Should Christians support the Trucker Protest in Canada? That is the topic we'll discuss today, right here on the Christian Real View Radio program, where the mission is to sharpen the biblical worldview of Christians and to proclaim the good news of Jesus Christ.
I'm David Wheaton, the host. The world is watching Canada in the midst of a tense standoff. We're talking about the capital city of Ottawa and other cities demanding that individual liberties be restored. Now, they are up against Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, a far left globalist who views covid, quote, as an opportunity for a reset and who wants eulogized Cuban communist tyrant Fidel Castro because we understand that right now we have to fix urgent problems. But in the long run, we also have to fix the system so that it works for everyone. This pandemic has provided an opportunity for a reset.
This is our chance to accelerate our pre-pandemic efforts to reimagine economic systems that actually address global challenges like extreme poverty, inequality and climate change. On behalf of Sophie, our children and myself, as well as all Canadians, I want to offer our deepest condolences on the death of Fidel Castro to the Castro family and to the people of Cuba. That's the person in worldview the people who want their individual liberties restored in Canada are up against and which side gains victory in Canada will have major ramifications in America and beyond.
For if demands for liberty in Canada are ignored or squashed, that will embolden the increasing authoritarian power being exerted in other Western democracies under the auspices of, quote, public health, safety and security and a clean planet. Andrew DeBartolo, a Canadian pastor and project manager for Liberty Coalition Canada, joins us today in the Christian worldview to give us a first-hand perspective on the situation and to discuss Christians being involved in civil protest. Here's the conversation with Pastor Andrew DeBartolo. We had you on right before you were going to preach, as many pastors and candidates were doing, against this Bill C-4 that was taking place that banned any sort of, quote, conversion therapy against homosexuals. You preached on that topic in mid-January.
Any follow-up on that? Thanks again for having me on. I very much appreciate not just the opportunity to speak about these things, but any opportunity, any work from our friends and brothers in the United States who are shining a light on this. We're deeply thankful for it because, like I said last time, our legacy media here has nothing but good things to say about what's going on from our civil government. In any event, after I was on the show, Pastor John MacArthur was actually on the Liberty Coalition podcast with Mike Thiessen and myself. He'd informed us that over 3,000 people had signed on his website, on his blog post, saying that they were committed to these endeavors and to speaking on biblical marriage and sexuality.
We have, so far, about 100 sermons that have been submitted to us where men have said, here's a link to my sermon, here's a link to our website that it can be published publicly for people to see. There haven't been, as far as we know, any crackdowns from the civil government. Part of the reason, we think, is if they came heavy-handed right away or if they started going after larger churches with platforms, it would legitimize everything we've been saying. As we expected, many, many people remain completely silent. I was actually shocked at the number of churches and pastors that I'm connected with, that I've spoken to, who really had no idea what was going on.
They had no idea about Bill C-4 and its implications. We're continuing to shine a light on that. What we're seeing right now with the trucker convoy and the response from our civil government really is just more of the same. It's just that kind of totalitarianism, even more in full bloom.
The issue of Bill C-4 was a matter of clear objection to the freedom to preach what the Bible says. Now, less than a month later, there has been a convoy of truckers in Canada who made their way to Ottawa and other cities around Canada, but primarily the focus of the attention has been in the capital. They've gone there to protest the mandate by government, and correct me if I'm wrong here, I'm going to ask you to explain it, but from what we understand, they've gone there to protest the mandate by government that you must get the COVID-19 so-called vaccine in order to be able to cross the border and continue with your job. Essentially, what the deal is for truckers is the rule was if you are an American citizen, if you're an American trucker and you're unvaccinated, you would not be allowed in the country, period, so that affects things right away. If you were a Canadian citizen and you were vaccinated as a truck driver, you could come back in, but if you were unvaccinated, you would have to isolate and quarantine for 14 days.
If anyone knows anything about being a truck driver, especially if you're an independent owner operator, having to take a two-week break between runs basically makes your job untenable and you cannot actually make a living. Initially, the issue was these truck drivers who were being sidelined for two weeks because they chose not to accept this experimental injection, which would ruin their livelihoods. Initially, it was we're going to be speaking out against that, and it wasn't only unvaccinated truckers. In fact, the majority of the people included or involved in the protest were themselves vaccinated, and so that was the initial issue, and then from then, it very quickly turned into just the mandates in general because it's not just truck drivers. It's many people.
