Also See Beware! The New Age Movement Is More Than Self-Indulgent Silliness
The Interfaith Agenda
The Parliament of the World’s Religions
Uniting the Religions
The New World Religion —Part VII
The Interfaith Agenda
In this continuing series we have focused on the religious developments of the new world/ New Age movement. Much of our attention thus far has been devoted to exploring the Vatican’s role in this growing movement and it’s upcoming “Great Jubilee of the Year 2000” celebration.
Since our last article the Vatican’s interfaith initiatives have accelerated. From October 24 to 29, Pope John Paul II hosted an interfaith summit in Rome. This “Interreligious Assembly” was attended by approximately 200 religious leaders representing the world’s “great faith traditions,” and included a spiritual pilgrimage to Assisi—the site of the Pope’s first interfaith summit in 1986. [See The Two Faces of Catholicism]
The Pope summarized his global vision in his closing address:
I am conscious of the fact that many esteemed religious leaders have traveled long distances to be present at this concluding ceremony of the Interreligious Assembly. I am grateful to all who have worked to foster the spiritwhich makes this Assembly possible. Soon we shall listen to the Declaration, the fruit of your deliberations.…As the world marks the close of one millennium and the opening of another, it is right that we take time to look back, in order to take stock of the present situation and move forward together in hope towards the future.…Is it not...right to say that there is indeed a crisis of civilization which can be countered only by a new civilization of love.…It is a sign of hope that in many parts of the world interreligious associations have been established to promote joint reflection and action….I am convinced that the increased interest in dialogue between religions is one of the signs of hope present in the last part of this century. Yet there is a need to go further. Greater mutual esteem and growing trust must lead to still more effective and coordinated common action on behalf of the human family.
The Pope continued, explaining that the Holy Spirit calls us “to the unity of the whole human family.” (Source: Discorso del Santo Padre all’Assemblea Interreligiosa, Piazza San Pietro, 28 October 1999.) True Christ-centered unity is of God and is described in John 17; but nowhere in Scripture does God call for “the unity of the whole human family.” To the contrary—when mankind was unified through the building of the Tower of Babel, God scattered the people. Why? They were unified against His truth and His established order. In the process they had come under the control of Satan. [Also See True and False Unity]
Pope John Paul and his hierarchy of Cardinals understand that to create a new civilization (a new political/religious order), there must be cooperation among the world’s religions— a type of global spiritual unity centered in Rome. It is no coincidence that many of the world’s major religious events of the last decade have served to augment the Vatican’s interfaith efforts. Of these events, none attracted more attention than the 1993 Parliament of the World’s Religions. [TOP OF PAGE]
The Parliament of the World’s Religions
(August 28 to September 5)
This parliament represented the largest gathering of religious leaders in history and would serve not only to commemorate the one hundredth anniversary of the original meeting (Chicago, 1893), but also to plan for the world’s “spiritual future.” Approximately 5,500 religious leaders from a multitude of denominations and religions attended this convention. Another 857 individuals were registered as press.
Besides the major religions and well-known spiritual “traditions,” some of those present described themselves as “Catholic Quaker,” “Celtic,” “blends of many,” “inter-religious,” or “Hindu Theosophy.” Also in attendance were voodoo and druid priests, Freemasons, wiccans (witches), snake charmers, Zoroastrian sun worshipers, representatives of Lucis Trust, and an assortment of other occultists and Luciferians. This spiritual diversity was evident throughout the Parliament and was reflected in its board of trustees and in those who co-sponsored the event (See Exhibit O and Appendix J in The New World Religion). See More on the Parliament.
The 1993 Parliament programs, like their counterpart meetings of the last century, were held in Chicago. Some of the themes were Interfaith Understanding, The Inner Life, Visions of Paradise and Possibility, and the Voices of Spirit and Tradition. During the nineday gathering, over five hundred seminars, lectures, and workshops were held. Robert Muller, former U.N. Assistant Secretary-General and a devout Catholic, delivered the Parliament’s first keynote address, forcefully calling for the creation of a “permanent institution” dedicated to pursuing religious unity. [TOP OF PAGE]
The Global Ethic
Perhaps the most significant event of the 1993 Parliament was the convening of an inner circle of interfaith religious “authorities.” This powerful group, consisting of Robert Muller and his closest allies, dubbed itself the Assembly of Religious and Spiritual Leaders.
