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Chapter 4

PURITY IN PRINCIPLE

IS POSSIBLE, and MANDATORY

News 345

The Advertiser, March 30, 2005, et al.

Earthquakes ? You mean the ecclesiastical or the geological ones ?
You can easily reach 8.9 on the theological scale!

 

 The Status Quo

As we read of a new earthquake near to Sumatra, not far below 9 on the Richter scale,
The Advertiser remarks that the locale shakes, while the rest of the world shudders.

This is one part, the turbulence of the physical.

The other part, the spiritual also progresses. Let us review some of last year's most notable negative developments, which indeed threaten to shake this nation.

It is not so hard to find a unity of thought among Christian Churches, when and if they keep to the Bible, rather than

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a) tradition,
 

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b) opinion not warranted by the Bible, with no more force than that of tradition
 

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c) as the word of God, into which the thoughts of man may be brought in the same way
as pollution is needed in the atmosphere, or cancer in the body!



While this is desirable, and that eminently, there is another approach, which does violence to the word of God for the sake of the relationships of men.

WiIful intrusion in this manner is treachery. This is more perilous than any earthquake,
since it becomes a direct dealing with the One who holds the name above every name, Jesus
Christ. Moreover, it is not in the least impelling to faith, far less necessary. It is indeed one of the great beauties of actually knowing the God of creation through Jesus Christ that NO compromise with HIS word is EVER necessary. Clarity comes with it, blessing, love and light (Acts 5:31, John 15:7). Against it, there is only wrath. It is like persisting in smoking when you have emphysema, which indeed doctrinally afflicts this earth (cf. SMR Ch. 8, News 121, 122, It Bubbles, It Howls, He Calls Ch. 11).

The Bible is clarity itself in its teaching. Many have sought to impose and impel with their own desires, thus forcing extremes beyond what the word itself says, and many oppose them, and this leads to partisan segregations, which have no wisdom at all. We have considered in Tender Times for Timely Truth, Ch. 2, some of the removals of needless ricocheting extremes, which tend to incite their counterparts and mar the unity so readily to be attained.

Love also is needed, moreover,  to deepen understanding, but not to change the channels of God's word: these are deep enough already. Moreover in divine love it is that they are given in the first place! It is so wise to stay your hand at God's word, and not to go beyond, whether in the interest of 'stability', popularity, statistics, power or other endeavours based on the will of man.

One needs to recall that it is not only the BIRTH of the child of God which is not of the will of man, or of the flesh, but of God; for the BIRTH-RITE also, the walk as one grows, this too is not of the will of the flesh, for one is to abide in Him who changes not, and His words are to abide in you: and it is then this same God who works in us both to will and to do. It is He who is Marshall, Captain and Counsellor, whether with the fulfilment of the promises for wisdom, strength or spirituality (II Peter 1, James 1, Ephesians 3:16, 1:19), the stability of one's times which is His comely contribution; and the fear of the Lord remains clean as always (Psalm 19, Isaiah 33).

It is in the will, thought, declaration, divulgements, directions and devoted kindness of the Lord who has declared His thought to man (Amos 4:13, I Corinthians 2:9-13, 14:37, I Peter 1:21-25, II Peter 1:21, James 1:21, Matthew 4:4,24:35 Revelation 22, Galatians 1 cf. SMR Appendix D), that one is to move.

God is not the God of sugar in one's tea but of water for life. The heavens which He made will be changed, and perish; but He is the same, and His years do not change (Matthew 24:35, Psalm 102:25-27), any more than do His ways. His words must be understood, delighted in and pondered as the artist the beauty, as the lover the face of the beloved, and implemented with joy (Psalm 119:14-16, 19:8-11).

Accordingly, at the end of the Ch. 2 (op. cit.), there is to be found a list of further such irenic resolutions in terms of what the Bible actually says, from which pulsations to north and south are so common, so needless and so deeply cherished by many. Small wonder Christ declared that men were making void the word of God by their traditions! (cf. Mark 7).

