Ecumenism and manipulation?

Please note that I’m directing this question toward posters who are favorable toward ecumenism …

Do you ever fear that you might be manipulated in an ecumenical setting?

P.S. It’s to be understood that I’m talking about intra-Christian relations, not relations with non-Christian religions.

To me it seems very clear that the Church has tilted way too far in this regard. Dialogue with the Orthodox is the correct thing to do. It has been on -going and will continue, as the goal is reconciliation. As far as bible Christianity goes, much of it has drifted so far off the mark, that reconciliation is essentially impossible and Church efforts are better focused elsewhere - like going after the millions of Catholics who have left the Church during all of this ecumenical monkey business.

I personally think ecumenism inside the Christian denominations is necessary because it is important for other Christians to learn what other christian denominations are about. Within this dialogue it is important to remain true to one’s denominational teachings but it also enables the denominations to dialogue, and learn from each other. For an instance right now Catholicism is having a difficult time maintaining and keeping it’s young population while the Evangelical churches are having a lot of success in this area. As Catholics, we can learn what they are doing and then try to apply it inside our Catholic parishes. Furthermore, the Evangelical churches are very weak in terms of contemplative prayer, and we have 2000 years worth of teaching in this are. There is no reason why the Evangelicals cannot learn from us either.

Many theologians believe ecumenism is vital for the creation of christian unity. I don’t personally believe christian unity is possible but I also do believe that is possible for us to gather together in worship, prayer as well as the numerous social issues our world is facing. God calls us to love our neighbour.

Christian ecumenism is really the bringing of various christian denominations together for a common purpose. I don’t think it is done enough on a lay level. The christian church has this amazing diversity which Christians needs to embrace more often because too often people from one denomination or another will condemn or judge the other’s teaching instead of learn about it.

What I’ve seen of ecumenism in the American Lutheran sphere has been a disaster - a complete muddle of mushiness. There as some truths Lutherans hold dear - like the True Body and Blood of Christ, but through the process of ecumenism, many Lutherans churches are in full fellowship with churches that deny the this biblical truth.

As I’ve said before, I’d rather have feisty Lutherans and feisty Catholics than some mushy middle that neither church would recognize - the process is quite dangerous when put in the hands of bureaucrats.

The type of Christian churches that would use manipulative techniques to proselytize Catholics would never get involved in ecumenism to begin with.

The Christian churches that get involved with ecumenical activities are the mainline churches (older denominations; e.g., Lutheran, Reformed, Presbyterian, Methodist, etc.). These churches are very liberal socially and theologically. They wouldn’t use manipulative techniques because they believe everyone is going to heaven (except Republicans and rich CEOs who oppress their employees).

The Christian churches that are likely to use manipulative techniques are the fundamentalist churches, and they would never become involved in ecumenical activities because they are usually separatists who avoid people who aren’t part of their churches.

The Evangelical Protestant denominations will get involved in ecumenical activities that have a stated purpose that is in agreement with their theology. E.g., many Evangelical Protestant denoms and churches but not all) will get involved with pro-life activities or with all-city prayer meetings. Most Evangelical Protestant churches and denominations do not get involved with the general ecumenical councils and movements because they don’t want to work with liberal churches who preach acceptance of abortion, homosexuality, etc.

I personally don’t think that Evangelical Protestant denominations and churches use manipulative techniques. I think they have really really GOOD music–but that isn’t manipulation. Catholics could have good music, too, if they’d stop fighting about music and just do it.

Also, Evangelical Protestants also have really really good preachers who give interesting and timely sermons–but that isn’t manipulation. Catholic parishes could have really good preachers, too (and some do!).

And Evangelical Protestants offer really really GREAT fellowship opportunities and they are generally very friendly churches–but this isn’t manipulation. Catholics could have really good fellowship opportunities and be friendly churches, too (and some are).

As for the altar call that still happens in many Evangelical Protestant worship services–I don’t consider that manipulation, because Catholics have an “altar call”, too, and it’s pretty compelling–Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament calls people to come home to the Catholic Church and and receive Him. It’s the main reason I became Catholic–I wanted to receive Jesus, Truly Present in Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity!

I guess what I’m saying here is–no, I don’t think ecumenical activities are manipulative. I think that some Catholics who are weak in their faith and who have lukewarm Catholic parishes may be attracted to churches that offer good music, preaching, and fellowship, but to me, these churches aren’t being manipulative. They’re just doing what God wants all churches, including the Catholic church, to do–preach the Gospel in word and deed.

