Pastors John Sherwood and Peter Simpson were preaching the gospel in the centre of Uxbridge on Friday (April 9th).
Passers-by were told of how the country was enveloped in fear and that this was a fruit of its rejection of the God of providence, who gives to the believer a peace of mind about what will happen to him, especially in matters of health.
One lady walking past was quite annoyed, and said that it was most inappropriate for the ministers to be shouting OUT in public. Pastor Simpson explained that it was not shouting, but preaching, so that as many people as possible could hear the urgent message. Another lady said that it was wrong for the ministers to try and force their views on people, and that Covid-19 meant that there was a need for quiet reflection, not shouting in the street. The Penn minister responded that absolutely no compulsion was involved in a verbal proclamation, which could quite easily be ignored, and pointed out that the current great levels of fear and anxiety in society made such public proclamation even more essential.
A male objector to the preaching claimed that Christianity was responsible for slavery. Pastor Simpson reminded the man that Bible-believing Christians had brought about the abolition of the slave trade.
At the conclusion of the witness the two pastors had a long conversation with two muslim PhD students from the local university, who argued that Islam and Christianity taught essentially the same things. It was courteously pointed out to them that in fact there are enormous differences between the two faiths over a) the Person of Christ and b) the means of salvation.
Regarding our Lord’s Person, Islam denies the essential truth that the Lord Jesus Christ was far more than just a prophet, but was in fact God manifest in the flesh, the eternal Son of God who is the Creator of all things. To deny Christ’s true status as God’s Son is to deny God the Father also. In other words, one simply cannot believe in God at all, unless one acknowledges the Son’s deity and absolute authority.
Regarding how a man is saved from his sins, so as to be received into eternal glory, the two ministers explained how Islam teaches that good works, including religious duties, are balanced against sins, in the hope that the former will outweigh the latter. In other words, in Islam salvation lays much emphasis upon a man’s good works, in the uncertain hope that these might count for more than personal sins in the scales of God’s justice.
In Christianity, in contrast, salvation is by grace alone and cannot be earned, but can only come about through a God-initiated atonement between the sinner and the holy God, an atonement effected by means of the shedding of blood. “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God” (Ephesians 2:8).
May the Lord open the eyes of these Muslims to see their need to flee to the Saviour for mercy. Indeed, may this be the case for many others also who heard the gospel message in Uxbridge upon this day.