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Doctrine

Follow-up on the Manhattan Declaration

There still continues to be plenty of discussion about the Manhattan Declaration. To point out some of the better discussion:

David Doran continues to jot down small snippets of thoughts at his blog:

A Bronx Declaration

In-Credible Christianity

Manhattan and the Brooklyn Bridge

Pyromaniacs had some further thoughts:

The you-don’t-care-about-babies dodge

Idealism vs. Normally-Wise Pragmatism

Manhattan Declaration again: R. C. Sproul . . .

If you want an interview from an antagonistic perspective, check here.

Christianity Today has written a short article on it.

Finally, Ligon Duncan, in a gentle manner, answers what it means for the ACE (who had some in their council sign it and some not) here.

Any thoughts?

26 Comments

  • Gary L. Kurfman says:

    To get this discussion going, the comments by Ligon Duncan seem to make the most sense. I could easily sign this document. As Duncan points out, the Declaration is one of “social ethical issues” rather than a statement regarding the Gospel, what is a Christian, and what is a true church. However, the issues addressed in the Declaration clearly have a great deal of bearing on how we declare the Gospel message in our society, the context in which we declare that message, the Biblical issues we do address, and whether that proclamation remains legal in the future (i.e., the whole issue of religious liberty). It could very well become illegal to proclaim the Gospel we hold if we do not address these issues now while we still have the time and can do so. If some think that Evangelical Christians have no responsiblity in addressing social issues, all we have to do is take a quick reading of the OT prophets and God’s judgement on not only Israel, but the nations around them for their injustice and so forth. It should be remember that justice is rooted in the theological outlook, and that all throughout Scripture God expects those in a proper relationship with Him to treat others in a just manner-in such a manner that this Declaration does with the specific social ethical issues it addresses. If this nation loses or continues to lose ground in each of these areas, the entire context in which we attempt to minister will be lost, if not completely outlawed. What will the non-signers do then? Just walk away and refuse to speak or start to speak out when it is too late? It seems like some of the non-signers couldn’t agree to join together with any other believer beyond themselves because it would be difficult, if not impossible, to find another who holds to the same exact, point-by-point theological viewpoint. Then, none of these important issues would be addressed while we witness the country slide further and further away. For years, we have been attempting to instill a “Christian world and life view” into the people of our churches. Such a view implies that God is concerned about all aspects of life. To walk away from such a Declaration because not all the signers agree on every aspect of the Gospel message (forgetting that the Declaration is primarily addressing social issues from a Biblical viewpoint-Christian world and life view if you will) almost appears naive if not arrogant. Those on the sidelines had better get with it because while we have an obligation to proclaim the Gospel, we also have an obligation to address these other issues. Is a “Christian world and life view” true and important or not?

  • We are witnessing an on-going proclivity among some Baptist pastors to give the conservative evangelicals the benefit of the doubt, if not an outright pass, for almost every indiscretion among them. 

 Indiscretions, such as:

    *John Piper hosting a RAP artist in his church and his affinity for the Toronto Blessing.
    
*John MacArthur’s Resolved (Youth) Conference that features the Rock music genre.

    *C. J. Mahaney and Piper’s promotion of the Charismatic sign gifts.

    *Mark Driscoll for his numerous disturbing actions, including speaking at Robert Schuler’s Crystal Cathedral.

    *Al Mohler sitting as chair for the Billy Graham crusade, honoring a rank liberal (Duke McCall) and signing the Manhattan Declaration.



    The latest indiscretion, of course, being the signing of the Manhattan Declaration (MD).

    Al Mohler signing the MD gave, as Dave Doran noted at his blog, “Christian recognition to people without a credible profession of the gospel.” To pass this action by Mohler in particular off as merely “bad judgment,” which Doran contends, is to ignore and sidestep the obvious “biblical obligations” toward what has been done by these signatories to the MD.

    When are men like Dave Doran who claim to be biblical separatists going to give the Lord and His Word first benefit of the doubt instead of the conservative evangelicals who make these compromises and show no sign of retreating from doing those things?

    These things with the conservative evangelicals are not grey areas. We must arrive at our response to the actions of men like Al Mohler and Ligon Duncan from the starting point of what does the Bible mandate for me, not what is in the best interest of keeping my friends and/or fellowships.

    LM

  • Lou,

    I can see some of your points, but others leave me baffled. For example, unless you can cite a scriptural prohibition against rap music I must confess I am left scratching my head as to why a young African American Christian man cannot sing a song that is lyrically glorifying to Jesus–whether that be rap, a hymn, or any other form of music.

