'Don't Fear Men, Fear God,' Canadian Pastor Tells Church After Serving 18 Days in Jail
After 17 nights and 18 days, Canadian Pastor Tim Stephens walked away from his Calgary, Alberta, Canada, jail cell and, with tears in his eyes, delivered a heartfelt sermon this past Sunday morning in which he urged congregants not to fear taking a stand for Christ.
Stephens was arrested June 14, 2021, after his underground church met for the second week in a row following the shutdown of its campus for violating province COVID-19 rules. He had previously been arrested May 16 and spent two nights in jail.
The Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms, which represented Stephens, announced his release July 1 along with the release of his church building, Fairview Baptist Church, from government seizure.
Stephens' wife, Raquel, posted her elation on Instagram, quoting Hebrews 13:23, "You should know that our brother Timothy has been released" and adding that "Alberta lifted all health restrictions including the ones that required him to tell people what to wear, where to stand, not to come to church, and not to practice hospitality."
"The Kenney government's persecution of Christians for the "crime" of peacefully assembling for worship will not, and must not be forgotten," said Jay Cameron, litigation director with the JCCF, in its statement. "The Alberta Crown has failed entirely to produce evidence to justify its tyrannical lockdowns, a prerequisite under the charter to justify lockdowns measures that have inflicted much harm on Albertans in the past 15 months."
Stephens told his congregation that he was "encouraged that many of you were strengthened and emboldened in your faith," as he preached from Matthew 10 on the topic of persecution.
"The last 17 nights I've spent in jail have given me opportunities to declare the glory of Christ, within and without," he said. " [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."
Watch Stephens' full message here; his sermon begins at 3:15.
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