February 18, 2010

“Conservative” Evangelicalism: Threading a Frame Work for Discussion, Part 2

Dear Guests of IDOTG:

On Tuesday I posted the first of three excerpts from a charitable thread discussion with Pastor Will Dudding at the Religious Affections Ministries blog. If you have not read the opening exchange please return to Part 1 of Threading the Framework to bring yourself up to speed. Let’s continue with Part 2 in the on-going discussion.

Brother Will:

Thanks for the gracious, thoughtful reply to my previous. Our interaction is going to be much briefer than I would prefer. A thread does not allow for a thorough discussion and we are staying from the subject matter of the article. I’ll post my final thoughts here in two segments.

Clarifying my use of “ecumenism” is in regard to setting aside and/or tolerating (major) theological differences to (“mingle”) work in cooperation towards mutually shared goals. The kind of alliance the Scriptures clearly forbid. For example, Al Mohler and Ligon Duncan formally mingled with liberals and unbelievers through the Manhattan Declaration. The MD is the fifth of five known and documented examples of ecumenical compromise in *Mohler’s resume. They are:
Naming the SBTS School of Evangelism after, and in honor of Billy Graham
Chairman of the 2001 (Louisville) Billy Graham Crusade
Dedicated a new SBTS pavilion in honor of past president Duke McCall- a rank liberal
Original signatory to the Manhattan Declaration
Board member- Focus on the Family
You wrote that ecumenism, Charismatic teaching and disgraceful speech are, “denounced at those conferences.” That is debatable in light of the fact that the prime instigators are in the leadership of and honored with a platform presence at these very same “conservative” evangelical conferences. John MacArthur has personally rejected these things he does, however, host, honor and share platforms with certain evangelicals who do, “mingle with unbelievers in spiritual union.”

You asked, “How can I teach separatism to them if they don’t know I exist and even care about them?”

Brother Will, the Scriptures have taught evangelicals “separatism.” Those passages are clear; they are not unknown to the evangelicals. None of us can improve on what the Lord has taught, but we can exemplify what He has taught, give Him the preeminence by believing and obeying Him in this regard. Demonstrate biblical separatism to them and admonish them to do likewise. Do so because you care first about absolute fidelity to the biblical mandates and that you care enough for the evangelicals to call on them to believe and obey the Lord’s mandates also.

Earlier I cited 2 Thess. 3:6, 14-15. Briefly, the passage has to do with those, “working not at all, but are busybodies.” Then surely when we are faced with believers who engage in ecumenical cooperation with unbelievers and liberals (like that of Duncan & Mohler’s examples) the charge to “admonish” and if rejected then “withdraw from” must be our response; right? Ecumenism as I defined it, and unrepented of, is “disorderly;” isn’t it?

Here is Dave Doran from his series Gospel-Driven Separation,

For the sake of the clarity of the gospel, believers and churches must separate from those who compromise the faith by granting Christian recognition and fellowship to those who have denied essential doctrines of the faith (Rom 16:17; Phil 3:17-19; 2 Thess. 3:6-15).”

I trust we can agree signing the MD granted, “Christian recognition and fellowship to those who have denied essential doctrines of the faith?” That may not have been the intention, but clearly was the result.

Please continue to Part 3 in this series.

*For complete documentation of the above, see- Al Mohler Signs the Manhattan Declaration: Was This a First Time Foray Toward Ecumenism? Confirmation of Mohler’s long time board membership at Focus on the Family was ascertained after publication of the article.


  1. Not that I'm trying to excuse Al Mohler, because I believe no obedient Christian should have signed the Manhattan Declaration based on Eph 5:11 and 2Cor 6:17

    ...but to try to understand where's he is coming from - he probably signed it because it promotes a "common grace" namely the right to the life of the unborn which these guys see as something that all mankind are partakers of and therefore, to join hands with an unbeliever in order to preserve it is not sin. It may be seen as similar to contributing to the campaign of a certain politician, who though not a believer, will protect and advance the same agenda that Christians do.

    I seriously doubt that Mohler or Duncan did it to promote Antichrist's one world religion.

  2. Good Morning RB (Will Dudding):

    I appreciate your input here. I’ll begin with the conclusion we obviously agree upon. I recognize why they signed the Manhattan Declaration (MD), but no matter how noble their intent they never should have signed the MD in the first place, which as you noted the Scriptures forbid.

    You wrote, “…to join hands with an unbeliever in order to preserve it (common grace) is not sin.” Brother the Bible says,

    ...for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord,” (2 Cor. 6:14, 17).

    The mandate is clear. There is, therefore, no subjective decision to make when it comes to entering into a cooperative effort, such as the MD, with unbelievers.

    Their intent was not to, “…promote Antichrist’s one world religion,” but they did “join hands” with the deadly “enemies of the cross of Christ” (Phil. 3:18), which IMO resulted in a step in the direction of the coming supra-religion.

    You wrote, “… no obedient Christian should have signed the Manhattan Declaration.”

    I also agree with you here. And this means that since they did sign, in violation of the biblical mandates that forbid such an alliance, and have rejected the admonition of brothers in Christ and are still unrepentant they are, therefore, among the “disorderly,” i.e., disobedient brethren. And with them being disobedient, we therefore, must obey the Lord’s mandated response to the disobedient, and this is to “withdraw” from them (2 Thess. 3:6).

    That said- I want to challenge you to refrain from attending the conferences where Mohler and Duncan are either in the leadership of and/or has the platform as a keynote speaker. Those conferences include MacArthur’s Shepherd’s, T4G and The Gospel Coalition. That would, of course, mean you will miss the fellowship with otherwise good men who will attend these events. But we must decide where our first loyalty lies: to the Lord and His Word or to our friends and their fellowships.

    I share these difficult things in all sincerity and humility. I realize that when you or I obey the Lord on this that we will be misunderstood and possibly criticized for it. We won’t win a popularity contest, but to Whom do we ultimately answer?

    Brother Will, I love you as a brother in Christ and appreciate your heart for the Scriptures. Your comment here is heartfelt and sincere. May I, therefore, encourage you to take the next step of obedience to the Lord: withdraw from the disobedient (Al Mohler) by avoiding Shepherd’s next month. That is the most effective way for you to, as you noted/asked me at Scott’s blog, “…teach [biblical] separatism to them.”

    Thanks again for your comments here.

    Yours in Him,