There is indeed another way of dealing with unity. It is less constructive, and indeed wholly destructive.

It is the devious way, the way of Judas, the way of betrayal of the word of God, in this case the written word, since it is not possible any more to get anything near to the actual face of Christ, as it was in earlier days.

By this method, man invents it. It is like that unity of an octopus with its victim, which wilfully surrenders in a fit of self-destruction.

In this case, among different religious bodies seeking unity, you make specious statements of phrasings which can be interpreted this way or that, rather as Giscard d'Etaing was reported to be suggesting for the new Constitution for Europe. People, he indicated, would KNOW what was meant, but division would be avoided by not actually saying it! Somewhat looser constructions would be more profitable, it seemed! (Christ, the Cumulative and the Culmination Ch. 4). 

 

 The Status Foe

Now we find that far more has come than the mere agreement between Rome and the Lutheran World Federation (Stepping out for Christ Ch. 1), a delusive master stroke from the prince of darkness, setting back some 400 years of progress, but a dynamic regress. In CW News we find that on July 26th, 2004,   Australian Roman Catholic bishops have joined with representatives of 14 at least nominally  Christian bodies in a "covenant of cooperation," in which they promise to share resources and ministries*1.

Report also is to be found that

The religious bodies involved in the "covenant of cooperation," are the Roman Catholic,  Anglican, Lutheran, Congregational churches, Uniting Church in Australia, Churches of Christ, Salvation Army, Society of Friends, and several Orthodox groups. Several other Orthodox bodies declined to participate, as with the country's Baptist, Pentecostal, and Presbyterian bodies, which are not members of the National Council of Churches. It is reported that the churches have committed themselves to recognising each other's baptism and ministries, sometimes sharing property and clergy (Barney Zwartz in John Mark Ministries).

However there is report that Romanism in particular, has NOT agreed to share ministries*2, although she has agreed to accept these churches as communities of faith following Jesus Christ, which means there is mutual acceptance of each other as legitimate expressions of Christianity, even if there is divergence and diversity.

To recognise a 'church'  and baptism at least means that NO BASIC GROUND FOR DIVISION is to be found, only diversities, divergences and differences less fundamental than the common ground. Thus the Reformation is annulled in a stroke, for many of its chief participants, the result of betrayal over half a century, on the part of such bodies as the World Council of Churches, religious unification movements and the like (cf. News 121, SMR pp. 743ff., 750C ff.). Romanism has made it perspicuously clear that ALL of its formulae and formulations of official, formal tradition still stand before it, and that they will not change (cf. SMR pp. 1058-1080, 1088A, *14).

Hence all these churches are now apostate, meaning this: they are by this action, merely the coping stone of a long-prepared arch, outside the biblical faith categorically and decisively. Whatever ELSE they may say, the concord with Rome means firstly that the faith in terms of what is acceptable for mutual acknowledgement,  is subscribed to in a heretical form of great evil; secondly that avoidance of those caught in contra-biblical doctrine is rejected, and hence Romans 16:17, II John, Isaiah 8:20, Ephesians 5, Titus 3:10, II Chronicles 19:1-2, II Corinthians 6:14, Galatians 1, II Corinthians 11 and so on (see Separation 1997). Betrayal and breach of the biblical faith is thus jointly accomplished (Matthew 28:18-20).

Further there is an antilogy in that Rome, having insisted on Trent II and Trent I (SMR pp.1058ff.), and hence being committed to the precisely opposite view, that it is necessary to salvation to be subject to the Roman pontiff, all preceding pontifical declarations being affirmed: there appears something resembling an ecclesiastical diplomatic circle, or even merry-go-round. It is rather like that of some of the secular nations, in which power and prestige make allowances, like cat and mouse, while one affirms this, then again affirms that, the other interweaving affirmations, until in the end they either war or consider how on earth to reconcile it all, perhaps patching it over with dignified phrases, until a more convenient time. Truth is not like that.

