Updated and enlarged April 28, 2008 (first published April 29, 2005) (David Cloud, Fundamental Baptist Information Service, P.O. Box 610368, Port Huron, MI 48061, 866-295-4143, firstname.lastname@example.org; for instructions about subscribing and unsubscribing or changing addresses, see the information paragraph at the end of the article) -
Speaking before 30,000 members and attendees of Saddleback Church at the congregation’s 25th anniversary celebration on April 17, 2005, Rick Warren announced his plan for a global vision called P.E.A.C.E.
He told the crowd, “I stand before you confidently right now and say to you that God is going to use you to change the world.”
Warren’s plan is described as nothing less than “a new reformation in Christianity and vision for a worldwide spiritual awakening in the 21st century.”
Warren wants to enlist “one billion foot soldiers” to overcome the five “global giants” of “Spiritual Emptiness, Self-serving Leadership, Poverty, Disease and ignorance (or illiteracy).”
The acronym PEACE gives the means of overcoming these giants:
Assisting the poor
Caring for the sick
Educating the next generation
Warren’s program both expands and narrows the Great Commission given by the Lord Jesus Christ after His resurrection and described in the following Scriptures:
“Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen” (Matthew 28:19-20).
“And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature” (Mark 16:15).
“And said unto them, Thus it is written, and thus it behoved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day: And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem” (Luke 24:46-47).
“But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth” (Acts 1:8).
Warren’s P.E.A.C.E. plan expands on Christ’s Commission with a global social agenda that we see nowhere in the New Testament. Christ’s Commission focuses on preaching the Gospel to every soul and discipling those that believe, and that is the program that we see carried out in the book of Acts. There is not a hint there or anywhere else in the New Testament that the apostles and early churches pursued any sort of grandiose social-justice program. They did not set out to save the environment. They did not organize protests against the social-political ills of the Roman Empire. They did not try to rid the Empire of poverty and sickness. They preached the gospel and lived holy lives and planted churches and discipled believers and loved their neighbors (but not after the way this is defined by Rick Warren).
It is true that believers should have a godly influence in this world. We are light and salt, but that does not add up to the social-justice gospel as spelled out by Warren. We agree with the following statement by Jonathan Leeland from the Pastors’ and Theologians’ Forum on Church and Culture on the 9Marks web site:
“The church is not called to transform culture, at least not in the sense that most people use that phrase today. If by transform one means ‘convert,’ then fine. But that’s not how the phrase is being used. You cannot transform what is blind except by giving it sight. You cannot transform what is deaf except by giving it hearing. You cannot transform what is stone except by making it flesh. You cannot transform what is dead except by making it alive. How do you ‘transform’ something that’s dead? If you happen to be supernatural, you can make it alive (John 1:13). But you cannot transform it. ... In the same way that Christians are called to live and love like Good Samaritans, we should always be looking for ways to serve our non-Christian neighbors--that they might be given sight, hearing, hearts of flesh, and life!” (Leeland, Pastors’ and Theologians’ Forum on Church and Culture, http://www.9marks.org/partner/Article_Display_Page/0,,PTID314526|CHID598016|CIID2371850,00.html).
God’s Word bears this out:
“Having your conversation honest among the Gentiles: that, whereas they speak against you as evildoers, they may by your good works, which they shall behold, glorify God in the day of visitation” (1 Peter 2:12).
“As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith” (Galatians 6:10).
Warren’s plan also narrows Christ’s Commission by abridging and simplifying New Testament doctrine and practice. Whereas Christ commanded that believers be taught “to observe all things whatsoever I have taught you” (Mat. 28:20), Warren suggests they observe a few things that have been summarized and reinterpreted by a contemporary church growth guru.
Warren’s plan also calls for broad ecumenical and interfaith practice. He says the fulfillment of the P.E.A.C.E. plan requires a “three-legged stool” consisting of government, business, and the churches. And he means ALL churches. He wants to mobilize every church in the world. In an interview with Charlie Rose, on August 17, 2006, Warren said:
“There are 2.3 billion Christians in the world. Probably 600 million of them, I believe, are Catholic. And so when you take all of these together, it is the largest network in the world.”
Speaking before the Pew Forum on May 23, 2005, Warren said:
“Now when you get 25 percent of America, which is basically Catholic, and you get 28 to 29 percent of America which is evangelical together, that’s called a majority. And it is a very powerful bloc, if they happen to stay together on particular issues. ... I WOULD ENCOURAGE YOU TO LOOK AT THIS EVOLVING ALLIANCE BETWEEN EVANGELICAL PROTESTANTS AND CATHOLICS” (Warren, “Myths of the Modern Mega-Church,” www.pewforum.org/events.index.pho?EventID=R80).
Not only does Warren want to bring evangelicals and Catholics together to fulfill his P.E.A.C.E. program, but he also wants to include homosexuals, Muslims, Hindus, EVERYBODY!
Warren said that after he prayed to God about how he could reach the world, he found the answer in Matthew 10 and Luke 10, where Jesus sent the apostles out to preach the gospel of the kingdom. Warren says that Jesus told him:
“There’s a man of peace in every village, in every government, in every business, in every church. ... When you find the man of peace, if he’s open and he’s willing to work with you, you bless him and you start your work there. ... The man of peace is open and influential. ... The man of peace does not have to be a Christian believer. Could be a Muslim. Could be Jewish” (Warren interview with Charlie Rose, Aug. 17, 2006).
Roger Oakland rightly observes:
“While Warren believes that a conversation with Jesus inspired his plan to establish the kingdom of God on earth, it would be important to check out the words of Jesus written in the Bible. Ironically, Jesus said much the opposite of what Warren is proposing. ... Jesus sent His disciples out with a Gospel of repentance in proclaiming, ‘The kingdom of heaven is at hand’ (Matthew 10:7). ... Jesus did not say they were to look for a ‘man of peace’ in every town. Rather, He said, ‘whatsoever city or town ye shall enter, enquire who in it is worthy; and there abide till ye go thence’ (Matthew 10:11). Now Jesus did tell His disciples to use the greeting, ‘Peace be to this house’ whenever entering a house, and if a ‘son of peace’ is there, to remain in that house (Luke 10:5-7). However, it is important to realize that the criterion for staying in a house was not the greeting of peace itself but whether those in that house received the message. ‘And whosoever shall not receive you, nor hear your words, when ye depart out of that house or city, shake off the dust of your feet’ (Matthew 10:14). ... Let me speak very boldly here: if we are going to link hands with those who believe in another gospel or no gospel at all for the sake of establishing an earthly, unified kingdom, we will not be building the kingdom of God” (Faith Undone, pp. 150, 151).
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