Saturday, February 16, 2013

Historic Ecumenical Move

After seven years of talks, leaders of U.S. Roman Catholic and four Protestant churches have signed a historic agreement in which they will formally recognize each other’s liturgical rites of baptism. The five denominations include the Roman Catholic Church, the Presbyterian Church (USA), Christian Reformed Church in North America, Reformed Church in America and the United Church of Christ.

 The signing was part of the opening day activities of the national meeting of Christian Churches Together in the U.S.A.

 Prior to the agreement, the Catholic Church didn’t always accept the baptisms of the Reformed churches, while the Reformed churches normally accepted Catholic baptisms.

 The agreement says, “For our baptisms to be mutually recognized, water and the scriptural Trinitarian formula “Father, Son, and Holy Spirit” (Matthew 28:19-20) must be used in the baptismal rite.”

 The churches wanted to assure one another that they had the same liturgical practices and a common theology in order to recognize each other’s baptism.

 “It’s a historical moment.” said Ruben Armendariz, associate presbyter of the San Antonio-based presbytery of the Presbyterian Church.

 “This ecumenical effort, this mutual recognition of baptism, is part of our response to Jesus’ prayer that ‘we may all be one,’ said Bishop Joe Vásquez of the Catholic Diocese of Austin.”

 As the ecumenical movement marches forward, reformed churches continue to yield their faith and harmonize it with Roman Catholicism; they are paving the way to eventually enforce the image of the beast.

 “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, page 445