39 Comments

A Rebuke to the Manhattan Declaration Signers


Much has been written about the Manhattan Declaration in recent weeks by some well known Christian voices including Jacob Prasch, Phil Johnson, Steve Camp, R.C. Sproul, John Piper, and John MacArthur, to name but a few.

I’ve posted extensively on the topic, here, here, here, here, here, here, here.

Today I read another statement made by Ralph Ovadal, Pastor of Pilgrims Covenant Church, which leaves me questioning what the proper (biblical) course of action needs to be by those in the Church who agree this is an ecumenical, unbiblical manifesto: in other words, what should my response be to those who willingly decided to align themselves with all other signers and the declarations content..

Pastor Ralph Ovadal’s statement:

The Manhattan Declaration is an ungodly manifesto, contemptuous of the blood and righteousness of the Lord Jesus Christ. It is an ecumenical treatise, complete with a Romish gospel and shot through and through with popish error. Those evangelicals who have authored this document and who have led the way in signing it show themselves to be in rebellion to God. It is, in their case, a brazen manifesto of treason against the Lord Jesus Christ. And they are not friends but rather are enemies of Christian liberty in that they disobey and provoke the Author of liberty with their spiritual fornication, even wresting His word and corrupting His blood-bought church. It is the biblical duty of all faithful Christian pastors to stand against the evangelical authors of the Manhattan Declaration and all evangelicals who sign it or promote it in any way. Such betrayers of Christ and His church must be separated from and called to account by all faithful Christian ministers and people. (Ralph Ovadal, Pastor of Pilgrims Covenant Church, Monroe, Wisconsin – A Short Statement in Response to the Manhattan Declaration)

Audio Sermons on the topic by Pastor Ralph Ovadel:

Manhattan Declaration: Manifesto of Treason and,

A Rebuke of the Manhattan Declaration Signers

(HT, DefCon)

There are included in the list of early signatures names that many within the Christian community are familiar with and have grown to trust–like those of Albert Mohler, Kay Arthur, J.I. Packer, Chuck Swindoll, Michael Youssef, etc.  (see list here). This early list only represents a small number, for since the declaration was posted on-line there have been over 290,000 people, including other Christian leaders, who have added their signatures.

If we truly acknowledge this is an ecumenical document, what should our response be toward those who signed it?

39 comments on “A Rebuke to the Manhattan Declaration Signers

  1. In the end it may just simply have its own ending – Jesus said that any kingdom divided against itself will be ruined and a house divided against itself will fall. Just give it time.

  2. “If we truly acknowledge this is an ecumenical document, what should our response be toward those who signed it?”

    They made a mistake. They are wrong, but may not see that they are wrong. I also made mistakes lately, have been wrong, and am quite possibly wrong on some matters of which I am still unaware.

    I don’t think this error can or should nullify the good teachings and work of some of these leaders.

    We are all frail. Truth matters, error is serious, and we will be judged. We are also saved by the gracious and sovereign work of God in Christ.

  3. PJ,
    I understand what you maybe thinking about these posts about the Manhattan Declaration, but this latest one almost states that the signers are not only apostates but are lost. At least that is my conclusion. I believe that this declaration is more political than spiritual, a vain attempt by conservative Christians and others to rally the troops with some kind of relevance in a world where the gospel is honestly less important every day.
    Still this kind of lashing out is always in vogue because it comes across as defending the faith but sometimes really is about shoring up your own point of view, where you are right and everyone else is wrong.
    John MacArthur’s critique was the best of those I have read, and we need to approach with grace and speak the truth in love to open each others eyes, not just consign them to the pit when we think they are in error.
    Apostacy and false teaching abound in the Church and it breaks my heart, but prayer, grace and love will do more to pull many back from the pit, instead of saber rattling and pushing them in to justify ourselves.

    • Without apology, I signed the declaration, not for the ones in hats and robes, but for those who are true Christians within the Eastern and Roman churches. The Lord has enhanced my power of discernment during the past three years. I did not ask Him for the gift, but I cherish it, because He has affirmed me that we are in the latter moments of our Last Days. Most importantly, my spirit has discerned that my support of this ‘ecumenical’ statement is the right thing to do.
      I am not surprised that the bluenose Baptist types shun the document for its affiliation with the RC. The mega church leaders are also evading it, for PC keeps their coffers full, their followers smug, and the IRS satisfied.
      I estimate that less than half of the 77,000,000 true Christians in America are not Internet users. For that reason, they are not represented and the results thus are skewed. Those who are yet unable to sign the thesis, their signatures are already branded in His Book of Life. If 38 million is divided by 296,000 current signers = 0.79%. One week ago, the statistic was 0.74%. The mustard seed grows slowly, and so it will flourish in its time.
      Are my words foolish? Am I speaking as a naive child? I would rather be a fool for Christ that a wise man of the world. I am also happy to come to Him as a child.
      Eventually the doubters and shirkers will come out from beneath their rocks of prejudice and will hopefully stand upon THE ROCK, speak boldly for Christ, and do not fear to publicly remind others to abide by His Two Commandments. Amen

