Bruce J. Clemenger is president of
The Evangelical Fellowship of Canada.
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stroy those who refused to receive
Him, Jesus rebuked them.
Shortly afterward Jesus sent 70
of His disciples on a mission with
explicit instructions to respect the
freedom of others. If they were rejected, they were to walk away.
We reconcile this approach with
the first two commandments. God
is a jealous god. He expects our
worship and praise. But He does not
compel belief. He has given us free
will to choose. The choice has eternal consequences, but it is a choice.
Religious freedom respects that
choice. It is grounded in belief in
the dignity of the human person.
Each of us possesses a thirst for
truth and a capacity to know truth.
Jesus invites, “I stand at the door
and knock. If anyone hears my voice
and opens the door, I will come in
and eat with that person, and they
with me” (Revelation 3: 20).
As Christians we respect people
of other faiths. We respect their
beliefs out of respect for their God-given dignity and God-given liberty.
We are called to love them and
tell them about Jesus. We are not to
judge or condemn, just as Jesus did
not come to condemn, but rather to
save. We do not ridicule the beliefs
of others – according to Jude 1: 9,
even the archangel Michael when
contending with the devil did not
condemn him for slander but said,
“The Lord rebuke you.”
We are seekers after the truth.
We are people on a journey of faith
and understanding, and we engage
all others who are in a similar
pursuit. Some are confident they
are on the right track, some not so
sure. We welcome the conversation.
There are times we need to defend
our freedoms. Part of this entails
making public arguments and going
to court, but it also entails being
good stewards of our freedom. We
do this by using our freedom well.
We live out the truth in love.
As Jesus instructed the 70, we
also come in peace, seek to be in
fellowship, care for others and pray
Let’s steward our freedom well
and not take it for granted. Use the
freedom we enjoy to share the good
news of the gospel with others and
live according to the gospel.
Some may want to silence us
because the gospel can cause offence. The best response is that of
love. It is what our freedom in
Christ enables us to do – to speak
the truth in love and be known for
our love. /FT
John Pellowe values the way the
EFC represents Evangelicals.
Over the past fe w issues,
Faith Today has been introducing
members of the board of directors
of our publisher, The Evangelical
Fellowship of Canada (listed at
We continue with John Pello we,
CEO of the Canadian Council of
FT: What made you want to sit
on the EFC board?
JP: I jumped at the invitation to join
the board because the EFC is such
an important ministry to Canada,
it is something that I personally
support and have a passion
for, and it is a good way for me
to contribute my specialized
expertise for the EFC’s benefit.
FT: What do you think is the most
important thing the EFC is doing
JP: I thank God every time I read
anything by the EFC that presents
an evangelical perspective to our
society. I feel that my interests,
as an Evangelical, are being
effectively presented in courts,
in Ottawa, and to the public. The
most important thing the EFC
does, in my opinion, is represent
our community to others.
FT: What’s the biggest challenge
facing Canada right now?
JP: We seem to have arrived at a
critical turning point in our society,
where opposing views on the place
of religion in society are wrestling
with the concept of religious
freedom and how much we should
have in the public realm. Those
who believe there is no place
in public society for religion are
increasingly bold in trying to limit
religious people’s participation in
public affairs. Our challenge is to
ensure Canada remains a society
where diversity and minority
positions have a place.
FT: Thank you, John. /FT
Meet the EFC Board: John Pellowe Global Gospel Impact: Gideons Convention, August 14–15, Toronto
Visit www.theEFC.ca/calendar to
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publicize your own event.
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