Open your door and step outside. Take a deep breath. That cloying, sickly sweet aroma filling your nostrils is the stink of ecumenism. This stench has been around for a while, growing stronger and stronger ever since Vatican II. It is so strong that it seems, in some folks, it overpowers good sense. It is the stench of death.
In August of 1999, San Antonio hosted a Catholic-sponsored Marian Conference billed as the "largest Catholic evangelization event in the Archdiocese of San Antonio." From the advance publicity, it seemed that this was to be a "spiritual renewal retreat," replete with daily Masses, sacraments of Reconciliation, well-known speakers and so on. One of the scheduled speakers was Norma McCorvey -- the Jane Roe in the 1973 Roe v. Wade abortion case. Once an atheist, she 'got religion' and heeded the siren call of Rome. I suppose one could call her change of religious views a 'lateral transfer.'
Catholics point to the Catechism of the Catholic Church, where one might read strong reminders from Scripture concerning idols and those who worship them:
What is sad is that another of the featured speakers was Buckner Fanning, then pastor of San Antonio's largest church -- Trinity Baptist -- which claimed some 12,000 congregants. How's that for ecumenical?
Speaking to a San Antonio Express-News reporter, a spokesman for one of the sponsoring entities quoted John Paul II as having said that the Catholic Church seeks to evangelize all by announcing that God is love
"We are trying to get across the unconditional, all-embracing love of God that's inclusive of everyone," she said
There's false doctrine for you. God's love is unconditional, all-embracing and includes everyone. Doesn't anyone stop to think that, if this is true, there would be no condemnation for anyone. Everyone would reap the rewards of God's love. There would be no Hell. There would be no eternal effect of sin. There would be no need for a Redeemer; for a Christ to bear anyone's just punishment. There would be no need for a Church, nor for the Roman Catholic imitation. And where in the Bible might I read that God's love is unconditional? All-embracing? Inclusive of everyone?
On the other hand, I can find many passages in the Bible in which God makes it quite clear that the are conditions to be met and that His love can and does exclude those who fail to meet them. Check this out, for example, and compare it with what this spokesman for Roman Catholicism said:
If ye walk in my statutes, and keep my commandments, and do them;-- Leviticus 26:3
Then I will give you rain in due season, and the land shall yield her increase, and the trees of the field shall yield their fruit. And your threshing shall reach unto the vintage, and the vintage shall reach unto the sowing time: and ye shall eat your bread to the full, and dwell in your land safely. And I will give peace in the land, and ye shall lie down, and none shall make you afraid: and I will rid evil beasts out of the land, neither shall the sword go through your land. And ye shall chase your enemies, and they shall fall before you by the sword. And five of you shall chase an hundred, and an hundred of you shall put ten thousand to flight: and your enemies shall fall before you by the sword. For I will have respect unto you, and make you fruitful, and multiply you, and establish my covenant with you. And ye shall eat old store, and bring forth the old because of the new. And I will set my tabernacle among you: and my soul shall not abhor you. And I will walk among you, and will be your God, and ye shall be my people. I am the LORD your God, which brought you forth out of the land of Egypt, that ye should not be their bondmen; and I have broken the bands of your yoke, and made you go upright.--Leviticus 26:4-13
But if ye will not hearken unto me, and will not do all these commandments; And if ye shall despise my statutes, or if your soul abhor my judgments, so that ye will not do all my commandments, but that ye break my covenant: I also will do this unto you; I will even appoint over you terror, consumption, and the burning ague, that shall consume the eyes, and cause sorrow of heart: and ye shall sow your seed in vain, for your enemies shall eat it. And I will set my face against you, and ye shall be slain before your enemies: they that hate you shall reign over you; and ye shall flee when none pursueth you. And if ye will not yet for all this hearken unto me, then I will punish you seven times more for your sins. And I will break the pride of your power; and I will make your heaven as iron, and your earth as brass: And your strength shall be spent in vain: for your land shall not yield her increase, neither shall the trees of the land yield their fruits.
