It has been a couple of months since I have taken time to write what has been happening in Scotland. The reason for this is that four months ago my daughter was born, but we have discovered she has a rare bowel disease. Numerous trips back and forth the hospital has taken up much of my time which would have otherwise been devoted to evangelism.
However, in the midst of all that the Gospel has been still advancing. I've had opportunities to spread the Gospel in the hospitals, via tracts and personal witness. While I would have loved to get out on the streets more often, I have found that God has given me more than enough to do in day to day life.
On Saturday, 24 May, I was finally able to get back out on the streets of Scotland to proclaim the Gospel. I was invited to Stirling by the Reformed Presbyterian church plant there to assist them on an outreach.
We arrived in the historic city at 2pm, and immediately I noticed that the High Street was full of people. I found a good location to preach, and from there the outreach began. The first preacher for the day was Craig Scott. The plan was that he would preach first, and then I would follow, but God in His providence had other plans.
As Craig preached a few people sat down to listen. While he preached and people listened, I handed out tracts to those who were walking past. As I did this I noticed that a young man who was well dressed and sat down next to a lady who was listening. He had a coat zipped up high, but I could see that he was smartly attired. At first, I didn't think much about this, but then I noticed he began to engage this lady in conversation, before too long he had produced a booklet and handed it to her. This booklet was a Mormon pamphlet that spreads their message. It turns out that two Mormon missionaries had snuck in to try and spread error as people listened to truth.
After a few moments I was able to engage this LDS missionary in a conversation. It turns out that he travels between Ireland and Scotland, but is originally from Utah. He was very polite as we began to discuss different issues. At one point he asked me, "What do you like about our church?" My reply seemed to shock him, I said, "To be honest, I like nothing about your church, as according to Galatians 1 it preaches a false gospel."
Elder J— was surprised at my bluntness, but we were able to have a great conversation. I asked him to explain how someone was saved, and he replied by saying we need to repent, have faith, be baptised, and keep the commandments. He went on to say that salvation is much like a person trying to cross a big canyon. We do as much as we can to bridge the gap, and then finally God's grace takes us across the final bit.
I pointed out that while the Book of Mormon may teach such doctrine, it is actually foreign to the Bible. At this point I quoted from 2 Nephi 25:23 (Book of Mormon), which states, "...for we know that it is by grace that we are saved, after all we can do." Then, I compared it to Ephesians 2:8-9, "For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast."
Elder J— didn't have an answer for this verse, except to point to James 2, which I was able to answer by showing that James 2 talks about works after salvation, not works for salvation. From there I was able to show numerous other verses that explain that salvation is not based on what we do, but rather it is based upon what Christ has done. As I explained the Gospel to him, a man interrupted and politely asked if he could listen into the conversation. We both agreed that he could, and I continued to present the Gospel.
Elder J— was quickly trying to get onto a different topic, so I asked him about the Book of Mormon, and if it was God's Word. He said that it was, and that it confirmed perfectly with the Bible. He also, went on to say that there were no contradictions between the Bible, and the Book of Mormon. I replied by saying I had already showed him one in relation to salvation, and that I could show him another if he wished. Elder J— asked me to show him another contradiction, so I asked him, "Where was Jesus born?" Elder J— quickly replied, "Bethlehem." At this point I had him open his book of Mormon to Alma 7:10 which states that Jesus was born in Jerusalem. Elder J— just looked at his book, and then said, "The Bible says that also, as it is cross referenced to Luke 2:4." So we turned to Luke 2:4 and discovered that the Bible says Jesus was born in Bethlehem.
At this point Elder J— called over Elder G— and asked him for help. Elder G— got to hear the Gospel also, and then made this admission. He said that the Book of Mormon had made a mistake, and got this doctrine wrong. This then opened up a whole discussion on how we can know the truth by comparing Scripture to Scripture. After talking about this for awhile the LDS missionaries had to leave, but both of them willingly took tracts.
The man who has asked to listen in was still standing with us at this stage, and he turned to me and said, "I will never become a Mormon now." I asked if he was a Christian, and he admitted that he was an atheist. For about the next thirty minutes we had an excellent conversation on apologetics and the Gospel. This young man was very open to learning more, so he took a tract, and said he'd do some research. It is always nice to have conversations with atheists who are friendly and open.
But, the next atheist I was about to encounter was not friendly, nor open. He had begun heckling Craig so I went along to see what I could do to assist. It turns out that this atheist was the son of a missionary. He was an apostate, who had turned his back on Christianity, and had embraced the life of sin. No matter what you said this atheist would just rant saying that he has heard it all before. Yet, when you questioned him he admitted to never hearing it before. This man was just angry at God, and was not prepared to talk. He just wanted to rant and rave. We were able to present the Gospel to him but he just scoffed.
By this stage the day was getting late, so we decided to pack up and head home. As we were packing up three older women walked past and yelled abuse. We were able to engage them in discussion, and it turns out that they just hated Christianity and wanted to banned in public. One of the ladies said to me, "I will never go to church as that is only for sinners." I answered her by saying, "Well, I guess I'll see you in church tomorrow then?" This stopped her for a moment, and we were able to talk of Christ again.
Overall today was an excellent day. The Gospel was proclaimed; people heard of Jesus, and many people wanted to learn more. May Christ be honoured!
Soli Deo Gloria!