The False Church
The Apostate World Church of Revelation
Ecumenical bodies are unifying the church worldwide
They envisage a church with a political role alongside the UN and the EU
They envisage a church with a political role alongside the UN and the EU
Formation of the World Church
The Ecumenical Movement (EM)
The Reformation of the 16th century eventually led to the numerous independent Christian groups we know today: Anglicans, Lutherans, Presbyterians, Congregationalists, Baptists, Charismatics, Unitarians, Methodists and so on. The Reformers were ‘Protestant’ in that they ‘protested’ against and rebelled from the supreme authority of the pope.
An early attempt to reverse this fragmentation was the Evangelical Alliance (EA) founded in England in 1846. Today, the EA vision includes ‘Working for a united Church’. And the 1910 World Missionary Conference of major protestant denominations and missionary societies has been described as the formal beginning of the EM. So ecumenism was birthed in an attempt to unify the Protestant churches. The word ‘ecumenical’ literally means ‘the inhabited earth’ or ‘the whole world’, so here we have the birth of a ‘world church’.
Today, the EM is led by the World Council of Churches (WCC) and promotes worldwide unity between all the major Christian groups:
A united church is no optional extra [Desmond Tutu, WCC, Brazil, 2006]
Although initially involving mainly Protestant and Orthodox churches, the WCC now has Catholic observers and the Catholic Church is a full member of some of its committees. Whilst the EM is not an interfaith initiative, it does promote unity despite significant doctrinal differences, and so a casualty must inevitably be truth! This point is often ignored by the EM as it stresses Jesus’ prayer for oneness and unity amongst His followers (John 17:20-23). And so the relentless move to unity continues. Consider:
Chrislam is a modern-day attempt to blend the teachings and practices of Christianity and Islam. As of 2014, Christians, Muslims and Jews plan to build a place where they can all worship (initially at least, in separate rooms). They want a building to combine a church, a synagogue and a mosque under one roof. It is called ‘House of One’. Where? In Berlin! Moreover, the Vatican actively supports Chrislam.
The Roman Catholic Church
The restoration of unity among all Christians was one of the principal concerns of the Second Vatican Council (1962-65). The Council’s Decree on Ecumenism claimed that Christ founded only one Church, and that division openly contradicts the will of Christ. But the Catholic Church acknowledges that doctrinal and structural differences between Protestants and itself create many obstacles to full ecclesiastical communion. It claims:
The ecumenical movement is striving to overcome these obstacles. Although the ecumenical movement and the desire for peace with the Catholic Church have not yet taken hold everywhere, it is our hope that ecumenical feeling and mutual esteem may gradually increase among all men. Catholics, in their ecumenical work, must assuredly be concerned for their separated brethren …
The Anglican Church
The Anglican Church claims that “Ecumenism is at the very heart of Anglicanism”. Accordingly, an aim of the Anglican Communion is:
To encourage and guide Anglican participation in the ecumenical movement and the ecumenical organisations, to co-operate with the World Council of Churches and the world confessional bodies on behalf of the Anglican Communion, and to make arrangements for the conduct of pan-Anglican conversations with the Roman Catholic Church, the Orthodox churches, and other churches [ACC Constitution 2(f)]
The apostolic constitution, “Anglicanorum coetibus,” issued by Pope Benedict in November 2009 allowed Anglicans the option of entering into full communion with the Catholic Church. The Anglican Church saw this as “a positive contribution to a wider dialogue between the Catholic Church and the Anglican Communion”.
The Baptist Church
It is claimed that Baptists have never been linked with Protestants and have never been identified with the Roman Catholic Church. Nevertheless, the Baptist approach to ecumenism is rooted in the recognition that it is insufficient for the Baptist Church to be alone, and that “ecumenism is an inescapable reality for all of us”. Yet, despite a clear commitment to ecumenism expressed in formal votes, there are also doctrinal problems e.g. the issues of baptism and structural unity. Baptists believe that unity needs to be bottom up!
The Methodist Church
The Ecumenical objectives of the Methodist Church have been clearly stated by the New Zealand Methodist Church, link. Similarly, the UK Methodist Church affirms its commitment to work with ecumenical partners wherever possible and so its ecumenical strategy includes:
A vision of one Church for one World; a desire to share in a common life with all Christian people; and a commitment to seeking the full visible unity of the Church.
However, like the Baptists, it recognises that successful ecumenical working does not ignore the differences between Christians and between Christian denominations.
The Orthodox Church
Eastern Orthodox Christianity (which embraces the Greek Orthodox Church) draws on elements of Greek, Middle-Eastern, Russian and Slav culture. Some challenge Orthodox doctrine, particularly on salvation, link.
