To Sign Or Not To Sign

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To sign or not to sign the Manhattan Declaration(MD)? That… is a good question.

For the most part it seems to have been received on a positive note. There has been some push back though. For example, Albert Mohler felt the need to explain why he signed the MD. Fellow blogger Frank Turk explained why he did not sign. I will attempt to lay out my stance on this document. (Which basically agrees with those in the update below.)

As it is now, I stand more in agreement with Turk. It is not that the MD is not seeking noble causes.  Social change is also important and Christians should be involved. In a recent article Obama, abortion, health care, Solomon’s wisdom I said the following.

Of course, simply changing a law will not change someone’s heart. Though laws can make it more difficult to commit such an act. Changing a law could help someone consider what they are actually doing when getting an abortion. There is no harm in pursuing dialogue on such an immoral act via a change of law.

The answer for Christians is, of course, the Gospel of Jesus Christ which does change hearts. Since we live under a form of government that allows citizens to be involved and cause change the right moral thing to do is press on against abortion.

Christians will partner with those whom they do not theologically agree. This could be non-Christians or groups defined as Christian sociologically. These groups may work politically toward certain moral laws that are seen as best for society. For the Christian in these instances the Gospel should always be the grounding doctrine for why they act for such change. However, when Christians get politically involved the Gospel sometimes (many times?) gets blurred. The outside world gets the wrong idea of what is a Christian. There are also times when different groups with different Gospels unite for certain causes which again, in my opinion, blur the Gospel.

This is what I believe the Manhattan Declaration does.

There is an impressive list of religious leaders who have signed. For better or for worse, this should not automatically persuade one to sign. The full document along with those leaders who have signed can be found at The Manhattan Declaration & Signers. I would like to point out a few instances that give me pause in signing that have to do with the Gospel.

The Preamble states.

Like those who have gone before us in the faith, Christians today are called to proclaim the Gospel of costly grace, to protect the intrinsic dignity of the human person and to stand for the common good.

This is a good position from which to start. It grounds the motivation for such positions in the Gospel. The question becomes as one continues reading – Which Gospel?

Right after in the Declaration it reads.

We, as Orthodox, Catholic, and Evangelical Christians, have gathered, beginning in New York on September 28, 2009, to make the following declaration, which we sign as individuals, not on behalf of our organizations, but speaking to and from our communities.

These three traditions in general do not share a common faith neither historically nor as their current theological positions stand. This statement also lends itself for me to declare, as an individual Christian, not on behalf of my organization, that I have disagreements with statements pertaining to the Gospel in this document.

We are Christians who have joined together across historic lines of ecclesial differences…It is our duty to proclaim the Gospel of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ in its fullness, both in season and out of season. May God help us not to fail in that duty.

These statements seem to further clarify the attempted unity of different Gospels from which to work. The statements demand a clear definition of the Gospel or there is no real foundation from which to build. The differences also seem to go beyond simple ecclesial differences to foundational differences.

Under Marriage.

Jesus calls all who wander from the path of virtue to “a more excellent way.” As his disciples we will reach out in love to assist all who hear the call and wish to answer it.

Another Gospel statement. Whose more excellent way? Which path?

Under Religious Liberty.

The nature of religious liberty is grounded in the character of God Himself, the God who is most fully known in the life and work of Jesus Christ.

This life and work of Jesus is, again, a proclamation of the Gospel. It demands a clear definition.

Going back to the earliest days of the church, Christians have refused to compromise their proclamation of the gospel.

Fine. We should all proclaim the Gospel. Which one? If these “ecclesial” lines can line up together in the Gospel without confusion then this statement and the others make sense. If not, where does the real agreement lie? My vote based on the way the MD is written brings confusion rather than clarity.

Martin Luther King, Jr.

There is no more eloquent defense of the rights and duties of religious conscience than the one offered by Martin Luther King, Jr., in his Letter from a Birmingham Jail. Writing from an explicitly Christian perspective, and citing Christian writers such as Augustine and Aquinas, King taught that just laws elevate and ennoble human beings because they are rooted in the moral law whose ultimate source is God Himself.

There is no doubt that King was used in a great way for positive political and societal change. The historical record stands. However, when it comes to the Gospel there is another record that stands. King’s own theological writings. For example, a section from Stanford’s King Encyclopedia quotes King.

At the age of 13 I shocked my Sunday School class by denying the bodily resurrection of Jesus. From the age of thirteen on doubts began to spring forth unrelentingly. At the age of fifteen I entered college and more and more could I see a gap between what I had learned in Sunday School and what I was learning in college. This conflict continued until I studied a course in Bible in which I came to see that behind the legends and myths of the Book were many profound truths which one could not escape. [emphasis mine]

In King’s The Humanity and Divinity of Jesus the encyclopedia states.

As he had done in his earlier outline of William Newton Clarke’s An Outline of Christian Theology, King dismisses the conception of an inherent divinity in Jesus and concludes: “The true significance of the divinity of Christ lies in the fact that his achievement is prophetic and promissory for every other true son of man who is willing to submit his will to the will and spirit [of] God.” [emphasis mine]

Those are two examples of King’s theology of which none of the above ecclesial bodies would agree. It is not know whether or not King changed his views later in life to embrace orthodox Christianity. Again, there is no denial of the great moral social and political change King was instrumental in causing. Yet, these historical statements from King deny the Gospel. It is yet another example of blurring the Gospel in this document.

The intention of this post is not to impugn my brothers and sisters in Christ. It is to express another view from one whose conscience says “no” to signing this document. Agree or disagree, I’ve expressed my concerns. If another Christian can sign with a clear conscience they are free to do so. Disagreeing with signing this document should not break fellowship. It should further healthy debate.

Iron sharpens iron.

Update: Others who declined signing

Tags: , ; Categories: Church Issues,Culture
The above article was posted on November 24, 2009 by Mark Lamprecht.
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{ 79 comments… read them below or add one }

1 mattsvoboda November 24, 2009 at 10:39 am

I appreciate the clarity of your argument… To be upfront, I lean towards agreeing with Mohler.

Let me ask you this; if this document was not supposedly a “Christian/gospel document”, but rather one that included lost people, would you sign it then?

I feel like following the logic of most of the arguments I have heard that don’t agree with signing the MD would lead one to reject ever voting for a political party and reject every document that isn’t the Bible… This would include the declaration of independence, partnering with anyone that doesn’t have your theological convictions.

I understand not signing this document, but the logic is what concerns me. “Dont partner with them, people could get the wrong idea.” Isn’t that what has happened with Christians voting republican- “religious right.” People get the wrong idea(thinking we put all our eggs in one basket), but that doesnt make us stop voting…

While I strongly disagree with Catholics and do believe their “gospel” is false, it seems to me that it is no different to partner with them than it is to partner with professing lost people.

