Personal from Herbert W Armstrong
WHY ARE the different branches of "Christianity" talking about UNION? WHY is it possible for them to make overtures toward compromise? The answer will surprise! And anyway, is it not right that they should all GET TOGETHER? WHY should Christianity be divided? The Vatican Second Ecumenical Council made many overtures toward both Protestants and the Eastern Orthodox Church. They have even taken a conciliatory attitude toward Jews. Pope Paul VI assured the non-Catholic Christian world of his purpose to clear away every obstacle blocking "Christian unity." An example of the changing religious atmosphere was Cardinal Cushing's reported approving of Catholic young people in Boston going to hear Protestant Evangelist Billy Graham. Many Protestant leaders beginning to make friendly gestures toward the Roman Catholic Church. At the same time a prominent Jewish rabbi called for greater co-operation and understanding between conservative Protestants and the Jewish community. The BIG question is WHY IS such compromise possible? Can you imagine Jesus Christ beginning to compromise and get together with the Pharisees? The answer leads directly to the question: WHAT IS THE SOURCE of these religious beliefs? What is the religious AUTHORITY? I suppose most people would answer that GOD is their authority — the source of their beliefs. But IS HE? Does GOD tell the Roman Catholics to believe one thing, the Protestants to believe something different, and the Jews something different from the other two? Did all the hundreds of differing and disagreeing sects and denominations calling themselves "Christian" receive their varying faiths from the SAME SOURCE? Quite obviously not! A man I know met a staunch believer in the Middle Eastern religion. A discussion followed regarding the relative merits of their different religions. Suddenly the Mideasterner asked, "Do you believe in your God enough to fight for Him?" "No, my God doesn't need me to fight for Him," replied my friend. "WHAT? You don't FIGHT for your God," exclaimed the Mideasterner in shocked disbelief. "Why, what kind of a God do you have, that you don't fight for Him? Everyone of our religions believes in his god so much that he will go out and fight for Him!" "Yes, I know," replied my friend. "You have to fight to PROTECT your god, because he can't protect himself or do anything for you. But my God is the LIVING GOD — the All-Powerful, Supreme, Eternally LIVING God. My God fights my battles for me. My God is Supreme, and therefore I OBEY HIM. He RULES me, and guides me in the way I ought to go for my own welfare and happiness. But He also DOES THINGS FOR ME. He tells me to love my enemies — and HE will fight my battles for me. He heals me when I am sick. He is a LIVING God — not a dead god. He makes even my enemies to be at peace with me. He DOES THINGS FOR ME — things I could not do for myself. "You see," my friend continued, "there is only one LIVING God. But nearly all the people in the world worship and serve dead gods. Other people make up their own gods. Their gods are the work of their own hands — or the invention of their own minds. But I am the creation of MY God! I didn't make Him — He made me." Now we ought to begin to see the answer to the question, HOW can these differing religious groups compromise and get together? They have strayed far away from Biblical truth, mixed with much that is of human origin or tradition. Their beliefs, their customs, are largely the inventions of HUMANS. Therefore humans feel at liberty to alter or change their own beliefs and ways. "But," one asks, "didn't they all receive their beliefs out of the BIBLE?" The answer is an emphatic NO! Didn't you ever wonder WHY people talk about their various INTERPRETATIONS of the Bible? Take, for instance, Romans 6:23: "For the wages of sin is DEATH; but the GIFT of God is ETERNAL LIFE through Jesus Christ our Lord." Most "Christian" religions INTERPRET THAT — which is to say, they CHANGE ITS MEANING, to make it say precisely the opposite. They claim that the MAN is an "immortal soul." Man, therefore, they believe, already HAS eternal life — he CANNOT DIE! So, they change the meaning of that verse to conform to their erroneous belief — They INTERPRET this verse to MEAN the very opposite of what it SAYS, thus: "The wages of sin is ETERNAL LIFE (in hell); and eternal life is NOT the gift of God." There are others who INTERPRET "death" to mean "separation from God," and "gift of eternal life" to mean "eternal life which is NOT a gift, but which you already possess, spent in the geographical PRESENCE OF Christ." This is the dishonest process which religious bodies make the Bible say whatever they want it to say. Peter speaks of this twisting, distorting, and wresting of the Scriptures, "which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction. Ye therefore, beloved, seeing ye know these things before, BEWARE lest ye also, being led away with the error of the wicked, fall from your own steadfastness" (II Peter 3:16-17). We ought to understand, therefore, how those who, like the Roman Catholic Church, reject the Bible as the supreme AUTHORITY — setting themselves, as a CHURCH, as supreme authority (saying they have power to CHANGE the Bible — as they claim to have done by changing God's Sabbath to Sunday). When religions, sects, denominations CHANGE the Bible to suit their own ideas and wishes by INTERPRETING it their own way — we ought now to understand how they can compromise and GET TOGETHER. But do they even HAVE the one true LIVING God? Just what determines WHO, or WHAT is your GOD? Actually, most people do not realize the true answer. WHOever, or WHATever you worship, fasten your affection on, and SERVE, IS your GOD. One's country may — and often does — become one's god. Through a wrong kind of patriotism, many WORSHIP their country. Here is a Bible definition: "And they WORSHIPPED the dragon (Satan) which gave power unto the beast (Roman Empire): and they WORSHIPPED the beast, saying, "WHO IS LIKE UNTO THE BEAST? WHO IS ABLE TO MAKE WAR WITH HIM?" (Rev 13:4.) Patriotism, of the right kind, is good. One should love his own country, with outgoing concern for it, be loyal to it, with a spirit of respect and gratitude for what it has provided him. God commands us to be subject to the human government over us — to give honor where honor is due. nut iiot to make it a god before the Supreme Creator! Satan is the god of this world (II Cor. 4:4). People do not think of him as the Devil — but as their GOD. People unwittingly serve Satan, obey Satan, accept his lies and believe them and call them truth — Satan appears as an angel of light and truth — not as a devil (II Cor. 11:13-15) and he has many ministers, serving him as GOD, claiming to be apostles of Christ and ministers of righteousness — but with a perverted gospel, and a different Jesus (verse 4, same chapter). People serve Satan, obey Satan, believing he is God, accept his lies and believe them and call them truth. WHOever, or WHATever you serve and obey becomes your god. Your Bible says, "Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey, whether of sin unto DEATH, or of OBEDIENCE (to God's Law) unto righteousness? (Rom. 6:16.) The very name — or title — "LORD" MEANS MASTER, or RULER, or the ONE YOU OBEY. Do you not understand what Jesus meant when He said, "And why call ye me 'LORD, LORD,' and DO NOT the things which I say?" (Luke 6:46.) To CALL Jesus "LORD," or "MASTER," is to call Him THE ONE YOU OBEY. To call Him that while you disobey Him is to LIE! The one and only TRUE God is the EVERLIVING God who RULES by His spiritual Law of LOVE, summed up by the Ten Commandments — and who actually DOES THINGS FOR those who OBEY Him and RELY on Him! So it ought to be plain WHY this world's churches are able to compromise, and GET TOGETHER, and talk about UNITING. The one and only true God is the same living God who guided Noah in building the ark — who saved Noah and his family from the Flood. This is the living God whom Abraham obeyed, and in whom Abraham trusted — who gave the PROMISES! This is the SAME GOD who guided and prospered Joseph — protected, delivered, rewarded him — because Joseph OBEYED Him. This is the same God who guided David, as a lad, when he went up against the ten-foot tall Goliath who dared to mock the living God. This is the same living God who sent plagues on the Egyptians to teach them that their gods were false and that He is the only God who could help them — PASSED OVER Israelites, spared them from death — delivered them from slavery — parted the waters of the Red Sea. This is the identical, same LIVING God who fought the armies of Assyria for Judah's King Hezekiah, when the Assyrian Shalmanezer denied the power of the Everliving God. This is the same LIVING God who fought the battle for Judah when the Jews were attacked by the armies of three allied enemies — as a result of the OBEDIENCE AND FAITH of King Jehoshaphat — the God who said: "Be not afraid nor dismayed by reason of the great multitude; for the battle is not yours, but God's." This is the same LIVING God who intervened to save Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego from the burning fiery furnace, when they obeyed and trusted Him, saying to the King: "Our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace and HE WILL deliver us out of shine hand, O King!" Isn't it time we asked: Is this the God of religions and sects who can compromise with belief in order to UNITE with evil? The ETERNAL is the living God who is very soon going to RISE IN JUDGMENT against our nations — against these religions — which deny Him, disobey Him, trust in any and everything EXCEPT Him, and in fact serve dead gods, in the form of interests, pursuits, sports, entertainments, love of money, pride, vanity, and selfishness. To serve and obey God is to go THE WAY that leads into peace, happiness, prosperity, and JOY. I know! I started on that way over forty years ago, and it has led me into those rewards. The DAY OF RECKONING is fast swooping down on this rebellious world. God says He will do nothing, except He reveal it to His servants and prophets (Amos 3:7). HE HAS REVEALED IT — I HAVE PROCLAIMED IT!