"Good intentions will always be pleaded for every assumption of authority ... the Constitution was made to guard against the dangers of good intentions. There are men in all ages who mean to govern well, but they mean to govern. They promise to be good masters, but they mean to be masters." - Noah Webster

"There is no worse tyranny than forcing a man to pay for what he does not want just because you think it would be good for him."
-- Robert A. Heinlein

Sunday, September 21, 2014

The Danger of Ecumenism

Just like all other regular bloggers, I make it a point to check out a list of certain blogs every day, one of which is Liberty's Torch.  Its main writer is Francis W. Porretto, the Curmudgeon Emeritus, who has no qualms discussing his religion of Roman Catholicism. I like most of Francis' stuff and I recommend his blog, so I'm not writing this to pick a fight.  I'm just offering some food for thought.  If you've checked out most of my blog, you probably recognize that I would be thought of as a Messianic Jew.  I just make that clear in the interest of full disclosure, even though the description isn't really adequate.

It seems Francis is trying be a peacemaker in the kerfuffle over homosexuality.  He is citing ecumenism as an important, if not the most important goal of the "Church."  Since the word "catholic" has it's earliest etymology in what we might now call syncretism, rather than universalism, that does make a lot of sense.  Of course, that is a daunting goal considering the wide range of opinion within the Church.  Let me also make this point:  wide range of opinion is a troubling problem in every denomination and religion.  It is why Sunnis and Shi'ites are killing each other.  It's why there are four or five different Baptist churches within walking distance of each other while only being a quarter full every Sunday morning. It's why there are liberal, non-religious Jews by birth, and the other extreme of Heredi Jews.

Church bodies split up.  Not all the time for bad reasons, but most of the time it is over stupid disagreements that have nothing to do with what should be the core tenets of the faith.

Politics and religion have been deeply entwined together for all of history.  Some will react with horror to that idea, but it is nonetheless provable by an honest study of history. Rather than do the whole history of the world to prove my point, lets just look at the protestant reformation, the Magna Carta, and the Declaration of Independence.

Martin Luther jump-started the protestant reformation with his 95 Theses (1517) at Wittenberg, sort of being like the little boy in the fable who had the courage to say that the king was naked.  Everybody knew that the Roman Catholic (really the ONLY) Church was cesspool of corruption, but the laity and lower ranks of clergy were scared to death of the power of the Pope and his minions. Most kings could not afford to cross the Church.  BTW - the joint power of the monarchies and the Church did not even begin to come to any real end until the 18th century.  This was in spite of the fact that the Magna Carta made an attempt to establish some separation between the Church and State.  Of course, it only applied to Great Britain.

I'll ask the question at this point: What if Martin Luther had opted for going along with the program for the sake of ecumenism rather than doing what was right?

Francis and I get to live here in the United States and (for the time being) enjoy all kinds of freedoms that would not even be dreamed of before the 20th century.  We owe most of that, with both the good and very bad consequences to the fact that there were enough men who decided to throw off the chains of Great Britain in 1776.  They had enough.  They were in the minority, but they did not seek unity and peace at the cost of continued serfdom to the monarchy or even an elected parliament.  The explanation is in the words of the Declaration of Independence:
 " Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; . . . But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government." 

Now just replace the word Government above with the word "Church." That's kind of the idea that Martin Luther was going for.  As well as many in the Church for next several centuries.  Mr. Gutenberg's invention and the rapid spread of literacy in the renaissance period fueled the fire.  People became very aware that men were men and nothing more, and God was God and nothing less.

The central cry of the protestant reformation was the phrase: "Sola fide, Sola Scriptura, Sole Deo Gloria."  Faith alone, Scripture alone, only to God be the glory. In a nutshell, the only and final authority came directly from God through His written word, and no mere mortal, regardless of vestments or ordination could supercede that.

Another way I could say that, is that man's opinion no longer mattered.  There's the rub.  The struggle for ecumenism is about compromising on our opinions. Problem is, God didn't establish a democracy or even a republic.  He isn't really concerned with any man's opinion.  He dictated the first five books to Moses (The Torah).  His laws are laws.  Commandments.  Not suggestions.  Religion is a man-made thing. There is no word in the Hebrew language for "religion."  If the Bible is not the final authority for those who believe in Yeshua Hamashiach (Jesus Christ), then we have no standard.  Just like if the POTUS or the SCOTUS or the Congress of the United States can enact laws or executive orders in direct contradiction to the Constitution, we are no longer a free people in a republic. We have become serfs in an oligarchy of petty tyrants.

But since the main issue is ecumenism in a Church that claims allegiance to the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and claims that they operate under the authority of His Son, let us review His words for what our opinion ought to be so as to be in obedience to the Most Sovereign Creator of the Universe:

“Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. 18 For truly I tell you, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished. 19 Therefore anyone who sets aside one of the least of these commands and teaches others accordingly will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever practices and teaches these commands will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. 20 For I tell you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven."   Matthew 5:17-20  NIV 

I don't see any wiggle room there that allows for opinion.  And when it comes to our Lord and Savior's word on ecumenism:

34 “Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. 35 For I have come to turn

“‘a man against his father,
    a daughter against her mother,
a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law
36     a man’s enemies will be the members of his own household.’[a]
37 “Anyone who loves their father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves their son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. 38 Whoever does not take up their cross and follow me is not worthy of me."  Matthew 10:34-38 NIV 

Either Jesus needs to send the Roman Catholic Church a new memo on His revised mission statement, or the Pope needs to revise his mission statement for the RCC to conform with the Home Office.

The United States is in the deplorable condition it is, not because we haven't had enough compromise for the sake of unity.  This country is FUBAR because we abandoned the principles born out of an uncompromising adherence to biblical standards, and began tolerating the idea that every individual can and should do whatever seems right in his own eyes, no matter how evil or decadent or depraved it may be.

We have sown the wind, and now we shall reap the F5 tornadoes that are bearing down upon us.

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