MITRA: Defending a higher charter — the Trinity Western law school saga

By on November 24, 2017
Narayan Mitra is the pastor of Merritt Baptist Church.

Editor’s note: The views expressed in this column don’t necessarily reflect those of the Merritt Herald and its staff. The Herald welcomes qualified writers with views on this or other faiths to submit their work to newsroom@merrittherald.com, to be considered for publication.


On Nov. 30, the Langley-based Trinity Western University will argue in the Supreme Court of Canada for its right to operate a law school from evangelical Christian perspective and principles.

TWU is having to go to the highest court to defend the biblical standards of sexuality and marriage and which it insists its students to uphold while studying at the university.

Bar associations of Nova Scotia, Ontario, and the home province of B.C. have challenged the community standards demanded by TWU by pointing to its future law grads not being able to serve their diverse clients in future.

TWU President Bob Kuhn has already advised a Commons committee studying Islam to look at the systemic discrimination suffered by TWU if they want to see an example of religious bigotry in action.

TWU is the largest faith-based university in Canada with a student population of over 4,000. It has served a very important function within the fabric of Canadian higher education for over 55 years.

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Wanted — faith of the right kind

The faith equation

It is a university that has carried on in the proud tradition of many great universities around the world that were founded on faith-based principles.

While the faithful are thankful for the university and its biblical stand, many prayers, I am sure, would go up in the coming weeks for TWU to overcome any resistance in the path of a quick start to its law programme.

Many incidents of secular governments standing in the way of believers practicing their faith traditions freely and their vindication are found the Word of God.

People of faith continue to draw inspiration from them and have gone on to proclaim victory in the midst of severe opposition.

One such bold encounter that constitutes “standing up and be counted” is found in the Old Testament narrative of three young men facing King Nebuchadnezzar in old Babylon.

Challenged not to worship God at all, challenged to bow down to a popular idol, challenged to join the fickle multitude in acclaiming an earthly king to the degradation of the King of their hearts, with a burning fiery furnace in front of them as an alternative to obedience, the three declared, “Our God is able to deliver us.

“More than that, our God will deliver us. More than that, even if He does not deliver us, we are still not going to worship your idol.

“If He does not deliver us, our faith is not at an end. If He does not deliver us, our resolution is entirely unshaken — we will still believe God.”  

Let’s not conclude that this is faithlessness on the part of these men. This is faith which accepts God’s will not merely with equanimity but with positive enthusiasm.

This is the faith which relates itself not only to the commands of God, but to His contradictions as well. It is by these contradictions oftentimes that God teaches us in ways which otherwise were impossible either to Him or to us.

In the days which lie ahead of TWU and its supporters with their perplexing experiences, let us remember that God’s meanings of life are essentially larger than ours.

It will fill our hearts with peace and put stability into our lives to be able to say, “But if not, Lord, I still trust You; and if not, we are truly Yours as ever we were; as truly Yours in the darkness of Canadian politics as we are Yours in the light of Your coming kingdom.”

Let me point out that God’s response to this spirit is to do a bigger thing than we trust Him for, not a smaller.

These men said: “Our God is able to deliver us from your fire. What do we care about your old furnace, heated seven times? It does not affect us; it does not even make us perspire with fright; we are absolutely calm in front of it.”

But God did a far bigger thing for them than they thought He would do. He did not deliver them from the peril at all, but He delivered them in it. That is an infinitely greater thing.

He did not effect their escape from the furnace, but He gave them an experience of fellowship in the furnace that they had never dreamed of.

For Jesus himself came to walk with them in that furnace. I wonder what they talked about! They learned more in that furnace with Jesus than they had ever dreamed it possible for men to know of God.

That is the kind of thing God does to people and groups of God’s people who have this spirit. People said, “He is going to check your hand, O king.” But He did something greater: He changed the king’s heart.

He brought the king to a knowledge of His almighty power and grace.

Great though TWU’s expectations are in serving this nation through their proposed Law school, they are not great enough.

Great though the promises are to their conception of an additional professional department on TWU campus, that conception is not nearly great enough.

God is going to do an infinitely larger and more influential thing in their students’ lives, if they will stand with Him.

The world is perfectly helpless before that kind of Christian commitment. The world is perfectly helpless before the man, student or faculty, who goes into the fire for God with a song in his heart.

 

Narayan Mitra is the Pastor of Merritt Baptist Church, 2499 Coutlee Avenue, Merritt. You can reach him at merrittbaptist@gmail.com.

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