It's nurses and doctors and police officers and teachers and people who work in the food industry who've been forced out of their jobs, who've been rendered homeless simply because they won't take this medicine. So that's what it became. It really became a voice, and it really became a protest for all of Canada and specifically those Canadians who, because of their free choice to not take certain medicine, found themselves on the bad end of the government stick, so to speak.
So that's kind of the mutation, if you will, and that's how this has evolved in the last number of weeks. Andrew DiBartola with us today. He's a pastor in Canada, in Ontario, and also a project manager for Liberty Coalition Canada. What kinds of things are they doing to have their voices heard? We've seen in the news just regular protests holding signs in the streets. Then there are things like blocking traffic, blocking a bridge to the United States, honking horns all hours of the day and night. Tell us more about what the actual protest is like.
So there are different fronts in the country, and it looks differently in these different areas. So where you have border crossings, so the Ambassador Bridge, which is the Windsor-Detroit border crossing, or Coots Bridge, which is in Alberta, essentially what you've had is not only individual protests or civilians, whether it's standing on overpasses or on streets or lining sidewalks with signs and tons of Canadian flags. It feels like a large Canada Day celebration that all the protesters have flags and all the counter protesters, they don't have a single Canadian flag among them, so we know how they feel about our country.
But in any event, you have trucks who are basically blocking bridges and preventing traffic coming through the border. So you're seeing that on some of those areas. And then in other cities, you've had similar protests in Toronto, which is a capital city of Ontario, in Kingston as well, where I'm from. And then in other cities, you've had smaller convoys of people, you've had protests in front of governmental buildings, in front of Queen's Park, which again, that's where the Ontario Parliament does its thing. In Ottawa, this clearly has been the biggest show, so to speak. I mean, the population of Ottawa is about a million people, and at various times, the population has been doubled with protests who have been there. And so primarily, and I've been to Ottawa a few times since this has started, my wife has been there as well and a few people from our church, basically out in front of Parliament Hill, which is the building where the federal government meets and debates, past Parliament Hill lawn on the street, the street there, Wellington, is essentially full of trucks and vehicles. And it's not just right in front of Parliament, it's essentially all of downtown Ottawa. And so blocks and blocks have trucks and other vehicles always full of people protesting. Now, main veins have been left open, so vehicles can still get through. And at this point, police officers have blocked off a number of the roads so that there's no traffic that can go through.
But basically, they shut down downtown Ottawa in terms of travel. And there have been 24-7 people there cheering, people there with signs waving flags. It's, interestingly enough, it feels a lot more like a festival in that there's music playing and there's dancing, there's a main stage with speakers.
And I actually had the opportunity this last Sunday to preach a 10-minute kind of gospel evangelism message from the main stage as well in front of Parliament Hill. First of all, it's been nothing like the media is covering it. And it's people basically saying, we're going to be here and we're going to protest, we're going to gather, we're going to be proud to be Canadian, we're going to shut down operations in downtown Ottawa in front of Parliament Hill until these mandates are removed and these people are resolute.
I'll also say, to clarify a lot of lies that have been propagated, there is no violence. This is an entirely peaceful protest. I mean, there are tents set up because people have given so much where you can get hats and gloves and hand warmers and people at barbecues where they're feeding people for free. There's food everywhere. Homeless people are receiving food.
I saw someone deliver pizzas to homeless people. The crime in downtown Ottawa has gone down 80% since the protest started. It's entirely peaceful and it is totally safe.
There are bouncy castles and families are there. The atmosphere is pro-Canadian, joyful, peaceful, kind of loving unity and we need to see these mandates come to an end. So that's what's going on in Ottawa. It's a very unique time in the history of our country.
It really is and we can see that even from our country here to the south that what's going on there is very unusual. They're standing up for, I think, outside biblical things. Probably the most important thing in the world is individual liberties, otherwise you have tyranny.
No one wants to live under tyranny except for the rulers of that tyranny. Andrew DiBartolo is with us here on The Christian Realty Today. He's a pastor in Ontario and also a project manager at Liberty Coalition Canada. Now, in response to this, these protests, occupation they call it, of Ottawa, Justin Trudeau, the prime minister, just implemented emergency powers. This is the first time in history a prime minister has ever done this in Canada. This allows him to make decisions without having legal backdrop for it or legal justification for it with regards to freezing bank accounts, breaking up protests, removing trucks and so forth. Tucker Carlson actually did a feature on what is going on in Canada.
