“Some of the men of experience and piety, who led out in this work … They had an experience of the highest value. They could not be bought or sold. Their purity and devotion and self-sacrifice, their living connection with God, were blessed to the upbuilding of the work” (Publishing Ministry, p. 26).
The founders of our movement were a people that could not be bought or sold. They gained an experience of God that was necessary to lay down the foundation for our work. Unfortunately today, we have strayed from the path established by the founders of Adventism. Rather than cling to our past experience, we deliberately deviate from the way the Lord has led us.
Today, we are willingly entering forbidden ground with the universal brotherhood of Pope Francis, the same terrain that our pioneers saw and blatantly rejected. We are talking about the World’s Parliament of Religions of 1893, which was the first attempt to build a universal brotherhood of religions: Catholics, Protestants, Buddhists, Muslims, Pagans and even worshipers of the earth. This international event was held in Chicago in connection with the Columbian Exposition of 1893.
This history is critical because it reveals the attitude our Adventist pioneers took back then. It sheds much-needed light on this generation of leaders who walk in complete contradiction to our past history. Today, some say that our pioneers would support ecumenical prayers, multi-faith worship and interfaith unity. That claim has been made by those who are completely ignorant, or who know, but are deliberately misleading our people today. We will read from the writings of our leaders, including religious liberty leaders, from the 1890s when they stood up to the universal brotherhood of the World’s Parliament of Religions. We will also clearly see how men like Ganoune Diop and others have chosen a path that is completely different from the path that God led our pioneers.
“We have nothing to fear for the future, except as we shall forget the way the Lord has led us, and His teaching in our past history” (Last Day Events, p. 72).
What was the World’s Parliament of Religions? Who was involved and what were they trying to achieve? We will let our pioneers explain these details. In fact, you will see what Rome tried to do in 1893; it was resisted and rejected by our people. Tragically today, Pope Francis has accomplished the same plan and Seventh-day Adventists are on board.
The Forerunner to Pope Francis’ Universal Brotherhood
Many believe that the idolatrous and pantheistic interfaith encounter that took place in Assisi in 1986 was the first time that a universal brotherhood of different beliefs and different gods was introduced. Actually, this type of religious communion was first tested in 1893 among Catholics, Jews, Protestants, Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists and indigenous people. It’s hard to believe, but it’s true. And fortunately, as you will see, our pioneers emphatically rejected and condemned that communion.
Seventh-day Adventists wrote on September 21, 1893 about the World’s Parliament of Religions’ opening session:
The first session of the World’s Parliament of Religions has been held. The Parliament is a most notable gathering,— in all probability, in some senses, the most remarkable and momentous event of the century. Upon the platform, at the opening hour, were represented many different religions …. In the center, clad in robes of red, sat Cardinal Gibbons, of the Roman Catholic Church, in a chair of iron, curiously and strangely wrought,—about him were gathered in their distinctive and picturesque costumes priests and patriarchs of the ancient religions of the eastern world; wise men of India learned in the mystic lore of Buddha and Brahma,—Parsee fireworshipers and the followers of the maxims of Confucius, patriarchs of the Greek Church, and followers of the Roman Catholic faith, side by side with the numerous representatives of Protestant denominationalism” (American Sentinel, September 21, 1893, p. 4). 
“This remarkable programme presents, among other great themes to be considered in this congress, Theism, Judaism, Mohammedanism, Hinduism, Budhhism, Taoism, Confucianism, Shintoism, Zoroastrianism, Catholicism, the Greek Church, Protestantism in many forms, and also refers to the nature and influence of other religious systems.” 
This is exactly what Pope Francis has managed to do today. He is creating a new brotherhood where every faith under the sun is celebrated as equal to the Christian faith. And Ganoune Diop of the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists participates in the Pope’s brotherhood with his presence, his silence and his lack of condemnation. Our pioneers did not do this. They did the exact opposite.
