DW: 500 years after Luther and the Diet of Worms the ecumenical movement is strong

Martin Luther at the Diet of Worms, by Anton von Werner, 1877


Deutsche Welle reported the following:

500 years after Luther and the Diet of Worms the ecumenical movement is strong

16 April 2021

Showdown in Worms: Five centuries ago the monk and the emperor went face to face. Martin Luther refused to withdraw his criticism of what he saw as corruption and venality in the Catholic Church. The rest is history. …

Their showdown in April 1521 would later be seen as one of the decisive steps in what became known as the Protestant reformation.

Jubilation for Luther

Three and a half years earlier, Luther had shaken the Christian world when he published his famous Ninety-five Theses in the town of Wittenberg.

Already a well-known figure in the German-speaking world, he met with jubilation as he made his way from Wittenberg to Worms, further south. Contemporary sources report that he was accompanied by “a cheering crowd.”

Now, once again, there is a celebration in the city of Worms as it marks the 500th anniversary and this very special weekend. …

Ecumenical impact growing

And now, 500 years on? How successful is the ecumenical movement that aims to build bridges between the two main branches of the Christian church in today’s Germany?

Taking Worms as an example, the latest figures from March this year show that the city has a population of just under 85,000. Of that number, 28.3% are Lutheran Protestants, while 23.4% are Catholics. Jutta Herbert insists that Worms is not only a Luther city but also a cathedral city. That is: it is both Protest and Catholic.

“Here in Worms, Catholics and Lutherans work very closely together,” says Herbert, who speaks of “tried-and-tested cooperation.” Never before have ecumenical considerations been so central to commemorative events marking the historic days of 1521. Among the speakers during the main ceremony, Steinmeier will also be joined by the head of Germany’s Lutheran Protestant church, Heinrich Bedford-Strohm alongside the Catholic Bishop of Mainz, Peter Kohlgraf. https://www.dw.com/en/500-years-after-luther-and-the-diet-of-worms-the-ecumenical-movement-is-strong/a-57230023

Roman Catholics, Lutherans, and other Greco-Roman churches have been trying to use major anniversaries to push an ecumenical agenda.

An agenda, that Martin Luther, obviously was not in favor of when he left the Church of Rome.

That being said, the Roman Church has changed on many of the points that Martin Luther protested about.

So, yes, the sides are much closer together than they were 500 or so years ago.

Now, we in the Continuing Church of God are NOT Protestant nor part of the Roman Catholic-Lutheran ecumenical efforts.

Here is something related to the ecumenical movement that many Protestants have embraced from our free online book: Hope of Salvation: How the Continuing Church of God Differs from Protestantism:

Currently, the Protestant world is split on ecumenism.

Notice something in favour of it from the Lutherans:

The Lutheran World Federation (LWF) General Secretary, Rev. Dr Martin Junge has sent greetings to the president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity (PCPCU), Cardinal Kurt Koch, to mark the 60th anniversary of the founding of the Vatican’s ecumenical office. In the congratulatory letter, the Lutheran leader says that, for the past sixty years, this office has “forged a way forward on the path of ecumenism”. (LWF’s General Secretary sends greetings to PCPCU President recalling longstanding ecumenical relationship LWF, June 8, 2020)

Although the Lutherans and many Protestants in places like Europe seem to favour it, many American Protestants (particularly among the Evangelicals and certain Baptists) are currently opposed to it.

Early Protestant leaders were bitterly opposed to ecumenical unity with the Church of Rome:

(1) Martin Luther: … We here are of the conviction that the Papacy is the seat of the true and real antichrist …

(2) John Calvin: I deny him to be the vicar of Christ. … He is an antichrist — I deny him to be the head of the Church (John Calvin Tracts, Volume 1, pages 219, 220). (Standish CD, Standish RR. The Evangelical Dilemma. Hartland Publications, 1996, p. 162)

Samuel Lee (a seventeenth century Rhode Island minister): It is agreed among all main lines of the English Church that the Roman pontiff is the Antichrist (Samuel Lee, The Cutting off of Antichrist, p. 1). (Standish CD, Standish RR. The Antichrist is Here. Hartland Publications, 1988, p. 16)

As far as the final Antichrist goes, the position of the CCOG is that the false prophet of Revelation 16:13, 19:20, and 20:10 will likely be some type of antipope who will initially claim the Roman Catholic religion, but will betray the church of the “great city” of Rome (cf. Revelation 17:15-18). Consistent with a teaching sometimes ascribed to Polycarp, we teach that the King of the North Beast is 666. It is not likely that Polycarp would have taught that the Church of Rome was the Antichrist as it did not have a massive amount influence in Polycarp’s day. That being said, in the 2nd century both Polycarp and Polycrates denounced Rome for its change of the date of Passover, not holding to scripture, and essentially seeking ecumenical unity.

Yet now, even many American Protestant leaders like Kenneth Copeland, Joel Osteen, and Rick Warren have endorsed aspects of ecumenical unity with Rome. Furthermore, the late Billy Graham was quite ecumenical with the Church of Rome (Bynum EL. Why We Cannot Support The Billy Graham Crusade. Tract # G-603. TABERNACLE BAPTIST CHURCH, Lubbock, Texas).

In 2020 it was reported:

Almost two-thirds of Protestant pastors view Pope Francis as a genuine Christian and their “brother in Christ.” … Five hundred years ago, Protestants were calling the Pope, “AntiChrist” as they were tortured and killed for their unwillingness to compromise … (Gendron M. Is Roman Catholicism Still a Mission Field? Proclaiming the Gospel newsletter, March 2020)

Martin Luther, himself, specifically taught that the Roman Catholic Church was the “great harlot of the Apocalypse” (O’Hare PF. The Facts About Luther, originally 1916, 1987 ed., p.9).