The Orthodox Church stands out from other mainstream churches on EM. Whilst it shares the aim of Christian unity, it is not prepared to compromise its doctrine. For instance, at the 2008 Lambeth Conference, the Archbishop of Athens suggested that the Anglican Communion might take the opportunity “to examine to what degree the Church has remained faithful or has deviated from the Pauline teaching and principles”. The Orthodox assert that only they have retained the fullness of the Truth, handed down by Christ to the Apostles, and handed on by them to the Church, down to the present day. In his book “Our Orthodox Christian Faith”, Athanasios Frangopoulos says:
There are not many Churches but one – the Orthodox Catholic Church
Some go even further and claim that the EM is heresy:
Modern ecumenism is both a movement and an ecclesiological heresy. It poses a grave threat to the very ‘pillar and foundation of the Truth’ (1 Timothy 3:15) itself – the Church
Marks of the Apostate World Church
The following video highlights some characteristics of apostate churches, and ecumenism is one of them. Are YOU in one of these churches?
Rome’s Claim to the only True Church
The Roman Catholic Church is determined to reclaim the ground lost during the Reformation. It claims:
The Catholic Church is the one, holy, apostolic Church of Christ. This one Church of Christ … constituted and organised in this world as a society, subsists in (is) the Catholic Church, governed by the successor of Peter and the Bishops [Vatican Doctrinal Congregation]
So whilst Rome acknowledges that “numerous elements of sanctification and of truth are found outside her structure”, she still claims that the Catholic Church is “the one true Church with the fullness of Christian teaching”, and that other Christian denominations (essentially Orthodox and Protestant) are “separated churches and communities that suffer from defects”.
Rome’s False Doctrine
Rome’s claim to be the one true church was recognised by Wycliffe, Huss, Tyndale, Luther, Calvin, Knox, Whitefield, the Wesleys, and others as unbiblical. This also applies to Rome’s claim on salvation:
It is only through Christ’s Catholic Church, which is ‘the all-embracing means of salvation,’ that they (the ‘separated brethren’) can benefit fully from the means of salvation [Vatican Decree on Ecumenism]
In other words, the Catholic Church has replaced Jesus as the only way of salvation by declaring itself necessary for salvation! The false doctrine of the Roman Catholic Church leads many to identify Rome with the apostate Laodicean Church of Revelation. This church is identified as worldly rich but spiritually poor. It stands in the place of Jesus and so Jesus stands outside the church, knocking on the door and asking those inside to return to Him (Rev 3:20). Here is hope for individuals caught up in Roman Catholicism. See more false doctrines in the video below:
Rome’s Political Influence
Rome first gained full political control under Pope Vigilius (537 – 555 AD). This power enabled the church to carry out its will by force and she only gradually lost this power via the Protestant Reformation (starting 1517) and the French Revolution (1789-1799). Rome’s persecuting power was finally broken when Napoleon imprisoned the Pope in 1799. As outlined below, Rome is now regaining that lost power.
Opus Dei (“Work of God”)
Opus Dei is part of the Catholic Church and is made up of priests and laity. Some priests hold the top government positions whilst the laity include academics, doctors, parliamentarians, government ministers, judges and journalists. It gives the Vatican worldwide political power to impose its moral code through legislation and public policy.
With the election of Catholic John F. Kennedy to the White House, Catholics felt more confident politically. Support for their social and political platform was given by Pope John XXIII. From 2009, the Supreme Court had a Catholic majority.
The United Nations
The Roman Catholic Church has elected to participate in the UN as the ‘Holy See’ (the Pope, the College of Cardinals, and the central departments that govern the Church). In 1964, Pope Paul VI established the first Holy See ‘permanent observer’ at the UN, and the Holy See now participates actively in UN conferences, influencing international deliberation on a wide range of issues.
Some claim that Catholicism is ‘hollowing out’ in its traditional European strongholds (parishes, monasteries, schools, universities and charities). And there is massive dissent from the church’s teaching on morality. Poland is the only place where seminaries are full and priests abound. Nevertheless, the authority of church and state remains and it is claimed that Rome has an on-going agenda for Europe:
[Europe will become] ‘the greatest Roman Catholic super state the world has ever known … the greatest single human force ever seen by man, united within the ancient boundaries of the Holy Roman Empire by the common spiritual bond of religion [Papal encyclicals of Pius XII and John XXIII]
The Vatican has also managed to get the principle of subsidiarity adopted by the EU. In effect, this means that churches remain under national law and must not conform to EU human rights legislation.
Conclusion so Far
The Vatican is operating on a worldwide social, political and religious (ecumenical) level in order to ‘absorb’ what it regards as the ‘separated churches’ (essentially the Protestant and Orthodox churches) into what it regards as the one true church, the Roman Catholic Church. Rome is regaining her lost power and control. Why? Is there an agenda?
