Pastors John Sherwood and Peter Simpson, with the help of Sister Eve Hammond, preached outside of the House of Commons yesterday in order to publicise the plight of Asia Bibi in Pakistan, who, whilst having been acquitted of the blasphemy charge against her, is still not being allowed to leave the country. The Pakistani Government is also considering a petition from Muslim hardliners challenging the acquittal verdict instead of just letting her go. This means that Asia is still in great danger.
The preaching in Westminster focused on the civil and religious liberties prevailing in the UK (and also much enjoyed by those of other faiths who have settled in this country), and pointed out how these liberties were so much due to the influence of the Christian gospel. It was the Bible-believing Oliver Cromwell, for example, who had challenged the absolute power of the monarchy and fostered the development of Parliamentary democracy. UK religious freedom was then contrasted with the appalling treatment of Asia Bibi, who has suffered for 9 years in a Pakistani jail for the ‘crime’ of defending her Christian faith to her Muslim neighbours.
The preaching also emphasised that the UK Government has not offered asylum to Asia Bibi, despite her Christian faith with which this country has a natural cultural, as well as direct constitutional, affinity. In contrast to this refusal of asylum to a Christian, the Government has allowed 400 jihadists to return to the UK, even setting in place plans to give them council houses, along with other terror suspects, in order to help them ‘integrate’ (see Daily Mail, 29/10/17).
Many passers-by took photographs of our specially prepared posters, the wording of which included, ‘Pakistan must repeal its blasphemy law and treat Christians as equal citizens’ and ‘Pakistan must allow Asia to leave the country, must stop abusing Christians, and must repeal its notorious blasphemy law’.
Many will be aware that Asia Bibi is a Roman Catholic, but despite our rejection of the false and un-Biblical doctrines of the RC Church, it is beyond dispute that Asia has suffered courageously for her faith in Christ, having spoken to her Muslim neighbours about Jesus dying for the sins of the world. In other words, her defence of her faith was Biblical and evangelical.
Asia could have renounced Christianity and embraced Islam in order to secure her release, but she chose not to. She was arrested, not for defending the Pope or Mary, but the substitutionary death of Christ in contrast to the work of Mohammed. Therefore on the grounds of 2 Timothy 2:12 and Hebrews 13:3 we should regard her as being “in the body”.
In the afternoon we moved on to the Pakistani High Commission in Knightsbridge, where we joined the protest rally organised by Citizengo and the British Pakistani Christian Association (BPCA). A gathering of around 100 people made known their grave sense of injustice at the ongoing plight of Asia Bibi, even though she has been formally acquitted, namely her inability to leave the country and yet a further challenge to her legal status, even though she has already been cleared by Pakistan’s court of final appeal.
Those who addressed the gathering of protestors included Baroness Cox, Christian Voice Director, Stephen Green, Wilson Chowdhry, Chairman of the BPCA, and Nassir Hussein, who has had to flee from his home in Bradford and move to a secret location because of years of persecution from members of the Muslim community here in England who resent his conversion from Islam to Christianity. This persecution has included serious physical harm to his person.
The case of Asia Bibi is not just an isolated one. Many other Christians are enduring appalling difficulties for their faith in Christ in Pakistan. The protests following the news of Asia’a acquittal, and which called for her death, were not carried out by just a tiny minority of extremists, but by many hundreds of thousands of people around the country, affecting the major cities of Peshawar, Multan, Karachi, Lahore and Islamabad. Does this not suggest that those who desire her execution are not just a small rump of ‘Islamists’, but a more general cross section of society?
Asia’s case also reminds us that converts to Christ from Islam are not even safe here in the UK.
Pastor Peter Simpson has published a very readable and instructive book on the great movement of God’s Spirit in the 16th century which we call the Protestant Reformation, entitled Unashamedly Protestant. As well as considering major factors and people behind the English Reformation, he analyses current Roman Catholic teaching in the light of Scripture, thus confirming the need to maintain a distinctive Protestant witness in our own day.
Mr. Simpson specialised in the Reformation when studying history at London University, and has been the Minister of Penn Free Methodist Church in Bucks since 1990. All proceeds after cost to the gospel work at Penn.
The book is available to purchase online from lulu.com, or by mail order from from Mrs. J. Langston, 19 St John’s Road, Penn, Bucks, HP10 8NU. Please send cheque made out to Penn Free Methodist Church for £6.40 (inc. p&p) and a brief explanatory note.