It is not for us to 'judge' persons; but the Bible gives principles on the basis of which DOCTRINE may be judged, and ACTION is prescribed. In this case, after 400 years of manifest exposure from thousands, and deliverance for millions,  the intense evil of Romanism is again woefully accredited, so that those who do it are for this reason, themselves discredited. They call evil good, or acceptable, and join with it: while over and again, they are not to be partakers with such, the Bible declares.

Twisting of terms it detests: 

"Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter" (Isaiah 5:20).

Indeed, says Isaiah 8:20,

"To the law and the testimony.  If they do not speak according to this word, it is because there is no light in them."

Social movements, however strong,  do not alter biblical directives; nor does the junking of reality alter it; nor does vexation of truth, render it inoperative. This is mere rebellion where truth is eternal; and it erupts like a cancer, only to die with its container.

The Uniting Church in particular, having already held it proper to have actively sexually perverted persons in the pulpit (by biblical definition as in I Corinthians 5 and 6, I Timothy 1:10), has already ostracised itself from the community of the faith. In making this new alliance, it is redoubled its division. From the first, indeed, it made it quite clear that the Bible was in the domain of a testimony to the word of God, and with a Barthian for President, it simply did not found itself on the words which are safe and stable, but on philosophies of partial departure. (Cf. Neo-orthodoxy : Light of Dawn Ch.   2, The Biblical Workman, Appendix 3; see also SMR pp.  362, 732B, 821, 832-833, 861-862 .)

It is impossible therefore for Christian Churches, without in the least 'judging' individuals in these 15 churches, to join with them or recognise them. They have ranked themselves as in concord with rebellion, in this, that they accept it as part of the community of faith following Jesus, and in intimate co-operation and prayer; and we are forbidden to do other than avoid them.

 

The Status Show Ė the Warning

How then can we live ? how can we continue with such holes, as if ALMOST ALL the teeth in one's head were found to be decayed ? It is not quite as bad as that in the entire church configuration, for large numbers of small, and sometimes not so small churches, independent, or very occasionally denominational, are NOT in this new mould. They have by no means, and will by no means accept Rome as a community of faith following Jesus, since the Bible is far otherwise than this religious body affirms (cf. SMR pp.  912ff., 1032-1088H), fabulously, famously and inveterately so.

Nevertheless, many have found that in having to separate after decades of protest and endeavour to return a church to its biblical basis, there is small financial endowment, property for use and social status for such faithfulness.

Does this offend ? It certainly seems to offend many; and indeed some appear to have been sensitive to the results of NON-conformity to various declensions in some denominations, lest they might lose their superannuation or such benefits. It would be more to the point if the alternative was literally to lose one's head. Christianity has a cross; Christ's was for redemption, and ours is as redeemed, who are believers. It is still there. The world does not love us. Its system is crafty, devious and more concerned with appearance then reality, conformity and co-operation than truth.

Friendship with the world is war with God, as James affirms.

Accordingly, in Rome's earlier days, up till 312 A.D. or so, with Constantine's Edict of Milan with toleration, and 324 proclaimed Christianity the State religion. For centuries before that, with a graph now up. now down, it was not the loss of opulence or social popularity which was in view, but of one's head!

Are we then so weak ? Is the 21st century to become a bastion of illegitimates in the field of pseudo-Christianity, spawn of spiritual rebellion and spiritual tradition!

Impossible with man, this alienation from what is alien, this segregation from what has separated from biblical authority, and chosen  harmonisation with a false gospel, this movement out from such betrayal, it is  yet open to the power of God. Many have followed and paid for just such conformity to the biblical faith, the biblical Christ and the biblical and living God.  Such action needs to be valiant; but  it is no less possible than it was for James to be judicially murdered with the sword,  or Peter imprisoned more than once, or Paul beaten many times, shipwrecked, in journeys often, with his heart stirred at and for the condition of the churches.

