Order (951) 301-1101

Rick Warren and Tony Blair

Peace in a Globalized Society

Last Sunday evening, March 6th, 2011, an historic event took place at Rick Warren's Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, California where he awarded the eighth Civil Forum's International PEACE honor to former British Prime Minister Tony Blair for his contributions in tackling the five global giants through his Tony Blair Faith Foundation. The five global giants of spiritual emptiness, corrupt leadership, extreme poverty, pandemic diseases, and illiteracy and education, correlate to and provide the backdrop for Warren's PEACE plan objectives, an acronym for Promoting reconciliation, Equipping servant leaders, Assisting the poor, Caring for the sick, and Educating the next generation.  

One would think that a professing evangelical Christian would at some point have mentioned the gospel of Jesus Christ's death, burial and resurrection as the true solution for remedying the world’s spiritual emptiness, but sadly this crucial message was nowhere to be found. A social justice gospel for the brotherhood of mankind was promoted instead.

The evening between Rick Warren and the former British Prime Minister couldn't have been more cordial, jovial or gentlemanly as they presented themselves the best of friends bound by their common desire to see the world function efficiently through democratic government, economic prosperity and religious freedoms.  These goals were all packaged in compassion and preservation of the dignity of all mankind. Lofty and altruistic goals to be sure. To hear them speak of their experiences and knowledge of the human predicament, one might well imagine they had been chosen by "God" to bring the world into a Utopian brotherhood of man.  It all sounded so surreal and possible.

To the average onlooker, their solutions to global ills were near perfect solutions wrapped in lighthearted humor and heavy doses of understanding.  In fact their leadership roles were given such a human face, and they presented themselves in such average humility, that anyone in the audience could easily relate their own frailties and daily struggles to that of Blair and Warren. If one were not aware of the agenda underfoot, they could easily be taken in by this disarming presentation.  Think for a moment of listening to world leaders tell of their fears, apprehensions, quandaries, dilemmas, and concerns for the betterment of man.  What would the disclosure of such human struggles do to the heart of the listener? Personal confessions such as these draw the listener into the world of the speaker with empathy and understanding, knowing that their struggles are the same as the highly esteemed and that one is not alone in facing the difficulties of the human experience.  Suddenly the separation between listener and speaker is dissolved as an unspoken bonding occurs through empathy for those whose struggles are the same as their own.  Combine this with the admiration engendered for their achievements and the audience is mesmerized and held captive by all that takes place from that moment on.  They've given the speaker their respect, honor, and reverence.  A sense of love and care is created not only for the speaker, but also for his message of social justice  merely by establishing common ground for both to stand side by side as they share in the concern and needs of all mankind.  Without realizing the initial dynamic, the listener has just been taken captive to a very slick technique designed to bypass the mind and engage the emotions.  Vicariously, the listener becomes equal to and identified with the speaker as a sense of commonality is established.

Under this blanket of mesmerizing discussion, it probably escaped the audience's notice that they were falling for a Roman Catholic and an evangelical political statesman. John warns of welcoming and greeting unbelievers into the Church, let alone giving them a platform for addressing the congregation.  "If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither bid him God speed" (2 John 10). While many think the ideologies of Tony Blair's Catholicism and Rick Warren's evangelical political beliefs are obviously different, a closer examination reveals they are much closer than one might suspect.

It matters little that Rick Warren labels himself an "evangelical" if he and Blair share the same essence of faith, which by the way was clearly alluded to in their discussion.  Blair said, "For me 9-11 was not an attack simply on America, it was an attack on a belief system, right, which we share." Warren replied, "Right….and a commitment to freedom."  A key feature of the Catholic faith is overcoming by producing works of service for salvation.  Essentially, the definition of "works" is redefined and split into meaning either "service for others" or "works for self."  Therefore, they deny they are producing "works" because they are producing "service."  But the issue for salvation is faith!  "For by grace are ye saved through faith" (Eph 2:8a). "But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness" (Rom 4:5).  And while it is good to help the needy and the poor in this life with their earthly needs, the true help they need is the spiritual truth of the gospel that will provide for their eternal needs. The Christian should view temporal needs as doors of opportunity to walk through in love for the giving out of the gospel (Matt 25:35-40).  It is those ashamed of the gospel that will not give the soul saving message of the Lord Jesus, "16For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek" (Romans 1:16).   One has to ask why the gospel isn't being loudly proclaimed with all the opportunity that Rick Warren's PEACE plan affords.

It became obvious during the evening’s discussion that Warren's three-legged stool model of government, economics and faith is now focusing on the leg of faith, which explains the inviting of Tony Blair to his Civil Forum. Apparently the leg of government was dominated by fundamental political ideology in the 20th century resulting in Communism and Fascism, while the leg of the private sector (economics and business) in the 19th century created great inequality. Therefore, it is now the spiritual leg of faith that can balance the other legs and is apparently the key to solving the world's problems.  In fact, tolerant faith was presented in this Civil Forum as the primary building block that economic stability rests upon, and from there Democratic governments can function in. Great pressure is now being placed on the church to aide in balancing the “stool” that the world’s future progress and success rests on.

The leg of faith that Rick Warren and Tony Blair have in mind is not the same kind of faith found in the pages of scripture.  Peter distinguished varying faiths writing, “To those who have received a faith of the same kind as ours, by the righteousness of our God and Savior, Jesus Christ” (2 Pet 1:1). The "faith" of true saints as described in the Bible believes in Jesus, and  changes one’s lineage from the image of Adam to the adoption as sons after the image of the second Adam; Christ Jesus.  By contrast, Warren's PEACE plan leaves the spiritual condition of world faiths in tact and unchanged. The world cannot be impacted and changed if the message of the cross and resurrection to new life is dialogued away.  Furthermore, true believers are sent into the world as Christ’s ambassadors to gather citizens for His coming kingdom, rather than spend their strength for a worldly kingdom built by the hands of man. "Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ's stead, be ye reconciled to God" (2 Cor 5:20).  "10For he looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God" (Heb 11:10).   The student of scripture understands that a false empire is coming that will one day be ruled by a counterfeit "christ," the Antichrist, who will deceive those who do not have a love for the truth with lying signs and wonders (2 Thess 2:9-10).  A true brotherhood of man cannot be established without the foundation of the truth of the gospel, which is conspicuously redefined as a social justice gospel in Warren and Blair's “faith and service” partnership.  Globalization is uniting of the world through media, communication, travel, business and political unions.  Faith will be globalized as well.  The child of God needs to remain vigilant in truth, and sober as the days of trouble draw near, as deception advances under the guise of PEACE. “3For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape.” (1 Thess 5:3).

Promote Reconciliation

Blair and Warren’s audience was told that interfaith dialogue will not compromise or weaken one’s faith, but instead provides understanding for the faith of others.  Understanding diffuses separation and is the first step toward reconciliation since it dissolves stereotypes that drive aggression. It is thought that parties are less likely to distrust, fear and attack when they develop a love for one another.  Tactical space for peace is created when each party tells through personal stories their personal struggles which again engenders empathy and acceptance for one another while differences are overlooked.  Claiming that people of different faith backgrounds can find common ground through friendship will ultimately prevent the giving of the gospel as happens in Friendship Evangelism. “Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God" (James 4:4).

These techniques do not promote relationship between man and God, but a false reconciliation with man that cannot last and will eventually be used in a bait and switch at some point to facilitate a world agenda. Satan is the master deceiver, and the father of lies.  He cannot stand in the truth because there is no truth in him.  Only God is omniscient and able to speak absolute truth.  The lies of Satan can be recognized by discerning and comparing them with the truth of God's Word.  "Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it" (John 8:44).   Lies morph and evolve to deceive, cover previous lies, and accommodate new circumstances. The world's promises for peace cannot deliver because they are made by man, and not God.  Even the "P" of Warren’s PEACE plan has evolved since it was first rolled out in 2005, once standing for “Plant Churches,” but now means “Promote Reconciliation.”

Speaking of false reconciliation, a startling comment was made by Blair, the Middle East envoy for Middle East peace concerning Israel; "So what's necessary to make this work is not just how you work out who has what bit of territory, or refugees or Jerusalem, what's necessary is that two people with very different cultures and traditions say, 'you know what, we're in a marvelous place in the world, we're in one of the great spots, it's ….a holy land, and we're going to share it together and learn to live with each other there.'"  I guess dividing the land of Israel is okay, even though it comes with the threat of God's judgment (Joel 3:2).  Warren and Blair's reconciliation is not toward God through Christ's sacrifice, nor for Israel whose land belongs to her.  Instead, "reconciliation" is really the unity in diversity dialectic repackaged.

Equipping Servant Leaders

As Tony Blair discussed the qualities of servant leadership he identified the doubt, worries and fears that all leaders have.  Identifying these characteristics in leaders opens the average listener to the possibility of their own servant leadership since they too have the same emotions and frailties.   All that separates the audience from leadership is letting the mantle of responsibility float by without putting it on.  In other words, leadership is up to the individual.  And of course, this PEACE plan needs lots of leaders in order to be implemented on a worldwide scale.  Pastors tuning in to the Forum event were told they needed to move against their fears and do what was right.  While it's right to help the poor, it's not right to do so while remaining silent about the gospel.  

