James Coates, pastor of GraceLife Church in Edmonton, Alberta was arrested after refusing conditions that had been placed upon him after he continued to keep his church operating in contradiction to current health restrictions. You can read about it here.
This is a completely different story from something I posted on here.
A number of Christians, both inside and outside of Canada, are very upset about this. How can the police arrest a pastor just for preaching? Is this the beginning of a larger crackdown on the Christian faith.
The question in my title is “Is Canada Arresting Pastors For Preaching?” The answer is: NO!
You may disagree with Coates being arrested but we have to ask why he was arrested. Did the police listen to his sermons and decide that they didn’t like his message? No.
Is this something bigger than just one preacher? Is this about the government trying to stop Christians from worshiping? Again, the answer is no.
They were allowed to hold worship services for up to 15% capacity. This means that the police and government do not have a problem with worship in principle.
So why was James Coates arrested?
The answer seems quite clear. The government is trying to stop the spread of COVID-19. They saw larger gatherings, including places of worship, as a danger to slowing the spread.
The pastor was given the choice to comply and he refused. Now he is experiencing the consequences.
But you may be someone who thinks that closing down gatherings, whether churches or businesses or other events is completely wrong. While I disagree with that position, that is fine for you to hold it.
You can find my view here.
My point is only that James Coates was not arrested for preaching. James Coates was arrested for not complying with health regulations during a pandemic. Whether you agree with the action, let’s at least call it what it is.
To lift up James Coates as a poor persecuted pastor who is being punished for preaching the gospel is an insult to those pastors in countries where there is real persecution.
Let’s keep the facts straight and not make a martyr out of someone who disobeyed health guidelines.