Last Friday a document titled “The Manhattan Declaration: A Call of Christian Conscience” was released to the public. According to the press release, “The 4,700-word declaration issues a clarion call to Christians to adhere to their convictions and informs civil authorities that the signers will not – under any circumstance – abandon their Christian consciences” (emphasis in original). The declaration was drafted by Robert George, Timothy George, and Chuck Colson and signed by more than 150 Orthodox, Catholic, and evangelical Christian leaders. Several Southern Baptists were among the original signatories, including George, Colson, Danny Akin, David Dockery, Jimmy Draper, Jonathan Falwell, Jack Graham, Richard Land, Jim Law, Ben Mitchell, Al Mohler, Russ Moore, David Platt, Bob Reccord, Robert Sloan, James Emery White, and Hayes Wicker. We at BtT would encourage you to read the Manhattan Declaration and, if it resonates with your convictions, consider signing the declaration.
I found Kevin DeYoung’s recent article “Divorce and Remarriage: A Smokescreen and a Fire” to be a very thoughtful treatment of this controversial issue. He argues that when pro-homosexual interlocutors bring up the evangelical acceptance/toleration of divorce, they are throwing up a smokescreen to distract from the issue at hand. But DeYoung also rightly notes that some evangelical churches do fail to treat (illegitimate) divorce as a serious sin, in part because many churches fail to practice corrective church discipline and thus fail to confront any variety of sins in a comprehensive and redemptive way. I think he’s right on both counts.
While some of DeYoung’s thoughts are less applicable to Southern Baptists (e.g. his church’s polity is elder-rule Presbyterianism rather than elder/pastor-led congregationalism), the main thrust of his article applies just as much to our churches as those in other Protestant traditions. This is a conversation worth having as many Southern Baptists continue to wrestle with how we can appropriately apply our professed commitment to meaningful membership in our simultaneously holy and sinful gathered congregations of baptized believers in the Lord Jesus Christ.