30 November 2009

Nineteen questions for signers of "The Manhattan Declaration"

by Dan Phillips

Like many of you, I am absolutely slack-jawedly baffled at some of the names on "The Manhattan Declaration." I have already briefly expressed my own thoughts on that document.

Were I able to get their ear and interview them, these are the questions I would ask of the genuinely evangelical brothers and sisters who signed that thing:
  1. Is the Bible your sole, sufficient, ultimate source and authority for faith and practice?
  2. Do you believe that the Biblical Gospel is the good news that lost, sinful man can be reconciled to God by grace alone, through faith alone, in and because of Christ's person and work alone, to the glory of God alone, as seen with final authority in Scripture alone?
  3. Do you see — note well my wording — Scriptural warrant for applying the word "Christian" to anyone other than one who is yoked as a student to the words of Christ and His apostles (Acts 11:26), who affirms the Gospel as described in #2 above (Acts 26:28), and who has been spiritually regenerated by grace alone through faith alone (1 Peter 4:16; cf. 1:3-5)?
  4. Do you see — again, note well my wording — Scriptural warrant for applying the word "Christian" to anyone who would distort and oppose that Gospel, either personally or by aligning himself directly as a supporter (let alone promoter) of such institutional distortion and opposition?
  5. Do you believe that "distortion" of that Gospel is a damning heresy, such as falls under the thundering apostolic condemnation of Galatians 1:6-9?
  6. Do you believe that Roman Catholicism's official formulation of the gospel is such a damning heresy?
  7. Can a church be a Christian church if it has the Gospel wrong?
  8. What do you believe the Reformation was about?
  9. Do you believe the Reformation was vital and necessary, or a mistake?
  10. Do you agree with the document you signed, that the Popes of the 16th and 17th centuries were Christians (remembering ##1-6, above)?
  11. As to the central themes of the Reformation, has anything fundamental changed today, so that the Reformation is no longer relevant?
  12. Do you believe that persuading people to assent to a vaguely-Biblical opinion about homosexuality, marriage, or abortion is more critical than clearly presenting the Gospel, as described in #2 above?
  13. Do you admit that "The Manhattan Declaration" identifies as Christians men and women who are members of — indeed, leaders within — sects which (A) formally and officially oppose the Gospel as described in #2, above; and which (B) make a great deal of the fact that all adherents of those institutions must walk in lockstep conformity with their formal and official positions?
  14. If your son or daughter were to tell you that he or she wants to join the Orthodox or Roman Catholic church, "Because anyway, you said they were Christians just like you are, except for 'ecclesial difference'" — how would you respond?
  15. Can  your fellow-signatories rely on the "Gospel" that their sects officially proclaim — which "Gospel" contradicts the Gospel as defined in #2 above — and still go to Heaven?
  16. Which is more important and more critical in our day: to define marriage, life, and civil liberty; or to define the Gospel?
  17. How can it be helpful to join hands in defining the former, with those who cannot define the latter?
  18. Can any civic gains that this document achieves for the issues of abortion or marriage offset the spiritual damage it causes in blurring the line between a true, Biblical, saving Gospel, and a false, un-Biblical, damning distortion?
  19. 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," which over and over again identifies both you and adherents of Gospel-distorting sects as alike Christians, which says that you and they alike "are compelled by our Christian faith," and which repeatedly suggest that you and they alike proclaim "the Gospel"?
The co-signatories made a public statement by endorsing this document. It seems fitting to convey these questions in the same arena.

What I would ask of those who have signed, I would press all the more urgently on anyone tempted to sign.


Now, nobody has to read all of those questions.

EXCEPT: if you want to comment on this post, you do. If you don't seem to have read them all, you will be asked to do so. And if you refuse, your comments will be deleted.

Therefore, if you comment, you will know that it is all about the Gospel.

That means that —
  • We will not have any comments by anyone attempt to derail this into a discussion of homosexuality, abortion, or "co-belligerent" social involvement.
  • We won't have anyone attempt to derail this into a discussion of the relative value of minimalist creeds.
  • We won't have anyone attempt to derail this into a discussion of sociological definitions of "Christian."
  • We won't have anyone attempt to derail this into a discussion of whether non-leaders who attend bad churches without accepting their damnable heresies can individually be saved.
  • We won't have anyone attempt to derail this into a discussion of the spiritual condition of long-dead men or women.
UPDATE: follow-up posts HERE, HERE, and HERE.

Dan Phillips's signature

178 comments:

The Bible Christian said...

#16 Which is more important and more critical in our day: to define marriage, life, and civil liberty; or to define the Gospel?

The Gospel rightly proclaimed and preached is the answer to all these social diseases (SIN) we have today.

It's all I ever here from Dr MacArthur is...get the Gospel right... Get the word of God right...boldly preach it and everything else will take care of itself.Including marriage, life, and civil liberty.

Dan you are right.
It's all about the Gospel

1 Corinthians 1:18 For the word of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.

Paul goes on to say... but we preach Christ crucified

Lenny

Sir Brass said...

Can of worms indeed. Dan, I salute you.

This was the sermon at church this morning. I think you'll be hearing the words of someone who agrees with you that this is about the Gospel:

http://www.aomin.org/aoblog/index.php?itemid=3652

Simon said...

First up: I don't disagree with your conclusion, that the differences are too large to refer to all these denominations as 'brothers'.

But isn't point #2 defining the 'Gospel' a little widely? Not every important fact about the Gospel actually is the gospel.

Now all those statements about the gospel are true, and worth making clear and costly division over, but is it actually part of the gospel that it (for instance) is only seen with final authority in the scriptures?

Do we have to remove the label of Christian from the belivers in Antioch, because they might not have been able to affirm that point?

The 'Gospel' is assigned a unique position in NT, and so it's not our right to extend it to cover everything of value - even if that value if huge.

But, as I said, I agree with the conclusion, and I wouldn't be able to sign the declaration

Stan McCullars said...

Dan,
Great questions! You have placed the emphasis right where it needs to be.

Carrie said...

Can any civic gains that this document achieves for the issues of abortion or marriage offset the spiritual damage it causes in blurring the line between a true, Biblical, saving Gospel, and a false, un-Biblical, damning distortion?

Well said. The question above is my biggest concern with this kind of stuff. Plus, I really just don't see the point of having such a document in the first place, so why even take the chance of blurring the lines.

love God... said...

Amen Dan.

To those who are waffling..."Be a man of conviction in a sea of consensus."

2 Corinthians 10:3-5 For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ,

DJP said...

Thoughtful question, Simon, and I appreciate it.

The phrase "as seen with final authority in Scripture alone" modifies the whole description of the Gospel, and grows from #1.

In other words, if we accept that the Bible is our sole, sufficient and ultimate source for faith and practice, mustn't our view of the Gospel rest for final authority on Scripture alone?

Matt said...
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Matt said...

Great questions, Dan. #s 16-18 really hit the mark.

Another question one could ask is why this declaration is limited to cooperating with Catholics and Orthodox? Conservative JWs and Mormons would be able to agree with the conclusions as well, and they all affirm some form or another of "Christian" theism. Isn't that good enough if we're trying to create religious political coalition that champions "Judeo-Christian values"? Why should the "gospel" define these groups out of Christianity if it doesn't define the Catholics and the Orthodox out?

Boerseuntjie said...

Beloved brethren,

If I may add an established discussion from Shepherd's Fellowship at Pulpit Magazine:

You may see my comments there, we discussed many of these points there:

http://www.shepherdsfellowship.org/pulpit/Posts.aspx?ID=4444

Fred Butler said...

I still would like to hear a response from MD proponents:

Why is it necessary for me to be arm-twisted to sign a document with individuals who hold to a sub-biblical view of salvation just to say I think abortion and gay marriage is wrong?

150,000 signatures on a document proclaiming how the signers don't like gay marriage and abortion is going to actually change something? What's really going to happen? The anti-god left are going to go running out of their coffee shops with the fingers in the ears and thus we have reclaimed the culture? Really?

DJP said...

My fear is that it will accomplish something.

But not what the Christian signers intend.

Two words: Trojan horse.

butterfli75 said...

It's all about the gospel, but how do we defend the gospel in the world? A question for the future: when the battle lines are drawn decisively and the government begins more fiercely to attack "privileges" of religious institutions (i.e. free speech, tax exemptions, discriminatory hiring practices of religious organizations, admissions and hiring practices of seminaries,dissemination of Bibles, etc.), what role will the gospel play in whom we join forces with in the political arena? Or does the gospel preclude us from allying with any outside our confession? Do we then launch our own parallel battle? Should signatory orthodox evangelicals have then issued their own manifesto?

b_null said...

Could I ammend your questionaire?
"20. Would you feel as comfortable signing this declaration were it also signed by numerous muslims, hindus, and buddhists?"

In the words of Paul Washer . . .
"99% pure, 1% sewage . . . I'm not drinking!"

Once comprimise the true gospel then we have lost all our moorings.

Soldier on, Dan!

Derek Joseph said...

Have you read Kevin Deyoung's recent article on this subject? And Mohler's recent publishing of his rationale in signing the document?

Though I lean towards your side in this debate, it might be useful to engage specifically with their published points of view.

Scout said...

What part of "mark and avoid" don't these guys get? I just listened to some tremendous teaching on true Biblical separation. It has helped me immensely with things like this. The link to the teaching is http://wordoftruth.churchwebwerx.com/sermons/

You might want to check it out.

donsands said...

Great questions, pure and simple. Thanks for the post.

Satan wants to twist the Gospel, even just a little this way or that way to make it another gospel.

