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Canada is celebrating its 150th year of existence, and we too are joining in the celebration. We know that Canada is not a perfect country and that Canada does not have a spotless past. But Christians can still be thankful for the good things that God has done and is doing in our country.

God is at work in our nation, and I for one am thankful for the many Christian leaders that the Lord has raised up in our nation. I asked a number of these leaders: “What is one unique thing about Canada that you are thankful for,” and here is how they answered.

Brett Landry | Lead Pastor of Christ City Church in Vancouver

Brett LandryI grew up in a village in rural central Alberta and now pastor a church in the heart of Vancouver and I’m not sure the rest of the world thinks it needs more Canada, but I sure love living here. In a world of heated rhetoric around walls, travel bans, Brexit, and the rise of neo-nationalism, one author speculated that we may be “the last immigrant nation left standing”. Our own Prime Minister was quoted as saying that Canada may be the “first post-national state”. Our ongoing policies of multiculturalism and immigration are a beautiful part of being Canadian.

Whether you agree with our Prime Minister’s statement or not, immigration and multiculturalism offer Canadian Christians the opportunity to preach the gospel in beautifully diverse, albeit unique and sometimes even difficult circumstances. Canada offers everyone the freedom to possess their own identity, and while there is an obvious dark side to this kind of autonomy, we as the church need to see the inherent opportunity. What if Jesus’ church saw this freedom as an opportunity to point to a different way of being and a different source of identity? Followers of Jesus do not find their identity in their nation of origin or dwelling, we find our identity in who we are in Christ. The Canadian church is free to show people from all over the world what it means to once-and-for-all ground their identity in the person and work of Jesus.

Mark Dana | Ordained Baptist Minister and Part of the North Canada Evangelical Mission in Quebec

Mark DanaMany First Nations people traveled freely in the land of North America without the distinctions of Canada and the United States. History redefined boundaries and borders, and I chose to become a Canadian though having been born in the Northeastern US. Today, I am able to enjoy similar freedom of travel and use of the land as my tribe did in the past. God’s glory is reflected in the vast beauty and resources that He has entrusted to the inhabitants of Canada’s provinces and territories. The manifold riches of many cultures and languages continue to increase, bringing ethnically diverse persons as welcome neighbors in close proximity to our Gospel communities. Canada is in a unique position for discipling the nations, which includes its original inhabitants.

Robbie Symons | Senior Pastor of Harvest Bible Chapel in Oakville

robbie bio picAs a Canadian born and raised, it was in my early twenties that I had the opportunity to travel abroad for the first time. I left my homeland for six months and was thankful for the experience. However, it was upon my return back to Canada that I was profoundly struck by how blessed I was to call Canada home. I remember reaching Canadian soil and feeling such gratitude for a nation of freedom, security and opportunity. Canada may be considered to be a humble nation at times, but I am extremely proud of our heritage and the values that we have been founded upon. In fact, one of my relatives was one of the Father’s of Confederation (William McDougall). Oh how blessed we have been and may we never take for granted what the LORD has entrusted us with in such grace and kindness with such a nation as Canada. Truly, God keep our land glorious and free!

Paul Carter | Lead Pastor of First Baptist Church Orillia

2017 Paul Bio PicWhere do I begin? I tell my kids on a regular basis that they have been born into the greatest country on planet earth. We enjoy historically unprecedented peace, prosperity and opportunity; we have wonderful neighbours and abundant natural resources. This is as good as it gets – on this side of eternity!

Having spent a fair bit of time in other lands and places, I think I would also want to add a word of appreciation for our excellent and affordable health care. Whining about wait times is something of a Canadian obsession, but I think all of us know that we are very fortunate to have the system we have. I have 5 kids. I appreciate the fact that at 4 in the morning I can take any 1 of my 5 kids to the ER and know that someone will be there who knows what needs to be done. And I appreciate that no one will ask to see my credit card.

Thank you Canada and happy 150th birthday! May there be many more!

Yanick Éthier | Pastor of Teaching and Vision at Église de l’Espoir in Longueuil

Yanick EthierSans parler d’orientation politique, comme chrétien, je suis profondément reconnaissant d’avoir toujours vécu dans un pays de grandes libertés et de grandes sécurités. Dès leurs plus jeunes âges, nous avons communiqué à nos enfants les privilèges incroyables que nous avions comme famille de vivre en Occident, plus précisément en Amérique du Nord, et tout spécialement au Canada.

Mais je suis particulièrement reconnaissant pour l’héritage évangélique unique du Canada avec ses deux langues officielles. Cette particularité nous a donné une histoire de partage possiblement unique. Ainsi, le Québec francophone qui n’avait pour ainsi dire pas entendu parler de l’Évangile dans toute sa simplicité évangélique, en raison d’une omniprésence de l’Église catholique, a reçu des missionnaires venant de partout en occident, mais surtout de ses provinces voisines. L’Évangile est entré au Québec, enfin!

Et, depuis lors, Dieu a produit un réveil spirituel puissant au Québec dans les années 70-80 qui a donné une vivacité à la foi de cette Église naissante. Depuis plus de 30 ans, à présent, les Églises évangéliques québécoises encouragent les autres provinces à vivre la foi avec le zèle du premier amour. Voilà une histoire de partage qui me rend particulièrement fier et reconnaissant d’être canadien.

Without getting into politics, as a Christian, I am deeply grateful to have always lived in a country of great liberties and great security. From their earliest ages, we communicated to our children the incredible privileges we had as a family to live in the West, specifically in North America, and especially in Canada.

But I am particularly grateful for Canada’s unique evangelical heritage with its two official languages. This particularity has given us a possibly unique shared-history. Francophone Quebec, for example, had hardly heard of the Gospel in all its evangelical simplicity, which was largely due to the omnipresence of the Catholic Church. Quebec, however, received missionaries from all over the West, and most of all from its neighboring provinces. The Gospel had finally entered Quebec!

And since then, God has produced a powerful spiritual revival in Quebec in the seventies and eighties, which gave a vivacity to the faith of this nascent Church. For more than 30 years, Quebec’s evangelical churches have encouraged other provinces to live the faith with the zeal of its first love. This is a shared history that makes me particularly proud and grateful to be Canadian.

 

Wyatt Graham serves as the executive director of the The Gospel Coalition Canada. You can follow him on Twitter.


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One thought on “5 Christian Leaders on Why They Are Thankful for Canada”

  1. HpO says:

    Because “Canada offers everyone the freedom to possess their own identity … the Canadian church is free … to once-and-for-all ground their identity in the person and work of Jesus.” Thank God, brother Brett Landry, because me and my brothers and sisters in Ukraine and because of that country? So lucky you Christian Canadians, but we Christian Ukrainians haven’t been able “to once-and-for-all ground (our) identity in the person and work of Jesus”! So, no, in the same spirit, I never thank God for Ukraine – not even on November 21 when “Day of Dignity and Freedom” is celebrated around here, just as on July 1 you celebrate Canada Day. I thank God for Canada instead. Because I wish so much that I can “once-and-for-all ground (my) identity in the person and work of Jesus”, like you, and like all Christian Canadians. Happy Canada Day tomorrow!

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