Monday, November 23, 2009

Response to the Manhattan Declaration

Frank Turk has an interesting response to the Manhattan Declaration (link)(link to declaration). Unfortunately, for a few reasons, there a few points where I'd take a somewhat different tack. His biggest point is correct:

The declaration should be opposed because it obscures the gospel. The wording of the document is ecumenical. It uses expressions like "We, as Orthodox, Catholic, and Evangelical Christians ..." and "It was Christians who combated the evil of slavery: Papal edicts in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries decried the practice of slavery and first excommunicated anyone involved in the slave trade ... ."

I should point out that the section on Religious Liberty is remarkably less objectionable than one might expect. The statement, "No one should be compelled to embrace any religion against his will, nor should persons of faith be forbidden to worship God according to the dictates of conscience or to express freely and publicly their deeply held religious convictions," for example, arguably does not leave room for Muslims, Jews, Oneness Pentecostals, or pagans to be covered.

In fact, however, I suspect that the understanding of the document by the other is broader and more relativistic than a strict reading of the document might suggest. As I've pointed out before, I'm not a pluralist.

But that's a minor objection. Much of the "main point" of the declaration is not objectionable:

1) Abortion, Assisted Suicide and Euthanasia are evils

2) Marriage between Man and Man or Woman and Woman is a perversion

3) Atheist Attempts to Persecute Christians for holding (1) and (2) are improper.

It is sad to see that a few prominent "evangelical" names have been attached to this gospel-obscuring document:

Dr. Wayne Grudem Research Professor of Theological and Biblical Studies, Phoenix Seminary (Phoenix, AZ)

Rev. Tim Keller Senior Pastor, Redeemer Presbyterian Church (New York, NY)

Dr. R. Albert Mohler, Jr. President, Southern Baptist Theological Seminary (Louisville, KY)

Ravi Zacharias Founder and Chairman of the board, Ravi Zacharias International Ministries (Norcross, GA)

Dr. Daniel Akin President, Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary (Wake Forest, NC)

Dr. Bryan Chapell President, Covenant Theological Seminary (St. Louis, MO)

Jim Daly President and CEO, Focus on the Family (Colorado Springs, CO)

Dr. James Dobson Founder, Focus on the Family (Colorado Springs, CO)

Dr. Michael Easley President Emeritus, Moody Bible Institute (Chicago, IL)

Rev. Jonathan Falwell Senior Pastor, Thomas Road Baptist Church (Lynchburg, VA)



Michael.Gabriel said...

You didn't point out the fact that Dr. James White signed the document...

Turretinfan said...

That's a different James White than James White the apologist. He's James R. White - the one signing this document was James E. White.

John said...

I chuckled when I saw the James E. White entry. The Pope and the Patriarch of Constantinople would have to agree fully with the Westminster Confession before that could ever happen.

Has all the world gone mad? 5 years ago, I wouldn't have dreamed I'd stand with John MacArthur, but thanks to guys like you (TF) and Dr. James White, I'm seeing things much more clearly. Pragmatism, whether it goes by the name of ECT or TMD, can only harm, and plays right into the hand of false religion.