ECUMENICISM (The Ecumenical Movement)
The essence of Ecumenical thought and activity is found in the idea of "bringing together".
This can be seen today at three very distinct levels.
A. Individual "Christian" church denominations that have various branches have endeavored to bring all those branches into the fold.
B. Leaders of various "Christian" church denominations have worked earnestly and vigorously to bring about unity within the larger body of Christ by bringing the various denominations together.
C. Leaders of various religions have worked toward something like the brotherhood of man - the goal being to not allow religious differences to separate people but rather to learn to accept, understand, and effectively ignore religion as we go through our lives.
There are quite a few "independent" groups (groups not specifically affiliated with a particular denomination but with representation form a cross-section of groups intending to be brought together) whose goal it is to effect the bringing together. The evidences of this abound. There are often ecumenical prayer meetings and ecumenical church services. Ministers from one denomination are invited to speak (pulpit exchange) at another denomination's church thus intending to show that there really aren't so great many differences after all. Herein lies the crux of the issue with ecumenicism. To accomplish the goal of coming together, that which separates must be set aside in order to bring about the ultimate good of coming together. This is tantamount to saying that that which brought about separation in the first place should never have taken place and therefore does not matter any longer. This ecumenical movement is facilitated by the current age's relativism which denies absolute truth. We confirm (reaffirm) absolute truth and take it one step further that if there IS absolute truth, then TRUTH MATTERS! and truth DOES make a DIFFERENCE. The Bible DOES speak positively concerning unity of believers. The Psalmist declared "Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity"! (Psalm 133:1) However we are urged to test EVERY spirit to see whether or not it is of God (1 John 4:1) and we are to be discerning - discerning truth from error - and we are not to be complicit with error but rather to expose it and turn from it. So, it turns out that the true basis for true unity is tied to truth - absolute truth, and ultimately to the very One Who IS Truth - Jesus Christ. True Christian unity will NOT be accomplished by setting aside truth for the sake of coming together. The Ecumenical spirit that pervades our society today is NOT the sweet spirit of unity that comes from submission and obedience to The Truth. There IS Truth for Today! We hope you will find truth and perhaps even come to know that One Who IS Truth through the pages of this website! If we can help you in this regard, feel free to contact us.
For a Biblical look at true UNITY, please click HERE.
The basis for ecumenicism is compromise. We refer you to a BibleTruthForToday lesson on that topic HERE.
Churches involved in ecumenicism
Church of the Brethren (COB)
Christian Reformed Church (CRC)
Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)
Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA)
Foursquare Gospel Church
Presbyterian Church USA (PCUSA)
United Church of Christ (UCC)
As a kind of side note to this topic, we would like to include some quotations from A.W. Tozer's "Divisions Are Not Always Bad", which is excerpted from his "God Tells The Man Who Cares":
"When to unite and when to divide, that is the question, and a right answer requires the wisdom of Solomon. Some settle the problem by rule of thumb: All union is good and all division is bad. It's that easy. But obviously this effortless way of dealing with the matter ignores the lessons of history and overlooks some of the deep spiritual laws by which men live. If good men were all for union and bad men for division, or vice versa, that would simplify things for us. Or if it could be shown that God always unites and the devil always divides it would be easy to find our way around in this confusing world. But that is not how things are. To divide what should be divided and unite what should be united is the part of wisdom. Union of dissimilar elements is never good even where it is possible, nor is the arbitrary division of elements that are alike; and this is as certainly true of things moral and religious as of things political or scientific. The first divider was God who at the creation divided the light from the darkness. This division set the direction for all God's dealings in nature and in grace. Light and darkness are incompatible; to try to have both in the same place at once is to try the impossible and end by having neither the one nor the other, but dimness rather, and obscurity."
"Union for union's sake, and men shall brothers be for a' that. Unity is so devoutly to be desired that no price is too high to pay for it and nothing is important enough to keep us apart. Truth is slain to provide a feast to celebrate the marriage of heaven and hell, and all to support a concept of unity which has no basis in the Word of God. The Spirit-illuminated church will have none of this."
"'Divide and conquer' is the cynical slogan of Machiavellian political leaders, but Satan knows also how to unite and conquer." "When confused sheep start over a cliff the individual sheep can save himself only by separating from the flock. Perfect unity at such a time can only mean total destruction for all. The wise sheep to save his own hide disaffiliates."