Pastors Peter Simpson and John Sherwood, and Mr Graham Parkhouse from Epsom, were preaching Jesus Christ and Him crucified in Slough High Street on April 16th. Also in attendance was Mr Phil Thomas, who is a member of the congregation at Pastor Simpson‘s church.

A young Muslim man challenged Pastor Simpson in a long conversation as soon as he arrived. He claimed that Mohammed was the final prophet to the world, who needed to come in order to correct the errors of the Jews and the Christians. He argued that it was vital for Muslims and Christians to establish common ground from which to proceed in any discussions between one another. 

However, Pastor Simpson rejected the thesis of common ground, because one of the starting points would be that both religions worship the same God. Christians, however, do not acknowledge that the one true God gave the Quran to mankind, nor could they possibly have common ground with a religion which denies that Jesus is the Son of God, because “all men should honour the Son, even as they honour the Father. He that honoureth not the Son honoureth not the Father which hath sent him” (John 5:23).

The Penn minister also politely made the point that Christians are so often persecuted in majority Muslim contexts, again proving that there is no essential common ground and compatibility between the two faiths. Pastor Simpson further stated that under sharia law, all the five major schools of Islamic thought (Hanafi, Shafi’i, Maliki, Hanbali and Jafari) teach the death penalty, if a Muslim converts to Christianity (1). Surly, in such a context, the claim of common ground between the two faiths is unsustainable. The young Muslim responded by denying that sharia law requires the death penalty for conversion to another faith.   

One of the texts on which Pastor Simpson preached was : “Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God” (John 3:5). All have corrupted and polluted hearts. Therefore all need to be inwardly washed by the power of the Holy Spirit and to have a new heart created within them. This is what is meant by being “born of water and of the Spirit”. He who repents of sin and trust in Christ for mercy receives the Holy Spirit to dwell within him, and the work of the Spirit includes releasing him from the power of a corrupted heart, the natural inclination of which is to sin. The Spirit creates within him a brand new heart, which delights on the commandments of God. 

As Pastor Simpson was preaching, he caught the eye of a small group of youngish men walking by, and so he challenged them about the point that he was making in the preaching, asking them, Are you clean on the inside? He is  a summary of some of the ensuing conversation with a Muslim man in the group : 

Pastor : Do you have a clean heart?

Muslim : Yes, of course. 

Pastor : Only Jesus can give you a clean heart. 

Muslim : How? 

Pastor : By turning from sin and believing in Him as your Saviour. 

Muslim : Believe in what exactly?

Pastor : That He died on the cross for your sins. 

Muslim : He did not die. How could He die for my sins? 

Pastor : Because He is the sinner’s substitute; He is a sacrificial lamb. 

Muslim : But then it is not fair that someone else gets to take my sins?

Pastor : If you bear the guilt of you sins yourself, you will end up in hell.

Muslim : But it is not fair that someone else gets to take my sins. 

Pastor : His taking your sins proves that He reaches out in love to you. True love is laying down your life for your friends, but the Lord Jesus even laid down His life for His enemies. He did so for you and me who were His enemies. That is real love. Love is self-giving.

Muslim : Jesus is not Lord. He is just a messenger.

Pastor : He received worship. He forgave sins. Only God can do that. He raised the dead. Only God can do that and He raised himself from the dead after he died on the cross. 500 people saw him risen from the dead on one day. Are you going to heaven, Sir?

Muslim : I hold no grudge against anyone. I don’t do bad things. 

Pastor : What? You have no sin? 

Muslim : What is my sin?

Pastor Simpson then went through the Ten Commandments. The conversation carried on :

Pastor : Have you ever watched pornography?

Muslim : Yes of course. We have been young. We have been there.

Pastor : Then you have sinned; you have broken the sixth commandment (which is a summary statement dealing deals with all forms of sexual immorality, including also of course sins committed in one’s thought life). Therefore, you deserve God’s wrath and condemnation. However, you do not seem worried about your sin. You actually joked about the sin of watching pornography, but sin deserves hell. 

At this point the Muslim decided to end the conversation, but his leaving was thankfully in an amicable spirit. May he remember some of the essential points explained to him during the discussion. Likewise, may the Lord bring to remembrance in the minds of many others some vital words of Biblical truth which they hopefully heard publicly proclaimed in Slough upon this day.


1) Patrick Sookhdeo, Faith, Power and Territory, Isaac Publishing, p24