I usually avoid using the media as source material for my blogs. Media becomes dated and is often too localized for broad application. Today, I make an exception. Two reports from the CBC riveted my attention.
The first was about our national 2021 census. It was reported that the number of those who claim no religious affiliation has doubled in Canada over the last twenty years. Currently, over one third of Canadians identify as non-religious. In addition, the percentage of Canadians who claim to be Christian has shrunk to 50%. Those statistics reflect what churches have known for some time. A diminishing number of people in Canada see faith communities as important to their lives. It is likewise obvious that Christian faith is not as prevalent as it was. That may concern many Christians. The second report is just as troubling. The Canadian government reports that in 2021, just over 10,000 people died by medically assisted death (MAID). MAID became legal in Canada in 2016 and has had a steep incline of occurrences since. There have been 31,644 deaths since MAID legislation was passed by Parliament.* I do not mean to draw a direct connection between those two reports, but both measurements should be noted and considered by Canadian Christians. What message should we draw from the reports?
First, we should not be surprised. The bend of the human heart leans away from God. What is true of individuals is also true of authorities. We are to pray for those who govern us (1 Timothy 2:2), because apart from the grace of God and the prayers of His people, governments do collectively what people do one by one. Some of it is good and beneficial. Much is self-oriented and lacks the righteousness of God. I do not assume that earthly powers will do or can do what the kingdom of God must do.
Secondly, the reports ought to jolt Christians from the delusion of our identity as a Christian nation. People used to go to Church on Sundays. Christian values were once applauded, if not practiced. There was a measure of respect granted to the Christian voice. But were we ever a Christian nation? Whatever we were, is not what we are.
Canadian Christians must abandon the image of Canada from a day gone by. We need to look out our sanctuary windows and view our communities as they are.
Third, Canada is a nation requiring missional efforts. We are a secular nation in need of the gospel of Jesus Christ. No longer should Canadian Christians consider Third-World countries as the only mission fields. The mission field is in our national mirror. We need more church plants. We need revived congregations. It will take partnerships among Christian ministries and gospel participation from every believer. Thousands of candles pulled out from under baskets will enlighten homes, schools, communities, workplaces, and halls of power. Our nation will see the light and glorify our Father who is in heaven (Matthew 5:14-16).
It is possible to read the reports I’ve mentioned and respond with gloom. The task of change seems too daunting. The rot is too deep, too far gone for any improvement. But the city of Nineveh repented. It was said that the early church filled Jerusalem with the teaching of Jesus (Act 5:28). Through Jesus, God is calling to Himself people from every language, culture, and nation (Revelation 5:10), Canadians included. We need to hear what’s happening in our nation. But we need to hear what is happening in Heaven. God is King. God is at work. God is our Redeemer. So as we pray “God keep our land, glorious and free,” we stand on guard with the gospel.
*Third Annual Report in Medical Assistance in Dying in Canada