If I understand correctly, in End Times, there’ll be a single, global church that operates under the authority of the Anti-Christ. Those who don’t join that singular church, will be executed.
Ever since Martin Luther caused a schism between the Catholic church and, what ultimately became thousands of Protestant denominations, the existence of a single, unified and global church seemed unlikely.
However, the following video offers an interesting analysis of a meeting earlier this year when Pope Francis and his Protestant representative Tony Palmer (a South African Bishop with the Communion of Evangelical Episcopal Churches), advocated a single, re-unified Church–presumably under Catholic authority.
I know that you can’t judge a book or a priest by their “covers,” but Tony Palmer’s appearance fascinates. Slick hair. Long eyelashes. Beard. Unusual eyebrows (did he pluck his eyebrows?). Charismatic. I don’t know if I’m watching a priest or a heavy metal rock star. Palmer may be a great man, but something about that guy creeps me out. If I were in charge of producing a remake of the A.D. 1997 movie “Devil’s Advocate,” I’d try to cast Bishop Tony Palmer for one of the lead roles. To me, he looks the part.
The people who advocate this reunification quote the Bible. The video’s host, Doug Batchelor, is critical of the proposed reunification and also quotes the Bible. I, too, quote the Bible. It’s hard to find a cause that can’t be supported with some excerpt from the Bible.
My quote is Matthew 7:13-14 wherein the Messiah declares,
“Enter ye in by the narrow gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many are they that enter in thereby. For narrow is the gate, and straitened the way, that leadeth unto life, and few are they that find it.”
I understand that verse to mean that the way to salvation is very narrow and limited. Only a few will find that narrow way. Only a few will be saved. I can’t say for sure, but I don’t think a “few” translates into millions or even billions of people. I think that a “few” means that even most Christians may not be saved.
Most of us will go by the “way” that is “wide” and “broad”. Most of will follow that “way” because it’s well-traveled by virtually everyone else. That “wide, broad” way will seem safe to us because we don’t really understand what “way” we’re going, because we don’t independently study and seek that “way”. Instead, we assume that if we stick with the majority, they must know where we’re going and, therefore, we’ll be OK. But the Messiah warns in Matthew 7:13-14 that that wide, broad “way” leads to destruction.
There’s an implication in following the “wide, broad” way because we do what other are doing. We follow “them” because we haven’t personally studied and sought the “way” as individual men and women. When we follow the herd, we’re fakin’ it–and our Father YHWH ha Elohiym will not be deceived.
Although the phrase “few are they that find it” doesn’t clearly say so, that phrase implies that if you “find” the way to salvation, you’ll find it all by yourself based on your own searching and study. If so, you won’t find the “way” by attending the church with the most members, best parking and biggest, flashing neon sign on the steeple.
If the way to salvation is as narrow as Matthew 7:13-14 suggests, most of us–even most of us who profess to be Christians–may fail to find salvation.
To me, that suggests that anyone who joins a single, massive, and possibly global church will be be unlikely to achieve salvation. I’m not saying that members of a big church can’t be saved, but I am saying that those who rely strictly on the theology and ritual of any one, massive church may be deceived and doomed. I suspect that each man’s salvation depends as much or more on his personal determination to privately search for God, rather than on his choice to embrace one giant church’s rituals rather than another’s.
The idea of searching for God on our own is scary. To do so literally bets your eternal life on your personal ability find God. How many of us have enough courage (or faith) to dare to make that bet? But, if the big churches can only guide us to the “wide way,” how will we find salvation unless we move forward on our own?
Worse, anyone who’s an adult and reasonably sane knows how easily he can deceive himself. How can we know that our “private search” is truly leading to God rather than some comforting self-delusion?
I don’t think we can know. I think we have to proceed in a blind faith where we do not know, but we believe that the Good LORD will finally guide us to the narrow “way” and so we keep putting one foot in front of the other.
I also suspect that the narrow “way” is not so much an obscure destination (like Highway 75 or Route 66) as it is each man’s persistent search.
I’m not arguing that my suspicions are true. I’m simply saying that’s the way I see it at this time.
But I am arguing that if the “narrow way” leads to salvation for only a few, it seems to follow that the “wide way” followed by many members of the biggest churches would probably lead towards destruction.
I’m not saying that any church can’t be helpful in your search for the “narrow way”. Every church can tell us something about the God we’re looking for. But I am saying that your salvation may depend primarily on the persistence of your search, outside your church, for that “narrow way” to salvation.
If any of my analysis is roughly correct, it might follow that the last place a true Christian would allow himself to be in End Times, would be as a member of the one, unified, global church. The Good LORD will be found in the little churches and private prayers.
So here’s the video of the Catholic Pope and Episcopalian Bishop implicitly advocating a one, unified, global church. I don’t expect to see such church for at least another 2 or 3 years (maybe more). But, insofar as that one, global church is now officially advocated, it strikes me that we may be even closer to End Times.