10 - ISOLATING THOSE WHO WOULD PROSELYTIZE A REIMAGED JESUS CHRIST
The “liberal” Episcopalian Rev. Dr. John Shelby Spong writes in his 2001 release A New Christianity For a New World: “I do not define God as a supernatural being. I do not believe in a deity who can help a nation win a war, intervene to cure a love one’s sickness…Since I do not see God as a being, I cannot interpret Jesus as an earthly incarnation of this supernatural deity…I do not believe that this Jesus could or did in any literal way raise the dead, [or] overcome a medically diagnosed paralysis…I do not believe that Jesus entered this world by miracle of a virgin birth or that virgin births occur anywhere accept in mythology…I do not believe that the experience Christians celebrate at Easter was the physical resuscitation of the three-days-dead body of Jesus, nor do I believe that anyone literally talked with Jesus after the resurrection moment…I do not believe that Jesus, at the end of his earthly sojourn, returned to God by ascending in any literal sense into a heaven located somewhere above the sky…I do not believe that this Jesus founded a church or that he established an ecclesiastical hierarchy beginning with the twelve apostles and enduring to this day…I do not believe that human beings are born in sin and that, unless baptized or somehow saved, they will for ever be banished from God’s presence…I do not believe that homosexual people are abnormal, mentally sick, or morally depraved. Furthermore, I regard any sacred text that suggests otherwise to be wrong and ill-informed. My study has led me to the conclusion that sexuality itself, including sexual orientation, is morally neutral and as such can be lived out either positively or negatively. I regard the spectrum of human sexual experience to be broad indeed. On that spectrum, some percentage of the population is at all times oriented toward people of their own gender. This is simply the way life is. I cannot imagine being part of a church that discriminates against gay and lesbian people on the basis of their being…I do not believe that the Bible is the ‘word of God’ in any literal sense. I do not regard it as the primary source of divine revelation. I do not believe that God dictated it or even inspired its production in its entirety. I see the Bible as a human book mixing the profound wisdom of sages through the centuries with limitations of human perceptions of reality at a particular time in history.”
The orthodox reader can at least respect the honesty of Dr. Spong’s liberalism. This theologian has little doubt as to what is necessary to reimage the Gospel of Jesus Christ to accept and sanctify homosexual relations. In 1999, the New York chapter of a humanist organization presented Dr. Spong with their “Humanist of the Year” award. On the other hand, what label should be given to UCC theology, if not counterfeit Christianity? In Canada, the denominational voice for a reimaged Christ has been the United Church. Their theological remake has been decades in evolution. Recently, an evangelical Christian outside of the UCC gave the following feedback to Marriage Reality: “I have read your emails and I am opposed to same sex marriage, it is against all that God has commanded and His plan for mankind. However, I do not understand what you are trying to accomplish. We as evangelicals can oppose what is wrong and stand up for what we believe without launching an attack against the United Church. There are many denominations that have teachings and practices that are not of God. My question to you is this. If you build a wall between you and them, how do you plan on reaching them with the love and truth of God's Word? They will no longer be willing to listen at all. They need to see that although we will not compromise our beliefs and are willing to stand for what is right no matter what, we still love them as Jesus does. Do not confuse who the real enemy is here, it is not The United Church, or gays or Paul Martin, it is Satan who has blinded the eyes of many people. We need to love and pray for these people every day.”
This is a well meaning and valuable e-mail, although the view behind it must be challenged. First, United Church theology, when carefully examined can be exposed for what it is at its very core: an attack upon the integrity of the Bible; an attack upon the sufficiency of God’s written revelation; an attack upon the authority of Scripture; and therefore an attack on the very nature of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Although, the UCC boasts of its theological diversity and inclusivity, there is no statement of respect for the evangelical position in their Factum to the Supreme Court. The UCC believes that state support for same-sex marriage “does not conflict” with the religious freedoms of the orthodox. The Factum declares: “...it is absurd to suggest that allowing same-sex couples to have access to the institution of marriage somehow undermines the institution.” The UCC witness is an attack upon orthodox Christianity and an attack upon the institution of marriage and an attack upon the long-standing heterosexist worldview of the state. The United Church has the right to hold religious views supporting homosexual relations and marriage. They should just stop calling themselves Christian, when they are not. “Orthodox” Christians need to wake up from their status quo slumber and stop being used as a veil to cloud the true image of the UCC or to give it undeserved standing as a mainstream Christian church. Christians are to be the “salt of the earth” and the “light of the world.” Jesus also proclaims” “If the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled by men.” Second, although other Christian denominations hold acknowledged aberrations and heresies, they have not denied the heterosexual worldview declared in Matthew 19:4-6, which is also the cornerstone of other world religions and indeed, Darwinism. Homosexism is simply a false reality, a false worldview. Moreover, two wrongs never make something right. The fact there are other pro-gay elements in other denominations is no reason to apologize for focusing on the UCC in their apostasy. No other denomination followed the UCC lead in lobbying parliamentarians to vote for same-sex marriage at a church-sponsored prayer breakfast. Third, separation is Scriptural and a higher witness for Christ under the circumstances than the status quo association. To those evangelicals remaining within the UCC and clinging to the status quo, one must ask: Is there any heresy that the UCC could adopt that would cause you to separate in loving obedience to Jesus Christ? The reality is that the status quo witness for Jesus Christ is not stemming the tide of unorthodoxy; the status quo witness flies in the face of the spiritual evidence of the hundreds of thousands of “orthodox” believers already burdened to leave the UCC; and the status quo witness, in the face of decades of persistent liberalization and chronic heresy, has proven to be in vain and is simply no longer credible.
With further regard to the feedback, “If you build a wall between you and them…They will no longer be willing to listen at all.” This situation is not Christendom separating from the uninformed, the uneducated or the intellectually immature. Three decades of witness from some of the best orthodox theologians within and outside the UCC has fallen on deaf ears; brilliant Christian witnesses like Rev. Drs. Don Faris, Allen Churchill and Victor Shepherd, to mention only a few. It is not plausible to think the UCC is now on the verge of an outbreak of orthodoxy following the Government’s decision to make same-sex marriage into law. Reformers deceive themselves to think the apostasy can be righted, even turned around. The Apostle Paul speaks to this issue of separation when he writes on church discipline: “When you are assembled in the name of our Lord Jesus and I am with you in spirit, and the power of our Lord Jesus is present, hand this man over to Satan, so that the sinful nature may be destroyed and his spirit saved on the day of the Lord” (1 Corinthians 5:4-5). “If anyone does not obey our instruction in this letter, take special note of him. Do not associate with him in order that he may feel ashamed. Yet do not regard him as enemy, but warn him as a brother” (2 Thessalonians 3:14-15). “Timothy, my son, I give you this instruction in keeping with the prophecies once made about you, so that by following them you may fight the good fight, holding on to faith and a good conscience. Some have rejected these and so have shipwrecked their faith. Among them are Hymenaeus and Alexander, whom I have handed over to Satan to be taught not to blaspheme” (1 Timothy 1:18-20). Moreover, the Book of Hebrews warns against the consequence of apostasy: “It is impossible for those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, who have shared in the Holy Spirit, who have tasted the goodness of the Word of God, and the powers of the coming age, if they fall away, to be brought back to repentance, because to their loss they are crucifying the Son of God all over again and subjecting Him to public disgrace” (Hebrews 6:4-6).
