The Modern Ecumenical Movement
There is great emphasis in the church today on uniting professing Christians of all denominations and beliefs. The message is that we're not so different after all... we can work together. 2nd Corinthians 6:14-17 forbids this!
Setting aside theological differences, we can help each other in the things we all agree upon. That effort is commonly referred to as "ecumenism," which is defined as "the organized attempt to bring about the cooperation and unity of all believers in Christ."
The foundation for this ecumenical trend has been laid and built upon over many years. We saw the beginning of institutional ecumenism in the 1960's, with The World Council of Churches, mostly liberal mainline Protestant denominations who denied such essential doctrines as the inerrancy of Scripture and a literal, bodily resurrection of Christ. For years, Evangelicals distanced themselves from this institutional ecumenism because of the unsound theology of the groups involved.
Today, however, that spirit of compromise has invaded Evangelicalism. The recent Catholic-Evangelical accord is an example of such compromise. In this accord, Evangelicals compromised essential doctrines such as justification by faith alone and the sufficiency of Scripture in order to unite with Roman Catholics on issues such as abortion and school prayer.
Compromising the Truth
The undiluted preaching from God's Word and an authoritative stand on truth seem to be on the decline. What we're seeing instead is a broadening of the gospel, a redefining of what it means to be a Christian, and a growing emphasis on inclusion and tolerance. Ecumenism has come to mean "reducing all elements of faith to the lowest common denominator. God's Word is neglected, experience is valued above truth, a false and selfish "faith" is promoted, and sound doctrine and correction are despised as "divisive" and "unloving."
Ignoring the Scriptures, numerous evangelical leaders today claim that a concern for doctrine causes division and therefore should be avoided for the sake of love and unity among the brethren. The Scriptures, however, couldn't be more specific in its opposition to such a teaching.
I urge you, brothers, to watch out for those who cause divisions and put obstacles in your way that are contrary to the teaching you have learned. Keep away from them. [Romans 16:17]
Divisions are created by teachings that are contrary to sound doctrine.
"Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God. He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and the Son" [2 John 1:9].
Unity in the faith is impossible without the doctrine of Christ. Without such a foundation we have no basis for the faith, for the gospel, for knowing Jesus, or for knowing anything pertinent to the Truth.
The glittering terminology of ecumenical is seen, on close examination, to be as hollow as a soap bubble and just as slippery and hard to hold onto. Where is the "common ground" between belief and unbelief? A believer cannot ignore the "major theological differences" between him and an unbeliever. Instead, he should be cutting through those differences with the Sword of the Word to win the unbeliever to the Lordship of Jesus Christ. I cannot agree to ignore an unbeliever's condition without, by that very act, compromising my beliefs. For my beliefs include the Great Commission, which requires me to tell the world of the gospel of Jesus.
Modern Christian Ecumenical Movements
Even a cursory review of what has taken place in the Church during the last 25 years will reveal a fierce undermining of the faith. Precisely as the Bible warns (Mt. 7:21-23; 24:4,11,24; 2 Thessalonians 2:3; etc.), today's most effective enemies of Christ are those who claim to be Christians and call mankind not just to any old false religion but to a counterfeit Christianity.
(ECT) Evangelicals and Catholics Together
On March 29, 1994, leading evangelicals and Catholics signed a joint declaration, "Evangelicals and Catholics Together: The Christian Mission in the 3rd. Millennium." Contained within the document, which attempts to bring ecumenical unity, are some seriously compromising agreements regarding proselytizing and doctrinal distinctions.
The 25-page document, originated by Chuck Colson and Catholic social critic Richard John Neuhaus, was signed by 40 noted evangelical and Catholic leaders including Pat Robertson, heads of the Home Mission Board and Christian Life Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention, Bill Bright - founder of Campus Crusade for Christ, Mark Noll of Wheaton University, Os Guinness, Jesse Miranda (Assemblies of God), Richard Mauw (President , Fuller Seminary), J.I. Packer and Herbert Schlossberg.