Huge emphasis was placed by Warren and Blair on leaders being learners. When leaders quit learning, they quit leading.  Learning was described as curiosity, willing to listen, re-examine or change the status quo.  However, learning to tolerate the faith of others easily leads astray.  Look at the example of Israel as they not only tolerated the gods of the cultures around them, but intermarried with them and eventually sacrificed their children in the fires to Molech!  Who would have suspected that simple dialogue would end with slaying children!  It is naive to think that tolerating the belief systems of the world will not affect us. We are to,"…come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you" (2 Cor 6:17). We must proactively frame our world with truth, giving out truth that strengthens and saves.  This is the wisdom that protects and preserves.  It has been said that unless we engage our culture for Jesus, the culture will engage us!

Rick Warren, claims that service starts with the hands, moves to the heart, and finally reaches the head.  This is the opposite of the order given by God where the believer is told to; "2And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God." (Rom 12:2). The flesh leads through emotions of the heart, rather than the mind set on truth. Conscious thought that meditates on the Word of God, bringing it to bear on circumstances and trusting God to keep His promises by faith, is the rule of life for the believer.   The mind controlled by God’s wisdom is proved right by her actions (Matt 11:19).

Speaking of the heart, we must remember that it, "… is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?" (Jer 17:9).   And when following the emotions of the heart, "25There is a way that seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death" (Prov 16:25).   Fleshly knowledge that follows the desires of the heart is actually rebellion toward God, as was the case in the Garden of Eden when Adam listened not to the command of God but let his heart listen to the voice of the woman.  Today, the voice of God’s Word is being set aside for the worldly voice and worldly wisdom that will ultimately lead to bondage. True knowledge of God sets free providing a firm foundation that delivers on its promises.  The wisdom of the world may bring peace in this life, but ultimately leads to deception and destruction.

Assisting the poor, Caring for the sick and Educating the next generation

While it's been said that "God has a wonderful plan for your life," it now seems that Rick Warren has "a wonderful plan for your church!"  The collective faith organizations of the world are now made responsible for under developed countries racked with poverty, disease, illiteracy and injustices.  As Rick Warren seeks to slay the five global giants, he's mobilizing all faiths to cooperate together for the greater good by using their faith buildings as distribution centers for helps and medicines, and using church facilities for education; a model he's successfully implemented in Burundi.  In buttressing his call for unified faith solutions to humanity's ills, he's called the church the "only truly global organization."  That should send shivers up the spines of those who know that in the end days the world will be united in common faith in a false global religion (Rev 13:8, 15).  

Since differing belief systems are blamed for the conflict in the world, then somehow these faiths must learn to respect one another and get along, as the new thinking goes. The Tony Blair Faith Foundation aides in realizing these goals uniting the hearts and minds of youth from diverse faiths by using its schools to establish dialogue through the Internet.  Students are connected with other belief systems in other countries to communicate their faith and cultural distinctives to one another in a spirit of friendship.  Warren claims this dialogue actually strengthens faith, when actually it teaches tolerance for differing faiths through relationship.  Again, consider the failure of "Friendship Evangelism" where the bond of friendship actually inhibits the preaching of the gospel.   Once the emotional tie is made through friendship, the sharing of the Lord Jesus Christ becomes much more difficult. What you win them with is what you win them to.  Notice Warren himself said that, "when you work with someone of a different faith, you start being bound in the heart!"  But Paul warns,"Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?" (1 Cor 6:14).  The slippery slope confuses good citizenship with tolerant faith.

And the trump card always played is the Golden Rule, "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you."  Of course most faiths and cultures would agree with this, though certainly some would not.  Notice that loving others as yourself is leveraged into tolerant agreement as Warren said, "Very clearly God is looking at how much we love. And if I only love people who agree with me completely, I'm not going to love anybody……So if you're only friends with people who agree with you completely, you will have no friends because there is nobody in the world who completely agrees with you.  So now we're talking about degree of disagreement, and how to disagree without being disagreeable."  This kind of double talk twists and deceives the listener into feeling guilty for disagreeing.  Remember this event is called the "Civil Forum!"  Civility must reign supreme, but under the smooth words was an agenda that loosens the resolve of true faith that must share the gospel at all costs.  

Conclusion

The "PEACE in a Globalized Society" Civil Form discussion between Warren and Blair was an interesting evening as concern for the world trumped concern for the Truth of Christ. One wonders how America's Pastor, evangelical Rick Warren, can so easily let go of the true gospel for the sake of promoting social causes. While the earnestness of Warren and Blair made their message most believable, it must be remembered the social justice gospel gathers citizens for the coming New Age kingdom of man that will persecute and falsely accuse the Christian who “intolerantly” holds to Biblical truth. The remnant is warning the visible church to wake up, be sober and vigilant.  Our hope and prayer is that those seduced by the architects of a more perfect global world will heed the warning that trouble is indeed coming.

RELATED ARTICLE:

RICK WARREN'S International PEACE Medal to be Awarded to Tony Blair

RICK WARREN FOCUS

Leave a Reply