Many people are now aware of the incredible inroads that modern Ecumenicalism is having. You may be shocked when you read how it has progressed in the "Islands" (Scotland, Ireland and England), but don't be alarmed. Jesus Christ in still in control.
229. What is Ecumenism?
The term 'Ecumenism' comes from a Greek word meaning 'the inhabited earth'. The word occurs in the New Testament in Luke 2:1, where it is translated as 'all the world'. In the 20th century in the non-Roman Catholic world it is used of a movement for Church unity which resulted from the Edinburgh Missionary Conference of 1910 and which has now evolved through the Faith and Order, Life and Work, and International Missionary Council movements into the World Council of Churches (WCC) - the term 'Christian' being rightly excluded from the title. In the Roman Catholic world it is used for a parallel movement aiming at the eventual inclusion of all other churches and religions in the Church of Rome and is headed in that department of the Vatican known as the Secretariat for Promoting Christian Unity.
230. How is Ecumenism organised internationally?
It is organised on the world level in the World Council of Churches and with the Vatican's Secretariat for Unity in various International Commissions such as the Anglican Roman Catholic International Commission (ARCIC) and others representing Presbyterians, Methodists, Lutherans and Baptists, etc., with Rome.
231. How is it organised in these Islands?
It is organised in these Islands in the Council of Churches for Britain and Ireland (COCBI), of which the Roman Catholic Churches of England, Wales and Scotland are foundation members.
232. What is the declared purpose of COCBI?
The Council declares that it is 'in search of the unity for which Christ prayed'. The purpose of COCBI is to enable the Churches in Britain and Ireland to grow together and to take action together. It provides a meeting-place for Churches in England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales, so that they may 'share their talents and their different traditions as they seek to work together to express the unity of Christ's people'. COCBI exists 'to help the Churches to find strength and encouragement in the sharing of worship and prayer, in undertaking joint ventures in mission and evangelism and in responding together to the needs of the human community in these Islands and throughout the world. Recognising that there still matters that divide the Churches, COCBI provides a forum within which these can be more openly faced as Churches grow in understanding and trust. In particular, COCBI holds together the work of CTE (Churches Together in England), ACTS (Action of Churches Together in Scotland), CYTUN (Churches Together in Wales) and Irish Ecumenical bodies and cc-operates with other inter-Church bodies.'
233. What Churches and religious bodies are members of COCBI?
Baptist Union of Great Britain, Cherubim and Seraphim Council of Churches, Church of Wales, Church of England, Church of Ireland, Church of Scotland, Congregational Federation, Congregational Union of Scotland, Council of African and Afro-Caribbean Churches, Greek Orthodox Church, Independent Methodist Churches, International Ministerial Council of Great Britain, Joint Council for Anglo-Caribbean Churches, Lutheran Council of Great Britain, Methodist Church, Methodist Church of Ireland, Moravian Church, New Testament Assembly, Presbyterian Church of Wales, Religious Society of Friends, Roman Catholic Church in England, Wales and Scotland, Russian Orthodox Church, Salvation Army (British Territory), Scottish Episcopal Church, Undeb yr Annibynwyr (Union of Welsh Independents), United Free Church of Scotland, United Reformed Church, Wesleyan Holiness Church.
Bodies in Association:
Action of Christians against Torture, Afro-West Indian United Council of Churches, Association of Centres of Adult Theological Education, Centre for black and White Christian Partnership, Conference of Associations of Inter-Church Families in Britain and Ireland, Fellowship of St. Alban and St. Serguius, Free Church Federal Council, National Association of Christian Communities and Networks, New Assembly of Churches, Student Christian Movement, Women's Inter-Church Consultative Committee, Young Men's Christian Association, Young Women's Christian Association.
Countess of Huntingdon's Connexion, Free Church of England, Roman Catholic Church in Ireland, Seventh Day Adventist Church.
234. In what way is Ecumenism organised in Ireland?
It is organised in the Irish Council of Churches ('Christian' rightly excluded), whose members are: Church of Ireland (Anglican), Lutheran, Methodist, Moravian, Non-Subscribing Presbyterian, Presbyterian Church, Salvation Army, Religious Society of Friends. It works by means of its Boards of Inter-Church, Community and Overseas Affairs, and co-operates closely with the Roman Catholic Irish Commission for Justice and Peace in a Peace Education Programme. Also, Roman Catholic observers attend meetings of the Council.
The Inter-Church meeting (popularly known as 'Ballymascanlon'), which brings together the member Churches of the Irish Council of Churches and the Roman Catholic Church in Ireland. Having first met in 1973, it was restructured in 1985 with an Organising Committee and Department of Theology and Social Issues. Several reports have been published, understanding has grown and inter-Church Bible study has been encouraged. This inter-Church meeting gives an opportunity for all Irish Churches to co-operate and exists alongside the Irish Council of Church, from which it remains distinct.
