James 1:27 Pure and undefiled religion in the sight of our God and Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself unstained by the world.
The Future of Evangelicals: A Conversation with Pastor Rick Warren (my review)
PEW Intro: The evangelical Christian movement historically has been defined by its members' distinctive doctrinal standards and practices. Yet in recent years many Americans have come to understand evangelicals more by their political, rather than religious, identity. The Pew Research Center's Forum on Religion & Public Life invited Rick Warren, pastor of Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, Calif., to discuss how this political association has affected the evangelical movement, what evangelicals' most important concerns are today, and how the movement is evolving.
BW note: The above introduction clearly identifies the mentality of the biased liberal media, as well as the failings of our church mission when it states: “in recent years many Americans have come to understand evangelicals more by their political, rather than religious, identity.” As you read the full discussion, it is important to note that many of the journalists are not evangelical believers, but at the same time, might call themselves Christians. I have linked the entire discussion here, but I wanted to speak to a few points:
WARREN: A key issue - and I won't talk a lot about this - is what we call our Civil Society Initiative. I believe that civilization is losing its civility. I don't know if you've noticed it or not but the world is getting ruder. We're getting more crass. You may not demonize a person just because they're different, and differences do not demonize. Somehow we've got to follow that great theologian, Rodney King, "Can't we all just get along?" You don't have to agree with someone [not] to be disagreeable. You can walk hand in hand without seeing eye to eye. And the fact is, America is a democracy. In a democracy nobody wins all the time. I don't. You don't. Nobody does. That's called a democracy. It doesn't mean we pack up and leave the country because we don't win. We are Americans, and we must -
I believe in the "good news." I'm a Christian, I'm an evangelical, and I'm a pastor. I believe in Jesus Christ. But I also believe in the common good and that there are some issues that have to be dealt with everybody on the common good. I don't win all the time and neither do you, and so we have to learn to be civil. That's why I spend most of my time not speaking to Christian groups. In the last year I've spoken to atheist groups, secularist groups. I've spoken to the two largest Muslim conventions. I was the keynote speaker at the Reform convention of Judaism. I spend most of my time actually speaking to people who disagree with me, but I'm trying to build bridges because we're on this planet together promoting civility and the common good.
BW note: "But" … is where the pastor drifts off track. I don’t want to be critical but … I believe in Jesus Christ, BUT … raises a big red flag for me. I say: but … nothing. When Christianity attempts to be politically correct or inclusive, it becomes lukewarm and we all know what Jesus says to do with lukewarm. There is a big difference between witnessing the good news of Christ to atheists, secularists, journalists and Muslims; and making politically correct talk at their conventions. Speaking at their conventions gives them a measure of credibility, which is counterproductive to the cause of Christ. I doubt that Pastor Warren was able to explain the good news of Christ at a Muslim convention. Jesus Christ is all that matters. Islam is not about civility and the common good. Islam is about forcing an evil doctrine on the free world. We cannot un-demonize Islam. It is worse than Nazism. We are called to be loving to all and live peacefully together ... but we should never in any way give credibility or validation to an evil religion. We must identify Islam for what it is: The enemy of Judaism and Christianity.
Warren: The P.E.A.C.E. Plan began in 2003. It's a global humanitarian effort to take on the five biggest problems on the planet: poverty, disease, illiteracy, corruption and conflict. P.E.A.C.E. stands for Promote reconciliation, Equip ethical leaders, "A" is assist the poor, "C" is care for the sick and "E" is educate the next generation. We believe that these problems are so big government can't do it alone; business can't do it alone; churches can't do it alone. Some problems are so big you have to team tackle them.
BW note: The PEACE Plan is great, but the problem here is that the number one biggest problem on the planet is not included: Where is the reconciliation between God and the lost world? And the conversion to Christianity of the unbelieving world? How can Pastor Warren leave this truth out of the plan? We are called as Ambassadors of Christ with a ministry of reconciliation. Our ministry is about reconciling the lost to Christ … not bringing the world’s false religions, atheists, and secularists together with Christians to present a convoluted message to these poor lost souls. That is like giving the sick … medicine mixed with cyanide.
Warren: Orphan care is a key issue. As I said, there are 146 million orphans in the world. Whoever gets to those people first is going to get their hearts and minds - either madrassas or radicals or fundamentalists or whatever. And whoever loves them - that's anarchy waiting to happen, 146 million orphans growing up without moms and dads. We have to do that. I have been trying to convince both the Bush administration and the Obama administration - it's the only thing I actually have ever talked to - I don't talk policy ever with politicians - never. Never. And let me just say it again: never. But I do care about orphans. And the one issue that I have talked to them about is: it's just good foreign policy to help the sick and help orphans.
BW note: Pastor Warren is on point here. I wholeheartedly agree!
Warren: If you ever see me with a politician, it's - I have no political aspirations and I have no aspirations to even influence public policy. That's not my role as a pastor. My role as a pastor is I counsel leaders about stress, about family, about integrity, about generosity. It's all personal. I never, never, never counsel government leaders about policy.
BW note: As an ambassador for Christ, our mission is to represent Christ and to be used by Christ to reconcile the world to God. If that is not influencing public policy, I don't know what it is. What about the gospel of Jesus Christ. Without Christ, there is no lasting solution to the issues of stress, family, integrity, or generosity. Are you beginning to see the problem here? Barack Obama's religious and philosophical training includes heavy doses of Islam, Mengaji, Unitarian Universalist, Communism, Socialism, Radical professors, Liberation theology, Marxism, Maoism and Saul Alinsky. Nowhere do I find any training in Biblical Christianity. I cannot imagine Pastor Warren meeting with Obama, and not witnessing the good news of Christ to him. If not politics or Jesus Christ, what else would there be to talk about? On the core issue of ministering to orphans, Jesus Christ must be the foundation for the work to have eternal meaning. Pastor Warren had the opportunity to witness to these journalists as well, but he missed it.
Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world. BW note: Pastor Warren is right on in reaching out to widows and orphans. The challenge is to not become polluted by the world in the process. We must all be praying for Rick Warren that he will keep his mind focused on Christ and His purpose in all of this. Christianity is: Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you. That does not include the blending of Christianity in with false religions and secular atheistic beliefs. TO BE CONTINUED.
God bless you my friends, Bob
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