What Saith the Scripture?
Babylon the Great (Part 3)
Or, The Coming Destruction of the One World Religion
The Ecumenical Movement and the Church of Rome
"And upon her forehead was a name written, MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH"
by Tom Stewart
The New Birth is as those who awake out of the Sleep of Sin, only to find themselves "as lambs among wolves" (Luke 10:3) in the midst of a "perverse and crooked generation" (Deuteronomy 32:5). With the Holy Spirit as Guide, Comfort, and Teacher, the Believer seizes upon the Scriptures, and devours "every Word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God" (Matthew 4:4). Invariably, that knowledge imparted by the Spirit of Christ places the Saints in direct opposition to the "spirit of Antichrist" (1John 4:3) and the multifaceted Babylon the Great.
Just as Christian-- from John Bunyan's "The Pilgrim's Progress"-- http://Whatsaiththescripture.com/Stories/Bunyan.Pilgrims.Progress.html -- battled Apollyon in the Valley of Humiliation with his Two-Edged Sword; likewise, while defending ourselves with the "Shield of Faith" (Ephesians 6:16), we draw our "Sword of the Spirit" (6:17) to put the Enemy to flight. Thus, we find ourselves regrouping and ministered unto by our LORD's angels, who are "sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of Salvation" (Hebrews 1:14).
And, just what does the Awakened Saint understand that causes him to form the battle line against Babylon the Great? Perhaps it is that Babylon is so ancient a foe of our LORD and King. "Put yourselves in array against Babylon round about: all ye that bend the bow, shoot at her, spare no arrows: for she hath sinned against the LORD" (Jeremiah 50:14). Possibly it is that Mystery Babylon has troubled the nations, robbing them of the tranquility bestowed upon those who are called by the Name of the LORD. "Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD; and the people whom He hath chosen for His own inheritance" (Psalm 33:12). And maybe it is that the Mother of Harlots has counterfeited the "pure religion and undefiled" (James 1:27) causing the eternal destruction of untold numbers of those deceived by her. "They have forsaken me the Fountain of Living Waters, and hewed them out cisterns, broken cisterns, that can hold no water" (Jeremiah 2:13). But certainly it is that the Almighty has called upon all those that love the name of Christ Jesus to seek Babylon the Great's complete and utter destruction. "Reward her even as she rewarded you, and double unto her double according to her works: in the cup which she hath filled fill to her double" (Revelation 18:6).
The word "ecumenical" comes from the Greek word "oikoumene", meaning the whole inhabited Earth. "And this Gospel of the Kingdom shall be preached in all the world [Greek, oikoumene; Strong's # 3625] for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come" (Matthew 24:14). By itself, "ecumenicity" can easily be applied to the Gospel outreach of the New Testament Church; however, the historic and modern context of the word has caused thoughtful Believers to utterly abhor it. "A Good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth Good fruit" (7:18).
Church History records twenty-one Ecumenical Councils from 325 AD to October 11,1962:
[Dates, places, and events were taken essentially from "Halley's
Bible Handbook" on the "Ecumenical Councils", p. 765.]
Since the Church was not born in a vacuum, each generation of Believers must determine "what saith the Scripture?" (Romans 4:3), then "earnestly contend for the Faith which was once delivered unto the Saints" (Jude 3). And, understanding that the Christian is "not of the world" (John 15:19), he must place supreme value upon the Scripture of Truth (Daniel 10:21) over the "tradition of men" (Colossians 2:8) or "science falsely so called" (1Timothy 6:20). In this, the Ecumenical Councils were not to be blamed for their condemnation of anti-Scriptural heresies, i.e., Arianism; but, they were to be blamed for the use of their ecumenical power against those who stood for the Scriptures, i.e., John Huss, who was condemned and burned by the Council of Constance (1415 AD). "They [e.g., the Church of Rome] shall put you out of the synagogues: yea, the time cometh, that whosoever killeth you will think that he doeth God service" (John 16:2).
