Date: June 30, 2017
Canada (MNN) – Tomorrow, Canada celebrates its 150th anniversary, and many people will be reflecting on the young nation’s beginning. While there tends to be a debate on whether or not the nation was founded on Judeo-Christian principles, there is no doubt of the heavy Christian influence. And yet, Canada has seen a number of cultural shifts in recent years.
Greg Musselman of The Voice of the Martyrs Canada says he is proud to be Canadian, and excited to celebrate this anniversary. “We have a very diverse population here—people groups from all over the place, all around the world. In fact, Canada is one of the most multicultural countries in the world, and Toronto is probably the most multicultural city in the world. And we’re proud of that.”
And yet, he understands why recent legislature has left some evangelical Christians a bit uneasy.
“I think what we’re seeing not only in Canada, but many of the Western nations is a really going away from God’s Word,” Musselman says.
Earlier this year, we talked about M-103, a motion that ended up passing in March. On its face, the motion is harmless. For one, it isn’t a law. And secondly, it calls for something to be done about racial and religious discrimination, particularly when it comes to “Islamophobia”. However, what constitutes “Islamophobia” is not defined. It’s for this reason that some have compared it to the anti-blasphemy sentiment we’ve seen so abused in countries like Pakistan.
Musselman says, “There is concern that even that thought within our country would lead to [a] lack of freedom of speech.”
For Christians following Jesus’ command to spread the Gospel, that would be a problem. The Gospel preaches one Way, one Truth, and one Life found in Jesus and inherently excludes other religions from being true. Biblical truths have come up against challenges in other areas of the law, as well.
Earlier this month, Ontario passed Bill 89, also called the Supporting Children, Youth and Families Act, 2017. This act details the protections of children under the care of child protection services, foster care, and adoption services. It will replace the older Child and Family Services Act.
Bill 89 brings a lot of new language to the fore, including a list of items care providers are to respect, including “race, ancestry, place of origin, color, ethnic origin, citizenship, family diversity, disability, creed, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression.”
So while the act ensures many good and important protections for children in social care, the specific inclusion of the gender discussion has many worried. The fear is that the government will be able to take children away if they teach the increasingly unpopular biblical view on sex and marriage.
Musselman says, “If the government considers that they (the parents) are being too hard, that they’re not letting these children choose, all that kind of stuff, they could find themselves in conflict with the government.”
Under the act, children will be placed in homes that hold a similar worldview to theirs, if possible. Even so, it signals Canada’s growing discontent with Christian beliefs.
Meanwhile, a spat is taking place in Alberta. According to CBN News, Cornerstone Christian Academy has been told to stop using Scripture in schools that could be considered offensive. The tension stems from passages that discuss homosexuality.
The tension of grace and truth
All of these situations call attention to the growing rift in what society believes, and what the Bible teaches. Musselman says no matter what, Christians should be prepared to stick to their beliefs. But he says, it’s crucial that we do it in love.
This is a delicate and difficult balance to strike. Too often members of the Church in the West head to one side—love without much truth, and truth without much love. It’s led to many secular ideals infiltrating the Church on one hand, and on the other hand a Church unable to engage communities in witness.
“We have to have grace and mercy in how we present ourselves as followers of Christ, but we have to have the freedom to be able to speak and be able to present the Gospel,” Musselman explains.
But, how do we do this? It starts with prayer, and a deepened commitment to studying God’s Word.
“I think we have to remember that this is a spiritual battle, and each and every one of us needs to hear from Jesus and how he wants us to approach people.”
Additionally, we can learn from others who had to stand up for their faith in difficult situations. Because VOM Canada advocates for the persecuted Church, Musselman is well aware of what persecution looks like around the world. He says Christians living in dire straits have a lot to show us. Mainly, they teach us not to compromise our beliefs when things get hard.
“We have to remember that we’re ambassadors for Christ, and He is our ruler and we take orders from Him. And sometimes we will have to stand up in very difficult situations.”
But, he explains, “The challenge is in the West, the compromise doesn’t seem [as big] because it’s not ‘if you don’t deny your faith in Jesus, we’ll kill you.’… But over time, we can get kind of worn down, and we don’t even recognize how much we may be compromising or even minimizing things in the Scripture because we don’t want to be disliked.”
Musselman says if Christians are more in tune with what is happening to believers around the world, they will be more likely to stick to their beliefs.
“Paul, [in] 1 Corinthians 12:26 says, ‘If one part of the body suffers, we all suffer.’ So, we need to be remembering our brothers and sisters in countries like Pakistan, Nigeria, Somalia, Indonesia, China, India, wherever there is suffering.”
If you’d like to stay caught up on stories of Christians all over the world, head over to VOM Canada’s web page.