If you haven’t already heard, an event called ‘Together 2016’will be held on July 16 at the National Mall in Washington, D.C. It’s advertised as a call for unity in the church – a stand against division.
Division is everywhere.
Race. Class. Politics. Social media. Religion. The millennial generation is the most cause-driven in history—but our causes put us at odds and we create enemies of each other. The Church is paying a price. Young people associate faith with arguing and politicking. The message that Jesus loves us and offers a reset is getting lost in the noise.
Jesus directly challenged a culture of division. He prayed we would be one—one family, one body. And He told us to love our enemies. Everyone loves their friends; it’s when we love those who aren’t like us that the world takes note. It’s time to come together around Jesus in a counter-cultural moment of unity and love for each other.
The need for hope is too great to be pointing fingers at each other instead of pointing to Jesus together.
Roman Catholic Pope Francis is even scheduled to make a video appearance. Main organizer, Nick Hall had this to say about the Pope’s appearance:
“We are humbled and honored by his involvement and are eager to share his message with the crowd that gathers at Together 2016,” Hall said in a statement to The Christian Post, reacting to the announcement that the pope has added his name to the list of speakers. “That His Holiness would choose to speak into this historic day is a testament to the urgency and the need for followers of Jesus to unite in prayer for our nation and our world.”
I hate to say it, but Nick Hall & Company will probably be an inspiration to a huge flock of young people. You see, Nick Hall is the founder of PULSE, which is primarily a ministry to college age ‘next generation’ youth. He seems to be HUGE, if you believe the ads about him, but I wouldn’t know because I am not a follower of the various youth directed ‘movements’ that seem to be more like rock concerts than genuine spiritual revival. They are ‘spiritual’ all right, but what ‘spirit’? Just asking. . .
You see, by having the leader of a religion that preaches a false gospel of ‘faith plus works’ as a headliner at a ‘Christian’ event should concern genuine Bible believing Christians. I don’t necessarily blame the million or so young people that will be drawn to this event. Many, if not most of them have probably never read their own Bibles. Although there have been attempts in the past to bring Protestants and Catholics together, or make it seem that we are, the Council of Trent clearly states that it is faith in God plus works that save a man. You can read for yourself the specific Canons from Trent speaking to adding works to faith here.
The movement toward Catholic & Protestant reconciliation is nothing new.
“March 29, 1994 saw a development that some have touted as the most significant development in Protestant-Catholic relations since the dawn of the Reformation. A document titled “Evangelicals and Catholics Together: The Christian Mission in the Third Millennium” was published with a list of more than thirty signatories—including well-known evangelicals Pat Robertson, J. I. Packer, Os Guinness, and Bill Bright. They were joined by leading Catholics such as John Cardinal O’Connor, Bishop Carlos A. Sevilla, and Catholic scholar Peter Kreeft.” Source
“The Joint Declaration on the Doctrine of Justification (JDDJ) is a document created, and agreed to, by the Catholic Church’s Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity (PCPCU) and the Lutheran World Federation in 1999, as a result of extensive ecumenical dialogue. It states that the churches now share “a common understanding of our justification by God’s grace through faith in Christ.” To the parties involved, this essentially resolves the five hundred year old conflict over the nature of justification which was at the root of the Protestant Reformation.” Source
In 2017 Lutherans and Catholics will jointly celebration the 1517 Reformation. In a section of a detailed explanation of the 2017 initiatives we have these words:
“The first imperative: Catholics and Lutherans should always begin from the perspective of unity and not from the point of view of division in order to strengthen what is held in common even though the differences are more easily seen and experienced.” Source
I would add that the segment of Lutheranism represented in this ecumenical dialogue does not represent the conservative segments of Lutheran Church, such as the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod (LCMS).
Here’s the point in all this in the words of the Apostle Paul:
Ephesians 2:8-9English Standard Version (ESV)
“For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.” (Eph 2:8-9, ESV)
“But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed.” (Gal 1:8, ESV)
Need I say more? I certainly hope not.
What we can do:
1. Educate our believing friends concerning the danger of mixing the genuine gospel with false gospel messages, and pray that evangelical churches sponsoring and planning to attend this abominable event will see the light and choose truth over false unity.
2. Pray that God will open the hearts of young people (the primary target audience for this abomination), and that He will send his messengers to speak to those open hearts.
