Pastor John MacArthur and the elders of Grace Community Church (GCC) have released a public statement in support of Pastor James Coates of Gracelife Church in Edmonton, AB, the imprisoned pastor who remains incarcerated for refusing to abide by release conditions which state he cannot step foot back on Chruch property and preach the gospel.
In a statement on their website they say:
“We are praying for comfort, strength, and courage for Erin, the boys, and his church family as they endure his absence. We are asking the Lord to grant him a quick release, and a swift return to the pulpit. In the meantime, we pray for Jacob and the other elders, that they would be courageous and steadfast in shepherding God’s people.
Grace Church grieves with these saints as they grieve, and we rejoice with them as they rejoice in suffering in a manner worthy of the gospel. We ask all followers of Christ to join with us in praying for James’ release from prison.”
The church also shared a snippet from last Sunday’s service, where John MacArthur, who is also the Chancellor and Professor of Pastoral Ministry at The Master’s Seminary, where James Coates graduated from years ago, publicly prayed for him and his congregation.
“You do know that one of our graduates James Coates up in Edmonton, Canada is in jail today because he was faithful to preach the word of God on a Sunday. I’m willing, but I’m not in jail. And I’m happy to be here with you, to be able to worship with you as we come together again in this incredible opportunity the Lord has given us. So let’s bow in a word of prayer.
Our Father, we thank you for the opportunity we have to worship. We don’t take it for granted. We might have in other times, but we don’t now as so many are restrained from doing this. And we pray for James and Erin-his wife-and his family, and Mike Hovland and others who are standing with him. We pray for the dear brother who’s gonna stand up in that pulpit, perhaps even in this moment now and preach the word and if need be pay the consequences at the hands of the government.
We pray that through this your kingdom would advance. We know that the enemy cannot conquer because Christ has triumphed. And we pray that there will be a way in which the gospel goes forth that never could have happened apart from the hard trial that’s gone on at Gracelife Church in Edmonton.
Bless that church, protect those pastors and that people. Bring down those who would do evil and honor your son our Lord Jesus Christ. That’s what we pray for ourselves this day as we enjoy the opportunity to be together as pastors and people. We thank you for protecting us the way you have, and may we make the most of it for your glory we pray, in our savior’s name, amen.