Ecumenism is the principle that Christians who belong to different denominations should work together to develop closer relationships to promote Christian unity.
From Britannica, The ecumenical movement seeks to recover the apostolic sense of the early church for unity in diversity…It is a lively reassessment of the historical sources and destiny of what followers perceive to be the one, holy, catholic, and apostolic church of Jesus Christ.
This morning I read of a post sharing the word meanings of ‘encamped’ from Ex 19:2-3. The first was plural, the second singular. The author explained how they started out separate, but later joined in unity.
Acts 2:1 is used to show how the apostles were united in one accord on the day of Pentecost. She continues to share how God does wonderful things as His people are united ‘despite denominations, ethnicity, gender, or anything else that divides us. (Stephanie Pavlantos, Jewels of the Hebrews Bible Study Book Facebook group, 6.24.22)
I totally agree with Ms Pavlantos that God can do miraculous things when His people are united. We are told that there will be a remnant people who are united in the last days.
However, we are never to compromise on truth for unity.
The Bible gives us numerous references for using caution with those who speak not the original gospel. Paul warns that even if an angel from heaven came preaching a different gospel, we are not to believe/follow. (Gal 1:8-9)
We cannot unite in error, only in truth and love.
1 Tim 4:1-2 “Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron.”
Paul expands on the topic again in 2 Tim 4:3-4 “ For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.”
1 John 4: 1-3 also gives a warning. “Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world. Hereby know ye the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God: And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world.”
Even in the Old Testament, there were examples of false prophets. We are given a way to test the prophets. In Isaiah 8:19-20, we are given a test, “And when they shall say unto you, Seek unto them that have familiar spirits, And unto wizards that peep, and that mutter: Should not a people seek unto their God? For the living to the dead? To the law and to the testimony: If they speak not according to this word, It is because there is no light in them.”
When one studies history and prophecy, it is easy to see that after Constantine legalized Christianity, there came peace in the church, but it was through compromising of the truth. This is demonstrated through the four horses of Revelation. (Rev 6)
When there is a compromise, we lose precious truth. I’ve talked about the dangers of compromise and complying in other posts. Compromising on biblical principles leads to death.
As I’ve mentioned before, our brain dislikes chaos. If we do not ‘walk our talk,’ it will prune our talk. If we do not DO the things we believe, then our brain will erase our belief thought pathway. This is why those little ‘sins’ you think will not harm you will eventually lead you away from God.
When we compromise our beliefs in order to hold a job, attend school, or even maintain a relationship, our brain will prune that neural pathway. Can you see why compromise is dangerous to spiritual health? We cannot join together/unite with those who do not walk in godly principles. (Amos 3:3, 2 Cor 6:14-18)
Jesus warned against this in Mark 7:7-9 “Howbeit in vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men. For laying aside the commandment of God, ye hold the tradition of men, as the washing of pots and cups: and many other such like things ye do. And he said unto them, Full well ye reject the commandment of God, that ye may keep your own tradition.”
There are many denominations today that do not gather all their beliefs from ‘thus said the Lord.’ They combine the Bible and the traditions of men. Is this wrong? Well, Jesus warns against it so it must be wrong.
The counterfeit is a combination of truth and error. It’s not 100% error. It contains enough truth to fool the majority of people.
Jesus said, ‘I am the way, the truth, and the life; no man comes to the Father but by Me.’ (John 14:6) Are we to join in alliance with those who preach another path to salvation? All roads may lead to Rome, but not all roads lead to salvation. (**Rome has importance in Bible prophecy, but it is not a path we want to join in.)
Yet, this is what the ecumenism movement teaches; that no matter the belief, we can come together in unity because all will be saved. This is unbiblical in its very foundation.
Jesus gives more warnings about those who teach falsely. Mark 13:22-23, “ For false Christs and false prophets shall rise, and shall shew signs and wonders, to seduce, if it were possible, even the elect. But take ye heed: behold, I have foretold you all things.”
Paul also warns us against the false teachers/prophets in 2 Cor 11: 13-15, “13 For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. herefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works.” This pairs up with the above verse when Paul warns that even an angel from heaven comes preaching a different gospel.
We see Jesus warning us. Paul warned us. Now, we will read of Peter’s warning in 2 Pet 2:1-3, “But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction. And many shall follow their pernicious ways; by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of. And through covetousness shall they with feigned words make merchandise of you: whose judgment now of a long time lingereth not, and their damnation slumbereth not.”
This verse even warns of those who are false teachers who will make money off of us. Wow, this truly speaks of the numerous pastors today of the big mega-churches who are millionaires and teach the prosperity gospel lie, along with the easy grace lie.
So are we to be united with these false teachers? Paul tells us no.
Rom 16: 17-18, “Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them. For they that are such serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly; and by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple.”
Again, in 2 Tim 3: 1-5, “This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, Traitors, heady, high-minded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.”
This is talking about those in the church; those who claim to be believers. What does Paul tell us to do? AVOID THEM.
Does this sound like we are to unite with these people? No.
Instead, we are called to expose the evil.
Isaiah 58 begins with the warning to show my people their transgressions. (Vs 1)
Eph 5:11, “And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them.”
In Psalms 94:16, God is asking who will stand up against the evildoers.
2 John 1:7-11 gives a strong warning those whose who associate and welcome those who are following after the counterfeit into their homes will be partaker of their evil deeds. We are warned about being ‘unequally yoked’ also. (2 Cor 6:14-17) This is not just in marriage, but in all relationships.
Jesus said in Matt 7:21-23, “ Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.”
2 Thess 1: 8 gives the consequences of those who do not walk in love and truth, “7 And to you who are troubled rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels, In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
In closing, let’s consider Rev 18:4 where God is calling His children out of spiritual confusion (Babylon). He is calling them out of ‘her’ so they do not partake of her plagues. He wants His true children, who worship in love and truth, to walk in obedience to all of His word. We cannot pick and choose which beliefs we follow. It’s an all-or-nothing deal.
We demonstrate our love for God through obedience (John 14:15, 1 John 3:1-10) not compromising on truth. As we love God and He works His will in us, we will love our neighbors. Love fulfills the law. It does not compromise on it.
Something to think about.