While I have confidence in the Catholic Church to hold to doctrine, this hasn’t always been the case with our more liberal Lutheran siblings who, as you imply, seem willing to be anything the current dialogue partner wants them to be. I think it a good thing that Rome seems to be looking a bit toward the ILC and LCMS as dialogue partners. :wink:

Jon

Good post Cat. (And good posts everyone else too!) However, I wasn’t necessarily thinking of manipulation at the top level.

As an example (and just an example) in the late 90s I became involved with a large prayer group. (Without getting too specific or naming names, let’s just call it charismatic.) It had a lot of Catholics and a lot of protestants, but wasn’t officially connected to any denomination. Anyhow, the group never pressured me to leave Catholicism and become protestant (and, conversely, I don’t think protestant members were pressured to become Catholic) and yet I did, after a while, feel manipulated by the group. I won’t go into why I felt that way, but you can probably relate if you’ve ever had a similar experience.

Of course I may be a bit biased (:)) but I too have a very favorable view of Rome’s official ecumenical activities. (Not necessarily so favorable towards all unofficial Catholic engagement in “ecumenical” activities, e.g. discussion forum on the web. :o)

Benjohnson,

Seems like the Lutherans church / house built on sand /man is in chaos, some believing and not believing and in full fellowship with churches that deny this biblical truth. Jesus Christ, himself said: Mark 3:25 And if a house be divided against itself, that house cannot stand.

Matt 7: 26And every one that heareth these my words, and doth them not, shall be like a foolish man that built his house upon the sand, 27And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and they beat upon that house, and it fell, and great was the fall thereof.

Benjohnson, be like the wise man in Matt 7:24Every one therefore that heareth these my words, and doth them, shall be likened to a wise man that built his house upon a ROCK, 25And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and they beat upon that house, and it fell not, for it was founded on a rock.

Benjohnson, the Rock that Jesus Christ is referring to is His Church / House, that He founded on ROCK and not on sand nor by man.

Jesus Christ knew that in the future that there was going to be men like Martin Luther, Calvin and like my neighbor down the street who would start their own man made church 33,000 or more, the number grows on a daily bases all built on sand.

The process of ecumenism was never meant to be, because Jesus Christ built One Church. If every Christian was in this One Church, the Catholic Church, there won’t be a process such as ecumenism in the Church, you get the picture.

Also, the fact Jesus Christ has a Leader /Pope to lead his Catholic Church with Authority and Infallibility re: faith and morals Something the Lutheran church lacks the reason why Lutherans are in fellowship with churches that deny the this biblical truth.

Ufam Tobie

Benjohnson,

Seems like the Lutherans church / house built on sand /man is in chaos, some believing and not believing and in full fellowship with churches that deny this biblical truth. Jesus Christ, himself said: Mark 3:25 And if a house be divided against itself, that house cannot stand.

Matt 7: 26And every one that heareth these my words, and doth them not, shall be like a foolish man that built his house upon the sand, 27And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and they beat upon that house, and it fell, and great was the fall thereof.

Benjohnson, be like the wise man in Matt 7:24Every one therefore that heareth these my words, and doth them, shall be likened to a wise man that built his house upon a ROCK, 25And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and they beat upon that house, and it fell not, for it was founded on a rock.

Benjohnson, the Rock that Jesus Christ is referring to is His Church / House, that He founded on ROCK and not on sand nor by man.

Jesus Christ knew that in the future that there was going to be men like Martin Luther, Calvin and like my neighbor down the street who would start their own man made church 33,000 or more, the number grows on a daily bases all built on sand.

The process of ecumenism was never meant to be, because Jesus Christ built One Church. If every Christian was in this One Church, the Catholic Church, there won’t be a process such as ecumenism in the Church, you get the picture.

Also, the fact Jesus Christ has a Leader /Pope to lead his Catholic Church with Authority and Infallibility re: faith and morals Something the Lutheran church lacks the reason why Lutherans are in fellowship with churches that deny the this biblical truth.

Ufam Tobie

No. Just the ones who have drifted away from the confessions. :shrug:

Jon

You’d like Fr. Richard Simon. He’s a charter member of the catholic charismatic movement and is in the middle of a LONG explanation of the hazards and problems endemic to the charismatic movement. He’s actually a fan, mind you, which makes the critique all the greater. Find him by searching for the “Reverend Know it All.”

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