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The Manhattan Declaration (Part 2) The Barmen Declaration revisited

Anyone who feels they cannot sign the Manhattan Declaration for reason that it does not go far enough, should not sign it. That being said, I personally think that those who have problems with the language of the document are reading things into it that it does not say. However, my biggest concern is that there are those who would use the controversy as an excuse for inaction. We have been called upon to act on the issue of legalized child-killing again and again and most have continued to slumber. In many ways, we are similar to the German Church in the 1930s who refused to defend the lives of the Jews.

Martin Niemöller was a German U-boat commander in WWI. He later became a Lutheran pastor and used to preach anti-Semitic sermons. He was also virulently anti-Catholic. Later he resisted Hitler and almost lost his life. He used to give speeches in America about the need for civil resistance to tyranny. He would usually end his speeches with one of several variations of the following:

In Germany they first came for the Communists, and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Communist.

Then they came for the Jews, and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Jew.

Then they came for the trade unionists, and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a trade unionist.

Then they came for the Catholics, and I didn’t speak up because I was a Protestant.

Then they came for me, and by that time no one was left to speak up.

At the beginning of Hitler’s administration in Nazi Germany, there was the Barmen Declaration, or The Theological Declaration of Barmen 1934. It was is a statement of the Confessing Church opposing the Nazi-supported “German-Christian” movement. This was signed by Neo-orthodox Lutheran pastors such as Karl Barth and Dietrich Bonhoeffer. While I disagree with Barthian theology, I would have signed the Barmen Declaration.

This is the same idea behind the Manhattan Declaration. There is a higher principle at stake here than the admittedly important theological differences that divide us.

If evangelicals do not join with Roman Catholics, Eastern Orthodox, and others who do not agree with us, to speak out against encroaching federal tyranny, there may be no one left one day to speak out for us. We must speak out in some form, no matter what our view is on the Manhattan Declaration. We must unite and redouble our efforts to speak out the evil of federal tyranny.

I knew that the Manhattan Declaration was self-consciously patterned after the Barmen Declaration, but I had never read the latter until today. This document was actually written by the neo-orthodox Karl Barth, with whom I have far more serious theological reservations than I do with former Hitlerian and Supreme Roman Pontiff, Herr Joseph Ratzinger. Ironically, I admire both of them on some levels.

Several of the Reformed luminaries, such as Duncan, Sproul, MacArthur, Piper and others, ought to get together and write an amendment to the Manhattan Declaration stating what it says and does not say that is objectionable to the Reformed position (in all the humility that the “Truly Reformed” are able to muster) and state that with these reservations in mind, the core issues of the Manhattan Declaration are agreeable to them.

Or they could write their own declaration. One could literally just rewrite the Barmen Declaration substituting “American Evangelicals” for the Germans.

Theological Declaration of Barmen

Written by Karl Barth and the confessing church in Nazi Germany in response to Hitler’s national church. Its central doctrines concern the sin of idolatry and the lordship of Christ.

I. An Appeal to the Evangelical Congregations and Christians in Germany

8.01 The Confessional Synod of the German Evangelical Church met in Barmen, May 29-31, 1934. Here representatives from all the German Confessional Churches met with one accord in a confession of the one Lord of the one, holy, apostolic Church. In fidelity to their Confession of Faith, members of Lutheran, Reformed, and United Churches sought a common message for the need and temptation of the Church in our day. With gratitude to God they are convinced that they have been given a common word to utter. It was not their intention to found a new Church or to form a union. For nothing was farther from their minds than the abolition of the confessional status of our Churches. Their intention was, rather, to withstand in faith and unanimity the destruction of the Confession of Faith, and thus of the Evangelical Church in Germany. In opposition to attempts to establish the unity of the German Evangelical Church by means of false doctrine, by the use of force and insincere practices, the Confessional Synod insists that the unity of the Evangelical Churches in Germany can come only from the Word of God in faith through the Holy Spirit. Thus alone is the Church renewed.

8.02 Therefore the Confessional Synod calls upon the congregations to range themselves behind it in prayer, and steadfastly to gather around those pastors and teachers who are loyal to the Confessions.

8.03 Be not deceived by loose talk, as if we meant to oppose the unity of the German nation! Do not listen to the seducers who pervert our intentions, as if we wanted to break up the unity of the German Evangelical Church or to forsake the Confessions of the Fathers!

