Christianity Today, October 5, 1984
”I don't think anything has been done in the name of Christ and under the banner of Christianity that has proven more destructive to human personality and hence counterproductive to the evangelistic enterprise than the unchristian, uncouth strategy of attempting to make people aware of their lost and sinful condition.”(Robert Schuller, “Dr. Schuller Comments,” (letter to the editor), Christianity Today, October 5, 1984, pp. 12-13.)
Time, March 18, 1985
“To be born again means that we must be changed from a negative to a positive self-image -- from inferiority to self-esteem, from fear to love, from doubt to trust” (p. 68, Robert Schuller, “Self Esteem: The New Reformation”)
The Gospel of UNITY
Everyone is looking for peace to make a better world. It is a necessity that has been missing since the beginning of time and has become an indispensable element for our survival. Many think with our uniting together we can have peace in our world. Jesus spoke about peace and said, “My peace I give to you not as the world gives” (John 14:27). His is a peace through trials, an assurance of well-being, not a compromise to bring two sides together that should not be united. His main concern was for the peace we can have with God. As former enemies because sinners we can become reconciled through the blood of the cross (see Col 1:20).
Jeremiah spoke against the prophets of his day who said, “Peace, peace” (Jer 6:14 c/f 8: 11) when there was no peace. Paul wrote of the future when they say, “Peace and safety” (1 Thessalonians 5:3) and sudden destruction will come. We are heading in that direction with lightning speed.
There are some famous and not so famous people who want to see unity become a reality, especially in religious circles. This unity not only affects the Church but politics as well.
Moonies want unity of religion. Jerry Falwell hugged Sun Myung Moon after his speaking at a plenary session of Moon's “Christian Ecumenism in the Americas” conference in Montevideo, Uruguay. Falwell has called Moon an “unsung hero to the cause of freedom” who was “to be commended” for his determination, courage, and endurance in support of his beliefs. But Falwell is mistaken in doing this. The truth is Rev. Moon is a cult leader who opposes freedom and implements mind control tactics enslaving his followers to promote his mutiny against Christ as he claims to be the 2nd advent of the Messiah since Jesus failed in His mission.
Robert Schuller, whose Crystal Cathedral houses offices for “Christians and Muslims for Peace,” told Imam Alfred Mohammed of the Muslim American Society that “if he [Schuller] came back in 100 years and found his descendants Muslims, it wouldn't bother him....” Schuller is oblivious to the fact that Islam denies that Jesus is God's Son and that He died for our sins. (Islam believes someone else died on the Cross in Christ’s place.) Islam offers a gospel of good works for salvation, and death in Jihad as the only sure way for Muslims to enter heaven. How can this be a religion that doesn't bother him? But then he doesn’t mind not telling people they are sinners in need of salvation either. Instead he offers his new message of positive self-image. This is the peace and unity he offers, instead of the death on the cross for our sins. This certainly cannot bring the peace that Christ gives to sinners.
William Baker is the founder and president of Camp Christians and Muslims for Peace (www.campintl.com/) which is linked to Robert Schullers Crystal Cathedral homepage (obviously endorsing Camp), Christians and Muslims for Peace. This is an organization of both Christian and Muslim men and women who are dedicated to the promotion of Peace and Justice, trying to have Reconciliation between the world’s two largest religions. Conflicts have escalated with Muslims hating and persecuting Christians with physical violence and death in nearly two dozen locations in the world. (I have seen pictures from foreign newspapers of Muslims hacking Christians to death and smiling over their bodies). Although some imply that both sides are guilty most honestly admit that it is mainly from Islam. In all fairness not all Muslims are like this but many in foreign countries are. Now they are trying to find a common ground so both of these “religions” can make peace. The common ground is the good works they each do in their communities for the poor, the homeless, the orphans, and the needy. This is the common denominator of all religions! Does this mean Bible doctrine can be discarded for the sake of serving our fellow man? Christ himself said the works we do must be motivated by faith in Him or they are useless.
