Tuesday, January 28, 2014

The Ecumenical Movement

            The Ecumenical movement among all religions who fall under the umbrella of Christianity is neither new nor is it going away. But it is also no less alarming or completely against what the Word of God teaches us. This movement attempts to, at face value, unite all who claim to be Christians together to foster understanding and find what is common between us.
            There is a serious problem. For many of us, there is not much in common. Now don’t get me wrong, we are monotheistic, we all love God, and we all claim to believe the Bible. But we all at the very least interpret it differently, possibly very differently, or use completely different versions of it.
            The Ecumenical movement’s roots can be traced all the way back to early man at Babel: “And the whole earth was of one language, and of one speech. And it came to pass, as they journeyed from the east, that they found a plain in the land of Shinar; and they dwelt there. And they said one to another, Go to, let us make brick, and burn them throughly. And they had brick for stone, and slime had they for morter. And they said, Go to, let us build us a city and a tower, whose top may reach unto heaven; and let us make us a name, lest we be scattered abroad upon the face of the whole earth. And the Lord came down to see the city and the tower, which the children of men builded. And the Lord said, Behold, the people is one, and they have all one language; and this they begin to do: and now nothing will be restrained from them, which they have imagined to do. Go to, let us go down, and there confound their language, that they may not understand one another’s speech. So the Lord scattered them abroad from thence upon the face of all the earth: and they left off to build the city. Therefore is the name of it called Babel; because the Lord did there confound the language of all the earth: and from thence did the Lord scatter them abroad upon the face of all the earth.” (Genesis 11:1-9)
            All of man, corrupted by sin, settled in a plain and decided to build a tower to heaven. All of earth cooperated in an attempt to center their society around this tower, and in trying to make a name for themselves. (The irony is, the very thing they were trying to avoid happened.) Whenever man tries to reach God on his own, he no longer has a use for Him; thus it can be inferred that they were creating their own religion- all the same, and apart from God.
            Ecumenicalism is also associated with the end times. Revelation 17 describes the Whore of Babylon, who is “drunken with the blood of saints” and seduces the kings of the world. All the world in the Tribulation is led to worship her. Her kingdom is set up in the revived Roman Empire along with the beast. Through the work of the False Prophet (Rev. 13) whom the Beast himself raised up, their deception power is so strong that they would be able to deceive the very elect (Mat. 24:24). Of course, God’s true elect will not be there. It cannot be said for certain what this one-world religion under which all people will be deceived will be. But there is no quicker way to bring all people together into the bonds of religion than to weaken their beliefs and have them all worship the same thing.
            This is the movement at the heart of Ecumenicalism. We do all worship the same God, but how we worship Him, how we learn about Him, even the all-important question of how we will meet Him when we die, varies drastically. There can be no reconciliation of these beliefs without great compromise on them- without giving them up completely.
            This is what some Ecumenical leaders are willing to do. Every Ecumenical leader is either trying to legitimize their beliefs that they know is wrong by claiming that “we are not that different,” or attempting to build a bridge (for some unknown reason) over a gap that cannot be spanned.
            You may say, “Jesus spanned that gap.” Jesus spanned the gap between God and man because man was not good enough to get there himself. Nowhere did Jesus come for us to lay down on our beliefs, he came to “seek and to save that which was lost” (Luke 19:10).
            Leaders in the Ecumenical movement are not limited to, but part of precisely what Peter and Jude wrote to the churches about:
“But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction. And many shall follow their pernicious ways; by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of. And through covetousness shall they with feigned words make merchandise of you: whose judgment now of a long time lingereth not, and their damnation slumbereth not.” (II Pet. 2:1-3)
            Peter calls these damnable heresies. He says that they cause the actual way of truth to be spoken evil of, because it clouds what the truth actually is from people’s eyes. Thus, instead of seeking it, they criticize it. But he also says that their “swelling words of vanity” (v. 18) will appeal to many. Ecumenical leaders not only are likely sending themselves to Hell, but they are taking a lot of people with them.
