Restoration Plea vs. Ecumenical Plea
RESTORATION PLEA VS. ECUMENICAL PLEA
Denominational leaders ("clergy") seem to have no greater desire than for the fulfillment of the ecumenical plea. Essential to this plea is the concept that there are no significant differences between denominations, and that all accept what is commonly called "traditional Christian beliefs." Those who fail to comply are often discredited and labeled as cults, sects or fanatics.
But there is a complete difference between the restoration plea and the ecumenical plea.
The restoration plea calls for the abandonment of practice based upon tradition which has no basis in scripture (Mt. 15:1-9), while the ecumenical plea calls for uniting around commonly accepted denominational doctrines, such as salvation by faith only (see James 2:14-26).
The restoration plea calls for the church to be formed bottom-up as a collection of Christians who are truly called out from the world (Acts 2:47, Heb. 8:11), while the ecumenical plea calls for sustaining all of the denominational (top-down) organizations, and for the clergy-laity system to remain intact.
The restoration plea calls for restoring the identical doctrines that the apostles taught with regard to salvation and every good work (Eph. 2:20, Heb. 2:1-4), while the ecumenical plea calls for the continuation of diverse denominational teaching and practice (see 1 Cor. 1:10f).
The restoration plea calls for restoring the freedom from those things that are not bound by God's word ("speaking where the bible speaks and being silent where the bible is silent" -- 1 Pet. 4:11), while the ecumenical plea calls for the continued binding of traditional denominational practices.
The restoration plea is a plea for total, complete and unequivocal return to the scriptures as the only standard of religious authority (2 Kings 22:8-20, 2 Tim. 3:16-17), while the ecumenical plea is a plea to formalize business as usual.
We could go on ad infinitum. In short, the restoration plea is diametrically opposed to the ecumenical plea, and there is absolutely no way that they can be reconciled.
If you decide to accept the ecumenical plea, do so because you believe it is right, not because there is no alternative.
The restoration plea is a challenge to separate yourself from the world; when you take that first step you will begin to realize just how different it is.