The ecumenical movement has been founded upon the following verses found in chapter seventeen of Gospel of John.
“I do not pray for these alone, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word; that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that you sent Me.” John 17:20-21
Jesus prayed to the Father for the unity of believers in the Father and the Son so that the world would believe that the Father sent Jesus Christ. In order to understand these verses we need to biblically define belief, unity, being in the Father and the Son, and the world. Let’s start with the world first.
Jesus Christ defines the world for us in John chapter fifteen.
These things I command you, that you love one another. If the world hates you, you know that it hated Me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love its own. Yet because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. Remember the word that I said to you, ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you. If they kept My word they will keep yours also. But all these things they will do to you for My name’s sake, because they do not know Him who sent Me. If I had not come and spoken to them, they would have no sin, but now they have no excuse for their sin. He who hates Me hates My Father also. If I had not done among them the works which no one else did, they would have no sin; but now they have seen and also hated both Me and My Father. But this happened that the word might be fulfilled which is written in their law. ‘They hated Me without a cause.’ John 15:17-25
The world is those who reject the testimony of Jesus Christ; specifically in these verses Jesus Christ was referring to the Jewish nation. The Jews were very religious, they studied the Word of God, and they were zealous for their faith. Yet, when their Messiah came to them, they rejected Him. We can, therefore, based upon the Word of God, classify the world as those who reject the testimony of Jesus Christ which is in the Word of God. This definition would then include all those religious bodies that add to or take away from the Word of God concerning the person and work of Jesus Christ. We can then categorically state that this includes the vast majority of the professing church. The world, according to the Scriptures, would include the Catholic, Orthodox, and Protestant churches because they either add to or take away from the Scriptural testimony of Jesus Christ. Given this definition of the world then how can we join with these apostate bodies and how would that bring the world to believe in Jesus Christ.
Working our way backwards through the terms that need definition, let’s look at the phrase, being in the Father and the Son. Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior again gives the definition that clarifies this phrase in the gospel of John the fourteenth chapter.
Jesus answered and said to him, “If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him. John 14:23
Notice the proof that anyone loves Jesus Christ is that they will keep His word, and the Father and the Son will make their home with that person. The problem with most of the professing Christian church is that they don’t keep Jesus Christ’s word. They profess love for Jesus Christ but by their actions they deny Him.
They profess to know God, but in works they deny Him, being abominable, disobedient, and disqualified for every good work. Titus 1:16
Again in John chapter fourteen Jesus declares that we prove our love for Him as we keep His commandments.
“If you love Me, keep My commandments. And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with your forever-the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you. I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. A little while longer and the world will see Me no more, but you will see Me. Because I live, you will live also. At that day you will know that I am in My Father, and you in Me, and I in you. John 14:15-21
By definition the world cannot be one with the Father and the Son because the world does not love Jesus Christ, does not keep His commandments and does not have the Holy Spirit indwelling them. Therefore, true believers in Jesus Christ cannot be one with the world. Unity with the religious world, which is not a part of Christ’s kingdom, is not going to convince the unbelieving world of anything concerning the truth of the Scriptures about Jesus Christ. The unbelieving world might be converted to falsehood by ecumenical unity, but certainly not to our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and His truth.
If we look at the biblical definition of unity we will find that it is far different from the unity of the ecumenical movement. They define unity in terms of love, service, and opposing the evil in the world of unbelievers, but the unity is not centered on Jesus Christ and His truth which is our biblical mandate as believers in Jesus Christ. Notice that unity is found in the Holy Spirit, the uniqueness of the gospel and Jesus Christ in the verses that follow.
…endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all and in you all. Ephesians 4:3-6
Only let your conduct be worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or am absent, I may hear of your affairs, that you stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel. Philippians 1:27
And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ; that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting,.. Ephesians 4:11-13
Unity is clearly centered upon Jesus Christ and the indwelling Holy Spirit. It is not based upon the decisions of man. Unity is defined as that which is common among believers (faith, salvation, the Word of God, the Holy Spirit, Jesus Christ, the Father, brotherly love, ministry for building up believers in their faith), not activities or mere mental assent to minimalized doctrine that rejects the uniqueness of the Son and the Father and genuine saving faith.
Finally, we need to examine from the Bible what belief truly is. Belief as defined in the Scriptures as faith in Jesus Christ, who He is and what He has done for us. Belief is placed squarely in the gospel.
Now to him who works, the wages are not counted as grace but as debt. But to him who does not work but believes on Him who justifies the ungodly; his faith is accounted for righteousness,… Romans 4:4-5
…that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead you will be saved. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For the Scripture says, “Whoever believes on Him will not be put to shame.” For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek, for the same Lord over all is rich to all who call upon Him. For “whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.” How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach unless they are sent? As it is written: “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the gospel of peace, Who bring glad tidings of good things!” But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Isaiah says, “Lord who has believed our report?” So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. Romans 10:9-17
Moreover, brethren, I declare to you the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received and in which you stand, by which also you are saved, if you hold fast the word which I preached to you-unless you believed in vain. For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures,… 1 Corinthians 15:1-4
To believe in the gospel of Jesus Christ means believing in who He is and what He has done for us. He is the Messiah who alone has taken the punishment that our sins deserve, is raised from the dead and at the right hand of the Father. The exclusivity of the gospel of Jesus Christ makes it impossible for His children to join with unbelievers, no matter how religious, in a false unity in order to win the world.
Instead of joining with unbelievers in a false unity for the so called sake of the world, we need to reject the ecumenical movement, come out from among them, and share the gospel with the lost, including the religious lost.
Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness? 2 Corinthians 6:14
Therefore “Come out from among them And be separate, says the Lord. Do no touch what is unclean, And I will receive you.” 2 Corinthians 6:17
Now then, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were pleading through us: we implore you on Christ’s behalf, be reconciled to God. 2 Corinthians 5:20
The unity that believers share with their Savior Jesus Christ and our Father in heaven, and the unity that we have with one another through the love of the Spirit is matchless, reserved only for those who belong to Jesus Christ through repentant faith in Him. We can disdain and reject the false unity striven for by the ecumenical movement which is driven by the devil and will ultimately result in the blasphemous one world religious system used by the Antichrist to subjugate the world. This is the whore of the book of Revelation. Therefore, come out from among them and be separate! God bless you.