It called for Catholic and evangelical cooperation on social and cultural issues where both traditions share common goals, one example being the fight against abortion. The accord also stressed mutual allegiance to the Apostles' Creed, world evangelism, justification "by grace through faith because of Christ," and encouraged "civil" discourse over doctrinal differences.
Chuck Colson has been fervently criticized for his part in this accord and in his defense I can only say he has a desire to see Christ's high priestly prayer (John 17) maintained. He said in his publication, Jubilee, "All true Christians are one in Christ. That has to be. That isn't just a theological proposition. That is a statement of ultimate reality, because God has created us all, and those He has regenerated and called to Himself all belong to the same, one God. Disunity is a condition that God does not want; it defies what God has done. Therefore it is an affirmative duty on the part of every Christian to work for unity among true believers, never compromising truth, of course, but always to work for unity.
The challenge, as I see it, for Mr. Colson and others working toward true Biblical unity of the church is the dilution of their own faith. While I believe there are most likely "born-again" saved people in the Catholic Church whose faith in Christ transcends the teachings and doctrines of the Church, there is a danger of losing sight of the fact that the Catholic Church promises salvation apart from the finished work of Christ on the cross.
The distinction is not in the common words they use, but in the definitions of those same words. While Catholics and non-Catholics may agree with the Apostles' Creed, they don't necessarily share the meaning. While Catholics may say they agree with justification "by grace through faith because of Christ," their actions sometimes shows otherwise. While "civil" discourse over doctrinal differences may be good, if that civility reduces the impact of world evangelism and bringing the lost to Christ (including non-saved Catholics), it does nothing to advance Christ's prayer for unity and hinders the responsibility of believers to spread the gospel throughout the world.
Colson and other signers later agreed to a five-point statement clarifying Protestant distinctives that were not clear in ECT. Critics claimed that the statement blurs doctrinal lines on key issues, including salvation by faith alone. John MacArthur, pastor of the independent Grace Community Church in Sun Valley, California, told "Christianity Today" magazine his greatest concern was the apparent disregard for "evangelical doctrinal distinctives."
The new statement says cooperation between evangelicals and "evangelically committed Roman Catholics" on common concerns is no endorsement of the Roman Catholic "church system" or "doctrinal distinctives." It affirms the Protestant understanding of salvation and legitimate evangelism efforts.
Excerpts of the follow-up agreement include:
"We understand the statement that 'we are justified by grace through faith because of Christ,' in terms of the substitutionary atonement and imputed righteousness of Christ, leading to full assurance of eternal salvation; we seek to testify in all circumstances and contexts to this, the historic Protestant understanding of salvation by faith alone (sola fide).
"While we view all who profess to be Christian--Protestant and Catholic and Orthodox--with charity and hope, our confidence that anyone is truly a brother and sister in Christ depends not only on the content of his or her confession but on our perceiving signs of regeneration in his or her life.
"Though we reject proselytizing as ECT defines it (that is, 'sheep-stealing' for denominational aggrandizement), we hold that evangelism and church planting are always legitimate, whatever forms of church life are present already."
In November '97, a group of evangelicals and Catholics led by Charles Colson and Father Richard John Neuhaus released a statement, "The Gift of Salvation," in which they say together, "We understand that what we here affirm is in agreement with what the Reformation traditions have meant by justification by faith alone." The statement says, "We agree that justification is not earned by any good works or merits of our own; it is entirely God's gift, conferred through the Father's sheer graciousness, out of the love that He bears us in His Son, who suffered on our behalf and rose from the dead for our justification."
Only 35 short years ago Roman Catholicism was included among the "modern Cults" about which Harold Lindsell warned his students in a course by that name at Fuller. Today, in spite of its false gospel of works and ritual which millions of martyrs faithfully opposed to the death, Catholicism is embraced by our most trusted evangelical leaders.
While ECT and later agreements may allow some "convergence and cooperation" between evangelicals and Catholics in many public tasks, there remains some important differences including "the meaning of baptismal regeneration, the Eucharist ... diverse understandings of merit, reward, purgatory, and indulgences; Marian devotion and the assistance of the saints in the lives of salvation..."
