Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Parliament of the World's Religions 2015

An Eyewitness Account
By Lanette Irwin


Participants lined up nearly a quarter mile to hear speakers
at the World Parliament of Religions on opening day.
The 2015 Parliament of the World's Religions was held October 15-19 in Salt Lake City, Utah. They estimated over fourteen thousand people attended this New Age (now called “interfaith”) convention at the cost of $500/person. This convention was well advertised for over a year. 

Many booths from differing faiths, political interfaith organizations, and seminaries were anxiously handing out their free literature and books to attendee’s as they walked through. 

As we made our way through the halls we saw Buddhist/ Hindu shrines and rooms filled with chanters. Tables were selling their t-shirts, books, sandalwood meditation beads, jewelry and pictures of the Dali Lama.


We were subjected to a constant hum of a drum and high pitched sounds ringing throughout the building, with signs hanging overhead that read “The earth is one we are one with the earth.” 

Environmental issues were a big topic because they believe we are part of the earth, and if the earth is sick we cannot heal the world. 

There were Indians dressed in their headdresses and clothing, seiks, Buddhist monks, Catholic priests, Jewish rabbis and, yes, Christians alike, jamming through halls to attend sessions. Media with their cameras conducted interviews, spiritual dancers in the background chanted, while late speakers were running up escalators to indoctrinate the masses. Most of the participants and speakers were women.


Many of us have read books, or articles about the New Age movement; however, the focus of the New Age has mostly been covert via networking, infiltration, and spiritual indoctrination, especially so far as their goal of uniting the world under a one world religion and one world government. 
http://www.parliamentofreligions.org//programs/educating-religious-leaders-23

The Parliament of the World's Religions has an agenda and they are now very open about it. It is now an outright attack on the Christian church and the Word of God. They have decided they cannot have unity at all cost so they are trying something else: changing the doctrine of the simple Gospel of Jesus and Who He is. I was handed a booklet titled Global Ethic: A Call to our Guiding Institutions that stated: “The Parliament of the world’s religion seeks to promote interreligious harmony, rather than unity.” (p.1) 

They are not afraid to say that “an orthodox Bible believing Christian does not fit in our world nor will they be tolerated.” It was in our face. This Parliament is a sort of coming out of the closet for them, as was the Parliament’s in the past such as the one in 2009.

One of the signs that hung in the hall said, “Choose being kind over being right and you’ll be right every time.” Still another displayed, “We are as much alive as we keep the earth alive.” So the truth of the Word is not on their agenda. It is seen as unorthodox and mean-spirited. For example, note the phrase in blue below:
http://www.parliamentofreligions.org/parliament/salt-lake-2015/compassion-parliament


I attended several sessions to get a grasp on the coming agenda of attacks on the Bible-believing church. I attended these sessions reluctantly, biting my tongue, but I noticed several phrases repeated over and over - to the point I stopped attending the third day as I could recite the chant by heart! 

The Christian view of “salvation” has the inclusion/exclusion message of “we are in - they are not.” The interfaith movement cites this as an evil. In other words, to say Salvation is by Christ alone, and there is a Hell and there is a Heaven is not accepting of other faiths. It is exclusive, unaccepting of other religions, especially because they believe “God accepts all, God is in all.” The Christian orthodox view of Heaven and Hell will no longer be tolerated as they says it divides humanity.


This was the topic discussed by Rev. Kristen Largen, editor of A Journal of Theology and dean and professor of systematic theology at the Lutheran Theological Seminary at Gettysburg. She cited her new book about to come out, What Christians Can Learn from Buddhism: Rethinking Salvation.

“We must not have a you aren’t/we are mentality,” she believes. We must rethink this concept of salvation, which is seen as unloving, not really biblical. When advocating her 2013 book Finding God among Our Neighbors: An Interfaith Systematic Theology the review says that “she confronts Christian misconceptions and problematic issues of other traditions.” So our ideas that other religions such as Hindu or Islam is labeled a “misconception.” But I noticed that she cited Scripture to support her false beliefs and opinions. She said, “There is no definitive doctrine established by the Christian church that mandates one specific explanation of how Jesus saves.” (This is complete heresy!)

Rev. Largen went on to say that “there are many different theories about that and the church endorses all of them.” She said, “The doctrine of the trinity has been established but not the doctrine of salvation…. We must rethink, reimagine the doctrine of salvation and it is quite consistent with the Christian tradition of salvation not a violation of it.” She said, “Salvation has three aspects 1. A person in need 2. A problematic situation 3. A solution to that situation, and one who provides it. Beyond this, much is up for grabs.” She ended up with saying that “the doctrine of the church is called apokatastasis, better known as the doctrine of universal salvation; that everyone is saved, regardless.” In short, universalism. As a side note she did mention Emergent leader Rob Bell's book Love Wins, another who more or less teaches the Bible is not relevant for today’s society and also redefines Salvation and Hell. 


