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Eucharistic UnificationWritten by Jacob Prasch
Beneath this article there will be a radio commentary that Roger Oakland recently prepared on the subject of the ecumenical unity that Bishop Hanson (Head of Evangelical Lutheran Association of America) is proposing by 2017 - 500th anniversary of Lutheran Reformation.
Pope Urges Better Dialogue With Lutherans
By Nicole Winfield
Associated Press Writer
Pope Benedict XVI said Monday that ecumenical talks with Lutherans had run into new challenges and called for greater efforts at dialogue in the years before the 500th anniversary of the start of the Protestant Reformation.
Benedict, who has made uniting all Christians a priority of his pontificate, made the comments to Bishop Mark Hanson, president of the Lutheran World Federation, during a Vatican audience.
The federation has 140 member churches in 78 countries. Hanson, in remarks released by his organization, thanked the pope for making Christian unity a priority, and said Lutherans agreed they had a shared responsibility to ensure that the Gospel "may truly fill the life and mission of our churches." Both he and the pope cited a landmark 1999 Catholic-Lutheran document on salvation as evidence of strong ties between the two churches. Benedict called the document, which officially buried a centuries-old dispute on the means of achieving salvation, a "significant milestone on our common path to full visible unity." The pope said, however, that differences on the issue remain and need to be addressed. He repeated his hope that future ecumenical talks not deal solely with "institutional" questions of the church but delve into what he called "the true source of all ministry in the church." "We are aware that our fraternal dialogue is challenged not just by the need to verify the reception of these shared formulations of doctrine in our respective communions, but even more so today by a general climate of uncertainty regarding Christian truths and ethical principles which formerly went unquestioned," he said. Catholic-Lutheran talks will demand patience in the future, the pope said, but he called for renewed vigor in light of the 500th anniversary of the start of the Protestant Reformation in Germany in 2017. "As we prepare to mark the 500th anniversary of the events of 1517, we should intensify our efforts to understand more deeply what we have in common and what divides us, as well as the gifts we have to offer each other," Benedict said in remarks released by the Vatican. The Augustinian friar Martin Luther inspired the Protestant Reformation by opposing the Catholic Church's sale of indulgences _ the complete or partial remission of punishment for sins already forgiven. In 1517, Luther famously posted his 95 theses on the door of the Wittenberg castle church to protest the abuses and was eventually excommunicated. In his speech, Hanson cited Luther's 62nd thesis, in which he said the "true treasure" of the church was the Gospel. He also said the 1999 document on salvation was having an impact beyond Catholic-Luthern relations, with the World Methodist Council expected to formally support the declaration next summer in South Korea.
"This development gives us great joy and shows to all that the biblical doctrine of justification is not seen as belonging to Catholics and Lutherans alone, but belongs to the whole church," he said.
I have been following the Roman Catholic Churches agenda to evangelize the world for about a decade. It is a fact that many evangelical Protestants are unaware that there is an agenda. It is also a fact that some are aware, but simply don't care. They agree that Christianity should no longer be burdened by doctrine and beliefs that are divisive. Let's be all one, they say.
However, there are those who study Bible prophecy who have grave concerns. They believe the scriptures warn about a time of great spiritual deception that occurs before Jesus returns. They believe the deception takes place in His name and many will be deceived. When we hear statements made by leaders saying 'unity at any cost' without giving regard to 'the finished work of the cross,'Ã‚ they are urged to sound a warning. This is why I am doing today's program. Ã‚ In our last program we documented that Bishop Hanson, head of the Lutheran World Federation and also the head of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, has called for the formation of 'a global Christian council' to discuss the problem of Christians who take a 'fundamentalist-millenialist-apocalypticist' view of the Scriptures. This elite council would be made up of Roman Catholics, Orthodox, Anglicans and Lutherans who, according to Bishop Hanson, have a much more biblical view. Ã‚ Further, Bishop Hanson is calling upon the Vatican to facilitate unity of the brethren by making a 'Eucharistic Sharing Agreement.' Quoting from an article titled 'Evangelical Lutheran Church of America Assembly Hears Presiding Bishop's Report' we read:
Hanson reminded the assembly that 'the unity of the church as the Body of Christ is not a goal to be attained, but in fact to be recognized In that regard, Hanson referenced the ecumenical work of the ELCA in establishing five full communion partnerships and the recommendation for an interim Eucharistic Sharing agreement with the United Methodist Church that will come about before the assembly August 11. He then suggested that the ELCA 'explore the possibility of a joint declaration of the Eucharist' with Roman Catholics 'as one way of celebrating the 500th anniversary of the Lutheran Reformation in 2017.'
So, what does this mean? There are two things that are significant. While Hanson is promoting Eucharistic unification with Rome, he is also very concerned about those who will resist it. These are the narrow-minded 'fundamentalist millennialists' who believe in "apocalypse next" and not "establish the Kingdom of God, now." Ã‚ What you are not told, is that the Roman Catholic view on the presence of Christ in the Eucharist is a fixed position, not negotiable. If and when a statement is made by the Vatican regarding a 'joint declaration on the Eucharist' there will be one and only condition, you will be believe in the Catholic view that the Eucharistic Jesus requires a priest to conjure up His presence.
If you disagree, please wait and see. And of course, keep reading your Bible.
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