Ecumenism

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project312
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Ecumenism

Postby project312 » Thu Aug 31, 2017 3:04 am

Ecumenism
by Orval V. Brewer

I looked up the word in Webster's book
For ages it has been around.
It means, "All religions should cooperate
And in peace and love abound!"


I remember when first I heard the word;
It was spoken by well-meaning men.
But when faced with the results of this compromise
It was obvious that this was SIN!


The religionists say, "We must forget our differences
And in love and harmony sing!"
But the Bible says, "come out from among them [[....]]
and touch not the unclean thing."


This error began back in ancient times;
They called it a "Brotherhood of Men".
Then a proposal was made called "Common Cause".
And the sheep were invited in!


"evil communications corrupt good manners",
I once heard a teacher say.
And accommodation with error for a period of time
Will lead the sheep astray!


The sheep thrive only with the Shepherd's care
And its Spiritual Food they need!
But the goats will eat most anything
And on the trash of the world they feed.


The True Gospel Message is rarely preached
In the average church today;
The "Psychology of Self" is now proclaimed,
And the sheep are being led astray!


The false shepherd's sound forth on every hand
And the multitudes follow them;
But the True Shepherd is calling His own by name
And the sheep only follow Him!


Some say, "All religions will lead us to Heaven."
But wait, what did Jesus say?
No man can enter except by me!
And there is no other way!


I am the good shepherd, and I know my sheep
And they are saved for evermore;
And by me they enter the Heavenly fold

Because I am the only door!
Last edited by project312 on Fri Sep 01, 2017 7:34 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Ecumenism

Postby ccgr » Thu Aug 31, 2017 12:33 pm

So true yet there are so many divisions in the Christian church. We must agree on the majors, have tolerance on the minors and in all things love.

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Re: Ecumenism

Postby Pheonix28 » Tue Sep 05, 2017 11:25 pm

Where did you get that 'definition' for the word? I have never heard it used that way, nor does a look at the mariam-webster website show that, nor does google...

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Re: Ecumenism

Postby RemnantRD » Thu Sep 07, 2017 1:51 am

Oftentimes when we come to understand definitions in the light of Scripture and the Holy Spirit, the dictionary doesn't always cut it. For example, in Christianity, a cult is a group which claims to be of Christ but denies major aspects of scripture, even changing the deity and identity of Christ or the Father and the Holy Spirit in order to suit their false gospel/doctrine/Christ. They may change scripture or add books to fit their understanding and doctrine. The Merriam Webster dictionary will not have that definition.

When it comes to the Christian church, ecumenism is a term thrown around to focus on unity among Christians despite doctrinal differences.
Yes, our denominations have many major differences. Should we throw these aside so we can focus on the "majors/essentials?"

What does it mean to unify with something? When we unify with something it means we stand in agreement with it in all aspects.
There is a saying that has become popular in the church today: In Essentials Unity, In Non-Essentials Liberty, In All Things Charity.
Is this biblical? Is this the manner in which we as sold out believers and discerners between truth and error should be following? I contend that it is actually a fallacious argument.

As Christians, we know the final arbiter of our beliefs and doctrines is God's scriptures with the correct contextual understanding by the Holy Spirit. We also know that according to 2 Timothy 3:16-17 (NKJV): 16 All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.

When it comes to what is "essential," the entirety of Scripture is a contender for what is essential, not just certain passages. As it is entirely inspired by the Holy Spirit, what the Holy Spirit tells us will never contradict scripture. We are called to test the spirits, even the Holy Spirit, to see if what the spirits say lines up with the scriptures. This is our ultimate litmus test.

When we relegate some parts of scripture to be nonessential we essentially tell the Lord that some of the scripture that He was careful to make sure we have for proper doctrine, reproof, correction, and instruction in righteousness so that we as believers can be thoroughly equipped for every good work in God is thus not important. Are we ready to tell God that we assume only parts of the Scriptures are important for our understanding of the gospel? Even the OT was written for our admonition... to learn from and avoid the pitfalls and mistakes that the Israelites of old made.

So for born again believers, ambassadors of Jesus Christ on this earth, indwelt with the Holy Spirit, and with a direct line of communication to God through prayer.... No. We cannot make the assumption that we only need to unify in the "essentials." We should have unity in all things. When we put aside our differences theologically when it comes to doctrine, we put aside God's absolute truth. Do we believe that the Holy Spirit is double minded and will tell multiple people different things regarding the understanding of God's absolute truth? We know God does not contradict Himself. While the scriptures are absolute truth, the application of this absolute truth is vast. How else do we apply scripture to any situation in our lives to see if our responses will be pleasing to God?