    As for John Piper, the only article that I could find about his connection with the Toronto blessing was where he attended a conference,and after which he openly discussed those things he appreciated (true believers seeking after God) but also the serious errors and mistakes these same believers were making. If you have another source of information I would like to hear about it.

    As for the charismatic movement in general, unless it is “another gospel” then there is no biblical mandate for separation. In another comment you already suggested a reluctance for calling it another gospel.

    MacArthuc use of rock music (or more accuractly, the Resolved conference use of such music) is a charge that lacks definition. Are they using Christian groups? Are they playing secular music? What do you mean by “rock music” (for some reason I’m guessing your definition is sufficiently broad to include most of what is currently on my ipod).

    As for Driscoll at the Crystal Cathedral, I’ve already asked you to explain Paul’s actions on Mars Hill. If Paul was willing to go to a tainted pulpit in order to be able to preach Christ, is not Driscolls actions biblically warranted? Still, I do confess that this may not be a decision I would have made. I do see a distinction between going into a pagan/spiritualist speaking venue and one sponsored by a heretic. For example, I would be more inclined to accepting an invitation from a buddist group (if I could preach the Gospel) than from a Universalist/Unitarian church. Still, Driscoll’s argument seems to be that as long as he can take Christ with him, he will preach anywhere. I certainly hope you can at least admit his sermon there was a wonderfully clear presentation of the gospel. Yet on this charge I think Driscoll is open to a just criticism of lack of wisdom. My problems with Driscoll lay in other areas.

    As for Mohler, I’ve gone back and forth on the Manhatten Declaration. I did sign the Evangelical Manifesto, something that Mohler publically said he would not do. I, too, want to publically take my stand with anyone within the Judeo-Christian ethic against abortion, gay marriage, et al. If I could change one or two words within the Declaration I could probably sign it within good conscience. At the moment I am still studying the document before coming to a conclusion. I will not fault a brother for making a judgment call on what is a disputable matter (as for his honoring a liberal, he has already given a full answer to the complexity of that situation).

  • name says:

    The idea that Dave Doran is somehow giving a free pass to Al Mohler is incredibly naive, perhaps downright dishonest. Anyone who says that Doran isn’t giving the Bible the benefit of the doubt is either not reading what Doran says closely (or at all), or is simply not being truthful.

    Doran has addressed the problems with the MD in a very clear and concise way, and pointed out the error of the signers (just as he did when Mohler honored McCall).

  • Josh, c’mon. Hip hop? No way. If “How Great Thou Art” accompanied by the piano was good enough for the apostles, it should be good enough for us.

  • Will Hatfield says:

    @Gary mostly,

    The two biggest points you address are religious liberty and that signing this statement is necesssary(?) to defending it as well as Christian world view.
    In my initial post, I agree with you: religious liberty is the strongest part to this statement. However, it seems ironic to me that the men who crafted this document tried to minimize religious differences to make the document. I fully agree with David Doran’s Bronx Declaration post on this point. That doesn’t mean we can’t use or sign the document necessarily. Ligon Duncan’s statement does point this out. It comes down to how much weight you put on the minimizing of differences and how you want to respond to it.
    As far as this being necessary to defending religious liberty, I personally feel the best way to defend it is to use it. Be different and point out your differences charitably but clearly – which overall these men have done in this declaration. But disagreeing with them about how they did it is also a function of religious liberty.
    As far as defending our Christian worldview, I’m not sure I want to defend a Christian worldview that isn’t clear about the gospel. Because this is the essence and primary distinction a Christian worldview has over a Jewish or Muslim one (or Catholic for that matter). How good is it really to defend God’s law (and revealed holiness) without being clear about the solution? Being clear about the law only brings despair without the gospel – and the world has so little hope as it is.

  • Mr. No Name:

    Here is what Doran wrote,

    My goal through these posts on gospel-driven separation has been to lay out what I believe are the biblical obligations regarding separation that are explicitly stated in or implied by clear biblical texts. I’ve tried to summarize these obligations with the following three statements (Showing only #2 the pertinent item)

    #2- For the sake of the clarity of the gospel, believers and churches must separate from those who compromise the faith by granting Christian recognition and fellowship to those who have denied essential doctrines of the faith (Rom 16:17; Phil 3:17-19; cf. 2 Thess 3:6-15).

    Dr. Doran followed his three obligations with this statement, which IMO could not be improved upon or more clear in it’s meaning,

    It is important to note the difference between what I am calling obligations and other decisions regarding the extent of our ministerial cooperation and fellowship. My understanding of these obligations is that they are necessary for our church’s obedience to Jesus Christ—we don’t have any other option if we desire to be obedient to our Lord. We cannot extend Christian fellowship to those who deny fundamental doctrines of the Faith. We cannot ignore the disobedience of those who do so. We cannot blur the line between the church and the world.”

