Yesterday, I saw the following article:
From The Times March 6, 2008
That Martin Luther? He wasn’t so bad, says Pope
Pope Benedict XVI is to rehabilitate Martin Luther, arguing that he did not intend to split Christianity but only to purge the Church of corrupt practices.
Pope Benedict will issue his findings on Luther (1483-1546) in September after discussing him at his annual seminar of 40 fellow theologians — known as the Ratzinger Schülerkreis — at Castelgandolfo, the papal summer residence. According to Vatican insiders the Pope will argue that Luther, who was excommunicated and condemned for heresy, was not a heretic.
Cardinal Walter Kasper, the head of the pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, said the move would help to promote ecumenical dialogue between Catholics and Protestants. http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/comment/faith/article3492299.ece
Interestingly, some of the Orthodox want to be closer to Rome as well.
Born as Dimitrios Arhondonis, he has been known as the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I since 1991
This morning I saw the following article:
CNS News – March 6, 2008
VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Pope Benedict XVI and Orthodox Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople spent almost half an hour speaking privately March 6 before going into a small Vatican chapel to pray together…The patriarch was in Rome to help mark the 90th anniversary of the Jesuit-run Pontifical Oriental Institute, where he earned his doctoral degree.
The patriarch delivered a lecture on “theology, liturgy and silence,” focusing on how the spiritual experience of Eastern Christianity can promote Christian unity and respond to the needs of modern men and women.
Patriarch Bartholomew praised the Oriental Institute’s commitment to promoting the study of the Orthodox and Eastern Catholic churches and its contributions to Christian unity, particularly by highlighting the Eastern tradition in the heart of the Catholic Church…
He told students and professors of the Oriental Institute and several Vatican officials, “We must at all times be prepared to create new openings and to build bridges, ever deepening our relationship with God, with other people and with creation itself.”
The patriarch also said theologians and pastors would benefit by remembering that the early church fathers, recognized by both Orthodox and Catholics, “never perceived theology as a monopoly of the professional academic or the official hierarchy”…
Patriarch Bartholomew said it also is essential that as Catholics and Orthodox work toward restoring their unity neither should undertake “provocative initiatives” in ministry, apparently echoing the concerns of some Orthodox churches, particularly the Russian Orthodox Church, about the re-establishment of Catholic dioceses in traditionally Orthodox regions. http://www.catholicnews.com/data/stories/cns/0801277.htm
It is clear to me that the current Pope is determined to unify with the Orthodox and the Lutherans. And while he may not get them all (like I believe that the Russian Orthodox will not be tied in as close as the rest of the Orthodox to the Vatican), it appears that ultimately most of the non-US Lutherans and non-Russian Orthodox will at least partially merge with the Vatican.
As I reported before, the Orthodox Patriarch Bartholomew (I) Wants Unity with Rome. However, I strongly believe that the Orthodox Must Reject Unity with the Roman Catholics. This current movement, which sadly will probably include most of the Orthodox, will not be good.
But not all the Orthodox or Lutherans have to go along with unity with the Romans.
Individually, the Orthodox Must Reject Unity with the Roman Catholics. And so should the Lutherans as the Bible warns about such a future confederation (Revelation 18:4).
But the truth is that the Eastern Orthodox and Lutheran leaders have rejected the concept of a millennial reign of Christ on the earth–as has the current pontiff (please see the article Did The Early Church Teach Millenarianism and a 6000 Year Plan? which has quotes from the Pope, the Orthodox, and Lutherans).
And thus in various ways, they sadly will see more common ground with the Vatican than bible believers like are in the Living Church of God.
(The Pope is also planning on meeting with the Muslims that has other prophetic ramifications–more information on that is at the GCG News page.)
Several articles of possibly related interest may include:
Hope of Salvation: How the Living Church of God differ from most Protestants How the Living Church of God differs from mainstream/traditional Protestants, is perhaps the question I am asked most by those without a Church of God background.
The Similarities and Dissimilarities between Martin Luther and Herbert W. Armstrong This article clearly shows some of the doctrinal differences between in the two. At this time of doctrinal variety and a tendency by many to accept certain aspects of Protestantism, the article should help clarify why the Living Church of God is NOT Protestant. Do you really know what the Protestant Reformer Martin Luther taught and should you follow his doctrinal example?
Which Is Faithful: The Roman Catholic Church or the Living Church of God? Do you know that both groups shared a lot of the earliest teachings? Do you know which church changed? Do you know which group is most faithful to the teachings of the apostolic church? Which group best represents true Christianity? This documented article answers those questions.
Some Similarities and Differences Between the Orthodox Church and the Living Church of God Both groups have some amazing similarities and some major differences. Do you know what they are?