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Thursday, February 25, 2010 | Comments (64)

One of the questions we posed for discussion on the “Ecumenical Jihad” post was, “What drives evangelical leaders to compromise traditionally evangelical priorities in the quest for some form of unity?” John has provided some excellent insight into that question based on his personal interaction with some of the key signatories of the 1994 document, “Evangelicals and Catholics Together: The Christian Mission in the Third Millennium” (ECT).

Before you read what John said about that, you might want to reacquaint yourself with his comments about the most recent form of ecumenical co-belligerency—a document called "The Manhattan Declaration." Admittedly, there are differences between ECT and The Manhattan Declaration—e.g., ECT is intentionally doctrinal; The Manhattan Declaration is not. But for those of you old enough to have played music on vinyl, this ecumenical issue is going to sound like a broken record. Read on…

March 29, 1994, saw a development that some have touted as the most significant event in Protestant-Catholic relations since the dawn of the Reformation. A document titled “Evangelicals and Catholics Together: The Christian Mission in the Third Millennium” was published with a list of more than thirty signatories—including well-known evangelicals Pat Robertson, J. I. Packer, Os Guinness, and Bill Bright. They were joined by leading Catholics such as John Cardinal O’Connor, Bishop Carlos A. Sevilla, and Catholic scholar Peter Kreeft.

The twenty-five-page document was drafted by a team of fifteen participants led by Richard John Neuhaus and Charles Colson. Neuhaus (1936-2009) was is a former Lutheran minister who converted to Catholicism in 1990, and had since been ordained to the priesthood. Like Colson still is, he was an influential author and speaker.

The document errs from the very beginning. The section that follows has the heading “We Affirm Together,” which includes this:

All who accept Christ as Lord and Savior are brothers and sisters in Christ. Evangelicals and Catholics are brothers and sisters in Christ. We have not chosen one another, just as we have not chosen Christ. He has chosen us, and he has chosen us to be his together (John 15). However imperfect our communion with one another, we recognize that there is but one church of Christ. There is one church because there is one Christ and the Church is his body. However difficult the way, we recognize that we are called by God to a fuller realization of our unity in the body of Christ (5).

Similar declarations of unity—and appeals for more visible manifestations of unity—are included in every section of the document.

ECT goes on to affirm that Roman Catholics and Protestants alike are “justified by grace through faith because of Christ” (5). Although that statement has been celebrated as a remarkable concession on the Catholic participants’ part, it actually says nothing that has not been affirmed by the Catholic Church since the time of the Reformation. The real issue under debate between Roman Catholicism and historic evangelicalism—justification by faith alone—is carefully avoided throughout “Evangelicals and Catholics Together.”

All that is bad enough, but the most troubling feature of the ECT document is this unthinkable prohibition: evangelicals are not supposed to proselytize active Roman Catholics (22-23). To do so makes one guilty of “sheep stealing” (22). Signers of the document believe that such “attempt[s] to win ‘converts’ from one another’s folds … undermine the Christian Mission” (20). Besides, proselytizing one another is deemed utterly unnecessary, because “we as Evangelicals and Catholics affirm that opportunity and means for growth in Christian discipleship are available in our several communities” (22).

Much of the controversy regarding “Evangelicals and Catholics Together” stems from this statement: “In view of the large number of non-Christians in the world and the enormous challenge of our common evangelistic task, it is neither theologically legitimate nor a prudent use of resources for one Christian community to proselytize among active adherents of another Christian community” (22–23).

People who believe they are “born again” because they were baptized Catholic “must be given full freedom and respect” to remain Catholic (24). That is, they should not be approached by evangelicals and told that no amount of sacraments or good works can make them acceptable to God.

Having declined to address the profound difference between the evangelical message of justification by faith alone and the Roman Catholic gospel of faith plus works, the document here simply treats that difference as an optional matter of preference.

It is not. Catholicism places undue stress on human works. Catholic doctrine denies that God “justifies the ungodly” (Rom. 4:5) without first making them godly. Good works therefore become the ground of justification. And Scripture says that relegates people to an eternal reward that is reckoned not of grace, but of debt (v. 4). As thousands of former Catholics will testify, Roman Catholic doctrine and liturgy obscure the essential truth that we are saved by grace through faith and not by our own works (Eph. 2:8–9). It has trapped millions of Catholics in a system of superstition and religious ritual that insulates them from the glorious liberty of the true gospel of Christ.

Adding works to faith as the grounds of justification is precisely the teaching Paul condemned as “a different gospel” (see 2 Cor. 11:4; Gal. 1:6). It nullifies the grace of God. If meritorious righteousness can be earned through the sacraments, “then Christ died needlessly” (Gal. 2:21). “For we maintain that a man is justified by faith apart from works of the Law” (Rom. 3:28).

Furthermore, justification by faith plus works was exactly the error that condemned Israel: “Pursuing a law of righteousness, [they] did not arrive at that law. Why? Because they did not pursue it by faith, but as though it were by works” (Rom. 9:31–32). “For not knowing about God’s righteousness and seeking to establish their own, they did not subject themselves to the righteousness of God” (Rom. 10:3). Throughout Scripture we are taught that “a man is not justified by the works of the Law but through faith in Christ Jesus … since by the works of the Law no flesh will be justified” (Gal. 2:16).

Yet ignoring the gravity of this defect in the Roman Catholic system, evangelical signers of the document in effect pledge that none of their evangelistic work will ever be aimed at guiding Catholic converts out of Roman Catholicism—with its daily sacrifices, meritorious sacraments, confessional booths, rosary beads, fear of purgatory, and prayers to Mary and the saints. The document insists that “opportunity and means for growth in Christian discipleship are available” in the Catholic Church (22). Therefore winning a Catholic to the evangelical faith is nothing but “sheep stealing”—a sin against the body of Christ.

Having declared all active Catholics “brothers and sisters in Christ,” and having given de facto approval to baptismal regeneration and justification by faith plus works, the accord has no choice but to pronounce Catholic Church members off-limits for evangelism.

So, here’s the million dollar question: Why would knowledgeable evangelicals sign this accord?

I wrote to the men I know personally who signed the accord and asked them to explain their position. Most responded with very gracious letters. Virtually all who replied explained that their signatures on the document do not necessarily indicate unqualified support, and they admitted they have concerns about the document. Most said they signed anyway because they wanted to express support for evangelical-Catholic alliances against social and moral ills. Some said they hoped the document would open the door for more dialogue on the pivotal doctrinal issues.

I must confess that I find all such explanations unsatisfying, because both the public perception of the accord and the language of the document itself send the signal that evangelicals now accept Roman Catholicism as authentic Christianity. That grants an undeserved legitimacy to Roman Catholic doctrine.

Moreover, the document confuses Christendom with the true church. It makes the unwarranted and unbiblical assumption that every breach of unity between professing Christians wounds the body of Christ and violates the unity Christ prayed for. The reality is that the true body of Christ is far less inclusive than the document implies. The document wants to include “many other Christians, notably the Eastern Orthodox and those Protestants not commonly identified as Evangelical.” Who could this latter group include besides theological liberals? Yet Eastern Orthodoxy and most Protestant liberals would side with Rome in rejecting the biblical doctrine of justification by faith alone. Having abandoned the true faith for “another gospel,” these groups are not entitled to be embraced as members of Christ’s body (Gal. 1:9).

The evangelical signers of the document—particularly those who have studied Reformation theology—surely are aware that official Roman Catholic doctrine is antithetical to the simple gospel of grace. So why would theologically-informed evangelical leaders sign a document like this? Here is what some of them say:

One writes,

This document is not about theology or doctrine. From the outset we admit that there are doctrinal differences that are irreconcilable and we specifically identify many of these. This document is about religious liberty (i.e., the right of all Christians to share their faith without interference from church or state), evangelism and missions (e.g., not only the right but the responsibility under the Great Commission of all Christians to share Christ with all nations and all people), and the need all Christians have to cooperate, without compromise, in addressing critical moral and social issues, such as abortion, pornography, violence, racism, and other such issues.

In our battle for that which is good and godly, we must stand with those who will stand at all. [Most of these quotations from the document’s signatories are taken from personal letters. I am quoting their comments anonymously.]

Another signer wrote, “Why did I sign the recent statement ‘Evangelicals and Catholics Together: The Christian Mission in the Third Millennium’? I did so because the document—though by no means perfect—presents an unusually strong combination of basic Christian truth and timely Christian response to the modern world.”

Another suggested, “To non-Christians and the non-believing world who know nothing about Christianity and who may think Protestants and Catholics worship a different God, this affirmation should be a great testimony to the Lordship of Christ and the truth of His Word.”

And one well-respected evangelical leader wrote,

It was and is in harmony with the two-pronged approach to Rome that I have pursued for three decades: maximizing fellowship, cooperation, and cobelligerence with Roman Catholics on the ground, at grass roots level, while maintaining the familiar polemic against the Roman church and system as such. The document is not official, it is ad hoc and informal, and is designed to lead to honest cobelligerence against sin and evil in evangelism and community concerns.

