Pastors Peter Simpson and John Sherwood were preaching the gospel in the centre of Uxbridge on the February 3rd, helped by Mrs Lesley Pilkington and some local Christians from Uxbridge. A number of useful conversations were entered into.
Two men came up to Pastor Simpson with very negative views about the Christian faith, with one arguing that the Bible was written by men 2,000 years ago and therefore could not be relied upon.
Pastor Simpson responded that it was the unchanging word of God with power to change peoples lives. The minister then challenged the sceptic as to whether he was a good person. He responded that he was. So he was then told that the Bible says the exact opposite, for :
“There is none righteous, no, not one … They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one” (Romans 3:10,12).
A man approached the two pastors and shared with them about some serious personal and family difficulties and trials which he was going through. It was explained to him the importance of Christian fellowship and being in sound regular teaching as a vital aid to dealing with such a situation, and the ministers also offered up prayer for him.
A couple of postgraduate students from Brunel University in Uxbridge asked if they could interview Pastor Simpson about his views on the many strikes currently taking place in the UK. Even on this very day, one of the helpers had been unable to come to Uxbridge to support the witness precisely because of a strike on the railways.
Pastor Simpson responded that he would be pleased to answer such questions, but all his responses would be in the context of his being a Christian minister who is explaining Biblical principles. The two students were happy to proceed on that basis.
The minister explained that there is a serious moral problem with withdrawing one’s labour in the hope that it causes so much inconvenience that employers will be forced to meet the demands of union representatives. It is surely unethical to purposefully cause hardship to others in the pursuit of personal gain.
The early trade union movement in the 19th century had much to commend it in that there was genuine abuse of workers and very poor working conditions for them, and it is noteworthy that the early Methodists became much involved in this movement.
However, in respect of the various industries advocating strikes at the present time, it is in a completely different environment from 19th century labour scene. Pastor Simpson made the point that even compared with just two or three generations ago, and thinking of, say, the 1930s, the general standard of living in Britain is now infinitely higher and at a level which those in the 1930s would never have thought imaginable.
The minister also referred to the fact that in the 1960s and 70s interminable strikes contributed to the virtual destruction of Britain’s manufacturing industry. Was that really in the ultimate interests of workers? It is also relevant to this discussion to refer to the words of John the Baptist to the Roman soldiers of his day in Luke 3:14, where he plainly told them, “Be content with your wages”.
The preacher also quoted to the interviewers the words of the apostle Paul, “This we commanded you, that if any would not work, neither should he eat” (2 Thessalonians 3:10). In other words, in God’s sight a claim on the basic necessities of life are forfeited if there is a deliberate resolve not to work.
Pastor Simpson defended the right of any workers in any industry to make representations to the their employer about pay and conditions, but the withdrawal of labour in an attempt to force the employer’s hand is a step too far.
The minister is hoping that if this interview is published in the campus newspaper and possible online, it will help to shone some Biblical light on the nation s’ current industrial unrest.
A young lady who was very pro-LGBT asked about the preachers’ stance that the LGBT agenda should not be promoted in the nation’s schools. Pastor Simpson stated that the Biblical teaching about the sinfulness of homosexuality was plain and unequivocal, and he quoted Leviticus 18:22,
“Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is abomination”.
Therefore, the State should not be using the pubic education system to encourage Impressionable children to embrace a lifestyle which is sinful in God’s sight.
The young lady argued in response that there are people who from a young age have never felt any attraction to the opposite sex, and that there is nothing that they can do about this. Their inclinations should therefore be respected.
Pastor Simpson replied that a person’s feelings simply cannot be made the yardstick for determining moral absolutes, because each one by nature has a sinful heart which is inclined to sin, rather than to righteousness.” No one, therefore, can begin to have a right perspective until the problem of a heart which “is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked” (Jeremiah 17:9) is first dealt with, and this can only happen upon repentance from sin and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, He through whom alone the sinner is able to receive a brand new heart.
Whilst the young woman engaged in polite conversation, she was sadly unwilling to take some gospel literature, which suggested something of a closed mind to the word of God.
May the Lord be pleased graciously to speak to her heart, and to the hearts many others who heard precious gospel truths upon this day.