Universal Council Proposed--Universal Creed

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Ecumenist renews call for universal Christian council

Dr. Konrad Raiser, general secretary of the World Council of Churches, has renewed his call for the main Christian churches to start, in the year 2000, a process to lead to a universal Christian council uniting all churches and Christians. Speaking at the opening of the Dutch Kerkendag (church day) on Saturday, 25 April, Dr. Raiser said that in the year 2000, leaders of the Roman Catholic, Orthodox, Protestant, Anglican and Pentecostal churches should make a solemn promise not to rest until such a council had been achieved.

More than 15,000 people with raincoats and umbrellas braved heavy rain to attend the Kerkendag in Kampen, in the north-east of the country. In between open-air services at the beginning and end of the day, participants could choose between more than 100 debates, events and workshops, organised by the Council of Churches in The Netherlands (RvK). The theme of the event was “on the move for reconciliation”. The RvK includes the main Protestant and Roman Catholic churches in The Netherlands.

In his speech, Dr. Raiser said that there had been little progress in reconciliation between the different Christian traditions. There had been steps towards unity between some Protestant and Anglican churches, he said. But the situation was very different in relations between the Reformation churches and the Roman Catholic and Orthodox traditions. Rome and the Orthodox churches had a love-hate relationship, he said.

It would not be necessary to resolve all outstanding issues between the main Christian traditions to achieve a universal Christian council, Dr. Raiser said, but among those that needed to be tackled were the issues of tradition in the Orthodox church, the question of ministry and authority in the churches of the Reformation, and the primacy of the Pope in the Roman Catholic Church.

By Piet Halma - Excerpt from ENI Bulletin - 30 April 1998

Ellen White on a Universal Creed

"The wide diversity of belief in the Protestant churches is regarded by many as decisive proof that no effort to secure a forced uniformity can ever be made. But there has been for years, in churhes of the Protestant faith, a strong and growing sentiment in favor of a union based upon common points of doctrine. To secure such a union, the discussion of subjects upon which all were not agreed--however important they might be from a Bible standpoint--must necessarily be waived.
Charles Beecher, in a sermon in the year 1846, declared that the ministry of 'the evangelical Protestant denominations' is 'not only formed all the way up under a tremendous pressure of merely human fear, but they live, and move, and breathe in a state of things radically corrupt, and appealing every hour to every baser element of their nature to hush up the truth, and bow the knee to the power of apostasy. Was not this the way things went with Rome? Are we not living her life over again? And what do we see just ahead? Another general council! A world's convention! Evangelical alliance, and UNIVERSAL CREED!'-- sermon on 'the Bible a Sufficient Creed,' delivered at Fort Wayne, Indiana, Feb, 22, 1846. When this shall be gained, then, in the effort to secure complete iuniformity, it will be only a step to the resort to force.
When the leading churches of the United States, uniting upon such points of doctrine as are held by them in common, shall influence the state to enforce their decrees and to sustain their institutions, then Protestant America will have formed an image of the Roman hierarchy, and the inflicition of civil penalties upon dissenters will inevitably result." E.G. White, The Great Controversy, pp. 444-445.