Here are some other reasons evangelical signers give to justify their support for the document. All of these are taken verbatim either from letters these men wrote or papers they have circulated:

  • I think the document is correct in saying that the scandal of conflict between Christians often has overwhelmed the scandal of the cross.
  • I also thought the document’s stand for life (especially in protest against abortion) and against the “relativism, anti-intellectualism, and nihilism” that are rampant today are exactly the stands that all Christians should be taking.
  • The document is clear about what it is not trying to do. It is not put forth as an anticipation of church union, does not hide the fact that real differences continue to divide Catholics and evangelicals, and does not hide the fact that conditions outside North America are often different from those here.
  • We have differences, but on the ancient creeds and the core beliefs of Christianity we stand together. Christianity is besieged on all sides—by a militant nation of Islam, by pantheists who have invaded many areas of life through the New Age Movement, and by aggressive secularism of Western life.
  • If we are to reverse the surging tides of apostasy in Western culture and resist the advancing forces of secularism, then it is absolutely vital that those of us who share conservative, biblically-based views stand together, that we make common cause. Regardless of one’s Christian tradition or even past prejudices, should we not affirm John Paul II and Mother Teresa for their uncompromising and stirring defense of the sanctity of human life?
  • [The document states,] “All who accept Christ as Lord and Savior are brothers and sisters in Christ.” Isn’t “accepting Christ as Lord and Savior” what it means to be saved?
  • The issue addressed is not theology. The primary issues addressed are missions, evangelism, societal concerns, and religious liberty.
  • I believe the document represents the ultimate victory of the Reformation!

There, in the words of the evangelical signers themselves, is as complete a list of their arguments as I can assemble. To those must be added, of course, the arguments contained in the document itself. But all those reasons ring hollow in view of everything the agreement surrenders.


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#1  Posted by Shona Cohen  |  Thursday, February 25, 2010at 2:22 AM

It matters not how 'big' their names are amonst men, but who they are In Christ. They are not In Christ, not my brothers and sisters. They have signed because they are not Christians.

These are not arguments they place for signing but excuses for swallowing the lie and stage setting for the Antichrist. The lie is written through every statement.

The pivotal point, for them, and all who fall with them is downwards.

Time to stand stronger and stronger In Christ. Although such allegiances and signings are grave news, they also brings joy to the heart as we know our Brothers return is getting closer. Time to keep soldier feet hard on track and spread the word with increased passion.

#2  Posted by Mike Snyder  |  Thursday, February 25, 2010at 4:42 AM

This is my first comment as I just registered this morning. I want to thank GTY for enriching my life and the lives of those I am able to impact for our Lord! I have absorbed hundreds of hours of truth via the mp3 downloads. Anyway, I have to believe that everyone here will agree whole heartedly with what John has to say on this. I have, I believe, a different angle to the story. I have been studying John's messages on the Catholic system and I don't understand how they can welcome us after they condemned us and everything we stand for in the Counsil of Trent, where they decreed that anyone who claims to be justified on the basis of faith alone apart from works is condemned to eternal damnation. The Second Vatican Council in the 1960s declared these doctrines "irreformable." So how can they accept us as brothers in Christ?

#3  Posted by Mathieu Massicotte  |  Thursday, February 25, 2010at 6:05 AM

I wouldn't say that those who signed this paper are necessarily non-christians. There are some reasons that could lead some real christians to sign this whithout seeing the bad impact of what they've done. People with a postmillennial theology who want to see they kingdom of God established on this earth through the church and think that the world will get better and better are leaned to be tempted by this type of agreement. Other who need a renew of their mind related to the sovereignty of God in the story of this earth msight put too much weight on their shoulders in regard to what they need to do in this world in order to "help" the cause of God and the kingdom. Others lack faith and fear that if we christians of all confessions (which means whatever we confess ...) do not unite, we won't have a strong enough impact against this world and th prince of this world, and eventually, we will loose our rights and freedom. So they use politic means like this to "help" their faith.

Eventhough, I agree that some might not be christians, but let us beware of not judging too fast. Couldn't it be possible that ourselves, before some renewing of our mind (which is an ongoing process through the knowledge of the Word and the enlightment of the Spirit), we could have been tempted to sign that kind of agreement ? Some willl say no, and some will say yes. But remember that we are tempted according to our weaknesses. Weaknesses doesnt necessarily mean non-christians. Some will recognize their errors one day when they understand.

Thanks John for these blogs! They are really mind renewing according to the Word of God.

#4  Posted by John Kelsie  |  Thursday, February 25, 2010at 6:51 AM

Anytime you compromise you question the omnipotence of God.

#5  Posted by Shona Cohen  |  Thursday, February 25, 2010at 10:24 AM

Hi Mathieu,

I'm not judging them as such, we have one judge, but i am more than forthright and direct, so apologies to you if i came over very 'sternly'. I appreciate what you say regarding trials and weaknesses, i came myself through every fall their probably is by Grace of God alone, uneducated on all fronts, and with no teacher bar the greatest, the Holy Spirit - and had a long haul out of the 'cult(s)' amalgamated.

Not for a second can i swallow that these guys suffered a mere weakness here though. They are not 'babies' - they are supposedly mature Christians, and on top of that have placed themselves as teachers and leaders, - a position no-one should really consider themselves worthy off. If this is a mere weakness, they have made an enormous failing in not looking to God, the Word, the Spirit for guidance before signing on that line. There is no way they could sign this if they had taken up the enormosity of their responsibility to other Christians and questioned deeply and with full responsibility what was right in the Lord! Could anyone see Paul, Mathew, Mark or John signing up to this? I couldn't - so why have they?

Evil operates with good intent and these guys have acted with their minds/foreheads and gone onto carry out the deed with their hands - stamping themselves clearly with a mark we cannot accept.

The one thing i am glad about is John taking the time to write to them and ask them to explain themselves, that is a very Christian and loving act because for some, it may (God givenly and by the power of The Spirit) be just what is required for them to requestion their place in Christ, and if their self justified deluded nonsense can be overcome - bring them to True Faith!

My first posts in here today too. I went to reply the other day on first visiting to the 'time to discriminate' blog, but I couldnt, i was so edified, justified and left in tears, and probably for the first time in my life was lost for words. No words could express - so i left it, for now, go back to it later. But in John's words and stance, although i knew everything myself and family have gone through for our Faith, the honour in the dishonour and priveleges of persecution for our stance was spot on as we'd always known, but for the first time ever, we weren't just stood In the Lord, alone, but there is another, the first ive found, so frontline, prepared to take that same stance - I could never thank John enough for what he is doing here, but our thanks don't count anyway in the long run. No words can describe aptly what John is doing - only tears! :-)

#6  Posted by Shona Cohen  |  Thursday, February 25, 2010at 11:17 AM

Could we humbly go through the excuses 1 by 1...?

"I believe the document represents the ultimate victory of the Reformation!"

I believe? Who is 'i'? What does God say? He knows, doesn't believe, that statement is as bad as i think therefore i am...

"The document" - Hang on, what does the book say, the actual word of God - the Word of God is in entire opposition to this so why are we going with ' a document'?

"The ultimate victory of the reformation"

God usurping. Since when did the reformationists exhalt themselves to ultimate victory level? This is achievement based - they just destroyed their entire stance - the ultimate victory lays in Christ alone! What was the reformation for? The Glory of God and Christs ultimate victory or its own glory and victory? A big rain check required here!

#7  Posted by Shona Cohen  |  Thursday, February 25, 2010at 11:31 AM

Mike,

" I don't understand how they can welcome us after they condemned us and everything we stand for in the Counsil of Trent"

The enemy comes with multiplied kisses...

But iron sharpens..

They chose kisses...

#8  Posted by Randy Johnson  |  Thursday, February 25, 2010at 11:34 AM

Perhaps this is a commentary that biblical leadership is lacking. 2 Chronicles 14 stands out as brightly shining example of a biblical leader. Short and sweet. But, such leadership overcame overwhelming odds. It seems simple enough. Just do what the Lord desires and approves.

#9  Posted by Eric Woodworth  |  Thursday, February 25, 2010at 12:12 PM

Why do churches use cheap nasty craker thingy's for the observence of the Last Supper when we could use real baked bread?

#10  Posted by Shona Cohen  |  Thursday, February 25, 2010at 12:39 PM

Great comment there Eric! There are those that want to cannibalise Christ himself, the True Bread - and those that know how to eat the Bread he gave - His Word! Crackers wont suffice, but so many who claim to be in him - are just that - nasty, cheap, crackers - and cannibals!

#11  Posted by Josué Morissette  |  Thursday, February 25, 2010at 12:41 PM

What they use as bread has no real significance or becomes secondary when you know what they actually believe it transforms into. They say that the piece of host or bread is the actual flesh of Christ and not just a representation to remind us of his sacrifice. They actually believe that they are eating real flesh, somehow. Maybe this is from a rumour linking the early church as cannibals (a misconception taken from the Lord's supper), which the roman church would have taken as their own?

Reading stuff like this makes me mad and sad, because many catholics take this document as a defence against people who try to share the truth with them. This is so very dissapointing to see things like this, especially when you realize that this document is only the start of many more to come.

#12  Posted by Shona Cohen  |  Thursday, February 25, 2010at 12:59 PM

It maddens me not at all, its just a further expose! He said, It is finished - and they still want to munch! Why cos they are not elect! Albeit i do not mean that as all catholics are not elect cos i have come across many who are elect and taken out of catholism itself... They are not the untouchables - many of them are there to be touched!

