"The Promise Keepers at the sacred assembly were asked to repent of denominationalism. They were invited to shout out the names of their denomination. When they did, obviously it was just a confused roar. This was in sharp contrast to when they were asked to shout that they were Christians or that Jesus is the only way to heaven. The men were asked to pray for 'United Church,' the 'Miracle of the Millennium.' The unity for which Christ prayed in His high priestly prayer in John 17 was stressed. the watching world should see that the Christians are all one. The 'sin of sectarianism' was deplored. Those who champion one denomination over another are guilty of the sin of division. Those who think they know all the truth and that their denomination is more faithful to God's Word than another are guilty of sin. 'The world has never seen a united church. May it now see it.' We have seen a divided small church in communities from which we have come. Today we see a united 'Great Church.' 'We are men of integrity. We are promise keepers,' those at the sacred assembly were told. 'We are brothers in Jesus Christ from every denomination ... We are people of Jesus Christ.'
"'Let the walls' of denominationalism 'come down' was constantly emphasized. The Body of Christ was being weakened by division and by brother fighting against brother. It was time to end this foolishness. McCartney emphasized that God is a God of oneness. He mentioned the unity stressed in Ephesians 4:16 and Col. 1:1,2 that every church should be connected to each other. ...
"McCartney urged each Promise Keeper to submit to his pastor. 'Obey your leaders. Submit to their authority.' Go back to your church and give away your time, talent and treasures. Promise Keepers were urged to tell their pastors that 'I put my faith in you as a leader.' Nothing was said about the fact that many pastors are religious liberals who deny the fundamental truths of historic Christianity or that many major denominations have women pastors and have officially gone on record as supporting the murder of unborn infants and allow practicing homosexuals and lesbians to serve as pastors" (Christian News, Oct. 13, 1997, p. 2).
COMMENTS BY BROTHER CLOUD -- DENOMINATIONAL DIVISIONS ARE DOCTRINAL
One of the theme songs of the ecumenical movement is "God is destroying denominational lines." This, as we have seen, is still one of the chief goals of the Promise Keepers movement. They are breaking down the walls between denominations. This is a gross error which ignores the reason for denominational divisions. Some divisions between Christians are manmade and unnecessary, but many others--most, in fact--are doctrinal. Why, for example, is an Episcopal church different from an Independent Baptist church, generally speaking? Different doctrine. One teaches baptismal regeneration; the other teaches baptism is symbolic only. One baptizes infants; the other practices believer's baptism. One sprinkles; the other immerses. One has a priesthood; the other has pastors and deacons. One has a hierarchical church structure; the other practices the autonomy of the New Testament assembly. One interprets prophecy literally and is looking for the imminent return of Jesus Christ; the other interprets prophecy symbolically and is working to establish the kingdom of God on earth. One allows its leaders and members to hold every sort of heresy and immorality; the other practices discipline and separation.
What is the difference between an Assemblies of God congregation and an independent Baptist church, generally speaking? Doctrine. One believes the baptism of the Holy Spirit is something the believer must seek and that its manifestations are tongues and other spiritual gifts; the other believes the baptism of the Holy Spirit occurred at Pentecost and that every believer has the Holy Spirit and has no need to seek a Spirit baptism. One believes the sign gifts are operative today; the other believes the sign gifts were given to the Apostles and ceased with the passing of the Apostles. One believes the Holy Spirit "slays" people; the other believes "spirit slaying" is unscriptural and demonic. One believes the gift of tongues is operative today; the other believes the gift of tongues had a temporary purpose and that its purpose ceased in the first century. One believes salvation can be lost; the other believes salvation is eternally secure. One believes ecumenical unity is the work of the Holy Spirit; the other believes ecumenical unity is the work of the devil.
Those who call for the removal of denominational divisions are ignoring these serious doctrinal differences. Any Bible doctrine worth believing is worth fighting for.
When Paul wrote to Timothy to instruct him in the work of the church, he did not tell him to "lighten up" and to ignore doctrinal differences. He solemnly instructed him to remain absolutely steadfast in the apostolic doctrine and not to allow ANY other doctrine to be taught.
"As I besought thee to abide still at Ephesus, when I went into Macedonia, that thou mightest charge some that they teach NO OTHER DOCTRINE" (1 Timothy 1:3).
"And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, THE SAME commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also" (2 Timothy 2:2).
Many Charismatics and other ecumenists are practicing gross hypocrisy. They teach their doctrines about the Holy Spirit and spiritual gifts and ecumenical unity and they expect everyone to agree with them. Those who do not support their doctrine are labeled schismatic and unloving. Why is it right for the Charismatic to teach and practice his doctrine, but it is wrong for the non-Charismatic to teach and practice his doctrine? Why is it the non-Charismatic who is unloving and schismatic? Why is it not the Charismatic ecumenist who is unloving and schismatic for calling upon non-Charismatics to give up their doctrinal convictions and join hands with them?
Those who have the most to lose from the ecumenical call to dissolve denominational walls are those whose doctrine is based upon the Word of God. A man who is convinced his doctrine is based on the Bible is a traitor to hold hands with those who oppose his doctrine.
In Jude 3 God's people are exhorted to "earnestly contend for the faith once delivered to the saints." The faith once delivered to the saints is that body of truth delivered to us by the Apostles under divine inspiration of the Holy Spirit and perfectly recorded for us in the New Testament Scriptures. Tell me, what part of the New Testament faith am I to give up for the sake of ecumenical unity? I will answer that. None one part.
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