If I got a vote for everyone who ever said to me "a vote for you and your party is a lost vote," I kid you not, not only would I be sitting in the House of Commons, but my seat would be secured for the next five elections. Now, you may think I'm overstating the case; but if so, I overstate it only to emphasize that the opposition to Christian politics is overwhelming. The worst part is that the majority of the criticism raised against the Christian Heritage Party comes from Christians. It seems as though Christians have a greater problem with our party, and Christian politics in general, than do the feminists, or homosexual activists, who in no way are our friends but acknowledge that a political agenda must be consistent with a world view. For instance, the feminists' world view glorifies the status of women and thus proposes a political policy sensitive to their dogma. The Christian Heritage Party does the same: we endeavor to develop political policies that coincide with an orthodox Christian view of life, so why the overwhelming criticism from fellow believers?
Without admitting that our critics are correct in their assessment of our party, perhaps part of the criticism they launch is not without merit. What I'm suggesting is that part of the reason for the overwhelming criticism exists because we are unable to convince them that we know what we are doing. I think that if we were honest with ourselves we'd have to admit that at times we leave people confused about our purpose. At times we are so carried away with the euphoria of optimism that we induce ourselves with visions of victory in the near future, and then we openly acknowledge that we won't win, at least any time soon. On the one hand we talk about being a political party concerned with political issues and then we turn around and act like a para-church ministry just another branch of the institutional church. We confuse people unnecessarily and as a result we're criticized by brother and foe alike. And it's a vicious cycle, isn't it? We're laughed at, mocked and criticized to such a point that we go home questioning ourselves and wondering, What are we all about? Are we a movement, a cause, a mission, or are we a political party?
Politics and Christian Culture
Let me tell you what I think we're about. We're about re-establishing a Christian culture in Canada. This means that we seek to be faithful to God in the political arena since we are a political party. As a political party we press the "Crown Rights" of King Jesus in the sphere of politics; we do not, however, press ecclesiastical or church matters in the political arena. We do not concern ourselves with a church's form or worship, style of government or its theological tradition. We're about being political salt and light in a world that prefers political dung and darkness. And we're about being faithful to this calling even though all around us it appears as though we are fighting a losing battle. I want to emphasize the word "appears" here. It only appears as though we are losing the battle. In actuality we're winning. Our victory is a present reality and a progressive manifestation, but I'm not here to talk about eschatology; I'm here to help us understand the nature of our calling. Jesus said to his disciples that if "a servant can be trusted with small matters, then he can be trusted with larger matters" (Mt. 25:21). I believe that if we remain faithful in the small political matters, if we faithfully press the "Crown Rights" of King Jesus, I am confident that one day we will be given the opportunity to be faithful in large political matters.
So how do we silence our critics who say we have no idea what we're about? How do we remain faithful in the small matters? How do we once for all time put to rest the idea that we are a church mission in politics? In answering these questions we need to address two very important issues. First, we need to be wise to our culture; we need to recognize the state of our culture. And second, we need to seize the opportunities our culture affords us.
The Foretaste of National Judgment
Someone once asked me, "Tristan, why is it that we have to pay for the injustices heaped upon our society, even though we did nothing to bring this about?" A fair question. Why do good people suffer the injustices of evil political policy? Why is it, for instance, that I have no choice but to support a school system I want nothing to do with? Why can't I just divert the funds to the school of my choice? Why, for that matter, does the civil government tax for this service in the first place since it has yet to be demonstrated to me that God has commissioned the government to educate children. Why must we suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous liberal policy, and why must we be made to pay for it? It's the political equivalent to, "Why do bad things happen to good people?" To answer these questions and many more like them let us begin by understanding the state of our culture.
The apostle Peter once said, "For judgment begins with the family of God, and if it begins with us, what will the outcome be for those who do not obey the gospel of God?" (1 Pet. 4:17). This is a fascinating passage, and for us tonight it reveals two significant factors.
Peter tells us that when divine judgment begins, it begins with the "house of God." It begins with Christians. In effect, Peter is arguing that the evidence that a culture is experiencing divine judgment is found in the systematic persecution of Christians. Christians' suffering is the first sign that divine judgment visits a culture.
