A Word From Steve Jones
January 15th, 2018
Gender identity rights are now enshrined in our Federal Law.
A “brave new world” begins...
Gender identity given Human Right status in Canada (Bill C-16)
I couldn’t sleep one night in June. I got up and turned on the TV channel that hosts the House of Commons debates and Senate Committee hearings. I thought it was the perfect remedy for my insomnia. On the contrary. At 2:00 a.m. the Senate hearing on Bill C-16 was inspiring television viewing.
The Bill passed Thursday, June 15, 2017 in the Senate and has become law. It amends the Canadian Human Rights Act; adding gender identity and expression to the list of prohibited grounds of discrimination. It now sits alongside things like race and creed; providing protection under hate-speech and hate-crime provisions in criminal law. Many of its proponents say the Federal Law finally joins the provinces who have amended their human rights codes to recognize and protect gender diversity. I heard New Your City recognized over 50 trans and gender non-binary individual types.
Those concerned with the law say it will lead to injustice toward women and children, for Bill C-16 separates sex from gender and then legislates that gender has no specific meaning. Neither “man” nor “woman” mean anything anymore. People of faith, women’s organizations and some feminists are concerned about women not receiving adequate freedom and identity protection.
What’s at stake? The Bill enshrines the transgender ideology currently being advanced by progressive educators in Ontario and Alberta; soon to arrive in all the other provinces to be in compliance. Children will be taught about gender “fluidity” and pronouns such as “Hir” and “Zhe”. The result will be more impressionable young children will seek gender transition amid their confusion.
What about open bathrooms in our churches and other public spaces? Locker rooms in Christian schools? Camp cabins at Christian camps? Lodging in Christian women shelters? Will any of these survive the court cases that will be brought when they struggle to comply?
What about free speech and the legislation of state speech when it comes to the use of state sanctioned gender neutral pronouns? I listened for two hours on the CPAC TV channel to lawyers and professors eloquently point to the Senate committee about the “foundational” failings of this state-sponsored speech. All our text books need to be rewritten as they are incongruent with current transgender ideology.
On a different but related legislative story, Ontario Bill 89 passed June 1, 2017. The law focuses on regulation of foster care and adoption among Children’s Aid and other child protection societies. These societies must now consider, among other things, a list of protected grounds of discrimination from the Ontario Human Rights Code. While the Ontario Human Rights Code is intended to apply to government, employers and service providers, the “list” is now being applied to “family life”. Further, the statutory context of the Human Rights Code, which included protection for freedom of religion and conscience is not included in Bill 89. Included among the list, when evaluating the best interests of a foster child, will be closer attention to potential foster or adoptive parents based on their beliefs about gender identity and sexual orientation.
Will followers of Christ who do not comply with these beliefs be able to foster or adopt children? The story continues…
“Oh Lord, may your Spirit move the hearts of your people, making us vigilant in these perilous times.”
Have a blessed week,
From November 5-19, 2017, I’m challenging all Fellowship churches and people to join our Bible Engagement Project called #TheGreatestBook.
For 14 days and three Sundays we desire to read God’s Word together. On the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation, we long to study God’s treasured gift, the Bible.
A Word from Brian Stiller About a Modern Gospel Champion
I recently read a blog post written by Global Ambassador for the World Evangelical Alliance and fellow Canadian, Brian C. Stiller. He tells the story of missionary Ruth Thomson who was recently featured in an article in the National Post (click HERE). Both Brian’s post and the National Post article show her deep commitment to bringing God’s Word to an unreached people. It’s truly an inspiration.
Brian tells us how Ruth Thomson was born into a life of privilege in Toronto high society. Instead of pursuing the life of a debutante for which her parents had groomed her, she graduated from Toronto Bible College (now Tyndale University College), and went on to study linguistics. She headed out as a team member with Wycliffe Bible Translators to live among the Kayapo people in the jungles of Brazil. These tribal people had a reputation for killing foreigners who strayed into their territory. Through unbelievable physical struggles and overcoming significant barriers, she lived with them for five decades.