Christians are called to discern truth from error, not put aside error just so people can feel better. We know that giving the truth is love... but we also know that sometimes giving this love may not feel good for the immediate time, but yields peaceable fruit. When we have peace in God, we do not necessarily have peace in the flesh, but God gives us peace through the trials and tribulations of life. The peacemakers in God create peace with the guidance of the Lord and with God's truth, not with the ways of the world. They do not keep peace by making a temporary truce with error (see Luke - counting the costs - white flag of surrender).

When it comes to global ecumenism, we now speak about universalism. Universalism puts aside every and all differences to unify under one banner, no matter what god you worship or your belief in who God is. For Christians, our understanding of who Christ is to us is of the utmost importance. Jesus Christ is the only begotten Son of the Living God. Jesus is the Logos/Word manifest in the flesh who died for our sins so that we can be born again and live. He has conquered death and those in Him who have died from the flesh shall also be found alive in the Spirit. He IS God and second person of the Godhead, not an archangel/angel, nor a brother of Satan. He is the only Comforter, Redeemer, and Mediator of mankind who is our High King and Priest according to the Order of Melchizedek. There is no other name by which we have our salvation. He is the Testador of our New and better Covenant by grace according to faith. Our understanding of the Father, as well as the Holy Spirit (our only Helper), is also non-negotiable.

This is why when the Roman Catholic religion made a call to all religions to unite under the umbrella of the Roman Catholic religion during the tenure of Pope John Paul II, it was seen as a frightful attempt to establish a one world religion, the Harlot on the Beast. Christians cannot unify with error. Christians cannot unify with other religions when it comes to how we worship the Lord our God. We do not unify with other gods. The OT was rife with examples of the Israelites adopting and performing the customs, rituals, and ways of worship for the pagan gods of the lands they came in to dispossess. In each instance, God was not pleased and judgment fell on His people for abandoning Him. He calls this spiritual adultery. If God is the same today as He was yesterday and will be tomorrow (He doesn't change)... Let us as Christians not be found doing the same things, including the ways of pagan worship that caused the Israelites to fall. I'm pretty sure that God still hates it.

We can interact with people of other religions. We can work with people of other religions in our daily lives. However, when it comes to our corporate worship of God, we have to be separate. This is not something we take lightly, but we must stand strong in God's truth amid the blowback from the world as they attempt to make everyone "get along" and accept the same error. Standing in God's truth amid a lost and dying world while receiving pressure to compromise is bearing our cross. We cannot afford to be found lukewarm and compromising especially in these end times.

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Re: Ecumenism

Postby Sstavix » Thu Sep 07, 2017 4:57 am

Do we believe that the Holy Spirit is double minded and will tell multiple people different things regarding the understanding of God's absolute truth? We know God does not contradict Himself.
Are you claiming to have a perfect knowledge of God's mindset?

While the scriptures are absolute truth, the application of this absolute truth is vast. How else do we apply scripture to any situation in our lives to see if our responses will be pleasing to God?
One thing that I think you may be stumbling over is this thought that the Scriptures are the final - and only- arbiter of right and wrong. I would have to disagree with this, and insist that there is a greater authority that we can turn to - God Himself. I'm a firm believer in prayer, and that Heavenly Father communicates with every single person on Earth through the Holy Spirit. We have just fallen into a terrible habit of ignoring Him.

Also, since we are all individuals, Heavenly Father will communicate with all of us in different ways. Yes, some people may be moved by reading only the Scriptures. Others may need other promptings in order to learn what role they have to fulfill in His grand scheme. I believe that this could be one of the reasons there are so many churches in the world. If there were one single, unifying Christian church, there are some (probably many) who would disagree with it, anyway.

Don't believe that the Holy Spirit will always tell everyone the same thing with every question. If a person sincerely believes that God has led them to one church, or away from another, I'm not going to argue. I won't tell that person that they are wrong, because then I would be arguing with God Himself. It's not my place to tell them what road they need to follow to salvation - that's something they need to explore on their own, through careful thought and prayer. Because the road that Heavenly Father has asked me to follow may be a different road that another person has been asked to follow. As long as they all converge at the same place, then that's what truly matters.

