“Can two walk together, except they be agreed?” – Amos 3:3 (KJV)
Ecumenism is defined as ‘the principle or aim of promoting unity among the world’s Christian Churches’, but in practice is defined much more broadly as promoting unity with anyone and everyone, often irrespective of shared faith, or with only a shred or shard of shared faith in view.
The featured image for this post is a bumper sticker seen with some frequency in the United States and is a point of frustration for me. We’ve been coexisting for millenia. If you’re promoting this sentiment of ‘coexistence’, it’s unlikely that you’re advocating for things to continue as they have. It’s much more likely that you’re advocating for change, or for coexisting in a more friendly or peaceably manner. It should come as no surprise that I nearly title this post as ‘The Idols of Friendship & Peace’.
Have you made an idol of friendship and peace? Does this describe you?
“Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God.” – James 4:4 (KJV)
Have we misunderstood this blessed passage by reading it plainly? Let us compare spiritual with spiritual (1 Corinthians 2:13-14) by comparing scripture with scripture, and compare what I have written here with Holy Scripture in accordance with Acts 17:11.
“Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword.” – Matthew 10:34 (KJV)
Oh, that blessed Logos made flesh (John 1:14), just like the Word of God, is truly sharper than any two-edged Sword (Hebrews 4:12). What is the purpose of a sword? It is a tool for defense, a weapon for war. They are traditionally forged to be sharp, and this Sword is sharp, indeed. We can discern from the parallel in Luke that the purpose of this sword in view is, at the very least, is for division.
“Suppose ye that I am come to give peace on earth? I tell you, Nay; but rather division:” – Luke 12:51 (KJV)
If our Master came not to bring peace to the world, but a sword, or rather, division, then why is it that so many of us want peace and unity in our world today? Isn’t it enough for students to be like their teachers, and servants like their masters? (Matthew 10:24).
“Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? 15 And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? 16 And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. 17 Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, 18 And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty. 7 Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.” – 2 Corinthians 6:14-7:1 (KJV)
2 Corinthians 6:14 is often regarded as strictly speaking about marriage, but as you can see the context and application is much broader, particularly in light of other scriptures. As evidence of this, we can see in 2 Corinthians 6:17 that this verse can be cross referenced to three verses (below). Can you tell which of these verses have to do with marriage?
1. “Depart ye, depart ye, go ye out from thence, touch no unclean thing; go ye out of the midst of her; be ye clean, that bear the vessels of the LORD.” – Isaiah 52:11 (KJV)
2. “I sat not in the assembly of the mockers, nor rejoiced; I sat alone because of thy hand: for thou hast filled me with indignation.” – Jeremiah 15:17 (KJV)
3. “And I heard another voice from heaven, saying, Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues.” – Revelation 18:4 (KJV)
Trick question. None of them. Well, how broadly should we interpret these verses then? I would submit to you that in the interest of being Holy even as He is Holy, (Lev. 11:44; 1 Pet. 1:16) and seeing as how you can not conceive of Holiness without separation (which is likely to be the subject of a future post, but for a sneak peek, look at the Hebrew word, qôdesh or its Greek equivalent, hágios ), we ought to interpret these verses as broadly as Holy Scripture allows. Take, for example, two other verses on this same topic which repudiate ecumenism, and as a logical consequence, making an idol of ecumenism:
1. “And the children of Israel, which were come again out of captivity, and all such as had separated themselves unto them from the filthiness of the heathen of the land, to seek the LORD God of Israel, did eat,” – Ezra 6:21 (KJV)
2. “Separate yourselves from among this congregation, that I may consume them in a moment.” – Numbers 6:21 (KJV)
Are there pastoral or spiritual lessons to be found in these verses for us today? I sincerely believe they are and would commend them to your prayerful consideration.