Ecumenicalism makes me uncomfortable

Christmas Time! by *L*u*z*A*

My LDS neighbor, a very kind man, was excited about inviting me to an ecumenical Christmas celebration held at his local stake center, so I decided to attend the Sunday night service. For the past seven years, the choirs from the local Mormon stake in my area and a Christian church down the street alternate church sites to sing songs such as “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing,” “O Holy Night,” and Handel’s “For unto Us a Child is Born.” While some songs involve the congregation, for the most part, the two choirs take turns with their musical pieces; several times they combine their forces, producing a harmonious 50-member choir.

Halfway through the hour and a half presentation, the stake president gave a 15-minute “Christmas message” that was more benign than I had expected. He related stories about two of his favorite Christmas composers, Handel (musical) and Dickens (literary). The sermon he read was well done, of which there is no doubt. He kept it simple with a feel-good Christmas message. Overall, the entire production was excellent. Next year, the service will be at the Christian church, and the Christian pastor will give the Christmas message when the tradition continues.

Unless a person was paying close attention, this very well could have been a typical Christmas choir presentation performed in any Christian church. So why did I feel uncomfortable during the entire performance?

The apostle John wrote the following, beginning in verse 7:

“Many deceivers, who do not acknowledge Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh, have gone out into the world. Any such person is the deceiver and the antichrist. Watch out that you do not lose what you have worked for, but that you may be rewarded fully.”

He added in verses 10 and 11:

“If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching, do not take him into your house or welcome him. Anyone who welcomes him shares in his wicked work.”

These are pretty tough words from the apostle, but his concern was in not allowing teachers with differing doctrinal perspectives to take a position of leadership at the house church where Christians gathered for worship. Relating that to the ecumenical service I attended, I wonder how many from the Christian church had their possible concerns about Mormonism desensitized. With nary a mention of “LDS,” “Mormon,” “Joseph Smith,” or “Thomas S. Monson,” the LDS musical director and two stake presidents who spoke limited their scriptural references to the Bible. Even the prayer at the beginning of the service referred to “unity” and “being one” as noble endeavors the two churches were pursuing in the spirit of Christmas. It would have been natural for the Christians to have been impressed with the beautiful building, harmonious singing, and eloquent message.

Besides possibly confusing the Christians from this very liberal denominational church, how many Latter-day Saints in the audience could be equally befuddled? Salt and light is diminished when hands are clasped in a scene of “unity.”  With the differences being minimized, the Mormons in the audience may have felt good about themselves and their faith. Desensitization to the true Gospel message is a real potential, especially if the mainly LDS audience walked away from the service assuming that Christians must believe Mormonism is “Christian.” “Otherwise,” they might reason, “why did they join with us in a worship service?”

As we were filing out of the sanctuary, my neighbor’s family eagerly asked what I thought about the presentation. I was disarmed. By trying to explain all of the above, I knew that this would have made me out to be Scrooge and possibly ruined my relationship with them while, really, accomplishing very little. I didn’t feel that this was the time or the place to bear my disagreement or introduce a gospel message. Instead of ruining their time with punch and cake, I said nothing more than, “They sang very nicely.” I walked away to my car, not particularly liking my answer.

I understand that it’s Christmas, a wonderful time for friends, families, and loved ones to come together.  I am just uncomfortable that a local Christian church was willing to compromise the fellowship of the believer by uniting a religious service with an organization that, once you get past the surface, disagrees with the major fundamentals of the historic Christian church. By doing this, I see only flashing lights—blinking, blinking, blinking—in front of the railroad tracks. Ignoring these signals can produce nothing positive and instead will lead to disastrous consequences.

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65 Responses to Ecumenicalism makes me uncomfortable

  1. f_melo said

    He had two sons who were fully aware of God and His commandments. They didn´t grow up in paganism.

    Please, of all people you should know better, your an ex-mormon and you know many Christians left to be Mormons, so you could argue, they also were fully aware of Gods commandments and did not grow up in paganism.

    As far as Job and his friends go, you say, according to my logic they were worshiping a false god. Well then, if we use your logic, they were worshiping the correct God, but they still were saying things and teaching things about Him that were so false and far fetched that God harshly rebuked them and almost killed them, so using your logic, where and how am I wrong, If God rebuked them?