PASTOR HITS BACK AT CORONATION STREET’S NICOLA THORP – THE PRIDE PARADE ROUTE IS NOT YOUR PRIVATE PROPERTY, NOR YOUR ‘CHURCH’, BUT THE PUBLIC HIGHWAY
Pastor Peter Simpson, Minister of Penn Free Methodist Church, near High Wycombe, was preaching at the Manchester Pride parade on August 25th, and strongly refutes the derogatory comments made during the parade by Coronation Street star,Nicola Thorp, against his group of Bible-believing Christians who were protesting and witnessing in Peter Street.
The Buckinghamshire pastor, who also preached at July’s London Pride parade, and who recently slammed Ely Cathedral for flying the rainbow flag in support of the Ely Pride Festival, states :
“Nicola Thorp’s declaration that the parade represented an LGBT ‘church’ whose congregation was not being respected ignores the reality that the Pride event was not a meeting in a building which people can easily ignore if they wish to, but an ‘in your face’ statement on the public highway (where we all have a legal right to be) that anyone who dares to disagree with the the LGBT establishment is a nasty bigot with no right to express an opinion”.
The pastor continues, “This parade was not a case of homosexuals quietly getting on with their lifestyle, but a public, no-holds-barred attempt to show that unless you accept the LGBT creed, you are the scum of the earth. What respect has Ms Thorp shown to Christians who believe the Bible’s clear teaching?
The Corrie star states, “Your beliefs are not welcome here”. What does this mean? Should all expression of orthodox Judaeo-Christian teaching prevailing for millennia now be banned from city of Manchester? All around the city rainbow flags were on display. Visitors to Manchester were greeted with them at Piccadilly station. Is the railway part of the LGBT ‘church’ as well? The gay rights movement talks much of inclusivity, but is strangely non-inclusive of anyone who dares to disagree with it.
Pastor Simpson is also critical of Rob Williams for his article in the Manchester Evening News on why there is still a need for Pride parades.
The High Wycombe minister states, “This article was totally one-sided. Whatever happened to objective journalism, delving into opposing viewpoints, so that readers can make up their own minds? Why in this article was there the conflation of the Christian witness with reported rises in homophobic hate crime, as if there were a proven connection between gospel preaching and such crime? We also also believe adultery and burglary to be sinful, but this does not mean that we hate all adulterers and burglars.
Did Mr Williams, as a journalist presumably seeking for truth, come over and speak to us to learn more about our side of the issue? I certainly did not have a conversation with him, but if I had, he would soon have found out that, far from being driven by hate, our motivation for being there was love for our neighbours and a deep concern for their salvation from sin through faith in Christ.
What both Ms Thorp and Mr Williams seem to be implying is that they, in their political correctness, possess a superior wisdom to the God of the Christian Scriptures, where the sinfulness and unnatural character of homosexuality are clearly and unequivocally set forth. This cavalier dismissal of Christian teaching must be challenged.
We had every right to protest at what was taking place on the public highway and in the most public manner imaginable. The parade included men walking down the street in scanty underwear, men dressed up in bras and skirts and others dressed up as dogs. This goes beyond the bounds of public decency, and is an indication of how far our nation has turned its back on the precious truths of the Christian gospel.
MANCHESTER’S ‘GREATEST SHOW ON EARTH’ IS NOTHING BUT SHAMEFUL AND DECADENT FIST-SHAKING REBELLION AGAINST GOD
Pastor David Carson earnestly calling sinners to repentance as the breaking of God’s commandments is publicly celebrated
The Manchester Evening News describes tonight this year’s Pride parade in the city as “the greatest show on earth”. Oh dear. Is that really an apt description of men walking down the public highway in scanty underwear gyrating to heavy beat music? Is it an apt description of a parade, the whole ethos of which is to rejoice in the public repudiation of God’s moral law? Is it an apt description of the corporate brainwashing of a vast cross section of the population?
Do the many Mancunians supporting the parade and rejoicing in their progressive, tuned in and oh so liberal attitudes realise that the city of Corinth 2000 years ago was likewise given over to God-rejecting immorality, that there is nothing new under the sun, and that they are just reverting to the behaviour of ancient pagan nations before the purifying influence of the Christian gospel took hold?
