The Doctrine of Interfaith
There are many religious entities that believe all that claim allegiance to God have a common faith to some degree or another. They also believe that it is this commonality that binds all that claim to be children of God. This is referred to as interfaith or ecumenism. What they believe is that all denominations make up the whole of God's church.
I understand this is done principally in the name of peace and fellowship. People argue this by the use of a couple of scriptures among others:
Joh 17:11 And I am no more in the world, and these are in the world, and I come to thee. Holy Father, keep them in thy name which thou hast given me, that they may be one, even as we are.
Php 2:1-5 If there is therefore any exhortation in Christ, if any consolation of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any tender mercies and compassions, make full my joy, that ye be of the same mind, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind; doing nothing through faction or through vainglory, but in lowliness of mind each counting other better than himself; not looking each of you to his own things, but each of you also to the things of others. Have this mind in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:
This is not an uncommon belief but is still a false doctrine none the less. Anyone can determine the truth that denominations are different and choose to practice religion differently due to their varying interpretations of the scriptures. These varying interpretations are due to pride and lust. In order for a denomination or religion to be acceptable, or tolerant, to another teaching they have to accept a doctrine of acceptance to deviance from the scriptures. Even worse they have to believe that God has some acceptance of this type of belief. But generally this doctrine is advanced in the name of peace as indicated by statements such as:
"There will be no peace among the nations without peace among the religions. There will be no peace among the religions without dialogue among the religions."
People, such as Lutheran Theologian Edmund Schink, also argue that "Christians" can be unified as long as there is the concept of "sister churches". This is a phrase that dates back to the 12th century. This is rooted in doctrines involving both Systematics, of one type or another, and some form of liberal theology (also known as liberal Christianity). Depending on the theology referenced these can be severely opposing doctrines. The former relying on perceived dogmatics of scriptures and the latter relying on a release from the belief of the inerrancy of the scriptures. Both concepts have the common goal of bringing together people of different denominations. The theology of Systematics have largely given way to the liberal theology, particularly in America. By using dogma, or creedal statements, falsely derived from the scriptures, this theology seeks to find common ground between all denominations. Inversely, liberal Christianity (or new Christianity) seeks to find common ground between all denominations based on everyone believing in Christ but some simply not maturing in the word as much as others.
Give attention to the following scripture:
Eph 4:1-6 I therefore, the prisoner in the Lord, beseech you to walk worthily of the calling wherewith ye were called, with all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love; giving diligence to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body, and one Spirit, even as also ye were called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is over all, and through all, and in all.
Our unity with anyone in the Spirit is dependent on both parties being believers. This does not mean they simply confess to be a Christian of some type. A careful study of the scriptures revels that a believer is defined as one who obeys God. That means that unity in the Spirit only comes within the definition of the given word of God. This is epitomized by the phrase, "one faith" in Verse 5 above in conjunction with Romans 10:17.
The scriptures tell us that we must deal with the world but not be a part of the world by accepting, advocating, or enabling it's works.
1Co 2:12 But we received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is from God; that we might know the things that were freely given to us of God.
Rom 12:2 And be not fashioned according to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, and ye may prove what is the good and acceptable and perfect will of God.
2Co 6:14-18 Be not unequally yoked with unbelievers: for what fellowship have righteousness and iniquity? or what communion hath light with darkness? And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what portion hath a believer with an unbeliever? And what agreement hath a temple of God with idols? for we are a temple of the living God; even as God said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. Wherefore Come ye out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, And touch no unclean thing; And I will receive you, And will be to you a Father, And ye shall be to me sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.
We are to deal with the world which is the enemy of God and therefore our enemy but we are to do so in a manner that is consistent with the Spirit.
Mat 5:43-48 Ye have heard that it was said, Thou shalt love thy neighbor, and hate thine enemy: but I say unto you, love your enemies, and pray for them that persecute you; that ye may be sons of your Father who is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sendeth rain on the just and the unjust. For if ye love them that love you, what reward have ye? do not even the publicans the same? And if ye salute your brethren only, what do ye more than others? do not even the Gentiles the same? Ye therefore shall be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.
Rom 12:20-21 But if thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him to drink: for in so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire upon his head. Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good.
We overcome evil by doing what is good, which is to say, we perform the acts of righteousness. We absolutely do not compromise the word of God, or make concessions of the spirit with those that practice sin, for the sake of peace and fellowship with anyone.
2Pe 2:1-3 But there arose false prophets also among the people, as among you also there shall be false teachers, who shall privily bring in destructive heresies, denying even the Master that bought them, bringing upon themselves swift destruction. And many shall follow their lascivious doings; by reason of whom the way of the truth shall be evil spoken of. And in covetousness shall they with feigned words make merchandise of you: whose sentence now from of old lingereth not, and their destruction slumbereth not.
1Th 5:1-6 But concerning the times and the seasons, brethren, ye have no need that aught be written unto you. For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night. When they are saying, Peace and safety, then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall in no wise escape. But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief: for ye are all sons of light, and sons of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness; so then let us not sleep, as do the rest, but let us watch and be sober.
Patrick Hutto September 15, 2013