#13  Posted by Shona Cohen  |  Thursday, February 25, 2010at 1:17 PM

Josué,

We dont need to take defence to them, just Christ, just transparency, thats all. Excuse the bold here, im not shouting, the bold text has just become unmoveable since i copied your name.

The Truth works and always will. I'm now in the process of evangelising, as i knew from day 1, a wounded catholic, freudian psychiatrist who declared me psychotic, and probably every other label you can insert under the sun, projection all the way....she has now come to see, she has no evidence for anything at all, meanwhile her islamic, now catholic side kick gnarls teeth at me still, so i put her out the room, literally!

Take the word, take the spirit, take the Christ in us - and they will come!

#14  Posted by Douglas Grogg  |  Thursday, February 25, 2010at 3:04 PM

“Most said they signed anyway because they wanted to express support for evangelical-Catholic alliances against social and moral ills…the need all Christians have to cooperate, without compromise, in addressing critical moral and social issues, such as abortion, pornography, violence, racism, and other such issues… basic Christian truth and timely Christian response to the modern world…The issue addressed is not theology. The primary issues addressed are missions, evangelism, societal concerns, and religious liberty.”

“A man may go to hell as well for heresy as adultery.” Thomas Watson

Two things are clear. First, these people have never experienced the new birth and second, these people are worshipping and serving “another Jesus” and as a result, are promoting “another gospel”. Christ came to save His people from their sins not the Rome of His day (though most assuredly the heretical Rome of our own day) and not poverty.

God in His Infinite Wisdom has decreed that Satan is to be the god of this world for an appointed period of time. His word declares that the whole world lies in the power of the evil one. The true Church consists of those whom He has called out from this satanic world system. They are those who in fact answer that call. The Church has been commissioned to call others out from this satanic world system. This is done through the proclamation of the living and abiding word of God 1 Peter 1:23-25. We are to speak to them concerning sin, righteousness and judgment to come. Sinners are commanded to repent (change their mind) and obey the gospel and are to be warned of the consequences of failing to obey that command. The Church desperately needs to recapture that old and new testament doctrine of the necessity of being innocent of men’s blood (Acts 18:6, Acts 20:26,27, Ezekiel 33:1-9) We must give the outward call and God if He so chooses gives the inward call and if not then the sinner has been warned and the honor of God has been preserved.

The Church has not been called to fix this world. He punishes the sins of one man with the sins of another. If and when we see sin we are to confront the sinner using the word of God, and declare to them the whole counsel of God. Is that not what the prophets did? Is that not what our Master did? Is that not what the apostles did? May God give us the grace to follow their examples! –His Unworthy Slave

#15  Posted by Elaine Bittencourt  |  Thursday, February 25, 2010at 5:56 PM

I read all the reasons for signing and I wonder what would Luther do? It really saddens me to see "great" theologians and supposely true Christians signing that document. Notice how none of them quote Scripture to support their cause?

Anyway... while reading all that I just got this feeling "I could be one of them". The bible says that if they left us, they were not from us. I shall cling to the Lord more and more everyday, and be sober and vigilant so not to think too much of myself.

Ultimately this unity will happen, we all know it. We must stand on the Word of God, knowing that the faith He has given us is what will strengthen us to the end. The path is narrow, and I think it's even narrower than we might believe.

Grace and peace, wisdom and discernment,

E.

#16  Posted by Elaine Bittencourt  |  Thursday, February 25, 2010at 6:01 PM

# 2 - Mike,

all other religions are inclusive, that's how they can accept us. True Christianity is exclusive.

I recently went through the series on the Heresies of Catholicism. All I can say is wow, how can man like J. I. Packer sign this document? I can only conclude he is blind.

E.

#17  Posted by Daniel Flaherty  |  Thursday, February 25, 2010at 7:47 PM

I recommend a very informative article called “The Catholic Agenda Embedded in the Manhattan Declaration” by Richard Bennett. I have read with interest many of Richard Bennett’s articles on the RCC system (he was a Dominican priest for over 22 years before the God of all graces awakened him from his spiritual death). Let me give a brief excerpt from this article:

“…the Manhattan Declaration is only the latest step in the downgrade into implementing Catholic social doctrine. There is yet another purpose; one primarily stated in Vatican Council II and post-Vatican Council II documents. Through the use of social issues, the Roman Catholic Church seeks to draw true Evangelical Bible-believers into itself so that there can be no opposition by them on the fundamental issues of the authority of the Bible alone and the Gospel.

In order to soften up the Evangelicals in their separation from the Catholics on biblical doctrinal issues, particularly the authority of the Bible alone and the Gospel, the Catholic modus operandi calls for using social issues on which both Evangelicals and Catholics agree as preliminary common ground. The major social issues selected by MD are acceptable, but what gives away the underlying Catholic far left political agenda is some of the vocabulary used. This vocabulary has a general meaning, to be sure, but in the context of Roman Catholic social doctrine, it means something quite specific. As Evangelicals are drawn together with Catholics on social issues – like the social issues mentioned in this document – the ensuing ecumenical dialogue “serves to transform modes of thought and behavior and the daily life of their [Evangelical] communities [churches]. In this way, it [ecumenical dialogue] aims at preparing the way for their unity of faith in the bosom of a Church one and visible: thus ‘little by little’…all Christians will be gathered”3 into the Roman Catholic Church with its dual authority base, false gospel, and accompanying far left agenda. The Roman Catholic Church’s primary goal is to make enforceable its claim that it is the only true church of Jesus Christ and its pope, the claimed “Vicar of Christ,” has the right to judge everybody, as he did during the Middle Ages. In order to accomplish this, the Papacy must do away with the supreme authority of the Bible and the Gospel and it must silence all who stand against it in this endeavor. This is the Roman Catholic context in which the Manhattan Declaration is set.”

Richard now writes, speaks, and maintains a great web site called the Berean Beacon (bereanbeacon.org). Here’s the link to the full article: http://www.bereanbeacon.org/articles/Catholic_Agenda_Embedded_in_the_Manhattan_Declaration.pdf

Thanks John and GTY for keeping us on our toes!

Maranatha! Dan

#18  Posted by Rick White  |  Friday, February 26, 2010at 4:55 AM

Obviously, the reasons for signing these documents are as varied as the signers themselves.I believe there is an underlying desire that all of these people really are true Christians.I know because I have many friends that are trapped in this false system that is the Roman Catholic Church.I have to constantly resist the urge to accept them as brothers and sisters in Christ.That would definitely be the easy way out.But,then I read scriptures like 1 Corinthians 16:13 and realize that I have a responsibilty to "stand firm in the faith" and reach out to them with the true gospel.That is what is so sad about those that have signed both ECT and the Manhattan Declaration.I believe it makes approaching these people with the true gospel that much more difficult.Now, not only do I have to explain why I believe the RCC teaches "another gospel",but now I have to explain why I don't agree with the signers of these documents.After all many of these signers are leading "Evangelicals".Unless more men like John MacArthur speak out with the truth,more and more people are going to be confused about what the real gospel is.I pray God sends us more men like John MacArthur,James White,and R.C. Sproul that are willing to confront error with the truth of God's word.

#19  Posted by Alvie Perkins  |  Friday, February 26, 2010at 5:01 AM

I would love to see who signed this document! The quest for unity with the world is wrong and I applaud all those who will not compromise the Truth.

#20  Posted by Darla Wormuth  |  Friday, February 26, 2010at 5:21 AM

Everytime I hear or read about those who signed the ECT & the MD, I hear the song, "WE ARE THE WORLD" playing in my head. As said early, no scripture was given by any Protestants who signed. That is their first mistake. I agree with Pastor MacArthur, not one of the reasons given for signing eith document is or was exceptable. They are doing harm to the reformation. I do not believe for one minute that Spurgeon, Calvin or M.L.Jones would have signed either documents either. This is "another" gospel.

#21  Posted by Elaine Bittencourt  |  Friday, February 26, 2010at 6:18 AM

# 17 - Daniel, thank you for your comment and the link, I will check it out. I find the following interesting and it was actually on my mind: "preparing the way for their unity of faith in the bosom of a Church one and visible: thus ‘little by little’…all Christians will be gathered”

-----------------------------

# 20 - Darla. Ecumenism gets closer and closer to each of us, a lot more people will be singing that song as we get closer to the end. I pray for my church and for its leaders, although I can smell a tendency to focus on social issues (in a recent conversation with my Pastor he told me he expects to see mother Teresa in heaven "after all the work she did" - what? in heaven? holding her rosary and all?).

--------------

here's another article about the MD, by Ligon Duncan:

http://www.reformation21.org/articles/the-manhattan-declaration-a-statement-from-ligon-duncan.php

As you can see, some of the people who signed the MD recognize the theological differences, but they stress the fact that's not the declaration is about.

I don't believe there should be any alliances between light and darkness.

BTW, does anyone know what the positions of these people are: CJ Mahaney, John Piper, Mark Dever, Albert Mohler. Links to articles by these men would be great, if anyone finds anything.

Thanks!

Grace and peace,

E.

