Last month we referred to the growing kingdom/dominion/restoration movement, and the related danger of sincere people being involved in a vast international cooperative effort to bring peace and justice upon the earth through humanistic means. Sojourners magazine (headed by Jim Wallis) boasts that it "has become a connection point...creating a network of faith and action among evangelicals, Roman Catholics, mainline Protestants, the historic peace churches, the charismatic renewal, the peace movement, and non-Christians looking for a faith that touches the world they live in." Any such "faith" that this ecumenical movement (which includes non- and even anti-Christians) can agree upon is obviously not the faith once for all delivered to the saints for which Jude tells us we must earnestly contend. In fact, this cooperative effort effectively undermines true biblical faith.
Significantly, the Pope is emerging as the inspirational leader in an unprecedented international ecumenism. He has cleverly declared that "liberation theology" (divested of Marxism) is the hope of the world and that a common concern for the welfare of humanity will be the means of uniting all religions into one. Mother Teresa is the champion of the humanistic ecumenism which the Pope advocates and she has become so highly respected that to criticize her would be unthinkable. She is the epitome of good works, selfless love and Christlike living—or so it seems. Yet she enjoys the acclaim of everyone in all religions, which is very un-Christlike (Mat:10:22, Mk 13:13).
The reason for her popularity (which has deceived many evangelical leaders into unreservedly praising her) is her universalism. Although she seems to glorify Christ, she says He is in everyone. Indeed, AIDS victims are declared to be "Jesus in a pitiful disguise." In her speech at the United Nations after receiving the Nobel Peace Prize (Jesus never gained such acceptance by the world), Mother Teresa explained that she wanted to get everyone to pray because prayer "purifies the heart," and when the heart is pure you "see God in everyone." Hers is the "god" of all religions. Her goal is to bring everyone "nearer to God," and when that happens, she explains, if you are a Buddhist you become a better Buddhist, if a Hindu you become a better Hindu, etc.
We cannot fault her selfless, sacrificial example of charity. It is staggering that this woman has been responsible for taking 40,000 derelicts out of the gutters of Calcutta and her work is spreading around the world. There is, however, something more important than helping the suffering and afflicted to die in a clean bed. It is in fact not love at all to clean them up only to let them go out into eternity without Christ. That is comparable to carefully attending to a blister on the finger while ignoring the fact that the patient has a ruptured appendix.
Both in Calcutta and New Delhi, Pope John Paul II declared that he had come to learn from the great spiritual heritage of India. (This "great spiritual heritage" of Hinduism has left India the poorest, most pitiful country in the world.) One year ago he "walked down the aisle of Rome's main synagogue to thunderous applause and sat beside Chief Rabbi Elio Toaff." The historic event was described as "an unprecedented papal gesture to end nearly 2,000 years of enmity between Catholics and Jews." The Pope has met with leading Muslims and Buddhists, including the Dalai Lama, and in doing so has repeatedly called for a uniting of all the world's religions. Last October 27 he succeeded in gathering at Assisi representatives of most of the world's leading religions in a "Day of Prayer for Peace." In his invitation he declared that "the challenge of peace, as it is presently posed to every human conscience, transcends religious differences."
It is a powerful appeal: the necessity to unite to rescue the world from a nuclear holocaust and to work together in the humanitarian cause of the poor and needy. And along with this is the equally irresistible power of a common mystical experience of "God" that frees one from the necessity of theological arguments and thus dissolves the basic conflict between religions. The charismatic movement is made to order for the new ecumenism and significantly it is the charismatics who are almost frantically pushing "the greatest move of unity in history." An integral part of this "move" is Protestant-Catholic "unity" which has Protestant charismatics overlooking fundamental doctrinal differences and embracing occultic practices.
With the clear biblical warnings of a coming world religion (Rev:13:4,8) we do well to watch these developments carefully and to seek to rescue as many as we can from compromise that denies the true faith. TBC