Ecumenical Thinking as Love

May 16, 2000

I have tried for days now to get together something on leadership and authority and have not the words but each day, more comes in concerning more that I should be thinking about. I cannot force myself to put something together when I do not have the words. There are some good responses this time but I will wait on them until the next time.

I received an e-mail yesterday concerning ecumenicism that prompted me to update my ecumenical page. The words came so freely and since it really does have something to say concerning the manifest sons of God, which in general is the issue that we are discussing and I felt that I should submit it to alert the group of something that the Lord is doing and the enemy is coming against. It reminded me of the TV message - we interrupt your regular programming to bring you this special news bulletin.

Anyway, the e-mail message that I received was concerning the upcoming Celebration Jesus 2000 conference coming up next month. The writer of the e-mail was trying to convince his whole denomination as well as all charismatics, pentecostals and evangelicals to pull out of the conference because the ecumenical nature of the conference does not go along with his narrow way of thinking as orthodox. He used all the catch phrases that the enemy will use to transform himself into an angel of light. Since I am called to unity, I recognized the false spirit, I hope that you will as well.



The word ecumenical comes from the root Greek word oikos which means house. The word oikoumene used in the Bible is the word used as the inhabited earth or the whole world. It was used by the Greeks to denote the difference between the Greeks and the barbarians and the Romans to describe the entire Roman Empire. The modern use of the word ecumenical is used as the worldwide household of God or the universal church, representative of the whole Christian fellowship. Polycarp, one of the early church fathers, prayed for the community of the oikoumene, meaning the universal church. Irenaeus wrote of "the church extended over the oikoumene to the extremities of the earth." The ancient General Councils were called ecumenical because they represented the undivided church and their decisions were made for the entire church. The Bride of Christ is part of this household but as the remnant seed, separated from the false and brought together in holiness and clothed with the wedding clothes of righteousness and filled with the spirit as wise virgins ready to meet her Bridegroom.

For us to meet the Prince of Peace, we must through His Holy Spirit do what we can to bring peace. This is not the peace that the world offers or the peace that the anti-christ will offer but the peace that passes all understanding. There are those today that disrupt the peace by perpetuating the divisions and schisms that has fragmented the church, thereby grieving God. We are coming to the point in church history where judgment will come upon the people of God. It is time to repent of the past errors, put away the strife and contention that has identified us in the past and come together as one in love and forgiveness.

The current wave of revival today is especially drawing attention to the unity of the five-fold ministers of apostles, prophets, pastors teachers and evangelists. This is not a mere co-incidence but in keeping with the end-time movement of God before Jesus returns. The manifest sons of God really will be brought through these five-fold ministers from all branches of the church. Mainline denominations that have not been previously exposed to the charisms and baptism of the Holy Ghost are coming to a more perfect knowledge of Jesus through a spirit of ecumenical thinking in the spirit of coming together that transcends the narrow denominational biases of the past. Praise God for His goodness, things are coming together.

There is an unrighteous spirit among Christendom today that seeks to stand in the way of ecumenical unity rather than stand in the gap for us. For true unity to be achieved, there are churches that will need to repent of their false doctrine. Many will not be able to do that, pride and power is involved that these schismatics will not be able to let go of. The best example of this is the issue of spiritual gifts and the baptism of the Holy Ghost. An unholy alliance of competing extremes is being brought together by the adversary with the express intent of suppressing the ecumenical unity and the revival spirit that God is bringing to many Christian groups. On one extreme are churches that believe that the speaking of tongues is the ONLY evidence of the Holy Ghost. It is an issue that has caused a schism in the church and great division. Because some churches have been founded upon this false doctrine, pride has taken over and they will not repent because it threatens their power over the congregations and their feeling of superiority over the other churches. Because they were once of a revival nature, they are suspicious of any current revival movement that does not come through them. The other extreme is that the gift of tongues and prophecy are not valid today at all. The only proof that they have for the Baptism of the Holy Ghost is justification alone and will not teach the infilling or fullness of the Holy Spirit apart from initial salvation. This false doctrine has also brought forth division today but more than that, it has prevented the very fullness of the Holy Spirit in the lives of their followers that would bring them the power to come out of the delusions. Likewise, they will not repent because of the same pride and power and superiority that they have. The fact is that both of these extremes of unlikely antagonists are coming together in a common ground of hatred by taking captive the banner of the evangelicals in an unholy alliance through a deluding spirit to oppose the move of God in the last days toward the restoration. They will not be part of the true unity merely because of their own pride and ignorant refusal to be part of the truth. They will stay there until they repent of the schismatic doctrines. This is only one example, but the most obvious one.

Today, in the name of Jesus, churches are divided rather than united. Jesus prayed that we would all be one; according to Paul, it is in the context that we should be speaking the same thing. The general unity of Christians above sectarian differences is ecumenical but for us to come together to agree to disagree is a false unity. Each Christian, each church, denomination and even non-denomination must be able to humble themselves in love, come together and discuss the issues that have divided us. This means having the common sense to be able to put away our particular doctrines long enough to be detached from them, identify the schisms and be led by the Holy Spirit to convict us of what is false. This is our true gathering and it begins with the dialogue of love. With all the pride involved in the self-righteous doctrines of demons and the traditions of men, this will not be easy and it will distinguished by trials, tribulations and antagonism. There are many churches that have been built on these false doctrines and to convince the members and leaders that they are a part of the problem will not work for many of them. For those that can be led by the spirit to at least have the desire to come together is a giant step.

