pt.2 The Jump from Ecumenism to Interfaith
To understand where we are at today we need to go over a few of the major turning points in the last 50 years.
In 1962 at St. Peter's Basilica in Rome, Vatican II gives strength to a growing ecumenical movement and lays the groundwork for the acceptance of interfaith. Pope John XXIII resided over the Council's proceedings. According to M. Basil Pennington, a prominent Catholic priest, the Council urged "all Christians . . . to act positively to preserve and even promote all that is good in other religions: Hinduism, Buddhism, and other world religions"(New World Religion Gary Kah)
In 1986 Pope John Paul II held an Interfaith summit in Assisi, Italy that had leaders from the world's major religions and initiated by the Pope himself, would represent a visible transition from traditional "ecumenism" to the new "interfaithism."
In 1993, on the 100th anniversary the Parliament of the World's Religions convened in Chicago. 5,500 religious leaders of various religions and denominations attended.
At the Parliament of the World's Religions in Chicago in 1993, one of the main lectures was entitled 'A Proposal to Evolve the Parliament toward a United Nations of Religions'. In his keynote speech, former U.N. assistant secretary-general, Dr. Robert Muller called for the establishment of a permanent World Council of Religion by 1995, along the lines of the United Nations. Many sensed this Parliament presented a global interfaith movement one step nearer to much closer collaboration. By the way, Muller was a follower of Teilhard De Chardin and wrote his book, “New Genesis-Shaping a Global Spirituality in 1984.
The Chairman of the Parliament Dr. David Ramage, saw the next step as one of setting up centres of interfaithism in various key regions of the world and then networking relationships between them. From various sectors the concept of unity with all religions was being forged as the goal. The Ecumenical - Interfaith Movement is at work throughout the world today more than at any other time since Babel.
Although these terms are often interchangeable ecumenism has been interpreted as an attempt to unify Christian churches. Inter-faith, is far broader, it goes beyond the borders of the Christian religion attempting to unify all of the world's religions.
The Spirit of God leads us to God by the gospel message, not just by having faith in God. We all get saved the same way but not with the same circumstances. Without the crucifixion and resurrection, there is no salvation because we cannot place faith in the Gospel. This is exactly what the interfaith movement is attempting to do, remove the gospel to reduce Christianity to be on equal status with the other religions. And it has its promoters who intentionally do this and those by ignorance do this.
In his book, Third Millennium Teens, George Barna recorded this fact: 63 percent of church-going, Christian teens said they believed ‘Muslims, Buddhists, Christians, Jews and all other people pray to the same God, even though they use different names for their god.’ These are no longer isolated beliefs but have become world views as our culture has shifted, so has the church.
Some surveys show the confusion- In June, the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life published a controversial survey in which 70 percent of Americans said that they believed religions other than theirs could lead to eternal life.
In August, The Pew Forum on Religion and Public asked the question again and released the answer. Sixty-five percent of respondents said — again — that other religions could lead to eternal life. Furthermore … half also thought that atheists could go to heaven.
Nearly as many Christians said you could achieve eternal life by just being a good person as said that you had to believe in Jesus. http://www.nytimes.com/2008/12/27/opinion/27blow.html?_r=2&pagewanted=print (referenced from Heaven for the Godless? By Charles M. Blow December 27, 2008 Op-Ed Columnist)
An article titled "Interfaith Council Breaks Down Barriers" related how over 100 individuals gathered at a California mosque to "discuss tolerance and love between differing faiths and to dispel negative stereotypes that surround Islam. "According to the news report, the leader of the mosque, Imam Mohammad Jamal Daoudi, said he believes "the barriers that have existed among [Muslims, Jews and Christians] must break down." He told the interfaith congregation, "Muslims worship the same God as Christians and Jews," adding that "when Muslims refer to Allah, they refer to the name of God." The article noted, "This barrier must come down to establish a global community to help all mankind come to know God, Daoudi said." Notice that Daoudi said Christians, Muslims and Jews must help form a global community for a specific purpose: "To help all mankind come to know God. "The problem, however, is that each of these religions disagree on how mankind can know God. Others at the conference agreed with Daoudi. The Antelope Valley Press noted, "The Rev. Don Welsh of the Antelope Valley Church of Religious Science and president of Antelope Valley Interfaith Council said people must do more than just tolerate the beliefs of other faiths" (emphasis added). He said, "We are all spiritual in nature. We communicate spirit to spirit." Welsh added that truth "is expressed in various words according to the culture in which they were spoken." Welsh's attitude expressed in the words "people must do more than just tolerate the beliefs of other faiths" clearly enunciates the unbiblical philosophy of ecumenical interfaith dialogue today-that tolerance itself is no longer acceptable. In fact, the entire concept of "tolerance" no longer implies that one simply allows another to voice his beliefs, but rather it has come to mean that one must embrace all beliefs and opinions as viable truth. To do otherwise is considered "intolerant. "To possess any firm convictions and to believe that one religion or faith is correct and all others are false is now considered intolerant "bigotry. "Society as a whole, not only interfaith movements, has moved beyond the traditional definition of "tolerance" and has concluded that all men need to embrace all beliefs as truth because truth is now relative rather than absolute.
(February 19, 2000, edition of California's Antelope Valley Press newspaper)
Meeting like these have increased worldwide. This combining of the many religions would not survive on their own, and their influence would be weak, but brought together they become strong and their influence is undeniable.
Recently, a significant number of evangelical leaders signed a document by
Muslim leaders titled "A Common Word Between Us and You" believing that
Christians and Muslims need to come together because they worship a common God.
Muslim leaders with their own letter, calling on the two Abrahamic faiths to
love God and neighbors together. (issued by the Yale Center for Faith and
One has to wonder what kind of leaders these men are to not know the differences between Islam and Christianity are not the same and can never be made the same (what Jesus taught should be familiar). How can Muslims love God when they reject the one sent to show his love to them?
Their fundamental believe is a denial of Jesus as the Son of God and the gospel, his death for our sins.
We are seeing more and more of these movements for agreement from those of influence in the church, none of this is beneficial or biblical, it is tearing the fabric the church is built on, the truth.
The new age movement is not something that sprang up in the 80’s, the seeds were being sown with Alice Bailey, who stated the stated: “We are seeing a surge of new spirituality that is an initiation into the synthesis.”
The shift to unify is not limited to the religious sector, it has been going on through scientific intellectualism to philosophers and theosophists. If people can be convinced there is no difference between each other from a scientific view (we all share the same Atoms, and similar in DNA) the evolutionary idea of Darwin can take on a new form that everyone can own. We are all one is not just limited to humanity but to all creatures on the earth, Spiritual environmentalism (as noted in part one).
Albert Einstein noted “Humanity is going to need a substantially new way of thinking if it is to survive!" We see this same conclusion taking place in politics, and the social sector of culture worldwide. Its undeniable that some type of shift is taking place.
“It is the sense of synthesis, putting it very simply, which will be the goal of all the educational movements, once the New Age idealism is firmly established.” (Alice Bailey and Djwhal Khul (http://inthenameofpurpose.org/chp22.htm
Interfaith is a malicious attempt to unify all of the world’s religions, to dispense with our differences to work together toward a goal, and there are many. This goal is considered the better road- however the Bible calls it the wider road. Interfaith is pantheistic in that each religion contains teachings of God but none can have the whole truth on their own, they are interconnected.
Their mission is to convince you to let go of the Biblical traditions they call the old ways -for the new they are introducing. The spirit of the age is tolerance and unity and its presented under the umbrella of “love all.” They need to employ this change to make you a disciple of the new inter-spirituality. The dialectic practice works best on those who are neutral. The experience or shift that has people change has you think that no one religion has all the truth, they are all like spokes of the same wheel, how do I know this… I used to believe this when I was part of the new age movement before I became a Christian.
“The spirit has gone out of the old faiths and the true spiritual light is transferring itself into a new form which will manifest on earth eventually as the new world religion. To this form all that is true and right and good in the old forms will contribute, for the forces of right will withdraw that good, and incorporate it in the new form.” (Alice Bailey, THE RAYS AND THE INITIATIONS, p. 754)
People who have little or no true knowledge of God's word, are willing to go along with the interfaith idea because it makes sense in the age we live in. They do not realize it is actually turning them away from God, not toward Him. Unwise to Satan’s schemes, the place where you would expect to be safe, the church, may not be so safe. The church is the main target of this shift because Christianity is based on the unique claims of Christ and the narrow way. This concept is found in the Indigenous people movement which has been growing in advancing its concepts into the church.
Because of the rampant lack of sound bible teaching, and exposure to what is challenging our faith the church is being moved away from Christ. We are watching the implementation of group think and the necessity of community exercised to influence and control individuals. Many unbiblical doctrines are taught inside the church today that can move whole groups of people at a time into accepting an interfaith view (among other things). Global Spiritual (Interspirituality) introduces a freestyle spirituality that removes a Christian from believing and practicing what Jesus gave as “the truth.”
Men of ignorance in the media and the pulpit are used for the new paradigm of interfaith. The new age movement has always wanted to integrate the church into its synthesis. This shift has been taking place and is nearing its zenith. Benjamen Crème, a spokesman for the new age Christ writes “Workers in the field of religion will formulate the universal platform of the new world religion. It is a work of living synthesis and will emphasize the unity and the fellowship of the spirit. … The platform of the new world religion will be built by many groups, working under the inspiration of the Christ” (Reappearance of the Christ, p. 158-159).