One often hears the naive expression, especially in justifying the new ecumenical acceptance of Roman Catholics as Christians, "I embrace all those as brethren who 'love Jesus' and 'name the name of Christ.'" Yet many cultists profess to love Jesus and almost all "name the name of Christ." One must discern what is meant by such words. The gospel of God's grace is denied by every cult and false religion, including Roman Catholicism, where infant baptism removes original sin and makes one a child of God, salvation is in the church and its sacraments, redemption is an ongoing process of perpetually offering the body and blood of Christ upon its altars, and good works merit acceptance with God.
You can't believe two contradictory propositions at the same time!
You can't believe Christ obtained redemption through His blood and also believe redemption is being accomplished through Catholic liturgy.
You can't believe salvation is by faith and "not of works" and at the same time believe that good works earn salvation.
While the founders of Operation Rescue may have intended only to save the lives of the helpless children that are destroyed through abortion, they now find themselves serving an entirely different purpose.
"I have never seen such an instrument for ecumenism as Operation Rescue is," said Catholic priest Patrick Malone, head of St. Mary Catholic Parish just outside Wichita. Malone explained that Operation Rescue "has a very strong evangelical flavor nationwide, but the experience here has been that the operations break down barriers that have separated churches as we stand for the common cause of the unborn child." Recognizing that the movement offers a tremendous opportunity to sweep millions of Protestants under the guidance of the papacy, Catholic leaders are now encouraging Roman Catholics to join Operation Rescue and shape its future direction. It's already working. said Malone, "People I've demonstrated with, attended rallies with and spent time in jail with--the evangelicals and others--apologized again and again to me" for the views they had held of the Catholic Church.
At Indianapolis 1990, Catholic priest Michael Scanlan gave a testimony about being arrested during an Operation Rescue demonstration. He spoke of the close fellowship between Catholics and Protestants in the jail, and said many of the Protestants attended the masses which were held there. He also said that after these ecumenical experiences, some Protestants began reciting the rosary during Operation Rescue demonstrations.
Freemasonry is the largest international secret society in the world, with more than 6 million members. It is an all-male organization whose principles are explained as "brotherly love, relief and truth." "What makes Masonry so influential is the fact that of its many millions of members so many occupy leadership positions around the world. In our own country there is nearly always a significant percentage of Masons on the White House staff and in the Cobinet, Senate, Congress, Supreme Court, and Pentagon, as well as in top business management." (Dave Hunt, Global Peace and the Rise of the Antichrist, pp. 158-59.)
Freemasonry secretly fosters ecumenism and quietly prepares its members to accept and be part of the coming new world order. Freemasonry promotes the idea that there are many ways to God in contrast to what Jesus said,
"I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.." (John 14:6).
In Carl Claudy's book, "Introduction to Freemasonry" (1931), he writes, "In his private petitions a man may petition God or Jehovah, Allah or Buddha, Mohammed or Jesus; he may call upon the God of Israel or the Great First Cause. In the Masonic Lodge he hears petition to the Great architect of the Universes, finding his own deity under that name. A hundred paths may wind upward around a mountain; at the top they meet." This tolerance of all religions is further clarified, "Masonry does not specify any God of any creed; she requires merely that you believe in some Deity, give him what name you will ... any god will do ..." Albert Pike, former Supreme Pontiff of Universal Freemasonry, likewise exults: "Masonry [is that religion] around whose altars the Christian, the Hebrew, the Moslem, the Brahman [Hindu], the followers of Confucius and Zoroaster, can assemble as brethren and unite in prayer..." (Albert Pike, Morals and Dogma of the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite of Freemasonry (Charleston, SC, The Supreme Council of the 33rd Degree for the Southern Jurisdiction of the United Stated, 1906), pg. 226.)