      AW Loescher of PILMOA = Politically Incorrect Like Minds Of Agabus

  4. As a further thought, why are we so busy with declarations and manifestos anyway? I see Franklin Graham has one too. In the late 1990’s everyone felt the need to “March for Jesus” (I never really understood the point, except that it is easier to march once a year than to live for Christ 365 days). I wonder if this paraphrase is an appropriate application of Isaiah 1:14:

    “Your manifestos and your declarations
    my soul hates;
    they have become a burden to me;
    I am weary of bearing them.”

    The Great Commission is all the manifesto, mission statement, vision statement, declaration we are given.

  5. I agree with Gary who said:
    “we need to approach with grace and speak the truth in love to open each others eyes, not just consign them to the pit when we think they are in error.”

    Personally, I am not an adherent to the Manhattan Declaration. But PJ’s question is a good one. How does one reconcile the fact that there are upstanding brothers and sisters who have signed?

    Each man stands or falls before God. What benefit is there in stirring up controversies?
    While I do think there is a responsibility that rests upon the shoulders of men who carry influence in the household of God to instruct on such matters, it must be done with grace and gentleness. 2 Timothy 2:14 says:
    “Have nothing to do with foolish, ignorant controversies; you know that they breed quarrels. And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but kind to everyone, able to teach, patiently enduring evil, correcting his opponents with gentleness. God may perhaps grant them repentance leading to a knowledge of the truth, and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, after being captured by him to do his will.”

    These are perilous times ,we know. As desperate as they are, there is something in the hard wiring of us all that wants to fix, correct, change and bring about some good. But it’s only when we’re surrendered to the point of childlike obedience that God can use us. Everything else is self-effort and vainglory. And we all know there’s enough of that to go around.

    As for me, I’m hiding in the shelter of the Most High where it’s safe.
    E

  6. Eventually the doubters and shirkers will come out from beneath their rocks of prejudice and will hopefully stand upon THE ROCK, speak boldly for Christ, and do not fear to publicly remind others to abide by His Two Commandments.

    So, if im reading you correctly albert, you believe any Christian who refuses to sign this is a doubter or shirker?

    Please explain what you base this judgment on…

  7. Questions for all who have responded:

    The scriptures tell us in the days prior to the coming of the Lord, many will “apostate”–fall away– from the faith, the truth; and that seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived.

    If i mention Todd Bentley, Peter Wagner, or any number of those who proclaim to be Christians, who have taught and/or brought damnable heresy’s into the church, you all would agree their beliefs, doctrines, etc were ungodly–unbiblical. And, their promoting these doctrines was dangerous…

    As good Bereans you would rightly sound the alarm…

    Those Christian leaders who have signed the MD have agreed with its basic principle which is,

    1. The sanctity of human life.
    2. The sanctity of marriage.
    3. The protection of religious liberty.
    4. The rejection of unjust laws.

    “represent(s) the foundation of our faith ”
    “They are the pivot point from which everything else flows; the Bedrock”

    link

    As i wrote in a previous post,

    The Manhattan Declaration and its supporters have removed their houses off of the true Foundation on which Biblical Christianity is built and are building on a faulty foundation constructed upon those (4) issues..

    True Biblical Christianity is built upon Christ. Jesus and the Word are our foundation, as are the teachings “of the Apostles and Prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the Chief Corner Stone”

    To believe anything else is not Christianity.

    The MD carries the subtle odor of dominion theology…

    So the question is how [or why] is one less dangerous then the other–why do you believe that the false doctrines the Bentley’s of this world promote, are worse then the ecumenical foundation the MD is founded upon; and is the fact they have moved off the sure foundation to one now, based on 4 cultural issues, as dangerous to the gospel and/or the church as “Angel feathers” and “gold dust”?

    I’m not saying they are the same, but neither am i saying they are not–I’m asking.

    My point for asking is we throw up our hands in disbelief and weep today at how the church, especially in recent years, has been infiltrated with doctrines of demons.

