America’s acclaimed No 1 Pastor, the highly likeable Rick Warren has stepped up his poverty-fighting P.E.A.C.E. programme – which aims (according to the letters of the acronym forming the word) to ‘Plant Churches’, ‘Equip leaders’, ‘Assist the poor’, ‘Care for the sick’, and ‘Educate the next generation’. In this new phase tagged PEACE 2.0, Warren went one step ahead to replace ‘Plant Churches’ with ‘Promote Reconciliation’ – an inevitable, but significant step which further highlights the spirit behind the plan.
In launching PEACE 2.0 on May 22, Mr Warren had invited 1700 senior pastors from all the 50 states of the United States, and 39 other countries - including Nigeria. Times magazine was one of the media houses invited to cover the by-invitation-only event. According to the Times, even though “few details” of the actual PEACE 2.0 initiative were given, nevertheless, the whole house fell over themselves in uncritically giving their “enthusiastic” support. Warren was later quoted by the surprised magazine as saying “I knew they were already on board”. Warren also intends to send DVDs of the proceedings to a further 30,000 churches that have participated in his rigorous "40 Days of Purpose" programmes.
Aspects of the programme, which even a secular organization like the Times discerned as going to be “extremely complicated and possibly controversial” will include the tension between traditional para-church missionary organizations who, presumably, might feel threatened by the PEACE initiative which seeks to bring back missionary activities within the ambit of the local Churches. We feel Warren’s citing of the precedence in Act 13 is quite appropriate in this regard, and note that he already is bridging gaps with the affected groups.
The second obvious area of controversy however is far more fundamental. As we have been reporting over the years, Pastor Warren is so carried away by his vision of making the world a better place for all, that he is willing to do so at the expense of the Christian faith. For one, the local Churches who are the arrowhead of the PEACE initiative are being encouraged to actively collaborate with other religious (and irreligious) faiths in carrying out the assignment. In PEACE 1.0, Warren had specifically stated that the “man or woman of influence” that the Churches should seek partnership with could be a Muslim, Mystic, Jew, Gay, or one with New Age propensities – in short, any belief or practice system goes! (see http://www.lighthousetrailsresearch.com/blog/index.php?p=1096&c=1)
Apparently, the end justifies the means! Naturally then, the assignment is totally blind to the spiritual status of the souls being ministered to! This then cannot be a biblical assignment, but rather, 100% the agenda of the United Nations - as stated, for instance, in its Millennium Development Goals. As we have pointed out before, what all these humanistic efforts ignore is the fact that most human problems – poverty, diseases and misery - are related to the condition of Man’s heart, wickedness and spiritual state. No lasting solutions may be found without addressing the root of the problem! Besides, in the words of our Lord Jesus, what does it profit a man if he should gain the whole world and lose his soul (in hell fire!)?
For the avoidance of doubts, Church Arise! is NOT against Christians collaborating with members of other faiths in order to improve the lot of mankind. But such efforts should not be on religious platforms! The only major outcome of merging different religious expressions together for social reform, is the diluting of the participating faiths, and the emergence of a new synthetic religion – even the One World Religion which the Bible predicts would be the platform on which the antichrist would emerge in the last days(see Rev.13:11,16). While some other religions may be able to afford such transformation of their faith, the Church can absolutely not do so. For, “this is the victory that overcomes the world, even our faith. Who is he that overcomes the world, but he that believes that Jesus is the son of God?” 1 John 5:4-5. If we lose or get muddled up our faith because we fail to contend for it as instructed in Jude 3, we are truly done for!
While the Christian Church must continue to be concerned about social issues and respond appropriately in mobilizing her members, such efforts can not be put on the same pedestal as the business of soul winning. The church understands that the Lord Jesus has an agenda for solving and ending totally all human misery – which by the way was brought on mankind by Satan. That agenda is well on its course as we await the Lord’s promised return – first to rapture the Church, and later, to institute the millennium reign. Any other self-aggrandizing agenda is hasty, ill-informed, naïve, and bound to crumble.
[Read the coverage of the event by two news agencies: