Ecumenism and Christianity

The Question

What is meant by ecumenical belief?

K. from unknown city

The Answer
Part 1: All One

All One (Part 1)

Before Jesus suffered and died for us he prayed what has come to be known as his High Priestly prayer. Part of it states: “that they may all be one; even as Thou, Father, art in Me, and I in Thee, that they also may be in Us; that the world may believe that Thou didst send Me.” (John 17:21)

When the church first began on the day of Pentecost, the hundred and twenty believers in the upper room were in unity. Unfortunately it didn’t last long. Soon there were factions and doctrinal differences to argue over and then splits and divisions that grew larger over the centuries. The church has yet to operate in the unity that Jesus prayed for and which will be realized before his Second Coming.

Most Christians recognize that our greatest effectiveness to the world is hampered by disunity. In fact, Jesus says in his prayer that the unity itself will be a demonstration to the world of the truth of who he is and will bring about belief in him. So then, what is ecumenism and is it the path to that unity?

At its Greek root, ecumenical refers to the entire inhabited world and to something having worldwide extent, influence or application. For the Christian world the term has come to mean the promoting or tending toward worldwide Christian unity or cooperation. Sounds great, right?

Well, it might be great depending on how it is implemented. That’s the tricky part and is why many Christians reject “ecumenical” unity. Over time, ecumenical beliefs have often deteriorated into watering down the gospel, preferring compromise over truth and ignoring the claim of Jesus: “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but through Me.” (John 14:6)

There’s also a problem with simply all getting together and hugging each other while chanting “love and peace.” According to the book of Revelation, in the End Times, the anti-Christ will consolidate all power under himself – including religious power. Revelation pictures what is often called the “One World Religion” in which Satan inhabits the anti-Christ as head.

One World Religion will be a counterfeit to the true church of Jesus Christ and the genuine unity IN HIM that he prayed for. Because of this, many see the current ecumenical trend as part of the inevitable countdown to the Tribulation. We all therefore need to “be on the alert then, for you do not know the day nor the hour.” (Matthew 25:13)

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