Let’s notice some of the “great harlot” chapter in scripture that Martin Luther said pictured the Church of Rome:

5 And on her forehead a name was written: MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND OF THE ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH. (Revelation 17:5)

9 “Here is the mind which has wisdom: The seven heads are seven mountains on which the woman sits. … 18 And the woman whom you saw is that great city which reigns over the kings of the earth.” (Revelation 17:9,18)

Rome is the famous city of seven hills/mountains and even Roman Catholic scholars admit that Revelation 17:9 is a reference to Rome—though they say it is to the old Roman Empire and not their church (e.g. Kurz, W. What Does the Bible Say About the End Times? A Catholic View. Servant Books, Cincinnati, pp. 165-166).

Notice what the Church of Rome has taught:

The MOTHER CHURCH of Christendom lovingly invites the descendants of all the CHILDREN torn from her bosom by irrelevant issues to return to the practice of their forebears [meaning the Roman Catholic Church] (90 Common Questions about the Catholic Faith, by John O’Brien, p. 11 as cited in McNair R. Why Church Unity Eludes Theologians. Plain Truth, September 1968)

The Church recognizes that in many ways she is linked with those who, being baptized, are honored with the name of Christian, though they do not profess the faith in its entirety or do not preserve unity of communion with the successor of Peter. … the desire to be peacefully united, in the manner determined by Christ, as one flock under one shepherd, and He prompts them to pursue this end. Mother Church never ceases to pray, hope and work that this may come about. She exhorts her children to purification and renewal so that the sign of Christ may shine more brightly over the face of the earth. (Pope Paul VI. Dogmatic Constitution of the Church, Lumen Gentium. Promulgated on November 21, 1964)

In at least two places in the Catechism of the Catholic Church (#1163 & 1667) the Church of Rome calls itself the “Holy Mother Church.” And it wants unity with the Protestants it considers its daughters.

The idea that Rome claims to be the mother of the Protestants and other churches of this world is clear from the following which is on the outside of St. John Lateran Church, which is within the seven hills of Rome:

Inscription in the Basilica of St. John Lateran
(photo by Joyce Thiel)

Translated from the Latin it states:

Sacred Lateran Church Mother and Head of All Churches of the City and the World

The Basilica of St. John Lateran is the cathedral of the Bishop of Rome, that contains its papal throne (Cathedra Romana), This is the official ecclesiastical seat of the Pope (it ranks above all other churches in the Roman Catholic Church, even above St. Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican).

So, it is clear to all who will see that the Vatican claims to be the Mother of the World’s Churches. And the Bible warns that Mystery Babylon is the Mother of the WORLD’s churches. However, the Vatican is NOT the mother of the Church of God which preceded the formation of the Church of Rome and did not come from the Church of Rome. Yet, the Protestants did come from the Church of Rome (and even many Protestants who claim otherwise still hold Roman Catholic doctrines which are in conflict with scripture).

17th and 18th century Church of God writers considered that the Protestant (including Puritans who claimed to be “proper Protestants”) movement was a failure as it did not reform enough (Ball, p. 14) and because it retained papal pronouncements (Saller W. An Examination of a late book published by Doctor Owen … A Sacred Day of Rest. 1671, London, pp. 32,35; Ball, pp. 12,319; Philotheos, p. 67). A Sabbatarian of that period said he “abandoned Babylon’s customs and traditions” that Protestants had (Ball, p. 273).

The position of the late WCG evangelist Dean Blackwell was that the Protestant Reformation, itself, was prophesied to arise (Revelation 2:24-25) during the Thyatira church era (it did), to be unfaithful to scripture (it has been), and was essentially a Satanic plot to try to swallow up the faithful who believed in a version of sola Scriptura (Blackwell DC. A Handbook of Church History. Chapter V – Series: 1: Waldenses and Anabaptists. Ambassador College Thesis, 1973, pp. 20-21).

The essentially official position of the old Worldwide Church of God, itself, was that the Protestants were the harlot daughters of Mystery Babylon (Revelation 17:4-5) and daughters of Jezebel (Revelation 2:22-23) that arose in the 1500s (and subsequent centuries). And that many of those remaining Protestants who would not repent, would be destroyed after the start of the Great Tribulation consistent with Revelation 2:23 (LESSON 51, AMBASSADOR COLLEGE BIBLE CORRESPONDENCE COURSE “And the woman fled into the wilderness, where she hath a place …” Rev. 12:6. Ambassador College, 1968). The CCOG prayer is that Protestants who do not respond now, but survive into the Great Tribulation, will be part of the “great multitude” that comes out of that tribulation (Revelation 7:9-14).

Lutherans, Anglicans, and Rome

Despite biblical warnings, many Protestants are pushing for more unity with Rome.

Without citing Rome, part of the claimed Lutheran doctrinal continuity is its adherence to Greco-Roman documents. Notice the following Lutheran teaching from 1577:

The Apostles Creed, the Nicene Creed, and the Athanasian Creed, we pledge ourselves to them, and hereby reject all heresies and dogmas which, contrary to them, have been introduced into the Church of God. (Bente F, Dau WHT, editors. Concordia Triglotta: Die Symbolischen Bücher Der Evangèlisch-lutherischen Kirche, Deutsch-lateinisch-englisch. Northwestern 1931, p. 777)

But the actual Church of God could never have accepted the Athanasian Creed, such as it contains unscriptural parts such as:

And in this Trinity none is before after another; none is greater or less than another;

But the whole three persons are coeternal with each other and coequal, so that in all things, as has been stated above, the Trinity in Unity and Unity in Trinity is to be worshiped.

