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WWN 1996 Jan - Mar


1996 Jan -- XXIX -- 1(96) -- RC CARDINAL IN SDA PULPIT -- Part 1 -- Editor's Preface -- We had announced in the Special Issue of WWN 95(2), p. 7, that there would be no January 1996 issue of the Thought Paper; and that in its place we would substitute the booklet, The SIGN of the End of Time. However, information and documentation coming to this desk makes imperative that we publish a January issue of WWN. This does not mean that we will cancel the mailing of the booklet; we are sending it out as scheduled.

What makes the report of the Convocation on the campus of Union College so painful is the fact that Union College is my alma mater. During three of the four years that I pursued my under graduate studies, I was Reader in the Department of Religion working for both Dr. I. F. Blue and Elder J. W. Rowland. These men not only had seen service in the Mission Field, but were solid conservative Bible teachers who believed and taught the prophecies of Daniel and Revelation according to the hermeneutics of historic Protestantism. They knew what the prophecies had to say about the Papacy, and what history records of the 1260 years of its medieval supremacy.

The fact that the convocation held on the campus of Union College was "the first time anywhere this kind of a thing had been done" makes it even more painful. However, the change in thinking which would permit this kind of convocation to take place did not occur overnight, nor is such thinking restricted only to the leadership of the college. It is a church-wide trend indicating that the Church has joined the trek towards Rome.

Those who claim Pacific Union College as their alma mater will be equally startled by a first on that campus. As far as anyone can remember a "non-Adventist" conducted for the first time the Fall Week of Prayer for the student body. That "non-Adventist" was a Roman Catholic ex-priest, and a recovering alcoholic. We shall make further comment in another issue of WWN.

p 2 -- RC CARDINAL IN SDA PULPIT -- The Lincoln Journal Star of Saturday, October 21, 1995, carried the announcement of a three day Convocation to be held on the campus of Union College sponsored by Interchurch Ministries of Nebraska. This is the first in a three-year series of annual convocations planned by the Interchurch Ministries. The focus of this first conference was on Baptism to be followed by communion and ministry the next two years. The Executive Secretary of the Interchurch Ministries stated that "together with baptism, they represent the three ecumenical issues facing efforts at church cooperation and unity worldwide."

Actually, these three topics were the basis of the Lima Text drawn up by the Faith and Order Commisssion in 1982, and published by the WCC as Faith and Order Paper #111. It needs to be kept in mind that this text was hailed as a break-through in ecumenical relations. In the preface to the document, one reads:       "Those who know how widely the churches have differed in doctrine and practice on baptism, eucharist and ministry, will appreciate the importance of the large measure of agreement registered here. Virtually all the confessional traditions are included in the Commission's membership. That theologians of such widely different traditions should be able to speak so harmoniously about baptism, eucharist and ministry is unprecedented in the modern ecumenical movement. Particularly noteworthy is the fact that the Commission also includes among its full members theologians of the Roman Catholic and other churches which do not belong to the World Council of Churches itself." (p. ix)

In the Appendix of this Text are listed three publications by the WCC to assist churches in the implimentation of this ecumenical unity. Two of them are written by a Catholic priest, Max Thurian. One carries a very interesting title - Baptism and Eucharist: Ecumenical Convergence in Celebration - inasmuch as this convocation was devoted to the subject of Baptism.

The Executive Secretary perceived of this convocation as an opportunity for people "to come together and celebrate together, worship together, talk together, enjoy together." It was called a "Roots and Branches Convocation." The first worship service featured as its speaker, William Cardinal Keeler, archbishop of Baltimore, and president of the National Conference of Catholic Bishops. His subject was "Baptism and the Community." The service was conducted in the College View Seventh-day Adventist Church.

One is left to wonder if the Interchurch Ministries had "the root" speak first, and the "branches" were to fall into line. Does the responsible leadership of Union College perceive of itself as a "branch" of Romanism? This question is not asked merely in a rhetorical sense. It is asked seriously for two reasons:    1)     They had to know, when they granted the use of the College facilities to the Ministries, the purpose of the Convocation and what its theme was to be; and    2)     because C. Mervyn Maxwell of Andrews University in his commentary on Daniel wrote:      "The Roman Catholic Church was virtually the Christian church in Western Europe for about a thousand years. Because of this early universality, both Protestants and Catholics may regard it as the embodiment of 'our' Christian heritage, for better or for worse." (God Cares - I, p. 127; emphasis his)

Let this concept   -   that the Roman Catholic Church is "the embodiment of our Christian heritage"   -   be taught to several generations of graduate students who then take places of responsibility in the various areas of the Church's ministy, and what attitudes will be projected and what decisions will be made? Add to this the fact that the new president of the Mid-America Union Conference has a track record of seeking union and fellowship with Rome in Health Services, first as president in Hawaii, and then in Colorado. As chairman of the Union College Board, he would not oppose what the College administration did in working with the Interchurch Ministries of Nebraska.

Some History
-- This coziness with Rome did not develop in a day. One of the first evidences was the reaction of the Editor of the Signs, Arthur S. Maxwell, upon his return from Vatican II. In a sermon given at the University Church in Loma Linda, Maxwell, father of C. Mervyn noted above, suggested - "We must rethink our approach to our Roman Catholic friends." Having cited the Pope's opening speech of the Council as a picture of the church loving humanity, with "unfeigned love for everybody - the separated brethren and people who don't belong and all people of all faiths and religions," he asked, "How

p 3 -- can we reject an outstretched hand and be Christians?" He suggested that the sermons preached in the past revealing the atrocities of Rome and its blasphemous doctrines must now be scrapped. (Present Truth, 1968, No. 2) This concept is reflected by son, Mervyn, in his comments on Daniel 7, where he claims that God purposefully presented a one-sided picture of Rome as a terrible beast thus charging God with deliberate distortion in giving the Scripture of truth. (op. cit.; see also Daniel 10:21)

In less than a decade, this suggested change by Arthur Maxwell was made a matter of Federal Court record in the case of EEOC v. PPPA. In a footnote to a Reply Brief, the Church stated:   
"Although it is true that there was a period in the life of the Seventh-day Adventist Church when the denomination took a distinctly anti-Roman Catholic viewpoint, and the term 'hierarchy' was used in a perjorative sense to refer to the papal form of church governance, that attitude on the Church's part was nothing more than a manifestation of widespread anti-popery among conservative protestant denominations in the early part of this century and the latter part of the last, and which has now been consigned to the historical trash heap so far as the Seventh-day Adventist Church is concerned." (Excerpts Legal Briefs, p.41*)

Another outgrowth of the contacts made by Adventist observers while in attendance at Vatican II, was a dialogue with representatives of the WCC. This led to the ultimate placement of a Seventh-day Adventist theologian on the Faith and Order Commission, and Dr. B. B. Beach becoming secretary of the Secretaries of the World Confessional Families. In this capacity, on a trip to Rome, he placed in the hands of Pope Paul VI, a gold medallion as a symbol of the Church. (R&H, August 11, 1977, p. 23) This symbolic act is not without significance.

At the General Conference Session held in 1990 at Indianapolis, Indiana, T.J. Murphy, pastor of the capital Saint Joan of Arc Roman Catholic Church, attended as an observer and official guest representing the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity. He brought greetings from the Roman Church, and closed his remarks with a prayer from the Catholic liturgy. (1990 GC Bulletin, No. 7, p. 8)

Baptism -- The first of the three planned annual convocations of the Interchurch Ministries of
Nebraska dealt with the subject of Baptism. In Catholicism it is "the most necessary Sacrament
because without Baptism no one can be saved, [and] because without Baptism no other
Sacrament can be received." (Cathechism for the Parochial Schools of the United States, p. 67)
This Cathechism teaches that "Baptism is administered by pouring water on the head of the person to be baptized," indicating that the amount of water should be "enough to touch and flow from the skin."