Regarding the feedback, “Do not confuse who the real enemy is here, it is not The United Church, or gays or Paul Martin, it is Satan who has blinded the eyes of many people.” Satan has blinded many people. Indeed, this informed observation was the conclusion of the first and second century patriarchs. The early Church’s response to the threat from Gnosticism offers invaluable parallels in how to address the current danger from liberalized, pro-gay theologies. Regarding the feedback: “We need to love and pray for these people every day,” amen. The thrust of this later part of Marriage Reality is a call for separation and prayer as the true act of love for one’s self-professed “Christian” neighbor.
10.1 - An Augmented Creed for the Era of Cloning and Liberal Pro-Gay Theology
A contemporary Christian statement of faith in light of the sexual liberation and cloning eras should include: (we believe…)
(1) The Bible to be the inspired Word of God, the final authority in all matters of faith and practice.
(2) In one God, Creator of all, Sovereign, Eternal and existing in three persons: Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
(3) In the deity of Jesus Christ, that Jesus is God’s eternal Son who allowed Himself to be born of a virgin, lived a sinless life, atoned for our sins through His death on the cross, and bodily arose from the dead. He triumphantly ascended into heaven and carries out a mediation ministry on our behalf and one day He will personally return to the earth to establish His glorious Kingdom.
(4) In the deity and personality of the Holy Spirit who convinces people of sin, righteousness and judgment; who regenerates, sanctifies, illuminates and comforts those who believe in the Lord Jesus Christ.
(5) Men and women were created in God’s image but through disobedience have become dead in sin, and remain utterly dependent on the mercy of God. Salvation is ours by the grace of God appropriated through faith in the atoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ for sin. By faith we are forgiven our sins and reborn in the Holy Spirit who enables us to live creative, victorious lives. When our Lord returns, we will all be raised, the just and unjust, and be judged for eternal reward or retribution.
(6) The church is the living body of Jesus Christ and composed of those who have received Him as Lord and Savior.
(7) The church lives to: celebrate the life of God, cultivate personal growth in Christ, care for one another in the Spirit of Christ and communicate the Good News of the Lord Jesus Christ to the world.
(8) In the ordinances of Baptism and the Lord’s Supper.
(9) Human life begins at conception (fertilization) and is a gift of God. Human cloning is not a divine gift but is a reflection of man’s desire to become the Creator. All human life, regardless of age and functionality, has God-given intrinsic worth and an inherent right to life. Abortion is only tolerable in the last resort to save the mother’s life.
(10)God has designed humans to be male or female, anatomically matched for heterosexual pair bonding and procreative union. God intends sexual activity to be exclusively preserved for the marital partner and monogamously contained within the marriage covenant. Marriage is meant to be the life-long union of one man and one woman. God hates divorce.
(11)God intends marriage to be the societal foundation for bearing and rearing children. The Biblical family model consists of responsible heterosexual parents, biologically connected to their children.
(12)Homosexuals live in a false reality before God, falling short of God’s intended heterosexual design and purpose for humanity. God does not elect homosexuals to adopt the lifestyle they choose. God’s judgment lies in leaving homosexuals where they want to be and giving them over – heart, body, passions and mind - to this untrue reality.
(13)Homosexuals and heterosexuals will not inherit the Kingdom of God unless they are born again of the Spirit. The Christian witness of ex-gays, ex-lesbians and born again heterosexuals to the saving grace of Jesus Christ is continuing testimony to God’s sovereign authority and His loving plan for our redemption from the wages of contravening His Law.
10.2 - Spiritual Myopia: Failure to Recognize a Successfully Hijacked Denomination
Nothing in the Factum acknowledges evangelical concerns within the UCC. Moreover, in a letter to the Prime Minister on marriage redefinition, the UCC General Council advanced its same-sex marriage resolution, declaring the United Church as Canada’s largest Protestant denomination with more than three million members and adherents in 3,500 congregations across Canada. Irrationally, the letter contends that the UCC respects the right of those within the denomination who do not wish to offer same-sex marriages: “The United Church unequivocally supports the rights of same-sex couples to have access to civil marriage; it also unequivocally supports the right of communities of faith to decline to perform such marriages.” It is sad to see that this denomination has been on a liberalized pro-homosexual flight path, without deviation for decades, and yet professed evangelicals still keep going along for the ride and the Evangelical Fellowship of Canada (EFC) keeps waving them on, even after both acknowledge the intended route and destination. The EFC policy to not have an official position or policy on relations with the United Church is unfortunate. The EFC has in fact encouraged the status quo witness of evangelicals within the UCC by allowing the National Alliance of Covenanting Congregations (NACC) to remain members of both the UCC and EFC in spite of a longstanding dearth of reform evidence within the United Church. Moreover, in selecting the venue for the 2005 National Prayer Launch, the EFC demonstrated indifference to association with the United Church by its partnership with a non-NACC congregation - Dominion-Chalmers United Church. The remainder of this Christian apology is devoted to ending this line of status quo thinking and to exposing the spiritual warfare risk in these associations.
The UCC “evangelical” is like the blind man at Bethsaida. After Jesus had spit on the man’s eyes and put his hands on him, He asked, “Do you see anything?” The man looked up and answered, “I see people. They look like trees walking around” (Mark 8:23-24). Is he unable to see the big picture or is she unwilling to accept that her once orthodox and thriving denomination (pre-1960s) has been hijacked and is now irreversibly flying into a thunderstorm of liberal pro-homosexual heresies? In January 2005, UCC Moderator, The Right Rev. Dr. Peter Short, wrote to Members of Parliament lobbying them to vote for marriage redefinition and inviting them to a breakfast hosted by the United Church. He wrote of the General Council’s same-sex marriage resolution: “Changing circumstances and changing ideas are not the enemy of faith. In fact, change is the only medium in which faithfulness can truly become faithfulness. Uncritical repetition [of Scripture] is more like being on autopilot.”
In February 2005, eight ministers from London raised fears to the United Church’s “chief pilot”: “Our concern with the redefinition of marriage doesn’t grow out of an uncritical repetition of a received text or unthinking adherence to a loveless and dead tradition or a parochial moralism…The redefinition of marriage is dependent on the deconstruction of the conjugal characteristics of marriage which are anchored in biological and social realities and, for Christians, rooted in Scripture. The Biblical authors used the uniqueness of the male/female dyad to identify and describe the identity of God and God’s relationship to the Church. Marriage redefined loses its specific meaning in Scripture...Your use of the term ‘equal marriage’ promotes the notion that marriage is an inherently discriminatory institution that violates the equality rights of homosexuals, and we would assume, though the United Church is disingenuously silent on this matter, also the rights whose alleged orientation is bisexual or transgendered since the General Council had identified such orientations as gifts from God and part of the marvelous diversity of creation.”