    Doran does criticize Mohler for what he has done, including honoring Duke McCall and naming the SBTS School of Evangelism after Billy Graham. These have not been ignored. He has, however, never to my knowledge dealt with Mohler running the 2001 Billy Graham crusade. After all that we have Mohler signing the MD and the Graham crusade both of which fit right into Doran’s #2 above.

    And what is Doran’s final decision on the matter? He concludes the matter by writing that he told his seminary students that what Mohler did was just an unfortunate case of “bad judgment.

    Bad judgment”? Hardly! Signing the MD is just the latest episode in what is a documented pattern of serious compromises and Dave knows it. This is a pattern with Mohler and given enough time we are going to see more of the same from Mohler and some of the conservative evangelicals that share fellowship with him.

    Bottom line with Doran: To date, he has been is unwilling to make a personal application of the “biblical obligations” he personally staked out in his Gospel-Driven- Separation series when they are clearly warranted in the case of Al Mohler.

    LM

    PS: Just for fun- what do you suppose the reaction might have been if it were the president of a fundamental Baptist Bible college who had signed the MD? Would he have been given the same cover and benefit of the doubt?

  • Greg Long says:

    Lou,

    What, exactly, are you asking Dr. Doran to say/do?

  • Gary L. Kurfman says:

    I don’t think the Declaration intends to be a complete clarification or statement of a Christian world and life view. That being said, it does clarify a Christian view of three important areas in our cultural setting today. The world needs to know what Christians think about these issues and where we stand. And, just as importantly, we need to defend these very issues-such as the sanctity of life from conception to natural death. The Declaration is meant to address issues that are going on right now-such as in the health care debate on weather we will be required to fund abortion and so-called “end of life” decisions-where some countries are moving towards involuntary euthanasia. Of course, we need to be clear on the Gospel, but we need to be clear on these issues too or we miss another important part of our calling.The Declaration is one way that Christians are using their religious freedom, but it also a way in which they are entering the public square to help shape and influnce public policy and, therefore, fulfill our cultural mandate. None of that precludes being clear about the Gospel. We must remember the purpose of such a Declaration. We must also remember the ramifications and consequences of where the issues being debated are leading the nation and the legacy we are leaving those who follow us. Someone will shape these policy decisions and issues-they will happen! Do Christians just sit and watch as non-Christians and even anti-Christians develop and implement these policies? If we do, I have only two words we better be ready to use: travesty and tyranny.

  • name says:

    Lou,

    First, why is your beef with Doran? He has been far more clear and cogent on this matter than almost anyone in the blogosphere, you included.

    Continuing on, you say, Doran has, however, never to my knowledge dealt with Mohler running the 2001 Billy Graham crusade.

    So you admit that you are commenting out of ignorance. If you don’t know, then why not stop talking? Why make accusations at the same time you are admitting that you don’t know what you are talking about? If I didn’t know, I would at least not make accusations about it.

    Do you really think that in the eight years since 2001, Doran has never expressed disapproval to anyone of Mohler’s chairmanship? Do you think that perhaps he talked to Mohler directly about it? Do you think he has addressed it with others? Do you think that he approves of Mohler’s chairmanship?

    You go on to say To date, he has been is unwilling to make a personal application of the “biblical obligations” he personally staked out in his Gospel-Driven- Separation series when they are clearly warranted in the case of Al Mohler.

    What do you mean by “personal application”? Doran has publicly called out Mohler (to a far wider audience than you have, most likely). So what else would you like him to do?

    Lastly you say, Just for fun- what do you suppose the reaction might have been if it were the president of a fundamental Baptist Bible college who had signed the MD? Would he have been given the same cover and benefit of the doubt?

    First, I am not sure what is fun about that. Second, I imagine the response would have been the same: You shouldn’t do it because it compromises the gospel by calling people “Christian” who aren’t Christian. It would probably have different ramification for several reasons:

    (1) Because the relationship is different. Doran has no relationship with Mohler. Therefore, he has no way to separate from him any more than he already has.

    (2) It would probably depend on whether or not it was a one-time or first-time thing or whether it was part of a pattern. Most have the biblical discernment to see the difference between the two. It would also probably depend on the response.

    Third, Doran already played the hypothetical card much more effectively than you in his post about the Bronx Declaration.