    At our vantage point today we can look back and see how we allowed many of these false teachings and doctrines to enter in–hindsight is always 20/20.

    But by making excuses today, for other, perhaps more subtle, but just as dangerous falsehoods and movements making headway into the church body, aren’t we just as guilty as the Christians years ago, who turned a blind eye or made excuses?

    Just where is the line folks,…where does it lie in differentiating between one movement being more dangerous or more heretical then another?

    Is it when we’re encouraged to “possibly” make an exception to scripture for the “common good”…

    We are all aware of the Bible’s warnings not to be unequally yoked. This is the biggest drawback to The Manhattan Declaration. And all ecumenical endeavors put us on the road to the one-world religion. The question is, could signing this be an exception in light of the tide of our times and the need for a unified effort to stop evil? (Jan Markell, Olive Tree Ministries)

    Or something more…?

  8. This is only an excerpt from Albert Mohler’s blog:
    http://www.albertmohler.com/2009/11/23/why-i-signed-the-manhattan-declaration/

    “I signed The Manhattan Declaration because it is a limited statement of Christian conviction on these three crucial issues, and not a wide-ranging theological document that subverts confessional integrity. I cannot and do not sign documents such as Evangelicals and Catholics Together that attempt to establish common ground on vast theological terrain. I could not sign a statement that purports, for example, to bridge the divide between Roman Catholics and evangelicals on the doctrine of justification. The Manhattan Declaration is not a manifesto for united action. It is a statement of urgent concern and common conscience on these three issues — the sanctity of human life, the integrity of marriage, and the defense of religious liberty.

    My beliefs concerning the Roman Catholic Church and the Orthodox churches have not changed. The Roman Catholic Church teaches doctrines that I find both unbiblical and abhorrent — and these doctrines define nothing less than the Gospel of Jesus Christ. But The Manhattan Declaration does not attempt to establish common ground on these doctrines. We remain who we are, and we concede no doctrinal ground.”

    It may do others well to read the full piece as I believe it’s important to give a fair hearing to those we may question for signing the MD. And only then can we fairly make a statement based on that which is Biblical and equitable, leaving room for the Judge of all spirits.

    Man will err; God does not.

    E

  9. I see the foolishness and danger of signing the Manhattan Declaration–Jesus’ teaching not to make oaths at all the primary reason, and its ecumenism and politicalness is not the response the Church is to have to evil.

    I appreciate pj’s explanations and John MacArthur’s insight to help me recognize what is wrong with it.

    Nontheless, Ovadal’s words offend me in their self-righteous rejection of PEOPLE, people who have a history of genuine fruit of righteousness, not simply the rejection of their error or shortsightedness or mistaken efforts. Words like Ovadal’s leave little room for correction toward our misguided brothers and sisters and scant hope of reconciliation.

    Thus I’d say that our response, pj, to signers of the MD is NOT to be Ovadal’s. Rather 2 Tim 2:14 instructs us, as noted and quoted by gary and findingthemotherlode.

    Not having heard of this Ovadal man before, but by merely reading his words here, I suspect he may be reconstructionist, (oh, they love to imprecatate and excommunicate!) which is dominionism, which is aberrent itself. I’be been the target of reconstructionist fruit-stealing and reputation-murder and “Christian” jihadism. It is not the Spirit of Christ or His Bride. Yes, in ignorance and poor leadership I was wrong about some things, the Lord corrected me, I am thankful to Him for being my Shepherd in dark and difficult and confusing days, and keeping me on His paths of truth because He loves me and saw a desire for Truth in my heart; but “brothers” like this Ovadal are not shepherds and cannot help anyone who is struggling to find the paths of Truth and Life in sincerity.

    Sounds like a man like this would leave the 99 sheep not to seek and save the lost one, but to hunt it down and execute it!

    I find it arrogant that a man writes that it is the DUTY of all faithful Christians to separate from and stand against the SIGNERS of MD. Where does he have any regard for my freeedom of conscience before God to look prayerfully to the leading of the Holy Spirit Who dwells in me to lead me into truth in the light of Scripture? He is in effect TAKING THE ROLE of the Holy Spirit in every believer’s life by making such a statement–where there is no Scripture explicitly saying, “Thou must separate from all signers of the Manhattan Declaration.” Do you see the arrogance and error in Ovadal’s statement, too?–that he makes separation from these brothers and sisters a binding requirement on all for fellowship with the Lord–is that biblical? Nowhere does he take on the difficult task of correcting, of pointing out the errors or the blindspots. Just bring out the club and bash into inferno anyone who doesn’t agree with you. . .

