Grace Gospel Tamil Church was formed by Pastor Manoharan Joseph (Navai) in August 1992 in Toronto, Canada with the support of Jarvis Street Baptist Church. Pastor Manoharan Joseph (Navai) was studying at London Reformed Baptist Seminary at the Metropolitan Tabernacle in UK from 1990-1992 when he accepted the invitation by Pastor Norman Street of Jarvis Street Baptist Church to come to start the work in Toronto among the Tamil people. Prior to accepting the invitation, Pastor Manoharan Joseph (Navai) received the counsel and advice as to how to proceed from the Principal of LRBS/ Pastor of Metropolitan Tabernacle (Dr. Peter Masters), other faculty members and staff of LRBS, Pastor Jothy Hoole of Gospel Grace Church in Mannar, Sri Lanka where he had been ministering prior to his studies and Ragavan Alphonsus, a church leader who was in Canada at that time. In accordance with their advice, Pastor Manoharan Joseph (Navai) came to Canada on a work visa in August 1992.
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We hold the Christian religion, as found in the Holy Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments alone. We believe that the Scripture teach these truths. A)THE BIBLE: We believe that the 66 books of the Old and New Testaments are alone the Word of God written. They are verbally inspired by the Holy Spirit, inerrant in all matters on which they touch and are the infallible and complete rule of Christian faith and life.(2 Tim 3:16-17, 2 Pet 1:19-21.) B)THE TRUE AND LIVING GOD: We believe there is but one living and true God, creator and sustainer of all, loving, holy, sovereign, infinite, eternal and unchangeable. In all perfections, self-existing in three Persons-the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit- the same in essence and equal in power and glory.(Deut 4:35. 6:4. Is 43:6. Mk 12:29. 1 Tim 4:6. Ge 1:26. 2Cor 13:14. 1Pet 1:1. Ge 11:6,7) C)JESUS CHRIST: We believe in the absolute and essential deity of Jesus Christ, who is the Son of God, coequal with God the Father and God the Holy Spirit, and in His virgin birth, sinless life, substitutionary death for sinners, His bodily resurrection, ascension to heaven, mediatorial ministry and His coming personal return in glory.(Jn 1:1-3.14. Matt 1:18. Lk 1:35. 1 Pet 2:24. Matt 28:6. 1 Cor 15:4. Matt 24:30. Act 1:11. Heb 9:15. 1 Jn 2:1. Rom 8:34.) D)HOLY SPIRIT: We believe in the absolute and essential deity and person of the Holy Spirit, coequal with God the Father and God the Son, who convicts of sin, of righteousness and of judgment of sin; who regenerates, sanctifies, seals, illuminates, comforts, empowers and permanently indwells those who believe in Jesus Christ, developing in them the fruit of the Spirit. The Holy Spirit bears witness to the truth, teaches and guides believers in truth and in the ways of God. Some gifts of the Spirit were signs-gifts until the Scriptures were completed. The gifts are distributed to believers individually according to His will.(Ps 139:7. Jn 3:5. 14:16. 16:7-8,13. Gal 5:22-23, Heb 2:4, Acts 1:8, Eph 1:13, I Cor 12:11, 13:8) E)ANGELS: We believe that God created angels to worship and serve Him. They are under the authority of God and are not to be worshipped themselves. Among the angels there are divisions and ranks. Angels appeared before mankind in physical form to bring messages from God and to minister to humanity.(Ps 91:11. Dan 6:22. Heb 1:14. 12:22. Jude 9. Lk 1:19. Ps 103:21. Ge 19. Heb 13:2. 1Thess 4:16. Lk 2:9-15. Rev 7:11-12. Col 2:18.) F)SATAN: We believe that Satan is a fallen angel who rebelled against God and who now exists as the ruler of darkness, author of sin, the evil tempter of man and the archenemy of God and man. The Lord God has all power to restrain Satan and turn his works of evil to serve God’s just, wise and holy purposes. God has declared the ultimate victory and condemnation of Satan and his angels.(Isa 14:12-15. Jude 6. 2 Pet 2:4. Matt 4:-1-11. 2 Cor 4:4. Jn 12:31. 1 Pet 5:8-9. James 4:7. Rom 16:20. Mk 16:17. >Rev 20:10) G)MAN: We believe that man was divinely created in the image of God, that he sinned, becoming guilty before God which resulted in total depravity thereby incurring physical and spiritual death.(Gen 1:27. Gen 3. Rom 3:10-18,23. Eph 2:1. 1:13. Rom 6:23.) H)SALVATION: We believe our salvation is entirely by grace through faith, the work of God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, who justifies, sanctifies and glorifies us by His sovereign grace. Salvation was obtained by the voluntary suffering, death and subsequent resurrection of Jesus Christ on our behalf as the perfect atoning sacrifice for our sins, those whom God has effectually called cannot be snatched away from God but will in the end be brought, divinely preserved and finally perfected in the image of the Lord following the Christian life on earth which involves a struggle against sin.