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Are Winds of Ecumenicalism Blowing in the Church of God?

The church of God is under attack as never before. Satan has masterfully not only divided God's people into hundreds of groups, he is sowing seeds of veiled heresies, lies and distortions in the church which is blowing many people off course and out of God's truth.

Ecumenicalism is one of these winds, and is defined as... "Concerned with establishing or promoting unity among churches or religions. So pervasive and all-inclusive as to exist in or affect the whole world."

We see this trend in the world striving to "unite" religions regardless of beliefs or practices. This may sound "good," but the intent is to ignore the differences and to focus on basic similarities such as "God," and "good people" and doing "good works." They see no reason to let doctrinal belief and practice differences separate various religions or denominations. They aren't discriminating between right and wrong, truth and error. What does God think about this trend?

I attended an independent Church of God (COG) Feast site this year, (2010). It was a very good experience with great people and fellowship, good seminars and bible studies. However, here, like in other groups, there were occasional discussion and statements made by some that showed that the lines between that which is Holy and that which is profane are being blurred in people's minds and being expressed in an ecumenical mindset toward traditional Christianity.

For example, a statement was made at one of the seminars by another group leader to the affect that "the Sabbath and Holy days are an easy thing for God to open to people's understanding in the kingdom" He seemed to say that what was important was the common ground traditional Christians have with us and that the other things aren't really important. There were some vigorous nods of agreement by a few in the room. This is a grave error and is dangerous drifting from our calling and what God expects of us.

The best place to start to shine a light on what is happening and why, is back at the beginning with the two trees... the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, and the tree of life. There seems to be considerable confusion regarding these two trees and what they symbolize, and many are being deceived by the ecumenical siren song being promoted.

It seems that some have a distorted image of what God is doing. They see the two trees in a different light... that is, the tree of the knowledge of evil being the one tree which Adam and Eve shouldn't have eaten of, and then the tree of good and life. To better clarify, many people are being confused by human, carnal good vs. God's good.

Anyone can look within traditional Christianity, and even in other religions, and see many "good" people doing many "good" things. Every religion can show examples of people doing "good" things for others and generally living a "good" life, and this is causing confusion with some in the COG. They seemingly can't believe that such people could possibly be profane to God or that God does NOT approve of their worship practices.

They look around and see traditional Christian people not in the COG, and who have little or no understanding of most of God's truth, but are decent people, fun to be with and seemingly showing "more "love" than those in the COG," as some have stated it. Many of these people have a zeal for God, yes, and are doing their best. This isn't to castigate any of the "good" they are doing, but it IS to point out that this "good" and "their best" is NOT God's "good."

The tree of the knowledge of good and evil is just that... the knowledge of GOOD and evil, not just evil. That means that the carnal mind is capable of doing GOOD along with evil. Free will and choice allows for good to be chosen as well as evil. There are many people in the world who have no belief in God at all, but do "good" works such as helping the poor, serving in various capacities, helping their fellow man. This is good... but as was stated, this is NOT the level of good that God is looking for or building within His church.

Yes, Christ showed us some examples in MT 25, but if we used this criteria alone as the judge of who will be in God's kingdom, then we would have to add people from every religion on earth today, and even atheists. Is it "good works" that create Christ's nature in people? An atheist can do all that which is mentioned by Christ, but does this save him, or form Godly character in him?

What is God's overall plan? It is to create a family in His own image... in the very image and stature of the fullness of Christ. (Rom. 8:29, Eph. 4:13, Gal 4:19.). God set down standards as to what is "good" and what is not. The "good" that God IS, is NOT the "good" of this world or carnal humanity. For example, God created the Sabbath day and made it Holy. He commands His children to KEEP this day Holy and to not profane it. Some have forgotten what is Holy and what is not...