  2. Dale,
    To add to what Eric said, when you tell me/us were are Judging in an evil manner and we are the ones with the speck in our eye, tell me then, the bible goes onto say, when WE DO JUDGE, TO JUDGE in a correct manner. If the Bible tells me to search the scriptures to know if these things are true, and the Bible tells me I am to beware of false teachings and beware of false prophets, then exactly how am I to know who is teaching false doctrine and false teachers if I do not judge what they say according to scripture. It seems I must make judgments. So if I am not allowed to judge, then tell me how to go about finding out how to know if a person is lying to me. But if I then can make judgments, then tell me how I am wrong in my judgments that I did make.

  3. f_melo,
    we might not agree, and you can get up set with me for saying something when I think a "brother" is wrong about something. But it's like this, read the entire chapter of Ezekiel 33 for the entire context.

    Eze 33:4 Then whosoever heareth the sound of the trumpet, and taketh not warning; if the sword come, and take him away, his blood shall be upon his own head.

    Eze 33:5 He heard the sound of the trumpet, and took not warning; his blood shall be upon him. But he that taketh warning shall deliver his soul.

    Eze 33:6 But if the watchman see the sword come, and blow not the trumpet, and the people be not warned; if the sword come, and take [any] person from among them, he is taken away in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at the watchman's hand.

    I believe these verse apply to everyone down through time, we as believers who really know the word have a duty to make sure those who do not know it will be warned about things that are false. If we tell them and they dont care, then the blood be upon them. I cannot sit by when I think someone, even if they are a brother are teaching things I feel are wrong.

    I will state my case and like scripture says, I will defend the faith and I will try and turn sinners from the error of their ways. Even though we are saved we are still sinners. If they dont listen then thats on them.

  4. falcon says:

    In Acts chapter 18 versus 24-26 we read:
    "Now a certain Jew named Apollos an Alexandrian by birth, an eloquent man, came to Ephesus, and he was mighty in the Scriptures. This man had been instructed in the way of the Lord, and being fervent in spirit, he was speaking and teaching accurately the things concerning Jesus, being acquainted only with the baptism of John; and he began to speak out boldly in the synagogue. But when Priscilla and Aquila heard him, they took him aside and explained to him the way of God more accurately."
    We'd have to ask Eric if anyone at the ecumenical service he attended and was troubled by, explained to the Mormons "the way of God more accurately"? Mormons are laboring under the assumption that Jesus is someone who He is not. The sad thing, of course, is that Mormons for all of their show of devotion, piety and laborious striving within the Mormon religious caste system are lost. Why do I call their religion a caste system and why are they lost? Two main points, the slavish devotion of Mormons to their works is supposedly going to result in a trip upward through the ranks until the worthy Mormon man becomes a god and his wife or wives become his goddesses for eternity.
    Now is this what Priscilla and Aquila explained to Apollos? And did they also explain to Apollos that Jesus was the offspring of a god who progressed from his lowly status as a mere sinful man to become one of the many gods in the vast universe?
    We are not duty bound to worship with Mormons in some vain attempt to reconcile what can't be reconciled. What we are called to do is explain to them clearly who God is and what He has done for us through His Son Jesus Christ. Mormons are beyond messed up because they take the term "Son of God" in a sense of human procreation. They also see the Father in the form of a literal human father.
    Mormons need to see that their assigning of human qualities and characteristics as well as functions to God is wrong. We are not of the same species as God. He is God! One of a kind. There are none others like Him. Only He alone is eternal, mighty, and absolutely holy.
    All of the striving and hoops the Mormons jump through in order to please some nonexistent pagan god that they suppose they will become one of, is not only folly but it is an affront to God. Mormons need to put down their false impressions of who God is and allow Him to lead them to a clear understand of His nature. Without this critical first step, Mormons will stay trapped in their malignant religion that will rot their souls from the inside out.
    Explaining these things to them makes sense in light of what the Bible tells us to do when confronted by unbelievers. Worshiping with them only rocks the cradle and lulls them into deep spiritual slumber. This is not an activity that will lead them to see who God is and believing in Him, secure eternal life.

  5. falcon says:

