Monday, July 26, 2010

I signed . . .

The Manhattan Declaration . . . .a statement affirming life, traditional marriage, religious freedom.

I was moved, challenged, encouraged and informed as I read it. Its well written, compelling and deals thoughtfully and Biblically with issues that we've recently considered together.

(If you've been reading along for any length of time or know me at all, your aware that I have strange, but deep, convictions about the church and politics and the necessity of keeping our nationalism and our Gospel calling separate. . . . so aren't you curious to know why I'm so passionate about the Manhattan Declaration?)

So earmark 1/2 hour in your busy life and take the time to read it slowly and carefully. Read it with your spouse and your children. Join me in signing it, if you feel led.

I've included the Preamble below to prime your pump . . . it alone fired me up and reminded me of our rich Christian history and Biblical calling . . .

Christians are heirs of a 2,000-year tradition of proclaiming God's word, seeking justice in our societies, resisting tyranny, and reaching out with compassion to the poor, oppressed and suffering.

While fully acknowledging the imperfections and shortcomings of Christian institutions and communities in all ages, we claim the heritage of those Christians who defended innocent life by rescuing discarded babies from trash heaps in Roman cities and publicly denouncing the Empire's sanctioning of infanticide. We remember with reverence those believers who sacrificed their lives by remaining in Roman cities to tend the sick and dying during the plagues, and who died bravely in the coliseums rather than deny their Lord.

After the barbarian tribes overran Europe, Christian monasteries preserved not only the Bible but also the literature and art of Western culture. It was Christians who combated the evil of slavery: Papal edicts in the 16th and 17th centuries decried the practice of slavery and first excommunicated anyone involved in the slave trade; evangelical Christians in England, led by John Wesley and William Wilberforce, put an end to the slave trade in that country. Christians under Wilberforce's leadership also formed hundreds of societies for helping the poor, the imprisoned, and child laborers chained to machines.

In Europe, Christians challenged the divine claims of kings and successfully fought to establish the rule of law and balance of governmental powers, which made modern democracy possible. And in America, Christian women stood at the vanguard of the suffrage movement. The great civil rights crusades of the 1950s and 60s were led by Christians claiming the Scriptures and asserting the glory of the image of God in every human being regardless of race, religion, age or class.

This same devotion to human dignity has led Christians in the last decade to work to end the dehumanizing scourge of human trafficking and sexual slavery, bring compassionate care to AIDS sufferers in Africa, and assist in a myriad of other human rights causes – from providing clean water in developing nations to providing homes for tens of thousands of children orphaned by war, disease and gender discrimination.

Like those who have gone before us in the faith, Christians today are called to proclaim the Gospel of costly grace, to protect the intrinsic dignity of the human person and to stand for the common good. In being true to its own calling, the call to discipleship, the church through service to others can make a profound contribution to the public good.


Jeff Martin said...

Wow Pastor Tim - this is a tough one to ponder on...

When I first learned of this, I researched and kind of dropped the matter after reading several comments from Piper and MacArthur as well as many others. Both sides seem to have very compelling reasons to sign but the non-signers expressed serious concerns in the use of the Gospel meaning and distraction from the central meaning of our christian faith. Albeit some bold statements in the preamble, the non-signers were either not yet convinced of what do to, or simply saw some serious flaws. There are some several prominent voices on the non-signer side of this issue including John Piper, MacArthur and Begg and so on. On the other side, no less prominent including Mohler, Zacharias, Keller, Grudem, and the list goes on. I became lazy and simply took the cautious route not to support since I was unsure of the supporting points, and became distracted with so many other of my life callings.

It is clear you read this carefully since you signed it. But I am very curious why?
There are many very decent articles and blogs that I read which shared reasons for not signing. I should have read the otherside more but relied on the cautious and careful points against it back then. There was likely not any counterpoints about the non-signers at the time I was reading the information anyway...

On the cover, and until I re-read carefully, I am still in the non-sign camp but really desiring to hear your points of view on it. If my mind changes, I will express to you why later or otherwise explain why not...

I think, based upon some of the points you have made in your blog, that you may have endorsed this in the same perspective of someones voting registration albeit much more meaningful and profound. This is not intended to make this decision a small one but to put it in a different area of your life. I am probably wrong...

Been waiting to hear some perspective on this thing and looking forward to hearing some dialog on this. Hopefully I have not botched any blog dialog in all of this... Ofcourse, this is not just for you only but to hear some broad dialog.

Take care friend and pastor.

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allenpeek said...

The URL’s below were helpful to me in discerning is issues with The Manhattan Declaration. In the end I personally cannot, in good conscience, sign a document that muddles the gospel of grace with the “gospel” of Rome. I believe there is an ecumenical agenda behind it all.

Thanks for posting this and giving us the opportunity to throw in our two cents Pastor Tim.

Anonymous said...

I was recently contacted by a Christian who has expressed deep concern regarding Pastor Theule's signing of the Manhattan Declaration.

I thought I might recommend a well balanced article written by Gary Gilley of Southern View Chapel. The article can be found here:

The Manhattan Declaration

Written by Gary Gilley (February/March 2010 - Volume 16, Issue 1)

Pastor Gilley has also written numerous well balanced and biblical articles:

He has also authored a number of insightful books as well:

This is not a promotion here for 'Gary Gilley', but rather, another resource explaining the compromises and faulty Gospel of the Manhattan Declaration.

It is my sincere hope that the leadership at Grace Church will examine more closely The Manhattan Document and take a biblical stand against ecumenical unity that is not based on Scripture.

Here are SIX MORE Opposing Responses to the Manhattan Declaration:

John MacArthur (Grace to You)

Jacob Prasch, (Moriel Ministries)

Mike Gendron (Proclaiming the Gospel)

Alistair Begg, Pastor

Claude Stauffe (Calvary Chapel, North Amityville, NY)

Cecil Andrews (Take Heed Ministries, Northern Ireland)

Considering the truths of Scripture and the love of Christ Jesus,

Chris Lawson
Spiritual Research Network, Inc.
Cambria, CA, 93428

andy gibson said...

Seriously? Somebody from Grace (likely) contacted SRN (who has plenty of controversial stuff on their website, BTW) rather than engage Tim in discussion directly for the benefit of Tim, themselves, and possibly Grace Church as a whole?

Kudos to Jeff and Allen for doing the OPPOSITE of that, and being constructive and engaging rather than what I see as causing more controversy....which is against the open Gospel centered conversations that I see Grace working towards with ABFs, Growth Groups, etc. Forget the declaration, people need to have some guts to express their opinions and what they believe in, and not let others do it for them. That's my "deep concern" regarding the people I share a church home with when controversy surfaces.

Janice Phillips said...

Whoa, I'm away from blogs for a few days and this happens?! I'm w/Andy. Dialog is crucial and props to Jeff and Allen for engaging in the conversation.