The most popular apostasy in Christendom today is the teaching that God has revealed Himself in many different ways to different cultures and that, therefore, all religions worship the same god, but just use different names. From this viewpoint, the Allah of Islam is the same as the Yahweh of Judaism and both are the same as the Krishna of Hinduism. The natural conclusion that is drawn from this apostate idea is that there are many different paths to God, Jesus being only one of them. This has led liberal leaders of groups like The National Council of Churches in the United States and the World Council to condemn missionary activity as "arrogant" and "anti-cultural."1
See Related Articles in This Section Religious Pluralism
The Bible teaches that these apostate Christian leaders are eventually going to succeed, at least temporarily. Their triumph will occur when the Antichrist forms his one world religion (Revelation 13:12).
The Stanford Conference
Major steps have already been taken to establish a unified world religion. In June of 1997 over 200 delegates from religious groups all over the world gathered at Stanford University to begin drafting a charter for an international interfaith institution to be called The Organization of United Religions.2 [Also See Footnote]
The meeting was convened and presided over by Reverend William Swing, the Episcopal Bishop of San Francisco. Since 1993 he has been traveling worldwide to set up a network of religious leaders interested in a one world religious organization. The Bishop told the San Francisco Chronicle:3
Iíve spent a lot of time praying with Brahmins, meditating with Hindus, and chanting with Buddhists. I feel Iíve been enormously enriched inwardly by exposure to these folks. Iíve gone back and read our own scriptures, and itís amazing how they begin to read differently when youíre exposed to more truth from more people in other parts of the world.
This statement is the epitome of the new tolerance that is being evidenced by Christendomís apostate leaders. (Incidentally, I wonder what "new truth" he found outside the Bible!)
The group has been moving full speed ahead with their organizational efforts. Their charter was presented for ratification by sponsoring groups in June of 2000. Their goal is to have the new organization fully operable by 2005. They intend for the headquarters to be located at the Presidio, the former military base in San Francisco. As one conference leader put it, "The UR is meant to be for religions what the UN is for nations."4
Continuing Apostasy in MelbourneIn July 1997 many of the same people gathered in Melbourne, Australia for a conference on religion and cultural diversity. The Archbishop of Canterbury (the leader of the Church of England) was present, and the Pope sent one of his highest ranking cardinals, Francis Arinze.5
At the opening banquet, the lights were dimmed and people were told to focus on the candle on their table while the following prayer was offered:6
Let us focus on the candle, the small quivering fire, the light in the darkness, the call to evening prayer, the call to thanksgiving . . . for our togetherness, for our unity as sons and daughters of the earth in this vast and ancient land, this sacred soil of the Dreamtime.
In the presence of the Ineffable Other, the Holy Being of Infinity, the Numinous Beyond, the One and the Ultimate, the Alpha and the Omega, the Unknown and the Unknowable, Lord of the Cosmos, Center of Creation . . . we pray to you . . .
Can you imagine any Christian leader praying such claptrap? Since when, from a Christian viewpoint, has our Creator God become "unknown and unknowable"? Only a professing Christian captivated and deceived by the new tolerance could pray such a blasphemous prayer.
Understandably, the conference concluded that the one cardinal sin is absolutism. Belief that oneís religion contains absolute truth was decried as pride.7
The conferenceís most popular workshop was on "Religious Fundamentalism." The featured speaker was an ordained Christian minister who, until recently, was the full-time chaplain at the University of Melbourne. He denounced Christians who believe in the Bible and embrace creationism as "mean-spirited." He also called them "authoritarian and dictatorial," "violent," "aggressive," "pathological," and "dangerous." He characterized them as people who are incapable of independent thinking and who "brandish their floppy Bibles like weapons."8
Talk about paving the way for the Antichrist! I can hear him speaking now:8
It makes no difference what you call your god. He can be Yahweh or Baal or Allah or Krishna or Mother Earth or Self. Just give me your allegiance as your godís Messiah, and I will guarantee your freedom to worship as you please.
