The Westminster 2010 Declaration is a wasted opportunity. It’s a good idea, but it should have been released after the election. It should have been given more time to be drafted in order to grow and mature in the minds and hearts of the signatures. It should have had the signatures of the Archbishop of Canterbury and his equivalents in the Roman and Orthodox church. It has non of these.
Furthermore, it is a campaign tool and not a declaration. As such it is useless because there is simply not enough time for it to get off the ground. Even seen as a declaration it is at best limp and at worst a cause motivated by a type of Christian Koro.
Despite what you might read in the Telegraph about it, it’s not broad. It does not have a broad cross-section of the UK church supporting it, and by broad I mean, it’s not as broad as those who signed its sister statement (the Manhattan declaration) in the US post Obama, namely Orthodox, Catholic and Evangelicals. It shows that a number of organizations care more about the classic “moral issues” than all moral issues and so it automatically alienates a host of Christians who are fed up with the ‘pro-life’ campaign tone, though they are pro-life themselves.
Like much in the world of Christianese it lacks vision, creativity, and size. It is narrow in scope. In the political realm, (or as some might say, especially in the political realm) the Church and the christian faith is about a whole lot more than what the declaration mentions. It is incoherent, at least as it is applied to the election and MPs voting record. The declaration affirms ‘life’ but, as Ekklesia pointed out (surprised for once that I agree with them), it is not clear if the Declaration would require MPs to vote against another “Iraq” or to stop trident.
Now, I am not opposed to the content in the document. I also have a great regard for a number of ‘leaders’ who signed it. It’s just a shame that it lacks content and robust vocabulary which makes it a wasted opportunity. I mean it reads like it was a wet piece of newspaper, slimy, clammy and overly heavy, without the strength to hold itself together.
The centrality of Jesus death and resurrection and what that means in our context and political environment isn’t even hinted at in the text or the opening paragraph which is a sort of nod to what we might agree about the Trinity. These things matter if we are to show a stong phalanx.
Look beyond the now. Look to the past, where God became man and walked the earth, ripping to shreds the curtain and walking through walls as the new creator, more real than anything around him. Look to the future, when God will come again to earth and walk as a lover. Put the little problems Christians are facing in the UK into perspective. Love your neighbour and love God.