Nevertheless, the small band of believers at the parade set forth the word of God with clarity. Believing in the primacy of preaching, a succession of able speakers using amplification declared the necessity of heartfelt repentance from sin. The gross departure from God on a national level was tragically brought home to us by all that was taking place.
The period before and after the main parade came through in particular afforded excellent opportunities for the preaching, there being less noise and more attention from the many bystanders during these times. Also many Scripture texts were on display, including relevant verses from Romans 1, “Be sure your sin will find you out”, and, “Except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish”.
As with the London Pride parade in July, particularly distressing was the large number of teenage girls caught up in the revelry, some looking no more than 12 or 13.
Parade participants included 02, the Co-op, the Police and Fire Brigade, Manchester City Council, BBC Radio Manchester and Tesco’s, whose float told us that they were “bursting with pride”. Re the BBC, one might ask, How can they report impartially on an event such as this with political ramifications, if they are participating in the event themselves?
Stars from the TV soap Coronation Street enjoyed a high profile in the day’s proceedings, but come the Day of Judgement the fame and fortune of this world will not matter one jot.
We rejoice that the precious name of Christ and the reality of God’s wrath upon sin were proclaimed today, despite the much jeering and scorn which came our way.
MINISTER SUBMITS COMPLAINTS TO METROPOLITAN POLICE ABOUT THEIR HANDLING OF THE CHRISTIAN WITNESS AT PRIDE LONDON
Please pray that the complaints will be dealt with fairly and in the interest of the freedom of the gospel and of our right to uphold God’s moral law in the public square.
COMPLAINT 1: THE POLICE REFUSED TO PREVENT THE HIGHLY INTIMIDATORY ACTION OF A PARADE SUPPORTER PLACING A LARGE LOUDSPEAKER RIGHT IN FRONT OF A PREACHER SO AS TO DROWN OUT WITH LOUD MUSIC HIS LAWFUL RIGHT TO PREACH
Whilst I was preaching, a parade supporter came and positioned a large loudspeaker right in front of me in order to drown out my preaching with loud music. This action was aggressive, intimidatory and constituted harassment. When I complained to the Police Liaison officers about it, I was told that there was nothing that they could do, because no law was being broken, even though this action was hostile, and a direct attempt to prevent our lawful right to preach.
I pointed out to the officers that we, in contrast, would not be allowed to do anything which might hinder the progress of the parade, nor to intimidate anyone within it (not that we would wish to do this), yet parade supporters are allowed with no intervention by the Police to hinder the progress of our lawful activity.
Holding a loudspeaker directly in front of people and in close proximity to them, which is blaring out loud music, could damage their hearing. I repeat, it is intimidatory behaviour. The Liaison Officers did not engage in the common sense policing whereby officers tell those to move away who are behaving in an anti-social manner and creating unnecessary tension and provocation.
COMPLAINT 2 : OUR LAWFUL RIGHT TO WITNESS AND PROTEST WAS SEVERELY HINDERED BY GROUPS OPPOSED TO US BEING POSITIONED RIGHT IN FRONT OF US, SO THAT NEITHER THOSE IN THE PARADE NOR THE GENERAL PUBLIC COULD PROPERLY SEE US
Our witness was considerably hindered by church groups strongly opposed to our stance, and we had to continually endure amplified music being played right in front us in order to drown out our preaching. We of course respect the right of other groups to support the parade and make their point, but they have the whole of the parade route and Trafalgar Square in which to do this. However, these groups occupied the whole area in front of our location, the whole area between us and the public who might wish to see what we had to say. Coming along with the aim of preventing anyone noticing our witness, and of nullifying our equal right to have a presence, seems to be unnecessarily provocative, and if we were not such reasonable and peaceful people, such attempts to neutralise us would potentially constitute a breach of the peace.
May I give you an example of why we feel somewhat aggrieved. The BBC carried a report showing a photograph of a ‘Christian’ group in support of the parade : https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-london-44745424 .
The report, however, completely failed to point out, and the reporter may even have been unaware of, the presence of our witness, which was strongly opposed to the parade. In other words, we were neutralised as far as the media were concerned, and as far people in the parade being able to see us was concerned. The result was that a major news outlet like the BBC was not accurate in terms of its reporting on the Christian reaction to the parade.