Therefore, whoever desires to be saved must think thus about the Trinity.

Jesus taught the Father was greater than He (John 14:28) and there is nothing in scripture stating that having a particular belief in the ‘trinity’ is necessary for salvation (cf. Acts 2:38). The acceptance of this creed shows another fallacy of the Lutheran view of salvation.

A Lutheran source asserts that the Athanasian Creed has been in use since the 6th century (The Athanasian Creed. Redeemer Lutheran Church. https://redeemer-fortwayne.org/what-we-believe/the-athanasian-creed/ accessed 06/22/20). Hence, it obviously does not reflect original Christian doctrine in many ways—but it was accepted by the Greek Orthodox, Roman Catholic, Lutherans, and other churches. It should perhaps be pointed out that the oldest known form of the “creed” (called the “old Roman form”) was NOT trinitarian.

Meetings and Declarations

Over the past several decades, the Roman Catholics have held a lot of ecumenical meetings to point out similarities. In terms of the Lutherans, two groundbreaking events of their ecumenical dialogue was a joint statement on the doctrine of Justification by Faith in 1983 and the Joint Declaration on the Doctrine of Justification (JDDJ) on October 31, 1999.

In February 2014, Anglican Episcopal Bishop Tony Palmer pointed to that last document and stated:

The protests have been over for 15 years … If there is no more protests, how can there be a Protestant church … We now teach the same gospel, we now teach the same faith … The protest is over, the protest is over. Brothers and sisters, Luther’s protest is over. Is yours?

In October 2017, the archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, presented a text by the Anglican community affirming a joint declaration by the Roman Catholic church and global Protestant bodies which was described as “a sign of healing after 500 years of division.”

Additionally, notice some from 2020:

A historical “Ecumenical Charter” was signed by Seventh-day Adventists, Roman Catholics, Orthodox, Anglicans, Evangelicals and Methodists on January 25th, in Bologna, Italy. The charter says that “the most important task of the Churches is to proclaim the Gospel together through word and action, for the salvation of all human beings. (Gendron M. Catholics Seek Unity with SDA’s and Evangelicals. Proclaiming the Gospel newsletter, March 2020)

Yes, many within the Protestant world believe that they are basically unattached versions of the same church based in Rome. The ecumenical movement is pushing ahead.

The SDA signer of the “Ecumenical Charter” was SDA Pastor Giovanni Caccamo, who was the former Secretary of the Italian Union of Seventh-day Adventist Churches.

However, it should be noted that the Inter-European Division of the SDA church denounced that signing, essentially stating that it went too far towards unity (Statement on the position of the Inter-European Division on the involvement of an Italian Seventh-day Adventist Pastor in the signing of the Ecumenical Charter of the Council of the Christian Churches of Bologna. Press release EUD: “Charta Ecumenica di Bologna”. February 24, 2020). So, some SDAs have opposition. Yet officially, “Seventh-day Adventists … stress the conviction that many Roman Catholics are brothers and sisters in Christ” (How Seventh-day Adventists View Roman Catholicism. This statement was recorded on April 15, 1997, by the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists Administrative Committee (ADCOM) and released by the Office of the President, Robert S. Folkenberg).

Notice, now, something written from a Protestant against those who dare to resist the ecumenical movement (bolding added):

The Latter Rain is God’s great end-time ministry. This concept, as revealed in the Bible, comprises the restitution of the church to it’s rightful place, the enormous last day revival soon to come, and the harvest of souls before the great and terrible Day of the Lord. It is the outpouring of the Holy Spirit upon all flesh promised to us in the last days and the restoration of apostolic and prophetic gifts. It has been explained like this, the latter rain, the latter reign and the latter rein; first the spiritual outpouring, then the spirit and Bride says come in power and authority and then the ingathering. (Atkinson J. The Latter Rain. The Latter Rain Page. http://latter-rain.com/eschae/latter.htm retrieved 03/29/19)

The worst churches in Christendom are not those that need to repent but those in pride that are unwilling to repent, especially those that are opposed to ecumenicism. They are easy to identify, they think that they are the chosen saints of God, they have an illiberal nature and are intolerant of others, self-righteous, they oppose dialogue, independent, a sinful spirit of division and particularistic exclusivism. … The Lord has given Christians the grace to reconcile the children to their Fathers As One Body We prepare for the Marriage Supper of the Lamb Harvest the Fruit of the Latter Rain Follow Him as the Army of the Lord into His Glory (Atkinson J. Ecumenical. The Latter Rain Page. http://latter-rain.com/kingdom/ecu.htm retrieved 03/28/19)

The assertion that Jesus came so that the world would be united in this age is false (cf. Matthew 10:34-38; information concerning the biblical truth about the “latter rain” can be found in the free online book: Universal OFFER of Salvation, Apokatastasis: Can God save the lost in an age to come? Hundreds of scriptures reveal God’s plan of salvation).

