When the State Controls the Church

This pastor puts most others to shame:

Any excuse will do for the state to increase its powers. And any and all rivals must be challenged, which is why the state seeks to intimidate and dominate the church, since this is the last great obstacle to full secular power and control. Tyrants have always targeted the churches since they have always known of its desire and ability to keep the state in check.

The Rona has worked a real treat in this regard. As the state and media push alarmism and panic porn to the max, the masses have been more than happy to give up basic freedoms and human rights – all under the foolish notion of being kept ‘safe.’

And so too have most churches and church leaders. They have allowed themselves to be completely shut down for months on end – no questions asked. Most bought the hysteria and the hype and allowed themselves to effectively stop doing what God has called them to do.

Sure, most ran with Zoom or YouTube, thinking that church simply amounts to a bunch of scared folks sitting at home and looking at a computer screen. Um, that might do for a week or two, but that is a great way for the church to cease to operate as a body of believers meeting together and worshipping under their Lord.

Thankfully some brave pastors have refused to let the state decide what the church can do. Some have stood up for religious freedom while so many have simply submitted, and done everything they were told to do. And some of these brave champions have already paid a heavy price.

Some of you might have seen moving photos today of one such pastor who has just been reunited with his family. After spending five full weeks in jail for daring to keep his church open, he has finally gotten out after paying a fine. One report about this story begins as follows:

Canadian pastor James Coates, who has been in jail for well over a month for holding church services amid COVID lockdowns, will be a free man this afternoon after a $1,500 fine was paid “as time served.” 


“Pastor Coates is being released. My understanding is that the $1500 fine is counted as paid already, because of the time served,” Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms (JCCF) lawyer Jay Cameron told LifeSiteNews.


Coates, pastor of Grace Life Church in Spruce Grove, Alberta, appeared virtually along with his legal team from the JCCF, before an Alberta provincial court judge today in Stony Plain, Alberta today.


Last Wednesday, the JCCF announced that Coates will soon be released from prison. His legal team also announced at the time that Crown prosecutors agreed to drop most of the charges leveled against him. 


Cameron confirmed with LifeSiteNews that Coates will be released this afternoon, but said that the JCCF is disappointed with some of the judge’s comments regarding Coates. 


“Our office is looking at the judge’s comments which we are disappointed in, regarding how he (Coates) was an endangerment to the community, and that he was acting irresponsibly somehow,” Cameron told LifeSiteNews.


“Pastor Coates has exercised his constitutional right to assemble and to worship, we’re disappointed that the judge made comments to the effect that these rights are not of fundamental importance under the current (COVID health restrictions) circumstances.”


Cameron told LifeSiteNews that the “Constitution is not suspended simply because of COVID, it remains in full force and effect, and the government of Alberta has yet to justify its lockdown measures, all of which are subject to a constitutional challenge.” https://www.lifesitenews.com/news/breaking-jailed-canadian-pastor-to-officially-walk-from-jail-this-afternoon-after-paying-1500-fine-as-time-served

An earlier article had offered his rationale for why he felt he must obey God rather than man:

Jailed Canadian Pastor James Coates took direct aim at government-imposed COVID-19 restrictions in Alberta in his last sermon before being locked up, saying he refuses to “give the government what isn’t theirs.” He said the government has “no jurisdiction” to tell churches what to do, adding it should repent.


“For the first time in my ministry, the government is reaching into the life of the church. That’s my domain, that’s the domain of the elders here at Grace Life Church, that’s the Lord Jesus Christ’s domain,” said Coates in a sermon titled, “Directing Government to its Duty.”


“Attempting to dictate to us the terms of worship is not the government’s jurisdiction, and I refused to give the government what isn’t theirs. Caesar has no jurisdiction here.” The sermon was Coates’ last before being jailed last week, and was given on February 14.

The article continued:

Coates said that government needs to be informed of its “God-ordained” purpose and that people have a “responsibility” to ensure leaders understand it is the church that is the pillar of truth. In his sermon, Coates noted that the “reason we’re to be subject to the governing authorities” is because all “authority is from God.”


“That means all authority originates with God, which means all authority is delegated authority, and that means the governing authorities are accountable to who? To God,” said Coates. “In other words, the governing authorities have a stewardship from God for which they will be judged. They are not autonomous, they are not sovereign they are servants of God.”…


Coates then said that if “the church refuses to fulfill this role and function,” then it’s “walking in negligence.” “I’m doing what I am doing in obedience to Christ,” noted Coates. In his sermon, Coates noted that complying with “unbiblical and unjust government laws is neither faithful nor loving.”


“Affirming the government has an authority it doesn’t actually have is neither faithful nor loving. It doesn’t demonstrate true love for those in authority, it doesn’t demonstrate true love for our neighbor, it doesn’t demonstrate true love for the church, it doesn’t demonstrate true love primarily for the Lord Jesus Christ,” said Coates.


