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Archive for the ‘Universalism’ Category

from Got Questions:

The existence of so many religions and the claim that all religions lead to God without question confuses many who are earnestly seeking the truth about God, with the end result sometimes being that some despair of ever reaching the absolute truth on the subject. Or they end up embracing the universalist claim that all religions lead to God. Of course, skeptics also point to the existence of so many religions as proof that either you cannot know God or that God simply does not exist.

Romans 1:19-21 contains the biblical explanation for why there are so many religions. The truth of God is seen and known by every human being because God has made it so. Instead of accepting the truth about God and submitting to it, most human beings reject it and seek their own way to understand God. But this leads not to enlightenment regarding God, but to futility of thinking. Here is where we find the basis of the “many religions.”

Many people do not want to believe in a God who demands righteousness and morality, so they invent a God who makes no such requirements. Many people do not want to believe in a God who declares it impossible for people to earn their own way to heaven. So they invent a God who accepts people into heaven if they have completed certain steps, followed certain rules, and/or obeyed certain laws, at least to the best of their ability. Many people do not want a relationship with a God who is sovereign and omnipotent. So they imagine God as being more of a mystical force than a personal and sovereign ruler.

The existence of so many religions is not an argument against God’s existence or an argument that truth about God is not clear. Rather, the existence of so many religions is demonstration of humanity’s rejection of the one true God. Mankind has replaced Him with gods that are more to their liking. This is a dangerous enterprise. The desire to recreate God in our own image comes from the sin nature within us—a nature that will eventually “reap destruction” (Galatians 6:7-8).

Do all religions lead to God? No. All people—religious or otherwise—will stand before God some day (Hebrews 9:27), but religious affiliation is not what determines your eternal destiny. Only faith in Jesus Christ will save. “Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life” (1 John 5:12). It’s as simple as that. Only Christianity—faith in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ—leads to God’s forgiveness and eternal life. No one comes to the Father except through the Son (John 14:6). It does make a difference what you believe. The decision to embrace the truth about Jesus Christ is important. Eternity is an awfully long time to be wrong.

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The man created “churches” are well on their way to merging with the unsaved culture around them.  and let us not forget this is not the real Church!

from The Telegraph:

The Church of Sweden is encouraging its clergy to use the gender-neutral term “God” instead of referring to the deity as “he” or “the Lord”.

The decision was made on Thursday, wrapping up an eight-day meeting of the church’s 251-member decision-making body. The decision will take effect on May 20 during Pentecost.

It is the latest move by the national Evangelical Lutheran church to modernise its 31-year-old handbook setting out how services should be conducted.

The decision to update the book of worship gives priests new options on how to refer to God during their services.

Priests can now open their services by referring to the traditional “Father, son and Holy Ghost” or the gender-neutral phrase “in the name of God and the Holy Trinity”. Other gender-neutral options are available for other parts of the Church of Sweden liturgy.

Gender-neutral terms | Checklist:

Forefathers – ancestors, forebears

Gentleman’s agreement – unwritten agreement, agreement based on trust

Girls (for adults) – women

Housewife – shopper, consumer, homemaker (depends on context)

Manpower – human resources, labour force, staff, personnel, workers, workforce

Man or mankind – humanity, humankind, human race, people

Man-made – artificial, manufactured, synthetic

Man in the street, common man – average/ordinary/typical citizen/person

Right-hand man – chief assistant

Sportsmanship – fairmess, good humour, sense of fair play

Cardiff Metropolitan University’s Guide to Inclusive Language

“We talk about Jesus Christ, but in a few places we have changed it to say ‘God’ instead of ‘he’,” Church of Sweden spokesperson Sofija Pedersen Videke told The Telegraph. “We have some prayer options that are more gender-neutral than others.”

“A wide majority of people decided on the book,” she said, adding that she had heard of no priests who objected to the new linguistic framework.

The Church of Sweden is headed by Archbishop Antje Jackelen, who was elected Sweden’s first female archbishop in 2013.

Archbishop Jackelen defended the decision, telling Sweden’s TT news agency: “Theologically, for instance, we know that God is beyond our gender determinations, God is not human.”

The decision was met with some criticism.  Christer Pahlmblad, an associate theology professor at Lund University in Sweden, told Danish newspaper Kristeligt Dagblad that the decision was “undermining the doctrine of the Trinity and the community with the other Christian churches.”

“It really isn’t smart if the Church of Sweden becomes known as a church that does not respect the common theology heritage,” he said. The Church of Sweden has 6.1 million baptised members in a country with a population of 10 million.

The Church of England told The Telegraph that it also chooses to avoid divisive language in its services, but not with regards to God.  “When liturgy is revised we also seek to use inclusive language where appropriate when referring to people,” a spokesperson said.

