SLOUGH : FIERCE OPPONENT TOLD THAT THE GOD OF THE OLD TESTAMENT IS EXACTLY THE SAME AS THE GOD OF THE NEW, AND ALL MUST HUMBLE THEMSELVES BEFORE HIM TODAY
Pastors Peter Simpson and John Sherwood were preaching the gospel in Slough High Street on June 19th, helped by Mrs Lesley Pilkington.
Pastor Simpson had a conversation with a Muslim young man who adamantly defended the truth of Islam, the integrity of the Qur’an, and declared that the Bible was corrupted and untrustworthy. Yet he also appeared to be singularly unconcerned about the need for personal holiness in his own life, as was manifested by the way in which he was speaking. One is reminded in this context of the words of Hebrews 12:14,
“Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord”.
Regarding the Islamic claim the Bible has been changed and cannot be relied upon, Pastor Simpson referred to the Qur’an’s own endorsement of the Bible’s authority, and he also referred to the third caliph, Uthman, who ruled from 644 to 656.
During Uthman’s reign, some 19 years following Mohammed’s death, there were disagreements about the text of the Qur’an. Uthman therefore decreed that an official version should be complied, and that all other sources and fragments of the Qur’an should be destroyed. This historic detail was stated in order to counter the Islamic claim that the Qur’anic text has always been undisputed and without variation. Indeed, one of Mohammed’s leading scholars, Abdullah bin Masud, called the official version of the Qur’an a deception, and also said that it contained three chapters which should not be there at all.
There was much mocking of Pastor Sherwood’s preaching, and someone remarked, “Oh, he is not going on about repentance again”. Of course, such an emphasis is merely to emulate the preaching of the Lord Jesus Christ Himself, of whom we read in Mark’s Gospel,
“Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God,And saying, The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel” (Mark 1:14–15).
Mrs Pilkington had a constructive conversation with a lady in her 40s, explaining the gospel to her and, using Psalm 139, setting out the reality of God having created each one of us. The lady responded that she had never heard the Christian message explained to her in such a way before, and she seemed genuinely moved. The witnessing sister prayed with her, and she took some tracts and a Gospel of John. It is hoped that she will speak again to Mrs Pilkington the next time that the witness takes place in Slough.
There was a further conversation with a man who was very confrontational. He spoke of the dark forces controlling the world, but did not understand them from any kind of Biblical perspective, namely that all non-believers are in an unwitting allegiance to Satan, the prince of this world.
The man railed against the terrible and cruel God of the Old Testament. Mrs Pilkington explained that the Christian message is as much in the Old Testament as in the New, for the whole of the Bible is about the sinner’s relationship to God being restored through repentance and faith, either in the Saviour who is to come (Old Testament) or in the Saviour who has come (New Testament). For example, the Old Testament account of the Hebrews being protected by the blood of the Passover lamb and of their being brought out of slavery in Egypt are prophetic pictures of the Lord Jesus Christ – by His death on the Cross – bringing men today out of their slavery to sin.
Following this and similar explanations of the significance of the Old Testament, the man quietened down somewhat and took some evangelistic leaflets. May the Lord open his heart to see the value of all the Bible, and of his own need of salvation. Indeed, may many others who heard the gospel in Slough upon this day come to him who is the true Passover Lamb, the only Redeemer of sinners, the Lord Jesus Christ.