#22  Posted by Jerry Slade  |  Friday, February 26, 2010at 6:41 AM

I appreciate the grace with which you made your comment, Matthew. Let's remember there is only one head of the Church of Jesus Christ. Our so called "Christian Leaders" hold their unelected offices either by divine appointment or through their political skills and abilities to raise money. Even then, true leaders can err in judgement and be given the opportunity of retracting their statements. We often cast them aside for a single transgression without granting them the grace to review their positions. Let's pray that the Holy Spirit will convict them of their error. Yet, many of them are leading many through the wide gate that John so eloquently teaches about, requiring us to pray for those misled, including those who have been misled through the wide gate of justification through faith and continual works.

Even with the foregoing in mind, the watchmen at the gate have a responsibility of sounding the clarion when false teachers arrive on the scene to deceive. Thankfully, I haven't been called to do that but I appreciate those who have so been called. My prayer is for wisdom for them and for us to listen to the warning and heed it well.

I appreciate all of you who read and add to my knowledge through these blogs.

Jerry

#23  Posted by Mary Elizabeth Palshan  |  Friday, February 26, 2010at 10:59 AM

Dear Elaine:

Here is a site that will give you links to several men who signed this awful statement, and even some who didn't sign. It is unthinkable that men with seminary degrees would sign such an abysmal document. Don't they understand justified by faith alone? I've talked so much about this issue all over the web that I am all talked out at this point.

http://gloryandgrace.dbts.edu/?p=175

Btw, you are my neighbor.:) I live in Michigan and have relatives in Canada. They live in Stratford, where the Shakespeare Theater is. I love Canada, very beautiful, looks so much like upper Michigan and many of the lower farming communties.

I love your posts. Where is Shaun? I have not seen her posting much.

God bless,

Mary

#24  Posted by Mary Elizabeth Palshan  |  Friday, February 26, 2010at 11:07 AM

Dear Darla:

I like that, "We are the world." Well, actually I don't like it. LOL! Ahh, it is terrible to be double minded.

#25  Posted by Elaine Bittencourt  |  Friday, February 26, 2010at 12:30 PM

# 23 Mary, thank you very much for the link! I was sad to find out that Al Mohler signed the MD! I am reading the glory and grace website and finding more info on this, thanks again (I need to clean up my browser's tabs! LOL).

Yes, where's Shauna?

Stratford, beautiful little town. Take care and be safe, with all that snow. We just started getting snow this past couple of days.

Grace and peace my sister!

E.

#26  Posted by Shauna Bryant  |  Friday, February 26, 2010at 1:56 PM

Hi Mary and Elizabeth and Elaine! I have been here - listening and reading! We home school so it's been busy. I also teach at 2 Creation Science Co ops for home school kids. A lot of our husbands are scientists so we really get into the science experiments and such.....and it is a lot of planing and work! I too, was saddened by the fact that so many "names" have signed this agreement, but I also Thank The LORD for those standing fast to the Word of God and NOT signing (and those who realized their error in signing). Issues like this can be difficult because we do have a world that is evil and it is nice to think that if religions could unite together that things would improve, but that, of course, is not what history bears out anyhow. Whenever a 'church' has been in power with the state it's been an awful mess and very persecutory. You all are right - whenever we "unite" it must be under the Gospel of the Grace of God or not at all. Too many people see this Manhattan Declaration and see that all these different beliefs have come together to try and improve societal ills......when the only thing that will help societal ills is the Gospel. In fact, you could say that by signing this they are giving the message that we don't need the Gospel to "fix" fallen man - and that is what ecumenism is all about. It's a lie. The Lie. Because it replaces mans efforts over our need for Jesus Christ. If it's not "In Christ", then it is outside of Christ - and that is not a position any Christian should be in! Keep up the good fight. In Christ, Shauna

#27  Posted by Shauna Bryant  |  Friday, February 26, 2010at 2:06 PM

Yes, I mean Hi Mary Elizabeth (I don't think you are two people!) and Elaine!

Shauna

#28  Posted by Shona Cohen  |  Friday, February 26, 2010at 3:41 PM

Shauna,

Don't want to intrude on you, but i just noticed your home schooling comment. I have a big Faith V (the lesser) education trial re my own kids repeatedly asking me for this increasingly due to vile in school and persecutions and limitations. Their reasons and my dilemma here on this one are Faith related an in face of the Spiritual war, and I've looked to scripture and talked lots to God on this one, listened and been patient, and questioned my own heart too..deeply...but im being guided, it seems to ask you on this one. I feel i know the answer from God already, but would it be off topic to ask you on this stuff in here - and of course, would it be ok with you to?

S

Hope someone deletes this if its seen as off topic...

#29  Posted by Shona Cohen  |  Friday, February 26, 2010at 5:08 PM

One thing that is striking me deeply in here is the amount of exhalting man of the reformation. And I am not knocking the reformation, or reformationists in saying this at all. I am probably 99.9% of reformationist thinking myself and the same of calvinism, but not cos any man taught me any of this at all, they did not, infact i know no such teachings from man, the Truth himself brought me to this same thinking of Truth!

But so many things said in here, ie "Packer - i am surprised"...and "what would luther do"?

These things do not matter! They are men - not God! I'm sorry, but i make no apologies for the fact i would never ever question what any of these men would do in face of real trial and test cos none of them ever where tested or trialled, severely. I too, have read, knowing god, fantastic book, but it is not without flaw! As, said, im not saying this to knock these guys, but Christians really weaken there own stance and position and strength In Christ if they begin to ask these mere questions themselves about man at all! It has already been seen above that one says, if these men can do this what of us?

What of us? It is simple, forget what 'ma'n does, what 'man' can stand against or can or cannot, do not question where you are in equality to, or in relation to these so called big men that fall, or ask what men you deem as strong would do, (who are not those that could never fall!)) this is allowing satan himself to cause a shake of fear. That is absolutely not on! It is allowing this falling away by man branded names to rock others of their firmity and foundation in Christ himself. What did the Apostles do, what did Christ do? Christ was offered the ultimate (false) sign up and he refused - that is all we need to know!

I am alarmed for people reading this thread as to how much credence is given to named brands, almost signing over to the enemy.

Be prepared, be ready, look to Christ always, and up, not what is falling down, cos if we make anyone that big, ie packer or luthers - and they fall down and your nose follows them and you question, you are rail roading behind them - dont! Up, always! Feet firm! God Bless!

#30  Posted by Shauna Bryant  |  Friday, February 26, 2010at 5:31 PM

Shona,

I believe that the decision to home school is not one to be made lightly so I am glad you have prayed about it. Really, it requires a lifestyle change for many people. I have very strong opinions regarding this issue. If you are aware of a site where we can exchange emails I would be more than happy to discuss, in more detail, the home school issue. It is not for everybody, and as such I do not wish to inadvententlyy offend anyone here on this blog. It takes a lot of work and dedication to your children (and it is also a lot of fun and a huge blessing!). Suffice it to say, I left a demanding and rewarding (by the worlds standards) career where everyone (including my own family) thought I had lost my mind to be JUST (SAHM's will get the 'just' part) a "stay at home mom" who now home schools. Our life transformed 180 degrees. And we would not trade one single second of it. If anyone understand this "From tailored suits to joe boxer flannel PJ's (as my teacher 'suits'!) from Kmart. It may be funny - but I couldn't be happier! That was 10 years ago.

There is a book, "The Well Trained Mind" (Jesse Wise - a teacher who home schooled her kids and her daughter Susan Wise Bauer, now a Professor) that I usually recommend people read after praying about the matter. While we don't follow it to the letter, I do believe it will either convince you that you have no other choice but to homeschool or you will throw the book across the room screaming - are those people crazy or what?!!!! I would have preferred a more Christian slant to it - but we provided that (Gods Word). While the authors are Christians, they come at it more from the angle of educational reasons and application in planning. It really is very well written. I also think "after schooling" is a great idea for those who have children in public school and aren't ready or able to home school. That is also covered in the book. It is comprehensive, so I would recommend reading the beginning chapters, then reading chapters relating to your own childrens ages and finally reading the sections on socialization and addt'l issues". You can read the reviews on amazon (over 200 with a 4.5 overall rating - no easy feat for sure!).

As Shona said - if this is out of place, please delete.

Shauna

#31  Posted by Elaine Bittencourt  |  Friday, February 26, 2010at 5:32 PM

# 29 - Shona, you got a valid point.

I think you were quoting me? I am not follower of man. But didn't Paul himself said "be imitators of me, just as I am of Christ"? (1 Cor. 11:1). I am no in any way stating that the Holy Spirit inspired/inspires any of these man today as Paul did when he wrote the letters. But of course we are sad to see all these man of God fall and go astray!

You said, and I quote: "Could anyone see Paul, Mathew, Mark or John signing up to this? I couldn't - so why have they?" I get you too wonder why.

If for nothing else, the examples of going astray and/or compromise should make us be more alert of everything we hear from pulpits and leaders. After all, the church leaders authority was given by God, wasn't it? There must be a reason for that, no?

I'll tell you a little bit about my own experience (and I am simply echoing many other people), but this is personal and not the norm. If it weren't for Pastor MacArthur's ministry, I'd still be living in darkness, although I had been calling myself a Christian for 16 years!

