Pastors Peter Simpson and John Sherwood were preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ, the promised Messiah who has come come and who reigns, in the centre of Stamford Hill, North London on March 7th.
This part of London is particularly characterised by a large orthodox Jewish population. The same day was the Jewish feast of Purim commemorating the deliverance of the Jews from the hand of the wicked Haman, as recorded in the book of Esther.
This provided a suitable background to declare the even greater deliverance foreshadowed by that from Human of all those who are slaves to sin and in the clutches of the evil one, Satan. This slavery is the predicament of all men – both Jew and Gentile – and all need to hear the gospel as a matter of urgency – “For God hath concluded them all in unbelief, that he might have mercy upon all” (Romans 11:32).
Pastor Simpson handed out an evangelistic leaflet about the death and resurrection of Christ to some passing schoolboys, but it was sadly ceremoniously torn up into little pieces. There was a sense of a real hardness towards the proclamation of the gospel, even though the motivation behind it one was of course one of love.
The two ministers were helped by a witnessing friend, Kassu Gebre, who had a long conversation with a Muslim about the glorious mystery of the Trinity : how God is three Persons within the one Godhead.
This truth is always a real stumbling block to those within Islam. A good argument to employ when debating with Muslims on this issue is the fact that the Quran also talks about the spirit of Allah emanating from Allah and even appearing in human form. The spirit of Allah is surely divine. So in a certain sense the Muslim rejection of the Trinity is a contradiction of their own teaching.
Muslims also believe that the Quran is eternal in origin and that through it God speaks. It os therefore the eternal word of Allah. So they actually have within their teachings the concept of an eternal entity called the word, just as in Christianity (yet they vigorously oppose the idea of Christ, the eternal Word). If, however, the Quran as Allah’s word, is eternal, as Muslims claim, then it cannot be a created object, because it possesses a unique attribute of God, namely an eternal nature.
Furthermore, Islam even teaches that individual chapters of the Quran will appear at the final judgement as actually having memories and intelligence – they speak to Allah and to those being judged about people’s actions. In other words, Islam ascribes to the various chapters of the Quran the attributes of all-knowing personhood. This characteristic of omniscience is ascribed to all 114 chapters of the Quran. So each chapter is being treated as a divine all-knowing person.
Now, Muslims argue that Christians are blaspheming because they make the eternal Spirit and the eternal Word partners of God, giving three divine Persons. Islam, however, has an even greater problem, for the Quran effectively speaks of no less than 116 divine entities, Allah, the spirit of Allah and the 114 all-knowing chapters of the Quran which speak to men and speak to God.
Both Pastor Sherwood and Mr Gebre endeavoured to show to the Muslim the Biblical passages demonstrating the deity of Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit within the one Godhead. May the Lord open his eyes to see this glorious truth that Jesus Christ is ‘God manifest in the flesh’ (1 Timothy 3:16), and indeed the eyes of others, including many Jewish people, who heard the gospel in Stamford Hill upon this day.