They want to challenge the false stereotypes that involve both religions. For example Islamic fundamentalists are considered a threat to Christianity and the West, Christianity is opposed to Islam and Christians consider Muslims unbelievers. By presenting the teachings from each of the Holy books of Islam (the Quran) and Christianity (the Bible) they expect to “educate” the people into their common faith.
The Bible is explicit on faith and unity. Not everyone is a child in God’s kingdom. He didn't leave it up to us to choose which religion to belong to. Christ is still the ONLY WAY.
Galatians 3:26-28 “For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus.”
John Marks Templeton has become famous for offering a million dollars from his religious research centre that is developing progress in religion. This prize has become one of the most prestigious Ecumenical awards today. Robert Schuller put Templeton’s picture on the front cover of his Possibilities magazine and stated in an inside article that “… the Christ Spirit dwells within everybody whether the person knows it or not…nothing exists except God” (Possibilities,1986 summer p.8-12).
Templeton has been noted for saying “I am hoping to develop a body of knowledge about God that doesn’t rely on ancient revelations or scripture. (The Bible)… The main purpose of the Templeton foundations is to encourage enthusiasm for accelerating discovery and progress in spiritual matters” (The Humble approach p135-139)
He goes on to say, “The heart of true religion is the willingness to see truths in other religions. The Persian scriptures claim, “whatever road I take joins the highway that leads to thee…Broad is the carpet God has spread” (ibid. 35-36, 45).
Contrary to his broad road, Jesus said that He alone is the way and that the road is narrow and few find it (John 14: 6 and Matt.7:13) To this Templeton says, “No one should say that God can be reached by only one path” (ibid. p.46, 55). Templeton's message is not Christ's but his own opinion.
This is the message of the Parliament of world religions in 1993. This is what interfaith meetings are all about as well as the world Council of Churches. Their catch-cry is disregard differences for unity and peace.
Norman Vincent Peale has called Templeton “The greatest layman of the Christian church in our time.” This is his tribute to a man who is an evolutionist, a pantheist and one who is anti-Christian (jacket of Discovering the laws of Life, 1994).
The prize is for contributing toward religious progression is antithetical to Christianity, which is absolute truth without ecumenical development to other religions. The first Templeton prize went to Mother Teresa in 1973. Leon Joseph cardinal Suenens, who was a pioneer in the charismatic renewal in 1976 was another recipient. Muslim, Hindu, and Buddhist leaders received this prize as well as many evangelicals and even atheists (how this can fit with progress in religion I have no idea). Christians such as Billy Graham in 1982, Bill Bright in 1996 and more recently Charles Colson all received the prize. In so doing even if unknowingly these join to endorse Templeton’s development of ecumenical religion. While the prize money was on occasions used for evangelism, there was no correction or rebuke about the concepts that Templeton promotes, instead he is commended. To be silent in the face of error of this magnitude is to act as a spiritual ostrich. We need to question why Templeton would give a gifts to evangelicals when he is aware of the Christian message. The only reasonable explanation is that he finds it necessary to make inroads into the Church to gain their endorsement of his project. We need to pray that those involved will have discernment and boldness.
We forge forward toward world unity of religion but at the cost of the gospel and of the Bible itself.
Jack Van Impe, B. Hinn, P. Crouch, and numerous others endorse the Pope. Many consider him a real born-again, evangelical charismatic....” Pat Robertson stated, “Pope John Paul II stands like a rock...in his clear enunciation of the foundational principles of the Christian faith.” Really, I must have missed this! He is the most Marian Pope the Catholic church has ever had. One who tells the people of the richness of other religions such as animists and the Tibetan lama. Does he lead those of other religions to the true Gospel by faith? No, nor does he lead his own church into this.
The Bahais state, “Christ was the Prophet of the Christians, Moses of the Jews - why should not the followers of each prophet recognize and honour the other prophets also? If men could only learn the lesson of mutual tolerance, understanding, and brotherly love, the Unity of the world would soon be an established fact” (The wisdom of Abdul Baha p.43) .