8.04 Try the spirits whether they are of God! Prove also the words of the Confessional Synod of the German Evangelical Church to see whether they agree with Holy Scripture and with the Confessions of the Fathers. If you find that we are speaking contrary to Scripture, then do not listen to us! But if you find that we are taking our stand upon Scripture, then let no fear or temptation keep you from treading with us the path of faith and obedience to the Word of God, in order that God’s people be of one mind upon earth and that we in faith experience what he himself has said: “I will never leave you, nor forsake you.” Therefore, “Fear not, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.”

II. Theological Declaration Concerning the Present Situation of the German Evangelical Church


8.05 According to the opening words of its constitution of July 11, 1933, the German Evangelical Church is a federation of Confessional Churches that grew our of the Reformation and that enjoy equal rights. The theological basis for the unification of these Churches is laid down in Article 1 and Article 2 of the constitution of the German Evangelical Church that was recognized by the Reich Government on July 14, 1933:

Comments

Your comments are welcome!

Dear Jay,
I am one of those who will not sign the MD due to its ecumenical nature. I am also one who has been politically active since becoming a Christian 15 years ago. I think we who believe in the Crown Rights of Jesus Christ for our nation should write our own declaration. In fact, we should pattern it after the Solemn League and Covenant of the Scottish Covenanters.

Posted by Friend for Life on 09/14/2014 10:01 PM #

Well good for you. I thank God for people like you, as I've repeatedly said.

My only objection to that thought is that it cannot be ecumenical in nature since the Manhattan Declaration was formulated by a group of individuals from different churches. No church or denomination was part of the committee or has endorsed it. That which is ecumenical is endorsed by the whole Church.

We don't need an ecumenical effort to make this successful. In fact, I favor a synod of Reformed churches declaring a Christian Commonwealth dependent upon God.

No one who says they believe in the WCF has actually tried to unite under it as a civil covenant since the time of the Scottish Covenanters and the Puritans -- no Reformed presbytery, denomination or group of churches or ministries has written or endorsed such a Declaration -- not even as a symbolic gesture.

If they did, there would be enough dissent among the "Truly Reformed" who would find enough problems with it in order to squelch it. In fact, as you well know, it's a small miracle that the WCF was ever formulated and signed in the first place.

In the meantime, I think it is necessary for obedient individuals to act against abortion. Many individuals have tried to write up these Declarations and have them endorsed by church denominations.

So far the response has been underwhelming. The person who came closest to leading such a movement was Francis Schaeffer. Some of his disciples have been trying for years to do the same thing, but they can never get together on one idea.

In any case, abortion will never be defeated by a group of individuals. It can only be defeated by the church.

I am persuaded that the gates of hell shall not prevail against the church alone. It could be ANY church -- even the Roman Catholic Church. Sadly, they too, with us, prove we are not truly the militant church of Christ on earth by our inaction and disobedience.

When abortion is defeated, I hope that it will be Reformed and Presbyterian churches, but so far it doesn't look like it will be.

Posted by Jay Rogers on 09/14/2014 10:01 PM #

Hi Jay,
Please forgive the delayed response... You and I are in much agreement and I pray the good LORD will unite His Church to form "a synod of Reformed churches declaring a Christian Commonwealth dependent upon God." Let us continue to pray and work toward this end while we stand at the gates of hell declaring the personhood of the preborn. :)
Your sister in Christ,
Angela Wittman
PS
Thank you for the many ways you serve our Lord and bring glory to His Name.

Posted by Friend for Life on 03/01/2010 12:59 PM #

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Freedom: The Model of Christian Liberty (DVD)

“Give me liberty or give me death!”

Patrick Henry’s famous declaration not only helped launch the War for Independence, it also perfectly summarized the mindset that gave birth to, and sustained, the unprecedented experiment in Christian liberty that was America.

The freedom our Founders envisioned was not freedom from suffering, want, or hard work. Nor was it freedom to indulge every appetite or whim without restraint—that would merely be servitude to a different master. No, the Founders’ passion was to live free before God, unfettered by the chains of autocracy, shackles that slowly but inexorably bind men when the governments they fashion fail to recognize and uphold freedom’s singular, foundational truth: that all men are created in the image of God, and are thereby co-equally endowed with the right to “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”

This presentation is a similar call, not to one but many. By reintroducing the principles of freedom that gave birth to America, it is our prayer that Jesus, the true and only ruler over the nations, will once again be our acknowledged Sovereign, that we may again know and exult in the great truth that “where the Spirit of the LORD is, there is liberty” (2 Cor. 3:17).

Welcome to the Second American Revolution!

This DVD features “Liberty: The Model of Christian Liberty” along with “Dawn’s Early Light: A Brief History of America’s Christian Foundations.” Bonus features include a humorous but instructive collection of campaign ads and Eric Holmberg’s controversial YouTube challenge concerning Mitt Romney’s campaign for president.

