Ecumenism and The Gospel of UNITY
Everyone is looking for peace to make a better world. It is a necessity that has been missing since the beginning of time and has become an indispensable element for our survival. Many think with our uniting together we can have peace in our world. Jesus spoke about peace and said my peace I give to you not as the world gives. His is a peace through trials, an assurance of well being, not a compromise to bring two sides together that should not be. His main concern was of a peace we can have with God as formerly being an enemy as sinners we can become reconciled through the cross.
Jeremiah spoke against the prophets of his day that said peace, peace when there is no peace. Paul wrote of the future when they say peace and safety sudden destruction will come. We are headed in this way with lightning speed.
There are some famous and not so famous people who want to see unity become a reality, especially in religious circles. This unity not only affects the Church but politics as well.
Moonies want unity of religion. Jerry Falwell hugged Sun Myung Moon after his speaking at a plenary session of Moon's “Christian Ecumenism in the Americas” conference in Montevideo, Uruguay. Falwell has called Moon an “unsung hero to the cause of freedom” who was “to be commended” for his determination, courage, and endurance in support of his beliefs. But Falwell is mistaken in doing this. The truth is Rev. Moon is a cult leader who opposes freedom and implements mind control tactics enslaving his followers to promote his mutiny against Christ as he claims to be the 2nd advent of the Messiah since Jesus failed in His mission.
Robert Schuller, whose Crystal Cathedral houses offices for “Christians and Muslims for Peace,” told Imam Alfred Mohammed of the Muslim American Society that “if he [Schuller] came back in 100 years and found his descendants Muslims, it wouldn't bother him....” Schuller is oblivious that Islam denies that Jesus is God's Son and that He died for our sins (Islam believes someone else died on the Cross in His place). Islam offers a gospel of good works for salvation, and death in Jihad as the only sure way for Muslim's to enter heaven. How can this be a religion that doesn't bother him? But then he doesn’t mind not telling people they are sinners in need of salvation either. Instead he offers his new message of positive Christianity. This is the peace and unity he offers, instead of the death on the cross for our sins. This certainly cannot bring the peace that Christ gives to sinners.
William Baker is the founder and president of Camp Christians and Muslims for Peace (www.campintl.com/) which is linked to Robert Schullers Crystal Cathedral homepage (obviously endorsing Camp), Christians and Muslims for Peace. This is an organization of both Christian and Muslim men and women who are dedicated to the promotion of Peace and Justice, trying to have Reconciliation between the world’s two largest religions. Conflicts have escalated with Muslims having hatred and persecute with physical violence and death in nearly two dozen locations in the world. (I have seen pictures from foreign newspapers of them hacking Christians and smiling over their bodies). Although they seem to imply it is from both sides most can honestly say it is from Islam. In all fairness not all Muslims are like this but many in foreign countries this can be accepted. Now they are trying to find common ground shared by both great religions to make peace. The common ground is the good works they each do in their communities for the poor, the homeless, the orphans, the needy. This is the common denominator of all religions! Does this mean Bible doctrine can be discarded for the sake of serving our fellow man. Christ himself said the works we do must be motivated by faith in Him or they are useless.
They want to challenge the false stereotypes that involves both religions. For example Islamic fundamentalists are considered a threat to Christianity and the West, and that Christianity is opposed to Islam and Christians consider Muslims unbelievers. By presenting the teachings from each, the Holy books of Islam (the Quran) and Christianity (the Bible) they expect to educate the people of their common faith.
The Bible is explicit on faith and unity. Not everyone is a child in Gods kingdom. He didn't leave it up to us to choose which religion to belong to Christ is still the ONLY WAY Galatians 3:26-28 “For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus.”
John Marks Templeton has become famous for offering a million dollars from his religious research center that is developing progress in religion. This prize has become one of the most prestigious Ecumenical awards today. Robert Schuller in his Possibilities magazine put his picture on the front cover and the inside article has Schuller stating the Christ Spirit dwells within everybody whether the person knows it or not…nothing exists except God.” (Possibilities,1986 summer p.8-12) Templeton has been noted for saying “I am hoping to develop a body of knowledge about God that doesn’t rely on ancient revelations or scripture. (the bible)… The main purpose of the Templeton foundations is to encourage enthusiasm for accelerating discovery and progress in spiritual matters (the Humble approach p135-139)
He goes on to say the heart of true religion is the willingness to see truths in other religions. The Persian scriptures claim, “whatever road I take joins the highway that leads to thee…Broad is the carpet God has spread. (ibid. 35-36,45)
Contrary to his broad road it was Jesus who said he alone was the way said the road is narrow and few find it.(MT.7:13) To this Templeton says “No one should say that God can be reached by only one path. “ ibid. p.46,55) Templeton's message is not Christ's but his own opinion.
This is the message of the Parliament of world religions in 1993, this is what interfaith meetings is all about as well as the world Council of Churches. Disregard the differences for unity and peace.
