Pastor John Sherwood of Pilgrim Tabernacle Church in Finchley, Pastor Mark Mullins of Strangers’ Rest Evangelical Church in London’s East End and Pastor Peter Simpson of Penn Free Methodist Church in Buckinghamshire, were preaching the gospel at Brighton’s Pride parade on Saturday August 3rd. They were also assisted by Mr Damian Jankowski from Slough.
Brighton is known as the ‘gay’ capital of the UK, and the parade and its associated concerts and festive gatherings constitute one of the largest Pride events in the country. Thousands upon thousands of people poured into the city to celebrate Christ-defying immorality and effectively to shake their fist at the Trinitarian God.
The witnessing Christians endured endless vulgar gestures and four letter words cast in their faces. It seems as if many of the parade supporters were simply unable to speak without using such expletives.
This year’s parade placed special emphasis on commemorating and celebrating the Stonewall riots of 1969. However, it needs to be asked, Can rioting (five days of it) against the forces of law and order ever be justified? There are surely other more civilised ways of tackling perceived injustice.
The police officers who raided the Stonewall gay bar (which was owned by a criminal syndicate) had a warrant to do so, and found bootlegged alcohol on the premises. They arrested 13 people on these grounds. In the subsequent rioting the police had to barricade themselves inside the bar, to which the rioters then tried to set fire. Is attempting to burn down a building inside of which are policemen carrying out their lawful duty an act which should be celebrated?
The witnessing brethren were often told that “Jesus judges no one” and that they were guilty of being judgemental for saying that homosexuality is sinful. The preachers responded that Christ is only merciful to those who repent, and that He is returning to this earth as the Judge of all flesh.
So often the pro-LGBT revellers and those in the parade itself were hyped up by heavy beat music. The manner in which a group of young people danced in front of the preachers was living evidence that their celebration was about lust, not ‘love’, as they were claiming. Mothers with young babies were there supporting the festivities, one of whom remonstrated with Pastor Simpson for his alleged unloving attitude and prejudice.
The brethren engaged, where possible, in conversations with passers-by, going though various relevant Scripture verses with them.
What an incredibly successful job the LGBT movement has done in transforming attitudes across society : even older people were seen supporting the parade and showing their incredulous reaction that any Christians should have the effrontery to protest against the day’s proceedings.
The witness was positioned right on the seafront at Brighton opposite the Grand Hotel. Parade supporters were dancing on the balconies of the hotel rooms, and later on some of them jeered the preachers, as they walked back to the station after the parade had finished.
It was often pointed out by those incensed at the preachers’ presence that there were only four Christians there as opposed to there being hundreds of thousands of parade supporters, but Pastor Simpson kept on telling them that eternal moral truth is never arrived at by majority vote : “Thou shalt not follow a multitude to do evil” (Exodus 23:2).
Despite the wholesale rejection of and abuse towards the witnessing Christians by the so-called enlightened and progressive liberal masses, this witness was thoroughly worthwhile. Often parade supporters were spending their time focusing on the preachers rather than on the parade itself. Why did they not just walk on by, if the tiny handful of Christians were so inconsequential in the general scheme of things?
The fact is that they were troubled by being challenged. Even non-believers still retain some notion of God’s holy law despite their unregenerate state (Romans 1:19 and 2:15). The Scripture verses on display had their own particular power. People could be seen slowly mouthing the words of them as they walked past : “Be – sure – your – sin – will – find – you – out”, for example.
What right had the Christians to come and spoil someone else’s event?, the parade supporters asked. They responded that the parade was most definitely not a private event. It is held on the public highway precisely in order to be seen by the general public. It is a public statement that everyone who does not embrace the gay agenda is a nasty bigot. Such parades are openly supported by political parties and national institutions, including the Police and Fire Brigade, trades’ unions, universities and public bodies such as the NHS. This makes its everybody’s business, not a private affair which Christians have no right to be present at.
Thankfully, the word of God pierced Brighton’s gross spiritual darkness. The brethren went home weeping at the state of the nation, but realising ever more clearly the absolute necessity to have been there, and understanding in an ever deeper manner the significance of God’s command in Ezekiel 2,
“Thou shalt speak my words unto them, whether they will hear, or whether they will forbear … (They) shall know that there hath been a prophet among them” (Ezekiel 2:7,5).
Pastor Peter Simpson