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What We Learned (Further Reflections on a Failed Effort at Reform)

Editors’ note:  This article is the second part in a two-part series reflecting on our failed efforts at reform within the CBOQ. The first article called “Why I Left And Why I Stayed” can be found here. This article builds on the stories and recollections shared there. I (Paul Carter) wrote the bones of this article after initial discussions with Marc, who then sent me specific additions of his own which have been added after each section to which they apply. In 2011, when our journey of reform…

Why I left and why I Stayed: Reflections on our Failed Efforts at Reform in the CBOQ

In 2013 Marc Bertrand and I (Paul Carter) co-founded a renewal movement called CLRA (pronounced like the lady’s name “Clara”) within the CBOQ (Canadian Baptists of Ontario and Quebec). Our goal was to call our association back to its historical values and commitments. We did this mostly through conferences, blogs and resource sharing. However, in 2017 a line was crossed which required us to take a more direct and confrontational approach. A church in our association stated publicly that they…

Of Antichrist and his Ruin – A Brief Review

Image: Edwardx, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons I have long been an admirer of the Independent (Baptist?) author John Bunyan. His Pilgrim’s Progress, Grace Abounding and Holy War have been frequent companions. However, I only recently had occasion to read Of Antichrist And His Ruin. The following represents my attempt at a brief review intended to assist the casual reader in making sense of Bunyan’s views and aims. Like every pastor, preacher and author, Bunyan was to a great extent, a…

a photo of a middle aged white mail standing patriotically while holding a microphone

Why I’m Grateful I Started Out as a Youth Pastor

As a 48-year-old man, I’ve reached that stage of my life where I spend a fair bit of time looking backward, attempting to discern the movement and patterns of God’s providence. I now see several key influences and a handful of critical turning points God used to protect and position me for a lifetime of pastoral ministry. One moment in particular stands out as significant—the moment I took a role as a youth pastor. Critical Turning Point I was 23, about halfway through my seminary program,…

a black and white line drawing illustrating satan as a fallen angel

What is the Binding of Satan?

What is the binding of Satan talked about in Revelation 20? If we use Scripture to interpret Scripture, it would seem to refer to the inbreaking of Jesus’ reign and rule in his first coming. In Mark 3:27 Jesus says: “But no one can enter a strong man’s house and plunder his goods, unless he first binds the strong man. Then indeed he may plunder his house.” (Mark 3:27 ESV) Jesus said this to explain his own ministry. He was able to exorcise demons, heal and save precisely because he had bound…

open bible on a picnic table with a bright sunrise in the background

5 Surprising Things that the Bible says About Money

The Bible has a lot to say about money, which isn’t terribly surprising given how important money is within human society. Some of the things the Bible says about money are quite well known while other aspects of its teaching remain relatively obscure. Perhaps the most surprising thing that the Bible says about money is that it isn’t evil in and of itself. 1. It isn’t evil in and of itself We sometimes think that the Bible says that money is the root of all evil, but that isn’t what the Bible…

photo of an open bible on a blanket with a window in the background

How to use the Lord’s Model Prayer

The Lord’s Prayer was intended as a model not a mantra. Given the way it is often used today, it is more than a little ironic to observe that the model was taught, at least in part, as an alternative to the mindless, repetitive nature of pagan prayer. Jesus said: “And when you pray, do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do, for they think that they will be heard for their many words.” (Matthew 6:7 ESV) In contrast to the repetitive babble of the pagans, Jesus taught his disciples: “Pra…

What Exactly Constitutes a Lie?

I recently preached a sermon on Jesus’ teaching about truthfulness as found in the Sermon on the Mount. The message generated a surprising number of follow up questions; the most common of which was “Is it ever ok for a Christian to lie?” I addressed that question in a previous blog that you can find here. A related question that came up in some of those same conversations has to do with matters of definition. “What exactly does and does not constitute a lie?” Perhaps it would be helpful to…

4 Opportunities for the Church on the Other Side

For the rest of our lives we will almost certainly be reckoning time in terms of “Pre” and “Post” Pandemic. Regardless of what you think about the severity of the virus itself or the wisdom and efficacy of the various health and safety measures enacted by the government, it cannot be denied that the world has changed and life will never be the same again for any of us. As Christians, we believe that God is Sovereign, so whatever secondary causes we may identify, it remains true that the Lord…

Is it Ever Okay for a Christian to Lie?

This past Sunday I preached on Jesus’ teaching to his disciples in the Sermon on the Mount concerning the matter of truthfulness. The religious leaders in Jesus’ day had developed a number of elaborate rules governing which oaths were to be considered binding and which were not. They said that if a person swears by Jerusalem then such an oath is not binding, but if a person swears toward Jerusalem then such an oath is binding. Similarly, if a person swears by the temple then the oath is not…

Why We Named our Daughter Noa

When I was in Israel in 2011 it seemed like every waitress I had was named either Tirza or Noa. One day I asked a young lady, named Noa, to explain why her name was so incredibly popular. I explained that in Canada, generally speaking, only boys were named Noa(h). She explained to me that there is a story in the Bible about the daughters of Zelophehad. Their father did not have a son so the daughters (Noah, Tirzah, Mahlah, Hoglah and Milcah) went to Moses and asked for the legal right to…

The Most Important Thing (in a World Without Resurrection from The Dead)

Many people believe that the Book of Ecclesiastes is basically depicting a wise approach to life if there were no resurrection from the dead. This Easter weekend, we celebrate the fact that there is a resurrection from the dead, and of course, that changes everything. But it is useful to think about how we would value things and decide things if there was not. I found this verse very instructive: “There is nothing better for a person than that he should eat and drink and find enjoyment in his…