By Parnell McCarter


All indications are that the papal reign of Pope Benedict XVI is living up to the description “de gloria olivae” (at least in worldly terms).  To take but one example:


“By Ecumenical News International

31 Jan 2008

For the first time, a general secretary of the World Council of Churches has taken part with a pope in a Rome service to mark the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, which ended last week, recalling the centenary of this initiative born in the United States in 1908.  "I want to assure you of our commitment to continue our co-operation in the best possible way," said WCC general secretary the Rev Dr Samuel Kobia, a Methodist from Kenya, at the service at the ancient basilica of St Paul Outside the Walls, where, according to tradition, the bones are kept of the apostle, who was executed nearby by the rulers of ancient Rome.  Underlining that "the world needs a church that is one and united in its witness," Kobia referred to the unrest in his home country which has led to more than 800 deaths. "The common witness of the churches for reconciliation and healing of the nation is crucial for peace in Kenya," the WCC general secretary stated.  The Geneva-based WCC has 347 mainly Anglican, Protestant and Orthodox churches in its membership. Although the Catholic Church does not belong to the WCC, it has members on some of its bodies, including the Commission on Faith and Order.  The service gathered about thirty leaders of Orthodox, Anglican and Protestant churches and marked the conclusion of the 18-25 January week of prayer for unity described by the National Catholic Reporter's John Allen as a "week-long ecumenical festival"… Benedict referred several times to Christian unity in his speeches and messages during the week. At the service on 25 January he thanked Kobia and the other ecumenical representatives for their presence at the event. "Your participation to this prayer is an evident expression of the links which unite us in Christ," the pontiff stated.  Christians, said the Pope, must pray "indefatigably" for God to obtain the "gift" of their full unity.”


At the same time, we read this:



North American churches to host uniting General Council

North American churches will work together to host the uniting General Council that will create the new World Communion of Reformed Churches (WCRC)…

The World Alliance of Reformed Churches (WARC) and the Reformed Ecumenical Council (REC) agreed to the historic merger in 2007. They will hold a uniting General Council of the new 80 million member plus-strong WCRC at Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Michigan.  In a January meeting in Indonesia, REC agreed to the name of the new organization and the definition of “communion” proposed by WARC in October 2007, as well as to the dates for the uniting General Council.   WARC has 75 million members in 214 churches in 107 countries. REC has 12 million members in 39 churches in 25 countries. The two bodies, which had been in bilateral talks since 1998, have 25 common member churches… The basis of union for the new Reformed entity states:  “The basis of the World Communion of Reformed Churches shall be the Word of the triune God, incarnated in Jesus Christ, found in the Holy Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments and witnessed to in the church. This World Communion of Reformed Churches embodies Reformed identity articulated in historic Reformed confessions and continued in the life and witness of the Reformed community.”…”

The first meeting of the Uniting General Council of the WCRC is slated for June 18-28, 2010. It will meet here in Grand Rapids, MI, under the auspices of the Christian Reformed Church in North America.  One of the more prominent member churches is the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), which is a member of the World Communion of Reformed Churches (WCRC), the World Council of Churches, the National Council of Churches, and Churches Uniting in Christ.

And the article at http://www.puritans.net/news/multidenominational012108.htm showed the unifying movement represented in NAPARC, many of whose member churches are part of the International Conference of Reformed Churches (ICRC).  Denominations currently applying to the ICRC (see http://www.icrconline.com/agenda2005.html ) include:

  1. Free Church of Scotland (Continuing) (FCS(cont))
  2. Iglesias Reformadas de España (IRES)
  3. Reformed Church in Congo (ERCO)
  4. Reformed Churches in South Africa ((RCSA)
  5. United Reformed Churches in Myanmar (URCM)

But these moves towards visible Christian unity are proceeding on an un-Biblical basis of toleration of lies and heresy, not on a Biblical basis of truth.  Oh that the day may come when there is unity based on truth.