Fiddling While the Gospel Burns: A Response to “The Manhattan Declaration”

It is no great surprise that we who preach the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ are engaged in battling to preserve his Gospel two-thousand years after his Incarnation. The apostles who followed our Lord and who were commissioned by him to preach the Faith warned us of this struggle that would be ours, and even they, who were but years removed from the time of our Lord, struggled mightily with preserving the Words of Life given by our Lord to his saints, as is evinced in most of their letters written to the churches in the New Testament.

However, what is a surprise is that it has come to the point that we who have historically fought for the purity of the Gospel must fight for the Gospel even among those who name themselves among our ranks. These, of whom I am speaking, are those who have joined in what is called The Manhattan Declaration, which essentially is a united effort between the Eastern Orthodox, Catholics, and Evangelicals to support the moral cause against abortion and homosexual marriage, and for the freedom of religion. And while these are most assuredly worthy social causes that are worthy to be fought for, it has now somehow come about that these groups of professing Christians, which have historically denounced each other’s gospel, are now are supposedly joined under the banner of the Gospel to fight against these social atrocities. These who would under other circumstances declare that the other preached a false gospel that spit upon the teachings of our Lord, are somehow now joined together in the same gospel and are now fighting together for the cause of social justice.

And lest there be any confusion upon the words found in the declaration, it declares, “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.” Yet despite this declaration and despite its plea to God not to fail in the duty of proclaiming the one and only Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ, it fails from its outset, for those who believe themselves to preach the one, true Gospel of our Lord have now joined themselves to another group that preaches a false gospel.

And lest there be any confusion with regards to the Gospel, we, who are children of the Reformation, do, by and large, believe that the gospel taught by the Catholic church is a false gospel, for it is at its core justification by works, not faith, as the Scriptures declare. Luther, Calvin, Spurgeon, and countless others have pointed out this error among many others of the Catholic gospel, and they, rightly and passionately, removed themselves from and denounced the teachings of the Catholic church. For if it is indeed true that the Catholic church teaches a false gospel, then there should be no cooperation or fellowship between us and them, especially under the very banner of the Gospel, for the apostle Paul declares:

But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed. As we have said before, so now I say again: If anyone is preaching to you a gospel contrary to the one you received, let him be accursed (Gal. 1:8, 9).

However, instead of delving into the debate between Protestants and Catholics over the Gospel, I will continue with what can be evinced by clear testimony, namely that Protestants profess and have professed for centuries that the Catholic gospel is a false gospel. And as such and if we still hold to that same profession, then we should say along with the apostle, “He who preaches a gospel contrary to the one taught by the apostles, let him be accursed and cut off from Christ.”

Yet despite this heart we should have if we indeed teach the true Gospel and the Catholic church teaches a false one, some of our brothers have seen it fitting that we should cast aside our differences on the Gospel and unite together (under the banner of the Gospel, mind you) for the sake of fighting against abortion, homosexual marriage, and for religious liberty. Therefore, in these cases, our brothers have declared to the world that the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ–the very Gospel for which he spilt his blood–is a secondary issue behind the primary issues of abortion, homosexual marriage, and religious liberty. They have declared to the world, “While we differ upon the Gospel through which men alone can be saved and for which God has created the world to demonstrate his glory and power, we are united in the fact that abortion, etc. are great atrocities, and therefore we shall be one as Christians despite the fact that those among us preach a different Cross.”

I know that some of you who read this may not feel as passionately as I do on this point, but I cannot help but loathe, despise, detest, and curse the fact that we who descend from those who stood upon the Gospel of our Lord and died preaching it faithfully have now come to the place where we feel that political activism and social justice are of greater necessity than being holy in the Gospel. These brothers who have united themselves with those who teach a different gospel have thrown away the Gospel and Faith proclaimed by our Lord, the apostles, and the martyrs, and they have traded it for a religion that more resembles the cultural manipulation of Islam than it does the Kingdom of God. And by doing thus, they throw away the only remedy that can possibly heal these social injustices, and they trade it for a law that will never change the wicked hearts and deeds of men.

Nevertheless, let us imagine for moment that this union under the banner of the Gospel between religions that teach different gospels succeeded and that legislation were passed that made abortion and homosexual marriage illegal. We are not so naïve to think that abortions would cease and homosexuality would end simply because it was passed into law, do we? Do men still speed though there is a speed limit? Do men still steal though threatened by the law? Do men still murder though it is illegal to do it? Of course they do, for the law has never been able to change the hearts of men throughout the entire history of the world (even the law given by God!), and yet we seek to make laws at the expense of the Gospel. And by doing thus–by trading the Gospel for some laws that are unlikely to pass–we forfeit the only remedy for unrighteousness and lawlessness, and we rip the Hope of Christ from America, for who will stand for the Gospel if all those who profess to be Christians are united in throwing it away for the sake of legislating morality?

I do not wish to make trite the atrocities that are abortion and homosexuality, but a greater atrocity is afoot, namely Gospel capitulation. And I do not wish it to be thought that I oppose fighting the evils of abortion and marriage distortion, but it should never be done under the banner of Christ and the Gospel and with those whom we deem false prophets and antichrists where both the words “Christ” and “the Gospel” are spoken but are forfeited for the sake of lesser things. I charge you, as I believe Christ and apostles charge you, not to join with those who are participating in The Manhattan Declaration despite who they are and their supposed esteem, and to stand for the Gospel of our Lord delivered faithfully to us by Christ and the apostles which alone can remedy unrighteousness and lawlessness. To Christ alone be glory, who is God over all, blessed forever. Amen.

Categories: Theology

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2 replies

  1. I appreciate your post and agree with your assessment of the current situation of the Gospel in our society. But it seems to me that you are letting your view of the implications fo the Gospel (which aren't unimportant) overshadow the Gospel. If the Gospel is primarily the declaration that Jesus is Lord, then I see no problem uniting with people who I disagree with, because we all affirm the Creeds of our faith and the central truth of the Gospel, that Jesus is Lord.

    Would you also say that you can't sign a document that suggests Arminians and Calvinists share the same Gospel?

    I'm not trying to pick a fight, I'm just suggesting that you may want to rethink the difference between the Gospel and its implications.



  2. Actually, if you would read a few posts back on the blog, you would see that I don't believe Calvinists and Arminians share the same Gospel. And while I appreciate your comment, the Gospel is far more than Jesus is Lord. Jesus is Lord apart from the Gospel–that's not the Good News. All will know that Jesus is Lord one day, but it's not all good for many who are going to destruction.


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