The Manhattan Declaration…too little, too late?

This Declaration, recently signed by Orthodox, Catholic and Evangelical church representatives seeks to convey a steadfast resolve on the part of these churches to defend against abortion, same sex marriage, and preserve freedom of religion. Unfortunately, many of these same signers have serious  differences in regard to soteriology as well as doctrine, and besides that, much of this is simply politically motivated (note the large number of anti- Global Warming scientists included as endorsers). You might say it is a re-made version of the Moral Majority movemnet. Too bad statistics do not prove there really is a true moral majority in America.

One of the key statements in the Life section of this document states “Although public sentiment has moved in a pro-life direction, we note with sadness that pro-abortion ideology prevails today in our government. The present administration is led and staffed by those who want to make abortions legal at any stage of fetal development, and who want to provide abortions at taxpayer expense. Majorities in both houses of Congress hold pro-abortion views.”

Why, pray tell, do these ecumenical folk think this is the case? The very people who answer in the affirmative to pollsters concerning right to life, seem to vote pro-choice, or not at all. That, my friends, is why we have a Pro-Choice government in place. People wearing the badge of Christianity, but not the evidence of it in their lives and affections, have either voted in or surrendered the offices of state to the Pro-Choice politicians because they are themselves, immoral, selfish, covetous lovers of money more than God.

No declaration will fix the eternally significant harvest that the liberal and seeker-minded Laodicean churches have produced with their watered down ‘gospel’. There are far too many people in America who claim Jesus as their “friend”, their “homey”, their benefactor, their “fixer”, but so very few who consider Him Lord and God of their lives. Most who claim the name of Christian are so far removed from even the most basic tenets of godly living and selfless service to Him who died for them, that the very name of Jesus is blasphemed because of it.

Only a return to preaching the foolishness of the cross, the ignominious death of God in human form for the sake of unworthy sinners will awaken men and women to their true state before God. Too many preachers and teachers fail to make their hearers aware of their hopelessness and their guilt before an Almighty God. Too many have consider their accountants the true measurers of the power of God and the efficacy of their sermons. If it doesn’t draw crowds or bring in sheaves of cash, then it isn’t “effective” evangelism. May I remind them that feces also draw crowds….of flies. Too many mistake crowds for churches.

Gone are the days when men relied on the Word of God to do the convicting and convincing.  Simply read John 16:8-10 again. The Holy Spirit is who convicts and convinces people of their need of a Saviour.  Scripture says “As many as received Him (accepted the truth of what He claimed), to them gave He the right to become sons of God.”

Where is it heard that men ask, as they did Peter, “What must we do to be saved?”  How many come to a true conviction in their hearts that were it not for the death and suffering of God’s Christ they would have no standing at all before a wrathful God? Too many American versions of Christianity make piety and striving to live a godly life a vain thing.  Most church goers claim they love Jesus and are born again, but the facts of the society we live in prove this a lie. Emotionally charged and feel-good worship services are self-serving and give too many a false sense of peace and security. “We’re all sinners!” is the war cry of most assemblies, rather than glorying in the freedom from bondage to sin that true faith and obedience bring. What incentive do most churches give anyone to question their sincerity or indeed the very basis of their professed faith? If Christians are no better morally or ethically than the non-believer, with what will you convince non-believers of the power of God to change lives?

No, the church has to return to preaching the power of Christ to save from sin; not simply that God forgives, but that God empowers men to forgive also. Not that God will make everything better, but that life becomes worth living when lived for a righteous and holy King. Not that Jesus wants you to be successful, but that Jesus was successful in liberating those who put their entire life and future into His hands from death and condemnation. Not that we are free to sin because we are forgiven, but that we are free to choose the right and not the wrong because we cannot bear to shame our King.

No declaration or Ecumenical statement will solve this dilemma. Only God’s Holy Spirit and unfettered preaching of His Holy Word as the Word of God in truth will change double-minded professors into real believers.

 

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4 responses to this post.

  1. “No declaration or Ecumenical statement will solve this dilemma. Only God’s Holy Spirit and unfettered preaching of His Holy Word as the Word of God in truth will change double-minded professors into real believers.”

    Amen, PK!

    I believe you are exactly right!

  2. Posted by philperkins on November 30, 2009 at 6:15 pm

    Hi there, PK,
    How are you? Long time no read. I finally got around to posting an old comment of yours. I’ll explain the delay some other time. Sorry. No disrespect intended.

    At any rate, I had a long discussion about the MD with a fellow. You are right. Get back to preaching the word.

    My main two problems are these:

    1. Trying to make the world moral is unbiblical for these five reasons:
    a. The call to accept persecution for our faith becomes meaningless if we are able to make the society around us holy or moral. They won’t persecute us. (But, perhaps, that’s the point, huh?)
    b. The mission of the church is to preach the gospel, not elect good people to government, reform the entertainment world, stop societal evils, etc. to make our existence here easy.
    c. Neither Jesus nor the Apostles ever did any such thing. Nor is there any command whatsoever to do this sort of thing.
    d. It smears the distinction between the New and Old Covenants. In the OC the covenant people were to form a nation state ruled by the Law of God. In the NC the Law is to be written our hearts. Our kingdom isn’t of this earth. On this earth we are to so at odds with the societies in which we live that we have a hard time living there at all.
    e. The Scripture expressly forbids us to hold the world accountable for their moral failings in I Cor. 5. Instead, we are to hold “Christians” to account and not have anything to do with those in sin who take the name “Brother”. This document has it exactly backward. We are expected to sign up with “Christians” who are heretical to judge the world.

    2. God’s work (and this ISN’T His work) is never accomplished by having fellowship with heretics. How can one witness to the true gospel when one presents him/herself as on the same religious team with Catholics, Emergents, etc.?

    Be holy,
    Phil Perkins.

  3. Thank you Steve, for your affirmation. I always appreciate your input!

  4. Hi Phil!

    It’s good to hear from you again. Sorry I don’t wander the blogosphere like I used to. Far too much work to be done in the real world for the Kingdom.

    I’m reading a pretty good book right now, called “Christless Chrsitanity”. The author, Michael Horton, is from a Reformed background and is somewhat sympathetic to two things I’m very adverse to (Emergents and Spiritual Formation types), but he makes a good case that they have very valid complaints. He, and I, agree however that they address the problem with the same tool in a different guise: outward good works without proclaiming what Christ has done.

    I appreciate your position on judging outsiders vs. judging those who claim the name of Christian.
    I don’t agree with many forms of evangelicalism as it’s practised in North America. Another fine treatise on this is the small booklet “The Invitation System” by Iain H. Murray. It is a recent invention and is counter to the work of the Holy Spirit, I believe. It produces far too many false conversions which cause men to blaspheme the name of Christ due to the antinomian fruit it produces.(Romans 2)

    Keep the faith and lift up Christ! That is our calling. Converting sinners will change the world. Everything else will ultimately fail (Psalm 127:1) including Warren’s “Peace Plan’, Osteen’s “Best Life Now” and so on.

    Later, Lord willing!

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