Ezek 22:26 Her priests have violated My law and profaned My Holy things; they have not distinguished between the Holy and unholy, nor have they made known the difference between the unclean and the clean; and they have hidden their eyes from My Sabbaths, so that I am profaned among them. NKJV

Ezek 44:23 And they shall teach my people the difference between the Holy and profane, and cause them to discern between the unclean and the clean. NKJV

Mal 3:18 Then shall you return, and discern between the righteous and the wicked, between him that serves God and him that serves him not. KJV

Heb 5:14 But strong meat belongs to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil. KJV

The word translated "profane" comes from several Hebrew words: 1. chalal (khaw-lal') OT:2490, and means "to bore, i.e. (by implication) to wound, to dissolve; figuratively, to profane (a person, place or thing), to break (one's word)."

2. OT:2610 chaneph (khaw-nafe'); a primitive root; to soil, especially in a moral sense:

KJV - corrupt, defile, greatly, pollute, profane.

3. OT:2491 chalal (khaw-lawl'); from OT:2490; pierced (especially to death); figuratively, polluted: KJV - kill, profane, slain (man), slew, (deadly) wounded.

4. OT:2455 chol (khole); from OT:2490; properly, exposed; hence, profane:

KJV - common, profane (place), unHoly.

Is working on the Sabbath profaning the Sabbath? How about the Holy Days? Is ignoring these days profaning His Holy time? Is not keeping the Passover profaning God's name? How is the covenant being renewed in those who have no idea about the Passover or the command to observe it? Does it matter? Is traditional Christianity serving God? Is that the kind of "unity" God wants... combining profane with Holy?

1 Tim 1:8 But we know that the law is good if one uses it lawfully, 9 knowing this: that the law is not made for a righteous person, but for the lawless and insubordinate, for the ungodly and for sinners, for the unholy and profane, for murderers of fathers and murderers of mothers, for manslayers, 10 for fornicators, for sodomites, for kidnappers, for liars, for perjurers, and if there is any other thing that is contrary to sound doctrine, 11 according to the glorious gospel of the blessed God which was committed to my trust. NKJV

God's calling is to a completely different level of "good." It is "God's good" that we are to emulate and seek, not human "good" that some are seemingly equating to the tree of life. The "good" of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil is NOT equal to the tree of life "good," but some are making that comparison by minimizing God's good and elevating man's good to that of God's good. This is not discerning between what is Holy and what is profane.

People in the world, and primarily traditional Christianity, are being elevated by some in the COG by the "good works" they do to be equal with the work God is doing within His people and expects of His people.

Many immediately argue... "who are you to judge these people? Only God knows people's hearts." Because someone says that it is profaning the Sabbath to not observe the Sabbath day, and instead keeping Sunday as the Sabbath, is this "judging" them?

We are to use God's word to direct our lives, as well as to be able to discern between Holy and profane. We ALL will be judged by what is in God's word. To minimize the Sabbath and Holy days, is to minimize Holy, and elevate profane. It seems to me that some are embarrassed by their calling to be different... to be Holy and set apart by God.

God originally chose Israel to be His Holy people, not because they were great or mighty...

Deut 7:6 "For you are a Holy people to the LORD your God; the LORD your God has chosen you to be a people for Himself, a special treasure above all the peoples on the face of the earth. 7 The LORD did not set His love on you nor choose you because you were more in number than any other people, for you were the least of all peoples; 8 but because the LORD loves you, and because He would keep the oath which He swore to your fathers, the LORD has brought you out with a mighty hand, and redeemed you from the house of bondage, from the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt." NKJV

1 Cor 1:27 But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty; 28 and the base things of the world and the things which are despised God has chosen, and the things which are not, to bring to nothing the things that are, 29 that no flesh should glory in His presence. NKJV

That scripture is more true today than it was for them. God has chosen some people out of this world to be His own spiritual creation. Do we value this? Do we really understand what this means? Is this something we should be embarrassed by and try to minimize so that other's won't be offended by the obvious implications of this calling? Are we embarrassed that we keep the Sabbath and Holy days, and by this, suggest that the other are wrong about "their" religious practices? Are we trying to blur the lines... muddy the waters between Holy and profane to be politically correct?