Now, it is important to note that even though Peter was writing to Christians who were experiencing great physical terror and threat at the hands of the Romans, it is incorrect to identify Christian suffering exclusively in terms of physical pain and assault. Suffering in this case does not necessarily take a physical form. When a culture systematically eradicates its Christian view of life, when it eradicates its Christian consensus of right and wrong, when it obliterates its Christian view of justice, it ought to be abundantly obvious to Christians that the birth pangs of divine judgment are on that culture. If our country systematically rejects these Christian concepts of a just society, as it has, what do you think will happen next? If our nation can reject the concept of Christian truth, we can assume that in time it can and will reject us as free citizens and do with us as so many nations in the past have done. Judgment, says Peter, begins with the suffering of Christians.
Now the lesson for us tonight is not that we should expect persecution or suffering. I don't want us to focus on the suffering of Christians. Peter's point is that if judgment begins with Christians, then, rest assured, the judgment of non-Christians is certain. If God will not spare His own from judgment, then He will certainly not spare non-Christians. When God judged Judah and Israel, did he not also judge Babylon, the Chaldeans, and Rome? And today, when Christian pro-lifers are treated with the same malicious intent that the judicial system affords a true criminal, do you think this treatment will go unanswered? And when our politicians contend daily to eradicate Christ from the state, do you think the King of kings will idly sit by? God will balance the books. But it is not merely an issue of balancing the books. It is not merely a matter of "Oh, well, tit for tat": a Christian suffers; therefore, a non-Christian must suffer. No, Peter's point is deeper then that. Not only is their judgment certain; Peter implies that their judgment will certainly be severe.
Do we glory in this? Do we revel in this? Do we leap for joy that our culture is "gonna get it and get it good!" It is a terrible thing to fall into the hands of The Angry God. No, we praise God that He is just and that He will not allow their heinous acts to go unpunished, but all in all, we pity them. I pity Prime Minister John Chretean and his sidekick Justice Minister Allan Rock. I pity them because if they do not swiftly change their course of direction, if they do not swiftly recognize the Kingship of Christ, as Psalm 2 indicates they must, then for every day they remain in office and legislate God-hating principles into law they heap divine wrath, upon wrath, upon wrath, upon wrath, upon wrath, upon wrath onto themselves. You know, it would be better for them to perish and experience God's judgment now, than to allow the principle of compounded judgment to take effect. Sad to say, they've already dug their grave; and if they don't recognize Christ now, they'll keep digging it deeper.
Peter says that when judgment begins with Christians it envelops our non-Christian culture with all the severity that God's unrestrained wrath can muster.
My friends, I think my point is obvious. Canada is a nation under the judgment of God Almighty. Canada is on a collision course with divine judgment as surely as day follows night. What makes me so certain? The reasons are manifold; however, for those of you who are less impressed, for those of you who need evidence, I offer one issue in particular because as I see it, this issue ultimately depicts Canada's final demise. It is this issue which ultimately indicates that Canada has self-consciously rejected Christianity's social implications.
A Test Issue
Twenty years ago our country's top brass changed the nature of Canadian justice. Do you remember Mr. Pierre Elliott Trudeau, Canada's political sweetheart, the father of our modern culture? At that time he was serving as Minister of Justice. Being an "enlightened man," "a man of this age" and politically ambitious, he believed Canada's legal code was far too archaic and needed some serious revamping. There was one issue in particular that he decided needed radical alteration. For Canada to prove that it was a nation of tolerance, equality and open-mindedness, a nation that has "come of age," as he said, Canada would have to alter its position on homosexuality. As far as Trudeau was concerned, the state had no business prying into the privacy of Canadians. Whatever happened behind closed doors was the business of consenting adults, not the government. Government, he postulated, cannot dictate sexual morality. Rather it must provide an environment of toleration and freedom. Thus, with the stroke of a pen, Trudeau literally canceled a hundred years of English jurisprudence in Canada.