The New Charter
The URI Charter was ratified on June 26, 2000 at a meeting held at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The preamble states: "The URI is a growing global community dedicated to promoting enduring, daily interfaith cooperation, ending religiously motivated violence and creating cultures of peace, justice and healing for the Earth and all living beings."9
It sounds so good! It is all so touchy-feely and warm and fuzzy. The Charter is full of New Age type statements like the following: "We unite to celebrate the joy of blessings and the light of wisdom in both movement and stillness."10
One of the key principles expressed in the Charter is worded as follows: "Members of the URI shall not be coerced to participate in any ritual or be proselytized." In other words, no member of the URI will engage in missionary activity since that would constitute an act of spiritual imperialism. It all makes sense from their viewpoint, since they believe all religions are equally valid.
The amazing thing is the degree of inclusiveness that the URI represents. In addition to the worldís major faiths, the organization has embraced "neo-pagan" religions like Druids and Celtic Revivalists, Wicca and Witchcraft, and Norse Paganism.
[Also See United Religions Initiative]
All of this is being done in the name of "tolerance." But it is a perverted tolerance. It is a subtle ploy of Satan to corrupt the Church from within. The deception sounds so appealing: "Why draw lines of fellowship over doctrinal differences? The only thing thatís important is sincerity. Reach out and embrace all those who profess to believe in God, regardless of who their god may be. Ignore doctrinal differences. Do it in the name of Christian love. Do it for the sake of religious unity."
This type of thinking has led Earl Paulk of Atlanta to call for the Evangelical Christian world to embrace even the Mormons! It has motivated mainline liberal spokesmen to advocate that Christians show tolerance toward Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, and other pagan faiths by restraining ourselves from sharing the Gospel with them. Consider, for example, the following words of Episcopal Bishop John Spong of New Jersey:11
In the fall of 1988, I worshipped God in a Buddhist temple. As the smell of incense filled the air, I knelt before three images of Buddha, feeling that the smoke could carry my prayers heavenward. It was for me a holy moment for I was certain that I was kneeling on holy ground ...
I will not make any further attempt to convert the Buddhist, the Jew, the Hindu or the Moslem. I am content to learn from them and to walk with them side by side toward the God who lives, I believe, beyond the images that bind and blind us.
Again, it all sounds so wonderful, so soothing, so tolerant! Tragically, it makes a liar of the very person they profess as Lord, for Jesus said, "I am the way, the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but through Me" (John 14:6). Those are not tolerant words.
The Coming World Religion
The Christian leaders who are advocating tolerance to the point of embracing apostasy are going to triumph in the near future, at least temporarily. The Bible makes that clear. Just as "one world" thought is dominating the political and economic scenes today, it has captivated the thinking of both Catholic and Protestant leaders regarding religion.
In that regard, I think it is significant that in 1989 the Archbishop of the Anglican Church, Robert Runcie, called for all Christians to accept the Pope as "a common leader presiding in love." Runcie made his appeal at an evening prayer service midway through his first official visit to the Vatican. "For the universal church, I renew the plea," he said. "Could not all Christians come to reconsider the kind of primacy the bishop of Rome exercised with the early church, Ďa presiding in loveí for the sake of the unity of the churches in the diversity of their mission?"12
See Related Articles Holding Hands With The Pope and The Two Faces of Catholicism
That kind of thinking is paving the way for the establishment of the one world government of the Antichrist (Revelation 13:1-10) which will be supported by the one world religious system of the False Prophet (Revelation 13:11-18).
I believe the harlot church of Revelation 17 will most likely be an amalgamation of the worldís pagan religions, including apostate Protestants, under the leadership of the Catholic Church.
1. A good summary of the apostasy of the World Council of Churches can be found on the Internet at http://cnview.com/on_line_resources/world_council_of_churches.htm. The article, written by M. H. Reynolds, is entitled "The Truth about the WCC."
2. William Norman Gregg, "Pagans of the Word, Unite!" PropheZine, issue #46, August 15, 1997, http://www.best.com/~ray673/search/database/is46.2.htm. (This link no longer exists)
3. Ibid., p. 2.
4. W. B. Howard, "The First Religion and Cultural Diversity Conference, Melbourne, July 1997," PropheZine, issue #46, August 15, 1997, http://www.prophezine.com/ search/database/is46.3.htm, p. 15.
5. Ibid., p.1.
6. Ibid., p. 3.
8. Ibid., pp. 4-7.
9. For detailed information about the URI, see their website at http://www.uri.org.
11. The Voice, Diocese of Newark, January 1989.
12. Sunday Advocate, Baton Rouge, LA, October 1, 1989, page 3A.