    So I think you would be well-served to (1) stop making accusations when you are speaking out ignorance, (2) be clear about what you think Doran (or anyone else) should do that they haven’t, and (3) realize that someone doesn’t have to be a jerk in order to take a stand for biblical separatism; it is possible to do it with grace.

  • Greg Long says:

    Dear “name,”

    We greatly appreciate your input, but would prefer that you include your name. Thanks!

  • Will Hatfield says:

    @Gary,

    No question we need to be clear to take a stand on these issues. Signing this particular declaration isn’t the only way to do that though. The argument is over is this the best way to do it (or one of the better ways).
    Also, the statement while it includes a Christian view of the holiness of God on these issues doesn’t include a Christian view of how the gospel meets those sins, IMHO; it also doesn’t include a Christian view of how we interact with those religions who differ with us on the subject.
    Not that the declaration necessarily has to include all of that, but just pointing out weaknesses in the approach taken (partially because of the ecumenical nature of the document).

  • Brother Greg Long:

    You asked what I would have Dr. Dave Doran say/do. I have that answer, but first the ground-work.

    Dave Doran (Nov. 23) “For the sake of the clarity of the gospel, believers and churches must separate from those who compromise the faith by granting Christian recognition and fellowship to those who have denied essential doctrines of the faith (Rom 16:17 ; Phil 3:17-19 ; cf. 2 Thess 3:6-15 )… We cannot extend Christian fellowship to those who deny fundamental doctrines of the Faith. We cannot ignore the disobedience of those who do so. We cannot blur the line between the church and the world.”

    Dave Doran (Dec. 9) “Just so I am clear, I don’t believe that some of the conservative men who signed the Manhattan Declaration intended to forge an ecumenical relationship which compromises the gospel by giving Christian recognition to people without a credible profession of the gospel. That wasn’t the intent, but it is the result. That makes it, in my mind, a wrong decision based on bad judgment.”

    As Doran said it may not have been the intent, but the result of Mohler, Packer, Duncan signing the Manhattan Declaration (MD) is an irrefutable example of men having compromised the Gospel. Clearly they are not responding to correction and have no intention of removing their signatures.

    I appreciate a clear stand for a *balanced biblical separatism, which is a hallmark of Fundamentalism. The problem, however, is that when circumstances warrant, such as the signing of the MD, some men are highly reluctant to openly “admonish” and/or will not “withdraw” from the evangelicals who do these things.

    In spite of all the disconcerting issues and decisions in the ministries of Mohler, Piper, Duncan, Driscoll and Mahaney we have Reformed men in IFB circles who will continue to happily promote, endorse and attend the conferences of them and to sit under the preaching/teaching ministries of these men.

    To reinforce the necessity of withdrawing from Mohler and making the application of the biblical mandates such as 2 Thess. 3:15; Rom 16:17; Phil 3:17-19) I reiterate that Al Mohler endorsed, promoted and served as crusade chairman for the last half century’s high priest of ecumenical evangelism, the Rev. Billy Graham. Ecumenical evangelism may not be Mohler’s personal practice, but through his chairmanship of the crusade he did at the very minimum lend tacit support for and endorsement of Graham’s ecumenical evangelism.

    As Dr. John MacArthur noted on the Manhattan Declaration itself (and furthermore with Mohler adding his signature) essentially:

    1) “obscures both the importance of the gospel and the very substance of the gospel message…

    2) “tacitly relegate(s) the very essence of gospel truth to the level of a secondary issue.”

    3) “constitutes a formal avowal of brotherhood between Evangelical signatories and purveyors of different gospels.”

    All of which makes a perfect test case for a clear and determined personal application by Doran of his own Scripture based mandates for Gospel-Driven Separation toward those, “who compromise the faith by granting Christian recognition and fellowship to those who have denied essential doctrines of the faith.”

    Al Mohler has track record of “wrong decisions” like that of signing the MD. He is way beyond the point of maturity in years and theological training to chalk up signing the MD to a mere case of “bad judgment.” If he had been a seminary student or in the early years of his walk with God or ministerial career, “bad judgment” might be reasonable, but NOT for Al Mohler with his pedigree.

    So, Greg, what would I have Dave Doran say/do? This would be it: To everyone Dave Doran has influence with in his church and seminary-

    *Advise them to refrain from attending any conferences and fellowships where Al Mohler sits in leadership and has the platform.

    *Advise them to “avoid” Mohler, do not sit under his preaching/teaching ministry unless and until he repents of his track record of ecumenical actions.

    *Set the right example himself by refraining from endorsing, promoting the ministry or fellowships of Al Mohler and any signatory of the MD.