“The Church of England has always used masculine language when speaking about God, for example in the words of the Lord’s Prayer – ‘our Father, who art in Heaven’ – and in referring to God as Father, Son and Holy Spirit, and continues to do so.”

The decision by the Church of Sweden mirrors an international trend for inclusivity in major churches. Earlier this month, the Church of England published guidelines for helping children “explore the possibilities of who they might be”, including their gender identity.

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And if anyone wonders why things like this: “26 killed in church attack in Texas’ deadliest mass shooting” are occurring you only need to read this article. We have lost an entire generation and what we have seen in Texas this week is only the beginning!

(The Texas Church shooter was a former Christian who turned to Atheism)

from Berean Research:

The following blog post is a response to Kari Paul’s “Why millennials are ditching religion for witchcraft and astrology” (here).  In his piece, John Paul Ferguson specifically addresses the move away from traditional religion to an interest in paganism on college campuses. According to Ferguson “a number of universities around the country have officially recognized Pagan or Wicca student groups, usually housed under their respective religious student activities departments.” There is little doubt that the increased interest in pagan spirituality can be traced to people’s obsession with the environment.

To shed light on what Wiccans believe, Ferguson quotes author Catherine Edwards Sanders who says that those who practice witchcraft (Wicca) have “monistic and pantheistic beliefs that all living things are of equal value. … Humans have no special placenor are they made in God’s image. … Wiccans believe that they possess divine power within themselves and that they are gods and goddesses. …Consciousness can and should be altered through rite and ritual.” (emphasis added)

John Paul Ferguson’s piece is over at The College Fix. He writes:

As millennials continue to leave traditional Christian religions, interest in Wiccan and pagan practices have seen increased interest in recent years, a trend also spotted among young people and on college campuses.

Pagan or Wiccan student groups are present on a number of college campuses — both secular and religious — across the nation. The growing normalization of such practices, albeit still a minority, corresponds with the decline in Christian believers, some observers note.

A recent report in Market Watch headlined “Why millennials are ditching religion for witchcraft and astrology” argues as much, for example.

“Whether it be spell-casting, tarot, astrology, meditation and trance, or herbalism, these traditions offer tangible ways for people to enact change in their lives,” Melissa Jayne, owner of the Brooklyn-based “metaphysical boutique,” which has seen a big increase in 20-something customers in recent years, told Market Watch.

“For a generation that grew up in a world of big industry, environmental destruction, large and oppressive governments, and toxic social structures, all of which seem too big to change, this can be incredibly attractive,” she said.

The article goes on to cite several businesses that have successfully latched on to this trend, from online purveyors of tarot cards to popular astrology apps.

The article also cites recent Pew Research Center data that found 25 percent of Americans now identify with no religion, as opposed to 2011’s 18 percent. Underscoring that, a 2014 National Science Foundation poll found nearly half of all Americans say astrology is either “very scientific” or “sort of scientific,” UPI reports.

With that, it may be no surprise to see interest in paganism is also alive and well on campus. Continue reading

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from CCC Discover:

As a pastor, I’m often asked by friends outside the church whether there’s any difference between the major world religions. After all—the thinking goes—aren’t they all communicating the importance of love? Don’t they share a common basis in morality?

With all the religious tension in the world, it’d be great to simply conclude that all religions are, at their core, essentially the same. If that’s the case, it’s pointless to argue about dogma, and the thought of going to war over differences becomes incomprehensible. Despite what may be good intentions in emphasizing the similarities across religions, there are real problems with assuming that “all religions just teach love.”

While it’s true that many of the great world religions share common moral teachings, the idea that this means “all religions are basically the same” assumes that morality is the essence of religion, and that the distinct aspects of each religion are peripheral to their primary message of moral uprightness. In truth, the religions of the world, while sharing some similarities, also contain irreconcilable teachings.

As a Christian pastor, I teach that Jesus Christ died on a cross for the sin of the world and that he rose again from the dead after three days. According to the earliest followers of Jesus, that message was the cardinal truth of Christianity. In fact, to dismiss it would be to destroy the Christian faith altogether. Here’s how one of Jesus’ earliest followers put it,

But if there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised. And if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain. We are even found to be misrepresenting God, because we testified about God that he raised Christ, whom he did not raise if it is true that the dead are not raised. (1 Cor. 15:13-15)

This man, the apostle Paul, taught that if the resurrection of Jesus wasn’t true, then the Christian faith was in vain. What’s more, if the resurrection didn’t happen, then the moral teaching didn’t matter. He continued, “If the dead are not raised, ‘Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die’” (1 Cor. 15:32). In other words, if the resurrection is a hoax, we’re wasting our time with all of this “religion stuff.” Paul wasn’t the only one who realized the importance of the resurrection. Jesus repeatedly talked to his disciples about the bodily resurrection (Jn. 5:25-29Mk. 8:319:31Mt. 16:21).

