The Manhattan Declaration

Here is The Manhattan Declaration, “A Call of Christian Conscience” put together by over 150 Christian leaders:

Christians, when they have lived up to the highest ideals of their faith, have defended the weak and vulnerable and worked tirelessly to protect and strengthen vital institutions of civil society, beginning with the family.

We are Orthodox, Catholic, and evangelical Christians who have united at this hour to reaffirm fundamental truths about justice and the common good, and to call upon our fellow citizens, believers and non-believers alike, to join us in defending them. These truths are:

1. the sanctity of human life
2. the dignity of marriage as the conjugal union of husband and wife
3. the rights of conscience and religious liberty.

Inasmuch as these truths are foundational to human dignity and the well-being of society, they are inviolable and non-negotiable. Because they are increasingly under assault from powerful forces in our culture, we are compelled today to speak out forcefully in their 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. We make this commitment not as partisans of any political group but as followers of Jesus Christ, the crucified and risen Lord, who is the Way, the Truth, and the Life.

At the linked site you can download the complete document, which develops these key ideas, and, if you wish, sign the declaration yourself, which so far has nearly 200,000 signatures.

(1) Do you agree with the Manhattan Declaration, and is it a good commitment for Christians and Christian institutions to make?

(2) I don’t believe there were any Lutherans among the 150 original drafters of this document, though some Lutherans have signed it. This, even though there are more Lutherans in America (9 million, with 3 million conservative Lutherans) than there are Orthodox, Anglicans, and Calvinists). Why is that?

(3) One reason may be that conservative Lutherans, at least, tend not to be “ecumenical.” Some signers are being criticized for participating in an ecumenical venture. (This is not just a Lutheran issue. In the one example I know about, neither the signer nor his critics are Lutherans.) But is this statement of moral commitment to principles under attack by our secularist culture really an ecumenical document of the sort that involve church fellowship? We say with other churches the “ecumenical” creeds. Can’t we similarly agree with other churches on a statement of Christian morality? Or is there a reason why Christians of varying confessions should avoid making such declarations?

(4) Is it wise to make a Christian declaration that speaks only of the Law and not the Gospel, possibly creating the impression that “followers of Jesus Christ, the crucified and risen Lord” are primarily all about moral principles, rather than proclaiming Christ’s forgiveness to those who violate them?

About Gene Veith

Professor of Literature at Patrick Henry College, the Director of the Cranach Institute at Concordia Theological Seminary, a columnist for World Magazine and TableTalk, and the author of 18 books on different facets of Christianity & Culture.

  • Daniel Gorman

    “Do you agree with the Manhattan Declaration, and is it a good commitment for Christians and Christian institutions to make?” No, No!

    The Manhattan Declaration upholds Pelagianism: “In this declaration we affirm: 1) the profound, inherent, and equal dignity of every human being as a creature fashioned in the very image of God, possessing inherent rights of equal dignity and life. . 3) religious liberty, which is grounded in the character of God, the example of Christ, and the inherent freedom and dignity of human beings created in the divine image.”

    1. Fallen man is not “fashioned in the very image of God.” Instead of the lost image of God, fallen man inherits “an inborn wicked disposition and inward impurity of heart, evil lust and propensity.” FC, SD, Original Sin.
    2. Fallen man does not possess “inherent rights of equal dignity and life.” Instead of dignity and life, fallen man possesses “death, eternal damnation, and also other bodily and spiritual, temporal and eternal miseries.” FC, SD, Original Sin.
    3. Religious liberty is not grounded in “the inherent freedom and dignity of human beings created in the divine image.” Instead of freedom and dignity, fallen man is under “the tyranny and dominion of the devil, so that human nature is subject to the kingdom of the devil and has been surrendered to the power of the devil, and is held captive under his sway, who stupefies [fascinates] and leads astray many a great, learned man in the world by means of dreadful error, heresy, and other blindness, and otherwise rushes men into all sorts of crime.” FC, SD, Original Sin.

  • Daniel Gorman

    “Do you agree with the Manhattan Declaration, and is it a good commitment for Christians and Christian institutions to make?” No, No!

    The Manhattan Declaration upholds Pelagianism: “In this declaration we affirm: 1) the profound, inherent, and equal dignity of every human being as a creature fashioned in the very image of God, possessing inherent rights of equal dignity and life. . 3) religious liberty, which is grounded in the character of God, the example of Christ, and the inherent freedom and dignity of human beings created in the divine image.”

    1. Fallen man is not “fashioned in the very image of God.” Instead of the lost image of God, fallen man inherits “an inborn wicked disposition and inward impurity of heart, evil lust and propensity.” FC, SD, Original Sin.
    2. Fallen man does not possess “inherent rights of equal dignity and life.” Instead of dignity and life, fallen man possesses “death, eternal damnation, and also other bodily and spiritual, temporal and eternal miseries.” FC, SD, Original Sin.
    3. Religious liberty is not grounded in “the inherent freedom and dignity of human beings created in the divine image.” Instead of freedom and dignity, fallen man is under “the tyranny and dominion of the devil, so that human nature is subject to the kingdom of the devil and has been surrendered to the power of the devil, and is held captive under his sway, who stupefies [fascinates] and leads astray many a great, learned man in the world by means of dreadful error, heresy, and other blindness, and otherwise rushes men into all sorts of crime.” FC, SD, Original Sin.

  • http://cyberbrethren.com Rev. Paul T. McCain

    Here is why I signed the statement, and urge others to do so as well:

    http://cyberbrethren.com/2009/11/23/the-manhattan-declaration-we-must-obey-god-rather-than-men/

  • http://cyberbrethren.com Rev. Paul T. McCain

    Here is why I signed the statement, and urge others to do so as well:

    http://cyberbrethren.com/2009/11/23/the-manhattan-declaration-we-must-obey-god-rather-than-men/

  • Dan Kempin

    “We . . . have united at this hour to reaffirm fundamental truths about justice and the common good, and to call upon our fellow citizens, believers and non-believers alike, to join us in defending them”

    “We . . . make this committment as followers of Jesus Christ. . .”

    The two kingdoms are mingled here. The first part says, very well I think, that we are Christians standing for that which will benefit all of humanity, not just our parochial interests. As such, we invite anyone to join us in this (kingdom of the left) stance.

    At the end, though, they ‘baptize’ it all to a statement of faith (kingdom of the right).

  • Dan Kempin

    “We . . . have united at this hour to reaffirm fundamental truths about justice and the common good, and to call upon our fellow citizens, believers and non-believers alike, to join us in defending them”

    “We . . . make this committment as followers of Jesus Christ. . .”

    The two kingdoms are mingled here. The first part says, very well I think, that we are Christians standing for that which will benefit all of humanity, not just our parochial interests. As such, we invite anyone to join us in this (kingdom of the left) stance.

    At the end, though, they ‘baptize’ it all to a statement of faith (kingdom of the right).

  • http://uest fws

    #1 Daniel:

    I don´t disagree with anything at all that you say. How could I being Lutheran and having the BC be my personal confession of faith as well?

    However I think the truth that is missed, and that allows persons to think this is a great idea miss a broader truth, in two parts, that the Augustana emphasizes, which is this:

    FACT #1:

    The Augustana (in it´s remarkable section on free will) cedes to the free will, will power and reason of fallen man the ability to do ALL “good” of outward righteousness. All. of. it. Even the outward keeping of the first table in the form of Pharasaism, Deism, and at times Lutheranism. Further this work, of God, is identical to what the small catechism lists, under the first article and the Our father, as things a father God grants “even to all the wicked”.

    Indeed, Jesus said it would be impossible to outwardly keep the Law better than the Pharisees did. Keeping the Law is a great way to not have a “felt need” for Jesus. An outward keeping of the Law can be the ultimate form of doing Romans Chapter 1 in fact.

    It is not incorrect to note that pagans, even homosexual pagans or muslims or (fill-in-the-blank here) , often keep the law, demostrating true love, outwardly better than most christians. The augustana tells you why that fact exists.

    FACT #2:

    What the Augustana says is impossible for free will or will power or reason is ONE thing only. ONLY! One MUST first die for this to be possible in fact. Our reliance Will power (“try harder”!) must die! and what is that ONE thing? that is an invisible thing?

    The ONE thing free will is utterly useless to do is what? 1) have no other Gods: fear, love and trust in God above all else, and 2)Not take his name in vain: call upon IT in every trouble. pray, praise and give thanks in the cool shade of his name and protection even and especially when we suffer.

    This is the invisible RIGHTeousness of Faith, which is the invisible active component of that invisible essence called sanctification, which is where a new man is born in us with a new will that is in perfect conformity to God´s Will. That will “spontaneously, automatically, without need for practice or urging” simply IS active in “fruits of faith”. The visible, outward part of this activity looks identical to “works of the Law”.

    We get this new will and the fruit of faith that AUTOMATICALLY flows from it how? The Holy Spirit telling us the Gospel of Jesus death for our sins. ONLY in this way. NEVER from “trying harder” or even “evangelical encouragements” such as “We should act in loving response to what Jesus did for us (ie, PURE law!)” This is a preaching not to sanctification but rather to the mortification of the flesh. Our Death. Which is ALSO a work of the Holy Spirit IN us. This is not our life. Unless we are talking romans chapter 7. at least , not life in the spirit. “The just shall live … by faith.

    Outwardly, there can be no distinction made between righteousness of the law and fruit of faith. They are outwardly identical in every single way. so the fruit of faith is “visibly invisible”.

    Now then. Only after understanding these two facts does what dear brother Gorman says make sense in our daily lives. We merit only temporal and eternal punishment for outward righteousness that flows from a heart with no at-one-ment, atonement with God´s Will.

    So all this is to say that the purpose of this declaration is doomed to failure:

    “The church has a duty to make the world a safe place in which to practice outward righteousness.”

    This is impossible for exactly the reason brother Gorman has the LCs saying. secondly the world does not need the church to do this. Besides: Outward righteousness will simply happen. God will work this through the carrot and stick of the law. We can only know and trust that this is so how? Again by faith. sanctification. trust in God.

    Even a child knows this! The explanation to the first article in the small catechism promises that this will be done. The 4th petition, along with the other 6 are also being done, by God, for even the wicked, indeed without our prayer or asking.

    What is NOT being done without the intervention of the church is this: God´s Sent Ones proclaiming the ONE thing that will result in the ONE form of true righteousness: Faith in Jesus Christ.

    The church is to proclaim that people must die. It is not to proclaim that ending abortions or homos legally tieing the knot in vegas will make things one bit better. Nor will securing freedom or religion or speech. The first century church did just fine without these things didn´t it?

    This is slapping paint on a structure rotten on the inside that the slightest breeze will knock over.

    People, claiming to represent the Church of God, are misguided here in doing this. They have more urgent things to do than “wait on tables”. Leave these things to the politicians and good citizens in their vocations. Both pagan and christian citizens. This is right .

  • http://uest fws

    #1 Daniel:

    I don´t disagree with anything at all that you say. How could I being Lutheran and having the BC be my personal confession of faith as well?

    However I think the truth that is missed, and that allows persons to think this is a great idea miss a broader truth, in two parts, that the Augustana emphasizes, which is this:

    FACT #1:

    The Augustana (in it´s remarkable section on free will) cedes to the free will, will power and reason of fallen man the ability to do ALL “good” of outward righteousness. All. of. it. Even the outward keeping of the first table in the form of Pharasaism, Deism, and at times Lutheranism. Further this work, of God, is identical to what the small catechism lists, under the first article and the Our father, as things a father God grants “even to all the wicked”.

    Indeed, Jesus said it would be impossible to outwardly keep the Law better than the Pharisees did. Keeping the Law is a great way to not have a “felt need” for Jesus. An outward keeping of the Law can be the ultimate form of doing Romans Chapter 1 in fact.

    It is not incorrect to note that pagans, even homosexual pagans or muslims or (fill-in-the-blank here) , often keep the law, demostrating true love, outwardly better than most christians. The augustana tells you why that fact exists.

    FACT #2:

    What the Augustana says is impossible for free will or will power or reason is ONE thing only. ONLY! One MUST first die for this to be possible in fact. Our reliance Will power (“try harder”!) must die! and what is that ONE thing? that is an invisible thing?