Paradoxically, after criticizing all evangelicals for unchristian repetition of received Scripture (faithfulness to the Word), Dr. Short refutes the ministers’ concerns with his own unrelenting faith in pro-gay liberal theology. He leaves his denomination on liberal autopilot headed down a willfully planned course to same-sex marriage: “I understand your point of view to be deeply Christian. At the same time, I understand the point of view of the General Council to be deeply Christian. It is always troubling to the community when two Christian perspectives can lead to very different answers to a particular question. To my way of thinking this often occurs when those in conversation begin from differing places or speak from differing theological platforms (eg. Natural theology or covenantal theology). I would want to question some of the conclusions you reach from a platform of natural theology as, I’m sure, you would want to question some of the conclusions that have been reached from a platform of covenantal theology. The important thing to me is that in the body of Christ we keep learning from one another, not succumbing to the temptation to interpret differing positions as signs of unfaithfulness or moral inferiority...Reservations notwithstanding, I have come to the conclusion after thought, dialogue, reading, and prayer that the General Council has made the right decision. Therefore, I am doing my best to represent the Council’s position faithfully. This is my job. It comes with the office. I do it gladly and enthusiastically, trusting that where we are wrong God will forgive…
The fact that Dr. Short keeps his denomination on its liberal course is troubling, but not as burdensome as his trust “that where we are wrong God will forgive.” God will not be mocked. His Law is not for experimentation. In 1976, a Jesuit priest, Peter Fink, held the same disregard for God’s authority and Scripture. Unwilling to see homosexuality restrained by orthodox theology, he argued that pastoral activity cannot be left in abeyance until complex theological questions are resolved with total clarity. He proposed what he called “A Pastoral Hypothesis” - a theological experiment testing for the will of the God of all Creation. Fink’s hypothesis was that the Church should explore the possibility that homosexual love is a valid form of human love, and consequently, can also mediate God’s loving presence. Claiming an absence of any definitive condemnation of all homosexual activity, Fink argued that it is a valid theological method to explore this hypothesis and judge its validity on the basis of its consequences. He wrote: “If homosexual love is sinful this will show itself as destructive of the human and disruptive of man’s relation with God…All I ask here is that the Church employs all its resources in an honest effort to lead gay people to love, to the human and to God through their homosexuality.” God would not be ridiculed then, nor will He be now or in the future. Roughly a decade into Fink’s Pastoral Hypothesis, the results of the gay sexual liberation experiment were dead clear. Trusting that God will forgive willful apostasy is incredibly disingenuous. What will it take for United Church evangelicals to admit their denomination has been irretrievably hijacked?
10.3 - COC – Happily in Denial is Not a Fruit of the Spirit
United Church theology, when carefully examined can be exposed for what it is at its very core: an attack upon: the integrity of the Bible, the sufficiency of God’s written revelation, the authority of Scripture, the very nature of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, orthodox Christianity, the institution of marriage and the long-standing heterosexist worldview of the state. The UCC doctrine permitting pre-marital, extra-marital and homosexual sex is an attack upon the comprehensive Christian sexual ethic – married, life-long monogamous heterosexual sex. The UCC view that Jesus Christ is not the singular exclusive way to God the Father is rooted in false spiritual indifference to Christ’s atoning sacrifice, His resurrection and indeed, Christ’s divinity and role in final judgment. This apostasy, in a day and age of unprecedented access to information, including ample orthodox counsel, must result in the same conclusion that the first century Fathers of the Church made regarding the Gnostics. The United Church denomination is now, and has been for decades, under a false spirit. In effect, the Community of Concern within the United Church of Canada (COC) has been for two decades a brilliant “orthodox” light hidden inside an apostate jar.
The COC came into existence in Spring 1988, as an act of declared dissonance against the UCC SOLM Report on Human Sexuality, a pro-homosexual document opening the way for the ordination of so-called “practicing” homosexuals. There are four purposes of the COC: (1) to promote within the UCC greater adherence to the Twenty Articles of Faith in the Basis of Union; (2) to encourage within the UCC a theological renewal grounded in Scriptures, Christian Tradition and the Articles of Faith; (3) to encourage a deepening of theological perspective among clergy and laity within the UCC; and (4) to assist the UCC in speaking to society with a clear, consistent, unambiguous and prophetic voice on matters of moral, social, economic and political significance. There is little argument over the merits of the COC at its start or in acknowledgement of the orthodox witness of the Community over nearly two decades. However, the question remains: “Is there any heresy that the UCC could commit, which would convince the membership to separate?”
Given 17 years of COC existence and as long a period of continuous heretical decision-making within the denomination, it is fair to contend that the founding and continuing premise of the COC - to reform the UCC from within, is now implausible, if not unscriptural. Somewhere in the many years that have flown by since inception, the COC has developed a comfortable niche, which must be characterized as both “status quo witness” and “abject denial.” Their refusal to abandon the apostate denomination has now extended to beseeching disenchanted UCC members to not leave. The article “WHAT SHOULD I – WHAT CAN I – DO?” in the June 2005 edition of Concern, reveals an unholy desperation: “‘What should I do?’ (1) No matter how betrayed you feel, don’t give up your membership in the United Church…Do you want to see Unitarianism become the lodestone of the United Church? Do you want the ‘New Statement of Faith’ to be accepted without any critical discussion? Every person who leaves weakens the cause of reform. If everyone who disagrees with it abandons it, our Church will become isolated from all our fellow Christians in Africa and Asia who are unalterably opposed to the same-sex agenda. And with those who disagree with its ultra-liberal theology gone, the United Church would have little more effect than a service club in setting a moral tone for society…So DON’T LEAVE. (2) If you can’t bear to listen to what’s being dished out from the pulpit, find a congregation - perhaps another denomination – that will accept you as a devoted visitor. You’d be surprised how many are ‘stopping out,’ but still haven’t given up on their United Church. To keep their sanity they go elsewhere on a regular basis but choose to devote a portion of their givings to reform and renewal. (3) Try inviting a few sympathetic church friends to your home for conversation and informal worship. Share your grief at the direction the church has taken. And tell them about COC, an organization that lives up to its name: a Community that has real Concern for its members. (You would be surprised how many have never heard of us!)” [bold text is as found in article]
When asked in November 2004 to be the catalyst sponsor of a petition against same-sex marriage the Community declined. The Chair of the COC Executive Committee wrote: “We believe as an organization that our main priority, given our slim resources, must be to hold our national church accountable, and as I am sure you know that in itself is a gigantic job.” At that time in November, there was a hope that the COC (20,000 individuals strong and placed all across Canada) might put into public action, at a crucial stage in the same-sex marriage debate, what they were preaching to themselves about their unorthodox associates. These evangelicals within the UCC are not giving their best witness for Christ. Where was the clear, consistent, unambiguous and prophetic public voice? They ask God to heal their land, but constitutionally deny the option that they should separate in defiance of the apostasy, in obedience to God and in best interest of the public. What are the fruits of 17 years of holding the Church accountable? What unorthodoxy has been prevented? Instead of now challenging the few remaining evangelical members who see the light and want to leave, the COC should end their status quo witness and call all its membership to separate. The dearth of accountability fruits for the COC labors begs its dissolution: “A man had a fig tree, planted in his vineyard, and he went to look for fruit on it, but did not find any. So he said to the man who took care of the vineyard, ‘For three years now I’ve been coming to look for fruit on this fig tree and haven’t found any. Cut it down! Why should it use up the soil?’ ‘Sir,’ the man replied, ‘leave it alone for one more year, and I’ll dig around it and fertilize it. If it bears fruit next year, fine! If not, then cut it down”’ (Luke 13:6-9). These verses apply equally to the UCC. The extent of COC denial is characterized by their refusal to leave having acknowledged the absence of reform fruit for twelve additional years running. The UCC should be allowed to say what they wish before the Supreme Court or elsewhere; however, they should do so speaking as a “Unitarian service club,” to use COC terminology, and not as Canada’s largest mainstream Christian denomination. The continued presence of proclaimed evangelicals inside the UCC and the sustained association of evangelicals from outside the UCC, masks the denomination’s true identity. Satan has blinded the eyes of many, but God is not deceived.