There is a mode in seeking concord with cultural aspirations, as seen in the News Release below*1 , to which may be added a desire for ecumenical vastness so that the religious body, church or nation, becomes a large player in politics and can seek to secure its own safety, just as Ahaz did when he appealed to Tiglath-Pileser for help, while in fact in his devious decline, hastening the day of Judah's devastation (II Kings 16:8, Isaiah 7:1ff.). Refusing the word of the living God, and inventing his own play, as if rebellion were realism and swerving were straight, he even tried to make it look sanctified to withdraw from faith to follow instead the snivelling substitute of wry rebellion.

Such responses can occur, and often do; and it was just such an initiative which succeeded in  bringing contemptuous disgust from the mouth of the Lord for this failure in faith on the part of Ahaz, a man not living in the fear and splendour of faith in the Lord, but instead there living by sight. The impact of the Lordís stricture was upon both Ahaz and Judah, where hot sin had stricken them like irons heated in the cauldron of will.

As for the King, while vast promises of Messianic deliverance were available (Isaiah 7), preceded by early action of deliverance from the Lord, yet these were not so much rejected, as made a subject of specious disregard. I will not tempt the Lord! opines Ahaz when confronted with a divine offer!

It is not enough, the Lord retorted, that you weary men, that you must weary God also!

While the reader of history may be astonished that the man even bothered to specify his speciousness, to declare his clear rejection of the offer, as if it were holy to do so, yet he is by no means alone. When what is not biblical is conjoined with what is, then there is only one result: the pollution, the pragmatic pseudo-idealism, the insistence on methods outrageously contra-biblical, in order to gain biblical objectives, it is rather like robbing a bank. You have the good work in mind, and you use the funds for it; but it never alters theft in the interim.

Is there then subject for rejoicing in such a move as this of first the Lutheran World Federation (the Australian Lutheran church 'celebrating' the action), then of the 'covenant of co-operation' of these many churches ? Yes there is, but it is selective in ground. Thus one must mourn for the loss of integrity involved in this settlement after 400 years of deliverance an prosperity in much, with liberty and scholarship freed, and be appalled at this slight regard for the sacrifices and faith of the Reformation, and its glorious record in so much for so long; but one may rejoice that this is one of the nearer to the end milestones of the coming of Christ.

It had to be, that one large religious organisation would become the ruler of men (cf. Revelation 13, and see Biblical Blessings Ch. 2, SMR pp. 750Bff.), and this defilement of the biblical faith, acknowledging the acceptability at least, of having one lord and master on earth in doctrines to be emitted in this or that way, as with Romanism, it is a movement to human authority outside the word of God acknowledged for millennia. This acceptability in the new alliance of churches, it obviously is in two ways, a vast stride towards the result which the Bible has predicted.

First, it adjusts the thinking of many to having a cultural lord, since he is biblically excluded (Matthew 23:8-10), ONE Master alone being permitted and ALL the rest being brethren, so that you may not CALL any man by such a title (cf. I John 2:27). This is rebellion, indeed, but one which moves in a specific direction in kind. Secondly, it brings into one fold, to a very considerable measure, a large number of bodies which in some cases at least, have had a better history. They become more manipulable, just as in England, the presence of an authority structure in bishop and archbishop, facilitated regal authority directing the 'church'.

The undoubtedly godly desire for Christian unity, by ignoring of biblical teaching, thus breaks the bounds of morality and spirituality in order to gain its end. Many do this - Germany invaded Austria, with various (to their mode of thinking) desirable ends and harmonisations of words in view, despite the facts. Evil that good may come is common, and not unknown in Jesuitical doctrine. It is, however, not the way of truth, and Christ IS the truth.

This disaster to many of the churches of Australia, in willingly and wilfully bonding themselves in joint prayer and enterprise with Romanism in this way, brings to the godly the necessity of warning them. It is not too late. You may still reverse. One can go where it says, NO WAY, GO BACK! without losing too much sleep. It is unfortunate to make an error, but to continue, hardening the neck despite reproof often, this can be deadly.