1 Peter 2:9 But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a Holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; 10 who once were not a people but are now the people of God, who had not obtained mercy but now have obtained mercy. NKJV

How do we "proclaim the praise of Him" by calling the Sabbath or Holy days, "small and insignificant things which God can easily tweak in traditional Christian's minds in the resurrection?"

God's calling is SO big, SO Holy, that any attempts to degrade this to human good is not only foolish, but borders on blasphemy. Have we forgotten what false religion is? No, not the religions that worship cows or other pagan religions, but the false "Christian" religion...

Mark 13:5 And Jesus, answering them, began to say: "Take heed that no one deceives you. 6 For many will come in My name, saying, 'I am [He] (he not in original),' and will deceive many." NKJV

Matt 24:4 And Jesus answered and said to them: "Take heed that no one deceives you. 5 For many will come in My name, saying, (comma not correct here) 'I am the Christ,' and will deceive many." NKJV

What is Christ telling us here? Christ states clearly that many would come and be saying that Jesus is the Christ, that He exists and is real... and would be deceiving many with their message. How can this be? How can those who speak of Christ, believe in Him, read the bible and do good works NOT be Holy and called by God?

Matt 7:21 "Not everyone who says to Me,'Lord, Lord ,' shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. 22 Many will say to Me in that day, 'Lord, Lord , have we not prophesied (preached) in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name? 23 And then I will declare to them, I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!" NKJV

Luke 6:46 "But why do you call Me 'Lord, Lord,' and not do the things which I say? 47 Whoever comes to Me, and hears My sayings and does them, I will show you whom he is like: NKJV

Christ, of course, goes on explaining building on a rock vs building on sand. Satan is deceiving some into accepting this false Christianity built on sand as the work of God. Is NOT keeping the Sabbath, keeping Christ's or the Father's will? Is profaning the Holy days, Passover, etc., keeping Christ's or the Father's will? Is observing pagan practices of Christmas and Easter, or Halloween, Holy to God? Does He bless this activity, no matter how sincere these people may be? Is God's nature and will being taught through these activities? Are they Holy at all?

Some try to call keeping God's Sabbath, Holy days and commandments as "legalistic." They are moving away from law and towards lawlessness... minimizing God's commands and laws.

Salvation consists of more than just being saved from the death penalty by Christ's sacrifice. Forgiveness and cleansing from sin is a free gift. No amount of commandment keeping or Sabbath keeping can remove the penalty of sin. However, does forgiveness change our carnal nature to the very stature and fullness of Christ? Does forgiveness immediately give us the character of Christ? How does change come? WHAT is this change that must take place?

The change is that of being "sanctified." Salvation AND sanctification. The salvation equation is not complete without sanctification... being made Holy... formed into the very image of Christ, which cannot occur through lawlessness. That is what Christ was telling us above. Paul stated people in his time had a "zeal for God, but NOT according to knowledge." (Rom. 10:2). Another word for knowledge could just as well be Law. Did the zeal they had for God make them God's called and chosen? Did this zeal equal God's good? Did it comply with God's will and law? Did Paul say, "They believe in God and do good works... that is good enough, so we don't have to bother them with the Sabbath and Holy Days or other of God's truths that separate His people from that which is profane."

Sanctification is a process. It takes molding and shaping... refining... by Christ, till we are in His image. The Sabbath, Holy days, commandments... every word of God... along with His Spirit, are the TOOLS for sanctification. God's Sabbaths and commandments are not just a bunch of hoops created for humanity to jump through for no purpose. They reflect elements of God's own mind and character through physical means. God is Holy, and God makes certain things Holy, and through these Holy tools, we learn more about Him, His plan, His nature and His will, and grow into that spiritual image. It cannot happen through profaning His laws and His word, or practicing pagan rituals no matter how "good" those who do so may seem to us.

