If the government hadn’t bungled this from the beginning, by playing favourites with businesses that are large and destroying small businesses and shuttering restaurants, we might not be here. This doesn’t seem related to churches, but it shows either incompetence or hypocrisy on the part of the Ford government, that leaves churches wondering how they allowed themselves to be declared “non-essential” when so many entities, with much larger crowds, are.
Setting aside the very questionable value of lockdowns and masks, the government has overstepped its God-given authority by declaring churches, in person, to be declared non-essential. This is not their place. But governments have been declaring themselves an absolute authority over family and church for years:
Abortion is legal and financed by the government–an attack on the family.
Same-sex marriage is legal and acceptance is demanded by government–an attack on family and marriage.
Ideologically driven LGBTQP+ indoctrination in public schools–an attack on the family.
The isolation of the elderly to their deaths these past months, almost a year–an attack on the family.
The forced unemployment of parents–attack on the family.
There are certainly more.
We are to obey and submit to the government as Paul and Peter instruct, but this is not an absolute, no-matter-what-they-decide submission. If it was that, the book of Acts would be much shorter as would be the existence of the church. The early years of the faith was that of defying tyrants.
I don’t know much about the Aylmer situation, but I do know that the only reason the showdown is happening is because so few churches are choosing to obey man rather than God.
Unless we form some sort of Gnostic Christianity, we cannot be a church (assembly) unless we assemble. We cannot celebrate the Lord’s Supper weekly from home.
The idea of civil disobedience is novel and frightening to many but must be carefully considered and not dismissed out-of-hand. We are fools to think that someday our civic leaders will say, “Ok, it’s all over, go back to things as they were.”
We need to think how this conversation will sound in three years or more when our larger meetings are still denied.