Most Canadians are familiar with the
bond that forms within a team of athletes,
firefighters, police officers or soldiers.
The bond unites them, and allows immediate acceptance to be granted to those
who share the bond.
Even more, followers of Christ are
united by adoption into God’s family. In
Jesus we become spiritual brothers and
sisters. We become citizens of the Kingdom
of Heaven, what the Bible calls a chosen
people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation.
What other club or association in society simultaneously invokes the bonds of
family, nation and vocation?
Some religious traditions also share a
belief in sacred space consecrated for
worship, and sacred texts containing and
symbolizing God’s words to humanity.
These have far deeper meaning than the
common notions of property, possession
or even public association.
The bond in religious communities
transcends all other bonds. When wor-
shippers meet, we gather not for ourselves
as individuals for our own edification or
interest, but as a congregation bound
together in offering praise to
God. It is unlike any other gath-
ering, be it political, social, edu-
cational or economic.
We are members of the Body
of Christ – we become part of
something greater than ourselves. In fact our identity is not
self-constructed, but can only be
understood in the context of the greater
body and especially its Head, Jesus Christ,
to whom we are now bondslaves.
While most associations are a sum of
their individual parts, the Church is so
much more. To call it an association does
not fully express its nature.
Religious freedom is specifically men-
tioned in Canada’s Charter of Rights and
Freedoms because it refers to a distinct
dimension of life. Its importance is widely
recognized and deemed necessary to
guarantee in laws worldwide.
The Charter also guarantees freedom of
conscience, thought, belief and opinion,
These other freedoms would
cover most of the activities of a
church, but religion is specifically
mentioned because there is something unique about religious
freedom, which includes the
communal expression of faith in something
that transcends and to which we are bound.
We are to celebrate publicly our bond
in Christ and all it means for Christ to be
our Saviour and Lord. But we need to find
new ways to help our society understand
the uniqueness of our being in community that is so different from any other mere
human association. /FT
Bruce J. Clemenger is President of The Evangelical
Fellowship of Canada. Please pray for our work and
support us at www.TheEFC.ca/Donate or toll-free 1-866-302-3362.
Month, nationwide, November
International Day of Prayer for the
Persecuted Church, Nov. 12
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Young adult TV series:
Old and new
Love Is Moving is a TV series for
young adults coproduced in 2014
by the EFC’s Joel Gordon and Ben
Porter. Complete episodes were
rebroadcast on Yes TV in May and
June, and remain available free
online. Learn more and watch
episodes at www.TheEFC.ca/LIMTV.
The team that made this
show is also producing segments
that will appear within a new
program on Yes TV starting Sept.
8. Outside the Box With Sheldon
Neil ( www.SheldonNeil.com) will
be broadcast Fridays at 8: 30 p.m.
Eastern and can be seen live at
Canadian pastor freed
from North Korea
Rev. Hyeon Soo Lim was released
after serving 30 months of a life
sentence in North Korea. The EFC
wrote several letters on Rev. Lim’s
behalf, most recently on July 11. For
details search www.TheEFC.ca for
The EFC will participate in the
upcoming Supreme Court cases
on the proposed law school at
Trinity Western University. The
EFC has co-intervened with
Christian Higher Education
Canada in six previous cases on
the matter, and will again at the
final hearings Nov. 30 and Dec.
1, 2017. The EFC is committed to
supporting TWU as the university
completes a multiyear journey to
secure accreditation. Learn more
at www.TheEFC.ca/ TWULaw.
The EFC intervened to protect
freedom of conscience in an
Ontario case in June (jointly with
the Assembly of Catholic Bishops
of Ontario and the Christian Legal
Fellowship) on the question of
whether medical professionals can
be forced to provide referrals or
conduct procedures that violate
their consciences. The case was
launched by the Christian Medical
and Dental Society of Canada and
other groups. The court decision
was not available at press time.
Get the latest news at www.
Newly released: Pastor Hyeon Soo Lim holds his granddaughter in front
of his wife Geum Young Lim as he leaves the Light Presbyterian Church,
Mississauga, Ont., on August 13, 2017.