The very concept of a Christian Church evokes to the average person a picture of structure and organization epitomized by a church building; but, our LORD viewed the Church in a much more primitive form. "For where two or three are gathered together in My Name, there am I in the midst of them" (Matthew 18:20). Christian unity is to be highly prized by the Saints-- "Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity!" (Psalm 133:1)-- but not at the expense of Truth. "Therefore I esteem all Thy Precepts concerning all things to be right; and I hate every false way" (119:128). We have freedom as moral agents to choose to believe or do wrong, but that does not constitute a license to sin, e.g., promulgating the anti-Christian theology of the Infallibility of the Pope (Vatican Council of 1869). "Cursed be he [Babylon the Great] that doeth the work of the LORD deceitfully" (Jeremiah 48:10).
"Ichabod": The Early Church Degenerates into Babylon the Great
The Old Testament Scriptures teach us that the name "Ichabod" was given to the child born to Eli's daughter-in-law, when the Ark of the LORD was captured by the Philistines, and both Eli and her husband died. "And she named the child Ichabod, saying, The glory is departed from Israel: because the Ark of God was taken, and because of her father in law and her husband" (1Samuel 4:21). This calamity illustrated how the Living God departed from those who departed from Him. "Return unto Me, and I will return unto you, saith the LORD of Hosts" (Malachi 3:7). This reciprocal relationship is affirmed in the New Testament. "Draw nigh to God, and He will draw nigh to you" (James 4:8). In fact, the LORD God expounded to the prophet Ezekiel the exact nature of how He views the falling away of the formerly righteous. "17 Son of man, I have made thee a watchman unto the house of Israel: therefore hear the word at My mouth, and give them warning from Me... 20 Again, When a righteous man doth turn from his righteousness, and commit iniquity, and I lay a stumblingblock before him, he shall die: because thou hast not given him warning, he shall die in his sin, and his righteousness which he hath done shall not be remembered; but his blood will I require at thine hand" (Ezekiel 3:17,20).
The Early Church that walked with the LORD Jesus Christ during His Earthly Ministry, compares to the Church of Ephesus in the Book of Revelation, i.e., "hast borne, and hast patience, and for My Name's sake hast laboured, and hast not fainted" (Revelation 2:3). However, toward the end of the First Century-- when the Apostle John penned the Revelation-- Ephesus had backslid, i.e., "thou hast left thy First Love" (2:4). If we use the Seven Churches of Revelation 2-3 to outline Church History-- First Century Ephesus to Twentieth Century Laodicea-- the Church of Thyatira would be the fourth and middle Church representing the Medieval period of World History or the Thyatiran period of Church History-- and would point clearly to the institution of Roman Catholicism. "Notwithstanding I have a few things against thee, because thou sufferest that woman Jezebel, which calleth herself a prophetess, to teach and to seduce My servants to commit fornication, and to eat things sacrificed unto idols" (2:20). [See the "Tribulation Saints' Experience: Revival, Persecution, or Deliverance?"-- http://Whatsaiththescripture.com/Prophecy/Thy.Hidden.Ones.html#REVIVAL DURING -- section of our article, "Thy Hidden Ones"-- http://Whatsaiththescripture.com/Prophecy/Thy.Hidden.Ones.html --, for a discussion of the Seven Churches representing seven successive periods of Church History, as well as Tribulation Week Progress.]
But, how did the Primitive Church become "THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH" (Revelation 17:5)? Babylonianism was the offspring of Nimrod the Great, who "was a mighty hunter before the LORD" (Genesis 10:9). It was foisted upon Israel in the form of Baal worship by the evil prophet Baalam, "who taught Balac to cast a stumblingblock before the children of Israel, to eat things sacrificed unto idols, and to commit fornication" (Revelation 2:14). Though Israel forsook idol worship after her Babylonian Captivity, the Gentile world was sufficiently pagan, that Pergamos, the third Church of Revelation 2-3-- and immediately preceding Thyatira-- had already succumbed to the "doctrine of Balaam" (2:14), i.e., Babylonianism's Baal worship. The stage was set for the Bishop of Rome to claim supremacy over all the other bishops. Leo the First claimed for himself the title of Primate of All Bishops (445 AD) with the imperial recognition of Emperor Valentinian III, while Attila the Hun (452 AD) and Genseric the Vandal (455 AD) were breaking up the Roman Empire-- and, both finally consented to spare Rome. "And all the inhabitants of the Earth are reputed as nothing: and [the LORD God Almighty] doeth according to His will in the army of Heaven, and among the inhabitants of the Earth: and none can stay His hand, or say unto Him, What doest Thou?" (Daniel 4:35).
