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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28 Feb 2018 Do hard things, young adults – work in Parliament?

By Mark Penninga Through their popular book “Do Hard Things” and website “therebelution.com” brothers Alex and Brett Harris “are leading the charge in a growing movement of Christian young people who are rebelling against the low expectations of their culture by choosing to ‘do hard things’ for the glory of God.” Their message is timely, also for young Christians in Canada, many of whom struggle with a lack of direction in a world so full of choices and opportunities. In this seemingly-limitless world, the communion of saints ought to be giving direction to...

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23 Feb 2018 Just check the box: the growth of statism and what’s next for Canada’s Christians

By André Schutten   Last month I attended a particularly moving live stage production called Solitary Refinement. The play is based on true stories of persecution. It focuses on the suffering of Romanian pastor Richard Wurmbrand, imprisoned and tortured for 14 years – including two years in solitary confinement – for placing his faith in Jesus above his allegiance to the Communist government. (The play is currently on tour, and I encourage you to attend or have it come to your church. There is also a movie of Wurmbrand’s story coming out...

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07 Feb 2018 Treating peaceful pro-life persuasion as hate speech

  by John Sikkema  A new law took effect in Ontario this month. It is now an offence, punishable by punitive fines and prison, to “attempt to advise or persuade” someone to refrain from having an abortion, or to “attempt to inform a person concerning issues related to abortion services”, or to “attempt to perform an act of disapproval [of abortion]” in any way, if the attempt is made within 50m (or up to 150m) of an abortion clinic. ‘Access zones’ can also be created around hospitals and pharmacies by regulation, up...

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10 Jan 2018 Child Services Loves Santa Claus: A Canadian Cultural Experience

by Colin Postma Magic was in the air last month – sleigh bells ringing, fires crackling, snow glistening and all that – if you believe the songs on mind-numbing repeat in every store. It’s the Canadian experience of Christmas: dragging yourself through shopping lists, falling asleep at the wheel while waiting for the traffic jams to clear out, and being jolted awake with the horrid realization you forgot to get anything good for Aunt Gertrude. Amidst all the wonder and merriment of this ‘essential Canadian cultural experience’, a case proceeded in a Hamilton...

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03 Jan 2018 I belong! True happiness doesn’t come from autonomy

By Mark Penninga In his recently-published sketchbook/devotional Just Thinking, Jason Bouwman includes an entry called “Start with ‘Whose?’” Bouwman is working off a popular TED talk by Simon Sinek about inspiring people to action, one that I have showed to the ARPA team a couple of times. Sinek convincingly demonstrates that if we want to get people to do something, we need to start with answering “Why?” It’s well worth watching. But Bouwman argues that Sinek has not gone deep enough. The “Heidelberg Catechism teaches us to start not with ‘Why?’ but with...

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15 Dec 2017 What to Wear to a Worm Wedding: Highlights from BC’s SOGI Curriculum

By Tabitha Ewert, Articling Student The schools back in my hometown of Langley, BC, have a re-designed “SOGI” curriculum. For those unfamiliar with the term, SOGI is an acronym for “sexual orientation and gender identity”. While only announced this year, this curriculum has been years in the making. It started out as an anti-bullying campaign, but it teaches an unhealthy view of sexuality and gender. I want to explain and comment on the new curriculum, but before I do that I need to state four premises: Four Premises Education is not neutral. As the Ontario...

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