3 April 2006

Catholics and Pentecostals included in new US church grouping.

Chris Herlinger

New York (ENI). After nearly five years of discussions and planning, a new grouping of the major Christian traditions in the United States, including Roman Catholics as well as Evangelical and Pentecostal denominations, has been formally launched.

Christian Churches Together in the USA (CCT), calling itself "the most inclusive fellowship of Christian churches and traditions" in the United States, was inaugurated on 28 March. It marks the first time that bodies representing the five major Christian traditions in the United States - Evangelical and Pentecostal, Protestant, predominately racial/ethnic churches, Orthodox, and Roman Catholic - have come together at a national level, though such churches often work together at local levels.

"We finally found the courage to confront our obvious and longstanding divisions and to build a new expression of unity, rooted in the Spirit, that will strengthen our mission in the world," the Rev. Wesley Granberg-Michaelson, general secretary of the Reformed Church in America and interim CCT moderator, said in a statement.

The creation of CCT is the first time that the US Conference of Catholic Bishops has joined such a church grouping.

Thirty-four churches and church organizations are formal participants in the new grouping, while eight others, which are considering participation, remain observers.

The launch had been delayed in mid-2005 after concerns were raised by leaders of predominantly black churches as to whether another national ecumenical body was needed in the United States alongside the US National Council of Churches (NCC). They also questioned whether the new grouping would address concerns important to their members, such as racial and economic justice.

The statement announcing the launch of the new grouping noted that overcoming poverty was "central to the mission of the church and essential to our unity in Christ", and that participants had committed themselves to work together to address the causes of poverty.

Granberg-Michaelson made clear that membership now includes representation from the five major church groupings in the United States, including the historic black churches. Christian Churches Together is not seen, at least for now, as supplanting the NCC. The Catholic Church, the largest denomination in the United States, does not belong to the NCC nor do many evangelical or Pentecostal groups.

CTT, however, includes participation by a variety of groupings. They include several Orthodox churches; Protestant groups as the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) and the Episcopal (Anglican) Church; and bodies such as the Salvation Army, Open Bible Churches, International Pentecostal Holiness Church and the humanitarian organization World Vision.

1994 - 2006 Ecumenical News International.

Christian Churches Together Officially Organizes

March, 31, 2006
Press Release

Catholic bishops join Christian alliance

Wednesday, November 17, 2004 --WASHINGTON (AP) -- The nation's Roman Catholic bishops voted Wednesday to join a new alliance that would be the broadest Christian group ever formed in the United States, linking American evangelicals and Catholics in an ecumenical organization for the first time.

The alliance, called Christian Churches Together in the U.S.A., is set to kick off next year. It would include mainline Protestants, Orthodox Christians, and black and other minority churches. With about 67 million U.S. members, the Catholic Church would be the largest denomination.

This alliance between Protestants, and Catholics, was prophesied over 110 years ago:

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 churches 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!" When this shall be gained, then, in the effort to secure complete uniformity, 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 infliction of civil penalties upon dissenters will inevitably result.

Source: Great Controversy, by E. G. White,1888 edition, pages 444-445.
* First Congregational Church, brother of famed author Harriett Beecher Stowe.

Through the two great errors, the immortality of the soul, and Sunday sacredness, Satan will bring the people under his deceptions. While the former lays the foundation of Spiritualism, the latter creates a bond of sympathy with Rome. The Protestants of the United States will be foremost in stretching their hands across the gulf to grasp the hand of Spiritualism; they will reach over the abyss to clasp hands with the Roman power; and under the influence of this threefold union, this country will follow in the steps of Rome in trampling on the rights of conscience.

Source: Great Controversy, by E. G. White,1888 edition, page 588.

See also: The Seal of God and The Mark of the Beast