Wednesday, November 25, 2009

The Manhattan Declaration

The Manhattan Declaration is the new document being signed by many within Evangelicalism to "protect and strengthen vital institutions of civil society, beginning with the family." It is yet another method that people who call themselves Christian are attempting to engage society. In my opinion, it is yet another document that will fail. Therefore I must agree with John MacArthur's assessment (read here).

If you go to the above link you will see this next statement in the declaration.
We are Orthodox, Catholic, and evangelical Christians who have united at this hour to reaffirm fundamental truths about justice and the common good, and to call upon our fellow citizens, believers and non-believers alike, to join us in defending them. These truths are:
  1. the sanctity of human life
  2. the dignity of marriage as the conjugal union of husband and wife
  3. the rights of conscience and religious liberty.
I first heard of this document in the context of Albert Mohler's Blog post explaining why he signed it. (read here). I must confess I was caught off guard. After reading his post and learning about the document, I struggled to really understand Mohler's decision. This is a great example of separation of church and state.

If you read the above citation from the Declaration you will notice who are referred to as Christians, Orthodox, Roman Catholics and Evangelicals. What unites these Christians? John MacArthur is right in his post. The Apostle's Creed seems to be the only glue. This is merely a cultural glue within Christendom and not the glue of the Gospel. This could easily be called Christendom and not Christian. There is a vast difference between these two terms. Christendom is simply nations that have been historically been dramatically affected by the Gospel. Therefore Christendom is not Christianity nor the church of Jesus Christ.

The document purposefully does not allow Jews or Muslims to sign it. It is meant to unite Christendom together as to make all Orthodox, Roman Catholics and Protestants to be Christian. This is the goal of the ecumenical movement being led by men such as Charles Colson. So what unites these so-called Christians? Is it the Gospel? Not in this document. As Chuck Colson is quoted in this article as saying,
"The Manhattan Declaration is a wake-up call—a call to conscience—for the church,"
What church? Any church within Christendom, whether or not the Gospel defines that church.

If Christians truly want to engage the culture, then what is wrong with standing with their neighbors in the political realm, even if their neighbors happen to be Jews, Muslims, Mormons, Hindus, Atheists and whatever else is out there that may agree with the three basic premises?

Again, I believe this is simply a back door tactic to confuse the nature of the Gospel as being merely cultural so that Christendom may be united again. This is a dangerous move for those who love the Gospel and desire to see churches reformed and united by the Gospel. The Social Gospel did not save the culture when Liberals tried it. The Social Gospel will not save any more just because Religious Conservatives are trying it.


Howard Fisher said...

Allow me to offer an example of Mohler's error.

"I cannot and do not sign documents such as Evangelicals and Catholics Together that attempt to establish common ground on vast theological terrain. I could not sign a statement that purports, for example, to bridge the divide between Roman Catholics and evangelicals on the doctrine of justification."

If this is the case, then why limit this to merely a Christian document that could be signed by the Pope? Why is this a merely Christian Liberty and not a liberty for all?

Our Nation's Founding Documents are secular in the sense that any person with common sense could agree. Therefore, if we are going to engage in the public arena, we must do so with our Christian convictions and at the same time be able to do so without confusing the two kingdoms. This is what Mohler seems to have missed.

RichardS said...

The Manhattan Declaration uses the term "Christians" as referring to those who are signing it. Those who sign it may not want to call all the others Christians, but according to the wording of the document they are doing so.

"We are Orthodox, Catholic, and evangelical Christians who have united at this hour." This sentence says that Orthodox Christians, Catholic Christians, and evangelical Christians have united. Chuck Colson is certainly Mr. Ecumenical trying to cross important theological boundaries and unite people on moral issues. One can be against abortion and euthanasia and still hate God. I simply don't understand why Al Mohler would sign this.