Question: I’ve heard and read statements by evangelical leaders justifying their involvement in the obvious ecumenism of the A.D. 2000 movement by saying that they can work with “anyone who calls Jesus Lord.” What could be wrong with this?
Answer: Such evangelical leaders have apparently forgotten Christ’ s solemn warning that many who call Him Lord are not truly His: “Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord,...and then will I profess unto them, I never knew you” (Mt 7:21-23). Roman Catholics, Mormons and many others who have a false gospel nevertheless “call Jesus Lord.” Obviously this statement doesn’t prove that a person is a Christian and, therefore, provides insufficient basis for working together in evangelism with those who profess it.
There are other unbiblical criteria which evangelical leaders use to rationalize their increasing ecumenism. A recent letter sent out by Charles Colson justifies ECTs (and his) acceptance of all active Catholics as “brothers and sisters in Christ” on the basis of their agreement with the Apostles’ Creed. In fact, the Apostles’ Creed is misnamed. It was never recited by the apostles, but was invented much later. Even Catholic encyclopedias admit that it was never quoted by any of the apostles. Furthermore, it is defective in that it does not contain the gospel that alone saves (Rm 1:16; 1 Cor:15:1-4, etc.). It tells us that “Christ suffered under Pontius Pilate,” but fails to tell us that He suffered for our sins, much less that such suffering was eternally sufficient!
Obviously, then, it is folly to embrace as brothers and sisters in Christ all those who “call Jesus Lord” and profess the so-called Apostles’ Creed. Yet this is what Colson, Bright, Packer, Robertson, et al. have done.