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What is an ecumenical church?

The idea of ecumenicalism is associated with unity and universality. The word, ecumenical, (Greek, OIKOUMENE) is used 15 times in the New Testament as a reference to the "whole world," primarily in a geographical sense, as in Matthew 24:14.

In the post-apostolic times, various branches of the church associated with the term ecumenical in the corporate sense. The Eastern church had its ecumenical synods and theologians. The Roman church called its councils ecumenical. The creeds of the Apostles, Nicene, Athanasian and others were called ecumenical.

Today, various churches are associated with the modern ecumenical movement, primarily though affiliation with the World Council of Churches. This is a theologically liberal, leftist organization devoted to the world unification of churches and religious entities. Most theologically conservative, evangelical churches reject any association with the ecumenical movement or the World Council of Churches, as these groups are identified with compromised, pseudo-Christian philosophy, and the goal of forming a one world religion. Authorities on the subject of prophecy cite that the Antichrist will arise amid a reprobate, one world religion.

A spirit of unity between all Christian churches, across denominational boundaries, is a noble ambition that should be pursued. The body of Christ needs to be united in their love, their prayers, and their evangelistic efforts to the world. But not at the compromise of basic Christian ideals, as is embraced by modern ecumenicalism.

This article is from the book, What People Ask About the Church, authored and copyrighted © by Dr. Dale A. Robbins, 1990-2015, and is a publication of Victorious Publications, Grass Valley, CA - Nashville, TN. Unless otherwise stated, all scripture references were taken from The New King James Bible, © Thomas Nelson Inc., 1982. You may download this article for personal use as long as you retain credit to the author. Obtain permission before reproducing copies for any reason, by filling out our simple use permission form. Many of our writings are also available as free pdf tri-fold pamphlets, which can be downloaded for reproduction from our Online Catalog. For media reproduction rights, or to obtain quantities of this title in other formats, email us. A newer revised version of this book is available from Amazon. If you have appreciated these online materials, help us reach the world with the Gospel by considering a monthly or one-time tax-deductable donation.