Toronto's war on Churches

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Puritanboard Commissioner
It is disheartening to see the impact of Christianity decline in North America, yet we must say it is not uncommon in the Bible.

God's people turn away, God gives them over to sin and oppression, then raises up redemption (this was a pattern during the time of Judges in Israel).

The church must always repent from within according to the Word and by the Spirit, not try and accommodate the culture of the time. If God's people do the former, God restores and expands His Kingdom. The latter, more confusion, division, blindness and sin.

It was a seminal moment last PCA General Assembly,
the thriving (biblical, reformed and presbyterian) church in Brazil, one million(!) members, exhorting and encouraging us to remain biblically faithful- not go the way of culture (the world), and go off message and purpose.

Extending God's Kingdom advances when the church first repents, acts by faith and knowledge of the Word, in the power of the Spirit.

May this be the case for all of us, and as we pray too for resolution of the difficulties being faced in this city.


Puritan Board Graduate
What a sad situation. Almost seems illegal giving the churches such short notice. I liked how that pastor MacDonald put it, we have just finished the book of Daniel and God is sovereign, and he will be glorified in this and we are strangely excited to see what he will do.

Will be praying for the churche's in Toronto.


Puritan Board Graduate
I'm praying for you folks in Toronto. Humanly speaking I don't see how the churches can survive, but I know a Great God.

Jerusalem Blade

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
I am both sad and alarmed to see this, Kevin. I have been aware of the growing Canadian stances against the Christian faith, most notably with regard to giving the LGBT community legal powers over the churches, primarily in the form having the LGBT agendas incorporated in various government agencies, with particular reference to exacting heavy financial penalties on churches and ministries, and curtailing their freedom to speak of God's law. There is a dark storm rising, and it will hit the U.S. as well, but I think more suddenly and with far more force.


Staff member
It is sad and disturbing, but one part of the article seems pretty unclear:

$468 for 4 hours of weekly use to $2,300 per month for 3.5 hours of weekly use, a 391% increase.
At $468 per week times 52 weeks a year, that's 24,336 per year. The new rent at 2,300 per month is 27,600 per year.

An increase, yes, but a 13.4% increase.

I wonder if the original rent was $468 per month.


Pilgrim, Alien, Stranger
Staff member
I think we have to give the numbers-runners the benefit of the doubt, i.e. they intended to reflect the 391% figure.

Somehow, the sentence (sentences?) need to reflect a comparison, 468 and 2300, and we owe them the courtesy of reading these figures as both qualified by the words "per month," rather than one figure "per week" and the other "per month." Note that the phrase "per week" (or /week) is NOT used.

Secondly, the phrase "4 hours of weekly use" is a self-contained expression, referring to the very limited amount of use the "rent" was buying, amounting to 20hrs or less per month. Most months it would be only 16 hours per month.

And, I wonder if we should also take the 4 hrs, vs. 3.5 here into consideration as well, which looks to me like a further percentage increase. The original rent is $27/hour [(468x12)/208; 208=4x52]. The new rent is $152/hour [(2300x12)/182; 182=3.5x52].

I'm not saying the facts couldn't have been more clearly put.
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Puritan Board Doctor
Our church use to rent a state owed building and they told us we needed to find a new place of worship (not sure why). We quickly started searching and found a church (the chinese church) that allowed us to use theirs for an extremely cheap price. We didn't get all paranoid that the state was trying to push churches out of Madison. I'm not trying to say we are better than they are in our actions. I'm just trying to say that sometimes ppl find persecution where there isn't persecution. I'm not saying these ppl are. I'm only putting the idea out there to ponder.


Puritan Board Doctor
It's unusual how the "gay thing" is progressively being used to put pressure on Christians.

In full blown persecution in other situations like Stalinist Russia it was enough if you were a Christian or of another religion.

Now, as Peter Hitchens points out, we have sex obsessed states - or rather homosexual obsessed states - putting pressure on individuals and churches to conform to how they view homosexuality.