In a speech titled “THE PAGANIZATION OF THE UNITED CHURCH,” before the Community of Concern AGM, April 29, 2004, Dr. Don Faris said: “In 1989 I wrote the book, ‘The Trojan Horse: The Homosexual Ideology and the Christian Church,’ as a response to the 1988 General Council...If the authority of the one Word of God, Jesus Christ, as attested in the Scriptures, is replaced by the authority of ideologies from the dominant culture, are we still dealing with Christianity? It is not with great pleasure that I say 15 years later, that what I predicted has happened. With the approval of gay, lesbian and bisexual marriage, the foolhardy blessing of behavior that God condemns, the paganization of the United Church is almost complete. I define modern paganism as a self-centered religiousity based on the notion that everyone should believe whatever they want and do whatever they want, because there are no religious or moral absolutes.” The Community of Concern gives as one of their founding motives, “We intend to pursue a positive and healing ministry throughout the Church, encouraging members and congregations to remain within the United Church, working to resolve our concerns.” Denial is not a fruit of the Spirit.
10.4 - NACC – Vacuuming for Heresy with the Bag Off
“We are a group of people and congregations who love the United Church of Canada with all its diversity. We wish to stay in the church while upholding traditional Christian values, theology and morals.” – The Alberta Association of Covenanting Congregations.
The ad in the United Church Observer reads: “ROOTED IN THE FAITH! RELEVANT TO THE TIMES!” posted by the National Alliance of Covenanting Congregations. The NACC offers as its purpose: “To help a congregation make a public statement of beliefs affirmed by the majority of its members, and so hold its people together within the United Church of Canada with integrity.” Imagine coming before God in corporate prayer acknowledging only a majority are in obedience. Does the righteousness of the majority give Christian integrity to the apostate minority? Does the righteousness of the NACC (or COC) give Christian integrity to the UCC? The NACC web site states under “WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS”: “the NACC offers a way to remain in the United Church of Canada with a clear conscience and hope for the future.” Ironically, in the UCC there are both “counterfeit Christian” congregations and what can best be labeled “counterfeit United Church” congregations. The characteristics of a counterfeit United Church congregation (not all are NACC) are: little communication or association with UCC Head office, psychological detachment from the denomination, denial of ownership or responsibility for national church theology and policies, acceptance that periodically voicing contention with denominational heresies is sufficient witness for Christ, and a constrained public witness against their Church. What is meant by constrained is that verbal friction with the direction the denomination has taken is never allowed to reach the breaking point of civil unrest i.e. picketing the Toronto national office, refusing to financially support the denomination or leaving. For these counterfeit United Church congregations, UCC unity has become a sacred cow, separation a sacrilege. They do not see that their presence in the UCC compromises their witness and also misleads the uninformed onlooker who assumes “denomination” means something. Paul in his first letter to the Church at Corinth confirmed that schisms are a purifying process: “No doubt there have to be differences among you to show which of you have God’s approval” (1 Corinthians 11:19). [NIV Study Bible footnote: As deplorable as factions may be, they serve one good purpose: they distinguish those who are faithful and true in God’s sight.]
In a letter to Members of Parliament, to undo the intent of their Moderator’s January 17, 2005 communication, (asking MPs to a breakfast and lobbing them for a pro-same-sex marriage vote), the Chairman of the NACC Steering Committee wrote: “The NACC believes this slump [drop of 460,000 members] is largely attributable to the UCC establishment’s having been out of touch with the general membership for decades, often making decisions those in the pews find highly objectionable. What it implies for those in political life should be obvious…We are an exhausted, depleted church. Those who still have the energy to care, once again find themselves divided in controversy.”
Rational politicians (irony acknowledged!) should ask themselves, if it has been so bad for so long, why do these people stay on? Like their COC counterparts, the question remains, “What heresy would it take to convince NACC congregations to separate from their denomination?” What unorthodoxy has the NACC prevented? On 22 March 2005, in response to a plea to separate: “Your voice of protest is needed more now then ever,” the NACC Chairman replied: “Thank you for your email, but you should understand that the NACC believes that speaking from within the United Church, uncomfortable as that may be, is more effective than from outside. UCC organizational mechanisms guarantee that, as part of the UCC, our voice must be heard. I might add that one of our supports and guides through all of this particular 20-year battle (there are others) is the Book of Job. We believe the Job story speaks with intimacy and power to our particular Nineveh situation, and my personal hope is that we will only stop doing so, and leave, when (and if) the Lord clearly tells us to, …and not before.”
Satan has blinded the eyes of many. What would constitute such a message? What would it take to recognize it? The premise of the NACC is also to remain within the UCC. One is reminded of three sailors aboard a vessel which has lost its power in choppy waters flowing inevitably towards Niagara Falls. They loved their boat which they had painstakingly built over many years. All prayed for God to deliver them (and their boat) from disaster. First, a small tourist boat came by and offered to take them to safety. But they refused the help saying no thanks God will rescue us and the boat. They prayed and prayed for power to turn the boat around. A little later a merchant vessel came by and offered to take them onboard. Although much weaker from the stress and in far greater peril, they still refused to get off their boat. They kept praying for power to turn around and overcome the current. A third opportunity came in the form of a rescue helicopter. A rescue specialist dropped down to attach them to a pulley. Although completely exhausted with their boat about to go over the falls they once again rejected the help holding on to their prayer. There have been so many missed turning points to see the light, to be called out of the UCC apostasy. Twenty years of the status quo witness has not produced the desired result. When the NACC says, “We will leave the United Church when God calls us and not before!” they need to reassess reality and consider their motives behind remaining in the boat. Hundreds of thousands have had the spiritual burden to leave before the “falls.” Were they wrong?
10.5 - The Paradox of Dominion-Chalmers United Church: a Branch from which Vine?
Jesus Christ said, “I am the true vine and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit He prunes so that it will be more fruitful. You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. Remain in me and I will remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. If anyone does not remain in me, he is like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be given you. This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples” (John 15:1-8). Surely branches attached to the true vine are not described in terms like: “We are an exhausted, depleted church. Those who still have the energy to care, once again find themselves divided in controversy.” On the other hand, another church (Grace Methodist) describes their spiritual state after separating from the UCC: “The Sparks among The Ashes, who experienced harassment and humiliation, have come forth, shining as pure gold. We know what it is like to cry tears of joy, because we are free, yes free to worship according to the principles and practices of Methodism as outlined by Rev. John Wesley.” 