I had a nice debate with a Catholic nun the other day. We do have common ground like the Trinity, and our morals, but she believes we need more than "one mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus": We need the pope and priests, and the sacrament of reconciliation.

donsands said...

Oh yeah, and we need penance, say 7 our fathers, and so forth.

DJP said...

Derek, it will be interesting to see whether (and if so, how) deYoung and Mohler respond to these questions, won't it?

DJP said...

Don: "Great questions, pure and simple"

You'd think they were simple, wouldn't you, Don? Yet I see that some, elsewhere, have already managed to miss the point. (Perhaps explaining why they're doing it elsewhere rather than here.)

Fred Butler said...

My fear is that it will accomplish something.

But not what the Christian signers intend.


But in spite of the negative ramifications such a document could potentially produce, it will be the non-signers who will be painted as the "bad guys" for stirring up strife when we should all be united against a common enemy.

stratagem said...

I can see that at times, I have gotten more worked up about things like abortion and the gay agenda's advances in society, than about the Gospel. Oops.

Mark | hereiblog said...

Dan,

Appreciate the emphasis here. The Gospel is the main thing that is being glossed over.

One illustration I used is - 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 [YOUR NAME] or the local diocese."

That is the essence of what I get when thinking about signing TMD.

It is also very interesting, if not telling, that some have felt need to defend their signing, in a sense.

Mark

David Rudd said...

Dan, can I get a clarification?

You're NOT saying:

1) we should never discuss the implications of the true Gospel in our daily lives.

2) it's impossible for someone in the Roman Catholic Church to be a true believer.

right?

DJP said...

Yes, Mark.

I am at a loss to explain to myself why some particular signers — whose shoes I'm not worthy to shine — put their very good names on this very bad document. Surely they asked themselves questions such as these? So let us in on how you answered them, brothers.

It has nothing to do with how bad abortion, homosexuality, nor governmental religious oppression are (they're bad).

It has to do with how important it is to be crystal-clear about the Gospel (supremely important).

DJP said...

No, David Rudd, you can't.

Please read the entire post. If it's interesting to you, discuss it.

If not, perhaps a future post will be.

Kenny said...

These are good questions for the signers to consider. I don't know if the question in my mind violates any of the conditions you set but let me ask it anyway.

If all the implications of signing this are what you say they are (and they may indeed be)then will those public figures who have come out against the document on the grounds that the Gospel is compromised or denied, refuse to speak at conferences or public meetings where these signatories are involved?

It would very disappointing to hear that MacArthur et. al. who have publicly spoken against this on the basis of the Gospel being threatened would then agree to speak at an event with these signatories.

Everyday Mommy© said...

It really is all about the Gospel, isn't it [rhetorical question]?

"If God does not save men by truth, he certainly will not save them by lies. And if the old gospel is not competent to work a revival, then we will do without the revival." – C.H. Spurgeon

Matt said...
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TM said...

#17 hits the nail on the head.

"How can it be helpful to join hands in defining the former, with those who cannot define the latter?"

Amen.

Tom

Everyday Mommy© said...

I was not surprised to find our former E-Free pastor's name on the list.

David Rudd said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Frank Turk said...

Kenny --

I'll wait for a ruling from Dan before I respond to your statement.

I'm not derailing this thread.

DJP said...

Kenny, it is an interesting and fair-enough question, but I'd rather not go there in this meta.

To me, it's enough of a topic to discuss the things the questions lay out, themselves, specifically.

-joe said...

Dan,

I signed the declaration several days ago and unsigned yesterday (well, I wrote to them in the contact page to be removed and am waiting on a reply.)

I deeply respect many of the men and women who have signed the document, but I was convinced yesterday afternoon after spending some time reading and listening to arguments from MacArthur and White and time in prayer that you are right. Despite my agreement with the declaration there is something of more importance. The Gospel is more important than these things.

It is easy, however, to see something like this and love it the minute you read it and sign it before you give thought to what it says without words. Especially if you've just watched a movie recently, like, oh, Amazing Grace, and you think of the unborn as the new legalized dehumanization of people. People want to act on behalf of the millions of aborted babies and are unsure how. A Wilberforce will hopefully come, by the grace of God, to lead us to a proper view of the unborn.

I'm not sure I could have answered very many of your questions, and so I am glad to not have that duty.

-joe

DJP said...

I salute you, Joe, for a decision well-made.

It'd be great if other "un-signers" shared with us, as well.

Wouldn't it be particularly glorious — and a bold witness to the lost, who are still chained in those Gospel-denying sects — if the truly great men among the original signers were themselves to withdraw their names?

ulfbiggorilla said...

"Which is more important and more critical in our day: to define marriage, life, and civil liberty; or to define the Gospel?

How can it be helpful to join hands in defining the former, with those who cannot define the latter?

Can any civic gains that this document achieves for the issues of abortion or marriage offset the spiritual damage it causes in blurring the line between a true, Biblical, saving Gospel, and a false, un-Biblical, damning distortion?"

These are great questions. I can't speak for Mohler or any of the other quality individuals that signed the document, but it seems like their argument (and mine) would be along the lines of denying that the document makes any attempt to define the gospel, so even though the answer in a question of relative importance the gospel comes out on top every time...its not a distinction that this document addresses at all. Defining the gospel is the more important than defining marriage, life and civil liberty but the document limits itself to addressing the latter three, not the former.

And it is helpful to join hands with anyone at all in defining these three areas that are specifically under attack. I said this on the Evangel blog and Frank disagreed with me...but I'll say it again anyways...I wouldn't have a problem signing a document with hindus, muslims and all manner of people that said..."we may disagree about many things, but as religious American people, we are not going to stand by and let you our government do x. We'll give to Ceasar what is his...but we won't give him what is God's."

The counter to that, obviously, is that the document does use the word "believer" loosely. That is a flaw. And if this was a document that was supposed to be theological in nature it would be a fatal flaw. But the document, as I understand it, is political. So I could sign it, knowing that the solution to sin isn't politics, its the gospel...and that signing a document isn't nearly as important as adorning the gospel with my life everyday...but also acknowledging that there is a political fight going on right now that could affect my children greatly, and joining that fight with catholics is something I'm willing to do.

DJP said...

Ulf, you write as someone who didn't read a word of my post.

John Taylor said...

I signed the Declaration when it first came out and then over the weekend asked for my name to be removed. After reading what John MacArthur and Alistair Begg had to say I was convinced that it has to be about the gospel not about moral issues or eccumenical bonding but about the gospel. After spending time in the word and with prayer and meditation I have asked for my name to be removed from the document.

The lesson I learned with this is to not be so quick to sign something because it sounds good, but to hold it up against scripture and see if it agrees with scripture or not. If not then I can not be behind it.

John

DJP said...

Thanks, John.

I don't doubt that many signed it - quite understandably - because of the truly great names who had signed on. I can totally understand thinking, "Well, if ___ _____ signed on, I want to stand with him. It has to be a good document."

Except it just isn't.

Brad Williams said...

*sigh*

The problem with this country is not rainbow flag waving gay-marriage supporters. The problem is that men and women are lost, and that means straight, married couples are a big part of the problem. This is shameful, but enough perversion lives in my own heart that I'd sign a petition against myself this morning.

The gospel is the only rememdy availible for poor wretches like myself. Why would I sign a document that exacerbates the real issue?

David Rudd said...

1. yes.
2. yes.
3. i see no scriptural warrant for applying the word "Christian" to anyone.
4. i see no scriptural warrant for applying the word "Christian" to anyone.
5. yes.
6. yes.
7. no.
8. a lot more than i can describe here (but i could use some sola words and probably pass muster with you).
9. vital and necessary and overseen by God's sovereignty.
10. i see no scriptural warrant for applying the word "Christian" to anyone. i think the proper question here should be, "Do you agree with the document you signed, that the papal edicts of the 16th and 17th centuries were Christian edicts. (remembering ##1-6, above)?"
11. no, assuming we're using those sola words as the central themes.
12. no, not MORE critical.
13. no. the declaration allows anyone who wishes to sign and by doing so declare themselves a "Christian".
14. my response. "i didn't say that"
15. i wouldn't think so.
16. defining the gospel is MORE important
17. Because we honor justice and the common good, we will not comply with any edict that purports to compel our institutions to participate in abortions, embryo-destructive research, assisted suicide and euthanasia, or any other anti-life act; nor will we bend to any rule purporting to force us to bless immoral sexual partnerships, treat them as marriages or the equivalent, or refrain from proclaiming the truth, as we know it, about morality and immorality and marriage and the family. We will fully and ungrudgingly render to Caesar what is Caesar’s. But under no circumstances will we render to Caesar what is God’s.
18. you'll have to demonstrate the "the spiritual damage it causes in blurring the line between a true, Biblical, saving Gospel, and a false, un-Biblical, damning distortion". you should start by demonstrating (using propositional statements would be a good start) how it blurs the line.
19. questions answered. can you explain your point?

bossmanham said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
bossmanham said...

I appologize for this addendum.

1. Yes

2. Grace alone and faith alone? How can it be both alone? That's a contradiction, and one of the poorer choices in words of the reformers. It requires both; grace to convict, call, and enable, and faith to apply the saving grace of Christ's payment for sin to the individual. We are justified by grace through faith in Christ.

3. Romans 10:9 says, "if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and (B)believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved." I can't determine the status of one before God simply because they are confused about certain aspects of theology, beyond the essentials.

4. Who is doing that? Catholics and Orthodox agree that salvation is by Jesus' grace through faith (see here and here. I disagree with them on some things just as I disagree with Calviniists on some things.

