And One More Joint Declaration
Lastly, another document was signed at the same time in Lund, Sweden: called “Together in Hope” Declaration of Intent, it was signed between the Roman Catholic organisation, Caritas International, and the Lutheran World Federation. Caritas International is described as “the social and justice arm of the Catholic Church”, but this description does not reveal its true nature or purpose: it is a radical, Catholic-Communist organisation, committed to advancing the Socialist/Communist agenda worldwide. This becomes clear when one reads its own statement regarding its mission, stuffed with all the latest Socialist/Communist buzz words and phrases behind which they hide their radical agenda: “to promote a civilization of love, based on the social and other teachings of the Church and is developed around five central strategic orientations that are: Caritas at the heart of the Church; save lives and rebuild communities; promote sustainable integral human development; build global solidarity; make the Caritas Confederation more effective.”
The document makes it clear that Caritas and the Lutheran World Federation will deepen and strengthen their ecumenical ties and their commitment to “unity”.
The Problem with the Reformation
One cannot deny that, for all its faults (and there were a great many), the Reformation of the sixteenth century brought about immense good in the European world of its day, and in the whole world ever since. Above all other blessings which flowed from it, there was the translation and printing of the Bible into many different languages, providing the masses with the priceless treasure of the Word of God. Then there was the blessing of religious liberty, which, although it did not immediately come into being in many places where the Reformation had overturned the power of the Papacy, yet did gradually spread and take root as never before. There were also many political blessings which were bestowed on many nations, once they overthrew the yoke of Rome. These were just some of the many good things which came about in the world as a result of the Reformation.
But the problem with the Reformation was just that: it was a reformation of the Roman Catholic system. The Reformers, for the most part, were Roman Catholic priests who became disillusioned with many aspects of the Papal system and became ex-Roman Catholic priests, but who were content with other aspects. Their intention, all too often, was to reform, to “clean up”, the Papal system. In this they greatly erred, for it shows that they did not understand the true nature of the Papal system, nor, alas, the true nature of the Church of Christ. They did not grasp the full truth about Roman Catholicism: that it is not, and never has been, a Christian Church at all. It is a false and utterly heathenish religion through and through, just as much as any other heathen religion. And as such, it can never be reformed! It can and must only be utterly rejected and forsaken. The Reformation was an attempt to put new wine into old bottles (Matt. 9:17). But this could not be done in Jesus’ day with the false religion of the Jewish religious leaders, and it cannot be done with the false religion of Rome.
And by failing to understand this – indeed, in the case of many of them, by failing to understand the true Gospel itself – the Reformers planted the seeds of the Reformation’s own destruction, eventually. For if the Roman Catholic system merely needed to be externally reformed, then conceivably, once it had arrived at a point where its “reforms” were acceptable to the “Protestants” of the time, it could then be welcomed as a sister-Church, and its members could be accepted as brothers and sisters in Christ. For neither side understands or embraces the true, biblical Gospel of Christ, and both sides emphasise external, mechanical rites and ceremonies as constituting the “Gospel”.
And this is precisely the situation in which they find themselves today!
The Reformation was an attempt at reforming the Roman Catholic system. It failed miserably in this objective, because Roman Catholicism, being an utterly false religion, cannot be reformed so as to bring it into line with the Gospel, and with what a true Christian church should be. One cannot take a false religion, and reform it so that it becomes a Christian church! It is a sheer impossibility. One does not say to the people of the Hindu religion, or the Muslim religion, “Clean up your act; reform; change a few things to our satisfaction; and we will accept you as Christian brethren.” And yet this is exactly what “Protestant” institutions are, in effect, saying to the people of Rome! Yet what is the difference? Rome is as heathen as those other religions. Yes, it uses Christian terminology – but such terminology does not make it Christian! It just makes it even more devilishly deceptive.
The true Christian Church is a spiritual organism, the work of God the Holy Spirit alone. The only true members of it are those who have been regenerated by the Spirit of God, and converted to Jesus Christ. It is not merely a case of altering this false doctrine or that one, bringing this practice more in line with biblical teaching, and – hey presto! – you have created a Christian church out of a heathen religion! The new birth, that mighty work of the Holy Spirit, transforms men from being dead in trespasses and sins to being alive in Christ. Salvation is a mighty transformation from within, not a reformation from without.
No wonder, then, that Lutheranism was simply a modified Romanism. Luther himself did not seek for, nor even desire, a regenerate membership. He openly admitted that his “church” did not only consist of those he considered to be sheep, but of goats as well. He held firmly to various false, Popish doctrines; he embraced the idea of a “State Church”; and his followers persecuted those of other churches, both true and false, even unto death. Thus the Lutheran “Church” was nothing but a scaled-down, modified version of its Papal mother. The seeds of its own destruction were sown back then, when its founder and his assistants retained as much of Romanism as they could, and continued to view that monstrous system as Christian, and its people as Christians.