Can salvation take place... being born into the very family of God, without sanctification? Can we remain as we are when called and first forgiven, and expect to be in God's kingdom? Are we made perfect through forgiveness without anything else? God's word says NO!

God is the ONLY one who can tell us what is "good" and what is evil, and He has done this throughout the bible. Do we believe that? Do we believe God's words on what is Holy... what is lawful, and what is profane and lawless? Do we see the profaning of God's word and Sabbaths as evil and rejected by God?

Are we moving toward the "just believing is enough" mentality? We are to let our light shine so that others will see God's work in our lives, and the fact that His Sabbaths and His commandments are a sign that sets us apart from the world. We are to show forth God's praises by our following His word and NOT degrading His good to be equal with the world's good.

What does God tell us of those who do not have God's truth or teachings or laws?

2 John :9 Anyone who runs ahead and does not continue in the teaching of Christ does not have God; whoever continues in the teaching has both the Father and the Son. 10 If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching, do not take him into your house or welcome him. 11 Anyone who welcomes him shares in his wicked work. NIV

This is a very clear and sobering statement. Where we condone any other doctrine or teaching than what Christ has given us, or we do not distinguish between what is truth and what is error, what is Holy and what is profane, and simply accept such teachings and those who practice it, this means we share in supporting that doctrine and teaching. This may sound harsh and cruel and "unloving," but there it is. This doesn't mean we condemn them, but isn't this telling us NOT to fellowship with them and NOT equate their actions with God's will, and acceptable to Him?

Some will immediately jump up and down about how we can't let our light shine if we don't fellowship with those who practice biblical lawlessness, or profane the Sabbaths. Some will misconstrue what I?m pointing out and think this means I think we should shun everyone who doesn't have God's truth.

We are to love and serve all people, yes, and we should not be angry or cold toward any, but if we simply play the ecumenical game, we are NOT representing God's Kingdom or word. If God is calling someone, they will begin to respond to His word and our example because His spirit is working with them and they will come OUT of those profane practices as we did. We ALL came out of false Christianity because God led us out. We moved from doing what was profane to doing what is Holy and learning to BE Holy.

Guilt seems to be a problem for some in the COG... guilt that we are called and set apart. Yes, in the past, there was self-righteousness and vanity involved with some because of this calling... looking down their noses at others. Most of us are probably guilty of this to some extent. Hopefully most who held that attitude who are still in God's Church have grown past all that foolishness, but some seem to be carrying around embarrassment so that they are letting go of the Holy... and are embracing the profane more and more, thinking it is self-righteousness and vanity to accept God's calling and setting apart with revealed knowledge that others do NOT possess or understand... almost mocking this truth and belittling it so it isn't so "true" and doesn't "judge" others. Does God want us to avoid the honor and glory, and Holiness, of our calling by Him and His work in us?

Was Christ self-righteous or vain about who He was and His attitude and actions toward what was Holy to the Father? How much less do we have grounds for such carnal thinking about our calling? We didn't call ourselves. We weren't the great and mighty of the world. Can anyone say, "Yes, I know why God called me... He needed me and wanted my great mind and character." No, He called the losers of the world. But He didn't call us to remain losers.

Matt 5:19 Whoever therefore breaks one of the least of these commandments, and teaches men so, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever does and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven. NKJV

WE are the very offspring of God, with the Father and Christ living IN us. We are in direct communication with the Father. WE have a job we have been given BY God. Are we doing that job? Do we rise to this occasion and honor it... respect it and God's will for us or will we simply account it as no big deal and equate it with profane things?

Many like to claim that all traditional Christians are simply "at different levels of understanding," and that all of them are being worked with by God at some level, and we shouldn't "judge" them and just allow them to go their way as "God leads them" and accept their practices and beliefs as "OK" with God... "God knows their hearts and intentions" and this is somehow deemed good enough for them. This is not biblical.

