“Don’t Fear Man, Fear God”

“A Canadian pastor who was released from jail last week told his congregation Sunday he was strengthened by the support and prayers of Christians around the world. Tim Stephens, the pastor of Fairview Baptist Church in Calgary, was released July 1, more than two weeks after he was arrested for holding church services in violation of provincial COVID-19 health restrictions. Tears in his eyes, Stephens told the congregation he was ‘encouraged that many of you were strengthened and emboldened in your faith.’ ‘Each day, He sustained me and each day I heard of His work among you and in the world,’ Stephens said. Stephens preached from Matthew 10, in which Jesus told the disciples they would face persecution. ‘The last 17 nights I’ve spent in jail,’ he said, ‘have given me opportunities to declare the glory of Christ, within and without. There never has been a time in my life when I’ve been so hated by people. But never has there been a time in my life when I felt so loved by people at the same time. Don’t fear men. Shout from the rooftops that Jesus Christ is King of all kings. Fear God. Jesus said that God is the one who is going to judge and God is the one who is going to care for you.’ In a blog this summer, Stephens acknowledged COVID-19 is ‘serious’ but argued the ‘cure should not be worse than the disease,’ pointing to problems of mental health and suicide. His church had not had a ‘single transmission’ of COVID-19, he wrote.”

“Canadian Pastor,” Christian Headlines, July 6, 2021