2 Mark Lamprecht November 24, 2009 at 11:01 am

Matt, I would actually be more comfortable signing the document if it were just a politically moral stance without blurring the gospel. Then, when someone asked me why I signed I could share the Gospel as the reason.

“Dont partner with them, people could get the wrong idea.”

To get an idea of where your thoughts are, who would be them? What do you mean by partner? What do you think the wrong idea would be?

3 Matt Svoboda November 24, 2009 at 11:25 am

In that particular line- “Don’t partner with them, people could get the wrong idea” I was quoting your logic and others.. In your case wouldnt it be Catholics? In other ways “them” could be lost people political parties.

“partner”- as in sign a document in order to work with to accomplish a specific goal. example- I wont partner with Catholics when it comes to a “gospel event” but when it comes to signing a political document then I am all for it.

Does that clear things up?

4 Mark Lamprecht November 24, 2009 at 11:36 am

If you read James White’s The Troubling Aspects of the Manhattan Declaration he states.

I listened to Chuck Colson speak on the Hugh Hewitt program this afternoon. He made it very clear that this is, in fact, a theological document, despite the assertions of others that it is not. He was asked why Jews, Mormons, and others, were not invited to sign the document. He said they were not asked because this is a specifically Christian statement, quoting from the Christian scriptures.

The comments by Colson and the document itself seem to fall under the definition of “gospel event.” That is basically my objection as (hopefully) is seen in the quotes above.

Could you show how the MD is not laid out as a gospel event?

5 Matt Svoboda November 24, 2009 at 11:50 am

I think Mohler says it best,

“I signed The Manhattan Declaration because it is a limited statement of Christian conviction on these three crucial issues, and not a wide-ranging theological document that subverts confessional integrity. 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. The Manhattan Declaration is not a manifesto for united action. It is a statement of urgent concern and common conscience on these three issues — the sanctity of human life, the integrity of marriage, and the defense of religious liberty.”

6 Mark Lamprecht November 24, 2009 at 1:00 pm

Is Dr. Mohler correct? Colson was one of the drafters of the MD and said it is a theological doc. The problem is that the “limited statements” speak to the Gospel. The document implicitly finds common ground in the Gospel.

7 Matt Svoboda November 24, 2009 at 1:13 pm

lol… Well, I think he is correct.

Part of the problem is people can sign it for 2 different reasons. One person can read it and think, “for theological reasons I can sign this.” While another person says, “while I disagree with some theology, because the action is politically based and not theologically based, I can sign this.”

One person writing it can think, “I am writing a theological document.” While another thinks, “I am writing a political document.” I think we have to consider it political because it is addressing political issues in a political way. It isnt calling people to believe the gospel, its calling people to take action on 2 specific political issues.

8 sdansmith November 24, 2009 at 1:41 pm

Honestly, it doesn’t matter in my opinion. It can be the most theologically sound document in the world, but if Catholics have signed it, it’s not conducive to good evangelism. Our goal is to reach people with Christ, not good social justice. They are not the same thing.

9 Mark Lamprecht November 24, 2009 at 1:53 pm

I second the LOL. For different reasons. Isn’t is conservatives who mainly argue for original intent? I.e. framers of the US Constitution? “Christian” nation? Etc… I am just pointing out by the words of one of the drafters of the MD just what the intent was. :)

Also, see Dan’s comment below.

10 Matt Svoboda November 24, 2009 at 2:04 pm

I’m not saying that they are the same.

Listen, if a catholic want to build a house for a homeless family I am not going to say, “I will not partake because you believe a false gospel.” I would help a lost person! Doesn’t Jesus say, “what we do to the least these who do to him?” Did he ever say anything about only doing those things if everyone around is Christian? I think not…

Partnering with catholics to build a house, fight abortion, etc does not make people confused about the gospel… Not partnering with catholics to build a house, my scenario above, just makes us look like an ass and yes, it is a bit pharisaical.

Dont come at me with, “preaching the gospel and social justice arent the same thing.” I know this, preach this and live this out. Nothing I have said says otherwise. Please, dont act like myself, Mohler, or any other Christians that think signing this is good dont know the difference between reaching people with Christ and giving people out shirts.

11 sdansmith November 24, 2009 at 2:12 pm

Well, I didn’t know I was arguing with you. I apologize for offending. I appreciate also that you live out the difference between the Gospel and social justice. I just disagree. I hope you can be ok with that.

12 Matt Svoboda November 24, 2009 at 2:15 pm

I sure can… If not, I would of been in deep depression a long time ago..lol :)

(and I apologize for confusion… Due to Marks comment I thought yours was directed at me.)

13 Mark Lamprecht November 24, 2009 at 2:35 pm

Matt, you are still missing the objection. Let’s take your example about house building.

Would you hand out a pamphlet about house building that has the Pope’s and your picture on it? One that also says something like “Building Homes Together for the Gospel – We will build your home for the Gospel of Christ.” “To schedule your building please call Matt or the local diocese.”

Based on the quotes in my post and the author’s words that is what I see as the underlying foundation of the MD.

If we can’t even agree what we are disagreeing on then we aren’t going to get much further. :)

14 Dennis Thurman November 24, 2009 at 2:36 pm

I don’t think MD is an inerrant document. If we wrote it, all of us would have written it somewhat differently. There are certainly things I would have left out or added–but, that doesn’t mean it would be better. It is always easier to find flaws in something than to take the initiative to do something. You are free to disagree with MD, of course. Just wanted to put my two cents worth in. If you’d like to read my take see: http://mountain-top-musings.blogspot.com/

15 Matt Svoboda November 24, 2009 at 2:38 pm

Is the Pope as good looking as I am?

Seriously, though, I would not. I dont think that is what the document is doing. I think that is what “Evangelicals and Catholics Coming Together” does, but not this document, necessarily. I could be wrong. There is a reason why I havent yet signed it, but I have no problem with those who are. I dont think people are going to shipwreck their faith or believe a false gospel purely because Mohler signed it.

16 Wes Widner November 24, 2009 at 3:33 pm

I am amazed how shallow people are being about this whole issue. It’s not like we are planting churches together or anything, we’re merely joining together for a limited scope of issues (3 to be exact) for political expediency.

I think reading Os Guiness’s Case for Civility (http://bit.ly/4JRtry) would do detractors a lot of good in understanding how their brethren (many of whom are respected leaders even) can, in good conscious, sign this agreement.

17 ThomasTwitchell November 24, 2009 at 4:16 pm

Matt you are missing it. The declaration repeatedly dumps all “Christians” in to the evangelical basket. It is not the civil/moral substance of the declaration. It is calling those who are not Christians, Christians. Period.