    The ONE thing free will is utterly useless to do is what? 1) have no other Gods: fear, love and trust in God above all else, and 2)Not take his name in vain: call upon IT in every trouble. pray, praise and give thanks in the cool shade of his name and protection even and especially when we suffer.

    This is the invisible RIGHTeousness of Faith, which is the invisible active component of that invisible essence called sanctification, which is where a new man is born in us with a new will that is in perfect conformity to God´s Will. That will “spontaneously, automatically, without need for practice or urging” simply IS active in “fruits of faith”. The visible, outward part of this activity looks identical to “works of the Law”.

    We get this new will and the fruit of faith that AUTOMATICALLY flows from it how? The Holy Spirit telling us the Gospel of Jesus death for our sins. ONLY in this way. NEVER from “trying harder” or even “evangelical encouragements” such as “We should act in loving response to what Jesus did for us (ie, PURE law!)” This is a preaching not to sanctification but rather to the mortification of the flesh. Our Death. Which is ALSO a work of the Holy Spirit IN us. This is not our life. Unless we are talking romans chapter 7. at least , not life in the spirit. “The just shall live … by faith.

    Outwardly, there can be no distinction made between righteousness of the law and fruit of faith. They are outwardly identical in every single way. so the fruit of faith is “visibly invisible”.

    Now then. Only after understanding these two facts does what dear brother Gorman says make sense in our daily lives. We merit only temporal and eternal punishment for outward righteousness that flows from a heart with no at-one-ment, atonement with God´s Will.

    So all this is to say that the purpose of this declaration is doomed to failure:

    “The church has a duty to make the world a safe place in which to practice outward righteousness.”

    This is impossible for exactly the reason brother Gorman has the LCs saying. secondly the world does not need the church to do this. Besides: Outward righteousness will simply happen. God will work this through the carrot and stick of the law. We can only know and trust that this is so how? Again by faith. sanctification. trust in God.

    Even a child knows this! The explanation to the first article in the small catechism promises that this will be done. The 4th petition, along with the other 6 are also being done, by God, for even the wicked, indeed without our prayer or asking.

    What is NOT being done without the intervention of the church is this: God´s Sent Ones proclaiming the ONE thing that will result in the ONE form of true righteousness: Faith in Jesus Christ.

    The church is to proclaim that people must die. It is not to proclaim that ending abortions or homos legally tieing the knot in vegas will make things one bit better. Nor will securing freedom or religion or speech. The first century church did just fine without these things didn´t it?

    This is slapping paint on a structure rotten on the inside that the slightest breeze will knock over.

    People, claiming to represent the Church of God, are misguided here in doing this. They have more urgent things to do than “wait on tables”. Leave these things to the politicians and good citizens in their vocations. Both pagan and christian citizens. This is right .

  • http://uest fws

    Lutherans who think this is a great idea are, not surprisingly, those SAME ones who confuse law and gospel in teaching sanctification:

    They loudly assert that “sanctification is something that can and should be urged upon christians to do more of”.

    Those who oppose this calling what is “The Law”: “evangelical encouragement” or “3rd use, a safe use of the law that is not exactly law” as error are then called antinomians.

    So a very grave doctrinal error is misguiding these men.

  • http://uest fws

    Lutherans who think this is a great idea are, not surprisingly, those SAME ones who confuse law and gospel in teaching sanctification:

    They loudly assert that “sanctification is something that can and should be urged upon christians to do more of”.

    Those who oppose this calling what is “The Law”: “evangelical encouragement” or “3rd use, a safe use of the law that is not exactly law” as error are then called antinomians.

    So a very grave doctrinal error is misguiding these men.

  • Carl Vehse

    In addition to its doctrinal deficiencies, the Manhattan Declaration, written by a Romanist and two Baptists, is simply a wishy-washy statement, unfit to be signed by confessional Lutherans.

    In the first line, the Declaration claims a Christian tradition of “seeking justice.”

    Yet, other than occasionally waving this flag as a cliche, the Declaration offers no real commitment to justice when claiming to be “untiring in our efforts to roll back the license to kill that began with the abandonment of the unborn to abortion.” There is nothing in the Manhattan Declaration about the obligation and the commitment of Christians to pursue and demand justice and as citizens to work so that our form of government will bring the political, business, social, and medical leaders of abortion to trial, conviction, and punishment for crimes against humanity, genocidal murder, and treason.

    Without such a commitment, the Declaration’s objections amount to treating abortion as little more than an inappropriate and unacceptable wearing the wrong color of socks. Once changed to something appropriate and acceptable, the faux pas is perceived as now gone away. That is NOT justice!

    Concerning the Manhattan Declaration’s objection to oxymoronic same-sex marriages, there is no advocacy and commitment seeking legislation to criminalize the perversion of same-sex marriages, just as we criminalize polygamy and human-animal sex partners, even in a claimed monogamous relationship.

    As for the Manhattan Declaration signees’ promise to take action – other than posing for a feel-good photo op – what action defending unborn children against genocidal slaughter has been taken that has not already been done previously? What action of civil disobedience has been carried out so far against any edicts compelling (physical or financial) participation in abortion? Where have the signees refused to bend to any rule that forces them to recognized same-sex marriages?

    And if I read another document that caveats “there are sincere people who disagree with us,” I don’t know if I can keep from puking.

  • Carl Vehse

    In addition to its doctrinal deficiencies, the Manhattan Declaration, written by a Romanist and two Baptists, is simply a wishy-washy statement, unfit to be signed by confessional Lutherans.

    In the first line, the Declaration claims a Christian tradition of “seeking justice.”

    Yet, other than occasionally waving this flag as a cliche, the Declaration offers no real commitment to justice when claiming to be “untiring in our efforts to roll back the license to kill that began with the abandonment of the unborn to abortion.” There is nothing in the Manhattan Declaration about the obligation and the commitment of Christians to pursue and demand justice and as citizens to work so that our form of government will bring the political, business, social, and medical leaders of abortion to trial, conviction, and punishment for crimes against humanity, genocidal murder, and treason.

    Without such a commitment, the Declaration’s objections amount to treating abortion as little more than an inappropriate and unacceptable wearing the wrong color of socks. Once changed to something appropriate and acceptable, the faux pas is perceived as now gone away. That is NOT justice!

    Concerning the Manhattan Declaration’s objection to oxymoronic same-sex marriages, there is no advocacy and commitment seeking legislation to criminalize the perversion of same-sex marriages, just as we criminalize polygamy and human-animal sex partners, even in a claimed monogamous relationship.

    As for the Manhattan Declaration signees’ promise to take action – other than posing for a feel-good photo op – what action defending unborn children against genocidal slaughter has been taken that has not already been done previously? What action of civil disobedience has been carried out so far against any edicts compelling (physical or financial) participation in abortion? Where have the signees refused to bend to any rule that forces them to recognized same-sex marriages?

    And if I read another document that caveats “there are sincere people who disagree with us,” I don’t know if I can keep from puking.

  • http://chaz-lehmann.livejournal.com Rev. Charles Lehmann

    I cannot in good conscience sign this document because it suggests that MLK (even though he denied the divinity of Christ) wrote from an “explicitly Christian” perspective.

  • http://chaz-lehmann.livejournal.com Rev. Charles Lehmann

    I cannot in good conscience sign this document because it suggests that MLK (even though he denied the divinity of Christ) wrote from an “explicitly Christian” perspective.

  • WebMonk

    wow fws. I expect statements like that from Clymer Vehse, but it’s a surprise to hear you say Rev. McCain as a confuser of Law and Gospel and someone who is in grave doctrinal error.

    How about a little grace and not jump to conclusions about the people who sign it?

    Granted, he’s a faithful LCMS flavor Lutheran, and so obviously he has some doctrinal screwiness, but by LCMS standards he’s generally spot on. Confusing Law and Gospel isn’t one of those things I think are normally charged against him.

  • WebMonk

    wow fws. I expect statements like that from Clymer Vehse, but it’s a surprise to hear you say Rev. McCain as a confuser of Law and Gospel and someone who is in grave doctrinal error.

    How about a little grace and not jump to conclusions about the people who sign it?

    Granted, he’s a faithful LCMS flavor Lutheran, and so obviously he has some doctrinal screwiness, but by LCMS standards he’s generally spot on. Confusing Law and Gospel isn’t one of those things I think are normally charged against him.

  • http://chaz-lehmann.livejournal.com Rev. Charles Lehmann

    WebMonk,

    Agreed.

    While I disagree with my friend Paul on the signing of the Manhattan Declaration, I think this is something about which Christians may disagree without calling each other confusers of Law and Gospel.

  • http://chaz-lehmann.livejournal.com Rev. Charles Lehmann

    WebMonk,

    Agreed.

    While I disagree with my friend Paul on the signing of the Manhattan Declaration, I think this is something about which Christians may disagree without calling each other confusers of Law and Gospel.

  • Joe

    I don’t know what I think about this document as a whole. But I am concerned about the religious liberty aspect of this document. I completely understand that we don’t want a gov’t to dictate to the people what they must believe. Luther is very explicit on that point. But that seems to be different than the Church saying that it will not allow its institutions to be forced to abandon the ideal of religious liberty, which is what this document says. I was pretty sure that the Church was supposed to teach the one and only true way to salvation. This document, perhaps becuase it never clearly states what kingdom it, gives the impression of syncretism. At a minimum its scope is unclear.

  • Joe

    I don’t know what I think about this document as a whole. But I am concerned about the religious liberty aspect of this document. I completely understand that we don’t want a gov’t to dictate to the people what they must believe. Luther is very explicit on that point. But that seems to be different than the Church saying that it will not allow its institutions to be forced to abandon the ideal of religious liberty, which is what this document says. I was pretty sure that the Church was supposed to teach the one and only true way to salvation. This document, perhaps becuase it never clearly states what kingdom it, gives the impression of syncretism. At a minimum its scope is unclear.

  • http://chaz-lehmann.livejournal.com Rev. Charles Lehmann

    Joe,

    Luther actually encouraged the princes to enforce doctrine. Though he was an advocate of something like distinction between church and state, he never advocated separation between the two.

  • http://chaz-lehmann.livejournal.com Rev. Charles Lehmann

    Joe,

    Luther actually encouraged the princes to enforce doctrine. Though he was an advocate of something like distinction between church and state, he never advocated separation between the two.

  • trotk

    You all have missed the point. There is no confusion between Law and Gospel. Affirming what is affirmed here needs to be done. Someone has to speak publicly, and while you may wish that the public statement were different, until some other alternative is offered, you sound petty in your criticism.
    Public statement is action. Placing yourself before the community and world as believing certain things is action. It may only be the first step in the process of change, but no one will bring the abortionists to trial until someone says in the public sphere (not just in their isolated community) that what they are doing is wrong.
    Our world is quickly moving into a world where all is permissible and relative, and we need to affirm that both reason and revealed truth show that human life is sacred and that God has actual standards for our lives.
    Until you offer another alternative, quit attacking those with the courage to speak outside their Christian enclaves. Redeeming the world is a task of the Christian, not just hiding from it.

  • trotk

    You all have missed the point. There is no confusion between Law and Gospel. Affirming what is affirmed here needs to be done. Someone has to speak publicly, and while you may wish that the public statement were different, until some other alternative is offered, you sound petty in your criticism.
    Public statement is action. Placing yourself before the community and world as believing certain things is action. It may only be the first step in the process of change, but no one will bring the abortionists to trial until someone says in the public sphere (not just in their isolated community) that what they are doing is wrong.
    Our world is quickly moving into a world where all is permissible and relative, and we need to affirm that both reason and revealed truth show that human life is sacred and that God has actual standards for our lives.
    Until you offer another alternative, quit attacking those with the courage to speak outside their Christian enclaves. Redeeming the world is a task of the Christian, not just hiding from it.

  • NQB

    #4 fws
    I’m having trouble following your comment for some reason, but are you saying that because keeping (parts of) the law is possible apart from the Gospel, the Church has no business encouraging such?
    As I read the Manhattan Declaration, I thought the goal was more “The church has a duty to encourage godly living” and not “The church has a duty to make the world a safe place in which to practice outward righteousness.”
    Actually, I take that back because I thought the Declaration also made very clear that individuals (not so much churches or even the Church) are to sign this document, so really this is individual Christians recognizing that the Gospel compels (but does not require) a Christian to exercise his civic duties.
    Because I do believe that ending abortion and upholding marriage will make the world one bit better, I would be failing my neighbor if I kept quiet.
    While the Declaration doesn’t express everything the way we Lutherans would feel the most comfortable with, that doesn’t mean that signers hold serious doctrinal flaws. I mean, even James’s epistle doesn’t express everything the way I’m most comfortable with, but I’d sign that any day.

  • NQB

    #4 fws
    I’m having trouble following your comment for some reason, but are you saying that because keeping (parts of) the law is possible apart from the Gospel, the Church has no business encouraging such?
    As I read the Manhattan Declaration, I thought the goal was more “The church has a duty to encourage godly living” and not “The church has a duty to make the world a safe place in which to practice outward righteousness.”
    Actually, I take that back because I thought the Declaration also made very clear that individuals (not so much churches or even the Church) are to sign this document, so really this is individual Christians recognizing that the Gospel compels (but does not require) a Christian to exercise his civic duties.
    Because I do believe that ending abortion and upholding marriage will make the world one bit better, I would be failing my neighbor if I kept quiet.
    While the Declaration doesn’t express everything the way we Lutherans would feel the most comfortable with, that doesn’t mean that signers hold serious doctrinal flaws. I mean, even James’s epistle doesn’t express everything the way I’m most comfortable with, but I’d sign that any day.

  • http://uest fws

    #8 webmonk

    No dear brother webmonk. Our brother Mc Cain´s personal confession is known what the Book of Concord says:

    And so I am CERTAIN that Brother Mc Cain believes, teaches and confesses what is contained in the “Epitomy of the Formula of Concord VI The Third use of the law”

    He confesses:

    “That the preaching of the Law is to be urged …upon true believers, who are truly converted, regenerate, and justified by faith. …the Law is and remains both [to christian and pagan, [the SAME IDENTICAL]Law, namely, the immutable will of God. ”

    He believes that THIS is called “mortification of the flesh for christians, and NOT sanctification OR the fruits of sanctification. Even when we call this “christian exhortation” or “reminders to do good works out of loving response to the Gospel”. He agrees fully that these are preaching of Law and NOT to sanctification or fruit of sanctification.

    He further believes, teaches and confesses that

    “the difference, so far as concerns obedience, is alone in man [the doer not what is done]…UNregenerate does …the Law out of constraint and unwillingly….as also the regenerate do according to the flesh. The believer, so far as he is regenerate, does without constraint and with a willing spirit that which no threatenings [however severe] of the Law could ever extort from him.”

    Paul, I am absolutely CERTAIN also believe, teaches and confesses that the fruits of sanctification ALWAYS occur spontaneously. ALWAYS:

    “6] 5. Fruits of the Spirit…[in constrast, however] are the works which the Spirit of God who dwells in believers works through the regenerate, and which are done by believers so far as they are regenerate [spontaneously and freely], as though they knew of no command, threat, or reward; for in this manner the children of God live in the Law and walk according to the Law of God, which [mode of living] St. Paul in his epistles calls the Law of Christ and the Law of the mind, Rom. 7:25; 8:7; Rom. 8:2; Gal. 6:2.”

    I have no doubt whatsoever that Paul confesses then that:

    (1)fruit of sanctification/ sanctification happens in exactly the same way and through exactly the same means as faith.

    It cannot be increased through exhortation or trying harder.

    (2) Any time we are exhorting christians as to how they should act, we are talking Law. This is called Mortifcation of the Flesh. This is NOT sanctification or it´s fruit. and it is IDENTICAL to what pagans and the old adam do.

    My apologies to Rev Mc Cain and to you Webmonk if I in any way implied that Paul could ever subscribe to what I call error in my post #5.

    ok?

  • http://uest fws

    #8 webmonk

    No dear brother webmonk. Our brother Mc Cain´s personal confession is known what the Book of Concord says:

    And so I am CERTAIN that Brother Mc Cain believes, teaches and confesses what is contained in the “Epitomy of the Formula of Concord VI The Third use of the law”

    He confesses:

    “That the preaching of the Law is to be urged …upon true believers, who are truly converted, regenerate, and justified by faith. …the Law is and remains both [to christian and pagan, [the SAME IDENTICAL]Law, namely, the immutable will of God. ”

    He believes that THIS is called “mortification of the flesh for christians, and NOT sanctification OR the fruits of sanctification. Even when we call this “christian exhortation” or “reminders to do good works out of loving response to the Gospel”. He agrees fully that these are preaching of Law and NOT to sanctification or fruit of sanctification.

    He further believes, teaches and confesses that

    “the difference, so far as concerns obedience, is alone in man [the doer not what is done]…UNregenerate does …the Law out of constraint and unwillingly….as also the regenerate do according to the flesh. The believer, so far as he is regenerate, does without constraint and with a willing spirit that which no threatenings [however severe] of the Law could ever extort from him.”

    Paul, I am absolutely CERTAIN also believe, teaches and confesses that the fruits of sanctification ALWAYS occur spontaneously. ALWAYS:

    “6] 5. Fruits of the Spirit…[in constrast, however] are the works which the Spirit of God who dwells in believers works through the regenerate, and which are done by believers so far as they are regenerate [spontaneously and freely], as though they knew of no command, threat, or reward; for in this manner the children of God live in the Law and walk according to the Law of God, which [mode of living] St. Paul in his epistles calls the Law of Christ and the Law of the mind, Rom. 7:25; 8:7; Rom. 8:2; Gal. 6:2.”

    I have no doubt whatsoever that Paul confesses then that:

    (1)fruit of sanctification/ sanctification happens in exactly the same way and through exactly the same means as faith.

    It cannot be increased through exhortation or trying harder.

    (2) Any time we are exhorting christians as to how they should act, we are talking Law. This is called Mortifcation of the Flesh. This is NOT sanctification or it´s fruit. and it is IDENTICAL to what pagans and the old adam do.

    My apologies to Rev Mc Cain and to you Webmonk if I in any way implied that Paul could ever subscribe to what I call error in my post #5.

    ok?

  • http://www.utah-lutheran.blogspot.com Bror Erickson

    You know, I’m just tired of these documents. They come out it seems every couple of years, trying to redefine what the church is, or is about, or should be about with every wind of doctrine that blows from the seat of some lost evangelical’s desk smelling of the law he ingested. And they seem to be less well written with everyone that comes out.
    For instance this one doesn’t list “truths” it lists issues to be debated in the public square. The truth isn’t “the sanctity of human life.” That is an issue. A Christian truth is “human life is holy, having been sanctified by the blood of the lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.”
    That is just something I noticed from this snit bit that you posted. I really don’t have the time or energy to read anymore of it. (O.K. I just don’t have the will to do so. Not sure I want my name next to some of the others that have adorned it either.)
    I think these documents are meant to revitalize conservative political movements by yanking the heart strings of Conservative Christians. But every time I see one it is as if it serves nothing but another mile marker documenting the weakening of these same movements.
    I care about the issues these people list, I just don’t care to read another document or sign it. Neither do I see them as being ecumenical at all, they are void of any doctrinal content, void of gospel, and so would be sorry examples of ecumenical documents. They are political documents. The Nicene Creed, now that is an ecumenical document, and any Lutheran that confesses it sunday after Sunday along side Roman Catholics, and the Eastern Orthodox, not to mention just a few protestants, ought to be ashamed to say conservative Lutherans tend not to be ecumenical.

  • http://www.utah-lutheran.blogspot.com Bror Erickson

    You know, I’m just tired of these documents. They come out it seems every couple of years, trying to redefine what the church is, or is about, or should be about with every wind of doctrine that blows from the seat of some lost evangelical’s desk smelling of the law he ingested. And they seem to be less well written with everyone that comes out.
    For instance this one doesn’t list “truths” it lists issues to be debated in the public square. The truth isn’t “the sanctity of human life.” That is an issue. A Christian truth is “human life is holy, having been sanctified by the blood of the lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.”
    That is just something I noticed from this snit bit that you posted. I really don’t have the time or energy to read anymore of it. (O.K. I just don’t have the will to do so. Not sure I want my name next to some of the others that have adorned it either.)
    I think these documents are meant to revitalize conservative political movements by yanking the heart strings of Conservative Christians. But every time I see one it is as if it serves nothing but another mile marker documenting the weakening of these same movements.
    I care about the issues these people list, I just don’t care to read another document or sign it. Neither do I see them as being ecumenical at all, they are void of any doctrinal content, void of gospel, and so would be sorry examples of ecumenical documents. They are political documents. The Nicene Creed, now that is an ecumenical document, and any Lutheran that confesses it sunday after Sunday along side Roman Catholics, and the Eastern Orthodox, not to mention just a few protestants, ought to be ashamed to say conservative Lutherans tend not to be ecumenical.

  • http://uest fws

    Comment #9 #11 Rev. Charles Lehmann

    This is “waiting on tables” Pastor Lehman.

    Keep in mind that in Luther´s time there was this concept of “christendom”. Luther says that, out of love, he assumed someone was a christian. if you were in a geographical parish you were assumed to be a member of the church, a christian.

    I cannot find a single instance of where, when Lutheran talks about an unbeliever keeping the Law in society or doing vocation, where he does not feel compelled to reach geographically outside of christiandom and refer to “turks” to make that point.

    To not keep this context in mind is to not really catch what Luther says about the two kingdoms.

    Luther is appealing to princes and rulers as CHRISTIANS carrying out their vocations as christians.

  • http://uest fws

    Comment #9 #11 Rev. Charles Lehmann

    This is “waiting on tables” Pastor Lehman.

    Keep in mind that in Luther´s time there was this concept of “christendom”. Luther says that, out of love, he assumed someone was a christian. if you were in a geographical parish you were assumed to be a member of the church, a christian.

    I cannot find a single instance of where, when Lutheran talks about an unbeliever keeping the Law in society or doing vocation, where he does not feel compelled to reach geographically outside of christiandom and refer to “turks” to make that point.

    To not keep this context in mind is to not really catch what Luther says about the two kingdoms.

    Luther is appealing to princes and rulers as CHRISTIANS carrying out their vocations as christians.

  • http://uest fws

    #15.

    what Bror says. Exactly.

  • http://uest fws

    #15.

    what Bror says. Exactly.

  • WebMonk

    No skin off my nose, fws. I happen to think McCain has a lot of things wrong because he’s a pretty strong stickler for BOC doctrine. It was just a surprise to hear an accusation of error coming from a fellow Lutheran.

    I won’t get between two Lutherans when they debate what is Law, how it should be handled, etc.

    On my own, I don’t see any conflict between anything you wrote in 14 and what McCain wrote, but perhaps I’m missing a nuance somewhere. More on the topic of this post, do you see something in the MD that contradicts what you wrote? I can see how people could take what the MD says and run with it off in a direction that might come into conflict, but I don’t see anything in the MD directly that counters your statements.

  • WebMonk

    No skin off my nose, fws. I happen to think McCain has a lot of things wrong because he’s a pretty strong stickler for BOC doctrine. It was just a surprise to hear an accusation of error coming from a fellow Lutheran.

    I won’t get between two Lutherans when they debate what is Law, how it should be handled, etc.

    On my own, I don’t see any conflict between anything you wrote in 14 and what McCain wrote, but perhaps I’m missing a nuance somewhere. More on the topic of this post, do you see something in the MD that contradicts what you wrote? I can see how people could take what the MD says and run with it off in a direction that might come into conflict, but I don’t see anything in the MD directly that counters your statements.

  • Peter Leavitt

    The Manhattan Declaration says nothing that contradicts The orthodox Christian view of fallen, sinful man. Its reference to the dignity of man is based on the scriptural passage So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. [Genesis 1:27].

    The Declaration’s three fundamental truths: the sanctity of human life,the dignity of marriage as the conjugal union of husband and wife, the rights of conscience and religious liberty are well supported biblically and from reason. They deal with three fundamental contemporary problems, abortion, marriage, and free speech in the public square, about which all serious Christians ought to be concerned.

    Christians citizens of this country, including conservative Lutherans, need to take a stand on these issues without getting involved nitpicking the Declaration’s theology.

  • Peter Leavitt

    The Manhattan Declaration says nothing that contradicts The orthodox Christian view of fallen, sinful man. Its reference to the dignity of man is based on the scriptural passage So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. [Genesis 1:27].

    The Declaration’s three fundamental truths: the sanctity of human life,the dignity of marriage as the conjugal union of husband and wife, the rights of conscience and religious liberty are well supported biblically and from reason. They deal with three fundamental contemporary problems, abortion, marriage, and free speech in the public square, about which all serious Christians ought to be concerned.

    Christians citizens of this country, including conservative Lutherans, need to take a stand on these issues without getting involved nitpicking the Declaration’s theology.

  • http://mesamike.org Mike Westfall

    The document seems to go out if its way to make a point of being ecumenical, when it would’ve been sufficient just to declare that the signers were unified in their positions on the issues at hand. Dan Phillips over at Pyromaniacs has nineteen questions for signers of the declaration which dig down into the heart of the problem that many have with the MD.

  • http://mesamike.org Mike Westfall

    The document seems to go out if its way to make a point of being ecumenical, when it would’ve been sufficient just to declare that the signers were unified in their positions on the issues at hand. Dan Phillips over at Pyromaniacs has nineteen questions for signers of the declaration which dig down into the heart of the problem that many have with the MD.

  • Peter

    Dan Phillips at Pyro can be quite profitaably ignored.

  • Peter

    Dan Phillips at Pyro can be quite profitaably ignored.

  • WebMonk

    Indeed – he is (or at least was, I haven’t read him for almost two years now) an expert at taking any topic and torturing it until even the most benign subject can be found to have some deep and hidden aspect which threatens the integrity of the Christian faith, and must thus be opposed with unlimited vociferousness. I suspect his nineteen questions are of a similar vein, though perhaps he has changed over time.

  • WebMonk

    Indeed – he is (or at least was, I haven’t read him for almost two years now) an expert at taking any topic and torturing it until even the most benign subject can be found to have some deep and hidden aspect which threatens the integrity of the Christian faith, and must thus be opposed with unlimited vociferousness. I suspect his nineteen questions are of a similar vein, though perhaps he has changed over time.

  • http://www.utah-lutheran.blogspot.com Bror Erickson

    Peter,
    When exactly do you think doctrinal scrutiny is warranted if not in a document claiming to be some sort of ecumenical break through?
    Quite frankly as I see it all of us churches can work towards upholding the sanctity of life, defending the institution of marriage, and freedom of speech, without signing silly documents that give the impression that this is what the church is about, and that we are all in agreement.
    For instance I think my church says more about the sanctity of human life by donating to the Utah Food Bank, and the Pregnancy Resource Center, than could ever be said by signing some document that is not well written to begin with, and some what blurs what I consider to be the gospel and the reason for a church, which is not passing a bunch of laws and worrying about what non-christians are doing in the bedroom.

  • http://www.utah-lutheran.blogspot.com Bror Erickson

    Peter,
    When exactly do you think doctrinal scrutiny is warranted if not in a document claiming to be some sort of ecumenical break through?
    Quite frankly as I see it all of us churches can work towards upholding the sanctity of life, defending the institution of marriage, and freedom of speech, without signing silly documents that give the impression that this is what the church is about, and that we are all in agreement.
    For instance I think my church says more about the sanctity of human life by donating to the Utah Food Bank, and the Pregnancy Resource Center, than could ever be said by signing some document that is not well written to begin with, and some what blurs what I consider to be the gospel and the reason for a church, which is not passing a bunch of laws and worrying about what non-christians are doing in the bedroom.

  • http://uest fws

    #18 webmonk

    there is no conflict between what Mc Cain wrote and what I wrote. Lutherans have the joy of a unity of faith that no other christian sects get to enjoy.

    I don´t have to guess what he believes nor he me. It looks exactly like what is in the Book of Concord. Isn´t that wonderful?

    There is nothing wrong with signing that statement. it is just not for the church to do or people representing the church to do or to do in the name of the church.

    The reason for this webmonk is exactly the same reason the apostles gave for it not being good for them to “wait on tables”.

    I hope that makes sense. Only ONE earthly organization preaches christ. MANY organizations are concerned with morality and social order. If the church splits its focus between preaching christ and promoting morality and social order even among the pagans then this is a great disservice.

  • http://uest fws

    #18 webmonk

    there is no conflict between what Mc Cain wrote and what I wrote. Lutherans have the joy of a unity of faith that no other christian sects get to enjoy.

    I don´t have to guess what he believes nor he me. It looks exactly like what is in the Book of Concord. Isn´t that wonderful?

    There is nothing wrong with signing that statement. it is just not for the church to do or people representing the church to do or to do in the name of the church.

    The reason for this webmonk is exactly the same reason the apostles gave for it not being good for them to “wait on tables”.

    I hope that makes sense. Only ONE earthly organization preaches christ. MANY organizations are concerned with morality and social order. If the church splits its focus between preaching christ and promoting morality and social order even among the pagans then this is a great disservice.

  • Tim Webb

    Dr. John Stackhouse gives some very good reasons to be suspicious of this document at http://stackblog.wordpress.com/2009/11/22/the-manhattan-declaration-a-waste-of-everybodys-time/.

    I was surprised to hear that conservative Lutherans aren’t ecumenical… a friend of mine is LCMS and is big-time ecumenical…

    Tim

  • Tim Webb

    Dr. John Stackhouse gives some very good reasons to be suspicious of this document at http://stackblog.wordpress.com/2009/11/22/the-manhattan-declaration-a-waste-of-everybodys-time/.

    I was surprised to hear that conservative Lutherans aren’t ecumenical… a friend of mine is LCMS and is big-time ecumenical…

    Tim

  • Carl Vehse

    1/5 – The discussion on this thread about Lutheran involvement in political activities can be related to previous Lutheran (and specifically Missouri Synod) political involvements. From Fred W. Meuser, “Facing the Twentieth Century,” (in E. Clifford Nelson, ed., The Lutherans in North America, Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1975, pp. 396-7):

    “When American “neutrality” turned out to be in the Allies’ favor, Lutherans began publicly to criticize the government in a fashion not at all typical of their church in the past… Strange, in view of the Missouri Synod’s traditional social and political quietism, was the extent and vigor of its denunciations of the ‘atrocious trade in arms’ and its charge that America’s lust for profit had turned it into a hypocritical murderer. [16] Even more astounding was the theological justification for this new critical attitude voiced by Missouri’s president [F. Pfotenhauer] that ‘anything that touches moral issues is within the sphere of the church.’ [17] Attacks on both American and German manufacturers, favorable reviews of books which laid the blame for the war on England, defenses against the charge of hyphenism, and synodical resolutions against arms exports which were causing loss of American lives were other expressions of the German sympathies of Lutherans. Allied defeats were interpreted as punishment for its national sins, such as the opium trade in China; German suffering as divine retribution for its spiritual decline. Only the more extreme Germanophiles went so far as to praise the Kaiser and General von Hindenburg as Christians worthy of emulation.” [18]

  • Carl Vehse

    1/5 – The discussion on this thread about Lutheran involvement in political activities can be related to previous Lutheran (and specifically Missouri Synod) political involvements. From Fred W. Meuser, “Facing the Twentieth Century,” (in E. Clifford Nelson, ed., The Lutherans in North America, Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1975, pp. 396-7):

    “When American “neutrality” turned out to be in the Allies’ favor, Lutherans began publicly to criticize the government in a fashion not at all typical of their church in the past… Strange, in view of the Missouri Synod’s traditional social and political quietism, was the extent and vigor of its denunciations of the ‘atrocious trade in arms’ and its charge that America’s lust for profit had turned it into a hypocritical murderer. [16] Even more astounding was the theological justification for this new critical attitude voiced by Missouri’s president [F. Pfotenhauer] that ‘anything that touches moral issues is within the sphere of the church.’ [17] Attacks on both American and German manufacturers, favorable reviews of books which laid the blame for the war on England, defenses against the charge of hyphenism, and synodical resolutions against arms exports which were causing loss of American lives were other expressions of the German sympathies of Lutherans. Allied defeats were interpreted as punishment for its national sins, such as the opium trade in China; German suffering as divine retribution for its spiritual decline. Only the more extreme Germanophiles went so far as to praise the Kaiser and General von Hindenburg as Christians worthy of emulation.” [18]

  • Carl Vehse

    2/5 – Footnotes from Fred W. Meuser, “Facing the Twentieth Century,” (in E. Clifford Nelson, ed., The Lutherans in North America, Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1975, pp. 396-7):

    16. Friedrich Bente of Concordia Seminary, St. Louis, spoke frequently at neutrality conferences and editorialized regularly against American policy in Der Lutheraner, as did Theodore Graebner in the Lutheran Witness. Bente’s appearance before the Foreign Relations Committee of the Senate in 1915 caused Henry Cabot Lodge to comment in a letter to Theodore Roosevelt in 1915 that Bente’s accent was “so strong you could stumble over it… [as he] lectured us on Americanism, patriotism… [and]the opinions of George Washington… Some of us are not hyphenates – we are just plain Americans – and the wrath of the members of the Committee, Democrats and Republicans, was pleasing to witness. I think they have overdone it.” Quoted in Carl S. Meyer, ed., Moving Frontiers: Readings in the History of the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod (St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1964), p. 236.

    17. Der Lutheraner, February 15, 1916, p.63. When the issues became emotional enough, Lutherans could appeal to the vey same oversimplified principle which they had criticized repeatedly when used by other Protestants to justify concern and action on social or political issues,

    18. Lutheran Witness, December 15, 1914, p.207; August 10, 1915, p.253

  • Carl Vehse

    2/5 – Footnotes from Fred W. Meuser, “Facing the Twentieth Century,” (in E. Clifford Nelson, ed., The Lutherans in North America, Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1975, pp. 396-7):

    16. Friedrich Bente of Concordia Seminary, St. Louis, spoke frequently at neutrality conferences and editorialized regularly against American policy in Der Lutheraner, as did Theodore Graebner in the Lutheran Witness. Bente’s appearance before the Foreign Relations Committee of the Senate in 1915 caused Henry Cabot Lodge to comment in a letter to Theodore Roosevelt in 1915 that Bente’s accent was “so strong you could stumble over it… [as he] lectured us on Americanism, patriotism… [and]the opinions of George Washington… Some of us are not hyphenates – we are just plain Americans – and the wrath of the members of the Committee, Democrats and Republicans, was pleasing to witness. I think they have overdone it.” Quoted in Carl S. Meyer, ed., Moving Frontiers: Readings in the History of the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod (St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1964), p. 236.

    17. Der Lutheraner, February 15, 1916, p.63. When the issues became emotional enough, Lutherans could appeal to the vey same oversimplified principle which they had criticized repeatedly when used by other Protestants to justify concern and action on social or political issues,

    18. Lutheran Witness, December 15, 1914, p.207; August 10, 1915, p.253

  • Carl Vehse

    3/5 – Here’s more from Fred W. Meuser, “Facing the Twentieth Century,” (in E. Clifford Nelson, ed., The Lutherans in North America, Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1975, pp. 399-400):

    “An even greater change was the growing awareness among all foreign-heritage Lutherans of the need to adjust church and individual life quickly to American ways. While language was undoubtedly the most drastic change for the average member of the immigrant synods, it was by no means the only one. At least as significant was the insight that in outlook and loyalty Lutheranism from now on would have to be American. Theologically, one editor after another saw that Lutherans were free to make any adjustment, put up with any inconvenience, yield to any of the needs of the government and society so long as the Word of God or the ‘free preaching of the Law and Gospel and the administration of the sacraments’ were not violated.” [33]

    33. Theodore Graebner, “Stop, Look, and Listen!” Lutheran Witness December 25, 1917, p. 406. A seminary colleague told Graebner that this editorial had brought mre shame on Lutheranism than the unionists (A.N. Graebner, “Acculturation,” p.67) It meant a drastic change in spirit for the Missouri Synod. The aggressive and articulate Theodore Graebner became Missouri’s champion of an actively pro-American spirit. He saw that the old neutral attitude as reflected in Der Lutheraner‘s silence about the war had to be overcome. “When a new situation arises,” he wrote, “the majority can almost absolutely be counted upon to be dead in the wrong” (letter to M. Graebner, March 4, 1919, Theodore Graebner File, Concordia Historical Institute, St. Louis). See also Johnson, “Patriotism and Anti-Prussianism,” pp. 99-118.