    In the above passage of Scripture Apollos is described as a person who was, "…..teaching accurately the things concerning Jesus". Apollos had part of the message regarding Jesus but he didn't have the full gospel message. It's surmised that he had the message that was preached by John the Baptist which was basically repent and prepare the way for the Lord. Now Apollos had part of the message, but he didn't have the whole message. So he was instructed so that he had a more thorough understanding of who Jesus was.
    There's a major difference here between Apollos and Mormons. While Apollos had part of the message, Mormons don't have any of the message. Mormons have borrowed some of the terms of orthodox Christianity but they mean entirely different things. Can someone be saved who believes in a false gospel? No, the Bible is quite clear that in order to be saved a person has to know by whom they are being saved. False Christs and false gospels may provide a feeling of confidence for the naive but they cannot provide eternal life. This is the case with Mormonism.
    What's interesting is that right after the Bible presents the account of Apollos in Ephesus, Paul comes there (Apollos has left for Corinth) and encounters some "disciples". Paul asks them, "Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?" And they said to him, "No, we have not even heard whether there is a Holy Spirit." So Paul explains the Gospel to them, baptizes them, and "…..when Paul had laid his hands upon them, the Holy Spirit came on them, and they began speaking with tongues and prophesying."
    Knowing about Jesus doesn't gain eternal life for anyone. The sad thing about Mormons is that there is a form of spirituality within the religion and its people have a desire for and devotion to "a god", but the object of their worship is not "God".
    As Christians, we are not to be a party to Mormonisms false god and the false hope that Mormons place in him. We are to stand resolute in the defense of the Gospel so that Mormons might see the error of Mormonism and in seeing the error come to know the truth about God and our Savior Jesus Christ. Without this knowledge and subsequent faith in Him and His plan of salvation, there is no future for Mormons with God.
    Don't turn away from the truth when it pricks your conscious thoughts. Coming to Christ is not complicated as some would suppose. It is as easy as receiving through faith the Jesus of the manger who grew to be a man and died on the cross that all that acknowledge Him and His sacrifice will have eternal life.

  6. f_melo says:

    "so you could argue, they also were fully aware of Gods commandments and did not grow up in paganism."

    Not really because a lot of God´s commandments are distorted in the Mormon Church, like tithing for example. The New Testament Gospel is completely ignored there as well.

    "Well then, if we use your logic, they were worshiping the correct God, but they still were saying things and teaching things about Him that were so false and far fetched that God harshly rebuked them and almost killed them, so using your logic, where and how am I wrong, If God rebuked them?"

    I don´t think you even understood what you just wrote… don´t you think men are prone to sin and misunderstand God? Don´t you think you and i deserve the same thing when we do the same?

    but this conversation has gone completely pointless – that´s not even the point i was arguing for. I don´t agree with everything Martin said but i do understand the approach he´s taking.

  7. f_melo says:

    "we might not agree, and you can get up set with me for saying something when I think a "brother" is wrong about something."

    Rick, i have to agree with Dale here about you being judgmental, to the point of calling martin a "brother", implying that he´s a wolf in sheep´s clothing that´s intentionally trying to pervert the gospel of Christ.

    Apparently you don´t understand the concept that the Church is the Body of Christ and the Body is composed of many different parts. Apparently also you selectively apply the scriptures only to your point of view.

    Lets remember the words of Paul – Rom 12:10 "Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honour preferring one another;"

  8. f_melo says:

    "Eric and Melo, the distinction you made in scripture is as clear as mud"

    No, it isn´t. I even read the chapter again to make sure i got it in context.

    In your thinking i can just believe that Zeus is come in the flesh and i can call him Jesus.

    "Even Mormons say he did"

    No, they say some lower god came to earth to remove roadblocks from our path towards godhood – i´ve explained it before and i´m trying again for the last time.

    "You cannot generalize it to me all kinds of other things"

    Oh, man, that´s generalization? You can´t be serious… but if that´s what you really think i have a question for you: Do the Jehova´s Witnesses believe Christ has come in the flesh?

  9. f_melo,
    I guess you and Dale either did not understand what I wrote, or I wrote it wrong, I did not say and do not think Martin is a wolf in sheeps clothing. If I somehow mislead you to think that then I am sorry.

    I have no problem admitting when I am wrong and also have no problem telling someone if I think they are a wolf in sheeps clothing. I still do not agree with Martin and I really believe their is a war going on as Gods word says, and I really believe way to many true believers are doing nothing about it, or some of them arfe attacking the brothers and not fighting.

    Their is a saying that has been said long before I was alive and so you might have heard it.

    Christians are the only people to shoot their wounded.

    I really believe Jesus said either be Hot or Cold because way to many people are luke warm, From my experience, and I'm not implying this about anyone here, although I do believe it applies to some here. Many people that are luke warm or even cold get mad at people who are hot or on fire for Christ, they get convicted and lash out, hence the saying I gave above.

    Now it great about the verse you quoted, but you got to remember, the Bible tells us we are in a battle, we simply cannot hold hands and talk about butter flies and kittens and try and be nice. Remember, their are lots of non believers who I believe know the bible better than Christians do. What I mean is, Many christens quote verse to other Christians saying we must be kind and nice, to which I agree.

