Dear Minister of the Gospel,
I write to you this Christmas season to call your attention to an urgent matter in which the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ is under attack.
On December 22, I received an email from Pastor James Coates of GraceLife Church of Edmonton in Alberta, Canada. You will remember that he was recently imprisoned for keeping his church open during COVID-19 lockdowns. James is a graduate of The Master’s Seminary and co-author (with Dr. Nathan Busenitz) of an excellent new book—God and Government (to be released March 2022). James’s recent email gave me insight into the Canadian government’s decision to pass Bill C-4, which “directly comes against parents and counsellors who would seek to offer biblical counsel with respect to sexual immorality and gender.” James indicates that it could be used to “criminalize evangelism.” To clarify the bill, James forwarded this email from Pastor Andrew DeBartolo:
Thank you so much for your willingness not only to shine a light on the situation here in Canada but also your partnership in calling other men to preach on biblical sexuality on January 16 in unity and solidarity with ministers here in Canada. I (and we) are truly grateful for your ministry and service.
Bill C-4 passed through the House and the Senate without opposition. Not a single dissenting vote was cast by any member of the conservative party. It received Royal Assent on December 8, which means it will come into Law after January 8, 2022. The Bill will amend the Criminal Code in Canada to ban conversion therapy. It will criminalize, among other things, “causing another person to undergo conversion therapy; promoting or advertising conversion therapy.”
In the Preamble of the Bill, it says that the belief that “heterosexuality, cisgender gender identity and gender expression that conforms to the sex assigned to a person at birth are to be preferred over other sexual orientations, gender identities and gender expressions” is a “myth.” According to Canadian law, as of January 8, 2022, the belief in God’s design for marriage and sexuality will now be seen as a myth.
The Bill defines conversion therapy as, “a practice, treatment or service designed to change a person’s sexual orientation to heterosexual; change a person’s gender identity to cisgender; change a person’s gender expression so that it conforms to the sex assigned to the person at birth; repress or reduce non-heterosexual attraction or sexual behavior; repress a person’s non-cisgender gender identity; or repress or reduce a person’s gender expression that does not conform to the sex assigned to the person at birth.”
The definition is intentionally broad, and it can clearly be used against any preacher or elder who either speaks against homosexuality/transgenderism or who counsels a person to obey Christ and abandon their homosexual/transgender actions and lifestyle. This means as of January 8, 2022, it will be against the law to preach, teach, or counsel regarding God’s design for marriage and sexuality.
“Everyone who knowingly causes another person to undergo conversion therapy – including by providing conversion therapy to that other person – is guilty of an indictable offense and liable to imprisonment for a term of not more than five years.” Similarly, “Everyone who knowingly promotes or advertises conversion therapy is guilty of an indictable offense and liable to imprisonment for a term of not more than two years.”
On January 16, 2022, faithful men across this country (and many in the United States as well) will be preaching on God’s design for marriage and a biblical ethic of sexuality. We will be doing so illegally, declaring to the State that there is one God and one Lord over His church, and that Christ alone gets to both define marriage and dictate what is required in the pulpit. We are honored that our American brothers will be joining us in this.
Please feel free to let me know if you have any questions or require any more information.
Yours in Christ,
Teaching Elder, Encounter Church
I am eager to support our Canadian brothers and to preach on biblical sexual morality on January 16, and I invite you as a faithful pastor to do the same. Our united stand will put the Canadian and the U.S. governments on notice that they have attacked the Word of God. We are all well-aware of the evil power and destructive influence of the homosexual and transgender ideology. Our government is bent on not only normalizing this perversion, but also legalizing it, and furthermore criminalizing opposition to it.
In 2012, California passed Senate Bill 1172 banning “gay conversion” (alongside New York, New Jersey, and Nevada). In doing this, the California government sought to prohibit any correction of an unbiblical view of sexual identity, because “California has a compelling interest in protecting the…wellbeing of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender individuals.” And on August 18, 2020, the Democratic Party declared at the National Convention that it would “ban harmful conversion therapy practices.” The Obama administration appointed more than 250 LGBTQ+ people to serve in the government. The Biden administration has promised to increase that number, and they have done so thus far.
As aggressive as this political priority is to make perversion safe from criticism in the United States, Canada is even further ahead. On November 29, 2021, The House of Commons passed Bill C-4 with a completely unanimous vote, amending the code to include “conversion therapy.” Since this law takes effect on January 8, 2022, faithful Canadian pastors are going to preach on the issue, calling for a biblical understanding of sexual sin, the eternal judgment that falls on the unrepentant and gospel-rejecting sinners, and the grace of God in the gospel which offers forgiveness to those who repent and believe in Christ. In 1 Corinthians 6:9–11, Paul clearly articulates why we must speak the truth:
Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, will inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you; but you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God.
All sinners need conversion, but the list focuses specifically on “the sexually immoral…adulterers…effeminate…[and] homosexuals,” who will not “inherit the kingdom of God.” Our calling as gospel ministers is to preach the truth, confront sin, and call all men to repentance and obedience to the gospel—the good news that achieves soul conversion and saves sinners from eternal wrath.
Will you stand with me and our Canadian brothers and confront, in a spirit of love and mercy, the damning sins legalized in our culture? Pastors, will you join the nationwide effort to preach on a biblical view of sexual morality on January 16, 2022 and proclaim the gospel of salvation that is now criminalized? Faithful church members and lay leaders, will you join in prayer—that God would work powerfully through the preaching of His Word and in the lives of the lost? If we all stand strong in this conviction together, the governmental forces of evil will be put on notice that divine love and sovereign grace compel us to be faithful to proclaim radical transformation at any cost. This world system and its human governments will gladly send people to hell, but our calling is to rescue people with the truth (2 Timothy 2:24–26).
If you will join us, please sign your name below and take a stand for the truth of the saving gospel.