At the Swanwick Conference which set up the COCBI the Irish Inter-Church Committee was represented by Rev. G. Clifford (Roman Catholic) and Rev. D. Nesbitt (Irish Presbyterian).
235. What confession did the founders of COCBI make?
'In a real sense, we know not where we are going, still less how we are going to get there.'
236. Of what does this statement remind us?
This statement is the same in nature as the statement of the first General Secretary of the World Council of Churches, Dr. W. Vissar t'Hooft. At the commencement of that apostate body he said: 'The symbol of the World Council of Churches is a ship. It is a new type of craft. [There never was a ship like this before, and the like of it will never be seen again.] Never before have Christians of so wide a range of belief come together - given their pledge to stay together - said in effect they are all together in the same boat. [What a boat! Fellows in a ship, but not a fellowship!] This ship is on its maiden voyage. [It never sailed before.] We do not know how seaworthy the craft is, [it is certainly not A1 at Lloyds!], whether it will hold the cargo of hope put into it by Christians all over the world. [When they get old Papa in it will be too heavily burdened!] The ship is headed for an unknown destination. [Remember: this is their very own confession - they don't know where they are going!] The ship has an inexperienced crew. For it is true of all of us what a great theologian said at Amsterdam: We are all Ecumenical babies! [Who would want to sail in a ship which never sailed before, which offered no proof of its seaworthiness, which didn't know where it was going, and the members of the crew of which were babies?!] The members of the crew speak different languages. We do not agree on the meaning of the Church or the Lord's Supper. It is almost as if our crew could not agree on which is the bow and which is the stern [Think of it! They don't even know which is the back and which is the front of their own ship. Don't you see them squabbling over which is the bow and which is the stern!?], and we begin this perilous experiment in the midst of one of the worst storms in history.' [Would you sail in such a vessel?]
237. What do the Ecumenical Churches demonstrate?
That they are seeking to be incorporated into Rome and that they have betrayed the heritage of the Glorious Reformation. They seek and work and pray for union with the Pope, whom they accept now, or will accept, as the Head of the Church.
238. What is our duty in the face of this Ecumenical betrayal?
Forthrightly to cling to the Bible and separate from such churches, faithfully to proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ, fearlessly to protest against the doctrines of Rome and to live as becomes those who have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb, and so adorn the doctrines of our Saviour in all things.
239. What attitude should we adopt to individual Roman Catholics and Ecumenists?
We should act as Christ has commanded us, as good neighbours. We should look upon them as souls for whom Christ died, and we should love them, pray for them, and seek their salvation. We should evangelise them presenting Christ as the only Saviour by lip and life, and we should always remember that we are debtors to bring them the Saving Truth of Christ.
240. Does the Bible warn us of the coming of a great religious deceiver in the Church, known as the Antichrist?
Yes. The Word 'Antichrist' means 'in the place of Christ', and that is what the Popes have done: they have usurped the place of God the Father by taking to themselves the title 'Holy Father', a title ascribed to God alone. They have usurped the place of Christ by calling themselves 'Vicar' or substitute of Christ, 'another Christ on earth'. They have usurped the place of the Holy Spirit, Who is Christ's only Vicar on earth, by taking His place and pretending to do His saving work in the hearts of men.
The Reformers saw the Pope for what he was. They recognised him as the one of whom the Bible warned. They dared to call him 'Antichrist', for that is who he is.
All the historic Confessions of the Churches branded him as the 'Son of Perdition' - the Presbyterian (Westminster), the Congregational (Savoy) and the Baptist (Philadelphia).
It is because blindness has fallen upon the world that even believing Christians cannot see the Pope for what he is.
Cardinal Manning said: 'The Catholic Church is either the masterpiece of Satan or the Kingdom of the Son of God.' Cardinal Newman said of Rome: 'If not divinely appointed, it is doctrinally the essence of Antichrist.'
The solemn alternative must be true, for with the Bible in our hands and history before our eyes we know that the Pope and his Church are black apostasy. In the name of Truth we must brand the Pope 'Antichrist'.
C.H. Spurgeon said: 'It is the bounden duty of every Christian to pray against Antichrist, and as to what Antichrist is, no sane man ought to raise a question. If it be not Popery in the Church of Rome, there is nothing in the world that can be called by that name. If there were to be issued a hue and cry for Antichrist, we should certainly take up this Church on suspicion, and it would certainly not be let loose again, for it so exactly answers the description.'