Trinity Bible Chapel in Ontario has refused to close, despite more than $40 million in fines and harassment of its members. Months ago, the church published a statement explaining why they believe this defiance honors Christ.
This weekend, authorities forcibly locked the doors:
Here is part of Senior Pastor Jacob Reaume's full statement in response:
"Today, a court granted the Province of Ontario the authority to take our facility, at least until next Saturday, with the option of trying to get it for longer by going to court once again this coming week. For some of those eleven months in our facility, we have met in contravention of provincial dictates. We have participated in what the public health people consider high risk behavior, namely the millennia old tradition of gathering weekly to worship our Creator. Not one of our pastors has ever buried someone who has died of COVID. We have around 600,000 people who live in this region. There are 588 active cases of COVID in the region, with 32 people in the ICU with COVID. That's enough to deem the public worship of Jesus Christ dangerous and enough for the Province of Ontario to kick us off our land and bar our doors shut. I'm not saying we'll never bury someone who dies of COVID. I'm not saying COVID hasn't brought harm. I'm only saying our experience doesn't line up with the hysteria whipped up by government and media, nor do the numbers warrant turning control of the Bride of Christ over to the Premier of Ontario."
That was just the wind up.
"They took our building because they think that will stop us from worshipping. For twenty years our church has worshipped together each Lord's Day, and we've only met in our own building for eleven months. So the best part of our history we have not owned a building. We managed just fine to gather together without our own building, and now we don't have our own building again. The early church met in the catacombs under Rome. The Covenanters met in fields. John Bunyan led his services in forests. Churches find ways to worship together, as surely as water flows downhill."
And the kill shot:
"They stole our building, at least temporarily. We'll keep our worship. And we'll keep our fellowship. Many churches around these parts think they still own their buildings, but they already voluntarily handed their buildings and their people and their worship over to Caesar months ago. We just forced Caesar to come and take the building, but we've kept the church. Caesar can have the brick and mortar. We've kept the church for Jesus."