    But I have heard many solid Christians myself included say, Well then, I guess Jesus was not being very Jesus like when he made a whip of cords, or said to HIS own disciples, fools, and slow of heart, basically he was calling them stupid. Or when Jesus said Brood of Vipers and white washed tombs. Thats not loving and Jesus like thing for Jesus to do or say.

    You gotta take all the verse you gave me, and I gave you about being loving or hard and put them into context, their is a time and place to be soft and a time to be hard. I do both. If you feel I am one sided then either you miss the times I am kind and soft, or you simply dont want to see them. Also if you still think I am wrong and dont like my approach, then seriously take it up to God in prayer, He uses me like I am and like it or not I have had many Mormons and even atheists give me great respect for telling it like it is. The atheists website I listed for soulure, go check it out, at first she HATED ME, because I was so hard and in your face telling it like it is.

    Now as a result of not bending to her and going PC, She has gained a lot of respect for me, we have had talks about friends and family and she even has expressed care and concern for me, we even call each other friends know on her website. Thats not what some of you want to hear I'm sure, my approach does not fit your approach, so it must be wrong, but you can look for yourself, I have mad great inroads with a hard core God hating atheist for not going soft.

  10. f_melo says:

    "I did not say and do not think Martin is a wolf in sheeps clothing"

    When you called him a "brother" between quotation marks you questioned his status as a Christian brother therefore you gave the impression that you could be inferring he was a false brother.

    "I still do not agree with Martin and I really believe their is a war going on as Gods word says"

    I don´t agree with everything he said either, and i agree there´s a war. Some things that he said though made a lot of sense and were not contrary to God´s word, so it would be better if we could ask him to further clarify his thoughts, to give him a chance to explain himself in a way everyone else would be able to understand his point of view.

    "the Bible tells us we are in a battle, we simply cannot hold hands and talk about butter flies and kittens and try and be nice"

    I agree with you 100%, and i´m like that with mormons here that try to deceive people by playing word-games and redefining their theology.

    "If you feel I am one sided then either you miss the times I am kind and soft, or you simply dont want to see them"

    No, not at all! I understand that being loving doesn´t mean not telling the truth, i just thought in this particular occasion you were way too hard on Martin.

    "He uses me like I am and like it or not I have had many Mormons and even atheists give me great respect for telling it like it is"

    I think that´s great, i understand we are all different and God uses us that way to reach different people.

    "my approach does not fit your approach, so it must be wrong, but you can look for yourself, I have mad great inroads with a hard core God hating atheist for not going soft."

    I´m not questioning your approach at all, and i don´t doubt anything you shared. Thank you for sharing that. I just felt what i said above, that you were way too hard on Martin, without really giving him a chance to clarify his thoughts like he did in his reply. If he was a known heretic that always comes here to pick a fight, ok, but that´s not the case, he has contributed a lot here and has shown his faith and devotion to the Lord.

  11. f_melo,
    I look at it like this, You say Martin can or should clarify what he said. Well he only replied back to very little, then you spoke for him by saying, this is what he meant or is getting at. I feel with so many disagreeing with Martin that he could have came back and further clarified what he said. I fell he did not because he believes what he said and I feel he was clear in what he said, but thats just me.

    Also you might not agree with me here on this but, Paul said that some people will depart from the faith, and some people have had their faith ship wrecked. Well I believe that if you depart from the faith you have walked away from Jesus. How else can you depart from something you never had? I cannot depart from my faith if I never had faith to begin with. Now DONT MISUNDERSTAND me, I'm not saying Martin did depart from the faith.

    I really believe in the last days more and more believers have and will, I believe if we simply let people say things that are even slightly off or lead people to believe something that is not supported in Gods word, then it will lead them down a path that will get them lost. I believe Martin said things and believes things that are leading him in that direction. Just because I believe it does not make it true.

    But would it be better for me to say, I think this and will act upon it in case I'm right, or should I simply keep my mouth shut so as not to offend someone, then when I get to heaven, here from God that if I opened my mouth I would have corrected error, but instead kept my mouth shut and a brother ened up going astray.

    It's like with the book the shack, that book is/was a best seller in christian book stores, but that book teaches lies and is so far from the truth many Christians are choosing to read that over the Word Of God and being lead to believe things about God and the Bible that are not true. But yet people do not want to hear about the book the shack because they like the book and it's message.

  12. f_melo says:

    Rick, thank you for your response!

  13. Sharon Lindbloom says:

    We're closing comments on this thread and moving on to Christmas. Merry Christmas, everyone!

  14. Merry Christmas to you also Sharon.

  15. f_melo says:

    Merry Christmas! Thank you for the great work you did this year!!

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