to Christ. He was also the initial driving force behind the Let The Bible Speak radio ministry.
I wish I could tell you of Alan’s powerful preaching of Christ, his pastor’s heart of love, his happy disposition, his sense of humour but an obituary would soon become a tribute.
Please remember the Cairns family in prayer. The Covid19 restrictions made the last weeks incredibly difficult for Joan, their son Frank and his family in the U.S. He was prevented from attending his father’s funeral. Our heartfelt sympathy goes out to them at this time.