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.”
R.C. Sproul, in his explanation of why he didn’t sign the document, writes:
“The Manhattan Declaration confuses common grace and special grace by combining them. While I would march with the bishop of Rome and an Orthodox prelate to resist the slaughter of innocents in the womb, I could never ground that cobelligerency on the assumption that we share a common faith and a unified understanding of the gospel.”
(R.C. Sproul, “The Manhattan Declaration: Why Didn’t you sign it, R.C.?”)
R.C. Spoul’s critique of the ECT document years ago is applicable to today’s Manhattan Declaration.
It is not surprising that Chuck Colson is part of the Drafting Committee, since he played a large role in ECT as well. Comparing the two documents, Sproul writes:
“The drafters of the document, Charles Colson, Robert George, and Timothy George, used deliberate language that is on par with the ecumenical language of the Evangelicals and Catholics Together (ECT) movement that began in the 1990s. The Manhattan Declaration states, “Christians are heirs of a 2,000-year tradition of proclaiming God’s Word,” and it identifies “Orthodox, Catholic, and Evangelicals” as “Christians.” The document calls Christians to unite in “the Gospel,” “the Gospel of costly grace,” and “the Gospel of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ in its fullness.” Moreover, the document says, “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.”
This document is nothing sort of distressing; in considering false gospels to be true gospels, those evangelicals who have signed this document—whether they intended to or not—have implicitly said, “‘Peace, peace,’ when there is no peace” (Jeremiah 6:14b). This document is a betrayel of the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Buddy Hanson, A Biblical Antidote for the Manhattan Declaration
John MacArthur, The Manhattan Declaration
R.C. Sproul, The Manhattan Declaration: Why Didn’t you sign it, R.C.?
Alistair Begg, The Manhattan Declaration
Michael Horton, A Review of the Manhattan Declaration