Posted: September 02,  2002
© 2002 Contender Ministries

Two events have occurred recently that will have a profound impact on evangelical Christianity.  The United Religions Initiative (URI) recently wrapped up their 2002 General Assembly in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, and the World Summit for Sustainable Development is drawing to a close in Johannesburg, South Africa.  Out of these two events, a New World Order is being formed – one in which evangelism could become a crime. 

The URI claims to be dedicated to fostering cooperation and communication among the world’s religions and spiritual traditions.  This interfaith organization, akin to a United Nations of religion, seeks to end religious intolerance.  The goal sounds like a noble one, but this organization does little more than blur the lines of religious doctrine, placing Christianity on the same level as Islam, Wicca, Shamanism, and the New Age Movement.  Moreover, the threat of the URI is not found in its mission statement, but in how religious intolerance is defined. 

The World Summit for Sustainable Development is a sequel to the 1992 Rio Earth Summit.  Much of what the media has reported from this conference relates to the environment, fair trade, and economic sustainability for underdeveloped nations.  What goes unreported is the spiritual agenda that received a lot of discussion at the summit.  One of the key aspects of the religious discussion dealt with the topic of religious tolerance.   

You may wonder why a summit on the environment and economic sustainability would engage in a discourse on religious issues.  You may also be interested to know that the URI General Assembly ratified a “Spiritual Agenda 21,” that it then forwarded to the World Summit in Johannesburg.  Why are the lines between religion and the environment being blurred here?  The answer is because the religion of the New Age is a religion of Earth (Gaia) worship.  We contacted the URI to inquire about the contents of “Spiritual Agenda 21,” and were told the contents would be made public “shortly.”  So far, that has not happened.  

While we have been temporarily rebuffed on the URI documentation, we have gleaned much information from the World Summit.  Delegates to the summit see a major threat to the environment and world peace coming from religious intolerance.  They go on to say that religious tolerance laws should be passed on a global scale – superceding the bounds of what they call “unfettered national sovereignty.”  Such laws would state that each person shall have an uninfringeable right to freedom of religious choice or conscience.  What constitutes an infringement on this right?  In a word, evangelism.  By sharing the gospel with an unbeliever, you could be found in violation of religious tolerance laws by infringing on that person’s freedom of conscience.   

There is another aspect of religious intolerance that could impact each Christian’s obligation to contend for his or her faith.  According to delegates to the World Summit, “claims of exclusive truth” will be considered a form of religious intolerance.  That means if you believe that Jesus is the way and the truth and the light, and no one comes to the Father except through Jesus, you could be found in violation of religious tolerance laws.   Contender Ministries would be banned, as would every Christian expression of the true path of salvation through Jesus Christ.  The delegates see a few obstacles to the passage of such laws: “fundamentalist” Christians, Jews, and Muslims, as well as “unfettered national sovereignty.”   

If you think this sounds far-fetched, consider the recent case of a French writer that could face jail time because he insulted Islam in an interview, and referred to the Qur’an as boring.  This writer could be found in violation of France’s religious tolerance laws.  In a more recent case, a Canadian human rights tribunal ruled that a website violated the human rights of homosexuals by posting information that gays and lesbians found “offensive.” 

Canada and France are just a couple of the nations that already have laws on the books enforcing “religious tolerance.”  Delegates to the World Summit desire to make such laws more restrictive, and global in their application.  Can you imagine your pastor being handcuffed and led out of the church after reading aloud from Romans 1, or John 14:6?  It is already against the law in Canada to read Romans 1 over the airwaves.  Do you dare imagine it possible for missionaries to be classified as criminals?  And what of apologetics ministries that dare to expose the false doctrines of cults and religious movements?  Will they be ordered to cease operation or face criminal penalties?  It seems not only possible, but quite likely.   

A recent poll showed that approximately 49% of Americans, in our post-9/11 culture, have no problems with compromising the protections afforded by the first amendment of our consitution.  The freedom of speech and of religion, they say, should not be absolute.  The tragic events of 9/11 are being used to reason away the constitutional rights and freedoms we share in the United States.  With half of the country so inclined, do not think that over-reaching laws on religious “intolerance” would never be implemented here.   

It is imperative that “fundamentalist” (evangelical) Christians come out from hiding.  We must speak loudly, so these humanists with their global agenda know we’re here.  We must use our time wisely, to proudly proclaim the gospel to everyone we can.  We are NOT ashamed of the gospel of Christ – it is the power of God unto salvation for everyone who believes!  Carry this gospel forward today, and every day, and show the world that we are not ashamed, and we will NOT meekly retreat from the Great Commission our Savior has given us.

For more information on the World Summit 2002 and its spiritual agenda read The Human Integration Agenda at the World Summit on Sustainable Development.

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