This is a A PLEA TO THE CHURCHES OF CANADA written by Brenda Carriere Nash.
Countless individuals are disappointed and even discouraged, with what many of us would deem a crisis in Manitoba, and all throughout Canada.
I sometimes wonder if the church and some Christian MP’S and MLA’s, have forgotten our Canadian Constitution, enacted in 1982, that distinguishes “freedom of conscience and religion” as our first “fundamental freedom.” The reality of this Canadian constitution means that the church is not under the control of the government. YET, the government is trying to exert control over the church and sadly, many churches are complying, utilizing Romans 13:1 as their most favored argument to justify their stance.
But I ask you, “how many times did Jesus choose people over the law?”
When they were hungry, he fed them on the Sabbath (Matthew 12:1-8).
When they were crippled, he healed them on the Sabbath (Matthew 12:9-14).
While the religious leaders were appalled because Jesus was breaking the law, Jesus responded with, “But if you had known what this means, ‘I desire mercy and not sacrifice,’ you would not have condemned the guiltless” (VS 7).
Jesus was not afraid to confront those who were in opposition to what it means to love and show mercy. And this is where I stand.
While I long for our freedom and am concerned for the loss of our freedom, today, I am crying out for love and mercy.
Jesus demonstrated and modelled that love trumps the law when it comes to showing mercy. He said that all the law is laid on this one commandment, “The first of all the commandments is: ‘Hear, O Israel, the LORD our God, the LORD is one. And you shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ This is the first commandment. And the second, like it, is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.” (Mark 12:29-31).
Therefore, we must ask ourselves, are we loving our neighbor if we tell them they can’t come in if they are unvaxed?
Are we loving our neighbor when we divide and segregate? Seclude or exclude?
Jesus said that we are to live in this world, but not partake in what the world is doing. We are to stand for truth. Our Prince of Peace demands unity. Though the world is separating and dividing, the church must not. We must act in the opposite spirit.
Moreover, our Canadian constitution acknowledges, “freedom of peaceful assembly” and “freedom of association” in Canada, which are enumerated in our Constitution as “fundamental freedoms” as well.
These freedoms allow us Canadians as a “true north strong and FREE country” to associate and assemble with one another regardless of our social or vaxed status.
However, the signs I am seeing posted on the grounds of some churches, as well as spoken in many church announcements, are disheartening.
“Proof of vaccination required.” OR,
“Only the vaccinated are welcome,” and,
“Our main sanctuary will host the vaccinated, but those who will not show their cards will be led to another space of 25 people or less.”
Is this not a form of public humiliation?
Some churches are even hosting some services for the vaxxed and different services for the unvaxxed.
It may sound like a good decision because you are satisfying all, BUT you are not to satisfy people, but GOD. It is sending the same message of seclusion and/or exclusion.
Do we NOT remember the Scripture that says, “Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation, and every city or house divided against itself will not stand?” Matthew 12:25
Does this Scripture not concern you?
I know I am seriously concerned for the state of the church.
Moreover, as a licensed clinical pastoral counselor, the number of marriages that are suffering because of opposing beliefs (of the vaccination, the mandates & the restrictions) is disturbing and unsettling.
And the number of families that are being destroyed and divided is shocking.
Depression, anxiety and suicides are at an all-time high since this pandemic started. Thus, addictions are running rampant, even with Christians.
I foresee it will only get worse if things don’t change; and if the church doesn’t stand up.
The one place people could attend together to worship with a body of believers, and to have God minister to them through either the songs, the sermon, prayer or the prophetic team (if applicable) was the church. It was their hope. And in some cases, it was keeping marriages, families and their mental health together.
When the church secludes or excludes those opposing the vaxx (because of valid concerns like adverse reactions, physical/medical reasons or because of moral convictions: the aborted fetus cells in the vaccinations), the message they are sending loud and clear is that the law is above love and mercy. You are not worth taking a stand or not important enough for us to find a better resolution while we submit to governmental regulations (because I am certainly not suggesting absolute rebellion against the government).
Can we agree that it is wrong to imply “we the church invite the wife to come worship in the main sanctuary, and the husband, because you are (‘unclean’, a safety hazard, and a rebel for not complying) you can go into a separate room and watch church on a screen (or vice versa)?
Even worse, “you can’t come in at all”. This is a blatant condemnation of the guiltless.
Unfortunately, this example isn’t limited to just husband and wives, but to parents and adult children and brothers and sisters as well.
