What is Wrong with “Ecumenical”?

What is Wrong with "Ecumenical"?

What is Wrong with "Ecumenical"?

If we are to converse meaningfully about the
subject of "ecumenism," we must define our terms so we can know
we are talking about the same thing. We need definitions for the
following: "ecumenism"; "ecumenical"; "modern ecumenical
organisation"; "ecumenical movement."

"Ecumenical" Can Be a Good, Useful
Term

"Ecumenical" derives from the Greek term
oikoumene; it is of course a good word, used 15 times in
the New Testament; it always means either "the inhabited world or
earth" or "inhabitants of the world" (Cf. Matthew 24;14; Luke 2:1;
Luke 4:5; Luke 21:26; Acts 11:28; Acts 17:6, 31; Acts 19:27; Acts 24:5;
Romans 10:18; Hebrews 1:6; Hebrews 2:5; Revelation 3:10; Revelation 12:9;
Revelation 16:14). Webster’s Dictionary
has: "ecumenical: the inhabited world; worldwide in extent or
influence." Any activity that encompasses the world or involves
the inhabitants of the world can be described as "ecumenical." Of
course, the prime example is the spread of the Gospel to the
whole world, according to the Great Commission of our Lord. The
First Century Church so evangelised their world that Paul could
write to the saints in Rome that the Gospel had gone to the ends
of the oikoumene (Romans 10:18). The term can also be used
in a secular sense with no undesirable implications, such as "an
ecumenical conference on world hunger."

When "Ecumenical" Becomes a Dangerous
Term

"Ecumenical" becomes a dangerous term when it
is combined with "movement" and applied to churches and
Christians. Webster defines "ecumenical movement" as "a planned
bringing together of all Christians into visible unity"; most
ecumenical organisations define the "ecumenical movement" as a
means to show the world all Christians are in unity. The claim is
made that this is to answer Jesus’ prayer in John 17:22.
While "Webster" does not have to be concerned about the
definition of "Christian" and "unity," we do! The fact is that
the current ecumenical movement always brings together some who
are true to the doctrines of the Word of God with some who are
not. There is no Christian unity where there is not unity in the
faith once for all delivered to the saints (Jude 3).

The True Body of Christ IS In Unity

In His prayer Jesus specified the kind of
persons who can be in unity as He is in unity with the Father
(John 17:22b). He made clear the desired unity would be a
spiritual unity (John 17:5; John 10:30), unity in Truth
(John 17:17), and in agape Love (John 17:23,26). The fact that seems to be
commonly overlooked is that Jesus’ prayer HAS ALREADY been
answered and continues to be answered until He claims His Bride.
The world sees hundreds of denominations; God sees the One
Church, the Body of Christ, which includes some from many
denominations. The only way to be in the true Church is to be
placed into the Body of Christ by the Holy Spirit in
regeneration: "...the Body is one . . .all the members are one
. . .for by one Spirit we were all baptised into one Body"
(
1 Corinthians 12:12-13). "You are all one in Christ Jesus"
(Galatians 3:28).

Jesus’ prayer WAS answered as Acts 2
records. The disciples were in the unity of the Spirit since
"all were filled with the Holy Spirit" (Acts 2:4), they were
in unity of Truth as "they continued steadfastly in the
apostles’ doctrine"
(Acts 2:42), and they were in unity of
Love (Acts 2:43-44). The original unity of the Church was gradually
broken by heretical teachers and their followers as recorded, for
example, in Jesus’ letters to the seven churches
(Revelation 2-3). Jesus warned five of the churches He would be
leaving their midst if they did not repent. Would an ecumenical
conference have helped them? It would only have established them
more deeply in their backsliding. The ONLY way the whole Body of
Christ can again have visible unity before the world is for all
to be of the same doctrine and experience as that first
church.

The Wrong Kind of "Unity"

The modern ecumenical movement is promoted
generally by the World Council of Churches and the Roman Catholic
Church. It gets most of its momentum from the Roman Catholic
Pontifical Council on Ecumenism. Their PURPOSE was verbalised
succinctly at Vatican II. Speaking of "dialogue with separated
brethren," the following plan was recorded: "The results will be
that, little by little, as the obstacles to perfect
ecclesiastical communion are overcome, all Christians will be
gathered, in a common celebration of the Eucharist, into the
UNITY OF THE ONE AND ONLY CHURCH" ("Documents of Vatican II" by
Flannery, p. 456). The World Council of Churches has contributed
to the breaking down of doctrinal standards for many
denominations and has promoted the ecumenical movement; however
the WCC is now drawing closer and closer to the Catholics because
the Roman Church has AUTHORITY, vested in an "infallible
pope."

When Nehemiah was leading God’s people
in the rebuilding of the walls, his archenemies Sanballat,
Tobiah, and Geshem saw the Jews’ success. When they could
not stop the people of God, they tried another ruse. They sent an
invitation to Nehemiah inviting him to dialogue in the
plain of Ono. Nehemiah said, "Ono? Oh, no! I am doing a great
work so that I cannot come down." He knew their PURPOSE was evil;
he stayed the course and was successful (Nehemiah 6:1-15).
Pentecostal denominations in general, and the Assemblies of God
in particular, have experienced great success as defined
scripturally. Now the Sanballats and Tobiahs want to dialogue
with us! Our response should be, like Nehemiah’s, "no, no,
no."