            Peter says at the end of the chapter that even those who “have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ” would be better off not knowing Him than being deceived by these men. Both he (chs. 2-3) and Jude give their knowledge on how to spot these men and how to avoid them. They even mention one of their methods of operation as “lasciviousness”, or sexual immorality- just like the Whore of Babylon.
            These leaders come from all over Christian backgrounds. Popes John Paul II and Benedict XVI put forth effort to bind faiths together. A very popular Church of Christ pastor, Max Lucado, has been a huge advocate of this. Besides counting core beliefs as “non-essential”, “Lucado was a signer of the deceptive "The Gift of Salvation" declaration between evangelicals and Catholics in November 1997” wrote David Cloud on the Way of Life Website. At the Promise Keepers Clergy Conference in 1996, Lucado “claimed that ‘the sin of disunity causes people to go to Hell!’” He “had the 40,000 men shout the names of their denominations all at once. The result was confusion, of course. Lucado then asked the crowd to state who was the Messiah. The ensuing response, "Jesus," was heard plainly. The evident goal of this clever little exercise was to demonstrate the beauty and simplicity of ecumenical unity.” (Cloud) As Dr. Ralph Colas then reported, “Lucado then pled that every clergyman who had ever spoken against another group or denomination, find a member of that group and apologize…” For more on Max Lucado’s false doctrine, read here: http://www.soulwinning.info/wolves/max_lucado.htm. It is these types that Paul warned Timothy of, that Peter wrote to the saints of, and that Jude urged the beloved to watch out for.
            I do not pick on a Church of Christ pastor or even Popes for any particular reason. The unfortunate truth is that people from all over the umbrella of Christianity have fallen under this spell.
            Let me also be clear before I conclude. There are things that people of all faiths can agree on, and can work together on. Many moral issues of our nation are generally agreed upon and can be stood up for. (It is when we are creating interreligious organizations to do so that we cross into this.) We should have a general agreement on politics as well. I have worked with numerous Catholics on the issue of abortion; many more than Baptists or Protestants, to our chagrin. In fact, many of my close friends are Catholics, and have often proven more reliable and more caring than many Baptists; this is a blight on us. But regardless of how anyone acts or otherwise, we must examine the truth before us.
            In order for me to reach a level of religious agreement with, say, Catholicism, it would involve me giving up most of the convictions I hold. Jude wrote and told us to “earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints”, not to give it up so we could all have unity. There is a diverse belief system under Christianity. Baptists and others believe that the only way to obtain favor with God is through His Son, whose gift of His death, burial, and resurrection we can accept through faith in Him ALONE to obtain eternal life in Heaven. Yes, it is that simple. The Calvinistic denominations look at the same Bible and say that God chooses ahead of time who will go to Heaven and who will go to Hell, and there is nothing we can do about it. Still others believe generally in salvation as an act of God’s grace but believe that man’s works must be added to it. Some believe that is baptism, some a certain amount of good in comparison to bad, and some believe one can lose their salvation. Catholics believe in a type of salvation, but focus on the keeping of sacraments that begins with sprinkling into the church, usually as an infant, and continual confession to priests. (The list is rather complicated; I, thankfully, do not wholly understand it.)
            Regardless of beliefs, we can see that the difference between varies denominations in Christianity are wide-ranging. How can we become unified when we do not even agree on how to get to Heaven? This is but one difference (though obviously important) of innumerable ones.
            The answer is, we cannot. I have friends from all different religions. I work with people from all different religions on various things. I have no problem with it. But when it comes to godly counsel; when it comes to finding out what is the truth of God’s Word, I will seek it within my own faith. We cannot reasonably expect to find common ground where none exists. To create it, we would either have to convert to another faith (which would still leave one at odds with all the rest, though it is imperative that one questions their own faith) or leave all convictions and beliefs behind and water down their own doctrine. The latter is the method of the Ecumenical movement, and it is creating an entirely new religion of its own- one that stands for nothing to avoid stepping on any toes.

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