Norman Vincent Peale has called Templeton “The greatest layman of the Christian church in our time” This he attributes to a man who is a evolutionist, pantheist and anti Christian.( jacket of Discovering the laws of Life 1994)
The prize is for contributing toward religious progression is antithetical to Christianity which is absolute truth without ecumenical development to other religions. The first Templeton prize went to Mother Teresa in 1973. Leon Joseph cardinal Suenens who was a pioneer in the charismatic renewal in 1976. Their have been Muslims, Hindus, and Buddhist leaders that have accepted this prize as well as many evangelicals and even atheists (how this can fit with progress in religion I have no idea). Christians such as Billy Graham in 1982, Bill Bright 1996 and more recently Charles Colson. In so doing even unknowingly join to endorse his development of a ecumenical religion. While the prize money was used for evangelism, no correction or rebuke was said toward the concepts that Templeton promotes, instead he is commended. To be silent in the face of error of this magnitude is be a spiritual ostrich. We need to question why would Templeton give a gift to evangelicals when he is aware of the Christian message. The only reasonable explanation is that he finds it necessary to make inroads into the Church and have endorsement to his project. We need to pray for those involved to have discernment and boldness.
We forge forward toward world unity of religion but at the cost of the gospel and the Bible itself.
Jack Van Impe, B. Hinn, P. Crouch, numerous others endorse the Pope. Many consider him a real born-again, evangelical charismatic....” Pat Robertson stated, “Pope John Paul II stands like a rock...in his clear enunciation of the foundational principles of the Christian faith.” Really, I must have missed this, He is the most Marian Pope the Catholic church has ever had. One who tells the people of the richness of other religions such as animists and the Tibetan lama. Does he lead those of other religions to the true Gospel by faith? Neither does he lead his church into this.
The Bahai's state “Christ was the Prophet of the Christians, Moses of the Jews - why should not the followers of each prophet recognize and honor the other prophets also? If men could only learn the lesson of mutual tolerance, understanding, and brotherly love, the Unity of the world would soon be an established fact.” (The wisdom of Abdul Baha p.43)
We are Never told to make unity, but to “keep the unity of the Spirit” (Eph. 4:3), this is something we already have in Christ. Christ prayed for the unity and all his prayers are answered. We don’t have to strive for it, it is something given by grace through Christ. It is The Holy Spirit that makes this unity, because it is a unity of those who are truly born of the Spirit. We are brought into this organic unity by faith and added to the body of Christ 1Cor.12:13. The unity centers around the core beliefs that have always been held by the Church. It is the Holy Spirit that has written the Scripture to reveal Christ as well as doctrine so His purpose is to bring one to understand what Christ has said. And in so doing bring them to be in unity with the rest of the body of Christ.
Contrast this with the ecumenical concept of bringing together all who name the name of Christ whether they do hold to the basic tenets of the faith or are not regenerate Christians. This true unity began on the day of Pentecost when God made a new entity the Church. Those who believed the gospel were brought into the Church and they continued steadfastly in the apostle’s doctrine in love and fellowship having all things in common. The Church increased daily. By listening to the apostle’s teachings they had unity. So it is unity of the word which will be our guidance and source of spiritual life. It seems that many believe that the Holy Spirit is not limited to the Christian Church but is found in other religions. As Jude said in vs.17 but you beloved, remember the words which were spoken before by the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ. He goes on to say they will be mockers in the last days that cause divisions. How? By not having the Spirit! But they want to make a spiritual union by human reasoning not lead by the spirit into the truth that Jesus already delivered.
True unity is found only in Christ. Those who belong to Him are “one body,” having “one hope...one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all...” (Eph.4:4-6). A unity of the one faith (v. 5). Unity is not possible unless one accepts the faith taught by the Apostles, not just faith in God (whoever that may be). The Church is commanded to “earnestly contend for the faith once delivered unto the saints” (Jude 3). We are to guard this faith (2 Tim.1:13,14) which is not the purpose of this new unity that is sought. There is no unity whatsoever between those who believe and follow the Bible and those who do not hold to the fundamentals, the core teachings that have always been taught. What spiritual fellowship does light have with darkness. Do not fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness but expose them. These would be anything contrary to Christ that lifts itself to challenging His (Christ's) exclusive claims. Jesus said, “My doctrine is not Mine, but His who sent Me” (John 7:16). If one discards doctrine for the sake of being united with others they are directly going against all that Christ stands for.
Those who are not part of Christ's body through believing the gospel are not united in the truth. If ones gospel consists of working for their salvation or to be baptized to be saved they are not part of the Church. This all incompatible to faith. Believers cannot construct a spiritual unity by making someone or some group part of the body of Christ. No amount of love from man can do this. They must accept Christ's love in the gospel to be in the truth. Attempting to enter the kingdom by climbing up any other way is what Jesus said was a thief or a robber, rather than entering through the door, which is Christ the person. He is still the way and if we lose sight of this we have wandered from what Christianity really is. We then have a Christ who is just one of many teachers and masters in the course of history.
This is the essence of the eclectic Bahai religion, “Since there is one God these manifestations of God have each taught the same religious faith.” “ One God has given men one Faith through progressive revelations of His Will in each age of history and Baha’u’llah reveals the will of God for men and women of the present age. This basic belief enables Bahai’s to unite and work together in spite of different religious backgrounds. (Tract on Basic facts of the Baha’i faith Bahai publishing trust Wilmette Illinois)
Jesus said Sanctify them by your love, right. Wrong! By your truth. Your word is truth Jn.17:17.So truth is essential for everything in the Christian faith and for our unity.
