The Manhattan Declaration - To Every Thing there is a Season
November 30, 2009
News shows across America showed clips of American Idol star Adam Lambert's overt sexual behavior at the recent American Music Awards. Almost all the clips were preceded with advisories and warnings. When discussed it was a single comment made on the Fox News outlet that beat all.
When questioned by news commentator Bill O'Reilly on the Factor Nov 24, 2009 about the propriety of the act, Lis Wiehl said that she thought it was all OK as long as it was done between the hours of 10:pm and 6:am. She explained that this was the time for anything that was indecent or profane on public television. She made the distinction that it should not be allowed during that time if it was deemed "obscene."
If you are convinced that no underage children are awake and watching TV after 10:pm and that the rest of America has the savvy to weigh the semantic differences between "indecent" and "obscene" then all that's left is to ask is, does it have any morally redemptive quality for the rest of us?
Even the meek and lowly Jesus was not naïve about the fact that evil would have its day. Christ said "…it must needs be that offences come" and then he appendaged this overtly negative proclamation with the following "but woe to that man by whom the offence cometh!" (Mt 18:7)
A day of "evil" is prophesied to sweep the entire world before Christ sets his feet on this old terrestrial ball again but that in no way indicates that it is either welcome or necessary. The inevitability of offences was covered by the Ancient Son of King David in the book of Ecclesiastes where Solomon said "To every thing there is a season." (Ec 3:1)
There is also a time and a season for the faithful to stand and be counted, to act on their faith and to proclaim the everlasting gospel in spite of resistance, ridicule or rejection. Perhaps among the news coming out of Christendom of late the Manhattan Declaration can be added to the war cry of the faithful even as other ministries around the world are taking on new initiatives to resist the spread of spiritual anarchy and wickedness in high places.
The document is the result of major Catholic and Evangelical leaders getting together to reaffirm what is considered to be just and Godly in America. It speaks for the sanctity of human life, the dignity of marriage in a union of one man and one woman and the right to have and retain one of America's most fundamental liberties, the right to religious freedom.
About 40 of the most well known religious figures in the country have signed the document and others have begun to join suit with 126,863 signatures to date. A notable dissenter is John MacArthur of Grace to You ministries who explains his reason for not signing the declaration.
What MacArthur said in Shepherds' Fellowship posted Nov 24, 2009 was "Although I obviously agree with the document's opposition to same-sex marriage, abortion, and other key moral problems threatening our culture, the document falls far short of identifying the one true and ultimate remedy for all of humanity's moral ills: the gospel. The gospel is barely mentioned in the Declaration. At one point the statement rightly acknowledges, "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"- and then adds an encouraging wish: "May God help us not to fail in that duty." Yet the gospel itself is nowhere presented (much less explained) in the document or any of the accompanying literature. Indeed, that would be a practical impossibility because of the contradictory views held by the broad range of signatories regarding what the gospel teaches and what it means to be a Christian."
I can offer no argument for MacArthur's dissent and in fact I agree with him. Perhaps I along with others think the declaration was not meant to be an instrument of evangelism but only a declaration of the position of those already evangelized. Although it is not irrefutable proof when the positions the declaration proclaims are examined in the light of Christ's warning that Christians will be known by the fruit they produce (Mt 7:16) it becomes difficult to think of anyone standing up for what is outlined in the document if they were not "born again." In fact only a bit of polling is needed to see that just about the only people left in America who are holding to these beliefs are people who have understood and responded to the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ.
The Manhattan Declaration is in some ways a declaration of war. It may be a peaceable war fought by peace loving people but it is war nevertheless.
Many young Bible Students and seminarians have wrestled with the question put forth by their professors, "If you are supposed to turn the other cheek as Christ said, then, what should you do if they slap the other cheek?" Do you recoil, run away or stand up and proclaim your rights? In this nation we still have rights and religious freedom is one of them. The indiscriminate Christian bashing and attacks, the flagrant disregard for human life and immorality unleashed like a torrent of filthy waste water must be answered and those who do answer and condemn it are well within their rights.
We must never forget that one day the gospel and the Bible in its entirety will no longer be proclaimed at all. After that there is only one thing left and that is called judgment. It too has a time and a season and it is nearer than you think.
Solomon who so poetically described the endless ebb and flow of all things in their respective time and place also warned, "He, that being often reproved hardeneth his neck, shall suddenly be destroyed, and that without remedy. When the righteous are in authority, the people rejoice: but when the wicked beareth rule, the people mourn." Proverbs 29:1, 2
Michael Bresciani is the publisher of American Prophet.org since 2005. The website features the articles and reports of Rev Bresciani along with some of America’s best writers and journalists, news and reviews that have earned the site the title of "The Website for Insight." Millions have read his timely reports and articles in online journals and print publications across the nation and the globe. Follow us on Twitter and Facebook!
Visit Rev. Michael Bresciani's website at www.americanprophet.org