The Manhattan Declaration: “Evangelical” Ecumenists Unite with Rome to Advance Rome’s Cause

The Manhattan Declaration, PDF Format

On the 20th November 2009, the Manhattan Declaration: A Call of Christian Conscience was released, and is taking the ecumenical world by storm.[1] It says: “We, as Orthodox, Catholic, and Evangelical Christians, have gathered, beginning in New York on September 28, 2009, to make the following declaration, which we sign as individuals, not on behalf of our organizations, but speaking to and from our communities.  We act together in obedience to the one true God, the triune God of holiness and love, who has laid total claim on our lives and by that claim calls us with believers in all ages and all nations to seek and defend the good of all who bear his image.  We set forth this declaration in light of the truth that is grounded in Holy Scripture, in natural human reason (which is itself, in our view, the gift of a beneficent God), and in the very nature of the human person.  We call upon all people of goodwill, believers and non-believers alike, to consider carefully and reflect critically on the issues we here address as we, with St. Paul, commend this appeal to everyone’s conscience in the sight of God.”

The document defines what it is about, with the following statement in its preamble:

“While the whole scope of Christian moral concern, including a special concern for the poor and vulnerable, claims our attention, we are especially troubled that in our nation [the United States] today the lives of the unborn, the disabled, and the elderly are severely threatened; that the institution of marriage, already buffeted by promiscuity, infidelity and divorce, is in jeopardy of being redefined to accommodate fashionable ideologies; that freedom of religion and the rights of conscience are gravely jeopardized by those who would use the instruments of coercion to compel persons of faith to compromise their deepest convictions.”  The document, then, is concerned with three issues: “Life” (against abortion, euthanasia, etc.); “Marriage” (against promiscuity, homosexuality, etc.); and “Religious Liberty”.

There have been a number of good, detailed analyses and exposés of the Manhattan Declaration. One that we would recommend was written by ex-priest Richard Bennett, entitled Catholic Agenda Embedded in the Manhattan Declaration.[2] There is no need, here, to write a lengthy analysis along similar lines, for the declaration itself is fairly straightforward and simple, and any true Christian who critiques it would in general do so for the same reasons as all other true Christians would.  Thus, although we most certainly add our voice of condemnation to the declaration, if we were to analyse it in depth we would be merely repeating the good labours of other men.

In brief, however, it is a very simple matter to lay out why true Christians must oppose it, and that is because it is a thoroughly ecumenical document! If there was no other reason than this for opposing it, this one would be sufficient.

This fact is made very evident in the quotation given above from the document: “We, as Orthodox, Catholic, and Evangelical Christians, have gathered… to make the following declaration…. We act together in obedience to the one true God…”  It does not matter what “good” points there may be in the document; the fact that it was a thoroughly ecumenical project, with professed “Evangelicals” working on it, and signing it together, with Romanists and Eastern Orthodox, those enemies of the Lord Jesus Christ, His Church and His Gospel, is all that any true Christian needs to know in order to reject the document with disgust and contempt.  Regardless of any “good” points it might make, it is nothing less than a betrayal of Christ and His Gospel.  And as one reads through it, one sees the subtle attempts to present Romanism and Eastern Orthodoxy as Christian.

Various top-ranking Roman Catholic officials have enthusiastically signed the document, which proves its ecumenical nature.  One of the original signatories, Romish bishop Salvatore Cordileone, stated: “I can say that this gathering in Manhattan and the Declaration which ensued represent a critical turning point in our nation’s history and a new ecumenical moment.  After centuries of differences and at times even hostilities, we experienced a new sense of unity, common purpose and just plain joy to be in each other’s company.  We realized that we can still respect differences while also doing what Pope John XXIII urged us: to focus on what unites us.” [3] There we have it, straight from the horse’s mouth.  No true Christian should put his signature to a document enthusiastically endorsed by the bishops and priests of Antichrist.  True Christians simply cannot unite with false ones in order to fight against society’s evils, without betraying the cause of Christ and His truth.  There can be no common ground between believer and unbeliever, righteousness and unrighteousness, light and darkness, Christ and Belial (2 Cor. 6:14-18).  And we cannot fight evil by joining with the forces of evil.  The Lord will never bless such efforts.