(Eph 1:4,2:8. 1Pet 1:1. Rom 5:19. 8:29. Rom 7:14-25. Jn 10:18, 28,29. Phil 3:21. 1Jn 3:2) I)THINGS TO COME: We believe and look for the personal, physical, visible return of Christ Jesus in power and glory to end the present age, in the resurrection both of the just and unjust at His coming, in the eternal blessedness of the redeemed and in the judgment and conscious, eternal punishment of the wicked.(Matt 24:30. 25:31. Acts 1:11. Phil 3:20. Gal 3:26-27.) J)THE LOCAL CHURCH: We believe that God gives the local church to serve a group of redeemed people, called out from the world and separated unto the Lord Jesus. The local church is a place for worshipping, ministering the Word of God, teaching, praying, observing the ordinances, organizing spiritual activities, evangelizing, sending forth missionaries, fellowshipping, edifying and disciplining members and helping the needy both within and in the world outside. Christ is the Head of the Church. The church is the body, bride, building, flock, vine and family of Jesus Christ. Pastor, elders and deacons have been given as its officers to preach and teach the Word and to lead the church in the Christian faith according to the Word of God.(Matt 18:20. Acts 1:4. 13:2. Acts 2:42-47. 1 Cor 6:15. Deut 14:2. Act 16:2. 20:28. 13:2-3. Eph 4:11-16. 1:22. Rev 21:2.) K) ORDINANCES: We believe that there are two ordinances given in the New Testament for the church to regularly observe that symbolizes to believers the blessings of salvation. Baptism:-the total immersion of the believer in water in the Name of the Triune God following their repentance, confession of faith in Jesus Christ, and evident obedience to the teaching of the Scriptures. It is a symbolic act of obedience, occurring once, which demonstrates the believer’s identification with Jesus Christ in His death, burial and resurrection.(Matt 28:19-20. Act 2:38. 8:38. 9:18. Rom 6:4-6. Col 2:12.) Lord’s Supper:- the remembrance by believers of the broken body and shed blood of Jesus Christ for the cleansing of the iniquities of His redeemed people. It is a regular ordinance of the church to be observed by the taking of two elements-the bread and wine-which proclaim His death until He comes again(Lk 22:17-20. Matt 26:-27. Acts 2:42. 20:7. 1 Cor 11:24-26.) L) CHRISTIAN WORSHIP: We believe that Christian worship involves praise (through the singing of psalms, hymns and spiritual songs and the giving of thanks to God) prayer; reading, teaching and preaching the Scripture; giving tithes and offerings; observing the ordinances of baptism and the Lord’s Supper and fellowshipping. It requires a personal relationship with God and takes place during daily life as the believer walks with the Lord and practices His teaching from the Bible in Spirit and Truth.(Ps 107:22. 116:17. 100:4. Col 3:15. 1 Thess 5:18. Acts 1:14. 2:42-47. Mal 3:10. 1 Cor 16:2) M) STATE OR GOVERNMENT: We believe that God has ordained civil authority among the nations to restrain mankind from sin, maintain peace and to promote justice and righteousness. Christians must obey and pray for their rulers, except in any matter contrary to the Word of Christ in the Scriptures. Christ alone is the only true King and ruler of this earth.(Matt 22:21. Rom 13:1-7. 1Pet 2:13-18.)
Grace Gospel Tamil Church was formed by Pastor Manoharan Joseph (Navai) in August 1992 in Toronto, Canada with the support of Jarvis Street Baptist Church. Pastor Manoharan Joseph (Navai) was studying at London Reformed Baptist Seminary at the Metropolitan Tabernacle in UK from 1990-1992 when he accepted the invitation by Pastor Norman Street of Jarvis Street Baptist Church to come to start the work in Toronto among the Tamil people. Prior to accepting the invitation, Pastor Manoharan Joseph (Navai) received the counsel and advice as to how to proceed from the Principal of LRBS/ Pastor of Metropolitan Tabernacle (Dr. Peter Masters), other faculty members and staff of LRBS, Pastor Jothy Hoole of Gospel Grace Church in Mannar, Sri Lanka where he had been ministering prior to his studies and Ragavan Alphonsus, a church leader who was in Canada at that time. In accordance with their advice, Pastor Manoharan Joseph (Navai) came to Canada on a work visa in August 1992. Brother Jans Devadas, Bro. Ragavan Alphonsus, Bro. Charles