"A New World Order!" The President proclaims (Bush). The nations of Europe have been steadily marching towards unification. Pacific Rim nations meet for economic summits. In a country where, again, the President and Congress find themselves in opposite ideological camps, the President is urging that our country needs to UNITE. It doesn't matter, the ideological differences, morality, right or wrong; the most important thing is to find agreement, and get along, "whatever the cost."
At the world religious level, ecumenism has become the prime force. The World Council of Churches. The push ultimately is for all religions to join together as one. Leadership for this will reside at Rome.
Evangelical/Fundamentalism is not to be outdone. In addition to the Pastors' Prayer Summits, one of the fastest growing movements in decades is uniting church goers by the tens of thousands. The prime motivation, as presented in forums and TV interviews, is "unity." Laying aside ALL DOCTRINAL DIFFERENCES, to unite. Join across cultural, economic, geographic, religious, political, social, ethnic boundaries. Men helping men.
The primary problem with all this is that doctrine is being rejected in favor of unity. And the unity is not the unity about which Christ prayed, "That they may be one."
Jesus prayed, "Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth" (John 17:17). Paul writes to Timothy, "give attention to reading, exhortation, doctrine...take heed to yourself and to the doctrine" (1 Tim 4:13,16). "Holding fast the faithful word...by sound doctrine both to exhort and convict those who contradict" (Titus 1:9). Paul further affirms, "as we have been approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel, even so we speak, not as pleasing men, but God who tests our hearts" (1 Thess 2:4).
A STERN WARNING is given regarding perverting the gospel, "I marvel that you are turning away...to a different gospel; but there are some who...pervert the gospel of Christ. But even if we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you than what we have preached to you, let him be accursed" (Gal 1:6-8). This is a double curse.
How important is doctrine? A writer in "Israel My Glory" (Apr, 95) shared his remembrance of something he had read years ago of a Seminary course project conducted by students. "The instructor told the students that they would work together on one major project during that semester. They would move systematically through the NT to categorize every area of truth and determine how many times each area is addressed. Their goal was to find what ONE THING is emphasized MORE THAN ANY OTHER. When they completed the project, they were amazed to see that WARNING AGAINST FALSE DOCTRINE is emphasized more than any other thing...even more than love, unity, experience" (pg 24-25).
What happened when man rebelled against God and decided to unite, "lest we should be scattered abroad over the face of the whole earth" (Gen 11:4), and built a tower of worship to gods other than God Most High? He came and confused their speech. Then, He further aided in spreading them out by separating the land into continents (Gen 10:25).
When it came to rejecting Jesus, "Pilate and Herod became friends with each other, for before that they had been at enmity with each other" (Luke 23:12).
In rejecting Jesus' resurrection, the Jewish elders paid a "large sum of money to the soldiers" (Matt 28:12) to perpetrate a lie that the disciples "had stolen His body."
As Paul evangelized Asia Minor, the Jews consistently followed him, stirring up people to persecute him. Their zeal in this was so strong that they willingly consorted with Gentiles ("dogs & unclean") to work their evil.
"Why do the nations rage, and the people plot a vain thing? The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the LORD and against His Anointed, saying 'Let us break Their bonds in pieces and cast away Their cords from us'" (Psa 2:1-3). Man rebels against God and His laws!
Christians are urged "Do not love the world or the things of the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world--the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life--is not of the Father but is of the world. And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever" (1 John 2:15-17).
John, the Apostle of Love, writes about Unity in his first epistle. Unity starts with a knowledge of Christ. Knowledge of Christ involves keeping His commandments. "Whoever keeps His word, truly the love of God is perfected in him. By this we know that we are in Him. He who says he abides in Him ought himself also to walk just as He walked" (2:3-6).
Then, as "we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin" (1:7). Conversely, lack of brotherly unity indicates a lack of fellowship with God (3:10,4:20).
The unity for which Jesus prayed, "I in them, and You in Me; that they may be made perfect in one, and that the world may know that You have sent Me, and have loved them as You have loved Me" (John 17:23) only occurs when a person is "In Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold all things have become new" (2 Cor 5:17).
"No longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness by which they lie in wait to deceive, but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him Who is the head--Christ--from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love" (Eph 4:14-16).
Some organizations busily "guard each man's dignity and save each man's pride." But a person wanting to question what is going on, to be sure it is OF GOD is given the cold shoulder and pays the price of hate and name-calling by those in the organization. (Does this at all seem like a "double standard" by those promoting "love and acceptance?")
The Ecumenical movement goes along head-strong, gathering momentum and acceptance by the world. However, the promised retribution for not following is to be persecution and martyrdom (Ut Unum Sint, May, 95).
WHAT DOES JESUS PROMISE? "I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly" (John 10:10).
"But outside are dogs, sorcerers and sexually immoral and murderers and idolaters, and whoever loves and practices a lie" (Rev 22:15).
"Enter by the narrow gate, for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it." The price for this "unity?" In the words of Jesus, "I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!" (Matt 7:13,23).
"Get along, whatever the cost." CAN YOU AFFORD IT?
(Scripture quotations are from the NKJV)