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Back to Table of Contents, A Declaration of Universal Rights


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August 3, 2009


Jesus said, "Ye shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free." This promised freedom, while initially spiritual, has very practical application to everyday life. The outworking of such freedom within society comes as men acknowledge God's truth and justice and the absolute duty they owe to him as their Creator.  Man's duty toward God becomes the foundation for the rights of men.  All governments under God, whether family, church, civil or other, are to acknowledge these duties, and in so doing, preserve and defend these rights -- in righteousness shalt thou judge thy neighbour (Lev. 19:15).


Christians for Justice International (CFJ) was conceived in Suriname in March 1985 in response to letters of appeal from clergy of the Roman Catholic, Moravian, Anglican and Presbyterian churches for other countries to join them in the work begun in Suriname on behalf of the persecuted Christians and churches throughout the world.  This led to a group of Christians gathering from 1988 through 1990 in the U.S. to draft the document known as the Declaration of Universal Rights (DUR).


The primary purpose of CFJ at that time was to promote the general application of two scriptural mandates: Open thy mouth, judge righteously, and plead the cause of the poor and needy (Prov. 31:8,9) and Remember them that are in bonds, as bound with them; and them which suffer adversity, as being yourselves also in the body (Heb. 13:3). These mandates not only apply to members of the Body of Christ (1 Cor. 12:23-26, Mat. 25:34­37, 40), but also to all men since all were created in God's image and therefore equal in His sight.  Both are duties toward God which result in rights for men.  CFJ sought to define these rights, promote their instruction and aid in their defense.  That has now become CFJ’s primary purpose.


CFJ wanted to fulfill its purpose through the following specific goals:

1.  To establish a biblically-based Declaration of Universal Rights with the aim to define rights biblically, systematically and clearly. Once accomplished, this declaration may serve as 1) a standard of universal rights to determine rights violations and evaluate other rights statements and guarantees concerning their consistency with God's revealed will found in the Bible, and 2) a basis for instruction on universal rights and the virtues necessary in a people to secure them.

2. While the Declaration of Universal Rights (DUR) covers a broad range of topics and concerns, those relating to the Church and Christians are of particular interest to CFJ and its specific goals. From that perspective, all of the steps below aim at providing an atmosphere in the world where Christians can live their faith in freedom and confess it in all countries of the earth so that God's Kingdom come and His will be done on earth as it is in Heaven.
3. To establish, equip and encourage the members of each local church and various other organizations throughout the world to be watchmen to both monitor and respond to rights violations within its area and respond to violations elsewhere.

4. To assist in the coordination of research, data collection and reporting regarding the status of these rights within the nations of the world.

5. To establish an internationally recognized consulting/arbitration/mediation group to aid in resolution of church/state conflicts in harmony with the final version of the Declaration of Universal Rights.

6. To assist in the coordination of international action and response to such information through various recognized rights groups and action groups where action is necessary and coordination is lacking.


CFJ would like to establish Member Committees in all nations to coordinate the accomplishment of its goals. Inquiries are invited.  Copies of the Declaration of Universal Rights may be purchased on-line at:  Search under “declaration”.  Cost is $10 plus shipping.


The original participants in Christians for Justice International who drafted this document were:  Executive Director:  Rev. G. W. Donnan; Executive Committee Members: Rev. G. W. Donnan, Rev. David Brown, Dr. Joseph Kickasola; Drafting/Editing Committee: Kerry L. Morgan, Dr. Joseph Kickasola, Dr. Gary Amos, Chris Klicka, David Shanks; Consultants: Dr. Gleason Archer, Dr. Jay Grinstead, Dr. Paul Lindstrom, Ron Boehme, Dennis Peacock, Michael Bresnan, Dr. Kenneth Talbot, Dr. Jack Druget, Ed Van Woedenberg.  International liaison; Herbert Schlossberg, Jose Gonzalez.

The above committee has disbanded, yet the DUR has been distributed into over 30 different countries.  Our objective at this moment is to revisit the document with yet a second draft in the coming years based upon feed-back from the first draft as well as input from others.  Reformation Christian Ministries has agreed to oversee the reforming of Christians for Justice International and a new committee is in the process of being formed.  Those interested in working on this committee should make their interest and qualifications known to the Executive Director, Rev. Geoffrey Donnan.

The current working draft has been placed on the website of Reformation Christian Ministries, which has now taken over the responsibilities of Christians for Justice International, until a new committee is formed. 

Your support and participation is encouraged. We will look forward to hearing from you and hope that we can work together with you to God's glory and the triumph of His justice throughout the world.

Donations are encouraged. Make checks to Reformation Christian Ministries designated for the work of Christians for Justice.

Reformation Christian Ministries - Reformed International College - Reformed Theological Seminary.