The new Catechism of the Catholic Church which John Paul II asserts to be "a sure norm for teaching the faith," declares that "Holy Baptism is the basis of the whole Christian life." It even defines the term baptism to mean "to 'plunge' or 'immerse;' the 'plunge' into the water symbolizes the catechumen's burial into Christ's death, from which he rises up by resurrection with him, as 'a new creature."' (p. 342) In the summary of the section, it is stated - "The essential rite of Baptism consists in immersion of the candidate in water or pouring water on his head." (p. 357)

This apparently new aspect of Roman Catholic baptism was contrary to what I had perceived their rite to be - sprinkling. So I called the local priest, and he confirmed that immersion is now practiced in the Catholic Church, and that some new churches under construction will have a baptistry as any Adventist or Baptist church would have. He indicated that he administered the rite by pouring, and that he personally was unaware of sprinkling ever having been used. However, the New Baltimore Catechism (1949, rev. ed.) declared plainly that "the sacrament of Baptism may be validly administered:    first,     by immersion;    second,     by pouring;    third,     by sprinkling." (Emphasis theirs) Then a comment was added - "According to Church law, however, it is not now licit to confer Baptism by the method of sprinkling." (p. 187)

Since now the Roman Catholic Church is moving toward baptism by immersion, the real issue ceases to focus on how the rite is administered to the meaning of the rite itself. Is baptism a sacrament of regeneration, or a testimony to regeneration?

In Catholic teaching, Baptism is a means of grace. In their new Catechism it is stated: - "Baptism imprints on the soul an indelible spiritual sign, the character, which consecrates the baptized person for Christian worship." It is referred to as "a rich reality that includes forgiveness of original sin and all personal sins,

p 4 -- birth into the new life by which man becomes an adoptive son of the Father, a member of Christ and a temple of the Holy Spirit." (p.357) What baptism as a Sacrament is perceived to accomplish for and in the one baptized can be perceived when one realizes that infant baptism is urged without any "belief" on the baby's part. The new Catechism reads:      "The sheer gratuitousness of the grace of salvation is particularly manifest in infant Baptism. The Church and the parents would deny a child the priceless grace of becoming a child of God were they not to confer Baptism shortly after birth." (p. 350)

On the other hand the Protestant position is that baptism is a public testimony of an experience already realized between the individual and the Holy Spirit by repentance of sins and acceptance by faith of the redemption that is in Christ Jesus. (Acts 2:38; Mark 16:16; Rom. 3:24)

How then can there be any fellowship between righteousness and unrighteousness, or communion between light and darkness? (II Cor. 6:14)

*Excerpts Legal Briefs is again available, as is also Steps to Rome from the Adventist Laymen's Foundation.

Baptism is focus of convocation at Union College
Lincoln Journal Star
Saturday, October 21, 1995 - 3C

Convocation will focus on baptism -- Baptism will be the theme at the Roots and Branches Convocation, Thursday through Sunday at Union College, sponsored by Interchurch Ministries of Nebraska.

Speakers include William Cardinal Keeler, archibishop of Baltimore and president of the National Conference of Catholic Bishops; the Rev. Michael Kinnamon, dean of Lexington Theological Seminary in Kentucky; the Rev. Gayle Felton of Duke University Divinity School; and Brigalia Bam, general secretary of the South Africa Council of Churches.

The event is the first in a three-year series of annual convocations for laypersons and clergy,said Daniel Davis. executive secretary of Interchurch Ministries of Nebraska.

More than 200 people from across Nebraska and around the country are expected to attend. Convocations in 1996 and 1997 will focus on communion and ministry. Together with baptism, they represent the three key ecumenical issues facing efforts at church cooperation and unity worldwide, Davis said.

The convocation is an opportunity for people "to come together and celebrate together, worship together, talk together, enjoy together," he said. "So far as we know, this is the first time anywhere this kind of thing has been done."

Cost of the entire convocation is $95, but people wishing to attend only a portion of the converence could negotiate a lower fee, Davis said.

Edward Cardinal Cassidy, president of the Vatican's Pontifical Council for Christian Unity, was scheduled to attend but at the last minute was sent by the pope to Rumania. Monsignor John Radano, a staff member of the Pontifical Council, will attend as his representative.

A worship service at 7 p.m. at College View Seventh-day Adventist Church, 4015 S. 49th St., with Keeler speaking on "Baptism and the Community," is open to the public. An of-fering will be taken.

Music at that event and a concert Friday evening will be provided by Bread for the Journey, a Lutheran touring company from Minneapolis. A special concert by the Plymouth Brass will be held at 8 pm. Saturday at First-Plymouth Congregational Church, 2000 D St. Admission to the concert is $7.50 in advance, $9 at the door.

For information, convocation registration or concert tickets, contact the Interchurch Ministries office by calling 476-3391. The deadline for convocation registration is Tuesday.

Actual newspaper report

p 5 -- ARE ADVENTISTS STILL PEOPLE OF THE BOOK? -- This question was asked in Spectrum (Vol. 25, #1) in a report of one of the scheduled events at the General Conference Session in Utrech, the Netherlands. In advance of the 1995 Session, six "breakout discussion papers" had been prepared and distributed to the delegates. Two of these dealt specifically with the Bible, one on "The Authority of Scripture," and the other on "The Use of Scripture in the Life of the SDA Church."

From the many thousands in attendance, "the authority of Scripture document drew no more than a couple hundred individuals in the main meeting hall of the session. The music hall across the street was virtually empty, with audience members ready to discuss the use of Scripture outnumbering the six panel members by no more that five or six to one." (p. 25)

The author of the report, Dr. Douglas Clark, dean of the School of Theology at Walla Walla College, closed his write-up with "A Personal Analysis." He concluded:       "First it is clear that the serious tone and protective stance adopted by the authors of the documents [read] reveal deep concerns about Bible study in the life of the church. Honestly laying claim to the appellation 'People of the Book' is much more difficult today for Seventh-day Adventists than in the past ...

"Finally, it is also clear, from the extremely low attendance levels at these sessions, that either the church and its members already believe they know what they need to know about the Bible (its authority, inspiration, interpretation, and application), or they don't much care anymore. Neither option is very encouraging." (p.29)

Before discussing the reasons why the lack of interest in discussion of papers on the Bible, it might be well to note what was said in at least the first paper on "The Authonty of Scripture." It had been prepared by Dr. Raoul Dederen, former dean of the SDA Theological Seminary at Andews University. (Not having Dr. Dederen's paper from which to quote, I must rely on Clark's report of what was read) In the second section of Dederen's document, "fears regarding threats to the Bible as the 'infallible revelation of God's will' were expressed." "All too often, the document asserted, human reason, tradition, or experience have replaced Scripture as the norm for Adventist belief and practice." (p. 30, emphasis his)

One can only say "Amen" to this evaluation. Dederen is "right on" in this assessment.

"The 'pernicious claims of science' to supercede Biblical truth came under strong critique in the document's third section. Historicity and factuality in the Genesis accounts of Creation take center stage and stand in judgment of errant scientific theories and of those church members anxious ' to placate the scientists.' While not dismissing science entirely, the document clearly subsumed science beneath the factual claims of the Bible." (ibid.)

Again, one can say, "Amen"!

"Threats springing from an overemphasis on the cultural conditioning of Biblical texts have
further undermined Biblical authority, according to the next section of the document. Decrying the devastating effects resulting from this relativising trend, the paper laid claim to 'a continuous history of an unbroken connection' that binds the Biblical past to the modern reader in such a way to supercede all cultures."  
This is true because it is one Holy Spirit which has spoken in the Word. (One could wish that Dr. Dederen had applied this principle in his presentation on the ordination of women)

The final and longest section of the document emphasized "the need for church discipline in the face of failure to submit to Biblical authority and norms." This section evidently evoked the most discussion and criticism from the floor. I will reserve comment on this section until I can read the document itself on this recommendation.

The document which addressed the use of the Bible in the life of the Church was anonymously written having been requested by the Administrative Council of the General Conference. "The council had asked an unidentified individual to write the initial draft, which took on numerous changes as it snaked its way through a series of committees and readers." (p. 27) One panel member recommended changes in the paper, suggesting a future life for the document. Comment then needs to be reserved until the final draft is released, if and when such should occur.

We turn now to the reasons why so little interest was manifest in these documents at the

p 6 -- General Conference Session of the Church. No doubt both reasons suggested by Dr. Clark are valid. The Laodicean stance marks the Church - increased with goods and in need of nothing. (Rev. 3:17) This leads to a superficial, don't care attitude.

There was a time when the laymen of the Church knew as much Bible as the average clergyman of many of the larger denominations. That is no more, and the reason is simply that we are no longer a people of the Book. Higher education in which the graduate is subjected to a liberal modernistic interpetation of the Sacred Scriptures has left its mark. The historical account found in Genesis chapters one to eleven is called into question. The God whose power permits Him to speak and it is done is diminished to a god who had to work through thousands of years of time with forces of nature to accomplish his objectives. Yet these who so believe still call themselves Seventh-day Adventists, and are in high places of influence in the regular Church.

