25 thoughts on “The Manhattan Declaration”

  1. Rhology,

    I'm going to have to agree with you on this one. We definitely don't hold to the same Gospel.

    (Can you believe we finally found something we agree on?)

  2. I didn't sign it either. Seems like a waste of time telling people things about us they already know. We should work on things locally (like, say, working to make sure our families in our parishes know and practice the faith).

    Meh.

  3. Reader David,

    You both really got me today! I'm used to having to argue in my comboxes!

    I agree with you, though, about our focus; though I think that the declaration is a good reminder to “the man” that a good many of us “down here” don't like the way things are going “up there.” But they'll take that for what it's worth, I guess…

    Thanks for killing my enthusiasm. 😉

  4. 3 questions, based on all this:

    1) Rdr David, I thought you supported it, given your Facebook post about it. Did you change your mind?

    2) DavidW, if we don't hold to the same Gospel, how is it that you've said that I'm not headed for Hell (if my current trajectory holds)? Did you change your mind on that, or is your Gospel not all that central to how one escapes damnation?

    3) You seem not to agree on this, but is the outside observer to understand that you really are unified? “We're unified on everything, just not on that,” kind of thing?

    Peace,
    Rhology

  5. 2. I trust in the loving mercy of our good God and Father.

    3. Are you asking why Rdr. David & I aren't “unified” on our view of the Manhattan Declaration? I apologize if I'm misunderstanding your question, but the MD is hardly an essential matter of Faith, if a matter of Faith at all.

  6. #3 – yes. And who said anything about essential matters of faith? You guys complain about my peeps all the time for things that aren't essential matters of faith and crow “disunity!!!”. Just thought I'd return the favor.

  7. 2. “With God all things are possible.” – Matthew 19:26.

    3. Hm… I don't know that I've ever done that. The Trinity, the Nature of Christ, the Eucharist, Baptism, the nature of Grace — these are essential matters of Faith on which the various Protestant organizations agree. I'd never fault you because you like chocolate ice cream and a Methodist likes vanilla.

  8. David,

    I'm not quite sure where I stand on this declaration. Men of all different faiths, no faiths, and belief systems signed the Declaration of Independence. But that was quite a different matter. I need some time to think on this one and hear what greater minds have to say. Of course, even there, there is disagreement. Al Mohler of the SBC signed it to many folks surprise. And if one looks at the names, quite a few from the Prot. camp signed it. Thus far I will say, I think signing this is a matter of conscience and no one should be condemned or severely criticized for doing so.

    Rhology,

    If you would like to get a better perspective on the Orthodox position, I suggest you listen to Fr. Stephen Damick's presentations on Orthodoxy and Heterodoxy on AFR. If you have the stomach for it, that is. 🙂 This matter of non-orthodox is addressed there, I think under the Classical Reformation. If not, I'll get back to you on this. Unless you have the patience (and desire) to wade through listening to all of the presentations.

    Christ be with you all.

  9. Darlene,

    I definitely support the content and intent of the MD. It doesn't bother me that Protestants, with whom I disagree deeply on many things, drafted it and signed it. As St. Basil said (to very roughly paraphrase), whatever agrees with Christianity is Christian. I also think this is the type of “ecumenism” that the Church should be engaging in — combining forces with other Christian organizations in order to make our collective voice just that much louder on moral and social issues. Talks on theological matters like we've had ongoing with the Lutherans and RCs for so long now, usually end up just frustrating both sides. And then there's the Orthodox participation in the World Council of Churches in which we're drowned out by the sheer number of Protestant participants and end up seeming to endorse things we don't (like an invisible, universal “church of all believers”).

    I also see Reader David's point, though. And he kind of gets at something that bothers me about the relationship between faith and politics in America — which is inconsistency. I don't know if Rdr. David will agree with me here, but I see a serious problem with the same political and religious groups that are most vocally “pro-life” also being the most vocal in opposition to universal health care and in support of the death penalty. I think that position is tenuous because it's so inconsistent — as if being “pro-life” meant simply “anti-abortion.”

