This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Friday, January 21, 2022:
More than 4,000 pastors in Canada and the United States used their pulpits last Sunday to decry Bill C-4, the Canadian government’s edict declaring “conversion therapy” illegal, with five years in jail for those caught promoting it in any way.
In the bill’s preamble (the bill was rushed through the Canadian Parliament in December with almost no debate before being adopted unanimously), it declared that the traditional view of a person’s sexuality — heterosexuality and the existence of just two sexes, male and female — is a “myth”:
[It’s a] myth that heterosexuality, cisgender [antonym to transgender] identity, and gender expression that conforms to the sex assigned to a person at birth are to be preferred over other sexual orientations.
In other words, Bill C-4 — by government decree — officially declares that God’s word on the matter is a myth, and anyone, not just pastors, who advocates the Biblical view is subject to arrest and jail time.
The language in the bill is so broad that even informal private conversations among citizens over the practice, even if not in the context of promoting it, could indict those citizens for violating the new law.
From the bill:
[Conversion therapy is any kind of counseling designed to] repress or reduce non-heterosexual [i.e., same-sex] attraction or sexual behavior, repress a person’s non-cisgender [i.e., normal] identity, [or] repress or reduce a person’s gender expression that does not confirm to the sex assigned to the person at birth.
Marty Moore, an attorney for the Calgary-based Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms, told Fox News: “This piece of legislation is by far the most direct attack we’ve seen on freedom of expression and freedom of conscience and religion.”
It extends far beyond sermons that may be preached in churches, said Moore:
The teaching and the propagation of those faiths, if it comes into contact with an LGBTQ person, regardless of whether that LGBTQ person is seeking that counseling or not, the propagation and teaching and dissemination of those faiths run the risk of being classified as conversion therapy.
John MacArthur, senior pastor of Grace Community Church located in Los Angeles, supports Liberty Coalition Canada, which called for pastors to protest Bill C-4 nationwide. He said those who dissent from the new law will be those who hold the Bible’s declarations to be superior to those of the Canadian Parliament:
Ultimately, the dissenters — the ones who will not cave in — are going to be those who are faithful to the Bible.
That’s what’s already leading to laws made against doing what we [as pastors and believers] are commanded to do in Scripture, which is to confront that sin.
And that’s just going to escalate.
The fact that [Canada has] identified [such dissent] as a criminal conduct … takes it to a completely different level, because Canadian pastors have been put in jail for just having church services [during the COVID pandemic].
Pastors speaking out against Bill C-4 relied heavily on Scripture references that directly confront the bill’s claims. Tom Ascol, senior pastor at Grace Baptist Church in Cape Coral, Florida, preached from 1 Corinthians 6:9-11:
Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.
And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.
Bill C-4’s declaration that the normal Biblical understanding of human sexuality is a “myth” was challenged by Ascol:
There are only two sexes. They are male and female image-bearers of God. God is the One who made Adam, and He made Adam a man. God is the one who made Eve, and He made Eve a woman. And God is the One who made you, and He made you what you are, and what you are is either male or female.
For those whom the culture has deceived, there is hope, added Ascol:
Friend, if you have been deceived — if you have been duped — into thinking you can have Jesus and your sin, hear the words of Jesus. Turn from your sin, and fall before Him today.
Put another way, the only real “conversion therapy” is that offered by the Maker of the universe Himself through the blood of His only Son.
James White, a pastor at Apologia Church in Chandler, Arizona, said it’s going to take courage to stand against the state:
A governmental bureaucrat who comes along and says “That’s what you have to believe” is putting themselves directly against the authority of Christ… and they need to be told that.
If, at some point in the future, you, because of your boldness and your committedness to Christ, are brought before a magistrate … then your duty is to look that individual in the eye and say: “Sir, with all due respect to your position, you do not have the authority to contradict the very Word of God that He has preserved for His people down through the ages.”
“That Word tells me what is right and wrong. That Word tells me that God created us in His image — male and female. Jesus confirmed that… and if you dare stand against Him, you will stand before Him someday, and you will have no one to intercede for you.”
Pastor James Coates, the first Canadian clergyman to be imprisoned for violating Canada’s COVID edicts by keeping his church open, said Bill C-4 is another attack on the very foundations of the culture:
I believe our government is capitalizing on a politically expedient [event] in an effort to further dismantle Western civilization as we know it. To do this, it must outlaw its very foundation, which is rooted in a Judeo-Christian worldview.
Bill C-4 is another brick laid in this effort and is evidence that our government is under the judgment of God.
Those who stand against the state can expect to suffer, added Coates:
As governments seek totalitarian authority over every aspect of society, it’s inevitable that they will persecute any and all who refuse to declare allegiance to the state. As such, unless the tide of totalitarianism is stemmed, Christians can expect persecution to increase.
The attack on Christianity isn’t limited or restricted to Canada. As Pastor John MacArthur said, “If we all stand strong in this conviction together, the governmental forces of evil will be put on notice that divine love and sovereign grace compel us to be faithful to proclaim radical transformation [i.e., the ultimate ‘conversion therapy’] at any cost.”