As we approach Canada Day, I would like to remind us from where we have come, point out evidence of our Christian foundation, and challenge you to pray with me for a revival in Canada.
Canada's heritage as a nation under God is plainly carved on the walls of our Parliamentary buildings. They serve as a rebuke, as well as an encouragement, to all Canadians, that God continues to call His people to covenant faithfulness.
From the time of Jacques Cartier, to Sir John A. MacDonald, to the 1960s, there has been a strong presence of Christianity in Canadian history, up until quite recently. In fact, Canada was always regarded as a “Christian nation,” strongly tied to the Church of England, and wholly devoted to the teaching of God’s word. To examine “Christian Canada” would require volumes of writings, something quite lacking besides the works of historians John W. Grant, Eric Crouse, Terrence Murphy, John S. Moir, and few others. Another great volume to explore is Canada: Portraits of Faith by Michael D Clarke. This book examines the lives of fifty-two men and women who helped to shape this nation. In the process, it offers an educational journey into our spiritual heritage.
There are various biblical passages found inscribed on the Peace Tower and other Parliamentary buildings in Ottawa that remind us of the Christian heritage of our nation. The biblical vision of our nation is often neglected, if not completely ignored, by national history curriculums in our public schools, especially so in the wake of the woke culture but what once was can still be reclaimed by a faithful church in our present time. We will consider the Peace Tower, the buildings of Parliament, and the Memorial Chamber within.
The Peace Tower
The Peace Tower itself bears three primary passages, the most prominent being Psalm 72:8, which is also featured on Canada’s coat of arms. The passage reads, “May He have dominion from sea to sea, and from the River to the ends of the earth” (ESV), inscribed in Latin on the wall, as “A Mari usque Ad Mare.” This is the Psalm which first inspired the Fathers of Confederation to name our nation The Dominion of Canada. The two fundamental components of Psalm 72:8 constitute the absolute sovereignty of God over the entire earth, hence the mention of foreign nations; and that this kingdom and dominion shall be the Lord’s.
The other two passages in Scripture are Psalm 72:1 and Proverbs 29:18. The Psalm reads “Give the king your justice, O God, and your righteousness to the royal son!” (ESV). It is the prayer of the Psalmist for an act that would later take place, the acts and principles of right government given unto the Messiah to rule in perfect justice. It is Christ, not man, who is king over all of God’s creation.
The Fathers of Confederation had a vision for Canada of a Christian nation.
The application of this passage is fundamental to understanding the vision of the founding fathers, a nation under God, abiding by the law of God. Sadly, that is not the vision of today. Instead moral relativism has resulted in the decay of truth in the public square and the erosion of our moral foundation. It is the humanist who says that “there is no God,” that “we are not accountable to God,” that “man creates his own meaning, his own morality, and his own freedom.” The age-old vision, as derived from Scripture, is to submit our nation to the sovereignty of the king, Jesus Christ, who rules in perfect justice and with the principles of right government. The Peace Tower reminds us of our former Christian identity and the destiny that awaits the wise decisions of godly nations.
A sample of the biblical passages found within the Parliament buildings is Ephesians 6:13 and Psalm 139:8-10. In Ephesians we read “Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm” (ESV). The people of Ephesus were accustomed to Greek mythology and its tales of their gods providing mortal man with special armor. Thus Paul uses a common illustration to communicate the truth of God in his writings. It is the “taking up of armor” that is regarded as a call to arms, to defend and protect God’s creation from evil. To neglect the response to evil is morally wrong in itself; we are morally bound by Holy Scripture to respond to evil. It is the role of the state to administer justice in all areas of society, to execute justice according to the perfect law of God.
This includes defending against the threat of humanism, the man-centered worldview that perverts justice and righteousness. Just as this passage applies to the preparedness of man individually, it also applies to the spiritual and moral integrity of a nation as a whole. As to the armor, Paul writes of truth, righteousness, peace, faith, salvation and the word of God (divine instruction), all biblical principles that are good and pleasing unto God, qualities that once distinguished our nation’s identity.
In Psalm 139:8-10, we see the Psalmist’s recognition of God’s omnipresence and omniscience; He is both everywhere and all-knowing. He knows the deep thoughts of man, the dark sins of the nations, and is present in both private homes and public legislatures. However, we not only find recognition of God’s attributes, we also find a faithful promise, that those who turn to Him will be led by Him, and that in His nearness He also sustains us. It was a declaration of dependence upon God, a demonstration of humility, a forgotten devotion that has been substituted by the idol of self and independence.
In the memorial chamber of Parliament we find references to Jeremiah 23:5, which reads “…execute judgment and justice in the earth” (ESV) and Nahum 1:7, “The LORD is good, a stronghold in the day of trouble; he knows those who take refuge in him” (ESV). The Messiah king does not just reign over a spiritual kingdom, but righteously reigns over the entire earth (Jer. 3:17, 18). The mistaken belief that the kingdom of God is merely spiritual and doesn’t incorporate the physical world is damaging to the work of the church. This was the vision of our forefathers, that Christ would execute “judgment and justice.” What we ought to be reminded is that if Christ is sovereign, which He is, He will execute justice even if the state fails to fulfill its role.
The legal system was not meant to replace the judgment of God, it was meant to uphold the law of God, and whatever judgment is given by the courts, Christ will still administer the final judgment according to his holy law. A guilty man convicted of murder will not escape the judgment of God after serving twenty-five years in prison; it is Christ who will “judge the living and the dead” (2 Tim. 4:1). Although the passage of Jeremiah affirms the sovereignty of God and His righteousness and judgment, Nahum assures us of the safety and refuge available in Christ. A man can escape the wrath of God by repenting of his sin and turning to Jesus Christ; likewise a nation can escape the judgment of God by turning to the King on His throne, who has conquered both sin and death. These are messages of both hope and judgment, the good news of God and the penalty for breaking His perfect law.
It ought to be known that there was such a thing as a “Christian Canada,” and there is hope, in God’s providence, for a renewed conversion of our nation. It only follows that if our faith is in a sovereign and righteous God, infinite in power and strength, with a Gospel that can transform minds and hearts, then we should expect the church to adopt a victorious outlook toward history, in which the “gates of hell shall not prevail” (Matt. 16:18), and where man can not only be saved in Jesus Christ (John 3:16) but be redeemed and renewed (John 3:3).
If you would like to pray with us to this end, please call or email the office for Zoom links to our twice weekly prayer meetings. Tuesdays at 10:00 am and Thursdays at 8:30 pm.