Robert Muller’s plenary address on "Interfaith Harmony and Understanding” explains what is necessary for this synthesis to occur: "Let all the religions work on what they have in common. And what divides them, put aside for the very end. If you want to have an agreement whether to believe in God, in several gods, or in no god you will never get an agreement because there's no commonality. So leave these aside, and take the subjects which we have in common…"
Rodney R. Romney: “He [Jesus] meant to establish a world religion that would embrace every soul and synthesize every creed, and his work will not be consummated until he has done just that” (Rodney R. Romney, Pastor of Seattle's First Baptist Church, Journey, p. 31.)
They are convinced God wants synthesis to have us forge a new future that will bring peace and harmony.
This interfaith religious view has been with us for many years but it is now starting to solidify with many streams converging into one. What is being offered is a spiritual integration that mixes non biblical concepts with the Bible and presents them as equal in value.
Glenn Beck is often good at reporting the political climate and the influence of liberalism that is changing our countries values. Unfortunately he does not see the same taking place in the spiritual climate. Glenn Beck’s first program after coming to Fox News was on the theme “can’t we all agree” (Fox. Jan. 20, 2009), frustrated with the political head butting.
He interviewed Joel Osteen, who in my opinion does not represent true Christianity but does represent the changing church of our day.
Beck began by speaking of the atheists trying to get rid of God in the inauguration of Obama.
Beck: “We can’t agree on anything anymore”
Joel Osteen: “You know its an odd day we are living in, I don’t know if I have all the answers to it but to me the more that we can come together and get rid of the mean spiritedness behind just like you have been talking there you can see you were cordial about it you just disagreed but I think today a lot of that has been lost”
Glenn then speaks of the roles everyone has played in the media on this. “What is the step to knit it back together?”
Osteen: “You know, I don’t know if I know all that Glenn. I think the first step is to get behind our new president, lets believe that, uh, he will make the right decisions and when we disagree well just have to rise above it and still do it in a spirit of love, I think that’s what I don’t see happening.”
Beck: “I’ve got a lot a mail having you on, people said to me well he’s denied Jesus Christ and the gospel and I’m thinking to myself, I’ve talked to him, I know him, I mean your very rooted in the gospel. Same time, another group taken me down because of my religion. it seems that religions are fighting with each other, I was just with Pat Robertson about a month ago, and I said, Pat we have got people of faith not even just Christianity, people of FAITH have got to come together. 89% of us believe in God why are we cannabizing each other?”
Osteen: “again I don’t know I think some people are so um, theres people that are just very passionate of what they believe and there, they won’t stay open to anything else. And, of course, I believe in...in…Christ the savior and all [Osteen then looks down and away from Glenn] --BUT, you know, I…I think too, Glenn, you know, I’ve spent a lot of time in India, y’know, I’ve been with a lot of Hindu people, they’re nice, kind… y’know, people that love God as well, so, I just , uh, I think, to me, a lot of times we get so focused on, you know, even in a mean spirited way, of pushing somebody else out, and when you look at the life of Jesus, he said to love your enemies and he went around talking to people of other faiths.”
--- BUT… is a crucial word when you follow it up with reversing what is said previously. Because Hindus are kind or nice does not mean they know God or love him. In fact there are 300 million gods in Hinduism. Osteen’s ignorance on this matter is magnanimous. He offers in the place of sound doctrine his feelings of being comfortable with people, exactly how the world is being led into this interfaith unity.
See the video-- http://www.godrev.com/disprss/?/Video-Christian-Teachings/focus/2425177/Glenn-Beck-Interviews-Joel-Osteen-1-19-09.html
Where is the scripture found of Jesus speaking to those of other faiths? Did he not tell people to repent or they will perish? There is only one God, the God of Israel (see our book- Idolatry in their Hearts). Osteen shows himself to be part of the interfaith, indigenous people movement, if not willingly participating, then by default because of a lack of knowledge.
Osteen may not “have all the answers for it” but God does have the answer. But if we don’t consult his word we will have no answers. Believing in god only makes one not an atheist but it does not make us right with God, justified in his sight.
It is this kind of wishy-washy spokesman for the church that is attaching us to the drowning world that seeks interfaith as the answer, with no answers we both will go down.
Jesus answered, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No-one comes to the Father except through me” John 14:6. One may not like this statement, they may not agree with it but they cannot deny this is what Jesus said. As Christians we are obligated to believe it, explain it and even defend it when necessary.