Pastors Peter Simpson and John Sherwood were preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ crucified for sinners in Slough High Street on March 14th, helped by Mrs Lesley Pilkington.
As Pastor Simpson was preaching, a man walked by making a rude gesture with his hand. The preacher responded that such an action represented a very poor attempt at refuting Christian truth. Why not stop and debate, if he felt that he had a reasonable challenge to make against the gospel?
Mrs Pilkington had a long conversation with a Muslim who insisted that Christians and Muslims were all brethren together believing in the same God. In a courteous conversation it was explained to him that this was not so. The Jesus whom Muslims honour as a prophet is not the Jesus of the Bible, who is the eternal Son of God and the Creator of all things, yet appearing on earth in time in human form.
The Lord Jesus Christ is also the unique Saviour of sinners through His death on the Cross, which was a substitutionary atonement – meaning that He bore the penalty for sin which all sinners deserve, and thereby satisfied the justice of God. There is no way for sins to be forgiven except through Christ’s shed blood. Islam, in contrast, teaches that a man is saved by his good works cancelling out his sins. Surah 7:8-9 in the Quran speaks of God’s judgement using the analogy of scales or balances :
“The balance that day will be true (to a nicety) : those whose scale (of good) will be heavy will prosper. Those whose scale will be light will find their souls in perdition”.
The Muslim strongly disagreed with the witnessing sister’s analysis, but he did take a tract and said he would be interested in reading it.
As Pastor Sherwood was preaching, a Muslim lady walked by and said that Jesus is a prophet, which of course is a way of saying that He is not the Son of God who must receive our worship. Pastor Simpson, who was handing out tracts, responded to her that the Lord Jesus is God Himself appearing in human form. His deity is seen in that He healed the sick and forgave sin in His own power, not through any delegated authority. As He once said to a paralysed man,
“that ye may know that the Son of man hath power on earth to forgive sins, (then saith he to the sick of the palsy) Arise, take up thy bed, and go unto thine house” (Matthew 9:6).
Mrs Pilkington also had a good conversation with an elderly lady who initially did not really want to talk. Nevertheless, her husband’s recent demise had made her think about what happens after death. She was told about sin and the urgent need of repentance (we only have this life in which to make our peace with God). She began to listen more closely and after a while agreed to Mrs Pilkington praying with her that she might come to repentance and seek Christ for salvation. She appeared to be genuinely interested and took some literature. May the Lord lead her to true saving faith.
Whilst Pastor Simpson was preaching, a man rather angrily approached denouncing the Biblical teaching on homosexuality, and claiming that the preacher was utterly inconsistent and hypocritical in saying that homosexuality is sinful, because his clothes included mixed fibres, the mingling of which is also forbidden in the Bible. Pastor Simpson tried to quickly explain to the man (who was sadly not interested in a proper discussion) that he was confusing a temporary civil law under the Old testament theocracy, which no longer exists, with God’s moral law, which is eternal.
The opposer was referring to Leviticus 19:19, which states,
“Ye shall keep my statutes. Thou shalt not let thy cattle gender with a diverse kind: thou shalt not sow thy field with mingled seed: neither shall a garment mingled of linen and woollen come upon thee”.
The Lord gave to Old Testament Israel civil laws such as this, because they were of real practical value to His people, but also to ensure that they maintained a separation from the surrounding nations. Mixed fibres in hot climates have a tendency to produce static electricity. Linen is derived from plants, whereas wool comes from animals. Plant-sourced fibres and animal-sourced fibres have differing qualities that do not combine well. “The practice (of mixing fibres) was imported from other nations (but) Israel’s practice was to be visibly and characteristically different” .
There is a general principle here of the need for everything to remain in its own sphere, as God created it, which, incidentally, is exactly why homosexual relationships are sinful as being contrary to God’s order. This is why Paul describes lesbianism in Romans 1:26 as being “against nature”.
In our own day LGBT activism is at the forefront of the secularist assault upon Christian truth. Many, even in the churches, wish to undermIne Biblical authority in the cause of promoting fashionable sins. So it is important that we can deal with challenges such as the one just described.
May the Lord be pleased to use this witness in Slough to great effect to lead many to flee from the wrath to come and into the arms of the loving Saviour.