Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
April 16, 1970
NUMBER 49, PAGE 4-5a

Ecumenism And "Love"


Brent Lewis

The ecumenical movement in religion is an attempt to get everybody together. That's really not a bad idea. But, what does it take to get together? Aye — there's the rub.

Even now a number of well-known denominations are deep in plans to have "unity." They're going to "get together."

The spirit of "getting together" is one with strong motivations. It has a certain amount of emotionalism in it. And it's rather contagious. After all, anyone who would be opposed to individuals or groups getting together, on most any basis, would be thought of in our times as calloused, an antagonist, a troublemaker, and just pretty much of a "clod." (Which, all told, ain't too good.)

There are some indications that this spirit (of ecumenism), which is a "band-wagon" sort of thing, threatens to have some effect on the church of the Lord today as it is standing for the truth. It's just difficult to oppose "getting together."

Of course, I'm all for "unity" on the basis of TRUTH. That will be fine, and I'll work toward it whenever and wherever I can. But to ignore our differences with other brethren on the work, nature, and organization of the church in order to have "unity," in order even to have better "feelings" among brethren — I cannot swallow.

Many brethren in the past few years have suffered untold vilification and mental agony to get the church where she is today — standing for a "thus-saith-the-Lord." Brethren that I do not know personally, yet love and esteem highly, fought the battle over the "issues" that divide the church — even while I was in high school and college. And I am grateful for that fact.

So am I now to abandon the principles for which they fought, when I agree fully with those principles, and those principles themselves are in agreement with truth ("as it is written") — and this, in order to have a Utopian "unity" with those brethren who have opposed those very principles? I trust not.

The idea of all ecumenical unity movements is that we ought to have enough "love" for our brethren to "get together" with them. That's wonderful talk — but on what basis?

If you think those brethren with whom we seek to have unity are going to give-up their church-supported institutions and schemes, I believe you'd better think again.

I am not so egotistical or naive (or whatever it takes) to believe that I infallibly know the TRUTH on every subject. But does that then mean that God has not revealed something about the work and organization of the church? Must I no longer do "as it is written" in this matter? Is the "work of Christ" important towards bringing unity, and the "work of the church" now unimportant? I cannot believe it.

I know that if I am saved, it will be by the grace of God, and not because I have the truth on every Biblical subject — but does that mean that I now ignore the revealed pattern for the work of the church, and thus can "get together" with those who have not only ignored it, but ridiculed it? I fail to see such logic. And, as much as I might wish to, I cannot concur with the idea that the basis for unity among brethren should only be "belief in the Lordship of Christ."

What, then, will bring "unity" with brethren from whom we are alienated? I am going to have to retreat from the principles that I have taught and believed, and now teach and believe, about the organization and work of the church of my Lord (or at least keep quiet about them). Then I should "get along together" with these brethren wonderfully well! (Of course, if I "love" my brethren, I'll do it — some say).

Now, surely I must guard my attitude toward brethren in error. I have no right to treat them as dirt, or to refuse to reason with them. But neither can I compromise the TRUTH on the present-day issues to accomodate them in bringing about "unity" in the spirit of "love." Such talk will lead us down the road to spiritual ruin — for it leads in no other direction than that of Ketcherside, Garrett, Meyers, et al. (Of course, if you think those fellows are "real thinkers" and that their "reasoning" for "unity" is pretty sharp, you may well be beyond hope.)

Let's express LOVE for one another, indeed. For those brethren from whom we are alienated? YES! But let it not be like Aesop's fable of "The Lion In Love," as follows.

Once when a lion of high degree Was passing through a meadowy

Place and saw a shepherdess Whom he was avid to possess,

He went at once to ask her father.

That good man balked: for he would rather Have had his pretty daughter marry

Someone less scary.

Afraid to bring things to a head By ousting him, the father said:

"My daughter is delicately fashioned.

As soon as you become impassioned You'd likely wound her with your claws.

So kindly have on all four paws The talons trimmed. One other issue.

If this young girl is going to kiss you With any ardor, she must be

Freed of all anxiety.

So for your own enjoyment, while You're at it, let them file

Your teeth." The lion, love-demented, Consented.

Behold him now without his teeth, Without his claws, an empty sheath!

With all his native weapons gone The helpless lion was set upon

By hounds that easily outmatched him.

They dispatched him.


Aha! Get the lesson?

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