Church Tag

19 Mar 2021 BC Supreme Court Upholds COVID-19 Restrictions on Worship Services

In a disappointing ruling released last night, the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of British Columbia upheld the prohibition of in-person worship services. These restrictions were first implemented on November 19th, 2020, and continue to this day. Many Christians will be very disappointed, perhaps even angry, with this decision. Reformed Christians have an earnest, deeply-held belief that they must both respect the governing authorities and gather regularly to worship with other believers. The absolute prohibition of in-person worship services placed many Christians in an unfair dilemma, making it very difficult...

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18 Mar 2021 Throw Back Thursday: Kingdom Citizens in Secular Canada (Part Two)

Today's Throw Back Thursday article is the second installment of the four-part series entitled “Kingdom Citizens in Secular Canada,” originally presented at a 2005 Burlington Reformed Study Centre event. The series was reproduced in the January 6, 2006, issue of the Clarion magazine, and reprinted on ARPA’s blog on July 3, 2009. The author of the second part of this series is Dr. F. G. Oosterhoff. Dr. Oosterhoff was a historian, active in secondary and post-secondary education, who specialized in European history, church history, and the history of ideas. Dr. Oosterhoff had already retired when she authored this article in 2005, and she recently passed into glory.   Christian Politics, What Does it Involve? By Dr. F.G. Oosterhoff Tonight and next week we speak about our calling as Christians in a secular society. Among the topics to be discussed are the causes of today’s secularizing trend, the strategy we should follow in trying to stem that trend, and the best means of organizing politically. With respect to the last issue, we would seem to have two options. One is to join a Christian political party, such as the Christian Heritage Party; the other is to do what many Christians south of the border are doing. It is to organize as a Christian alliance and so attempt to influence one of the mainline parties. In the United States that is the Republican Party. In Canada it would most likely be the Conservatives.
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16 Mar 2021 Grassroots Campaign on worship services in Ontario

After lockdowns last Spring and again this past Winter, Ontario has returned to the colour-coded system with most regions returning to either 'red', 'orange', or 'yellow' zones. As a result, churches in those regions are now able to meet again with a 30% capacity cap for worship services. Some congregations in areas like Toronto, Peel, and Lambton remain in the 'grey' zone – under lockdown. As such, we were happy to hear the announcement on March 12 that allows for a 15% capacity for in-person worship servcies while a region...

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09 Mar 2021 Recap of the Beaudoin v. B.C. Court Hearings on B.C.’s Prohibition of Corporate Worship

Last week, the BC Supreme Court spent four days (March 1-3, 5) hearing the case of Beaudoin v. BC, where three BC churches are challenging the Provincial Health Order prohibiting in-person worship services. The case was heard by Chief Justice Hinkson, the Chief Justice of the BC Supreme Court, and now we await his decision. The Chief Justice had rejected an injunction request from the government in mid-February when the province tried to force the closure of churches that continued to hold in-person worship services contrary to the public health orders. The...

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16 Feb 2021 Submission to Earthly Authority: Christian Freedom and Responsibility

How comparisons to employment law and deference to office might help Christians better understand each other on church lockdowns and bring a sense of peace By André Schutten Over the past year, provincial governments in Canada have used their power to restrict to varying degrees the church’s corporate, in-person worship of God for the stated purpose of slowing the community spread of COVID-19. The multiplicity of public policy and legal issues arising from different provincial responses to COVID-19 has resulted in much tension and division within the Reformed community. I’ve tried to wrap...

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10 Feb 2021 Haggai and the call to rebuild the temple: a case study in church-state relations

By Colin Postma Canadians find themselves beginning 2021 under varying levels of lockdown. Across our country churches are wrestling with how to respond. The Bible seems to contain few practical examples of believers facing something comparable to our current scenario. However, over the Christmas break, I stumbled across an article about the story of Haggai and its connection to the book of Ezra. The story struck me as having particular relevance, or at least uncanny parallels, for the church in Canada today. I offer this reflection not to recommend a particular...

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21 Jan 2021 Constitutionality of Worship Service Restrictions Challenged in British Columbia

A petition filed by the Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms on behalf of a variety of individuals challenges the British Columbian Public Health Orders that prohibit all in-person worship services. The names of the petitioners are not published to avoid undue attention, but it includes several pastors of churches currently gathering despite the restrictions. The petitioners are asking the Court for a declaration that the Orders forbidding gathering for worship are an unjustifiable infringement of Charter guaranteed freedoms and therefore should be set aside. There are also eight separate $2,300...

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19 Jan 2021 Vernon City Council Supports Designating Worship as Essential

Last week, the Vernon city council voted to write a letter to the provincial government, urging them to consider worship services to be essential services. The essential nature of worship is a characteristic that many Reformed Christians across Canada have come to understand while wrestling with public health orders prohibiting in-person worship services. This particular action by the Vernon city council was prompted by a Reformed Christian who decided that writing to the provincial authorities wasn’t enough. This person went further, bringing this issue to the attention of municipal Councillor Anderson. This...

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10 Dec 2020 The Freedom to do as we ought! (FT Pt. 4)

Part #4 of 4 in an adaptation of the ARPA Canada Fall Tour 2020, Defending our Christian Legacy of Liberty. Part #1; Part #2; Part #3 by André Schutten In the third part of this series, we focussed on how our Charter of Rights and Freedoms works and how we can use it, while maintaining a Biblical posture of respect for civil authority. We’re wrapping up this series with a suggested five-step process for determining how to respond to infringements on your freedoms. Five-Step Analysis for Processing Charter Infringements So, how do we work through...

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10 Dec 2020 So what if we have legal rights – aren’t we called to just submit to the government? (FT Pt. 3)

Part #3 of 4 in an adaptation of the ARPA Canada Fall Tour 2020, Defending our Christian Legacy of Liberty. Part #1; Part #2; Part #4 by André Schutten Our last post in this series considered what is meant by freedom, and the Bible’s long influence on the development of freedom. We’ll now look at how our Charter of Rights and Freedoms works, while maintaining a biblical posture of respect for civil authority. When Charter Rights Are Being Unjustifiably Violated The Charter of Rights and Freedoms was added to our constitution in 1982. It owes...

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