There is nothing new about evangelization from false apostles with a false gospel. The apostle Paul had seen this phenomenon, and he warned the people of God that “such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works” (2 Cor. 11:13-15).
Paul’s concern for protecting the people of God from false evangelization was first that of his Lord. Confronting the Pharisees of His day as hypocritical whited sepulchers full of dead bones and all uncleanness, the Lord pronounced severe woes upon this disguised enemy of the true gospel, exposing the true nature of their evangelization efforts: “for ye compass sea and land to make one proselyte, and when he is made, ye make him twofold more the child of hell than yourselves” (Matt. 23:15).
Pope Benedict XVI convoked “The New Evangelization for the Transmission of the Christian Faith” in his letter “Door of Faith” (10/11/2011), while establishing what he called “The Year of Faith” to extend from October 2012 to November 2013. In that document, the Pontiff declared that “the Year of Faith will have to see a concerted effort to rediscover and study the fundamental content of the faith that receives its systematic and organic synthesis in the Catechism of the Catholic Church.” He further declared, “Without the liturgy and the sacraments, the profession of faith would lack efficacy, because it would lack the grace which supports Christian witness.” The document praises Mary as “the Mother of God,” to whom this “time of grace” must be entrusted.
The Southern Baptist Dr. Timothy George, Dean of the Beeson Divinity School at Samford University and Chairman of the Doctrine and Christian Unity Commission of the Baptist World Alliance, helped the Roman Catholic General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops inaugurate their “Year of Faith” with an address at the Vatican. George labeled his addressees as “Dear Holy Father, Venerable Fathers of the Synod, brothers and sisters in the Lord.” Unlike the warnings of Paul and Christ, Dr. George presented overtures of cooperation with the false gospel of Roman Catholicism: “Baptists and Catholics differ on important ecclesial and theological issues but we are committed to seek greater mutual understanding through a process of loving dialogue and respectful listening.” Before that institution, whose hands are stained by the blood of faithful witnesses, George pronounced Martin Luther King Jr. one of today’s martyrs whose blood is the seed of Christian unity. He concluded his remarks with a bidding of Godspeed: “May the Year of Faith and the Synod for the New Evangelization be a harbinger of Gospel renewal and refreshing for the church and for the world in our time.”
Therefore, the American Council of Christian Churches, at its annual convention, October 22-24, 2013, at Hardingville Bible Church, Monroeville, NJ, resolves to be clear about the faith once delivered to the saints and to contend earnestly for it, following the example of our Lord and His true apostles (Jude 3). At the center of that faith is the gospel of Jesus Christ, Who died for our sins according to the Scriptures, was buried, and rose again the third day according to the Scriptures (1 Cor. 15:3-4). Salvation is therefore in Christ alone, by grace alone, through faith alone, on the authority of the scripture alone, and to the glory of God alone (Eph. 2:8-9). Salvation is not in the Roman church, her catechism, or her sacraments. The gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord (Rom. 6:23), and he that has the Son of God has the life (1 John 5:12). Furthermore, we resolve to have no part in ecumenical overtures by professing Protestants, who commend and cooperate with what Christ condemned and exposed, false apostles of a false gospel. We refuse to bid these ecumenicists Godspeed, knowing that to do so is to partake in their evil deeds (2 John 10-11). And we commit ourselves to a renewed passion for the protection of the people of God from false evangelization, even as we seek to bring the true gospel of saving grace to sinners in need of God’s work of atonement.
Picture: By Joachim Specht (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons