Ecumenism :: By Daniel Payne

Why would anyone twist the truth into a half truth? Because they only want you to believe the false half.

They twist up the truth into a half truth, and then they accentuate the half that’s the lie. They begin to concentrate on and teach that lie—over, and over, and over again… while completely ignoring the true half that they totally left out right from the start.

How are we as true Christian believers supposed to handle this situation? Here is a prime example from a favorite verse of the ecumenical movement:

“Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves. Therefore be wise as serpents and harmless as doves” (Matthew 10:16).

It’s the “harmless as doves” half that false teachers accentuate. They completely leave out the “wise as serpents” half, right from the start.

By ignoring the “wise as serpents” part, they twist the whole truth of being both “wise as serpents” AND “harmless as doves” into a half truth of only being “harmless as doves,” which then becomes a very dangerous false teaching and a total lie.

False teachers, who claim to represent the true teachings of Christ and who are also part of the worldwide ecumenical movement that promotes unity among all religions, are purposely ignoring a key portion of Scripture:

“Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness? And what accord has Christ with Belial? Or what part has a believer with an unbeliever?” (2 Corinthians 6:14-15).

If someone claims to believe in a god other than the God of the Bible, then that person does NOT believe in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. But…

Satan is a crafty devil, so it’s no wonder that, generations ago, he started pushing the lie that all gods lead to heaven. That way, believing in any god of any other religion can be equal to believing in Jesus as God. False!

“Jesus said to him, ‘I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me’” (John 14:6).

As Paul himself said, we are not to be unequally yoked under the guise of Christian unity with unbelievers. That, of course, includes equalizing the religions of nonbelievers with true Christianity.

However, we are still commanded to reach the lost sheep with the gospel of Christ. If we completely hid ourselves away from the world, then we would be no more effective at reaching the lost than certain “Christian” cults who live in isolation.

“I wrote to you in my epistle not to keep company with sexually immoral people. Yet I certainly did not mean with the sexually immoral people of this world, or with the covetous, or extortioners, or idolaters, since then you would need to go out of the world. But now I have written to you not to keep company with anyone named a brother, who is sexually immoral, or covetous, or an idolater, or a reviler, or a drunkard, or an extortioner— not even to eat with such a person” (1 Corinthians 5:9-11).

Going back to Matthew 10:16, what does it mean for the true followers of Christ to “be wise as serpents”? How does a serpent think? Does a serpent seek unity with his fellow creatures? Does he not plot how he can devour them?

Yet we true followers of Christ are exhorted by Christ Himself to “be wise as serpents.” How can that be? How does that join with also being “harmless as doves”? The answer is simple:

We are to be fully aware of exactly how the serpent thinks so that we are careful not to be devoured like sheep among wolves. If all of the true disciples of Christ are immediately devoured by the wolves and serpents, how then can the gospel of Christ continue to be taught?

The answer is that God does not want His true servants to always be devoured by the serpents and wolves.

False Christian servants who only teach “be harmless as doves” do not have to worry about being devoured by the serpents and wolves. Why? Because they ARE the serpents and the wolves. What better way to lure your prey than to put on sheep’s clothing?

Here is one way that true Christian servants can survive among the serpents and wolves to continue to teach and preach the Word of God:

“Now whatever city or town you enter, inquire who in it is worthy, and stay there till you go out. And when you go into a household, greet it. If the household is worthy, let your peace come upon it. But if it is not worthy, let your peace return to you. And whoever will not receive you nor hear your words, when you depart from that house or city, shake off the dust from your feet. Assuredly, I say to you, it will be more tolerable for the land of Sodom and Gomorrah in the day of judgment than for that city!” (Matthew 10:11-15)

Notice how the very next verse is Matthew 10:16:

“Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves. Therefore be wise as serpents and harmless as doves.”

A true servant of Christ who is “wise as a serpent” will know how to avoid giving needless offense and will avoid being tricked into compromising situations with nonbelievers and will know when it’s time to turn away.

A true servant of Christ who is “harmless as a dove” will be protected by righteous character and uncompromising faith by putting on the whole armor of God (Ephesians 6:11-17) and will:

“always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear” (1 Peter 3:15b).

A true servant of Christ will always stick to the whole truth.

A true servant of Christ will never compromise the gospel of Christ by being “unequally yoked together with unbelievers” (2 Corinthians 6:14).

A true servant of Christ will “be able to stand against the wiles of the devil” (Ephesians 6:11).

A true servant of Christ will not be deceived “by every wind of false doctrine” (Ephesians 4:14).

A true servant of Christ will remain steady, loyal, faithful, and spiritually strong.

A true servant of Christ will continue to grow in love and service toward God and His true children.


A true servant of Christ will always be ready to follow in the footsteps of Christ’s suffering, if or when God chooses such a time for you:

“For what credit is it if, when you are beaten for your faults, you take it patiently? But when you do good and suffer, if you take it patiently, this is commendable before God. For to this you were called, because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that you should follow His steps” (1 Peter 2:20-21).