Pastors John Sherwood and Peter Simpson and Mr Chigbo Adi were preaching the gospel in the centre of Uxbridge on May 24th. They were helped by two faithful more immediately local Christians, and by Mr Pablo Sharma and Matt and Helen Jackman from the congregation at Penn. 

At one stage Pastor Simpson, as he was handing out tracts, asked a man who was passing by quite simply, Are you a Christian? The young man replied, Yes I am, but I am also a Buddhist and Hindu as well, because all religions are based on the same principles. The minister responded that it is simply not possible to be a Buddhist, Hindu and Christian at the same time, because the Lord Jesus Christ is the only way to God. As He teaches in John’s Gospel, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me” (John 14:6). 

In any case, the gods whom Hindus and Buddhists worship is not the one true Trinitarian God. These gods include Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva. Hinduism also believes in Brahman or ultimate reality. Brahman is the universe and all it contains … God is everything and everything is God … (So) Hinduism has no concept of a personal, knowable God who is separate from His creation” . May the Lord be pleased to open this man’s eyes to realise that religion saves no one; only through faith in the crucified Saviour can forgiveness of sins be received, and can a man be brought into fellowship with Almighty God.

As Pastor Sherwood was preaching, a Muslim lady came up to Pastor Simpson and asked him, Why do you support killing Palestinians? The minister responded that he does not support the unjust killing of anyone, and that his presence as a Christian in the town centre had nothing to do with showing support for any one side in any particular conflict, but was rather to tell people about the Lord Jesus Christ and his salvation. The Muslim lady responded, But your government supports killing Palestinians. (It is interesting to note here that this lady, who is presumably a British citizen, does not see ‘the government’ as being her government as well, which of course raises the whole issue of non-integration into British society). 

Pastor Simpson replied that he was not remotely representing the government of the country, but only the Lord Jesus Christ. He also politely asked the lady if she would condemn the killings of Israeli citizens carried out by the Hamas terrorist group. She replied that no such killings took place, and that the whole story was a hoax invented by the Israeli government.

Pastor Simpson then tried to divert the conversation away from the current conflict in the Middle East, and so he asked the Muslim if she was a good person. She replied without any hesitation that she was. The preacher responded that the Bible says that no one is good, because all have a sinful nature. He then asked the lady if she was going to heaven, and she responded that she did not know. It was up to Allah. It was then put to her, as being something of a mystery and in direct response to her stating that she did not know about her eternal destiny, that it appears that she could be a faithful Muslim all her life, but still not reach heaven. Is that her position? 

Furthermore, how can she have peace and joy, if she never knows that she has certainty of heaven? She came back by asserting that Allah will be merciful, but the minister tried to impress upon her that if Allah is just, then he must punish sin, and cannot simply overlook it. For Allah to be merciful, he has to ignore his justice, but just as in an earthly court of law, so much more in the heavenly court, a righteous judge cannot just overlook the breaking of His laws, but must punish it. Such is the conundrum created by Islam’s teaching. In contrast to this position, when the one true God forgives sin upon faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, it is only on the basis of His perfect justice first being fully satisfied by Christ’s sacrificial death in the sinner’s place. So in Christianity the one true God can forgive sin and be merciful whilst at the same time upholding all the demands of His holy law. Justice and mercy meet perfectly at the Cross. 

Sadly, the Muslim lady seemed quite impervious to these arguments, but may the Holy Spirit strive upon her heart, and remove the scales from her eyes. 

Another youngish man also entered into conversation with Pastor Simpson. He said he had no particular religious faith, but he was very interested in what Christians believe, and he also stated that he found certain Christian teachings very difficult tom understand. They did not make sense to him, in particular the concept of God having a Son. How is this possible? When did God the Father beget His Son? Pastor Simpson responded that the one Godhead, consisting of three Persons, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, is a deep mystery, and we must not subject the nature of the infinite God to our feeble and warped human understandings. The Father begot His Son in eternity, but we must not think of the act of begetting in any kind of earthly or fleshy sense, because God is eternal Spirit, and Jesus Christ as the son of God has always existed in eternity.

The man also asked about the doctrine of forgiveness of all sins by trusting in Christ’s death, and about the believer, who having received God’s mercy, then sins again. Can he just go on sinning and receiving God’;s mercy, because of what Christ has done? Are you saying, he challenged the minister, that one can repent of sin and receive God’s mercy through Christ, and then go out and sin again, and still be sure of God’s mercy? 

The minister replied that God reads the heart. He knows whether repentance is genuine or not, and whether someone who says that he has repented and believed has truly resolved to turn from all sin for the rest of his days. If a man says that he has sought God’s forgiveness, but is not truly sincere in abandoning all sin thereafter, then his initial repentance cannot be genuine, and will not be accepted by the Lord. If one genuinely repents of sin, being convicted by the Holy Spirit of its utter seriousness and its deadly nature, and if one trusts at the same time in Christ alone for mercy, then that man receives the Holy Spirit to dwell within him, who creates within him a brand new nature, causing him thereafter to hate all sin, and also giving him the power not to return to it.

So we see in this conversation how this man was struggling with key aspects of the Christian faith, but at least he was thinking issues through and asking these pertinent questions. Once more, we pray that the Lord will open his eyes to perceive all truth in Christ, as indeed we pray for all who heard the precious gospel in the centre of Uxbridge upon this day.