Notice what Jesus actually taught:

34 “Do not think that I came to bring peace on earth. I did not come to bring peace but a sword. 35 For I have come to ‘set a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law’; 36 and ‘a man’s enemies will be those of his own household.’ 37 He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me. 38 And he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me. 39 He who finds his life will lose it, and he who loses his life for My sake will find it. (Matthew 10:34-39)

51 Do you suppose that I came to give peace on earth? I tell you, not at all, but rather division. (Luke 12:51)

Protestant and other religious leaders who profess Christ and the interfaith and ecumenical agendas clearly are overlooking what Jesus taught. Jesus taught His people should be willing to stand alone, even among family members. Let it be pointed out that in the first half of the 21st century a ‘revival’ will come to Europe and other lands. Many Protestants will applaud this and some have long hoped for this and some have called it “the blessed reflex” (Martin S. ‘The Blessed Reflex’ is Re-Evangelizing Europe. Love for His People, March 10, 2020). Yet, the Bible warns against the type of improper religious unity that will occur before the second coming of Jesus.

The Apostle Paul taught that true unity of faith would not happen until after Jesus returns:

13 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; (Ephesians 4:13)

While getting along peaceably with one another is biblically promoted (cf. Romans 12:18), those who believe that true unity of faith comes prior to Jesus’ return are in error. We are not ‘perfect’ until after He comes (cf. 1 John 1:8). The prophesied unity of faith does not happen prior to Jesus’ return.

Understand that Pope Francis considers “all believers” daughters of the Church of Rome:

“In drawing close to Mary,” the Pope elaborated, “the Church discovers herself, She finds her center and her unity.”

“The enemy of our human nature,” the devil, the Jesuit Pope warned, “seeks instead to divide, highlight differences, ideologies, partisan thinking and parties. But we do not understand the Church if we regard her by starting with structures, programs and trends, ideologies and functions. We may grasp something, but not the heart of the Church. Because the Church has a mother’s heart.”

The Holy Father encouraged all believers, as her sons and daughters, “invoke today the Mother of God, who gathers us together as a people of believers.” (Lubov DC. Pope on New Year’s Day: ‘Let’s Stand & Acclaim the Lady, the Holy Mother of God’ … ‘All Together Now, Three Times’. Zenit, January 1, 2020)

Pope Francis is referring to, at least, the Protestants as its daughters (cf. Revelation 17:5). Francis does not want people to look at true doctrinal differences, nor apparently warnings from the word of God. Francis wants unity—his way.

Lutherans tend to believe that the Church of Rome was the true church, but since it would not correct the errors it had, it had to form. Now that Rome has adopted nearly all the changes that Martin Luther objected to, Lutherans and many others seem to want to embrace unity with Rome.

Perhaps it should also be pointed out that the Muslims tend to revere Mary. Pope Francis has often used his version of ‘Mary’ to promote both ecumenical and interfaith unity.

Although some Protestants have warned that the Roman Catholic “Mary” may be the “image of the beast” (e.g. Hull. England’s Fall is Babylon’s Triumph: An Original Interpretation of the Apocalypse, with a Special Reference to the Greek Church. J. Pulleyn, 1855, p. 94), many Protestants have accepted unbiblical aspects of Marianism. A female involved with sorcery, signs, and lying wonders is warned against in scripture (cf. Isaiah 47:8-9; Nahum 3:4; 2 Thessalonians 2:9-12; Revelation 18:7-8,23).

Do Not Be Unequally Yoked

We in the Continuing Church of God do not consider we should be yoked together with Protestants, as we do not see Protestantism as a reflection of the original and true faith.

While many of those who do not wish to accept the biblical and original Christian faith want unity with Rome, the Apostle Paul warned about believers being yoked together with unbelievers, including idolaters:

14 Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness? 15 And what accord has Christ with Belial? Or what part has a believer with an unbeliever? 16 And what agreement has the temple of God with idols? For you are the temple of the living God. As God has said:

“I will dwell in them And walk among them. I will be their God, And they shall be My people.”

17 Therefore

“Come out from among them And be separate, says the Lord. Do not touch what is unclean, And I will receive you.”

18 ‘I will be a Father to you, And you shall be My sons and daughters, Says the Lord Almighty.” (2 Corinthians 6:14-18)

Christians are to be separate from paganism. Those who accept the true God as their Father must realize that. Isaiah wrote:

11 Depart! Depart! Go out from there, Touch no unclean thing; Go out from the midst of her, Be clean, You who bear the vessels of the Lord. (Isaiah 52:11)

To depart means to separate. Notice that Isaiah’s sentiments here are captured in the New Testament in Paul’s writing (2 Corinthians 6:17) and the Book of Revelation (18:2-4).

Notice also the following end time warning to not be part of the Babylonian religious system:

4 And I heard another voice from heaven saying, “Come out of her, my people, lest you share in her sins, and lest you receive of her plagues.” (Revelation 18:4).

Sadly, even Christians have to be warned.

James berated those who wanted to be close to the world:

4 Adulterers and adulteresses! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Whoever therefore wants to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God. (James 4:4)

Throughout history, the truly faithful have resisted unifying with the Greco-Roman churches.

In the late 19th century, an important manuscript was discovered at the Etchmiadzin library by F. C. Conybeare, bearing the title The Key of Truth. Many scholars, having carefully studied this text, concluded that this was a very ancient religious manual belonging to the Paulicians of the 8th century. (Kasparian V., Archpriest. Defending the Faith. Publication financed by St. Leon Armenian Cathedral LADIES GUILD. Western Diocese of the Armenian Church of North America, 2015, Burbank (CA), p. 113)

In The Key of Truth, the Paulicians of Armenia made these statements against the Greco-Romans:

Behold, O ye blind, how our Lord deems your procedure false and vain, and pronounces you to be deniers of him, and calls you children of Satan, as was written above. Lo, now do ye recognize right well your lying father; recognize of a truth your spirit; recognize even your false God. Nay, recognize also your teacher; yea, and furthermore do ye recognize the Pope, the Catholicos, and your president; and recognize your sham Messiah, and the rest. Of whom our mediator and intercessor, our life and refuge, doth manifestly speak, saying: ‘And that which he speaketh false, he speaketh out of his own, and his father is Satan.’ Thus our Lord Jesus and the holy universal and apostolic church saw and spoke as we wrote above. (Conybeare FC. The Key of Truth: A Manual of the Paulician Church of Armenia. Clarendon Press, Oxford, 1898, pp. 85-86).

