Amidst the onslaught of tyranny flowing from what is now our own Red Square in Washington, D.C., we are witnessing the development of our version of Poland’s Solidarity movement. I was privileged to be part of a gathering of some of the most outstanding Christian scholars, clergy, theologians and organizational leaders of our day a couple of months ago. Standing before us was the man whom many, myself included, consider the reigning “patriarch” of biblically grounded, Christ-centered cultural reformation, Chuck Colson. Standing next to him and moderating the meeting was the dynamic Robert George of Princeton University.
The Manhattan Declaration was launched into the public sphere of spiritual, cultural, moral and political battle last Friday as the result of that meeting and represents what all present believe to be the foundational issues of our day. Life, marriage and religious liberty rise above even health care, national debt, economic recessions and, I would propose, even national security.
The reason is simple in that as Scripture admonishes us and legions of clergy from Jonathan Mayhew to James Kennedy, Christian leaders from John Winthrop to James Dobson and historians/scholars from John Witherspoon to David Barton, Marshall Foster and Peter Marshall have challenged us:
If the foundations be destroyed, what can the righteous do? (Psalm 11:3)
The soul-selling political prostitution that occurred over the weekend as enough key Democrats were purchased by their party leaders to achieve a cloture vote in the Senate on the Stalinist takeover of our health-care system was a tragic fruit of a nation that has lived as if we can serve two masters.
Take for example the raising of the abortion funding issue that we scurried to oppose – meaning that if that provision were taken out we essentially acquiesced that we could live with the rest of this Obamination. We exulted in changing poll numbers that averaged “only” 47 percent of those surveyed in favor and 48 percent opposed.
Once again we see a nation in a civil war of basic values, and one side must prevail. A partial win for radical socialism is a complete defeat for freedom and liberty. How did we get here?
We somehow think that we can slaughter babies, unplug the elderly, devalue the “imperfect,” glorify perversity, devalue and undefine marriage, and oppress the preaching and public practice of Christian worship without catastrophic consequences.
Wrong. God cannot and will not restore our nation economically until we get it right spiritually and morally.
With the other signers of the Declaration, I urge every concerned citizen in general and pastor in particular to take 15 minutes to read and absorb the principles outlined in this statement. They are not new, they are not revolutionary, and they don’t represent anything other than a return to the essential standards of truth given by our Creator through His written word, the life, death and resurrection of our Savior Jesus Christ, and given to us by the blood of the martyrs.
What has been missing are men of God who have the love for Him to die to self, ambition, position, comfort, status and functional idol worship for the sake of taking up the baton handed to us by our forebears at the price of their lives, fortunes and sacred honor.
In that room in New York and what I have been finding in every city in the United States where I have been privileged to serve in working on these issues are such men and women, clergy and laity, who represent The Remnant that God promised He would always retain.
When the prophet Elijah despaired, “And I alone am left; and they seek my life, to take it away” (1 Kings 19:14), God told him not to fear and, “Yet I will leave 7,000 in Israel, all the knees that have not bowed to Baal and every mouth that has not kissed him” (1 Kings 19:18).
The Manhattan Declaration concludes a powerful compilation of timeless truth by asserting our commitment to be among those today who, at whatever cost is required, will indeed lay down all we have, all we are and all we ever hope to be for the greater cause of the sanctity of all innocent life, the sanctity and vitality of marriage and the nonnegotiable of the freedom to exercise our faith:
Because we honor justice and the common good, we will not comply with any edict that purports to compel our institutions to participate in abortions, embryo-destructive research, assisted suicide and euthanasia, or any other antilife act; nor will we bend to any rule purporting to force us to bless immoral sexual partnerships, treat them as marriages or the equivalent, or refrain from proclaiming the truth, as we know it, about morality and immorality and marriage and the family. We will fully and ungrudgingly render to Caesar what is Caesar’s. But under no circumstances will we render to Caesar what is God’s.