Martin in London #1 – Speakers Corner

Starting today, I’ll be posting some blog entries by Stephen Martin, UBC’s Collegiate Pastor, as he studies abroad (via Southern Seminary) in England…

Speakers Corner

Today was a most unusual day, both in London and for me personally. This day was unusual in London from the stand point that Speaker’s Corner only happens once a week on Sundays in Hyde Park in Central London. It was most unusual for me because what Speaker’s Corner is…let me explain. For a number of years, there have been radical Muslims engaging in debate over who is the One true God with what I will call a group of “radical” Christians. This debate has been started by these “radical” Christians and their street preaching against the beliefs of the Koran. For most the term radical Christians will elicit a picture in your mind…some accurate and some not so accurate. Those “radical” Christians at Speaker’s Corner today very much love the Lord and want very desperately for the Sunni Muslims in Central London to love this same Lord and God through the worship of adoration of the Son, Jesus Christ. The “radical” Christians at Speaker’s Corner today use a polemic method of sharing Christ, that is to say where an apologetic is a defense of the faith; a polemic is an offense of the faith. These “radical” Christians were quick to point out that Speaker’s Corner is unique and this method is most likely not transferable in every Muslim environment. Literally in Hyde Park today as thousands fled to the grounds to hear Dave Matthews opening for Bruce Springsteen, there were Muslims clerics and “radical” Christians alike proclaiming their beliefs from step ladders, hence the name Speaker’s Corner. There was shouting, debating, points, counterpoints, and even a few fists thrown by angry Muslims (though none of those punches were thrown at our group), all over the issue of who is the One true God. There are groups that go to Hyde Park every Sunday to engage in this open air preaching debate and part of the design is to draw a crowd and engage willing listeners in evangelism opportunities. You need not look far because if you did not engage a willing participant in one of the opportunities, one of the willing Muslims would engage you in conversation. One of the most helpful things I heard in going to Hyde Park today was the conversation you enter into when it is heated is not as much for the person you are debating rather for the those who are casual observers of the conversation. It is about what you say, but is also about how you say it. I am posting a link to an article about Speaker’s Corner from Christianity Today, 2008http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2008/june/21.34.html Whether you agree with the method or not is not the point of this post. Learn what you can learn from this post and the article and ask yourself what are you willing to do for the name of Jesus Christ to be anthemed on this earth?

Before I tell you what I learned I want to take you on a little journey through my mind as we sat in a pre-meeting about this excursion/adventure that we had no prior knowledge of before it was announced. Before we left to walk to Hyde Park I ran the gamete of emotions; fear and excitement, hope and inadequacy, spiritual warfare and spiritual victory, etc. We had been told that though unlikely, violence was a possibility and, we were told that some Muslims would be very nasty to us personally. It was kind of a prepare for anything type of let’s go get’em pep talk! The skies were overcast and even spitting some rain and I found myself in my flesh thinking, “maybe I will pray for rain so this thing might get canceled.” I have never in my life thought about doing anything of this nature in this manner. I have shared my faith before and I have witnessed to friends and others, but never gone out looking for confrontation of sorts. Then, as I was thinking about the reality that the victory is the Lord’s forever and ever and I as a child of the King can claim this victory I was reminded of at least three things: First, this was not and never would be about me, this was about the Lord and what He wanted. Second, instead of praying for rain in the flesh, I was reminded that I was to pray for fruit walking in the Spirit. Third, I was reminded of one of the verses that I have been memorizing this summer: Matthew 10:28, “And do not fear those who can kill the body but cannot kill the soul, rather fear Him who can destroy both body and soul in hell.” So literally in a worst case scenario, the worst that could happen to me is I could be killed for my faith. While that would be and was a little difficult to think about I was reminded of the words of Paul, “for me to live is Christ and to die is gain!”

Today was a most unique experience indeed! I am glad that I had the opportunity and I am glad that I engaged in conversation today with a Muslim man named, or as they say in London a man called, Hussein. Pray for him, that the Lord would open his heart and his mind and he will come to know without a shadow of doubt that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father. I am posting 2 pictures from today so you can see Hussein to be reminded to pray for him and one of the crowd gathered at Speaker’s Corner. May God receive all the glory and honor forever and may the seeds planted today in the hearts and minds of those who engaged in conversation and those who only observed bring about fruit that glorifies our God and King! Been outside YOUR comfort zone lately???

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