American Council of Christian Churches
74th Annual Convention, October 20-22, 2015
Reformation Bible Church, Darlington, Maryland
Resolution on the Evangelicals and Catholics Together statement, “The Two Shall Become One Flesh: Reclaiming Marriage”
With pastoral concern for an erring Corinthian church, the apostle Paul referred to the sacred, God-designed, one-man for one-woman for a lifetime blessing of marriage. He did so as an illustration of an even more significant spiritual reality. He wrote, “For I am jealous over you with godly jealousy; for I have espoused you to one husband that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ. But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtlety, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ” (2 Cor. 11:2-3).
He further warns against the subtlety of the serpent with a surprising explanation of the effectiveness of his corrupting influence, “for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light” (v. 14). Paul counsels that this explanation should keep the true Church from marveling that false apostles, deceitful workers, and the ministers of Satan desire to be recognized as true ministers of the Lord (vv. 12-15). While shining brightly on the side of some truths, these preachers come with “another Jesus, whom we have not preached,” “another spirit, which ye have not received,” and “another gospel, which ye have not accepted” (v. 4). The enemy’s corrupting influence is beguiling.
This corrupting influence poisons the latest statement of Evangelicals and Catholics Together titled, “The Two Shall Become One Flesh: Reclaiming Marriage.” While shining brightly as a courageous message of truth regarding biblical marriage, the document is the product of beguiled believers “bearing well” with those who deny Scripture’s primary tests of biblical orthodoxy.
When it comes to the institution of marriage, the statement correctly laments that “truth is being obscured,” “too many have accommodated themselves to the spirit of our age,” and that advocates of same-sex marriage are asking society “to substitute unreality for reality.” Yet when it comes to the orthodox doctrines of Jesus, the one Mediator between God and man, sola scriptura, the one authority from God to man, and sola fide, the one true gospel that can save the sinner apart from works, this document obscures, accommodates, and substitutes, labeling Roman Catholicism Christian, Gospel, and Church.
The document admits of differences between Evangelicals and Catholics: “In a few matters, we do not speak with one voice: We hold somewhat different views about the morality of contraception, the legitimacy of divorce, and clerical celibacy.” But what of the differences regarding what a Christian is, what the gospel is, and what the Church is? These major differences disappear as enemies of the faith transform themselves into ministers of righteousness while aided by believers beguiled like Eve.
We look to the Scriptures alone, not to them and “the unanimous testimony of Christian tradition.” The Christian tradition referred to in this statement was far from unanimous in important ways. Martin Luther not only advocated godly marriages, he also wrote of Roman Catholicism, “I now know and am sure that the Papacy is the kingdom of Babylon, and the power of Nimrod the mighty hunter” (On the Babylonian Captivity of the Church). John Calvin not only affirmed that marriage is ordained of God, he also instructed his students in regard to Romanism, “Instead of the ministry of the Word, a perverse government compounded of lies rules there, which partly extinguishes the pure light, partly chokes it” (Institutes of the Christian Religion, IV.II.2). Neither men would have recognized the “Fathers of the Second Vatican Council” as “Christian Teachers.”
Therefore, the American Council of Christian Churches, at its annual convention, October 20-22, 2015, at Reformation Bible Church, Darlington, MD, resolves to be jealous for Christ’s true Church with a godly jealousy. With a desire to present her as a chaste virgin unto Christ by God’s grace, we determine to warn against the subtleties of our enemy and the disobedience of fellow believers who encourage their corrupting influence over the true Church of God. While recognizing the damage homosexuality has done because “it contradicts the Gospel,” we cannot ignore the plight of many millions more who are being made the children of hell under the darkness of Roman Catholicism for the very same reason. We determine to obey the coming cry of the angel, “Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues” (Rev. 18:4).