Leo the First, considered by some non-Catholic historians to be the First Pope, "proclaimed himself Lord of the Whole Church; advocated Exclusive Universal Papacy; said that Resistance to his authority was a Sure Way to Hell; advocated the Death Penalty for heresy" ("Halley's Bible Handbook", p.770). Leo did not heed the inspired warning of the Apostle Peter. "2 Feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight thereof, not by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind; 3 Neither as being lords over God's heritage, but being ensamples to the flock" (1Peter 5:2-3). Thus, the reign of the Church of Rome as Babylon the Great began about the time of the Fall of the Roman Empire (476 AD)-- which roughly corresponds to the Thyatiran period of Church History (Revelation 2-3)-- 500 AD to 1500 AD.
Catholicity and Ecumenicity
"The word 'catholic' means 'universal,' in the sense of 'according to the totality' or 'in keeping with the whole'" (from "The Catechism of the Catholic Church" , paragraph 830). The dictionary definition of the term "universal" means that which extends to or affects the entire world. Hence, even Rome's name makes no qualms about its claim to a monopoly of the religion of the world. "11 And I beheld another beast [the False Prophet] coming up out of the Earth; and he had two horns like a lamb, and he spake as a dragon. 12 And he exerciseth all the power of the first beast [the Antichrist] before him, and causeth the Earth and them which dwell therein to worship the first beast, whose deadly wound was healed" (Revelation 13:11-12).
Though the Church of Rome's term of "catholicity" has the sound of Scripturalness, it is only a usurpation of the true concept of the dominion that the LORD Jesus Christ intended for the spread of His Gospel-- universal, worldwide. "19 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: 20 Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen" (Matthew 28:19-20). And, that dominion is also granted to the smallest of Saints-- without regard to human ecclesiastical affiliation-- so long as fellowship and faith are maintained with Christ Jesus, the "Head of the Church" (Ephesians 5:23). "19 Again I say unto you, That if two of you shall agree on Earth as touching any thing that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of My Father which is in Heaven. 20 For where two or three are gathered together in My Name, there am I in the midst of them" (Matthew 18:19-20).
The Papacy's "keys of the kingdom" (Catechism, 553) actually belong to Jesus Christ, the LORD of the Candlesticks, i.e., "I am He that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have The Keys of hell and of death" (Revelation 1:18). And, further, what was said to the Apostle Peter about his authority to bind and loose-- "And I will give unto thee The Keys of the Kingdom of Heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on Earth shall be bound in Heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on Earth shall be loosed in Heaven" (Matthew 16:19)-- was also spoken to the other disciples of Christ. "18 Verily I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall bind on Earth shall be bound in Heaven: and whatsoever ye shall loose on Earth shall be loosed in Heaven. 19 Again I say unto you, That if two of you [not just Simon Peter] shall agree on Earth as touching any thing that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of My Father which is in Heaven" (18:18-19).
