I know it seems like I’m picking on Rick Warren.
I’ve written a number of columns about him.
Understand it is not personal. In fact, if Rick Warren were unusual in modern-day, “purpose-driven” Christianity, I wouldn’t even bother mentioning him.
Unfortunately, his words, deeds and actions represent a movement of disturbingly unclear, unbiblical and non-discerning reasoning within the church.
Warren’s latest calling is to end poverty around the world.
Despite the fact that Jesus Himself said in words recorded in three different gospels that the poor would always be with us, Warren says he believes the eradication of poverty can be accomplished through the combined efforts of governments, businesses and religious institutions working in harmony with one another.
So he has teamed up with ONE. Not the One, mind you, but the well-funded, well-publicized, celebrity-endowed organization known audaciously and only as ONE.
And what is ONE all about?
I’ll let the organization describe itself: “ONE is Americans of all beliefs and every walk of life – united as ONE – to help make poverty history. We are a campaign of over 2.4 million people and growing from all 50 states and over 100 of America’s most well-known and respected non-profit, advocacy and humanitarian organizations. As ONE, we are raising public awareness about the issues of global poverty, hunger, disease and efforts to fight such problems in the world’s poorest countries. As ONE, we are asking our leaders to do more to fight the emergency of global AIDS and extreme poverty. ONE believes that allocating more of the U.S. budget toward providing basic needs like health, education, clean water and food would transform the futures and hopes of an entire generation in the world’s poorest countries.”
There’s more, but you get the point. ONE is about promoting the forcible confiscation of property by government and redistribution of that property based on need. In another more innocent time, this was known as socialism or communism. Today, this form of legalized theft is often confused with compassion and philanthropy.
You can watch Rick Warren explain why you should join him in signing up with One on this YouTube video:
But, again, don’t get me wrong. Rick Warren is hardly alone in this enterprise. He’s hardly the only person in the church telling us to put our faith in manmade institutions like governments and businesses and international agencies and mega-charities to solve problems God alone can solve.
Here’s a partial list of some of the other unindicted co-conspirators in this case of spiritual fraud:
- Bread for the World Institute
- World Concern
- World Vision
- American Baptist Churches, USA
- Christian Reformed World Relief Committee
- Church World Service
- Emergent Village
- The Episcopal Church
- Episcopal Relief and Development
- Evangelical Lutheran Church in America
- Habitat for Humanity
- Lutheran World Relief
- Mennonite Central Committee
- Nazarene Compassionate Ministries
- Operation Blessing International
- Opportunity International
- Presbyterian Church USA
- The United Methodist Church
- World Relief
Some of these are organizations to which I have contributed. Many of them are responsible for doing excellent work. But the problem here is that they have all made a deal with the devil.
Once they sign on with a mission to extract wealth from U.S. taxpayers by force, they are out of the charity business and into the coercion business.
Furthermore, this kind of activity by the church does not fulfill the biblical commandment to feed the hungry, cloth the naked and heal the sick.
This is the church’s role, Jesus taught us. It is the individual’s responsibility, Jesus taught us. It is not government’s business – at least not until Jesus Himself returns and rules from His earthly throne.
The Rick Warrens of the world are sowing confusion within the church in ways that will make all of us – particularly in the U.S. – less free in the future. And when we are less free because of the burden of supporting the entire world, we will also be less free as a people to spread the Gospel and to fulfill our biblical commandment to feed the hungry, cloth the naked and heal the sick.
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