To paraphrase the Scriptures, focus more on the plank in your own eye, and less on the speck in others' eyes. ;)
"All the miseries and evils which men suffer from vice, crime, ambition, injustice, oppression, slavery, and war, proceed from their despising or neglecting the precepts contained in the Bible." -- Noah Webster

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Re: Ecumenism

Postby RemnantRD » Thu Sep 07, 2017 7:06 am

Are you claiming to have a perfect knowledge of God's mindset?

Nope, but I do claim that the Holy Spirit speaks to us directly and will guide our understanding directly. Scripture does say that we can have the mind of Christ when we are walking by the Spirit :).

One thing that I think you may be stumbling over is this thought that the Scriptures are the final - and only- arbiter of right and wrong. I would have to disagree with this, and insist that there is a greater authority that we can turn to - God Himself. I'm a firm believer in prayer, and that Heavenly Father communicates with every single person on Earth through the Holy Spirit. We have just fallen into a terrible habit of ignoring Him.

Also, since we are all individuals, Heavenly Father will communicate with all of us in different ways. Yes, some people may be moved by reading only the Scriptures. Others may need other promptings in order to learn what role they have to fulfill in His grand scheme. I believe that this could be one of the reasons there are so many churches in the world. If there were one single, unifying Christian church, there are some (probably many) who would disagree with it, anyway.

Don't believe that the Holy Spirit will always tell everyone the same thing with every question. If a person sincerely believes that God has led them to one church, or away from another, I'm not going to argue. I won't tell that person that they are wrong, because then I would be arguing with God Himself. It's not my place to tell them what road they need to follow to salvation - that's something they need to explore on their own, through careful thought and prayer. Because the road that Heavenly Father has asked me to follow may be a different road that another person has been asked to follow. As long as they all converge at the same place, then that's what truly matters.

To paraphrase the Scriptures, focus more on the plank in your own eye, and less on the speck in others' eyes. ;)

I don't think I ever said to only use the Scriptures alone as the final arbiter... I think I said that we need to seek our interpretation from the Holy Spirit.

Found it:
As Christians, we know the final arbiter of our beliefs and doctrines is God's scriptures with the correct contextual understanding by the Holy Spirit.
Hence yes, when we do this, we are turning to God Himself. The best way to study scripture is by the leading of the Holy Spirit. I also agree that we can hear God based on scripture. His sheep hear His voice and He speaks to us in that still small voice. I believe people oftentimes drown Him out in their everyday lives, which can lead us into very difficult journeys. That or they listen to other spirits and do not discern if that spirit is actually the Holy Spirit.

I never said the Holy Spirit will always tell everyone the same thing with the same question. Not sure if I expressed it earlier, but the Holy Spirit will never tell one person one thing and another person another thing about the underlying truth of the Scripture. He will show us a vast array of applications for that scripture, but the underlying truth is an absolute constant. If a person believes that God is leading them to a church, it means it's a great time to study their doctrine to see if what that church teaches is indeed truth. Compare what you hear with another person who is hearing the Lord regarding that Church as well. God will never try to keep one of His sheep in a church that will lead them back into bondage.

Each person has a different road to walk. There is no cookie cutter path in the life of all Christians. However, the underlying absolute truth of God's word remains the same for all :). For example, what God lets us know is displeasing to Him is always displeasing to Him. This is why the scriptures exhort us to seek what is pleasing to God so we can put away what is unfruitful for us.

Indeed we all need to focus on the plank in our own eyes. Matthew 7 is a great chapter about hypocrisy in the lives of Christians and not a blanket statement against judging anything. This is why the 2nd part of that statement says that after we have removed the plank from our own eye, we can clearly see how to help remove the speck from our brother's :).

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Re: Ecumenism

Postby Sstavix » Thu Sep 07, 2017 4:21 pm

One thing that I think you may be stumbling over is this thought that the Scriptures are the final - and only- arbiter of right and wrong. I would have to disagree with this, and insist that there is a greater authority that we can turn to - God Himself. I'm a firm believer in prayer, and that Heavenly Father communicates with every single person on Earth through the Holy Spirit. We have just fallen into a terrible habit of ignoring Him.

Also, since we are all individuals, Heavenly Father will communicate with all of us in different ways. Yes, some people may be moved by reading only the Scriptures. Others may need other promptings in order to learn what role they have to fulfill in His grand scheme. I believe that this could be one of the reasons there are so many churches in the world. If there were one single, unifying Christian church, there are some (probably many) who would disagree with it, anyway.

