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.” 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. 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. 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.