The word "ecumenical" denotes that which is worldwide in range or applicability; hence, universal. It is not without surprise that Roman Catholicism claims to be more than merely one of many Christian Churches, but the Mother Church of us all, e.g., "the Church, further, which is called 'that Jerusalem which is above' and 'our mother' [Galatians 4:26]" (from "The Catechism of the Catholic Church" , paragraph 757). The Apostle Paul used the expression "mother of us all" (Galatians 4:26) in allegorical reference to Jerusalem as the symbol of our freedom from the bondage of the Law. "28 Now we, brethren, as Isaac was, are the children of Promise... 31 So then, brethren, we are not children of the bondwoman, but of the free" (Galatians 4:28,31). And, it is not that the "Jerusalem which is above" (4:26) cannot be construed as representative of the Church of the Gospel; but, it just does not represent Rome, for the Church of Rome traces its lineage through Hagar back to Babylon-- and not to Jerusalem. [See "Babylon the Great (Part 2): The Reformation and the Church of Rome"-- http://Whatsaiththescripture.com/Timeline/Babylon.The.Great.Part.2.html -- for a more detailed historical development of the Church of Rome as Babylon the Great.] Instead, our union is with the LORD Jesus Christ Himself. "14 For this cause I bow my knees unto the Father of our LORD Jesus Christ, 15 Of Whom the whole family in Heaven and Earth is named" (Ephesians 3:14-15).
It has been an historic dogma of the Catholic Church that "outside the [Catholic] Church there is no salvation". "They could not be saved who, knowing that the Catholic Church was founded as necessary by God through Christ, would refuse either to enter it or to remain in it" (from "The Catechism of the Catholic Church" , paragraph 846). This was intended by the Papacy to place the world in universal need of coming to Rome to receive the benefits of their ecumenical salvation. But, "what saith the Scripture" (Romans 4:3)? Salvation is:
[See our article, "Promises for Patience and Endurance in the LORD"-- http://Whatsaiththescripture.com/Promises/Promises.Patience.Enduranc.html
--, for Scriptural foundation for your faith to persevere upon.]
So, the LORD Jesus Christ-- and not the Church of Rome-- offers the truly
universal ("catholic") Salvation to the entire ("ecumenic") world;
for the Only Begotten Son of God "hath done all things well" (Mark 7:37).
The counsel of Scripture is plain concerning the Universal-Catholic-Ecumenical designs of the Church of Rome-- "cast out the bondwoman" (Galatians 4:30). Separate from Rome. "30 Nevertheless what saith the Scripture? Cast out the bondwoman and her son: for the son of the bondwoman shall not be heir with the son of the freewoman. 31 So then, brethren, we are not children of the bondwoman, but of the free" (4:30-31). If our Mother is not "THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH" (Revelation 17:5), then why would we consort with Rome? But, would it not be more prudent to appear less divisive, and remain in the Catholic Church? Nay! "Remove thy way far from her, and come not nigh the door of her house" (Proverbs 5:8). This is a sin that we are not merely to avoid-- but to flee! "Flee fornication" (1Corinthians 6:18). "Flee from idolatry" (10:14).
Liberalism and the Exaltation of Human Reason
Man's trouble with the Creator lies in their unwillingness to accept God's testimony about God and themselves. "19 Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them. 20 For the invisible things of Him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse" (Romans 1:19-20). Consequently, rebellious man has produced his own philosophies to account for what God has already declared in the Scriptures. "Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ" (Colossians 2:8).
Religious Liberalism finds historical roots in the Enlightenment (the Age of Reason) which was centered in Europe during the 1700's. "For after that in the Wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God" (1Corinthians 1:21). With Sir Isaac Newton's "Principia" (1687), the science of physics established the investigation of nature through mathematical representations; and, human reason strove for earthly dominion. But, "what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?" (Mark 8:36). Though Newton was a serious student of Biblical Prophecy later in life, his scientific work was interpreted by his contemporaries as proof of the superiority of human reason over Biblical Revelation. John Locke's "Essay Concerning Human Understanding" (1690) bulwarked this insistence upon knowledge gained only by human experience, and lent itself to those who emphasized that genuine certainty could only be achieved through the precision of mathematics. "And every one that heareth these Sayings of Mine, and doeth Them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand" (Matthew 7:26).