Don't believe that the Holy Spirit will always tell everyone the same thing with every question. If a person sincerely believes that God has led them to one church, or away from another, I'm not going to argue. I won't tell that person that they are wrong, because then I would be arguing with God Himself. It's not my place to tell them what road they need to follow to salvation - that's something they need to explore on their own, through careful thought and prayer. Because the road that Heavenly Father has asked me to follow may be a different road that another person has been asked to follow. As long as they all converge at the same place, then that's what truly matters.

To paraphrase the Scriptures, focus more on the plank in your own eye, and less on the speck in others' eyes. ;)

I don't think I ever said to only use the Scriptures alone as the final arbiter... I think I said that we need to seek our interpretation from the Holy Spirit.

Found it:
As Christians, we know the final arbiter of our beliefs and doctrines is God's scriptures with the correct contextual understanding by the Holy Spirit.
Hence yes, when we do this, we are turning to God Himself. The best way to study scripture is by the leading of the Holy Spirit. I also agree that we can hear God based on scripture. His sheep hear His voice and He speaks to us in that still small voice. I believe people oftentimes drown Him out in their everyday lives, which can lead us into very difficult journeys. That or they listen to other spirits and do not discern if that spirit is actually the Holy Spirit.

I never said the Holy Spirit will always tell everyone the same thing with the same question. Not sure if I expressed it earlier, but the Holy Spirit will never tell one person one thing and another person another thing about the underlying truth of the Scripture. He will show us a vast array of applications for that scripture, but the underlying truth is an absolute constant. If a person believes that God is leading them to a church, it means it's a great time to study their doctrine to see if what that church teaches is indeed truth. Compare what you hear with another person who is hearing the Lord regarding that Church as well. God will never try to keep one of His sheep in a church that will lead them back into bondage.

Each person has a different road to walk. There is no cookie cutter path in the life of all Christians. However, the underlying absolute truth of God's word remains the same for all :). For example, what God lets us know is displeasing to Him is always displeasing to Him. This is why the scriptures exhort us to seek what is pleasing to God so we can put away what is unfruitful for us.

Indeed we all need to focus on the plank in our own eyes. Matthew 7 is a great chapter about hypocrisy in the lives of Christians and not a blanket statement against judging anything. This is why the 2nd part of that statement says that after we have removed the plank from our own eye, we can clearly see how to help remove the speck from our brother's :).
See, I would reverse that. The Holy Spirit should be the primary source of inspiration when it comes to discerning God's truth, and the scriptures serve as "life's lesson manual," as it were. If you have a question about what you read or hear - especially in regards to spiritual matters - one should turn to the teacher for the answers.

I'll give you an example from my own life. One thing that has always struck me as odd were the two different accounts of Judas' death. In Matthew it seems that he killed himself, yet in the beginning of Acts, it indicates that he was killed in some sort of farming accident, on the land he purchased with the 30 pieces of silver. Now Matthew and Acts are written by two different authors (if I recall correctly, Acts is written by the same person who wrote the Gospel of John) so I believe it's possible the authors had two different accounts of how Judas did die. I have heard others try to rectify the two different accounts to explain that it is the same thing, but their efforts always seem like a stretch to me.

So I asked Heavenly Father about this very issue, and the response was a surprising three-word answer: "Does it matter?" As I contemplated this, I realized that this is the answer I needed. The death of Judas is little more than a side note, and largely inconsequential to the greater messages contained in the New Testament. Once I came to this realization, I felt a feeling of peace come over me. While this may not be the answer that others would seek (who may be more demanding for an answer, and even hinge their belief on the veracity of the Bible over these types of inconsistencies) this was the answer that I needed. And this also served to strengthen my own testimony about our individual relationship with God, and our salvation. Not everyone will receive the same answers, because the same answers won't satisfy everyone. Focus more upon your own path, and your own spiritual journey, because the development that works for you may not work for others. Sure, you can share your own spiritual experiences, but don't expect others to agree with you. They have their own path to follow. :)
"All the miseries and evils which men suffer from vice, crime, ambition, injustice, oppression, slavery, and war, proceed from their despising or neglecting the precepts contained in the Bible." -- Noah Webster

My blog: Writing from Idaho

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Re: Ecumenism

Postby RemnantRD » Thu Sep 07, 2017 7:21 pm

My reply said that the Holy Spirit WAS the primary source of interpretation and understanding for the scriptures. He is also our primary source of understanding for everything in life too. I was just speaking of scriptural understanding alone since scripture tells us that the Holy Spirit will never contradict God's scriptures. I never made the statement that the Holy Spirit was only to be turned to when studying scriptures :P.

