The Extended Hand of Rome
(Understanding Prophetic Events-2000 PLUS! - Series - Part 1 of 6 - T4J)
Pope to Copeland: Catholics and Charismatics must Spiritually Unite!
There has been much talk around the world in regards to Ulf Ekman who resigned from a number of international (church/ministry) boards. Including his position as founder and senior pastor of “Word of Life” (Uppsala, Sweden) to join the Catholic Church.
Then recently Kenneth Copeland received a video from Pope Francis who asked for prayer and unity of the Spirit. Kim Clement, prophesying about a new move of reconciliation around the world, declaring that Pope Francis has been handpicked by God to bring unity to the Body of Christ world-wide (the word catholic means universal).
We need to take a moment to examine how we Pentecostals / Charismatics / Born Again believers / Evangelicals etc., should respond to these declarations. As we all have limited understanding, limited by our own cultures, church experiences and denominational theologies.
Personally I want to embrace all that God is doing throughout the world and one thing I have discovered is that God won’t be boxed into anyone’s traditions or preferences.
After the Reformation many of the formerly Protestant churches were planning to reconcile with Rome and re-join the church our ancestors “protested” against. They (our ancestors) brought back the simple New Testament message of repentance and forgiveness; personal belief in Jesus and His once and for all sacrifice for sin on the cross, be all that is required for salvation. They knew from Scripture that all comes as a free gift from God, totally undeserved. “And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obeyed him” (Hebrews 5:9). They obeyed Him by believing the entire Bible and living and dying by it - and for it.
In the book “The Battle For World Evangelism,” by Arthur Johnston, he says, “Emilio Núñez had the delicate and demanding task of spelling out the position Evangelicals should take toward the Roman Catholic Church in his paper entitled ‘The Position of the Church Toward Aggiornamento.’”
He claimed that this subject had been imposed on Evangelicals by the solo-religious realities resulting in the post-Vatican II conciliar church. A marked difference exists between the pre-conciliar church in liturgy and biblical renewal. Evangelicals could be most encouraged by the latter.
Of all the changes in Post-Conciliar Catholicism there is none more promising of better things in the lives of thousands of Catholics than that related to the new attitude of the Roman Church toward the Sacred Scriptures. We must confide in the redeeming power of the Scriptural revelation.
Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.
(Romans 10:17 NKJV)
He that believed that the renewal sought by John XXIII had become a revolution threatening the very foundations of traditional Catholicism.
Three well-defined tendencies have developed in contemporary Catholicism:
• First traditionalism that closes the door to any fundamental change in doctrine
• Second progressivism with its concern to reinterpret Catholic doctrine and effect a basis transformation in the structure of the church.
• Third moderate Catholicism in the style of John XXIII, who wanted to renew the church within the context of traditional theology.
This inner struggle for self-renewal is further complicated for Latin American Evangelicals by the unexpected hand of ecumenical friendship extended by the Catholics to the Protestants. Evangelical churches cannot, Núñez said, remain indifferent to this extended hand.
Núñez then entered into the inter-evangelical debate that begins with the confusion created in the mind of one that is converted from Catholicism to Protestantism. It is natural to ask, “If the Roman Catholic Church is our sister, why was I invited to leave it to embrace Protestantism?” (see part 2)
PRAYER FOR THE DAY
Father God, I want to thank You for the Body of Christ. I am glad to be a member. Help me to love each and every member and to pray for those who are in leadership therein. Thank You for salvation and the hope of glory. Give me a passion for evangelism, so that I can share my faith in Jesus Christ. I am not deterred by the politics within or surrounding the Church. Thank You for unity that comes by the Spirit and not by religion.
CONFESSION OF THE DAY
Father God I lean confidently and put my trust in You always. I lean not upon my own understanding. I seek You on the authority of Your Word and the right of my necessity. I praise You, the Help of my countenance and my God.
(TAKEN FROM: ISRAEL, THE CHURCH AND THE ENDTIMES, pages 163-164. Published by APMI Publications, Available as PDF version. Other formats available soon.)