Church & State

The Rationale of the Christian Covid Rebels (Part 2)

Read Part 1.

Reading several articles by the activist group of pastors, I find the re-interpretation of Romans 13 best articulated in a series of posts by Tim Stephens, pastor of Fairview Baptist Church in Calgary.7 He begins by proclaiming the lordship of Christ over the church (all Bible-believing Christians agree with this). He describes the Scriptural pattern for church life as set down by the Lord Jesus Christ:

“We can all see from Scripture the pattern set down for congregational worship, singing, fellowship, preaching, public prayers, practicing hospitality, a host of ‘one-anothers,’ celebration of the Lord’s Supper and baptism, and living as a family of faith—brothers and sisters under the lordship of Christ.”8

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The Rationale of the Christian Covid Rebels (Part 1)

In which we seek to understand why James Coates took his stand against the Alberta government

Startling events in Canada brought the long dormant question of the relationship of church and state to the forefront of Christian minds. On Feb 16, 2021, in Edmonton, Alberta, pastor James Coates turned himself in to the police because of repeated violations of orders from the Public Health Officer of the province. Pastor Coates refused comply with an undertaking to obey a court order until his trial date, so he remained in custody for 35 days. Three weeks after his release from custody, on April 7, the police fenced his church property and posted security guards so no one could access the building.

Some Christians applauded Pastor Coates, some other pastors in Alberta and Ontario. Despite this, most Canadian pastors disagree with Pastor Coates’ approach to the government orders. Many of these sympathize with his plight and that of his church, but can’t agree with the direction he took.

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Christian Political Exile Persists No Matter the President

"I too am troubled by the drift of public opinion on religious liberty, and I too am glad Trump will leave public office—that is, I understand why both perceptions make sense. But I also think both are built on too delimited an idea of exile, one that turns on the erratic shifts of national politics rather than a distinctive vision of the Christian life." - CToday

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COVID-19 and Religious Freedom

The current COVID pandemic has affected almost every area of life in America, including normal church activities. Most churches cancelled every meeting initially, with some opening up partially and others completely after awhile, while still others remained closed. In many cases, these decisions were made by the churches themselves, but for others, decisions were forced upon them by governmental edict. Details vary from state to state and the situation highlights the issue of religious freedom with special focus upon the First Amendment of the United States Constitution. Many Christians have given more thought to religious freedom this year than perhaps ever before. What has this pandemic taught us about religious freedom in America?

Churches Are Subject to Some Government Regulations

Contrary to the thinking of some, churches are not entirely exempt from government authority. Building codes, zoning ordinances, and similar requirements affect houses of worship as much as they do businesses and private citizens. Just because a building is used for religious purposes does not exempt it from regulation. Government has a legitimate role in the welfare of all citizens, and churches must comply with the same safety regulations that apply to everyone else. Government has a legitimate role in protecting citizens from various dangers, including diseases.

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Justice Alito: Some COVID-19 church restrictions blatant discrimination

"The nation’s High Court allowed blatant discrimination to stand in at least two cases limiting church activity during the COVID-19 pandemic, U.S. Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito told the Federalist Society Thursday (Nov. 12)." - BPNews

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