Pastor Peter Simpson was preaching the gospel in High Wycombe High Street on July 23rd. There were thankfully plenty of shoppers passing by. The minister was supported by Mr David Campbell and his family, Mrs Lis Outten and brother Neill Slade. These helpers handed out tracts and engaged in conversations wherever possible.
In more than one of these conversations the gospel was presented by means of first going through various of God’s commandments and by gently challenging the listener if he/she felt that they had ever broken them. Every honest person of course has to admit that the commandments have been broken, often in thought, as well as in the outward act. The law being a schoolmaster to lead men to Christ (Galatians 3:24) provides the perfect opening for emphasising the need of a Saviour from sin.
In one conversation Mr Slade challenged a Muslim who argued that, whilst honouring Christ as a prophet, he could never worship Him, since He was a mere man. This issue is of course is the major stumbling block for Muslims, namely the nature of Christ’s Person. How it is necessary to impress upon the followers of Mohammed that “He that honoureth not the Son honoureth not the Father which hath sent him” (John 5:23). In other words, it must be made clear that to deny the deity of Jesus of Nazareth is to deny God the Father Himself. It is also to contradict Jesus’s own testimony to Himself in for, example, John 5:18, where it is plain from the opposition against Him that He was indeed claiming to be fully divine :
“Therefore the Jews sought the more to kill him, because he not only had broken the sabbath, but said also that God was his Father, making himself equal with God. Then answered Jesus and said unto them … As the Father raiseth up the dead, and quickeneth them; even so the Son quickeneth whom he will” (John 5:18,19,21). So the Lord there openly claims to have the same power to raise the dead as His heavenly Father.
Some of Pastor Simpson’s preaching emphasised that the coronavirus was God calling out to the nation to seek Him. In this connection, at one point a lady came by and said that the poster which Mr Campbell was holding was ‘disgusting’. The poster reads, ‘CORONAVIRUS is a call to the nation to pray to the God who can remove it, if the people humble themselves and come to Christ’.
This lady’s dismissive comment reveals the depth of secularisation in modern Britain, in that there is no understanding that all events happen in God’s providence, including epidemics, nor that in a fallen world sickness is one of the fruits of man’s ongoing rebellion against His Maker.
Previous generations understood that in a fallen world all people including even faithful Christians are subject to disease, and that all people without exception are of course subject to death. Some Christians have in the last few months died from the coronavirus. It is not of course that any individuals are being personally judged, but ever since Adam’s rebellion in the Garden of Eden sickness is inevitably an aspect of life in a world which is under God’s curse, as described in Genesis 3:17-19.
The modern secularist needs to stop and consider why it is that we do not live in a perfect world. Why are death, disease and natural calamities always with us? The answer to this question is a theological one. These curses upon human existence occur because of man’s sin, and have been occurring ever since the first man Adam’s initial rebellion.
Also, major and widespread outbreaks of disease are God speaking to a nation. The pandemic, and all the economic and social problems following in its wake, represent the withdrawal of God’s blessing from our rebellious land. People should respond to the coronavirus by being humbled. They should see their need to turn to the God who brought this pandemic upon the nation in His providence. Sadly, many in Britain are responding by ignoring God, and resorting instead to a trust in human agencies, and to an unhealthy reliance upon the State and its taxpayer-funded institutions to bring them deliverance from all the nation’s problems.
Prayer is now being offered up that many who heard the gospel in High Wycombe may turn in repentance and faith to Him who in His earthly ministry demonstrated that He has power over all disease, and indeed over death, namely our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ.