Dec 5, 2008

Today's ecumenism is not Christian unity

by Dan Grubbs

Should we be burdened by the fact that many of the masses who consider themselves Christian are committed to ecumenism? I believe ecumenism as is being practiced today is a danger to believers. Ecumenism proponents are fully convinced that bringing together denominations, sects and creeds, even of divergent doctrine, to be a living out of Christ’s prayer for unity. I'm convinced they are misunderstanding Christ's high priestly prayer.

With no intention to offend, I will use the church of Rome as an example of why ecumenism as is currently being practiced, is not what Christ was praying about to the Father when He prayed for unity. Those who reach out to the members of the church of Rome should realize what ecumenism means to them.

The truly justified who may reach out to a Catholic in ecumenical effort should know what the follower of the church of Rome understands his Vatican to proclaim about ecumenism. Summarily stated, the Roman church wishes to bring “separated brethren” back to the “only” Catholic church.

There may be some Catholics who will deny this is the case and only want to work together with people of other faiths to further their social agenda. However, regardless of how any individual Catholic believes, his church has made ecumenism “back” to the church of Rome of utmost priority.

The Roman church has issued what it refers to as “Unitatis Redintegratio” or a Decree on Ecumenism. In it, the Catholic church reinforces the Second Vatican Council’s position that the “restoration” among all Christians is "one of principal concern.” This sounds simple enough upon face value. However, when we read the fullness of the decree, we see just what position the Catholic church takes on people who are not officially members of the church of Rome.

Quoting from Chapter 1 of the decree, the following excerpt, in my opinion, makes very clear what the Catholic church’s desire is: to “restore” Christians “back” into the Catholic church, and only then, will there be one “Body of Christ.”

Nevertheless, our separated brethren, whether considered as individuals or as
Communities and Churches, are not blessed with that unity which Jesus Christ
wished to bestow on all those who through Him were born again into one body, and
with Him quickened to newness of life -- that unity which the Holy Scriptures and
the ancient Tradition of the Church proclaim. For it is only through Christ's
Catholic Church, which is "the all-embracing means of salvation," that they can
benefit fully from the means of salvation. We believe that Our Lord entrusted
all the blessings of the New Covenant to the apostolic college alone, of which
Peter is the head, in order to establish the one Body of Christ on earth to
which all should be fully incorporated who belong in any way to the people of
According to this official Vatican decree, there can be no unity unless you are a member of the Catholic church. The decree states that people "are not blessed with that unity which Jesus Christ wished" unless they restored to the church of Rome.

So before anyone joins together with someone else in an effort of ecumenism, I encourage them to fully understand what that other person understand to be the motivation. In the case of the church of Rome, the motivation is to point out your error and bring you back into the church he believes is the exclusive means of salvation!

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