According to Seventh-day Adventists living in 1893, the Worlds’ Parliament of Religions was attempting to build a new brotherhood of religions. Notice the warning they gave:
“BROTHERHOOD of man!“—a phrase full of promise! “Fatherhood of God!“— a benediction upon humanity! What do these phrases mean ? Join them: ” Fatherhood of God and brotherhood of man !” They become an exultant paean (song of triumph) to the world. These words, like far echoes heard from a distance, have heretofore sounded from place to place here and there around the world; but now the wandering refrain has become a chorus which in full sounding harmony essays, from the platform of the Parliament of Religions, to fill the whole earth with the glory of its song.” (American Sentinel, October 19, 1893, p. 1) 
The “Brotherhood of man” was the message that filled the whole earth. Remember, The American Sentinel was the first publication dedicated to promoting our religious liberty work. And what attitude did our religious liberty leaders take in 1893 towards a brotherhood of religions? What did they publish? What did they say? Notice what the founders of religious liberty used to say and believe:
“He who accepts, professes, and practices the doctrine of “the fatherhood of God and the brotherhood of man “must give up all false religion, put away all false gods both within and without; all idolatry must end, there must be no more service of mammon or self ; to no false god, or idol, or selfish desire, must he bow; he must remember the name of God to keep it holy upon his lips; he must remember the clay of God to keep it holy in his life; he must care for, love, and honor his father and his mother; he must not commit the sin of Cain, or even cherish anger in his heart toward his brother; he must do no impurity, or even harbor an unclean thought in his mind; he must respect his brother’s property rights, never even so much as desiring that which is his brother’s, and bear no false witness against him ; he must in all things give ear and credence to the Word of the Father” (American Sentinel, October 19, 1893, p. 1) 
Our religious liberty leaders in 1893 clearly stated that in order to build a “brotherhood” for mankind, there must also be a “Fatherhood of God.” And recognizing the “Fatherhood of God” meant that we must obey God’s laws and keep His commandments. Our leaders also taught that this brotherhood would have to abandon idolatry, false gods, and false doctrines. Praise the Lord! This is what we used to preach before we became too scared to say anything. Why can’t the church hire these kinds of leaders today? Why can’t we eliminate the current ones who remain absolutely silent, worse still, who side with the apostates?
So what was the objective for creating the “Brotherhood of man” and what experience did the Parliament of Religions attempt to bring? And what agenda did our pioneers see that made them reject this world ecumenical body, the very ones that Ganoune Diop is a part of today? The parallels are frightening. Seventh-day Adventists published the following:
“The series of religious congresses will open in Chicago, September 11, and continue seventeen days. The object of this so-called parliament of religions, is thus stated by J. H. Barrows, D. D.: “To furnish a great school of comparative religions; to bring the different faiths into contact and conference; to deepen the spirit of brotherhood; to bring out the distinctive truths of each religion; to show why men believe in God and in the future life; to bridge the chasms between Christians of different names and religious men of all names; to induce good men to work together for common ends, and to promote the cause of international peace.” (American Sentinel, August 31, 1893, p. 8). 
Deepen the spirit of brotherhood? Bridge the chasms between Christians of different names and men of all names? Work together for common ends? Bring out the distinctive truths of each religion? Our church in 1893 did not commit to this ecumenical agenda. This is the same ecumenical heresy that Pope Francis has been defending in his papal encyclicals. This is the same mission that Ganoune Diop says he has been called to perform.  This is really concerning. What our pioneers rejected in 1893 has now been accepted by modern church leaders today. The movement we love is fighting for its very survival. There was a time when we used to raise a warning alarm against the enemy’s advances, today we praise them.
Seventh-day Adventists saw this movement in 1893 and warned that the religious world was wondering after the beast of Bible prophecy:
“At the World’s Parliament of Religions were representatives of all the world ; and in this assembly the Catholics each day stood and made known to these representatives their claims as a church, in such a tactful way that all these world representatives were led to “wonder after” and “admire” it. When was this prophecy fulfilled, “And all the earth was in admiration after the beast?“— Douay Version. Why, at the World’s Parliament of Religions. And what beast were they admiring?— That beast of prey that carried the woman; that beast that slew the saints at the instigation of this woman, which guided it by her strong arm, and made herself drunk with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus, which she had ordered it to slay … This is the beast power that is receiving the admiration of the world today, to whom the Protestants are showing ‘the most delicate courtesy’ ” (Review and Herald, May 22, 1894, p. 7). 
Our leaders in 1893 also expressed that Protestants were surrendering the protest by joining this ecumenical brotherhood with Rome. Imagine that? Notice what they said:
“Where will all of this admiration of Rome and her methods end?—It will end in apostate Protestants not only admiring that church but worshiping her, believing her doctrines built on tradition and church authority, and carrying them out in practice. My soul feels oppressed at the very thought of what a shameful surrender is being made by apostate Protestantism, and I ask, Where are those who will stand for God and the unchangeable truths of his holy word? Oh, that every true Protestant would arise in the strength of heaven, and uplift the banner of truth, the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus, holding aloft the lamp of truth, the Bible, and the Bible alone, which guides weary wanderers to eternal rest” (Review and Herald, May 22, 1894, p. 7). 
Rome was being exalted by the World’s Parliament of Religions and this was the reason why Seventh-day Adventists rejected this “brotherhood.”
