Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Christian Leaders take "Manhattan Declaration" Stand on Issues

Evangelical Christian, Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox leaders have taken a stand for Christian values by signing the “Manhattan Declaration.” On November 20, 2009, approximately 150 leaders signed the document as an example to their denominations and others to keep defending three main biblical principles: the sanctity of human life; traditional marriage by the Bible’s definition of one man and one woman; and freedom of religious expression.

Subtitled “A Call of Christian Conscience,” the Manhattan Declaration addresses the assault in today’s society and the current American government against the above three values. The text states:
“…we are compelled today to speak out forcefully in their [the three values’] defense, and to commit ourselves to honoring them fully no matter what pressures are brought upon us and our institutions to abandon or compromise them.”

The group is not politically affiliated. The Declaration states the signers’ unconditional commitment is to Christ only, and recommends acts of civil disobedience when absolutely necessary (see the Summary of the Manhattan Declaration in the paragraph “Unjust Laws”).

The Manhattan Declaration clarifies that its followers will not comply with any edict that enables mistreatment of human life from the unborn to the elderly, including abortion, euthanasia or destruction of human embryos for research; will not bless immoral sexual partnerships, and will not be silenced on the grounds of religious objection.

The Summary ends with this succinct statement: “We will fully and ungrudgingly render to Caesar what is Caesar’s. But under no circumstances will we render to Caesar what is God’s.”

This echoes the Hebrew leader Joshua’s call to faith: "Now fear the LORD and serve him with all faithfulness... But if serving the LORD seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will for me and my household, we will serve the LORD" (Joshua 24:14-16, NIV, excerpts).

When the apostle Peter was given strict orders by the governing body, the Sanhedrin, to stop preaching in the name of Christ, he declared that followers of Christ must obey God, not men (Acts 5).

Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr. also advocated civil (peaceful) disobedience for the Civil Rights movement and accomplished much in this manner. He believed all men were created equal, both in the Declaration of Independence and in the Gospel (Galatians 3:28-29). If all men are created equal, then Christians have the right to voice their opinion as much as anyone else.

Whom will we obey as Christians? Will we silently go along with the crowd so as not to make waves, or will we stand by the signers of the Manhattan Declaration to come out and be separate as Jesus commanded?

This article was originally published at The Underground Online Magazine with same date.


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