What if it were a distinctly Reformed document that was open to all signers? The fact is that most of those who signed outside the Reformed camp would not even think of it. So it really is not the substance that is at issue, it is the compromising of the Gospel that is. It doesn’t matter that we agree upon abortion, it is that RCC’s are not Christians nor are the Orhodox, period, nor many others who call themselves Christian. White makes the good point, can Mormons sign this? Why not? And why didn’t it invite all those who are non-othordox in their faith, even non-Christians? Wouldn’t it make more sense to have the fullness of the conservative moral majority on line, Christian or not? As far as politics goes, I don’t care what the person believes as far as their core faith is concerned. What I care about is if they support my agend, politcally. So why, with this political declaration, didn’t the crafters invite all moral conservatives? The point is as Mark said, it is an ecclesiatical declaration and theologically based in ecumenicalism, a throw-back to Hegelian principles of idealism which is still as poisionous today as when it sparked the conflagrations of the Twentieth Century

Wes, I can’t believe how shallow you’re being, it is like they are trying to plant a new church, a worldwide one. You just can’t see it. Think about my question, or maybe let me rewrite the document: We Reformed Believers, even though we reject as non-Christian, Roman Catholic and Orthodox belief, and even though many so called evangelicals are also unorthodox or heretical, we join with them blah, blah, blah…

Would that work?

The declaration does work if the ecclesiastical magic tricks are removed. It is the prestidigitation, that is the problem. We should not be so easily snared into agreeing with the enemies definitions through slight of hand. That is just being stupid.

18 Truth Unites... and Divides November 24, 2009 at 5:49 pm

“To be upfront, I lean towards agreeing with Mohler.”

Hi Matt,

I also found Scott Klusendorf’s article to be helpful.

19 Matt Svoboda November 24, 2009 at 5:50 pm

Thomas,

I’m not missing it. I understand everything you said.

I merely disagree that it “compromises the gospel.” No one is going to believe a false gospel just because Mohler signed this document. Its nonsense to think that people will.

20 Matt Svoboda November 24, 2009 at 5:55 pm

A lady just spilled her drink… A priest helped her clean up the mess.. No worries, I didnt help- I dont want to compromise the gospel.

(yes, this is a joke/shot.) Point being- helping in these matters doesnt compromise the gospel. Even if Catholics call themselves “christians.”

21 Mark Lamprecht November 24, 2009 at 6:14 pm

Yep, but that point needs a bit of sharping as well as some glasses and better reading ability. :)

22 Matt Svoboda November 24, 2009 at 6:54 pm

lol…

I totally think it applies. The argument goes, “Partnering with this compromises the gospel.” I just showed that it didn’t. If we had both helped the lady we would of both said it was because Christ in us. I would disagree with him in his case, but I would still help the lady. That lady wouldnt believe a false gospel simply because the Priest and I both helped her. Whatever happened to believing in the sovereignty of God?

23 Truth Unites... and Divides November 24, 2009 at 7:02 pm

Matt,

Scroll Up and look at my comment to you that links to Scott Klusendorf’s article.

24 Matt Svoboda November 24, 2009 at 7:13 pm

I know this just shows that I wasted my day, but I have changed my mind…lol

I just had the thought, “Would I accept this exact same document if it was with prosperity gospel churches, rather than Catholics?” My immediate answer was *&&$^*#^$(# NO!

Therefore, I realize if I am not willing to unite the term “christian” with them, then I shouldnt be willing with Catholics either. I do think it would compromise the gospel if I united with prosperity gospel preachers, therefore, I see my inconsistency.

lol… This has been fun. Good day people, good day.

25 ThomasTwitchell November 24, 2009 at 7:29 pm

Matt,

It is not what some might believe, it is what we believe. We do not believe what the RCC and the Orthodox do and we will be judge by our clarity, not how someone takes what we say. I don’t for a minute believe that anyone will believe a false Gospel because Mohler or anyone else signed. But I am concerned that in blurring the distinction we confirm what is not in agreement with Scripture and endorse a false Gospel by negation.

How about my question? Do you think anyone would sign on to an open document that is exclusivistically Reformed who is not reformed ? And do you agree that even as open as this document is, it is exclusive of some groups that are also our allies in the fight for conservative values? And why wouldn’t we want them on the team?

And no, Jesus didn’t say “what you do for the least of these.” He said “what you do for the least of these, my brothers.” It pays to get it right. Drop the delimiter and you’re a welfarite, keep it and you believe in the love of the brethren in fellowship and mutual accountability. And no, I wouldn’t help a Catholic build a house for the homeless. Carteesque building programs dis-incentivise the reasons behind self industry.

It is not partnering with those opposed to the Gospel Matt, it is the diminution of the Gospel itself that is at stake. I would have voted for Romney if it had not have been for the fact that he lied to the nation. If I have I would have showed solidarity with him as a Republican, but not as a Mormon. I can partner with him as an American, as a Republican, as a conservative, but in the matters of faith, I can neither honor him as a believer, or join him in his beliefs. The MD, does both.

You’ve shown nothing.

Are you at the bar again?

I used to witness in bars.

Only for a few hours at a time, but I would leave before I slurred the Gospel or started to not walk in the straight and narrow.

Now, with your last “good-day” post am I to think of you?

I love you man…

26 Joy November 24, 2009 at 7:37 pm

An excellent message my pastor preached: “A Rebuke of the Manhattan Declaration Signers,” http://www.sermonaudio.com/sermoninfo.asp?sermonID=1123091212334

He also issued this statement:

A Short Statement in Response to the Manhattan Declaration

The Manhattan Declaration is an ungodly manifesto, contemptuous of the blood and righteousness of the Lord Jesus Christ. It is an ecumenical treatise, complete with a Romish gospel and shot through and through with popish error. Those evangelicals who have authored this document and who have led the way in signing it show themselves to be in rebellion to God. It is, in their case, a brazen manifesto of treason against the Lord Jesus Christ. And they are not friends but rather are enemies of Christian liberty in that they disobey and provoke the Author of liberty with their spiritual fornication, even wresting His word and corrupting His blood-bought church. It is the biblical duty of all faithful Christian pastors to stand against the evangelical authors of the Manhattan Declaration and all evangelicals who sign it or promote it in any way. Such betrayers of Christ and His church must be separated from and called to account by all faithful Christian ministers and people.

Ralph Ovadal, Pastor of Pilgrims Covenant Church, Monroe, Wisconsin, http://www.pccmonroe.org/

27 Dennis Thurman November 24, 2009 at 8:26 pm

About all I can say after reading this last comment is the immortal words of General McAuliffe in WW II, “Nuts!” Disagree with the signing–don’t sign yourself–I can see someone sincerely taking that view, but popish error and treason? Yet, if you are truly born again, then you are my brother. I acknowledge that, though you will likely brand me of dubious parentage.

