Dr. Brian Stiller, global ambassador with World Evangelical Alliance, struck a chord with his multicultural Toronto audience Wednesday night at the FCA Canada convention when he offered a novel way to describe Christians: “resident aliens.”

After tracing the rise of early Canadian evangelicalism and its resistance to the Social Gospel, he focused on what Hebrews 11 says about a patriarch: “By faith Abraham … obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going. By faith he made his home in the promised land like a stranger in a foreign country; he lived in tents….” (vv. 8-9).

“In today’s society, we have to operate by faith. We have to go ahead and settle in here–but live in tents,” said Stiller, who was once president of the Evangelical Fellowship of Canada and then Tyndale University College and Seminary. “We belong here. But we must always keep our mobility, our latitude to adjust to changing times.”

He received a laugh from participants when he recalled a song from his boyhood in a Saskatchewan Pentecostal church, “This World Is Not My Home–I’m Just a-Passin’ Through.” Said Stiller, “It was a good cowboy song, but bad theology. God’s people, as ‘resident aliens,’ are called to make an impact in this present world.”

The next morning (Oct. 20), Stiller continued his theme by highlighting three popular tenets in contemporary culture: secularism, humanism, and pluralism. He defined and illustrated each, then said Christians have no need to fear these. In fact, we can use the pluralistic roundtable to advance a biblical point of view. But he urged his listeners when shining the light of the gospel to use “low beam” rather than “high beam,” which only blinds and irritates those in the oncoming traffic.

The convention was enlivened both Wednesday and Thursday evenings by an FCA combined choir of some 30 voices from local churches. The closing service was a three-hour extravaganza of joy and praise, led by the spirited preaching of local FCA Pastor Orim Meikle (Rhema Christian Ministries). After a powerful time of intercession, he gave a personal account of his ministry experience, then lifted up the record of Acts 1-2 for today’s ministers. His main points:

They surrendered all and waited before God in the Upper Room. They had no “Plan B.”
They became unified (“one accord”) before the Spirit came.
They were Spirit-filled, emboldened, and unashamed.
They created a Kingdom culture, so that no one had a lack or need.
They turned their world upside down.
“And notice,” said Meikle, “this was the church in its infancy! By now these many centuries later, we should be mature.” His succinct conclusion: “Copy them!”

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