Coates also mentioned that the “right to life,” the right to “work,” and the right to be with one’s family, especially when they are dying, are fundamental rights.


“We live in a fallen world. Viruses are inevitable in a fallen world and it isn’t the government’s responsibility to protect us from a virus. What’s their responsibility to protect our God-given rights,” said Coates.


Coates called for respect for law enforcement, but that they need “to do the right thing,” noting that he has received a lot of support from officers across the country. https://www.lifesitenews.com/news/pastor-said-government-has-no-business-telling-churches-what-to-do-then-he-was-jailed

He is not the only Christian leader to stand up for his God-given rights and responsibilities. But he has become one of the more well-known figures in this battle. When the corona virus first became big news a year ago I penned a piece on this matter of churches bowing down to the state.

I raised a number of questions in that article, and also quoted Catholic commentator Matt Walsh on the issue:

I am trying to imagine a definition of “religious liberty” that includes the government closing churches indefinitely on the basis that they are not essential enough to remain open. I cannot think of one that would be at all cogent or meaningful. Indeed, it has become obvious (if it wasn’t already) that our mainstream notions of “liberty” and “rights” and “freedom” are largely nonsensical, as evidenced by the people who normally assert these concepts as absolutes but now insist that the government has the unquestioned power to lock us in our homes and shut our businesses for as long as it pleases.


Most of us, it turns out, do not have a governing philosophy or set of principles. We are slaves to our emotions. So, if the government scares us enough, we will rip the “Give me liberty or give me death” and “Don’t tread on me” bumper stickers off of our cars and stuff them in the closet while we cower alongside it. Then when the threat has passed — or at least we are told that it has passed — we will proudly affix the bumper stickers back on our bumpers again, and sing bravely about our love of freedom. https://billmuehlenberg.com/2020/04/01/closing-churches-during-the-corona-crises/

Some of us were warning early on that unchecked statism and the rapid demise of the church could well be the result of the corona fear-mongering being pushed on us. A year later that has certainly come to pass – big time. Yet most folks – including most Christians – have simply rolled over and played dead. Most have not said a word about the ominous direction most Western nations are now heading.

If it is this easy to shut all of our churches down, those wanting to see them closed for good must be jumping with joy. If this is a test run for how the state can finally and fully silence its main rival, we have seen the result. It is scary stuff indeed.

As James White tweeted last month:

BTW, if you are sitting there smugly saying, “There is no persecution…he had it coming…people are dying…he’s killing grandma!” let me tell you: you will be the first one in line to get the coming gov’t “Church Certificates of Compliance” when they come out, too.


You will be the first to sign up for the online “Sermon Submission and Approval” service, too. And you will be one of the first to rat out any “radical” and “non-compliant” members of the “fellowship” as well. Your type is well known in China, North Korea, etc.

Back in 1994 R. C. Sproul wrote the following: “A number of years ago I shared a taxi with Francis Schaeffer in St. Louis. During our cab ride I asked Dr. Schaeffer: ‘What is your greatest concern for the future of America?’ Without hesitation or interval given to ponder the question, Schaeffer replied simply, ‘Statism’.”

If these two men of God were alive today, I think they would be shocked at what is now occurring. They and others tried to sound the alarm. But it seems such warnings have mainly fallen on deaf ears.

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14 Replies to “When the State Controls the Church”

  1. Great witness as a real shepherd!

    Bless him and his flock!

    Thank you again for your pertinent and precise articles, Bill.

    Ps! Love your bright new website great work(:

    Cheers & Blessings

    Eric Hansen

  2. Hi Bill,

    This is a well written blog post and I always enjoy your articles and while I certainly believe in being committed to a fellowship and I most definitely can see the dangers in relying on online media I disagree with your comments about zoom.

    For some this is the only method of staying connected and while it should never substitute face to face contact it is NOT always the case Bill that people are frightened at home and cease to operate together and worship the LORD because they choose to use zoom and other online technology to remain connected.
    I completely disagree with those comments and they came across quite arrogant to me.

    Also while I think it is healthy to meet together once a week in a building church is more than just going to a building once per week and in fact is people being committed in community.
    online media can have its place, if people choose not to meet face to face it is not always because there lazy or fearful!

  3. Thanks Chris. Of course I did not say all believers always are at home in fear – but certainly many have been. And I did say there can be a place for Zoom meetings for short periods of time.

  4. Meanwhile down in Tassie under a ‘conservative’ government we now have a Covid App which will be mandatory from May 1st. There has been no public consultation and my husband discovered it only while reading The Mercury in the library (it’s not worth paying for!). See: Check in Tas | Coronavirus disease (COVID-19)
    The/visitors to check-in to businesses, venues and events and have their data stored securely with the Tasmanian Department of Health in the event contact tracing is needed due to a confirmed case of COVID-19 in the community.