Andrew, I want to play the first couple minutes of what he said, just a compilation of some of the things he said and then get your comments. Canada canceled democracy last night, and the remarkable thing is no one in this country seemed to notice that it happened. There was no outcry from our political class as their friend Justin Trudeau declared martial law in response to an entirely peaceful protest from his country's working class.
Our news media barely noted that it happened. Weirdest of all, the State Department, which exists these days to denounce such attackers of democracy as Hungary and Poland, didn't say a single word as democracy in Canada ended. For the first time in Canada's history, Trudeau has invoked what's known as the Emergencies Act, though the protests he is facing hardly qualify as an emergency. But suddenly, Justin Trudeau has the power to crush all political opposition to his rule, and that's exactly what he's doing. Trudeau has ended free speech in Canada.
He's banned free assembly. Trudeau's government has shut down political rallies and arrested his political critics without probable cause. Trudeau has instituted internal passports that restrict travel within Canada to the politically obedient. Canadians are no longer allowed to leave their own country unless they obey Justin Trudeau.
And if they don't obey, they could be bankrupted and destroyed. He now has the power to do that. Trudeau has claimed the power to freeze the financial assets of any Canadian who resists him.
No court order is required to do this. He just decides. We are broadening the scope of Canada's anti-money laundering and terrorist financing rules so that they cover crowdfunding platforms and the payment service providers they use. When anti-Christian arsonists burned more than 50 Catholic churches across Canada, Justin Trudeau did not declare an emergency. Instead, he issued a statement sympathizing with them. Quote, It is fully understandable, Trudeau said, given the shameful history we're all becoming more aware of. Here's a professor from Canada's Carleton University, that's an institution heavily funded by Justin Trudeau, telling CNN's viewers how dangerous and immoral it is to criticize Justin Trudeau in any way. I think it's important to remember that at the core of this protest, you know, it was never really about mandates in the first place. It's always been about a small group of people who called for a convoy who hold very anti-government views as well as kind of a racist white supremacist views, conspiratorial world views. Again, that was from Tucker Carlson's program.
Andrew, what are your thoughts after hearing that soundbite? The only time we've seen these powers exercised in the history of our country were either during a war or when actual terrorists kidnapped and killed people. And it also happened to be Justin Trudeau's father. And that was also met with lots of political opposition. The suspension of rights was brought into question. And so it's unbelievable that this is how the protest is being pictured, that they're called terrorists or extremists or anti-government. It has been entirely peaceful. And on every front, Ottawa, the Ambassador Bridge, the Coots Bridge, every other city where there have been convoys and protests, it has been entirely peaceful. There's been no violence. There's been no aggression show towards police officers. None. Zero.
Because if there were, it would be all over the mainstream media and the legacy media. So it's been entirely peaceful. They have wanted to have discussions with members of parliament to talk about seeing the mandates come to an end. And no one from the other side has come to the table.
No members of parliament, the prime minister, no one has come to the table. And so what is being said is we've exhausted all of our means and now we have to bring this Emergencies Act into place, which is a lie, because I know for a fact that the organizers of the convoy and people in Ottawa have not been contacted by anyone from the federal government to have discussions, even over Zoom or Skype, to talk about their requests and what they would like to see. And so this is this is an unholy, evil, wicked combination of lies and gaslighting and tyranny and othering a group of people who are peacefully doing what is their civic right to protest peacefully and nonviolently. And they are made to be something that they are not.
And hearing that compilation, hearing those clips, we've been hearing them for the last couple of weeks. It is it's disgusting. It is utterly shameful that this is the position that our government's taking all the way down federally, provincially.
Our premier called the convoy a siege. These are all lies and it's all to further a particular totalitarian agenda. That's that is what's going on here. I'm David Wheaton and you are listening to The Christian Real View. Become a Christian Real View partner by calling 1-888-646-2233, visiting thechristianrealview.org or writing to Box 401 Excelsior, Minnesota 55331. What happened to the church? How do you break down American Christianity?
