How Does the National Council Stand with God?
THE National Council of Churches is the largest federation of religions in the United States. It is said to be made up of 33 Protestant and Orthodox denominations with a combined membership of about 42 million persons.
These churches say they represent God. Thus, one should expect the Council to be in harmony with God’s requirements, for God’s own Word says: “This is what the love of God means, that we observe his commandments.”—1 John 5:3.
It was of interest, therefore, to read the following from the New York Times of December 5, 1969: “Mrs. Theodore O. Wedel, a 61-year-old former church executive, defeated a militant black candidate today to become the first woman president of the National Council of Churches.” Mrs. Wedel is an Episcopalian. Yet, the Times noted: “The Episcopal Church is one of the few Protestant denominations in the country that still refuses to ordain women.”
Episcopalians thus find themselves in a dilemma. They do not ordain women as church leaders. Yet one of their women members is now the head of the organization of which they are a part.
When God created man and woman, he equipped each of them with wonderful mental and physical qualities to care for their respective roles. God created the man to be family head: “A husband is head of his wife.” (Eph. 5:23) The woman was excellently suited for her role—that of wife and mother.
However, we also read: “The head of every man is the Christ,” and “in turn the head of the Christ is God.” (1 Cor. 11:3) In the Christian congregation, men are to take the lead. But they are not to try to take over the role of Christ, acting as if they are mediators between their fellow worshipers and God. (1 Tim. 2:5) In the same way, women are not authorized by God to take over the men’s role of presiding and instructing in the Christian congregation. God’s Word says: “I do not permit a woman to teach, or to exercise authority over a man.” (1 Tim. 2:12) And: “It is disgraceful for a woman to speak in a congregation,” that is, in a manner that challenges the headship of men.—1 Cor. 14:35.
But if there are things the woman does not understand, what then? Instead of disputing with those to whom God has given the assignment, God’s Word says: “If, then, they want to learn something, let them question their own husbands at home.” U.S. News & World Report of December 15 states: “Disputes over such issues as black power, the war in Vietnam and draft resistance are raising large questions about the future of the National Council of Churches.” Over these disputes a woman now presides, contrary to the principle that only men are to preside in the Christian congregation.
How does the Council measure up in other regards? Earlier in 1969 a commission of the Council condoned student violence in the belief that “God is in some way present in the midst of these movements, and we would be prepared to see in them His creating of a new order.” But nowhere does the Bible teach this. Jesus did not promote communism, capitalism, socialism, revolution or any other such philosophy. He taught that God will replace all present systems with the kingdom of God.—Matt. 6:10; Dan. 2:44.
Christians, Jesus commanded, are to preach “this good news of the kingdom . . . in all the inhabited earth for a witness to all the nations; and then the end will come.” (Matt. 24:14) But of the Council’s actual work, two ministers said: “The National Council of Churches does have as its primary objective the preaching of the gospel of Christ . . . It has become an ecclesiastical power bloc, aiming for a powerful super-church, which would be the instrument of revolutionary, social and political change.”
That the Council has deviated so far from God’s commands should come as no surprise when we consider the spiritual health of its member churches. A poll taken of Council delegates found that 33 percent of them doubted that “God really exists,” and 62 percent doubted that “miracles actually happened just as the Bible says they did.” An Episcopal minister said of the Genesis account of creation: “It’s a myth in the true sense.” Another maintained that the Ten Commandments ‘were out of date, irrelevant to modern society.’
Episcopal theologian J. Fletcher said that in some cases ‘fornication could be more moral than married love, lying more Christian than telling the truth, stealing more acceptable than respecting private property.’ Episcopal minister F. Wood told an all-girl college: “There are no laws attached to sex. I repeat: absolutely no laws. . . . Premarital intercourse . . . can be very beautiful.” And ninety Episcopalian priests classified homosexual acts between consenting adults as “morally neutral,” declaring that it may even be ‘a good thing.’
But God’s Word declares: “Do not be misled. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men kept for unnatural purposes, nor men who lie with men, nor thieves, nor greedy persons . . . will inherit God’s kingdom.” (1 Cor. 6:9, 10) Do you believe God, or the clergy who say the opposite of what God says?
Is your church a member of the Council? If so, it shares responsibility for what the Council says and does. And what the Council is saying and doing is contrary to what God’s commands are. Hence, the Council is in fact turning its back on God, and is responsible for misleading others to do the same.
What about you? Are you a member of a church that belongs to the Council? Do you think you will please God by remaining part of any system that proves ‘by its fruits’ that it has turned away from God and is influencing others to do the same?—Matt. 7:19, 20.