  • Carl Vehse

    3/5 – Here’s more from Fred W. Meuser, “Facing the Twentieth Century,” (in E. Clifford Nelson, ed., The Lutherans in North America, Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1975, pp. 399-400):

    “An even greater change was the growing awareness among all foreign-heritage Lutherans of the need to adjust church and individual life quickly to American ways. While language was undoubtedly the most drastic change for the average member of the immigrant synods, it was by no means the only one. At least as significant was the insight that in outlook and loyalty Lutheranism from now on would have to be American. Theologically, one editor after another saw that Lutherans were free to make any adjustment, put up with any inconvenience, yield to any of the needs of the government and society so long as the Word of God or the ‘free preaching of the Law and Gospel and the administration of the sacraments’ were not violated.” [33]

    33. Theodore Graebner, “Stop, Look, and Listen!” Lutheran Witness December 25, 1917, p. 406. A seminary colleague told Graebner that this editorial had brought mre shame on Lutheranism than the unionists (A.N. Graebner, “Acculturation,” p.67) It meant a drastic change in spirit for the Missouri Synod. The aggressive and articulate Theodore Graebner became Missouri’s champion of an actively pro-American spirit. He saw that the old neutral attitude as reflected in Der Lutheraner‘s silence about the war had to be overcome. “When a new situation arises,” he wrote, “the majority can almost absolutely be counted upon to be dead in the wrong” (letter to M. Graebner, March 4, 1919, Theodore Graebner File, Concordia Historical Institute, St. Louis). See also Johnson, “Patriotism and Anti-Prussianism,” pp. 99-118.

  • Carl Vehse

    4/5 – “In carrying out this culturally liberating principle, the most difficult area of application was the government effort to enlist the aid of churches in wartime programs. Early in the war most Lutherans had been hesitant about using worship services to publicize Liberty Bond drives, Red Cross appeals, food and coal conservation announcements, or even the Navy’s appeal for binoculars, partly because the government’s publicity for some of these programs frequently included outlines for sermons. [34] And on the content of sermons Lutherans would yield to no one.”

    34. “So well recognized is the helplessness of preachers who have discarded the Gospel of Jesus Christ that the Federal Government is now stepping in and is supplying the preachers with text, topics, and sermon outlines” (Lutheran Witness, June 12, 1917, p. 182). “The less the people hear of war when they come to the sanctuary and the more they confess their sins and plead for peace, the nearer will the Church come to fulfilling the mission which Christ has charged her with. The newspapers are keeping hell before us seven days of the week: let the church speak of heaven on Sunday” (Theodore Graebner, “Lutheran Loyalty,” ibid., August 7, 1917, p. 238).

  • Carl Vehse

    4/5 – “In carrying out this culturally liberating principle, the most difficult area of application was the government effort to enlist the aid of churches in wartime programs. Early in the war most Lutherans had been hesitant about using worship services to publicize Liberty Bond drives, Red Cross appeals, food and coal conservation announcements, or even the Navy’s appeal for binoculars, partly because the government’s publicity for some of these programs frequently included outlines for sermons. [34] And on the content of sermons Lutherans would yield to no one.”

    34. “So well recognized is the helplessness of preachers who have discarded the Gospel of Jesus Christ that the Federal Government is now stepping in and is supplying the preachers with text, topics, and sermon outlines” (Lutheran Witness, June 12, 1917, p. 182). “The less the people hear of war when they come to the sanctuary and the more they confess their sins and plead for peace, the nearer will the Church come to fulfilling the mission which Christ has charged her with. The newspapers are keeping hell before us seven days of the week: let the church speak of heaven on Sunday” (Theodore Graebner, “Lutheran Loyalty,” ibid., August 7, 1917, p. 238).

  • Carl Vehse

    5/5 – “Even the appointment by the President of a day of national prayer was criticized by some as an intrusion on the sphere of the church. The trend, however, quickly swung away from the idea that ‘whatever is not religious, but merely social or political, does not concern the church’ to ever greater church and clerical support of the war effort, including the reading of governmental announcements during the service (but not from the pulpit), honor rolls and service flags in the churches, enlistment of volunteers for the Red Cross, and other service functions.”

    From Fred W. Meuser, “Facing the Twentieth Century,” (in E. Clifford Nelson, ed., The Lutherans in North America, Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1975, p. 400).

  • Carl Vehse

    5/5 – “Even the appointment by the President of a day of national prayer was criticized by some as an intrusion on the sphere of the church. The trend, however, quickly swung away from the idea that ‘whatever is not religious, but merely social or political, does not concern the church’ to ever greater church and clerical support of the war effort, including the reading of governmental announcements during the service (but not from the pulpit), honor rolls and service flags in the churches, enlistment of volunteers for the Red Cross, and other service functions.”

    From Fred W. Meuser, “Facing the Twentieth Century,” (in E. Clifford Nelson, ed., The Lutherans in North America, Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1975, p. 400).

  • http://uest fws

    #23 bror

    what he says…

    God has promised to us that as a fatherly God he does and will provide every single thing prayed for in each of the 7 petitions of the Our Father. indeed without our prayer. indeed even for all the wicked.

    The churchs charter is to preach the forgiveness of sins. beyond this they have NO authority AS church.

    These men´s goal IS to try to fix public morality.

    The message of the church is that men must die to it. there is no fixing the problem of sin in any other way.

  • http://uest fws

    #23 bror

    what he says…

    God has promised to us that as a fatherly God he does and will provide every single thing prayed for in each of the 7 petitions of the Our Father. indeed without our prayer. indeed even for all the wicked.

    The churchs charter is to preach the forgiveness of sins. beyond this they have NO authority AS church.

    These men´s goal IS to try to fix public morality.

    The message of the church is that men must die to it. there is no fixing the problem of sin in any other way.

  • http://www.lambert-blog.com Dave Lambert

    I’m certainly not as learned as most of my fellow commentators, so I can’t state with certainty which Lutheran Pastor is correct in this dialog. However, as a Lutheran Christian and a former local elected official, I view the Manhattan Declaration to be a sound document that Christians can and should support. Too often in the past, some political organizations have stated that there is a Christian position on taxation or defense spending. The Manhattan Declaration focuses our efforts on those issues that should matter to Christians in the United States.

  • http://www.lambert-blog.com Dave Lambert

    I’m certainly not as learned as most of my fellow commentators, so I can’t state with certainty which Lutheran Pastor is correct in this dialog. However, as a Lutheran Christian and a former local elected official, I view the Manhattan Declaration to be a sound document that Christians can and should support. Too often in the past, some political organizations have stated that there is a Christian position on taxation or defense spending. The Manhattan Declaration focuses our efforts on those issues that should matter to Christians in the United States.

  • Bill

    http://littlegreenfootballs.com/article/35243_Why_I_Parted_Ways_With_The_Right

    This is not inappropriate; the blog “Little Green Footballs” has given up on the right wing.

  • Bill

    http://littlegreenfootballs.com/article/35243_Why_I_Parted_Ways_With_The_Right

    This is not inappropriate; the blog “Little Green Footballs” has given up on the right wing.

  • Joe

    Rev. Charles Lehmann said:

    “Luther actually encouraged the princes to enforce doctrine.”

    Correct me if I am wrong, but Luther only did this because the Bishops refused to do so and because in the governing structure in Germany at the time a Prince was de facto part of the Church governance. i.e. because the Church has abdicated its role, Princess have to step in a fill the void. In “Secular Authority” he seems to be pretty clear that the left-hand kingdom is to stay out of the belief enforcement business.

  • Joe

    Rev. Charles Lehmann said:

    “Luther actually encouraged the princes to enforce doctrine.”

    Correct me if I am wrong, but Luther only did this because the Bishops refused to do so and because in the governing structure in Germany at the time a Prince was de facto part of the Church governance. i.e. because the Church has abdicated its role, Princess have to step in a fill the void. In “Secular Authority” he seems to be pretty clear that the left-hand kingdom is to stay out of the belief enforcement business.

  • http://www.utah-lutheran.blogspot.com Bror Erickson

    Dave Lambert,
    I don’t think anyone here disagrees that these are issues about which Christians should be concerned, indeed all citizens of the United States should be concerned about these issues in one way or another Christian or not.
    But such declarations have a tendency in history to cloud the church’s message more than any beneficial outcome. It was this sort of a document titled “The Barmen Declaration” that concerned itself with “Christian”issues around which Christians just had to unite that successfully gutted Lutheranism from Germany.
    And to what extent does signing this document do anything to further the causes it is so concerned with? Or is it just another one of those documents that seeks to say, “see we are all in agreement” when in fact we are not. Do we compromise the gospel in the eyes of the public square by signing this document? Does Christianity and being Christian have anything to do with what we believe about Christ and salvation, or is it just a political movement? From this document you might get the idea that being a Christian is all about your political leanings, and nothing about Christ or salvation.

  • http://www.utah-lutheran.blogspot.com Bror Erickson

    Dave Lambert,
    I don’t think anyone here disagrees that these are issues about which Christians should be concerned, indeed all citizens of the United States should be concerned about these issues in one way or another Christian or not.
    But such declarations have a tendency in history to cloud the church’s message more than any beneficial outcome. It was this sort of a document titled “The Barmen Declaration” that concerned itself with “Christian”issues around which Christians just had to unite that successfully gutted Lutheranism from Germany.
    And to what extent does signing this document do anything to further the causes it is so concerned with? Or is it just another one of those documents that seeks to say, “see we are all in agreement” when in fact we are not. Do we compromise the gospel in the eyes of the public square by signing this document? Does Christianity and being Christian have anything to do with what we believe about Christ and salvation, or is it just a political movement? From this document you might get the idea that being a Christian is all about your political leanings, and nothing about Christ or salvation.

  • http://uest fws

    #32 dave lambert

    no. this is , as bror erickson says, a political statement.

    Of COURSE it SHOULD matter to every christian when an innocent life is taken. it is also wrong to litter. speed. etc.

    but

    absent is the urgency over high divorce rates and teen pregnancies. divorces is a greater and more immediate threat to your personal marriage than two homos marrying ever will be.

    the sin of gluttony is one of the seven deadly sins. where is that in this statement? you mean there arent any fat people in your church? are you sure they have sincerely repented and recognize that overeating IS a sin? are you tempted or feel it is your responsibility, as a christian to find out?

    Great that someone is finally taking a stand against the sins that we will probably never have to personally wrestle with.

    ah, but you say THESE issues are BIG issues. not like littering or speeding or such. so then the church should get involved? how do we pick and chose which sins merit this sort of action dave? maybe the church should spend alot more time on these issues?

    this looks like “the waiting on tables” we read about in the book of acts.

  • http://uest fws

    #32 dave lambert

    no. this is , as bror erickson says, a political statement.

    Of COURSE it SHOULD matter to every christian when an innocent life is taken. it is also wrong to litter. speed. etc.

    but

    absent is the urgency over high divorce rates and teen pregnancies. divorces is a greater and more immediate threat to your personal marriage than two homos marrying ever will be.

    the sin of gluttony is one of the seven deadly sins. where is that in this statement? you mean there arent any fat people in your church? are you sure they have sincerely repented and recognize that overeating IS a sin? are you tempted or feel it is your responsibility, as a christian to find out?

    Great that someone is finally taking a stand against the sins that we will probably never have to personally wrestle with.

    ah, but you say THESE issues are BIG issues. not like littering or speeding or such. so then the church should get involved? how do we pick and chose which sins merit this sort of action dave? maybe the church should spend alot more time on these issues?

    this looks like “the waiting on tables” we read about in the book of acts.

  • http://uest fws

    #34 joe

    what joe says.

  • http://uest fws

    #34 joe

    what joe says.

