Carl Trueman offers some powerful advice in the aforementioned essay, including being deeply rooted in doctrine and Scripture; rejecting the postmodern worship practices that have come with our “childish age”; and putting “our own lives in perspective…before God.” We must work to defend our communities and shape the minds of our children while also seeking to love our neighbours. Canada is post-Christian, but Christians in Canada are thus far facing social and political marginalization rather than persecution. There will be a cost for Christian beliefs in the coming years, both social and financial. We should use this time to prepare for what may come–and what is likely to come.
Canada’s federal government is overtly hostile to orthodox Christians. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has consistently accused those of holding Christian views on issues like abortion and sexuality of being fundamentally unCanadian; he has sought to deny government funding to summer jobs programs that will not overtly affirm his views on these issues; he has insisted that those who share the views of the vast majority of people throughout Canada’s history are hateful and bigoted. But when 68 churches were damaged or burned down in 2021 with a collective shrug and late-coming, muted protest from Canada’s progressives, it became glaringly obvious: apathy towards and disbelief in the religion of Canada’s founding has become overt hostility. Polling shows that an increasing number of Canadians believe that Christianity is damaging for society.
I have thought for some time that intolerance towards Christians in Canada is likely to grow. The vicious protests of the Toronto Public Library in 2019 were a wakeup call—activists raged outside the library for hours and even called for violence because an event featuring a pro-abortion, pro-gay feminist speaker named Megan Murphy had been allowed to proceed. Murphy agreed with progressives on everything—except for the idea that biological men identifying as women should be allowed into female-only spaces. For that, the mob bayed for her head. If they hate her that much, I wrote at the time, can you imagine how much they hate us? And furthermore: What stands between that mob and what they want? Our federal politicians? Provincial legislators? The courts?
The answer, of course, is almost nobody. Canada’s Conservatives, with a few notable exceptions, are eager to prove their loyalty to the LGBT movement and are unlikely to be reliable allies. (The “freedom candidate” Pierre Poilievre is a reliable vote for everything the LGBT movement asks for, including the “conversion therapy ban” that effectively bans some pastoral and parental conversations.) Canada’s media only pays attention to Christians when conflict with the LGBT movement or abortion industry erupts; post-Christian mainliners like Michael Coren are paid to write the same tired columns over and over again insisting that Christianity is akshually supportive of the sexual revolution and that 2,000 years of Christian teaching have gotten it all wrong.
Considering the fact that there are very few Canadians who still participate in religious worship and the overt hostility of those who control Canada’s institutions, what are the coming years likely to bring?
In a recent essay for First Things, Carl Trueman—one of our post-Christian era’s most trenchant observers–noted that Christian churches “face an unprecedented challenge” due to “the collapse of the broad moral vision that made them coherent entities.” The churches which have thus far escaped the wrath of the secular progressive elites, he noted, are those who have burned a pinch of incense (or, in many cases, several handfuls) and attempted to reconcile themselves to the new moral order by suddenly discovering that Christianity permits and endorses what it had previously called morally abominable.
It is important to note that we are just entering the post-Christian age—things are likely to get a lot worse. Trueman predicts that the chasm between the post-Christian churches and those that cling to Christian orthodoxies on life and sexuality is going to grow:
I would anticipate that within five years we will witness a significant disruption across all major representatives of the Christian faith.