Some readers of our blog who have been with us for a while might remember that I once posted an article entitled Concerns About the Manhattan Declaration, in which I explained why I could not, in good conscience, sign the document as so many others had done. The document was released on November 20, 2009, and I published my response on November 27, 2009. Much to my surprise, however, I received the following email from the folks at the Colson Center for Christian Worldview yesterday:
As followers of Christ, no matter our denomination, we believe that God desires for his people to be a blessing to the world and a force for renewal.
It was for this reason that, nearly a decade ago, the Manhattan Declaration was written to unite all Christians behind the core Biblical principles that will bring life and hope to our nation and our world.
In doing so, you are affirming the sanctity of every human life.
You are standing up for the belief in marriage as an institution between one man and one woman.
And you are professing your commitment to the inherent right of religious freedom for all.
If you agree, I hope you’ll take just a moment of your time to sign the Manhattan Declaration today.
The Colson Center for Christian Worldview
Now, I’m not exactly sure how they obtained my email address. I suppose it is possible I could have subscribed to a newsletter years ago and just forgotten about it. But I don’t recall ever having received anything from them before. At any rate, I write this post ten years later to the day after having written my first response, and I write to say that I have not changed my mind. I cannot and will not sign the Manhattan Declaration for the same reasons that I could not and would not sign it ten years ago. I would also encourage the blog’s readers, some of whom might have received the above email as I have, not to sign it. In my view the document seriously obscures the Gospel. As our departed brother, R.C. Sproul, wrote when he weighed in on the issue back in December of 2009 in a blog post entitled The Manhattan Declaration: Why didn’t you sign it, R.C.?:
In answer to the question, “R.C., why didn’t you sign the Manhattan Declaration?” I offer the following answer: The Manhattan Declaration confuses common grace and special grace by combining them. While I would march with the bishop of Rome and an Orthodox prelate to resist the slaughter of innocents in the womb, I could never ground that cobelligerency on the assumption that we share a common faith and a unified understanding of the gospel.
The framers of the Manhattan Declaration seem to have calculated this objection into the language of the document itself. Likewise, some signers have stated that this is not a theological document. However, to make that statement accurate requires a redefinition of “theology” and serious equivocation on the biblical meaning of “the gospel” (2 Cor. 11:4).
I agree with this assessment, but, for those who would like to read my full response, you may do so here: Concerns About the Manhattan Declaration. May God give us wisdom as we seek to be faithful to the Gospel and to “to contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints” (Jude 1:3 NKJ).