Canadian police pressed charges against all six elders of Trinity Bible Chapel in Breslau, Ontario for holding services last Sunday.
All six elders must now appear in criminal court, where they could face a fine of $10,000.
Here was the church's epic response:
"We are peaceful family men seeking to pastorally care for our families and our church in sincere obedience to God. We are not criminals. Officers from the Waterloo Region Police Service (WRPS) showed up at each of our homes last night at roughly 8pm and gave us each a summons to court. While other pastors in Ontario have faced similar charges under the [Reopening Ontario Act] for holding church services, to our knowledge this is the first time that each and every member of an entire elders board has been charged for gathering a church to worship. Although we know of officers within the WRPS who personally disagree with these charges, it appears the WRPS is trying to make an example of us. For years we have taught our children to respect police, and now our children and grandchildren are witness to their fathers and grandfathers receiving charges from police for worshipping Christ with our church. It is a dark day for Waterloo Region and Ontario."
The church went on to say that not a single COVID-19 case has been traced back to them since they re-opened in June. They also detailed how keeping the church open has been important to their community:
"Instead, we have heard a plethora of stories from many of our congregants about how they were negatively affected spiritually, emotionally, mentally, and financially during the first lockdown."
On December 3, the church sent a letter to authorities stating that they would not shut down again due to the rise in 'Rona cases. The title of that letter was "Here we Stand: The Church Must Meet."
"Not one of our officials replied with an attempt to work with us," the church continued. "Our church community has become a vital refuge for hundreds of people during these times of despair. Our government is destroying our society to prevent the spread of a virus with a fraction of a fractional death rate. This is evil."
The church then warned authorities of the cyclical nature of history:
"We have ancestors who fought in wars to protect us from state abuses of this nature, and many of our families fled police states that eerily resemble what we are being subjected to at the present. Our high school teachers, parents, and grandparents warned us against governments that act this way."
After taking aim at specific examples of hypocrisy from local officials, the church then dropped the A-bomb:
"Our Saviour shed His blood to purchase the church, and therefore deeming the church 'unessential' is tantamount to deeming the blood of Christ unessential, which is a public act of blasphemy. One day our elected officials, bureaucrats, and police will stand before the court of God's justice for these acts. We earnestly pray that the Holy Spirit would draw them to his Son, Jesus Christ, who offers free grace and forgiveness to all who would repent and put their faith in him. Jesus Christ is the King of kings and the Lord of lords, and therefore we must honour and obey him above all earthly governments."
As if they hadn't just thrown down the gauntlet enough, Trinity Bible Chapel ended their statement with a little C.S. Lewis, like an extra helping of cheese on a truth burger.
"Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It would be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron's cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience." – C.S. Lewis