Consider this quote from a more contemporary Masonic thinking, taken from the current manual of instruction used by Masons in the state of Kentucky (Kentucky Monitor by Henry Pirtle, pg. 95): "Masonry makes no profession of Christianity ... but looks forward to the time when the labor of our ancient brethren shall be symbolized by the erection of a spiritual temple ... in which there shall be but one altar and one worship; one common altar of Masonry on which the Veda, Shastras, Sade, Zend-Avesta, Koran, and Holy Bible shall lie untouched by sacrilegious hands, and at whose shrine the Hindu, the Persian, the Assyrian, The Chaldean, The Egyptian, the Chinese, The Mohammedan, the Jew, and the Christian may kneel and with one united voice celebrate the praises of the Supreme Architect of the Universe."
Masonry clearly teaches salvation through all religions, whereas the Bible teaches there is salvation in only one name under Heaven - the name of Jesus (Acts 4:12). Masonry focuses on "The Great Architect of the Universe" who can be defined any way the worshipper wants to define him. (Dr. David R. Reagan, "Should A Christian Be A Mason?," Bible Prophecy Insights, No. 25, November 1992.)
The New Age Movement
One of the major goals of the New Age Movement is to create a Universal Religious System with all historic doctrinal distinctions removed. It is so dangerous because it's so widespread infiltrating every aspect of our lives in last few years. They believe they are chosen to usher in Peace, Love and Brotherhood under the leadership of a personality that they call the Christ and claim he is alive today awaiting his entrance to the world stage at any moment.
It is found in the Women's Movement, the Peace Movement, and the Ecological Movement. It is not organized with one single leader but rather happens out of people's lives. It is a loose network of thousands of groups with a common ingredient of Hindu religion and a common aversion to traditional Christianity and is a movement that is rapidly replacing Judeo-Christian values with new values.
Instead of destroying religion, they are figuring out how to use it for their own means. President Bill Clinton recently said, "We are redefining in practical terms the immutable ideals that have guided us from the beginning." It's not too difficult to see what ideals he is talking about - the moral commandments put forth in the Bible. Thus, this popular president has possibly done more in the past few years to erode values such as honesty, integrity, purity and faithfulness than anyone in recent history.
Vice-President Al Gore co-opts religion for his pagan goals, writing, "The richness and diversity of our religious tradition throughout history is a spiritual resource long ignored by people of faith, who are often afraid to open their minds to teachings first offered outside their own system of belief. But the emergence of a civilization in which knowledge moves freely and almost instantaneously through the world has ... spurred a renewed investigation of the wisdom distilled by all faiths. This panreligious perspective may prove especially important where our global civilization's responsibility for the earth is concerned." (Earth in the Balance; Ecology and the Human Spirit, pp. 258-259)
This dangerous new, counterfeit spirituality is putting on a righteous face and emerging as the answer for an American society gone violently and perversely mad. What the social engineers need is something watered down that sounds religious, something mystical and full of mystery that makes everybody feel really devout, and certainly something that is politically correct, yet fulfills everybody's yearning to be at peace with God.
"In the early seventies, ten years before the term "New Age" appeared, Brooks Alexander, founder and director of Spiritual Counterfeit Projects, wrote: "The Bible gives us a clear, if unpleasant picture: in the last days of history as we know it, our race will be brought together in a common expression of cosmic humanism. This coming great world religion will offer itself to us as the ancient wisdom and hidden truth underlying all the religious forms of history."" (Tal Brooke, When The World Will Be As One, pg. 237.)
Baha'i World Faith
The Baha'i World Faith claims to be a religion of unique relevance to the modern world. Its emphasis upon rationalism, human rights, international peace, education, equality of the sexes, and the eradication of all forms of prejudice gives the Baha'i Faith a very broad base of appeal. The Baha'i cry for one world religion appeals to the ecumenical spirit of the age, especially in light of the continuing insistence that Baha'is are in perfect harmony with the Christian Faith.