    *That he personally refrain from attending any conferences that Mohler has leadership in or the platform to speak from.

    Those things would be the natural and expected response to his own definition of what the “biblical obligations” are from his Gospel-Drive Separation series.

    LM

    *Rejecting biblical separatism is the pathway to New Evangelicalism. Based on what I am reading here it appears some of you well-meaning younger men are half-way there already, sad to say. I’ll have more on this from my blog later this week.

  • Greg Long says:

    Lou,

    Your concerns about Dr. Mohler are noted and something each fundamentalist should consider. Some of the things you mentioned, among many others, are reasons why the GARBC has not chosen to formally partner with the SBC in ecclesiastical endeavors.

    But I think it’s going a little too far to suggest that people shouldn’t even attend a conference at which he speaks or “sit under his preaching/teaching ministry” (Who really has the opportunity to do that? Are you suggesting we shouldn’t listen to his sermons online or glean from his writings?).

    As for Dr. Doran, from what I’ve read of him and heard about him, I have no concerns that he is on “the pathway to New Evangelicalism.”

  • After reading the Declaration, and the pro and con positions regarding signing it, I have come to the following decision:

    1. I completely agree with the Declaration. I stand with the authors and signatories in full agreement on these social/moral issues. It is important for Christians to take a stand on these moral issues.

    2. I don’t see the need to sign the statement to be in agreement with its message. It’s just a document, after all.

    3. I don’t see a huge problem in signing the statement. I would tend to think it may blur some lines, but that is hardly clear or proven. I simply guess that such blurring may be an unintended side-effect (and therefore will not sign it). To say that this is an “irrefutable” example of ecumenicalism is, in my opinion, hardly warranted. Obviously Al Molher disagrees and doesn’t believe this will cause blurring of theological lines. I think it may. Its a judgment call, and I tire of hyper-fundmentalism that still hasn’t learned to make a distinction between personal opinion and clear biblical mandate. This certainly isn’t a case of “clear disobedience” on Molher’s part. Frankly, I find that an outrageously (and arrogantly) silly position. I greatly appreciated Doran’s charitable (though still strong) rebuke of Molher’s position. I am closer to Doran than Molher on this issue, but do think Doran goes perhaps too far.

    For the record (in case any heresy-hunters are lurking around), I am also pro-Billy Graham. Not only do I support Molher’s decisions as they relate to Graham, I would have gladly served in this way myself if I were ever asked. Graham drove me nuts with some of his choices, but to date I have heard the clearest and simplest presentations of the Gospel from that man. I would no more separate from Graham than I would separate from Peter, Paul, or John (not that he warrants apostolic status—all analogies break down).

    I have no problem being accused of being on the “pathway to New Evangelicalism”. If that means that I love the Gospel, take a stand for truth, and tolerate brothers and sisters who disagree with me on some issues, then that is a path I will gladly walk upon. Heck, I’ll go skipping and hopping with glee!

  • Greg/Gentlemen:

    Let’s review the facts:

    1) The Manhattan Declaration signatories include nine Catholic archbishops, the president of the Catholic League, the primate of the Anglican Church of Nigeria, and the primate of the Orthodox Church in America, liberal evangelical Ron Sider, and African Anglican Archbishop Peter Akinola.

    2) Al Mohler knew who and what organizations he was joining when he signed the Manhattan Declaration (MD). This was the latest in series of actions on Mohler’s part that put him into a cooperative effort with the RCC and the spirit of ecumenism.

    3) Mohler, Duncan, et. al. have made it very clear that they have no regret over and will not repent of signing the MD despite wide spread calls for them to reconsider and withdraw their participation in the MD.

    4) As Dave Doran clearly noted the result of Mohler and the other evangelicals signing the MD, intended or not, was to “compromise the gospel by giving Christian recognition to people without a credible profession of the gospel.”

    5) In his Gospel-Driven Separation series Dr. Doran defined the “biblical obligations” when faced with irrefutable proof that men have, “compromised the gospel by giving Christian recognition to people without a credible profession of the gospel,” which Mohler has done and Doran personally verified this is the result of signing the MD. He cited the following passages as the biblical mandates-

    2 Thess. 3:6-15; Rom. 16:17; Phil. 3:17-19

    6) In what appears to be his conclusion to the whole matter- Dr. Doran says Mohler made “a wrong decision based on bad judgment.”

    We are grateful Dave Doran has expressed concern over Mohler signing the MD, but which of the biblical mandates are fulfilled by chalking up Mohler’s signing the MD to a mere a case of “bad judgment?” None of them, but that is what we have: A pass taken on the personal application of the “biblical obligations” to (take your pick) “mark, avoid” and “withdraw” from men who do the things that necessitate the mandated biblical responses.

