I promised to back off because there are many important topics to address in this world of ours – even when you do write six columns per week.
Not too long ago, I had the opportunity to meet Rick Warren at a national pastors conference. We had a pleasant conversation, and he was friendly even though I have been very critical of him. He even insisted we have our picture taken together.
Rick Warren and Joseph Farah
But I’m disappointed to say I have another issue with Rick Warren’s ministry. And I think it is a significant one.
Last weekend, I got a press release from his organization announcing the success of a conference held in California to create “The PEACE Coalition, a new international alliance of churches, business, ministries, universities and other institutions.”
I had been invited to attend the conference by Warren, but couldn’t make it.
The idea behind the PEACE Coalition, which stands for “Promote reconciliation, Equip servant leaders, Assist the poor, Care for the sick and Educate the next generation,” is that the church can solve many of the worst problems in the world, like poverty and sickness, with the assistance of other religions, governments and businesses.
But I do feel compelled in my spirit to take issue with a statement made by Rick Warren about his effort.
“At a wedding the bride is the main character, the center, the start of the show – everyone else is supporting cast, but the glory goes to the bride,” Warren was quoted as saying in the press release. “The PEACE Plan is built on the same principle. The Bride of Christ – of which the church is its local expression around the world – deserves the focus, the credit and the glory for faithfully serving their communities year after year.”
I wrote to Rick Warren about my concerns. He has yet to respond. So here is my beef.
While it may be true that at other weddings, the bride is the star and gets the glory, it will not be true in the wedding feast of Jesus. HE is the star. HE gets the glory.
In fact, in everything we do as believers, we are instructed to give to the glory to God.
It’s not the church that gets the glory. It’s not the body of believers who get the glory. It’s not any individual members of the body who get the glory. It’s one person – the Son of God.
HE should get the glory for all that is done in HIS name, not the church – not even the heroic, local indigenous churches that do great work feeding the hungry, sheltering the homeless and caring for the poor.
I was so sure Rick Warren would agree with me on this, I wanted to give him a chance to clarify his remark before taking it public. Since I have not heard from him and nearly a week has gone by, I felt the need to make this important issue public, as a matter of correction.
Why does God get all the glory? Because everything we are and have belongs to Him. He created us – from nothing. He is the one who empowers us to do everything we do – to accomplish anything we accomplish. He’s not just the general giving orders. He is our very life’s breath.
Believers need to be very careful about the language we use about God for fear of misleading people – believers and non-believers alike. It is even more important for pastoral leaders to stick to the Bible as the standard because of their position and the audiences they reach.
It’s time to give all the glory to God.
There is nothing we can’t accomplish in His name. And we don’t need other religions, businesses or governments to help us when our partner is the Creator of the universe.