    Redemption is absent. . .

    OK: Promoting sorcery for gain using the Bible, without genuine evidence of regeneration and without preaching the cross, is not the same as trying to navigate our course in attempting to follow Christ, and possibly making mistakes, being deluded temporarily on the way. We can point out the mistakes, pray that our brothers and sisters will see them and turn back from them, and leave them to the Shepherd of their souls. In my opinion, they are not in–at least not yet–in the same league as the NAR, though we can warn that aligning with some may be leading them in that direction.

    Can you see the wisdom in the Scriptural injunction to “be ye not many teachers, for they shall incur the greater wrath”? All these “authors” who signed, and then the Ovadals who try to “lead” against them, will have a greater condemnation than those of us who in humility treat one another as better than ourselves, working out our own salvation with fear and trembling.

  10. PJ,

    I agree with your questions and appreciate the asking of them, I would like to throw out these “few” thoughts as well…

    Disagreement with the MD and it’s signers shouldn’t be a hard line drawn in the sand over religious convictions, rather a “hard line” drawn with allegiance to Christ in mind. Yeah, yeah, it leaves open the potential to be seen as “fundamentalists nut cases”. 🙂 I suggest however to temper that with a healthy dose of God given grace, and patience.

    From a (preemptive?) Biblical perspective (2nd Corinthians 6:14-18), I wholeheartedly disagree with what the MD “claims” to be about. I hope however that also from a Biblical perspective, to not be hasty out of religious zeal to condemn the MD and it’s signers before the “fruits” of this endeavor are manifest.

    Make no mistake, I’m firmly convinced that signing this document is spiritual adultery not yet thoroughly played out and revealed. And yes, I’m saddened to see and hear of respected Christian leaders/personalities that have gone down this road by giving their stamp of approval to the MD. To reiterate though… our allegiance is to Christ not Christian leaders.

    I’m not suggesting to practice “tolerance” toward the MD, and it’s signers, just to be careful and to guard your hearts from becoming selfishly fixated against the MD. What the MD proposes frustrates me, which is why I need to come back to God and wait on Him to provide the next course of action, if in fact it is His will that I do or say anything more regarding it.

    Finally, and I mean this as a straightforward question not an apology for the MD. What sin is being committed regarding the MD and it’s signers? Personally, I “sense” what it’s potentially leading to, (I have to confess that this is at least partially preemptive speculation); I’m asking however, for some help, a fresh set of spiritual eyes and ears in identifying and focusing in on the specific sin issue.

    Sorry for the rambling. 🙂

    Praying for us all to be blessed with God given discernment, patience, and courage.

    Grace and peace be with you all.

    • Finally, and I mean this as a straightforward question not an apology for the MD. What sin is being committed regarding the MD and it’s signers? Personally, I “sense” what it’s potentially leading to, (I have to confess that this is at least partially preemptive speculation); I’m asking however, for some help, a fresh set of spiritual eyes and ears in identifying and focusing in on the specific sin issue.

      Christopher, if this had been presented publicly as only a cultural (or political) document, signed by evangelical leaders and those of the RCC, etc. it would have been different, but contrary to what Albert Mohler has stated,

      The Manhattan Declaration because it is a limited statement of Christian conviction on these three crucial issues, and not a wide-ranging theological document that subverts confessional integrity.

      It is a theological document,

      Just imagine what could happen if we could say to the world that a million Christians have made this pledge—that we will not compromise the faith, no matter what. I think that would have an extraordinary impact on American culture.

      And just as important, I believe the Manhattan Declaration can help revitalize the church in America. One great weakness of the Church today is its biblical and doctrinal ignorance. This document is, in fact, a form of catechism for the foundational truths of the faith. – (TMD architect Chuck Colson)

      Sproul, Colson, and You, on the Manhattan Declaration

      By joining with those who preach a different gospel for the ‘common good’ concerning these specific cultural issues, those evangelical leaders have publicly and seriously compromised the faith.

      False unity (a unity not founded upon Christ and the gospel message) has been growing between those of other faiths for the last few years. “Fighting the culture wars” has made for some strange bedfellows.

      Where its leading, is where its apparently arrived at now: joining together with those of other faiths to battle culture wars, and by doing so, forsaking the doctrines of the christian faith.

  11. My prayer is to have eyes that see, ears that hear and a heart that understands. I must have the perception that comes from being united with Christ.

    The treachery of the day is in being hasty in speaking on matters that are beyond us. Amos 5:13 says, “Therefore he who is prudent will keep silent in such a time, for it is an evil time.”