Whiteness has caused blindness of heart. That message that they're going out and taking the world is not you need to repent of your sin, receive Christ. Instead, the message that you actually have is they are under the weight of racism or sexism or homophobia. The proceeding is from Enemies Within the Church, a two hour documentary film that exposes how social justice ideology is infecting the church. You can order the DVD for a donation of any amount to the Christian Real View. Go to thechristianrealview.org or call 1-888-646-2233 or write to Box 401 Excelsior, Minnesota 55331.
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Visit our website, thechristianrealview.org, where you can subscribe to our free weekly email and annual print letter, order resources for adults and children, and support the ministry. Now back to the interview. Andrew DiBartolo with us today, a pastor in Canada talking about the so-called freedom convoy, the truckers in Ottawa and other parts of the country, protesting against the government mandates on individual liberties, the COVID so-called vaccine and so forth. I want to just play, Andrew, just about 20 more seconds of a sound bite.
He concludes with this. This new class of dictator seizes power incrementally through the bureaucracy. They never raise their voices. They don't wave their arms. They smile and they tell you they're protecting democracy and public health. They praise diversity even as they demand conformity. They're entirely passive aggressive.
But they're no less dangerous. One morning you wake up and they've canceled your job and seized your bank account for the crime of disagreeing with them. This is the architecture of tyranny. And it's not just happening in Canada. It's happening here in the United States. It will be used against us. Bet on it. OK. That's powerful words there by Tucker Carlson.
So, Andrew, the question is this has been going on for about 10 days to two weeks now. Where do you see this ending up? The sentiment that I've been getting from the truck drivers that I personally had discussion with the people I know is they are not leaving. They have no plans on leaving. They have food and supplies and fuel to last them to keep their trucks warm.
They have no intention of going anywhere. There have been specialists. I mean, people who kind of understand towing trucks and what that involves.
It's basically an impossible job to tow all those trucks out of there in the downtown area. And so the play here is going to be, as Tucker said, I think there's going to be a slow, incremental squashing of rights and liberties, even more so than we've seen. So, I mean, for example, I know someone personally who had his bank account frozen because not only did he financially support the convoy and Give Send Go recently. I mean, this is a whole other can of worms, but after the GoFundMe crowdfund was shut down, Give Send Go, which is a Christian crowdfunding, started raising a lot of money and they were hacked. And a number of the people who gave, something like 93,000 people who gave had their information released to the public. And so some of these people have actually had their bank accounts frozen, including this one person that I know from another part of the country who had to go in in person and then kind of changed his banking institution.
And so this is what they'll do this morning. Ottawa police, I just got an email this morning, Ottawa police services handed out sheets of paper notices to demonstration participants basically saying this is a conclusion, anyone who commits these illegal actions could face fines or be required to appear in court. Commercial vehicle driver's licenses and private driver's licenses can be suspended or revoked. It starts off as saying you must leave the area now. Any blocking streets or assisting others in blocking the streets are committing a criminal offense and you may be arrested.
You must immediately cease further unlawful activity or you will face charges. So there's nothing unlawful about what they're doing, but they are turning up the rhetoric, the aggression, the violence is clearly coming from one side, from the federal government, from the provincial government, from municipal police forces. And so one could say that maybe it's a little bit of a scare tactic that their design is to simply turn up the rhetoric and say they're going to in the hopes that people will budge. I certainly hope that that's what's going on here, although I could see a situation where the truckers continue to stand their ground and then they are actually arrested. Where children protective services, and this has been something that's been threatened as well, that CAS will actually remove children from their parents in Ottawa because living in a truck is an unsafe environment or being in the midst of terrorists and extremists is not good. And so I could see a situation where children are forcibly removed from their parents, where truck drivers and protesters are arrested. Bank accounts have already been frozen.
I can see certain property being taken and again, that includes bank accounts and resources. I can see a world where this happens and I hope that the protesters and truck drivers will continue to be peaceful. I know the pastors across the country are praying for these truck drivers and protesters. We are going back every weekend and during the week we are going to support them. I'll actually be back in Ottawa this Sunday. The organizers have asked me to preach another sermon from the main stage. And so I will be preaching a gospel evangelistic centered message again on the main stage.
My whole church will be there with me. We will be praying for people after we will be speaking with people. We are encouraging them. We are fully behind them. And so we want to continue to tell them to be peaceful and resolute, that they have the backing of believers across this country and Canadians in general, because the moment they respond in kind, the moment they show even an ounce of aggression and force that's been shown by the civil magistrate, it will get very messy, very quick, which it may just anyways because of what we've seen. It is a very volatile situation.