Today the Community of Adventism is fractured, and the groups who refer to themselves as "historic" Adventists contribute to this demise of the Bible as the sole authority in doctrine and practice. Unable to defend themselves against Ford's attack on the Sanctuary truth from the Bible, they quote Ellen G. White. Unable to comprehend the doctrinal teaching of righteousness by faith, they suggest that some of Paul's writings should be ignored. In doing so, these false "voices" have led the people who have listened to them to do as they have done, put the Writings above the Bible. If confronted with this charge, they would deny it, but they still speak and write as if "the Bible and the Spirit of Prophecy" combined are sacred Scriptures.

Visiting a few Sabbaths ago with a couple, the conversation turned to some meetings of "independents" the brother had attended in Northwest Arkansas. He was disturbed by the emphasis of the Writings over and above the Bible by the speakers. In the course of the day, he visited with a devout little old lady and brought up his concern that folk in attendance seem to hold the Writings above the Bible. She looked up into his face, and said in all sincerity, "I do." Does this not tell us why in the so-called "historic" Adventist sector of the Community of Adventism, the people so influenced are no longer the people of the Book. And their so-called leaders set the example!

These men who are setting themselves forth as "voices" of so-called "historic" Adventism well know that Ellen G. White wrote - "God will have a people upon the earth to maintain the Bible, and the Bible only, as the standard of all doctrines, and the basis of all reforms." (The Great Controversy, p. 595; emphasis supplied) However, instead of preparing such a people for whom God is looking, they are deceiving devout concerned souls into accepting a substitute basis for all doctrines and reforms because they themselves cannot defend the positions they are maintaining, as "historic" Adventists, from the Bible only.

There is no question that the Bible teaches the doctrine of Spiritual Gifts one of which is the gift of prophecy. However, there are other gifts indited by the same Holy Spirit - apostles, evangelists, and pastor-teachers. The gift of prophecy is placed in the league with these, not on a parity with the Bible by which all gifts are to be tested. The pioneers of Adventism understood this well, and wrote emphatically -       "Every Christian is duty bound to take the Bible as the perfect rule of faith and duty. He should pray fervently to be aided by the Holy Spirit in searching the Scriptures for the whole truth, for his whole duty. He is not at liberty to turn from them to learn his duty through any of the gifts. We say that the very moment he does, he places the gifts in a wrong place, and takes an extremely dangerous position. The Word should be in front, and the eye of the church should be placed upon it, as the rule to walk by, and the fountain of wisdom, from which to learn duty in 'all good works."' (Editorial, R&H, April 21, 1851; emphasis supplied)

So long as these "voices" in "independent" Adventism continue by preaching and teaching to lead sincere and concerned Adventists into this "extremely dangerous position" just so long will this segment in the Community of Adventism cease to be "people of the Book." So long as the regular Church refuses to exercise its authority to discipline those out of harmony with its teachings, just so long will there continue in the church, those professed Adventists who deny the Biblical account of origins. Such are not people of the Book!

We have reached a sad day in Adventism. There is denial of the Word of God on one hand which goes undisciplined, and there is a substitution for the Word on the other hand which has engendered confusion through multiple interpretations and misapplications of the Writings.

p 7 -- LET'S TALK IT OVER -- In the compilation Fundamentals of Christian Education, pp. 129-137, is reprinted an article from the Review & Herald, August 21, 1888 which was captioned - "The Book of Books." One paragraph reads:       "The Bible is not exalted to its place, and yet of what infinite importance it is to the souls of men. In searching its pages, we move through scenes majestic and eternal. We behold Jesus, the Son of God, coming to our world, and engaging in the mysterious conflict that discomfited the powers of darkness. 0 how wonderful, how almost incredible it is, that the infinite God would consent to the humiliation of His own dear Son! Let every student of the Scriptures contemplate this great fact, and he will not come forth from such a contemplation without being elevated, purified, and enobled." (p. 131)

I could write on every page of every issue of WWN, and preach in every sermon that I give that the Bible is not being exalted in Adventism at the present time to its proper place, and quote this statement. What good would such an exercise be if I did not demonstrate that I believe that this is what should be done, and do it. By preaching sermons based in the Word of God, and writing articles drawn from contemplation of the Word is indeed placing the Word in its rightful place.

I could tell people that in the Word they would find "scenes majestic and eternal." This is true, but how much better to read from the Word itself those majestic and eternal scenes. The "mysterious conflict" that broke the powers of darkness, the humilation of Jesus in order to accomplish it, is more than mere summary sentences. We need to hear Isaiah tell about the Lamb that was led to the slaughter. We need to grasp what it means that His soul was made an offering for sin (Isa. 53:7, 10), that He was made to be sin for us who knew no sin (II Cor. 5:21). We need to meditate on the depth of what it means that Christ "emptied Himself" and accepted the slave form of man. (Phil. 2:7 Gr.) Then instead of merely "preaching" what Ellen White wrote, we will proclaim the Bible, and in so doing feed the souls of the famished flock of God.

Well did Ellen White tell a group of ministers gathered in the old Battle Creek College library on April 1, at the time of the 1901 General Conference Session:      "Don't you quote Sister White. I don't want you ever to quote Sister White until you get your vantage ground where you know where you are. Quote the Bible. Talk the Bible. It is full of meat, full of fatness. Carry it right out in your life, and you will know more Bible than you know now. You will have fresh matter - 0 you will have precious matter; you won't be going over and over the same ground, and you will see a world saved. You will see souls for whom Christ died [saved]. And I ask you to put on the armor, every piece of it, and be sure that your feet are shod with the preparation of the gospel." (Spalding & Magan Collection, p. 174)

If this scene from 1901 could be replayed in 1996, the group would be the "voices" of so-called "historic" Adventism, Ellen White would say the same thing to them. --- (1996 Jan) --- End --- TOP

1996 Feb -- XXIX -- 2(96) -- RC CARDINAL IN SDA PULPIT - Part 2 -- Editor's Preface -- In the January, 1996 issue of WWN, we noted an article in the Lincoln Journal Star which told of a three day convocation to be held on the Union College campus sponsored by the Interchurch Ministries of Nebraska. The services were held in the College View Seventh-day Adventist Church. The Religious News Editor, Bob Reeves, followed this article by a report of the first service which he personally attended. It was at this service that Roman Catholic Cardinal, William Keeler, Archbishop of Baltimore, spoke. We shall review Mr. Reeves observations as well as a third article on the three day convocation.

One year ago, we began a three-part series on "Evangelicals and Catholics Together" (ECT) based on an accord worked out between representatives of the two religious communities. Now a defense has been published in the form of a series of Essays edited by the two who formed the original committee which produced the Accord, Charles Colson and Richard John Neuhaus. Each Essay needs to be carefully evaluated for at least two reasons:   1)  The Accord is not dead, nor was it simply a publicity stunt; and   2)  What does it augur for Evangelicals and the ecumenical movement? From noting carefully the thrust of the Essays, it is obvious that there was severe negative criticism on the part of some concerned Evangelicals, while little came from Roman Catholic sources. This should tell one something.

Two of the Essays in the 1995 publication were written by converts to Roman Catholicism, Neuhaus and the Jesuit, Avery Dulles. An Evangelical publication, Foundation, reveals that Charles Colson's wife is a - Roman Catholic, and that he has Catholics on his staff. A staff writer comments -       "The entire evangelical movement is in deadly peril because its leaders fail to realize that the Roman Catholic Church is a false church, not a true body of believers even though they use more evangelical language than ever before." (p. 38, July-September, 1995)      How shall we relate as Adventists to all of this? What can we learn? What do we need to know?

p 2 -- RC CARDINAL IN SDA PULPIT - Part 2 -- A second article in the Lincoln Journal Star (October 27, 1995) by the Religious News Editor, Bob Reeves, reported on the opening service at which William Cardinal Keeler spoke from the pulpit of the College View Seventh-day Adventist Church the campus church of Union College. Actually, Cardinal Keeler read the speech which Edward Cardinal Cassidy, President of the Vatican's Pontifical Council for Christian Unity had intended to give had he been able to attend as originally scheduled. Keeler, Archbishop of Baltimore, is also a member of the Council.

Reeves actually captioned his article, "Common Beliefs Noted." This was based on remarks made by Dan Davis, the executive secretary of the Interchurch Ministries which sponsored the three day convocation. Davis declared that "the ecumenical movement does not seek church unity but recognizes differences among various denominations as well as common beliefs and practices."

This calls to mind two things:    One, the statement in The Great Controversy which tells of the ultimate objective "when the leading churches of the United States [unite] upon such points of doctrine as they hold in common" (p. 445);    and two, the position taken by Cardinal Cassidy at the Seventh Assembly of the WCC in Canberra, Australia in 1991  -  unity in diversity, yet "unity in faith and communion." (The Catholic Leader, Feb. 24, 1991, p. 3) This was also the basis of "the re-vision [of] the goal of visible unity" projected at the Fifth World Conference of the Faith and Order Commission of the WCC held in Spain in 1993. A report released by the conference "depicted" the "shared life of Christians as rooted in the Triune God," and that consequently "unity and diversity are inseparable." (One World, Oct., 1993, p. 15)

The Union College three-day convocation focused on the meaning "of the sacrament of baptism, which is common to all Christians." During the first service, young girls brought in bottles of water and poured them into bowls. "The celebrants dipped bunches of brightly colored leaves in [the] bowls of water, and spinkled the water over the congregation as a symbol of baptism, which signifies the cleansing of the people from sin and the start of a new life in Christ."

Cassidy's prepared speech, read by Keeler, described baptism as "the most constant link of sacramental unity" among Christians. Though differing in mode of baptism and the time for baptism, all churches should recognize this "sacrament" as the sign that Christians all belong to "the body of Christ."

It is at this point that we need to pause and think through carefully the meaning of this position, and the objective in mind by so focusing, and the application being made by so concluding.

The Scripture does plainly state - "For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body." (I Cor. 12:13) The reality which this ceremony recognizes is the act of Christ by which He reconciled both Jew and Gentile "unto God in one body by the cross." (Eph. 2:16) In this, there were not multiple crosses, but one, just so, there is "One Lord, one faith, one baptism." (Eph. 4:5)

Baptism has but one meaning   -   "to dip, to immerse."  Even the new Catechism of the Catholic Church recognizes this meaning of the Greek term. (par. 1214) This means simply that any method of performing the ceremony requiered by Christ Himself other than by immersion deviant, and violates the intended significance. Paul clearly states this significance. He writes:       "Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into His death? Therefore we are buried with Him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life." (Rom. 6:3-4)

The Roman Catholic Church sees in the water used for baptism, not a symbolic element, but a "creature" in and of itself "a bath that purifies, justifies, and sanctifies." Their new Catechism reads:       "Since the beginning of the world, water, so humble and wonderful a creature, has been the source of life and fruitfulness. Sacred Scripture sees it as "overshadowed" by the Spirit of God." [Then the Roman Missal, Easter Vigil 42:Blessing the Water is quoted]

"At the very dawn of creation your Spirit breathed on the waters making them the wellspring of all holiness." (par. 1218)

After noting the supposed purifying, justifying, and sanctifying effect of the water, the

p 3 -- Catechism states:       "Hence Baptism is a bath of water in which the' imperishable seed' of the Word of God produces its life-giving effect. St. Augustine says of Baptism: ' The word is brought to the material element, and it becomes a sacrament."' (par. 1228)

The question, reduced to its basics, is:    Does one perceive of baptism as a sacrament of regeneration or a testimony to regeneration? If the former, then water from the bath is ministered to the sinner; but if the latter, the sinner is buried in symbolism into the water, an element, not a "creature."

Passing by this elementary question, the Roman Catholic promoters of ecumenism, seek to emphasize that by baptism, all become one body. Avery Dulles, S.J., appeals to the Nicene-
Constantinopolitan Creed, stating that according to this creed, "Baptism, the basic sacrament of
incorporation, is necessarily 'one,"' in other words, only one baptism, the sacramental. He
continues, "By incorporating Christians into Christ, baptism makes them members of one
together." (Evangelicals & Catholics Together, p. 131)

At this point two things need to be noted.    First baptism is assumed to be a sacrament, and this meaning of the word has been clearly defined in the new Roman Catholic Catechism. Water from this "bath" incorporates all into one body. Thus the ceremony at the first service of the Convocation held at Union College - the sprinkling of water from the "bath" upon the whole congregation made them "one," whether Roman Catholic, Methodist, Lutheran, Episcopal, Baptist, Disciples of Christ, Prebyterian, or any others present.

It should also be observed that the Creed to which Dulles appealed is the Creed adopted by the WCC through which they hope to produce a visible unity of faith. Perhaps we need to recall the purpose of this three-day convocation. It was the first of three to be held. The basis of these convocations will be the Lima Text or what is called BEM   -   Baptism, Eucharist and Ministry. Baptism was the theme of this first convocation, the other concepts - Eucharist and Ministry - will follow in successive years. This BEM text has been described "as a search for a new way to approach sacramental questions that divide churches, so as to promote unity." This "search" was the work of the Faith and Order Commission of the WCC. Now it is engaged in a second study "seeking to discover whether Christians today can confess their faith together ecumenically."

"For the study, the Faith and Order Commission has chosen the Nicene-Constantinopolitan Creed
of A.D. 381 - already officially recognized by many churches - as a summary of the apostolic faith." (One World, Jan.-Feb., 1988, p. 15) [The Seventh-day Adventist Church is one of the "many churches" which has done so officially]

Returning now to the application of baptism as "a sacrament" by which all become "one body," we find that Dulles after emphasizing this aspect of the Creed, appeals to the "Decree on Ecumenism" from the Vatican II Council which states - "Baptism establishes a sacramental bond of unity existing among all who have been reborn by it." (Dulles, op. cit.) [Note the "it" as the means of the new birth, not the Holy Spirit]

It also must be observed that Neuhaus in commenting on the ECT accord states -       "The most important affirmation of ECT is this:    'All who accept Christ as Lord and Savior are brothers and sisters in Christ. Evangelicals and Catholics are brothers and sisters in Christ."' (ETC, p. 178)

A third report in the Lincoln Journal Star (October 28, 1995), by its religious news editor, carried this concept of all professed Christians as brothers and sisters in Christ a step further. Noting a presentation by Dr. Michael Kinnamon, dean of the Lexington Theological Seminary in Kentucky, a Disciples of Christ institution, the report was captioned - "Christians Seek Ways to Stop Judging Based on Baptism." In other words, the mode of baptism is not a criterion by which to judge whether one is a Christian or not. Kinnamon threw a curve at his audience. Is Mother Teresa of the Catholic Church a Christian? She as an infant was sprinkled on the head with "holy" water. The bottom line is, if you are a Christian and Mother Teresa is a Christian, what hinders united fellowship?

Before dealing with the questions raised by this "curve," we need to note some background concerning the dean. "Kinnamon served for several years with the World Council of Churches in Geneva, where he helped develop a key document in the ecumenical movement." It was the BEM Lima text, which was handed to the Religous Editor of the Journal Star, telling him that this was what the Convocation was all about. The dean indicated that his seminary had

p 4 -- two Roman Catholic professors on its staff, and that there were a number of Catholic students in attendance. He indicated that many mainline Protestant denominations now accept members regardless of how they were baptized in a different church. Kinnamon considered this a major step forward toward cooperation and understanding.

Now to the "curve" which Kinnamon threw   -   Is Mother Teresa a Christian?   I have asked this question of several since receiving the news report on the dean's question. The answers were, "Yes," but when reminded of the fact of her infant baptism, and the use being made of this fact, the response was that we are judged only by the light we have had. Putting to one side, judgment per se on an individual, since all judgment is committed even by the Father into the hands of the Son of man (John 5:22), let us note certain Scriptural texts on the question.

Is the answer to the question, resolved in the concept that judgment is based on one's walking in all the light one receives, or does it also involve the light that I might have received but did not avail myself of that light? (DA, p. 490) In John 3:19-21, some specific criteria are set forth upon which the judgment will turn. These verses not only define the rejection of light because one's deeds are evil, as a basis for condemnation, but also the necessity of coming to the light of truth "that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God." Why is this so?    Jesus plainly answers this question in the Sermon on the Mount when He declared:      "Not every one that saith unto Me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And I will profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from Me, ye that work iniquity." (Matt. 7:21-23)

The question revolves around doing the "will of the Father." There is no question but that doing charitable deeds for one's fellow human beings in need is a part of God's plan. Do these acts override basic truth formulated as evidence of commitment to the redemption in Christ Jesus? If we say a certain one is a Christian because of charitable deeds using those deeds as the evidence, then are there not other conclusions which can be drawn? If an individual in their devotion to Mary engages in acts of charity, does it follow that that one is a Christian, and thus the basis for acceptance as a fellow member of the "body of Christ"? The answer is No. If engagement in spiritualistic idolatry negates the Christian status, then is baptism contrary to the Scriptures exempt?