    I’m not saying we are not to form a decision based on conscience regarding the MD, but I believe we are to make that decision based in humility and spiritual discernment founded on Truth as revealed in the Word, and not from a platform of even the slightest hint of finger-pointing. Remember Jesus Christ. He asked the Father to “forgive them, for they know not what they do.”
    (Luke 23:34 ESV)

    I’m reminded of the repeated calls for wisdom on the part of the saints in the book of Daniel and the book of Revelation. What does wisdom look like? James 3:17-18 says,

    “But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere. And a harvest of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.”

    Each man, woman and child will be known by their fruits.
    E

  12. Mr. Loescher’s powers of discernment are truly amazing!

    First he is able to discern that there are 77 million true Christians in the US and that less than half of them have internet access.

    Then he is able to discern, without knowing me or anything about me that my unwillingness to sign the document is based on prejudice and my “bluenose Baptist” shunning of the Roman church.

    Maybe one day his discernment will let him know that the great commission is not a call to save the world. It is a call to save sinners out of the world. Signing political documents in defense of temporal political liberty is a waste of time and a great distraction from our mission

  13. “If we truly acknowledge this is an ecumenical document, what should our response be toward those who signed it?”

    I’ve followed this debate with interest. to this point I haven’t felt particularly compelled to ‘do’ anything. I don’t have any seminary training, just a born-again believer doing my best to read and discern what God’s Word is teaching me. So, I’m not sure what the significance of this being (or not being) an ecumenical document is.

    When I first read the document I had many problems with it. But my first reaction was to simply shake my head. That’s all. I’m in agreement with many who have already posted here who say that if in fact signing the MD is an error, I’ve made plenty myself. And I hope that those around me will be able to show me sufficient grace to not shut me out because of it. We’re taught throughout the Bible that redemption is always the goal. If a brother is in error, try to show him. Make every effort to lead him back onto the path. And if that is what is needed here, my understanding of what the Bible teaches would say to interact with the signers one on one. Some get so caught up in the ‘discipline’ they forget the redemption.

    That’s if redemption is needed. My earlier question is an honest one. What does it mean to us as the Church if the MD is an ecumincal statement?

  14. Thanks for the responses guys

    But i see a couple of you didn’t seem to understand the question[s] i posed. (its my fault–i have a tendency to not explain very well)

    The original question in the post,

    If we truly acknowledge this is an ecumenical document, what should our response be toward those who signed it..

    Was concerning what our biblical response should be toward the Christian leaders who signed it, and by doing so have seriously compromised the gospel.

    In a later comment i asked what anyone thought was the difference in what false teachers [the likes of Bentley] do, compared to those leaders who have jumped on the MD ecumenical bandwagon have done…

    So the question is how [or why] is one less dangerous then the other–why do you believe that the false doctrines the Bentley’s of this world promote, are worse then the ecumenical foundation the MD is founded upon; and is the fact they have moved off the sure foundation to one now, based on 4 cultural issues, as dangerous to the gospel and/or the church as “Angel feathers” and “gold dust”?

    What is the difference?

    • In response to this question, I would have to say there is no difference. Both are dangerous, the mystical NAR crowd and the Manhattan Declaration initiative.

      With the NAR crowd, the gospel often seems to be omitted (as we saw in Lakeland), and the truth of God’s Word is often twisted or shunned (in favor of “present truth”). With the Manhattan Declaration and similar ecumenical initiatives, the gospel is wildly distorted or completely replaced with another gospel.

      It seems then that those who are aware, and are exercising discernment, have a responsibility to stand equally against both schemes. And in both cases, those who have erred should be pointed back to the truth of God’s Word and the Biblical gospel.

  15. PJ,
    The difference may well be that the one is heresy, which is damnable (Galatians 1:8&9) , and the other is error, which holds out the hope for correction (2 Timothy 2:24-26).

    But as I’ve stated before, each man stands or falls before God. We will all have to give an account. And for those who are considered teachers, they will endure a stricter judgment. God is keen on who carries influence over His people and nobody will get away with anything in His house. One thing I do know is that God is merciful, and mercy triumphs over judgment. A penitent heart God will not despise.

    And for those of us who have not signed the MD…if there’s a need or desire residing within to impugn others for signing the MD, perhaps that is something God is wanting to deal with. Spiritual discernment is a gift from God, and it carries with it a great responsibility before God and man, but if we have a spirit of judgment that is our own, we must repent.

