by Cornelis Van Dam (first published in Clarion, Volume 61 No. 12, June 8, 2012)In the world of ancient Israel, child sacrifice was a reality in pagan religion. So much so that God warned his people to have nothing to do with the practice even before they entered the Promised Land (Lev 18:21; 20:2-5). "Let no one be found among you who sacrifices his son or daughter in the fire!" (Deut 18:10). This horrific practice did however take place in Israel in both the northern and southern kingdoms. It was also part of the reason why God sent his people into exile (2 Kings 16:3; 17:17; 21:6; Ezek 16:20-21). While we today can recoil at the thought of taking your own offspring and laying them on the altar of a pagan god such as Molech, the question can be raised whether the danger and temptation to commit child sacrifice is not becoming stronger as our society drifts from its Christian moorings. Children today are also being sacrificed to idols of one's own making.
Mark Penninga (April 25, 2012): Chuck Colson's promotion to eternity on Saturday leaves a void that will be hard to fill on this earth. Not many others have so faithfully given their lives to upholding Christ in the secular West. His leadership has inspired many, including myself, to make our political lives consistent with our faith. It was Colson's book "Loving God" that has been, apart from the Bible, the most influential book in my life. One paragraph gripped me like few other things ever have. I remember even making it the text on my computer screensaver back in my second year of university:
Martin Luther had a dream once, like a poet has a vision,Many people, mostly sceptics, holding them both in derision,Much prefer to spend their time on gambling, porn or television,With good laws that are enacted, they press for major revision.
By Michael Wagner, Originally published in the February 2011 issue of Reformed Perspective magazine(http://reformedperspective.ca/), page 8 The concept of self-defense is easy to understand and its validity is recognized by most people, whether Christian or not. If somebody is attacked, it is easy to understand that fighting back is a proper and even moral thing to do. That’s why people sympathize with the victim in these situations—self-defense seems naturally just.
The following article, by ARPA Canada board member Neil Dykstra, was published in the Calgary Beacon in response to an opinion piece by Janet Keeping, president, and Dan Shapiro, research associate, of the Sheldon Chumir Foundation for Ethics in Leadership. You can find their response here. Ms. Keeping and Mr. Shapiro, in their agreement with the Quebec Human Rights Tribunal decision that banned prayer in Saguenay’s city hall, describe a vision for Canada in which government policies are made without any influence whatsoever from religion. They invert “Freedom of religion” into its exact opposite – where only humanist ethics are acceptable in the public square, to the exclusion of all other belief systems. In so doing, they ignore the pluralist foundation of Canada’s constitution and history.
On May 4, 2010, Ray Pennings (Senior Fellow and Director of Research at Cardus) made a presentation to MPs in the Canadian Parliament in Ottawa. The event was organized by ARPA Canada and was co-sponsored by Conservative MP Maurice Vellacott and Liberal MP John McKay. The presentation was a condensed version of this document. The extra information in this booklet was prepared by Mr. Pennings to supplement his talk. Booklets are available by contacting [email protected]
Reader's Comments: We would love to hear your thoughts about this topic. What are some reasons for optimism or concern when it comes to our public witness? Comments are welcomed through the Facebook page or send us an email at [email protected] (By Mark Penninga): It has only been about 60 years since a swell of Dutch Reformed immigrants crossed the Atlantic Ocean in a quest for space, freedom, and opportunity in Canada. A lot has changed since then, with a third and fourth generation emerging, many of whom have more awareness of Quebec culture than Dutch. We may wonder what the future looks like for a church community that is now fully Canadian. Here are some things to consider when we look specifically at the role of Reformed Christians in the public square.
By Doug Schouten (first printed in a Cloverdale ARPA Alert - 2006) There is a new documentary  available for preview on the internet that follows a class of young children as they go through an evangelical ‘boot camp’. Among the footage in this disturbing film are scenes in which the children dress up in army fatigues and are called to be holy warriors, and where they are told to lay down and bless a cutout of President Bush. To anyone with even a modest level of discernment, this documentary represents the outer fringes of the evangelical movement. However, besides the harm it presents to the true image of Christ’s church, it highlights one of the undercurrents within the evangelical movement, that is, the concept of Christian reconstructionism. Over the past two decades this erroneous understanding of Christian political action has achieved hegemony in a number of denominations in the United States, and is now making inroads into Canada. Reformed Christians are by no means immune to its influences.
ARPA Note: Readers comments are included below. Add your thoughts by emailing [email protected] Let us know if you want them to be made public with your name or anonymously. Globe & Mail, Sept 8 2010: Prime Minister Stephen Harper has used his Christian faith to “unequivocally condemn” a Florida church that plans to burn 200 copies of the Muslim holy book. “I don't speak very often about my own religion, but let me be very clear: My God and my Christ is a tolerant God, and that's what we want to see in this world,” he said. Read more