In response to what they describe as threats of “emergent totalitarianism,” a group of conservative evangelical leaders has released a statement titled The Frankfurt Declaration of Christian & Civil Liberties. The 2,000-word document has received signatures so far from notable figures including John MacArthur, Tom Buck, Voddie Baucham, Phil Johnson, James Coates, and James White.
Pandemic Responses Sparked Need for Statement
“In the course of human events, it sometimes becomes necessary for people of good faith to speak out against the abuse of power,” begins the Frankfurt Declaration. The document is the result of “a few concerned pastors from different continents, moved by an emergent totalitarianism of the State over all realms of society, and particularly the Church, and the disregard of God-given and constitutionally guaranteed rights during the Covid crisis” who sought to “address these threats with the timeless truths of God’s Word.” Numerous Scripture references accompany the statements.
The declaration emphasizes that God is “the ultimate Lawgiver and Judge” and that the narrative of human governments shouldn’t be “unconditionally trusted” because they aren’t “morally and theologically neutral.” It commends “civil authorities” who respect individual and religious freedoms and encourages those who don’t to repent.
The section about mankind’s creation in God’s image notes: “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.” It also opposes children receiving “medical procedures without parental consent.”
In its conclusion, the declaration encourages support and prayer for Christians and churches who endure testing and persecution, that they will have “the strength to remain faithful.”
Tobias Riemenschneider, an evangelical pastor in Germany who helped frame the declaration, spoke with James White this week on “The Dividing Line.” He describes how COVID mandates sparked the need to offer guidance for evangelical Christians. Riemenschneider and White discuss how the state became especially “coercive and invasive” during the pandemic—and how the church must warn civil authorities they can’t just “legislate away” because they’ll “be judged someday.”
Critics Call Declaration Hypocritical, ‘Abuse of Power’
“For a group of guys that have never been remotely close to being persecuted to craft a statement about their persecution is…something,” tweets Pastor Tyler Campbell.
“This statement is more about CYA than anything else,” comments another person. He adds: “In a Christian culture permeated by abuse of power everywhere, these folks still feel like they’re the ones on the short end [of] the power stick, & wrote up a whole statement about it. Way to look at the speck when you’ve got a plank. Good job.”