    E

    • The difference may well be that the one is heresy, which is damnable (Galatians 1:8&9) , and the other is error, which holds out the hope for correction (2 Timothy 2:24-26).

      Hi E….

      How is one heresy but the other just error?

      I’m just trying to understand–its not a trick question. LOL

  16. In response to this question, I would have to say there is no difference. Both are dangerous, the mystical NAR crowd and the Manhattan Declaration initiative.

    It seems then that those who are aware, and are exercising discernment, have a responsibility to stand equally against both schemes. And in both cases, those who have erred should be pointed back to the truth of God’s Word and the Biblical gospel.

    Thanks Adam…yes that was what i was asking…if one was more dangerous then the other.

    The reason i pulled Bentley’s name out of the air was because he stands as an “obvious” example of false doctrine. In other words, we don’t even need to use discernment to know he and others within the NAR (and other related groups) are promoting unbiblical teachings…

    But, on the other hand what the signers of the MD are promoting is in my opinion, just as dangerous–in fact, possibly more so because its more subtle and the names of respected Christian leaders are associated with it.

    We (the church) seem to have no problem referring to the Bentley’s of this world as promoters of a different gospel, and marking them as such, but we do seem to react to others (as in the case of the MD and its well-known signers) differently.

    do you understand what i mean?

    • PJ,

      Yes, I understand what you mean. I resonate with what you said about the MD initiative being more subtle in its deception.

      This was a good question (“Is one more dangerous than the other?”), and I’m glad you asked it.

  17. A quote from the FAQ’s page at the Manhattan Declaration website–

    There are indeed people of many faiths who agree with our stands, and we applaud and honor them, and pledge to labor together with them in a true spirit of brotherhood for justice and the common good.

    Also a clip posted by Proclaim His Word ministry..

    Manhattan Declaration: Manifesto of Treason

  18. Hi, Dan Philips over at Pyromaniacs asks a similar question to yours today pj, he said suppose you were an internationally known name as one who stands on the sufficiency of scripture and suppose you were invited to sign a document and the other names were …. you put Tb but he names others. Would you even think about signing…

    • Thanks Jan, (i read it before replying.)

      He asks an important question! One which has disturbed me deeply concerning certain leaders who did sign it–like, what were they thinking!

      Its hard to believe they did not understand what (and who) they were aligning themselves with.

      Which leaves one with an even more disturbing possibly.

      Link to Dan Phillips post: Manhattany ponderment: what if…?

  19. Yes, and as leaders and pastors they speak not only for themselves but also for those they lead. I wonder if the invitation to sign is extended to satanists and pagans after all defence of religious liberty is one the categories 🙂

  20. PJ,

    As I stated in a previous comment: “The difference may well be that the one is heresy, which is damnable (Galatians 1:8&9) , and the other is error, which holds out the hope for correction (2 Timothy 2:24-26).”

    You asked in response: “How is one heresy but the other just error?”

    I suppose I look at the two differently because I believe in the grace of God in that He is faithful to correct those who are willing to humble themselves and be taught. 1 Peter 5:5b says, “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.”

    The Holy Spirit is the One Who leads us into all truth. Nobody can claim to have a monopoly on truth. We’ve been given the Word and each one has a responsibility to search it out with their God-given measure of understanding, as it says in 1 Corinthians 13: “For we know in part…”

    So, error happens, and it is forgivable. That is why there are numerous verses that portray how we are to treat others if we see them caught in a sin, duped or being led astray. God has made provision for such through His Word and He uses His people.

    Heresy, in my opinion, is the MAINTAINING of error. Slight difference, but it’s the difference that makes all the difference, because when the sword of the Spirit which is the Word of God does it’s work, the slicing is sliver thin and men are spared if they are willing to be His disciple to the end.

    E

  21. Hi PJ,

    Have you any further thoughts on my response to your question (difference between error and heresy)?

    E

  22. Hi E…

    I would have to say i see both as the same–the Bentley’s and those evangelical leaders who (knowing what they were doing) signed the MD.

    Logic and reason (and my own personal feelings) wants me to see one as being worse then the other–but i don’t think God’s word supports that line of thinking. For both lead to a different gospel and subsequently, a different spirit.

    both have left the truth…

  23. PJ,

    Thanks for the feedback ref:

    Christopher, if this had been presented publicly as only a cultural (or political) document, signed by evangelical leaders and those of the RCC, etc. it would have been different, but contrary to what Albert Mohler has stated,

    I follow what your saying, it’s pretty much the same point of contention I have, which then leaves us to discernment and or speculation of what the true agenda of the MD authors is.

