I was perusing a couple discernment ministry websites today, reading various articles as the titles caught my eye. I do this pretty much every morning, usually with no particular subject in mind, just doing my best to keep informed. I found myself reading article after article under the topic of ecumenicism. (I will write more about this subject on another day with some links to some informative articles). For now, I just had a few thoughts that I would like to share. Across the majority of what I was reading I noticed that proponents of the ecumenical movement proclaimed to put aside doctrinal differences in favor of unity and love, thus insinuating that those who opposed it did not. I could not help but think how confused this view is.
According to the Bible, that is not what love is. To love is to obey God's Word.
"This is love, that we
walk according to His commandments. This is the commandment, that as you
have heard from the beginning, you should walk in it." 2 John 1:6
"If you love Me, keep My commandments." John 14:15
Love's allegiance is to the Lord, and to obedience to His commandments. How can we work hand-in-hand, in the name of unity with the "church," with doctrines that deny Biblical truth and practice heresy, and say that that is love? It can not be so.
True Biblical love springs from truth. According to 1 Corinthians, love "rejoices in truth." It is centered around the truth of God's Word, and we are told to speak it in love. Participants of the ecumenical movement withhold from speaking the truth under the guise of maintaining unity and love. Is it love to let people that you so adamantly defend as brothers and sisters in Christ to continue on in false doctrine? True love cares enough to warn those it loves.
"My little children, let us not love in word or in tongue, but in deed and in truth." 1 John 3:18
Biblical love clings to sound doctrine and defends it in love.
"Hold fast the pattern of sound words which you have heard from me, in faith and love which are in Christ Jesus. That good thing which was committed to you, keep by the Holy Spirit who dwells in us." 2 Timothy 1:13,14
It appears, so often, that those who try to uphold sound teaching are viewed as troublemakers, bent on disturbing the atmosphere of peace and love. But Paul says to "hold fast." It is tragic to me to watch the example set for us throughout Scripture of defending God's truth and exposing errant doctrine be thrown by the wayside and declared unloving.
Interestingly, Paul asserts that love is able to discern. He prays for the church in Philippi, that,
"your love may abound still more and more in knowledge and all discernment, that you may approve the things that are excellent, that you may be sincere and without offense till the day of Christ" Philippians 1:9,10
Is ignoring sound doctrine for the sake of "love" Biblical? It would appear not.
Christians who once championed sound doctrine beat a retreat once in
a while and from stratospheric heights announce that they do not
'stoop to controversy'. When a man contends for the faith in New
Testament style he does not stoop. Contending for the faith is
not easy. It is not pleasant business. It has many perils.
It is a thankless job. And it is highly unpopular in this age
of moral fogs and spiritual twilights. It is a day of
diplomats, not prophets. It is nicer to be an appeaser than an
opposer. It is the day of Erasmus, not Luther; the day of
Gamaliel, not Paul."
I hope my ramblings made some kind of sense today, and that you are encouraged to hold fast to sound doctrine and defend it in love. :)