Over the past several weeks, there seems to be an increased level of voices in opposition to pastors who faithfully kept their churches congregating without restrictions during the 2020-2022 government-mandated lockdowns. The article would be exhaustive to overview all the attacks taking place but Google would provide adequate listings. Regardless of who the pastor or aggressor may be, they all appear to share one common characteristic, they are the zoom church warriors. These brave men locked the church doors and turned people away. These men who hid in their studies are emerging as the voice of clarity and review. May it be that of Ian Clarey’s attack on the well-written book Mission of God by Dr. Joe Boot, or, more recently, Stephen Bedard’s critique (found here) that the church was not persecuted, rightly challenged by Eric Schneider (found here), it seems these brave men are getting louder. What is clear is the very voices that now have lots to say over the position of pastors and churches who remained open over the pandemic had nothing to say while their brothers were being harassed, investigated, arrested, fined, and even imprisoned.

More alarming is the amount of opposition being driven by contributing blog authors with The Gospel Coalition Canada, pastors within larger denominations such as The Fellowship of Evangelical Baptist Churches in Canada (FEB), and more prominent seminaries like Heritage. Keeping in step with past performance, it is certainly possible that such opposition is starting to rise because it is easier to shoot their own than to stand against overreaching magistrates. For example, these brave leaders are addressing their “concerns” with theonomy, reminders of compliance and Romans 13 but were silent in November 2021 when many churches that remained open spoke loudly in opposition to Bill C-4 (Canada’s anti-conversion law attacking religious free speech). They were silent when faithful churches preached on sexual ethics on January 16, 2022 and they are now silent over current Bill C-11 (online monitoring law).  Perhaps they are preparing a response that will match the Canadian context. Here’s the thing, to come across as nuanced, fair, and winsome, these attackers claim they are simply doing a theological review of the last two years, but there needs to be transparent fairness because what is going on is nothing more than a bait and switch. These Canadian evangelical leaders, who have recently taken their cues from a socially woke culture and adopted many aspects of the social Gospel (CRT),  are now trying to sell the Canadian church a false narrative. They are attempting to convince the Christian church that it is more important to justify their failure than confess their sin. Instead of making public confession, they are trying to justify their sin. They are using fancy (or sloppy) exegetical work to convince the masses that it was those who obeyed Christ and HIS word (Non-compliant pastors) of being in sin. Doing so, attempting to discredit those faithful pastors who stood their ground, looked the politicians in the eye and said “no.”

An alarming aspect of the entire mess is how many leaders and pastors follow their influence. So many congregations have blindly followed these craftsmen in their bait and switch. After all, why think for themselves? People get lazy and rely on the more prominent names in The Gospel Coalition to do their heavy lifting, so if they say “it is OK”, it is OK. Many of these pastors follow the trends. So when a church sees growth due to its cultural acceptance, it must be a sign they are right – no? Pragmatic thinking means people no longer dig through all the dirt and see what is underneath the surface. The hard questions are not being asked. So, let’s ask them. How have these lockdown churches, seminary schools or movements tackled significant attacks against the Gospel? Have these Zoom church warriors stood up to false teachers in the past? Are they known to fight compromise or embrace it? These are essential questions. After all, if these men are going to tell pastors and churches it is a sin to gather in corporate worship if the magistrate says not to, they better have some meat to back up their claims. Sadly, many do not have meat but bones. Many are the ones who smile and come across as the “nice guy” who is just trying to steer everyone to be more united. Here is a perfect example. Paul Carter, the pastor of Cornerstone Baptist Church in Orillia, formerly a CBOQ church now aligned with the Fellowship, released an interview transcript between himself and now fallen Meeting House Pastor Bruxy Cavey. The article was Carter’s attempt to minimize the severity of Bruxy’s heretical denial of penal substitutionary atonement. Carter’s article was endorsed and widely shared by The Gospel Coalition Canada.[1] Thankfully, the accepted antinomian Cavey was removed from ministry (sadly) due to sexual sin (found here). However, this was greeted with silence from both the TGC and Carter. Now, what should concern people is that Carter has lots to say about faithful pastors on his social media platforms but nothing about endorsed heretics. It should be noted most of those Carter attacks are blocked and cannot respond to or challenge his critique. Sadly, Carter, and many others contributing to the TGC, carry with them some minor celebrity pastor status – bringing with it a larger influence. However, just because the TGC or another well know spoken Christian leader in Canada shares something, it does not mean it’s safe. Further, if these individuals share anything about the lockdown or churches that stayed open while they hid behind the safety of their basement walls, it is cowardice and hypocritical.