    Based on what I understand of Roman Catholic doctrine (work based religion, veneration of man over Christ for example), and “discernment (tingling Spidey senses, bad “vibe” or what have you,) that there’s more to the MD than what it claims to be about; I’m left to reason on the principle of 2nd Corinthians 6:14-18 that signing the MD is a compromise and thus wrong…

    14Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness? 15What harmony is there between Christ and Belial? What does a believer have in common with an unbeliever? 16What agreement is there between the temple of God and idols? For we are the temple of the living God. As God has said: “I will live with them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they will be my people.”[c]
    17″Therefore come out from them
    and be separate, says the Lord.
    Touch no unclean thing,
    and I will receive you.”[d]
    18″I will be a Father to you,
    and you will be my sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty.”

    Grace and peace be with you.

    • I follow what your saying, it’s pretty much the same point of contention I have, which then leaves us to discernment and or speculation of what the true agenda of the MD authors is.

      Exactly. The original signers are not even in agreement as to what it represents: some see it as a theological statement, while others [like Mohler] don’t.

  24. Though I believe the Manhattan Declaration is wrong minded, I’m boggled by the people you bring up as right minded. John Piper and John MacArthur? Piper’s push of replacement theology is plain nuts and MacArthur who believes that Jesus did NOT die for all ( http://www.gty.org/video/pulpit/V82TM11-7/the-reconciling-gospel ) despite the Bible clearly stating that He did die for all. These among other astounding perversions of scripture.

    It’s been my growing belief that there seems to be little exception to the rule that honor puffs up and these leaders on most fronts get to a point where self promotion begins to take precedence. I pray daily in the spirit and in my mind that I don’t become an exalted teacher. It becomes quite plain that such exaltation puts you at great risk.

    • While i strongly disagree that John Piper promotes replacement theology, i do thank you for the link concerning MacArthur’s teaching. I had not seen this before and will check it out. If he does believe this, you are certainly right. He is dead wrong.

    • I read John Piper’s message and the message by the rabbi you linked to who critiqued it, and it appears from the rabbi’s very first words he is critiquing a different message!

      Case in point:

      rabbi: “The issue that Mr. Piper speaks to in the aforementioned article is indeed important and dear to my heart. I agree with him that both Biblical and historical concerns must be taken into consideration to arrive at a view that is in line with the revelation of Scripture. Where I begin to disagree with Mr. Piper is from the very first paragraph. There, one is able to see a bias held by him, which colors his statements throughout his article and causes him to incorrectly interpret key Biblical passages and arrive at conclusions which are in conflict with the Word of God. His main point, that the Jewish people have forfeited their right to the Land of Israel, is not supported by the revelation of Scripture and leads him to make additional statements that are in error.

      Mr. Piper begins his article with a quotation from Romans 11:25-32. He states that he wants to use this passage as well as other Scripture verses in

        “an effort to draw out implications…for a very vexing problem in the world today.

      ” What is this very vexing problem? He writes,

      “The existence of Israel in the Middle East and the extent of her borders and her sovereignty are perhaps the most explosive factors in world terrorism and the most volatile factors in Arab-West relations.”

      What John Piper in fact wrote IN CONTEXT was,

      Romans 11:25–32 – Lest you be wise in your own conceits, I want you to understand this mystery, brothers: a partial hardening has come upon Israel, until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in. 26 And in this way all Israel will be saved, as it is written, “The Deliverer will come from Zion, he will banish ungodliness from Jacob”; 27 “and this will be my covenant with them when I take away their sins.” 28 As regards the gospel, they are enemies of God for your sake. But as regards election, they are beloved for the sake of their forefathers. 29 For the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable. 30 Just as you were at one time disobedient to God but now have received mercy because of their disobedience, 31 so they too have now been disobedient in order that by the mercy shown to you they also may now receive mercy. 32 For God has consigned all to disobedience, that he may have mercy on all.

      Today I would like to address the issue of Israel’s relation to the “Promised Land” in the Middle East. This is not primarily an expository message from Romans 11, but an effort to draw out implications of Romans 11 and the rest of Scripture for a very vexing problem in the world today. The existence of Israel in the Middle East and the extent of her borders and her sovereignty are perhaps the most explosive factors in world terrorism and the most volatile factors in Arab-Western relations.

