The Manhattan Declaration

The Manhattan Declaration is stirring up all kinds of controversy.  Good!  It needs to be stirred up!  Some of my very favorite theologians refused to sign it and I feel as if my heart sighed a huge sigh of relief to know they took such a stand, especially under the scrutiny and criticism of the very confused evangelical world.

Here’s a link where you can read the responses of Sproul, MacArthur, Begg and White.

Sproul reminds us that “The document is concerned primarily with three very important biblical and cultural issues: the sanctity of life, the meaning of marriage, and the nature of religious liberty.”  That sounds good, doesn’t it?

Then Sproul continues, “The Manhattan Declaration confuses common grace and special grace by combining them. While I would march with the bishop of Rome and an Orthodox prelate to resist the slaughter of innocents in the womb, I could never ground that cobelligerency on the assumption that we share a common faith and a unified understanding of the gospel……….But how could I sign something that confuses the gospel and obscures the very definition of who is and who is not a Christian?……..In his commentary on November 25, Mr. Colson said the Manhattan Declaration is “a form of catechism for the foundational truths of the faith.” He suggests that the Manhattan Declaration is an antidote to “biblical and doctrinal ignorance” within the church. However, true reformation and revival within the church and the winning of our culture to Christ will come only through the power of the Holy Spirit and our clear, bold proclamation of the biblical gospel, not through joint ecumenical statements that equivocate on the most precious truths given to us. There is no other gospel than that which has already been given (Gal. 1:6–8).”

I particularly liked this response to John MacArthur’s statement for why he didn’t sign the Declaration.  A young man named Todd said, “For years we have been trying to change the outside (behavior) without dealing with the heart (world view). The gospel changes our hearts. Most efforts today try to make moral conduct, social justice or even “what would Jesus do” as the door to salvation and hope when Jesus himself said, “I am the door.” It is not what Jesus taught and how he walked but it was what He accomplished on the cross and who He is.”

Todd gets it.

Jesus tells us in John 4:22-24 that “You worship what you do not know; we worship what we know, for salvation is from the Jews. 23 But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship him. 24 God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.”
Truth matters to Jesus.  It should matter to us, the redeemed, as well.  Just any old witness won’t do….

Image by jfhatesmustard.


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