Another session I attended called “Religious Extremism: Effective Responses From Mainstream Religious Communities” with three scholars: Shanta Premawardhana, president of SCUPE; Dr. George Zachariah, co-presenter; and Salih Sayigan, Department of Theology, Georgetown University, who admits he is Christian and said, “Every religion has extremes, but exclusiveness leads to violence when we say you get to go to Heaven and you end in Hell then we have a problem when you exclude you sow seeds of extremism. When you say this is God’s way you create a political environment.” Next, Sayigan gave another example: “Excluding gays from your board your church that is exclusion.” And if you believe you have absolute truth this is said to create blind allegiance. 

These three said, as had the other speakers, that “we are all members of the same family, we all belong to God.” A Hindu stood up from the audience dressed in his orange clothes, looking so timid and shy, but went into a rage yelling about evil Christians leaving pamphlets on the temple steps. He said, “Christians told me I was worshiping demons! How dare they!” The speakers nodded their heads, agreeing this was wrong and unacceptable. They then went on to redefine Jihad as they see it. The real Jihad is “a good dad, a good husband.” In essence, as long as there are those who define and have a theology based on the old patriarchal “Christian” perspective, the earth cannot heal and the violence will continue. We as Christians are now responsible for all evil in the world. They believe this.
Building a New Age/New World Order


I attended a session on Saturday, called “Roman Catholic Theology and Practice of Interreligious Dialog.” They advocated their journal, Journal of Interreligious Insight. Again I heard the same rhetoric of exclusion/inclusion and noticed that “compassion” was the key buzz word. One young man stood up and angrily said, “I get tired of Christians citing from the Bible. I will not go to Heaven if I don’t see the Gospel as they see it.” Some girl in a weak voice cited a Scripture about Heaven, several clapped, and the young man sat down next to her, smiling. She was praised for her insight by the panel of speakers! I guess he felt relieved he got to say his peace, and of course the speakers agreed. 

In essence they believe the old patriarchy is not for today. Our values must change if we are going to heal. New values are the child of the older patriarchy. For example, fairness is good but we need a new fairness. They admit there will be a backlash for which they are ready to defend. 
Walking the labyrinth at the Parliament


The following is an example of books the emergent interfaith movement are reading:

Thriving in the Crosscurrent:
Clarity and Hope in a Time of Cultural Sea Change 
by Jim Kenney 
Posted by: DailyOM 

The 21st century is experiencing a rare global revolution. Are you prepared to ride the new cultural wave? Thriving in the Crosscurrent says that despite the overwhelming doomsday speak, it’s not the end of the world, but the birthing pains of a new one! Like two massive ocean waves colliding, one on the ascent and the other falling, societal paradigms are on the brink of a world-wide transformation! With the use of this two-wave sea change model, a tool for evaluating human cultural evolution, thriving in the Crosscurrent demonstrates the causes of our impending revolution and shares an optimistic forecast through the turbulence. 

With in-depth scholarly research, cultural expert Jim Kenney offers detailed descriptions of the groups that make up our current global consciousness. From “yeasayers” such as Catalysts, Actives, and Creatives to “naysayers”, including Militants, Buccaneers and Unexamined Lifers, this book explores the current and emerging beliefs of society. Kenney makes known what is required for the yeasayers to be effective. “The good news” Kenney states, “it’s a smaller percentage than you might think.”  [Excerpt]


Well I guess as Christians we are the small percentage! 

In her book Christianity After Religion: The End of Church and the Birth of a New Spiritual Awakening, Diana Butler Bass is endorsed by Brian D. McLaren, Emergent church leader and author of Naked Spirituality. She began a diatribe on why Christianity has failed, why people are leaving the church, and the unfortunate circumstances of people getting hurt. She says there have been great awakenings throughout history and suggest we are in another but, “Conventional comforting Christianity has failed. It does not work. For the churches that insist on preaching it, the jig is up. We cannot go back, and we should not want to.” She explains, “Lot's wife turned into salt when she looked back… and Jesus reminded his followers that no man puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God (Luke 9:62).” (p. 37)

Here is another telling statement from Butler Bass: “A new phenomenon seems to be developing in the west - the possibility of multireligious identity. In the same way that some people are biracial or multiracial, others are describing themselves as multireligious.” (p. 60)

Butler Bass suggests that Robert Wright is more correct when he suggests that God is currently undergoing an “evolution.” (p. 63) She goes on another diatribe that we have misunderstood the Scriptures and who God really is: “Finding one’s self in God is also to find God in one’s self…. The glory of God is the human person fully alive.” What does she recommend for reading? The New Agers' favorite Bible, of course, The Message (Eugene Peterson). She also says to practice faith, prayer, yoga, meditation. (p. 188-189) 

