I was intrigued by the title of a website which apparently was designed to notify interested parties of commemorations being held to mark the 500th anniversary of the beginning of the Protestant Reformation:
'Freed and Renewed in Christ – 500 Years of God's Grace in Action.'
Had I not also noticed that this website was maintained by the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, I may have been momentarily excited.
This in itself was a sufficient 'red alert.' And this disappointed feeling was fully confirmed when I started to 'click' on some of the dates that revealed key events which have been planned for this commemoration ... .
Every other event (the frequency may actually be higher than this) is a joint celebration with the Roman Catholic Church.
• I asked myself the question – a thoroughly biblical one: "What fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?" (2 Corinthians 6:14).
• This did not seem to be an exact fit for the circumstances, so I modulated my assessment of what was going on and settled for the query of Amos 3:3: "Can two walk together except they be agreed?" After all both partners in this enterprise – 'Evangelical' Lutherans and Roman Catholics – appear to be rather cosy in each other's theological company.
• However, even this would be pitching the bar too high. I am much more inclined to believe that our Saviour's censure in Matthew 15:14 is the best measure of this activity: "Let them alone: they be blind leaders of the blind. And if the blind lead the blind, both shall fall into the ditch."
The hallmarks of these ecumenical events are compromise, confusion and chaos – for this is unbiblical ecumenism in action, completely contrary to not only the spirit but the practice of John 17 where unity is identified as based on a shared love of the truth of God's holy Word.