So that there is no confusion on our part, that part of English common law which discriminates against the practice of sodomy and found in Canada's legal code at the time was not based on human speculation or tradition. It was based upon the Old Testament maxim, "Thou shalt not lie with mankind as with womankind: it is an abomination." (Lev. 18:22). Up to this point in Canadian history, Canada had remained compliant; but with the stroke of a pen, Pierre "the pontiff" Elliott, in the name of Saint "Open-mindedness," rejected God's standards for social decency and rigorously enforced the doctrine of "tolerance." How unironic, isn't it?, that we find the latest Liberal government of Canada picking up where the old left off. Now they press the predecessors' gay agenda a step further by insisting that we not only stop punishing sodomites but endorse their behavior with "special rights." Oh, how the words of Paul ring so imminent when he said, "although they know God's righteous decree . . . that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them" (Rom. 1:32).
In the name of "Open-mindedness," our legislators have closed the Canadian mind to Christian morality and brought upon us all the condemnation of God. Our nation is on a collision course with the wrath of God as sure as night follows day because with the endorsement of sodomy, Canada has officially embraced the final phase of human depravity. Our God is a tolerant God. That is, he is slow to anger. But there is a limit to everything, including the patience of God. God will not suffer these offenses for long. He will not allow the official endorsement of sodomy to go unanswered. Canada will suffer the same fate that Canaan did. As God revealed to Moses, because of the abomination of these sexual crimes, the very land of Canaan would vomit out the inhabitants. Sodomy is the result of a nation which refuses to recognize the knowledge of God, in a social sense at least, and thus God gives its people over to a debased mind, to practice every kind of sexual perversion. But giving us over to sodomy is not the judgment in and of itself. That is, homosexuality is not the final verdict. Whether by natural disaster, economic collapse, foreign invasion or pestilence, God will deal with a nation which openly sanctions the practice of sodomy.
I realize that this is hard statement, but we need not despair our culture's state. Though it is a sad thing, it presents us with opportunities. The issue of homosexuality allows us to press the "Crown Rights" of King Jesus in the political realm and thereby bring glory to His name. Now, I'm not talking about the church here and the role she must play. I want to be clear on this matter. The institutional church has a role to play as well, but it is completely different from ours as a political party, even though the Christian Heritage Party is explicitly Christian. Whereas the institutional church presses matters of repentance, mercy, faith and forgiveness, we press matters of justice. While the church shows a sinner, indeed a criminal, how he can escape God's eternal wrath by clinging to the Lamb of God and our High Priest, we seek the enforcement of God's temporal wrath, as Paul argues: that those who do evil must fear God's minister of justice for he does not bear the sword in vain but must use it against all civil evildoers (Rom. 13:14). The church presses Christ the High Priest; we press Christ the KING.
The Silence of the Church
Speaking of the church, tell me, what opportunities have been presented to the church as a result of the civil enforcement of the gay agenda over the last twenty years? Let me put it another way. What has been the response of the church in general over the last twenty years concerning the gay agenda? Exactly, silence.
As a political party we have the opportunity to undo twenty years of silence. We have the opportunity to present the Biblical view of homosexuality. The question remains, are we prepared to be Biblical? Are we prepared to present not only the moral truth, that homosexuality is a sin, but that the act of sodomy bears judicial consequences? Speaking as a political party, and not speaking as the church, are we prepared to call it a crime again and reunite our party with English common law, the very heritage we pride ourselves in? Are we going to be the Christian Her-it-age Party all the time, or only when it suits us? Are we going to make this a health issue or a judicial issue? Are we going to be Biblical or pragmatic? The choice is ours.
Is there merit in the criticism of our proponents? Yes, when we speak as a political church: when we talk about political mercy and forgiveness; when we talk about being a ministry of reconciliation between provinces rather than talking about being a ministry of justice; or when we talk about providing services that God has not sanctioned the state to provide. When we speak like this, then there is merit in the criticism against our party. But when we seek to press the political implications of our Faith; when we seek justice; when we press the "Crown Rights" of the KING of kings, then let the criticism come! We have nothing to be ashamed of. We are pointing people to our legitimate calling and purpose. We are pointing our nation to the truth as it applies to politics; and if we remain faithful in this task, Jesus Christ has promised that to him who is faithful in the little that is required, much will be rewarded. My dear friends, the gates of our hellish culture cannot and will not prevail when we press the "Crown Rights" of Jesus Christ, LORD of lords and KING of kings.
- Tristan A. Emmanuel