5. Yes.

6. No.

7. No.

8. Correcting injustices and distorted theology...500 years ago.

9. Necessary and vital.

10. Those popes had far deeper issues than soteriology, like adultery etc. They were probably not Christians. Not sure the document refers to people 500 years ago, and assumes that the people they are talking about are genuine in their belief in Jesus.

11. No, but I think the Roman Catholic church has changed a lot. The reformation was the cause.

12. No, but affirming what Christians will not bend on is, and the document says we won't bend on our principles.

13. (A) No (B) No, because Catholics affirm the salvation of protestants (seperated bretheren).

14. I married a Catholic.

15. If they believe in Christ for their salvation, does their confusion about some aspects of soteriology nullify that faith?

16. The gospel is alredy defined.

17. I don't think it has been established that this is the case.

18. I don't think it has been established that this is the case.

19. Hopefully my previouis answers answer this as well, since the remainder of this question, again, has not been established.

As a friend of mine put it, "By signing the Declaration, I am no more affirming the doctrines of Eastern Orthodox or Roman Catholic churches than I am Protestant churches with whose doctrines I also might disagree. By holding hands with other followers of Christ in this endeavor, I am only committing myself to do what is right, not forming an alliance on doctrinal issues or of the proper understanding of the Gospel with others with whom I may disagree. We all may debate doctrinal issues with one another. But the one thing that is not up for debate is to "promote justice, to be faithful, and to live obediently before your God" (Micah 6:8[])."

ulfbiggorilla said...

1. Yes
2. Yes
3. No
4. No
5. Yes
6. Yes
7. No
8. Getting the Gospel right.
9. Completely vital.
10. The document does not explicitly say that any individual pope was a Christian, it simply mentioned facts about good things they did.
11. The reformation remains completely relevant
12. Definitely not.
13. The document allows anyone who signs it to identify themselves as a Christian, yes.
14. I would chuckle with my kid for making such an obvious joke. But if it turned out he was serious I would explain that I joined with a bunch of folks who id themselves as Christians for the political purpose of letting my government know to where I stood on core issues of conscience. If he pressed me by saying that he felt that it was a tacit acknowledgment of the legitimacy of the Catholic position on the Gospel, I would tell him it was not.
15. No
16. Defining the gospel. Though that isn’t the purpose of the document under discussion.
17. Because while the former is not of primary importance, it is of importance. And there error on the latter does not nullify the fact that they are right about the former, and so I can join with them on it.
18. Because I see this document as carefully political, and not theological, I do not see where it will having the damaging spiritual affects you think it will have.
19. The document specifically says “which we sign as individuals, not on behalf of our organizations” so it is individual Christians, not Evangelicals or Catholics, who are signing the document.

And I echo bossman's answer to 19.

ulfbiggorilla said...

Ehh, let me say one more thing. I don't agree with everything in bossman's answer to 19.

Also Dan, I wanted to go through each answer to at least demonstrate that I read the questions :) Even if I am wrong in my answers, or in my conclusion. Which I very well may be.

BrettR said...

I would need a clarification on what you mean by "distortion" in question #5. I think I know what you mean, but can "distortion" go so far as to include what I think is a distortion (i.e. the arminianism that I was raised in and I believe I was still a Christian under)? I think you are hitting toward larger distortions but I think clarification is needed. I am not saying that the stated passage is unclear (to me), but it is a passage that has been used and abused on all sides.

One side note: if I had read MD on the way into a supermarket and asked to sign it as a petition, I know I would have signed it without much thought. Thank you for your careful analysis and your diligence in goading me to think about the Gospel in all things. There are lines that need to be laid down and not crossed and I believe that the MD is over that line. Thanks to both you and James White.

Christian said...

What is particularly alarming is that many of those who have of late been beating the drum for "Gospel Centeredness" have now signed and are promoting this declaration, which is anything but Gospel Centered. That is, unless it is a different gospel in view. However I am persuaded of better things of most of them. Nevertheless, signing the document is a serious error in judgment that will have serious ramifications unless repented of.

DJP said...

Christian, your first two sentences are particularly well-put. It makes you want to sort of do an Inigo Montoya, "You keep using that phrase. You signing MD makes me think you don't mean what I think you mean by it. What do you mean by it?"

John said...

#16 and #18 were awesome. Actually, this reminds me a little of Paul. He says there is not Jew nor Greek, no male nor female, no slave nor free in Christ. And yet, when it comes to "Jew vs. Greek", he lays the royal smack down on the Galatians. Very different from his treatment of Philemon. Why? Because the Galatians were messing with the gospel! I pray we all take the gospel so seriously.

Pastor Jeremiah said...

I read your whole blog post including all the questions (as I always do when I read your blog and have appreciated doing so).

Even as one who has signed the MD I think they are good and and compelling questions ... but,

Your conditions for posting a comment (especially conditions 2-5) are unhelpful for productive conversation because they prohibit discussing some of my own answers to the questions that you asked.

Unless, of course, they weren't really questions but statements. In which case, you should consider labeling them as such.

I have been reading a great deal and am FOR THE SAKE OF THE GOSPEL quite willing to be persuaded to remove my name, but I can't be persuaded if conditions for conversation are placed that exclude genuine responses that I have to the questions you pose.

But I will follow your ground rules. Therefore I won't "derail" the conversation by offering genuine to your answers or honest questions of my own as they would violate conditions 2-5. Unless, of course, you were willing to allow a little more flexibility in your conditions.

And hopefully, you do not deem that this comment violates your conditions as I have read the entire post and my comment is relevant to the content of the post (admitting that it is not directed at the main point of your post, which I can't address due to the conditions set).

Thank you for the questions, nonetheless.

Jeremiah

Sir Aaron said...

Dan, awesome post. It really brings the essence of the problem with this document into focus.

As to the poster confused about the solas, you obviously need to learn more about them. Dan gave a fabulous sermon on the five solas which explains them. If you email him, I'm sure he'd send you the link to the podcast.

Fred Butler said...

Well, A liberal felt comfortable in signing it. Not sure how that will effect anyone's opinion about it.

stratagem said...

I think a number of you are missing the point that if this Declaration had simply been a political one taking a stand against abortion and the homosexual agenda, it would not be so troublesome. But since it declares the Gospel as being the basis for their stand, putting your name on it conveys a very muddy definition of the Gospel, since at the time you sign it you have no way of knowing who else will also sign it.
Signing the thing would have been a very easy mistake to make - but those who are in high-profile positions should have asked more questions about the theology involved, before signing it.
The Gospel is the only cure for these social ills, so we'd better get that part right. I think that might be what Dan is saying.

Associate-to-the-Pastor said...

Chalk Dan up as undecided on this one.

eric opsahl said...

This may not be the proper question at this time for this post?

How do we, as citizens, of the U.S.A. take a Moral stand on a national level along with other citizens? In general, it’s the “religious” folks who will take a stand, will we not always end up holding hands with those of false religions?

Does this mean that we Christians can’t join in a moral stand as citizens? I suspect all moral movements will at some time make a common statement. In that the members are religious, the statement will have a religious tone.

How do we get around this? If this is a knuckleheaded question…be kind.

Eric

Mary Elizabeth Tyler said...

Excellent article, Dan!

Numbers 16, 17 and 18 did it for me.

AMEN!!!

ulfbiggorilla said...

"Actually, this reminds me a little of Paul. He says there is not Jew nor Greek, no male nor female, no slave nor free in Christ. And yet, when it comes to "Jew vs. Greek", he lays the royal smack down on the Galatians. Very different from his treatment of Philemon. Why? Because the Galatians were messing with the gospel!" - John

The problem is, since this document doesn't make any claim to define what the gospel is, and since it is understood that there are historical differences on the definition of the gospel between the three camps represented, I don't think this is a case where the gospel is being called into question. This isn't like Galatia, where a specific heresy was undermining the gospel.

SandMan said...

As one who left the Catholic church for reasons far greater than "liturgical differences," it steams me that there are still those intent on calling them our brethren. Make no mistake, can there be a Christian tucked away in the recesses of the local diocese? Sure,but anyone who holds to the tenets of the Catholic church does not believe the true biblical gospel. And, make no mistake, those tenets HAVE NOT CHANGED in thousands of years.

Bossmanham provided a link to the ECT that makes a flowery, wordy show of the "agreement" Protestants and Catholics have. It ends near the bottom with:

While we rejoice in the unity we have discovered and are confident of the fundamental truths about the gift of salvation we have affirmed, we recognize that there are necessarily interrelated questions that require further and urgent exploration. Among such questions are these: the meaning of baptismal regeneration, the Eucharist, and sacramental grace; the historic uses of the language of justification as it relates to imputed and transformative righteousness; the normative status of justification in relation to all Christian doctrine; the assertion that while justification is by faith alone, the faith that receives salvation is never alone; diverse understandings of merit, reward, purgatory, and indulgences; Marian devotion and the assistance of the saints in the life of salvation; and the possibility of salvation for those who have not been evangelized.

Tell me that you can believe in baptismal regeneration, sacramental grace, or indulgences and still be a Christian by the biblical definition. If you think so, you either don't understand what the Catholic terms mean, or you don't understand the biblical gospel.

True Christians have NO BUSINESS interacting with Catholics in a spiritual plane except to evenagelize them.

stratagem said...

Perhaps. But this is America, where many specific heresies are undermining the Gospel. Many of them being represented by the signatories of this document. Leading non-believers to perhaps conclude wrongly that the way is broad rather than narrow.

trogdor said...

