On the Streets 2nd November 2013
Today John and Amélia were in Manchester preaching the Gospel. John was preaching from those parts of the Bible that reveal to us the vanity of Religion as a means to find God. That Christ did not come to set up a religion called Christianity, so that converting and becoming a Christian does not reconcile us with God. He pointed out that all the religion that any of us need is to love God above all things and love our neighbour as ourselves. The problem we have is that we cannot love our neighbour unless we love God and have God in our lives. Because of sin God cannot accept us just as we are and that this is why He sent His Son into the world. As John was preaching he was approached by two young people, a young man and a young woman. He began challenging John that he was frightening people. John asked him what it was that he had said that was frightening? He wouldn’t answer. It would be understandable if he had preached the coming judgement and the condemnation in the Lake of Fire awaiting the unbelievers but this week he hadn’t.
“Is what you’re doing effective?” John pointed out that we were not there to proselytize and win converts, that all we were there to do was preach and bare witness to the Gospel so that as many people as possible had the chance to hear the Good News. The he got into the notion of church-going to which Johnresponded that a church is not a place we go to, neither is it a meeting-hall. We are supposed to be the church! The young girl piped up about the need to come under a pastor. John responded that in too many churches being a pastor is a career opportunity and just a job, whereas in the Bible we are taught that it is a gift and a calling! He then pointed out the case of one particular church in the adjacent city of Salford where in 2010-2011 the pastor received a salary of over £20,000, and then the following year his salary had been raised to over £43,000 ( a pay rise of over 100%). John pointed out that not even corrupt bankers receive that sort of pay increases! He asked which church so John told him. It was their church! How did John know this about the Pastor’s salary? Because every church that is registered as a charity has to submit its accounts to the Charities Commission and the CC publishes them on their website! He said that he didn’t believe what John had said about his pastor’s salary was correct. Johntold him to check it out!
He brought up the subject of “Tithing” so John asked him what the Bible defined as a tithe? He said 10%. John asked him what of? He replied “of a person’s increase.” So John asked him what the Bible defined as one’s increase? “One’s salary.” John pointed out that the Bible shows us that the increase was either one’s crops and/or one’s livestock and that if a person didn’t grow crops and/or breed livestock then they couldn’t tithe! He also pointed out that money set aside for God is called “Corban” in the Bible.
After John had spoken with them he was then approached by a man handing out a magazine called, “Universal”! It’s published by probably the world’s most cynical prosperity cult; The Universal Church of the Kingdom of God! As John engaged with him in Portuguese, as he was from Madeira, a lady came over and whisked him away–They don’t want their members being challenged about their doctrines. This “church” is currently building a full sized replica of Solomon’s Temple in Brazil. They purchased a piece of real estate in the most expensive part of the city, and the project is costing millions of pounds. According to their accounts in this country they spent £7 million on something called, “procurement of services”. It is quite probable that a large portion, if not all, of this went towards financing this project!
Amélia was approached by a Muslim who was handing out Islamic literature. She did her best to speak to him about the need for salvation in Jesus Christ. Suddenly a Christian friend of ours appeared and was able to show him more thoroughly why he needed the Son of God! Amélia is not English and, even though she is fluent, her literacy in English is not.
All in All it was quite a day!
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