Not to be confused with the 1951 West German Social Democrat Frankfurt Declaration condemning capitalism, or the EU Democratic Party’s Green declaration of the same name, The Frankfurt Declaration of Christian & Civil Liberties (FDCCL), is a theological criticism of an ideological mindset now permeating Western culture.
As explained by Bill Muehlenberg, the FDCCL is a global Pastoral statement ‘urging believers to do more to stand against oppressive statism, and to champion the cause of liberty around the world.’
The four-page document summons the State to honour its God-given power, roles, and responsibilities, by standing opposed to an ‘emerging totalitarianism’ closely attached to the God-abandoning new era of absolute government dependence, via COVID governance.
Speaking with Caldron Pool about the pro-freedom project, Scottish Pastor John-William Noble said, he was “approached a while back by Tobias Riemenschneider, Pastor of Evangelical Reformed Baptist Church in Frankfurt.”
The FDCCL, Noble explained, was “drafted by Riemenschneider, and is a response to the totalitarian measures related to Covid; designed to address issues, [such as] the abuse of power.”
Quoting Riemenschneider, Noble added that the declaration’s purpose was to live out the Church’s vocation in relationship to the State:
“The aim of the The Frankfurt Declaration of Christian & Civil Liberties (FDCCL) is, on the one hand, to encourage brethren and to provide them with biblical truths in order to better assess the current situation – [equipping them] to be able to better defend their position. On the other hand, the FDCCL serves to present the Church’s point of view to others, such as the State.”
“My main contribution to the FDCCL,” Noble recounted, “was to suggest incorporating Scripture proofs as a means of adding the weight to the Biblical foundation of the work. Some of the initial signers helped to give editorial feedback also and then a number of us were asked to be the ‘initial signers’.”
Noble said, “they were keen to get my comments following my stand on this issue (taking the government to court).”
The invite was also prompted by the Scottish Baptist’s fiery call in 2021 for pro-mandate churches to repent.
Addressing Churches from the Health and Truth Summit held in Belfast last year, Noble argued that the Christian has no moral obligation to meet the state’s expectations, when those expectations involve the abuse of power God loans to the state.
Inviting people to read, and sign the declaration, he told Caldron Pool, the anti-mandate Christians have “faced a lot of push-back in Germany for their stance, as was the case for my church in Scotland.”
In a recent interview with James White, Tobias Riemenschneider said,
“He was approached in March 2021 from a brother in the UK, [who’d] assembled a group of pastors from around the world, wanting them to work together to produce a declaration as a full response to what happened during COVID.”
After a small group went in another direction, Riemenschneider and those who remained, finished the declaration and “finalised it in a few days.”
John MacArthur gave his reasons for signing the declaration, posting to his blog on Tuesday that the declaration aligned with his much earlier, 2020 stance: “Christ, not Caesar, Is Head of the Church.”
“The COVID years simply made Caesar’s strategy undeniably obvious. Government restrictions required churches to refrain from gathering while casinos and massage parlours were allowed to operate. Officials looked the other way when leftist protestors were given free rein to gather and even riot, but those same officials relentlessly worked to keep churches closed.”
“The church’s mission,” MacArthur asserted, “is to preach the gospel […] Christians must not be dissuaded from that task in order to achieve a mere temporal political objective. 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 that the rest of the world wants to treat as merely “political.”
He concluded, “those who will not compromise in order to mollify Caesar should sign the Frankfurt Declaration.”
Criticising the defence of pastoral care, civil liberties and informed consent, executive director of “independent, and unbiased” Baptist News, Mark Wingfield, dismissed the document as “another pompous declaration from conservative Calvinists.”
Apparently ignorant of the recent EU Democrat declaration of the same name, Wingfield mocked the FDCCL as ironic, given the title’s association with 1951 West German Socialists.
He also dismissed the FDCCL’s biblical arguments as a product of the authors’ “narrow, and anti-science interpretation of scripture.”
Wingfield even managed to insert a woke defamatory rant against Donald Trump, and John MacArthur in the same paragraph.
His main beef with signees appeared to be because they advocate a Biblical view of man for woman, woman for man, sex and marriage, stating,
“Their entire theology is built on a hierarchical system of male dominance and abuse of women and children. Their theology depends on verbal and sometimes physical abuse of LGBTQ persons, immigrants, and people of colour.”
“Wokefield” then declared: “This document is itself the very definition of an abuse of power.”
He must have missed how highly politicised his own criticism of the FDCCL’s alleged politicising of the Church is, in, and of itself. Irony indeed!
The God over government, Frankfurt Declaration of Christian & Civil Liberties (FDCCL), reflects many of Caldron Pool’s reasoned arguments since March 2020. This includes my own from April 2021, where I argued that any government who becomes God is a government gone wrong.
As I said then, it is not the role of government to play a substitutionary role.
Government should, at maximum, only play a subsidiary role. Such a government is less likely to be selfish, and more likely to be life-saving, life-giving, and self-less.
“We do not need,” Joseph Ratzinger once said, “a State which regulates and controls everything.”
We need instead, “a State which, in accordance with the principle of subsidiarity, generously acknowledges and supports initiatives arising from the different social forces and combines spontaneity with closeness to those in need.”
In sum, as the Frankfurt Declaration of Christian & Civil Liberties (FDCCL) asserts,when government dethrones God, it disqualifies its right to govern. You can read through, and sign the declaration here.
First published on Caldron Pool, September 11, 2022.