You can say whatever you like about e.g. adulterers or other sinners, but it's this one issue of homosexual "equality" that is being used as a battering ram.

This would probably would merit another thread, as it's slightly off-topic.


Puritan Board Freshman
Ah Toronto, home of the infamous Laughing Church...cult.

I too will pray for you and your church. Hang in there Kevin and keep the faith!


Staff member
I think we have to give the numbers-runners the benefit of the doubt, i.e. they intended to reflect the 391% figure.
No doubt you are right, Bruce.

I can't say anything about Canada law, except maybe there is a human rights violation somewhere.

About this happening in the US, yes, I know of similar cases. But the big difference is that the law in the US is pretty clear that this kind of discrimination is not allowed if challenged. In other words, public-owned facilities can raise their rent, but they can't raise it based upon the purpose of renting. If they rent out to a crafts fair or public-minded knitting group, etc., they can't turn around and charge more for religious gatherings.

It would take a fairly seismic shift in our current legal structure to allow this kind of discrimination. The main problem is educating the public stewards about the law, which sometimes means they have to come visit the Federal District Court Judge.
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Tempus faciendi, Domine.
I just briefly noticed today in a 1940s era issue of Ths Presbyterian Survey(a PCUS magazine), an article with a headline to the effect that Protestant churches had been dealt a crippling blow. But look at where the Church in China is now.
60,000 pastors trained and 90,000 churches plated, according to an article seen the other day on TAR. (and that was just through one ministry.)

Perhaps it is time to look at a Presbyterian variation on the house-church movement in T-town.

Jerusalem Blade

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
Wayne, I think that's a very interesting idea. I was talking with my wife about just this today – after telling her about this thread and the Toronto situation – how that we could take a large church, thinking of Redeemer Presbyterian in NYC for example, of some 2,000+ (maybe another 2,000+ for the West side congregations), and have them break up into many house churches. Their well-organized Community Groups would have already set the pattern for this. If they still desired to have the TEs give the weekly sermons they could do that through downloading them as mp3s and playing them in each group. With large churches it would still be hard for the pastors and other staff to gather for their meetings, but it's do-able.

If what is happening in Toronto is more than mere administrative harassment from an unfriendly administration (I was thinking, who is it at the top giving these orders, what is their agenda?), they could then pursue the house churches with various zoning or other laws. Seeing as this involves "hundreds of churches" in Toronto this is a major thing. Hopefully they will not pursue further.

I believe we have to start thinking out-of-the-box in terms of how we gather, and are the church. Early on, the churches used to meet underground in burial catacombs.


Puritan Board Doctor
Hey guys. thanks for the prayers.

Tim did confuse things a bit in the numbers that he gave, I think that the article has been fixed on his blog. The bottom line for Grace is over 100k rise in rent, with 4 days notice.

Grace To is a church plant that is 7 years or so old in it's present incarnation. (it was shut down once and relaunched) They do own a building but it will only seat 120 or so. So when they got to the place that they needed three services a Sunday they moved into rented space so that everyone can worship together. And the building is used for office space and smaller meetings and classes.

Currently they run around 500. And the congregation is young, average age would be 30ish.


Puritan Board Senior
Communism seizes property to control everything, socialism regulates property to control everything. Either way the "state" is boss.

I mentioned only last night that "charitable status" is a cloud looming on the horizon. If you are not an "equal opportunity" employer how can you have charitable status. This could easily be used to strip churches of charitable status and I believe will, in the years ahead. Here in Scotland the Ch of S is of course embroiled in the "equality" issue. That is the way the discussion will go and thus framed the cause is lost (it is really an issue of Biblical inerrancy).


Puritan Board Doctor
Kevin, I just caught up with this - we got an email from ARPA (I think) about this. Typical, but I think too many of us are shrugging our shoulders here in the Great White North. We need more men to stand up and make this an issue, and we've got one of them here in Hamilton ( Religious Hamilton dad not an 'advocate for ignorance,' he says - Hamilton ). Not the same issue, but I appreciate the attitude - I wish more of us had it.

Thanks so much for posting this item.
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