Developing a consensus “for how people should behave,” the Assembly endorsed an interfaith document titled Towards a Global Ethic, An Initial Declaration. This document, drafted by Catholic theologian Hans Küng, a friend of Muller’s, condemns the “abuses of Earth’s ecosystems,” poverty, and social injustice. It affirms interdependence, calling for “a common set of core values…found in the teachings of the religions.” “ The Ethic,” if accepted, would represent “an irrevocable, unconditional norm for all areas of life, for families and communities, for races, nations, and religions.”
In his book, Global Responsibility: In Search of a New World Ethic (1991), Mr. Küng makes clear that participation in this new “ethic” (religion) will not be optional. He states, Any form of...church conservatism is to be rejected.…To put it bluntly: No regressive or repressive religion—whether Christian, Islamic, Jewish or of whatever provenance—has a long-term future….If ethics is to function for the wellbeing of all, it must be indivisible. The undivided world increasingly needs an undivided ethic. Post modern men and women need common values, goals, ideals, visions. But the great question in dispute is: does not all this presuppose a religious faith?...What we need is an ecumenical world order!
The Global Ethic, which was signed by Muller and the other interfaith dignitaries present, is emerging as a companion to Mikhail Gorbachev’s Earth Charter and is expected to be to religion what The Charter is to international politics. Together, these documents are destined to impact and shape the future religious and political course of mankind. The World Core Curriculum, drafted by Robert Muller, is intended to accommodate both decrees by promoting their ideas through public education.
God, of course, has already given us His “global ethics.” These commandments for living are clearly laid out in the Bible (Exodus 20:1-17 and Mark 12:28-31). Unfortunately, as evidenced by the Parliament of World Religions, man would rather create his own set of rules catering to his personal wants and desires than submit to God’s authority. The Book of Revelation warns us of a seductive one-world religious/political system that would emerge in the last days. According to Revelation 17:13 the leaders of this Satanic system will give “their power and authority” to the beast, who will do everything within his power to oppose the living God and His true followers. Based on Jesus’ words in Matthew 24, it appears that this deception will have an outer appearance of Christianity— acting in the name of Christ, but not being of Christ.
In the days ahead, as a growing number of recognized “Christian” leaders throw their support behind the global unity movement, the true followers of Jesus Christ—those seeking to remain faithful to Him—will need to be discerning as never before. Such discernment will come only from spending quality time with the Lord in prayer and through reading His Word. If we draw near to Jesus Christ, He will give us His wisdom and strength to remain faithful to the end. [TOP OF PAGE]
The New World Religion— Part VIII
Uniting the Religions
Since beginning this series we have chronicled the progress of the ecumenical/interfaith movement, pointing out the movement’s interconnections with the Vatican, the UN, and various New Age organizations. Our last article was devoted primarily to evaluating the contributions of the “1993 Parliament of the World’s Religions” to the interfaith agenda. In that article we reintroduced the reader to Robert Muller, former UN Assistant Secretary-General, who delivered the parliament’s first keynote address. We also examined the activities of the Assembly of Religious and Spiritual Leaders, a powerful group consisting of Muller and his closest New Age allies that convened during the parliament. Members of that assembly endorsed an unprecedented interfaith document known as the “Global Ethic” which they hope will shape the future religious course of mankind. But this was not the only development to come out of the parliament.
The Assembly of Religious and Spiritual Leaders introduced another initiative with far reaching implications. The Assembly–following Muller’s lead—called for the creation of an international religious authority aimed at unifying all of the world’s “faiths” and spiritual “traditions.”This proposal, being coordinated through Muller and the UN, is moving forward under the “United Religions Initiative.” (See Exhibit Q in The New World Religion.)
Bringing all of the world’s religions into cooperation with the United Nations has been Robert Muller’s top priority for many years. His passion for this spiritual agenda is apparent in the following statements: “My great personal dream is to get a tremendous alliance between all the major religions and the UN.” “I would wholeheartedly support the creation of an institutional arrangement in the UN or in UNESCO for a dialogue and cooperation between religions.” Although Muller’s vision is currently still at the conceptual stage, preliminary meetings are already being held. At a 1997 education conference, Muller elaborated on the progression of his concept:
Let me tell you, that when you have an idea, which you consider fundamental and good for humanity, sooner or later you can implement it. So I was invited to the World Parliament of Religions. And I made a speech there, which was so well received by all the participants that the idea of creating a United Religions like the United Nations was promoted during the World Parliament of Religions. And then during the 50th Anniversary of the United Nations in San Francisco, we launched again the idea of United Religions and at the end of June there would be a meeting of 200 people from various religions in San Francisco to draft and to give birth, in San Francisco, to a United Religions...I almost cannot believe it that they listened to me! I will be the father of the United Religions!