We must ask why. Why would many pastors, churches, and ministry leaders speak out against faithful brothers standing to protect the flock? Why would Protestant churches challenge pastors standing on the authority of Scripture or historic creeds and confessions? What is the motivation to declare and convince the masses that it was better to obey the magistrate than to obey Christ? The answer is simple, compromise. These movements and churches had no concern about compromising with the headship and operation of the church because compromise took place long before COVID. This is why Christians needs to start dissecting the false narratives being pushed by this Canadian version of big Eva and expose the bait and switch. The tangled web needs to be untangled so people can see the problem. To do so, we will look at a specific church in Waterloo, Ontario called Nexus which is pastored by Brad Watson. Some may not be aware, but Nexus has a connection with The Fellowship through Grandview Baptist church. Watson being a former Grandview pastor on staff  transitioned into his new role with the daughter church of Grandview, now known as Nexus. The connection is clear and Watson’s plant was provided $100,000 by Grandview over two years to help facilitate the church plant.[2] If you review the history of Grandview on its website, it states, “Grandview had matured to the point the church was ready to spin off another church plant in the community that became known as Nexus.”[3] This connection is important; seeing Grandview is a Fellowship church (See here by scrolling down), one needs to ask, what types of churches does the Fellowship plant and where is the movement going? Now, if these more significant movements are going to be the voice of reason in their call to “comply with the mandates and love your neighbour,” they best be strong in convictions. But, unfortunately, once one digs, alarms start to ring. In 2011,  The Report did a write-up about Nexus and Watson which reveals the unravelling  of soundness was already in process in the early days. According to the Report, Watson wanted a church “without traditions or rituals associated with mainline churches.”[4] Watson stated, “Jesus is at the heart of Nexus.”[5] A simple review of the last two years disproves this. Let us remember Jesus went and healed many who followed him (Matt 12:15), laid hands on the sick (Luke 4:40) and healed the lepers (Luke 17:11-19). Nexus church has been a catalyst for total submission to the government overreach and remained in complete lockdown. Further, according to Nexus’ website, the church is still only meeting virtually. So, Jesus welcomed; Nexus avoided – odd contrast.

On a more serious matter is the attitude displayed by Watson on various podcasts where he comes off more like the antinomian Bruxy Cavey. In one specific podcast brought to my attention, Watson freely and unashamedly cursed in a podcast titled H P t F t U, dealing with the topic of sin. So, staying true to other antinomian leaders like Bruxy, Watson decides to drop some F-bombs to sound like the cool, understanding friend (Found here). Watson naturally justifies his position with worldly examples to be culturally relevant but, again, slippery slopes. Moving past this is the publication Spectrum, an online website for the Waterloo Region for Rainbow Community Space (LGBTQ2). In their release, it states the purpose of the directory is to highlight “2SLGBTQ+-friendly or owned businesses.”[6] to which Melissa Bowman’s (Nexus) email is made available for Spiritual direction[7] It is not often; that churches are included in such publications. There are no assumptions but questions that need answers. If this were not enough, Watson decides to get close to the waters of Marcionism[8] in his podcast titled, Scratch That – Jesus Edits the Old Testament[9], he declares that Jesus edits out the vengeance of God from the book of Isaiah (19:09). He goes as far as saying Jesus does away with vengeance, or in short, Jesus is not the same God of the Old Testament. Perhaps, Watson should remind himself of the Scriptures, the attributes of God (maybe start at Immutability) and historic creeds, such as Chalcedon, before potentially introducing old heresies into new environments. Naturally, this is liberalism, and more influences emerge from Andy Stanley and others.

Another (minor) influence connection at Nexus is Murray Baker, a former Meeting House attendee finding a home in this new type of church. Considering the toxic environment at The Meetinghouse and the recent announcements of more staff being investigated for sexual misconduct[10] this type of influence cannot be overlooked. No one is charging Baker with any wrongdoing, but one should consider the antinomian mindset and laid-back approach to sin the Meeting House had and why Nexus was a comfortable choice -birds of a feather, flock together . Not to dwell on The Reports article previously mentioned, it is comical that with all the mentions of Watson, Murray, and others, it closes with the quote, “We as Christians need to stand up and be involved in our community. It’s the right thing to do. It’s what God would want us to do, period.”[11] With the nine-year growth, Nexus seems to have forgotten these convictions. With their COVID response, the new message to the community should read “stay out.”