May this Lord’s Day find you blessed and prospering in His Word!
As you probably know, Dan, I am well aware of this event.
Josh McDowell is going to be there along with Ravi Zacarias.
I was made aware of this event by another Christian blogger, Maria. I will include a link to these comments on her site at the end of this comment.
I sent a note to Josh McDowell’s webpage:
I haven’t read about you much for years, but I ran across your name connected with an upcoming conference called “Together 2016.”
I will tell you that your book, Evidence that Demands a Verdict, had a big impact on me as a young Christian. I particularly liked the section on prophecy and used it as an evangelistic tool.
I must say, after all these years that I am concerned about you. Maybe you can clear things up for me. Someone informed me that you were still working with Campus Crusade for Christ which now goes by another name.
Please read the following post as I think it is important:
In regards to Campus Crusade/Power to Change, I have the same concerns as this post about the direction that organization has taken:
Maybe your affiliation with Power to Change is no longer intact. If it is, however, I am very concerned that a man with your popularity is lending credibility to such teachings by association.
I pray for God to bless you and your family…
A few days later, I received this reply from Josh’s webpage (I’m not sure if Mr. McDowell has seen my letter but you can bet he has received similar concerns from other Christians):
JUN 22ND, 11:14AM
Josh D. McDowell (Ministry) is responding to your post: “Dear Josh, I haven’t read about you much for years,…”
First of all, thank you for writing to us about your concerns regarding Josh’s involvement in Together 2016. This event has been on Josh’s schedule for months. The event is a call for people to come together in unified prayer and worship with a call for catalytic change. The central theme is that Jesus can change everything, including broken people in a broken world. It ultimately will point people to Jesus.
It appears that the addition of a short video greeting from the Pope was just added to the schedule. As you are probably aware, there are many speakers, authors, and bands attending this event. We are honored to be a small part of this historic gathering of believers to worship and pray as one body. Please join us in prayer that God would use this gathering to turn the nation back to Him.
Here is the link to the post where I learned of “Together 2016” complete with following comments:
Another popular Christian will be there according to this site. His name is Michael W. Smith.
Robert Schuller called for a “New Reformation” several times before he died just over a year ago. I never understood why we needed one as the one Luther started seemed sufficient even though it had to be maintained.
Here is a kind news article of Mr. Schuller’s passing compared to others:
I’m only including this because my parents would watch Robert Schuller if we did miss church which wasn’t often. As I grew older, his guests seemed to be more and more secular.
This entire situation is a sad one. Once solid Bible teachers are mingling with false teachers. How far should one take “guilt by association?” This is a good question but I know this almost certainly: If Walter Martin, Charles Spurgeon, Alistair Begg, and a number of others I can think of had been invited to such an event, they would have surely checked the list of speakers.
After seeing the list of speakers at “Together 2016,” they would not only declines such and invitation, there would be a good possibility that they, personally, would release a statement about “why” they wouldn’t be in attendance.
Oops. I spelled Ravi’s last name wrong above. Here is a recent post I put up about Mr. Zacharias speaking at the Mormon Tabernacle in Salt Lake, Utah:
Here is the event line-up. I almost forgot to mention that Ronnie Floyd will be there, too, Dan.
Quite a list! A monument to apostasy? While I didn’t mention the list of Protestant evangelicals who will attend, they were on my mind. Although the Protestant camp has not directly ‘reversed’ the reformation, I think it fair to say that some of have certainly greatly slandered it.
They will never be able to reverse it, but as you have written Dan, some have slandered it. How many times will it be done at Together 2016? How many will be at Together 2016? I will be surprised if they get half of those they want (They want 1 million). I guess we’ll have to wait and see if there is any news coverage.
So we pray, my friend, and at the same time fire a warning shot across the ‘U.S.S. False Gospel’, no matter what colors it’s flying. What an opportunity to do so!
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“Spoken” like a true former serviceman. Amen, and a great opportunity it is!
Happy 4th my friend and thank you for your service. 🙂
I believe you are right about who would refuse invitations to Together 2016. Whether or not they stand against it’s false unity remains to be seen.
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Agreed. I think each would but we won’t know until we are in glory as 2 of the 3 already are.
Going to share this on Twitter
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Division from false teachers is not a vice and uniting with those who deny the biblical gospel is not a virtue.