A new Canadian law effectively bans pastors from teaching that homosexuality and transgenderism are sins according to the Bible.
C-4 unanimously passed both the House of Commons and the Senate before receiving Royal Assent on December 8, meaning it officially became law on January 8. On the surface, it’s meant to outlaw “conversion therapies” — that is, psychological treatments intended to retrain same-sex attracted people to prefer the opposite sex and individuals who believe they’re transgender to embrace their biological sex. When approached in a coercive or abusive manner, nearly all mainstream Christian denominations also condemn such therapy.
While Christians should stand against hateful speech, many proponents of this law believe it will ban pastors and Christian citizens from speaking negatively about homosexuality.
On Friday, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau praised the bill on Twitter, saying,
As of today, it’s official: Conversion therapy is banned in Canada. Our government’s legislation has come into force – which means it is now illegal to promote, advertise, benefit from, or subject someone to this hateful and harmful practice. LGBTQ2 rights are human rights.
Critics say C-4’s language is so broad it also effectively bans preaching and teaching that draw on biblical sexual ethics. For instance, it could prevent counseling that references the many Old and New Testament passages that demonstrate God reserves sex for one man and one woman within the bond of marriage. It also could criminalize any instruction that confirms human beings are created as wholly male or female from birth.
Even further, the bill makes it a crime for parents to provide Christian therapy to children suffering from gender dysphoria and prevents pastors and other religious leaders from offering biblical counseling or advice to same-sex attracted individuals who desire to obey the God’s commands to repent from the sin of homosexual practices. Violations carry a penalty of up to five years in prison.
In response, John MacArthur, longtime senior pastor of Grace Community Church in Los Angeles, is asking ministers across the United States to join him in preaching about God’s standard for sexuality on January 16. MacArthur’s statement calls for a show of solidarity that will “put the Canadian and the U.S. governments on notice that they have attacked the word of God.”
In an open letter, MacArthur, whose daily Bible teaching program “Grace to You” is one of the most popular radio ministries in the world, quoted Andrew DeBartolo, teaching elder at Encounter Church in Ontario. DeBartolo stressed the importance of pushing back against government authoritarianism on this issue and thanked his American brothers for their willingness to stand with him.
–Alan Goforth | Metro Voice