John the apostle who is known for his love said this in 2 Jn.1:1-3: “The Elder, To the elect lady and her children, whom I love in truth, and not only I, but also all those who have known the truth, because of the truth which abides in us and will be with us forever: Grace, mercy, and peace will be with you from God the Father and from the Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of the Father, in truth and love.” What is the love Jesus prays would be in us? It is the love of the truth.
A number of years ago Lockheed Corporation had a ad in Scientific American stating that through its computers it was “undoing the Babel effect” by uniting the world in one language once again. IBM and other corporations have made similar claims. They see the internet as their prophecy come true, to make a better world by uniting people together economically. While the Internet has many advantages, to speak in this way is an affront to God. There are two streams at work to unite mankind. One is political the other is religious. Eventually they will converge to make peace and prosperity.
The Bahai religion states ALL RELIGIONS ARE ONE, ALL RELIGIONS SHOULD JOIN TOGETHER AS ONE UNITY, IN THE UNITY OF FAITH... “O’ ye people of the world! The religion of God is for the sake of love and union; make it not the cause of enmity and conflict… LO: ALL ARE OF GOD:” (Baha’u’lla Last will and Testament) forsaking the truth for the concept of being united. Babylon is rising again.
The Bible speaks against any unity based upon man's desires and goals that are independent of the God of the Bible. Gen.11:1-9 we have already seen this play out at the tower of Babel. The clarion call today is unity of the world and unity of religion, this is the false unity that will be headed by the Antichrist (Rev.17-18) Some need to ask themselves are they building up the Church or rebuilding Babylon a world that has religious values with no truth or power in them. Is it for peace sake or for the Prince of peace. The Bible condemns any type of unity which is not founded in God's truth. The false gods of Unity sacrifices eternal truths for tolerance. This is a Mars Hill encounter without the Gospel proclaimed.
Paul said that “the gospel of Christ...is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth” (Rom 1:16). He also called it “the gospel...by which also ye are saved” (1Cor.15:1-2) if you did not believe in vain. The scripture as a whole tells us salvation comes only through believing the gospel. Christ told His disciples to go into “all the world, and preach the gospel” (Mk16:15) The truth of man being sinful and Christ having the only cure is to challenge all other ways that claim otherwise. So how can Christians have unity with religions that deny sin and Christ being the cure!
How comfortable we can become warming our hands at the enemies fire. We must watch ourselves in the times we live in.
The fact is that we should love people enough to warn of false gospels so they will not be led astray to an eternal hell. Any shepherd or leader who unites with the world religions loves wolves more than the sheep and is a confused about his position. If he can’t speak up to protect the flock surely he is no true shepherd or leader.
A.W. Tozer: “We can hold a correct view of the truth only by daring to believe everything God has said about Himself. It is a grave responsibility that a man takes upon himself when he seeks to edit out of God's self-revelation such features as he in his ignorance deems objectionable.”
The method we use to present the gospel can change from culture to culture but the message must never change. If we unite with those who bring another gospel even if its slightly altered we come under the anathema that Paul mentioned to the Galatians. I say this in all sincerity to those who may already be in this position willingly or unwillingly.
2 Cor. 4:2-4: “But
we have renounced the hidden things of shame, not walking in craftiness nor
handling the word of God deceitfully, but by manifestation of the truth
commending ourselves to every man's conscience in the sight of God. But even if
our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing, whose minds
the god of this age has blinded, who do not believe, lest the light of the
gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine on
We are to speak the plain truth in love. If our gospel is “veiled”, it is because The god of this world has blinded the minds of those who do not believe, and prevents the light of the gospel of Christ, to shine on them.
As Walter Martin use to say “Are you willing to do for the truth what the cults do for a lie.” Then you must live it everyday. How can we witness with conviction to someone when we waver in what we believe. We must be sure in our belief so we can be assured of it.
The truths we hold dearly
There are truths from scripture that all who follow hold to. These are: God the uncreated brought into existence all things. Christ is the eternal God, there is one God and 3 distinct persons who exist simultaneously as God. The virgin conception is the means of the incarnation, where God became a man. The death of Christ for the sins of man as the only way. Our need of a savior, The sinfulness of man that prompted him by love to do this. The new birth by the hearing of the Gospel (death- burial- resurrection )received by faith alone. That Christ was raised physically in the same body and glorified. The infallibility and inerrancy of scripture (the bible). The mediatorship and eternal priesthood of Christ, the priesthood of all believers. The Church as our spiritual home on earth, the 2nd coming, judgment and rewards for what we have and have not done with our talents and gifts. We can’t compromise on these. (and any others)
May the Lord give you and I boldness to be light in this present hour of darkness that we live in. We are to speak the plain truth in love. If our gospel is “veiled”, it is because The god of this world has blinded the minds of those who do not believe, and prevents the light of the gospel of Christ, to shine on them. Lets tell them the gospel.
Let Us Reason Ministries mailto:email@example.com