On December 7th, the Canadian Senate passed Bill C-4 which criminalizes conversion therapy in Canada. The bill aims to prevent coercive practices—practices that Christians agree should cease. Even so, many worry that Bill C-4 could apply to good faith Christian ministry.
For those who want an articulate, gracious, and convictional response to Bill C-4’s ban on “conversion therapy,” the Canadian Religious Freedom Summit has produced a letter for Canadian church leaders. The idea would be that churches across Canada would read it aloud together on January 9th. To learn more and see the letter, click HERE. Otherwise, we have pasted the entire letter below for your convenience:
This past week marked a monumental change in Canadian law and society with the enactment of federal Bill C-4, which amends the Criminal Code.
The law’s stated purpose is to outlaw “conversion therapy”. We strongly oppose the coercive and unscientific therapeutic practices the Bill was introduced to address. We appreciate and affirm the desire of parliamentarians to protect the vulnerable. However, we are deeply concerned that the effective reach of the legislation could be extended far beyond its stated purpose. Because its definition of “conversion therapy” is vague, many are concerned that it could capture parents, pastors and counsellors who teach a biblical understanding of sexuality in a variety of situations. The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms guarantees our freedoms of religion, conscience, thought, belief, expression and association. It is our prayer that the law will be applied – and clarified as needed – in such a way as to honour these Charter protections.
We recognize that the greatest danger facing the Canadian church is not that we might face criminal prosecution, but rather that we might compromise in our teaching of the Word of God or fall silent in our proclamation of the gospel. Along with church leaders of like conviction across Canada, we stand before you today to pledge that we are committed to obeying God above all others (Acts 5:29). With the Lord’s help, we will continue to proclaim the whole counsel of God (Acts 20:27) without fear or favour. This includes God’s life-giving design for human beings, made in His image, male and female (Genesis 1:27), with sexual intimacy reserved for the covenantal union of a man and a woman (Genesis 2:24). We will continue to issue the call to repent of all kinds of sin and to believe the gospel, knowing that we all have sinned (Romans 3:23), and that salvation through Jesus is the one true hope for the world (Acts 4:12). We will continue to love and serve all people in our community, without distinction, in Jesus’ name. As we press on in the work of ministry, we will trust our Heavenly Father to guard us and keep us, and to work out His greater purposes for our good and His glory.
We continue to pray for our government, and to plead with the Lord to have mercy on our needy land.