Bruce J. Clemenger is president of The Evangelical
Fellowship of Canada. Find more of these columns at
www.faithtoday.ca/ TheGatheringPlace. Please pray for our
work. You can support it financially at www.theEFC.ca/
donate or toll-free 1-866-302-3362.
to overrule the consciences of the minority?
Of course rejecting moral judgments
based on “faith” is insincere. All moral
judgments are rooted in some belief system
or faith – in other words, in some worldview by which a person distinguishes between right and wrong, good and bad.
The worldview might be framed in religious terms or not, but it functions in
the same way. In that light, it’s clearly both
discriminatory and illogical to reject
faith-based moral judgments out of hand.
Is not Canada’s Criminal Code a moral
code made up of moral judgments, based
on widespread agreement about what we
should not do – murder, steal, bear false
witness, etc.? These are judgments affirmed by people of many different worldviews and religious traditions.
In our diverse society, it should be no
surprise that reasonable people disagree
on what ought to be done, on what constitutes a good life. This is a diversity we
once celebrated as Canadians.
But there is now a shift toward moral
conformity, which people will celebrate if
it is a morality that conforms to their own
judgments. It also leads to questions about
the ability of faithful Canadians to be professionals and serve in the public interest.
Unfortunately, this shift is not exclusive
to the medical profession. Consider the
provincial law societies currently objecting to Trinity Western University’s
community covenant, a document that
sets out community standards for TWU
students, staff and faculty.
Despite a Supreme Court of Canada ruling that having a covenant is consistent with
the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, law societies are contending that since some may be
offended or feel excluded by the covenant,
TWU should change its moral standards.
The law societies are saying in effect
that the previous Supreme Court deci-
sion which accepted the covenant was
wrong. In the moral judgment of the law
societies, the covenant should not be
allowed to maintain a biblical, hetero-
sexual concept of marriage.
Moral judgments rooted in religious belief are being singled out for scrutiny. Perhaps it is because a religiously based morality is rooted in the transcendent – a morality
given via revelation rather than constricted
by human will. This is an offence to two
major secular faith commitments – individual autonomy and human sovereignty.
Where religious freedom and freedom
of conscience are cherished, there will
be space for disagreement about how
people and communities choose to live
together while contributing positively to
the public good. When we disagree, we
continue to treat all with respect and
dignity, and look for ways to accommodate expressions of freedom. This too is
a matter of morality. /FT
As part of the 50th anniversary
celebrations at The Evangelical
Fellowship of Canada, Faith
Today is introducing members
of the board of directors (listed
at www.theEFC.ca/board). we
continue with John Denbok of
Toronto, executive director of the
mission agency SiM Canada.
F T: What made you want to sit on
the EFC board?
I know of no other venue that
can well represent the collective
evangelical voice and so carefully
articulate our Christian worldview
in the Canadian public square.
The EFC mission statement of
gathering Evangelicals together
for impact, influence and identity
in ministry and public witness
was very compelling for me. It
was an honour to be invited to
serve on the EFC board.
What’s the most important thing
the EFC is doing these days, in
Choosing only one important thing
is difficult. The EFC’s research on
key issues facing the Church in
Canada would be top of my list.
The recent Hemorrhaging Faith
and Bible Engagement papers
have provided tangible evidence
of issues the Church needs to
understand and address. The
papers have become a platform for
reflection and discussion. Ensuring
the leaders of our country are
informed and engaged on issues of
importance to our community is
also vitally important.
What’s the biggest challenge facing
Canada right now?
consumerism – the big “isms”
– have a created a directionless
culture where even the dignity and
value of human life are not defined
under an ultimate authority,
but by a stance of preference
and opinion. Ultimately only the
Church can speak into and affect
culture. My concern is that culture
is influencing the Church, rather
than the other way around.
F T: Thank you, John. May God
bless you and your ministry. /F T
meet the EFc Board: John denbok
representatives of the Pontifical
Council for Promoting Christian
Unity. They talked about areas
of common concern for both
the evangelical community and
the Roman Catholic Church. In
his address Dr. Tunnicliffe, then
CEO and secretary general of the
WEA (he retired in December),
outlined specific action steps for
the two world church bodies.
Tunnicliffe also met in late
November with the ecumenical
patriarch of Constantinople,
Bartholomew I, in Istanbul,
Turkey. They discussed responses
to the increasing number of
refugees in Syria and Iraq,
ensuring their protection in the
short term and creating ways
for them to later return to their
Details on both meetings are
at www.worldea.org. /FT
WWW.FAITHTOdAY.CA / JANUARY / FEBRUARY 2015 17