When a person concludes that all religions are basically the same, they’re defining the various religions of the world on their own terms instead of letting the terms define themselves. If religion is primarily about being a good person, then sure, many of the religions out there can assist someone in modifying their behavior, but religions like Christianity aren’t essentially about being “good people.” The Christian religion is all about the God who lovingly pursued people who weren’t very good at all, in fact. That’s why the message of Christ’s death and resurrection is one of the vital organs of Christianity.

How do we get to heaven in Christianity? Not by being good people, but by believing in God’s descent to us. God pursued us by coming to earth, and then he stood in the place of sinners, taking the death our sins had earned so that he might give us the life we didn’t merit. Many religions out there teach love, but none of them have a message of love quite like this. In Christianity, it’s God’s love toward broken people that comes first. That’s what makes Christianity different. “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life” (Jn. 3:16)

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Hat tip to Apostasy Watch:

This is also apostasy, because these religions can’t all be true considering the fact they all contradict each other…

This is the one world religion the Bible speaks of in Revelation, the end is growing near.

1 Thessalonians 5:3:

 “For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape.”

The World’s Most Prominent Religious Leaders Call On Everyone To Make Friends Across Religions

Welcome to The Elijah Interfaith Institute. On June 14, 2017 many of the world’s most prominent religious leaders made a joint statement encouraging people everywhere to make friends across religions. Friendship and getting to know one another are the antidotes to negativity and divisions in society, enhancing understanding and unity. We invite you to download our toolkits for friendship and study. We pray that the message and example of unity, shown by these leaders, will contribute to bridging divisions by inspiring you and your friends to start new conversations with people of different faiths. Follow the example, spread the message.

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One World Religion!

From the Wall Street Journal:

Buddhist, Protestant, Greek Orthodox, Hindu, Jewish, Muslim and Sikh leaders to join pope at National September 11 Memorial & Museum.

It is called a multireligious service, but for those who have been asked to offer prayers alongside Pope Francis this month, a humble moment is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

About a dozen religious leaders, including representatives from Buddhist, Protestant, Greek Orthodox, Hindu, Jewish, Muslim and Sikh faiths, will join the pope on Sept. 25 at the National September 11 Memorial & Museum. Part of Pope Francis’ two-day visit to New York City, the service will include prayers from all of them honoring those who died on 9/11.

According to Rabbi Elliot J. Cosgrove of Park Avenue Synagogue, it will be “a holy and wholly unique event in the religious life of New York.”

“The pope understands the power of faith or religion as an instrument of peace, as opposed to division or strife,” said Rabbi Cosgrove. “To participate in an interreligious gathering which affirms that, whatever our differences may be, we are children of the same God, is an extraordinary statement.”

Multireligious gatherings between the pope and other faith leaders are essentially a modern practice, experts say, formalized in 1965 with Pope Paul VI and the Second Vatican Council’s declaration for “sincere reverence” of other religions.

That declaration opened the door for meetings between the pope and other religious leaders, said the Rev. Jean-Pierre Ruiz, associate professor of theology and religious studies at St. John’s University in Queens.

Another watershed moment for interfaith meetings came in 1986 when Pope John Paul IIgathered dozens of religious leaders at a World Day of Prayer for Peace in Assisi, Italy. The image of all of them together “sent an important message to the world,” said Rev. Ruiz.

Pope Benedict continued the tradition of interfaith meetings during his 2008 trip to the U.S. He visited Park East Synagogue in New York and participated in several events in Washington, D.C., including an interreligious meeting. In 2011, he marked the 25th anniversary of the World Day of Prayer for Peace with another event in Assisi.

But what separates Pope Francis from his predecessors is his deliberate inclusion of other religions, especially members of the Jewish and Muslim faiths, Rev. Ruiz said. Some of those leaders are to play an active role in the Sept. 25 event.

It will begin with an invocation by Rabbi Cosgrove and Imam Khalid Latif, executive director of the Islamic Center at New York University. During the brief program, Pope Francis will offer a prayer and speak. Other religious leaders will then offer prayers, with translators, before an audience of hundreds. Sarah Sayeed, an adviser to Mayor Bill de Blasio, will read a translation from Arabic for the event, according to a spokeswoman for the mayor

One of the participants, Uma Mysorekar, president of the Hindu Temple Society of North America, said she was honored to be included and excited for her faith, and others, to be recognized on the world stage.

“This pope has been so vocal and so broad-minded,” said Dr. Mysorekar. “We’re all able to chant prayers to that same divinity in our own different ways. It ultimately means that all of us collectively stand there and pray in whatever way we want to, but ultimately asking for peace in this world.”