Ruth Thomson’s story is remarkable. She was one of tens of thousands of women called by God to go to places that most others wouldn’t go at a time when ministry leadership options for women were unavailable. Her work focused on developing a written language for the Kayapo people; making God’s Word accessible to them in new ways. Her story is one of bravery and resiliency. A great example of obedience to the call to see the Gospel go forth to the nations.
In his blog, Stiller goes on to comment about the incredible power of the written Word of God. He writes, “Three hundred years after Martin Luther and William Tyndale triggered the Protestant and English Reformation by translations of the Bible into the vernacular, a shoe cobbler from England set loose a fire storm of translations which in this century is still one of the most sustaining and critical elements underlying the outward move of Christian witness and prevailing faith.
“In 1793 William Carey, Father of modern missions, sailed for India where he translated the Scriptures into Bengali, Arabic, Hindi and Sanskrit. What he did became the basis of a strategy for Protestant missions generally. However, it wasn’t until the mid-twentieth century that a global movement devoted to Bible translation was organized.
“In 1942, Wycliffe Bible Translators was formed, bringing together translators already at work. It is one thing to translate, but another to get the Scripture into the hands of people. The numbers are astounding. In 2014, the United Bible Societies distributed a total of 428.2 million Scripture portions around the world. This is just this one Bible society, although the largest.”
I strongly encourage you to read Brian’s article in its entirety (for the full post, click> HERE). You will be encouraged and reminded once again of the life-impacting gift we have been given through God’s Word.
Being in God’s Word daily is so essential to a healthy spiritual life. I pray that each one of our Fellowship churches and people will enjoy the benefits of being in relationship with their Saviour in this way. We’ve created #TheGreatestBook
Bible Engagement Project to encourage our brothers and sisters in their walk with Christ.
Please go to> www.thegreatestbook.ca <where you’ll find a #TheGreatestBook
toolkit available for download.
This toolkit includes:
Don’t miss this opportunity to be studying God’s Word together as a church or believer within our Fellowship family. Check out the website today and download these free resources and tools.
Have a blessed week,
The following is a story of birth; a church planted in Chile that is now going to give birth.
Antonio and Hélène Bascuñan are Fellowship International missionaries who have served in San Felipe, Chile, for the past decade. Chile is Antonio’s home country, but he spent many years living in Quebec where he met Hélène and raised two daughters. They pastored in Québec and spent two years in Medellin, Colombia on a short-term assignment (2002-2004) before heading to Chile.
I briefly chatted with the Bascuñans in June while they were on home assignment. It was heart-warming to hear their story of church planting in San Felipe. I’ll let the Bascuñans share their story:
“After nine years of hard work in the lovely town of San Felipe, we can say by the grace of God that His mercies on us were great when we look at our new church well constituted with a national pastor in place. Juan Torres is now leading the church accompanied by his wife and daughter. As for us, we have a new project!
“Some of you thought that we were retiring… not for now! We still have some years to give to our beloved Lord.
“We are currently on home assignment but will return to Chile to start a new work in Quillota (about one hour from San Felipe).”
The Bascuñans are available to share with your congregation about what God is doing through them in Chile.
Pray for the Bascuñans:
For more information about the Bascuñans, click HERE
Have a blessed week,
A Word from Steve Jones: "Insights from our veteran Pastors on what fueled passion for local church ministry"
Recently I asked some of our veteran and retired pastors and missionaries to comment on the following. Finish this sentence: “Through the years, the one thing that has helped fuel my passion for local church ministry is…”
I was moved, inspired and appreciative of the “nuggets of gold” I received from many of our veteran colleagues who have served our movement for many years.
Here are some of their statements:
“Whether in personal soul-winning or preaching it was the knowledge that God’s Word was authoritive and powerful. The more I shared God’s Word the more the Holy Spirit used it to transform lives. ‘They that sow in tears shall reap in joy.” Psalm 126:4-5. Remember: “God cannot bless what we do not do”. Our mission as a church was to exalt Christ, edify Christians and evangelize the community.”