  • Peter Leavitt

    Bror, re #23, the men who drafted this Declaration, Robert George , Timothy George, and Chuck Colson are orthodox Christians without the slighted whiff of having been corrupted by the liberal pieties of mainstream religion. Further they take an unequivocally Christian orthodox position on the issues of abortion, homosexual marriage , and freedom of religious speech. What exactly about this Declaration do you find to be doctrinally incorrect?

    Donating to the Food bank and The Pregnancy Resource Center is a good thing, just as lending one’s name to the MD is. Personally, I sign few of these declarations, though, this one I found very worthy of a signature.

  • Peter Leavitt

    Bror, re #23, the men who drafted this Declaration, Robert George , Timothy George, and Chuck Colson are orthodox Christians without the slighted whiff of having been corrupted by the liberal pieties of mainstream religion. Further they take an unequivocally Christian orthodox position on the issues of abortion, homosexual marriage , and freedom of religious speech. What exactly about this Declaration do you find to be doctrinally incorrect?

    Donating to the Food bank and The Pregnancy Resource Center is a good thing, just as lending one’s name to the MD is. Personally, I sign few of these declarations, though, this one I found very worthy of a signature.

  • A recovering WELS Lutheran

    It’s worth noting that in Matthew 25 Christ doesn’t separate the sheep and goats on their respective stands on homosexuals, religious speech, and abortion. Rather, he references feeding the hungry, visiting those in prison, etc. Acts that, interestingly, the religious right never issues statements about. When was the last time the religious right showed interest in the hungry, the prisoner, etc.?
    These declarations never seem to quite hit on what Christ says He’s most interested in.

  • A recovering WELS Lutheran

    It’s worth noting that in Matthew 25 Christ doesn’t separate the sheep and goats on their respective stands on homosexuals, religious speech, and abortion. Rather, he references feeding the hungry, visiting those in prison, etc. Acts that, interestingly, the religious right never issues statements about. When was the last time the religious right showed interest in the hungry, the prisoner, etc.?
    These declarations never seem to quite hit on what Christ says He’s most interested in.

  • Carl Vehse

    Other than the feel-good ecumenical Sunday School morality lesson, the Manhattan Declaration simply says that:

    1. “we will not comply with any edict that purports to compel our institutions to participate in abortions, embryo-destructive research, assisted suicide and euthanasia, or any other anti-life act;”

    2. “nor will we bend to any rule purporting to force us to bless immoral sexual partnerships, treat them as marriages or the equivalent, or refrain from proclaiming the truth, as we know it.”

    But the claim of “seeking justice” demands more from Christians, as American citizens, than that. Without a declared and defined commitment for seeking justice, the Declaration huffs and puffs in vain.

  • Carl Vehse

    Other than the feel-good ecumenical Sunday School morality lesson, the Manhattan Declaration simply says that:

    1. “we will not comply with any edict that purports to compel our institutions to participate in abortions, embryo-destructive research, assisted suicide and euthanasia, or any other anti-life act;”

    2. “nor will we bend to any rule purporting to force us to bless immoral sexual partnerships, treat them as marriages or the equivalent, or refrain from proclaiming the truth, as we know it.”

    But the claim of “seeking justice” demands more from Christians, as American citizens, than that. Without a declared and defined commitment for seeking justice, the Declaration huffs and puffs in vain.

  • http://www.utah-lutheran.blogspot.com Bror Erickson

    Peter,
    “The men who drafted this Declaration, Robert George , Timothy George, and Chuck Colson are orthodox Christians without the slighted whiff of having been corrupted by the liberal pieties of mainstream religion.”
    Your idea of an orthodox Christian is obviously quite a bit different than mine. And I tend to think of Chuck Colson as the poster boy for mainstream religion which is all rotted with liberal pieties. But then that is the problem as I see it. I see fundamentalists and evangelicals as nothing more than the kissing cousins of the liberal mainline churches. When it comes to the Christian faith I regard you as a liberal.

  • http://www.utah-lutheran.blogspot.com Bror Erickson

    Peter,
    “The men who drafted this Declaration, Robert George , Timothy George, and Chuck Colson are orthodox Christians without the slighted whiff of having been corrupted by the liberal pieties of mainstream religion.”
    Your idea of an orthodox Christian is obviously quite a bit different than mine. And I tend to think of Chuck Colson as the poster boy for mainstream religion which is all rotted with liberal pieties. But then that is the problem as I see it. I see fundamentalists and evangelicals as nothing more than the kissing cousins of the liberal mainline churches. When it comes to the Christian faith I regard you as a liberal.

  • http://www.scyldingsinthemeadhall.blogspot.com The Scylding

    I’ve been around the block with declarations and manifesto’s: I lived in South Africa in the late 80′s and 90′s.

    Bror is spot on.

  • http://www.scyldingsinthemeadhall.blogspot.com The Scylding

    I’ve been around the block with declarations and manifesto’s: I lived in South Africa in the late 80′s and 90′s.

    Bror is spot on.

  • http://thoughts-brigitte.blogspot.com Brigitte

    I struggle with this because of all the pitfalls mentioned.

    Still, overriding, I think we need to stand with individuals who are more directly embattled, such as physicians who are forced to perform or refer for abortions, anything to do with conscience legislation, as well as intimidation suffered via vocal, strident anti-life, human rights commissions and so on.

    This is not just about being potentially too legalistic, moralistic, telling non-Christian adults what not to do or compromising doctrine, etc. This is about defending individuals who in pursuit of their various vocations are inhibited/intimidated by coercive powers.

    In our province, it has taken a Jewish lawyer, Ezra Levant to defend Christian ministers against the local human rights commission.

    Our speaker, at our last Lutheran pro-life conference, Dr. John Patrick (not a Lutheran) from Augustine college, is spearheading a listing of physicians who will belong to a “Hippocratic league”, so that lobbying on behalf of physicians and legislation can be carried out effectively.

    Do we have a duty? Whose duty is it?

  • http://thoughts-brigitte.blogspot.com Brigitte

    I struggle with this because of all the pitfalls mentioned.

    Still, overriding, I think we need to stand with individuals who are more directly embattled, such as physicians who are forced to perform or refer for abortions, anything to do with conscience legislation, as well as intimidation suffered via vocal, strident anti-life, human rights commissions and so on.

    This is not just about being potentially too legalistic, moralistic, telling non-Christian adults what not to do or compromising doctrine, etc. This is about defending individuals who in pursuit of their various vocations are inhibited/intimidated by coercive powers.

    In our province, it has taken a Jewish lawyer, Ezra Levant to defend Christian ministers against the local human rights commission.

    Our speaker, at our last Lutheran pro-life conference, Dr. John Patrick (not a Lutheran) from Augustine college, is spearheading a listing of physicians who will belong to a “Hippocratic league”, so that lobbying on behalf of physicians and legislation can be carried out effectively.

    Do we have a duty? Whose duty is it?

  • John Tape

    I signed it and I’m glad I did.
    Yes, we Christians have our difference. These differences are important and should not be ignored. But the One who unites us is far greater than all these differences. There is nothing wrong with Christians working together or speaking out together for a common cause.

  • John Tape

    I signed it and I’m glad I did.
    Yes, we Christians have our difference. These differences are important and should not be ignored. But the One who unites us is far greater than all these differences. There is nothing wrong with Christians working together or speaking out together for a common cause.

  • Peter Leavitt

    Bror, other than the argumentum ad hominem pontifications, again what about the Manhattan Declaration do you find doctrinally liberal or awry?

    As to Colson, he is regarded by most sensible folk to be an orthodox evangelical Christian. Some weak evangelicals are kissing cousins with the liberals, though not Colson. Besides, he is a former Marine Captain.

  • Peter Leavitt

    Bror, other than the argumentum ad hominem pontifications, again what about the Manhattan Declaration do you find doctrinally liberal or awry?

    As to Colson, he is regarded by most sensible folk to be an orthodox evangelical Christian. Some weak evangelicals are kissing cousins with the liberals, though not Colson. Besides, he is a former Marine Captain.

  • http://www.utah-lutheran.blogspot.com Bror Erickson

    Peter,
    A Marine Captian whew! Forget it I take everything back.
    Listen, I don’t want to disparage Marines, but boot camp doesn’t make you a theologian, nor does it guarantee your not a liberal. My Grandfather was a Marine, and used to espouse the benefits of communism to me every chance he got.
    And it has nothing to do with weak evangelicals or strong ones, it has to do with what Evangelical means in this country, and it is a kissing cousin of Liberalism. And it is what people like Michael Spencer are starting to sense a bit when they predict the evangelcal collapse. Evangelicals and Liberals alike couldn’t care less about anything but social issues. They may at times disagree as to what those issues are, but dealing with them is what they think Christianity is. At times you get the impression that you go to heaven for being Republican, Pro-life and believing in Sarah Palin, rather than for the fact that Christ died on the cross for the sins of the world. Somehow the gospel got lost in the “culture war” the former Marine Captain is waging.
    Someday you will get it.

  • http://www.utah-lutheran.blogspot.com Bror Erickson

    Peter,
    A Marine Captian whew! Forget it I take everything back.
    Listen, I don’t want to disparage Marines, but boot camp doesn’t make you a theologian, nor does it guarantee your not a liberal. My Grandfather was a Marine, and used to espouse the benefits of communism to me every chance he got.
    And it has nothing to do with weak evangelicals or strong ones, it has to do with what Evangelical means in this country, and it is a kissing cousin of Liberalism. And it is what people like Michael Spencer are starting to sense a bit when they predict the evangelcal collapse. Evangelicals and Liberals alike couldn’t care less about anything but social issues. They may at times disagree as to what those issues are, but dealing with them is what they think Christianity is. At times you get the impression that you go to heaven for being Republican, Pro-life and believing in Sarah Palin, rather than for the fact that Christ died on the cross for the sins of the world. Somehow the gospel got lost in the “culture war” the former Marine Captain is waging.
    Someday you will get it.

  • http://www.scyldingsinthemeadhall.blogspot.com The Scylding

    Note the implicit worldview in Peter’s statement(s)/views:

    US army vet + conservative republican + pro-life + christianese language = theologically conservative / orthodox.

    This is humbug, as Bror pointed out. Seeing everything through a liberal vs conservative worldview, with a “conservative gooood, liberal baaad” (as in four legs good, two legs bad) mantra, is nonsensical. Good conservative credentials (or liberal for that matter) is as likely to land you in hell as anything else. Do not trust in them. We should never hitch our faith to ANY political bandwagon.

  • http://www.scyldingsinthemeadhall.blogspot.com The Scylding

    Note the implicit worldview in Peter’s statement(s)/views:

    US army vet + conservative republican + pro-life + christianese language = theologically conservative / orthodox.

    This is humbug, as Bror pointed out. Seeing everything through a liberal vs conservative worldview, with a “conservative gooood, liberal baaad” (as in four legs good, two legs bad) mantra, is nonsensical. Good conservative credentials (or liberal for that matter) is as likely to land you in hell as anything else. Do not trust in them. We should never hitch our faith to ANY political bandwagon.

  • Peter Leavitt

    Bror, the Marine Captain bit was meant as humor.

    I’m well aware that some evangelicals, both on the liberal and conservative side, tend to focus mainly on social issues. However many, Evangelicals, along with orthodox Lutherans other Protestants, Orthodox and Catholic Christians know well how to balance what Luther referred to as the Left and Right side Kingdoms, though to be sure the religious side is the most crucial.

    Timothy George, one of the authors of the Declaration, who founded the Beeson Seminary, has one of the ablest Christian minds and spirits in our country. He is an eminent Evangelical historian of the Reformation with an acute understanding of Luther’s greatness. To regard him as narrowly focused on social matters would be ludicrous.

    Apart from the fluff about evangelical narrowness, again exactly what about the Manhattan Declaration do you find doctrinally non grata.

    Meanwhile, I shall try assiduously to on your terms “get it.”

  • Peter Leavitt

    Bror, the Marine Captain bit was meant as humor.

    I’m well aware that some evangelicals, both on the liberal and conservative side, tend to focus mainly on social issues. However many, Evangelicals, along with orthodox Lutherans other Protestants, Orthodox and Catholic Christians know well how to balance what Luther referred to as the Left and Right side Kingdoms, though to be sure the religious side is the most crucial.