Yasuko Niwano, a leader of the Rissho Kosei-kai Buddhist Center of New York, said she felt a mixture of honor, nerves and excitement about sharing the stage with Pope Francis. She saw the moment as a way to connect with the pontiff on the subject of openness and inclusiveness, she said.

“He doesn’t have any boundaries,” she said. “In Buddhism, we don’t have any boundary, we welcome anybody.”

The Rev. A.R. Bernard of Brooklyn’s Christian Cultural Center said he would be reflecting on the Beatitudes, eight blessings at the core of Jesus’ teachings, for his segment of the interreligious service.

Though the city’s religious leaders often get together around common issues of concern, the service with the pope is “a very, very special time, because it’s consistent with the climate in our city with regard to religious tolerance, and interfaith communication and working together,” he said.

“This is not a platform we experience every day,” Rev. Bernard said.

Satpal Singh, a leader of the Sikh community who is based in Buffalo, is hoping to use the moment on Sept. 25 as a way to educate the wider public about the Sikh faith. His prayer would reflect the point that “our actions speak,” he said.

“God expects all of us to love each other irrespective of what our outward beliefs and what our affiliations are,” Dr. Singh said. “That’s the important message that has to come through this forum.”

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“While acknowledging his doctrinal disagreements with the pope and the others in attendance, Moore stated that he is “willing to go anywhere, when asked, to bear witness to what we as evangelical Protestants believe about marriage and the gospel, especially in times in which marriage is culturally imperiled.”

What is troubling about the above statement is Moore is couching his language to make it appear that he is not teaming up with false faiths, and religions to defend marriage. What he seems to miss is that Satan is the author of confusion or chaos, and would readily pull in Christians to stand with false faiths, and religions in order to attempt to undermine Christianity and dilute it’s fundamental message of Salvation in Christ alone!

From Christian News Network:

Russell Moore, the president of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention, and Saddleback megachurch leader Rick Warren will team up with Roman Catholic Pontiff Francis later this month for an interfaith Vatican conference on marriage and family.

“Complementarity of Man and Woman,” will be held Nov. 17-19 at the Vatican, and is expected to feature more than 30 speakers from over 20 countries. According to the Catholic News Service, those of the Jewish, Islamic, Buddhist, Hindu, Jaina Shasana, Taoist and Sikh religions will be present, as well as Roman Catholics and professing Christians.

The event is sponsored by the Pontifical Council for the Family, the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue, and the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity.

“I hope that this gathering of religious leaders can stand in solidarity on the common grace, creational mandate of marriage and family as necessary for human flourishing and social good,” Moore wrote in a blog post this week entitled “Why I’m Going to the Vatican.” “I also hope that we can learn from one another about where these matters stand around the world.”

While acknowledging his doctrinal disagreements with the pope and the others in attendance, Moore stated that he is “willing to go anywhere, when asked, to bear witness to what we as evangelical Protestants believe about marriage and the gospel, especially in times in which marriage is culturally imperiled.”

Rick Warren, the author of “The Purpose Driven Life,” has spoken glowingly of Pope Francis during several public interviews about the pontiff and the Roman Catholic religion.

“[Pope Francis] is doing everything right. You see, people will listen to what we say if they like what they see,” Warren stated on Catholic television network EWTN earlier this year. “His kissing of this deformed man, his loving the children, this authenticity, this humility, the caring for the poor; this is what the whole world expects Christians to do. And when they go, ‘Oh, that’s what a Christian does.’—In fact, there was a headline here in Orange County—and I loved the headline—I saved it. It said, ‘If you love Pope Francis, you’ll love Jesus.’”

Last year, Mike Gendron of Proclaiming the Gospel Ministries called Warren’s ecumenism with the Roman Catholic Church a “real tragedy.”

“Right now, the Body of Christ doesn’t know whether to evangelize Roman Catholics or to join hands with them to go out and evangelize the world, [and] it’s because of people like Rick Warrren who either don’t know how exclusive the gospel of grace is, or he’s not aware of the false and fatal gospel of the Roman Catholic religion,” Gendron stated.

In addition to Warren and Moore, the upcoming Vatican conference will feature Wael Farouq, a Muslim and president of the Tawasul Cultural Center, top-ranking Mormon Henry B. Eyring and Manmohan Singh of the World Sikh Council. Conferences will include “The Cradle of Life and Love: A Mother and Father for the World’s Children” and “The Sacramentality of Human Love According to St. John Paul II.”

The meeting follows a recent synod featuring over 200 Roman Catholic bishops who gathered in Rome for two weeks to discuss marriage and family issues, such as homosexuality, cohabitation and divorce. The initial relatio released by the synod generated controversy and concern over its inclusive tone, as it stated that “[h]omosexuals have gifts and qualities to offer to the Christian community.” It was later left out of the submitted draft as a consensus could not be reached on the matter.

 

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