Why Stephen Harper behaved strangely in Israel
Stephen Harper has always been remarkably quiet about his intimate link to the C&MA. But the Prime Minister's pastor, Bill Buitenwerf, has been very clear about Harper's relationship to C&MA.
While Harper lived for a few years in Calgary, he joined the congregation of the C&MA’s Rock Pointe Church, whose website enjoins members to be “relentlessly focused on reaching outsiders with the message of Jesus.”
When he was elected to Parliament and moved from Calgary to Ottawa, he soon joined up with another church within the C&MA sphere, the East Gate Alliance Church. There he is said to be a regular attendee. He has never once indicated that he disputes or challenges the goals of the church.
Apart from “relentless” proselytizing – something which Stephen Harper never does, knowing it would be political suicide – the C&MA lays out a worldview based on a belief in the “inerrant” nature of the Bible.
The Bible is not seen as metaphorical or symbolic in any way; rather it is judged to contain within it the literal truth about everything to do with the world. And that includes the notion that “without the empowerment of the [Christian] Holy Spirit, we can accomplish nothing.” In other words, non-Christians of whatever religious affiliation, and of course atheists, can have no really meaningful place in the world, unless and until they formally acknowledge Jesus as their saviour.
In this world of Biblical literalism, the Book of Revelations, and other texts such as the Book of Daniel, lay out the future of humankind and the planet in uncompromising detail.
American televangelist Jimmy Swaggart, whose perspective is very close to that of the C&MA, has laid out this scenario in clear language in his magazine “The Evangelist”.
First, as in the doctrine of the C&MA, Swaggart states unequivocally what he believes is wrong in the world: “There is a ‘plague’ called ‘sin’ that is destroying this world and causing multiple hundreds of millions to be eternally lost. There’s only one cure for that plague, and that is the… Blood of the Lord Jesus Christ, which was done at the Cross, and our acceptance of Him.” (Emphasis added.)
The pastor of Harper’s East Gate Alliance church, Buitenwerf, offered a similar opinion in a sermon last November, noting that “… there’s a war on the earth….If you want to be a peace-maker, go out and find someone and share God with them….This is our mission, people.”
Peace on earth, therefore, is contingent upon conversion of the "unchurched" to a narrow Jesus-centered Christianity.
In the C & MA belief system, as in Swaggart’s, solving the world’s biggest problems – wars, plagues, floods and similar catastrophes – is accomplished precisely by the act of converting non-Christians to Christianity. And the resistance of non-Christians to this approach, in turn, is the greatest threat to global integrity.
Current events have significance for hard-line fundamentalist authorities, who see international conflict as part of the "Great Tribulation", described by Swaggart as “… trouble, war, and heartache that has now lasted for some 2,000 years.” Such literalist Evangelical authorities, including the C&MA, also pinpoint global warming and extreme weather events as an indication that the "end times" are imminent (and attempting to mitigate climate change as even against God’s will).