Hoole and Bro. Mel Balfour (a deacon of Jarvis Street Baptist Church in charge of evangelism) were the individuals in Canada who had requested that Pastor Manoharan Joseph (Navai) be invited to do this ministry as there was a great need among the new Tamil immigrants for a pastor. They were the first individuals who planted the seeds that came to be Grace Gospel Tamil Church. On the second Sunday of August 1992, in a small room in Jarvis Street Baptist Church, we had our first worship service in Tamil. Until 1996 the ministry there grew and went on with about 75 Sunday School Children and 50-60 adults attending in Greenway Chapel of Jarvis Street Baptist Church. Between 1995 -1996 there were some changes taking place due to changes in the administration of Jarvis Street Baptist Church. Those changes led Pastor Manoharan Joseph (Navai) to lose the title of being a staff member of Jarvis Street Baptist Church and to lose the accompanying salary as well. The Tamil congregation was then forced to leave that church building. With no permanent place to worship, the church people moved around from one location to another seeking a place to worship. This time of transition affected the ongoing ministries of the church and some people were lost to the congregation during this time period. A few months later, Jarvis Street Baptist Church formed a special administration without a pastor. Most of the members realized by then that the Tamil ministry had been damaged by their internal problems. They asked Pastor Manoharan Joseph (Navai) to bring the congregation back to Jarvis Street Baptist Church to worship there again. The Tamil congregation started to minister there again but without any financial support. Jarvis Street Baptist Church did not want the Tamil ministry to face other trouble or damage in the future. Therefore they spent a sum of money to register the church as an independent local church and charitable organization with the government. With the help of Jarvis Street Baptist Church, the Tamil ministry was given a new name, Grace Gospel Tamil Church, in 1997. Since 1997 the Tamil ministry of Jarvis Street Baptist Church became a church of its own, operating independently of Jarvis Street Baptist Church. Since 1995, Grace Gospel Tamil Church began to do a radio program on Wednesdays and Sundays through the Tamil radio station, Canadian Tamil Broadcasting Corporation (CTBC). We have been very thankful to CTBC for enabling this program to continue to run free of charge for all of these years. After 1996, Pastor Manoharan Joseph (Navai), with no regular income and a family to support, was required to work part-time to cover expenses and this affected his ability to minister full-time among the Tamil people so the ministry went through some difficulties. During this time Grace Gospel Tamil Church approached some like-minded churches and sought some support from them but it took some time for them to make a decision. Pastor Manoharan Joseph (Navai) thus sought God’s guidance as to whether or not God was trying to lead him in a new direction. However, it became clear that he was to continue with the same ministry among the Tamil people and continue with the secular work also for the time being. Several reasons were part of the decision. For example, the Bible teaches that the end should be better than the beginning and ending then would not be a better end. Also, to stop would be to go against the teaching he received at LRBS. Furthermore, it was clear that finances were not to be factored into whether or not God was blessing the ministry. Pastor Manoharan Joseph (Navai) felt that the work of the Lord must continue even without financial support. Several others were also consulted for advice. Dr. Peter Masters, pastor of Metropolitan Tabernacle and the principal of London Reformed Baptist Seminary, Pastor Norman Street, former pastor of Jarvis Street Baptist Church both confirmed to Pastor Manoharan Joseph (Navai) that God would want him to continue the ministry. Their responses were completely in line with what Pastor Manoharan Joseph (Navai) had felt God was showing him to do, to continue the work. Pastor Manoharan Joseph (Navai) and his family faced economic crisis at this time. Those who attended the church also lacked income so the tithes and offerings to support the church ministry were too low to provide for the ministry. Mrs. Lynne Jameson (mother-in-law) heard about the situation of the church and family. She decided to help, thus lightening the burden somewhat and enabling Pastor Manoharan Joseph (Navai) to return to full