Does not Ezekiel 33 make it clear that warning MUST be given, and here it is given!

This folly, like an ecclesiastical folly: an oddity built in oddity and unsustainable in the end, it disadorns the spiritual landscape, and while it is intensely instructive about the nearing return*3 of Jesus Christ to see so many bodies in such turmoils of rebellion (Matthew 24:24, II Timothy 3, Revelation 13,19, II Peter 2), yet it is occasion for grief, as with Jeremiah in 9:1ff., for it cannot but impact, unless there be soon repentance, on those who have so fallen.

 

The Status Glow

 

Yet it does make it the more impelling, if it were possible at any rate, to bring to the eyes of those who have not joined in this debacle with Rome, the point that there is indeed a vast need for unity in the faith, and that where decisive and direct scriptural rebellion is not in view, there is a mandate for action to ensure better co-ordination and co-operation in the love of Christ. This we have been seeking, and do seek; for it is the will of God. Resistance to such efforts is scarcely blessed; but endurance is one of the Christian virtues, and of the testimonies of faith.

Let us, then,  who will seek in all love for Christ, neither to add to, nor compromise the commandments from the mouth of the Lord (cf. Acts 4:25, Proverbs 30:6, Mark 7), act as is prescribed for those who have received and heeded His word! (John 17:6--8). Let us therefore not fail to unite in spirit and co-operation with those whose diversity is not profound, and to consider the Bible, not the pugnacious traditions which so quickly, now as with ancient Israel, become part of the pride of life, denomination or religious body. In the end, the good tree does, because it must, bear good fruit.

While the immersions in pollution are exceedingly hard to avoid, so hard that if it were possible the very elect would be deceived (Matthew 24:24), and some just want to 'be ourselves': yet in Christ this is not an option. Care is always in order, and organic unity is not to the point; for it is spiritual unity and co-operation which is called for, as in this State, in seeking the deliverance of High School students from the unwarranted and evil intrusion of unscientific theories into the courses, with the exclusion of creation, though only the former meets all the specifications of scientific method (cf. TMR Ch. 8, 2005, Worn-Out World and Coming King Ch. 4). This, for example, is currently a work of the Evangelical Presbyterian Alliance, worthy of prayerful support by the people of Christ (Ephesians 6:18).

What then do we find ? It is this.

ONCE it is found that the integrity of unified action is only belied by substitution of disgrace for grace, or the honouring of rebellion as if it were honour, honesty and godliness: then it is that the impetus and necessity for unity is so great that action, sure, sharp and decisive is needed. Thus, one has personally sought to encourage this, even where one is not likely to find, because of past evils; and done so  in the hope that perhaps now there is change. When the battle rages, it is not the time to decide whether it should be lace handkerchiefs or simple rags.

Such initiatives can only be blessed. Separation is not delight in the epidemic, but desire for its departure, and making the best of the health that remains in the interim!

Impossible with man, this is open to God, and when He acts, it is not in order to prop a falling mansion, but to deliver the people of the living God from lingering amidst its devastations.

And in what deliver them ? It is to let them escape not merely from the cultural oppression, the infidelity and the treachery of the times, but from adding to it, through lack of passion for sanctified unison of action and concord of spirit where it does belong, among the people of the Lord, who adhere to His word in reality and in truth. If you cannot go to forsaken 'ministerials', yet there is much scope for alliance in prayer and action among the people who follow the word of God, and have no reliance on their own traditions or those of others. Traditions are mere possibilities for conformity to the word of the Lord; it is time to be past foolish divisions, since the necessary ones are already so great. The certainty is the word of God itself.

There is much to be done; let the people of God, whose word is nothing beside that of the word of God, indeed collaborate, and show in the innocence of the beauty of holiness, the power of the living God, as the saints have done of yore, notably Jehoshaphat for the purposes of this illustration: for he went praising the Lord and returned the victor! (II Chronicles 20). If the case seemed impossible, the Lord 'wrought' and it was surprisingly and indeed surpassingly a blessed time that they had.