The flood of Liberal philosophers and theologians that followed, left the Church of Jesus Christ with a "little strength" (Revelation 3:8), but that was still enough for the Christians of the Philadelphian Church Age (c. 1700-1900) to promote the Gospel worldwide through the "Open Door" (3:8) held open by the Saviour Himself. "I know thy works: behold, I have set before thee an Open Door, and no man can shut it: for thou hast a little strength, and hast kept My Word, and hast not denied My Name" (3:8). Jonathan Edwards (1703-1758), George Whitefield (1714-1770), John Wesley (1703-1791), Charles Wesley (1707-1788), Charles G. Finney (1792-1875), C. H. Spurgeon (1834-1892), D. L. Moody (1837-1899), R. A. Torrey (1856-1928), and multitudes of others represent the Church of Philadelphia's response to Religious Liberalism. "Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us" (Hebrews 12:1). [See the section of our website, "Voices From the Church of Philadelphia"-- http://Whatsaiththescripture.com/W.S.t.S.Voice.html --, which features many of the above Philadelphians.]
On Liberalism's part, the Scottish empiricist, David Hume (1711-1776) advanced arguments for skepticism, i.e., absolute knowledge is impossible, in his "Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding" (1748); and therefore, the existence of God could not be proved. "Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools" (Romans 1:22). Immanuel Kant (1724-1804), encouraged by the works of Hume, wrote the "Enquiry into the Proofs for the Existence of God" (1763). He held that it was a mistake for metaphysicians to go beyond sense experience to define concepts like God, freedom, or the immortal soul. Naturally, it would be contemptible to the Religious Liberal's mind to resort to the question, "What saith the Scripture?" (4:3), for the authorization or limitation of undertaking any given task. After all, he might argue, that which is important is what you perceive to be true, i.e., God , to be your duty, i.e., moral law, or to be beautiful, i.e., in the eyes of the beholder. "For when the Gentiles, which have not the Law, do by nature the things contained in the Law, these, having not the Law, are a law unto themselves" (2:14). Thus, with names such as Friederich Schleiermacher (1768-1834) and G. W. F. Hegel (1770-1831), Liberalism stormed the bastions of traditional Biblicism, enthroned human reason, and ridiculed the simplicity of Biblical faith. "Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen" (Hebrews 11:1). But, "if the foundations be destroyed, what can the Righteous do?" (Psalm 11:3).
Modernism and the Social Gospel
Religious Modernism began as a "loosely defined movement within the Roman Catholic church [WStS emphasis added] aimed at adapting Catholic belief to the intellectual, moral, and social needs of modern times. It developed spontaneously toward the end of the 19th century principally in Italy, France, Germany, Spain, Great Britain, and the United States. Proponents of the movement accepted the findings of modern science and supported the critical view of the Bible, thereby establishing a link with liberal Protestantism" ("Grolier's Multimedia Encyclopedia", article on "Modernism" by John E. Booty). "But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived" (2Timothy 3:13). Like Liberalsim, Modernism questioned the authority of the Scriptures, preferring instead human reason. "O LORD, the Hope of Israel, all that forsake Thee shall be ashamed, and they that depart from Me shall be written in the Earth, because they have forsaken the LORD, the Fountain of Living Waters" (Jeremiah 17:13).
By 1924, Shailer Mathews of Chicago Divinity School-- founded and endowed by John D. Rockefeller (1891), and the largest single institutional educator of faculty members for theological seminaries, departments of theology, and programs in religious studies across America-- had penned "The Faith of Modernism", stressing that Christian doctrines were not timeless truths but merely reflections of the culture. But, "that we may be delivered from unreasonable and wicked men: for all men have not faith" (2Thessalonians 3:2). In America, with the economic unrest of 1870-1918-- punctuated by the Nation's encounter with the monopolistic capitalists, i.e., John D. Rockefeller, J. P. Morgan, Andrew Carnegie, etc.-- Modernism emerged advancing the Social Gospel, which championed the themes of love and justice in education, society, and political life, i.e., "whosoever shall give to drink unto one of these little ones a cup of cold water only in the name of a disciple, verily I say unto you, he shall in no wise lose his reward" (Matthew 10:42). With statements of purpose, such as Modernist leader Walter Rauschenbusch's "A Theology for the Social Gospel" (1917), the emphasis was taken away from the Salvation of the immortal soul and given to the economic and social advancement of mankind. "And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity [love], it profiteth me nothing" (1Corinthians 13:3).
An older testimony (early 1900's) is offered from a former Modernist, Professor Kanamori of Doshisha College, Japan: "I was brought up in puritanic strictness of doctrine and practice, so when I read those easy-going Modernist books I felt as though I was coming out of a frozen zone into the warmth of the tropics. I enjoyed the reading of those Modernist books so very much that I was completely carried away by their clever arguments... When I embraced this Modernism and Higher Criticism I lost my Christian message entirely, and I became a messageless man... When I lost faith in the absolute divine authority of the Bible, and faith in the deity of Jesus Christ, I lost everything. I could still preach the moral precepts of the Bible, and thought that perhaps I could apply them to some of the social questions of the day. But I could not preach the central fundamental doctrine of Christianity, salvation by the blood of Jesus shed upon the cross" (from "The Scriptures and the Mistakes of the Critics", p. 24). "I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, Who loved me, and gave Himself for me" (Galatians 2:20).
Pope Pius XII opened the way for Biblical Criticism in Catholicism, which was the critical view of the Bible promoted by Modernism, through his encyclical "Divino afflante Spiritu" (1943). In effect, Rome was preparing to harness the power of Liberal Protestantism for Babylon the Great. "The children of this world are in their generation wiser than the children of Light" (Luke 16:8). Modernism is felt most by the vacuum it creates through the deemphasis of the authority of the Scriptures, opting instead to blend their Social Gospel with the economic, social, and political agendas of the contemporary culture. However, "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 perfect, throughly [thoroughly] furnished unto all good works" (2Timothy 3:16-17). The supremacy of the Scriptures fueled the Reformation and angered Babylon the Great; while the present apathy toward Scripture opens the way for the appearance of the Antichrist. "Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away [literally, apostasy] first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition" (2Thessalonians 2:3).
World Council of Churches: Promoting a "Eucharistic Vision"
In 1983, the World Council of Churches' (WCC) Vancouver Assembly spoke of a "eucharistic vision" which unites two of their "profoundest ecumenical concerns: the unity and renewal of the church and the healing and destiny of the human community" (from the WCC's "Towards a Common Understanding and Vision of the World Council of Churches" [September 1997], paragraph 2.4). "For when they speak great swelling words of vanity, they allure through the lusts of the flesh, through much wantonness, those that were clean escaped from them who live in error" (2Peter 2:18). Surely the Roman Pontiff took great delight in this ecumenical announcement of purpose, with deference given to the more Catholic identification of the LORD's Supper as the Eucharist. "Their mouth speaketh great swelling words, having men's persons in admiration because of advantage" (Jude 16).
But, why all these bold words against the World Council of Churches? "For by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned" (Matthew 12:37). "An important affirmation made in the early phase of collaboration between the Roman Catholic Church and the World Council of Churches was that the two share in 'one and the same ecumenical movement'... The oneness of the ecumenical movement refers fundamentally to its orientation towards a 'common calling'" (from the WCC's "Towards a Common Understanding and Vision of the World Council of Churches", paragraph 2.10). This affirmation from the World Council of Churches makes simple their own condemnation. "Shouldest thou help the ungodly, and love them that hate the LORD? therefore is wrath upon thee from before the LORD" (2Chronicles 19:2).
The Harlot Church of Rome is an implacable enemy of Jehovah Jesus, for she is the Great Whore "with whom the kings of the earth have committed fornication, and the inhabitants of the Earth have been made drunk with the wine of her fornication" (Revelation 17:1-2), and the World Council of Churches' "common calling" collaboration with the Church of Rome is spiritual adultery. "Can two walk together, except they be agreed?" (Amos 3:3). Rome's doctrine damns her faithful, and her history betrays her origin-- Babylon. "Flee out of the midst of Babylon, and deliver every man his soul: be not cut off in her iniquity; for this is the time of the LORD'S vengeance; he will render unto her a recompence" (Jeremiah 51:6). [See our articles, "An Earnest Appeal to Roman Catholics, Or, Roman Catholicism Examined in Light of the Scriptures"-- http://Whatsaiththescripture.com/Fellowship/An.Earnest.Appeal.html -- and "Babylon the Great (Part 2), The Reformation and the Church of Rome"-- http://Whatsaiththescripture.com/Timeline/Babylon.The.Great.Part.2.html -- , for an exposition of Rome's doctrine and history.]
And, just what is the World Council of Churches? "But the Wisdom that is from Above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy" (James 3:17). "The World Council of Churches [WCC] is a fellowship of churches, now 324, in more than 100 countries in all continents from virtually all Christian traditions. The Roman Catholic Church is not a member church but works cooperatively with the WCC. The highest governing body is the Assembly, which meets approximately every seven years. The WCC was formally inaugurated in 1948 in Amsterdam, Netherlands. Its staff is headed by general secretary Konrad Raiser from the Evangelical Church in Germany" (from the official "WCC COMMENT ON ENCYCLICAL ON ECUMENISM" [June 1,1995]). "Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world" (1John 4:1). "It is impossible to speak of the World Council of Churches apart from the ecumenical movement out of which it grew and of which it is a highly visible part... the term 'ecumenical' embraces the quest for Christian unity, common witness in the worldwide task of mission and evangelism, and commitment to diakonia [Greek, service or ministry] and to the promotion of justice and peace" (from the WCC's "Towards a Common Understanding and Vision of the World Council of Churches", paragraphs 2.1, 2.2). "Prove all things; hold fast that which is Good" (1Thessalonians 5:21).
From whence did the World Council of Churches arise? Prior to the formation of the World Council of Churches, three major ecumenical bodies had been formed among non-Roman Catholics: the International Missionary Council (1910), the Universal Christian Council for Life and Work (1925), and the Faith and Order Conference (1927). Presently, these three bodies are incorporated into the World Council of Churches. But, "though hand join in hand, the wicked shall not be unpunished: but the seed of the Righteous shall be delivered" (Proverbs 11:21). "Within the ecumenical movement the WCC has sought to integrate the vision of John 17:21 ('that they may all be one... so that the world may believe') with the vision of Ephesians 1:10 (God's 'plan for the fullness of time, to gather up all things in [Christ], things in heaven and things on earth'). But the effort to integrate these two biblical visions has been challenged by a continuing tension and sometimes antagonism between those who advocate the primacy of the social dimension of ecumenism [WStS emphasis, i.e., the Social Gospel of Modernism] and those who advocate the primacy of spiritual or ecclesial ecumenism" (from the WCC's "Towards a Common Understanding and Vision of the World Council of Churches", paragraph 2.5). "15 Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. 16 Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? 17 Even so every Good tree bringeth forth Good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. 18 A Good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth Good fruit. 19 Every tree that bringeth not forth Good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. 20 Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them" (Matthew 7:15-20).