28 GRC1 November 25, 2009 at 12:58 am

People, we better get a clue that this in-fighting is exactly what our enemy wants from us. It is repulsive to me that pastors denigrate others of faith because they don’t believe exactly the way they do. That is exactly what the Pharisees did and you will recall that Jesus had some pretty strong words for them! This manifesto is the first effort by the church to address what is going on in our country today by loudly proclaiming that Jesus is Lord and His ways are the right ways and we had better stand up as a God-fearing community before it is too late. I willingly stand with others who have faith in Jesus Christ and I don’t care if they are Presbyterian, Lutheran, Baptist, Catholic, or any other denomination. I doubt very much that when we stand before Jesus to account for our lives He is going to ask us if we only associated with those who believed exactly the way we did. I went to a very “famous” pastors church for over 10 years and I found it to be the most unloving and ungodly institution I have ever been to. The ugliness of the legalism has damaged so many earnest seekers of Christ. And what do you know, he has come out against this manifesto. May You, O Lord, have mercy on us and on this country. And I ask this is the mighty and powerful name of my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Amen!

29 Steve_Tacyl November 25, 2009 at 1:08 am

I predict that 2010 is Mohler’s last year preaching at the Shepherd’s Conference, just like you haven’t seen the Ligonier folks since MacArthur’s “Self-respecting Premill Calvinist” sermon. One must observe and question the increasingly lonely position of MacArthur within the true Church: that is not a good symptom. Christ’s rebuke to the church at Ephesus seems to apply more and more to MacArthur.

30 Don Inkster November 25, 2009 at 1:43 am

Wow, what a sad, sad line of posts. The Gospel will never need my defense, the unborn babies do. Whether you sign or not, few of these comments give me cause for hope of help from this corner of the world in taking practical action to make a difference in our generation.

31 Matt Svoboda November 25, 2009 at 2:20 am

Don,

Don’t be a fool… These comments dont say much to you at all. Don’t pretend the people here “don’t take practical action to make a difference in our generation.” Your heart is quick to judge and it is pharisaical. You have no idea what I, and others, here have done to advance God’s kingdom in our generation. Or what we have done “practically” to make a difference. I for one, have worked for and volunteered at multiple Crisis Pregnancy Centers, I have helped raise money to fight abortion, I have given money to fight abortion, I have taught abstinence and STD awareness in urban settings, and I could go on and on… I would bet that for my age, I have done a heck of a lot more than most people and here you come in like the “holier-than-thou” guy trying to judge people because of a few comments on one comment thread.

You want to see something that should give you little hope in making a difference in reaching our generation? Go look in the mirror. I know some of these men personally and I know their hearts, you are absolutely clueless about us and here you are judging. It is the pharisaical heart that gives us little reason to hope.

32 Don Inkster November 25, 2009 at 3:25 am

You are correct. I don’t know the things any of you have done. I only know what you sound like in this thread. Maybe that will be useful to you in how you choose to write in a forum that is open to all without the benefit of knowing your background.

As to my being a fool, holier-than-thou and pharisaical … you seem to know more about me than I do about you.

33 hjmoose November 25, 2009 at 3:28 am

I find this dialogue very invigorating. I have not signed the MD, because I need some time to fully digest it before I decide what to do. This thread has given me lots to chew on!

I heard Colson on the Hewitt Show and I have to say that I didn’t hear him casting the MD as a creed or confession, as theological definition. He compared it to the Barman Declaration of 1934, which is in the PC(USA) book of Confessions (improperly so IMO, but that is another matter). Colson said that the MD is the chruch saying there is a line that we won’t crosson three cultural issues. It should be noted that a plurality of America would not define any of these issues as key cultural issues. But for Christians, they often are. Our theology informs (or it should) all of life, and so we can’t help it when we Christians bring God into any discussion. To that extent it is theological, in much the same way speaking is about inhaling oxygen and exhaling CO2.

There is (barely I will admit) enough common gound with RCC and OC theologically to make a positive stand in favor of these specifica cultural values.

One final note. I lean toward being reformed, I like TULIP and am bid on God’s Soverignty. I marvel at folks who, despite claiming they accept the concept of total depravity, insist that they know unequivocally the absolute truth about God’s nature. That their human system (which is what Reformed or any other theological structure is) is THE TRUTH. That notion borders on a form of Tyranny that is worrisome. For me, I am increasingly convinced that the glass I see through is much darker than I thought, and that I don’t really have the answers, and that I must rest in the fact that God does. Afterall, the faith I have is not my own, but was given to me.

34 Truth Unites... and Divides November 25, 2009 at 5:18 am

Partial excerpt from comment #80 here:

“Are you at peace with the Protestants who support the Manhattan Declaration or do you condemn them?”

Unsurprisingly, there are Protestants condemning Protestants in the blogosphere. To wit:

(1) “As Christians, we can not be signing documents that claim that Catholics and Eastern Orthodox individuals are Christians. All of the evangelical leaders who signed this need to unsign it and proclaim that the signing communicates the lie that these other religions are Christians. I am deeply devoted to the pro-life cause and I regularly call other Christians to do the same, however this document pits that cause against the gospel. Our pro-life activism is commanded by God, but is not separate from the gospel, it needs to be informed by the gospel and for the gospel!”

(2) “The Manhattan Declaration is an ungodly manifesto, contemptuous of the blood and righteousness of the Lord Jesus Christ. It is an ecumenical treatise, complete with a Romish gospel and shot through and through with popish error. Those evangelicals who have authored this document and who have led the way in signing it show themselves to be in rebellion to God. It is, in their case, a brazen manifesto of treason against the Lord Jesus Christ. And they are not friends but rather are enemies of Christian liberty in that they disobey and provoke the Author of liberty with their spiritual fornication, even wresting His word and corrupting His blood-bought church. It is the biblical duty of all faithful Christian pastors to stand against the evangelical authors of the Manhattan Declaration and all evangelicals who sign it or promote it in any way. Such betrayers of Christ and His church must be separated from and called to account by all faithful Christian ministers and people.”

Well, there you have it. As Frank Turk said in comment #2: “[D]o you think publicly renouncing the document obscures the Gospel?”

I think these condemnations obscure the Gospel.

35 Mark Lamprecht November 25, 2009 at 10:37 am

Joy, I have to agree with Dennis below. I’m not ready to throw these folks under the bus. I’m ready to publicly voice my reasons with reasons why. To hopefully persuade them to see that the objections have to do with the Gospel. And to do this reasonably in love with patience.

The good thing about disagreeing as such is that if we keep pointing to the Gospel it has a chance to actually be heard.