The heart of the danger in the notion of supporting or partnering with churches choosing to adhere to the apostate UCC is the risk in properly accessing the true spirit of the single church, separate from the overarching denominational spirit of falsehood. The sixty-four thousand dollar question: “From which vine does the single church draw?” The risk of association is too high. A study of Dominion-Chalmers United Church illustrates this point. Is God moved by a United Church that votes by a narrow or even large majority of elders or members to not offer same-sex marriages? Is the congregation’s actual process of voting not itself condemning? How should God react to a church that loses a separation vote by ten per cent? Would a congregation that votes by a five per cent majority against some liberal heresy be less entitled to divine favor, than one with a twenty percent majority? Is there anything democratic about God’s will? What Scripture permits the notion that it is okay on pivotal matters of theology, like the ordination of homosexuals, if a portion of the congregation or the person behind the pulpit disagrees with God’s Word and your beliefs? Does it matter if a sister church in your town disagrees with your church’s theology? What does God think of a United Church telling a searching homosexual: “If you come here you will need to repent of your lifestyle and we won’t marry you because homosexual marriage is against God’s will, but Centretown United Church, only four blocks away, will accept you, bless your lifestyle, and if you choose to marry, they will perform the ceremony with alacrity”? What does God think about the refusal to marry two gay men by an Anglican minister on religious grounds, yet the two men find a UCC minister to volunteer to perform the ceremony?
Where does Scripture say “inclusivity” or “denominational unity” trump orthodoxy? Where is there evidence of the early Church sustaining so-called “embedded” orthodox believers, who claim to be called to witness from within an apostate Gnostic sect? Identification of the right Spirit by creedal passport and separation from the unorthodox by their identity were primary weapons against succumbing to false doctrines and preserving the faith. Christendom does not allow dual (conflicting) citizenry - claiming an evangelical identity but holding a passport (membership) with apostasy, essentially claiming roots in two vines. The idea of a hybrid spiritual branch is equally implausible - an orthodox branch grafted into a heretical vine or an orthodox branch surviving on a heretical vine? And Dominion-Chalmers United Church was absolutely the wrong branch with which to partner for a 2005 national evangelical prayer event.
There are four reasons to revisit the crucial 2005 A Year of Prayer in Canada: National Launch, January 8, 2005. First, one month before the National Launch, Dominion-Chalmers United Church was asked to clarify their position on same-sex marriage and the other pro-gay theological positions and policies of the UCC. The senior minister responded that the church elders had voted against offering same-sex marriages; he did not answer questions on other pro-homosexual UCC doctrines. Second, Dominion-Chalmers has never been a member of the NACC. Third, through feedback to Marriage Reality it was discovered that Rev. Robert Oliphant was guest speaker for the UCC 80th Anniversary celebrations at Dominion-Chalmers United Church in June 2005. Rev. Oliphant is the third name listed at an EGALE web site declaring ministers who have signed EGALE's Equal [same-sex] Marriage Clergy Endorsement Statement. Now Rev. Oliphant is more than entitled to hold his liberal views and Dominion-Chalmers is equally entitled to have him as their Anniversary guest speaker. But the point is this. One spirit tells evangelicals (and Apostle Paul!) that same-sex marriage is wrong and another spirit tells Rev. Oliphant and other liberals that marriage redefinition is right. Logic dictates on such a pivotal theological matter that one spirit must be false. The Holy Spirit knows past, present and future; and therefore, knew at the time our “national” evangelical prayer hopes for 2005 were being petitioned from the pews of Dominion-Chalmers United Church, from which vine that UCC church was rooted. Revelation 3:15-16 tells us that spiritual compromise made Christ sick and that He will not enter a lukewarm (compromised) church. When the Moderator of the United Church states before parliamentarians, "My hope is that the contribution the [UCC] has offered in this debate is a window for politicians to see the possibility of balancing human rights, tradition, faithfulness, and religious freedoms by voting in favour of civil same-sex marriage,” he is offering a compromise between two diametrically opposed worldviews, which in spiritual truth cannot exist. Evangelicals have compromised the National Prayer Launch, in such an important year, by associating with a denomination aligned on the other side. There is only one true vine. Perhaps Dominion-Chalmers would like to publicly attest to upholding the beliefs of the “Augmented Creed” (see sub-section 10.1) to clear the air on the vine of their faith.
Last, Dominion-Chalmers United Church lists five statements of faith (a sixth “coming soon”) on their website including the Twenty-five Articles of the Methodist Church. Leaving aside their silence on UCC doctrines, their non-NACC membership and their pro-homosexual 80th Anniversary guest speaker, can one safely assume the posting of these Wesleyan tenets constitutes a spiritually “right” United Church congregation? For the UCC situation the answer is no, not ever. The denomination headquarters itself declares no theological incongruency between its policies and the Wesleyan creed and lists the exact same tenets on their national website. Yes Satan has blinded many people. If compromise in the Church of Laodicea made Christ sick, how does He feel about the abject apostasy of this denomination that claims to be Canada’s largest mainstream Protestant Christian church? The spiritual risk in association with the UCC, no matter how sincerely contrived, is huge. It bears repeating - there is only one Holy Spirit out there? What omnipotent and ubiquitous Spirit shines His light on some congregations burdening them to flee and yet withholds the same light from others or shines a different light on others? Did the orthodox faithful of the true vine leave or stay? Congregations, like Grace Methodist Church in Bermuda, which saw the light and chose to separate from the UCC ten years ago (and the many individuals who have chosen to leave on their own) have witnessed to a full blessing of Spiritual light. All others within the UCC are suffering some level of shade, blindness, denial or full darkness.
The tough fight of Grace Methodist Church for its orthodox freedom from the UCC is splendidly recorded in Gwyneth I. Lightbourne’s The Sparks among The Ashes: A Mother Church Loses Her Way…But the Sparks among the Ashes Keep Burning. Their struggle for possession of their church properties took them to the highest court in the land. Five days after the Supreme Court of Bermuda laid its landmark ruling in favor of the separationist congregation, lay minister Gwyneth Lightbourne gave the first “free” Sunday sermon titled: “The Iron Gate.” She recounts from Acts 12:1-11: “As we look behind that Iron Gate, we see a prisoner, and that prisoner is Peter…He’s bound with two chains, and two soldiers are guarding the door…The angel gives Peter a touch and says, ‘Peter, rise up quickly.’ The Scripture says the chains fell from Peter’s hands. I’ve come to tell you this morning, when God uses His power, he can deliver us from behind our Iron Gates, O yes! But we have to believe that the touch from the Master’s hand can bring deliverance…We remember when the prayer group met on Tuesday nights to pray, and the only means of entry into our church was through the windows…We remember when we sat huddled in our church hall, Sunday after Sunday, because we were banned from worshipping at our regular 11:15 A.M. worship service and felt too sad to worship at all. We remember when we were referred to again and again, as ‘rebels,’ by reporters of The Royal Gazette newspaper and how many people expressed their perceptions of us in derogatory ways. And we also remember when some persons, whom we considered to be our friends, turned out to be traitors, but it doesn’t matter now, our Iron Gate has opened of its own accord and we The Sparks among The Ashes, who experienced harassment and humiliation, have come forth, shining as pure gold. We know what it is like to cry tears of joy, because we are free, yes free to worship according to the principles and practices of Methodism as outlined by Rev. John Wesley…Let us never forget, that the battle was the Lord’s, and it was He Who kept us as Sparks among The Ashes, so that He could preserve us to carry on His great work. I truly believe it was because of our faithfulness and the sincere and dedicated prayers of God’s people that the Almighty God has caused us to climb the mountain of despair, and allowed us to walk safely through The Iron Gate. Maybe I am speaking to someone here this morning who doesn’t know Jesus. I encourage you to find Him today. Jesus says, ‘I am the way the truth and the life; no man cometh unto the Father but by me.’ Repent of your sin, and by faith move ahead in the service of the King of Kings. May the Lord bless you, and keep you. May the Lord make His face to shine upon you and give you peace. Amen.” 
