“But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ: From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love.” —Ephesians 4:15-16
“Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye steadfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labor is not in vain in the Lord.” —1 Corinthians 15:58
“Wherefore take unto you the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.” —Ephesians 6:13
“For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind. Be not thou therefore ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me his prisoner: but be thou partaker of the afflictions of the gospel according to the power of God; who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began.” —2 Timothy 1:7-9
The Othismos Declaration is an effort by Michigan pastors from various branches of Christianity moved by a first concern for the State of Michigan and her citizens. Yet, even as this is its nativity, the Declaration is thoughtfully fashioned for accessibility to others. Its footing is Jesus Christ, and so naturally, its reach extends beyond Michigan’s borders.
It was this same Lord Jesus Christ who, on the night before His death for the sins of the world, petitioned His heavenly Father on behalf of all who put their faith in Him, saying: “I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil. They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.” (John 17:15-17).
By these words, the Lord communicates three things.
First, He offers that the Word of God—the Bible—is objectively true. Second, He reckons that the devil is untiring in his efforts to steal Christians away from this truth. Finally, He implies the existence of two distinct spheres in critical opposition to one another: the Kingdom of God and the Kingdom of the world. Even as the Bible teaches that God holds supreme authority over and into both, nevertheless, because the Kingdom of the world was grossly and completely infected with wickedness after mankind’s fall into sin, these kingdoms have disparate worldviews. It is inarguable that in 21st century America, these worldviews are colliding in unprecedented ways. Mindful of this, a precise title has been chosen for this declaration. It seeks to relay both the gravity of the encounters as well as the aims of those who sign it.
The term othismos (ὠθισμός) is distinct. In early Greek warfare, the othismos was the stage of battle in which opposing armies would meet each other shield to shield. With both armies intent on defending their individual position, the goal was to push back against the opposing force in order to protect and ultimately secure that position.
The Othismos Declaration is not a document that seeks collision, but rather peace between two factions that view the world very differently from one another. As it stands, it bespeaks a collegial willingness among clergy, laity, and citizens, first, to protect the fields of religious liberty, traditional marriage, life, and natural law; and second, if required, to defend against those who might seek to impose systems of governance—intentionally or unintentionally—that suppress Christian consciences or betray the original intent of America’s founding documents.