36 Dennis Thurman November 25, 2009 at 10:47 am

Mark,
Thanks for not throwing me under the bus–or consigning me to hell. For a minute I thought I had taken the mark of the beast (no pun intended, Mark).

37 Mark Lamprecht November 25, 2009 at 11:51 am

There are some Christian leaders who’ve spoken against signing the #mdec MD. They are (with links) Alistair Begg, John MacArthur, RC Sproul, James White and Steve Camp. Even the worlds most famous Christian blogger Tim Challies has decided not to sign.There seems to be a growing list of others who will not sign. I’m not sure why, but it seems that some of those who are pro-MD have trouble showing grace to those opposed.

38 Dennis Thurman November 25, 2009 at 11:55 am

Hey–we all need grace! I am a signer willing to extend grace to those who are not in hope that they will grant me the same.

39 scottwelch November 25, 2009 at 12:12 pm

I agree with the fact that grace on both sides needs to be extended. There are good reasons to sign and not sign this document. for the time being, I have chosen to not sign. That does not mean that I do not feel passionate about the issues addressed in the document. However, I feel equally strongly that it is a slippery slope to think that we are doomed as the church if the government does not legislate Christian morality. If they don’t, then we stand. If they throw us in jail, then they throw us in jail. Thanks for this post!

40 Bobby Capps November 25, 2009 at 12:13 pm

Here’s my two cents: The Manhattan thing, like Sweet/Viola’s Manifesto or the GCR et al, are human efforts. Efforts to find common ground, a starting place, a few sentences we can gather around to express a common good, theme, issue, perspective etc.

They inevitably show how utterly deeply divided we are. We have no common ground, period. Even if you say Jesus is our common ground many will quickly jump to box it in, “Is your Jesus my Jesus?”, etc. There is no greater symptom of our brokenness as a Body than the next Manifesto we write… some will sign on some will dissent. That’s who we are.

41 glawccs November 25, 2009 at 12:28 pm

In Acts chapter 4 Luke wrote these words, “The multitudes of believers were of one heart and one soul.” Acts chapter 4. And then he said a little later in that same chapter, “As a result of that unity they had power and great grace was upon them all.” The multitude of believers were of one heart and one soul, they had great power and great grace. Power and blessing are related to unity.Jesus, of course, made priority out of the unity of the church and so does the Apostle Paul. It is a great concern to his heart and thus he writes these opening four verses in the second chapter. “If therefore there is any encouragement in Christ, if there is any consolation of love, if there’s any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and compassion, make my joy complete by being of the same mind, maintaining the same love, united in spirit intent on one purpose. Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit but with humility of mind let each of you regard one another as more important than himself. Do not merely look out for your own personal interest but also for the interest of others.

42 Mark Lamprecht November 25, 2009 at 12:54 pm

Bobby, I agree there will always be dissent. We are sinners. This is why we need to seek to promote the Gospel together. That’s why I and others are not signing the MD. The other issues you mentioned seem to have more to do with disagreements over implementing sharing the Gospel rather than the definition itself.

glawccs said,

The multitude of believers were of one heart and one soul, they had great power and great grace. Power and blessing are related to unity.

Right, which is why there are those who will not sign. When it comes down to it those Protestants like Dr. Mohler are not one of heart and soul with many of the other signers as seen in his article defending his signature. That is, he admits that Rome’s Gospel is false.

43 glawccs November 25, 2009 at 1:10 pm

Because Christ has encouraged you, exhorted you, helped you, faithfully come alongside to enable you. because all of Christ’s love and tender mercy and pity and sympathy and grace and forgiveness and care and comfort has been bestowed on you, be of the same mind. In other words, having received so much from Christ, can you not give back that which is dear to His own heart? He who prayed in John 17 to the Father about the church that they may be one, desires unity in His church. But you must see disunity and a bitter spirit, you must see your antagonism to the unity of the church as a direct act of defiant rebellious ingratitude to the Christ who has given you everything and to whom you desire to render nothing. And you must see it for what it is. It is a sin against a relationship, not an ethical code. It is a sin against Christ.

44 Mark Lamprecht November 25, 2009 at 1:23 pm

glawccs, I’m not bitter. Also, why am I singled out as one causing division? What if I am correct and it is those who do not fall in-line with me in standing for the Gospel who are causing disunity?

45 Truth Unites... and Divides November 25, 2009 at 1:52 pm

Glawccs, did you have in mind comments like the following?

“Short Statement in Response to the Manhattan Declaration

The Manhattan Declaration is an ungodly manifesto, contemptuous of the blood and righteousness of the Lord Jesus Christ. It is an ecumenical treatise, complete with a Romish gospel and shot through and through with popish error. Those evangelicals who have authored this document and who have led the way in signing it show themselves to be in rebellion to God. It is, in their case, a brazen manifesto of treason against the Lord Jesus Christ. And they are not friends but rather are enemies of Christian liberty in that they disobey and provoke the Author of liberty with their spiritual fornication, even wresting His word and corrupting His blood-bought church. It is the biblical duty of all faithful Christian pastors to stand against the evangelical authors of the Manhattan Declaration and all evangelicals who sign it or promote it in any way. Such betrayers of Christ and His church must be separated from and called to account by all faithful Christian ministers and people.

Ralph Ovadal, Pastor of Pilgrims Covenant Church, Monroe, Wisconsin, http://www.pccmonroe.org/

46 Mark Lamprecht November 25, 2009 at 2:01 pm

I’ve already replied to that. It is posted above and I don’t endorse it. If all you want to do is cause division here then leave. Stop trying to connect dots where they don’t go together. You want to persuade me or others who consciencely will not sign then deal with our objections please.

47 Wes Widner November 25, 2009 at 4:08 pm

Actually, I think the opposite is true. Those anti-MD seem to think that those for it are “compromising the gospel”.

48 Truth Unites... and Divides November 25, 2009 at 4:24 pm

Wrong. I’m simply showing you that it is *some* of the anti-MD folks who are the ones causing division. Can you at least admit that?

49 Mark Lamprecht November 25, 2009 at 7:44 pm

I have not seen those folks until Joy and then you posted their words. I still don’t know what your source is. Based on the quotes you and Joy have provided I admit those words could be divisive. I would say the majority of anti-MD folks are not doing this. Again, I’ve not seen them until you’ve spread them around. It is not the main position of those dissenting.

50 Mark Lamprecht November 25, 2009 at 7:53 pm

Making a case that Protestants signing the MD may blur the Gospel does not show a lack of grace. It’s the name calling, condemnation and charges of division that does so. Making a case to sign or making a case not to is fine. Those of us who hold to sola fide and sola gratia, etc. will still be united in the Gospel. Those who do not will still not be fully united regardless of which document is signed.

