Blog

12 Aug 2020 Further reflections and clarifications regarding mandatory masks in church – Part I

By André Schutten On July 23rd I released a 20-minute video on the ARPA Canada Facebook page. In it, I gave some reflections on the bylaws that many Ontario municipalities have adopted which mandate the wearing of masks in indoor spaces, including churches. I argued that there is some unfairness in requiring people to wear masks in church and questioned whether the civil government had authority to do so. I also tried to explain why church leadership ought to wrestle with the question of jurisdiction (church or state authority on the...

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21 Jul 2020 State and church authority in a pandemic – An interview with Professor Koyzis

In We Answer to Another: Authority, Office, and the Image of God, David Koyzis explains that authority is intrinsic to humanity and everything we do, because “authority is resident in an office given us in creation,” and when we encounter authority, “we encounter nothing less than the image of God, which always points beyond itself.” Part 1 of ARPA’s interview with Professor Koyzis covered some of his book’s key ideas. Part 2, below, focuses on the nature and limits of political authority and tensions between political and church authority during COVID. PART...

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17 Jul 2020 The Key to Authority is the Office of Image Bearer – An Interview with Professor David Koyzis

  ARPA’s John Sikkema interviews David Koyzis In We Answer to Another: Authority, Office, and the Image of God, David Koyzis addresses modern skepticism of authority by arguing that authority is intrinsic to humanity and part of everything we do, both communally and individually. Why is that? Because “authority is resident in an office given us in creation.” When we encounter authority, “we encounter nothing less than the image of God, which always points beyond itself.” Professor Koyzis was kind enough to talk about his book with me. Part 1 of our interview,...

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08 Jul 2020 Counting the Cost of COVID Part IV: Forecasting our Financial Future

by Levi Minderhoud In the last two blog posts on the financial effects of COVID, I compared the current deficit to past deficits and critiqued government spending in response to government-mandated lockdown. Now it is time to anticipate the future financial impacts of COVID. Will this recent spending bankrupt our country? The short answer is… no. At least, not yet.Will this recent spending bankrupt our country? The short answer is… no. At least, not yet. This year’s federal deficit is currently projected to be $343 billion or 15.9% of GDP, although that number will...

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02 Jul 2020 Counting the Cost of COVID Part III: Evaluating Canada’s Current Deficit

Updated July 8, 2020 by Levi Minderhoud My previous blog post in this series compared Canada’s current deficit to the deficits in Canada’s past. At $343 billion, or 15.9% of GDP, Canada is spending more money to combat COVID than any other war or major disaster in Canada’s history except for during the Second World War. This begs the question, should the federal government spend so much to combat this virus? A Couple of Caveats Before answering the question of how much money the government should spend, I must address a couple of caveats. First,...

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30 Jun 2020 Reflections from a Christian patriot on Canada Day

By André Schutten Happy Canada Day! Canada Day (or, for those who remember, Dominion Day as it was called until 1983) is a great day to rejoice and be glad in the gift God has given us in this Dominion of Canada. I love my home and native land. Canada is a good country to live in, a good country to raise children in, to work in, and to minister and serve others in. She is stunning in her beauty, valiant in her history, and well-formed in her founding. We have more...

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25 Jun 2020 Ruth the Can Collector: The Case for Restoring Old Testament Gleaning Principles

  By Mark Penninga If Ruth the Moabite lived today, she would probably have resorted to collecting empties from recycling bins and on the sides of roads to feed herself and her mother-in-law, Naomi. Few Bible stories warm my heart like that of Ruth. When Ruth moved to Israel from Moab with her mother-in-law Naomi, she was vulnerable on a number of levels: widowed, without children, a foreigner, and the caregiver of her mother-in-law, who was also widowed.If Ruth the Moabite lived today, she would probably have resorted to collecting empties from recycling...

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24 Jun 2020 Counting the Cost of COVID Part II: Comparing to Past Crises

Updated July 8, 2020 by Levi Minderhoud In the first blog post in this series, I delved into the wisdom and morality of government debts, deficits, and aid from a Christian perspective. I concluded that incurring debt is often unwise and sometimes even immoral, but as long as the government has the ability to repay their debt, and the norm is a balanced budget, debt can justifiably be incurred. The Bible also teaches that individuals, families, and churches – not just governments – have significant roles to play in assisting the financially...

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23 Jun 2020 The Importance of Partisan Political Activity

by Levi Minderhoud *As ARPA’s British Columbia Manager, I’m going to discuss involvement in party politics in the British Columbian context, but the same principles apply anywhere in Canada.   Since its inception, ARPA Canada has chosen to be non-partisan. This allows ARPA as an organization to better engage with elected officials regardless of their partisan colour. But we certainly encourage you to be partisan. Being a member of a political party does not give you extra responsibilities within that political party. It does not take much time or money. It doesn’t even mean that...

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19 Jun 2020 Churches as unifiers should not be penalized for their effective contact tracing

By pastor Gerrit Bruintjes and André Schutten For the past month, many religious leaders have been calling on the Ontario government to ease its total ban on corporate worship services. On June 12th, the Ford government issued an executive order permitting religious ceremonies, including weddings and funerals, at 30% building capacity. In our current context amidst social unrest and uncertainty, this is a good decision not only because the Charter of Rights demands this response, but also because churches unify diverse people and can trace contacts well. In the last few weeks,...

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