By: Denford Ntini
The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops approved an agreement recognizing as valid the baptism of four Reformed Christian churches, during its fall general assembly in Baltimore.
The “Common Agreement on Mutual Recognition of Baptism,” has been the result of six years of study and discussion between the representatives of the U.S. Catholic bishops and the Presbyterian Church-USA, the Reformed Church in America, the Christian Reformed Church, and the United Church of Christ.
Noting that the approval was a “milesotne in the ecumenical journey,” Archbishop Wilton Gregory, chairman of the U.S.C.C.B. Committee for Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs, said, “Together with our Reformed brothers and sisters…we Catholic bishops can once again affirm baptism as the basis of the real, even if incomplete, unity we share in Christ.”
The four Reformed communities must approve the common agreement, which will then “allow Catholic ministers to presume that baptisms performed in these communities are ‘true baptism’ as understood in Catholic doctrine and law.”
All four so-called Reformed churches practice the unbiblical form of baptism known as sprinkling (mostly of infants). Baptism by sprinkling is the all-important ritual that brings a person into the Catholic Church. A common agreement, means then that those who are baptized by these “Reformed communities” are actually accepted as Roman Catholics, whether they individually want to be or not. For the Reformed churches to make such a grand concession clearly overthrows what little protestantism they may still have.
The Holy See speaks “great words against the Most High” and “magnifies himself,” instead of humbling herself and conforming to the clear testimony of Scripture. Her forms of baptism, the mass and other rituals and teachings are in conflict with Holy Scripture.
Biblical baptism is a public declaration of a personal conscious decision to follow Christ and live according to the doctrines of the Bible, not teachings based on a tradition or consensus with other churches. It is not merely a ritual, but a public testimony of a change of heart and life.
Catholics and Reformed Christians “have moved one step closer to that fullness of communion…” said Archbishop Gregory, “on that day when together we can celebrate in oneness of faith and ministry at the one holy table of the Eucharist.”
The popes have made the ecumenical movement a top priority in their quest to get all the world to worship according to their rules or principles (see Revelation 13:8). The ultimate goal of the ecumenical movement is to bring the churches into full, visible, sacramental unity around the Roman Catholich eucharist.
The fast-paced ecumenical movement is rapidly bringing the world to the place where the Holy See will “sit a queen” (Revelation 18:7). With such concessions as these churches have made to the Holy See, it will not be long.
To find unity with Rome, the protestant churches are making major concessions. This will eventually lead to persecution of those who don’t agree with the ecumenical unity promoted by Rome.
“When the leading churches of the United States, uniting upon such points of doctrine as are held by them in common, shall influence the State to enforce their decrees and to sustain their institutions, then Protestant America will have formed an image of the Roman hierarchy, and the infliction of civil penalties upon dissenters will inevitably result.” Great Controversy, p. 445
The undiluted preaching from God’s Word and an authoritative stand on truth are declining. The gospel is now so broad that it accepts all believes, even contradictory ones. The growing emphasis on inclusion and tolerance means that churches must redefine the principles of faith. Ecumenism has come to mean reducing all elements of faith to the lowest common denominator. God’s Word is neglected, experience is valued above truth, a false and selfish “faith” is promoted, and sound doctrine and correction are despised as “divisive” and “unloving.”
“Romanism is now regarded by Protestants with far greater favor than in former years. In those countries where Catholicism is not in the ascendancy, and the papists are taking a conciliatory course in order to gain influence, there is an increasing indifference concerning the doctrines that separate the reformed churches from the papal hierarchy; the opinion is gaining ground that, after all, we do not differ so widely upon vital points as has been supposed, and that a little concession on our part will bring us into a better understanding with Rome. The time was when Protestants placed a high value upon the liberty of conscience which had been so dearly purchased. They taught their children to abhor popery and held that to seek harmony with Rome would be disloyalty to God. But how widely different are the sentiments now expressed!” Great Controversy, p. 563.