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Thousands of Pastors Preach on Sexuality in Response to Canadian Law Banning Conversion Therapy

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Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau at the Vancouver Pride Parade in 2018. GoToVan from Vancouver, Canada, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Across North America Sunday, thousands of Christian pastors preached about biblical sexual morality. Their coordinated messages from the pulpit were spurred by Canadian Bill C-4, an LGBTQ-related law that went into effect Jan. 7.

Many pastors fear that the vague wording of Bill C-4, which passed unanimously, could “criminalize Christianity.” They also warn that threats to religious freedom are quickly spreading throughout Western countries.

Why Canadian Bill C-4 Concerns Christian Pastors

As summarized by Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Bill C-4 bans “the despicable and degrading practice of conversion therapy.” The law’s wording declares that such therapy “causes harm” and “propagates myths and stereotypes about sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender expression.” People who use or advertise conversion therapy, as well as those who force someone to undergo it, all face punishment under the law.

After Canadian pastor James Coates alerted U.S. Pastor John MacArthur about Bill C-4, MacArthur urged pastors to dedicate January 16 to addressing the topic. He encouraged church leaders to take “a stand for the truth of the saving gospel,” especially regarding biblical sexual morality. “Publicly preach a sermon,” MacArthur advised, “that specifically proclaims the biblical truth that homosexuality and transgenderism are serious sins condemned by the law of God that exclude a sinner from salvation without repentance.”

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Pastor John MacArthur: Anti-Christian Legislation Will ‘Escalate’

MacArthur, pastor of Grace Community Church in Los Angeles, tells Fox News, “Ultimately, the dissenters, the ones who will not cave in, are going to be those who are faithful to the Bible. And that’s what’s already leading to laws made against doing what we are commanded to do in Scripture, which is to confront that sin. And that’s just going to escalate.”

Pointing to governmental responses to the pandemic, MacArthur adds, “The fact that [Bill C-4] identified [conversion therapy] as a criminal conduct that could give you as much as five years in prison takes it to a completely different level, because Canadian pastors have been put in jail for just having church services.”

MacArthur says legislation passed in some U.S. states points to a rise in religious persecution in America. “I think it’s reached a level there in Canada that it hasn’t yet reached here,” he says. “But it’s coming. It’s coming fast.”

Pastors Preach About Biblical Sexuality

Among the clergy advocating for Bible-based morality is Florida Pastor Tom Ascol, president of Founders Ministries. Last week he tweeted, “We are standing with our Canadian brothers & sisters,” adding that his January 16 sermon would be titled “How God Loudly Shouts About Sexual Immorality.”

In that sermon, Ascol pointed to Genesis 1:27 to show “there are only two sexes.” He said 1 Corinthians 6:9-11 warns about the “grave danger of sexual immorality,” adding that God, out of love, wants people to “turn from their sin and live.”

Georgia Pastor Josh Buice, president of G3 Ministries, also preached on the Canadian bill. “We live in a postmodern society that claims that what’s wrong for one generation may actually be right and acceptable to another generation,” he said. Buice, whose church recently left the Southern Baptist Convention, said Jesus frees his followers from slavery to sin. “He is a jealous God,” he added. “He will not share the throne with anyone else!”

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Stephanie Martin, a freelance writer and editor in Denver, has spent her entire 30-year journalism career in Christian publishing. She loves the Word and words, is a binge reader and grammar nut, and is fanatic (as her family can attest) about Jeopardy! and pro football.