A word about ecumenism and what we mean by "THE CHURCH"

Throughout this website you will see numerous references to God, Christianity and the Church, as well as other spiritual references.  An explanation is in order as to how these phrases are to be understood.

 

The primary creator of this website is an evangelical Christian and, as such, confesses the doctrines stated here, including that salvation from the penalty of sin is by grace alone through faith alone, and that the church is nothing more and nothing less than the total number of all persons thus saved.  However, it is our opinion that everyone professing Christianity, and even those who don't, have something to learn from this website, and something to contribute to the fight against this most outrageous of evils which God deplores.

A commonly heard statement in anti-abortion circles is "we are engaged in a spiritual battle".  While few religious people would disagree with this statement, there is a great diversity of opinion as to what it means, and our interpretation of this statement governs both how we fight abortion and who choose as allies.  Not a few would say that the battle against abortion is so closely tied to the core of what it means to be Christian that we should abstain from working alongside non-Christians or anyone whose Christianity is, in our assessment, unorthodox.  

 

The creators of the Revelation 3:2 Project do not hold to this view.  We believe that while the fight to end abortion, like every human endeavor, must be blessed by God if it is to succeed, and while Christians should never hide who they are or what they believe, this should not prevent us from linking arms with anyone who wishes to work towards the same goal, regardless of their position before God.  

 

If Evangelicals, Roman Catholics, Eastern Orthodox (or for that matter Mormons, Muslims and atheists) are comfortable serving in the military together, serving in charitable organizations together or caring for their communities together, they should be comfortable fighting to end abortion together.  The right to life is a preeminent right, but it is not in a special category that precludes Christians from involvement with heterodox Christians or even non-Christians.  

 

Besides the examples given above, there is precedence for this position in the acts of America's Founding Fathers.  As John Adams wrote in 1813, "The general principles on which the fathers achieved independence were ... the general principles of Christianity".  Christian historian David Barton writes that "Today, we might accurately describe the general principles of Christianity as the Judeo-Christian ethic."  In other words,, God's proximate tool for founding the most Christian nation on earth was not Gospel itself (which primarily concerns our state in the next world) but a worldview under-girded with the values Christianity helped foster.  The two are closely related, but they are not the same.

 

We see "the general principles of Christianity" in action when we consider how professing Christians of various denominations (some very antithetical to one another) cooperated in crafting our founding documents and forming our first government.  Of the 56 signers of the US Declaration of Independence, most were either registered as Congregationalist (13) or Church of England (34).  Students of history will affirm that neither group considered the doctrines of the other to be orthodox.  There were 6 Presbyterians and one man, John Hart, who belonged to the then much maligned sect of Baptists.  Roman Catholicism and the Society of Friends, sects with doctrines many of their fellow colonials considered anathema, were also represented in the persons of Charles Carroll and Stephen Hopkins.  Thomas Jefferson and Benjamin Franklin were registered Church of England, but considering the very un-Christian viewpoints they held, it would be wiser to classify them as deists.(1)  A case could be made that John Adams, a registered Congregationalist, was more Unitarian than anything else.  The makeup of the signers of the US Constitution was similar, including a few more Quakers and Roman Catholics (5 in total), as well as 6 men from the Methodist, Dutch Reformed and Lutheran denominations.  

 

Such cooperation between professing "Christians" of all types was also evident in the American abolitionist movement of the early and mid 19th Century.  Here Quakers had always taken the lead and were well represented by men and women like Anthony Benezet, Benjamin Lundy, Lucretia Mott and the the Grimke sisters Sarah and Angelina. Sojourner Truth was a Seventh Day Adventist.  Puritans like Harriet Beecher Stowe, Lewis Tappan and Geroge B. Cheever worked alongside very unorthdox individuals like William Lloyd Garrison.  Elijah Lovejoy was a Presbyterian, Charles Lenox Remond a Roman Catholic and Frederick Douglas a member of the African Methodist Episcopal Church.  Stephen Foster and William Goodell were "come-outers" who refused to join any non-abolitionist church and formed their own congregations based on these principles.  These men and women did not see differences in doctrine, even Gospel doctrine, as hurdles to cooperation in a righteous cause.  Thank goodness!  

 

Throughout this website you will sometimes find the word "Christian" used in a rather broad manner to mean "a person who outwardly affirms the doctrines of general Christianity and lives in accordance to them".  In other words, someone who professes Christianity and supports the "general principles of Christianity" that John Adams wrote about above.  It is not an attempt to minimize the doctrinal differences between denominations or, still less, imply that such general Christianity is a formula for salvation.  

REFERENCES AND FOOTNOTES

 

1.  Franklin wrote this summary of his beliefs in a letter to Ezra Stiles in 1790, a short time before he died.