The Christian church in Canada is facing many threats. These threats are not simply due to the Liberal party of Canada cooperating with the New Democratic Party to pass sweeping legislation that attacks the fabric of historic democracy Canada has enjoyed for decades. Instead, the threat rests in the Charter of Rights and Freedoms and within the professing Christian church itself.
Let us look at the second threat for a moment. For decades, apostate teaching through most pulpits across the nation has left most churches too weak to stand. Regardless of the denomination, the overseers of such churches have fed at Caesar’s table for so long that they have become obese with kickbacks, tax relief and pats on the back. With such financial benefits and needs for acceptance, many of these assemblies (as it is not proper to call them churches) violated Scripture, ignored the historic Christian faith’s clear teachings and spat in the face of Christ. To be Episcopalian, Presbyterian, Lutheran, Wesleyan, or Baptist does not mean a hill of beans these days – as the compromise runs deep. Please do not mistake what I am saying, I am grateful for the faithful, but it seems the sellouts outnumber the true (think remnant). When one looks at what is going on in Canada, the words of Christ bring concern – “Now why do you call Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I say?” (Luke 6:46) Jesus also said, “If you continue in My word, then you are truly My disciples; and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” (John 8:31b-32). These Canadian assemblies are not set free. They celebrate the very things Christ abhors. They celebrate sexual immorality, ordain unqualified ministers, and purposely twist Scripture to align with their positions/lifestyles. There is no doubt when Government officials and health care officers see such a weak, pathetic demonstration of Christianity; they feel comfortable and able to step all over and attack the (Christian) faith. In addition, over the last two years, the majority of pastors from the majority of denominations also compromised. In their academic pride, or perhaps arrogance, they chose to play it safe. It was less costly to allow the usurping of authority over the church by the state than to stand one’s ground. Fancy footwork around loving one’s neighbour, and Romans 13 attempted to excuse (their) failure, but all those who were watching from the outside once again observed people professing one thing but not having strong convictions of that profession (of faith).
Now to the first issue, The Charter. This document clearly states that all Canadians have the right to freedom of conscience, thought, association, assembly and printed media. As well, the Bill of Rights, in connection with the Charter, provides the freedom of speech and religion. Now here is the thing, and this is important. Those rights exist as long as such rights do not infringe on the rights of others. However, this is not true for the Christian – remember what was just covered – the church’s appearance is nothing more than weak and irrelevant.
As I write this article, it is pride month of the LGBTQ2. With Canada’s passing legislation, many things are going on here. First, Canadians MUST respect the decisions of other individuals. If a person speaks out in disagreement over lifestyle and sexuality, it is the position of the government to prosecute such a person potentially. In short, you best not say anything someone may deem offensive. This, however, is only one-sided. Here is why. LGBTQ2 community can (and they do) speak freely about their choice of sexual relations, parade their promiscuity and nakedness, have their stories told in the public education system, and demand to be heard and accepted. Not only is this promoted by the government, but it is celebrated and such beliefs forced on all others. Now, if someone in the Christian community were to talk about heterosexual relations freely and hold parades promoting sexual moral ethics and modesty, such things would be deemed hate. Further, the education system has gone to great lengths to remove any mention of the Bible as they “do not want to influence children.” However, they take no concern in influencing children in sexual matters while pushing specific areas that could harm the development of the minor.
So, LGBTQ2 are protected by the Charter so they may promote, push, celebrate, and attack beliefs systems for their choices or opinions. This precisely reveals weakness in the Charter and what the Charter provides. Sadly, for Christians, this protection is one sided-therefore biased. What protects one group assaults another.
Second, this matter is the area of religion-specific. In Canada, there is a term called Islamophobia. This term is used as a catch-all that deals with language, behaviour, rejections, hostility, and even feeling anxiety with an individual who is part of the Islamic (Muslim) community. To speak hurtful words, or insult a Muslim for their belief, dress, dedication to the Qur’an, Allah, or the prophet Muhammad may result in charges of hate in this country. This belief system is being pushed in tax-funded schools, Roman Catholic Schools, and Community centres, which all accommodate this religious community as to deny any request is wrong. Further, prayer rooms are provided, and tolerance is evident. Why? The Charter exists to protect this community as it should, along with every other faith community.
