Sean McManus accurately notes the considerable (but not complete) agreement between the Roman church and the Lutheran World Federation (LWF) on justification (December 1).
His error, however, is in attributing this to the Holy Spirit of Jesus Christ.
The LWF is a long way from the faithful doctrines of Martin Luther and historic, confessional Lutheranism. Hence sounder Lutheran churches want no part in it. Luther, the great Reformer, would have denounced the LWF compromises on justification and other doctrines in no uncertain terms!
The LWF is filled with churches, especially those in the West, that deride the verbal inspiration and infallibility of sacred Scripture, for they are riddled with higher criticism of the Bible.
They deny God the Father Almighty the Maker (and governor) of heaven and earth, by believing in evolutionism and chance.
They falsely claim that the Triune God, who sent His Son to be crucified for the sins of His people, is the same as Islam’s Allah.
They reject the gospel of God’s grace in Jesus Christ which perfectly justifies and progressively sanctifies all the elect, who are totally depraved of themselves. Instead, theirs is a politically-correct message about a god of one attribute (a weak, universal love) and his social gospel with its attendant moralisms.
Contrary to the Son of God’s teaching on marriage as a one-flesh union between one man and one woman for life (Matthew 19:4-6), they tolerate and embrace impenitent homosexuals in their membership and church offices.
In opposition to Christ’s headship over His church (I Timothy 2:12-15), they appoint women office-bearers.
They profane the Lord’s Supper by permitting people who, in their doctrine and/or lifestyle, lack a credible profession of faith.
Biblical church discipline is not practised but abhorred as “unloving.”
In short, the LWF is an unfaithful, ecumenical body that includes secularized, dying churches with a largely nominal and rapidly declining membership. These churches are conforming more and more to the world, as “synagogues of Satan” (Revelation 2:9; 3:9).
It is no wonder that, as it capitulates to the ungodly world, the LWF is also busily engaged in undoing the Reformation in order to get closer to Rome. Hence its revisionism regarding “the truth of the gospel” of justification by faith alone in Christ alone (Galatians 2:5, 14).
The Roman church and the Lutheran World Federation are two religious bodies agreeing together against, not in, the Word and Spirit of God. This is not the unity of the bride of Christ but of two harlots deciding to work together to some extent (cf. Ezekiel 16:44-59; 23:36-49). This agreement is not to be attributed to the gracious work of the Spirit of truth but to the working of “the mystery of iniquity” and “the spirit of antichrist” (II Thessalonians 2:7; I John 4:3).
Rev Angus Stewart, Covenant Protestant Reformed Church, Northern Ireland