In testimony before the Bermuda Supreme Court, expert witness Dr. Victor Shepherd said: “…it is my opinion that the United Church of Canada has, in its articulation of its formal theology, and in its fostering of its day-to-day operative theology, contravened the Twenty-five Articles of Faith. Such infringement has occurred not once but many times, and not witlessly by inadvertence (as might be the case with a denomination that drifted doctrinally on account of theological naiveness). Such infringement has occurred, rather, as successive positions and policies have been adopted intentionally. The court ruled against the United Church authorities concluding in favor of the separationist argument that the theological and doctrinal differences within the UCC were so fundamental and deep-seated as to be irreconcilable with the founding Methodist creed. This finding occurred almost a decade ago and yet the UCC and most of its churches still proclaim the Twenty-five Articles of Faith. So what can the on-looker trust in deciding whether Dominion-Chalmers or any other United Church is a spiritually safe orthodox church?
Perhaps one is destined to remain a lone voice crying in the “internet wilderness,” but logic and a huge spiritual burden undergird the belief that the following poster (see also sub-section 10.6 following) implies that the United Church isn’t all that bad, after all the Evangelical Fellowship of Canada is comfortable partnering with one of their congregations and petitioning God from within one of their churches. Only nine days after the January 8th event, the United Church Moderator petitioned (by letter) Members of Parliament to vote for same-sex marriage and to join him for a prayer breakfast paid for by the United Church. Dominion-Chalmers United Church or any other United Church must not be allowed to be, or even give the impression of being, a bridge between orthodoxy and apostasy. The idea of a branch from two spiritual vines is flawed. Had Dominion-Chalmers publicly denounced UCC theology in the middle of the titanic struggle over same-sex marriage legislation, their prominence in the 2005 Prayer Launch might have been trustworthy. The criteria by which the EFC chose to partner with Dominion-Chalmers United Church and differentiate this congregation from the other 3,400 UCC churches constituting the apostate denomination remain a mystery.
10.6 - Spiritual Warfare Madness: Launching an Evangelical Prayer Campaign from a United Church
The Prayer Launch poster (see end of this sub-section) reads: “2005: A Year of Prayer in Canada, National Launch, Saturday, January 8, 2005, Dominion-Chalmers United Church, 355 Cooper Street, Ottawa. Plenty of free parking available!” The Apostle John writes to fellow believers: “Dear friends, if our hearts do not condemn us, we have confidence before God and receive from Him anything we ask, because we obey His commands and do what pleases Him” (1 John 3:21-22). Around 2450 years ago, the chronicler wrote: “If my people, who are called by My name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from Heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land” (2 Chronicles 7:14).
Given God’s will on the matter of marriage redefinition, given the anti-Christian consequences of same-sex marriage legislation (adoption of a homosexist worldview), given the prayer events of 2005, and given God’s assurance to respond to His people, don’t you find it strange that our minority Government, mired in corruption, should gain the longevity needed to pass same-sex marriage legislation by one vote? No doubt our sovereign God Almighty has many messages for us relating to this devastating outcome; however, the burden expressed in Marriage Reality is that the status quo witness of evangelicals (inside and outside the UCC) has just not been good enough.  At the start of 2005, Brian Warren, executive director of Canada in Prayer and keynote speaker at Dominion-Chalmers United Church on January 8, 2005, gave the following prayer guidance, which is a fitting critique of “status quo” witness:
Jan. 3 – REPENT AND PRAY AGAINST REBELLION
NATIONAL: Intercede that rebellious hearts will be turned toward the Living God. Pray that the nation will be brought to its knees before the Almighty. Ask God to break the spirit of rebellion even within the Church, and help believers across the country to surrender whole-heartedly to their Master and Savior.
Jan. 4 – REPENT FOR AND PRAY AGAINST HARD-HEARTEDNESS & DISOBEDIENCE
NATIONAL: Agree that the Word of God will once again be obeyed in this nation. Ask the Father to soften hard hearts that are far from Him and help them feel again and turn back to Him (Matthew 24:10, 12). Pray for Christians who have succumbed to the ways of the world, that our Wise God will give them a revelation of the state of their hearts, and help them obey and love Him.
Jan. 8&9 – REPENT FOR AND PRAY AGAINST PRIDE & DOUBLE-MINDEDNESS
NATIONAL: ...Intercede for the ‘Pharisees’ of today, who preach and speak the Word, but don’t live it (Isaiah 29:13). Pray that the People of God in Canada will begin to apply the Word and that it will get from their minds into their hearts. Pray that they will humble themselves and live to please Almighty God, who is the only One worthy to be exalted, and who has a greater plan for this nation!
Jan. 10 – REPENT FOR AND PRAY AGAINST UNHOLINESS AND PERVERSION
NATIONAL: Pray for revival to sweep across this land and for great conviction of sin and holy cleansing to take place. Cry out to God to bring an end to sexual immorality and adultery. Pray that Christians will no longer distort the Word of God in order to fit their own agenda, and that purity will come forth first inside the Church.
Each one of us is an individual sinner daily in need of repentance and grace, but what of the actions of national and denominational-level Christian bodies? What denomination personifies rebellion within the Church? What denomination needs most to surrender whole-heartedly to their Master and Saviour? What denomination has turned its back on the Word of God? What denomination needs to feel again and turn back to Him? What denomination is double-minded? What denomination most needs to humble itself and live to please Almighty God? What denomination advocates sexual immorality and adultery? What denomination distorts the Word of God in order to fit their own agenda? Yet we launch our 2005 prayer campaign from a United Church that is not a member of NACC, that will not declare itself fundamentally opposed to UCC doctrines and that invites a staunch liberal pro-homosexual minister to speak at its UCC 80th Anniversary celebration! Yes Satan has blinded many people. No wonder our prayers are not answered. God will not be mocked. The EFC needs to confess the error of such an association to effectively petition God’s healing hand on our Nation.
