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The Purpose Driven Inclusive Church
Commentary by Roger Oakland
www.understandthetimes.org

For printer friendly version, please click here

Pastor Rick Warren has a plan to establish the Kingdom of God here on earth. It is an ambitious plan called the P. E. A. C. E. Plan. This acronym stands for Planting churches, Equipping leaders, Assisting the poor, Caring for the sick, Educating the next generation.

While political leaders and economic leaders from around the world have previously discussed similar social programs in order to bring utopia to planet earth, until now they have failed. Pastor Rick believes he has uncovered the missing component for success—it’s called the “inclusive church”.

The “inclusive church” is the third leg of Pastor Warren’s “three-legged-stool” But what does he mean by the “inclusive church”?

To answer this specific question, here is what Pastor Rick stated in an interview with Charlie Rose regarding who can be part of this “church” program that is supposed to establish the PEACE Plan:

When I go out and I start telling people, “Do you want to work with us on poverty, disease, AIDS, illiteracy, injustice?” I often find people are more unwilling to work with us than we are willing to work with them. In other words, we’re saying, “You don’t have to change your beliefs for us to work with you.” If you can only work with people that you agree with, then most of the world, you’re ruling out. Okay. I don’t insist that a Moslem change his belief for me to work on poverty. I don’t even insist that a gay person has to change their beliefs. They’re not going to accept my belief, or I’m not going to accept theirs. [1]

Notice what Pastor Rick stated: “you don’t have to change your beliefs” to be a part of this “inclusive church.” Muslims are even welcome to join. So are others who do not take the Bible literally regarding who Jesus is and what He has done. All that is required is a common cause.

Now, one more quote from the Charlie Rose interview that will make the point. Warren stated:

I just met with the president, the co-founder of ACT-UP— Eric Sawyer. And I said, “Eric, how can I help you get your message (out)? I know you care about people who are dying. How can I help you get your message out?” He said, “Use your moral authority.” I’m working with these guys. [2]

So the “inclusive church” according to Pastor Rick is a “church” that includes a broad spectrum of believers with a common cause. In fact the term “believer” in Warren’s sense, needs to be redefined.

Usually in the context of Christianity, a “believer” is a believer in Jesus Christ and the gospel of Jesus Christ. Not so with Pastor Rick Warren’s definition. A believer is someone who is like-minded and willing to be part of his PEACE Plan team.

Kingdom Building with Roman Catholics

In his interview with Charlie Rose, Pastor Warren was asked whether or not he was willing to work together with Roman Catholics to establish his P.E.A.C.E. Plan. Warren responded:

Christianity is a global movement. In fact, Christianity was global 200 years before anybody started talking about globalism. It is the only global organization in the world. There are 2.3 billion Christians in the world. [3]

Further, Pastor Rick expounded how he believes a global organization could be established as a global force that could implement a global P.E.A.C.E. Plan. He stated:

Probably 600 million of them, I believe, are Catholic. And so when you take all of these together, it is the largest network in the world. In just the network that I’m in, I have been training leaders for 26 years. And we’ve trained about 400,000 pastors in 163 countries, all different denominations. Well, this network of 400,000 pastors, that’s just a small, tiny network compared to Christianity around the world. [4]

In order to clarify the ecumenical nature of the P.E.A.C.E. Plan, another statement made by Pastor Rick Warren will be helpful. At the PEW Forum held in Key West, Florida in July of 2005, he said:

Now when you get 25 percent of America, which is basically Catholic, and you get 28 to 29 percent of America which is evangelical together, that's called a majority. And it is a very powerful bloc, if they happen to stay together on particular issues… I would encourage you to look at this evolving alliance between evangelical Protestants and Catholics. [5]

Therefore, it will be interesting to see what happens in the future. Will this “evolving alliance” between Roman Catholics and Protestants become even more and more inclusive as time passes?

How Inclusive Can Inclusive Be?

Everyone, with any common sense would like to see a planet without poverty, disease and illiteracy. I thank God for all the Christian and non-Christian organizations that are working to make this planet a better place.

However, there is a major concern that arises when we link good works with our view of the future of planet earth. If man has a plan to establish God’s Kingdom here on earth by human effort, where is that plan in God’s Word?

There is another thing that sincere Kingdom builders should consider. Can the Kingdom of God be established by those who don’t know the King? In other words, can people of all religions and faiths who don’t know that Jesus is the King be members of His Kingdom?

This is one of the reasons I want to express some concerns about the Purpose Driven P.E.A.C.E. Plan. Before he came up with the P.E.A.C.E. Plan, Pastor Rick Warren says that he asked Jesus to show him how to reach the world. According to Warren:

Then I said, “How did You do it? You wouldn’t have left us without a strategy.” And I found the answer in a passage in Matthew 10 and Luke 10 where Jesus sends His first followers out… He says, “When you go into a village, you find the man of peace.” Find the man of peace. There’s a man of peace in every village, in every government, in every business, in every church. [6]

Notice the basis of the P.E.A.C.E. Plan is a peace man. But there is more. Warren further inquired of Jesus and Jesus supposedly answered:

And so I said, “What is the man of peace?” He said, “When you find the man of peace, if he’s open and he’s willing to work with you, you bless him and you start your work there. If the guy’s not open to working with you, you dust the dust off of your shoes and you go to the next villages, ‘cause you can always find someone to work with.” The man of peace is open and influential.

 

By the way, it doesn’t have to be a man. It could be a woman. It might be the woman of peace. It might be the elderly grandmother of the village and everybody knows. And here’s the other thing: The man of peace does not have to be a Christian believer. It could be Moslem. It could be Jewish. Because, when Jesus said, “Find the man of peace,” there were no Christians yet. Jesus hadn’t died on the cross. There was no resurrection. He’s just saying, go out and find somebody to work with. [7]

While Pastor Warren believes that his plan to establish the Kingdom of God here on earth was inspired by a conversation with Jesus, it would be important to check out the words of Jesus as recorded in the Scriptures.

Do you recall one of the things that Jesus said? He said: “Thy Word is truth”. [8] When he instructed His disciples to go out, the plan was to proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ. As Jesus also said, this was “the way” and the only way that one could go to heaven. [9] We must never forget this.

If we are going to link hands with those who believe in another gospel or no gospel at all for the sake of establishing the Kingdom here on earth, the kingdom that will be established will not be the Kingdom of God.

 


[1] Rick Warren Interview with Charlie Rose, August 17, 2006, http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-5555324196046364882

[2] Ibid.

[3] Ibid.

[4] Ibid.

[5]  Rick Warren, PEW Forum, Key West, Florida, May 23, 2005, http://pewforum.org/events/index.php?EventID=80

[6] Rick Warren Interview with Charlie Rose, August 17, 2006, http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-5555324196046364882

[7] Ibid.

[8] John 17:17

[9] John 14:6

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