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God's Free Gift

Current Events >> Ecumenical -- Where's the basis of agreement?

For several years there has been a movement afoot, loosely called ecumenical, that is designed to bring all religions together. The question is, what is the foundation of agreement?


For several years there has been a movement afoot, loosely called ecumenical, that is designed to bring all religions together. The question is, what is the foundation of agreement?

I think the movement started as an effort to get all of the Western denominations on the same page. The movement expanded to include other loosely related religions. For example, it started as Protestant, than moved to add the Roman Catholics and Eastern (Greek / Russian) Orthodox congregations. Over time, everyone else has been invited -- Judaism, Hindus, Buddhists, Islam, and so on.

Depending upon the setting and the topic, the concept works well. However, when it comes to the real issue of life, one's relationship with God and how that affects the way a person lives, the movement fractures.

Part of the reason behind the fracture is Christianity itself. If one believes statements such as John 14:6 to say that Jesus is the only pathway to God, then there appears to be no real basis for the various religions to merge in any type of agreement, except for the most superficial purposes. To attempt to resolve this issue, there are "liberal" Christians who attempt to define Christ's statements to mean that He is the door to God, but that there are many paths leading to the door. For example, the spirit gods of the Native Americans are related to the Holy Spirit and so the Native Americans are reconciled to God via their spirits, through Christ. This concept is massaged to mean that Jesus is still "the way" but one does not actually have to "accept" Jesus to benefit from His Work.

If this were true, then there are various paths to God, a universal method of salvation, and a true ecumenical possibility for the world's religions. Except, even if this is true, the groups still need to define the foundation around which they are uniting. Presumably, one such foundation would relate to morals or what the Jewish faith calls "the Law." For example, while not all of the Ten Commandments might be part of the foundation, some portions would qualify. Such as "Thou shalt not kill." The commandment certain means that you should not murder someone.

How does the ecumenical movement resolve its membership when one of its member groups then declares war, not on a nation, but on an individual?

God is love. The Bible makes this clear and most other relations agree, in some form, to this attribute. However, the degree of agreement varies. For Islam, God is not personal, so to a great extent the concept of love as far as God is concerned is unimportant. Mercy is the key element, not love. Still . . . Islam, on its face, is a very moral religion. However, the group has its exceptions and "private" rules relating solely to the religion.

Which leads to why all this rambling.

Some time ago a Danish cartoonist published a series of cartoons poking fun at the Prophet Muhammad. Not much occurred then, but as most of you know more recently several other newspapers picked up the cartoons, republished them, and the Islamic nations have been seriously protesting ever since. Now comes the cream on the top of the pie --

According to MSNBC News Service, a Pakistani cleric has indicated he and his supporters have raised over a million dollars as a reward for anyone who kills the cartoonist! The story may be found here. Where are the morals in this? How does the ecumenical movement reconcile a relationship between those who support God is love and it is a sin / evil / wrong to murder versus a religion who clearly supports the concept of private murder.

It is easy to say something like, this is an exception, unusual, etc. However, this is not the first time something like this has occurred and will not be the last (assuming Jesus tarries). Everyone should agree there are differences in the God of Christian and the god of Islam. Clearly there are differences of morals as well. So, how can one justify the entire concept of an ecumenical group?

You see, the trouble with all of this is that Jesus is God. God through His human form, Jesus, says, there is only one path to reconciliation. This path is Jesus. The issue is one of following God's directions or following another path created by men. I would vote for God myself.

What about you?

Jim A.

Posted On: 2006-02-17 11:25:41 || Comments (0 ) || Add a Comment
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