Furthermore, the second point being sent or implied by the church is, “We the church, believe in the lies and deceptions of our government and media.”
Though the Manitoba government clearly records that the number of Covid cases in the last several weeks has been mostly due to the vaccinated, the media and the government continue to exploit the unvaccinated as the ones spreading the virus.
We ALL know this isn’t true. Just look at the stats in today’s post by the Manitoba government. Clearly, if the vaccinated are the ones who continue to gather in large groups, go on vacations, attend movie theatres, restaurants and now the church. Then it is factual that they are at higher risk of hosting, transmitting and contracting Covid.
So, no one can say, “it is a safety issue” as an excuse to segregate the vaccinated from the unvaccinated. Those who have taken the vaccination are at risk of hosting, transmitting, and contracting the virus just as much as the unvaxxed.
Moreover, the vaxxed are NOT at risk of getting Covid worse from someone who is unvaxxed.
So why divide the vaccinated from the unvaccinated? It makes no sense.
The ONLY purpose the vaxx serves is that it may lessen a person’s symptoms and it could prevent the possibility of death. And that isn’t guaranteed either.
However, if the church continues to segregate in any form, then it stands to reason that the church will also then be indirectly responsible for breaking up marriages, families and ultimately, the freedom of our country.
The church is willingly aligning itself with Satan’s agenda to conquer and divide. Consequently, they may even be rightly blamed for individuals ‘forsaking the assembling of ourselves together’ (Hebrews 10:25) because the church is casting them out.
We cannot afford to be divided. The world needs to see that we value unity. That we value loving others equally. That we will look for solutions that send the message, “unity above division; love above discrimination; mercy above sacrifice” all without compromising the Word of God; in this case, submission to governmental regulations. Let’s be a light in a very dark world, emanating hope and unity for ALL.
The Bible is abundantly clear that no one should be barred from church based on their status in society. According to Peter, “God has shown me that I should not call any man common or unclean… In truth, I perceive that God shows no partiality. But in every nation whoever fears Him and works righteousness is accepted by Him” (Acts 10:28-35).
Any form of segregation and discrimination is NOT unity, nor unity of the Spirit, “I, therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you to walk worthy of the calling with which you were called, with all lowliness and gentleness, with long suffering, bearing with one another in love, endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace…” (Eph 4:1-3)
Therefore, I plead with all the churches of Canada to unite together as one body. I appeal to your love of the gospel and of our Lord Jesus Christ; the gospel message of inclusion and not exclusion or seclusion.
We must live the gospel and not just preach it because we are not preaching the true gospel if we aren’t living it.
When we host separate services or different services for two classes of people (when we know it is not a safety issue), or when we completely exclude or seclude people, we are no longer one body.
Listen to the words of Paul, “when we share a meal together we declare our association in Christ! Every time we drink from the same cup, we communicate the language of the covenant of grace, which is what our fellowship is all about. The wine we drink is our participation in what the blood of Christ represents. The bread we break celebrates our participation in the incarnation! The prophetic promise became flesh in his person; we are jointly declaring that in the revelation of our inclusion in his death and resurrection we are now the visible body of Christ. The single loaf of bread that we all partake represents the fact that although there are many of us, there is only one Christ! By eating together from that one bread we are declaring that we are one body in Christ and that he is incarnated in each of us!” 1 Cor 10:16-17
Please, I ask you to find a better solution like closing your doors and doing online services only. Or, host church outdoors while the vehicles are parked in the parking lot. Perhaps another option could be hosting many smaller OPEN services with cohorts to stay within the regulations?
Whatever your solution is, get rid of vaccinated-only services (in any form), and instead, I beg you to use your platforms and influence to educate the public, stop catering to fear, division and disunity. Let’s send the message, “unity above division; love above discrimination; mercy above sacrifice and inclusion above exclusion or seclusion”. We can do this and still adhere to governmental regulations where they do not violate scripture.
Behold, how good and how pleasant it is
For brethren to dwell together in unity!
It is like the precious oil upon the head,
Running down on the beard,
The beard of Aaron,
Running down on the edge of his garments.
It is like the dew of Hermon,
Descending upon the mountains of Zion;
For there the Lord commanded the blessing—
– Psalm 133 NKJV
Doctor of Philosophy in Clinical Christian Counseling
PLEASE, IF YOU KNOW OF A CHURCH THAT IS SEGREGATING, COPY AND PASTE, THEN PRINT THIS LETTER, AND GIVE IT TO THEM. ADD YOUR name and let us stand together.