The doctrine of Divine Manifestations is the central plank of Baha'i theology. Through this doctrine Baha'is are able to take seemingly amiable positions toward members of the major world religions, for each of their founders were manifestations of God and thus each religion has a measure of truth. On the same premise Baha'is draw converts from other religions, for, they insist, the other religions were for other ages while the religion of Baha'u'llah is for today. To follow it in no way will conflict with one's native faith, for there is truly only one faith in mankind's history, best represented now by the Baha'is.
Though the recognized Divine Manifestations represent just about every conceivable world view (Monotheism through Moses and Jesus, polytheism through Krisna, Agnosticism through Buddah, and dualism through Zoroaster), Baha'is insist that they are actually united in purpose and teaching. The spiritually initiated see beyond the apparent differences. In fact, Baha'u'llah warned that anyone who saw even the slightest possible difference between their words and messages would be guilty of disbelieving and repudiating God.
The infiltration of psychology into the church has also strengthened the trend toward ecumenism. Psychology plays a major ecumenical role by providing common faith, language and ritual for everyone from atheists, cultists and occultists to Roman Catholics and evangelicals. Most Christian radio stations are saturated with Christian psychology programs, yet the vast majority of listeners to these programs know very little about the doctrine or church affiliation of the men they listen to. These men are accepted as authorities on Christian living simply because they say they are Christians and believe the Bible. These men unify Christians, not on the basis of Scripture but on their psychological influence which is trans-doctrinal.
What could be wrong with Christian men uniting to become more godly? What could be wrong with men assuming leadership in marriage? What could be wrong with promoting the virtues of sexual integrity, parental responsibility and church devotion?
Well, of course, there is everything right and nothing wrong with becoming more godly, assuming leadership, sexual integrity, etc . There is a fundamental problem, however, with the Promise Keepers' approach to the Gospel and to the way godliness is achieved in the life of a believer. It is an approach that has attracted Catholics and Mormons as well.
Promise Keepers is committed to reaching across denominational barriers in an effort to unite men. And they have been successful in doing that. Promise Keepers supporters and sponsors include Evangelicals, Catholics, Lutherans, Presbyterians, Methodists, Episcopalians, Charismatics, Catholics, Mormons and others. These groups have been divided by major doctrinal differences for many years. But now these differences are being dropped for the sake of unity. The very fact that both the Roman Catholic and Mormon churches have officially declared that they find no conflict between PK teaching and their own doctrines ought to tell you that something is seriously wrong. This seems to be an ecumenicalism of proportions never experienced since the Reformation.
There have been single issues, such as abortion, pornography, and prohibition, that have drawn a spectrum of churches together, but none have reached the popularity and ecumenicalism of the Promise Keepers. Promise Keepers is a burgeoning force in American Christianity. With the goal of Point Men in every church, one cannot ignore its influence. Beneath the emotional hype, camaraderie, enthusiastic speakers, songs, and cheers, Promise Keepers champions a psycho-spiritual, ecumenical and political agenda.
Those who get involved with Promise Keepers are trained in a mixture of humanistic psychology and corrupt Christianity. Men attending a massive 1993 Promise Keepers conference were given complimentary copies of The Masculine Journey: Understanding the Six Stages of Manhood by psychotherapist Robert Hicks. In a review of this book, T.A. McMahon notes:
"The book, written to help 'provide directions for a man's life so that he doesn't get lost along the way,' is mainly psychologically biased conjecture centering around six Hebrew words. In chapter after chapter, subjective insights into manhood are offered through quotes by a host of secular authors with a psychological bent, including Carl Jung, inner-healing therapist Leanne Payne, transpersonal psychiatrist/spiritualist Elizabeth Kubler-Ross, and Sam Keen, former theologian in residence at Esalen, the New Age/Eastern mystical therapeutic center south of San Francisco.
The Promise Keepers' movement is part of an ecumenical trend of down-playing doctrine for unity that puts aside essential theological issues in order to promote a unity which is not biblical unity. Are false doctrines being addressed? Are the people in these churches challenged to flee their false religious systems? The answer is "No." Key foundational issues have been dropped, all for the sake of supposed unity.
