So Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you; as the Father has sent Me, I also send you.”
(John 20:21, NASB)
Talking Together About Their Books And Tickling Their Own Ears
In their September 27, 2008 story “Warren Urges Larger Role for Churches to Solve Global Problems” Christian Post reports that publicity seeking Purpose Driven Pope Rick Warren was among those who participated in:
Former President Clinton’s global summit [which] drew to a close Friday with a panel discussion featuring the Rev. Rick Warren, who said churches have a role to play in solving the world’s most pressing problems. (Online source)
Indeed they do; but not in the way Warren has been suggesting e.g. through his unbiblical PEACE plan. The fact is that all of these people-pleasing postevangelicals—whether they be purpose driven or emerging ala Rob Bell—bow before the egregious altar of the Church Growth Movement which spawned them.
And so as they spend their time going from conference to conference rehashing their own books about what they each wish God would have said they have constructed a Christianity of their own imaginations. A case in point is a USA Today piece called “Study: Youth See Christians As Judgemental, Anti-Gay”, which I cited in the Apprising Ministries article Andy Stanley Shares the Postevangelical Man-Centered Mantra.
USA Today quotes Warren within as saying:
he hopes the church will become “known more by what it is for than what it is against. For some time now, the hands and feet of the body of Christ have been amputated, and we’ve been pretty much reduced to a big mouth,” Warren wrote. “We talk more than we do. It’s time to reattach the limbs and let the church be the church in the 21st century.”
Resisting the temptation re. “a big mouth” … I’ll just say how very Dan Kimball, and no doubt talk like this does play quite well to the thinking of the world. As will the following from:
Andy Stanley, senior pastor of North Point Ministries in Atlanta, [who] suggested that churches should not focus solely on converting people, as has been the emphasis for generations. “If we were able to rewrite the script for the reputation of Christianity, I think we would put the emphasis on developing relationships with non-believers, serving them, loving them, and making them feel accepted,” he wrote. “Only then would we earn the right to share the gospel.”
Jesus Didn’t Live In A Monastery And He Didn’t Focus On Solving Global Problems
O please, do I need to “earn the right” to grab a blind man before he steps off a cliff to his death? And for another thing Stanley is using a straw man because no genuine Christian churches focus “solely on converting people.” However, as I previously pointed out, at the same time being a pastor Stanley really shouldn’t be surprised that the “converting [of] people…has been the emphasis for generations” because it happens to be the secondary mission of local churches. And contrary to these popular pragmatic pastors the first would be the building up of Christians into maturity in Christ in order that the Lord may then use them in service as He wills.
It’s also true that Stanley is sadly mistaken if indeed he thinks, as God’s bondslaves who are bound to deliver His Gospel message His way, it is the mission of the Body of Christ to be concerned one iota about rewriting “the script for the reputation of Christianity.” Obviously our glorious and majestic, great and mighty, Christ told us to love God and our fellow man—but in that order. And the fact remains that even as we share the genuine Gospel of Jesus Christ with unbelievers as gently, lovingly and patiently as we possibly can, we have absolutely zero control over how a person is then going to receive it.
It truly is as Charles Spurgeon, a megachurch pastor long before Rick Warren, said:
Now do you see what the laborer brings with him? It is a sickle. His communications with the corn is are sharp and cutting. He cuts right through, cuts the corn down, and casts it on the ground. The man whom God means to be a laborer in his harvest must not come with soft and delicate words and flattering doctrines concerning the dignity of human nature and the excellence of self help and of earnest endeavors to rectify our lapsed condition and the like.
Such mealymouthedness may God curse, for it is the curse of this age. The honest preacher calls a sin a sin and a spade a spade and says to men, “You are ruining yourselves; while you reject Christ you are living on the borders of Hell, and ere long you will be lost to all eternity. There shall be no mincing the matter; you must escape from the wrath to come by faith in Jesus or be driven forever from God’s presence and from all hope of joy.”
The preacher must make his sermons cut. Our sickle is made on purpose to cut. The Gospel is intended to wound the conscience and to go right through the heart, with the design of separating the soul from sin and self, as the corn is divided from the soul.
Can you see that if we end up being so concerned with our presentation and with not offending people—as so many are today—then as Dr. Walter Martin (1928-1989) used to say: “We’ll never get around to preaching the Gospel.” Which brings us right back around now to Rick Warren and his man-centered mission of gathering together “churches [to] have a role to play in solving the world’s most pressing problems.” And you need to understand that Warren’s not simply speaking of Christian churches here because e.g. he includes apostate Roman Catholicism as a genuine expression of Christianity as well.
But there is an element of truth within that statement “churches have a role to play in solving the world’s most pressing problems” because the Devil knows lies are best swallowed with an ever so slight seasoning of tasty truth. The Lord’s instruction quoted above as my opening text is about His disciples lifting up Jesus Christ and Him crucified as the Solution to the world’s most pressing problem—spelled s-i-n. For what these postevangelical dreamers in this Emerging rebellion against Sola Scriptura with their mystical man-loving spiritual stupor seem to have forgotten is that mankind’s sin is what causes these global problems in the first place.
Men and women, those of us who really want to see this world become a better place must continue to faithfully preach the genuine Gospel of Jesus Christ in all its simplicity and purity all the while praying that God will empower our witness by His Spirit. For this is what Jesus means when He instructs us —“as the Father has sent Me, I also send you.” And then finally the Christian Post story also goes on to say of Rick Warren that he’s:
author of the best-selling book “The Purpose-Driven Life,” [and] an evangelical Christian who has broadened the ministry of his church beyond the usual concerns of the religious right to include a focus on the environment, poverty and education. (Online source)
Oops; here let me fix that for you. Rick Warren is:
author of the best-selling book “The Purpose-Driven Life,” which in my opinion has created a Global problem in the Church with its watered down counterfeit version of the Christian faith. And “Bible Scholar” Rick Warren Is Reversing The Reformation as a pastor in the Southern Baptist Convention while he still professes to be “Protestant.” However, Warren has now broadened the meaning of evangelical to even include a reimagined version of Roman Catholicism’s false piety and liberalism’s own social gospel, which then moves the mission of the Christian from preaching the genuine Gospel of Jesus Christ for the conversion of sinners to instead focus on the environment, poverty and education.
And to speak the language of those eschewing proper historic orthodox Christianity in favor of downing worldly whiskey in the postevangelical pub Relevant Culture there’s the tragic truth straight up, no chaser.