So why all this information on Nexus church? Well, it reveals rot that is taking place in many areas of evangelicalism here in Canada. As previously mentioned, Nexus was a church plant of FEB. However, Nexus houses another prominent voice in Baptist circles, Dr. David Barker. Barker is a former professor at Heritage College and Seminary and currently holds the office of Director of Assessment. During the lockdown, Dr. Barker and Pastor Bob McGregor of Grandview Baptist (Yes, the same Grandview previously mentioned) spoke out against pastors who remained open. It was during this interview that Dr. Barker made it clear his church (Nexus) would not (during the time of the “pandemic”) allow worshippers to attend unless they meet specific medical criteria (Vaccine passports)[12]. Further, Barker, in this interview, confirmed his position that the civil and vaccine codes were acceptable in denying access to an individual’s corporate worship. Such a view also points to the compliance in locking down the church. Now, there is no need to refute Dr. Barker, as Scripture is evident regardless of his ability to dance around language (James 2:9, Heb 10:25) and justify turning people away but this interview shows more influence and more concern. So, thoughtful considerations must occur regarding Heritage Theological Seminary. The school is a flagship training ground for Baptist pastors, and they are not all they profess to be (like many other seminaries in Canada, including Tyndale).  Another voice connected with Heritage is Dr. Stanley Fowler, Professor Emeritus of Theological Studies.[13] Fowler uses language concerning unity and Christian agreement. In his wording,  specifically within the homosexual community, [edited- see here] he uses specific language that provides the reader a blurred position. Certain aspects leaves one with questions regarding the rest of the content.[14] So, it is these men who are influencing the pastors and churches.

So, what will it take for the Protestant church to stop listening to these collectives and coalitions? Neither the TGC nor Carter would call Bruxy Cavey a heretic, and Heritage or the Fellowship will not call out Nexus. In their bait and switch, these craftsmen use all the right words to convince people it is better to obey the government than be a troublemaker who is loyal to Christ. These warriors are silent on attacks to the church, so they remained that way during lockdown.  As pastors and fellow Christians, we must challenge these Canadian versions of Big Eva and these self-appointed quasi-celebrity pastors. It is no longer sufficient to  believe the narrative that comes from the “good ol’ boys” club. It is time to get back to the Scriptures, and start relying on historic Christian practices and sound doctrinal governance. Once this starts, the strawman arguments the craftsmen are making will burn, and the church will indeed be able to rise from the ashes of the pandemic and start functioning like the New Testament church.

Closing challenge. Look back in history, see how the church responded, and seek the Scriptures to what is proper. As a pastor, I have been blessed to walk with brothers who stayed the course and kept the church open. Though this group is small, I call them friends. I trust them, not because they want to be relevant, liked or accepted by man, but because they fear the Lord and love His sheep. Be leaders, not followers of men, but of Christ.

And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect. (Rom 12:2 NASB)

In His Grace,



[1] Carter, Paul. Seeking Clarity with Bruxy Cavey, The Gospel Coalition Canada, September 10, 2018, https://ca.thegospelcoalition.org/article/seeking-clarity-bruxy-cavey/

[2] A Different Kind of Church, The Record. November 18, 2011, https://www.therecord.com/life/faith/2011/11/18/a-different-kind-of-sunday-service.html

[3] Our History, Grandview, https://www.grandviewchurch.ca/our-history

[4] A Different Kind of Church, The Record. November 18, 2011, https://www.therecord.com/life/faith/2011/11/18/a-different-kind-of-sunday-service.html

[5] The Report

[6] Introducing the New Rainbow Pages! Spectrum https://www.ourspectrum.com/2021/10/14/introducing-the-new-rainbow-pages/

[7] Rainbow Pages https://www.ourspectrum.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/10/Rainbow-Pages-Sept-2021-6-compressed.pdf pg. 23

[8] Marcionism was an early church heresy that originated from the teachings of Marcion of Sinope. The teaching was that Jesus  Christ is the benevolent and kind God, not like that of the evil, vengeful Old Testament God. Read more at https://carm.org/heresies/what-is-marcionism/

[9] Brad Watson, The Nexus Podcast, Scratch That – Jesus Edits the Old Testament https://nexuschurch.ca/scratch-that-jesus-edits-the-old-testament-s12-episode21/

[10] June 17 Victim Advocacy Announcement https://www.themeetinghouse.com/june17-communityupdate

[11] A Different Kind of Church, The Record. November 18, 2011, https://www.therecord.com/life/faith/2011/11/18/a-different-kind-of-sunday-service.html

[12] Though Grandview Baptist (or McGregor) pulled the interview offline, the comments made by Dr. Barker were around the three-minute mark if one has access to it.

[13] Dr. Fowler may not be functioning in this role as he is recovering from a stroke.

[14] Fowler, Stanley, The Challenge of Unity and Diversity, January 21, 2020, https://heritageseminarycambridge.blogspot.com/2020/01/the-challenge-of-unity-and-diversity.html?spref=fb

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