Andrew DiBartola with us today, a pastor in Ontario, Canada, also a project manager with Liberty Coalition Canada. Now you mentioned how the protests are lawful, but it seems to me that blocking streets or blocking a bridge, that's being portrayed as illegal. So talk about the legality of what they're actually doing in the protests, blocking streets, blocking a bridge. I don't think they're blocking a bridge anymore, but they were honking horns day and night.
Is that lawful or is it actually illegal what they're doing? So the bridges that were blocked have been cleared. And so the issues happening at the Ambassador Bridge and the Coots Bridge, police officers showed up with armored vehicles, with machine guns mounted on top of them and with snipers strategically placed on rooftops. And so when this happened, the protesters, in order to be peaceful and lawful, dispersed.
And so they were met with force and they decided to disperse. In Ottawa, the protesters have actually been intentional in making sure that even if they're on streets, they'll leave one lane clear. It is police officers, it's Ottawa police services that have blocked off certain streets. Now they would say it's for safety. It's probably also to prevent more vehicles from coming in. But any blocking of streets has been the police services. I've been there, I've seen with my own eyes that there are parts of downtown Ottawa where traffic is allowed through because the truck drivers have left lanes open. And so they have not blocked traffic. They've not impeded traffic for moving where they've been told by force to leave.
They have. They've been working like I know the organizers have been working intentionally to make sure that it is safe and that it is accessible for people. And so now what they're doing is not illegal, not at all, and they are not breaking any laws. And where they find that force is coming their way, they disperse in an effort to be peaceful and reasonable. Now it's different in that with the Emergencies Act being implemented, now they can redefine things and say, no, you are breaking law by being here. And the order itself, the way that the order is worded is something that's put into place for anything that seriously endangers lives, health or safety of Canadians. It is out of the capacity or authority for the province to deal with or threatens the ability of the Government of Canada to preserve the sovereignty, security and territorial integrity of Canada.
So they'll be vague in that, but that's not what's happening here. There are no laws being broken and it is, again, altogether lawful and peaceful. Now, as individual liberties, as we've seen in Canada and also here to the United States, to a lesser extent, but just right behind Canada, where mandates from government, where churches can't meet during the coronavirus. You came on for the Bill C-4 law that was was passed that you can't counsel against or preach against homosexuality in light of, quote unquote, conversion therapy. Now it's you must take the vaccine or you can't do your job.
You can't cross the border. The question here is what is the biblical framework for a Christian response to this? Let me set up two different scenarios here. One response is that in early American history, around the time of the American Revolution, there were pastors, churches on either side of the issue, whether the colony should rebel, revolt against the crown in England. And they came down on both sides of the issues and they both had biblical reasons for doing so. Some said we need to really follow Romans 13. Some said this is a case where we have a biblical freedom to revolt against this tyranny being brought down on us. Let me frame another side where there's the example of Christ and the apostles who focused on preaching the gospel, teaching, not being troublemakers, so-called, in society. And yet still resisting to the point of arrest or death for not being silent about preaching the gospel, speaking on certain topics, meetings as a church. So they would say we're to obey government as long as the government isn't telling us to do something specifically prohibited by scripture. So I know you've been thinking a lot about this.
Many pastors in Canada have been forced to think about this really important issue as our world changes in the last couple of years, and it is changing. And this is an issue that is difficult, but I'd like to know how you're thinking through this issue with regards to Christians, individual liberties, and opposing government. As a Canadian who is very interested in American history and who studied it quite a bit, especially in the last number of years if things have gone on, it's important for people to remember that the American war for independence wasn't the colonies fighting against the crown breaking the law, that there was an agreement. There was a contract between the colonies and between the king and England, and it was the king in England who was breaking the law. He was in defiance of common law.
He was the one who was breaking contract. Those in the colonies here said we will not engage, we will not do what is unlawful, and so it was more of a defensive war. It wasn't we're going to go over to England and destroy them. We will defend ourselves from unlawful activity, which is why calling it a revolution I don't think is entirely helpful.