    Timothy George, one of the authors of the Declaration, who founded the Beeson Seminary, has one of the ablest Christian minds and spirits in our country. He is an eminent Evangelical historian of the Reformation with an acute understanding of Luther’s greatness. To regard him as narrowly focused on social matters would be ludicrous.

    Apart from the fluff about evangelical narrowness, again exactly what about the Manhattan Declaration do you find doctrinally non grata.

    Meanwhile, I shall try assiduously to on your terms “get it.”

  • http://www.utah-lutheran.blogspot.com Bror Erickson

    Peter,
    It is simply this. It is nothing more than a political statement, that is trying to pass itself off as some sort of ecumenical Christian statement, and yet says nothing about Christ. As Lehman above pointed out signing it would make us regard a man, however great for and in the left hand kingdom, who explicitly denied the divinity of Christ as a Christian. Now that poses a particular problem for me.
    And it then presents the view to the public, yet again, that the church is nothing more than a political movement. The problem isn’t that we can’t address the public square, it is every time we go to the public we go with law, with morality. We go after them like we think we can legislate them into being Christians. It serves nothing but to get their hackles up.

  • http://www.utah-lutheran.blogspot.com Bror Erickson

    Peter,
    It is simply this. It is nothing more than a political statement, that is trying to pass itself off as some sort of ecumenical Christian statement, and yet says nothing about Christ. As Lehman above pointed out signing it would make us regard a man, however great for and in the left hand kingdom, who explicitly denied the divinity of Christ as a Christian. Now that poses a particular problem for me.
    And it then presents the view to the public, yet again, that the church is nothing more than a political movement. The problem isn’t that we can’t address the public square, it is every time we go to the public we go with law, with morality. We go after them like we think we can legislate them into being Christians. It serves nothing but to get their hackles up.

  • kerner

    Scylding:

    PLEASE! It’s USMC vet, not US Army vet. Big difference. ;)

    But seriously, Scylding’s point, and Bror’s and Frank’s and Pr.s Lehmann’s and others’. But on the other hand I see why this “declaration” has been made.

    While it may be a “left hand kingdom” sort of statement, I think it is also an attempt to preach the Law.

    While we can dislike the term, we cannot deny that there is a “culture war”, if culture means that there is an effort in western culture to weaken moral standards which needs to be opposed. Anyone can see that certain kinds of immoral behavior are more widely tolerated in this country than they used to be.

    At some point, on some level, Christians of different confessions ought to be able to make a public unified statement opposing this trend…Shouldn’t they? Somebody correct me if I’m wrong. If there is flaws in this particular statement, then shouldn’t someone be trying to write a better one?

    I am probably a lot more libertarian in my left hand kingdom politics than many here, and I resist attempts to mix the two kingdoms. I also am unenthusiastic about ecumenism that dilutes doctrine.

    But I guess I would like to know, if this “declaration” is not what we should do, then what should we do?

  • kerner

    Scylding:

    PLEASE! It’s USMC vet, not US Army vet. Big difference. ;)

    But seriously, Scylding’s point, and Bror’s and Frank’s and Pr.s Lehmann’s and others’. But on the other hand I see why this “declaration” has been made.

    While it may be a “left hand kingdom” sort of statement, I think it is also an attempt to preach the Law.

    While we can dislike the term, we cannot deny that there is a “culture war”, if culture means that there is an effort in western culture to weaken moral standards which needs to be opposed. Anyone can see that certain kinds of immoral behavior are more widely tolerated in this country than they used to be.

    At some point, on some level, Christians of different confessions ought to be able to make a public unified statement opposing this trend…Shouldn’t they? Somebody correct me if I’m wrong. If there is flaws in this particular statement, then shouldn’t someone be trying to write a better one?

    I am probably a lot more libertarian in my left hand kingdom politics than many here, and I resist attempts to mix the two kingdoms. I also am unenthusiastic about ecumenism that dilutes doctrine.

    But I guess I would like to know, if this “declaration” is not what we should do, then what should we do?

  • Peter Leavitt

    Bror, the only reference to MLK in the Declaration is as follows:

    There is no more eloquent defense of the rights and duties of religious conscience than the one offered by Martin Luther King, Jr., in his Letter from a Birmingham Jail. Writing from an explicitly Christian perspective, and citing Christian writers such as Augustine and Aquinas, King taught that just laws elevate and ennoble human beings because they are rooted in the moral law whose ultimate source is God Himself. Unjust laws degrade human beings. Inasmuch as they can claim no authority beyond sheer human will, they lack any power to bind in conscience. King’s willingness to go to jail, rather than comply with legal injustice, was exemplary and inspiring.

    This was cited in relation to the issue of the freedom of religious people to express their views in the public square. I don’t know Kings view of the Trinity, though this subject doesn’t bear on the Declaration.

  • Peter Leavitt

    Bror, the only reference to MLK in the Declaration is as follows:

    There is no more eloquent defense of the rights and duties of religious conscience than the one offered by Martin Luther King, Jr., in his Letter from a Birmingham Jail. Writing from an explicitly Christian perspective, and citing Christian writers such as Augustine and Aquinas, King taught that just laws elevate and ennoble human beings because they are rooted in the moral law whose ultimate source is God Himself. Unjust laws degrade human beings. Inasmuch as they can claim no authority beyond sheer human will, they lack any power to bind in conscience. King’s willingness to go to jail, rather than comply with legal injustice, was exemplary and inspiring.

    This was cited in relation to the issue of the freedom of religious people to express their views in the public square. I don’t know Kings view of the Trinity, though this subject doesn’t bear on the Declaration.

  • J

    Rev. King was one of the greatest Christian prophets of our time. He was doing the Lord’s work on behalf of the marginalized when many so-called conservative Lutherans and evangelicals had their heads in the sand.

  • J

    Rev. King was one of the greatest Christian prophets of our time. He was doing the Lord’s work on behalf of the marginalized when many so-called conservative Lutherans and evangelicals had their heads in the sand.

  • http://www.utah-lutheran.blogspot.com Bror Erickson

    Kerner,
    Loosening of Morals? I don’t know about that. Perhaps my dad thinks everything was perfect in the fifties. That aside I don’t think it is the law these people need to hear so much as it is the gospel. I don’t know that this declaration had to be written in the first place, so I don’t know what writing a better one would accomplish. That is my point. These things are nothing but grandstanding.
    I think most people are quite well aware that The Roman Catholic church is against abortion and homosexuality, they have dubious history on freedom of speech but… I think people know this of Evangelicals, and know this of the Eastern Orthodox. Most don’t know that there is such a thing as a conservative Lutheran but that is another matter. So what is the point of this? What is it to accomplish?
    When was the last time our freedom of speech was challenged? Just when were abortion protesters thrown in Jail for marching in the streets?
    I guess if a bunch of people want to go find and express unity in God’s law they can. But being Lutheran i don’t care much about the law. I also don’t think any culture war is going to be one in this manner.
    I think the Christian position will start winning ground when Christians realize that Bible is about Christ, and the forgiveness of sins. I think the Christian position will start winning when we start being Christians and engaging culture with the gospel, and not the law.
    I think that is done when we truly love because Christ loved us. When we start taking care of the sick because Christ died for them and their life is sacred. Not telling everyone else that they are supposed to be doing it.
    We might begin taking cues from the Pre-Constantinian church as to how to do that. We love the world too much these days. We love it by fighting for control over it with the law. We don’t live by the law ourselves, but we expect everyone around us to. It is counter productive.

  • http://www.utah-lutheran.blogspot.com Bror Erickson

    Kerner,
    Loosening of Morals? I don’t know about that. Perhaps my dad thinks everything was perfect in the fifties. That aside I don’t think it is the law these people need to hear so much as it is the gospel. I don’t know that this declaration had to be written in the first place, so I don’t know what writing a better one would accomplish. That is my point. These things are nothing but grandstanding.
    I think most people are quite well aware that The Roman Catholic church is against abortion and homosexuality, they have dubious history on freedom of speech but… I think people know this of Evangelicals, and know this of the Eastern Orthodox. Most don’t know that there is such a thing as a conservative Lutheran but that is another matter. So what is the point of this? What is it to accomplish?
    When was the last time our freedom of speech was challenged? Just when were abortion protesters thrown in Jail for marching in the streets?
    I guess if a bunch of people want to go find and express unity in God’s law they can. But being Lutheran i don’t care much about the law. I also don’t think any culture war is going to be one in this manner.
    I think the Christian position will start winning ground when Christians realize that Bible is about Christ, and the forgiveness of sins. I think the Christian position will start winning when we start being Christians and engaging culture with the gospel, and not the law.
    I think that is done when we truly love because Christ loved us. When we start taking care of the sick because Christ died for them and their life is sacred. Not telling everyone else that they are supposed to be doing it.
    We might begin taking cues from the Pre-Constantinian church as to how to do that. We love the world too much these days. We love it by fighting for control over it with the law. We don’t live by the law ourselves, but we expect everyone around us to. It is counter productive.

  • http://www.utah-lutheran.blogspot.com Bror Erickson

    J,
    Martin Luther King Jr. Was a great man. No doubt. He did a lot of good. I’ll admit I’m not to sure about his theological convictions, though I loath baptist theology of any stripe. A Christian prophet he was not. You don’t need to be Christian to see slavery as wrong. Christianity is not about political agendas left or right. Not at its best.
    But it does effect politics in that it does or should make Christian recognize the dignity of human life. Which is not founded so much in the creation of man and woman in God’s image, as it is in the incarnation, death and resurrection of Christ.

  • http://www.utah-lutheran.blogspot.com Bror Erickson

    J,
    Martin Luther King Jr. Was a great man. No doubt. He did a lot of good. I’ll admit I’m not to sure about his theological convictions, though I loath baptist theology of any stripe. A Christian prophet he was not. You don’t need to be Christian to see slavery as wrong. Christianity is not about political agendas left or right. Not at its best.
    But it does effect politics in that it does or should make Christian recognize the dignity of human life. Which is not founded so much in the creation of man and woman in God’s image, as it is in the incarnation, death and resurrection of Christ.

  • http://drjco@umich.edu drjoan

    I am a little dumbfounded by many of these comments. In fact, they remind me of what I USED to think about MSLC Lutherans–that they lived a tight-fisted, unhappy but holy life and that they didn’t want to associate with other Christians (Lutherans or not) who didn’t subscribe to their tight guidelines. Surprise! We are members of a Lutheran Church that CELEBRATES Advent and invites non-Lutherans into fellowship.
    So what does this all have to do with signing the Manhattan Declaration? To castigate those who have signed it–which DOES include me–as being non-orthodox–yea, even non-Christian–is certainly not very Christian. And, at the risk of siting someone who may not be well received by the commenters here, Francis Schaeffer suggested that there are times when believers need to align with non-believers when God’s truth is promoted: Certainly advocating for (1)marital orthodoxy, (2)respect for life, and (3)freedom of conscience is NOT strictly a Christian goal; if non-believers (or those some consider to be non-orthodox) choose to align with believers to these ends, isn’t that a good thing?
    By the way, the consensus of those leaders of the dwindling Episcopal Church (not the reasserters who have moved to create another denomination) have castigated the Declaration as “returning to a time when women were property and science did not trump religion.” They have roundly condemned it in blogs and via statements from a number of leaders although at this time NOT the Presiding Bishop. This should count for SOMETHING!

  • http://drjco@umich.edu drjoan

    I am a little dumbfounded by many of these comments. In fact, they remind me of what I USED to think about MSLC Lutherans–that they lived a tight-fisted, unhappy but holy life and that they didn’t want to associate with other Christians (Lutherans or not) who didn’t subscribe to their tight guidelines. Surprise! We are members of a Lutheran Church that CELEBRATES Advent and invites non-Lutherans into fellowship.
    So what does this all have to do with signing the Manhattan Declaration? To castigate those who have signed it–which DOES include me–as being non-orthodox–yea, even non-Christian–is certainly not very Christian. And, at the risk of siting someone who may not be well received by the commenters here, Francis Schaeffer suggested that there are times when believers need to align with non-believers when God’s truth is promoted: Certainly advocating for (1)marital orthodoxy, (2)respect for life, and (3)freedom of conscience is NOT strictly a Christian goal; if non-believers (or those some consider to be non-orthodox) choose to align with believers to these ends, isn’t that a good thing?
    By the way, the consensus of those leaders of the dwindling Episcopal Church (not the reasserters who have moved to create another denomination) have castigated the Declaration as “returning to a time when women were property and science did not trump religion.” They have roundly condemned it in blogs and via statements from a number of leaders although at this time NOT the Presiding Bishop. This should count for SOMETHING!

