Mike Gendron happens to be a good, godly man, a first-class apologist and evangelist to Roman Catholics. He’s also a broadcast partner at Worldview Weekend, where the Pulpit & Pen Program is also posted. Gendron, Brannon Howse and others – including John Macarthur – have spoken out about the ecumenist language used in the Manhattan Declaration. Many have signed the document and reconsidered after hearing their concerns. And their concerns, quite frankly, are legitimate.
John MacArthur gives his reasons for not signing the document at Grace to You:
The Declaration therefore constitutes a formal avowal of brotherhood between Evangelical signatories and purveyors of different gospels. That is the stated intention of some of the key signatories, and it’s hard to see how secular readers could possibly view it in any other light. Thus for the sake of issuing a manifesto decrying certain moral and political issues, the Declaration obscures both the importance of the gospel and the very substance of the gospel message.
Mike Gendron writes…
Although it is good to unite as co-belligerents with one voice to fight moral and political issues, any accord that attempts to overlook, dismiss, nullify or compromise the Gospel is antithetical to the command for all Christians to earnestly contend for the faith… we must remember that this is a spiritual battle which can only be won through fervent prayer and the proclamation of the true Gospel, a Gospel that is denied by every Catholic priest when he offers the Eucharistic Christ upon his altar for the forgiveness of sins. If Evangelicals must put their names on accords, why not remain sanctified and set apart by drafting our own accords?
Alistair Begg on the Manhattan Declaration…
In accord with others who have chosen not to sign, my reservation is not with the issues themselves, or in standing with others who share the same concerns, but it is in signing a declaration along with a group of leading churchmen, when I happen to believe that the teaching of some of their churches is in effect a denial of the biblical gospel…the necessary co-belligerence, as far as I’m concerned, can never be rooted in a Gospel other than that which has been given to us.
Gendron’s website recently released a letter sent to the Manhattan Declaration organization by a well-intentioned couple and received a, well…less than uniting response from its executive director, steeped in anything but Christian charity among believers. Their letter conveyed their dismay, upon discovering the ecumenism present within the declaration, and asked that their names be removed and confirmed accordingly.
Eric Teetsel, director of the Manhattan Declaration (who the Pulpit & Pen has written about previously,) responded with a jaw-droppingly angry and unseemly response toward the couple and any who would suggest the Manhattan Declaration was ecumenical in nature or compromising of the Gospel.
It is simply a lie that our movement is an attempt to unite different faith traditions as one. Indeed, From the beginning we have denied Muslim, Mormon, Jewish, and others from signing because we are an explicitly Christian organization. While we do recognize the many denominations that comprise the orthodox Christian tradition, we are explicit that we unite on behalf of life, marriage, and liberty in spite of our differences. We do not color over those differences or pretend they aren’t real, and meaningful. We simply agree to disagree about the “peas and carrots” because we share a core common belief in the essentials of Christian faith.
I don’t know who told you otherwise, but I am aware there are a number of ignorant, angry rabble rousers who regularly lie about us to serve their small, twisted propagandas. Some are filled with hate for those who don’t comply with their own specific version of Christianity. These fools harm and hinder the Gospel, and are in for a rude awakening upon meeting The Lord. I hope you steer clear of them. Others are simply misinformed, or uninformed. Though theirs is the lesser evil, it is still unacceptable and harmful to the cause of Christ. I hope you will push back, and educate them as to the true nature of the Manhattan Declaration. It’s too important to become lost in a lie.
It’s here that Teetsel wildly swings and windmills. No one (that we’ve heard of ) has accused the Manhattan Declaration of syncretism (the combining of groups classically identified as entirely different religions), but ecumenism (among groups that claim Christian heritage). He attacks the strawman, claiming – as everyone knows and no one disagrees with – that they do not encourage Mormons, Muslims or Jews to sign. And while the couple did mention Islam, it was only in the context of comparing it to the false religion of Roman Catholicism, which should hardly be controversial to the evangelical or Protestant believer. Likewise, note that the divide between Rome and Protestantism Teetsel calls mere “peas and carrots.”
Notice that Teetsel refers to critics as a “number of ignorant, angry rabble rousers.” No doubt, this includes MacArthur, Begg, Gendron, Howse and Hall. We are the ignorant, angry rabble rousers to which he refers. Of course, he charges us with “lies” serving our “small, twisted propagandas.” In short, the small and twisted propagandas include a two primary accusations…the declaration presumes Roman Catholics are Christians and secondly, makes the Gospel a moot point and insignificant consideration.
Teetsel then accuses critics of being filled with hate toward those “who don’t comply with their own, specific version of Christianity” (you might recall, he insinuated that JD’s criticism of Lifeway made him a part of Westboro Baptist Church). By that , we presume, those who hold that salvation is by faith alone, through grace alone, in Christ alone. You know, those “peas and carrots,” petty, insignificant things like that.
And then, to top it off, Teetsel accuses his fellow (presumed) brothers in Christ as fools (Matthew 5:22), who harm the cause of Christ and warns of impending judgment.
We’ll remind you that in the wake of #the15 movement, Teetsel was among the most outspoken defenders of both Ed Stetzer’s ungodly treatment toward Lifeway critics who were upset at their peddling of Heaven Tourism and Russell Moore’s budding ecumenism. Teetsel sent angry tweet after angry tweet toward Pulpit & Pen, replete with incessant insults and low-blows. In short, the Manhattan Declaration’s executive director – who blames critics of “hatred” and being “angry” – seems to be, in writing, one of the most hateful and angry critics today.
Part of the Intellectual Intelligentsia, Teetsel and his Manhattan Declaration are simply smarter than you ignorant, ill-informed bumpkins who think you can read for yourself. Seeing any ecumenism in the document makes you crazy, stupid and ignorant. Oh, and angry. And in danger of judgment. Your evangelical overlords know what’s best for you rabble-rousing ignoramuses.
And if you don’t like that, you’re probably just full of hate and twisting propaganda. You haters.
If you would like to take your name off of the Manhattan Declaration or speak to Eric Teetsel, his contact number info is:
Executive Director, Manhattan Declaration
Office (703) 554-8602
Mobile (202) 306-6266
P.O. Box 1396
Ashburn, VA 20147