Sadly, today, most who profess Jesus fail to truly recognize important aspects of the truth. And many want to make further compromises away from the truth for the sake of an unbiblical unity.

This unbiblical unity will result, not only in destruction of the final compromised church or the end-time religio-political alliance (cf. Revelation 17:14-18; 18:1-23), but also in persecution against true believers (Daniel 7:25; Revelation 13:7-10; 18:24). Such persecution will include beheading (cf. Revelation 20:4) and burning (Daniel 11:33).

Perhaps related to that, it should be noted that there is an Eastern Orthodox prophecy that looks forward to the time of the “public executioner of the Sabbatians {Sabbath keepers}” (Tzima Otto H. The Great Monarch and WWIII in Orthodox, Roman Catholic, and Scriptural Prophecies. The Verenika Press, Rock Hill (SC), 2000, pp. 127, 132-135, with a partial translation from page 240).

Also, there is a Roman Catholic prophecy that looks forward to the time the “sect” that does not go along with this unity will have its supporters executed and burned (Schmöger Carl E. The Life and Revelations of Anne Catherine Emmerich, Volume 2. Approbation: Bishop of Limbourgh Peter Joseph. TAN Books, reprint 1976, p.292). Quite unchristian of them.

Will you be on God’s side or the side of the Greco-Romans? The side of the word of God or the side of traditions and doctrines of men? The Father seeks those who worship Him according to true doctrines (John 4:23), as the truth sets us free from error (John 8:31).

Signs and Lying Wonders

Sadly, not all who claim to believe the Bible, truly live by every word of it.

Kenneth Copeland is a Charismatic Protestant and has embraced ecumenical unity with the Vatican. The author of this book saw him do that as he praised Pope Francis in a video. He then uttered gibberish, which he indicated was ‘being moved by the Spirit.’ Some of what the Pentecostals do seems to be faked or delusionally influenced by emotions that are whipped up or demonic. The Bible does not endorse the emotional whipping up of ‘the Spirit’ that various Pentecostals are involved in.

Many Pentecostalists believe they speak in tongues from God and give prophetic utterances.

Some of their ‘prophecies’ even seem to come to pass.

Are those proof of God’s approval?

No, not according to the word of God which teaches:

1 If there arises among you a prophet or a dreamer of dreams, and he gives you a sign or a wonder, 2 and the sign or the wonder comes to pass, of which he spoke to you, saying, ‘Let us go after other gods’ — which you have not known — ‘and let us serve them,’ 3 you shall not listen to the words of that prophet or that dreamer of dreams, for the Lord your God is testing you to know whether you love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul. 4 You shall walk after the Lord your God and fear Him, and keep His commandments and obey His voice; you shall serve Him and hold fast to Him. (Deuteronomy 13:1-4)

So, the word of God shows if the prophet does not keep and advocate keeping God’s commandments, he/she is false. The ‘prophecy’ from such, if not from their own imagination (cf. Ezekiel 13:17), is demonic.

Because God answers prayers, even sometimes for those not necessarily converted (c.f. Genesis 24:12-27), some consider answered prayer or other blessings as proof that their religion is right. But they should be cautious about that.

Consider also that many Roman Catholics are convinced that theirs is the right church because of various mystics, Marian apparitions, Eucharistic ‘miracles,’ stigmatics (stigmatics are people who display what they claim to be wounds of Jesus from a supernatural source), and incorruptibles (incorruptibles are dead people whose bodies do not decay like normal deceased humans). Of course, the Eastern Orthodox also have claims of Marian apparitions and miracles of various types. In addition, the Muslims have their version of stigmatics and some other religions have “incorruptibles.”

Throughout the church age, there have been those with signs and wonders.

Should we ‘believe our eyes’ without question?

No. The Apostle Paul warned about signs and lying wonders:

9 The coming of the lawless one is according to the working of Satan, with all power, signs, and lying wonders, 10 and with all unrighteous deception among those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth, that they might be saved. 11 And for this reason God will send them strong delusion, that they should believe the lie, 12 that they all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness. (2 Thessalonians 2:9-12)

This does not mean that the CCOG does not believe that God cannot perform various miracles. We believe that He does, and has done so in relation to various healings, for example. Plus, we believe that God has shown the CCOG supernatural favor in regards to last days signs such as are listed in Acts 2:17-18.

But we do NOT accept things such as Pentecostal tongues/prophecies, Marian apparitions, stigmatics, incorruptibles, and ‘Eucharistic miracles’, as from God for primarily four reasons.

The first is that many of these signs are not scriptural (or are contrary to scripture).

The second, and perhaps most important, is that none of those we are aware of involved true Christians (though God can use false prophets, e.g. Balaam in Numbers 23-24).