And if ye walk contrary unto me, and will not hearken unto me; I will bring seven times more plagues upon you according to your sins. I will also send wild beasts among you, which shall rob you of your children, and destroy your cattle, and make you few in number; and your high ways shall be desolate. And if ye will not be reformed by me by these things, but will walk contrary unto me; Then will I also walk contrary unto you, and will punish you yet seven times for your sins. And I will bring a sword upon you, that shall avenge the quarrel of my covenant: and when ye are gathered together within your cities, I will send the pestilence among you; and ye shall be delivered into the hand of the enemy. And when I have broken the staff of your bread, ten women shall bake your bread in one oven, and they shall deliver you your bread again by weight: and ye shall eat, and not be satisfied.
And if ye will not for all this hearken unto me, but walk contrary unto me; Then I will walk contrary unto you also in fury; and I, even I, will chastise you seven times for your sins. And ye shall eat the flesh of your sons, and the flesh of your daughters shall ye eat. And I will destroy your high places, and cut down your images, and cast your carcases upon the carcases of your idols, and my soul shall abhor you. And I will make your cities waste, and bring your sanctuaries unto desolation, and I will not smell the savour of your sweet odours. And I will bring the land into desolation: and your enemies which dwell therein shall be astonished at it. And I will scatter you among the heathen, and will draw out a sword after you: and your land shall be desolate, and your cities waste.
Then shall the land enjoy her sabbaths, as long as it lieth desolate, and ye be in your enemies' land; even then shall the land rest, and enjoy her sabbaths. As long as it lieth desolate it shall rest; because it did not rest in your sabbaths, when ye dwelt upon it. And upon them that are left alive of you I will send a faintness into their hearts in the lands of their enemies; and the sound of a shaken leaf shall chase them; and they shall flee, as fleeing from a sword; and they shall fall when none pursueth. And they shall fall one upon another, as it were before a sword, when none pursueth: and ye shall have no power to stand before your enemies. And ye shall perish among the heathen, and the land of your enemies shall eat you up. And they that are left of you shall pine away in their iniquity in your enemies' lands; and also in the iniquities of their fathers shall they pine away with them.--Leviticus 26:14-39
If they shall confess their iniquity, and the iniquity of their fathers, with their trespass which they trespassed against me, and that also they have walked contrary unto me; And that I also have walked contrary unto them, and have brought them into the land of their enemies; if then their uncircumcised hearts be humbled, and they then accept of the punishment of their iniquity: Then will I remember my covenant with Jacob, and also my covenant with Isaac, and also my covenant with Abraham will I remember; and I will remember the land. The land also shall be left of them, and shall enjoy her sabbaths, while she lieth desolate without them: and they shall accept of the punishment of their iniquity: because, even because they despised my judgments, and because their soul abhorred my statutes. And yet for all that, when they be in the land of their enemies, I will not cast them away, neither will I abhor them, to destroy them utterly, and to break my covenant with them: for I am the LORD their God. But I will for their sakes remember the covenant of their ancestors, whom I brought forth out of the land of Egypt in the sight of the heathen, that I might be their God: I am the LORD."--Leviticus 26:40-45
Do you reckon all the foregoing was just smoke? God made it clear that He meant business:
These are the statutes and judgments and laws, which the LORD made between him and the children of Israel in mount Sinai by the hand of Moses.--Leviticus 26:46
"But," some might say, "that Old Testament stuff only applied to the nation of Israel. It has no application for us today."
Is that so?
And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up:--John 3:14
That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life. For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.--John 3:15-17
He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.--John 3:18
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ: According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love: Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will, To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved. In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace; Wherein he hath abounded toward us in all wisdom and prudence; Having made known unto us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure which he hath purposed in himself: That in the dispensation of the fulness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in him: In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will: That we should be to the praise of his glory, who first trusted in Christ. In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise,--Ephesians 1:3-13
How easy it is to listen to the sweet-sounding words of self-styled prophets and those who would define God's thoughts and expectations for us. How comforting to harken to the sweet promises of those who speak of God's unconditional, all-embracing love. How preferable to heeding the dire warnings of eternal condemnation.
Listen, if you will, to the words of those who claim to speak God's will, then do as the Bereans and check out what they say against the one unchanging stamdard of God's Revelation: The Holy Bible.
No matter whether the speaker be John Paul II, Benedict XVI, Billy Graham, Benny Hinn or Donald Duck -- listen, but do not believe until you confirm their words in Scripture. If what you are told -- if what you are promised -- does not measure up to Scripture, it is a lie.