51 Truth Unites... and Divides November 25, 2009 at 8:12 pm

One source came from this very blog!!! The other source is Jim from Justin Taylor’s blog here:

http://thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/justintaylor/2009/11/24/6742/#comment-54242

“Based on the quotes you and Joy have provided I admit those words could be divisive.”

That’s a really weak admission. They *are* divisive.

“I would say the majority of anti-MD folks are not doing this.”

No one’s ever said they were.

52 bobbycapps November 25, 2009 at 8:23 pm

Mark, see… it is amazing that even a statement made to lament out ability to say anything without making sides has made sides. …the irony. But here’s the good news. I can’t wait to hear your next blog or tweet read the next manifesto written by whomever. Know why? There is a theme in all this, people really care, really are filled with zeal for truth and righteousness, love for God, passion for His Son to be exalted and for our worldly decay to be arrested. Write ‘em! Long ones, short ones political ones, ones that I easily agree with, ones that raise my eyebrows. I’m in for the long haul…

53 Mark Lamprecht November 25, 2009 at 9:05 pm

Brother Bobby, I thought about this when I responded to you. In some ways it’s like trying to deny logic by using logic. There is no real way around it in our sinfulness. When we start to lie down and not question anything in a biblical manner then we’ve lost our zeal and fight for and with the Gospel. I appreciate you stopping by again and look forward to your tweets, etc. Thanks, brother!

54 glawccs November 25, 2009 at 10:22 pm

Where you don’t teach the Scripture with precision and care, there’s no way people are going to think the same. There’s no way they’re going to make the same judgment on issues. And I really believe with all my heart that one of the great blessings and benefits of a church that has clear doctrine and clear teaching and handles the Word of God accurately and precisely is that it gets a legacy of unity because the people think the same thing, they render the same judgments, they agree. There might be a bit of a struggle here and there as to the wisdom necessary to make the application of the truth, but certainly you want to start with the truth.Any kind of unity where you have violent disagreement and just keep your mouth shut is no true unity. I guess in some ways it would be better than starting a war, unless you have to admonish a heretic or confront a sinner.

55 glawccs November 25, 2009 at 10:30 pm

there are doctrines, there are truths and there’s a milk understanding and a meat understanding. I can speak to you about the fact that Jesus Christ died in your place on the cross. And for some of you, you understand that only in the milk sense, you’re new, you’re a babe and you only understand that in the simplest sense. To others of you, when I talk about the doctrine of substitutionary atonement, you plunge down and maybe don’t come up for weeks because there are such profound depths to the doctrine of substitutionary atonement. Paul says I can’t talk to you about the depths, I have to talk to you like babies, I have to give you the milk and not the solid food because you’re not able to receive it. Indeed here’s the proof, you’re not able because you’re still fleshy. And what is the manifestation of that? There is jealousy and there is strife or fighting among you. Are you not fleshly? Are you not walking like mere men? Of all the things things that contribute most directly to discord in the church is people with a shallow understanding of Scripture. That’s why I say again, the legacy of solid food of an understanding of some of the depth of the Word of God is the unity of the faith. And everyone understanding the same, believing the same, having the same mind, making the same judgments…there’s no ground for substantial foundational disagreement. Quite the contrary to take a reductionist mentality and say, “We want to throw doctrine out so we can get together,” is the antithesis of this and that is to sweep heresy under the rug and think that it’s not something to be considered and to sweep sin under the rug as if it had no negative effect, as if the all compelling thing was to just accept everybody whatever they might believe, or however they might behave. Nothing could be more dishonoring to our Lord.

It is a VERY narrow path indeed!

56 John Wilson November 26, 2009 at 3:34 pm

Whilst I am deffinately against false ‘gospels’ as you would see if you visited my site, I am proud to sign this declaration because:

Despite any doctrinal differences it stands for clear Christian moral standards.
It draws a line in the sand – a united line – against the targeted destruction of Christian based morality by other faiths and secular beliefs.
It makes it clear that in a world run on ‘diversity’ we WILL have a voice.

Please don’t shoot down the attempts of leaders to do what most people have been shouting for over a long period – a clear stand! We are not discussing doctrinal church differences in this document – we are taking a stand against the apostasy of general moral values in our society. The doctrine issues are worked on elsewhere. Are people going to refuse to fight a war because they have different beliefs? I hardly think so….! So come on folks and see this for what it is – people of all Christian based persuasions taking a stand! Stop whining and match the stance if you do not agree with the mix. Do your own – but don’t criticise those with real passion who act in unpopular times.

57 Jeff November 27, 2009 at 3:06 am

Amazing how much time Christians have to devote to ridiculous issues. You guys are all pathetic. The world does not give a rat’s ass about your theological fine arguments and your petty, parochial squabbles. Sign it or don’t sign it, IT DOES NOT MATTER!!!!!!!

58 Mark Lamprecht November 27, 2009 at 11:13 am

Jeff, first, please watch your language here. Second, you are right that the world doesn’t care about our theological arguments. This is why we must take the Gospel to them.

Are you a Christian?

59 mattsvoboda November 27, 2009 at 11:26 am

Jeff,

Did you ever think that we know the world doesnt care about theological fine arguments, which is why we discuss theology amongst ourselves, but then we present the gospel to the world?

There is a reason why we don’t get on non-Christians blogs and discuss finer points of theology. Theology, does in fact matter and it should be discussed, which is why we discuss it amongst ourselves.

You coming here the way you did is like me going to an atheist blog, attacking their character, and then saying, “Do you think Christians care what you say about your atheism?” I know, that would be absurd… Which is my point.

60 Dallas November 27, 2009 at 11:35 am

The case against signing the Manhattan Declaration rests upon a guilt by association argument. Almost no one is opposing the actual substance of the three points.Evangelicals, RC, and EO share common convictions concerning the sanctity of human life, traditional marriage, and religious liberty. The point of contention is some Evangelicals cannot, in good conscience, sign a document that says that RCs and EO’s are Christians.

Such a case rises or falls with the contention that Roman Catholicism and Eastern orthodoxy are heretical. If they are heretical, then God’s people have no more business signing the Manhattan Declaration than they would a statement that said Mormons or so-called Jehovah’s Witnesses are Christians. If RC and EO are not heretical, then the guilt by association argument becomes a slippery slope for two reasons.

While I believe that both RC and EO teach some very serious errors, it is entirely possible that many in those traditions live by faith in Jesus Christ rather than faith in the sacraments or the priesthood. God counts the creeds that govern one’s life rather than that of the creeds that are offically cited(Hab 2:4; Rom 1:17; Heb 10:38) in deciding who is counted as a Christian. Giving the impossibility of knowing every heart of everyone in these traditions, I cannot justify the broad statement that some seem to be making.

