Pastors John Sherwood and Peter Simpson were proclaiming Jesus Christ and Him crucified in the town centre of Aylesbury on January 17th.
At one point Pastor Simpson emphasised when preaching that the Lord Jesus Christ is the only way to be saved from sin, whether one is a Jew, a Muslim, a Sikh, a Buddhist or an atheist, for “there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved” (Acts 4:12).
A Muslim man came up to him during the preaching and asked him why there are so many Bibles. He did not confess to being a Muslim, but it was obvious that that was the standpoint from which he was arguing. The minister replied that there are various translations of the Bible, but only one actual Bible which is based on the existing ancient Greek and Hebrew manuscripts, which were faithfully copied from century to century, because they were being worn out from constant use by Christians as constituting the word of God.
The Muslim was implying that because there are various Bibles (according to his claim), it is impossible to rely on the Christian assertion that the Bible is the authoritative foundation of Christian belief. The existence of many Bibles, he argued, proves that the original text of the Bible has ben hopelessly corrupted and now cannot be found.
The preacher responded that God has providentially preserved His word down the ages, ensuring that we have in the 66 books of the Bible His unchanging truth brought to us. To state that the Bible has been corrupted is to argue that Almighty God is not powerful enough to protect His own words to men. The Islamic argument that a massive corruption of the Bible has taken place, whereby fundamental doctrines have been altered, has absolutely no manuscript evidence to support it whatsoever (there are nearly 6,000 extant Greek manuscripts of the New testament available to scholars). So, “copies of the Bible dating to the 14th century AD are nearly identical in content to copies from the 3rd century AD”. Any variations are merely minor, such as differences in spelling, but there are no variations which affect doctrines. (Got Questions Ministries, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ksJ7wj6bAxY).
Furthermore, the Quran state that the Torah (the law of Moses) and the Gospel were revealed by Allah. So if the Christian Scriptures have been corrupted, then Allah has been powerless to precept his own words being perverted by men. For example, Surah 6:115 says, “None can change His words”.
Pastor Simpson tried to steer the conversation around to the Muslim’s personal standing with God, asking him if he were good person. He responded that he tried to be, but he was then told that no one is good by nature and that all are guilty of having broken God’s commandments. No one can begin to do good which is pleasing to God, until he to she is first transformed by the new birth, and given new life in the power of the Holy Spirit. This is why all need to come to Jesus Christ, who is the only Saviour of sinners and who is the only One who can confer this new life. The Muslim said that he would like to speak further at a later stage, but it was felt that his primary interest was debate and discrediting the Christian revelation, rather than concentrating on the state of his own soul. May the Lord open his eyes to perceive the depravity of heart which is the condition of all the fallen sons of Adam.
Again, as Pastor Simpson was preaching, a man came up and asked him when Jesus Christ was returning. The minister responded that he did not know, but that we must be ready, expecting it even tomorrow. The man sadly did not stay to discuss further.
Another man disputed with the preacher about the reality of God’s loving nature because of all the bad things which have happened to him personally. He was told in response that we live in a fallen world which has been marred by the sion of men. All people get sick and will ultimately die; all people have problems and crises in their lives. The man retorted, Where is God then? The preacher came back, God is there for those who call upon Him with humble hearts, but He is not an errand boy for people who ignore Him until they are in trouble. Man is under an obligation to trust in the Lord as a matter of course at every moment in his life.
The man then raised the issue of young children who die of disease and claimed this is proof that God is unjust. Pastor Simpson replied that such a statement was in fact blasphemous, and he went on to-explain that babies and very young children who die before reaching the age of discretion go straight to be with God in heavenly glory. In a fallen world, however, the primary problem is man’s rebellion against His Maker, and the resulting sin, which is the ultimate cause of all disease and death, and which only faith in Christ can rectify. The minister then told the man that rather than focusing on the death of young children , he should be thinking about his own relationship with God and his own personal sin. Sadly, at this stage the man walked off, but at least he did engage for a rule, albeit very negatively.
May thy Lord use this conversation to speak powerfully to his heart about his need to trust in the Lord Jesus Christ for personal salvation, and indeed may that be the case with many others who heard the precious news of salvation in Christ in Aylesbury upon this day.