The final test is coming; like a final exam, it comes on the horizon like an increasing cloud. So what ? Is this cause for dismay ? Rather is it scope for opportunity, when the power of God is available (Ephesians 1:19). Christ's route was crucifixion and resurrection for redemption and justification; ours is to take up our cross and follow Him. The servant cannot DO what the Master did, but taking up that cross and pursuing His steps according to His word, this is a necessary task, just as orange trees bear oranges. It is not so much a burden, as a blessed norm. That is the nature of orange trees, of Christians (Galatians 5:24).

It is not a matter of escaping suffering, but helping others to escape perdition, and that, it is a glorious task. It is a matter of having one only Commander, one Leader and one Witness to the people (Isaiah 55:4), and His name is the Lord Jesus Christ, eternal, the same today, yesterday and forever, holy, harmless and higher than the heavens (Hebrews 7:26), whose return is sure (Acts 1:7-11, 3:19-21, Matthew 24:42ff.), whose time is near, whose word is truth.

 

NOTES

*1 Below is a news release from July 2004 concerning the 'covenant of co-operation', from a body seeking inter-faith collaboration, a matter of an even broader scale as the name implies.

It is provided because it illustrates the direction of flow, and the scope of such movements to gather momentum in directions others are only too willing to see, and of course, it is a truly epochal movement towards the final aggregation of religion, not only under one roof, our sky, but not much beyond, but under one dominion as seen so clearly in Revelation 13. BECAUSE it is epochal, it is highly significant as a prelude to the fulfilment of this prophecy.

 

MEDIA RELEASE

from the Australian Partnership of Ethnic and Religious Organisations

APERO CONGRATULATES CHURCHES ON LANDMARK DECISION

"On behalf of APERO I would like to congratulate the Churches in Australia for their landmark decision," said Mr Malak this morning, the Convener of APERO and Chair of FECCA.

"The Churches are a very diverse community and Australia provides a unique environment in which they are able to come together to discuss ways in which to pursue their common goals." The General Secretary of the National Council of Churches in Australia (NCCA) and APERO member, Reverend John Henderson, agreed saying "Australia is bringing together people from all over the world who belong to a vast range of different churches, and is therefore leading the way for Churches to work in unison throughout the world."

Rev Hendersonís comments follow the announcement that fifteen Australian Churches have agreed to join in common prayer and explore deeper forms of co-operation during the fifth national NCCA forum. This ranges from recognising a common baptism to sharing church properties. The signing of the covenant of co-operation has been hailed by Church leaders as one of the most significant events in Australian Church history. Rev Henderson said "It is necessary for us to reaffirm that theologically there is only one Church, and to dialogue across the Christian community about how that one Church can find expression in Australia, and how we can recognise each other, and how we can work together practically and theologically."

All 15 member churches reaffirmed their commitment to each other, agreed to join in common prayer and pledged they would explore further steps to clarify the unity of Christian people in Australia. Rev Henderson said, "Australia has a great opportunity here to show the way. We donít come into this dialogue carrying some of the baggage, some of the history, that other places in the world do. We are a new country. We are creating new structures, new forms, new expressions of faith and life.

The Council itself, particularly in its national meetings and through its national operations, has a strong concern for interfaith work, and interfaith work for us is predominately how to live well together in Australia, how to respect each others humanities and how to build a positive community" said Rev Henderson. Mr Malak concluded, "APERO, as the peak of peak bodies promoting dialogue across faiths and cultures, recognizes that cultural difference is not a barrier to understanding and co-operation. It is another example of how faith communities have a vitally important role of building a harmonious and accepting Australian society."

Cleared for immediate release: 26 July 2004 Media interviews: Rev John Henderson, General Secretary NCCA and APERO member Ė 0419 224 935 Abd Malak, Chair FECCA and Convenor APERO.

