Updated: Jun 14, 2021
Our parents were once captivated by the missionary who, temporarily leisured in Canada, told stories about preaching the gospel beyond the Atlantic. “Over there,” he would say, “across the sea in a foreign world to many unknown, live Christian men and women of iron courage and golden faith, chained in cold dungeons that have now become their home.” The stories of the missionaries were passed onto us—we listened and understood that many Christians were harmed for their faith in a way that we were not.
But the threat of that type of persecution invading our modern western world was never granted any real sort of legitimacy. Even when we studied the Scripture detailing the perseverance of the apostle in chains, we said, “daunting, but never here.”
But now it’s here. We were caught stunned and unprepared. A year ago, everything was normal. But now, congregants worshipping Christ in church are foreigners in their community and branded dangers to their country.
There is, however, a member of our Christian flock, Artur Pawlowski, that the wolves of the Alberta Health Services (AHS) and our Provincial Government cannot leave alone. It’s no wonder why. Pastor Pawlowski is among the fiercest of us all. By the orders of our Chief Medical Officer, and with the click of our Premier’s pen, new “laws” (Lex iniusta non est lex) were passed, and their pack dominated the vast majority of churches in Alberta. If tomorrow, Premier Jason Kenney ordered churches to lock their doors entirely, the majority would do it. But there are a brave and stubborn few, like Pastor Coates, who refuse to kneel to this new alpha, challenging God for command over the church—for a ravenous government, this is a problem.
Pastor Pawlowski has been fearless as he helps hold the tender line of freedom across the country and the province. But a few days ago, a secret warrant was signed, containing permission to hold Pastor Pawlowski in contempt of court if he did not comply with AHS demands*—he didn’t. And now, he’s been arrested. Thus, Pawlowski following Christ has cost him. And his legal team is doing everything in our legal power to free that innocent man from prison. Nonetheless, Christ has promised Pawlowski he has everything to gain.
No doubt the pastor will be, as he already has been, slandered, by government, secularists, and Christians, as “insane, unhinged, dangerous, and deserving of this punishment.” Because we have degraded to a society of safety and not justice, Pawlowski’s accusers can justify this tyrannical arrest simply by convincing themselves that his decisions were unsafe and therefore wrong. The summit of their logic is terrifying. We’ve allowed experts to determine, and therefore legislate, what’s “safe” and what’s “unsafe.” But public health orders don’t automatically equivocate to justice. If that were true, Christians might vanish overnight and wake up isolated, strapped to a table, in a Canadian Institution for the Ideologically Unsound because an expert determines that the doctrine we preach and believe is mentally unsafe for others.
2. Romans 13
“Follow the Scriptures!” non-scriptural men cry. The idea, of course, being that if Pawlowski simply bowed to the hydra of health like most other churches, there wouldn’t be a problem.
“Obey the Word you claim is God and, as it says in Romans 13, submit to government.”
That is a tired accusation and a depleted argument. Paul describes two primary reasons for recognizing the authority of government:
Because the Lord God is trinitarian and exists in a hierarchy. Though the Father, Son (Jesus Christ), and Holy Spirit are matched in omniscience, omnipotence, and omnipresence, and though they are all equally God, the Son submits to the Father, and the Holy Spirit submits to the Son. Because we are made in the image of God (Genesis 1:27), we must emulate that hierarchy in our homes, our jobs, our schools, and by recognizing the authority God has given to government. In this way, we testify to the nature of his creation.
To restrain outward manifestation of sin, thus keeping society safe, in accordance with justice. It is true that “From within, out of the heart of man, come evil things…" (Mark 7:20). For this reason, the Scripture says, “Everyone who hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him.” (1 John 3:15). Nonetheless, life in our community is better if those evil desires of hearts never come to physical fruition. In this way, Government works for our good (Romans 13:3). By monopolizing the legitimate use of force, rulers legislate punishments for wrongdoing. The possible criminal weighs the “benefits” of the crime, concludes they are less than the harm incurred by discipline, and thus acts under the law.
Neither of these teachings condones obeying a law that clashes with Scripture. We as Christians must submit to rulership, including government, true. But there is an Eternal and Almighty Authority whose unrivalled splendor and unequalled reign is more than anything Premier Kenney, or Dr. Hinshaw, or Prime Minister Trudeau has ever beheld. If my lieutenant tells me one command, but then the general tells me another, who do I obey? If the law invoked by the lesser is unjust, declared so because the standard of law, God, decrees, then we have an obligation and a duty to disobey the unjust laws in submission to the Sovereign in Heaven. To not do so would be not to submit to government, but to rebel against God.
3. Rome Revived
The Old Nero hoped to destroy the Christian church by brutalizing and killing them. Of course, the church only expanded, exploding exponentially, as the cross humbly triumphed over the burnt rubble of a mad emperor’s capital.
The New Nero is much more manipulative. Except for cases like Coates and now Pastor Pawlowski, he has not come flanked with promises of pain and fear, but with a concern for safety and security. “Close the church to family and friends and strangers for the health of the country, and soon you will be able to meet again.”
The two tacts have the same intent; to snuff out The Light and envelop the nation in miserable darkness. Thus far, the New Nero has been far more successful in accomplishing this task. Were the tyrants of antiquity misguided in proper strategy for silencing Christianity (if that really was their aim)? Domitian and Diocletian never needed to harm Christians; they only needed to save others.
Thus, the church has been closed down or heavily restricted here, indefinitely. Another pastor has been arrested. Everything is in the name of public safety. But for how long? How can we know? We are not experts in epistemology and therefore are not permitted to declare when the pandemic is over.
“Don’t worry.” says the blind and historically illiterate, “Obey the government, these restrictions will end, and we will open up soon.”
*Let us not forget that 2 others were arrested along with Pastor Pawlowski. For that, and all information stated regarding Pawlowski's arrest, see the Rebel News article here
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