Public Theology

28 Nov 2019 Why liberalism and conservatism are both (mostly) wrong: Politics from a Christian worldview

by John Sikkema The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms acknowledges the "supremacy of God". Many see this as an inappropriate mixing of law and religion. Is it? What if the Charter stated instead that the individual is supreme? Or the people? Or the nation? Or the working class? Each of these would be a statement of the law’s foundational commitment, a statement of belief. We shouldn't think that politics becomes nonreligious simply by leaving out references to God. In his new book, Christian political philosopher David Koyzis helps us understand why. In...

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22 Oct 2019 Defending Legislative Prayer in British Columbia

by Levi Minderhoud   We are blessed to live in a province that recognizes the importance of prayer. The Standing Orders of the BC Legislature mandate that morning or afternoon sessions open with prayer. The Speaker of the House invites an MLA to offer one of five standard prayers developed by the BC Legislature or to offer a prayer of their own devising. In practice, about half of the prayers offered in the Legislature are based upon the standard prayers, while half are written by MLAs. Although these prayers are short –...

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09 Oct 2018 Canadian governance: is optimism a thing?

by Daniel Zekveld As a young Christian interested in politics, I have heard questions such as, “Can Christians really be effective in politics today?” or “How much influence can you really have?” Other Christians will comment to the effect that politics is a hard task, and that it is difficult to retain the Christian faith while being involved in our political system. As a new intern with ARPA, I was also asked by a classmate, “Doesn’t ARPA get discouraged by the number of cases they work so hard on, and then lose?” The...

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05 Oct 2018 God and Government Youth Conference 2019

Are you a student interested in Canadian Politics? Do you want to make a difference? Do we have an opportunity for you! We are very excited to announce that we will be hosting our second God and Government Youth conference from February 6 - 8, 2019 at our Ottawa office! Applications are open to any Grade 11 or 12 students attending a Reformed church in Canada. The deadline to apply is December 7, 2018. This conference will educate students on current political issues and equip them to get involved. Interested students are required to complete an online...

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04 Jul 2018 E-petitions, Ice Cream, and Blasphemy

by Mark Penninga Earlier this year, e-petition maker Citizengo.org posted a petition and call for a boycott in response to a Toronto-based chain of ice-cream stores called “Sweet Jesus.” More petitions like it quickly followed. It isn’t only their name that is blasphemous. The company mocks our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ in their marketing, symbols, and even the names they use for their ice-cream flavours. The mainstream media, always on the look-out for examples of perceived Christian fundamentalism, were quick to pick up the story of the petitions and boycotts. TV networks...

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28 Jun 2018 Trinity Western University Considering Next Steps

(Lighthouse News - June 28, 2018) Trinity Western University continues to evaluate this month's Supreme Court of Canada decision on its application to open a Law School. The court ruled that law Societies in BC and Ontario were justified in refusing to admit graduates of that proposed school to the bar in their respective provinces. The ruling said that TWU’s community covenant, under which students and staff pledge, among other things, to only engage in sexual activity inside the bounds of heterosexual marriage, was discriminatory against the LGBTQ community, and...

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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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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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15 May 2018 Christian worldview think tank expands with multi-million dollar grant

By Lighthouse News There is some great news from the Ezra Institute for Contemporary Christianity (EICC). The organization is officially moving into a new home this month. Founder and president Rev. Dr. Joe Boot says that, a few years ago, they were approached by several individuals who wanted to greatly increase the impact of the Ezra Institute. Conversations and plans transpired “pretty quickly” such that the Institute was given several million dollars to acquire their own study centre. Rev. Dr. Joe Boot Boot says the team identified a beautiful facility settled on 24...

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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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