When it comes to biblical issues, we shouldn't be wishy washy. Judging and condemning are two different things. We are to "judge righteous judgement," (John 7:24), but not "condemn" (Lk. 6:37) others for where they are in understanding. General relationships, general life issues with people in the world, etc., we all deal with and we don't preach, correct or condemn them because they don't know God's word.

However, where we are interfacing with others on biblical or kingdom discussions or issues, we MUST stand firm, and patiently but powerfully make God's will known to them... what is Holy and what is NOT. To do anything otherwise is to fail in letting our light shine to point to our great God and His son. If we do NOT show the difference between Holy and profane, they will only continue to believe that what they are doing is "good enough" and acceptable to God.

If we aren't comfortable with our profession and calling, and are embarrassed to distinguish between what is Holy and what is not, how will we be kings and priests in God's Kingdom?

Being called by the great God can be a "heady" thing... it is amazing, awesome, dumbfounding and humbling, and if we truly understand our carnal nature and sins, we will have no room for vanity and pride since it is God's power that makes our calling and change possible. Do we think like REAL kings and priests... honor the position and dignify the privilege, while having a shepherd's heart toward others?

Do a study on words such as "profane," "partakers," "Holy," "calling." The supreme authority in the universe has called many, but chooses a VERY few people, in this age (Rev. 14:1-5) to be partakers of His holiness and to rule with Christ. If we cannot discern between what is Holy and what is profane here, now... then we won't be in that resurrection.

Rev 20:6 Blessed and holy is he who has part in the first resurrection. Over such the second death has no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with Him a thousand years. NKJV

The bible teaches that God's people will be persecuted because of our true Christian, "set apart" beliefs, and this persecution will likely come at the hands of traditional (false) Christianity allied with a false and corrupted political system. If we do not distinguish between what is Holy and what is not, and we do not maintain in high esteem and value and importance, God's Sabbath, Holy Days and commandments, and our holy calling, then we will certainly be of those who will be deceived (for a time) by the "Christian..." "signs and lying wonders" spoken of that CAN deceive some of the very elect (Mt. 24:24) because they do NOT know the difference between what is Holy to God and what is not... Laodicean regarding God's Holiness and laws and word... minimizing God's calling to an "ecumenical one big happy Christian family."

We are involved with the most incredible event in the universe ever to take place... that of being formed into God's nature and family. Do we embrace this calling and strive for it with all our might, or will we water it down and be ashamed of our being God's own children? We all must take heed of where our hearts and minds are on this issue, and repent of any elements of disrespect for this calling and dragging it down to a base, carnal, human "good" that is an abomination when compared to God's Good.

Love the truth. Stand for the truth. Act like a king or queen, and priest. Be the instrument in God's hands that He wants us to be. Don't be embarrassed or ashamed of being set apart... being made Holy.

Eph 5:8 For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light 9 (for the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness, righteousness, and truth), 10 finding out what is acceptable to the Lord. 11 And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather expose them. 12 For it is shameful even to speak of those things which are done by them in secret. 13 But all things that are exposed are made manifest by the light, for whatever makes manifest is light. 14 Therefore He says: "Awake, you who sleep, Arise from the dead, And Christ will give you light." See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise, 16 redeeming the time, because the days are evil. NKJV.

Those things which counter God's words, His commands and will, are evil, profane and unfruitful works of darkness. Do we see that as God does, or do we see using carnal reasoning that renders God's word of no affect?

Our lives are bought for one purpose... that of being created in God's image for an example here and now, and for eternity hereafter. We MUST reflect the true light of God's word and holiness, and expose "profane and vain" practices and beliefs which only harm people and shame God's name. Are we up to the task, or are we slipping back into "profanity" and shame from which we were freed? Are we yet acting like true children of the Holy, righteous and powerful God family of the universe?

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