Thirteen centuries ago, an Anglo-Saxon missionary named Boniface destroyed an oak tree in Germania considered sacred to Thor, leading many locals to redirect their worship toward the Triune God. Today, pastors from around the world are likewise converging upon Germany to do battle with the idols of our age.
Last week, the Frankfurt Declaration of Christian and Civil Liberties was published in response to the authoritarian spirit gripping many Western governments. In a series of interviews with The Daily Wire, several of the signatories — many of whom have already gained international attention for their righteous resistance to unlawful totalitarianism — explained how Christianity is the only basis by which mankind may reject the abuse of power.
God The Creator
In the Western world, materialism — the argument that matter and motion are the full extent of reality — has led to a denial of God as sovereign Creator. The Frankfurt Declaration affirms the role of God as the ultimate source of truth and ethics.
We believe that He has revealed in the Holy Scriptures and the conscience of men an unchangeable morality which is rooted in His own character, and which defines the nature of good and evil conduct for all people at all times. As the Lawgiver, God has appointed a day on which He will judge the world in righteousness by a man, the risen Lord Jesus Christ. To him be honor and eternal dominion. Amen.
The statement therefore denies the notion that any earthly authority is able to define morality or mandate disobedience to what God has prescribed — especially as many governments embrace postmodernism, which is incapable of providing a coherent basis for morality.
Dr. Joe Boot — founder of the Ezra Institute for Contemporary Christianity in Ontario, Canada — told The Daily Wire that the Christian notion of a “cosmos that is distinct from, yet governed by an infinite personal God who is always true and faithful” marked a radical departure from previous paganism.
“Western civilization became prosperous, wealthy, advanced, and globally dominant with a worldview that allowed for the development of science and technology because of belief in an ordered cosmos of law-spheres, and similarly governed by deep moral conviction about objective standards of right and wrong,” he remarked. “This led to learning, literacy, social stability, and civilization-building on a scale never seen before in the history of mankind.”
However, the fruit of the West rejecting Christianity in favor of various ideologies — including secular humanism and Marxism — has been progressive cultural decay.
“When as a culture we no longer believe in creation and judgment in terms of the laws of God for His universe, we are steadily deconstructed downward into a void of meaninglessness,” Boot added. “The Christian idea of a universe — unity in diversity — becomes a pagan pluralistic multiverse without ultimate order, structure, or design, and a growing nihilism is the result. In reaction, the modern State will try to invent pseudo-religious beliefs for the masses to keep people under control. Hence the new religion of climate, planetary salvation, and impending doom unless we are saved by the central planning and control of the new god of State.”
God And Science
As secular governments struggle to remain coherent on the most basic tenets of human life — such as the definition of man and woman — the Frankfurt Declaration affirms that creation is ordered by objective truth, which mankind can learn through scientific observation.
We endorse science which seeks to discover, through the scientific method and debate, the truths that God has built into the natural world. We also affirm the limitations of science, including its inability to speak authoritatively on areas outside its purview and its propensity to err when data is lacking. Since man has fallen into sin, we further affirm that all his thoughts, deductions, and institutions contain degrees of corruption which tend to distort, manipulate, or suppress the truth.
The statement, however, rejects the weaponization of science for fearmongering or propaganda, notes that science is not sufficient to answer questions of ethics, and refutes the notion that man can be ideologically neutral.
Dr. James White — a pastor at Apologia Church in Mesa, Arizona — told The Daily Wire that “the myth of neutrality” has hobbled Western evangelicalism and allowed for the cooperation of faith-based institutions with the lockdown regime.
“A consistent Christian understanding of the world begins with a recognition of God’s creatorship and the fact that all of existence, universally, is defined by His purposes, His law, His final glory,” White noted. “There is no neutral fact, for if it is a fact, God made it to be such.”
White added that removing God from the picture leads to men filling the vacuum where only God should be.
“This likewise means that all of human inquiry, including scientific investigation, is an inquiry into the works of God, first and foremost, and hence cannot pretend neutrality,” he continued. “If God has defined all things in creation, we will most certainly miss the true importance of creation if we pretend God can be made a side-issue rather than the central, defining reality.”
Mankind As The Image Of God
The tradition of individual rights, equal justice under the law, and limited government in the Western world is rooted in the recognition of men as image-bearers of God. The Frankfurt Declaration affirms that such inalienable rights prevent the State from dehumanizing its people.
These rights and liberties include the right to corporate worship, personal and in-person relationships, vocational employments, and participation in the important events of human life such as the right to comfort the sick and the dying… to attend funerals, to witness the birth of one’s child, to marry in a public gathering, to fellowship and eat together with others, and to engage in honorable work. We also affirm that governments should recognize that each individual is responsible for their own bodily well-being and should protect the right to personal medical self-determination.
