SLOUGH : Preachers deal with favourite Muslim argument used to reject Christian truth

Pastor Peter Simpson and John Sherwood were preaching the gospel in Slough High Street on August 16th. A short break was taken at one stage because of a downpour of rain, which of course was much welcome in terms of the recent very dry spell of weather. 

Preaching on Jeremiah 5:22, Pastor Simpson emphasised how men must fear the God who controls the creation and the natural elements. It is He who brings the much needed rain, but why should He do so for such a sinful nation as modern Britain? It is He also who stops the oceans from flooding the continents, as the above text tells us. It is He who controls every aspect of the climate (not man), and who is able to decree that Britain should descend into a horrible and ongoing drought because of all its wilful rebellion against Him. 

The nation’s need for rain, therefore, should make unbelieving men realise their utter dependence of the Creator God whom they so readily ignore. The preaching in particular emphasised how it is the eternal Son of God, the Lord Jesus Christ, who is governing His creation alongside His heavenly Father. “By Him were all things created … and by Him all things consist” (Colossians 1:16,17). 

It was necessary to make this emphasis on the equal authority of the Son with the Father in the context of there being many Muslims in Slough who are continually denying that the Lord Jesus possesses any authority as God at all, because He is only a prophet. As one young Muslim woman put it to Pastor Simpson. “Show me in the Bible does where Jesus says, I am God worship me”.

Muslims of course have been trained to say precisely this to Christians, because they know that such exact words cannot be found in the Bible, but the demand for exact words is a totally flawed line of argument. The absence of preconceived exact words does not at all disprove the fact that the Lord plainly taught His divine status using different words. 

As Christian apologist David Wood advises, Christians can respond to this demand for a format of exact words by saying, “I will show you such exact words if you can show me the exact words where Jesus says, ‘I am just a prophet; do not worship me’ ”. No Muslim of course can find those exact words either in the Quran or in the Bible. 

This reply brings home the shallowness of the whole ‘exact words’ argument, because it has no bearing upon the truth of what Jesus actually taught about Himself. Because He did not use the exact words which Muslims themselves have demanded in advance that He should have used does not in the least disprove that He did not assert Himself to be fully divine using all kinds of words, arguments and Scripture references.

Pastor Simpson pointed out to the young woman who asked for the above ‘exact words’ that those who sought to put the Lord to death accused Him of blasphemy precisely for giving Himself a divine status equal with His Heavenly Father. We read of the Lord in John 5, 

“Therefore the Jews sought the more to kill him, because he … said also that God was his Father, making himself equal with God” (John 5:18–19). 

Pastor Sherwood explaining a Bible passage to a young Muslim woman

Various Muslims contended with the two pastors about the doctrine of the Trinity, asking, Why did Jesus pray to his Father when here on earth? They were told that He prayed to His Father in his humanity. He had laid aside the full glory of his deity and took upon Himself the restrictions of humanity precisely in order to accomplish the salvation of men – for there was no other way for men to be saved. Only man without sin can represent men before the Holy God, and the Lord Jesus Christ is the only man who has ever lived who is without sin. 

The Muslims further asked, How can God die? The ministers replied that the Lord Jesus died in His humanity on the cross, because there is no other way than through the shedding of blood for men to be forgiven; there is no other way than for the penalty for sin to be satisfied than through death. 

Pastor Simpson also challenged another Muslim man who was suggesting that it was idolatry to introduce more than one Person into the Godhead. The Penn minister  responded that, whilst the Godhead is one, it  is made up of three persons, just as the sun in the sky is made up of gas heat and light, three constituent elements but only one sun. The Trinity is a glorious mystery and cannot be reduced to the level of crude mathematical logic. 

Concerning idolatry, the minister also asked, in a spirit of courteous conversation, about the attitude of Muslims to the Black Stone in Mecca, which many are desirous of touching on any pilgrimage to Mecca. Is it right, in the light of the 2nd of the 10 Commandments, to seek a spiritual blessing by touching a physical object?  

One Muslim lady with whom Pastor Simpson was debating said that he, the minister, cannot be a holy man because he does not have a beard as Jesus did, and as Muslim men do. The preacher responded that surely the condition of the heart before God is more important than whether or not a man grows a beard. 

Pastor Simpson also told the lady that despite the great differences between Muslims and Christians, is it not good that there is the freedom in the UK to discuss these issues in the high street? There would not be the freedom to do this in, for example, Saudi Arabia. The young woman responded, inaccurately, that there would be such freedom in Saudi Arabia. 

Another area of dispute with passing Muslims was the claim that no one else can suffer for another person’s sin. In response to this, Pastor Simpson endeavoured to explain that if we were all to suffer for our own sin, we would all inevitably end up in an everlasting hell. Furthermore, to deny that one who is all holy cannot suffer on behalf of others is to deny the vital principal undergirding all the Old Testament animal sacrifices, namely the shedding of blood which prophetically foreshadowed the  the shedding of the blood of the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world, the Lord Jesus Christ.

May many who heard the gospel in Slough upon this day come to realise that without the substitutionary death of Jesus Christ they have no hope and will die eternally in their sins.