A Baptist pastor in Calgary, Alberta, was arrested a second time Monday after a police helicopter found the place his church had been secretly gathering since authorities locked their constructing.
Pastor Tim Stephens of Fairview Baptist Church additionally debated the authorized and theological grounds of Alberta’s public well being orders with the arresting officer, who quoted Jesus twice earlier than driving the pastor to jail whereas his younger kids wept.
According to unique footage of the incident recorded by Rebel News (video beneath), officers confirmed up at Stephens’ house to arrest him for allegedly violating a court docket order by main an outside church service with a whole bunch of different Christians on June 6.
“A police helicopter was deployed to search for and detect this gathering, and to collect evidence against Pastor Stephens of non-compliance with public health restrictions,” in accordance with a press launch from the Calgary-based Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms, which is legally representing Stephens and different Canadian pastors being prosecuted by provincial governments. Stephens was imprisoned earlier than in May till his authorized counsel argued that the court docket order underneath which he had been arrested didn’t apply to him.
After first claiming in a press launch that the unlawful service had been held contained in the locked church constructing, Calgary Police Service and Alberta Health Services issued a correction stating the gathering was exterior however nonetheless did not adjust to present COVID-19 restrictions, in accordance with Global News.
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As he left his house whereas his kids started to cry, Stephens referenced when Alberta Premier Jason Kenney and members of his cupboard have been caught breaking their very own COVID-19 guidelines this month throughout a dinner on the Sky Palace on prime of the Federal Building in Edmonton.
“It’s incredible, it’s incredible,” he mentioned. “They can have their gathering in the Sky Palace, and yet a pastor who gathers for church outside is being arrested. Because the rules certainly don’t apply to everyone equally, and they’re not enforced to everyone equally. Like, why is it pastors that keep getting arrested from this?”
After tussling with Stephens relating to the legality of Alberta’s church lockdowns underneath the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, the officer then seemingly tried to justify what he was doing by quoting the New Testament.
When Stephens mentioned Christ commanded his followers to assemble collectively, the officer interrupted him, saying, “And he also told us wherever two or three are gathered, there he is in the midst of us, so we don’t need a huge gathering.” Stephens responded by implying the officer was taking the verse from Matthew 18 out of context.
After blaming the pastor for creating the disagreeable scenario, the officer later urged that obeying Alberta’s lockdown order was like when Jesus mentioned Jews ought to pay taxes to the Roman authorities. “Even God said, you know, ‘Give unto Caesar what is Caesar’s,’ right? So we’re not getting into this philosophical debate,” he argued.
“And the gathering of the church is not Caesar’s,” Stephens retorted. “So that’s why we’re gathering.”
At size, Stephens was hauled away in a barred police automotive and brought to Calgary Remand Centre, the place he awaits his June 28 trial.
Rebel News reporter Adam Soos, who has been masking the arrests of a number of pastors in Alberta, instructed The Daily Wire that each one of them stay hopeful regardless of their ordeals.
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“As they’ve said repeatedly, they know Christ is victorious in the end and that this is a battle that they’re simply chipping in what they can do, but that they know that they’ve already won,” Soos mentioned. “They know that they’re doing the right thing and while they weep, naturally, at the concept of … their father or husband being walked away to prison, inevitably the fact that they know they’re doing the right thing and honoring their God comes first and foremost.”
“So there’s joy amid tears, there’s prayers,” Soos continued. “But they’ve had so much support, such a sense of community. The congregation was growing. I don’t think that they could fit back in their building if the government allowed them back in. They’ve just grown and grown throughout all of this.”
Opposition to Stephens and different recalcitrant pastors however stays prevalent in Calgary. “It’s very satisfying to arrest the leaders of these congregations,” Calgary Ward 9 Councillor Gian-Carlo Carra instructed Global News relating to Stephens’ arrest. “But there will be other people who step up, I understand. All we can do as individuals is to do the right thing and to do right by our neighbors and to obey the restrictions.”
Pastor Henry Hildebrandt, who not too long ago spoke to The Daily Wire in regards to the punishment his personal church has obtained from Ontario, responded to Stephens’ arrest with a video by which he rebuked the police in addition to a lot of the Canadian public for his or her supine response to tyranny.
“I just listened to the heart-wrenching arrest of Pastor Tim Stephens – unbelievable, unbelievable,” Hildebrandt mentioned partly. “It just is so hard to understand that we are in Canada and what is happening. But perhaps things have to get a little worse before we will be vindicated, before people will wake up and recognize how wrong it is. It’s very sad to see that a dear family like this, the little children have to suffer under this only because we have so many, so many that will not take a stand, so many that will not rise up.”
“What must it be like to be one of those officers?” Hildebrandt later mentioned. “What must it be like to have totally lost heart, totally lost compassion, and do just like they did during the Nuremberg trials, where one after another one came and said, ‘I just did my job, I just did my job.’ It’s awful, it’s just awful. But may God use this to wake up more people. God help us.”
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