BTW, I don't go for that "what would Jesus do" or "what did Jesus do" thing. I always ask myself "would this glorify God?". And the lives of many godly man do (and have) glorify our God.

Grace and Peace,

E.

#32  Posted by Darla Wormuth  |  Friday, February 26, 2010at 5:46 PM

My concern is that when someone like Al Mohler, who is the current President of the Southern Baptist, signs a declaration (MD) and says that he is not signing as a representative of the SBC, but from his own personal convictions. We cannot ignore that he is still looked upon as a leader, and those who are weaker in the faith may and possibly will follow his lead/example, a nd buy into the concept that Protestants and Catholics beliefs are the same. If those who are weaker in the faith are lead astray,he will be held accountable.

That may sound like harsh words coming from a nobody about a somebody, and I certainly do not intend any disrespect towards Mr. Mohler. However, it has been brought to his attention what this document truely declares. He has had plenty of time to withdraw his signature, but has refused to do so, standing firm in his decision.

I do not claim to know the heart of Al Mohler; however, I am concerned for the lost and those who are weaker brothers in the faith. My statement here is not against only Mr. Mohler, but all those who hold such positions as Sherpards.

#33  Posted by Shona Cohen  |  Friday, February 26, 2010at 6:26 PM

Shauna!!! Thankyou!!! You have probably already answered my question - that i knew home schooling is not for us! Not said against home schooling at all, cos if i could i would, will expand in full later!

Elaine,

Tbh, I read underneath what everyone says, so i was probably quoting most... And when i hit send, i thought to myself, that really wasnt a fair post s cos you plucked out a couple of from memory the other day comments. I saw a lot of infirmity in here tbh - and yes i saw John in full affirming!

I'm not so sure about your Paul comments and that God does not inspire in this way today! He does! Although God does not add to his book - that's complete! I love Paul, his life is so my own! When i finally came to read paul, i knew myself, as well as Christ a whole lot for the better.

I could not agree with you more in regard to the sadness. John has done the righteous thing in trying to question them to save their souls (God giving that increase if it is to be there through his workers hands in the field!) I am not sure i feel this sadness to the same level as you do though tbh and im not being callous at all. I work my heart out, for God, daily, filthy rags, with very lost, separated people, but i know, none will come that are not to come by him already. And i recognise now those that will come, even the most inobvious...

Hmmm. i can see why you thought i was questioning by naming Gospel writers etc. I wasnt. I just know my own path, and through that theirs too. I will take some getting used to is all i can say there, i referenced to them cos i know that i can have my skin virtually stripped and my head hacked off virtually and still do nothing but witness...ive had a blessed journey eh from Him for Him! He is Almighty! I could have denied christ or faith at any given point to make all things right for me and my children - but no, cos nothing is right if its not right in God.

I would in no way denounce John, i still cannot find the words to express what i think about his work and this site at all!!! I am so happy and joyfilled for you that you did find this site!!!! Sincerely, i mean it, i would love all those who think falsely they are Christians to find this site!!!

I found this site through my partner. And he, like me has had one long struggle in the dark, but he is amazing in his not fall, seen nothing like it, ever, and i know men too, but he posted Johns site on my own, and tbh, like the minder i am to him, i thought, oh no, what has he found an is he into now, lol, said with love, his is just awesome, so strong in Christ with nothing but opposition behing him...and i followed the link to here, expecting to find something not good - and my heart leapt wiht absolute joy and i did cry when i saw where he had been led! And i literally said, now i can conern less when you are taking up and reading True Brothers like John! Some peace! . Then i went on to read more and wow, i cried more, for good reasons, like justification...so im right with you there and could not agree more! Imagine if there were 4 million JM's!

I dont go fpr the waht would jesus do thing either Elaine and Im with you in your comments was just giving an example - he was offered it 'all', and he said no os he knew the real riches and the world is a garbage bin of poor pickings. I too think glorify God always, and it is a very hard track to stick to 24/7 - why we need Him to help us. always.

S

#34  Posted by Shona Cohen  |  Friday, February 26, 2010at 6:34 PM

Darla, You are right in your comments and this man is not greater than you, we are all lesser! He sums it up perfect,. he said his own personal convictions - translates as 'off his flesh' go ask him gently what God says if he dares to step out of his carcass for a second! God bless and more strength to you! A pulpit is as much use as the one that stands behind it! The Word is always the pulpit!

#35  Posted by Shauna Bryant  |  Friday, February 26, 2010at 7:04 PM

Elaine,

I also once thought I was a Christian thanks to all the watered down preaching I heard. I still remember the first time a woman friend directed me to John MacArthur's preaching (through one of his books). Ouch! The reality of my "illusion" was like a slap in the face. Thank God!

Shona,

For addt'l info try this link http://www.gty.org/Resources/Questions/QA067 as the issue of home schooling/Christian school/Public school was answered here by John MacArthur. Also, if home schooling is not for you (kudos for discerning that - better to know up front then plunge in and be wrong!), I do still recommend after schooling - that book is in most libraries - you could just read that chapter while there!

Darla,

In post 20 you said this song "We are The World" kept coming to you.........I was thinking the very same thing awhile ago when it was sung again (for the Haiti relief). They have done a few remakes of that song and it really is telling isn't it. They are the world and they are the children of this world.....and yet, I bet none of them get what that really means. It's all here in this part:

We are the world We are the children We are the ones who make a brighter day So let's start giving There's a choice we're making We're saving our own lives It's true we'll make a better day Just you and me When you're down...l But if you just believe There's no way we can fall Well, well, well, well, let us realize That a change will only come When we stand together as one

You know - that may just end up being the "Global Anthem"!

I am personally so glad that God, through His Holy Spirit, directed me to His Only Begotten Son, Jesus Christ who saved a fallen sinner like me since I could never, ever be good enough myself.

Daniel #17

Right on target as to the "Catholic" part of it. It is such a difficult thing to get people to see.....the hand of the RCC in so many areas, bringing them all into her fold, slowly.....it's like she also is fishing for men, eh? The bait is ecumenism, mysticsm, world unity......

Did you hear the Popes encyclical this past summer to the G20? The part that was chilling is his calling for the "enforcement" part....!

Shauna

#36  Posted by Elaine Bittencourt  |  Friday, February 26, 2010at 7:46 PM

# 35 Shauna. wow! I had never paid attention to the lyrics of that song! It would make a perfect "global anthem" along with Imagine (by Lennon).

---------------

# 33 - Shona. =) had to google "tbh". Just in case I wasn't the only one who didn't know, it stands for "to be honest".

Anyway, Paul and the Holy Spirit's inspiration. I believe that the last book/words inspired by the Holy Spirit is the book of Revelation. Pastor MacArthur can explain it way better than I ever could:

http://www.gty.org/Resources/Sermons/90-324

Grace and Peace, In Christ,

E.

#37  Posted by Shona Cohen  |  Friday, February 26, 2010at 8:24 PM

Will follow links tomorrow Shauna im my daytime.

Elaine, Agree re revelation - genesis and revelation my fav books!

#38  Posted by Daniel Flaherty  |  Saturday, February 27, 2010at 8:45 AM

A good Saturday to you all –

Let me recommend another article by Richard Bennett entitled “The Gift of Salvation – ECT II – The Lie Documented” which has much to do about the Manhattan Declaration (MD) even though the article was written years before MD. In this article Bennett shows how Rome subtly encourages all “Christians” to come together under their “works righteousness” system by using “Christian” lingo and unity “feel good” talk. Here’s an excerpt from this excellent short article which has to do with leading Evangelicals signing the Evangelicals and Catholics Together II document (The ECT Statement taken from Christianity Today, December 8, 1997, pp. 35-77):

”EVANGELICALS JOIN ROME

The document states [ETC II], “Justification is central to the scriptural account of salvation, and its meaning has been much debated between Protestants and Catholics.” Areas of alleged agreement are then pointed out.

It is to be held firmly in mind that Evangelicals throughout the centuries have maintained that justification by faith alone is the way in which sinful human beings are made right and just before the all Holy God. Justification itself is a judicial declarative act on the part of God alone by which He declares that only in Christ is a man perfectly just before Himself, who is the morally perfect Being and Holy Judge over all human beings. His judicial declarative act is not made on the basis of anything within a man, but rather it is made solely and wholly upon the righteous life and sacrificial death of Jesus Christ who lived a perfect life and paid the just penalty for sins upon the cross. Historically, Evangelicals have been in agreement with the

Apostle Paul, “to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness” (Romans 4:5)

.

The Bible teaches the manifestation of God’s righteousness, not mans: “But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets” (Romans 3:21). The Gospel good news is the declaration of God that His righteousness is upon believers, i.e. credited to them. “Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe” (Romans 3:22). Only the

Lord Christ Jesus is declared to be, and actually is the Righteousness of God.

The believer has His righteousness only credited to him. This is the historical position of Evangelicals.

Historically, and conversely, the Roman Catholic Church teaches as dogma that justification is conferred through her sacraments and that it consists of inner righteousness whereby a man, it is stated, becomes just within himself. The Church of Rome condemns the Biblical doctrine of justification by faith alone. This was done at the Council of Trent. Present day dogma of the RCC not only upholds the teaching of the Council of Trent but also declares that such Councils are infallible. The Council of Trent proclaims the following curses: If anyone shall say that justifying faith is nothing else than confidence in the divine mercy which remits sins for Christ’s sake, or that it is this confidence alone by which we are justified: let him be anathema [cursed].

