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!