A Statistical View of Ecumenism and Roman Catholicism in the USA (1998)
|World Council of Churches:
USA Member Churches With More Than 1,000,000 Members (1998)
|United Methodist Church||
|National Baptist Convention, U.S.A., Inc.||
|Evangelical Lutheran Church in America||
|Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)||
|National Baptist Convention of America, Inc.||
|African Methodist Episcopal Church||
|Progressive National Baptist Convention, Inc.||
|Orthodox Church in America||
|American Baptist Churches in the U.S.A.||
|United Church of Christ||
|African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church||
|Roman Catholic Church: USA Membership (1998)||
|Total Population of USA (1998)||
The Second Vatican Council (1962): Catholicism's Modern Identification With Ecumenism
The Roman Catholic Church (RCC) is not a member of the World Council of Churches (WCC); and, it has never applied for membership. Rome saith, "I sit a queen, and am no widow, and shall see no sorrow" (Revelation 18:7). "The RCC's self-understanding has been one reason why it has not joined" (from an FAQ at the WCC's website , which asks if the Roman Catholic Church is a member of the World Council of Churches). Rome understands that the Road of Ecumenism does not lead to Geneva-- the WCC's headquarters-- but it leads back to Rome. "How long, ye simple ones, will ye love simplicity? and the scorners delight in their scorning, and fools hate knowledge?" (Proverbs 1:22). Apparently, the WCC's affirmation that the RCC and WCC promote "one and the same ecumenical movement" (from the WCC's "Towards a Common Understanding and Vision of the World Council of Churches", paragraph 2.10) demonstrates that at least the leadership of the WCC understands the destination and purpose of ecumenism-- back to the Mother Church of Rome, i.e., towards a "eucharistic vision". "1 Woe be unto the pastors that destroy and scatter the sheep of My pasture! saith the LORD. 2 Therefore thus saith the LORD God of Israel against the pastors that feed My people; Ye have scattered My flock, and driven them away, and have not visited them: behold, I will visit upon you the evil of your doings, saith the LORD" (Jeremiah 23:1-2).
One of the "principal concerns" of the Second Vatican Council (1962-1965) was the "restoration of unity among all Christians" (from the Second Vatican Council, "Decree on Ecumenism- Unitatis Redintegratio", paragraph 1). But, beware of the harlotry of Rome, for the "mouth of strange women is a deep pit: he that is abhorred of the LORD shall fall therein" (Proverbs 22:14). Commenting on the term "ecumenical movement", the "Decree on Ecumenism" stated that "when the obstacles to perfect ecclesiastical communion have been gradually overcome, all Christians will at last, in a common celebration of the Eucharist, be gathered into the one and only Church in that unity which Christ bestowed on His Church from the beginning. We believe that this unity subsists in the Catholic Church as something she can never lose, and we hope that it will continue to increase until the end of time" (from the Second Vatican Council, "Decree on Ecumenism- Unitatis Redintegratio", paragraph 4). And indeed, the "leopard [has not changed] his spots" (Jeremiah 13:23)!
As if to make plain that the Church of Rome-- and not the World Council of Churches-- originated the Ecumenical Movement, the 21st Ecumenical Council of Roman Catholicism-- known also as the Second Vatican Council (1962)-- announced her intentions:
Such a stark picture of the ecumenical allies of Babylon the Great cannot but produce a dark foreboding in the earnest Believer. But, "when the enemy shall come in like a flood, the Spirit of the LORD shall lift up a Standard against him" (Isaiah 59:19). Understanding our God's purpose in the past, present, and future aids in our obedience to His Plan. "The fear of the LORD is the beginning of Wisdom: a Good Understanding have all they that do His Commandments: His praise endureth for ever" (Psalm 111:10). It would be woefully inappropriate for the reader of this article to simply dwell on the enormity of the ecumenical hordes of Babylon the Great; instead, we need to steel ourselves with the "Exceeding Great And Precious Promises"-- http://Whatsaiththescripture.com/Promises/Exceeding.Promises.html -- (2Peter 1:4) that enable us to be "more than conquerors through Him that loved us" (Romans 8:37). Our victory is already assured through faith in "Jesus the Author and Finisher of Our Faith" (Hebrews 12:2). "For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith" (1John 5:4). Already many of our Brethren are watching us from Heaven as we "finish [our] course" (Acts 20:24). They also sense the excitement of the soon appearing of the KING of Kings, and LORD of Lords, as they cheer us on. "Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us" (Hebrews 12:1). But, when all is said and done, we labor for the Master in obedience to His Plan, because we love Him and what He has done for us. "10 Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us, and sent His Son to be the Propitiation for our sins... 19 We love Him, because He first loved us" (1John 4:10,19).
Next in the Series "Babylon The Great"
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