Since we cannot judge the heart, and since all judgment is reserved unto Jesus Christ because He is a Son of man (John 5:27), our judgment of what constitutes entrance into the "body of Christ" and thus common fellowship must rest on the Word of God alone. That Word says - "For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body." (I Cor. 12:13) To be baptized is to be immersed in water. This is the will of God as revealed in His Word.

This subtle analogy by Kinnamon that is being used to advance the ecumenical movement has been carried further in Adventist thinking. The Columbian Union Visitor (June 1, 1995, p. 6) published an article captioned - "Is the Pope a Christian?" The author was Mitchell Tyner, associate general counsel for the General Conference. The objective of the article is given in a footnote - "The Visitor asked Attorney Tyner to write about the relationship between Adventist Christians and Roman Catholics."

After illustrating certain suppositions to support a premise that "if the Pope and I descended from the same Father, that makes us brothers who should not go around making personal attacks on each other." The attacks of which Tyner was writing were not spelled out beyond, "derogatory things," but can be assumed to be that the Pope was called the anti-christ, and advocates unAmerican concepts, such as the union of Church and State. While Tyner noted his disagreement with certain Catholic teachings, he concluded his article by stating - "I give them the benefit of the doubt on the issue of sincerity, no matter the breadth of our disagreement. After all, the Pope and I are brothers."

Since when did truth turn on the question of sincerity. Were not the prophets of Baal sincere? What has happened to the Elijahs of the last days?

After receiving a copy of the article, I wrote to Attorney Tyner. Noting the reason for my letter - his article in the Visitor, I told him that I was     "amazed at its contents and conclusion coming from an ordained minister and employee of the Seventh-day Adventist Church at its highest level."       I told him that - - -    "Theologically it cannot be sustained. When man

p 5 -- sinned, he chose another ' father.' Only those who receive the Word made flesh are given the authority to become sons of God (John 1:12), and thus brothers in and of Him. The rest remain children of disobedience. Even Jesus in addressing certain religious leaders of His day, declared them to be of their ' father the devil.' (John 8:44)

"Prophetically, the picture is even more acute. The Pope in the continuum of the ' little horn' of Daniel 7 ever has its roots in the "non-descript beast" or Paganism. Paul declares him to be ' that Wicked' one, ' he in whom all iniquity has as it were fixed its abode.' (See Thayer on anomos, p. 48) His coming is after ' the working of Satan.' (II Thess. 2:8-9)

"By God's grace, the Pope is not my brother. If he is your brother, then who is your father?"

A REMARKABLE WEEK OF PRAYER -- While the rest of the world was distracted by the pope's travels, rumors about the future of an aqitted killer, and assorted earthquakes, hurricanes, and cease-fires, something extra-ordinary was happening here in Angwin. A Catholic was speaking for the week of prayer.

Brennan Manning is more than simply a Roman Catholic. He is an ex-priest and a recovering alcoholic. As far as anyone remembers, he is the first "non-Adventist" to be invited to take the pulpit for this special week. It may be a sign of PUC's spiritual maturity that we recognize him as a deeply committed brother in Christ. Manning likes to say - in the idiom of the oldtime Southern Christians - "I was seized by the power of a great affection."

His message here at PUC is the one he preaches everywhere:    "The love of Christ is beyond all knowledge, beyond anything that we can intellectualize or imagine. It is not a mild benevolence but a consuming fire. Jesus is so unbearably forgiving, so infinitely patient and so unendingly loving, that he provides us with the resources we need to live lives of gracious response."

Some Seventh-day Adventist students will be stunned by this message, we predict. But Manning expects everyone, even believers, to be staggered by the gift of God's unconditional love. (The Campus Chronicle, Vol. 72, #2, p. 15)

E & C T -- Part 1 -- After the document - "Evangelicals and Catholics Together" - was released in March 29, 1994, it was met with withering attack from various Evangelical leaders as a betrayal of basic positions which have marked the Evangelical Community in its perception of Roman Catholicism, and the Community's defense of cardinal Protestant doctrines. Now a book - Evangelicals & Catholics Together - was released by Word Publishers last year which not only seeks to defend the document itself, but also can be considered as a reply to the critics in the Evangelical Community.

The book, edited by Charles Colson and Richard John Neuhaus, the principals in initiating the original document, constitutes a series of essays written by leading Evangelicals, and recognized Roman Catholics. Colson and Neuhaus jointly prepare an introduction which is dated May 1995. The full text of the document follows with the listing of all the participants who joined Colson and Neuhaus in formulating the document, plus the names of all those who endorsed the document. Colson writes the first essay, and Neuhaus the last. Two Evangelicals write essays - J.I. Packer, Sangwoo Youtong Chee Professor of Theology at Regent College in Vancouver, British Columbia, and Mark Noll McManis, Professor of Christian Thought at Wheaton College. The two Roman Catholic writers are Avery Dulles, S. J., and Laurence J. McGinley Professor of Religion at Fordham University, and George Weigel, president of the Ethics and Public Policy Center in Washington, D.C.

In his Essay, "Crosscurrents among Evangelicals," J. I. Packer quickly comes to the issues of the conflict. In a subsection, "ECT Under Evangelical Fire," Packer lists seven concepts of faith which identify Evangelicals, and specific criticisms leveled by Evangelicals against the ECT document. These criticims can be listed as follows:

1)     The brotherhood between Evangelicals and Roman Catholics as proclaimed by the document is in error.
2)     The question of the infallible Word of God when Catholicism has an added authority, the magisterium.
3)     Is justification through faith alone, or can this be watered down to fit the Roman Catholic.

p 6 -- pronouncements of the Council of Trent.

4)     The question of what constitutes conversion.
5)     Can true spiritual growth be found in both communities.
6)     The issue of proselytizing.

Neuhaus in the final essay also replies to the critics. One criticism is of telling interest. What Neuhaus has written on this point must be quoted in full so that nothing is lost:       "There are theologically serious critics who believe that ECT did not attend sufficiently to the distinctives of Reformation Christianity. This essay is in large part a response to those concerns. There has been little theological crticism of the ECT from the Catholic side. The most obvious reason for this is that Catholics are accustomed to ecumenical engagement with other Christians, and such engagements hold no fears. By contrast, and for perfectly understandable reasons - some of which will be addressed in this essay - ecumenical is for many evangelicals a highly suspect term.

"As one evangelical critic put it to me, ' Our worry is about the third and hidden ' c.' By that he meant that ECT talks about 'convergence and cooperation' between evangelicals and Catholics, but the worry is that behind such talk is another ' c' - conversion. That worry, I am told is not alleviated by the fact that one of the main participants in ECT is an evangelical Lutheran who became a Roman Catholic." (p. 179)

That "evangelical Lutheran" turned Roman Catholic is none other than Neuhaus himself. He is very articulate, well read, and brilliant. If the "critic" to whom he referred in the above quotes had fear of the other "c" from reading the document, ECT, his fears will be crystalized when he reads the essay by Neuhaus.

It is our objective in succeeding issues of WWN, to discuss the reply made to the critics by both Packer and Neuhaus as well as note certain salient observations in the other essays. What has been written in these essays should be of deep concern to anyone who is aware of the ecumenical thrust on the part of Rome. Further, we need to recognize that some of these issues are not pleasant to face, and the points made will require serious thought to refute. It is no longer "child's play" in the impending confrontation.

LET'S TALK IT OVER -- It seems that the discussion of the Godhead has become the all consuming topic of certain "independent" ministries. This past weekend, I received an unsigned one page, professedly a Bible study, on confessing Christ. In noting its contents carefully, it became obvious that it was the work of a novice. Such wild assertions as - "To confess that Jesus is 'the annointed one' (the Christ) will cause you to be put out of the organized church" - are to be found on the page.

Another pronouncement is made that "Christ was the Son before He was sent into this world." This is only a half truth. Yes, if the decree of the "counsel of peace" is recognized as the promise of what was to occur at Bethlehem. What if you do not believe it as this novice has stated it? "If you do not, you are an anti-Christ." (The writer's emphasis) A text is given  -  I John 2:22. This text reads - "Who is a liar but he that denieth that Jesus is the Christ? (Messiah, "annointed One") He is antichrist, that denieth the Father and the Son."