Butler Bass describes her anticipated new spiritual awakening this way: “I think the awakening might be a little like graduation… faithful people who have - willingly or unwillingly - left the old world for a new one…. The old religious world is failing, but the Spirit is stirring anew…. I imagine Christians carrying high the cross all different varieties with their bibles, prayer books, icons, rosary beads, Jews the Torah, Muslims the Qur’an, Buddhists with their Dharma wheel Is. 2:2-4.” (p. 268)
Example of the books being promoted at the Parliament


Sunday, the 18th session was called “Focus on Climate Change.” It was moderated by Al Gore’s daughter Karenna Gore Schiff. Brian McLaren, author of A New Kind of Christianity and a dozen more interfaith type books, spoke about saving the environment: “We must transform the world and to do what religion has to, to deploy vast numbers of contemplative activists. We are all sister and brothers. The reason there is hate and racism and war is because the human race has not united. The reason that there are so many religions is because everybody’s egos are in the way. If we love God we will love creation. Religion needs to be schools of love.” 

The propaganda pushed at these sessions was love, love, love, but not for the Word of God. Peace, peace, peace, but only after divisive “Christians are put in their place,” wherever that may be. Dialog, dialog, dialog; however, dialog is seen as divisive if you are a dogmatic Bible believing old patriarchal Christian. 

So how are they going to bring about this change of doctrine and ring in the new? Well, of course they call it social action. But it is really circles of change, self-help groups, community social action groups, youth groups, college prayer groups, play groups for the kids, drug rehabs, online groups, you name it.


A book titled Moving Toward the Millionth Circle by Jean Shinoda Bolen, M.D., is promoted by New Age leader Marianne Williamson (A Course in Miracles) on the back jacket cover: “The metaphoric circle is the tipping point into a post-patriarchal era, based on the premise that when a critical number of people change their perceptions and behavior, a new era can begin.” 

The words tipping point are another buzz term they use for winning! (She sure does not know the Lord God because He works in small numbers and wins every time!)

There is a chapter on the great awakening in Butler Bass's book Christianity after Religion. To paraphrase what she said: “Tuesday night we met in a college dorm calling it Bible study, but it was really church…. We read Call to Commitment. We wanted to be like the book said, combining our newly discovered understanding of ancient Christian theology, practice and liturgy, with our new passions for global community, the environment, and gender equality. Such experiments popped up all over campus….” 

They declared in unison these thoughts: “Earth cannot be changed for the better unless the consciousness of individuals is changed. We pledge to work for such transformation in individual and collective consciousness, for the awakening of our spiritual powers through reflection, meditation, prayer, or positive thinking, for a conversion of the heart.” (p. 14, Karl-Josef Kuschel, Global Ethic: The Declaration of the Parliament of the World's Religions, edited by Hans Küng)


The common theme throughout the conference was Muslims uniting with Jews, Catholics and Christians at all cost. Drop doctrine, drop all differences to join together for the common core of one world religion, and government - and everyone must be engaged in some sort of service to be accountable in healing the earth.  

Love is pushed in all directions and is the end-all statement at all cost. Marianne Williamson's book A Return to Love: Reflections of a Course in Miracles (which has sold over three million copies, by the way) is like the textbook for their interfaith movement. In so many articles and leaflets I have read “love” even if it means leaving your faith! Love becomes your highest priority. For all intents and purposes I will call them the “Love Bombers.” It draws the desperate into their web of deceit. 

Another doctrine was evident. These people are “feeling oriented.” Everything is based on their feelings: if it feels good, it is God. If it sounds good, it is God. Experiences are held as gospel truth. Their intuition is truth and reality. 
The Compassion Games 2015 are linked to the Parliament


Besides the “Love” word we heard the word “compassion” riddled throughout the sessions and over-used in their materials. While these words are not bad words they have become re-defined within the doctrines of this emerging interfaith movement. Unfortunately many mainline churches are pounding the same drumbeat for ecumenical doctrines, and finding fellowship with the world to be very palatable. 

Faith traditions united for a program at the Salt Lake Mormon Tabernacle. Here is a report by Marjorie Cortez, posted Oct 18th, 2015 @ 10:30pm: “But Parliament takes it a step further because of the wide array of faiths represented. You have people who could be in contention with each other who are not. We all seem now to realize as we're here that we are one humanity and we do believe in one God....”
Several booths at the Parliament


This conference left me sad as I noticed babies, and pregnant new mommies, having chants spoken over their bellies. Old people, hobbling or being wheeled in chairs to the next event, were promised karma and the next life. I never felt so helpless, but I realized this is what the Lord meant the Way is narrow and few will find it. Christians are now seen as mean and unknowledgable, even while warning those to get out of the fire. 

May the Lord Himself stifle their efforts and open the ears of those in our path for Jesus Christ. We need to witness now more than ever before, now before the door shuts and their time has run out.

If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
(1 John 1:9)


Photos at the event were taken by the author.