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The Manhattan Declaration will soon surpass 300,000 signatures. Considered "a call of Christian conscience," and endorsed by more than 140 religious leaders, the declaration boldly endorses: 1) the sanctity of human life, including of the unborn, 2) the sanctity of heterosexual marriage, and 3) religious liberty. Have you considered signing the declaration? And more importantly, would Jesus?
Whether or not to sign the Manhattan Declaration raises two interesting questions. First, does the declaration fully align with Scripture? And second; what should be a Christian's approach toward these types of movements?
Certainly, Jesus would support the sanctity of human life. The Sixth Commandment clearly forbids murder (Exodus 20:13). And Psalms 139:13–16, Jeremiah 1:5, Luke 1:15 and elsewhere are examples of the unborn baby being known by God and special to Him, even while still in the womb. God's faithful Church continues to powerfully teach these principles. See the articles: "The Deception of Abortion," "Abortion: A Modern Holocaust?" and "Abortion: A Deadly Game of Terminology."
Christ would certainly approve of the sanctity of heterosexual marriage. Genesis 2:24 provides the basis for marriage – a union between a man and a woman. In Romans 1, Paul writes that homosexuality is "unclean" (v. 24), "vile" (v. 26), "shameful" (v. 27), "debased" (v. 28) and "immoral" (v. 29). And while God desires all to repent, regardless of the sin (Acts 2:38), I Corinthians 6:9-10 shows that those practicing homosexuality will not be admitted into the Kingdom. God's faithful Church likewise continues to teach powerfully these principles. Notice the articles: "The Plain Truth About Homosexuality!," "From Closet to Mainstream: The Homosexual Agenda" and "Promoting Evil, Condemning Good!"
However, the third assertion requires deeper discussion. While religious liberty is a cherished and founding principle upon which this nation was built, for which we should be very thankful, Jesus did not promote religious liberty during His ministry and He will not tolerate religious liberty at His return. No Christian should ever coerce or discriminate, and all Christians should live peaceful, non-violent lives (Matthew 5:39, Luke 6:35), But Jesus instructed His Apostles to go into all the nations "teaching them to observe all things" that He had commanded them (Matthew 28:19–20)—not to preach that it is "OK" with God to practice religion however one wishes.
While people are free moral agents, God's Church is nonetheless commissioned to teach Biblical truth to those whom God calls (John 6:44) in the hope that those people "choose life" (Deuteronomy 30:19). Further, we know that when Christ returns as King of kings, He will establish true Biblical religion throughout the entire earth (Revelation 5:9–10; 17:12–18).
An honest look at Scripture reveals that Christ does not approve of "religious liberty" as it is now practiced, and He will not tolerate "religious liberty" or "worshipping as you please" in His coming Kingdom (Zechariah 14:18)! So, Jesus would not sign the Manhattan Declaration.
And this leads us to the second question. What should be a Christian's approach toward these types of movements? Simply stated, while a true Christian prays and even fasts for justice and righteousness (Isaiah 58:6–7) and helps those in need (Luke 10:33–37), a true Christian also understands that we are now ambassadors in this world (2 Corinthians 5:20), and our "citizenship" is ultimately in heaven (Philippians 3:20).
As an ambassador, our primary focus is to represent the coming Kingdom of God and not to become involved in this world's movements (I Corinthians 5:12), even if many of the movement's stated aims are noble. Instead, our focus is to live lawful lives (Matt 22:17-21, Romans 13:1-2), while dedicating our energy and our prayers to supporting the proclamation of the good news of the coming Kingdom of God (Mark 16:15).
We look to Christ's return as the time when perfect government, peace and righteousness will be established throughout the earth (Revelation 17:14; Isaiah 9:6–7). For more on this wonderful future, please request The World Ahead: What Will It Be Like?
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