      The Arab roots and the Jewish roots in this land go back for thousands of years. Both lay claim to the land not merely because of historical presence, but also because of divine right. I won’t try to lay out a detailed peace plan. But I will try to lay out some biblical truths that could guide all of us in thinking about peace and justice in that part of the world. What we think about this, and what we say, does matter, since politicians are influenced by their constituents in these religiously super-charged situations. And we need to know how to pray. And we need to know how to talk to others in a way that honors the truth. So for all those reasons, and for the reason that God is very much involved in this situation, we should talk about it in the context of Romans 11.

      It may seem like a minor point, but what this rabbi states is Piper claiming one thing as the “vexing problem” in actuality Piper states it somewhat differently. And i see no bias on Piper’s part within his message.

      The rabbi states,

      It is quite interesting and sad that Mr. Piper places the existence of Israel as the foremost problem in the Middle East. I guess he thinks that Iraq invaded Kuwait because of Israel’s existence; that the war between Iraq and Iran was also due to Israel’s existence; that Suddam Hussein used lethal gas on his citizens because of Israel’s existence; that numerous Arabs are butchered by Muslims because of Israel’s existence; that many Christians are persecuted, tortured and martyred by Muslims because of Israel’s existence; that the conflict between the Shiites and Sunnis are rooted in the fact that Israel exists. Yes, it would seem to John Piper that removing Israel would solve most of the problems in the Middle East today and that world terrorism would come to a near halt.

      And there is absolutely nothing in John Piper’s message which says anything of the kind. Nothing.

      Reading the ‘about us’ at the link you provided (see here) it appears to be a website which encourages the teachings associated with the hebrew roots/Christian zionist/dispensationalist movements. I totally disagree with the teachings from these movements, believing them to be unbiblical under the new covenant we’re to adhere to today.

      Just in case you didn’t read John Pipers actual message, which on reading it i can say im in agreement with, it can be found here: Israel, Palestine and the Middle East

      After you read it my friend, come back and tell me what you don’t agree with, ok?

    • I guess the first point I zeroed in on was the text,”enemies of God”. He had to search far and wide for that specific text in the Anglican ESV. It’s not in the Hebrew or Greek so it begins with a slant. Care has to be taken with that place setting. I’m concerned that he’s on board with the likes of Lynn Hybels, Rick Warren, basically the mainline churches in removing Israel from her rightful place. There is a second part to the link I’d sent you. I’ll get to your link later today.

      Hebrew roots/Christian Zionist/dispensationalist, I didn’t realize they were lumped together. I guess I would be, somehow, lumped in Christian Zionist, but not the others, because people feel they need to lump you. Guess you could say I’ve had my lumps, 😉 .

      I personally have a hard time with folks who, in varying degrees, push the Hebrew roots thing. Oftimes in their comments they won’t use Jesus, just a Hebrew variant showing how much holier they are up to and including using G-D. The “one man” movement has even many of the Messianic Jews upset because it’s hard to evangelize with so many Gentiles taking part in it. I think Paul was pretty clear about pushing Judaism on the Gentiles.

      What did you think of John MacArthurs remark that Jesus did not die for everyone?

      Thanks for your time, God bless,

      Dan

    • Dan i must confess i haven’t finished listening to MacArthur’s sermon. As usual, as i got into it i got interrupted. That seems to happen alot. But i try to finish it today.

      I did do a search on the topic and found a few articles on what i believe is the same topic?

      The Gospel According to John MacArthur

      John MacArthur’s Heresy On Predestination

      Let me know if these cover what he is teaching in the video…

  25. Hi PJ,

    I did go back and read it, actually I’d read it before. If I have to zero in it would be point 3. Piper changes the physical Israel to a spiritual Israel of promise. Sounds pretty replacement to me. Genesis 17 establishes the Covenant ( including land ) with his descendants forever, Period. In Genesis 15 God enumerates his offspring. Now if we are to believe John Piper, I’m now a descendent of Abraham. But I’m not, I’m a child of God, grafted into His family by relationship with Jesus, the Christ. If we were to rightly apply John Piper’s narrative, then his position on OSAS ( once saved always saved ), ( eternal security http://www.desiringgod.org/resource-library/sermons/the-purpose-and-perseverance-of-faith ) will fall apart. In part because if he believes the Jews become separate through disobedience, then so would Christians. Yet he paints a picture that God will maneuver, cajole, make sure that the Christian is right before Him before he dies. So why would God not do the same for His people of promise?

    According to John, the Jews rejected Jesus and are out of the picture. ” It will come finally to the true Israel, the Israel that keeps covenant and obeys her God.” Now if he has this picture, then he should be encouraging and supporting at all cost the reclamation of the Temple Mount and rebuilding of the Temple so that Israel can keep the Covenant.

    So is this replacement without being replacement?

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