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Calgary Reformed Conference This Weekend!

If you’re in the Calgary area this weekend, don’t miss the Calgary Reformed Conference with Dr. Michael Barrett, on “The Christian’s Completeness in Christ.”

The Conference starts 7:30 PM Friday at Woodgreen Presbyterian Church (12777 Candle Crescent SW, Calgary, AB). Saturday’s sessions run from 9 AM – noon.

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At the CalGrace Blog: Why You Should Read Biblical Genealogies

What possible difference can a list of “dead guys” make in your life? At the Calvary Grace Church blog, I explain why you need to read biblical genealogies.

Here is the article.

 

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Book Review: “Mary, Another Redeemer?” by James White

I recently read Dr. James White’s critique of Roman Catholic Marian devotion, Mary, Another Redeemer? My review is up at Amazon and on Goodreads. A teaser:

White begins by reviewing what the Bible says about Mary, showing that the New Testament (when permitted to speak for itself) presents a remarkable, humble, and godly young woman who even Protestants need not shy away from calling “blessed,” but who nonetheless is herself in need of a Savior. He then turns to present what Roman Catholics teach about Mary. He reviews the Marian dogmas and how each builds on its predecessor. White goes out of his way to be scrupulously fair to those he is disagreeing with; he allows Roman sources to speak for themselves, quoting them at great length so that the reader can form his or her own understanding.

The whole review can be read here.

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Calvary Grace Church Response to Canada Summer Jobs Attestation Requirement

On behalf of Calvary Grace Church, I wrote a response to the Canadian government’s recent requirement that organizations sign an attestation expressing “respect” for abortion and LGBTQ rights as a condition for applying for Canada Summer Jobs funding. We enclosed that letter with our application.

You can find the letter here.

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Churches and the Canada Summer Jobs Program–Read This

Recently the federal government has added a requirement to the Canada Summer Jobs program, used by many organizations including churches and Christian camps to help fund summer student positions, to state that the organization requesting funding affirms abortion and LGBT rights. In other words, Christian organizations are being forced to take an “ideological purity test” and renounce Christian teaching on the sanctity of life and biblical definitions of sexuality and marriage in order to access federal funding, which is a chilling precedent.

Christian charities and churches in Canada that have accessed Canada Summer Jobs funding in the past, or are considering applying for such funding, need to read this article from Barry Bussey at the Canadian Council for Christian Charities laying out suggested next steps:

https://www.cccc.org/news_blogs/barry/2018/01/03/important-notice-about-the-canada-summer-jobs-program/

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Citywide Interchurch Prayer Meeting this Friday, November 17!

Are you in Calgary this Friday night? There will be a citywide inter-church prayer meeting for reformation and revival this Friday, 7:30 PM, hosted by our friends at the Calgary Free Reformed Church (2419 54 Ave SW) and organized by the Calgary Reformed Conference Committee. As I wrote last week, God answers prayer–come pray with us!

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God Answers Prayer for Political Leaders

Almost every week at Calvary Grace, as part of the order of service, we offer a prayer to God for those serving in our federal, provincial, or municipal levels of government. We do this because we are commanded to, as the Apostle Paul wrote:

First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way. This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. (1 Timothy 2:1-4)

Don’t forget that when Paul wrote this, the “kings and all who are in high positions” would have been characters like the Herod family, murderers of infants and prophets, and the Roman emperors. In other words, the fact that the government might not be to our liking as Christians doesn’t remove the responsibility we have to plead to God on their behalf. It’s not just our favourite candidates that get prayed for; we pray for every leader, even–and I’d argue especially–for those we oppose.

And these prayers do not go unanswered. Just today, literally within hours of each other, two events took place in federal politics–one in Canada, and the other in the United States–that not only show God’s common grace in guiding governmental decisions toward justice, but also God’s grace to us as believers in answering our prayers.

In Canada, the Trudeau government has been working on cleaning up the Criminal Code and removing archaic and redundant laws. It’s a sad indication of the secular “bubble” that many of our legislators live in that, until today, the government was seriously planning to remove Section 176, which made it illegal to disrupt worship services. The justification offered–that other laws already make such acts illegal–not only rang hollow in a cultural environment that regularly sees the “heckler’s veto” employed to shut down free speech, but in the aftermath of Sunday’s tragedy in Sutherland Springs, Texas, came off as tone-deaf and insensitive. Thankfully, this morning, members of all three of Canada’s national political parties voted to preserve this section.

In the United States, Republicans in the House of Representatives, which is working to simplify the tax code, have been pilloried for days by their own political base for a tax plan that not only keeps federal funding for an organization that kills, dismembers, and sells pieces of unborn children but removed a tax credit for families pursuing adoption. Even the Democrats attempted to reinstate the tax credit, only to be shot down. Again, thankfully, there was a sudden “change of heart” in Washington today as both the Senate and the House Republicans announced that, having received an utter avalanche of protest calls and emails, the tax credit would be reinstated.

Ultimately, government cannot solve humanity’s fundamental problem of sin. But God has mercifully given us political leaders, governments, and civil services for the purpose of making life livable until he, alone, brings about perfect justice. Both of these decisions serve to restrain wickedness and promote justice in their respective countries. Even more, both decisions in their own way preserve the ability of Christians and churches to display and promote the Gospel before unbelieving fellow citizens.

That witness is, at least at Calvary Grace, a persistent theme in our prayers for political leaders, as we ask God to promote justice and peace through them in order that the Gospel would spread “without hindrance” (Acts 28:31). There are certainly many examples both north and south of the border of wicked and immoral government action, which should spur all Christians to even more fervent prayer while reminding them of the very real limitations of political action. But today, we can thank and praise God that he not only hears our prayers but, according to his will, has in these two cases granted them.

 

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