A fact of Canadian –and more specifically Canadian prairie history – is that not that long ago the most important institution in every town and in every family was their church. God ordained three institutions for the human race. The first one was marriage. The second was human government. It is hard to believe with all the chaos and confusion in the world today regarding politics and elections that God had anything to do with it but He did. He ordained government and gave principles for governments to function properly. Governments are to manage populations and kingdoms through law and order. Thirdly, God ordained the church in our age for a place for everyone to worship. In the ideal society it would be families and government officials and leaders all worshipping in church and then attempting to govern families and countries according to Bible principles. We don’t need a long discussion about the way things are today to know we are not doing well in these areas. Marriage, family, government and even the church today is tried and found wanting.
Almost fifty percent of all marriages in Canada end in divorce today. If you have experienced divorce or know someone who has, it is often a time of suffering worse than death itself. Divorce leaves deep wounds and hurts that never really heal. Children from divorced couples also suffer wounds that they should never be subjected to. Why is divorce so painful? It’s because God never intended for any couple to go through divorce. God created a man and woman to be married for life.
Regarding governments, we are all very tired of the scandals and corruption of many of our politicians. It seems that most politicians are in politics for what they can get out of it. Very few are really servants of the people leading by any real code of moral conduct. There are some who do and we need to be thankful for them. I heard it said once that in a democracy people get what they deserve.
The church also today is not doing well. The church was designed to be the salt and guiding light for a society. It should be the worship and teaching center for every family in every community. If the church is functioning as it was intended, it will be teaching good, solid, moral and biblical values that will benefit marriages, families and government.
The key to correcting all of our institutions is getting back to the Bible as our rule of faith for life, for everything. Marriages and families need the Bible to stay on the right course. The government needs the Bible to stay on course. The church that has left the teachings of the Bible – and many have these days—is not a true church. When you bought your new appliance or your new car or new lawn mower, the creator or manufacturer sent a manual with it. There are big bold letters with every manual saying: if you do not follow the manual and damage occurs the warranty is void. In a similar way, God created our world and mankind to function with the family, government and church all following the same Bible. The Bible is a manual for life and living. Without the Bible we are headed for big trouble; in it there are big bold letters that tell us in the end when everything is broken the warranty is void. God does give us a warranty guarantee but it is conditional on following His manual.
The Bible gives us an ideal or a standard to follow, a code of ethics and, most importantly, a salvation and eternal hope to believe in when we die. Not that many years ago in Canada, we were much closer to that ideal than we are today. I read a book recently, published in 1910, written by Rev. C. C. McLaurin: Pioneering in Western Canada; A story of the Baptists. McLaurin stated that in 1910 every denomination was experiencing tremendous growth. He felt that if his own denomination, the Baptist, kept growing in the same way it had been growing, it would very likely be the largest denomination in Canada in a few years. I am sure other denominations would have made similar statements in those same decades. Each one had its own history that was very similar. They used the same Bible, taught the same salvation and Christian growth to follow, and lived for the hope of pleasing Jesus Christ, and waited for him to return to set up his Kingdom on this earth. However, in the next decade, the First World War broke out, which devastated the churches in Canada, their expansion and growth.
In just about every town on the prairies the beginnings are very similar to Prince Albert. Prince Albert was founded by a Presbyterian missionary who was sent from Ontario via Fort Garry—which is now Winnipeg—to come to preach the gospel to the native populations in an unsettled land. They heard of the suffering of the native people and came to bring salvation, hope, and a new way of life. Reverend Nesbit arrived on the shores of the North Saskatchewan River in 1866 from Fort Carlton. He was a log builder by trade and, when he saw the large stand of trees along the shore, decided that they would provide logs to build a school and mission house. He called it the Prince Albert Presbyterian Mission. This later became the village, the town, then the city of Prince Albert. Our city was founded and started by one man who had a calling and vision to build a church and school for a new community. The population grew around the church. There were some amazing stories of how native leaders followed the missionaries’ teachings and experienced salvation for themselves and for their tribe. If you study the history of almost every community in the west, there are very similar beginnings with a missionary from one of the denominations sacrificing and coming to bring the gospel. The first building in every town was almost without exception a church. The Bible was the main textbook in every classroom. Many political leaders were Bible-believing men.
What is it going to take to get us back on the right track? Our marriages, families, churches, and governments need help. God wants to deliver this help but He does not force his way on anyone. He offers help with a manual—the Bible—but we must be willing and want to read it. I made this decision to read it when I was 21 years old. I decided this world did not really have much to offer so I began searching for truth in religion. Religion alone did not offer any help but the Bible did. I found that truth and now I cannot understand why everyone does not want it. It is sad that the society that we live in almost has a hatred for the Bible. The Bible is the most amazing book ever written. It’s not just a book, it is a source of life that feeds the soul and spirit of our inner man. It is the book that tells us how to have eternal life, how to manage our marriage, family, church, and government.
A spiritual revival is the only way to get this lost heritage back. We need to have something shake us to our senses to get us seeking the truth we have lost along the way. We are suffering today from a malady of things affecting our society. It is depressing to turn on the news. We’re like a ship on a storm-tossed sea and no one knows how to get us to safety. I can assure you there are answers for us all in the Word of God. Proverbs 14:12 describes why we are where we are today: “There is a way which seems right to a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.”
Please join our Live Stream at www.pabaptist.ca Sundays 11:00am and 6:00pm If you want a free Bible we will send you one. If you have questions please call 306-961-9866