Then I heard another voice from heaven saying, "Come out of her, my people, lest you take part in her sins, lest you share in her plagues;for her sins are heaped high as heaven, and God has remembered her iniquities.Pay her back as she herself has paid back others, and repay her double for her deeds; mix a double portion for her in the cup she mixed.As she glorified herself and lived in luxury, so give her a like measure of torment and mourning, since in her heart she says, 'I sit as a queen, I am no widow, and mourning I shall never see.'For this reason her plagues will come in a single day, death and mourning and famine, and she will be burned up with fire; for mighty is the Lord God who has judged her." - Revelation 18: 4-8 (ESV)
As Christians we often talk about the end times in such an abstract way that we protect ourselves from having to really deal with it. We feel the birth pains and see them growing closer together with each horrific war story or natural disaster. We become numb to the fact that seemingly every day there is a weather anomaly we never heard of growing up. Mudslides, polar vortex, tsunamis. We see the slide in the culture overall to godlessness. If we are really paying attention we see it in the church system as the great apostasy is well underway. False teaching is celebrated and those who would point it out are marginalized. Hucksters and snake oil salesmen are making merchandise of the Gospel and the sheep of God every Sunday in the name of Jesus. None of this should be surprising. The Bible prophesied all of it. I am talking real prophecy and not the cheap knock off we see in churches today, which is nothing more than demonic clairvoyance. Read the Revelation of Jesus Christ given to John on the island of Patmos and you will see the end times we are living in played out before your eyes.
One of the prophecies contained in Revelation is the development of a one world religion. Ecumenism is the technical word for the uniting of all "Christian" religions under one banner. This movement has been afoot for decades already with most of Protestantism resisting the lure. What we have clearly seen for the past few decades however is the explosion of heretical church models of growth through the seeker friendly, purpose driven, mega church movement. This blending of capitalism and religion has made many men rich at the expense of the faithful poor. Somehow I do not think a faithful reading of the Gospels allows for pastors with helicopters, luxury automobiles and their own fleet of private jets. Most evangelicals reject the gaudiness and apostasy of the low lying fruit we see on the reality TV show the Preachers of LA but the cold reality is they are just a microcosm of mainstream mega-churchdom today. Andy Stanley is on record as saying that we should no longer use the word "shepherd" because it is no longer culturally relevant. That is the end result of the purpose driven church. Where pastors are vision casting CEOs instead of protective shepherds feeding the sheep of the Lord until He returns again.
One side effect of this purpose driven heresy is that it has resulted in what I refer to as "Kumbaya Christianity." Where anyone who can correctly spell "Christ" is considered a brother or sister. It is not a far leap in logic then to see how this paves the road towards Ecumenism. The man at the head of that paving line is Rick Warren of Saddleback Church. The father of the purpose driven heresy, Warren has been paving the road towards ecumenism for several years now. Every time he gets exposed he denies everything but in this age of video, the proof is always there for those who truly want it. On July 4th, 2009 Rick Warren was a guest speaker at the 46th annual ISNA conference. ISNA is the Islamic Society of North America. Warren's remarks were not about the Gospel but about how the two different religions could work together to alleviate some of the global problems we face. While this speech was carefully couched to avoid deeper criticisms, Warren has thrown caution to the wind as of late and recently visited the Vatican where he made his ecumenical views quite apparent.
