Dear friends,

Is the Christian faith in inevitable decline in Canada? It seems as if more churches are closing than are starting. Fewer and fewer people go to church on Sunday. The culture as a whole seems to want to exclude the Christian faith from the public square. To many people, just about every spiritual and religious option has some attraction but the Bible and Christianity are not attractive. Maybe it’s time to go palliative – accept decline and death but make the process as painless as possible.

I do not know what church statistics and cultural markers will look like in the years to come, but I do have a quiet hope for the future.

I have hope because Jesus the Messiah really did die on the cross and He really did rise from the dead. His resurrection vindicates His message and His person and His work. This means he truly is “God’s power for salvation for all who believe.” He truly is King of Kings and Lord of Lords. He truly is “the way, the truth and the life.” He truly will “come again in glory.” He truly lives to intercede for us. He will never leave us or forsake us. His yoke is easy and His burden is light and following Him will mean rest for our souls.

Next Sunday we begin a series on Second Corinthians. The letter is written to Christians in the Greek city of Corinth. Acts 16 records the momentous moment when the Christian message and faith jumps continents to come to Europe. This happened around the year 50. Shortly after this; the first Christians arrive in Corinth and people come to faith in Jesus and churches are formed. Remember, “church” refers to a community of people, not a building. Churches would not own church buildings for another 300 years. The letter of Second Corinthians that we will study is written about eight years after the Christian faith has come to Corinth. Society is hostile to the Christian message and politics, business, spirituality, education and entertainment are all organized around religions and spiritualities deeply opposed to the Christian message. Yet the Gospel is proclaimed and some people come to saving faith in Jesus. So, I have hope in Ottawa.

Acts 18 records an event with Paul, who led the group of missionaries to come to Corinth. There is much opposition, but….” the Lord said to Paul one night in a vision, ‘Do not be afraid, but go on speaking and do not be silent, for I am with you and no one will attack you to harm you, for I have many in this city who are my people.’” (Acts 18:9-10)

My hope is not for safety but, that like Corinth, God has many “people” in Ottawa who have not yet heard the Gospel. So God asks us to continue speaking.

George +