Touchstone recently posted the weekly newsletter from Father Patrick Reardon, Pastor of All Saints Antiochian Orthodox Church in Chicago, IL, and a signer of The Manhattan Declaration. In the newsletter, Reardon addresses two of the specific concerns over the document: the articulation (or lack thereof) of the gospel, and a call for repentance, using John MacArthur as an example of the former, and Father Jonathan Tobias as an example of the latter. After explaining both of these objections, Reardon concludes:

The objections of MacArthur and Tobias are curious in their evident presumption that Christians, when they speak in public, should limit their discourse to the proclamation of the Gospel and the summons to repentance.

This may be a legitimate view, though it was neither shared by many Christians over the centuries nor obviously favored by the prophets. Jonah, for instance, preached judgment—not repentance—at Nineveh, nor did his proclamation include one syllable of Good News. If this was true of Jonah, what shall we say of Nahum, whose own message to the Ninevites was just an expansion of Jonah’s meager half-verse?

Respectfully, these objections to the Manhattan Declaration (including its rhetoric) could easily have been made against any one—and perhaps all—of the biblical prophets. Our modest Declaration, as a statement of social concern, invites the endorsement of Christians who share that concern. The matter is truly as plain as that.

You can read his article here. I personally think Reardon is right, and I found his reflection on this quite helpful and a wise caution against evangelicals who never seem to find any reason to agree with those who are Roman Catholic or Orthodox.

Articles by James Grant

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