A pastor in Canada facing massive charges and jail time for having church services of more than 10 people, a violation of the province’s regressive and tyrannical shutdown laws, is pledging that his congregation will find a way to gather for the Lord’s day, even if that means talking the church underground and practicing civil disobedience.
In a statement released today by the Elders at Harvest Bible Church in Windsor, Ontario, they explain that their Pastor Aaron Rock was informed by law enforcement officers that he’s been charged under the “Reopening Ontario Act” for having church last week. The exact fine will be assessed by the courts and ranges from $10,000- $100,000 and one year in prison.
Furthermore, the police told the congregation they would physically prevent them from attending their Christmas Eve church service, but it is not known at this time to what degree they were successful.
The statement explains:
“We believe that God will call provincial officials and the Premier to account for these irrational, illegal, and irresponsible acts, and for refusing to recognize the essential work of the church. To rescue the world from one viral threat, officials are willing to deny people gainful employment, deny people with mental illness and suicidal inclinations essential support, and deny the in-person proclamation of the life-changing Gospel of Jesus Christ. This is an abhorrent offense to humanity and an affront to religious liberties. To add to this injustice, hardware stores and big box stores remain open so that people can buy their last-minute Christmas gifts, while the church is banned from collectively worshipping the greatest Christmas gift ever given: the Lord Jesus Christ. This is a national disgrace.
The church describes how they have repeatedly reached out to the health unit tasked with enforcing public health measures, but to this point they’ve been completely uncommunicative and have refused to respond.
Thus: they made their position known with utmost clarity:
Our elders have met, and we will issue an internal communication to our church family outlining some interim plans to help us get through the Christmas season before we head into the New Year. In the end, we will find ways to fulfil our Christian obligations even if we are forced underground or to practice further civil disobedience.
In the meantime we will continue to fight against injustice and fight for the God-given freedoms and responsibilities of the Christian church. The Church is, and shall remain, a free institution under the lordship of Jesus Christ and an essential service for all of humanity.
That’s a ‘Yea’ and an “Amen” if we’ve ever heard one.
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