What Happened to Serve and Protect?
The reputation of the Calgary Police, in the eyes of believers, is quickly being eroded. Before I get into the article, there must be a clear disclaimer. Many police officers, in fact, the majority of police officers, are outstanding in their profession. They are men and women who, like all of us, are trying to navigate a changing world. They do not always get it right and sometimes make mistakes. When I was in uniform for the province of Alberta, I served alongside great members of the Calgary and Edmonton Police Service, Lethbridge Police Service and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. This article is NOT a copper bash; it simply raises serious concerns.
Regardless of one’s view of COVID - there is one evident thing - since 2020, Calgary Police seem to have taken the trophy home for the most arrested Christians from across Canada. If one were to do a simple Google search or other legal searches, there have been many across the country that were charged with various offences relating to newly implemented laws surrounding COVID and public health. However, Calgary Police in Alberta, Canada, seem to have the record for the actual arrest of either ordained clergy, or those operating under their convictions of Christian conscience of belief. Moving away from COVID, they do the same with the Pride issue.
For example, Pastor Tim Stephens was arrested by Calgary police. According to a CBC article Calgary Pastor Arrested after breaking pandemic gathering rules for Months, Sarah Rieger stated that the Calgary Police Service (CPS) arrested Stephens “for organizing a church service” and “violating a court order with public health restrictions.”1
Before his arrest, Stephens was fined for holding church services under his firm conviction of corporate gatherings, evident in the Holy Bible. Considering many Canadians no longer hold to religious convictions, such fines or arrests may not seem like a big deal; however, the Canadian Constitution (Bill of Rights and Charter of Rights and Freedoms) was established to ensure the protection against such actions. Granted, police can arrest if they deem there is the possibility of repeated offences, identification, criminal action or securing evidence; such matters must not violate fundamental civil liberties. For those who want to argue the Spanish Flu restrictions, they certainly did not last as long or go to this measure of almost extreme authoritarianism. After months of hard-handed legislation, Stephens, like others, had enough. Calgary Police were front and centre in this entire mess.
What about Artur Pawlowski? I have written about my concerns over his ministry here. Still, regardless he is a Canadian Christian with the expectation to be treated according to the fundamental freedoms he is to enjoy. By now, everyone is familiar with his famous video of calling public health officers and police service members “Nazis,” this does not justify his arrest. Regardless of his denomination, Artur was holding a church service. There are laws in place to protect religious services from not being interrupted or disturbed (S. 176 Criminal Code of Canada), but this did not stop the public health officers, with their counterparts CPS from doing so. Further, it did not stop CPS from arresting Artur after returning from his US travels. Questions need to be raised.
What about Derick Reimer? Again, this is not an endorsement. I do not know what happened inside that library. I do not know the words spoken, but I am sure much of the hate speech rhetoric he has been accused of is not how it went down. He faces many charges, and one can only pray he receives a fair trial. The preaching of Christ is the primary purpose of a Christian. We are to share the Gospel (Matthew 28:16-20, Mark 16:15, Acts 1:8), the hope and forgiveness of Christ, yet those officers seem to care at all about his conscience of belief. They spend more time ensuring those of the Islamic faith are protected; they ensure those of the sexually immoral religion of alphabet identification are protected, but not the Christian.
Let us focus on those who formed a prayer circle in a Calgary municipal building. Once again, CPS was on the scene along with Alberta Sheriffs, who came to remove about 15 from praying inside a city building. Why? They created a By-law to keep the Christian worldview out. Think upon this, the citizens of Alberta, who help fund the city of Calgary and the very municipal taxpayers who fund the city building - and who elected the very officials sitting in those buildings are being told they have no right to be present and pray? Christians have been praying inside such buildings since the nation's genesis. City hall and city buildings that celebrate black history month give attention to every other religion and even fly a flag with zero constitutional allowance to celebrate people's sex life. Still, a person should not dare walk in, quietly sit down in a circle to pray. What if a group of indigenous elders wanted to come in and pray? Would they be removed? Would their drumming go through a noise bylaw? Perhaps if a Muslim entered to pray, would they be removed? Look at all the apologies going around over the Muslim man who prayed in a transit station. What is fair for one is appropriate for all, but not in the city of Calgary, it seems.
Most recently, Josh Alexander was out protesting (which is his right) and was surrounded by homosexual activists and ANTIFA. Josh had his arms raised and attempted n several occasions to remove himself from certain individuals but was assaulted several times by one specific lady. Yet, CPS thought it proper to arrest Josh Alexander. Though S. 265(1)(a) makes it clear what assault is, and video evidence clearly shows this lady broke the law - nothing from CPS or comments from Chief Constable Mark Neufeld. Disgusting!
