Revelation Chapter 13
VERSE 14 continued “And he deceives those who dwell on the earth by those signs which he was granted to do in the sight of the beast, telling those who dwell on the earth to make an image to the beast who was wounded by the sword and lived.”
(As explained in The Keys of Revelation)
Completion of the Image of the Beast
“An organization along similar lines to the Evangelical Alliance, but of much larger scope and proportionate influence, was formed within the required framework of Revelation 13:14. This occurred at the first assembly of the World Council of Churches, 48 where delegates from more than forty countries met in Amsterdam, Holland, from August 22 to September 4, 1948.
“The thing done at Amsterdam was the thing the churches sent their delegates there to do, namely, to bring into existence a new entity in Christendom, to be called The World Council of Churches.
The *151 churches (denominations) represented there had previously accepted as the basis of their participation the single [Trinity-oriented] creedal formula of ‘Jesus Christ as God and Savior.’ On this rock it was believed that the separated churches of non-Roman Christendom could erect a structure which would not only symbolize their common faith, but provide for cooperative action to meet the crying needs of our disordered world. . ..
*There are presently as of 2008, 340 denominational members.
“The World Council of Churches is a new emergent in Christian history. Not since the Protestant Reformation has an event of such importance to the Christian faith occurred. Its importance can be appraised from many angles. But its deepest significance lies in the fact that it marks a reversal of the direction in which the current of non-Roman Christianity has been flowing ever since the Reformation. For four centuries the trend in Protestantism has been marked by the multiplication of sectarian divisions. No longer ago than two generations these divisions were accepted and even gloried in as a Protestant virtue. They afforded a special kind of church for every national tradition, every belief, every kind of liturgy, every social affinity, and even every taste. That there could be any wrong in thus dividing the church of Christ was hardly perceived. . ..
“. . . it will be seen how insistently the sin of division was condemned and the need of corporate unity proclaimed [by the conferees]. This should provide positive encouragement to every movement now afoot in the United States and Canada to reduce the number of denominations by mergers [emphasis added], and to the more comprehensive undertaking that would bring together in one body those denominations which already ‘recognize one another’s ministries and sacraments.’” 49
Following the subhead “A Declaration on Religious Liberty,” a significant statement is introduced: “The community has the right to require obedience to non-discriminatory laws passed in the interest of public order and well-being. In the exercise of its rights, a religious organization must respect the rights of other religious organizations and must safeguard the corporate and individual rights of the entire community.” 50
Thus, it can be seen that ecumenists have declared a divided body of Christ to be sin. In fact, however, it is the ecumenical movement that is the real danger. In spite of their vigorous protests to the contrary, this movement is a striving toward a super-church. To expect Christians to dissolve their differences in the euphoria of church union is to assume that the principles for which men have suffered and died are not really that important—that Luther, Calvin, Knox, Wesley, and all their spiritual descendants have been haggling over non-essentials.
Was the Protestant Reformation a great mistake?
Is the big task before Christians the undoing of the Reformation?
Nay! The need is not to annul the Reformation but to complete it.
Does not the ecumenical movement, by extension, give birth to a new and frightful form of bigotry, namely, the assumption that anyone who holds to his views is guilty of a perversely obstinate and un-Christian attitude?
Look again at the years before the Protestant Reformation . . . at a time when Christendom was cloaked in a seamless robe, at a time when Papacy reached its zenith and Hildebrand (Pope Gregory VII) forced King Henry IV to stand barefoot in the snow at Canossa. It was seventeen days before the monarch was permitted to resume his reign.
Can it not be seen what will happen when all (or nearly all) Protestant churches unite into one and this one Church becomes the sole repository of religious doctrine?
Where will the dissenter, the nonconformist, the individualist go?
Where will one meet if he finds himself at variance with a doctrine or, worse still, the governing authority of that one Church?
The implications of a super-church concept are obvious.”
48. But even this organization does not fulfill all the requirements of the vision or complete the formation of the image.
49. “Appraising Amsterdam,” reprinted from The Christian Century, Sept. 29, 1948, in Amsterdam: A Report on the First Assembly of the World Council of Churches (Chicago: Christian Century Foundation, n.d.), pp. 30, 31.
50. “A Declaration on Religious Liberty,” Amsterdam: A Report on the First Assembly of the World Council of Churches (Chicago: Christian Century Foundation, n.d.), p. 25.
We move on to Verse 15 in our next post.
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