Posted by: The Simple Guy | December 26, 2009

What would Paul the Apostle say about the Manhattan Declaration?

There has been a lot of back and forth lately in conservative Christian circles about the Manhattan Declaration.

It is not my desire to answer all and every aspect of the protests against signing.  I signed it, and explained why here.  In essence, the major concern seems to be that Catholic, Orthodox, and Evangelicals do not agree on what the Gospel is.  So, how can we say together that we believe we are to preach the Gospel in season and out of season if we don’t even agree on what the Gospel is?  I think that is a good question.  Others have expressed concern that this would muddy the water for non believers and lead  them to believe that we do in fact believe the same Gospel.  This would lead them to think that if they ask a Orthadox, or Catholic, or Protestant; that they will receive the same answer regarding the essence of the Gospel.

Now I hate it when someone answers my question with a question, but I am learning to listen when this happens because sometimes they are trying to teach me.  I find that often in these instances I need to see things in a different light, hence the question.

The question is, “How can we sign on to the MD which states we are to preach the Gospel in season and out of season, when we don’t believe the same Gospel?  Won’t that confuse unbelievers?”

My question in response is this.   In your day-to-day interaction with unbelievers, have you had any interaction regarding the Manhattan Declaration?  If so, have you had to defend why you did not sign, or explain why I shouldn’t have signed?  OR have you taken the opportunity to explain the Gospel!

Here is my point.  As the topic is approached, most unbelievers understand that we are pro-life.  Most of them understand that we are against the re-definition of marriage.  But this Gospel thing, what is that?

I work on a sawmill production floor, with largely uneducated people.  Begin discussing doctrine with them and they are lost.  But they do understand what a true believer is supposed to look like.  If they hear me say that I can’t agree to sign because of a doctrinal difference, they think “bigot”

But is it possible that I could explain to them that I have signed on saying I will die to protect unborn life, the sanctity of marriage, and their right to hear the Gospel?  Their response, “What is the Gospel?”

I am so glad you asked!

This is the Gospel:

God is absolutely holy, just and perfect.  Here is our problem,  because we are not perfect.  God cannot withhold judgment from me and remain just.  I am doomed.  But Jesus – the God man – came and was perfect.  Then he died in my place and suffered God’s wrath in my place.  Because of this I have been saved from the wrath to come.  You can be to!

So I would ask you. . . in regard to this declaration, has your time been spent excusing or defending yourself?  OR are we taking the opportunity when the Gospel is on the front page to share it?

Here is what I think Paul would have said:

Philippians 1:15-18 MKJV
(15)  Some indeed even preach Christ because of envy and strife, and some also of good will.
(16)  Those, indeed, preach Christ out of contention, not sincerely, supposing to add affliction to my bonds.
(17)  But these others preach in love, knowing that I am set for the defense of the gospel.
(18)  What then? Nevertheless, in every way, whether in pretense or in truth, Christ is preached. And I rejoice in this. Yet, also I will rejoice.

Just my thoughts, whether or not you signed the Manhattan Declaration, lets be sure to use the opportunity to make sure those around us know the Gospel, and see it lived out in who we are.

Craig

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Responses

  1. You know I’ve been sighing a lot lately over the Manhattan Declaration business.

    The signing of it obviously means different things to different people, and there seems to be a lot of concern over potential confusion of what the Gospel is.

    Truly, though, if we spend all our time and energy debating with each other over the MD, we may very well miss wide open opportunities to share truth with those who need to hear it. We definitely don’t want to turn the defense of or dismantling of that document into a central focus which would amount to idolatry–regardless of the “side” that is taken.

    Thanks for offering a bit of reminder concerning that which is of eternal importance.


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