The Bible never tells us to make or create unity, but to “keep the unity of the Spirit” (Eph. 4:3), which is something we already have in Christ. Christ prayed for the unity and His prayers are always answered. We don’t have to strive for unity. It is something given by grace through Christ. The Holy Spirit creates this unity. It is the unity of those who are truly born of the Spirit. We are brought into this organic unity by faith and added to the body of Christ 1Cor.12:13. The unity centres around the core beliefs that have always been held by the true Church of Jesus Christ. The Holy Spirit inspired the Scriptures (our Bible) to reveal Christ and true doctrine. Thus His purpose is to cause people to understand what Christ has said and so bring them into unity with the rest of the body of Christ.
Contrast this with the ecumenical concept of bringing together all who name the name of Christ whether they hold to the basic tenets of the faith or not! True unity began on the day of Pentecost when God made a new entity - the Church. Those who believed the gospel were brought into the Church and they continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine, in love and fellowship having all things in common. The Church increased daily. By heeding the apostles’ teachings they had unity. So it is unity of the Word of God, which will be our guidance and source of spiritual life. It seems that many believe that the Holy Spirit is not limited to the Christian Church but is found in other religions. As Jude said in verse 17: “But you beloved, remember the words which were spoken before by the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ.” He goes on to say that there will be mockers in the last days that cause divisions. How? By not having the Spirit! But they want to make a spiritual union by human reasoning not lead by the Spirit into the truth that Jesus already delivered.
True unity is found only in Christ. Those who belong to Him are “one body,” having “one hope...one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all...” (Eph.4: 4-6). A unity of the one faith (v. 5). Unity is not possible unless one accepts the faith taught by the apostles, not just faith in God (whoever that may be). The Church is commanded to “earnestly contend for the faith once delivered unto the saints” (Jude 3). We are to guard this faith (2 Tim.1: 13-14) which is not the purpose of this new unity that is sought. There is no unity whatsoever between those who believe and follow the Bible and those who do not hold to the fundamentals, the core teachings that have always been taught. What spiritual fellowship does light have with darkness? “Do not fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness but expose them.” These “works of darkness” are anything contrary to Christ that lifts itself to challenge His (Christ's) exclusive claims. Jesus said, “My doctrine is not Mine, but His who sent Me” (John 7:16). If anyone discards doctrine for the sake of being united with others they are directly going against all that Christ stands for.
Those who are not part of Christ's body through believing the Gospel are not united in the truth. If one’s gospel consists of working or baptism for salvation he/she is not part of the Church. All of this is incompatible with genuine faith. Believers cannot construct a spiritual unity by making someone or some group part of the body of Christ. No amount of love from man can do this. They must accept Christ's love in the gospel to be in the truth. Attempting to enter the kingdom by climbing up any other way, rather than entering through the door, which is the person of Christ, is what Jesus said was a thief or a robber. He is still the way and if we lose sight of this we have wandered away from Christianity. We end up with a Christ who is just one of many teachers and masters in the course of history.
This is the essence of the eclectic Bahai religion, “Since there is one God these manifestations of God have each taught the same religious faith. … One God has given men one Faith through progressive revelations of His Will in each age of history and Baha’u’llah reveals the will of God for men and women of the present age. This basic belief enables Bahai’s to unite and work together in spite of different religious backgrounds” (Tract on Basic facts of the Baha’i faith - Bahai publishing trust Wilmette Illinois).
Jesus said, “Sanctify them by your love”, right? Wrong! … “by your truth. Your word is truth” (Jn.17: 17). So truth is essential for everything in the Christian faith and for our unity.
John the apostle who is known for his love wrote:
What is the love Jesus prays would be in us? It is the love of the truth.
A number of years ago Lockheed Corporation had a advertisement in Scientific American stating that through its computers it was “undoing the Babel effect” by uniting the world in one language once again. IBM and other corporations have made similar claims. They see the internet as their prophecy come true, to make a better world by uniting people together economically. While the Internet has many advantages, to speak in this way is an affront to God. There are two streams at work to unite mankind. One is political the other is religious. Eventually they will converge to make peace and prosperity.
