Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Christian and Missionary Alliance Churches in Quebec join with Roman Catholic Church in "evangelism"

And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them. Ephesians 5:11

I missed this item a few years ago when it appeared in the Fall 2008 issue of cmAlliance.ca, the magazine of the Christian and Missionary Alliance in Canada (bold added by blogger):

When Quebec City launched its 400th anniversary celebrations earlier this year, long forgotten historical facts about the impact of evangelical believers on the province’s extended history emerged and reinforced current evangelical efforts to spread the good news of Christ to the province. Many of the early settlers were evangelical Protestants—the Huguenots—and they brought their strong faith with them to the new world.

Rev. Claude Noel, senior pastor of the Alliance church in Sainte-Foy (Église ACM de Saint-Foy) says the Huguenot colonists came from all walks of life – the nobility, merchants and soldiers as well as peasants. Together they greatly influenced early Quebec history.

From 1540 to 1629, out of the eleven governors of New France, six were Huguenots. One of them, Pierre Du Gua de Monts, supervised the founding of Quebec. Samuel de Champlain’s wife, Hélène Boulé, was a devout Protestant who had a great influence on her husband and family. We must also mention the ‘filles du roy’ (daughters of the king), young ladies, many of whom were Protestant, sent from France to accelerate the colonisation by marrying the settlers and having children...

... Protestant presence and persecution grew as the influence of the Roman Church increased. "There was a war, not just between the English and the French, but amongst the French, between Catholics and Protestants," Rev. Noel said.

Powerful priests such as Francois de Laval (founder of Laval University) were soon involved in removing the Protestant influence (laws forbidding Protestants to gather). They suffered economic pressures, businesses were taken away and Catholic citizens were urged to boycott Protestant enterprises.

"They were kicked out of New France. English Protestants were allowed to stay—this was before Montcalm and Wolfe—but French Protestants were forced out," he explained. And this kind of persecution continued, he noted, well into the 1950’s under the provincial government leadership of Premier Maurice Duplessis.

Soon the pattern that French equals Roman Catholic and English equals Protestant reflected Quebec culture; it was a pattern that lasted until the 1960’s and the ‘Quiet Revolution.’ That pattern, he said, still permeates Quebec even in the post-modernist society. The Roman Catholic faith is still predominant albeit, for many, as a cultural and historical reality rather than a faith reality...

... Along with evangelistic efforts in recent years, evangelicals in Quebec, including the Alliance, developed specific outreach projects allied to the 400th anniversary celebrations...

... The Québécois society no longer recognizes any one specific religion as having the upper hand on truth and it does not allow religion to dictate social values. The Christian and Missionary Alliance in Canada believes that the Church can again become an influential movement in advancing God’s Kingdom in Quebec as it reflects the values of Christ holistically.

Already the Alliance churches in the St. Lawrence District have joined forces with numerous groups and denominations, including Roman Catholic, in evangelistic efforts across the province. "We want to reach out to them, to present Christ to them, to influence them towards God’s Kingdom," Rev. Noel said...

... Rev. Francis Pearson, District Superintendent for St. Lawrence District, notes that churches in the district are actively seeking fresh, creative ways to impact Quebec society and deploy God’s Kingdom. "God has placed a passion in the heart of our churches to reach their milieu and be and make a difference," Rev. Pearson said. So far over thirty visionary projects have been sown, whether through church planting (traditional or cutting edge), or compassion and social justice ministries.

He added, "We want to be a sent movement of churches – sent to the masses in need of the restoring grace that Jesus brings. We long to reflect Christ's values with compassion and authenticity in all spheres of life so that the church can gain back the right to be heard and have an influence."

For this year in particular, "Je me souviens" (I remember) is more than a phrase on a license plate. It is a remembrance of those pious Huguenots who built, at a great price, the foundation of this nation.

It strikes me as a rather odd way of honouring French Protestants by cooperating in "evangelism" with the church that persecuted them. When did the Roman Catholic Church ever repent of its persecution of the Huguenots or Protestants in Quebec? In "joining forces in evangelistic efforts," what gospel is being proclaimed? The "gospel" of the Roman Catholic Church is no more true now than it was 400 years ago.

I'm disturbed by the phrase "the Church can again become an influential movement in advancing God’s Kingdom in Quebec," especially if that includes the Roman Catholic Church. The influence of the Roman Catholic Church in Quebec up to the mid-20th century was an influence that left the province in backwardness, superstition, and corruption. As for "advancing God’s Kingdom in Quebec as it reflects the values of Christ holistically," that sounds suspiciously to me like dominionism, with the church "christianizing" society by occupying certain areas of influence.

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