Besides, the very things which the document claims it is seeking to defend – life, marriage, and religious liberty – have been destroyed by Romanism throughout the centuries.  The Papacy claims to be “pro-life” but has massacred millions; it claims to be pro-marriage but refuses to allow its priests to marry and is a system riddled with sodomites; and it claims to defend religious liberty but has denied religious liberty to Protestants and others wherever it has had the power to do so.  Thus, in addition to everything else, the Manhattan Declaration is a document of utter hypocrisy, and it is disgraceful that men claiming to be “Evangelicals” have signed it.  They clearly are not true Evangelicals, and do not even understand the real nature of the Gospel and its call for total separation.  By signing this document, they are in fact proclaiming, not the Gospel of Jesus Christ, but the false “gospel” of Roman Catholic social justice!  We suspect, however, that many of them, being wolves in sheep’s clothing, know very well that they are advocating a Roman Catholic social justice agenda.

It is shocking – but not surprising – that so many so-called “Evangelicals” have signed it.  It is a sign of the doctrinal confusion, uncertainty and compromise of our times, and many of the signatories are men who have shown their true colours for many years, even decades.  Here is a list of some of them:

The drafting committee consisted of Robert George of Princeton University, a Roman Catholic; Timothy George of Beeson Divinity School and editor of the pro-ecumenical Christianity Today; and Chuck Colson of the Chuck Colson Center for Christian Worldview, a leading ecumenist for decades.

At the time of writing, some of the other prominent so-called “Evangelicals” who have signed it are:

Albert Mohler, president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary;

Leith Anderson, president of the National Association of Evangelicals, USA;

Jim Daly, president of Focus on the Family;

James Dobson of Focus on the Family;

J.I. Packer;

Josh McDowell, founder of Josh McDowell Ministry;

Michael L. Beresford, managing director of Church relations, Billy Graham Evangelistic Association;

Mark Bailey, president of Dallas Theological Seminary;

Robert C. Cannada, Jr., chancellor of Reformed Theological Seminary;

William Edgar, professor at Westminster Theological Seminary;

Michael Easley, president emeritus of Moody Bible Institute;

Cornelius Plantinga of Calvin Theological Seminary.

The above is just a very partial list.  There will be many more who will sign it.  It is gaining momentum daily.  At the time of writing there are over 430 000 signatories.  The Manhattan Declaration will reveal many more ecumenists within “Evangelical” ranks, showing just how riddled with heresy, compromise, confusion, and deceit the “Evangelical” world is.  God’s people have only one path open to them: to separate entirely from these men who have betrayed the Gospel of Christ, and to quit looking up to men in the “Evangelical” world merely because of their degrees, or the positions they occupy, or the books they have written.

“Who is on the Lord’s side? let him come unto me,” cried Moses when the people were worshipping the golden calf (Exod. 32:26).  “And all the sons of Levi gathered themselves unto him” – and thus severed themselves from the rest.  Today, those who are on the Lord’s side must make a clean break with compromise, error, heresy and sin, and gather themselves under the banner of Christ, separated from the mass of idolaters who falsely call themselves the Lord’s people.  “Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing” (2 Cor. 6:17).  The Manhattan Declaration is, truly, an unclean thing, and no child of God should touch it, nor align himself with those who are of Satan’s kingdom.

March 2010

Shaun Willcock is a minister of the Gospel, and lives in South Africa.  He runs Bible Based Ministries.  For other news articles (which may be downloaded and printed), as well as details about his books, audio messages, pamphlets, etc., please visit the Bible Based Ministries website; or write to the address below.  If you would like to be on Bible Based Ministries’ electronic mailing list, to receive all future articles, please send your details.

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[1].Manhattan Declaration: a Call of Christian Conscience, drafted October 20, 2009, released November 20, 2009.


[2].Catholic Agenda Embedded in the Manhattan Declaration, by Richard Bennett.  Berean Beacon.

[3].The Catholic Voice Online Edition, February 22, 2010.