The men who are reached through this ministry are not necessarily brought into sound New Testament churches and grounded in the truth. They are not being taught to keep themselves pure from apostasy and heresy. They are not being trained in discerning false gospels from the true. Rather they will be instructed in unscriptural ecumenism as they are sent back to their church congregation or parish to become active laymen. They are being taught that doctrine is not crucial, that to fight for the truth is unspiritual. They are even being encouraged to accept apostate denominations as genuine expressions of Christianity. There is so much theological diversity among those involved with Promise Keepers that no in-depth discussion of Scripture or what it means to be a Christian could take place without tearing the movement apart. If one followed the doctrines of some of the groups involved in this movement, one could not even be a Christian. And if one is not a Christian, nothing that person does will enable him or her to be godly.
Though we can rejoice that men may get saved and their lives turn around for the good, yet results in and of themselves do not necessarily mean the movement has God's approval or that the methods Promise Keepers uses are right and in conformity to the will of God. Numbers 20 provides a classic example of this. Moses was commanded by God to strike the rock (Ex. 17:5) and speak to it (Num. 20:8) and water would come forth miraculously to supply the needs of the Israelites and their animals. In a fit of rage and frustration over the rebellious attitudes and complaints of Israel, Moses angrily struck the rock twice and water came out of the rock in abundance to quench the thirst of millions of people and animals. God graciously displayed His supernatural power and performed a miracle in the presence of the entire assembly. Yet, did God approve of Moses' methods? Did the visible result of water coming out in abundance demonstrate God's hand of blessing was upon Moses' work? No, his disobedience was noted and as punishment, he was forbidden to enter the Promised Land. "The good results that were publicly displayed did not justify the wrong way in which God's will was carried out" (Axioms of Separation, p. 14). The same is true about Promise Keepers.
The Christian Response to Ecumenism
Nineteenth-century preacher Charles Spurgeon was known for taking unpopular positions as he ministered God's Word, and faced the same arguments confronting many Bible teachers today. His response to the seductive power of compromise for popularity's sake was especially poignant: "What have you and I to do with maintaining our influence and position at the expense of truth? It is never right to do a little wrong to obtain the greatest possible good ... Your duty is to do the right: consequences are with God."
How, you might ask, can a Bible-believing church accept many of teachings held up today? Simple. Few read the Bible any more. Far too many people simply go along with whatever they are told is biblical, with no particular interest in checking it out for themselves. For those whom the Lord equips, He sets forth an essential for discernment:
"...If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free." [John 8:31-32]
For the sake of our growth in the faith and our development of discernment, we must "hold to" the teachings of God's word. "Hold to," or "continue" (KJV) means to submit to Christ's teachings, to abide in them (i.e., to let our mental, physical and spiritual life be governed by them), and to remain in them, becoming steadfast in the faith. If we do this, then we are His disciples, we will know the truth, and will be set free by the truth.
How many times have you heard that somebody was "causing division in the church?" Well, maybe they were supposed to! After all, there are two things that cause division according to the Bible: truth and error.
Haven't you heard the scripture, "Do you suppose I came to grant peace on earth? I tell you, no, rather division!" That's right! Jesus said that "from now on five members in one household will be divided three against two, and two against three" (Luke 12:51-52). Hard words to hear! Yet, harder to accept. But, that's what Jesus said and is preserved in the Holy Scriptures. He said that whole families would be divided over Him. And there are many occasions in the New Testament when whole assemblies of people were divided because of Jesus (John 7:43, 9:16, 10:19, Acts 23:6-7).
People who love the truth will divide from people who love lies.
Today, when there are so many who are professing religion, is it any wonder that some of the deepest truths in the Bible - repentance, faith, holiness, etc. - are also some of the greatest objects of debate in the Church. It must be said that those who truly want to know God's views on these great pillars of Christian doctrine, will appear to be divisive - and rightly so, in an age when the great gospel message of salvation can be reduced to such a sugar-coated, bakery-item as, "God loves you and has a wonderful plan for your life!"