A Church that admittedly plans to bring all
other churches under its control leads the ecumenical movement.
For example, "Father" Ray Ryland, a professor of theology at
Franciscan University in Steubenville, OH, works with "Coming
Home Network," an organisation whose purpose is to "draw in
separated brethren." In an article in THIS ROCK, March 2000, he
explains how Catholics are to carry out Vatican II’s
ecumenical agenda, both covertly and overtly. He writes, "The
goal of Catholic ecumenism is to restore unity to the separated
traditions by bringing them within the unity of the Catholic
Church."

What Would Jesus Do? What Would Paul
Do?

If Jesus had been ecumenical, He would
have lovingly dialogued with the Jewish leaders who loved God (as
they defined "God") and were totally engrossed in "doing good,"
just as are the leaders of the ecumenical movement today. He
would have practised "reconciliation" with all who named the name
of Jehovah, and He could have escaped the Cross. Just one
problem: where would we be if He had? One of our ministers who is
deeply involved in ecumenism, has told me repeatedly, "If anyone
says, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ he is my brother regardless of
what else he may believe." He has forgotten Jesus’ own
statement early in His ministry that many who say to Him,
"Lord, Lord . . .," have never known Him. False cults say, "Jesus
is Lord," but then they qualify what they mean by "Lord." New
Agers have Jesus as one of their "lords." To make Jesus Lord in
one’s life requires accepting the Word of God as completed
in the 66 books of the Canon, without adding Tradition and false
prophecies. This eliminates false cults, including Roman
Catholicism.

If Paul had been ecumenical, he would
never have rebuked Peter or pronounced God’s anathema on
those who preached "another gospel"! In fact, he would not have
been arrested and sent to Nero if he had only practised
"reconciliation" with all who claimed to be Christians. If Paul
were alive today, he would again rebuke those teaching wrong
doctrine regardless of their spiritual experiences. The fact that
some Catholics speak in tongues proves nothing except that if the
Holy Spirit genuinely gives the glossolalia, then He will lead
them away from error to Truth. When they insist on the biblical
doctrine of salvation through Christ’s finished work of
Calvary, with absolutely no necessity for the RCC sacraments,
they will be excommunicated if they do not leave of their own
accord. Mormons also speak in tongues. How long before we "unite"
with them? Their doctrines are not much farther away from
orthodoxy than are those of the RCC.

Hasn’t the RC Church Changed Its
Doctrines?

Anyone can by reading the latest Catholic
Catechism (1995) see that all the heretical teachings of past
centuries, plus some new ones, are there: the placing of ultimate
authority in CHURCH TRADITION and the Papacy rather than in the
66 canonical books of the Holy Bible; the sacramentalism of the
Church as necessary to salvation; Transubstantiation, i.e., the
receiving of grace by partaking of the Eucharist which is claimed
to be the real body and real blood of Jesus; Mariolatry with
prayers made to Mary everywhere as if she is omnipresent;
Purgatory which most must endure before going to be with the
Lord; and Indulgences for future sin. Check this book out of your
library and read it for yourself. Roman Catholic theology
presents "another Gospel" (Galatians 1:1-9) and "another Jesus"
(2 Corinthians 11:4).

The hypocrisy of the leaders in the Catholic
Charismatic movement is seen in bold relief by the fact that they
deny the Eucharist (the Lord’s Supper or Communion) even to
those they wish to "unite" with at ecumenical celebrations. At
the time of "Celebrate Jesus 2000," I sent an email to the
Franciscan University connection asking, "Will there be a
celebration of the Eucharist at ‘Celebrate Jesus 2000'?" I
received a reply, "Yes, for the Roman Catholics in their one
separate morning meeting." I then asked, "Why cannot the others
participate if all are celebrating the same Jesus?" I received no
reply to that. The correct answer would be, "They are not
celebrating the same Jesus."
They celebrate a Jesus who must
die daily; they crucify Him afresh in each Mass. True Christian
faith rests in the Lord Jesus Christ who said, "It is
finished!"
and arose to prove it.

Ecumenism Cannot Change God’s
TRUTH

There is a line of cleavage forming in
Christendom. Reverend James Bridges, General Treasurer of the
Assemblies of God, stated to a meeting of leading AoG educators:
"There are many putting down denominations today, but I would
rather have the multiple denominations which have emerged out of
the Reformation, than be held in the bondage of a Roman colossus
that continues to keep its devotees in superstition, ignorance
and spiritual darkness. Beware the ecumenical movement afloat
today lest when the new garb is removed it shows itself to be the
same old bondage" (personal file).

NOW is the time to pray and to speak; if we
are silent, we can lose our doctrinal integrity. Our Lord is
Truth, a Person; the Bible is Truth, a book. The Holy Spirit
brings them together in our genuine experience! The current
ecumenical movement is antithetical to our Lord’s
commission to preach the Gospel to every creature. We know too
much and have been given too much to think of surrendering to the
spirit of ecumenism. The eternal destiny of millions of people
rests in our hands; if we are not true their blood will be on our
hands. History will record your decision. What legacy will you
bequeath to your children and their children? We must be true at
any cost!