    Thankfully I am hearing of pastors and Bible college leaders who have begun laying out in stark terms to their congregations and student bodies the dangers of ecumenical compromise, and are referencing the MD as a prime example of it.

    LM

    PS: You asked about “New Evangelicalism.” FWIW, I am posting an article on that subject from my blog tomorrow morning. Tragically, Josh identifies himself as what I describe as a casualty.

  • Greg Long says:

    Although I agree with the MD statements on contemporary moral issues, I will not sign it for the reasons stated by MacArthur, Doran, and others.

    However, I see no reason to “separate” from anyone who does sign it who still preaches the Gospel, because the focus of the document was not to define the Gospel but to take a stand on certain moral issues.

    By way of contrast, I would be extremely hesitant to form an ecclesiastical relationship with someone who signed ECT.

  • Greg,

    I agree. Hyper-fundamentalism tends to go overboard. For example, I recently attended a county republican party meeting and there was an a liberal minister there (liberal theologically, conservative politically–an odd mix). Am I supposed to leave the room simply because a liberal minister happens to agree with me on taxation?

    Had the Declaration been a gospel-defining document this would be a whole other discussion. But, as you correctly said, this was a document decrying the government’s position on some moral issues.

    The tricky part is that it did note that the advocated moral stance did arrive from our shared Christian faith. Certainly that would be hard to deny. There is no question that, in terms of moral code, Eastern Orthodox and Roman Catholic doctrine/morality are historically tied to biblical Christianity. This is why Molher could sign it in good conscience, as he felt it was important to call our country basic to practicing basic human morality (FYI, which brings him in line with many of the prophet’s warnings to the pagan nations of the OT).

    On the other hand, Sproul (et al) noted that the wording of the document could very well give the impression that we stand shoulder-to-shoulder with those groups when it comes to the Gospel–the very core and foundation of Christianity. Since we do not share any affinity in that area, Sproul could not sign the document in good conscience.

    Both men are operating on biblical precedent. Both men have taken a hard and clear line on the Gospel. Both men have not avoided using the word “heretic”. And both men have sought to avoid using that term unnecessarily. Therefore, both men have earned our respect–in my opinion. These men are modern-day Machen’s. May their tribe increase.

    BTW, Mohler has been outspoken against the ECT movement.

  • name says:

    Greg,

    I am posting as “name” because of Lou’s unfortunate tendency to get caught up in personalities rather than address the issues. I would rather see him focus on the issues, and thus I am keeping my name out of it. If you choose not to publish this, that’s fine.

    Lou,

    You say, A pass taken on the personal application of the “biblical obligations” to (take your pick) “mark, avoid” and “withdraw” from men who do the things that necessitate the mandated biblical responses.

    What “personal application” would you like Doran to make?

    He has “marked” Mohler publicly (and privately, I think on these kinds of issues). He has, as you admit, warned people about the issues here. He “avoids” him by not having him to speak and by not speaking with him anywhere. He can’t “withdraw” because he has no fellowship with him so far as I know. So he has fulfilled the biblical obligations as you have laid them out. And yet you are not yet satisfied.

    Doran said this was “bad judgment.” You disagree. What do you think it was? Good judgment? How in the world can you disagree with Doran? It was bad judgment. Doran has been clear that this sends a confusing message about the gospel. However, if you think Mohler embraces the gospel of Catholicism, you are simply mistaken.

    However, you prove that Doran does seem to have some sort of gift of prophecy. In apparently his very first post he said, On one end will be those who conclude from this that all signers have betrayed the gospel and, therefore, must be marked and turned away from. At the other end will be those who think signing it is somehow wrapped up with the gospel itself since the mission of God is to oppose all injustice and establish His reign on earth. There is a lot of turf between those two poles and we’re seeing that demonstrated in the responses.

    Lou, as you do, you make some good points, but (1) you include with them some very bad points based on misunderstanding, misreading, not thinking carefully, and imposing your own thoughts on someone else rather than listening to what they actually say, and (2) you make them in very uncharitable ways.

    I urge you to turn from this manner of speaking and writing.

    With that, I am done here.

  • Greg:

    Normally I ignore those who do not identify themselves especially when they attempt to portray a doctrinal issue into a personality clash where there is none. FWIW, it is impossible to avoid naming and discussing personalities when personalities are involved in doctrinal debates and discussions. Mr. No Name has posted some comments of a personal nature toward me. He therefore, might consider his own commentary before he ventures into critiquing mine.

