The Way

Michael E. Grushon
Hobart, Indiana

In these days of ecumenical movements in which Catholics, Jews, and Protestants are drawing themselves closer together in a manner unlike anything ever seen in the "religious world," it is important that Christians take a very long, hard look at such activities in the light of New Testament teaching.

There is a tendency among some of our brethren to gravitate towards involvement in the ecumenical movement. The ecumenical spirit is foreign to the New Testament, and we should take comfort and courage from this fact while resisting any influence exerted to move the church in that direction.

Observe Paul's statement to Felix, made during his defense, as recorded in Acts, 24:14, "But this I admit to you, that according the Way which they call a sect I do serve the God of our fathers. . ." Paul uses two striking phrases which relate to our subject, and to which we call your attention.

The first phrase makes clear Paul's concept of the church. He called it the Way. Paul expresses no doubt in his evaluation of the religion of Christ. To Paul it is the Way, nothing more and nothing less. Such language from the mouth of the apostle makes it obvious that Paul was devoid of the ecumenical mentality that has swept the religious world. The only dialogues with the other "faiths" that were truly meaningful to him were those which presented him an opportunity to preach Christ. Paul considered Christ the Way, and we need to share that conviction.

The second phrase enlightens us to the manner in which such a position will be viewed by the world. Paul said that his enemies considered the Way a sect. Things have not changed much in the years that have stood trial. As I write this article, I must realize that as long as I hold my present conviction concerning the Way that I will never enter the "mainstream of religious thought." In the eyes of the religious majority, a commitment to the absolute authority of Christ as the only way, and belief in the New Testament as his revelation of that way, constitutes a sect, and a very minor one at that.

Of course the solution of whatever problem this presents is evident. There is a choice to be made. Either we will choose to jump on the ecumenical bandwagon, and subsequently fellowship everyone and every thing, or we will continue to function as that "small, exclusive sect" which is trying its best to be in the twentieth century what the Way was in the first, I pray that we might always have the strength to stand with Paul.

September 16, 1971