Rome’s Past Control: Persecution
Scripture says that all those who truly follow Jesus will be persecuted (2 Tim 3:12), and this comes in many ways. Jesus said:
An hour is coming for everyone who kills you to think that he is offering service to God (John 16:2)
Whilst this could be seen as Muslim persecution of Christians, it could also apply to the Roman Catholic Church. Historically, Papal persecution of Christians has been ‘justified’ on the grounds of heresy – denying the seven sacraments, and in particular the sacraments of communion (mass) and confession (the right to forgive sin), link.
Papal persecution started in earnest with the Waldenses in France under Pope Alexander III (1159-1181) and with the Eastern Orthodox Church via the Crusades, followed by the Papal Inquisition (13th century), the Spanish Inquisition (15th century) and the Huguenots (16th century). Individuals such as John Calas were martyred as late as the 18th century. Horrific detail of the tortures used can be found at Fox’s Book of Martyrs. How many suffered?
From the birth of Popery in 606 to the present time, it is estimated by careful and credible historians, that more than 50 million have been slaughtered for the crime of heresy by popish persecutors [John Dowling, ‘History of Romanism’, first published 1845]
Rome’s Future Control: The Antichrist
Given Rome’s tyrannical actions in the past, her growing worldwide political influence via the UN and the EU, link, her determined and autocratic drive to a ‘one world church’, and her erroneous doctrine, there are strong grounds to see if Rome can be identified in Bible prophecy.
Rome in Revelation
Many identify Rome as the ecclesiastical Babylon (false church) of Revelation 17, if only that the woman seen there is sat upon (controlling) a (political) beast and is “drunk with the blood of the saints” (Rev 17:6). And, like Cranmer, Wycliffe, Luther, Calvin, Tyndale, Bunyan, Huss, Knox, Edwards and Wesley, many identify the Papacy with the Antichrist.
Furthermore, can Rome be aligned with the second beast of Revelation 13:11-18, the false prophet? Is this beast the Antichrist, rather than the first beast? There are good grounds to believe that this is the case – see Who is the World Dictator? If this is the case, then we can expect Rome to enforce false worship and the ‘mark of the beast’ upon the world (Rev 13:15-17).
A Controlling Mechanism – a World Church – a Political Church
Let us assume that Rome is the future persecutor seen in Revelation 13:11-18 and Revelation 17. How might this work out in reality? As discussed in The Pattern of Papal Persecutions, a mechanism is being prepared and involves the collaboration of Rome, the EU and the UN:
It would be advantageous to the EU to have a cultural ‘seamless garment’ which would maintain a grassroots unifying force between individual states and the developing central authority. Proffering such a garment to the EU, Rome likewise needs the European Court and the law courts of the member countries to classify as ‘sects’ Bible believing churches, thus preparing the ground for legal extirpation of all those who will not bow to her edicts. In the global sphere, the UN desires sovereignty and thus needs a world police force. In that arena, the Church of Rome, whose system exists within every nation represented in the UN, in turn needs a world court by which to enforce the wearing of her cultural ‘seamless garment’. This would subsume the globe’s ‘multiculturalism’ under one culture, counterfeit and apostate Christianity. Given their respective goals, these three entities might readily find it to their advantage to work in tandem.
In other words, Rome takes on a political role alongside the UN and the EU.
Destruction of the World Church
According to prophecy, the apostate World Church (the ecclesiastical Babylon of Revelation 17) will suffer sudden and catastrophic destruction. How? Destruction comes from the other end time Babylon – the commercial and economic Babylon of Rev 18. This final world system, controlled by a humanistic World Government and the powerful ten-horned beast of Rev 13:1 conspires to destroy the ecclesiastical Babylon:
And the ten horns … and the beast, these will hate the harlot and will make her desolate and naked, … and will burn her up with fire (Rev 17:16)
Why does this happen? A plausible explanation is that the political beast of Revelation 13:1-10 is godless and its leader, the end time world dictator, demands that the world worship him alone (2 Thes 2:4)(Rev 13:8). The end time World Church, although corrupt and ‘Babylonish’, will probably still acknowledge God as supreme above all creation, and so stands in the way of the aspirations of the end time world ruler.
The Implications for YOU!
Dear reader, if you are seeking the true and faithful church, beware of deception. Bible prophecy foresees a powerful but apostate world church and many see this as headed by the Roman Catholic Church. The Protestant Reformers recognised this and came out from Papal control. Today, Jesus calls to the faithful who find themselves in an apostate church:
COME OUT FROM THEIR MIDST AND BE SEPARATE (2 Corinthians 6:17)