COVID-19 Tag

19 Feb 2021 Updates on Worship Service Restrictions in British Columbia

Update #1: Injunction Against Churches Dismissed Earlier this week, the Supreme Court of British Columbia denied the government’s request for an injunction against a number of churches in British Columbia that continue to carefully hold corporate worship services contrary to the provincial health order in accordance with their conscience. This is not the final decision in this court case. An injunction is a temporary court order designed to force a specific group of people to do or not do something until the court makes a final decision on their case. In this instance,...

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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 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 my mind...

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11 Feb 2021 Guest Blog: Praying for Pandemic Policy

By Pastor Gerrit Bruintjes ARPA invited Pastor Gerrit Bruintjes to write a guest post to articulate the differences between Public Safety, Public Health, and Healthcare. Disentangling these three concepts can help Christians pray for the specific needs, tasks, and failures of specific government officials.   Pandemic response is incredibly difficult, and COVID-19 has given the world some unique challenges. This disease is highly contagious and affects people in different ways. Our leaders need our prayers as they wrestle with what is best for their communities. As we continue to pray, we can often do...

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

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 way forward...

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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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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 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 an analysis...

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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 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 some –...

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10 Dec 2020 Biblical Freedom ≠ Personal Autonomy (FT Pt. 2)

Part #2 of 4 in an adaptation of the ARPA Canada Fall Tour 2020, Defending our Christian Legacy of Liberty. Part #1; Part #3; Part #4 by André Schutten We began this blog series by presenting an overview of what scripture tells us about the topic of civil government, and our duty to submit to those in authority over us. We are now going to shift gears and focus on why our freedoms are fundamental, and how we can work to answer the prayer of our national anthem – a prayer for God...

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