    ‘The App enables patrons/visitors to check in to businesses, venues and events and have their data stored securely with the Tasmanian Department of Health in the event contact tracing is needed due to a confirmed case of Covid-19 in the community.’ Quote from website.
    Note – 1. This is in the event that tracing is needed and 2. Note confirmed case, singular. This is all for a virus with a 99.5% recovery rate.
    There are 18 listed types of businesses, venues and events including,
    ‘3 A gathering, if a direction made under section 16 of the Act requires an event COVID safety plan, in a form approved by the Director of Public Health, to be developed and implemented in respect of the gathering.
    4. Places of worship, religious gatherings, religious premises, and other similar premises, including premises used to perform a wedding or a funeral.’
    If you do not have a smart phone, do not wish to record your details or do not want to be part of State surveillance you will be refused entry or may face a fine.
    Response from a friend, ‘I prefer a star of David armband personally….’

  5. I heard that in one American state the casinos were allowed to stay open during the lockdown. I think that the casinos would pay a lot of tax. The churches do not pay very much tax. So I believe that part of the reason for the unfair treatment of churches is related to tax law. The government will allow organisations that pay a lot of tax to stay open. If an organisation does not pay much tax they will close it down. Of course the church does huge amounts of charity and welfare work. The government will favour organisations that pay a lot of tax.

  6. But when it comes to accepting the vaccine, it isn’t just our immune system which no longer belong to us, but instead belong the state; it is our entire bodies as Rob Hoogland has discovered https://www.massresistance.org/docs/gen4/21a/Rob-Hoogland-facing-jail/index.html
    The Zinnia Joneses of this world are in control and out of control at the same time https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EtJ4Uq_OWxg and unless they put back in the closet will destroy us all

  7. How many churches know that we have two Constitutions?
    One which falls under the Commonwealth and one which is actually are Corporation.
    Yes our current Parliament which calls itself our Government is actually are Corporation.
    So guess who the true Government is? Us! “We the people”
    So what we have ruling over us is in actual fact are corrupt institution which calls itself our Government.
    They have been lying, stealing and deceiving us for years.
    Do churches even know that under the Commonwealth Constitution they are not required to pay tax’s? Yet most of them have taken on a ABN thereby enslaving themselves to this Corporation instead of trusting in our Lord for their provision.
    Even the statues (they are not laws) put in place by this Corporation hold no weight against the Commonwealth Constitution which is our real law. Which means legally they cannot fine you.
    The sad thing is though, it is mostly the unsaved that know this truth ahead of the churches and are using this knowledge very effectively to get out of paying these illegal fines being imposed on them for breaking Covid rules.
    It is time the Churches woke up and did some homework of their own so that they can get their power back. The Politicians are there to serve “We the People” and not the other way round. Our Lord gave us are way out of the mess we are in today back in 1901 and it still applies today.

  8. Gail, it’s months since our local library provided newspapers! I love going to the library but it’s almost deserted these days. I wonder if ever things are get back to “normal” or maybe this is it!

  9. It was sad that so many churches in Australia capitulated to Caesar. I don’t know of one that stayed open, certainly not where I live. Unfortunately most Christians take the line of “We must obey the Government” and quote the passage in Romans as support, but few will dig any deeper to discern the overall teaching of scripture on the subject. I’m afraid that if the government told us to jump off a cliff, most people (Christians included) would just do it.

    Keep up the good work Bill.

  10. Some of this has been going on for decades with the growth of government and us more and more as a society having to ask permission to do various things – nanny may I???? – that we have been conditioned to accept getting government permission for thing that use to never need it. We accepted Caesar needing to OK our doing things that are mundane and routine so long that this is just another thing to add to the list. We almost expect nanny to start having to give permission for thing so it doesn’t phase us when she does. Like the frog in the boiling pot we have become acclimatized to this so we don’t even notice it or question it. We got in the pot of our own accord but we stay out of ignorance of what is happening to us.

    “I believe there are more instances of the abridgement of the freedom of the people by gradual and silent encroachments of those in power than by violent and sudden usurpations.” That was said by James Madison

    We always on guard for the sudden and violent it is the gradual and silent that ends up getting us. We will defend against the enemy that comes and attacks the front gates but we seem to be defenseless against the enemy who comes in the back passage. Satan can’t win with a direct assault but through patience and with time he can chip away at us through non Christian rights and areas of life till he can then get us to willingly give him what doesn’t belong to him making us believe God would want us to do so that want he wants is the definition of love thy neighbor. When the government uses Christian language to get you to do something BEWARE!!!!

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