The Frankfurt Declaration ends with an expression of gratitude to those civil authorities who respect these Christian beliefs and the rights and liberties of each individual, and with a call to repentance to those civil authorities who have disregarded these freedoms, lest in the abuse of their God-given authority they become liable to God’s wrath.
In the spring of 2021, pastors from different countries came together to draw up a joint declaration in response to the COVID measures enacted by many governments. The result is the Frankfurt Declaration of Christian and Civil Liberties, which was presented to the public on August 28, 2022, near Frankfurt, Germany. The document was initially signed by fifty pastors and theologians from America, the United Kingdom, Europe, Australia, and Africa, including men such as Grace Community Church pastor John MacArthur, African Christian University dean Voddie Baucham, and Apologia Church elder James White. In the meantime, more than 5,000 signatories from all over the world have joined the Frankfurt Declaration.
Even though the concrete reason for drafting the Frankfurt Declaration was the totalitarian response to COVID, it is not primarily about these measures, but about the underlying spiritual reasons that led states to infringe so massively on the guaranteed rights of their citizens. The signatories of the Frankfurt Declaration see this unprecedented disregard for liberty as just one symptom of an emerging totalitarianism of the state over all spheres of society, including the church, that has developed for decades.
The Frankfurt Declaration seeks to address these threats with the timeless truths of God’s Word through affirmations and denials derived from biblical principles.
Article 1: God the Creator as Sovereign Lawgiver and Judge
For centuries, the countries of the Western world have been moving further away from the biblical truth that God created the cosmos and everything in it, including man. Most people’s thinking is now strongly influenced by a radical materialism assuming that all processes and phenomena in the world come from impersonal matter and motion rather than a personal and transcendent Creator.
But if there is no Creator God, then there is no divine lawgiver who has revealed His universal, immutable law to man, and there is no divine judge who at the end of time will judge all men according to this law. And if there is no heavenly lawgiver above the earthly state, then the state is the highest lawgiver, and its laws need not measure up to any higher standard. With no divine judge, human legislators need not consider answering to Him for their actions. The state and those who govern it thus assume for themselves the role of God, freely determining what is good and evil conduct without the bounds of a divine moral standard. The result is devastating: unconverted people, corrupt by nature, turn the commandments of God into their opposite, rebelliously calling good evil and evil good (Isaiah 5:20).
Examples of this tendency during the COVID crisis abound. For example, the state decreed (even for healthy people) that visiting the elderly, the sick, and the dying was evil, although Christ says that such actions are signs by which one knows who is blessed of the Father and inherits the kingdom, and who is cursed and must depart from Christ into everlasting fire (Matthew 25:31-46). But the phenomenon of the state calling things good that have been considered sin for millennia is one we have been observing for years: the state enables divorce and sexual immorality, promotes homosexuality and transgenderism, and allows the killing of children in the womb.
The state both approves of such evils and demands that its citizens do likewise. Even kindergarteners are indoctrinated accordingly. Anyone who disagrees is considered backward, bigoted, hateful, and a threat to society.
The Frankfurt Declaration affirms that God, as supreme lawgiver and judge, is the ultimate source of ethics, and that He has revealed an unchanging morality which is rooted in His own character and which determines for all people at all times what is good and evil conduct. It therefore denies that the state has the right to define morality and to demand unconditional obedience from its citizens when their beliefs contradicts God’s law, invoking the clausula Petri, that one ought to obey God rather than men (Acts 5:29).
Article 2: God as the Source of Truth and the Role of Science
With the turning away from the truth of the Creator God, other truths also increasingly falter. As Christians, we know that God has ordered creation by objective truths, which man can discover through scientific observation. This knowledge made scientific endeavors possible in the first place, since men once recognized that all scientific investigation is an inquiry into the works of God and hence cannot feign neutrality.
When science no longer serves to glorify God, then science itself becomes a god. Many today are convinced that science can provide answers to all questions and instructions for the right action in all situations. This scientism overlooks the fact that empirical inquiry may not only lead to erroneous results due to the lack of data and the human propensity for error, but that it can in no way provide answers to moral questions. Science can only say what is, but not what should be. Virology and epidemiology can say which measures might be promising to contain a virus, but they cannot answer whether a lockdown or other infringements on rights and liberties are ethically justified to achieve that goal.
However, this is exactly what happened during COVID: individual experts were considered to represent “science,” and their predictions and recommendations guided the policies of entire governments. As C.S. Lewis once explained: “Let scientists tell us about sciences. But government involves questions about the good for man, and justice, and what things are worth having at what price; and on these a scientific training gives a man’s opinion no added value.”
Since man has fallen into sin, all his thoughts, deductions and institutions contain degrees of corruption which tend to distort, manipulate, or suppress the truth. In the hands of ideologically driven people, truth becomes subject to change by reinterpretations, while science is quickly perverted into an instrument of indoctrination through fearmongering, propaganda, and the wielding of political power. Dissident voices are ignored, suppressed, or canceled. During COVID, dissenting doctors and scientists, some of whom had been considered luminaries in their field for decades, were silenced, discredited and sometimes dismissed from their jobs. But we see this trend in other areas as well. For example, the state and the “scientific consensus” have been propagating for decades that scientifically untenable theories, such as Darwinism, were settled truth. We are being told science has discovered that it is no longer possible to determine what a man or a woman is.