The need that first brought the churches together in cooperation was found in the mission field. As so many denominational Christian missions were doing the work, especially in Asia and Africa, the various European and American churches found that their efforts to convert non-Christian peoples were often in an unholy competition. With each church preaching a different doctrine with different emphasis and each thinking that they had the corner on the truth, much of the work was being duplicated and the fragmentation and division was a poor witness. Babylonian confusion has been around for a long time and the differences in belief and practice could not be set aside by these churches. Nearly all of them, however, came to see that close co-operation was possible in some aspects of missionary work, like in operating schools, hospitals, and other educational and welfare services. Conferences, such as the Faith and Order Movement, were held where meetings of hundreds of representatives of all the major Christian bodies came together except the Roman Catholic Church.

Robert McAfee Brown wrote, "I believe we are approaching a time when such words will not be necessary. Instead of writing about being ecumenical, we will simply write ecumenically; instead of pleading for ecumenical activity, we will simply act ecumenically."

An ecumaniac has been described as one who loves all branches of Christendom more than his own, but more than that, we should be lovers of the truth. We should all be thinking in terms of ecumenical but that does not mean that we compromise on the truth. The will of Jesus, as the New Testament understands it, is not to divide men but to unite them according to the truth. Jesus is the truth, satan the father of lies. Jesus wants us to be united, satan wants us to be divided. Jesus wants to build up, satan want to tear down. Jesus will lead us into ecumenical thought, satan will delude us into thinking it is evil. Jesus will bring us into dialogue, satan into diatribe. No spirit led Christian has the right to stop short of true ecumenical unity. It is God's will that we come together in solidarity and it is our responsibility to help bring that about to overcome obstacles and prejudices. It is primarily an issue of love and the rejection of division. If we are truly to love each other as God loves us, then we will be on the side of brotherhood and will put away the delusion that teaches otherwise. This is what will identify the true church so that the world can believe - if we love each other - it will also expose the false schismatic christians.

Most Christian groups now generally accept that baptism incorporates one into the body of Christ. That means that the Protestant is, in Catholic eyes, already within the Church, however imperfectly they may think of them. I say them because I am not a Protestant or a Roman Catholic, I am a five-fold minister that wants to lift the banner of Jesus strong enough to fan the flame of all the lights. The Roman church has made great strides in the last generation toward repentance of past sins, in many ways much more than Protestants. God is bringing us together and the goal of the ecumenical movement is unity. Unity is a fraud unless it includes full sacramental unity and that means ecumenical unity. John XXIII was here for the shortest time of all of the modern popes but had the greatest impact for all Christians, he said "We address all those who are separated from us as brothers, with the words of St. Augustine: Whether you want it or not, they are our brothers. Only when they have ceased saying 'Our Father' will they cease being our brothers."

The efforts of John Paul II toward ecumenical thinking has been most recently been misunderstood as if he want all of Christendom to be under Rome. What he wants is that we all be into the same universal communion. This is what God wants as well but those infernal Catholic haters who are under the delusion that the Pope is the anti-christ are getting in the way. It is truly time to stop thinking of yourselves as Catholics and Protestants. To be of a catholic spirit is just to be part of the universal church and to reach out to others in love. To be a Protestant suggests a reformation protest and is over 400 years out of place. Sure, there are those that will try to get us all under their own particular way of thinking but it is God's way that will win in the end and you need to make sure that you are a part of God's plan, not apart from it.

The fact is that Rome has made great strides in repenting of it's former false doctrines and it is up to all of us on all sides of the issues to help Rome as well as the other churches to recognize false doctrine and come to repentance. Roman worshipers are now encouraged to read the scriptures for themselves. Much progress has been made in the liturgy so that Latin non-sense is not prevalent. She recognizes that there is grace and salvation outside the confines of Rome. She has understood the mistakes of the past in the persecution of those that have disagreed, she has purged herself of much of the superstition and idolatry, she has come closer to the doctrine of justification by faith. We all need to understand the communion of the saints and the priesthood of all believers and incumbent upon each one of us to further the unity.

The seven churches of Asia mentioned by Jesus in the second and third chapters of Revelation is a good example of the thinking that we should have. Rome is among the seven lights. Jesus had as much bad to say about the churches as good but the good is that we are to love, as in Philadelphia and to be faithful, as in Smyrna. Even Pergamos, which dwelled where satan's seat was, held fast to the name of Jesus and had not denied the faith. Do you really truly want to oppose the Jesus that is among them? or attempt to extinguish the light? We are to repent of all that is bad concerning the different branches of Christendom but we are also to strengthen what remains until He comes. This means we are to build up, not tear down. Rome and Protestantism both needs to repent for the doctrine of the Nicolaitans and the separation of the clergy from the laity. Nothing has so far been said about the Orthodox Church represented by the church at Ephesus. They too are to repent for leaving their first love. The Eastern church is to especially understand that although they were to be commended for recognizing the false apostles of Rome, they were not chosen by God to bring about the current revivals because they had not repented of their own false doctrine. Unless they can recognize that the Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father and the Son, they face the danger of the light that remains being completely extinguished in these last days. We need to love them enough for them to recognize the truth within us as regarding the oneness of the trinitarian formula; the same goes for the cults.

The worst churches in Christendom are not those that need to repent but those in pride that are unwilling to repent, especially those that are opposed to ecumenicism, and they are numerous. They are easy to identify, they think that they are the chosen saints of God, they have an illiberal nature and are intolerant of others, self-righteous, they oppose dialogue, independent, a sinful spirit of division and particularistic exclusivism. If your ministry is to tear down other Christian ministries because they do not agree with you, you are doing the work of the adversary. Do you really want to come against any part of the household of God? Or do you want to be a part of us and restore it to its original purity? If your church has been previously lacking in the love to understand these truths, it is time to repent.

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