Pastor Arrested Over COVID Noncompliance Talks about His Time Behind Bars

Written by Wes Walker on April 6, 2021

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Most people in First World countries are so distracted by the negative consequences of rocking the boat that they never consider the upside of paying a price for doing the right thing.

It’s easy enough for us to look backward from our safe vantage point in history to when MLK or Rosa Parks and see them as taking heroic stands, now that we see the consequences such bold stands helped bring about.

It’s quite another thing to bring that kind of thinking to the here-and-now when people are taking a stand rather than betray their conscience. Here and now, the naysayers and the public pressure to conform is very much in-your-face, and the ‘right side of history’ still remains a jump ball waiting for the victors to write the history.

We have been tracking the story of a pastor in Canada who has chosen to be arrested rather than to stop preaching and chose to remain in custody rather than accept release conditions that would include accepting unjust terms the state would require that he refrain from preaching the gospel.

Our Big Dawg, Doug Giles had some things to say about his courage and example, which you can find here: Pastor Tells Covidicators To Pound Sand – Gets Arrested

Most of the public attention has been given to the consequences of that action. Few have noticed the opportunity that comes with serving time in custody.

Opportunity? Being locked up unjustly?

That’s right. Opportunity.

It really comes down to what your priorities are… comfort in the here and now, or the service of a greater mission.

Once out of quarantine, Coates was moved in with a cellmate who he got along with, saying he had “lots of good conversations and discussions” while in jail and the other inmates treated him well.

While in the general population, he was allowed out of his cell multiple times during the day for up to an hour each time, with Coates saying he called his wife a lot during that time.

“I’d have chaplains visit me from time to time. I could play a little bit of basketball in the court outside, which is basically just a cement cube with no roof,” he explained.

Coates then recounted to Rebel News the moment in which he was released, explaining that the inmate population showed their support for him as he was leaving.

“I turned around and I lifted up my hand to wave and the doors of the pod began to shake, as the men in their cells just banged on their doors as a sign of support, love, affection,” he recalled.

“I was with the chaplain actually when that happened and he’s emailed me since then and just shared with me that he’ll never forget that moment, and it was precious to me as well.”

He has been given, due to his courage and his stand during COVID, an opportunity to speak to people who might not otherwise have paid a moment’s notice to the Christian message of hope and salvation, of a hope and reality higher and more transcendant than a ‘good life’ of health and freedom in the here-and-now. That your best life, to borrow a phrase, doesn’t need to be now, but can be a downpayment for something of inestimable worth and value in the future.

It’s an opportunity that was not given to the step-and-fetch obedience of his don’t-rock-the-boat contemporarires.

And for anyone who’s read the book of Acts, the hand of God using the circumstances of an arrest to bring the gospel to unexpected places is exactly the sort of wildcard God likes to shuffle into the deck of ordinary life.

After all, where do you think a big chunk of the New Testament was written? Both with Paul and his writings from his Roman Prison and with John, we are told, writing while exiled to the island of Patmos.

It’s amazing where God can take His people when we don’t flinch from the threats of contemporary society.

Check out ClashRadio for more wit and wisdom from ClashDaily’s Big Dawg. While you’re at it, here’s his latest book:

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