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My church is down the road from the famous Calgary Stampede grounds. Even the hockey arena is shaped like a saddle. But what you might not expect from a church in a Cowtown like mine is the multiethnic diversity of our congregation. During Calgary’s famous rodeo, we held a pancake breakfast outreach at the church and it was fun to have folks from different continents all wearing cowboy hats and “western wear”!

The encouraging feature of many of the new Canadians at my church is the fact that they are bringing their theology with them. And the theology is good.

A Nigerian couple in our church came from a Reformed Baptist church. When they visited they wanted to know what our doctrinal statement was and what we meant by it. Doctrine mattered to them. But that wasn’t all. They were very earnest in their prayers, their participation in the life of the church and in their warm fellowship.

The encouraging feature of many of the new Canadians at my church is the fact that they are bringing their theology with them. And the theology is good.

A Colombian couple moved to Calgary for work and came looking for a church like they had back home. They had come to embrace a more God-centred theology when they left the false prosperity teaching they grew up in. Their challenge in Colombia was to find a church that taught the doctrine they were learning from good ministries like Miguel Nunez who they were watching online. They found a tiny Reformed Baptist church in their small city and matured in their faith there. When they moved to Calgary, they came to our church already well formed in their beliefs and very eager to be committed members.

A single Chinese woman came to our church from New Zealand. She had heard the gospel and was discipled extensively at her church. The materials they used were produced by the Australian Anglican ministry, Matthias Media. Not only did she have one of the clearest articulations of the gospel in any membership interview we’ve done, she was excited to share the gospel in her newly adopted Canadian city.

I could list many more of these examples. Many churches in Canada have recognized that newly arrived immigrants are a wonderful mission field for the gospel. But what we can also see is that the good churches around the world are replenishing Canadian churches with well-discipled believers. This is a great mercy and blessing upon our land!

Churches around the world are replenishing Canadian churches with well-discipled believers. This is a great mercy and blessing upon our land!

Multicultural to Biblical Culture

A feature of this influx of theologically conservative Christians via immigration is a strengthened culture. Automatically, we might assume that the multicultural nature of all of this immigration would mean that there is less of a unified culture. But what we find is that there is a unified culture among us all. It is a biblical culture.

What are some of the features of this biblical culture? Well, we read the same bible. So that is powerfully unifying. Reading the same bible in English pulls us all together. We hear the same sermons. At our church we call it, “The Word Heard Together”. It knits our hearts to each other by a common event. We sing the same songs together. Our voices join together in praise of the Triune God. We fellowship together. Sharing food and laughter with other believers creates spiritually produced celebrations. But most intimate of all, we pray together. No other cultural artefact can match the binding, glue-like power of saints in prayer to their Lord, and interceding for each other.

The Digital Becomes Personal

A common feature appears in nearly all of the stories about new arrivals to Canada who join conservative churches. In almost every case, they had been influenced by godly ministries online and through those ministries, they made contacts with like-minded congregations in Canada.

The ministry of Canadian blogger Tim Challies is repeatedly cited as influential. One couple at our church originally from India but having lived in Dubai for years was directed to our church by a friend in Singapore who read Challies’ blog and directed them to us. Stories like that have been repeated over and over.

In almost every case, they had been influenced by godly ministries online.

The ministry of Paul Washer has been especially influential. John MacArthur’s radio ministry has massive reach as well as the theology resources of Ligonier and the work of the late RC Sproul. John Piper’s teaching has reached across continents and healthy church resources from Mark Dever have encouraged good churchmanship in many countries.

In all of these digital resources, the blessing and benefit comes when the digital becomes personal. That is where new arrivals in Canada who have enjoyed these digital resources bring their faith and practice to churches in Canada blessing us in their coming.

A Culture of Conservative Theology

The hallmarks of conservative theology in the 21st century are complementarianism, Calvinistic soteriology, meaningful church membership and the power of Word and Spirit in the ministry of the pulpit.

Could it be that the renewal of Canadian churches will come from the outside rather than the inside? New Canadians, having been discipled in the fruit of a “Reformed” renewal dating back to the ministry of Martyn Lloyd-Jones may be bringing with them new life to Canadian churches.

Could it be that the renewal of Canadian churches will come from the outside rather than the inside?

Although things can often be discouraging as we look at Canada under the judgement of God(Ps 79:6, Hab 3:12), we also see that God has not forgotten his mercy (Hab 3:2, Luke 1:54, Ps 25:7, Ps 79:8). We can be reminded of that mercy when we see new Canadians walk through our doors on a Sunday morning (Lam 3:2).

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