In this interview, John MacArthur does an excellent job weighing-in on the gospel compromises made by the “Manhattan Declaration.” (Although we disagree with the degree of power MacArthur seems to say Satan has over the world, since Christ has total control; see, for example, Matt. 28:18.)
Like the wicked Evangelicals and Catholics Together (ECT) document, the Manhattan Declaration (MD) considers false forms of Christianity (in this case, Roman Catholicism and Eastern Orthodox, both of which teach salvation by works) to be genuine Christian.
An example where the MD considers Romans Catholicism and Eastern Orthodoxism to be equally Christian as evangelicalism is the following:
“We, as Orthodox, Catholic, and Evangelical Christians, have gathered, beginning in New York on September 28, 2009, to make the following declaration, which we sign as individuals, not on behalf of our organizations, but speaking to and from our communities. We act together in obedience to the one true God, the triune God of holiness and love, who has laid total claim on our lives and by that claim calls us with believers in all ages and all nations to seek and defend the good of all who bear his image.”
It is interesting how many who are very vocal in arguing that theonomy leads to the heretical Federal Vision (FV) movement (which teaches salvation by works), are not so vocal about the fact that the theonomic Reformed Presbyterian Church of the United States (RPCUS) was the first denomination to condemn the FV, and, that it is the largely non-theonomic Presbyterian Church in America (PCA) and the Orthodox Presbyterian Church (OPC) (the two largest ostensibly conservative Presbyterian denominations) that have tolerated the FV and allowed it to fester within their ranks.
In fact, the RPCUS—which condemned the FV the very year of its inception, in 2002—was accused of condemning the FV too hastily.
While critics of theonomy (here we refer to the second and third definitions of theonomy) have not been able to refute it, some resort to guilt by association attacks, saying, “see all those theonomists within Federal Vision (FV) circles! This proves theonomy promotes salvation by works!”
But linking theonomy with the FV heresy is fallacious for several reasons:
1. As we mentioned, it is a guilt-by-association argument, and such arguments are logical fallacies.
2. There will be heresies within the circles of even the most legitimate theologies. The Apostle Paul warned “I know that after my departure fierce wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock; and from among your own selves will arise men speaking twisted things, to draw away the disciples after them.” (Acts 20:29, 30)