If anyone shall say that by the said sacraments of the New Law, grace is not conferred from the work which has been worked [ex opere operato] but that faith alone in the divine promise suffices to obtain grace: let him be anathema.

Rome’s reason for such a curse on those who hold to “justification by faith alone” is logical because of what she refuses to concede. For her, justification is not an immediate declaration of God and received by faith alone; rather, she teaches that grace is conferred through the sacraments.

Thus she is able to make a place for herself as a necessary means through which inner righteousness is given. She teaches, “Justification has been merited for us by the Passion of Christ. It is granted us through Baptism.” That same teaching stated clearly 450 years ago, that physical mediation through the sacraments is necessary for salvation, is stated emphatically by Rome in the present time: “The Church affirms that for believers the sacraments of the New Covenant are necessary for salvation...

“Justification is conferred in Baptism, the sacrament of faith. It conforms us to the righteousness of God, who makes us inwardly just by the power of his mercy.”7 This is what the Roman Catholics who signed the document state that they believe. It is what the Evangelicals who signed the document should know the Catholics mean when the Catholics affirm in writing that they are “Catholics who are conscientiously faithful to the teaching of the Catholic Church.”

In the face of such clarity, both on the part of Scripture and on the part of the RCC, this new ecumenical document claims that now both sides agree on what had been the primary dividing point between Protestants and Roman Catholics for several hundred years. The document states: We agree that justification is not earned by any good works or merits of our own; it is entirely God’s gift, conferred through the Father’s sheer graciousness, out of the love that he bears us in his Son, who suffered on our behalf and rose from the dead for our justification. Jesus was “put to death for our trespasses and raised for our justification” (Romans 4:25).

In justification, God, on the basis of Christ’s righteousness alone, declares us to be no longer his rebellious enemies but his forgiven friends, and by virtue of his declaration it is so.

This statement teaches traditional Roman Catholic doctrine, for by careful reading one comes to see that what the two pivotal sentences state grammatically is this: …it [justification] is entirely God’s gift, conferred [rather than imputed]…and by virtue of his [Holy God’s] declaration it [justification conferred] is so.

To employ the word “conferred” instead of the Biblical word “imputed” is tantamount to putting aside Scriptural authority on the issue of justification. This is precisely because the same Romans Chapter Four that is quoted clearly teaches the concept of imputation or crediting eleven times; and what the RCC means by conferred justification is just as clearly laid out in her dogma (see above). Since medieval times, the RCC has clearly distinguished between the concept of imputation and the concept of God’s grace conferred as a quality of the soul. The Roman Catholic signatories, “Catholics who are conscientiously faithful to the teachings of the Catholic Church,” know this dogma.

In the Bible, while there is no mention whatsoever of “conferring” justification, the theme of the imputation of the righteousness of God to the believer is constant -yet through centuries and in the face of Scriptural clarity, the teaching of Rome tenaciously holds to justification conferred rather than imputed, the present document under consideration being a case in point. Part of the perversion by which the Biblical doctrine of justification by faith alone is accomplished in this document is by the use of the RCC terminology, “conferred.””

Sorry for the long paste but I want Christians to understand how sneaky and slippery the RCC hierarchy (aka Satan, since he is the mastermind behind all false religions) is in trying to get the world to believe the lie of working your way, being good enough, to get to heaven. Here’s the link to the full article: http://www.spurgeongems.org/rb-20.pdf

I just heard of an earthquake in Chili and tsunami’s, etc. this morning – Lord Jesus – help us to see the urgency of getting the gospel out to all we know – THANK YOU FOR YOUR MERCY TOWARDS US!

Maranatha! Dan

#39  Posted by Douglas Grogg  |  Saturday, February 27, 2010at 10:29 AM

Daniel, thank you for exposing the historical issues and motives of the RCC and their deceit in promoting this declaration. I will attempt to expose the historical foundational errors of the false gospel of those who are signing this document.

In appendix 2 of John MacArthur’s “Ashamed of the Gospel” under the section “FINNEY’S AVERSION TO ORTHODOXY”, MacArthur exposes the fact that among other biblical truths Charles Finney despised the doctrine of the necessity of the new birth. Few people are aware of the fact that it was Finney who instigated a revolt on the part of women to abandon the historical biblical role of women in the churches. He declared to them “God gave you a mouth. You need to testify in the assembly.” They did and what was the result? Men were either driven out of the churches or shamed into silence. Within one generation “There was but a handful of true converts in all of the seminaries.”

At about that same time a new wave of immigrants came to America. They were not fleeing religious persecution, but rather, it was poverty that they were fleeing. Unfortunately they brought with them the very sins that brought them their poverty (If you study the book of Proverbs you will find no less than 7 specific sins that result in poverty.). The churches now being filled with women who had revolted against their biblical roles and “Ahab” men who tolerated or even promoted their sin began “ministering” to these immigrants through social gospel type programs. (The modern day welfare type programs which have bankrupted our nation can trace their origins to these apostate church programs.)

Biblical evangelism historically focused on sin, righteousness and judgment to come, bringing the sinner to see the wrath of God which was upon him because of their sins and pointing the sinner to Christ who had come to save His people from their sins and thereby opening the way for reconciliation and peace with God. Biblical evangelism was abandoned because it was no longer believed that a sinner had to be born again. They can find no examples in the New Testament Church to justify their social gospel approach. They are afraid and in fact ashamed to preach the true gospel. Preaching the Gospel in a New Testament fashion is liable to bring you physical harm and possibly even death, but there is no other Gospel.

If these people were alive in the time of Noah no doubt they would be expending their energies building life rafts for the sinners of their day instead of being preachers of righteousness and warning them to flee the wrath of God which was to come upon them. These people know neither the sinfulness of sin nor the Holiness of God. -His Unworthy Slave

#40  Posted by Brad Pape  |  Saturday, February 27, 2010at 1:30 PM

We can read at http://www.gracechurch.org/about/history that Grace Church is nondenominational. Does Grace Church affiliate with or officially recognize any other group as a legitimate part of the Christian Church?

Do you, as an individual, believe every tenet at http://www.gracechurch.org/distinctives? If yes then would you "sign it" if given the opportunity?

#41  Posted by Elaine Bittencourt  |  Saturday, February 27, 2010at 1:42 PM

Hi Brad! why don't you go straight into the point you're trying to make?

E.

#42  Posted by Douglas Grogg  |  Saturday, February 27, 2010at 2:12 PM

To those who are new to this site, Brad is a wolf coming in sheep’s clothing. He has been corrected numerous times. His problem is not an intellectual problem but rather it is a spiritual problem that only the new birth can remedy. Brad, you must be born again! For those of you who have been born again, I ask that you pray that God might grant this man a heart of repentance. Perhaps he, like Saul of Tarsus, might in the end be found to be another chosen instrument of our Master. –His Unworthy Slave

#43  Posted by Brad Pape  |  Saturday, February 27, 2010at 2:33 PM

Hi Elaine

I do not plan to make any point on this message board. I am trying to learn and understand. If you do not want to answer my questions then just ignore my posts.

#44  Posted by Elaine Bittencourt  |  Saturday, February 27, 2010at 2:47 PM

Well Brad, I am sure you have a point, as I can tell by your "trying to learn and understand". Exactly what? What does Grace Church's distinctives have to do with the Manhattan Declaration? If it doesn't have anything to do with it, it's totally off-topic then. If you think it does, can you clarify that?

E.

#45  Posted by Brad Pape  |  Saturday, February 27, 2010at 3:42 PM

Hi Elaine

My understanding is that the topic is "Why do evangelical leaders compromise traditionally evangelical priorities in the quest for some form of unity by signing a document?". The two documents referenced are “Evangelicals and Catholics Together: The Christian Mission in the Third Millennium” and "The Manhattan Declaration". I had not heard of these documents until reading about them at gty.org. Obviously the majority posting here believes that these documents compromise too much for the sake of unity. I have not read them but have read http://www.gracechurch.org/distinctives. I am trying to learn if there could be something between the Grace Church distintives and those other documents that people posting here would agree with. In other words, do you consider all of the Grace Church distinctives an essential (for salvation) doctrine. In case you wondered, I agree with at least 90% of it. I really like "We teach that, in the incarnation, the second Person of the Trinity laid aside His right to the full prerogatives of coexistence with God and took on an existence appropriate to a servant while never divesting Himself of His divine attributes (Philippians 2:5-8).". The last question is to see if you agreed with a statement of faith then would you publicly put your name to it.

