The Manhattan Declaration is a document created by three Christian leaders to address the cultural issues of marriage, sanctity of life, and the rights of conscience and religious liberty. You can read it at the declaration’s web site (see link above). It also has a place where you can sign it yourself. One of our church members has signed it and requested that a link to it be placed here.
I am agreeing to do so, but I have not yet signed it myself [See update below] because of the reasons stated by John MacArthur in his post about it. That is not to say that I will not, nor am I recommending that others NOT sign it. I just have not made up my mind and will prayerfully consider it.
Of course I agree with the basic ideas involved.
- I support the sanctity of life and oppose abortion in cases except when a mother would without a doubt lose her life unless she aborted her child. I also vehemently oppose “euthanasia” one of the most contradictory names one could find for the ghoulish choice to commit suicide of murder as a “act of mercy”
- I believe marriage is only biblical if it is between two adults who are of the opposite gender. I go further and say that only a believer in Jesus Christ can have a truly Biblical marriage.
- I am also opposed to the attempts by our governments, both local, state and federal, in limiting our free exercise of religion and forcing us to fund activities that we find to be repugnant such as abortion, euthanasia and same sex marriage
Since those are the three basic ideas behind the Manhattan Declaration, why not jump on board and sign.
My concerns are with two things. As John MacArthur says, the declaration makes the differences between evangelical Christians and other Christian groups seem insignificant. He also has a concern that it does not define the primary tool for combating the problems addressed as the Gospel. And finally, my concern is that implies civil disobedience as a reasonable tool to combat these problems. This might be a violation of the very things I have been teaching in 1 Peter on Sunday nights which say we are to be a witness by submitting to government authority even when it is oppressive.
Again, I am not saying that John MacArthur is right or that the Manhattan Declaration does in fact violate 1 Peter 2, but I am prayerfully considering it. Until I have clear conscience from God about this matter I am going to wait.
You may want to follow the example of some respected church leaders like Danny Akin, Randy Alcorn, Chuck Colson, James Dobson, just to name a few. To be in a group in disagreement with these fine men makes me uncomfortable. Just as it makes me uncomfortable to disagree with another man I fully respect – John MacArthur.
Read it and sign it if you will. If you disagree with anything I’ve written here, let me know.
UPDATE: I have chosen to sign the declaration for the reasons below…
1. My greatest concern was that saying that I will not submit to government authority on the three issues outlined would be a violation of the biblical mandates in places like 1 Peter 2 (see link above). However, one can still submit to government authority by peacefully going to jail if you are arrested for violating a law of conscience. If the government passed a law saying I could not teach that marriage was between one man and one woman, then I would have to teach that. I have to teach the truths of scripture. And when the local authorities come to arrest me I would put my hands out and peacefully go. In so doing I would submit.
2. The concern that John MacArthur has is a real one. But I think it is time for all people who agree on these issues to stand up and be counted even if we disagree on our soteriology. So I will stand with my friends and fellow citizens who oppose abortion regardless of whether I believe the understand the correct teachings on how to go to heaven. Maybe it would give us a chance to discuss those views and I could win some for grace and it’s author Christ.
I still think more focus should be on the power of the Gospel and more effort placed on a call to getting our fellow believers out of the pews and into the streets to change the world the way Christ intended and his disciples did in their generation. We need a Great Commission Resurgence. And I went to the web site (click the previous link) and signed that commitment to pray without hesitation. And I have personally been praying for the Lord of the harvest to send out workers into the fields every night at 10:02 pm for Luke 10:2. I appeal to you to do the same. I have also renewed my commitment to be a witness and have done so with great personal renewal and revival.