When it comes to the death of Judas, we're looking at two individuals who experienced the account. It would make sense for there to be slight differences. However, they can indeed be harmonized. When we look at scripture in context we find there are 0 contradictions. :) Does it matter? In the large scale of things no, however, when people come to you arguing that Scripture is invalid because of apparent contradictions, it's good to know how and why there are differences and to understand how they harmonize in context :).

Yes indeed, we are to focus on our own journey and path in life, but we are also called to help brothers in need, both spiritually and physically. This is part of our walk as well. When we see a brother in sin and error, we are called to help them out of that sin. This is one of the best depictions of exhibiting love for one another, granted with words seasoned with salt. When helping a brother remove the speck from their eye or correcting them, yes we don't expect that people will agree since the light of God is shining and making light what is hidden. However, the important thing is to bring others the truth and help them out of sin and error. All we can do is give people the truth, including those in the church carried away by false doctrines (bringing us back to the topic of ecumenism). It's up to them how to receive that correction and truth.

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Re: Ecumenism

Postby Sstavix » Fri Sep 08, 2017 4:30 am

I do agree that the Holy Spirit should be the one that people need to turn to in order to understand the scriptures and other spiritual matters. But what happens in instances where the Holy Spirit tells two separate churches different things? I think then people fall into the trap of pride - vainly believing that their church is the correct one and that all the other ones are false, calling them cults or even going as far as claiming that they are led by Satan. However, these arguments do little to actually persuade other parties - if anything they only serve to point out the flaws in their own churches - flaws that include arrogance, pride and discrimination. In other words, qualities that Jesus did not exhibit and even frowned upon. How can a church truly call itself Christian if they fail to follow in Christ's example?

That was one of the things that I kept firmly in mind when my wife and I were "church shopping" several years ago. The parable of the good fruit (Matthew 7:16-20) stayed in my mind as we investigated the different Christian denominations. It wasn't just what the pastor or priest said at the pulpit. How did the members act? How did the church leaders act? Was it just something they did every Sunday, or Christ a reflection of their everyday lives? We left many churches behind based on the behavior of the members - and even the leaders. If these "good" Christians behaved in an un-Christian fashion for six days of the week, then they were not really people we wanted to associate with, and certainly didn't want our (future) children to emulate.

That actually raises a point that may be a good discussion for another thread. There are some Christian behaviors which actually can lead to people avoiding churches, rather than filling them with a desire to join and learn more of Christ. But I don't want to derail the topic further. ;)

To get back on topic, I'l conclude with a point I made in a similar thread. We may be of different denominations, but we are all brothers and sisters in Christ. We shouldn't let our little differences - our pride or arrogance - get in the way of recognizing this simple fact. That is Satan trying to drive us apart. We should unify over our common beliefs in the face of adversity, rather than allow petty bickering or backbiting to get in the way of a united front against our common foe.
"All the miseries and evils which men suffer from vice, crime, ambition, injustice, oppression, slavery, and war, proceed from their despising or neglecting the precepts contained in the Bible." -- Noah Webster

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Re: Ecumenism

Postby Pheonix28 » Tue Sep 19, 2017 8:54 pm

Oftentimes when we come to understand definitions in the light of Scripture and the Holy Spirit, the dictionary doesn't always cut it. The Merriam Webster dictionary will not have that definition.
Your original post stated that webster's dictionary is where the author got the definition. (Webster's book)
When it comes to global ecumenism, we now speak about universalism. Universalism puts aside every and all differences to unify under one banner, no matter what god you worship or your belief in who God is.
As someone who has worked with Christians from many different countries in different contexts, I would say I disagree fundamentally with this claim. I have not seen universalism as part of ecumenism in any of the encounters I've had, nor have I heard it used that way from workers I've spoken to all over the world. In fact, rarely do I hear of or see this type of thing except when westerners (primarily Americans) come in with their denominational differences, teaching believers from these countries about differences, and causing division.

You are speaking more into the 'bridge building' movement and not so much the ecumenism movement. They're not the same, nor should the be misconstrued as such.

I am not speaking towards your other posts, nor am I speaking towards the other posts in this thread, but purely about the 2 points that I've stated & quoted.

Blessings.
:)


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