    Some would prefer ambiguity, but that does not help clarify what the issues are and where the issues are emanating from. I take this tact with my work on Lordship Salvation (John MacArthur, Steve Lawson, John Piper) and the Crossless Gospel (Zane Hodges, Bob Wilkin). Now I am taking the same tact with what is going on in the growing fellowship between fundamentalists and the evangelicals. I am citing and naming some of the key players and/or commentators in the current MD controversy that include Al Mohler and Dave Doran, etc.

    That said I am going to give Mr. No Name benefit of the doubt and assume he missed my commentary to you above on exactly how Dave Doran can make a “personal application.” This is where I suggested how Dave Doran can make a personal and tangible application of the “biblical obligations.” They were in answer to your question to me. Here it is by way of reiteration.

    So, Greg, you asked what would I have Dave Doran say/do? This would be it: To everyone Dave Doran has influence with in his church and seminary-

    *Advise them to refrain from attending any conferences and fellowships where Al Mohler sits in leadership and has the platform.

    *Advise them to “avoid” Mohler, do not sit under his preaching/teaching ministry unless and until he repents of his track record of ecumenical actions.

    *Set the right example himself by refraining from endorsing or promoting the ministry and/or fellowships of Al Mohler as well as any signatory of the MD.

    *That he personally refrain from attending any conferences that Mohler has leadership in or the platform to speak from.

    Those things would be the natural and expected response to his own definition of what the “biblical obligations” are from his Gospel-Drive Separation series.

    One addition for further clarity- We are speaking of to mark and avoid (Rom. 16:17). Paul admonishes believers to “avoid” those whom we have marked. The form of this verb indicates that it is a present imperative, which indicates that this avoidance is neither a suggestion nor advice, but, in fact, a command. We are commanded by God to continually avoid the person who has been marked!

    Mr. No Name says that Dr. Doran has marked Al Mohler; I agree. This, of course, in a personal application means discouraging those under his sphere of influence from attending the 2010 T4G conference in Louisville where Mohler and Duncan are in fact the leadership and among the keynote speakers. Furthermore, The Gospel Coalition, whose board members include: Mohler, Duncan, Driscoll, Mahaney, Keller, et. al.

    Since Mr. No Name has officially departed I won’t bother asking is he might encourage Dr. Doran to act along the lines I have suggested above.

    Thankfully I am hearing of pastors and Bible college leaders who have begun laying out in stark terms to their congregations and student bodies the dangers of ecumenical compromise, and are referencing both the MD and its signatories as a prime example of it.

    And with that, I too am done here.

    LM

  • Mr. No Name:

    I want you to know that I have read your note to me with a desire for what the Lord may be trying to teach me. At present I do not agree with most of your assessment, but I am teachable realizing that I have the two natures active in me and that the flesh can get in the way.

    LM

  • Gary L. Kurfman says:

    I would admonish everyone to keep a few things in mind (and given the context of what I wrote earlier) in the debate over who did or did not sign the document and the othe issues you are discussing. And that point is the content of the document. When a young homosexual comes to you and you admonish his sin and point him to the Savior, and you are later arrested for a hate-crime, it will be too late. When you preach or teach in a Sunday School class an exclusive Christ, and are arrested for hate-speech, it will be too late. When a lesbian couple demands to be married or join your church, and you are told you must do it or be shut down or lose tax-exempt status, it will be too late. At that time, it might be noble and praiseworthy to “obey God rather than man” and suffer religious persecution, but it would be most wise to stand and fight for the issues of right, wrong, truth, and the contents of the document while we still can and whether one signs the document or not. We may indeed have to ansewer for who we joined with or did not, but I tend to think the bigger question will be whether we served the cause of not only the Gospel, but also Biblical justice-and all the objective, absolute moral right and wrong that entails personally and culturally.

  • Gary L. Kurfman says:

    By the way, here is a very interesting article/interview on the “fundamentalist label” from John Woodbridge. Some of the comments on the writing of the “Fundamentals” you will find interesting: http://www.tiu.edu/tiu/publications/trinitymagazine/fundamentalistlabel

  • David King says:

    I don’t have much to add to this discusion, but I did go to the MD website because of this discussion and read the statement and then went to the FAQ section. In this section they addressed two issues that I believer are relevant to knowing the intent of the signers and drafters of this document:

    excerpt from website:
    #3–By signing the Manhattan Declaration am I somehow endorsing the theology of other faith traditions or compromising my understanding of the Gospel?
    “There are serious differences between the Catholic, Protestant evangelical and Orthodox traditions on many theological issues and devotional practices. However, none of those differences are alluded to in any way in the Manhattan Declaration, nor do any of the original signers believe they were compromising their respective positions by signing it. The drafting committee was careful to achieve complete harmony of all three traditions—Roman Catholic, Orthodox, and Protestant evangelical—on the critical issues addressed in the declaration, and on those issues only. This was accomplished by making sure every assertion in the declaration is rooted in the Holy Scriptures they share in common. In the final analysis, the Manhattan Declaration is simply a declaration of the signers’ common stand on life, marriage, and liberty. To read anything more into it would be contrary to the intention of the drafters and the nearly 150 leaders who signed it originally.”