  • http://www.utah-lutheran.blogspot.com Bror Erickson

    Drjoan.
    I won’t castigate you for signing it. We are having a conversation here about the merits of signing it. This has nothing to do with not wanting anything to do with other Christians. I invited the whole town to my advent services.
    This has to do with having a worthwhile discussion as to when it is appropriate and not appropriate, especially as pastors to do these things, and to what end.
    But yes I’m a little leary of hitching my horse to this bandwagon. I have my reasons. Are you now not castigating me for that?
    For the record, I’m not so tight fisted, and tend to be on the happy side. But I don’t compromise the gospel for anyone, not willingly.

  • http://www.utah-lutheran.blogspot.com Bror Erickson

    Drjoan.
    I won’t castigate you for signing it. We are having a conversation here about the merits of signing it. This has nothing to do with not wanting anything to do with other Christians. I invited the whole town to my advent services.
    This has to do with having a worthwhile discussion as to when it is appropriate and not appropriate, especially as pastors to do these things, and to what end.
    But yes I’m a little leary of hitching my horse to this bandwagon. I have my reasons. Are you now not castigating me for that?
    For the record, I’m not so tight fisted, and tend to be on the happy side. But I don’t compromise the gospel for anyone, not willingly.

  • Carl Vehse

    So, drjoan, which not very Christian, tight-fisted, unhappy, MSLC Lutherans on this list castigated you and other signers as non-orthodox or non-Christian?

  • Carl Vehse

    So, drjoan, which not very Christian, tight-fisted, unhappy, MSLC Lutherans on this list castigated you and other signers as non-orthodox or non-Christian?

  • http://www.scyldingsinthemeadhall.blogspot.com The Scylding

    I wonder if LCC Christians are also not very Christian, thight-fisted and unhappy?

  • http://www.scyldingsinthemeadhall.blogspot.com The Scylding

    I wonder if LCC Christians are also not very Christian, thight-fisted and unhappy?

  • http://uest fws

    24] For the old Adam, as an intractable, refractory ass, is still a part of them, which must be coerced to the obedience of Christ, not only by the teaching, admonition, force and threatening of the Law, but also oftentimes by the club of punishments and troubles, until the body of sin is entirely put off, and man is perfectly renewed in the resurrection, when he will need neither the preaching of the Law nor its threatenings and punishments, as also the Gospel any longer; these belong to this [mortal and] imperfect life. 25] But as they will behold God face to face, so they will, through the power of the indwelling Spirit of God, do the will of God [the heavenly Father] with unmingled joy, voluntarily, unconstrained, without any hindrance, with entire purity and perfection, and will rejoice in it eternally.
    26] Accordingly, we reject and condemn as an error pernicious and detrimental to Christian discipline, as also to true godliness, the teaching that the Law, in the above-mentioned way and degree, should not be urged upon Christians and the true believers, but only upon the unbelieving, unchristians, and impenitent.

    Formula of Concord, solid declaration. VI The Third Use of the Law.

    Christians should be too busy repenting to have time to make grand statements like this one.

  • http://uest fws

    24] For the old Adam, as an intractable, refractory ass, is still a part of them, which must be coerced to the obedience of Christ, not only by the teaching, admonition, force and threatening of the Law, but also oftentimes by the club of punishments and troubles, until the body of sin is entirely put off, and man is perfectly renewed in the resurrection, when he will need neither the preaching of the Law nor its threatenings and punishments, as also the Gospel any longer; these belong to this [mortal and] imperfect life. 25] But as they will behold God face to face, so they will, through the power of the indwelling Spirit of God, do the will of God [the heavenly Father] with unmingled joy, voluntarily, unconstrained, without any hindrance, with entire purity and perfection, and will rejoice in it eternally.
    26] Accordingly, we reject and condemn as an error pernicious and detrimental to Christian discipline, as also to true godliness, the teaching that the Law, in the above-mentioned way and degree, should not be urged upon Christians and the true believers, but only upon the unbelieving, unchristians, and impenitent.

    Formula of Concord, solid declaration. VI The Third Use of the Law.

    Christians should be too busy repenting to have time to make grand statements like this one.

  • http://uest fws

    here is the error:

    why is this not a statement made jointly with muslims, buddhists, atheists, agnostics and all like minded persons who seek to promote morality?

    THIS would be ok in my mind.

    there is NOTHING at all christian about this document. NOTHING. The Holy spirit is not in any way necessary , nor is any faith in the triune God, to make this declaration. REPEAT THERE IS NOTHING CHRISTIAN ABOUT THIS DOCUMENT.

    but the document is issued in the name of christ. no it is not you say? well when people issue statements in their official capacities as pastors representing churches, then yes it is.

    This is taking God’s name in vain. using his name without his authority. Christ has not authorized use of his “trademark” for this purpose, for a purpose that muslims and buddhist are equally equipped to do.

    Luther explains how we must strive to make this distinction between what is christian and what are the daily works and vocations both pagans and christians are commanded to do and be about. two kinds of righteousness.

    http://www.godrules.net/library/luther/129luther_e13.htm

  • http://uest fws

    here is the error:

    why is this not a statement made jointly with muslims, buddhists, atheists, agnostics and all like minded persons who seek to promote morality?

    THIS would be ok in my mind.

    there is NOTHING at all christian about this document. NOTHING. The Holy spirit is not in any way necessary , nor is any faith in the triune God, to make this declaration. REPEAT THERE IS NOTHING CHRISTIAN ABOUT THIS DOCUMENT.

    but the document is issued in the name of christ. no it is not you say? well when people issue statements in their official capacities as pastors representing churches, then yes it is.

    This is taking God’s name in vain. using his name without his authority. Christ has not authorized use of his “trademark” for this purpose, for a purpose that muslims and buddhist are equally equipped to do.

    Luther explains how we must strive to make this distinction between what is christian and what are the daily works and vocations both pagans and christians are commanded to do and be about. two kinds of righteousness.

    http://www.godrules.net/library/luther/129luther_e13.htm

  • Jonathan

    I agree w/ FWS. If it was not billed as a “Christian” document, but was presented as a completely left-handed, secular document that any like-minded citizen could sign, then I probably would sign it. Why is it so crucial for it to be a “Christian” document?

  • Jonathan

    I agree w/ FWS. If it was not billed as a “Christian” document, but was presented as a completely left-handed, secular document that any like-minded citizen could sign, then I probably would sign it. Why is it so crucial for it to be a “Christian” document?

  • Richard

    Dr. Michael Horton presents, as usual, a well-balanced and thought-out view as to why he did NOT sign the document: http://www.whitehorseinn.org/archives/250.html

  • Richard

    Dr. Michael Horton presents, as usual, a well-balanced and thought-out view as to why he did NOT sign the document: http://www.whitehorseinn.org/archives/250.html

  • http://www.utah-lutheran.blogspot.com Bror Erickson

    See it is kind of funny, but a Mannifesto such as this Manhattan Declaration, by co opting the name Christian kind of implies that if you don’t sign it you are not a Christian. Even though the thing says virtually nothing of a doctrinal nature.
    So if it sounds as if some of us here a denouncing others for signing it. Realize the rest of us with qualms regarding this document are getting a much heavier message back. It is quite unchristian to regard another as not Christian for their political beliefs. But then Christians tend to do unchristian things. But if you want me to sign a statement as a pastor or a Christian than it better be more than a political statement, and have something to do with Christ. But having to do with Christ is no guarantee I’ll sign onto it either. Think I did enough of that sort of thing taking on my pastoral vows.

  • http://www.utah-lutheran.blogspot.com Bror Erickson

    See it is kind of funny, but a Mannifesto such as this Manhattan Declaration, by co opting the name Christian kind of implies that if you don’t sign it you are not a Christian. Even though the thing says virtually nothing of a doctrinal nature.
    So if it sounds as if some of us here a denouncing others for signing it. Realize the rest of us with qualms regarding this document are getting a much heavier message back. It is quite unchristian to regard another as not Christian for their political beliefs. But then Christians tend to do unchristian things. But if you want me to sign a statement as a pastor or a Christian than it better be more than a political statement, and have something to do with Christ. But having to do with Christ is no guarantee I’ll sign onto it either. Think I did enough of that sort of thing taking on my pastoral vows.

  • http://uest fws

    we have this notion that if a christian does something then that something therefore is a christian something.

    The only thing that qualifies to receive the name “christian” are those things that directly pertain to faith in Jesus Christ. Period.

  • http://uest fws

    we have this notion that if a christian does something then that something therefore is a christian something.

    The only thing that qualifies to receive the name “christian” are those things that directly pertain to faith in Jesus Christ. Period.

  • Ruthie

    I wish you would stop saying there were 9 million Lutherans in the US. If your denomination believes it is ok to murder a baby in its mother’s womb or that sexual sin is no longer sin, then you are NOT Lutheran.

    My husband and I came to the LCMS much later than we should have, simply bc the only “Lutherans” we knew were pro-abortion and pro-homosexuality.

  • Ruthie

    I wish you would stop saying there were 9 million Lutherans in the US. If your denomination believes it is ok to murder a baby in its mother’s womb or that sexual sin is no longer sin, then you are NOT Lutheran.

    My husband and I came to the LCMS much later than we should have, simply bc the only “Lutherans” we knew were pro-abortion and pro-homosexuality.

  • http://www.utah-lutheran.blogspot.com Bror Erickson

    Ruthie,
    WELL, WELL SAID!
    Though it should also be mentioned that it is the denomnination that is no longer Lutheran, not necessarily the people in the denomination. As there are many who for whatever reason have not quite left yet, but are grieved to see what there church is doing, and would like to see it changed.
    That said we should probably stop blindly using the numbers on their bloated rolls to bolster the number of Lutheran’s we can claim.

  • http://www.utah-lutheran.blogspot.com Bror Erickson

    Ruthie,
    WELL, WELL SAID!
    Though it should also be mentioned that it is the denomnination that is no longer Lutheran, not necessarily the people in the denomination. As there are many who for whatever reason have not quite left yet, but are grieved to see what there church is doing, and would like to see it changed.
    That said we should probably stop blindly using the numbers on their bloated rolls to bolster the number of Lutheran’s we can claim.

  • Booklover

    Al Mohler FOR.
    Mike Horton AGAINST.
    James Kushiner (Touchstone Magazine) FOR.
    John MacArthur AGAINST.
    Doug Wilson AGAINST, but sympathizes WITH.

    These smart Christian men can’t make up their minds to agree, yet this lowly woman is expected to have an opinion?

    My gut feeling is, if in doubt, do the loving thing. I do not believe that this is an ecumenical document of the sort that involves church fellowship.

    The other question I have, though, is: After signing the document, what then? What good will a signature do? I read the links on their site and I didn’t have those questions answered adequately. It seems that pro-life work, for example, in our own communities would do greater good in proclaiming the truth than a signature would.

  • Booklover

    Al Mohler FOR.
    Mike Horton AGAINST.
    James Kushiner (Touchstone Magazine) FOR.
    John MacArthur AGAINST.
    Doug Wilson AGAINST, but sympathizes WITH.

    These smart Christian men can’t make up their minds to agree, yet this lowly woman is expected to have an opinion?

    My gut feeling is, if in doubt, do the loving thing. I do not believe that this is an ecumenical document of the sort that involves church fellowship.

    The other question I have, though, is: After signing the document, what then? What good will a signature do? I read the links on their site and I didn’t have those questions answered adequately. It seems that pro-life work, for example, in our own communities would do greater good in proclaiming the truth than a signature would.

  • Carl Vehse

    “What good will a signature do?”

    Another photo op, more kudos on their vitas, and a bump in speaking engagement requests for the authors of the Declaration.

  • Carl Vehse

    “What good will a signature do?”

    Another photo op, more kudos on their vitas, and a bump in speaking engagement requests for the authors of the Declaration.


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