Working closely with Muller on this daring initiative is Rev. William Swing of Grace Episcopal Cathedral in San Francisco. Although Muller is the visionary behind United Religions and the catalyst between the major parties involved, Rev. Swing has become the initiative’s figurehead and spokesperson. Swing, who is the residing Episcopal bishop of the Diocese of California, apparently was considered to be the most politically correct Protestant candidate to work with the Vatican, the Gorbachev Foundation, and the United Nations in shepherding this initiative into finalization.
The direct involvement of the UN in this project has been evident from the beginning. Swing relates how the UN first contacted him in 1993 about heading up a worship celebration on its behalf: “Three and a half years ago, a telephone call arrived in San Francisco from the United Nations asking if we, at Grace Cathedral, would host a great interfaith worship service honoring the 50th Anniversary of the signing of the UN Charter in our city.” This request is allegedly what prompted Swing to become involved in the United Religions Initiative (URI). He continues, “I got out of bed the next day determined to commit the rest of my life to an initiative that would create a United Religions which would, in appropriately spiritual ways, parallel the United Nations.”
As suggested by Swing, the United Religions organization is intended to be to religion what the United Nations has become to global politics, unifying the world’s religions as the UN is unifying the world’s nations. In a press release dated June 23, 1997, Bishop Swing confirmed these plans: “The URI—if successful—will be a spiritual United Nations. And what better place to give it birth than the Bay Area, which gave birth to the present UN.”
Toward this end, proponents of the UR Initiative, operating under the framework of the Global Ethic, are preparing a detailed United Religions Charter outlining the world’s religious future. In a recent interview, Bishop Swing revealed his timetable for the drafting and implementation of this Charter: “In 1999 we want to have the charter finished. And we want to, in the year 2000, have it signed by 60 million people of the world.”
United Religions is officially scheduled to begin functioning as an organization on June 26, 2000. Significantly, its headquarters will be in San Francisco, at the Presidio—along with the Gorbachev Foundation.
Well-timed events are expected to give momentum to the United Religions Initiative. These include an interfaith conference in Budapest, Hungary, scheduled for March 24-26; Pope John Paul II’s trip to the Middle East to promote peace and religious unity (also in March); the “Millennium Summit of Religious Leaders” to convene in New York City on August 28 and 29; and the signing of a comprehensive Mid-East peace agreement in September. The fact is New Age/interfaith advocates have big plans for next year. They would like to launch their New World Order with the start of the new millennium and have all the pieces in place for a complete global government and world religion no later than 2005. Will they meet their timetable?
The answer to this question is simple: “Only if God allows them to.” This leads us to the obvious question, “ Will God allow the evil one to fulfill his end time purpose within this timetable? The answer: “Only God knows.”
Satan can plot and scheme all he wants, but in the end, nothing will happen until God allows it. Up to this point, the Lord has been very patient, giving us more time than we deserve to accept His Son and to repentantly follow Him. But we know according to Scripture that one day He will no longer restrain the evil one; He will permit events to unfold as foretold. When that time comes, things will fall into place rapidly. As the Bible says, “The end will come like a flood.” (Daniel 9:26)
Realizing the times that we are living in and that the hour could be late, what should we be doing as believers?
As Christians we should fervently engage ourselves in the Lord’s work, being obedient to His Word and to His call on our lives. This involves praying for and actively sharing the good news of Jesus Christ with those in our sphere of influence. Ask the Lord to give you a sincere burden for the souls of unsaved friends, neighbors, and family members. He has called you to present the good news to others, but if you haven’t acted on His prompting, do not delay! If you have not surrendered your all to God, this is the time to die to self in order that you might live effectively for Him.
As we enter the new millennium and face the challenges ahead, may we always remember that our greatest hope is not of an earthly, but of an eternal nature. Regardless of what happens to us in this world, or how difficult times may become, if we place our full trust in Jesus and what He did on the cross, we will not be intimidated by the future. His complete peace will rest upon us. May this truth comfort and inspire you in the days ahead.
“For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.” II Timothy 1:7 “In God have I put my trust: I will not be afraid what man can do unto me.” Psalm 56:11
“For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord” Romans 8:38,39. [TOP OF PAGE]