I am indebted to my good friend, Phil Groom for looking incisively – as he usually does - at the Westminster 2010 Declaration. Clearly, as Phil indicates, there is concern amongst other Christians regarding the wording and general thrust of the said Declaration. Good debate is always healthy and I for one have enjoyed reading and appreciating the various arguments.
For my part, I continue to find the Westminster 2010 Declaration useful as I tend to take its general points at face value. I regard it as helpful in terms of highlighting more widely the growing concerns about the continuing assault on Christian values and rights in this country - perceived or otherwise.
There are always two sides to every story. So – for the sake of balance – here is the Faithworks Statement that Phil has mentioned;
Faithworks believes that participation in democracy is crucial, and welcomes initiatives that facilitate this. However Faithworks will not be signing the Westminster Declaration, as it suggests that government should be chosen according to their responses to only three issues – protection of human life, marriage and conscience – rather than the impact of the spectrum of their policies locally, nationally and internationally. Faithworks rejects the implicit suggestion that a government who protects embryos, upholds the uniqueness of heterosexual marriage and protects freedom to express Christian beliefs is the government Christians should vote for without first examining their stance and policies regarding education, health care, welfare, poverty reduction, international development and the commitment of the local MP to the community he / she serves. Faithworks represents 22,000 Christians from a variety of theological and political backgrounds, our theology is inclusive and not imposing, and our purpose is to encourage people to express their faith through serving others without discrimination. In contrast, the Westminster 2010 Declaration sets Christians up on a moral high ground and implicitly creates divisiveness. It does this at just the time when the church’s morality has been called into question across the world.
I have a great deal of respect for Steve Chalke and for the amazing work that he does through so many of his organisations around the world. For that reason, I am a torn between the two positions. There is much truth in both statements.
Perhaps someone should try to put the two statements together and reach a Declaration that all Christians can sign up too with good conscience? Maybe I’m just being an idealist and perhaps that is simply impossible. What do you think?