Freedom of Religion Tag

26 May 2021 Supreme Court Affirms the Exclusive Jurisdiction of the Church over Doctrinal and Membership Questions

On Friday, May 21, 2021, the Supreme Court of Canada released their decision in Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church et al. v. Aga et al. The unanimous decision is a resounding victory for the authority and autonomy of the church over questions of doctrine and membership. Thank the Lord for this positive development! This case was appealed to the Supreme Court after the Ontario Court of Appeal ruled unanimously that the civil courts could adjudicate a dispute between several former members* and the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church regarding their membership status and...

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21 Apr 2021 Let the Church be the Church Campaign

It’s been over 13 months since the first Covid-19 restrictions were enacted across Canada. Since then, ARPA has launched targeted campaigns in British Columbia and Ontario and encouraged Reformed Christians in all provinces to use emails, phone calls, petitions, letters to the editor, and social media to ask their provincial leaders to allow church leadership to make the decision on how Christians can safely gather for corporate worship. We argued that corporate worship is an essential activity and that these restrictions are unconstitutional. At various times and places, we have pointed out that the...

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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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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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05 Feb 2021 Why is ARPA Canada Advocating for In-Person Worship Services During a Pandemic?

Those who follow ARPA Canada’s work will know that government-imposed COVID-19 restrictions have received a lot of attention from us over the last year. We expect this to continue into 2021 as we seek to intervene in a variety of court cases with a specific focus on the restrictions limiting or prohibiting in-person worship services. Almost a year has passed since the first lockdowns in March of 2020, and Christians in most of the provinces in Canada are currently forbidden by their provincial government from taking part in corporate worship. Through...

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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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14 Dec 2020 Supreme Court of Canada heard another important church government case on Wednesday

On Wednesday, December 9th, ARPA Canada participated in the Supreme Court of Canada hearing in Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church et al. v. Aga et al.  The video recording of the hearing is available here (see ARPA at 56:30) and you can read ARPA’s written submissions here. This case was appealed to the Supreme Court after the Ontario Court of Appeal ruled unanimously that the civil courts could adjudicate a dispute between several former members* and the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church (EOTC) regarding their membership status and other matters. The controversy that gave...

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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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