To the editor:
With interest, I read Rev. Sloneker’s article on ecumenism, or church unity. I’ve no desire to argue with what he says; therefore just to say that I don’t agree and to explain why I don’t, will do.
The Reformation came, not because of disenchantment with the Catholic Church alone, but because the Word of God was made available through the work of people like Tyndale and Wycliffe; and the invention of the printing press. The Bible became available in what the Catholic Church called “vulgar languages.” As reformers and others read the Scriptures themselves, the difference between the Catholic Church, as it was then, and Bible Christianity became apparent. It is notable that there were many “Scripture Alone” believers before the Reformation who predated the more familiar reformers, Luther and Calvin.
More important than the history of the Reformation is the matter of Christian unity. Real and vital Christian unity is a spiritual unity that exists presently in all who believe in their heart that Jesus is Lord, and confess to him, with their mouth. (Romans 10:9, 10) It has always existed since the time of Christ. Indeed, could the Lord Jesus have prayed for this unity (see John 17th Chapter), and his prayer not have been answered? What then is the logical answer to this; and who are the ones who are the true Body of Christ? They are the ones who believe in their hearts in Jesus Christ as he is revealed in Holy Scripture. They are saved by grace through faith and they are the body of Christ. They may be Catholic, Baptist, Presbyterian, Methodist, or any other name that men give churches, but the main thing is they share a common heart belief in the Lord Jesus Christ.
How about the other people who occupy pew space, but their belief is merely normal? You can read a parable that may be applied to them in Matthew 13:24-30, the parable of the wheat and tares. There always have been and always will be, within every local congregation, those who believe in their heart and those who do not. Rather than work for an outward and superficial ecumenism, it is far better to preach God’s Word, and present Jesus Christ as he is revealed in Scripture, so that those for whom he died may hear the Word, and come in repentance to God, the Holy Father, and by faith to the Lord Jesus Christ.