The other reason that broad condemnations of people in RC/EO is not justified is that denominational labels do not tell us as much as they used to. I have shared a permanent link on my site with a Catholic blogger. His affiliation is Catholic, but his theology is Evangelical. If you are on his site, you would not know he is Catholic apart from his self disclosure. Is he a non-Christian simply because he goes to a Catholic church.

People should not let an argument based on an unsubstantiated claims prevent them from signing a document that they otherwise agree with. Unless those who have argued against signing the declaration can prove that RC/EO are heresies so damnable that mere affiliation consigns their members to hell, then they are arguing based on unsubstantiated claims.

Having read the Manhattan declaration, I believe that Al Mohler is correct. The declaration does not seek to minimize the differences that we have: it fully acknowledges those and leaves those intact. It is not intended as a broad, systematic statement of the gospel in it’s entirety, but as a narrow statement of beliefs held in common by RC’s, EO’s, and Evangelicals. Signing it does not involve embracing the false gospel of someone on the other side, but only the embrace of beliefs that are already shared.

61 NativeVermonter November 27, 2009 at 11:45 am

(What I said on sbcimpact.net) The Manhattan Declaration loses me right here: “We, as Orthodox, Catholic, and Evangelical Christians…”

I was truly shocked and saddened to see the list of names affixed to this document. They might say they have not acquiesced doctrinally but it sure doesn’t come across that way. Their signature makes any subsequent comments and caveats ring hollow. It seems the Reformation is a nice thing to remember every October but is rendered silent in the ecumenical realities of our day.

62 Mark Lamprecht November 27, 2009 at 1:32 pm

Dallas, thanks for stopping by. I think Dr. Mohler’s position refutes your claim. You said

Such a case rises or falls with the contention that Roman Catholicism and Eastern orthodoxy are heretical. If they are heretical, then God’s people have no more business signing the Manhattan Declaration than they would a statement that said Mormons or so-called Jehovah’s Witnesses are Christians.

The irony is that Dr. Mohler did sign the document says the Roman Catholic Church and the Orthodox churches are heretical in his explanation for why he signed. This does not seem to comport with your reasoning. By your reasoning Dr. Mohler should not have signed, yet he did.

Based on the quotes I’ve provided above in my reasoning it seems the MD is actually built on the Gospel either explicitly or implicitly. Yet, the Gospel is the main reason for our divisions.

In most circumstances Christians to not allow important terms to go undefined. For example, when Mormons or Jehovah’s Witnesses use the term “Christian” actual Christians object. When Mormons use the phrase “I believe in Jesus” or the term “Trinity” we usually call for definitions.

Could you tell me based upon my reasoning above using the MD itself where I am off?

63 Mark Lamprecht November 27, 2009 at 1:33 pm

Thanks NV. I appreciate the input. It’s very interesting that Adrian Rogers’ son, David, will also not sign.

64 Dallas November 27, 2009 at 4:17 pm

Mark. I believe out disagreement has more to to with our interpretation of the document than with what it is saying. Your first contention is that it blurs or the gospel or is otherwise too ambiguous.The Manhattan Declaration intentionally leaves the gospel undefined because it is not trying to define what the gospel is but is seeking narrow agreement based upon common shared beliefs. If it were trying to define the gospel, then this would create more serious difficulties. The other is the contention that Roman Catholics and Eastern cannot possibly be Christians. Both of these charges imply that Roman Catholicism and Eastern Orthodoxy are heresies. Your entire argument rises or falls on the truth or falsehood of that the orthdoxy of RC/EO, yet almost no one who has argued against signing the declaration has explicitly stated that RC /EO is heresy. It seems to me that if you believe that RC/EO is heresy, then a clear statement of their heresy would be germaine to this discussion. Do you believe that RC/EO is a damnable heresy.

Al Mohler does not actually use the term heretical to describe the errors of RC/EO. I am assuming you are interpreting his statement “The Roman Catholic Church teaches doctrines that I find both unbiblical and abhorrent — and these doctrines define nothing less than the Gospel of Jesus Christ.” as proof that Mohler believes that RC/EO is heresy, and he may very well have intended that.

I believe that certain beliefs common to RC/EO such as sacramentalism and episcopal infallibility are serious, dangerous errors. I could neither enter into union with such churches, nor sign document that promoted that kind of union such as Evangelicals and Catholics Working Together. The Manhattan Declaration does not attempt to create such a union. I stop short of calling RC/EO heresy because there are many in both traditions who practice an Evangelical faith in spite of their formal acceptance of RC/EO doctrines, and many others who actually affirm an Evangelical faith contrary to the teachings of their traditions. In light of this, I believe that we are neither position to make dogmatic declarations RC/EO are all non-Christian, nor to reject a document soley because it calls RC/EO Christians.

I am not saying that people who are involved in RC/EO are Christians, but that there is enough ambiguity concerning the question of whether members of RC/EO are Christian for me not to reject the entire document based soley on that one issue. While I do not agree with RO/EO concerning some very broad issues concerning the gospel, I do agree with them concerning the sanctity of human life, traditional marriage, and religious liberty. Because the Manhattan Declaration addresses these narrow issues rather than the broader issues of the gospel, one can sign the Manhattan Declaration without bringing confusion to the gospel or endorsing a false gospel.

65 Truth Unites... and Divides November 27, 2009 at 4:24 pm

“Because the Manhattan Declaration addresses these narrow issues rather than the broader issues of the gospel, one can sign the Manhattan Declaration without bringing confusion to the gospel or endorsing a false gospel.”

AMEN!! Where can I go and sign up for the Dallas Declaration!

66 Mark Lamprecht November 27, 2009 at 6:04 pm

Dallas, the agreement on the Gospel is implied which is what my quotes show in the original post. I’m asking you or anyone to show that Gospel agreement is not implied from my post above. Why do you keep avoiding addressing I presented?

It does seem a lost cause though since we cannot seem to agree on the meaning of words or methods of defining them. If you can read Dr. Mohler’s words “unbiblical and abhorrent — and…nothing less than the Gospel of Jesus Christ.” and think they do not mean heretical I’m not sure where we are going to connect.

67 Mark Lamprecht November 27, 2009 at 6:09 pm

TUAD, why don’t you go sign it already and stop with the cheerleading? After reading various blogs I am convinced that by you spreading around either one or two quotes from rapid anti-MD folks that you helped their cause. I saw another place where atleast one person had not read the strong anti-MD language until you posted it. And in many places you are the source for spreading this around.

Please, move along. It’s not helpful.

