In a stunning show of defiance against Jesus Christ, provincial media outlets continue to rail against GraceLife Church of Edmonton which, for the 4th Sunday since the arrest of Pastor James Coates, continued to meet normally in a manner eerily reminiscent of the year 2019.
GraceLife Church openly declares its position on the interpretation of scripture on its website under the section entitled “The Holy Scriptures”:
We teach that, whereas there may be several applications of any given passage of Scripture, there is but one true interpretation. The meaning of Scripture is to be found as one diligently applies the literal grammatical-historical method of interpretation under the enlightenment of the Holy Spirit (John 7:17; 16:12-15; 1 Corinthians 2:7-15; 1 John 2:20). It is the responsibility of believers to ascertain carefully the true intent and meaning of Scripture, recognizing that proper application is binding on all generations. Yet the truth of Scripture stands in judgment of men; never do men stand in judgment of it.
Despite this plain statement of how the Church regards the Bible and its teachings, there is still much confusion by media and government officials about the Church’s ongoing stance of persistent normalcy despite the political and media-driven narrative regarding Covid-19. For example, the fact that GraceLife Church interprets the following passage according to a “literal grammatical-historical method of interpretation” continues to befuddle critics of the Church:
Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful. And let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds, not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the day drawing near.–Hebrews 10:23-25 (LSB)
In his March 14, 2021 sermon, Pastor Jacob Spenst quoted from the book of Philippians chapter one, verses three through eight (Phil. 1:3-8). In this passage of Scripture, the Apostle Paul, writing the epistle from a prison in Rome, says: “…I have you in my heart, since both in my chains and in the defence and confirmation of the gospel, you all are fellow partakers with me in this grace.” In a stunning display of rational observation, contrary to opponents of GraceLife Church, Spenst was able to draw clear connections between the experiences of the Apostle Paul and with Pastor James Coates. Critics of GraceLife Church, including the government, media, and regional faith and “interfaith” leaders, remain stupefied that the Bible might, potentially, just maybe be relevant to life in 2021.
Ironically, Coates’ final sermon before his arrest by Canada’s national/federally operated police force was titled “Directing The Government To Its Duty” (February 14, 2021). In that sermon, Pastor Coates openly revealed that the government, which is made up of individuals, does not have the right to define good and evil and are accountable to the One True God for their governance (link). Despite Coates and GraceLife Church’s firmly held beliefs and sincerity of conscience, the government continues to defy the Lord of the Church, Jesus Christ, by holding one of His servants in a prison despite his alleged crime not being punishable by jail time.
Lauren Boothby, the first reporter to pop up on a Google search for “GraceLife Church Edmonton,” wrote an article disseminated to multiple news outlets highlighting that GraceLife Church continued to remain open despite Coates’ arrest. To demonstrate media and government narrative solidarity, Boothby wrote in her March 14, 2021 article:
Churches are allowed [by the decree of the government 🤗] to stay open for worship services in Alberta provided they follow public health orders [which the Church and Pastor Coates believe are a violation of their God-given rights and are not justifiable based on the data presented to the public] — including capacity, physical distancing and masking — meant to prevent the deadly virus that causes COVID-19 from spreading.
Charging the church as an “entity” allows for the laws to be applied to the organization for violating health orders.
[EDITOR’S NOTE: emphasis, clarifying remarks, and emoji supplied by me.]
However, Boothby is not the only reporter or news outlet to bring attention to the shocking, ongoing outbreak of unprecedented normalcy at GraceLife Church. Global News has effortlessly crafted a minimum of fourteen pieces related to GraceLife Church between January 31, 2021 and March 10, 2021 (over 46 days). A list of the extensive, hard-hitting Global News coverage can be found here. CityNews, also hand-crafted or curated a nearly equal number of pieces which can be found here. Not to be outdone, Canada’s national news agency (funded by the federal government) also contributed a similar volume of stories which can be found here.
Despite the similar themes, tones, volume, and sources/writers in their reporting, there is obviously no coordination, let alone monotonous parroting, among these outraged outlets (though Boothby doesn’t so much seem to be outraged as following orders). This is not a developing story; you can likely read this same article next week in the fallout of more rampant, unchecked normalcy.