I think it was a war for independence. I think that it was acting against an unjust and unlawful tyrannical government in a defensive way, which is why I think it was so supported by Puritans, which is why it was called – or sort of Presbyterians, which is why it was called in England the Presbyterian Revolt. I think believers supported it, and rightfully so, at the time. What's interesting is we've been thinking over the last two years about the appropriate Christian response, and as people have used Romans 13 as like a big knife to spread peanut butter over.
Just Romans 13, what you need to do. I've come to the conclusion that I don't think very many people have actually read Romans 13 in any meaningful way, because Romans 13 does not advocate for unlimited submission to the government. Romans 13 actually limits the civil government's activities quite a bit, and it's clear in the text that their job is to punish those who do evil according to God's law and reward those who do good according to God's law. That the government's job – the civil government's job is not to mandate public health policy. Their job is not to put insane restrictions on businesses. It's not to encroach upon the education system.
This is them being outside of their lane. And I think Romans 13 properly understood with many, many historical Christian understandings – Augustine, Calvin, the reformers, the Puritans. The understanding is that when the civil government is operating outside of its lane, when they are exercising authority that has not been given to them in a way that is unlawful, then as the Puritans and as the reformers understood, resistance to tyranny is obedience to God. It is required of us to say to an unlawful state out of this lane, no, we will not comply, and not just in matters of where they ask us to disobey.
That's the line. Only when they command what God forbids and forbid what God commands. But we wouldn't apply that to any other sphere of authority. We would not allow an elder in a church who has authority over the people to tell the congregants, this is what you must wear, this is what you must eat, this is how you must spend your money, this is the doctor you need to see. The church will rightfully say, even though God has placed the authority over me, that authority comes with certain boundaries. You can't just do whatever you want or tell me to do whatever whim you have.
We would apply this to husbands and fathers. And so in all these other realms where God places someone in authority, we understand that the authority and the exercise of that authority are limited. It's not just about them saying disobey God, it's when they exercise that authority outside of their lane. We're not required to obey or submit to them.
So in a similar way, when the state says you must take this experimental injection or you can't work, or oh, it's all about public health, that's outside of their lane. And so I don't think that it's just the option for Christians to dissent. I think that it is the duty for Christians to dissent. And the reason why it is the duty of Christians and the duty of church is, again, found in Romans 13. If the civil government is supposed to punish evil and reward good according to God's law, the question that hangs over Romans 13 is, and who will teach them? Who will teach the state what God's law is? Who will teach them what is good and evil according to God's law?
And who will teach them what it means to punish evil and reward good? This is the sole responsibility of the church. The church alone has been tasked with the ability to disciple the state, to tell them this is evil, this is good. You are outside of your God-ordained jurisdiction.
You are wielding your authority in an unlawful and evil way. And churches have understood this historically. Christians have understood this historically in our kind of apathetic, western, socialized, comfortable, decadent world where everything has been safe and handed to us and sanitized.
We haven't had to wrestle with these things. But the Christian response to this kind of tyranny must be dissent and it must be disobedience because we need to let the civil government know you are doing what is evil. You are outside of your lane. You are not operating according to God-designed and ordained authority. But the way Christians do it, our approach is not let's get to armed revolution. That's not how we do it. There's protest.
It is peaceful. It is lawful. It is biblical. We're prepared to suffer if that's what it means. But we are required to say to the civil government, you are acting unlawfully and unbiblically and you are doing what is evil.
Therefore, we will not submit to you. That is our duty to Christ. That is a very powerful answer and I'm glad you took the time to really walk through that. This is an issue I've been really wrestling with in my own mind, trying to understand as a believer what my duty and responsibility is as the world and our country and your country become ever more tyrannical against individual liberties. You are listening to The Christian Worldview.
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Now back to the interview. So let me just ask as a follow-up, though, what about the example of Christ and the apostles? They seem to pay basically no attention, little to no attention at the tyrannical occupation taking place during their day of Rome, the unjust treatment by the Jewish religious leaders, they didn't spend an ounce of time, it seems like, trying to change public policy. They just preached the gospel and went around town to town and suffered for it.
How does their example fit into what you just said? There's one big difference between what was going on in the first century and where we are now, and I don't think that's something that we can omit, nor do I think it's an excuse or I think it's a cultural issue, but I think that we live in a time where our nations, both the United States and Canada, have been founded and built upon biblical principles, the godly structures of our judicial system and just the way our countries are governed. They're built on biblical principles, and so we have inherited a tremendous blessing and riches and the kind of culture and life that we have enjoyed because of the way our country was built, and so our legal system itself is also very different than during the first century. So in the first century, you had an emperor who ruled the way that he ruled, but we live in a system where there is no emperor, there is no king.