Let us note how John uses these terms. The Son is Jesus Christ (I John 1:7) Jesus did not become Jesus until Bethlehem (Matt. 1:21). He was "anointed" at His baptism (Acts 10:37-38). John in his epistles as well as in his gospel, begins with the eternal Word. (Compare I John 1:1 and John 1:1; the Word, the Logos) Wherever in the writings of John, the term "Son" is used, it always refers to the incarnate Jesus Christ, never to the pre-existent Eternal Logos.

The novice cites Hebrews 1:6 which uses the phrase, "firstbegotten into the world." The Greek is prototokon, and is used by Paul elsewhere as in Col. 1:18, where Christ is declared to be "the firstborn (prototokos) from the dead." The Scriptures note others who were raised from the dead prior to Jesus. What is the emphasis? Let Paul speak - "That in all things, He might have the preeminence." Thus the "first begotten" coming into the world is a statement of preeminence - He was the second Adam, the new head of the redeemed race.

Well did Paul write of such novices   -   "Ye have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat. For every one that useth milk is un-skillful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe." (Heb. 5:12-13)

7 -- NEWS AND COMMENTS -- On November 30, 1995, the Queen of England, supreme head of the Church of England (Anglican) made a bold gesture of ecumenism by attending a full Roman Catholic service for the first time. It is also believed to be the first time a British monarch has officially attended a Roman Catholic service since 1689. The vesper service marked the centenary of Westminister Cathedral. No mass was said. However, in his address Cardinal Basil Hume, Archbishop of Westminister, said - recalling the Queen's receiving at Buckingham Palace, Pope John Paul II - "That was for us the healing of many ancient wounds and we were so grateful for that." He considered her presence at the centenary service "a further affirmation of the place we Catholics have in the nation." The Queen's attendance was not without protest. Outside the Cathedral about 500 protesters heckled the Queen with cries of "Betrayal." (ENI Bulletin 95-0502)


When the 1888 Message Newsletter for November-December, 1995, came to my desk, I observed two things:    1)    An Ode to the Virgin Mary written by Robert J. Wieland (p. 4); and    2)     An action to add a member of the General Conference to the 1888 Message Study Committee Board of Directors (p. 1).   I thought the ode a bit strange but decided to pass over it without comment, until I received a call from Maryland. The caller asked if I had seen the Newsletter, and inquired of what I thought about the adoration of Mary. He expressed his reaction in the form of a question - "When is Wieland going to start saying, 'Hail Mary's' and introduce his conferences with Franz Schubert's 'Ave Maria'?" He said it better than I could have. On the second point, can one ever perceive of the Apostles in the Upper Room following Pentecost, suggesting that a committee be appoinjted to find a member of the Sanhedrin to meet with the 12 in official business, or in any other way?


A Roman Catholic monk has been installed at a Church of England cathedral. Dom Dominic Miroy of Ampleforth Abbey is the new prior of Chester Cathedral. The Dean of Chester, Stephen Smalley, commented - "We saw it as a wonderful way of building ecumenical bridges. We prayed together and confessed our sin of disunity." So high is ecumenism on the agenda at Chester that Dom Dominic, who is the former headmaster of the Benedictines' Ampleforth College, will be invited to teach at the cathedral. (ENI Bulletin, 95-0501) --- (1996 Feb) --- End ---- TOP

1996 Mar -- XXIX -- 3(96) -- E & C T -- Part 2 -- Editor's Preface -- In 1994, Dave Hunt, an Evangelical writer and publisher released his book, A Woman Rides the Beast. The first chapter of the book, not a preface, but appearing to be an insert as he was about to go to press with the book, begins with this startling pronouncement:      "The most significant event in nearly 500 years of church history was revealed as a fait accompli on March 29, 1994. On that day leading American evangelicals and Catholics signed a joint declaration titled ' Evangelicals and Catholics Together: The Christian Mission in the 3rd Millennium.' The document in effect, overturned the Reformation and will unquestionably have far-reaching repercussions throughout the Christian world for years to come." (p. 5)

This forthright summary judgment of the document needs to be carefully considered. I have not found his name mentioned in the answers made to critics in the book, Evangelicals & Catholics Together, but the allegations Hunt makes are discussed in the book by two of the writers of Essays. The core of Hunt's dissent is the gospel. Interestingly, this is the heart of the controversy swirling in the Adventist Community today.

In this issue, we shall continue our review of what is stated in the Essays, and give a critical analysis of the positions taken. We shall also include a summary of what Hunt has said in this preliminary chapter of his book, carefully observing some of the sources quoted.

Since beginning this issue of WWN, we have obtaineded a video of a CBS Report - "Faith and Politics - The Christian Right" - moderated by Dan Rather. It was such an outstanding and insightful presentation that we decided to call attention to a certain comment made by one who was interviewed which presents basic problems in maintaining true religious liberty in the days ahead.

p 2 -- E & C T -- Part 2 -- Charles Colson closes his Essay, in the book which he and Neuhaus edited in defense of the Accord they intiated, by telling the experience of two men, one a Roman Catholic priest in Poland - Jerzy Popieluszko - the other a Reformed evangelical pastor in Romania, Laszlo Tokes. Both opposed the Communist regime under which they lived. The Roman priest disappeared. Later his body was found floating in the Vistula River with evidences of the supreme torture he had endured. The Reformed pastor likewise suffered much at the hands of the secret police. When they came to remove him from his church, they could not get to him as the Church was surrounded by thousands of parishioners acting as a human shield. Colson reports that       "soon more and more Romanian believers gathered around the church, among them Baptists, Adventists, Pentecostals, Orthodox, and Catholics. Pastor Tokes called out, 'We are one in Christ! We speak different languages [beliefs, but we have the same Bible and the same God. We are one!"' (Evangelicals & Catholics Together, p. 42)

Then Colson wrote:       "In Romania, Catholics and Orthodox and Reformed and Baptists massed together in front of tanks to protect an evangelical pastor and his church. In America, our confrontation with the ideologies of nihilism demand of Christians a similar unity - a similar willingness to close ranks and defend one another against a common adversary.

"Francis Schaeffer foresaw the loss of our cultural foundations at the twilight of the second millennium. Until the very day he lay dying of cancer, he declared, ' The great issue is truth! We' have got to defend truth!' This also was the declaration of Father Jerzy Popieluszko: ' Preach the truth. Defend the truth. Stand for the truth.' On the threshold of the twenty-first century, this will be the task for Christians in America. It is a task for evangelicals and Catholics together." (p. 43; emphasis his)

This theme of truth permeates Colson's essay. He writes - "The message of the Church is that there is truth, whether people like it or not - intellectual, moral, and spiritual truth. The Church is proclaiming Christ, 'the way, the truth, and the life."' (p. 17; emphasis his) He perceives that "the collapse of truth" to the point of doubting "the existence of truth itself," inevitably leads to the descent of society "in decay and disorder."

What is Colson's solution? He adopts from a Baptist theologian, Timothy George, the concept of "an ecumenism of the trenches." He comments - "Believers of all traditions are discovering what that means as our culture grows increasingly hostile to Christianity." Then he writes:       "In front of abortion clinics, Catholics join hands with Baptists, Methodists, and Episcopalians to pray and sing hymns. Side by side they pass out pamphlets and urge incoming women to spare their babies. ...

"Both evangelicals and Catholics are offended by the blasphemy, violence, and sexual promiscuity endorsed by both the artistic elite and the popular culture in America today. On university campuses, evangelical students whose Christian faith comes under frequent assault often find Catholic professors to be their only allies. Evangelicals cheer as a Catholic nun, having devoted her life to serving the poor in the name of Christ, boldly confronts the president of the United States over his pro-abortion policies. Thousands of Catholic young people join in the True Love Waits movement, in which teenagers pledge to save sex for marriage - a program that originated with Baptists.