"The problem is, since this document doesn't make any claim to define what the gospel is, and since it is understood that there are historical differences on the definition of the gospel between the three camps represented, I don't think this is a case where the gospel is being called into question. This isn't like Galatia, where a specific heresy was undermining the gospel."

No, it merely (1) takes people who are preaching a different, damnable gospel, (2) calls them fellow Christians, in obedience to God, etc, (3) claims that the differences amount to nothing beyond historical, ecclesial differences, and (4) says that all of us - those who hold the true gospel and those who teach damnable heresy - are acting according to the gospel.

There were "differences on the definition of the gospel" between Paul and the Galatian heresy-peddlers as well (very similar to the ones in play here, actually). He made no bones about it - they were not brothers with historical, ecclesial differences. They were "false brothers" who "trouble you and want to distort the gospel of Christ". The issues at stake were too vital to pretend these men were fellow believers, obedient to God, following the gospel, etc. Same here.

Denis said...

stratagem, you said: Leading non-believers to perhaps conclude wrongly that the way is broad rather than narrow.

Well said, you isolated my main concern. This is especially true since this declaration is targeted to unbelievers (its words).

What really brings this home is when you find out that neighbour or family member you've been trying to share with is finally going to church only to find out they have started going to the local RC church.

My concern is that agreements like this one could further muddy this issue for outsiders.

David Dougherty said...

In many respects, this declaration is the problematic result of allowing those trained and experienced in political and social dimensions of leadership to speak authoritatively to issues which require theological, historical and Biblical training.

ulfbiggorilla said...

But you see, the whole point is not to try and bridge any of the theological differences. It is not to try and address the heresies of the Catholic church. It is a statement of common conscience (which all sides would say is founded on biblical principle) on three specific, urgent issues. It deliberately states that the individuals signing recognize that this isn't a catholic, or evangelical document. It is a statement that there is common conscience on these issues and we will not back down on these issues.

No one is asking anyone to concede any doctrinal ground...even on the issues more important than the ones this document represents. It is stating that we have a common understanding, based in Scripture, that these issues are not ones we will concede to the government on.

What is being conceded by signing the document? That we consider them to be our Christian brothers? Or that we have common conscience in these three areas, and that the common conscience is derived from a biblical worldview?

DJP said...

Eric, it isn't a knuckleheaded question, it's just one of the forbidden ones. It can be done, but not by compromising the Gospel, which is an obvious central point of the post.

To answer your question, click on the link attached the words "social involvement" in the post. Phil and I did a whole thing on that very question.

DJP said...

Trogdor: thank you!

(A) For reading the post; and


(B) For reading to Ulf the parts that anticipated and pre-answered his questions.

DJP said...

Ulf, once again your most recent questions (11:39 AM, November 30, 2009) are anticipated and answered in the post itself. You may not like the answers; please stop pretending they're not there.

ulfbiggorilla said...

Ok Dan.

Denis said...

ulfbiggorilla,

I think the problem is that the document didn't stick to simply being a statement of common conscience on the issues ... if it did I don't think there would be near as much concern.

For example, after using language that seems to tie Orthodox, Catholic, and Evangelical Christians together as fellow believers and Christians, statements like the following are made:

"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."

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


Statements such as these seem to imply that the commonality of Orthodox, Catholic, and Evangelical Christians includes the Gospel (even though the gospel is never formally defined).

Mike Riccardi said...

Boiled down, the issue is that according to this document, "the Gospel" does not define someone as a Christian.

That's what you concede -- intentionally or not -- by signing this document. And that's scary.

ulfbiggorilla said...

Denis,

you may be right...folks may read it that way...but then why make the distinction between the camps at all? Why mention the three groups?

Seems to me that it is to say "look, we who have vast historical differences...have common agreement on these three issues!" And the agreement is based on Christian principles derived from the bible. Clearly though, I am missing it.

I will stop talking for good now. Unless someone else talks to me :)

Mike Hall said...

"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.

My beliefs concerning the Roman Catholic Church and the Orthodox churches have not changed. 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. But The Manhattan Declaration does not attempt to establish common ground on these doctrines. We remain who we are, and we concede no doctrinal ground."

- Dr. Al Mohler

Enough said.

DJP said...

That's bad enough, Mike; but the document is even worse.

It says: "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."

That implies that all the signers accept each other as currently proclaiming "the Gospel of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ in its fullness" (a theological statement), and simply pray that they won't fail to continue to do that. (What nonsense it would be, if signers believe that co-signers already have failed.)

But wait. It is the contention, at least, of Reformed believers, that the RCC already has failed, and definitionally fails, in that proclamation.

Or isn't it? (Hence my questions.)

Further, the document states: "Going back to the earliest days of the church, Christians have refused to compromise their proclamation of the gospel."

By signing the document, with its very emphatic wording, all signatories have accepted Orthodox and RC co-signatories as "Christians." The document says Christians have refused to compromise their proclamation of the Gospel.

Therefore, Reformed/evangelical signatories, by signing, are affirming that Orthodox and Roman Catholics have refused to compromise their proclamation of the Gospel.

Again, a theological statement.

Bringing us right back to my questions.

DJP said...

BTW, I had not read Mike Hall's comment when I posted mine.

It's a Proverbs 16:33 sort of thing.

Andrew D said...
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Andrew D said...

When Mohler writes, "... the Manhattan Declaration does not attempt to establish common ground on these doctrines", that is wishful thinking. It sounds like "this is what I meant when I signed it." We all know that Mohler can parse language as carefully as anybody.

TMD does establish common ground on gospel. It is all over the place. Mohler and Duncan and others need to reexamine the document with these concerns in mind. It is hard to understand how such great gospel teachers missed it.

Trying not to be discouraged... I trust that many will recant.

threegirldad said...

That implies that all the signers accept each other as currently proclaiming "the Gospel of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ in its fullness" (a theological statement), and simply pray that they won't fail to continue to do that.

It's actually even worse than that, I think. Notice this statement from the -- what would you call it? synopsis? -- posted at the MD home page:

"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."

"Join" how, exactly? In some way that doesn't involve signing the Declaration?

I don't see a disclaimer anywhere urging people to sign only of they consider themselves Orthodox, Catholic, or Evangelical.

DJP said...

Andrew D, that is so emphatically the case, that I am seriously hoping for one of my heroes to write, "The document has been tampered with since I signed it."

stranger.strange.land said...

Mark / hereiblog...
It is also very interesting, if not telling, that some have felt need to defend their signing, in a sense.


I think I get Mark's point here. It is quite a contrast to, for instance, Luther's "Here I stand," isn't it.

Craig B

olan strickland said...

When Mohler writes, "... the Manhattan Declaration does not attempt to establish common ground on these doctrines....

This is precisely the error that should be avoided by Christians. To establish common ground any other way is to fall prey to an ecumenical alliance where orthopraxy is deemed more important than orthodoxy. This would distort the gospel and in essence would categorize the Reformation as a failure!

Religious pluralism is not the answer to the world's problems - the gospel is!

Don't drink the Kool-Aid!

DJP said...

BTW, MD mastermind Chuck Colson wrote this:

"This document [The Manhattan Declaration] is, in fact, a form of catechism for the foundational truths of the faith."

Which very nicely (if tragically) underscores the point of my post.

Stan McCullars said...

Dan,
You beat me to the Colson quote.

He certainly thinks The Manhattan Declaration is more than expressing common ground on a few social issues.

DJP said...

Yeah, Stan; and authorial intent is supposed to matter to us, no?

Eric said...

I think it's time for Colson to read Foxe's Book of Martyrs again (or for the first time).

DJP said...

Oh, now, Eric; you know very well that the Roman Catholic Church only killed 2/3 as many Christians as Foxe claims.

And most of their tortures weren't nearly so gruesome.

And the executions were much mroe humane.

And besides, Pope Epidermis IX expressed "regrets about any past superfluities of zeal that may have occurred in Rome's proclamation of the Gospel."

< /s >

bossmanham said...

Tell me that you can believe in baptismal regeneration, sacramental grace, or indulgences and still be a Christian by the biblical definition

There are protestant denominations who believe in baptismal regeneration, and I don't think they are unsaved. I think padeobaptism is a graver error than BR, but I don't think Presbyterians are on the highway to heck. Lutherans believe in sacramental grace as well. Indulgences aren't much of an issue any more, but if someone is selling them, buyer beware, and seller be ashamed.

So yes, I think one can be mistaken about those things and still have faith in Jesus.

True Christians have NO BUSINESS interacting with Catholics in a spiritual plane except to evenagelize them.

Were you saved by your faith in Christ while still in the Catholic church? I'm glad you have come to a better understanding of the gospel and think it is good and beneficial that you're off the milk, but I'm not sure a lack of undestanding nullifies faith.

you know very well that the Roman Catholic Church only killed 2/3 as many Christians as Foxe claims.

And how many Anabaptists did Zwingli drown?

And besides, Pope Epidermis IX expressed "regrets about any past superfluities of zeal that may have occurred in Rome's proclamation of the Gospel."

Okay...but the current Pope says, "man is unable to justify himself by his works, but becomes just before God only because God restores us to right relationship by uniting us with Christ. Man obtains this union with Christ by means of faith," and, ""The centrality of justification without works, the main object of Paul's preaching, presents no contradiction to faith working through love; on the contrary it requires that our own faith be expressed in a life in accordance with the Spirit" (http://www.catholicnewsagency.com/new.php?n=14450).

Sir Aaron said...

Eric:

How do we, as citizens, of the U.S.A. take a Moral stand on a national level along with other citizens? In general, it’s the “religious” folks who will take a stand, will we not always end up holding hands with those of false religions?