Sure, you have a prime minister or a president, but in your case, you have a constitutional republic, and in our case here, we have a parliamentary system. It's a different system than it was back then, so I think we need to take that into account, number one. Number two, I wouldn't go as far as to say that the apostles never spoke about issues of civil government because the apostle Paul himself pens Romans 13, which is all about limiting government's ability. I had a friend of mine recently quite wisely say Nero would never have approved of Romans 13 because Romans 13 would have limited his power. It was speaking against the ability for Nero to rule totally and do whatever he wanted, and so to say that the apostles in the early church never looked at issues of government or never looked at issues of cultural change I think is ahistorical.
I think it's a little silly. These are different times at the start of the early church. This is the kingdom of God breaking out in time in the first century in a different setting where Christians are the small minority, not in a system that has been established on biblical truths and biblical principles in a very different style of government, and again, even with that being the case, you still have Christians speaking about issues of government. You still have civil disobedience as being something that was practiced by the apostles. Jesus himself ultimately was arrested under the charge of being a political revolutionary, of treason, and it's the same thing with the early church. I mean, the early church was disdained primarily not because of their religious claims but because in order to find yourself as a good citizen within Rome, you needed to say above all else that Caesar is Lord, and so for the church, for Christians who said, No, Christ is Lord, that was a political statement. That was a political statement where you were telling the governing authorities you are not Lord, Nero, Domitian, Vespasian, you are not Lord, you are not king, and so we will not bow the knee to you unconditionally.
So they very much were engaged in that, but it looked different. It was a different time and a different setting, and so to say that there is no room for Christian dissidents to say that there's no room based on what we see in the first century, I don't think is accurate. I don't think that represents what we see in the text, and it surely doesn't represent what we see in the entirety of church history. Andrew DiBartolo with us today on the Christian worldview, talking about Christians and protest and obedience to government and when not. He is a pastor of Encounter Church in Kingston, Ontario, and also a project manager with the Liberty Coalition Canada. I'm assuming you don't take a dominionist, reconstructionist view of eschatology that is the church's duty to Christianize every institution and more strong-armed, forced Christianizing of society.
Correct me if I'm wrong. So how do you know where the line is, where we want to live quiet and peaceable lives and live in a society that we know there are going to be unjust leaders, there's going to be sinful policies and so forth. How do you know when it's, okay, that's enough, we need to push back and we need to protest civil disobedience.
How do you know where that is? A couple of principles that I think are helpful for people. The first one is that the mandate as the Christian to be salt and light, how we are light is we are not only exposing, like Paul talks about this in Ephesians, we expose evil, we expose darkness, we shine a light on it in the hopes that by doing so people would be brought out of darkness into light as we shine the light of the gospel. But to be salt is curious because salt wasn't about flavoring, but it was about preserving, and you preserve what is good by acting against the evil that would decay it. And so I don't think that means just we proclaim the truth and we protect the purity of the gospel from false teaching. Paul addresses this in Philippians, right, whatever is good, whatever is lovely, whatever is praiseworthy, think on these things that it is important for the Christian to understand that this is God's world and he's designed his world to function a certain way and when humans line their lives up with God's design, it is always for their good and for their flourishing. And so we're called to preserve that which is good and push back against that which is evil.
We see this in the Old Testament as well. As I was thinking about being on this interview today, my mind went to Jeremiah 29 where a letter is written to the exiles and in verses 4 to 9, he basically says to the exiles, so this is starting in verse 5, build houses, live in them, plant gardens, eat their produce, take wives and have sons and daughters, take wives for your sons. Verse 7, but seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile and pray to the Lord on its behalf, for in its welfare you will find your welfare. And then verse 8 is watch out for the false prophets and verse 9 says that as well and so the principle is that I think we are called to bring all things under the lordship of Christ and so that means seeking the welfare of our city, that means loving our neighbor including the neighbor who's lost a job, including the neighbor who's had its business ripped from him, including the neighbor who finds himself under threat of coercion for not doing certain things, including the neighbor who's depressed and who's struggling with suicide because they haven't been able to go to church, with the love of those neighbors as well who seek the welfare of our city and ultimately a nation will always be governed by law.