time ministry which was his heart’s desire. Pastor Norman Street had moved to the USA and joined with the Sovereign Grace Baptist Association. He also knew of the need and presented the church to others there who then began to give some support to help the ministry as it re-established itself. Also, the church itself began to grow again and its members became more established in Canada so that they were able to increasingly support the church as time went on. God brought about all of these answers to prayer in order to allow the ministry of Grace Gospel Tamil Church to continue on in Toronto. May God be praised. A little while later, Grace Gospel Tamil Church moved to the eastern part of Toronto. Jarvis Street Baptist Church had begun a new ministry among the Chinese speaking people and their space was limited so that they requested that we consider finding a new location for our church. This was reasonable to us also as many of our church members had begun to move out of the downtown core to the eastern part of the city. Morning worship services were established at Toronto Free Presbyterian Church (Neilson and Finch) and afternoon worship services, Bible studies, prayer meetings and other programs, as well as office space, were at Dorset Park Baptist Church at Kennedy and Ellesmere. During this time the congregation grew and were strengthened both spiritually and numerically by the grace of God. It was a blessing to see. In late 2005, Grace Gospel Tamil Church discontinued the afternoon services at Dorset Park Baptist Church and instead established services at Peace Lutheran Church in Mississauga which is on the western side of the city. There were many Tamil people living in that area, and several made the effort to travel across the city to attend our services but found that their friends and family whom they wished to invite to church were not as prepared to travel such a distance. Thus, to encourage them and to reach out to that community, Grace Gospel Tamil Church established the services there and have continued to meet in that location ever since. When we look back at the past and the number of circumstances that were faced by Grace Gospel Tamil Church, there is no doubt that God has done everything for His glory and for the edification of His people. Hallelujah! Romans 8:28 There is no doubt that the Lord God has used the prayer, counsel and help of many to ensure the existence and growth of Grace Gospel Tamil Church in Toronto. It is also very significant to mention that the labour of each member of the church, their support and help, is also a large part of how God used individuals to do His work through this ministry. Together the ministry moves forward by God’s grace. We thank God first and foremost for everything. We also thank Jarvis Street Baptist Church for having a vision to reach the Tamil people that led them to invite Pastor Manoharan Joseph (Navai) to Toronto. We thank the staff of London Reformed Baptist Seminary for the theological training and encouragement they provided to Pastor Manoharan Joseph (Navai) enabling him to accept the invitation to Toronto. We also thank Metropolitan Tabernacle and Dr. Peter Masters for the counsel and support they offered from time to time as needed to encourage and strengthen Pastor Manoharan Joseph (Navai) in the ministry. We thank Sovereign Grace Baptist Association for all they did to encourage and support this church in times of need. We appreciate Jans Devadas, Ragavan Alphonsus, Charles Hoole and Pastor Jothy Hoole for planting the seeds that came to be Grace Gospel Tamil Church. We thank Dorset Park Baptist Church for opening their doors to us free of charge and giving us a place to worship. We also are grateful that in our time of need, Dr. Frank McClelland and Toronto Free Presbyterian Church, opened their doors to us also. From the congregation of Grace Gospel Tamil Church there are several individuals who worked especially hard at the beginning to establish the work. They include, Jans and Vathana Devadas, Ravi Jeevanayagam, Sumathy Thurairaj, Sothy and Selvi, Sumugam, Niranjala, Tom and Malar Peranandam. Of course, many others were also wonderful contributors to the church and we are grateful to God for providing each person at the right time, as He continues to do even now. To Him be the glory! We trust God will continue to do such great things to the glory of His name, bringing people into His kingdom through this ministry and using them to reach others as well. Ultimately, Grace Gospel Tamil Church gives all glory, honour and praise to our God and Saviour!