The third is that they teach a gospel different than the Bible:

6 I marvel that you are turning away so soon from Him who called you in the grace of Christ, to a different gospel, 7 which is not another; but there are some who trouble you and want to pervert the gospel of Christ. 8 But even if we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you than what we have preached to you, let him be accursed. (Galatians 1:6-8)

Christians are to walk by faith, not by sight (2 Corinthians 5:7). Therefore, the message is considered more important than the messenger or something appearing to be supernatural.

Before getting to the last reason, it should be pointed out that whether or not someone is in the Church of God, God has a plan for all. God fashions all of us individually (Psalm 33:11-15) and all that you went through matters (see our free book, online at ccog.org, The MYSTERY of GOD’s PLAN: Why Did God Create Anything? Why Did God Make You?), whether you are truly being called in this age (see our free book, online at ccog.org, Is God Calling You?) or the age to come (see the free book, online at ccog.org, Universal Offer of Salvation). Hence, we accept that God will sometimes answer prayers from those He has not called in this age, as well as, of course, from those He has.

The fourth, and last, of the primary reasons for Divine rejection is that the Greco-Roman-Protestant purveyors of signs and wonders do not have the biblical “fruits.”

Notice Jesus’ words:

15 “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves. 16 You will know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thornbushes or figs from thistles? 17 Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. 18 A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit. 19 Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20 Therefore by their fruits you will know them.

21 “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. 22 Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ 23 And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’ (Matthew 7:15-23).

So, even those who believe that they cast out demons in God’s name, prophesy, do wonders, etc. are not accepted by Jesus if they were practicing lawlessness or preaching a false gospel (more on lawlessness can be found in the free online book: The Ten Commandments: The Decalogue, Christianity, and the Beast).

Yes, Jesus will tell the vast majority of those who consider themselves Protestant (some in the non-Philadelphian COGs have considered themselves as a type of Protestant) that He never knew them (see also Luke 13:24-28).

Jesus also said:

24 “Make every effort to enter through the narrow door, because I tell you, many will try to enter and won’t be able 25 once the homeowner gets up and shuts the door. Then you will stand outside and knock on the door, saying, ‘Lord, open up for us! ’ He will answer you, ‘I don’t know you or where you’re from.’ … 27 But He will say, ‘I tell you, I don’t know you or where you’re from. Get away from Me, all you workers of unrighteousness! ’ (Luke 13:24-25,27 HCSB)

Since “all God’s commandments are righteousness” (Psalm 119:172), Jesus’s words here look to be directed towards those who claim Christianity and even called Him “Lord,” but would not live as He taught.

A Protestant minister named Tommy Waller indicated on in a television interview (Focus on Israel, TBN, January 2020) that Jesus’ warning was to many exposed to Protestantism. Tommy Waller said Jesus twice was asking “Where are you from?,” and basically taught that many who thought they were Christian would be FROM some place that Jesus would not recognize as His church. Protestantism does not represent His church.

Are you one who will respond to the truth or is your faith based on feelings, on a foundation of sand?

Notice some statements from John Stuart Mill in 1869:

So long as an opinion is strongly rooted in the feelings, it gains rather than loses in stability by having a preponderating weight of argument against it. For if it were accepted as a result of argument, the refutation of the argument might shake the solidity of the conviction; but when it rests solely on feeling, the worse it fares in argumentative contest, the more persuaded its adherents are that their feeling must have some deeper ground, which the arguments do not reach; and while the feeling remains, it is always throwing up fresh intrenchments of argument to repair any breach made in the old. (Mill JS. The Collected Works of John Stuart Mill: Utilitarianism, The Subjection of Women, On Liberty, Principles of Political Economy, A System of Logic, Ratiocinative and Inductive, Memoirs. Google ebook, 2017)

Notice that John Stuart Mill highlighted the frequent reality that many opinions aren’t based on facts at all, but feelings. Sadly, this is the case of inaccurate theological opinions that many hold.

This author has a shared well and liked drinking from the water from the well. This author THOUGHT it was good and pure and making him healthy. Later, the author learned that it had unhealthy levels of arsenic. No matter how good the author felt about the water, the water still had always been contaminated.

That is often also the case with contaminated religion.

Even if you think God answered some of your prayers (He may have), even if you confessed Jesus as Lord, and even if you had special spiritual gifts—according to Jesus that is not real proof of your Christianity (Matthew 7:21-23). And according to the Apostle Paul, even if one or more ministers make you feel that they are “ministers of righteousness” (2 Corinthians 11:15), that is not proof they are not Satan’s ministers (2 Corinthians 11:14).

Feelings are not a proper biblical foundation. Eve made a disobeying decision based on feelings (cf. Genesis 3:6). Is it possible that your religion is based more on feelings than the word of God?

The Book of Proverbs warns:

16 The lazy man is wiser in his own eyes Than seven men who can answer sensibly. (Proverbs 26:16)

11 A fool vents all his feelings, But a wise man holds them back. (Proverbs 29:11)

So, we see a warning against one who relies on feelings and is unwillingly to deal with sensible answers. And a warning about venting all feelings. Of course, this Satanically-influenced world (1 John 5:21) tells people to trust their feelings above the word of God.

The Bible essentially teaches that many are too lazy to accept the challenge to “prove all things” (1 Thessalonians 5:21, KJV), but instead they are comfortable with leaders they think look good. They also think their feelings are more important than making wise (which means biblically appropriate for this purpose) decisions. But Christians are not to walk in the futility of mind or non-biblical feelings (Ephesians 4:17-19).

The Apostle Paul warned:

12 But what I do, I will also continue to do, that I may cut off the opportunity from those who desire an opportunity to be regarded just as we are in the things of which they boast. 13 For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into apostles of Christ. 14 And no wonder! For Satan himself transforms himself into an angel of light. 15 Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also transform themselves into ministers of righteousness, whose end will be according to their works. (2 Corinthians 11:12-15)

Some unfaithful ministers look real good.