How do Christians navigate all this? Christians need to come to a place of understanding that their first and foremost allegiance is to Christ Jesus. What we are seeing with these men being arrested is evidence of what true Christianity is about really. All throughout history when the moral decay of a society was taking place, the people hated what Christians had to say. These men, to some degree or another, understand that Jesus Christ is indeed King. Not just King, but King overall. Scripture is clear on this matter.
for by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones, or dominions, or rulers, or authorities—all things have been created through Him and for Him. (Colossians 1:16 NASB
Jesus made this point very clear at what Christians call the Great Commission, that “all authority in heaven and on earth has been given to HIM (Matthew 28:28). Further, the Apostle Paul makes the point very clear that Christ (the Son) was raised from the dead, and seated at His (God the Father) right hand in heavenly places (Ephesians 1:20). Why this is important to know? Because Christ is, indeed, overall. He is over the police, He is over parliamentarians, and He is over all courts and magistrates. He is undoubtedly LORD over all, and his domain extends to all corners of the earth. Leaving aside the assigned roles of family and church for another day, the Civil Government was established by God and has been given a specific sphere of responsibility. They are God’s servants. You read correctly. Look at Romans 13:1-7
Every person is to be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those which exist are established by God. 2 Therefore whoever resists authority has opposed the ordinance of God; and they who have opposed will receive condemnation upon themselves. 3 For rulers are not a cause of fear for good behavior, but for evil. Do you want to have no fear of authority? Do what is good and you will have praise from the same; 4 for it is a servant of God to you for good. But if you do what is evil, be afraid; for it does not bear the sword for nothing; for it is a servant of God, an avenger who brings wrath on the one who practices evil. 5 Therefore it is necessary to be in subjection, not only because of wrath, but also for the sake of conscience. 6 For because of this you also pay taxes, for rulers are servants of God, devoting themselves to this very thing. 7 Pay to all what is due them: tax to whom tax is due; custom to whom custom; respect to whom respect; honour to whom honor.
This shows that the civil magistrate's primary function is to protect the church and carry out God’s wrath on the evildoer. The 1689 2nd London Baptist Confession, 24, paragraph 1 states,
God, the supreme Lord and King of all the world has ordained civil magistrates to be under him, over the people, for his own glory and the public good; and to this end has armed them with the power of the sword, for defence and encouragement of them that do good, and for the punishment of evil-doers.(1 Rom. 13:1–4)
It further expands on the first paragraph in paragraph three,
Civil magistrates being set up by God for the ends aforesaid; subjection, in all lawful things commanded by them, ought to be yielded by us in the Lord, not only for wrath, but for conscience’ sake;4 and we ought to make supplications and prayers for kings and all that are in authority, that under them we may live a quiet and peaceable life, in all godliness and honesty.5 (4 Rom. 13:5–7; 1 Pet. 2:17 5 1 Tim. 2:1–2)
When you boil it all away, Magistrates are God’s servants, operating in a position he ordains. This is why they have been given power (authority). The use of the sword is the language of executing justice and even removing freedoms if necessary, but never, ever shall interfere with the Church of Jesus Christ. There is no provision for violating God’s ordained assigned roles, such as overstepping and persecuting Christ’s servants. We understand they have in the past and will do so in the future, but this is because of the radical corruption of fallen men, and it does not make it suitable for them to operate in such a way. This is why Christians need to be speaking out on these issues.
Some may struggle with the words of the Apostle Peter in 1 Peter 2:13-14,
13 Submit yourselves for the Lord’s sake to every human institution, whether to a king as the one in authority, 14 or to governors as sent by him for the punishment of evildoers and the praise of those who do right.
And in doing so, remember the same man's words before the Sanhedrin "We must obey God rather than men" (Acts 5:29). Why, we must always remember the Shema, "Hear O Israel, the Lord is our God, the Lord is one. And as for you, you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength" (Deut 6:4-5). God first, always first - forever first, amen.
How does all this play out with the issue of CPS and the province of Alberta seeming to have an agenda on charging and arresting ordained clergy, evangelists and those taking part in Christian benevolent ministry? Simple. As Canadian Christians, we are bound by our conscience to live a life honouring the institutions God has ordained, such as the civil magistrate, but never placing them above God's law. Let's make this personal. I understand, however, that everything I say, do, or even think will be weighed and measured by the perfect righteous judgement of Christ (Hebrews 4:12). However, when the magistrate demands or uses their authority to force me to violate my conscience, I must obey God, not man. Put in another way and in the words of R.C Sproul, “We are always to obey those in authority over us—unless that authority commands us to do something God forbids or forbids us from doing something God commands.”
It seems the Calgary police want to arrest pastors for congregating, street preaching, praying in city hall, and for peaceful protests. It is time Christians stand up to these civil magistrates' tyrannical misunderstanding. If police from Calgary or anywhere else arrest one pastor for a meeting during a provincial health mandate, then ten, one hundred or more meet. If they want to arrest one Christian man exercising his constitutional freedoms of assembly and expression and stand upon the Gospel, ten more show up, and if those ten get arrested, another hundred show up. If they want to arrest fifteen people for praying, then 115 show up. You get the drift. It is time the church rises up and gets back to our early foundations.
So, what is going on with the Calgary police service? They have lost sight of the fact that they work for the people. More so, they are God’s servants and peacekeepers, and it is long overdue that they and any other civil servant be reminded they will not bind the conscience of the Christian believer. Their arrests will not silence us on the matters of sexually immoral sodomy, lesbianism, pedophilia, unjust laws, corruption or attempts not to allow us to gather or worship Jesus Christ in accordance with His word. We follow His law first and foremost, not man's laws that would violate Scripture or Conscience. We will worship King Jesus, follow His Commands, and do regardless of their interference.
As I say at the end of every podcast - onward, Christian Soldier, it is time to put on strength and get back to fist century Christian living.