Concerns About Reformation 500 T4G Conference in Hamburg, Germany
The 2017 Reformation 500 Together for the Gospel Conference will be held in Hamburg, Germany, on April 27-29. The Conference will feature notable speakers from the U.S. as Albert Mohler, Ligon Duncan, Mark Dever and David Platt. The event is sponsored by Evangelium21, an organization that dubs itself “a network of Christians who base their faith firmly on Jesus Christ and His grace.” Their website proclaims,
Although we belong to different churches and congregations, we are bound to have full confidence in Holy Scripture and a theology of the Reformation. We believe that the biblical gospel is also God’s power in the 21st century. It fulfills Christians with a viable hope as well as overwhelming joy in God and belongs to the center of church work.
Evangelium21 is directed by two other notable speakers at the Conference, Matthias Lohmann, and Ron Kubsch. Now here is where I have concerns. Lohmann and Kubsch are both under the academic leadership of a man named Thomas Schirrmacher at Martin Bucer Seminary. Most of you have probably never heard of this Schirrmacher. But to say the least, this is a dangerous man who has made ecumenism and kissing the feet of the pope his mission in life.
Schirrmacher and the pope have a peculiar friendship. Schirrmacher is referred to as the “pope’s most beloved Protestant,” and for good reason. Schirrmacher recognizes the pope not as the man of lawlessness who leads billions into eternal damnation with his false doctrine, but rather as a “man of integrity.” Schirrmacher is the director of the International Institute for Religious Freedom and is also a director of the World Evangelical Alliance. He is a signer on the ERLC’s statement, “Protecting the future of religious higher education.” Suffice it to say, this man gets around.
In 2014, Schirrmacher, along with well-known Word of Faith charlatans Kenneth Copeland and James Robison and several others met with the pope of Rome for a three-hour luncheon that was organized by the late Episcopal Bishop Tony Palmer that included talks of ecumenical relations, and as James Robison put it, it was “an intimate circle of prayerful discussion and lunch to discuss not only seeing Jesus’ prayer answered, but that every believer would become a bold, joy-filled witnesses for Christ.” “We want to see Jesus’ prayer for unity answered in our day,” Robison said.
Subsequently, Schirrmacher was invited to the World Synod of the Catholic Church–the only evangelical invited to the event–to provide coverage. The event is lauded as a cooperation between Roman Catholics and Protestants to “to protect religious freedom in a world of increased persecution of Christians.” In an exclusive article by Schirrmacher at the Christian Post entitled 10 Reasons Evangelicals Should Talk to Catholics, one of his reasons was,
We cannot give up the unity of the Church, even though for us it first of all is a unity in faith, not in organizational issues.
Unity is a long way to go and probably unachievable, but nevertheless we cannot omit a command by Jesus just because we think it will not work. The World Evangelical Alliance was founded for this very reason and cannot settle down with what we have achieved so far.
Perhaps Schirrmacher, with all of his academic achievements, lacks the ability to understand that Roman Catholics hold to a false Gospel and are not part of the Church, therefore, unity with them is strictly forbidden (2 Corinthians 6:14). In a statement that he gave at the Vatican’s University in response to the 2015 Vatican Synod on Persecution of Christians, Schirrmacher, who refers to the man of lawlessness and leader of the harlot religious system as “Holy Father,” explains how ecstatic he is that the pope “apologized” on behalf of “2.6 billion Christians” around the world for persecuting each other and are now coming together in ecumenical unity to combat persecution.
Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers. For what partnership has righteousness with lawlessness? Or what fellowship has light with darkness? – 2 Corinthians 6:14
If that doesn’t bother you enough, perhaps Schirrmacher’s affirmation of the Roman Pontiff as the worldwide “head” of Christianity should make you stand up. He states,
[T]he international community would be obliged to stop the genocide. There would be a good chance for success if the Christian world, with the pope at its head, takes a strong stance for such a classification of oriental Christian persecution. [translated from German]
This man, who regularly convenes with his friend, the pope, has made unity between the Protestant faith he claims he believes and spurious expressions of Christianity such as Roman Catholicism his mission. Doctrinal integrity is clearly not a concern for him–social justice and economic progress has been elevated to the levels of highest concern for him at the expense of gospel truth. He has clearly demonstrated his alliance with Rome at all costs, and he sees no danger in pushing his ecumenical agenda throughout the academic Christian world where pastors and theologians are trained for ministry around the world. Men such as Mohler, Platt, Dever, and Duncan, and others such as John MacArthur and Paul Washer who have had various dealings with him shall be compelled to do their due diligence before partnering with this worker of lawlessness or anyone under his academic leadership. This man does not have the best interest of the church at heart.
[Contributed by Jeff Maples]