$14.95 — ORDER NOW!

(We accept all major credit cards and PayPal.)

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The Beast of Revelation IdentifiedThe Beast of Revelation: Identified (DVD)

Who is the dreaded beast of Revelation?

Now at last, a plausible candidate for this personification of evil incarnate has been identified (or re-identified). Ken Gentry’s insightful analysis of scripture and history is likely to revolutionize your understanding of the book of Revelation — and even more importantly — amplify and energize your entire Christian worldview!

Historical footage and other graphics are used to illustrate the lecture Dr. Gentry presented at the 1999 Ligonier Conference in Orlando, Florida. It is followed by a one-hour question and answer session addressing the key concerns and objections typically raised in response to his position. This presentation also features an introduction that touches on not only the confusion and controversy surrounding this issue — but just why it may well be one of the most significant issues facing the Church today.

Ideal for group meetings, personal Bible study — for anyone who wants to understand the historical context of John’s famous letter “… to the seven churches which are in Asia.” (Revelation 1:4)

Running Time: 145 minutes

$17.95 — ORDER NOW!

(We accept all major credit cards and PayPal.)

Click here for more information


The Silent Scream (DVD) Eight Languages

“When the lives of the unborn are snuffed out, they often feel pain, pain that is long and agonizing.” – President Ronald Reagan to National Religious Broadcasters Convention, January 1981

Ronald Reagan became convinced of this as a result of watching The Silent Scream – a movie he considered so powerful and convicting that he screened it at the White House. More recently, it was by catching just a glimpse of what this film reveals that Planned Parenthood director and abortion advocate Abby Johnson turned and became a strong advocate for the pre-born.

The modern technology of real-time ultrasound now reveals the actual responses of a 12-week old fetus to being aborted. As the unborn child attempts to escape the abortionist’s suction curette, her motions can be seen to become desperately agitated and her heart rate doubles. Her mouth opens – as if to scream – but no sound can come out. Her scream doesn’t have to remain silent, however … not if you will become her voice. This newly re-mastered version features eight language tracks and two bonus videos.

“…a high technology “Uncle Tom’s Cabin” arousing public opinion just as Harriet Beecher Stowe’s 1852 antislavery novel ignited the abolitionist movement.” – Sen. Gordon Humphrey, Time Magazine

Languages: English, Spanish, French, South Korean, Chinese, Russian, Portuguese, Japanese

Running Time: 28 minutes

$17.95 — ORDER NOW!

(We accept all major credit cards and PayPal.)

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God's Law and SocietyGod's Law and Society (DVD)

Download the Free Study Guide!

God’s Law and Society powerfully presents a comprehensive worldview based upon the ethical system found in the Law of God.

Speakers include: R.J. Rushdoony, George Grant, Howard Phillips, R.C. Sproul Jr., Ken Gentry, Gary DeMar, Jay Grimstead, Steven Schlissel, Andrew Sandlin, Eric Holmberg, and more!

Sixteen Christian leaders and scholars answer some of the most common questions and misconceptions related to this volatile issue:

1. Are we under Law or under Grace?
2. Does the Old Testament Law apply today?
3. Can we legislate morality?
4. What are the biblical foundations of government?
5. Was America founded as a Christian nation?
6. What about the separation of Church and State?
7. Is neutrality a myth?
8. What about non-Christians and the Law of God?
9. Would there be “freedom” in a Christian republic?
10. What would a “Christian America” look like?

Perfect for group instruction as well as personal Bible study.

Ten parts, over four hours of instruction!

Running Time: 240 minutes

Watch over 60 on-line video interviews from God’s Law and Society.

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Abortion Clinic 911 Calls (DVD)

Exposes the Dangers of Abortion to Women!

These shocking eyewitness accounts expose the dangers of abortion not only to unborn children, but to the health and lives women as well. An antidote to the smokescreens of the liberal media, these short clips show what really happens in and around abortion clinics.

Although the content is emotionally gut-wrenching, these videos have been used in church seminars and small groups to educate Christians on the abortion issue and to lead people toward a pro-life position. Contains 2 hours and 40 minutes of materials that can be shown separately.

Watch these pro-life videos on-line.

“These videos helped change my mind from pro-choice to pro-life. Your videos are what did it for me. I will be walking in next year’s March For Life in San Francisco.” — A. Jackson, California

“I was going to have an abortion until I saw your video. Praise Jesus!”
— M. Drew, YouTube Commenter

$4.95 — ORDER NOW!

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