Yet, God’s ministers are to “guard the deposit” (1 Timothy 6:20, BLB, ESV) or “guard the doctrine” (1 Timothy 6:20, AFV) of faith (or “truths” per the WNT) to which they have been entrusted and not fall for “opposing arguments falsely called knowledge” (1 Timothy 6:20, BLB).

True Christians, ministers or otherwise, have the Spirit of Christ (Romans 8:9). While God knows who they are (2 Timothy 2:19), His word helps us identify those who are not real Christians.

Hence, we consider that the warnings in Deuteronomy 13:1-4, Matthew 7:15-23, and 2 Thessalonians 2:9-12 apply to signs and wonders. Those warnings are also consistent with what the Apostle John wrote:

1 Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world. (1 John 4:1)

19 … the whole world lies under the sway of the wicked one. (1 John 5:19).

The Bible gives the proper criteria to “test the spirits” to avoid being under Satan’s sway.

The New Testament also repeatedly warns about false prophets (Matthew 7:15, 24:11, 24; Mark 13:22; 2 Peter 2:1; Revelation 20:10), including at least one with Satan’s support in the end time who performs ‘miraculous’ signs (Revelation 16:13-14; 19:20). In other scriptures, such as Revelation 13:11-15 and 2 Thessalonians 2:9-12, it is clear there will be supernatural signs that are false, but overwhelmingly accepted by nearly all of humanity.

The final Antichrist will be a false prophet (cf. 1 John 4:1-3). Contrary to scripture, he will promote an improper unity (Revelation 13:11-18).

The position of the CCOG is that proper discourse among religions can be helpful. But scripture does not endorse the type of coming ecumenical unity that Pope Francis, many of the Eastern Orthodox, and various Protestant leaders seemingly endorse now. We believe the coming ecumenical-interfaith unity that many are promoting is not only contrary to scripture, but warned against by the word of God.

While peace and cooperation are normally very good, there are scriptural concerns about the type of ecumenism that many are promoting.

Roman Catholics, Eastern Orthodox, Protestants, and others need to be concerned about the type of unity that is actually being promoted.

Trinitarian unity is not biblical, but a compromise.

It is those of the original faith that will be with Jesus, whereas those that have compromised away from it will be His opposers.

Related to a recent Vatican document promoting unity, the Continuing Church of God (CCOG) has put together the following video on our Bible News Prophecy YouTube channel:


Vademecum: Rome’s Trinitarian Ecumenical Handbook

On December 4, 2020, the Vatican published handbook with instructions for Catholic bishops to promote unity with other professing Christian communities. The document is called an “ecumenical vademecum.” It was approved by Pope Francis and issued Dec. 4 by the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity. It asserts that “Christ willed” the type of unity that the Church of Rome is now promoting. Pope Francis says that such unity is not optional, and has support from many government and religious leaders around the world including the World Council of Churches and the United Nations. The Vademecum pushes trinitarian unity as important–when did that become important? What did Emperor Theodosius decree about those who did not agree with his trinitarian declaration that was adopted by the Council of Constantinople that he had convened in 381 A.D.? Does the Bible teach about the type of worldly unity many promote? Is true “unity of faith” expected before the return of Jesus and the establishment of the Kingdom of God? Is teaching the opposite a false gospel? Are Christians to flee the coming end time daughter of Babylon according to the New Jerusalem Bible (a Roman Catholic translation into English)? Did the 18th century nun Jane le Royer warn against a group that sounds like the Continuing Church of God? What should those holding to the original faith do? Dr. Thiel addresses these issues and more.

Here is a link to the video: Vademecum: Rome’s Trinitarian Ecumenical Handbook.

The push for false ecumenical unity is going forward–the Diet of Worms anniversary is additional evidence of that.

Those interested in learning more should consider studying the following:

Hope of Salvation: How the Continuing Church of God Differs from Protestantism The CCOG is NOT Protestant. This free online book explains how the real Church of God differs from mainstream/traditional Protestants. Several sermons related to the free book are also available: Protestant, Baptist, and CCOG History; The First Protestant, God’s Command, Grace, & Character; The New Testament, Martin Luther, and the Canon; Eucharist, Passover, and Easter; Views of Jews, Lost Tribes, Warfare, & Baptism; Scripture vs. Tradition, Sabbath vs. Sunday; Church Services, Sunday, Heaven, and God’s Plan; Seventh Day Baptists/Adventists/Messianics: Protestant or COG?; Millennial Kingdom of God and God’s Plan of Salvation; Crosses, Trees, Tithes, and Unclean Meats; The Godhead and the Trinity; Fleeing or Rapture?; and Ecumenism, Rome, and CCOG Differences.
Beliefs of the Original Catholic Church. Did the original “catholic church” have doctrines held by the Continuing Church of God? Did Church of God leaders uses the term “catholic church” to ever describe the church they were part of? Here are links to related sermons: Original Catholic Church of God?, Original Catholic Doctrine: Creed, Liturgy, Baptism, Passover, and What Type of Catholic was Polycarp of Smyrna?
Beware: Protestants Going Towards Ecumenical Destruction! What is going on in the Protestant world? Are Protestants turning back to their ‘mother church’ in Rome? Does the Bible warn about this? What are Catholic plans and prophecies related to this? Is Protestantism doomed? See also World Council of Churches Peace Plan.
Will the Interfaith Movement Lead to Peace or Sudden Destruction? Is the interfaith movement going to lead to lasting peace or is it warned against? A video sermon of related interest is: Will the Interfaith Movement lead to World War III? and a video sermon is also available: Do You Know That Babylon is Forming?
Why Should American Catholics Fear Unity with the Orthodox? Are the current ecumenical meetings a good thing or will they result in disaster? Is doctrinal compromise good? Here is a link to a related video Should you be concerned about the ecumenical movement?
Beliefs of the Original Catholic Church Did the original “catholic church” have doctrines held by the Continuing Church of God? Did Church of God leaders uses the term “catholic church” to ever describe the church they were part of? Are there majoHere is a link to the sermon: Original Catholic Church of God?
Which Is Faithful: The Roman Catholic Church or the Continuing 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.
What is the Unpardonable Sin? What is it? Can you repent of it? Do you know what it is and how to avoid it? Here is a link to a related sermon video The Unpardonable Sin and the Prodigal Son. Here is a link to a shorter video The ‘Unpardonable Sin’ and ‘Climate Change’?
Beware: Protestants Going Towards Ecumenical Destruction! What is going on in the Protestant world? Are Protestants turning back to their ‘mother church’ in Rome? Does the Bible warn about this? What are Catholic plans and prophecies related to this? Is Protestantism doomed? watch the video Charismatic Kenneth Copeland and Anglican Tony Palmer: Protestants Beware!
Some Similarities and Differences Between the Eastern Orthodox Church and the Continuing Church of God Both groups claim to be the original church, but both groups have differing ways to claim it. Both groups have some amazing similarities and some major differences. Do you know what they are?
Orthodox Must Reject Unity with the Roman Catholics Unity between these groups will put them in position to be part of the final end time Babylon that the Bible warns against as well as require improper compromise.
Laudato Si: Pope’s Agenda or Kingdom of God? Pope Francis’ 2nd encyclical is titled ‘Laudato Si.’ In it, he goes over his views related to environmental, economic, social, moral, agricultural, and spiritual issues. He advocates international cooperation to solve various problems he believes are affecting humanity. Is that Pope’s agenda the solution? What about the Kingdom of God? does the Bible teach? Two related articles include Laudato Si: Will Pope Francis’ economic actions match his words? and Laudato Si: A call for a one-world government?
Some Similarities and Differences Between the Eastern Orthodox Church and the Continuing Church of God Both groups claim to be the original church, but both groups have differing ways to claim it. Both groups have some amazing similarities and some major differences. Do you know what they are? Here is a link to a related sermon: Eastern Orthodox 40+ Similar Beliefs to the CCOG.
There is a Place of Safety for the Philadelphians. Why it May Be Near Petra This article discusses a biblical ‘place of safety,’ Zephaniah 2 to ‘gather together,’ and includes quotes from the Bible and Herbert W. Armstrong on fleeing to a place–thus, there is a biblically supported alternative to the rapture theory. Two sermon-length videos of related interest are available Physical Protection During the Great Tribulation and Might Petra be the Place of Safety? Here is something related in the Spanish language: Hay un lugar de seguridad para los Filadelfinos. ¿Puede ser Petra?
The Gospel of the Kingdom of God This free online pdf booklet has answers many questions people have about the Gospel of the Kingdom of God and explains why it is the solution to the issues the world is facing. Here are links to three related sermons: The World’s False Gospel, The Gospel of the Kingdom: From the New and Old Testaments, and The Kingdom of God is the Solution.
Could Pope Francis be the Last Pope and Antichrist? Former Argentinian Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio is now Pope Francis. According to some interpretations of the prophecies of the popes by the Catholic saint and Bishop Malachy, Pope Francis is in the position of “Peter the Roman,” the pontiff who reigns during tribulations until around the time of the destruction of Rome. Do biblical prophecies warn of someone that sounds like Peter the Roman? Could Francis be the heretical antipope of Catholic private prophecies and the final Antichrist of Bible prophecy? Could a Jesuit be “the black pope”?
Pope Francis: Could this Marian Focused Pontiff be Fulfilling Prophecy? Pope Francis has taken many steps to turn people more towards his version of ‘Mary.’ Could this be consistent with biblical and Catholic prophecies? This article documents what has been happening. There is also a video version titled Pope Francis: Could this Marian Focused Pontiff be Fulfilling Prophecy?
Where is the True Christian Church Today? This free online pdf booklet answers that question and includes 18 proofs, clues, and signs to identify the true vs. false Christian church. Plus 7 proofs, clues, and signs to help identify Laodicean churches. A related sermon is also available: Where is the True Christian Church? Here is a link to the booklet in the Spanish language: ¿Dónde está la verdadera Iglesia cristiana de hoy? Here is a link in the German language: WO IST DIE WAHRE CHRISTLICHE KIRCHE HEUTE? Here is a link in the French language: Où est la vraie Église Chrétienne aujourd’hui?
Continuing History of the Church of God This pdf booklet is a historical overview of the true Church of God and some of its main opponents from Acts 2 to the 21st century. Related sermon links include Continuing History of the Church of God: c. 31 to c. 300 A.D. and Continuing History of the Church of God: 4th-16th Centuries and Continuing History of the Church of God: 17th-20th Centuries. The booklet is available in Spanish: Continuación de la Historia de la Iglesia de Dios, German: Kontinuierliche Geschichte der Kirche Gottes, French: L Histoire Continue de l Église de Dieu and Ekegusii Omogano Bw’ekanisa Ya Nyasae Egendererete.

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