July 31st proved to be an eventful time, as Pastors John Sherwood and Peter Simpson preached the gospel in the centre of Uxbridge on an incredibly hot day. They were helped by the stalwart Mrs Eve Hammond.
As soon as Pastor Simpson arrived to set up the witness, a man came up to him and said, “I am off. You are about to engage in a breach of the peace”. The minister replied, “I have come to hold forth the world of life”.
One rack of gospels and leaflets put out on display for the members of the public to take copies from was stolen whilst the witnessing Christians were occupied in their preaching/conversations. Also, a teenage boy picked up a large collection of tracts also on display and started to distribute them in a mocking manner. They then all ended up on the ground. How sad to see this contempt for Christian ministers engaged in a public Christian witness.
One man heckled Pastor Simpson as he was preaching, saying something along the lines of, “Why don’t you just shut up?” Pastor Simpson responded that such an enlightened and well thought out comment was hardly a valid critique of Christian truth. He then challenged the heckler to think about the historicity of the life of Jesus Christ and to consider what He actually did. His life surely demands a more considered response.
One man approached the Penn pastor with utter incredulity in his voice and body language. Christianity is all about Jesus loving and accepting everyone, so how could the preachers with any consistency object to abortion or the LGBT agenda? He was referring to the poster on these subjects which the pastor was holding.
The minister replied that the Lord Jesus Christ receives and forgives only those who repent, and that in Psalm 5 there is a clear statement concerning the Lord’s attitude to the unrepentant, which reads, “Thou hatest all workers of iniquity” (v5). Whilst our Lord in His mercy does indeed reach out to all, all are most definitely not basking in His love, until such time as they repent and trust in Him from the heart (Luke 13:3).
A man came up to Pastor Sherwood and showed him a tattoo on his arm of a horned and tailed figure representing the Devil. He then said with some glee that the Devil was the one whom he followed. The North London pastor told him that his statement was correct, which is why he was heading for the nearby betting shop, and just living for this life regardless of his immortal soul.
Pastor Sherwood also had a lengthy and constructive conversation with an intelligent young woman who openly confessed to being motivated by a reverence for Mother Earth, and who also set great spiritual store by being a vegan. She also emphasised the importance of being concerned about climate change.
The pastor spoke to her about her need to honour her Creator, not the creation, and in respect of climate change, he pointed her to Genesis 8:22, “While the earth remaineth, seedtime and harvest, and cold and heat, and summer and winter, and day and night shall not cease”. In other words, God controls the climate : He always has and He always will.
A young man walking by rejected Pastor Simpson’s preaching on the ground that “he believed in science”. The preacher replied to him that science would not be able to help him on the Day of Judgement, but that in any case there was no conflict between science and the Bible.
He also reminded him that the founding father of modern science, Isaac Newton, was himself a six day creationist. The passer-by insisted, however, upon the scientifically proven veracity of evolution. Pastor Simpson replied that science did not support evolutionary notions, and explained that the fossil record was devoid of transitional forms supporting evolution’s claims of man’s slow and gradual development over millions of years from the beasts.
The young man also asserted that it was unscientific to believe that there were dinosaurs on Noah’s Ark. Pastor Simpson told him that men and dinosaurs coexisted on this earth, and cited to him some evidence of dinosaurs having existed on the earth far more recently than millions of years ago, namely the finding in recent years of soft tissue containing red blood cells in dinosaur bones. Soft tissue cannot possibly survive for 65 million years, which is how long ago, according to evolutionary science, dinosaurs were supposed to have died out.
Pastor Simpson also spoke to two older teenagers, and the conversation also (almost inevitably) moved to abortion and LGBT matters. One of the teenagers claimed to be a ‘nihilist’, and said that if two men want to love each other, they should be free to do so, if that is what they find their ‘natural inclination’ to be. After all, there is no purpose to life other than doing what you want to do.
The preacher responded to the teenager that he was making the false assumption that following one’s nature could only be a good thing. The Bible teaches, however, that what we are by nature is not good. Our natures are fallen and corrupted. Homosexuality is just one of any number of sins which men choose, precisely because they have corrupted hearts. As the Lord Jesus Christ declared, ““For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders” (Mark 7:21).
The Penn minister also suggested politely to the two teenagers that they only believe what they do, because they are following the spirit of the age and avoiding the ostracisation that would inevitably come upon them, if they dared to oppose abortion and LGBT propaganda.
As the three Christians were leaving after some three and a half hours of witnessing, a man sitting outside of a nearby pub shouted out, “Goodbye and don’t come back”. Pastor Simpson shouted back, “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners”. May many who heard the gospel in Uxbridge come to realise their urgent need to flee to the Saviour, before it is too late.