The ecumenical movement has continued its forward strides in the early months of 2000. In addition to the Pope's March visit to the Holy Land, other events have kept unity between the churches on the fast track.
The following was reported on the BBC News, January 18, 2000:
"The Vatican is hosting a major gathering of different Christian religions, which it says will be the most important ecumenical event during its year-long celebrations to mark Christianity's third millennium.
"More than 20 non-Catholic representatives will attend the ceremony, including the head of the Anglican Communion, the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr. George Carey."
A similar report was filed by another publication shortly thereafter, involving the intention of many Protestant evangelicals this year to join Catholics in celebrating the forty days of Lent:
"The world is getting smaller for evangelical Christians as they pray together and share information and resources.
"Evangelicals from every part of the world will fast and pray with a common purpose for 40 days this Lent. That's the goal of an ambitious worldwide movement called "PrayWorld! 2000."
"'The idea is to unite churches in every country,' said Ben Jennings, international coordinator of "PrayWorld! 2000." Religion Today, January 26, 2000.
More recently, Catholic and Pentecostal leaders confessed sins and asked each other's forgiveness at a dramatic meeting of the Society for Pentecostal Studies, held March 16-18, 2000. At this gathering Catholics confessed wrongs done to Pentecostals arising from "arrogance, intolerance, discrimination, and exclusion." Assemblies of God minister Frank Macchia responded by confessing perceived Pentecostal sins against Catholics. In Macchia's words:
"I ask that Catholics forgive the Pentecostals who have cherished visions of the end of time that condemn the Catholic Church for spiritual harlotry and idolatry." He also asked Catholic forgiveness for past Pentecostal claims that Catholics teach "salvation by works, denying the grace and truth of the gospel." Religion Today, April 3, 2000.
The Bible prophesied of the current ecumenical movement in the following passage:
"And in that day seven women shall take hold of one man, saying, We will eat our own bread, and wear our own apparel: only let us be called by Thy name, to take away our reproach" (Isa. 4:1).
Here the Scriptures describe the complete unity of apostate churches (seven women), which takes hold of one man (Jesus), informing Him that while they will continue to teach their own doctrines and display their own righteousness, they wish to be called by His name to take away their reproach.
Other verses in the same book describe what God will think of this false unity:
"Behold, they shall surely gather together, but not by Me" (Isa. 54:15).
"Associate yourselves, O ye people, and ye shall be broken in pieces" (Isa. 8:9).
Just as King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon gathered all peoples and nations together to worship the golden image (Dan. 3:1-2), so all nations of earth in the last days will be compelled by the papal Antichrist to worship the beast and his image (Rev. 13:15-17).
One finds it hard to criticize those who come together and ask each other's forgiveness for wrongs done to one another. But for Protestants to repudiate Bible truth about the last days and the doctrine of salvation is inexcusable, since the Catholic Church has not renounced its support of church-state unity (with the church supreme) or its belief that unbiblical rituals such as penance and confession to priests are essential in order to receive God's forgiveness. While Christians must always speak the truth in love (Eph. 4:15), it is unthinkable for any genuine Christian to ask "forgiveness" of anyone for presenting to them the plain teachings of God's Word.
Waxing Old Like a Garment
The so-called "greenhouse effect" of increased carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is causing increased injury to animal life throughout the earth, according to a recent article in Science News.
The article states:
"The concentration of carbon dioxide (CO/2) in the atmosphere has risen steadily since the beginning of the industrial revolution and is expected to double from today's global averages in the next 50 years" (Tina Hesman, "Greenhouse Gassed," Science News, March 25, 2000, p. 200).
This increase in carbon dioxide is expected to make plants grow faster, but to reduce their nutritional value, thus exerting negative effects on both animals and humans who consume vegetation. Wildlife especially will be endangered, according to this report. "Wild ruminants won't be so lucky to have someone chasing after them giving them protein supplements" (Ibid., p. 202).
Long ago the Bible predicted:
"Lift up your eyes to the heavens, and look upon the earth beneath: for the heavens shall vanish away like smoke, and the earth shall wax old like a garment, and they that dwell therein shall die in like manner" (Isa. 51:6; see also Heb. 1:10-11).
Like so many others, this prophecy is being fulfilled today.
On the March 27, 2000 broadcast of the CBS Evening News, Tom Karl, a leading climactic expert, stated that storm systems in the United States are likely to increase 50 percent in moisture content over the next 100 years due to global warming. This, Karl claims, will have devastating effect through excessive rain, hurricanes, floods, and other disasters.
The next day, March 28, savage tornadoes ripped at the heart of Fort Worth, Texas, tearing at skyscrapers and destroying hundreds of homes. Only a few died, but the damage was estimated in the hundreds of millions.
Again we cite the modern prophet's observation:
"How frequently we hear of earthquakes and tornadoes, of destruction by fire and flood, with great loss of life and property! Apparently these calamities are capricious outbreaks of disorganized, unregulated forces of nature, wholly beyond the control of man; but in them all, God's purpose may be read. They are among the agencies by which He seeks to arouse men and women to a sense of their danger" (Prophets and Kings, p. 277).