Pastors John Sherwood and Peter Simpson were preaching the gospel in Uxbridge town centre on October 16th, assisted by Mrs Patrica Newman from the church at Penn and Chrisden de Souza from Pastor John’s church in Finchley.
As in Slough earlier in the week, people walking past were encouraged, in the midst of taking precautions such as mask-wearing against the Covid-19 virus, to take urgent precautions against the killer virus of sin. They were counselled that in a fallen world risk and disease can never be totally eradicated, and that all need to turn to Him who in His earthly ministry proved that He has power over all disease, the Lord Jesus Christ.
Whilst the preaching centred much on the corruption of the human heart generally and laid no special emphasis upon the sinfulness of homosexuality (though it was just briefly referred to), it was this issue that those passing by opposed to the gospel chose to focus upon, thinking thereby that in defending the LGBT agenda, which is so broadly accepted in society, they were establishing their own righteousness and providing fail-safe evidence that the Bible is in error.
Lengthy conversations were entered into by the preachers and their helpers, including one with two young women in a lesbian relationship, who were deeply offended by the presence of the Christian witness. One of these women also rebuked Pastor Simpson for not wearing a mask, even though the witness was taking place in the open air. Mrs Newman patiently explained Biblical teaching to them, but one of them said that they attended a church which had no problem with same-sex relationships, and and also cited the fact the Church of England ordains homosexual ministers. Christianity is all about love and acceptance, she argued, but the witnessing sister kept emphasising the need for the young woman to read the Bible for herself to find out exactly what it says. Love for one’s neighbour does not mean encouraging them in their sins.
In this same vein Pastor Simpson opened up Romans 1 and read out verses 26 and 27 when involved in a vigorous debate with a group of well educated and well spoken young people, who used all their eloquence to try and undermine the reliability of the Christian Scriptures. They argued that the Bible’s alleged condemnation of homosexuality was due to mis-translation – it is only paedophilia to which the Scriptures refer!! The Romans 1 passage makes it clear, however, that no such mis-translation is remotely possible, referring as it does to men burning in their lust toward one another and working that which is unseemly or shameful in God’s sight.
The Penn minister suggested to them that the reason why they were taking the stance which they did was because they were simply conforming to the woke, pc and fashionable spirit of the age, whereas to follow Christ means being separate from the philosophies of men.
The inevitable argument was also raised that the Bible is self-contradictory, for example in advocating ‘an eye for an eye’ and then teaching that men must ‘turn the other cheek’. Pastor Simpson explained that the first injunction teaches that the punishment for any crime must be in proportion to the nature of that crime, whereas turning the other cheek is about the need to avoid personal revenge.
The young people could not resist resorting to the common expedient continually employed by the forces of cultural Marxism that to be opposed to the LGBT lifestyle on Biblical-moral grounds is to render one guilty of ‘hate’. Pastor Simpson retorted that to disagree with someone is not to hate them.
The argument was also used that the defunct law against eating shellfish in Leviticus 11:10 renders Leviticus 18:22 defunct in respect of condemning homosexual activity. Pastor Simpson endeavoured to explain to those dismissing the Bible in their worldly wisdom that the shellfish regulation was an aspect of the civil law of the Old Testament theocracy of Israel. It was accordingly on the same level as, say, as parking or speeding offences in our day, which are important, as long as they are in force, but which do not represent eternal moral absolutes.
The law concerning sinful, same-sex relationships, however, is an aspect of God’s moral law which stands for all time. It comes under the umbrella of the seventh commandment, which is a statement that all sexual relationships outside of marriage between one man and one woman for life are sinful. The Old Testament dietary law on shellfish also had a very practical application for its time in that it alludes to the fact that toxins readily deposit themselves in shellfish. Fins and scales in ordinary fish facilitate the removal of harmful substances which might be taken in, but there is no such safeguard with shellfish, especially in hot climates. So the law had value in its time, and even today, one must take particular care regarding shellfish, but this injunction does not represent an eternal moral absolute.
The witnessing Christians were also accused of being responsible for encouraging depression and suicides amongst homosexual people. How fine-tuned and emotionally ramped up are all the fallacious arguments employed to undermine any plain expression of Biblical teaching. Many in the world simply refuse to understand that Christians warn about the consequences of sin as an act of love to their neighbour.
Nevertheless, we press on, no matter how unfashionable and socially unacceptable Biblical Christianity becomes, because our calling is to witness to Christ and to His truth, pleasing God and not pleasing men.