Friday Church News Notes, August 25, 2006, www.wayoflife.org fbns@wayoflife.org, 866-295-4143

Southern Baptist Pastor Rick Warren spoke to a “gathering of faith-based organizations” in Toronto earlier this month on the subject of addressing the HIV/AIDS problem. The forum was the Ecumenical and Interfaith Pre-Conferences that were held in advance of the 16th International AIDS Conference. Warren said there are 2.3 billion Christians worldwide, which represents the largest potential volunteer force in the world. Apparently he considers the Roman Catholicism, Greek Orthodoxy, liberal Protestantism, and other nominal and sacramental groups that make up the 2.3 billion statistic as legitimate “Christians.” Warren called for a strategy he calls “CHURCH” -- C stands for caring and comfort, H stands for counseling and testing, U stands for unleashing a force of volunteers, R stands for reducing stigma, C stands for championing healthy life style and behaviors, and H stands for help through medications and nutrition. Thus, Warren is calling on churches to become AIDS testing centers and to reduce the stigma of the homosexuality and other types of immorality and moral debauchery that are at the heart of the AIDS epidemic. Bill Hybels, senior pastor of the Willow Creek Community Church (and head of the 12,000-member Willow Creek Association of Churches) is also on the AIDS bandwagon. At the urging of rock star Bono, Hybels has made AIDS one of his priorities. An interview with Bono was broadcast to the 70,000 people who participated in the annual Willow Creek Leadership Conference which was held this month. Bono complains that the churches have not gotten involved in such issues because of “a judgmental attitude.” In fact, Bible-believing churches do not jump on the world’s bandwagons for the simple reason that they have a higher calling. They are in the business of obeying the Great Commission of Jesus Christ, which was repeated five times in the New Testament to emphasis its importance (Mat. 28:18-19; Mark 16:15; Luke 24:44-48; John 20:21; Acts 1:8). In the book of Acts we see how the apostles interpreted the Great Commission. They did not launch impressive social works and social justice projects. Rather, they preached the gospel and baptized those who believed and established churches and discipled believers to live holy lives in the midst of a wicked generation. It is impossible to obey God’s Word and at the same time have a non-judgmental AIDS outreach. Ephesians 5:11 says, “And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them.” When churches obey this and many other similar commands and reprove sin, the average AIDS-infected person will curse them rather than seek their help. Rick Warren and Bill Hybels are sincere men who are deeply deluded; they are the blind leading the blind. When a church jumps on the world’s bandwagon, it is certain that it has jumped out of God’s will.