#46  Posted by William Sanchez Hernandez  |  Saturday, February 27, 2010at 5:35 PM

To Mike:

Hi Mike, my name is William. I believe the reason the answer to your question is because of the subtly of their deceit. In what you quoted regarding their second vatican decision, the catholic teachings and those who espouse them reveal their true colors. However, on the grand stage, they want to "appear", friendly, loving, embracing so that the leaders and their movement can appear positive. What do you say about a group of people who prohibited people from reading the bible, who usurped money through indulgences, who promised liberation from purgatory and limbo for money, and who unquivocally teach that salvation is by faith and works, and that Mary is co-redeemer with Christ, yet are the leaders of a move'ment seeking to unify the faiths in a loving act? I call it nothing but the devil's work! Forgive me if I offend anyone; my rub is against the lies of the devil, not against flesh and blood. I am thankful that Grace To You's and Pastor MacArthur's minstry are speaking and standing unequivocally for the truth of the Word of God. Martin Luther sought to do the same. God bless you Mike. I hope this can be useful. My email is sanchezw78@yahoo.com if you'd like to continue a conversation

#47  Posted by Gabriel Powell  |  Saturday, February 27, 2010at 6:04 PM

Brad,

Perhaps this will help. The distinctives of Grace Community Church (and by extention Grace to You) are more or less a doctrinal statement. If fact if you want to join Grace Church as a member, you need to sign that you agree substantially with them (you need to agree 100%, but you must agree to be teachable).

The Manhatten Declaration (MD) is a document that seeks to advance a social cause. Now the fundamental problem with the MD is that it seeks to do so on the basis of the gospel. The reason that is a problem is because the signers include those who understand the gospel in mutually exclusive ways.

Hope that helps...

#48  Posted by Tom Sheppard  |  Saturday, February 27, 2010at 10:54 PM

Comment deleted by user.
#49  Posted by Tom Sheppard  |  Saturday, February 27, 2010at 11:19 PM

Someone asked for links where they can read why people like Al Mohler would sign the "document". Here is Al Mohler's response.

http://www.albertmohler.com/2009/11/23/why-i-signed-the-manhattan-declaration/

I have to admit, I had read the document very early, and debated for quite some time as to what I would do. It goes to show, that just because some of our "Hero's in the Faith" (like Al Mohler) would sign, WE must always seek the Lords direction before we jump in line behind them.

We need more John MacArthurs, Alistair Beggs, R C Sprounls

CONTENDING FOR THE FAITH- <><

www.ixoyeministries.com

Charles Spurgeon said "To pursue union at the expense of truth is treason to the Lord Jesus". Since we have been sanctified by the truth, we must remain separate for God's glory and purpose.

Here is a list of some pretty well known names.

http://www.manhattandeclaration.org/sign/list-of-religious-leaders-signatories

#50  Posted by Darla Wormuth  |  Sunday, February 28, 2010at 5:52 AM

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If the MD was only about life, liberty and the pursuit of Christian happiness (I am being facetious) then—why were the Mormons, Jehovah’s Witnesses, and the Christian Science folks left out? The answer: because this is an agreement between Catholics & Protestants claiming “We stand together in one faith. We believe the same thing about Christ.” Even though we do not! I do not agree with Catholics in any way shape or form. I do not dislike them personally, but I do not join with them in their beliefs. Neither do I agree with Mormons, Jehovah’s Witnesses or any Christian Science folks.

We cannot and we should not be “following” the crowd. Read God’s word... even when John MacArthur preaches/teaches it. I do, and I LOVE John MacArthur. I have a great deal of respect for him as a shepherd of the Christian faith, and I trust him, because I believe he is faithful to the Lord—not men.

#51  Posted by Shona Cohen  |  Sunday, February 28, 2010at 1:10 PM

Hi Brad,

A different perspective re your last question. I have read the distinctives page now and I agree with it 100%. In saying that, I would not sign up to it or an any individual body even within Christ. That is not said with any disrespect to Grace Church cos you will have seen above, exactly what i think of this ministry and John MacArthur! But, the only sign up for me is the one i made with all my heart and soul to Christ himself, that leaves me with permanant life assurance, signed, sealed and delivered.

I wont throw any wolf comments at you and will take at face value that you said you are trying to learn and understand! Someone above says you must be born again, that is the Truth and if you Truly were and overcome yourself to be so, keep being drawn by Christ till you get there - it is guaranteed that your 90% agreement would become 100% through being born again!

This sign up does not surprise me whatsoever. It is a pretty weak test tbh amongst not Gods strong, but Gods weak ones - what trials exactly have these guys faced? But one thing i do know is that if your neck is on the line for Faith, you could search the world over amongst all the mouthpieces for God and you wont find another to join you in my experiences. The false will try to join you first and stand up, through pride, and you tell them no, cos they will be stoned, and you have to walk it alone, but they will insist and get stoned. Then you don't have just have to take what you are getting for the Glory of God, but you have an added job of then defending the stoned ones. You aren't just protecting the crucifiers from themselves, but an added load too.

So no, I would not sign up. Pray that John Macurthur keeps these feet he has got and stays stood upright and strong in the war - yes! Sign no.

God Bless, hope your 90 goes to 100 and you are at peace with the Lord!

#52  Posted by Tom Sheppard  |  Sunday, February 28, 2010at 1:19 PM

Great Article By, "Mike Gendron"

http://pro-gospel.org/x2/

The Coming One World Religion

The Vatican has been building strategic bridges to all Christian denominations and non-Christian religions for the purpose of bringing all people under the papacy. In a 1998 speech to the leaders of Islam, Pope John Paul declared: "Dialogue between our two religions (Islam and Catholicism) is more necessary than ever. There remains a spiritual bond which unites us and which we must strive to recognize and develop." Later in January of 2002 many of the most influential religious leaders of the world responded to the pope's invitation to gather in Assisi, Italy to discuss unity and peace. The pope, whom Catholics believe is the supreme head of the entire Christian Church, made all the leaders of non-Christian religions feel comfortable by removing all the images, crucifixes and icons of Jesus Christ.

Strategy for Christian Unity

The Vatican has a well defined and aggressive strategy for uniting all of Christianity under the papacy. Some of the elements of this master plan are outlined below:

I. Promote the opinion that Catholics, Orthodox and Protestants are all brothers-in- Christ and therefore must be reunited. This is why the Vatican is urging all "separated brethren" to come back home to Holy Mother, the Church, to enjoy the "fullness of salvation." Rome believes the salvation of Protestants cannot be complete unless and until they receive the transubstantiated Christ in the Eucharist.

II. Another important part of their strategy is to redefine evangelical terms in vague and ambiguous words to make them acceptable to both Catholics and Protestants. This strategy has been used effectively in their recent unity accords with Evangelicals and Lutherans. They have also been effective in identifying and seducing highly visible and influential evangelicals to promote Catholicism as a valid expression of Christianity. III. The Vatican's strategy also involves exploiting post-modernism and the emerging church movement, which has gained widespread popularity. These movements have caused confusion, biblical ignorance and a lack of discernment within Protestant churches. In turn, these have produced fertile soil for seeds of deception and compromise to grow. Many who are uncertain of the true Gospel are easily deceived and willing to embrace the false gospel of Catholicism. IV. Rome is also encouraging tolerance of all faiths because tolerance unifies and brings peace, while doctrinal truth divides. Whenever doctrinal truth is suppressed there can be no distinction between believers and unbelievers. One example of the Vatican's push for tolerance is seen in a statement from the 1997 accord: The Gift of Salvation. It reads: "All who truly believe in Jesus Christ are brothers and sisters in the Lord and must not allow their differences, however important to undermine this great truth." Some of the differences cited that should never divide Evangelicals and Catholics were listed as: baptismal regeneration, the Eucharist, sacramental grace, justification, purgatory, indulgences, Marian devotion, the assistance of the saints in salvation, and the possibility of salvation for those who have not been evangelized. Clearly, each of these differences can not be tolerated because they all oppose the Gospel and bear eternal consequences for those who are on the wrong side of truth.

Same Story Different Verse

Rome attempted to reunite Catholics and Protestants in Germany in 1541 but Martin Luther gave this stern warning: "Popish writers pretend that they have always taught, what we now teach, concerning faith and good works, and that they are unjustly accused of the contrary, thus the wolf puts on the sheep skin till he gains admission in the fold." Three hundred years later another great preacher warned against unity with the Roman Catholic Church. Charles Spurgeon said: "There is a deep and indelible sentence of damnation written upon the apostate church...the curse is registered in heaven...its infamy is engraven in the rock forever...followers of Jesus, for their own sake as well as for their Lord's, should oppose it with all their might." The 21st century church needs more Luthers and Spurgeons to contend earnestly for the faith against the fatal errors of Catholicism.

Apostasy is Fueling the Push for Unity

In spite of the numerous Scriptural warnings of apostasy, many Protestants are returning "home to Rome." Nearly every documented case of Protestant apostates who departed to join the Catholic religion, gave one of three reasons. They were either convinced by some "early church fathers" that Catholicism is true, or they were compelled to become Catholic in order to marry a Catholic, or they joined because of pleasurable experience. We have never heard of anyone who became a Catholic because the Bible convinced them to do it.

Tragically, we seldom hear warnings against apostasy from our pulpits. Rarely are false teachers who lead people away from the true faith ever exposed. Apostates, who appear as ministers of righteousness, are facing very little opposition. They successfully deceive the undiscerning because pastors and church leaders are not contending against them. Very few Christian leaders are warning the church of these ferocious wolves dressed in sheep's clothing. The twenty-first century church needs strong leaders like the apostle Paul. He warned the early church, "even from your own number men will arise and distort the truth in order to draw away disciples after them. So be on your guard! Remember that for three years I never stopped warning each of you night and day with tears" (Acts 20:30-31). Throughout the Scriptures we are exhorted to test every spirit, every teacher and every doctrine because men are so easily deceived.

