The Supreme Court of Canada issued a “devastating decision” regarding religious freedom today, ruling that provincial law societies had the right to refuse to accredit Trinity Western University’s law school on account of the university’s community covenant that requires Christian sexual conduct of students.
This sad decision should remind Christians of the Psalmist’s warning:
Put not your trust in princes, in a son of man, in whom there is no salvation. When his breath departs, he returns to the earth; on that very day his plans perish. Blessed is he whose help is the God of Jacob, whose hope is in the Lord his God. (Ps 146:3-5)
How should Christians think about such an event?
Jesus said: “I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it” (Matt 16:18). We need to remember that God’s answer to the problem of a broken and sinful world is not legislation or charters or constitutions or human institutions, helpful though they may be at times; rather, God’s answer is the Good News of salvation by faith in Jesus Christ alone, which joins undeserving sinners to himself in the body of Jesus Christ—the Church.
See, it is Jesus—not Christian law schools, helpful as they might be—who will build his church. And not even the gates of hell—much less unfavourable Supreme Court decisions or hostile law societies—will be able to prevail against it.
That’s how Christians ought to think about this bad news. How, then, should Christian believers respond to the TWU decision?
How should Christians respond?
First, we should pray. Pray for our imperfect political leaders who are appointed for our good so that we would be permitted to live a peaceful and quiet life (Rom 13:1–7; 1 Tim. 2:2).
Second, we should take heart. Yes, this decision represents further pressure on Canadian Christians to “keep their faith to themselves,” out of the public square. But Jesus said: “In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world” (John 16:33). Brothers and sisters, despair is not an option!
Third, “strive to excel in building up the church” (1 Cor 14:12). How does Jesus build his church? He builds his church through ordinary Christian believers exercising their Holy Spirit-given gifts, unselfishly and sacrificially, in order to build up local churches by and in God’s prophetic Word.
So, brothers and sisters: pray fervently, without ceasing (1 Thess 5:17). Trust in the Lord, who does not forsake those who seek him (Ps 9:10). If you haven’t already, join a local Bible-preaching church (Heb. 10:24-25), and there pour yourself out to build it up (1 Cor 14:12). Sit under and listen to the preached Word of God (Deut 4:10), and as not merely a hearer but a doer (James 1:22).
Share the Gospel, with gentleness and reverence, honouring Christ as holy (1 Pet 3:15). Disciple and mentor others (2 Tim 2:2). And pass on this faith to the next generation, teaching your kids (and if you don’t have children, helping others teach theirs) about the fear of the Lord (Deut 4:10; 6:4-7).
And never forget, no matter what happens, Jesus is with us—to the end of the age (Matt 28:20).