The statement notes that lockdowns and mandates usurp the innate value of mankind by subjecting them to manipulation, enforced segregation, and other unjust deprivations of liberty.
Tobias Riemenschneider — the pastor of Evangelical Reformed Baptist Church in Frankfurt, Germany — told The Daily Wire that the modern Darwinian conception of mankind offers “no protection against the abuse of power by the stronger.”
“We believe that we are now seeing the effects of the view of human beings that the States of the Western world have been promoting for many decades — namely, that human beings are nothing more than the product of an impersonal and ultimately purposeless evolutionary process without any transcendental meaning or value,” Riemenschneider said. “According to the biblical worldview, on the other hand, God created man in His image and likeness, whereby all human beings have an inherent dignity and worth from which derive God-given, inalienable rights and liberties, that the State must respect and protect.”
“When the State deprives a person of these rights and liberties or makes them contingent on the compliance with certain mandates, it dehumanizes them and makes them a mere object of State tyranny,” he added. “For a lasting safeguard of our liberties, it is therefore necessary for the State to return to the Judeo-Christian view of God as the Creator of man, since only this provides the basis for the inalienable worth of each individual human being.”
Limits Of Authority
Legitimate earthly powers draw their authority — their right to be obeyed — from the God to whom all must give an account. Accordingly, the Frankfurt Declaration notes that the Church and the State are granted limited authority only over their respective spheres.
God has delegated authority to civil governments for the purpose of rewarding good and punishing evil, and to protect the God-given rights and freedoms granted to all people. He has also delegated authority to the Church in its various expressions, particularly to make disciples of all nations by preaching the Word of God, and to establish and administer redeemed communities of faith living under the authority of Christ.
The statement therefore rejects the tendency of governments to centralize beliefs or attempt to redefine good and evil — power grabs that disallow diversity of thought and conviction while conforming all citizens, particularly children, to approved State viewpoints.
Tim Stephens — the pastor of Fairview Baptist Church in Alberta, Canada — told The Daily Wire that secular governments view their decrees as “encompassing all of life.”
“Worse than usurping their authority to carry out justice under the Lordship of Christ, they assume the place of God as Lawgiver, provider, and savior,” he explained. “Trouble is, the government is a lousy savior with its interventions taking both responsibility and freedom from households and businesses to the detriment of all.”
Stephens, who was jailed in a maximum-security facility last summer for resisting a lockdown order and opening his church, added that civil governments attract men who desire to use power for their own advantage.
“Without a knowledge of God, men seek to bring healing to the world apart from God’s Savior, Jesus Christ. Today, men seek to control the climate, change human identity, and bring global peace through the power of human governments,” Stephens observed. “However, these initiatives are leading to economic ruin, mutilated children, and increasing tyranny, along with conflict and division. The city of men failed at Babel, and it will fail again today.”
Christ As The Head Of The Church
Christians recognize that Jesus Christ purchased His Church and saved them from their sins through His substitutionary atonement on the cross. The Frankfurt Declaration therefore affirms that the Church has the right — as defined by Jesus Himself — to worship in Spirit and Truth without unnecessary interference from the State.
We believe that Christ, who is Lord over all, calls all without distinction of any kind to freely and regularly gather together in His Name in local congregations to seek and serve Him in truth and love. We further affirm that the activities of the local church insofar as they are essential acts of worship are to be regulated by Christ alone.
The statement thus denies that secular governments are able to regulate the affairs of the Church in matters of faith and practice.
Dr. John MacArthur — the senior pastor of Grace Community Church in Sun Valley, California — told The Daily Wire that earthly authorities have “always tended to view Christ as an adversary and an inconvenience.”
“From Herod and Pontius Pilate until today, earthly governments have always sought to exert control over Christ and His kingdom,” MacArthur explained. “Caesar is not content with the things that are Caesar’s; he also wants control over the things that belong to God. So earthly rulers invariably try to seize as much dominance over the Church as they can possibly appropriate.”
MacArthur, whose church won a legal battle against California after officials attempted to mandate the cancellation of services, noted that unjust edicts — including those which support abortion, same-sex marriage, and the “barbaric, pagan mutilation of children” — represent a “formal, parliamentary declaration of war against God.”
“The Church’s mission is not a partisan political one. There is no political solution to what ails our culture. The Church’s mission is to preach the gospel, recover souls from the domain of darkness, and train them to be Christ’s disciples,” MacArthur continued. “On the other hand, the more Caesar intrudes into matters that belong to Christ, the more the Church must speak out on eternal and spiritual matters.”
“We will continue to speak on such issues, and when government tries to silence the message or punish the messenger, we will not bow.”