- Pastor Stu Silvester, Pastor and former Fellowship National staff member
“Through the years the one thing that has helped fuel my passion for local church ministry is mentoring and building into the lives of young men. Gordon Seattle, Stirling McCleary, Norman Rowan were my mentors and it has been a joy to keep passing the torch down.”
- Pastor Donald Perkins, Pastor and Shepherd to pastors
“Separate what you do (pastor) from who you are. Don’t seek significance from what you do. It will help during the challenging times and allow a meaningful retirement. Significance and security come from God and God alone.”
- Pastor Jack Hannah, Pastor and former Fellowship National staff member
“Going to Italy as a missionary meant I would be writing a prayer letter every month. After years of very few visible results I was under great pressure every month when I had to send out a new letter to my supporters and those who were praying for our ministry. What caused the pressure was what I viewed to be success. Having grown up in a western capitalistic society where success is measure in “more”… of whatever the “bottom line” of the balance sheet was, I thought if I didn’t have more converts, baptisms or church plants in short order, I was a failure. Through reading the Scriptures, the Lord slowly taught me that success was not measured in numbers but faithfulness to Him and His glory. That meant sharing the treasure He had entrusted to me, namely, the Gospel. That thought liberated me. I then was able to put on my calendar each day not an “S” or “F” representing success or failure, but an “F” or an “F” standing for faithful or failure. If I went out and shared the gospel I was faithful (and therefore a success). If I did not, I had failed the trust the Lord gave me. The results of each day’s work were left in the Lord’s hands.”
- Fellowship International missionary Mario (Rose) Bruno, current pastor of Parklawn Baptist, Etobicoke, ON
“For me, it has been a definite call to pastoral ministry and a deep love for the body of Christ (the local church). Those for whom Christ Jesus gave His life and holds me accountable for when I stand before Him.”
- Pastor Dennis Burriss, current Associate Pastor at Bethany Baptist, Red Deer, AB
“Through the years, the one thing that has helped fuel my passion for local church ministry is my increasing awareness of the need for us to see ourselves as a community of believers who together are seeking God, demonstrating the love and unity for which Jesus prayed and focusing on the corporate nature of witness through our relationships of grace. The degree to which we have absorbed the individualism of our culture is counterproductive to our witness for Christ. The local church is corporately the witness for Christ.”
- Dr. Glenn Taylor, Church Planter, Pastor, Professor, author and counselor to pastoral couples and missionaries
“’What is the fuel for the passion?’ I will summarize it like this: When I consider the hopelessness of my unsaved years as an adult, I look at the people around me — family and friends — in the same condition, I’m moved to share my faith and the Gospel. Expanding a bit on that, when I came to the Lord, I only asked Him to save me. In my ignorance I knew nothing of the blessing of following the Lord other than salvation. I want others to sense the peace and joy of walking with the Lord and to know His hand of intervention and interruption amidst difficult situations or events in life. This has been my life experience. I want others to experience it too.”
- Pastor Frank Kohler, Pastor and current Interim Regional Director of our Fellowship Atlantic Region
“Through the years, the one thing that has helped fuel my passion for local church ministry is fuelling my mind and soul through memorizing and meditating on large chunks of God’s Word. I don’t mean a verse here or a chapter there, but long sections and books. For this year – the 500th anniversary of the Reformation – I am re-learning Romans. For me, the Scriptures are like songs in the night that awaken my soul with joy in the morning to press on in passionate ministry.”
- Pastor Bob McRoberts, Pastor and Bible memorizer
Good stuff, eh? Pure gold! Thank you to those who contributed. I hope to send another email sharing insight from other friends serving for many years in the advancement of the Gospel.
I leave you with one last thought from our good friend and my mentor, Dr. Roy Lawson.
“The New Testament view of ministry, as I see it, runs something like this:
I have the privilege of knowing each of these Christian leaders. Most for many years. What each says rings true of who I know they are. Thank you, brothers.
So stay tuned… more of these “nuggets of gold” are on the way.
Have a blessed week,