So we would like to ask the question, please, Were these church groups opposed to us and taking up their position in front of us, and between us and the parade, doing so on their own initiative on the day, or did they do so by prior arrangement with the Police? Did the Met tell these groups specifically where our witnessing area would be? Were these groups advised by the Met to stand in the location in which they did stand? Why did the Police not advise these groups to take up an alternative location so as not to hinder, obscure and neutralise our right to make our point in the sight of the parade? Why was normal Police practice in a demonstration situation of keeping opposing groups apart not adhered to in this instance?
For example, this week (July 31st) outside of the Royal Courts of Justice there was a group of Tommy Robinson supporters and a group of Antifa protestors, both groups being strongly opposed to each other. Both groups had equal access to the area in front of the courts and both groups could be equally well seen by the public, but the Police made sure that they were kept apart and that there was considerable space between them. Why was this principle of keeping opposing groups apart (whilst enabling the public to see them both) not adhered to in the case of our group at the Pride parade, and not adhered to to such a degree that those opposed to our stance were able to neutralise our witness to the extent that the BBC appeared not to even know that we were there?
COMPLAINT 3 : THE NEED FOR THE POLICE TO APPEAR IMPARTIAL WAS UNDERMINED BY OVERT ACTS OF SUPPORT FOR THE PARADE
It is vital in situations where there are public demonstrations of opposing viewpoints, viewpoints which also have political ramifications, that the Police appear to be totally impartial. However, various officers policing the parade were seen to be carrying rainbow flags, had rainbow-painted faces, or had rainbow-coloured epaulettes on their uniforms. How do such overt shows of support for the parade encourage those opposing the parade that the Police will be acting in a totally impartial manner?
May I please remind the Metropolitan Police that 161 MPs voted against the Marriage (Same-Sex Couples) bill in 2013. So the Met cannot claim universal acceptance across the political spectrum for its stance on Pride, or that its stance is not politically and morally controversial.
DARKEST HOUR FILM : MUST CHRISTIANITY NOW BE AIRBRUSHED OUT OF BRITAIN’S HISTORY?
The Darkest Hour film about Sir Winston Churchill, produced by Universal Pictures and starring Gary Oldman, is dramatic and gripping, and it captures well the gravity of the national crisis in 1940. Sadly, however, it makes an appalling historical omission. Seeing that the film progresses on a date by date basis through May 1940, and that King George VI plays a considerable role, it is deeply troubling that no mention is made of the most crucial event of all which occurred on May 26th, the day before the Dunkirk evacuation began, namely the national day of prayer called for by the King himself.
Both Churchill and his wife were present at the special service at Westminster Abbey on this day, which was also attended by the King and Queen, and by Queen Wilhelmina of the Netherlands. There were large queues outside of the Abbey indicating the enormous response more generally to this time of prayer throughout the country.
For example, the Suffolk-based Beccles and Bungay Newspaper tells us that 1400-1500 people gathered in the parish church, and that this was ‘one of the biggest congregations in living memory’. The minister referred in his sermon to literally millions of people being gathered upon that day in churches and chapels, not only throughout Britain, but also around the world. On May 27th a headline in the Daily Record and Mail declared, ‘King leads his people in day of prayer’.
So why is such a significant event left out of Darkest Hour, just as it was also left out of the recent Dunkirk film? Immediately following the day of prayer, there unfolded the miracle of Dunkirk whereby remarkable changes in the weather facilitated the evacuation of over 330,000 soldiers. Britain was being dreadfully humbled by a powerful enemy, but many who had perhaps been careless spiritually were at least now willing, in the nation’s hour of great need, to cry out to God.
Is politically correct secular Britain now too ashamed to acknowledge in its history the hand of the Trinitarian God? After all, it was Churchill himself who referred to the nation’s survival as being “of deep consequence to Christian civilisation”. Must Christianity now be airbrushed out of our national story?
The Bible makes it plain that the affairs of nations are determined by God, and that He will honour those governments and peoples who honour Him. Modern Britain must return to the Christian gospel, and this means that each individual must acknowledge personal sin and turn in repentance and faith to the only Saviour of men, the Lord Jesus Christ.
“Righteousness exalteth a nation … Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord” (Proverbs 14:34 and Psalm 33:12).
To purchase a booklet on there two national days of prayer IN 1940 – entitled, HOW GOD RESCUED A NATION – please click on the image below