That's unavoidable. So the question that Christians have to ask and yes I would agree with you that I'm not a reconstructionist, hard dominion theology kind of guy. That's not my eschatology. What's unavoidable is that a nation will always be governed by law and so the question that we have to ask ourselves is which law? Wouldn't it be better to have a nation governed by God's law?
Wouldn't it be better to say why don't we work to – I mean it already is. The fact that murder is against the law and theft is against the law and lying or perjury is against the law, this didn't come from nowhere. These are established upon God's law which emanate from his character and his nature and so the reality is where we see evil, unjust laws, Christians can and should push back and say no, maybe we need to protest. Maybe we need to have petitions. Maybe we need to use our vote to put people into power who will make good laws. Maybe we need to actually encourage other people to engage in the political realm or to get on school boards or to get on city councils so that we can actually pursue what is good, lovely, praiseworthy and noble so that we can push back against the decay so that we can keep and maintain this rich heritage of blessing. We've been so blessed because faithful men and women built our countries upon biblical principle. We are squandering the blessing.
It's an inheritance and the Bible talks a lot about how to handle an inheritance. So in all these things, we understand it is the Christian duty to do what is good and right, not just in the proclamation of the gospel which is our primary goal, but also in the welfare of the city, the love of neighbor, the pursuing what's right, good, lovely, beautiful, noble and actually wanting to see good laws govern people and wanting to see God's law in the right ways take more and more ground in our world. These are all good biblical things that Christians must be engaged in so long as the way we engage in them is not revolt, it's not through violence, it's not through initiation of violence, but rather through the proclamation of the gospel, through peaceful means. Yes, Christians can engage in these ways and I think we should bring all things under the lordship of Christ because he is king and he rules sovereignly over all of this world. I mean he's not just the king of heaven, he's the king of kings and the lord of lords.
So all authority is already his. That's what he told us before he sent the disciples out. And do you think that the activism, for lack of a better word here, when you're on a school board or on a city council or at a protest or trying to get societal change to represent biblical morality, biblical laws, should the protest or the communication be in explicitly biblical terms? God says this, therefore this law should be that. In other words, that's really the basis for what you're saying, but oftentimes you see Christians in the public square will use more conservative argumentation rather than explicitly Christian fundamentals or a Christian basis for trying to enact change to laws or policies that would be more honoring to God.
As a Christian, I would say yes to the first. If I'm going to communicate why I think certain laws should be in place, even if my answer is, well, because it's for the betterment of society, underneath that answer, the truth is it is because God has said so. So murder is wrong. It is evil.
It is a sin against the holy God. And a society that legislates murder or a society that has no negative consequences for murder but simply lets it happen is a society that's going to tear itself apart. And so even if we say, listen, having laws in place to prevent and punish murder will be good for our country, hear the statistics.
Yeah, that's true. But underneath it, the question is why? It's because God has designed the world this way. So when God says murder is wrong, when he says that murder defiles the land and that murder has innumerable consequences on a civilization, on a country, on a culture, that's because that's how he's designed it. And so as Christians, I don't think we should be shy about that. We're not just speaking out against the murder of babies in the womb because of the effects it has on women which are profound or because of the great evil that it is, and it is.
It's because life matters and is precious because God has created humans in his image and because to live in that kind of world where you can slaughter babies will bring about not only the collapse of a culture but ultimately the heavy hand of God's judgment which is clearly the case here in Canada. And so yeah, Christians can't be shy about saying this is why. It's because this is God's world and because he has defined terms and because his law is good. I mean, that's what we need to say.
His law is good, his rule is good, and it's better to be governed by laws that take their cue from the scriptures than laws that take their cue from sinful men. So well said. Andrew, I am so thankful that we were able to meet about a month ago. This was a very thought-provoking conversation today and just thank you for thinking through these things and having a biblical basis for what you're saying. We're just grateful to have you on the program. We continue to pray all of God's best and grace to you and your family and your church and we'll certainly be watching the situation in Canada and thank you for coming on the Christian Real View Radio program today.
Thanks so much again, David. I am very, very grateful for the opportunity to talk about what's going on here. There are lots of important things to think about from that conversation today with Pastor Andrew DiBartolo.
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