Two Kinds of Unity

Doctrine is what divides the true church from the emerging world religion. The Bible condemns any unity that is not founded in God's word. False unity is based upon man's ambitions and is always independent of God (Gen. 11:1-9). This type of unity will be a tool of the Antichrist (Rev. 17-18). On the other hand, biblical unity is based on apostolic truth and is a work of the Holy Spirit, not of man (Eph. 4:3,13; 1 Cor. 12:13).

One of the greatest dangers to Christianity today is the deliberate suppression of biblical truth for the sake of unity. The danger intensifies as we see influential Christian leaders jumping on the Vatican's ecumenical bandwagon. Instead of warning believers of this false unity, they applaud those who are creating it. Instead of obeying biblical exhortations to keep the Gospel pure, they are tolerating those who preach another gospel (Gal. 1:6-9). Rather than hating every false way, they are allowing the devil's lies to go unabated (Psalm 119:104). Instead of exposing false Christs and lying spirits they put up with them (2 Cor. 11:4).

What Are Christians To Do?

Christians must not tolerate anyone who willfully misrepresents the character or attributes of almighty God or His Gospel. A sound and loving rebuke, using scripture, is necessary to earnestly contend for the faith (Jude 3). To remain silent shows, either an indifference toward the Lord Jesus, or a greater loyalty to another person or institution.

We are commanded to separate from those who persist in false teaching (Rom.16:17; Titus 3:10). For some, this may mean finding another church. For others, it may mean withholding support from ministries that continue to compromise the Gospel. The apostles warned us that if we do not separate from false teachers we could either be disqualified for service, become identified with them and their error, or risk being partakers of their fate (2 Tim. 2:20; 2 John 10-11; Jude 11-13). May God help us all to stand firm and not be carried away by every wind of doctrine!

#53  Posted by Shona Cohen  |  Sunday, February 28, 2010at 3:04 PM

Did nobody notice here whilst questioning Brad...he didn't sign up. The people exhalted in here did! He is still questioning, that's all. Ok, a rocky place cos we dont know we have tomorrow, but at least he aint bought the banana!

#54  Posted by Elaine Bittencourt  |  Sunday, February 28, 2010at 3:49 PM

Brad. I guess I am late to reply, but here it goes. The Gospel should never be mistaken by social works, or morality. When Christians get together to stand up for a change in society, the best they will be able to achieve, if anything, is a change in behaviour, not a transformation in the hearts. The Gospel, only the Gospel, is capable of changing of hearts, thus changing the behaviour.

Yes, we should make clear to the world what we stand for, but knowing, always, that we first and foremost have been left here to preach the Gospel in all the world and to all nations. Not a social Gospel, not legalism.

So, to make my point. The Manhattan Declaration is the coming together of people who represent the true Gospel with people who profess "another Gospel." They profess another gospel not because they stand up for good morals and against immorality. They profess another gospel because their gospel is not the true gospel.

Grace Community Church distinctives are purely doctrinal. You can't compare MD with it. The "works" that Grace does through its members and as a Church is result of those doctrines. People are bound primarily by the gospel and its doctrines.

So I sit back and ask myself: what kind of alliances these two can have with each other? None.

Would an alliance like that glorify God? No.

I would sign the distinctives if I wanted to be member of Grace. As a matter of fact I'd love to move to Panorama City just because of that. Is it because I worship MacArthur? No. I am just hungry. Very hungry. And mostly alone. I have a church and most people refuse to exercise discernment (and I mean biblical discernment!). They say there's no difference from being judgemental. We have poor, weak leaders (and I am not refering to my church only). People don't want to stick their necks out. Sometimes I hear a sermon and I think "there, it's going to happen now", and right before it would, they turn a corner.

I attend a couple of bible studies a week at my church. One of them, interestingly enough, is 1 & 2 Peter, John MacArthur's study guide series (nothing to do with me, before I joined this church they had already choosen it). There are 6 people in my class, 1 is the teacher, 2 members (including myself), and the other 3 are ladies from a Catholic church. Do I use every opportunity to mention the true Gospel to them? You bet I do! I want them to be saved and now the truth!

It is with the same conviction that most of us here come to you, that you need to know the Truth, and be set free.

May God bless you,

E.

#55  Posted by Jennifer Cordeiro  |  Sunday, February 28, 2010at 7:21 PM

Dearest Elaine,

I have been reading your posts. I am praying for you. We have been living in the US for 4 years now without a church that believes like we do (same as GTY exactly).

Because you mentioned that you are from Brazil, I have thought often to tell you about the site of our church in Brazil. Our church there believes, teaches, and lives the same things as Grace Community Church. Some of our pastor's sermons are on the site, and I have listened to them over and over again. The address is: http://www.ibbplanalto.org/

May our Lord bless you, and comfort you dear sister!

Because of all He has done for us!

Jennifer

#56  Posted by Elaine Bittencourt  |  Monday, March 01, 2010at 7:11 AM

Hi Jennifer!

I am from Brazil, but like you I don't live there, I live in Canada (Toronto area). I am checking the website, is there anything else about the church there? I only see the audio/video page.

Where is this church located?

Thank you! Um abraco grande!

In Christ,

E.

#57  Posted by Jennifer Cordeiro  |  Monday, March 01, 2010at 10:06 AM

Hi Elaine,

The church is located in Fortaleza, CE. The name of the church is Igreja Batista Biblica do Planalto. Planalto is the neighborhood. The site at this point only has an audio section-as it is still in progress.

I am originally from California, but only found out about Pastor MacArthur while living in Brazil-through my husband, who is from Brazil. :)

I still have a lot to learn. Praise to our God who is so patient and merciful!

Um abraco tmbm para vc.

In Christ,

Jennifer

Thank you to the Grace to You team for this blog site, and for the many resources you place here. Thank you too to Pastor MacArthur. And of course Thanks most of all to God who opens our ears to hear the Good News of the Gospel, and for Jesus and all He has done for us!

#58  Posted by Jennifer Cordeiro  |  Monday, March 01, 2010at 10:13 AM

Elaine-correction-the church's name is Igreja Biblica Batista do Planalto. There we always refer to it as IBBP-and in my previous post I incorrectly put the Batista before Biblica.

#59  Posted by Elaine Bittencourt  |  Monday, March 01, 2010at 11:51 AM

Jennifer, since I posted earlier I did some searching and found the Pastor's blog, but it seems that it's not very active. I did leave him a msg. though. I figured the church would be located in that area of Brazil by his accent, but I wasn't sure. I am originally from South of Brazil, people from North of Brazil more or less sound all the same to me! No offense intended! =)

anyway, maybe you could drop me an email at elainebitt@gmail.com so we don't highjack the blog?

Grace and Peace,

E.

#60  Posted by Mark Smith  |  Tuesday, March 02, 2010at 7:06 AM

Comment deleted by user.
#61  Posted by Dee Hendon  |  Tuesday, March 02, 2010at 6:05 PM

ISIAH 5:21

DEE

#62  Posted by Brenda Green  |  Friday, March 05, 2010at 11:34 PM

I signed the declaration. I signed it because of the many evangelical preachers who did and who I admire very much. They are our teachers and preachers, the bible says they who teach will be doubly accountable. I figured it was a good thing to do. SOmetimes we do not think as critically as we should. I am not a babe in Christ, I'm not a heathen and those who say negative, harsh things about those who did sign the declaration ought to examine their faith as well and remember that we are brothers and sisters in Christ, even if we are not all Calvinists or reformationists, but rather that we believe in Jesus as our Lord and Savior. Yes, we do! Don't throw us to the curb just because we believe that their are Christians in every church, even though it may be just one, Christianity is not exclusive to us. I love J. McArthur, listen to him everyday, but I'm not a McArthur follower. We need to think for ourselves.

#63  Posted by Elaine Bittencourt  |  Saturday, March 06, 2010at 5:27 AM

# 62 - Brenda.

If you are implying true believers and Catholics are brothers and sisters because we all believe in Jesus, sorry, no, I don't believe we are, and that's not my opinion, the Bible says so. And for not being a babe in the faith you should know better, use your discernment.

Now, a point I want to make. You finished your comment with this statement: "We need to think for ourselves." You started your comment with this statement: "I signed it because of the many evangelical preachers who did and who I admire very much"

Grace and Peace,

E.

#64  Posted by Brad Pape  |  Saturday, March 06, 2010at 6:50 AM

Hi Brenda

I am a professing Christian who is not a Calvinist. I accept you as a sister in Christ based on the reasons you give in post 62. We do not need to agree on everything to be brothers and sisters in Christ. I understand and accpet that close fellowship requires more agreement (Acts 15:39) but I refuse to condemn those who do not thing exactly like me because I want to see Christians full of life (2 Corinthians 3:6). Note also the post at the bottom of this page (Proverbs 12:18): it gives me hope for unity with all who post here.

You will likely appreciate the message at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y2oKyIaR3LI and it has good food for thought for all Christians.

My testimony is posted at http://www.myspace.com/philippians312. That is not to boast but to show that I, like you, am not a baby in Christ.

Brad