The Bahai religion states that ALL RELIGIONS ARE ONE, ALL RELIGIONS SHOULD JOIN TOGETHER AS ONE UNITY, IN THE UNITY OF FAITH... “O’ ye people of the world! The religion of God is for the sake of love and union; make it not the cause of enmity and conflict… LO: ALL ARE OF GOD:” (Baha’u’lla Last will and Testament). Forsaking the truth for the concept of being united! Babylon is rising again.
The Bible speaks against any unity based upon man's desires and goals that are independent of the God of the Bible. We have already seen this play out at the tower of Babel – Genesis 11: 1-9. The clarion call today is unity of the world and unity of religion. This is the false unity that will be headed by the Antichrist (c/f Revelation chapters 17 & 18) Some need to ask themselves if they are building up the Church or rebuilding Babylon, a world that has religious values with no truth or power in them. Is it for the sake of peace or for the Prince of peace? The Bible condemns any type of unity which is not founded in God's truth. The false gods of Unity sacrifice eternal truth for tolerance. This is a Mars Hill encounter without the Gospel being proclaimed.
Paul said, “… the gospel of Christ...is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth” (Romans 1:16). He also called it “the gospel...by which also ye are saved if you did not believe in vain” (1Corinthians 15:1-2). The scripture as a whole tells us salvation comes only through believing the Gospel. Christ told His disciples to go into “all the world, and preach the Gospel” (Mark16:15) The truth of man being sinful and Christ having the only cure is to challenge all other ways that claim otherwise. So how can Christians have unity with religions that deny sin and Christ being the cure?
How comfortable we can become warming our hands at the enemies fire. We must watch ourselves in the times in which we live.
The fact is, we should love people enough to warn of false gospels so they will not be led astray to an eternal hell. Any shepherd or leader who unites with the world religions loves wolves more than the sheep and is at best confused about his position. If he can’t speak up to protect the flock surely he is not a true shepherd or leader.
A.W. Tozer wrote: “We can hold a correct view of the truth only by daring to believe everything God has said about Himself. It is a grave responsibility that a man takes upon himself when he seeks to edit out of God's self-revelation such features as he in his ignorance deems objectionable.”
The method we use to present the gospel may legitimately change from culture to culture but the message must never change. If we unite with those who bring another gospel even if its slightly altered we come under the anathema that Paul mentioned to the Galatians. I say this in all sincerity to those who may already be in this position willingly or unwillingly.
We are to speak the plain truth in love. If our gospel is “veiled”, it is because “the god of this world has blinded the minds of those who do not believe” and prevents the light of the gospel of Christ shining on them.
As Walter Martin used to ask: “Are you willing to do for the truth what the cults do for a lie.” Then you must live it everyday. How can we witness with conviction to someone when we waver in what we believe? We must be sure in our belief so we can be assured of it.
The truths we hold dearly:
There are truths from Scripture to which all who genuinely follow Christ hold.
Some of these are: God, the uncreated, brought into existence all things. Christ is the eternal God. There is one God in 3 distinct persons who exist simultaneously as God. The virgin conception was the means of the incarnation, where God became a man. The death of Christ for the sins of man is the only means of Salvation. Every man and woman needs a saviour due to the universal sinfulness of mankind. It was this that prompted God in Christ by love to sacrifice Himself for us. The new birth by the hearing of the Gospel (death- burial- resurrection) and received by faith alone is the only way to be saved. Christ was raised physically in the same body and glorified. The Scripture (the Bible) is infallible and inerrant. Christ is our only eternal priest and mediator and all believers are equally priests unto God and man. The true universal Church is our spiritual home on earth until the 2nd coming of Christ when we will be judged and rewarded for what we have and have not done with our talents and gifts.
We can’t compromise on these and other fundamental doctrines.
May the Lord give you and me boldness to be light in this present hour of darkness.
We must speak the plain truth in love. If our gospel is “veiled”, it is because “the god of this world has blinded the minds of those who do not believe”. This blindness prevents the light of the gospel of Christ from shining on them. Lets tell them the Gospel.
(references used from the Berean Call may 1996, May 1998. Hope for the World newsletter, Discernment newsletter and many other current sources.)