(By CP Cartoonist Rod Anderson)
The philosophy of religious inclusion flows in a circle. It was crafted at a point in time by an extremely intelligent being, and it always circles back around to its founder. The logical progression of this worldview must ultimately flow back around to the one who dreamt it up.
When the Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church recently criticized the apostle Paul for casting the demon out of the girl in Acts 16, the bishop was completing the circle of religious inclusion. After all, if every religious view is equal to another, then Satanism and demon possession are probably just misunderstood. If we were more tolerant of other views, perhaps we wouldn't be so quick to judge those demons and the work they do.
Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori claimed that Paul deprived the possessed girl of her "gift of spiritual awareness." That fits with the logic of religious inclusivity. In that worldview, no one is ever wrong and everyone has something helpful to contribute to the awareness of spiritual truth. It is the same logic which has now led the largest Lutheran denomination in America to elect its first openly gay bishop. Same sort of thing. Same circle of spiritual life, or death, depending I suppose on your perspective. Everyone is entitled to his or her lifestyle and his or her religious truth. The only "sin" is to claim that someone is living a wrong way, or believing a wrong thing. That is the unforgivable sin in the logic of religious inclusion.
What begins with an acceptance of beliefs and sexual practices which were formally understood to be sinful, gradually advances toward promoting those ideas and practices to the top of the class. (or the highest positions in the organization)
The episcopal bishop has actually done a service of sorts for this ecumenical religion which embraces everyone. She has "gone for the jugular" so to speak by taking this premise to its logical conclusion. By including demons on her approved list of spiritual advisors, she has shown that the religion of inclusion must indeed have been instigated by the prince of darkness himself. Who else would be able to pull off such a feat, even involving religious leaders from "Christian" denominations in the process?
Satan must be pretty satisfied over this one. And yet, he might not want to lick his chops quite yet. By aggressively extending this logic and completing the circle, there is the risk that the bishop has overplayed her hand. This miscalculation could prompt some people to snap out of their trance as they begin to see how religious inclusivity is always opposed to the kingdom of God. In fact, this catastrophic ideology comes directly from the dark side with its passion to endorse beliefs and practices which were formally seen as out of bounds due to biblical prohibitions.
With that kind of logic, it's not a stretch for a presiding bishop to reprimand the apostle Paul and basically "give props" to the demon who was possessing this girl in Acts 16. Who is Paul, or anyone for that matter, to say that we cannot gain some "spiritual awareness" from a demon? That is the gist of the bishop's argument, whether she fully realizes it or not. Demons have a perspective to share with people, so why would Paul be this arrogant and get in the way of what they are trying to teach us?
By advancing the logic of inclusion to "keep the devil in the loop," the bishop has honestly revealed where the religion of inclusion will eventually end up. It will always come back to the devil's doorstep. It sounds so warm at first blush with its desire to include everyone. But along the way, certain things get left behind, such as: truth, sin, the atonement, the Gospel, the narrow road to heaven and the wide road to hell (Matthew 7:13,14), false prophets, and demon possession as compared to being filled with the Holy Spirit.
You can approach religion in a logical way, or you can do it with the wisdom of the Holy Spirit and the truthfulness of God's Word. The spirit of our age motivates a person to bow down at the altar of religious inclusion. Just like those in the Old Testament who bowed down to false gods, there is plenty of idol worship going on today as well. And there is perhaps no bigger idol in American culture than the god of inclusive religion.
You cannot worship the One true God as well as the god of inclusive religion. Your heart will tend to be consumed with whichever direction you decide to go. The fact that Bishop Jefferts Schori has come out so openly for demonic enlightenment just means that she has sincerely given much of her heart to this religion of inclusion. Sadly, it will require everything from her, as well as from those who follow in her footsteps.
When all is said and done, it won't just be Paul who is getting scolded for being "out of touch." Jesus Himself will be portrayed in a negative light. He will be cast as a sinner, rather than the only Savior. This is where the spiritual leaders of religious inclusivity must ultimately end up. That is, if they stick to their logical path and their popular approach to spirituality.
"And no wonder, for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light. It is not surprising, then, if his servants masquerade as servants of righteousness. Their end will be what their actions deserve." (2 Cor. 11:14) The prince of darkness has attempted to cast a shadow over Jesus for a long time now. But no matter how hard he tries, he always ends up being reminded that he lost to Christ at the cross. (see Colossians 2:15) And he knows there is nothing he can do to change it. You see, he too is a very logical being.
The problem with logic is that unless you are operating with sanctified reason from the Holy Spirit, your logic will always lead you away from Jesus rather than toward Him. Such is the logic of man, and the logic of that one who directs all demons under his command. The religion of Satan himself is the religion of religious inclusion. You are no doubt aware of its main tenets. "Everyone is going to heaven. So everyone should be encouraged to live however he or she wants to live. Only arrogant fundamentalists would deny something so obvious."
Let's see. St. Paul, like Jesus, rebuked demons and cast them out. The episcopal bishop, on the other hand, rebuked Paul for rebuking those demons. The last domino to fall in her logical progression will be to rebuke Jesus Himself. Whether she gets there or not, the spirit with which she is judging doctrine is not coming from the Holy One.
Are you beginning to see where this push for religious inclusion ultimately comes from? There truly is a puppet master for this worldwide phenomenon, and he has been refining his craft over many centuries. Have you ever wondered why it is that some mainline "churches" today look so different than when their denominational ancestors were around? Now you know.
Perhaps God is lecturing Paul right now up in heaven about how he failed to be more inclusive in his apostolic ministry. Then again, probably not.
What do you think? Was Paul wrong to cast out that demon in the name of Jesus Christ? Or are religious leaders being deceived today when they kneel at the altar of religious inclusion? These diametrically opposed ideologies cannot both be good. They have different authors, and they lead to different eternal destinations. So which one of these two approaches do you find yourself believing and promoting?