2022 and 2023 have brought about multiple documentaries regarding the governmental encroachments during the manufactured Covid pandemic. This would include John MacArthur’s The Essential Church and Superspreader (2022), which prominently featured Sean Feucht, Bill Johnson, and Eric Metaxas. But it cannot be forgotten the abuses suffered north of the border in Canada, where Justin Trudeau and the provincial administrations were far more oppressive to a much smaller church remnant. The Canadian regime routinely arrested pastors and implemented restrictions that far exceeded America. In 2022, the Canadian Trucker Convoy made international waves, but resulted in arrests, de-banking, and other injustices against Canadian citizens in protest of Trudeau’s vaccine mandates. Moreover, global interest pivoted from Covid to Ukraine.
Enter Church Under Fire: Canada’s War on Christianity, a documentary produced by Rebel News, a bombastic conservative outlet in Canada. The documentary is helmed by Sheila Gunn Reid, Editor in Chief at Rebel News, who interviews several pastors who were persecuted by the Canadian government across various provinces to showcase their stories.
Artur Pawlowski of the Cave of Adullam Church in Alberta, Canada, is the most notorious of the pastors interviewed in the documentary, as his story made headlines across US conservative and Christian media for his numerous arrests along with his infamous shouting at the covid gestapo he kicked out of his church building. For those familiar with his plight, the documentary is mostly the same information, but one takeaway is that when Pawlowski was arrested on the highway, which was a viral video, they placed him in the paddy wagon upside down, with handcuffs, and proceeded to take him on an extended ride.
The rest of the stories are lesser-known conflicts between churches and police. There is Henry Hildebrandt, a pastor of a Church of God congregation in Ontario, who faced extensive persecution, much of which is recorded and during services. His congregants were seen singing while the police were conducting themselves.
Church of the Vine in Edmonton, which is led by Rodney and Tracy Fortin, was cited for obstruction to the tune of $80K (CAD) for refusal to allow entry of health inspectors into the church. One of the appalling video clips when the health inspector is being denied entry during the service, being told by Tracy Fortin that her presence would be a disturbance to the worship, to which the female health inspector replies, “It isn’t at my church” before walking away. The passive aggressive response of the female health inspector to claim she goes to church was one of the more surprising clips but shows how there were plenty of unfaithful churches who worshiped the state as God. However, it must be noted that Church in the Vine is a NAR church with female pastors, including the so-called apostles Rodney and Tracy Fortin. It is to the shame of churches with correct theology that these apostates were more resolute amid tyranny and persecution than they.
Then there is Phil Hutchings of Higher Like Church, who was thrown in solitary confinement for seven days for refusing to check for vaccine passports for entrance into church. How many so-called churches complied with this? Police proceeded to have outstanding attendance throughout the year as they surveilled Hutchings’s worship services. Tobias Tissen, a Church of God pastor in Manitoba, was documented as having a parking lot standoff against police.
The last pastor was Derek Reimer, a street preacher who founded Mission 7. Although he was arrested for his homeless ministry, the documentary places him at the back of the order because of his activism against Drag Queen Story Time in Canada.
The documentary concludes with Sheila Gunn Reid stating that the next fight will be against online speech, specifically targeting dissidents to the homosexual agenda and Canadian pro-life movement being particularly of interest by the regime.
At a one hour and twenty-seven-minute runtime, the documentary is palatable, but not entirely groundbreaking or revelatory to its detriment. The stories of the various pastors are infuriating, but unfortunately not unique. Some might find it to be redundant as the totalitarian tactics employed by the state were similar between the accounts. The documentary pivots at the end to the upcoming fights, but this is hardly new information, which is the predominant criticism of the documentary.
A good example of opportunity cost occurs in the beginning of the documentary, where Sheila Gunn Reid cites the “mass graves” at the indigenous Christian and Catholic schools that were part of a government assimilation program. This scandal arose because of anomalies found using ground penetrating radar on grounds of these religious schools, which was used to perpetuate the myth that these schools had widespread abuse and concealed the deaths of thousands. The anomalies found were not in fact mass graves but merely soil disturbances, like that which arises from sewage deposits. Nevertheless, this fake narrative persisted as a means of anti-white and anti-Christian propaganda by the state. Pope Francis (unsurprisingly) capitulated by giving an apology for an event that did not occur. Sheila Gunn Reid is correct in positing that this narrative led to anti-Christian hatred and burned churches throughout Canada, preemptively tarnishing Christianity leading into Covid; however, she places the blame for the abuses at the hands of the state, which oversaw the education program, neglecting the information which Rebel News has documented of the fabricated scandal. In this, she failed to utilize this opportunity to emphasize the impact this completely fake narrative had in relation to Canada’s persecution of the Church.
The other letdown is the lack of “follow the money” storytelling that made documentaries like Enemies Within the Church compelling. In America, Big Eva institutions and media figures took money to promote the vaccines, most notably Russell Moore. The extent to which Canada’s government infiltrated their version of Big Eva would have been an interesting narrative for Rebel News to have explored that would have made Church Under Fire more compelling.
Church Under Fire: Canada’s War on Christianity is a stark reminder of the tyranny that was imposed because of Covid that has gone unpunished in this world despite representative forms of government. However, there were missed opportunities that would have vastly improved the quality of the documentary. Even in 2023, the fight is not over as many faithful pastors are still being persecuted by the state, both in America and Canada. One of the key lines uttered throughout the movie when the pastors were being fined was that the police were placing a fine on God, a debt He will repay with interest if these tyrants do not repent.
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