Wednesday, December 9, 2009

R.C. Sproul Weighs In on "Manhattan Declaration"

From Ligonier Ministries, the best summary of the document's issues I've seen yet:

"On November 20, 2009, a document called the Manhattan Declaration was presented to the public by a coalition of cobelligerents. The document is concerned primarily with three very important biblical and cultural issues: the sanctity of life, the meaning of marriage, and the nature of religious liberty. Without question, these issues are up for grabs in our nation.

As anyone familiar with my ministry will know, I share the document’s concern for defending the unborn, defining heterosexual marriage biblically, and preserving a proper relationship between church and state. However, when the document was sent to me and my signature was requested a few weeks ago, I declined to sign it.

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).

The drafters of the document, Charles Colson, Robert George, and Timothy George, used deliberate language that is on par with the ecumenical language of the Evangelicals and Catholics Together (ECT) movement that began in the 1990s. The Manhattan Declaration states, “Christians are heirs of a 2,000-year tradition of proclaiming God’s Word,” and it identifies “Orthodox, Catholic, and Evangelicals” as “Christians.” The document calls Christians to unite in “the Gospel,” “the Gospel of costly grace,” and “the Gospel of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ in its fullness.” Moreover, the document says, “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.”

See rest of article here. Well put, Dr. Sproul.


Anonymous said...

A lot of good he's doing. At least he gets to feel superior to those better-off-dead Catholics.

The scandal of the evangelical mind.

Marie said...

Interesting that sarcastic and/or erroneous comments are only left anonymously.

Actually, Sproul doesn't "feel superior" to anybody. One of the hallmarks of his ministry has been his unusual humility (and self-deprecating humor). This, no doubt, flows out of his firm belief in biblical doctrine - the main crux of his issue with Catholicism.

The romanist church is not based on the biblical teaching of salvation by grace through faith; it is man-made works-righteousness system. No one questions the RCC's belief in the God of the Bible, but many (if not most) of the Vatican's doctrines would have been unknown to the Christian Church before the Middle Ages. That is historical fact.

Soteriology is one area in which we dare not compromise; it is not only one of the "essentials", is is THE essential.