As the 20th century closes, one looks back over these years and realizes that what has been called the Modernist/Fundamentalist Movement has literally occupied the 20th Century. The ecumenicals, as they call themselves, announced that they would meet in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, in 1948, and form a World Council of Churches, representing the ecumenical movement. “Ecumenical” was the word used, and the emphasis was to project a world church.
These ecumenical leaders, led primarily by the liberals in the United States, were more or less in charge. At a meeting in Scotland, which they arranged, they projected their plan for the ultimate development of a World Council of Churches.
It was here that the American leaders of the American Council of Christian Churches, meeting in Detroit, called for a parallel meeting to the ecumenicals to be held just ahead in Amsterdam in 1948.
The first inkling of the International Council of Christian Churches then unfolded, with its own momentum, in Charlotte, North Carolina. I was speaking in the Bible Presbyterian Church of Charlotte. The local paper carried an announcement of my address on the ecumenical movement.
Up in the mountains, Mr. Arie Kok, who had been a prisoner in China, and had been released and sent for a rest, saw the announcement and came to that meeting. As I outlined the steps that were being taken to form a fundamentalist International Council, to offset the World Council, Mr. Kok introduced himself and said he would join the group. He later became the General Secretary of the ICCC.
The strategy of always having two councils was that the fundamentalist council would always meet around the World Council’s plan. Having two councils being formed and meeting in close proximity was an effective strategy from the beginning. It highlighted the issues between them. This strategy was very effective, for they could not talk about their World Council without being confronted with the ICCC.
The ultimate goal of the WCC was a world church. With the ICCC, the emphasis of all was the personal, visible return of Jesus Christ. The ICCC came along exposing the great apostasy and the liberal’s proposal for a one-world religion. These two different positions paralleled one another.
The ICCC organized in various sections of the world and set up councils of Christian churches. In all these meetings, the issues were Modernism, unbelief, ecumenism, and the inerrancy and full truthfulness of the Bible. This strategy brought the issues everywhere. They could not talk about their Ecumenical Movement without facing the 20th Century Reformation Movement (the ICCC). Their opposition centered in their attacks against Dr. McIntire.
The Ecumenical Movement and the Reformation Movement began at the same time. The ICCC meeting, held before the WCC meeting, produced a statement concerning the two. When I went to their meeting and tried to deliver the statement for their information, they refused to accept it. Dr. W.A. Visser ’t Hooft was the General Secretary of the World Council of Churches.
The years have now passed. The WCC has made little or no progress except for their liberalism, with their plans and proposals for the future.
Every section of the world is now divided up with the two different movements. The ICCC brethren and churches are emphasising the personal return of Christ. It is their joy, their gospel. The ICCC rejects the proposed super world church that now is heard everywhere. The fundamentalists are keeping the issues clear.
Never did the Bible mean so much in these dark hours of Modernism, liberalism and ecumenism. They are all exposed by the Bible. Christ is coming. The signs of the times point to the rapture, when He personally returns, putting His feet down on the Mount of Olives. It is all in the Bible, and those of us who believe it have faith and wait for the sound of the trumpet of the resurrection. Bible-believing Christians understand these times. The dead in Christ shall rise first and we who are alive and remain will be caught up to meet the Lord in the air and so shall it ever be, as the Bible says it will be.
Carl McIntire was the president of the ICCC from its founding in 1948 until his death in 2002. This article was written a few years before his death.