"This new ecumenism bears no relationship to liberal ecumenism, which seeks unity by
disregarding doctrinal differences. Conservative evangelicals and Catholics understand and maintain the distinctives of their respective traditions. All the same, they take united stand on the common ground of Scripture and the ancient confessions - what C. S. Lewis called 'mere Christianity."' (ibid., p. 2)

C. S. Lewis perceived, "mere Christianity" to be the essential elements of Christianity upheld by all theological traditions, such as "the triune nature of God, the literal incarnation and Resurrection of Jesus Christ, and traditional Christian ethics." (ibid., p. 35)

How can we relate to all of this? There is no question but that Scripture, the Word of God, the truth, but does not Colson know that the same "ancient confessions" is the basis upon which "the liberal ecumenism" is seeking to bring about a visible unity of all churches? Does he not also know that the Roman Catholic church is just as involved in this objective of the World

p 3 -- Council of Churches as Neuhaus is involved with him in this Accord of Evangelicals and Catholics together? Jean-Marie Tillard OP, Moderator of the Apostolic Faith Steering Group of the Faith and Order Commission is of the same Roman Church as Richard John Neuhaus. Rome has only one objective. Neuhaus forthrightly states in his essay - "The Catholic Difference" - "There is no salvation apart from the Church." (ibid, p. 220)

"Mere Christianity" may suffice for an "ecumenism of the trenches," but will it suffice for the revelation of the unity for which Christ prayed? The sanctification of the believer is by the Word of truth. (John 17:17) That truth is absolute, unconditionally so. In confessing the Biblical truth about baptism, what does the Word say? Then does any mode of baptism suffice? Do I have a choice as to how I shall express my confession of the Lord Jesus Christ? No, not if truth is absolute. So, also does not the same infallible Word declare which day is the Sabbath of the Lord God? Do I have a choice as to which day I rest with Him? Are there no absolutes, or are there? Can I relate to one absolute, and ignore another? Real unity can only come in the acceptance of the absolute truth as revealed in the Word of God. It is the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth to which the follower of Him, who is the Truth, swears undying allegiance.

How does Colson propose this "ecumenism of the trenches" operate in combating the secularism and permissiveness of this age? He writes:      "It means that Christians must serve God not only in church but in their families, as husbands, wives, and parents; in their jobs, as factory workers or business executives, teachers or bureaucrats; as citizens, through voting and voluntary associations, righting wrongs and influencing public policy. All Christians, not just pastors and priests, have a ministry - to be found wherever they find themselves, which is exactly where God has placed them to contend for his lordship in every day circumstances and relationships.

"The church is the place where believers gather together, not primarily to influence the culture, but to grow in Jesus Christ. As a result of this spiritual growth, however, Christians must go out into the world to confront, convert, and renew the larger culture, taking God's truth into every highway and byway of common life." (ibid, p. 33; emphasis his)

As lofty and as accurate as some of these observations may be, basic questions arise from this type of agenda. What did Jesus mean when He said - "My kingdom is not of this world"? (John 18:36) If this is true, then how should we understand Paul's defining experience of conversion that God "hath translated us into the kingdom of His dear Son"? (Col. 1:13) If the Christian's citizenship is not of this world, how should he relate to the governments of earth? Does he have a dual citizenship? Was not Daniel a government officer, and was not Mordecai elevated to such a position?

How are we to understand Colson's objective - "influencing public policy" - as a Christian? Does that mean becoming an "activist" in some cultural cause? Do I join the "Christian Right" and vote as a "block" to alter the course of governmental policy? There is no question but that our duty as Christians involves "moral persuasion" that reaches out into "every highway and byway of common life." That means evangelism, but is the Roman Catholic concept of evangelism, the same as the "Evangelical"?

Some of these basic questions we shall explore in the following essays of this issue. In the next issue we shall continue the discussion of the book - Evangelicals & Catholics Together.

FAITH AND POLITICS -- CBS has produced a video presentation on "Faith and Politics - The Christian Right" moderated by Dan Rather. In it is found some very revealing attitudes as Roman Catholics and Evangelicals join forces to combat through intervention in government, aspects of the secular culture which they do not approve. It is defined as a "Cultural War." Many of the secular forces and life-styles which are antithetical to the Christian Right should be equally abhorent to any Christian. The question arises:    To what length does one go to combat these forces?

Colson, in his essay discussed in the article above, notes a growing attitude that dare not be overlooked. He writes:       "Millions of Americans have become so fearful of violent crime that they are beginning to clamor for public safety at all costs - even at the expense of fundamental rights and responsibilities. For example, a poll of the residents of

p 4 -- Miami showed that 71 percent would favor random search and seizure by police if suspension of Fourth Amendment protections would result in lower crime rates." (E & CT; p. 13)

What is the attitude when it comes to the First Amendment - separation of Church and State - the very basis of our religious liberty? The CBS Report noted that rather than suspension of the protection of the First Amendment, it is a matter of re-interpretation. The film gives the background of the election of Congressman Ron Lewis from Kentucky. He was one of thirty new Congressmen elected by the Religious Right in the 1994 election. In an interview with him, the film records his understanding of the First Amendment. Lewis stated:       Government cannot get involved in religion. That is what the First Amendment means. But religion can get involved in government.

The First Amendment does not say this nor mean this. However, before entering that area, let us first note the possible implication of "religion can get involved in government." This is what the "Christian Right" is all about. The first question is - Whose religion? Roman Catholicism? If Protestant, which one? If we limit it to an "Agenda" then that Agenda is the combined Roman Catholic and Evangelical Agenda. Further, if "religion" enters what has been termed the "naked Public Square," how far away are we from the union of Church and State?

What does the First Amendment actually say in regard to "religion"? It reads:      "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; ..."

The first question would be - "prohibiting the free exercise thereof" where? The simple answer is in the church and in the home? In the "home" means basically that the parents have a right to direct their lives and the lives of their children according to their religious convictions in worship as well as in education. What about the "Public Square" and the Public schools?

To illustrate, let us consider a top issue on the Agenda of the Religious Right, prayer in the Public school. First, is prayer a part of the religious experience? The answer is, Yes. Then where is it to be exercised? If you include the classroom, then religion is brought into the Public Square. With this comes the question:    Is there such a thing as a "generic" prayer? If not, then whose prayer is to be prayed? The Lord's Prayer? The Rosary? The Islamic Prayer to Allah? Would it not be better to recognize that "prohibiting" preserves the home religiously free? If then Christian parents decide to send their children to public schools, should they not be sent each day only after prayer is offered to God for their keeping? Should not that child know that he can alone offer a silent prayer on his own before taking a test? Should the teacher be required to do what the parent has failed to do at home? No!

What about public service? Ministers in politics? If God has called a man, that call is unique and for one purpose only - God's service. Did not Jesus declare - "No man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God." (Luke 9:62) However, if a dedicated, converted layperson should choose to enter "politics," how should he exercise religion in the "Public Square"? The answer can be found in the life of Daniel, the Hebrew Statesmen who served two great Empires of antiquity. Nowhere do we find that he encouraged the King - and he was close to both Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon and Darius of Medo-Persia - to decree religious legislation which would favor the one true God of Israel. It is his associates in government who encouraged religious laws against him. Why? Because his record was without flaw. They could "not find occasion against Daniel," except it be found "against him concerning the law of his God." (Dan. 6:5) This is not the message the Religious Right is projecting. They want power to enforce their agenda, right or wrong.

Christ wanted to change human life styles. He did not use the force of Roman government to do it. He sought by moral persuasion, and the sacrifice of Himself to accomplish His ends. The kingdom of God had to begin in the person, not enforced upon the person. (Luke 17:21)

The First Amendment by removing government from the Church - "Congress shall make no law respecting the establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof" in its own realm, created a division between the two powers as distinct as did Jesus when He called for a separation between what was God's from what was Caesar's. (Matt. 22:21) The moral Law itself divides between worship of God and right relationships with our fellowmen. In the commandments governing human conduct, man may legislate in accordance with that which is stated.

Let us consider:       Murder is rampant in today's

p 5 -- society. God has given to man the authority to deal with it. He declared - "Whoso sheddeth man's blood, by man shall his blood be shed." (Gen. 9:6) Further, if we adapted a page from the decree granted to Ezra for the re-establishment of the government of Israel, we would shorten the prolonged time of litigation. It reads: - "Whosoever will not do the law of thy God, and the law of the king, let judgment be executed speedily upon him, whether it be unto death,... or to imprisonment." (Ezra 7:26)

Many aspects of the Agenda of the Christian Right are good. They are at war against homosexuality; abortion on demand as a contraceptive measure; and pre-marital sex. In the area of homosexuality, they are on solid ground if they push for legislation to outlaw this adulterous and shameful practice. It does not come under the purview of the first four Commandments, and is thus subject to human regulation as has been granted by God in maintaining correct relationship between neighbor and neighbor. The conduct is condemned in the Bible as a vice of the most sordid sort. (Rom. 1:27)

All the Agenda is not negative. They encourage "Home" schooling where the parents cannot conscientiously send their children to the public school system because of the nature of the curriculum. However, out of this has developed some very questionable items. Many, not wishing to go the "home"school route, have moved to take over the school boards and enforce their own curriculum content. Also a segment of the Christian Right, largely the Roman Catholic, want tax dollars for their parochial schools. If I am not satisfied with the education provided at public expense, and choose to help establish a church oriented school system, or to go the "home school" route that becomes my responsibility to maintain without State aide.