However, in regards to Christianity, this is not happening. Christians are at an alarming rate being persecuted and singled out in this country. Public school educators can refer to those who follow Christianity as foolish, idiots, old-fashioned, narrow-minded, and nonacademic. Parental rights are ignored over faith-based convictions with their children. Politicians can insult Christians by calling them racist, misogynistic, and people who should not be tolerated. Radio stations and personalities are permitted to use terms like bible-thumpers and other derogatory words to insight hate, but this too ignored. Regardless people are allowed to speak hurtful and blasphemous things to those who follow Christ, even in the workplace. They allow blatant mocking of Christ in all ways and guess what – the Charter provides for such language in a free and democratic society but they will shut it down if it favours Christians.
This takes me to the title, Reality Check for Canadian Christians. The Charter of Rights and Freedoms is for all Canadians. It allows Christians to think sexual immorality is a sin and that a Holy God will judge those who practice sexual immorality. Equally protected is the right for someone who opposed such a view to a rebuttal and call such a person out. A person in Canada has a right to feel Muslim Sharia law is dangerous and wrong, as much as a Muslim has the right to think such a person is a bigot. So the issue is much deeper than arguing about rights and freedoms. In reality, the government was not elected to tell us how to think or speak but to protect the right for all to think and speak freely. So what is going on?
The reality facing the Canadian Christian is this – the secular world is not the Christian’s true home, and Christians have forgotten this. Canada does not love God, nor His Son, Jesus Christ. Canada hates Christianity (Matthew 10:22, John 15:18, 1 Corinthians 1:18). It is evident each day, and regardless of what is said, what is done provides the evidence. The founders of this Dominion may have followed Christ or at least were influenced by Christianity, but this in no way makes Canada a Christian nation. The very genesis of Canada started with the fur trade and Roman Catholic/Protestant missions to the new world. Though the church was present and had a significant influence, what was and what is are two different things.
The Christian in Canada needs to get used to one reality – Christ is King, and they will not liked. The Christian’s position here in this country is not to fit in, not to be popular, not to be rich, not to be accepted, but to serve Christ, follow his command, seek and save the lost and influence this fallen corrupt place by our Christ like example. This country is not our home; the Charter will not protect Christians as it protects others. So believers will need to either get in the game or get off the field.
The reality for the Canadian Christian is many assemblies, for the most part, have sold out and are weak. So first and foremost, Christians need to leave such places and start congregating under Biblical elders and pastors who are leading the church. But at the same time, be encouraged; God always has a faithful remnant He uses for His Glory. Remember, God only wanted 300 men to go to war with Gideon (Judges 7:1-25)– so He can and will most certainly use a remnant to do a mighty work in this land. So let us be people who are not worried about what “the world” thinks. Who cares what the government has deemed acceptable or not and who cares if people get upset. Though the Charter should protect the church, it won’t. Besides, Christ has far greater protection over his own (Isaiah 41:10, Psalm 34:19, Ps 58:1-11). Let us remember,
15 He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation: 16 for by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones, or dominions, or rulers, or authorities—all things have been created through Him and for Him. 17 He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together. 18 He is also the head of the body, the church; and He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, so that He Himself will come to have first place in everything. 19 For it was the Father’s good pleasure for all the fullness to dwell in Him, 20 and through Him to reconcile all things to Himself, whether things on earth or things in heaven, having made peace through the blood of His cross. (Colossians 1:15-20)
Second to this, let us remember another truth,
10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might. 11 Put on the full armour of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places. 13 Therefore, take up the full armor of God, so that you will be able to resist on the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm. 14 Stand firm therefore, having belted your waist with truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, 15 and having strapped on your feet the preparation of the gospel of peace; 16 in addition to all, taking up the shield of faith with which you will be able to extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 And take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
18 With every prayer and request, pray at all times in the Spirit, and with this in view, be alert with all perseverance and every request for all the saints, 19 and pray in my behalf, that speech may be given to me in the opening of my mouth, to make known with boldness the mystery of the gospel, 20 for which I am an ambassador in chains; that in proclaiming it I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak.(Ephesians 6:10-20)
So let us walk in reality – it is time to wake up. It is time to stand up. It is time to speak up. Let us get back to being the New Testament church which also includes accepting the reality of persecution and chains.