London Journal – Sunday, June 8, 2008

How can I desribe adequately an afternoon at Speakers’ Corner? But let me start at the beginning…

We went with V S to the church she normally attends – Westminster Chapel, not to be confused with Wesminster Abbey or Westminster Cathedral. The Chapel is a Congregational Church, location of Martyn Lloyd-Jones’ minstry in earlier years. The pastor now is Greg Haslam. Vibrant singing, with contemporary songs (not to be confused with short choruses), and part of the time with pipe organ accompaniment that swelled to loud and majestic. Most inspiring, we thought.

Off to a church for a one-hour workshop on a certain religion’s issues as preparation for Speakers Corner.

Then off to Speakers Corner in spacious Hyde Park. Warm, sunny day. Mr. Debate stood on a short ladder, and with a voice loud and deep, spoke on some of the differences between another religion and Christianity. Part of the time Mr. D had a Christian friend on a second ladder, in dialogue – then part of the time another religious leader was on his ladder challenging Mr. D – then later still another religious leader was on the second ladder countering Mr. D further. Much of this time adherents of that other religion on the ground would call out challenges and objections, which Mr. D sometimes ignored and sometimes incorporated into his free-flowing talk.

For my part, like the other Christians who were there, I “worked the crowd” by engaging in conversation anyone who wished. I soon learned that our spiritual distant cousins know certain Bible verses well and think their objections are irrefutable – that they, sincerely or otherwise, have trouble understanding the Trinity – that they think that when the Bible says “no man has seen God at any time,” this surely must cancel out all our claims that Jesus is God. I responded to these and a myriad of other challenges as best I could, sometimes softly and as a learner, and sometimes boldly.

“Do you believe Jesus died?” I asked loudly and repeatedly to a bold challenger, who kept trying to evade the issue. (As you may know, a certain religious book claims that Jesus did NOT die, but that somehow someone switched places with him, so that Jesus never died and therefore never rose again.)

Anyone who thinks I ever spoke boldy or with passion in USA should come to London and see me on the ground at Speakers Corner!

JoLene, for her part, chose to mingle with the crowd, listening carefully, praying, and comparing notes with me from time to time. Of course, none of you, my readers, expected her to do otherwise.

All of this went on for two hours, from 4:00 to 6:00.

After this ministry at Speakers Corner our team (including several others, not BIC) walked to KFC for a fried chicken dinner (much cheaper than Hotel Hilton), then to a Middle Eastern shop for baklava-like sweets, which we then carried to a Costa coffe shop for sweets and coffee, all the while (a) reviewing the ministry of apologetics, and (b) laughing and teasing and, in general, acting like we were college students!

The whole day was glorious. Our hearts are overflowing.

Father, we praise you for your heart of love for all people. We pray for our distant cousins in the UK, for their salvation through faith in Jesus Christ. Especially for the people who heard about Jesus at Speakers Corner today, we thank you that the Holy Spirit will continue to give witness to them about Christ, and we pray for the salvation of as many of those people as possible. Through Christ our Lord.

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3 Responses

  1. Dear John & JoLene,

    “The whole day was glorious. Our hearts are overflowing.” I am praising God as I read your words! I will continue to lift you up in prayer for wisdom & direction. Blessings, Nan Schock

  2. Dear John and Jolene,
    Loved reading your update on speakers corner…it is hard to imagine this place, but by your words it helps. The Tues. a.m. prayer group sends our love….you are being prayed for.
    blessings,
    Kathy Kambic

  3. Truely exciting! To engage so openly and honestly with those of the Muslim community does sound invigorating as mention towards the end of your post. We are excited for what God will do through you and your team in the UK. We could not think of a better couple to take on this great challenge. You will be prayed for in our house!

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