|Vatican to hold historic summit with Islamic clerics|
|Written by Chris Perver|
|Wednesday, 05 March 2008 11:39|
|Muslim clerics and Catholic officials issued a joint statement today, saying they plan to hold a special Catholic-Islamic summit in November of this year, as part of an effort to strengthen ties between the two religions. The announcement came after two days of talks between Catholic and Muslim officials. The meeting followed an exchange of letters last year, in which Muslim leaders appealed for unity between the two religions for the sake of world peace. The Muslim letter warned that unless Catholic-Islamic relations improved quickly, that the "very survival of the world itself is perhaps at stake". The letter urged Christians and Muslims to come together on the "common essentials" of their faiths, that both "worship none but God, and that we shall ascribe no partner unto Him, and that none of us shall take others for lords beside God". As I said at the time, according to Islamic interpretation, that essentially means to deny the Divinity of Jesus Christ, and no Christian in their right mind could agree to abide by that statement. But many did. The Catholic and Christian leaders reciprocated with a second letter, apologizing for the crusades and excesses in Iraq, and appealing for deeper interfaith dialogue with Islam. And today we are witnessing the beginning of that dialogue. |
Quote: "The joint statement said the first Catholic-Muslim summit would be held in Rome on 4-6 November and would involve 24 religious leaders and scholars from each side. It said the Pope would address the meeting on the themes of "Love of God, Love of Neighbour", "Theological and Spiritual Foundation" and "Human Dignity and Mutual Respect". Catholic and Muslim leaders hope the forum will start a regular official dialogue between the two religions.
Following the aftermath of the First and Second World Wars, the political world was more or less united through the setting up of the League of Nations, the United Nations, the European Union and other such bodies. The goal then was to end the threat of war by establishing governing bodies by which all member nations would be bound. But the religious world remained very much divided. Today, the rise of Islamic militancy has provided the means whereby the religious world can be united. And so another governing body must be created to end the threat of war between religions. We have seen the beginning of this process with the formation of the Alliance of Civilizations. The Bible seems to indicate that during the tribulation period a global religious system will be set up, perhaps similar in fashion to that of the old Roman Empire. Back in the days of the Roman Empire, the Caesar wanted some assurance that all the people of his empire would remain loyal to his government. There were so many different provinces Rome controlled, each tribe having their own language, their own culture, their own religion, their own gods, etc. How was it possible to ensure the loyalty of all these diverse groups to the Emperor? You couldn't unite them politically. But you may be able to unite them religiously. The Caesar decided the only way to ensure the loyalty of all his citizens to his empire was to declare himself to be a god, and to demand to be worshipped by them. And that is what he did. In the days of the Roman Empire, you were allowed to worship whatever god you liked, so long as you added the Caesar to your list of gods. Roman soldiers would go from door to door demanding that you offer up a pinch of incense in honour of the Emperor. Those that refused often paid with their lives. Today we are living in the period of the Revived Roman Empire. We have a united political system, but so far we haven't been able to command the loyalty of all our citizens to this government, especially with the growth of Islam in Europe. Perhaps the only way to ensure the loyalty of all citizens to a one world government would be for its leader to declare himself to be a god, and demand that everyone worship him. And this is exactly what the Bible says will happen (2nd Thessalonians 2:4). According to the book of Revelation, another man, called the False Prophet, will head up a one world religious system, and he will demand that everyone worship the Antichrist as a god (Revelation 13:12). Perhaps you will still be allowed to worship your own god, but you may be required to put the Antichrist at the top of your list...
The Bible states that all who worship the Antichrist will seal their doom in the lake of fire (Revelation 14:9-11). Jesus Christ said in John 8:21 that if we die in our sins, where He is we cannot come. Isaiah 59:2 states that our sins have separated between us and God. Romans 6:23 says that the wages or reward for our sins is eternal separation from God. Jesus Christ came that you may have life (John 10:10). Jesus Christ, God's own Son, bore God's punishment for your sins upon the cross. He gave His life for yours. Because Jesus Christ has already bore God's punishment for your sins upon the cross, you can go free. But you must recognize you are sinner, repent of your sin, and believe on Jesus Christ for salvation. Jesus Christ said in John 10:28, I give unto my sheep eternal life, and they shall never perish. Why not trust in Him for salvation today.