Blog

19 Jun 2018 Post-TWU: A time for courage

by Mark Penninga I’m often asked whether political and legal developments in Canada get me down. And my honest answer is that they rarely do. I’m often amazed and encouraged by the impact we can still have when we seize the freedom God has given us and take action. But I admit that last Friday’s Supreme Court of Canada TWU decision really hurts. It is a game-changer. I don’t think most Canadians realize just how profound an impact it will likely have on our most fundamental freedoms. At the risk of oversimplifying it,...

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12 Jun 2018 There are some things money shouldn’t buy, like babies

by Nick Suk (ARPA intern) Children are gifts from God, not products to procure or commodities to purchase. Procreation should take place within marriage, not through the deliberate fracturing of natural relationships. This biblical foundation is violated when a third party becomes part of the procreation process, either as a genetic parent (gamete seller or donor) or as a surrogate mother. These are live issues in Canada today. MP Anthony Housefather has tabled Bill C-404 to decriminalize commercial surrogacy and the sale of gametes. The intent of the bill is to increase the...

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28 May 2018 Handing over the keys to the State? The challenges of church as legal entity Part 3 of 3

  An ARPA Three-Part series on Church and State in Canada By André Schutten and John Sikkema The church, says the Belgic Confession, is “a holy congregation and assembly of true Christian believers” that “has existed from the beginning of the world and will be to the end” and “is not confined or limited to one particular place or to certain persons, but is spread and dispersed throughout the entire world.” Yet in common parlance we use “church” to mean several other things. We may use it to refer to a certain denomination, or a...

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11 May 2018 How Canadian: government forces an apology but ignores the substance of the issue

by André Schutten Members of Parliament voted overwhelmingly (269 to 10) in favour of a motion calling on Canada’s Roman Catholic bishops to request the pope visit Canada to apologize for the Church’s role in the residential schools. The residential school system was deeply flawed and perpetrated much evil against vulnerable children. It separated indigenous children from their parents without the families’ consent, violating the family unit with the force of law. The Roman Catholic Church and other denominations were willing cooperators with the government in running this school system. Nevertheless, this call...

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21 Apr 2018 God and Government 2018 Day 3

  Click here to watch slideshow by Michael Zwiep The third day of non-partisan Parliament Hill advocacy at ARPA's God & Government conference began with a meditation by Dr. Ted Van Raalte, Professor of Ecclesiology at the Canadian Reformed Theological Seminary in Hamilton. Delegates were directed to 1 Timothy 6:11-21, 2 Timothy 3:10-17 and the commission of the man of God. The messengers of Christ, either in the ordained office of the ministry of the Word and Sacraments in the proclamation of the Gospel, or in the offices of Prophet, Priest and King in the...

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20 Apr 2018 God and Government 2018 Day 2

  Click here to watch slideshow by Michael Zwiep On the second day of non-partisan advocacy and national conference on Parliament Hill, delegates - along with some of the national board and staff of ARPA Canada - returned to the Rideau Room of the Sheraton Ottawa Hotel, Thursday morning, April 19, beginning the day with a meditation by Rev. Raymond Sikkema, Pastor Emeritus of the Rehoboth United Reformed Church of Hamilton. Delegates were directed to Revelation 6:9-11 and called to bear witness of the Word of God in the halls of Parliament. The assembly responded by singing the great hymn...

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19 Apr 2018 God and Government 2018 Day 1

  Click here to watch slideshow by Michael Zwiep Drawing active members of confessional Reformed churches across Canada, over seventy delegates, along with a dozen board and staff of ARPA Canada, assembled on Parliament Hill, Wednesday, April 18, the first day of a non-partisan advocacy exercise on the hill and bi-annual national God & Government conference. Representing Reformed congregations in electoral districts across British Columbia, Alberta, Manitoba and Ontario, delegates prepared to defend preborn human rights, palliative care as an alternative to doctor-assisted suicide, religious freedom and support for family values, as well as encouraging recognition of faith-based voters. Delegates assembled...

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05 Apr 2018 Summer Jobs and the English Language

Employment Minister won't say what 'rights' means by John Sikkema In his famous essay, Politics and the English Language, George Orwell lamented that “political words” tend to be so abused as to become almost meaningless. Their vagueness then allows people to use them “in a consciously dishonest way” – meaning the user allows the hearer to think he means something other than what the user had in mind. Writing in 1946, Orwell listed “fascism”, “socialism”, and “democracy” as examples of abused political words. Were he writing today, I think he would include “rights”. Employment...

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26 Mar 2018 Scripture, not state law, instructs us how to do church discipline Part 2 of 3

An ARPA Three-Part series on Church and State in Canada By John Sikkema and André Schutten Two weeks ago, in the first of our three-part series, we discussed foundations. We explained that God divides human authority between at least three institutions: the family, the church, and the state. Their authority or power comes from God and is limited by Scripture. The church must defer to the state in matters of state jurisdiction but cannot defer to the state in matters of ecclesiastical jurisdiction, particularly the preaching of the gospel and the exercise...

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14 Mar 2018 Who holds the keys to the kingdom of heaven? Part 1 of 3

An ARPA Three-Part series on Church and State in Canada By John Sikkema and André Schutten The back story… A few years ago, a man named Randy Wall was “disfellowshipped” from the Highwood Congregation of Jehovah Witnesses in Calgary. The elders deemed Wall “insufficiently repentant” for drunkenness and verbal abuse of his wife. Mr. Wall didn’t think this was fair. Wall was a real estate agent and about half of Wall’s customers were Witnesses. But after he was disfellowshipped, they refused to do business with him. So he took the Congregation to court,...

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