    Don't get me wrong, I know good Christians (both Orthodox and heterodox) on both sides of the health care debate (and I have my own misgivings about the way things are going in said debate right now) and I've even met some with some good reasons to support the death penalty. But, I've also heard people who are vigorously opposed to gay marriage solely because of religious conviction say that charity is the individual, personal responsibility of Christians and that universal health care is forcing it on people who don't necessarily espouse those values. I see those two positions as inconsistent — you can't use your faith to vote against two men getting married, and then say it's a “personal” matter when it comes to charity.

    Maybe I'm just an all or nothing type of person. But that's the way I see it.

    And I keep hearing about the Orthodox and heterodox podcast at AFR from a lot of people — I'll have to check it out when I get a chance!

    In Christ,

    David

  10. DavidW,

    2) You don't think quoting Matt 19:26 in reply to that question is just a tad out of context?
    3) You don't think that an issue of uniting in common cause with those who hold explicitly to another Gospel (ie, evangelicals, Calvinists) is a theological issue?
    And OK, let's say you've never done that before. You've never called a Calvinist on the carpet for not having unity on non-essential matters with other Calvinists, but other EOdox have. That's not disagreement between the two of you? On a non-essential matter? And that's all OK, b/c you're all EOdox brothers? Not special pleading?

    Darlene,

    Thanks! I'll listen to it. Hopefully I can find it, haha. And I do have the stomach, believe me. I listen to Catholic Answers Live all the time, atheists, emergents, etc. Prying open the mind is healthy.

  11. 2. Not really — As I said, I trust in the loving mercy of our God and Father, with whom all things are possible — and I leave it at that.

    3. You don't think that an issue of uniting in common cause with those who hold explicitly to another Gospel (ie, evangelicals, Calvinists) is a theological issue?

    Depends on what said “common cause” happens to be. If you and another man came across a drowning baby would you stop to ask that man's religious beliefs before you two got to work to save the child? I certainly hope not.

    You've never called a Calvinist on the carpet for not having unity on non-essential matters with other Calvinists, but other EOdox have.

    And they were wrong. The Church on earth is full of sinners — that's why we're in the Church, because we're sinners in need of healing.

    Most members of the KKK in the first half of the 20th century were Baptists — I'm not holding you accountable for their actions, am I?

    That said, remember that we also disagree on what is and is not essential to the Faith.

    That's not disagreement between the two of you? On a non-essential matter? And that's all OK, b/c you're all EOdox brothers? Not special pleading?

    No, you're just using bad logic. I don't think anybody every claimed that Orthodox Christians agree on every single possible opinion a human being can hold — if anybody has, they were wrong. What we agree on, and where our unity lies, is in holding to the Apostolic Faith as taught by the Apostles and passed on and preserved by the Fathers.

  12. David,

    Answered here.

    When I was considering conversion to EOC, this is one of the things that bothered me greatly – your theology doesn't make a very big deal out of sin. It's only gotten worse and more obvious in the years since I stopped considering it.

    Peace,
    Rhology

  13. I don't know what you mean by “very big deal.” If you mean we don't take it very, very seriously, you are very, very mistaken.

    Sin is a sickness in the heart of man — the only truly fatal sickness. Sin is cancer of the soul — we take cancer of the flesh very seriously; how much seriously must we take cancer of the soul!

    Perhaps I'm misunderstanding your statement here and you mean something else than what I'm responding to, though. Maybe you can elucidate a little?

  14. “your theology doesn't make a very big deal out of sin.”

    Rho, then I would have to say that you have completely misunderstood Orthodoxy altogether. Such a statement shows you did not learn the heart of Orthodoxy while searching in that direction. If you had, you would not make such a statement.

