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Thoughts Concerning the Manhattan Declaration December 23, 2009

Posted by roberttalley in Abortion, Civil Disobedience, Manhattan Declaration, Politics, Religion.

The Manhattan Declaration has raised a number of questions among our attendees.

1. Is civil disobedience Biblical for the believer in Christ? The short answer is yes. The Bible, however, defines civil disobedience fairly narrowly. In Acts 5:29, Peter replied to the authorities, “We ought to obey God rather than men.” They were being commanded not to preach the gospel of Christ. The purpose of their civil disobedience was not to earn recognition for their cause. In fact, that was the problem from the point of view of the authorities. They were gaining recognition for Christ by their preaching. These men were simply doing what they were commanded to do.

2. What about paying taxes to governments that allow or pay for abortions, gay marriage, etc.? Jesus according to Matthew 17:24-27 paid the temple tax although the temple rulers were corrupt (which is why he cleansed the temple twice!). He also taught the lawfulness of paying taxes to Caesar in Matthew 22:15-22. Paul teaches in Romans 13 that paying taxes even to the pagan Roman government was the Christian thing to do. Fortunately, we have in a democracy a voice in the government but whether we do have a voice (as Jesus did in the temple, it was His Father’s house) or whether we do not (as Jesus did not in the Roman government) we are still subject to the laws. Only when commanded to disobey God personally do we have the option of disobeying the government. Since we are commanded to warn against sin, being forbidden to preach against abortion or gay marriage would certainly be an area where we must obey God.

3. Should Grace Bible Church ally itself in the way some evangelicals did by co-signing the Manhattan Declaration with non-Christians or with those who claim to be Christian but whose doctrine we believe disqualify them from being truly Christian? It is profitable, sometimes, in a democracy to ally ourselves with those who see as we do on an issue. It, however, is not wise to allow our good intentions to confuse people as to what a Christian truly is. To ally ourselves with those who do not recognize Jesus Christ as the Son of God and the only way of salvation is a denial of who we are as believers in Christ. To ally ourselves with those who are in a group that teaches that their church or that good works are the way to God is a denial of the efficacy of the cross of Christ (Galatians 2:14-21) and to be avoided at all costs.

For the above reasons, I will obey God rather than men. If I am commanded not to preach the truth, I will disobey. I will not, however, ally myself with false teachers with the possible result that people will be led astray from the truth concerning Christ and His gospel.