Can ecumenists by uniting, set the standards for the rest of the world? "Who's kingdom is the earth anyway?" This worldly kingdom belongs to Satan until Jesus Christ returns. Jesus said in John 18:36, "My kingdom belongs not to this world..." He said he did not come to bring peace, but rather division.
Division that comes from the proclaiming of the truth will usually include some intense reaction and opposition, but it will also produce good fruit and the advancement of God's kingdom (not to mention the conversion of souls.)
The Scripture is unmistakably clear: the primary attribute by which God wants to be known is holiness--He is totally separate from all that is sinful or defiled. Fifty-five times God refers to Himself in Scripture as the "Holy One." Fifty-nine times He is called or described as being holy. There are only forty-three times where God is said to love or that He Himself is love. Interestingly enough, the word "holy" (or a form of it) occurs 651 times in Scripture. The word "love" (or a related form) whether human or divine is mentioned only 546 times. Although no attribute of God is mentioned more frequently in the Bible than that of holiness, there is perhaps no other characteristic so ignored and misunderstood as this one. Many seem to view holiness and love as being contradictory: holiness is too negative and divisive while love seems to be positive and accepting. But contrary to God's nature is the notion that love must tolerate or even refuse to expose error. God's love is compatible with His holiness. As believers follow the command to imitate their God (Eph. 5:1), they are not free to pick and choose which characteristics to copy. The modern day definition of love largely sets aside God's demand to His children,
"Be ye holy for I am holy"
(Lev. 11:44; 1 Pet. 1:15,16)
Holiness is the hub of the wheel from which all other divine attributes radiate. Anything that is genuinely at the heart of God should primarily reflect that same characteristic of holiness. With the blatant rejection of the Bible doctrine of separation (which finds its foundation in the holiness of God), Promise Keepers cannot be legitimately considered "at the very heart of God." Whenever a movement becomes engrossed in compromise with error, it ceases to reflect that core attribute which God has chosen as His name (Isaiah 57:15).
Still some would try to ignore the wrong of compromising methods and point out only the good that is seen. Some would even say that those who dare criticize a movement (as PK) which has enjoyed such phenomenal success are being nit- picky. If there can be an agreement on the "major" doctrines of Scripture, then why not get on the bandwagon of a good cause? To this Albert Dager makes the following remarks:
"The evidence of God at work is not outward results, but conformity to Scripture, which in turn results in outward change. Outward change without conformity to Scripture is merely human righteousness. Change of mind does not always equate to change of heart. A genuine change of heart results in the holding of Scripture in high esteem. Nor does it distinguish between so called `essential doctrine' and `secondary doctrine' ... (2 Tim. 3:14- 17)... When the Holy Spirit says that all Scripture is given for instruction in righteousness, He isn't speaking only of the so-called `Big Five' doctrines the ecumenists are claiming as reason for unity. He means all of Scripture itself is the essential doctrine of the Faith" (Media Spotlight Special Report, p. 14).
He then continues with these comments:
"The end does not justify the means. The proper focus must be on the means itself, as well as on the end. . . Results are not the final arbiter of truth; one's pious demeanor is not the final arbiter of truth; one's ability to call fire down from heaven is not the final arbiter of truth. God's Word is the only and final arbiter of truth" (Ibid.).
Behold the emergence of the ecumenical apostate church, the bride of Antichrist! "Positive Christianity" is the enemy of the cross.
The truth offends those who don't want to hear it. Yet to speak anything less is to trifle with the eternal destiny of souls. Ecumenism's promise of "unity" is tempting, but it denies Christ and paves the way for the Antichrist and his new world religion. It is a unification that will ultimately lead to destruction.
True unity is not sought by pretending that there are no differences, as modern ecumenists have done, but by recognizing and respecting those differences, while focusing on the great orthodox truths all Christians share. Articulated in the classic confessions and creeds, it embraces such fundamentals as the Virgin birth, the deity of Christ, the Atonement, the Resurrection, the authority of Scripture, and the Second Coming.