"We have far more in common than what divides us. When you talk about Pentecostals, charismatics, evangelicals, uh, fundamentalists, Catholics, Methodists, Baptists, Presbyterians, on and on and on and on. Well they would all say we believe in the trinity, we believe in the Bible, we believe in the resurrection, we believe salvation is through Jesus Christ. These are the big issues. Sometimes Protestants think that Catholics worship Mary like she's another god. But that's not exactly catholic doctrine. There's the understanding, and, and people say well what are the saints all about? Why are you praying to the saints? And when you understand what they mean by what they're saying there's a whole lot more commonality. Now there's still real differences, no doubt about that. But the most important thing is if you love Jesus, we're on the same team. The unity that I think we would see realistically is not a structural unity but a unity of mission. And so, when it comes to the family we are co-workers in the field on this for the protection of what we call the sanctity of life, the sanctity of sex, and the sanctity of marriage. So there's a great commonality and there's no division on any of those three. Many times people have been beaten down for taking a Biblical stance. And they start to feel, "well maybe I'm, I'm out here all by yourself." No you're not. The church is growing in Latin America. The church is growing in Asia. The church is growing in Africa. It's not growing in North America or Europe. But it is growing everywhere else, so we kind of have this feeling that maybe we're not, uh, uh, as- as influential; but we're far more influential than people realize." - Rick Warren
Beloved these remarks are so deceptive that I can only conclude that Rick Warren, who is clearly an intelligent man, knew exactly what is was doing. This Kumbaya unity is always based on the silly notion that we have more in common than we have in disagreement. If you are going by sheer numbers you are probably right. We probably have more things in common than we have that separates us but the problem with that specious argument is it does not take into consideration the magnitude of disagreement on those issues we do not see eye to eye on. I have a lot in common with an atheist. We are both human, came from two parents, had similar schooling, possibly have similar family constructs etc. Yet fundamentally at heart we could not be farther apart. Warren's list here is very clever. It is a list of the various protestant denominations with Catholicism thrown into the middle. As if every single branch of Protestantism did not arise to separate themselves from the abuses of the Catholic Church. Warren then lists the "big issues" as he sees them and in doing so, willfully deceives.
The first deception is in claiming we both believe in the Bible. We do not. The reality is that Catholic Bible has seven extra books that are not part of the true canon of Scripture. The Jewish tradition never considered these books as being inspired from God and no Gospel account speaks of them or references them. Two of the more controversial differences we have with Catholics are found in these books. That includes the notion that you can pay money for the sins of the dead and that salvation is also based upon our works. These are no minor differences beloved. These are central to what we believe. Warren further claims that we all believe in salvation through Jesus Christ but what he conveniently leaves out is that Catholicism also requires good works for salvation. That is quite contrary to Scripture:
But if it is by grace, it is no longer on the basis of works; otherwise grace would no longer be grace. - Romans 11: 6 (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. - Ephesians 2: 8-9 (ESV)
Not to mention the entire Letter to the Galatians. How contrary is Catholic teaching? The Council of Trent says to let him be anathema he who believes in justification through faith alone. The Catechism states faith, baptism, and adherence to the commandments as necessary for salvation. The next area of deceit is when discussing Mary. Warren glosses over it by saying it is not exactly Catholic doctrine to deify Mary but that is exactly what Catholic doctrine does. Now if Warren wants to make the argument that the average layperson in Catholicism does not deify Mary consciously, I would agree as a former Catholic. That of course is not the point. The point is what does the church teach and believe. The Fundamentals of Catholic Dogma declares that Mary made atonement for the sins of man. The reality is that Catholics are taught to pray to Mary and the only entities one prays to are deities. In doing so, Mary herself becomes an idol.
According to Warren, if you love Jesus then we are on the same team. Really? If that is not a foundational stone upon which ecumenism is built I do not know what is. This wishy washy worldly version of love applied to what is supposed to be holy. Mormons will tell you they love Jesus. So will Muslims. So will Jehovah Witness cultists. Saying you love Jesus is irrelevant and a poor indicator. Jesus Himself knew this:
"If you love me, you will keep my commandments. - John 14: 15 (ESV)
"Why do you call me 'Lord, Lord,' and not do what I tell you? - Luke 6: 46 (ESV)
If we truly love Jesus then we will do what He says. We will obey His Word. Not as a qualification for salvation but as a result of it. Warren then speaks about a unity of mission which is apparently founded upon socio-political goals instead of the one mission Christ has given us - to spread the Gospel. Unity is another abused word in modern day Christendom as false teachers everywhere cry unity whenever someone has the temerity to call them out for the charlatans they are. The Bible makes it very clear however that unity for Christians is in doctrine. Disunity is actually sown by those who present false doctrine:
I appeal to you, brothers, to watch out for those who cause divisions and create obstacles contrary to the doctrine that you have been taught; avoid them. For such persons do not serve our Lord Christ, but their own appetites,and by smooth talk and flattery they deceive the hearts of the naive. - Romans 16: 17-18 (ESV)