Foundation of the Ecumenical Movement

The falling away from Bible Truth, doctrinal and prophetic, laid the foundation for the ecumenical movement. It is worthy of note that the advanced Truth revealed in the fulfillment of the great prophecy of Dan. 8:14 was rejected by all of the Christian denominations of that time. The spiritual impact on the Churches was remarkable! The evidence of history is that a descent into spiritual darkness was inevitable.

Those who perceived that these Churches had ceased to constitute "the pillar and ground of the Truth" (1 Tim. 3:15) separated themselves and became a part of the Great Second Advent Movement out of which a new denomination named the Seventh-day Adventist Church emerged. By rejection of the Great Second Advent Movement the advancing Truths of Dan. 7:9-14, the Book of Hebrews, and Rev. 14:6-9 could not be received by the Churches. It is of great significance that the Apostle Paul wrote Heb. 5:11-14 in the context of Jesus Christ's ministry in the heavenly Sanctuary as Melchisedec the High Priest. By their rejection of the fulfillment of the prophecy of Dan. 8:14 and Sanctuary Truth which followed, the Churches shut the door to the reception of the "strong meat" of advancing Truth which followed.

The descent into spiritual darkness has reached a climax in these days when spirits of devils have been given free rein because of the great apostasy of all Christian Churches. Do a Google search for the phrase "Bible illiteracy" and there is a prolific number of search results, all lamenting the abysmal ignorance of today's "Christians" in both the principles and practice of Bible Christianity. Here is an interesting chart contrasting Biblical versus Cultural Christianity.

The falling away from Bible Christianity has not resulted in apathy. To the contrary, there is spiritual fervor born of delusion. This is undoubtedly the time prophesied by the Apostle Paul in 2 Thess. 2:8-12; and significantly Ellen G. White applied this passage of Scripture to the Seventh-day Adventist Church. If it applies to the denomination which still harbors vestiges of the great Truths committed to it in sacred trust, how much more does it apply to the denominations which rejected advancing Truth over one hundred and fifty years ago! That the Seventh-day Adventist Church has joined the rejectionists is a shocking fact. What a weight of responsibility rests on the shoulders of the leaders of this denomination, for the entire Christian world as well as its own membership! The Church repudiated the commission given to it by God for the entire world, and now darkness covers the earth and gross darkness the people, spiritually (Isa. 60:2.)

It is in this fertile environment that Pope Francis is continuing the Roman Catholic push started by his predecessors John-Paul II and Benedict XVI for ecumenical unity in the Christian world, unity with other religions (especially the Jewish and Muslim faiths,) and unity of nations by implementation of Rome's Social Doctrine. The Pope is able to interface with both religious and civil leaders because he is both the head of the Roman Catholic Church and Sovereign of the Holy See. This dual role is now on display in his visit to Mexico as he addresses the civil authorities and religious leaders separately:

Pope condemns drug trade, violence in Mexico

Earlier in the day, Pope Francis called on Mexico’s elected leaders to provide basic rights to their citizens and blamed individualism as the root of the country’s most pressing challenges, including rampant corruption and ongoing drug violence.

Flanked by Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto, the pope addressed congressmen and women, governors and the civil and diplomatic corps in the first of three major events Saturday, the second day of his visit to Mexico.

In his introduction, the president welcomed the pontiff and said his visit meant a lot to the people. He also listed challenges his country faced — but notably made no mention of the violence and drug trafficking that has ravaged the nation. Francis, however, was keen to engage the topic.

“Each time we seek the path of privileges and benefits for the few to the detriment of the good of all, sooner or later the life of society becomes a fertile soil for corruption, drug trade, exclusion of different cultures, violence and also human trafficking, kidnapping and death, bringing suffering and slowing down development,” the pope said.

The pope, referring to himself as a “missionary of mercy and peace,” called on elected leaders to guarantee access to basic necessities for all citizens, such as affordable housing, dignified jobs, food security and safety. . .

After Francis' speech, he boarded his popemobile and weaved through crowds at the Zocalo, Mexico City’s main square, toward the Metropolitan Cathedral to meet with Mexican bishops. There, he offered a public rebuke of infighting among bishops and urged them to tackle the problems surrounding drug trafficking in Mexico head on.

“If you have to fight, fight. If you have to tell each other off, say them. But as men, face to face,” he said. “But as men of God, pray together, … and if you crossed the line, ask for forgiveness. But be sure to maintain the unity of the episcopate.” (Underscored emphasis added.)

Pope Francis' dual role was also on display when he visited the United States in September, 2015, with pomp and ceremony attending his visit to the White House, an address to a joint session of Congress, and his participation in the display of Roman Catholic rituals.

The Pope's campaign for Roman Catholic ecumenical unity with the rest of the Christian world is being waged at a frenetic pace. It should first be observed that one year ago he declared that Christian unity "means rejecting ‘proselytism and competition." This is a call for unilateral disarmament in the war between Truth and error - an attempt to extinguish the last vestiges of Protestantism kept alive by the remnant of the woman's seed.

Most notable in the push for unity in the Christian world is the historic meeting between Pope Francis and Patriarch Kyril/Kirill:-

Pope Francis to have historic meeting with head of Russian Orthodox Church

It's a meeting nearly a millennium in the making.

Pope Francis will meet the head of the Russian Orthodox Church, Patriarch Kyril, next Friday in Cuba, the Vatican announced Friday.

It will be the first meeting between the heads of the Catholic and Russian Orthodox churches in history. The Eastern Orthodox and Western factions of Christianity broke apart during the Great Schism in 1054. The Vatican has repaired relations with several branches of Orthodox Christianity in recent decades, but the Russian Church accused Catholics of trying to convert Russians after the breakup of the Soviet Union in 1989, leading to tensions between the churches. Pope Francis has made concerted efforts to heal the breach, telling Patriarch Kyril in 2014 that "I'll go wherever you want. You call me and I'll go." . .

The meeting is now history:

After 1,000-year split, pope and Russian patriarch embrace in Cuba

"In many countries of the Middle East and North Africa whole families, villages and cities of our brothers and sisters in Christ are being completely exterminated," they said in a joint declaration in apparent reference to violence by militant groups such as Islamic State. . .

"Finally," Francis said as he and Kirill entered through doors on opposite sides of a room at Havana airport. "We are brothers."

Francis, dressed in white with a skullcap, and Kirill, wearing a tall, domed hat that dangled a white stole over black robes, joined arms and kissed on both cheeks.

"It is very clear that this is the will of God," Francis said.

Their meeting carried political overtones, coming at a time of Russian disagreements with the West over Syria and Ukraine.

The Russian Orthodox Church is closely aligned with the Kremlin, which is in turn an ally of Cuba.

The Argentine pontiff helped the rapprochement between the United States and Cuba after more than five decades of estrangement.

The pope, leader of the world's 1.2 billion Catholics, is seeking to repair a much longer rupture. Eastern Orthodoxy split with Rome in 1054.

The declaration called for Europe to remain faithful to its Christian roots and restated several traditional Christian teachings such as opposition to abortion and marriage being reserved for a man and a woman.

The Russian Orthodox Church takes a stronger stand on these issues in public than Pope Francis, who supports these teachings but often speaks of other issues such as poverty and protecting the environment, which were also mentioned in the text.

It is interesting to note how the rapprochement between Rome and the eastern Catholic Church ties in with the menace of Islamic terrorism, which has become a driving force for religious and political unity.