    The Fathers of the Church, which are heralded and loved by the Orthodox faith again and again, stress the effect that sin has on our souls. The nature and life of the Orthodox faith is one of repentance and sorrow for one's sins. The attitude of seriousness toward sin and its effects is integral to Orthodox life and worship. And this life is directly connected to and joined with the Blessed Triune God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. God dwelling in us and we in Him.

    May Christ refresh your heart.

  15. R.: ” You don't think that an issue of uniting in common cause with those who hold explicitly to another Gospel (ie, evangelicals, Calvinists) is a theological issue?”

    Wha…..?

    This is so irrational, it leaves me speechless.

    According to you then, one couldn't unite in a common cause against say Nazi-ism, with anybody who wasn't lockstep with you theologically?

    Wow.

  16. one couldn't unite in a common cause against say Nazi-ism, with anybody who wasn't lockstep with you theologically?

    It's far more subtle than you're giving it credit for.

    1) I didn't say “lockstep with me theologically”, did I? Nope.
    I DID mention the Gospel specifically.

    2) I wouldn't sign a doc of common cause with someone to fight against Nazi-ism that also mentioned that we hold to the same Gospel, if we don't hold to the same Gospel.
    If the MD didn't contain that part, I'd probably sign it myself. The Gospel is, however, far more precious than earthly victory over Nazis.

  17. 1) I didn't say “lockstep with me theologically”, did I? Nope.
    I DID mention the Gospel specifically.

    If that's the case, then please explain how the Gospel of the Orthodox differs from the Gospel as you explain it in your post on the topic.

  18. You're confusing categories. My reason for not signing the MD is b/c you hold to a false Gospel, biblically speaking.

    I described a more general definition of “Gospel” for the blogpost that was meant to demonstrate your politically correct inclusivist yeah-you're-fine-w/o-Christ-ism, one that'e even broader than that which you WERE using when you kept saying ppl can be saved apart from it.

  19. Rho:

    Do you really not understanding how you misled me and how you're taking my words of context to make it seem I support a position I don't.

    Let me state it definitively for you: NO ONE CAN BE SAVED APART FROM JESUS CHRIST.

    In saying that you can be saved, I was referring to the fact that you are a believer in Jesus Christ — and therefore a believer in the Gospel which you explained in your post, but not in the fullness of the Gospel as preserved in the Church. I believe that people can be saved without the latter, but not without the former.

    An admission that you are mischaracterizing my words and an apology for misrepresenting my position would be nice, but I don't expect it. I hope at least that I've clarified myself enough.

  20. Don't accuse ME of misrepresenting your position. You did that all by yourself, and in doing so owe ME an apology for going back on what you said.

    I'd asked: God's loving mercy unto relief from damnation (ie, salvation) is granted outside of the Gospel?

    You answered: “With God all things are possible.” – Matthew 19:26.
    IOW, yes.

    I don't know what else I need to say in my own defense here. But I am glad, sincerely, that you don't really think that, b/c there's far too much of that gibberish going on in the modern USA.

  21. Rho and David, it is evident that you are both speaking past each other. The twain shall not meet and arguing like children in the playground will accomplish nothing for the cause of Christ.

    “Apologize to me!” “No, you apologize to me!” “I don't expect an apology from you and I see no reason for me to apologize.” Such back and forth is immature and unbefitting for followers of Christ.

    David, you signed the declaration and Rho refuses to. Leave it at that. Your reasons at this point have become moot and clouded by insistence on positions that in and of themselves may be meaningful to you as individuals, but are not binding on the conscience of Christians. Many opinions have been circulated regarding this declaration, and those seeking to honor Christ fall on BOTH sides of the fence.

    I urge those who would argue about signing or not signing this document to avoid senseless controversies as the Scriptures admonish us.

    Each person is bound by their personal convictions in this matter of signing or refraining from signing, but it is not a matter of obedience or disobedience to the Christian faith.

    I caution all to let it be and move on for such wrangling does not profit anyone but only serves to encourage strife.

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