A statement could have made to this effect: "We, as United States citizens, do decry the current efforts by various factions and government entities to force individuals and entities to perform actions which we consider contrary to our religious obligations. And although we have a great divide between us when it comes to matters of faith and salvation, we stand united in opposition to homsexuality and abortion. The United States was founded on the principles of freedom from government intrusion into the exercise of religion. So inasmuch as we are separated by an uncrossable gulf when it comes to the issue of salvation, we are fully united in the belief that intrusion by the government on these issues represents a dangerous threat to the religious freedoms of all. So following the examples of our country's forefathers, we agree that no matter what laws the government may pass, we will not allow ourselves to be forced to perform abortions or marry homosexual partners no matter the consequence."

How about that?

Ben said...
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Ben said...

Which is more important and more critical in our day: to define marriage, life, and civil liberty; or to define the Gospel?

It's gotta be the Gospel; good news for sinners destined to hell. We can try all we want, but living a good life and not placing our faith in Jesus Christ to save us and grant us eternal life will still result in going to hell.

Like Paul says, we preach Christ, a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles; but applied to a true follower of Christ, it is life changing.

If we get the Gospel right, we will inherently get all these other things right. If not, we can still get things such as marriage and abortion right, but we don't really understand why.

Thanks for the questions, they have been a real help to me, and I think they will help me to challenge others about similar issues to the Manhattan Declaration.

donsands said...

"Okay...but the current Pope says,..."
bossman

He may well say this, but he says a whole lot more doesn't he.

Unless he has turned his back on the 7 Roman sacraments, especially Penance.

I spoke with Mormons and JW's who said, "I believe we are saved by grace through faith."
But as you press them and talk a bit more, you find out that they have a gospel of works, as does Catholicism.

Denis said...

Sir Aaron,

That's a great example of what could've been done to avoid this controversy.

DJP said...

David Rudd, now that I have time to look over your comment.

can you explain your point?

Again?

Given the absurdity of some of your responses (i.e. 3, 4, 10, etc.), probably not in a way that you'd acknowledge as sufficient.

DJP said...

Bossmanham, to your answering... well, responding to the questions: you didn't ask a question. But give your muddle about essential truths and facts, your signing such a document wouldn't surprise me.

This post isn't about you.

Kyle Mann said...

From the Manhattan Declaration FAQ:

"'...They are principles that can be known and honored by men and women of goodwill even apart from divine revelation. They are principles of right reason and natural law.’ So the signatories are happy to stand alongside our LDS brothers and sisters who have worked so heroically in the cause of defending marriage, our Jewish brothers and sisters, members of other faiths, and people of no particular faith (even pro-life atheists such as the great Nat Hentoff), who affirm our principles and wish to join us in proclaiming and defending them."

Oh boy...

Kyle Mann said...

@donsands:

Exactly!

I had some LDS Elders over to my house recently, and they insist that they hold to justification by faith. Of course, what they mean by this is that "works done in faith" save them. It's all in the definitions.

SandMan said...

Bossmanham,

I took my quote directly from the link that you embedded in your previous quote. After stating that they believe in many things that I would affirm, they add the caveat that I referenced. I am not a Presbyterian, but I do not expect that Presbyterians believe that dunking a baby in water provides eternal life. Baptismal regeneration is the belief that the RCC espouses that states that baptism nullifies original sin. That is NOT the gospel. You conveniently skipped the sacraments. This is the belief that the 7 "institutions" ( Baptism, Confirmation or Chrismation, Eucharist, Penance, Anointing of the Sick, Holy Orders, and Matrimony) of the RCC give salvific (saving) grace, and that you must do at least some of them to be saved. That is NOT the gospel. You also stated that indulgences are not being used any longer. Apparently they were important enough to our RCC "brethren" to add them to the list of "sticking points" that they could not agree with protestants regarding.
Finally, I was not saved in the RCC, I was saved out of it... in spite of it...away from it.

SandMan said...

Dan,

I was drafting my comment while you made yours. You can delete mine of you like. Not trying to derail...
Thanks for your post.

-Jason (SandMan)

Jason said...

Right on Dan. My fear with this is two fold... that a.) it will set a precedent, which I think you eluded to as the trojan horse in one of your replies, that will open the door for other things to creep in and when we kick up a stink about it they will point back to this document in which we opened up the title Christian to groups that are in fact NOT born again believing Christians... when that happens their will be some embarrassment and damage control to be done.

2.) Too often it seems lately that we evangelicals are willing to set aside certain fundamental truths of the faith in order to accomplish some other good... as if the good of the community or anything else for that matter should come above the truth of the Gospel... this cannot be named amongst us... This is the Rick Warren approach to ministry. The 'Let's just include everyone so that we love everyone and don't offend anyone'.

Jesus said in Matthew 10 not to fear those who can destroy the body. Paul said, as you mentioned. in Galatians 1 that anyone who preached a Gospel contrary to scripture is to be anathema. I would rather concern myself more with being certain that every step I take in any circumstance is done with my gaze fixed steadily on Christ so that it is an action that is pleasing to Him, rather than ever worry about what types of inner-faith relationships I built.

Dr. MacArthur has it correct. Commit to know the GOSPEL rightly, and everything else will fall in line accordingly...

Wonderful questions Dan, kudos to you guys for speaking boldly the truth of Scripture regardless of reaction.

TAR said...

My concern is this type of declaration is specifically opposed by scripture..

We are told not to be unequally yoked.
Scripture does not say except when you are in political agreement.

God has ordained these times no man can stop the hand of God, so we need to be about the Fathers business, there are souls that need to hear the gospel,God still "have a people in this place"

jbboren said...

"And if you refuse, your comments will be deleted."

Well, that's one way to keep dissent off your blog.

:-)

DJP said...

Clearly.

Andy Dollahite said...

Count me as one who didn't think sufficiently before signing, and for that I need to repent. Lord willing it won't happen again. Thanks.

stranger.strange.land said...

jbboren:
"And if you refuse, your comments will be deleted."

Well, that's one way to keep dissent off your blog. :-)


To be fair, J.B., this blog appears to deal with dissenting views quite regularly and handles them fairly. I think it is more likely that their rules are intended to maintain some kind of order and prevent the discussion from branching off onto a dozen rabbit trails.

Craig B

Ms Darla said...

"It is better to be divided by truth than to be united by error." --Martin Luther

Dallas said...

If we interpret the words of the Manhattan contextually, then Dr Mohler's conclusions would be correct. In order to arrive at the conclusion that the Manhattan Declaration is seeking a broad definition of the gospel or attempting a broad ecumenical unity between different faiths must use deconstruction to arrive at that conclusion.I would like to ask why the normative contextual interpretation should be rejected? It is ironic that in the name of preserving the purity of the gospel that truth rejecting,postmodern epistemology is used. The critiques of the MD are in worse dangers of mixing gospels than anything actually found in the MD

DJP said...

Written, I must say, as by one who didn't read the post, nor half the comments.

Words mean things. That's not PoMo.

VcdeChagn said...

If we interpret the words of the Manhattan contextually,

In context...the document calls Catholics (speaking of course of those who believe in Catholic Doctrine) Christians.

So signing the document means you either:

1. Agree that Catholics are Christians

2. Are willing to live with being lumped in with apostate Romanists.

I am neither, therefore I did not sign.

lawrence said...

This whole things cracks me up...

I personally think we're tricking the Catholics into conceding ground to us.

Tom said...

"Is the Bible your sole, sufficient, ultimate source and authority for faith and practice?"

Reformed confessional Christians would have to answer "no" to that one. The Bible is the only ultimate and infallible authority, but it is not sole authority, nor is it even sufficient.

Christ gave authority to His Church and the officers therein (Acts. 20:28ff; Eph. 4:11ff) to authoritatively yet imperfectly interpret the Bible. Thus, the Reformation taught sola Scriptura, not solo Scriptura.

DJP said...

As gross an error as it is common:

(A) No church officer has the right to "trump" Scripture.

(B) My English isn't that convoluted as to be taken any other way.

Stan McCullars said...

I guess when the comments count hits three digits they start coming out of the woodworks.

DJP said...

I'm sure some just don't see it when it's up, Stan.

But I have often wondered if the motivation isn't just to sneak in a slimy little sniper-shot, hoping to be under the radar.

SandMan said...

Dan,

I read Tom's comment and forced myself away from the PC knowing that you would jump on it swiftly. I feel better now...thanks.

WV: ingsin-- the pluperfect tense of the verb to sin.

Nuno Fonseca said...

So let me see if I get this correctly: you prefer to bypass a chance to offer your name to a joint statement whose sole purpose is to inform non-Christians of the Biblical condenation of homosexuality and the promise of pardon and communion to its repentents on the basis of the existence of different definitions of what the Gospel is among the signers thereof?

I guess you're not aware of the nuance that exists in the midst of the many Protestant definitions; even among Baptists, for that matter. Just this blog alone has just hit Al Mohler, the president of the SBC, and your Presbie pal, Ligon Duncan right between the eyes.

Chris Roberts said...
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Chris Roberts said...

D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones on this, from his book "Studies in the Sermon on the Mount":

"We are all talking about ecumenicity, and the argument is put forward that, because of a certain common danger, it is not the time to be arguing about points of doctrine; rather we should all be friendly and pull together. Not at all, according to our Lord. The fact that the Roman Catholic and Greek Orthodox churches are called Christian is no reason why we should not expose the corruptness and the dangerous errors of their systems."

DJP said...

Nuno - Just this blog alone has just hit Al Mohler, the president of the SBC, and your Presbie pal, Ligon Duncan right between the eyes.

