ON THE STREET, 15th SEPTEMBER 2012
Today John, Amélia and Miguel took the Gospel onto the streets of Manchester.
John began his preaching by reading a portion of the Bible out loud; For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God. For it is written, I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and will bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent. Where [is] the wise? where [is] the scribe? where [is] the disputer of this world? hath not God made foolish the wisdom of this world? For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe. For the Jews require a sign, and the Greeks seek after wisdom: But we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumblingblock, and unto the Greeks foolishness; But unto them which are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God. Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men; and the weakness of God is stronger than men.
(1 Corinthians 1:18)
As he began reading a man slowly walked towards him looking intently at John. He then slapped John across the face and carried on walking! John turned and called out to him inviting the man to strike him on the other cheek. Fortunately for John the man declined the offer but did walk off cursing using some very foul language.
As John continued to preach some young men approached Amélia. One of them began to curse and also use abusive and foul language. John thanked him for his kind words as they all walked away.
John carried on unabated as a street trader placed himself right next to John. He was selling cheap perfumes but also played recordings of doleful Arabic singing. We realised that this was Islamic prayers and it was probably a recording of a Muezzin chanting verses from the Q’ran. As far as he was concerned we had no right to be there as he had claimed this as his pitch. Eventually Miguel arrived and began preaching using a megaphone.
Both John and Miguel preached concerning the futility of any religion (Buddhism, Hinduism, Judaism, Islam and even Christianity) as a means to come to God, and that Salvation was only, and uniquely, in the name of Jesus Christ.
As Miguel continued preaching a young man approached John and asked him, “Are you John Hayworth?” When John said, “Yes I am,” he shook John’s hand. He stated that he had travelled into Manchester by train some 30 or so miles from Kirby near Liverpool for a day out in the hope that he would catch the team preaching. John spent time with him sharing with him our insights into the Bible and the life of Christ, and what it means to be a follower of Christ. As John was sharing he began to take notes. Eventually he thanked John for helping him to gain a clearer understanding of the New Testament and for the encouragement that it had been.
As Miguel was preaching a group of protesters came and asked Miguel to stop preaching so that they could protest the situation and violence in Syria. Whilst we abhor the violence that is occurring in that country we also know that any protests occurring in Manchester will have little or no impact at all on violence occurring in other lands. Miguel declined to stop which caused one or two of the protesters to become irate with him. One of them had to be restrained. So, as they did a silent protest highlighting the violence in Syria (one of them holding a replica firearm) Miguel continued to preach the Gospel. Several of the protesters took leaflets from Amélia. Once they had finished their little protest they moved on to repeat it elsewhere.
In the mean time a man approached Miguel asking him if we were part of the protest. Miguel explained that we were preaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The man identified himself as a Roman Catholic who was receiving training as a layman. Miguel began to share with him how, although we have no quarrel with the average Catholic, we do have problems with Rome itself. Miguel shared with him certain aspects of the history of the Catholic Church’s ruthlessness in dealing with dissenters and imposing its corrupt power and influence. He mentioned one case of the heavily pregnant woman in Guernsey who was burned at the stake for rejecting the dogma of the Eucharist. As a result she went into labour and her child fell onto the pyre and rolled out. One man attempted to rescue the child to save its life and was immediately ordered, by a priest, to throw it back onto the fire! He did not know about this and was shocked to hear such things.
John and Amélia were approached by a man who gave his address to them and asked them to send him materials.
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