Would you let your hairdresser perform your open-heart surgery? How about allowing your mechanic do a splenectomy on you? Why in the world would anyone listen to a pastor when it comes to life and death issues of this world? The statement of the science being used to justify lockdowns as being suspect and selective is known as an OPINION and one that is probably born out of complete ignorance. Coates' belief that his doing the opposite of the government's health recommendations contributed to the end of the pandemic is just plainly stupid. Within these specious views he manages to interweave some bonafide tinfoil hat conspiracy nonsense about the government secretly using this pandemic to steal your civil liberties. GraceLife is not alone as this is the exact position of the NAR in this country as well. According to this twisted logic it is perfectly acceptable to this church to lose 2-3% of their congregation to preventable death as long as it means they can meet on Sundays. That is nothing short of disgusting. As is his assumption that all who survive this virus have "recovered." The reports I read tell a different tale of people who have permanent lung scarring and lost of taste and smell.
"Alberta is currently reporting 1,782 COVID-related deaths. It is critically important to articulate it this way. There is a big difference between dying from COVID and dying with COVID. But it is also critical to note that these COVID-related deaths, as tragic as they are, have not resulted in a statistically significant increase in excess deaths (and the average age of those who have died related to COVID-19 is 82, consistent with life expectancy in Alberta). Sadly, most of these individuals would have likely died due to various other lethal co-morbidities (and it immensely grieves us that in many cases they were forced to die apart from their family unnecessarily). In addition, experts estimate that deaths, in the long run, resulting from government lockdown measures will surpass COVID-related deaths 10 to 1 (e.g. premature deaths resulting from not receiving necessary health care, suicides, drug overdoses, addictions, the development of chronic health conditions, total loss of income, family breakdown, etc.). In fact, it would seem that COVID-related deaths are being treated as though they are somehow more tragic than any and all other deaths." - GraceLife Church
Wow. The insensitivity is staggering. This notion that people die with COVID instead of from COVID is actually a political talking point here in the US and it is utter nonsense. Comorbidity simply means the person had another condition, which was exacerbated by contracting COVID. Someone may have asthma or diabetes but it is the contracting of COVID that leads to the death. Anyway of trying to massage this is not only medically moronic but it spits in the faces of the dead. No reputable expert believes the other deaths will surpass those of COVID. It is again a stale and inaccurate talking point. I expect to hear this from a Fox News anchor, not a pastor. Keep in mind that the pastor is going to all of this trouble simply to hold his hour and a half service each Sunday. It is not that deaths from COVID are more tragic. It is that they are more preventable if people who don't know what they are talking about would just shut up and stop playing God.
"Many Albertans are afraid and are convinced of the efficacy of government lockdowns for two reasons: misinformation and fearmongering. The media has so pounded the COVID-19 drum since the "pandemic" began, almost exclusively emphasizing caseload and deaths, that people are fearful. So fearful, in fact, they have been convinced that yielding up their civil liberties to the government is in their best interests. It is difficult to have not lost confidence in the mainstream media. It would seem as though journalism is on life-support in our province. The media should be made up of the most thorough, discerning, and investigative people in our society. Instead, many of them seem to be serving an ideological agenda. Now more than ever, it is vital that Albertans exercise discernment when listening to the mainstream media.
What do we believe people should do? We believe they should responsibly return to their lives. Churches should open, businesses should open, families and friends should come together around meals, and people should begin to exercise their civil liberties again. Otherwise we may not get them back. In fact, some say we are on the cusp of reaching the point of no return. Protect the vulnerable, exercise reasonable precautions, but begin to live your lives again.
That said, living life comes with risks. Every time we get behind the wheel of a car, we are assuming a degree of risk. We accept that risk due to the benefits of driving. Yes, though vastly overblown, there are associated risks with COVID-19, as there are with other infections. Human life, though precious, is fragile. As such, death looms over all of us. That is why we need a message of hope. One that addresses our greatest need. That message is found in Jesus Christ. It is found in Him because all of us have sinned and have fallen short of God's perfect standard of righteousness (Rom 3:23). To sin is to violate the holiness and righteousness of God. As our Creator, He is the one who will judge us according to our deeds and no one will stand on their own merit in that judgment. Therefore, we need a substitute. One who has both lived the life we could not and died the death we deserve." - GraceLife Church
This rant against the media may as well have been written by political forces in this country. Whenever faced with news they do not like they vilify the messenger. The media's job is to report the news. Is Coates really suggesting that COVID was not news? It is not surprising that he believes people should return responsibly to their lives but who is he to decide when it is safe for that to happen? Not to mention that the Alberta government tried visiting GraceLife 18 times for inspection and found violations every single time. What continues to just astound me is the utter disregard Coates has for his own sheep. Just look at the asinine comparison to driving. At some point, government decided that wearing a seat belt saved so many lives that it needed to be law that drivers wear them. What Coates fails to see is that he is not advocating a "pro-driving" message but rather an anti-seat belt message. To then marginalize the risks of COVID as being overblown is just criminal.
"Praise be to God, there is! God the Father commissioned His Son into the world, to take upon Himself human flesh (John 1:14), being true God and true man, whereby He lived under the Law of God (Gal 4:4), fulfilled it in every respect, was tempted in all things as we are, and yet was without sin (Heb 4:15). Then, in obedience to the Father, He went to the cross, drank the full cup of the Father's wrath for the sin of all who would ever believe on His name, died, and rose again! In this way, He proved He had conquered both sin and death, our two greatest enemies. He has ascended into heaven and is now seated at the right hand of the Father (Col 3:1), awaiting the time of His Second Coming. In the meantime, this message of salvation is to be proclaimed to all people (Matt 28:18-20). In fact, the church exists to proclaim this message! That if you would turn from your sin and believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, putting full trust in His finished work on the cross along with His resurrection from the dead, you will be saved! Not only will all of your sins be forgiven you, but you will also be credited with a perfect record of righteousness; the very righteousness of Christ (2 Cor 5:21). And so, we would urge you to be reconciled to God through His Son this day. The very one who has given you life and breath. Should you do so, you will receive eternal life and will experience life after death (John 11:25). Death looms over all of us. But there is a message of concrete hope, in the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ." - GraceLife Church
Yeah, cobbling scripture together at the end of this putrid display of disregard for human life cannot save it. The church actually exists to grow the sheep into the measure of fullness in Christ. Yes the Gospel message is paramount for that growth and for the Holy Spirit to draw those who do not believe but do not be confused. Pastor James Coates' first and primary job is to tend to his sheep. Adopting false political talking points, conspiracy theories and scientific disdain in order to feed your sheep into the woodchipper is not in the job description. This is however the end product of generations of pastors following the Rick Warren purpose driven church growth schemes. I do not question James Coates' sincerity. As my pastor is fond of saying though you can be sincere and sincerely wrong. So now let us head to the second link, which is a sermon Pastor Coates gave in late June 2020 when GraceLife was deciding whether to violate the law and return to full time church services on Sundays. As you watch this sermon you realize he has already made his mind up. The title of the sermon was even "Putting government in its place." How arrogant. His premise here is that there will be times when being obedient to God means being disobedient to government because when the two are in conflict we must obey the Lord. To this I say amen! The problem for Coates is he has created the conflict where it did not need to exist.