The National House of Prayer website tactfully refers to the: “2005 January 8th, National Prayer Launch in Ottawa Dominion Chalmers Church.” Under the title ‘Why Ottawa?’ the website reads: “Every decision that`s made in Ottawa affects each municipality in Canada. A gate is a point of access; Ottawa is the spiritual ‘gateway’ into the rest of our nation... What comes through a gate has influence over what the gate was designed to guard. In biblical times the gateway is a place where elders of the city met to make decisions and to settle disputes. By establishing a House of Prayer in Ottawa, we will be able to pray as Graham Kendrick says, ‘On site with insight.’ We desire a Visible Presence in our nation's capital thus demonstrating a positive example by a Caring and Praying Church of Canada.” The website of Pray GTA (Greater Toronto Area) records: “The church in the Capital region carries a torch for the nation and deserves our prayerful support. In addition to local issues, the church obviously carries a special intercessory burden for the government of Canada…The Saturday evening service at the Dominion-Chalmers United Church was the official launch of 2005 – A Year of Prayer for Canada. Brian Warren, of Canada in Prayer, led the congregation in a time of deep commitment to unite and pray for Canada. At one point, the congregation was on its face before God, crying out for God’s mercy on our nation… As I reflect back on the event I am struck by how fitting it was that we launched a year of prayer for Canada with our arms reaching around the world. It is so consistent with Canada’s prophetic destiny to bring healing to the nations.”
Brian Warren reflects on the events of January 8, 2005: “Canada in Prayer, in partnership with the Evangelical Fellowship of Canada, the Ottawa churches, the National House of Prayer, and each of you who joined with us in spirit, successfully launched ‘A Year of Prayer for Canada’ in Ottawa on January 8th, and struck a blow to darkness! Many thanks to those who participated in the prayer meetings prior to the launch, hosted by the Life Centre. On the ‘First Friday,’ Pastor Joyce Boucher spoke to those gathered about pressing into God and showed a clip of the Transformation Video….Later that evening ceremonial candles were lit from the eternal flame on Parliament Hill and carried to Dominion-Chalmers Church, where the official inauguration of the Year of Prayer took place. Three torches were lit in the hearts and minds of those present and those who will pray throughout this year - one torch representing intercession, one for prayer-driven evangelism, and the final one representing the praying Church. To God be the glory! In closing, I encourage us all to use this ‘love month’ of February to meditate on 1 John 4:7-11. ‘Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.’ (verse 11). Call someone on February 14th and let them know God loves them and so do you!
Marg Buchanan writes in ChristianWeek: “‘Prayer is the way we engage the power of God for the things He has called us to do,’ says Dave Carson, pastor and director of Intercessors for Canada, and director of the prayer initiatives for Celebration 2005…Carson’s role is to ensure that the entire process is supported with prayer. Monthly prayer letters to church leaders began to go out last June, just before the event was launched on “100 Huntley Street.” The EFC is calling 2005 a year of prayer for Canada, and Carson says it was fitting to launch the year with a major prayer event in the nation’s capital. A prayer walk was held January 8 in Ottawa, and included a gathering on Parliament Hill followed by a concert of prayer at Dominion Chalmers United Church involving prayer coordinators from across Canada. ‘Canada’s 12 most wanted answers to prayer’ were unveiled at the gathering, and included prayer for governing leaders (Parliament and Supreme Court), for the problem of organized crime, and for our collective guilt for lives lost through abortion.
Before concluding this sub-section, the following text records the EFC position regarding prayer at Dominion-Chalmers United Church and EFC policy on United Church affiliates. Bruce Clemenger, President, Evangelical Fellowship of Canada, writes: “You have raised two main issues in correspondence with me; the first concerns the decision to hold a prayer event at Dominion-Chalmers church in January 2005 and the second regarding EFC and its affiliates who are congregations or members of the United Church. First, the decision to hold the January 2005 prayer event was made by local organizers and agreed to by the prayer mobilization committee. The event was not held in partnership with the United Church of Canada. I am unaware that any of the prayer movements or persons who participated, prior, during or following the event believed that the decision to hold the event at that location was in error. Second, the Evangelical Fellowship of Canada is an association of evangelicals drawn together by common adherence to a statement of faith. There are United Churches who have affiliated and were welcomed into the Fellowship. The decision for individuals and congregations to remain within the United Church is, I believe, a matter of conscience reflecting their understanding of what God would have them do. As a Fellowship, it would be inappropriate for the EFC to render a determination on a matter of conscience that is not contrary to our statement of faith. Unless there was a matter of interpretation or practice flowing from the statement of faith in which there was agreement among our affiliates, it would be outside the mandate and authority placed in the EFC to intervene in what is otherwise a matter of conscience. May God give us each wisdom and grace.”
Praise God for the EFC and yes “May God give us each wisdom and grace.” John 15:7 reads: “If you remain in Me and My words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be given you.” The National Launch participants - Canada in Prayer, National House of Prayer, Celebration 2005 and EFC - may feel the event went well and the location was not in error, but where is the repentance? Where are the answers to our requests? It is time we stopped thinking of prayer “events” and measuring success by the level of inclusivity, the quantity of participants or even the emotional experience of the evening. All things considered there is little cause to Celebrate 2005, prayer notwithstanding.
The matter of the error in holding the National Prayer Launch at Dominion-Chalmers United Church can easily be clarified by Dominion-Chalmers publicly affirming the Augmented Creed (if not by joining the NACC or by separating from the UCC), otherwise Marriage Reality contends God has not answered our prayers because we chose to fellowship with a typical congregation of an undifferentiated United Church, a branch of the wrong vine. In effect, we came before God, at “the spiritual ‘gateway’ into the rest of our nation” asking for Him to heal our land and open the eyes of many to their blindness (“Paul Martin and gays” included), when we were too blind to distance ourselves from the “United Church.” Why should we expect God to convince non-believers of the folly of same-sex marriage, when Christians act in fellowship with apparent indifference to the issue? God will not be mocked or the Holy Spirit compromised. The Apostle John gives us this warning: “God is light; in Him there is no darkness at all. If we claim to have fellowship with Him, yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live by the truth” (1 John 1:5-6).
In regard to the EFC policy of allowing United Church congregations to affiliate on the basis of “common adherence to a statement of faith,” once more, the United Church of Canada lists the Wesleyan Twenty-five Articles of Faith as an indorsed creed. In an era of abject liberal pro-homosexual theologies, the EFC must filter its membership through an “Augmented Creed” or risk God’s silence. And should Dominion-Chalmers, an NACC congregation or any other United Church profess to this Augmented Creed, then one must ask, once again, “How can you remain in the UCC?”
10.7 – Keep the Status Quo and 2005/6 Will Not be Years for Celebration
On Saturday, January 8, 2005, the day of the National Launch, the Ottawa Citizen carried an article – “National church campaign aims to remind Christians they 'follow Christ': Get out of pews and into community.” The article reads: “Celebration 2005, a national campaign to get Christians out of their pews and into the community, will be launched in Ottawa today. ‘We get so caught up in churchianity, that we forget the reason why we follow Christ. We never pray enough or help enough,’ says David Macfarlane, the co-ordinator of the campaign. Today's event begins at Dominion-Chalmers United Church on Cooper Street, with workshops and a prayer concert, and will end on Parliament Hill with prayers starting at 5 p.m. for the victims of the tsunamis in South Asia. At 5.30 p.m., the Peace Tower's bells will ring for two minutes. The main Celebration 2005 events will take place over three weeks, beginning May 14, and will include concerts by Christian artists and, more important, an outreach to communities across the country. Mr. Macfarlane, the Evangelical Fellowship's director of national initiatives, says what moved him to spur churches to make a difference in their communities was HOOPS, a simple project in London and Manchester, England. Churches there organized basketball tournaments for youths, and after 18 months, London police gave the project credit for a 48-per-cent drop in juvenile crime. Similar results were recorded in Rexdale, a multicultural neighborhood in Toronto, when churches organized their own HOOPS tournaments. He said ‘another shining model is La Nouvelle Vie in Montreal. It has a congregation of 2,500 francophones and they help young mothers and run an incredible food bank. They expected to feed 3,000 at Christmas, and the budget they raised was $3 million.’ ‘We hope Celebration 2005 will be a catalyst to draw people together in new and different ways, and will have local, national and regional impact,’ says Mr. Macfarlane. ‘If it wakes up a percentage of Christians to the needs of the poor, it will be worth it. And it's not just for the down-and-out. All of us need friends and a sense of community.’ Mr. Macfarlane hopes that churches will help fill not only food banks, but also hold block parties with balloons and face-painting. The Evangelical Fellowship of Canada hopes to sign up 2,000 churches across the country, and draw many of them together in good works in their communities. Calgary's Centre Street Church is planning to break the record for the most food ever donated to the city's Interfaith Food Bank. Twelve other Calgary churches plan to help build a house for Habitat for Humanity.”