How do you know that without having read, much less thought about, the post?

Michael J. Rotheker said...

"As one who left the Catholic church for reasons far greater than 'liturgical differences,' it steams me that there are still those intent on calling them our brethren. Make no mistake, can there be a Christian tucked away in the recesses of the local diocese? Sure,but anyone who holds to the tenets of the Catholic church does not believe the true biblical gospel. And, make no mistake, those tenets HAVE NOT CHANGED in thousands of years."

I am also an ex-Catholic follower of Christ, and I agree 110% with this statement. Those holding to the tenets of the Roman Catholic church are NOT Christians, for our views on salvation are not the same.

I for one am fed up with "Evangelical" Christianity in the sense that the term has been hijacked by many who aren't even close to being true Christians. Nowadays, every seeker sensitive, post-modern, emerging church-going heresy pusher has taken up the "Evangelical" banner. Honestly, the word has long since lost it's meaning and I think it's time either take it back, or abandon ship for another.

But that rant aside, it MUST be about the Gospel. We must stop getting all wrapped up in these "social" issues and PREACH THE WORD! That alone will take care of everything else.

Dallas said...

"Words mean things. That's not PoMo"

DJP

Words do mean things, but words have a range of meanings. The phrase "I love you" can have three different meanings depending on the context. The sentences that you quote in your post simply do not, within the context of the document, mean what you say they mean.

To take secondary propositions out of context and then interpret the entire document in light of that instead of the main idea is called deconstruction. Deconstruction is a postmodern tactic that is often used with deceitful intent.

DJP said...

Ah, I see the problem. You haven't read the post.

Read the post. It will clear it all up for you. be sure not to skip the first questions.

Tom said...

“(A) No church officer has the right to "trump" Scripture.”

Granted. I would affirm that very thing. But it goes along with the fact that neither does a church member have the lawful right to ignore a church officer when they speak on matters of faith and practice according to the Word of God. The Bible is the ultimate authority from which the officers derive their own authority.

“(B) My English isn't that convoluted as to be taken any other way.”

It could lend itself to the error of solo Scriptura common in evangelicalism.

See “Critique of the Evangelical Doctrine of Solo Scriptura” at http://www.the-highway.com/Sola_Scriptura_Mathison.html

DJP said...

...neither does a church member have the lawful right to ignore a church officer when they speak on matters of faith and practice according to the Word of God

You're obviously talking about something completely unrelated with either the topic, or anything I wrote.

Please, read the whole post. It isn't that long, and it isn't that opaque.

trogdor said...

"Words do mean things, but words have a range of meanings"

Fr'instance, words such as "Christian", "believers", and "gospel", as used in this document, are significantly different from anything which accords with scripture.

Asutosh R said...

Many of the questions raised in the original post by Dan are indeed very valid. But is it not taking it a bit too far? I was just thinking, is it altogether wrong to even come together and unite for the common good and for the elimination of common evils so prevalent in society? Why can't we unite on points we can unite on, while still steadfastly and uncompromisingly putting down our foot in matters of the gospel? For example, don't we call even some believers as friends? Does it mean then that we are actually fellowshipping with them in works of darkness? Not necessarily.

thenface2face said...

More from Dr. Lloyd Jones, on Blessed are the Meek:

“Am I wrong when I suggest that the controlling and prevailing thought of the Christian Church throughout the world seems to be the very opposite of what is indicated in this text? ‘There’, they say ‘is the powerful enemy set against us, and here is the divided Christian Church. We must all get together, we must have one huge organization to face that organized enemy. Then we shall make an impact, and then we shall conquer.’ But ‘Blessed are the meek’, not those who trust to their own powers and abilities and their own institutions. Rather it is the very reverse of that. And that is true not only here, but in the whole message of the Bible. You get it in that perfect story of Gideon, where God went on reducing the numbers, not adding to them. That is the spiritual method, and here it is once more emphasized in this amazing statement in the Sermon on the Mount.”

Oh, such little faith we have in our Savior's keeping power.

DJP said...

Asutosh, once again you write as someone who has not thought his way through the actual questions in the actual post itself. Because (A) the post itself is an answer to your general question (and you seem to ignore the answer, rather than deal with it); and (B) the post itself contains a link responding at length to your specific question.

Brian said...

It's so fun to watch Christians marginalize themselves through all their petty bickering and self-righteous condemnation of each other. If you guys can't get along now, what on Earth are you going to do for all eternity?? It's no coincidence that so many peoples' idea of hell would be to spend eternity surrounded by Christians! Good luck with your futile argument!

AuthenticTruth said...

Nuno, the issue with Mohler and Duncan has nothing to do with another nuance of the gospel; both men hold to the same definition of what the gospel is, one that we share agreement with. The key issue is with both of these men co-signing a document with men who hold to a radically different definition of the gospel.

If this were merely a document that is meant to stir awareness and concern over key moral issues and religious liberty, that would be one thing. But this document uses the term “gospel”, yet it nowhere actually gives or clearly explains the gospel.

From the document:
“ Christians today are called to proclaim the Gospel of costly grace”

“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.”

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


This implies that those who endorse this document all agree on what the gospel is. However, there are those who have signed this document who do not hold to a biblical view of the gospel, particularly Roman Catholics; they are proclaiming a different message. To sign this document is to give a subtle endorsement of those who are proclaiming a different gospel, and essentially confirming their false teaching as a legitimate expression of the Christian faith.

The Gospel is not summed up in adherence to mere moral reform. Scripture emphasizes the person and work of Jesus Christ as the core essential of the truth of the Gospel. The message that Paul proclaimed was “Jesus Christ and him crucified” (1 Cor 2:2). This gospel is to be received by faith, the trust in what Christ has done on our behalf as the sole means of our justification before God. (Galatians 2:16; Romans 3:23-28; Romans 5:8-10; Ephesians 2:8)

Also, Nuno, when you say the following:

“you prefer to bypass a chance to offer your name to a joint statement whose sole purpose is to inform non-Christians of the Biblical condemnation of homosexuality and the promise of pardon and communion to its repentents on the basis of the existence of different definitions of what the Gospel is among the signers thereof?”

If the gospel message is not clearly explained and defined biblically, how can anyone experience “the promise of pardon and communion to its repentents”?

The key issue is the Gospel; the only real cure sin, the very thing that ails our society.

jordan said...

GOD BLESS YOU GREAT QUESTIONS!

RichardS said...

Brian said...It's so fun to watch Christians marginalize themselves through all their petty bickering and self-righteous condemnation of each other.

RS: Your amusement aside, what is going on in this discussion is about the importance of the Gospel. Perhaps there is a little petty bickering, though apart from your judging others I don't know how you see this as self-righteouse condemnation.

Brian Said: If you guys can't get along now, what on Earth are you going to do for all eternity??

RS: Be filled with God who will cast all dissent into the ocean of His glory and love.

Brian said: It's no coincidence that so many peoples' idea of hell would be to spend eternity surrounded by Christians!

RS: Indeed it is no coincidence, it is simply people do not love God or the children of God.

Brian said: Good luck with your futile argument!

RS: There is no such thing as luck. The Gospel delivers from a futile way of life and into one that stands for the truth of the God it loves.

CR said...

Simon: But isn't point #2 defining the 'Gospel' a little widely? Not every important fact about the Gospel actually is the gospel.

I think your question demonstrates why this issue is so important. Yes, there is more to the gospel than what most of us think. It includes: judgment, perishing, secrets exposed, sentences passed, etc., is also gospel (Rom 2:16). Not only are these things part of the gospel but they are an essential part of the gospel (according to Paul). Go back to chapter 1 and the book of Romans is all part of the gospel that Paul is preaching.

It really is stunning if you think about it. Before Paul positively explains the way of salvation in Romans he starts with what damns and condemns man. Perhaps (okay, so not perhaps but) because he knew the way the Spirit works. Ultimately, no man seeks salvation (period) until he is born again and its through the preaching of the gospel and Paul starts with the wrath of God before he goes even to the way of salvation.

DJP said...

Brian, either (A) not thinking through a single word of the post, or (B) feeling that far too many people were making far too much of the Gospel and of God's truth, casts a vote against making much of either.

Eric said...

FWIW, my earlier comment about Mr. Colson reading Foxe's Book of Martyrs was not meant to stress the great evil done by the Roman Catholic Church, but to stress the resolute nature of the martyrs. For everyone that would ask the recently popular question "was the Reformation necessary," I offer Foxe's Book of Martyrs. Many martyrs in this book were so convinced of the necessity that they endured suffering unto death. These martyrs labored in the Word to such an extent as to put the entirety of my life's study of the Word to shame. To ignore, marginalize, or disregard their resolution in the face of death is to me indefensible.

I make the comment concerning Mr. Colson after reading the Colson link that Dan provided. It is quite telling.

DJP said...

Absolutely right, Eric, and right to bring it up. Were all those people, who died rather than bow the knee to the Pope, to stand today and ask what the compromisers were doing — what would be the answer? If they said, "What has changed?", the honest answer would be "In Rome? Nothing."

But something has changed.

Not for the better, either.

Duane & Patricia said...

This is the first I have heard of this document and after seeing it, I am just sick. Grieved to the core by some of those who have signed this. Who cares whether you stand against any sin if you refuse to stand for the true gospel! I have so much I want to say, but I am just in a state of shock.

DJP said...

I think that's an appropriate response. You get the issue.

SolaMommy said...

Wow...I was upset before about the document, but even more so after reading what Colson's intent is...YUCK.