68 Dallas November 27, 2009 at 7:53 pm

I have addressed your post point by point. Since the Manhattan does not attempt to define the gospel, your contention that the document implies gospel agreement in any area other than the three issues addressed is something that you have read into the text. I have never denied that Mohler believes that RC/EO are heretical, simply that he did not actually say that they are in his post, as you claimed he did.

I only brought up Dr Mohler because I agree with his basic view that the Manhattan Declaration is a narrow statement of agreement of the issues it addresses rather than a broad statement. I do agree with you that we are not going anywhere here. There is no hope of agreement of once someone begins reading their views into the document, which, in my opinion, you have done here. We must simply disagree on this on and hope next time we agree my brother. Have blessed day.

69 Mark Lamprecht November 27, 2009 at 9:31 pm

I understand think you’ve addressed my post point by point. I suppose we will disagree here too. :) I pointed out specific lines in the original post including the statement on Martin Luther King, Jr.

If the Gospel is actually left undefined and there is no implied definition then I suppose either of us are free to interpret it according to our conscience and act accordingly.

The reason why I believe the Gospel has an implied definition of agreement between Protestants, Roman Catholics and Orthodox is because this document is meant to unify. Sure, it is meant to unify on specific moral issues, but based on the quotes I gave those issues are grounded in the Gospel. Therefore, the Gospel must be agreed upon by all i.e. a common definition.

Plus, the authors were two Protestants ecumenists (one who said the document is a theological statement) and one Roman Catholic. Colson has made statements about the MD that shows he does have Gospel agreement in mind. When referencing a Roman Catholic and an Orthodox official he states, “It was a foretaste of what we’re all going to see in heaven…” Clearly Gospel agreement.

What is especially fascinating to me is your comment that …yet almost no one who has argued against signing the declaration has explicitly stated that RC /EO is heresy. MacArthur, White (whom I just asked about his position and agrees with me), Begg, Camp all list the Gospel as the problem. If they say the Gospel is compromised, different, denied, etc. to me that means heresy.

Thanks for stopping by again. Blessings.

70 Mark Lamprecht November 27, 2009 at 11:06 pm

#mdec Alan Kurschner writes THE GALATIAN DECLARATION-A Call of Christian Conscience as a test of Faith-Alone and Judaizer Christians with Roman Empire inhabitants, Christians and pagans alike working together.

71 Mark Lamprecht November 30, 2009 at 10:09 am

Dan Phillips asks Nineteen questions for signers of “The Manhattan Declaration.” No. 19 starts

If you have answered all of the preceding questions, can you explain why you would not ask that your name be removed from “The Manhattan Declaration,”…

Check it out.

72 Greg Alford December 1, 2009 at 10:56 am

Mark,

Would this solution win your support?

Have each group (Orthodox, Evangelical, and Catholic) Take the MD and rewrite it, striping all reference to anyone but their group and allowing each group the liberty to express certain matters differently yet maintaining the original intent. Do you think you could sign an Evangelical only document that addressed the issues addressed in the MD?

Grace Always,
Greg

73 Mark Lamprecht December 1, 2009 at 9:03 pm

Greg, I would be more inclined to sign if that were the case. As I said above, I would be more inclined to sign if it were just a general declaration without “religious” undertones.

74 Darrin December 2, 2009 at 1:30 am

A declaration which calls for the clarification of the definitions of marriage and baby while simultaneously blurring the definition of Christian is indeed problematic.

75 dsutton December 4, 2009 at 1:29 am

I signed it, and I am Converting to the Catholic Faith, What makes you think that Catholic teaching is false, or heretical?

76 Mark Lamprecht December 4, 2009 at 9:09 am

dsutton, historically Protestants and Roman Catholics have deemed each other as teaching different gospels, as heretics. Trent has plenty of anathemas. The official statements of faith have not changed.

77 Charles Hodges December 14, 2009 at 7:32 pm

I’ve read a lot of comments, here and elsewhere, about why to sign or why not to sign. Most “not” comments relate to the gospel and it being compromised in the MD. My question: why is it assumed that evangelicals are seen as compromising, and not the Catholics or Orthodox? If we hold something in common in our definition of the gospel, it can be found in statements we all claim to hold, such as the Apostles’ Creed. I believe that gospel, and the Catholics and Orthodox claim to also. I do not hold to what they have added (sacraments, rites, works) but it seems we all claim to believe Paul’s gospel as stated in 1 Cor. 15:1-8.
It seems to me it is the Catholics and Orthodox who are yielding to our position, not the other way around. Keep in mind that Martin Luther never left the Roman church. He sought rather to reform it, hence the reformation. Some who have signed from those traditions are in the midst of efforts to reform those churches. Perhaps we could help them. A friend of mine is an Anglican pastor, whose greatest struggle is to get his congregation to understand the simplicity of the gospel as faith in the crucified and risen Lord, who alone and without the help of sacrament or rite or work can remove our sins from us.
Compromise is bad when we are the ones compromising, but it is good if those who disagreed in the past compromise to agree with us, and espouse the one true gospel of Jesus Christ.

78 Mark Lamprecht December 14, 2009 at 7:57 pm

Charles, Protestants probably see the compromise from their end for at least two reasons, IMO. 1. Lack of defining the Gospel yet putting all three ecclesial bodies together as if they agree. 2. The drafters are one Roman Catholic and two Protestant ecumenists, one of whom is married to a Roman Catholic.

Point 1 can go in many directions and point 2 is probably why some have seen this document along the lines of ECT.

How I see the issue can be illustrated in the example I gave Matt above: Would you hand out a pamphlet about house building that has the Pope’s and your picture on it? One that also says something like “Building Homes Together for the Gospel – We will build your home for the Gospel of Christ.” “To schedule your building please call Matt or the local diocese.”

In my example who would be the compromising party, the Pope or Matt?

79 Charles Hodges December 14, 2009 at 9:59 pm

If the pope signed we should not. But the Catholic signers have been disagreeing with the pope as far as I have seen. And the Anglicans on this list are practically in revolt over the authority of Scripture and the nature of the gospel, and are likely to take over the Anglican communion over the Episcopalian ordination of openly homosexual bishops. Perhaps in your example for Matt there is a little more distinct difference than in what we actually have in the original signers of MD.
What say we put this to the test. I think you agreed that we need a similar declaration with a clear definition of the gospel, which conservative Baptists can sign. Lets do that and see if those of other communions will sign that. If they won’t, we still have one we can all sign, which commits us to stand together when this government does come for one or more of us, instead of leaving the persecuted to hang alone like our churches did to Flip Benham when he was jailed in Virginia for 60 days for preaching the gospel on a public sidewalk.
On a lighter note, I’m glad you did not sign the other Manhattan Declaration, the one in which a lot of scientists signed on to the global warming theory. There is no gospel at all in that one. Funny that both documents have the same name.

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