 

*2 In a site of Bishop Manning, there is some detail on the Roman Catholic participation.

Here we see that there is NOT an acceptance of any shared ministry of ordained prelates, but there IS an acceptance of each other's baptisms, there is a recognition of each other as partners, recognition of each other as communities of faith following Christ, with endeavour to further the sharing of resources. In other words, each is here pledged to regard the other s legitimate Christianity and though there is difference, resources, prayer, baptism and the aura of acceptance are present.

The intent of covenanting


In agreeing to covenant, the national heads of Churches reaffirmed:


* their commitment to one another as partners on the ecumenical journey;

* belief that they are being blessed in their generation to witness the acts of the Spirit in drawing the Churches in a common search for a fuller expression of unity;

* joy in all that they have in common and give thanks for the richness of their diversity, though recognising that their disunity is a hindrance to the Church's mission;

* recognition of one another as communities of faith, hope and love, committed to following Christ and pledged to serve God's Kingdom;

* commitment to each another to engage in the ongoing process of growing together (covenanting), not knowing what visible form unity, which is God's Will and gift, may take, but believing that by taking the steps to which they now commit themselves they shall be led to grow more deeply into that unity.

The Roman Catholic Church agreed to this.

The Churches were in agreement on:


1. General

" join in common prayer with one another;
" intercede and care for one another;
" explore with one another their Christian convictions and their present application.

The Roman Catholic Church signed this agreement.

 

2. Shared use of physical resources


" support initiatives for sharing physical resources, such as buildings, and to encourage consultation between the appropriate governing bodies of their Churches before new major developments are undertaken.

The Roman Catholic Church accepted this resolution.

 

3. Common mission and ministry


" explore with one another issues and strategies for mission so that the possibilities of common mission is recognised as a priority;
" share information;
" discuss issues of mission;
" plan in consultation strategies for evangelisation;
" seek to develop together clear and sensitive guidelines dealing with how Churches can best meet the needs of people in local, especially rural, situations.

The Roman Catholic Church gave its agreement to this proposal.

 

4. Common Sacraments


" to recognise the Sacrament of Baptism administered in each other's Churches and to promote the use of the common Certificate of Baptism;

The Roman Catholic Church was party to this agreement.

 

*3

For the unique pattern of events which herald this, including the restoration of Jerusalem to the Jews, and the many triumphant wars they have wrought, as foretold, and the condition of this present world, see Answers to Questions Ch. 5, SMR Ch. 9, and p. 973A.  In terms of scientific method, this is not open to question as a verified matter. Nothing else has done what only divine knowledge could do, and this prophecy from many prophets over millenia, has done it supremely well. Christ has put His own imprimatur not only on what went before (Matthew 5:17-20), but His word on what is to come (SMR Ch. 8).

In terms of capacity, no one has capacity to foresee the myriads of possibilities, and discern from millenia beforehand, the conditions political, diplomatic, ecclesiastical, physical and spiritual, moral and military as well, let alone give additives of highly specialised kind concerning various nations.

God has spoken. It is well to listen. It is indeed spiritually criminal not to - that is one of the criteria for judgment (cf. John 3:17-20,36). It is not as if He were a tyrant (John 3:16), or some alien imposing His will without having constructed those who now rebel as well as the form of His friends, one and all;  for truth is in itself indispensable, collision with reality being deadly in the end.

We are so made that freedom is possible only when we act according to design - which is scarcely surprising. A tin-opener seeking to accommodate passengers has obviously got things wrong, and all will suffer in the end.

The testimony of God of His love is thus embedded in the testimony of truth on all sides. What else ? to love oneself for ever and ever, not even knowing, because of unbelief, what one is! To love this world which is justly shuddering, since its concepts are already enough to shake its ways ? To love sheer will, like a 'teenager having a thrill on a motor-bike before the amputation, simply because it appealed ?

There is nothing else that has wisdom, realism or even knowledge; and without the love of God, there is only the ground of confusion and the emptiness of presumption.