And thanks to those who brought up Foxe's Book of Martyrs...a good reminder to us all.

Athol Dickson said...

Seldom have I been more ashamed of Christian brothers. Have none of you read Mark 9:36-40?

“He took a little child and had him stand among them. Taking him in his arms, he said to them, ‘Whoever welcomes one of these little children in my name welcomes me; and whoever welcomes me does not welcome me but the one who sent me.’

“‘Teacher,’ said John, ‘we saw a man driving out demons in your name and WE TOLD HIM TO STOP BECAUSE HE WAS NOT ONE OF US.’ [sound familiar?]

“‘Do not stop him,’ Jesus said. ‘No one who does a miracle in my name can in the next moment say anything bad about me, for whoever is not against us is for us.’”

If a man came to your burning house and offered in the name of Christ to help you rescue your wife and children from the flames, would you first ask him to define “Christian”? Of course not. Yet here you are questioning the doctrinal purity of those who signed the Declaration even as 1,300,000 babies are murdered in the womb every year in the USA.

Hypocrites!

You are the modern equivalents of those who condemned Jesus for healing on the Sabbath. The Lord was very clear about your responsibility in matters such as this:

"And so upon you will come all the righteous blood that has been shed on earth..."

If they were guilty of the blood of prophets, all the more so are do-nothing theologians like you guilty of the blood of children who have died while you sit at your computers pontificating. One of you said 200,000 signatures on a document will not stop the holocaust. Meanwhile you would rather sacrifice those unborn children than stand against the slaughter beside anyone who disagrees with your doctrine. In Jesus’ own words, thus you do not welcome Him, nor do you welcome the one who sent Him.

You are right to concern yourselves about the authentic Gospel--of COURSE you are--but you are terribly wrong to allow theological differences to stand in the way of fighting shoulder to shoulder with anyone who opposes the worst holocaust in all of human history. As Jesus told another group of hypocrites exactly like you 2,000 years ago: "You should have practiced the latter, without neglecting the former."

May God have mercy on your souls.

DJP said...

Quite the outburst, Athol.

Now please read the post through, for the first time; ponder it; then tell us what you think, afterwards.

Stan McCullars said...

You are right to concern yourselves about the authentic Gospel

Whew! That's a load off my mind.

Athol Dickson said...

Dan, I not only read your post (several times), but I also read all your remarks in the comments. In so doing, I noticed "Read the post for the first time" seems to be a common response to those who disagree with you. You seem to find it inconceivable that an authentic Christian might view your position as anything less then a shining defense of the faith. That response merely serves to underscore my point.

As you know, the Pharisees did not bother to congratulate those whom Christ healed on the Sabbath, or to ask after their health, or in any way show compassion for them or joy at their healing. They were far too concerned with getting their doctrine right to care about people as people. In exactly the same way, I could not help but notice that your post contains not one single word of compassion or concern for the countless people are gravely harmed physically and spiritually every day through abortions, the erosion of Biblically authentic gender identity, and the erosion of religious liberty. Even if only for the sake of appearances, a less self-obsessed man might have at least included something along these lines: “While the goals of the Declaration are admirable, and while I personally abhor the sins it purports to stand against...” Yet nowhere in your post is one word spoken against the vast evils the Declaration opposes. Again, this only serves to underscore my point.

James had this to say to men like you (and to use your own words, note well his wording in the final verse):

14 What good is it, my brothers, if a man claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save him? 15 Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food. 16 If one of you says to him, "Go, I wish you well; keep warm and well fed," but does nothing about his physical needs, what good is it? 17 In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead. 18 But someone will say, "You have faith; I have deeds." Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by what I do. 19 You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that — and shudder. (James 2:14-19)

So Dan, it is possible to get your doctrine right, and yet be on the side of demons. And one evidence of this is a life marked by concern for matters of “faith” without a corresponding concern for the physical welfare of one’s neighbor, as your post here so blatantly displays.

DJP said...

As a rule, Athol, I don't read minds. When there isn't a glimmer of actual interaction with the contents of the post, the non-judgmental thing is to ask.

In your case I had zero evidence that you'd done more than glance. Now I still have zero evidence, plus your insistence that you have read it (which is strictly a claim, not evidence).

You're quite right that there are many things that the post is not about that aren't in the post. For instance, there's nothing about the national debt, either; or marital unfaithfulness; or cancer.

It's a very focused post. It is all about the one thing you don't seem to want to talk about, much: the Gospel.

So tell me, Athol: Is the Bible your sole, sufficient, ultimate source and authority for faith and practice?

Joseph said...

Your questions all beg the old question, which I will make explcit: where does Scripture say - expressly - that it *alone* is the authoritative source of Christian truth? If 'sola scriptura' is a principle of your faith, it is, strictly speaking, a prejudice you bring with you to the study of Scripture. If you accept it categorically the principle itself demands that exclude it.

Eric said...

Athol,

You essentially accuse a whole host of people whose life you know nothing about of fiddling while Rome burns with your "sit at your computers pontificating" comment. Question for you: How many abortions were committed while you hammered out your two hateful comments (which, by the way, were much longer than most of the other "pontificating" in the comments section)?

The fact is, you make entirely unfounded accusations. How many of the people on here support with time or money causes such as crisis pregnancy centers? Can you answer that question for me, Athol? If not, perhaps you ought to withhold your righteous indignation.

DJP said...

Joseph: Yep, an old question that I regard as decisively decided (see questions 1-9, 11) - like the Trinity and the Canon.

Joseph said...

DJP,
Decisively decided by whom?

DJP said...

When someone plays dumb, Joseph, as a rule I don't play.

Stan McCullars said...

Profile Not Available

Why am I not surprised?

Joseph said...

DJP, I have taken various approaches to debate and discussion over the course of my life, but "playing dumb" is not among them.
I assure you that my question is sincere. I would answer that Martin Luther "decisively dcecided" the answer to the question at issue. And the Council of Carthage decided the biblical canon, which was redefined by Luther. But for the latter to be fairly considered Jamnia must enter the discussion, for the former, who gave Luther decisive authority?

round.tuit said...

Dan,

When reading through your rules of comment, it appears that President Obama has had a greater influence on you than you would like to admit.

I did not sign the Manhattan Declaration, nor do I jump onto the various online petition bandwagons.

When I read through the declaration, I did note the word "Christian", and was encouraged. There has been quite a bit of history revisionism as to the impact that born-again believers have had. I did not interpret that the signing of this document is equivalent to the gift of eternal life, or that all signers are necessarily "Christian". Was not the appeal made to all - believers and non-believers alike?

I certainly do not believe that those of the Catholic/Orthodox faith should flippantly be grouped with buddhist, mormon...it smacks of limiting the power of God, His Word, and taking the condemning role of judge and jury.

fwiw - I have respected John MacArthur for over 20 years, and have 40+ books of his in my personal library.

DJP said...

I haven't read a lot of MacArthur myself, and don't know what that has to do with anything.

I don't know what the allusion to Obama has to do with anything either... though props for a unique way of mounting a criticism.

In fact, I don't know what any of your comment has to do with this post. Read it. Really. It's shorter than the comment section you just lengthened.

Your third and fourth paragraph in particular simply ignore the entire list. Not disagree with, not offer a counter to - just ignore. As if you'd said "Oh, Manhattan Declaration. He's against it, I guess? Well, here are my feelings."

And I assure you, I don't flippantly associate RCism and Orthoborgy with other cults. It is after years of reading, thought, reflection, and dozens of attempts to talk Christ and Gospel with their slaves.

David said...

I personally dont understand the purpose of the document and what it is supposed to accomplish but leave to pyro to make signing this document define what he wants it to mean. This is the same way people take a simple gospel "believe on the Lord Jesus Christ" and make it into something that no one can understand.

DJP said...

Huh?

AuthenticTruth said...

Just amazed at the number of people who cannot grasp the real issue at hand...the Gospel and the clarity of its definition and proclamation is at stake. For the label "Christian" to be used legitimately, it requires the pure biblical definition of the gospel to be upheld. Without it you simply do not have the Christian faith.

DJP said...

Right; and this document commits the signers to affirming those who self-identify with religions that oppose and reject the Gospel as "Christians" who value and preach the Gospel.

It really isn't complicated, unless one makes it complicated, is it?

Joseph said...

Authentic,
The "pure biblical definition of the gospel" is a concept that appeared very late in the history of the Church, the 16th century, and only in Protestant Christendom.
DJP, Do you take issue with any of the specific planks of the Manhattan Declaration? It is unequivocally pro-life and pro traditional marriage. Its purpose is to inform the now ascendent culture of death that Christians will not cooperate with a government that undertakes to force their collaboration. The cost of discipleship will very probably rise considerably in the next few years.

Bernard said...

Hi Guys. There is one essential perspective that hasn't been voiced in this discussion. How does this kind of discussion look to a Roman Catholic/Orthodox? So I'm going to come into the Lion's Den. I am a Roman Catholic. This will probably take a few posts. Please don't eat me before I've finished.

First. Your potential witness to Roman Catholics (I cannot speak for Orthodox). Central to the Gospel is man as important to God. Man as having such dignity and value (having been created by God)that God would send his own son Jesus to save us. This vital insight preceeds everything else: Jesus dying on the cross for us, the preaching of the Gospel, the Holy Spirit regenerating us etc etc.

The Manhattan Declaration is a call to affirm this pre-gospel bedrock to Christian faith.

When a Roman Catholic sees that some Reformed Christians won't sign this declaration because 'It's all about the Gospel' it does make that Roman Catholic think 'Hey, maybe I'm missing something vital about the Gospel'. It makes them think - what strange view of human beings does this section of Reformed Christians have, so that that they think that it is possible to construct a Gospel without affirming what it often called 'the sanctity of life'.

