Catholics and Pentecostals included in new US
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
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
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
This alliance between Protestants, and Catholics, was prophesied over 110
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.