    #4–How do you respond to those Christian individuals and groups criticizing others for not signing the Manhattan Declaration, and those criticizing others for signing it?
    “The purpose of the declaration is simply to speak with one voice on the most pressing moral issues of our day. Those who released the Manhattan Declaration view it simply as a statement of solidarity about only the social issues it addresses. It is extremely unfortunate that anyone who claims to follow Christ might attack another for either signing or not signing it. The focus of Christian criticism should be on the secular world rather than on each other.”

    I tend to agree with Gary Kurfman in his assessment that if we wait to long to speak out against the legislation of anti-morality we will find ourselves in a matter of years or decades in a place where the freedom to declare God’s laws will be outlawed in our own country. Is the MD the best and only way to do this? That’s up for debate. Is it helpful? Does a Spirit-filled and Spirit-led believer have the right to excercise Christian Liberty in signing it? I think so, and as such if I judge that excercise of Christian Liberty then I am indeed violating Scripture (Romans 14)

    If an abortion clinic was scheduled to open in my town, I believe I would link hands as a concerned citizen, a Christian and a pastor with others that shared my value on the sanctity of life.

    I believe that was the intent of the MD and the signers such as Mohler. After reading the document and the FAQ, I also have signed it as I would like my voice added to the voices of more than a quarter million others that have said, I believe in marriage, sanctity of life and the right to religious expression. I also have sent letters to my congressman in recent days and months on other issues such as health care, abortion and marriage.

  • Nathan Gast says:

    As I have read the above comments, and read the rhetoric and conversations that have been linked between certain individuals, I have learned that I have much more to understand about this document, than what I first thought.

    I recently was handed the document by a member of our church who believed that it was a worthy endeavor. With a bit of interest in the document, I began to look into it, and then stumbled across this forum. I’m a young GARBC pastor and have been on this site several times, but have never posted, but after reading this forum, I had to stop and post.

    After reading this forum, several large questions have risen in my mind that demand answers. Understanding that I am a fundamentalist and I do separate myself from the apostate, I also understand that as a citizen of this country I also have a responsibility to be apart of its political systems. Some pastors encourage their members to avoid politics because God’s in control and our emotions and desires for our nation are in His hands, but then again I read all throughout the Bible of individuals who sat at the city gates or even on the throne and were involved in the political processes of the days in which they lived..

    I understand this document to be a petition if you will of leaders from a variety of positions and denominations who are banning together against the Biblical sins that are becoming common day activities in our country on a daily basis. If I ought not sign this document for fear of not seperating myself from the apostates of the day then I find myself in quite the bind. Suddenly I cannot sign any petition for fear of finding my name potentially listed among others that I do not fellowship with. I can no longer vote in political elections for fear of having the same mindset as an apostate. I might even be fearful of buying Oreo’s or Mountain Dew for fear of finding that an apostate and myself might have similiar food preferances. No where in this document do I read that we need to put our differences aside. No where does it say that I need to put away the Gospel (in fact I believe in this world it needs to be shared even more!). I’m not being asked to stand on a platform and say that I agree theologically with anything that anyone else says, and I certainly don’t believe that it hinders the gospel. Certainly there are others that are signing this document who have wrong theological ideas, but I am not being asked to preach from their pulpits or serve in their positions. Maybe others are, but I am not, and would refuse anyways.

    What I do believe that this document is saying is that, in light of the current trend of the United States of America, and the belief that those who sign this document have that this trend is not God honoring, I believe that they are signing it to say, “That I don’t like it.”

    Maybe I’m wrong, but that is what I believe this document actually is.

  • Will Hatfield says:

    Nathan,

    Well, at least among the bloggers (not necessarily the commenters) on this blog you’re not going to find anyone who says you “ought not” sign it.

    However, my posts have been geared to show at least some of the issues involved in signing it and the good people who differ on both sides of that issue.

    Personally, I would like the document more if it were clearer about the differences between Catholics, etc., but I particularly appreciate the strong stand on religious liberty it takes.

    HTH

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