It is truly a "cultural war" and the Christian Right activists are in it for the long haul. Why has this crisis developed? Many of the Right believe that the advocates of Liberalism through court decisions and legislation have caused Congress to create an "establishment of religion" in making the tenents of secularism the "religion" of the Public Square. They further believe that these tenents are the root cause of the breakdown of society thus creating the climate of immorality and crime. They intend to accomplish their objective, but what will the price be in the end. The line is being blurred between Church and State, with genuine religious liberty being placed in jeopardy.

REASONED OPPOSITION -- The Statement of Accord - "Evangelicals and Catholics Together" - released on March 29, 1994 produced a "fire storm" among Evangelical spokesmen. Dr. J. I Packer, in the book, E&CT (p. 160), tells of a meeting, requested by Charles Colson, and hosted by Dr. James Kennedy, Pastor of the Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. Non-signers of the statement present were big-name Evangelicals - Ankerberg, Horton, MacArthur, Sproul, Stowell, Woodbridge, as well as Dr. Kennedy as the host. Packer states that the discussion focused "on evangelical distinctives, particularly the definition and nature of the gospel." (E&CT, p. 160) Resulting from this conference, Packer drew up a statement to be signed by the Protestants who affirmed the Accord.

Author and Lecturer Dave Hunt is not listed as being in attendance at the Coral Gables conference. From his pre-Chapter in the book, A Women Rides the Beast, it is obvious that he is not buying any compromise with Rome. He charges that "each step in the preparation of the Accord was continuously monitored and approved by the Vatican." (p. 3) In his judgment, "this bold move to 'unite Catholics and evangelicals' will divide evangelicals as nothing else could." (p.4)

Hunt then goes for the jugular. While noting that "key differences" between Evangelicals and Catholics was acknowledged in the Accord, he writes:      "Unfortunately, the most important difference - what it means to be a Christian - is not mentioned. In fact, that such a difference even exists is denied. This compromise of the gospel lies at the heart of the agreement.

"The key element behind this historic declaration is the previously unthinkable admission on the part of leading evangelicals that active participation in the Catholic Church makes one a Christian. If that is indeed the case, then the Reformation was a tragic mistake. The millions who were martyred (during a thousand years before the Reformation and since to the present time) for rejecting Catholicism as a false gospel have all died in vain. If, however, the Reformers were right, then this new agreement between Catholics and evangelicals could well be the cleverest and deadliest blow struck against

p 6 -- the gospel in the entire history of the church." (p. 6; emphasis his)

Hunt emphasizes that mere assent to the Creeds of Christendom does not make one a Christian. Yet this was the basis for the Accord, and is the thrust of the ecumenical process being forwarded by the WCC.

One of the commitments in the Accord stated - "In view of the large number of non-Christians in the world and the enormous challenge of our common evangelistic task, it is neither theologically legitimate nor a prudent use of resources for one Christian community to proselytize among active adherents of another Christian community." (E&CT, p. xxx) With this muting of the Evangelical witness, Hunt takes real exception pointing out that "while evangelicals signed a truce, Rome is stepping up its evangelization of Protestants into the Catholic Church." (Hunt, op. cit., p. 8)

Following, the signing of the Accord in March, 1994, the Roman Church sponsored a "John Paul II and the New Evangelization: Implementing the Vision" Conference in Ypsilanti, Michigan, May 11-14. Charles Colson was a featured speaker at this conference. He shared the podium with such Catholic leaders as Fr. Tom Forrest who heads "Evangelization 2000" from the Vatican.

Evangelicals perceive of evangelism as leading people to Christ. However, for Catholics it means bringing people into the Roman Catholic Church. Hunt cites Fr. Tom Forrest's explanation of "Catholic evangelism" as given to a group of Catholic charismatics. Forrest stated:
"Our job is to make people as richly and as fully Christian as we can make them by bringing them into the Catholic Church."

He then cites Pope Paul VI's prescription for evangelism. The commitment to Christ "must be given concrete and visible form through entry... into the [Catholic] Church our visible sacrament of salvation." Then Forrest comments - "That's what the Church is, and if that is what the Church is, we have to be evangelizing into the Church!"

Then Forrest continues:      "No, you don't just invite someone to become a Christian, you invite them to become Catholics... Why would this be so important? First of all, there are seven sacraments, and the Catholic Church has all seven... On our altars we have the body of Christ; we drink the blood of Christ. Jesus is alive on our altars, as offering... We become one with Christ in the Eucharist ...

"As Catholics we have Mary, and that Mom of ours, Queen of Paradise, is praying for us till she sees us in glory.

"As Catholics we have the papacy, a history of popes from Peter to John Paul II... we have the rock upon which Christ did build His Church.

"As Catholics - now I love this one - we have purgatory. Thank God! I'm one of those people who would never get to the Beatific Vision without it. It is the only way to go.

"So as Catholics ... our job is to use this remaining decade evangelizing eve~one we can into the Catholic Church, into the body of Christ and into the third millennium of Catholic history." (Quoted in Hunt, op.cit., pp.9-10)

We see Evangelicals and Catholics Together; we see Adventists and Catholics Together. The end - Roman Catholics all! Except? - and that is the question you must answer.

LET'S TALK IT OVER -- As I read Charles Colson's Essay, and then reviewed the News Release announcing the merging of Adventist and Roman Catholic Health services in Colorado, there was a common rationalization expressed justifying these accords. Colson defending the Document - "Evangelicals and Catholics Together" - declared: "This new cooperation requires neither evangelical nor Catholic to compromise their respective doctrinal convictions." (E&CT, p. 36) The News Release prepared by Terry White of the PorterCare Adventist Health System affirmed that "as a part of the agreement, each system will retain its own distinctive identity, beliefs, and mission." The similarity of assurance causes one to wonder - Is there a single mind at work suggesting this rationale? It almost echoes Eden, the Roman Catholic Church is still the same as it always has been, but "ye shall not surely die."

I found another rationale expressed by Colson to justify an accord between professed Protestants and the Roman Catholic Church. It reads -      "Christians of all traditions have a unique opportunity, and in my judgment a profound

p 7 -- obligation, to present a united front before a world captive not only to unbelief but to new forms of ancient errors ranging from the New Age to the neopagan." (E&CT, p. 35)

Is Colson so uninformed about Church History that he does not know that Roman Catholicism is neopaganism itself? Has he never read what John Henry Cardinal Newman, Anglican converted to Roman Catholicism, wrote in An Essay on the Development of Christian Doctrine? He stated:     "We are told in various ways by Eusebius, that Constantine, in order to recommend the new [Christian] religion to the heathen, transferred into it the outward ornaments to which they had been accustomed in their own... The use of temples, and these dedicated to particular saints, and ornamented on occasions with branches of trees; incense, lamps, and candles; votive offerings on recovery from illness; holy water; asylums; holydays and seasons, use of calenders, processions, blessings on the field; sacerdotal vestments, the tonsure, the ring in marriage, turning to the East, images at a later date, perhaps the ecclesiastical chant, and the Kyrie Eleison, are all of pagan origin, and sanctified by their adoption into the Church." (p. 373)

Colson is well read. He it is who popularized the catch phrase - "Born Again." However he, as well as others, believe that that and the acceptance of C. S. Lewis's "mere" Christianity is all that is required to present a common front to the enemy. However, we are to add to our faith knowledge. (II Peter 1:5) That "knowledge" includes how God views certain powers of earth as revealed in prophecy. Of this, Colson is seemingly ignorant.

However, imagine my surprise, when after noting this rationale of Colson's, I opened the Adventist Review (January 11, 1996) and read similar editorial thinking. There, blocked off in the center of the page (4), was this conclusion - "We must join forces with all decent people in society to hold back the tide of smut and violence." The editorial closed with a quote from the President of the General Conference - "We need to be God's activists in changing the values of society."

Is this our mission? The apostolic church was "other worldly" in their outlook. Is the end really near? If so, do we seek to recreate an earthly society, or do we seek to point the way to the Heavenly world? "The world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth forever." (I John 2:17)

FAITH is believing what God says simply because it is God who says it.


FAITH believes the Word of God for what it cannot see, and is rewarded by seeing what it believes.

---(1996 Mar) ---End ----


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