“To the pessimistic looker-on at the Parliament of Religions, many things occurred which made him doubt respecting the beneficence of the results which would follow that impressive convocation … the Romish prelates were always kept in the forefront, and that if prestige was gained by anyone in the Parliament, it was by them. The most careless observer of passing events cannot fail to be convinced that the religion of the Vatican stands fifty per cent higher in public estimation than it did when the Fair was opened … Concord (unity) is not always a thing to be desired. We learn, for example, from the sacred word, that Christ can have no concord with Belial, and he who believeth can have no part with an infidel (2 Cor. 6: 15). If the Roman Church is what Protestants have formerly charged that she was, a close and intimate union with her in church work is not a thing to be desired. Indeed, such a union would be a misfortune of the gravest nature, provided Luther, Melancthon, Zwingle, and the other Reformers of the sixteenth century were right in dissevering their connection with what they then styled the mother of harlots.” Rev. 17:1-5 (Review and Herald, February, 13, 1894, p. 2). 
Seventh-day Adventists did not just reject the Parliament of Religions of 1893, they emphatically denounced it in their publications:
“Protestantism and Romanism have advanced so far toward each other that they will not now recede … and when it is supplemented by the events of the Parliament of Religions, the reader will discover that we are whirling on to the final consummation with a rapidity truly startling … But what shall we say of Protestants, who, after having borne a noble testimony to the crimes and false doctrines of her whom they have styled the “mother of harlots,” shall now betray the sacred trust that God has committed to them, and strike hands with the members of a church which the Scriptures represent as helplessly fallen, and doomed to drink of the unmixed wine of the wrath of God? To us their condition seems hopeless if they persist in their downward course. By the very act of becoming co-workers with Rome, they voluntarily include themselves in the Babylon of the Apocalypse. All that we can do or say, therefore, is to sound in their ears the cry of the angel of Rev. 18: 2-1 in these words: “Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen, and is become the habitation of devils, and the hold of every foul spirit, and a cage of every unclean and hateful bird. . . . Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues.” (Review and Herald, February 27, 1894, p. 2). 
When Seventh-day Adventists saw the Parliament of Religions in 1893 they publicly preached Revelation 18:1-4 and called people to come out:
“Did those who are now hand in glove with the papacy, apologizing for its false doctrines and wicked practices, realize that the message of Rev. 18:1-4 is now going to the world, they would start back with horror at the thought of affiliating with the Roman Church, in any manner or form. How strange is the transition that is taking place before our eyes. Who would have believed, fifty years ago, that the Parliament of Religions could ever become an accomplished fact, as if has been in our day? How can the situation be explained? What means this almost universal gravitation of the priests of Rome and the preachers of the Protestant churches toward union of effort in Christian work? Conciliation is the favorite topic of the hour. Wherever you go, the very air is full of it … Think of a Roman cardinal and Roman archbishops speaking and exchanging congratulations on the same platform with Protestant doctors of divinity in the presence of thousands of both Catholics and Protestants, shouting themselves hoarse at the spectacle of this loving demonstration … Rome for a few years has been in a desperate strait. Her temporal power gone, she is no longer able to intrigue with nations as formerly. She feels her loss, and is determined to win back her political authority. This she cannot do by force, and so she tries strategy” (Review and Herald, February 20, 1894, p. 3). 
Our religious liberty leaders have ceased to “contend earnestly,” or at all, “for the faith once delivered to the saints” (Jude 1:3). Many modern Seventh-day Adventists, beginning with the General Conference leaders, have stopped being aggressive and have become completely tolerant of Rome’s deadly errors. Our leaders either give silent consent or open praise to the efforts of the Pope so that we can be in harmony with his universal brotherhood. There can be no controversy. The only attacks are against conservative Seventh-day Adventists who dare question these activities.
“Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.” 2 Timothy 4:2-4.
Has not that time fully come? If we don’t preach the whole gospel, people will be lost for remaining in the ranks of Romanism. “Oh, that’s so cruel for saying this,” some have said, “we want to be a people who have love.” The problem is that God has told us to speak up, and there is no one in this world that is more loving than God. God is infinite when it comes to love. It’s coddling sinners that is cruel. It’s not telling them the truth that is unloving. The leaders of our church today are no wiser or more loving than God Himself.
“It is not from love for their neighbor that they smooth down the message entrusted to them, but because they are self-indulgent and ease-loving. True love seeks first the honor of God and the salvation of souls. Those who have this love will not evade the truth to save themselves from the unpleasant results of plain speaking” (Prophets and Kings, p. 141).