Man-made unity is not what God desires. He wants a holy people. Many Christians believe that unity in itself will bring about a holy revival. But unity cannot bring holiness, only holiness can bring about true unity. For when God's people start seeking to live, worship and pray according to the Holy Word of God, then God Himself will answer Jesus' prayer and make those who seek Him, truly "one!" THEN God will unite the hearts of those who love Him, and hate sin and error, and He will truly shine forth from the midst of such a people - the true people of God!
The unification of the various national identities, races, and religions can only be achieved through the eradication of sin. That means only through the Lord Jesus Christ can we become perfectly one. The other avenue to unite people, the program of the Antichrist, will only be accomplished temporarily through deception.
The United Nations, which was created and is controlled by The Council On Foreign Relations, is highly involved in bringing to fruition a One World Religion, as part of a New World Order, which is the Beast system of the coming Antichrist . . .
U.N. plans to bring together 1,000 world religious leaders
By Larry Witham, THE WASHINGTON TIMES, July 14, 2000
A global summit bringing 1,000 religious leaders to the United Nations will disclose some participants next week, good news to U.N. officials eager to plan security and protocol for the unprecedented Aug. 28-29 event. The "working list" to be issued Tuesday will not include personages such as Pope John Paul II and probably not the Dalai Lama, who reports no invitation. But the Vatican's Cardinal Francis Arinze, a Nigerian, will make the trek to New York City as will spiritual leaders from countries such as Peru who have never before left their native soils.
"The leaders we've met in Africa, and Europe and Asia and Russia understand the opportunity," said Dena Merriam, a vice chairman of the summit. "The challenge is to have so many top leaders, and they all have something to say," she said. Miss Merriam, who has traveled with the summit's Secretary-General Bawa Jain to enlist participants, noted that even heads of state are given no more than five minutes to make remarks at the United Nations.
The Millennium World Peace Summit of Religious and Spiritual Leaders is organized by an "independent coalition" of interfaith leaders, and is being held in a year when nongovernmental organizations, or NGOs, are seeking use of the General Assembly chamber more than usual.
"We're hoping in the next two weeks that their program will begin to gel," a U.N. official said.
"Any event that takes place in the General Assembly room requires major concern for security, protocol, the political [aspects], and making sure the program is compatible with the work of the United Nations," he said.
NGO use of the chamber averages about four times a year, but this year it will be roughly 10 times.
The Millennium World Peace Summit of Religious and Spiritual Leaders opens Aug. 28 with an afternoon procession into the General Assembly and sessions all the next day. It moves for two more days to the nearby Waldorf Astoria hotel. The summit was announced last October after "conversations" between media mogul Ted Turner and U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan, who will address the session of "the world's pre-eminent" spiritual leaders.
One casualty of the inevitable political delicacies may be the Dalai Lama, spiritual leader of Tibet. China holds one of five permanent seats on the U.N. Security Council and long has opposed his speaking at the United Nations. "His Holiness has not been invited to the summit," an Office of Tibet spokeswoman in New York said Thursday.
The religious leaders are expected to issue a Declaration for World Peace and agree to some form of a permanent International Advisory Council of Religious and Spiritual Leaders. Mr. Turner, the summit's honorary chairman, has promised full live coverage by CNN. The chairman of the top advisory board is Canadian businessman Maurice Strong, who ran the U.N. Earth Summit in 1992, and a vice president of the summit's executive counsel is former Sen. Timothy Wirth, Colorado Democrat, who now heads Mr. Turner's grant-giving United Nations Foundation.
Other vice presidents are Gillian Sorenson, assistant to Mr. Annan, and the Rev. James Morton, an Episcopal priest with the Interfaith Center of New York. A midtown Manhattan office near the United Nations has been the hub of the yearlong effort inviting notable people from 12 world traditions, from the monotheistic faiths to Zoroastrianism, indigenous religions and Confucianism. Funding comes from 11 sponsors, which include the Better World Fund of Mr. Turner and the Templeton, Carnegie and Rockefeller Brothers foundations. Summit organizers would not yet disclose a budget.
"A little leaven...
leaveneth the whole lump."