Praise God for Celebration 2005. Who can be against a national church campaign that “aims to remind Christians they 'follow Christ'” and to “Get out of pews and into community.” However, if we are, at the end of 2005, to have more than reduced hunger and less crime to celebrate in Canada, we will have to change our witness. The status quo is clearly not working. The number one focus of Canadian Christendom, in accordance with “following Christ,” Celebration 2005 not withstanding, must be to stop same-sex marriage and prevent the veiled conversion of the state to a homosexist worldview. Time is running out on 2005. God assuredly wants to respond favorably to our prayers on marriage redefinition, but we have to first show repentance for our association with and passive acceptance of liberal pro-homosexual theologies. We have to demonstrate our obedience and get out of our comfortable pews. Christ’s Gospel is not a social Gospel, it is a Gospel of repentance, redemption and freedom in obedience, which subsequently manifests itself in concern for one’s neighbor. Our state’s declaration of indifference to homosexuality will not, as the United Church implies, bring God’s joyous blessing upon this nation. And no amount of interfaith food bank donations will undo the damage of Him turning His face away. God will not be mocked: “Whoever has My commands and obeys them, he is the one who loves Me. He who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I too will love him and show Myself to him” (John 14:21). “O you of little faith? So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink? Or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first the kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well” (Matthew 6: 31-33).
If Canadian Christendom is to truly Celebrate 2005 or God-willing in 2006, same-sex “marriage” must not happen. Have you done all you can possibly do to take a stand for Christ? The status quo witness is not good enough.
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 John Shelby Spong, A New Christianity For a New World (San Francisco: Harper, 2001), pp.3-6.
 FACTUM OF THE INTERVENER, The United Church of Canada, Supreme Court File No. 29866, 11 May 2004, p. 7.
 FACTUM OF THE INTERVENER, The United Church of Canada, Supreme Court File No. 29866, May 11, 2004, p.2. “Theologically and liturgically, the United Church understands both opposite-sex and same-sex couples as sharing the same human dignity of being made in the image of God. There is therefore no theological impediment that would prevent same-sex couples from participating in this union…”
 Email Janet Epp Buckingham, Director, Law and Public Policy, EFC, dated 29 March 2005.
 Moderator’s Letter to Members of Parliament on Equal Marriage, January 17, 2005, www.united-church.ca/moderator/short/2005/0117.shtm, 20/08/2005
 The Rev. Dr. Connie denBok et al., Letter to the Moderator dated 1 February 2005, www.united-church.ca/moderator/short/2005/0210.shtm, 4/20/2005
 Response from the Moderator, The Right Rev. Dr. Peter Short, Letter to the Rev. Dr. Connie denBok et al., dated 10 February 2005, www.united-church.ca/moderator/short/2005/0210.shtm, 4/20/2005
 John McNeil, The Church and the Homosexual (Mission Kansas: Sheed Andrews and McMeel, 1976), pp. 4 and 5.
 “WHAT SHOULD I – WHAT CAN I – DO?” CONCERN, Vol. XVI No. 2, June 2005, p. 3.
 Don Faris, “THE PAGANIZATION OF THE UNITED CHURCH,” CONCERN, Vol. XV No. 2, June 2004, p.1-3.
 “Remember,” www.unitedrenewal.org/regions/the_alberta_association_of_covenanting_congregations.html, 10/30/05.
 “What Are The Benefits?” www.unitedrenewal.org/about_the_nacc/nacc_information.html#benefits, 10/30/05.
 Geoff Wilkins, Chairman, for the NACC Steering Committee, “NACC Letter to MPs,” re. The January 17 Letter of the Moderator of the United Church of Canada 24 January 2005, www.unitedrenewal.org/archives/2005/02/nacc_letter_to.php, 10/30/05.
 See section 10.6 - “Spiritual Roses Are Difficult in Liberal Denominations,” for a commentary on the particular “Nineveh” situation.
 Geoff Wilkins, Chairman, for the NACC Steering Committee, “NACC Letter to MPs,” re. The January 17 Letter of the Moderator of the United Church of Canada 24 January 2005, www.unitedrenewal.org/archives/2005/02/nacc_letter_to.php, 10/30/05.
 Ibid, pp.123-128.
 Ibid, pp.112 and 113.
 In addition to the National prayer event at Dominion-Chalmers United Church, the Global Day of Prayer Calgary, (“strongly supported by the EFC”) proclaimed “What can happen when 200 million people pray?” The event, held on Pentecost Sunday, May 15, 2005, was preceded by ten days of prayer around the clock. Organizers welcomed “believers of all ages, gender, language and ethnic background proclaiming their oneness and unity in Christ!” In April, burdened that this was a good occasion to correct the imprudence of partnering with Dominion-Chalmers United Church for prayer in January, a proposed letter was drafted titled “A GLOBAL DAY OF PRAYER: LAYING THE ECUMENICAL BOUNDARY FOR CHRISTIAN INCLUSIVITY – AN OPEN LETTER TO THE UNITED CHURCH OF CANADA.” This letter was sent to both the EFC and GDOP Calgary organizers for release from the EFC. The letter outlined the apostate United Church position and argued “that an ecumenical gathering which brings together believers of literally any theological persuasion is, in reality, an event that professes no common beliefs and in the end dishonors Jesus Christ. In the spirit of ecumenicalism we have drawn a broad theological boundary line and yet find the UCC position outside.” Nothing good is going to come of another all inclusive status quo witness by Canadian Christians. Regrettably, the laying of a boundary line to define orthodox “believers” in the era of liberal pro-homosexual “Christians” was seen as counter-productive to the intended spirit of “togetherness.” Yet the proof is in the cake. All this prayer and thus far 2005 marks for Canadian Christians a disastrous year of setback sustained by a parliamentary majority of one vote, taken two days after the GDOP event.
 CANADA IN PRAYER: January 2005 Prayer Guide, http://www.canadianprayer.com/january_Prayer_Alert_2005.pdf, 8/10/2005.
 Marg Buchanan, ChristianWeek, January 7, 2005, Volume 18, Issue 20.
 Bob Harvey, The Ottawa Citizen, January 8, 2005, Section: City, p.E7.