However, having seen that other Reformed Christians are enthusiastically signing the document the Roman Catholic thinks, hey -these people get this - they understand the sanctity of life - qand it looks like they understand it as part of their Gospel - therefore maybe I should take a look at what they say about the Gospel.

This is what is happening today. Many Catholics ears are being opened to the witness of Reformed Christians about the Gospel because those Reformed Christians are joining with them to defend the sanctity of life, and things that follow from it like God given patterns of human relationships.

End of first post.

Bernard said...

To the Points in the Original Post

Point 1.

Every text has a context. As we are dealing with Sola Scriptura from what I take it is a 'Comnfessing Evangelical' perspective sola scriptura goes together with a long history of a recognised 'correct' intepretation of the Bible. This sola scriptura doesn't look too different to a Roman Catholic one. The Confessing Evangelical magisterium may not have a Pope, but it ceratinly has a reality.

Question 2. It all starts with 'lost sinful man'. Our age doesn't give us human beings any dignity. We are fit to be aborted and burnt as medical waste. In our age Prolife conviction is not an add on to the Gospel, or an attempt to derail discussion away from the Gospel. It is an essential part of witness to the Gospel. An essenttial part of the Gospel is missing in question 2. Where is the bit '...the Biblical Gospel is that human beings are created by God, and therefore good in his sight, but we have sinned, and are therefore subject to his just condemnation. Both sides of that truth need to be affirmed.

As for the rest of Question 2 I can do not better than quote The Council Of Trent. Decree on Justification Chapter 8 'We are therefore said to be justified freely, because that none of those things which preceed justification - whether faith or works - merit the grace itself of justification. For if it be a grace, it is not now by works, otherwise, as the same Apostle says, grace is no more grace.'

DJP said...

Joseph: "DJP, Do you take issue with any of the specific planks of the Manhattan Declaration?"

I just wrote a post spelling out in methodical, ABC detail, the issues I take with the MD. This post. Honestly, what is opaque about it? I'm quite specific and focused, I think.

DJP said...

Bernard, I'm glad you're beginning to work through the points. You will find in them the answers to all your questions. You will see that it has not one thing to do with affirming the sanctity of life, an issue on which I have been on-record for many years, along with all Biblically-faithful Christians.

I've often said that it is a shame to Christians that though Roman Catholics are members of a Gospel-perverting, enslaving totalitarian sect, their witness on the life-issue has been (with the exception of elected Democrat RCs) more consistent and louder than ours.

But as you will see, that was not the issue of this document. Had it been the sole focus of this document (as I'd said), without the necessarily corrupting central elements you'll understand through my list, I doubt I'd have hesitated to sign it.

I think whatever good it adds (which is debatable) is far outweighed by the damage it causes. My reasons for thinking so are spelled out in the progressive list you're reading through.

And if you're arguing that Trent affirms the Biblical Gospel of salvation by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone as understood by Scripture alone to the glory of God alone, (A) you'll be the first in all history, and (B) good luck with that!

(c:

Northern Rain Studio said...

Bernard is correct in what he says about Trent. Grace alone. I recommend reading a Louis Bouyer's "The Spirit and Forms of Protestantism" for a scholarly treatment of this topic.

DJP said...

So every last Roman Catholic I've ever talked with, and every priest, and every authority on Roman doctrine I've ever read, is in error, and this whole Reformation-thingie — with all the Christians Rome has persecuted and murdered — has just been a huge misunderstanding?

Who knew?

KCF said...

Five hundred years later, the meaning of Trent is still being debated within the Protestant world. A look at church history (in the pre-blogging days) from the beginning will demonstrate that questions take a long time to untangle. Even Luther, Calvin, and the anabaptists could not agree on what constituted "the gospel". What is the gospel? Thirty thousand denominations later, we are still in discussion as to what it means to be "evangelical."

DJP said...

Another demolition of Rome and its false advertising, isn't it? They try to play the "20 gazillion denomination" card on Christians, and can't even plainly enunciate what they mean. They're all united and one, all those Romanists... like Mother Teresa, John Kerry, Teddy Kennedy.

Thus far Rome's Magisterium Of Infinite Regress.

Eric said...

I think the anathemas of Trent are pretty clear.

KCF said...

The anathemas of Trent must be viewed in relation to what was understood a the time by the "faith alone" formula. Again, read Bouyer for starters. Regarding the "denominations" I'd like to quote a pastor friend of mine, a Pakistani Christian leader. He put it well: "In Pakistan, you are not protestant or catholic. It is so hard to bear the cross as a Christian." If North American society begins to melt down in a similar way, we will begin to discover what that Gospel really means. It is not something primarily to be debated on the blogs. It is something which we live together. In that sense, the Manhattan Declaration may be prophetic.

round.tuit said...

DJP,

I appreciate your position and defense of the Gospel. However, does it really apply with reference to the Manhattan Declaration? Is it possible that you might have read more into this declaration than what was intended?

In the past I have questioned authors who refer to those who are not born again as "Christian". But is that what the Manhattan Declaration is attempting?

I make mistakes, and the MacArthur point was one of them. I thought that you folks were affiliated with his ministry, and I wanted to let you know that we are on the same team. It is to be certain that Protestants shoot their own.

DJP said...

We'd all be thrilled with a rediscovery of the Gospel, knowing in advance that it would be all about Christ and His perfect work, and it wouldn't involve any constant, blasphemous re-sacrifices of Christ (bloodless or otherwise), any scapulars, any additional pay-offs in Purgatories, any synergism in justification/salvation — or any tortured, special-pleading, desperate attempts to make those perversions make Biblical sense.

That'd be a "win" all around, and I'm all for it.

DJP said...

Round, I'm not angry, but I am exasperated. It is as if I did a post with 50 texts proving the deity of Christ, and after 167 comments, someone said "Yeah, but isn't Christ just really a good man and a prophet?"

I read what was IN the the Declaration. Repeatedly. They aren't "attempting" to call self-identified members of Gospel-perverting religions "Christians" — they're DOING it. Doing that, AND saying that they preach the Gospel.

It isn't an insinuation or an implication; it's a repeated and deliberate direct statement.

And that was the intent, aas Colson makes clear.

KCF said...

DJP: I would not intend to "play a denomination card" nor would I pit "Rome against protestantism." The gospel is so rich, so deep, that not one formula does it justice. Witness, for example, the numerous motifs of salvation, ways in which the gospel was understood throughout history, since New Testament times, and the various formulations -- before and after the reformation. So no one "formula" is adequate to express it.

(I know you do not really believe that Kerry and Kennedy are spokesman for the church!)

Stan McCullars said...

Let's not forget how the answer to question eight in the FAQs refers to Mormons:

So the signatories are happy to stand alongside our LDS brothers and sisters who have worked so heroically...

Shocking!

Jay Rogers said...

Is the reason that Dan Phillips doesn't allow comments on his blog that would "derail" the discussion of orthodoxy into a discussion about abortion, homosexual politics or religious liberty that these issues are not essential to orthodoxy?

Or perhaps it is that he prefers the armchair theology to asphalt and concrete theology?

... See More

Please show me I am wrong.

The reason we have the Manhattan Declaration is that 37 years ago, when Roe v. Wade was decided, the Reformed churches had the power to stop abortion. They did not. In many cases, they were so compromised with liberalism they even supported the decision.

At that time I was Roman Catholic and saw the Catholic Church make some steps to counter abortion policy while Protestant churches did nothing. Today I am Reformed and a member of a Presbyterian church. However, I just don't see myself or my church as head and shoulders above the Catholics who have fought long and hard on this issue.

We have been able to stop abortion and yet we have not. If you have been successful in stopping a single abortion from happening, then I apologize and I encourage you to continue to stand apart in your fight against evil.

As for me, my household and my sphere in influence, we don't merely sign with Catholics. We actually fight along side of them. A signature is a meaningless symbol unless coupled direct action. Catholics who have been doing this for a long time need my support even as I protest their church's unorthodox soteriology. I stand with my Catholic brothers and sisters as individuals, not with their church. In fact, I the greatest and most effective dialog with Catholics occurs as we stand together against evil. Hearts of all persuasions are won as we stand together in the fight -- doctrine follows.

However, if you do the latter without signing the document, I salute you.

KCF said...

Jay, thanks for those comments. I am reminded that St. Paul taught that the body of Christ can be healed, unified, reformed, as the whole body of Christ is nurtured (there is only one body, not many). This approach (rather than doctrinal polemics) seems to be the Biblical approach.

round.tuit said...

Among the reasons why I would not sign the Manhattan Declaration is that I am not one for making many vows.

Joseph said...

Jay,
Then you have abandoned the Blessed Sacrament. This is terribly sad. Her human failings notwithstanding, the Church essentially *is* the Eucharist, perpetuating the incarnate presence of Christ, surrendering Himself with unthinkable humility and love to all who come to Him. As Flanner O'Connor confessed, everything else is dispensible. But not this.

Jay Rogers said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
DJP said...

JosephJay,
Then you have abandoned the Blessed Sacrament. This is terribly sad. Her human failings notwithstanding, the Church essentially *is* the Eucharist, perpetuating the incarnate presence of Christ, surrendering Himself with unthinkable humility and love to all who come to Him.


Thanks for the illustration.

There you go, gang.

See how much has changed since 1517?

DJP said...

I think everyone who is going to actually deal with the simple line of questions in the post, has done so.

Comments closed.