McCain, Obama, & Rick Warren

Now, Religion in the News, a report and comment on religious trends and events being covered by the media.  This week’s item is from The New York Times, July 21, 2008, with a headline:  “McCain and Obama Agree to Attend Mega-Church Forum”  The following are excerpts:  It has taken a man of God, perhaps, to do what nobody else has been able to do since the general election season began: get Barack Obama and John McCain together on the same stage before their party conventions later this summer.  Rick Warren, the author of the best selling book, The Purpose Driven Life said he had called each man personally to invite him to his event, which will focus on how they make decisions, and on some of Mr. Warren’s main areas of focus, like AIDS, poverty and the environment.  Mr. Warren’s event will have as a co-sponsor, Faith in Public Life, the multi-denominational religious group that held a compassion forum at MessiahCollegein April, featuring Mr. Obama and Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton.  Mr. Warren said he would devise his questions with input from the Muslim, Jewish and Christian leaders associated with the group.

            Tom:

Dave, what could be wrong with that?  I mean, you have a pastor who certainly no other pastor, probably in the country, in the world could have two presidential candidates comes to their church to speak to their congregation.  But what might be wrong with that?

            Dave:

Well, Tom, what could be wrong with it?  This is the…I don’t know…is this the proper event for a church, is it to show people which side to vote on?  But we’ve got a sponsor here, Tom that this is disturbing to me, but you know more about them than I do.

            Tom:

Well, Dave, you know, it was a leading question for you, but there are some great concerns that we have, which is why we are addressing this story.  First of all, as people know, Rick Warren’s agenda is what he calls his P.E.A.C.E. plan.

            Dave:

Right.

            Tom:

And he’s been involved for almost 4 years now in trying to solve many of the world’s problems, poverty, disease, climate; he’s now a part of the Christian group that’s trying to deal with global warming.

            Dave:

Can I just interject here, Tom?  All winter long I was trying to get friends to organize and plead with Al Gore:  Please call off this global warming, it is freezing us to death!  We’ve had the coldest winter, and now we’ve got the coolest summer.  I’m thankful for his global warming now!

            Tom:

Yeah.  Well, Dave, that’s one small part of it, and we know that Mr. Warren is sincere about the issues of solving the world’s problems.  And of course he learned from Peter Druker, who he calls his mentor, who Druker, a social scientist, said that the world’s problems can’t be solved by governments, it can’t be solved by corporations, but it can be solved by churches because there is a church on every corner—there’s a place of worship in every village.  And if we can bring all the religions of the world to cooperate, then we can solve these issues.  Dave, that’s the social gospel, it’s not new to Christianity.    In this country, the 1800’s, the turn of the century, early 1900’s, this was a promotion by Christians to show that we are involved, that we want to get involved, and so on.  But what’s the problem with that?

            Dave:

Well, now we’re back to, “…hath God said?” Because how do you get all these different religions?  It’s not just denomination actually, but Rick will work with anybody, he’ll work with the Muslims, because they’re part of people of faith, you see, they have a faith.  Anybody that has a so-called faith, we’ll get them all together, but they have different ideas of this.  But we can kind of scrap those and set those aside, and now we will all work together on this very important project.

            Tom:

Well, Faith in Public Life, that’s the name of the organization that is co-sponsoring Obama and McCain at SaddlebackChurch.

            Dave:

Tell me about their faith.

            Tom:

Well, the board president, a woman named Meg Riley; she’s a Unitarian Universalist minister.  Now prior to taking this position, she headed up the Denominations Advocacy Office of Gay, Lesbian and Bi-sexual Concerns.  Now if you go down the list of the board of directors you find mainly women, certainly the men you won’t find a biblical Christian among them.  Their ideas, their concepts, their theology is anti-biblical to the max.  So this is a co-sponsor now at SaddlebackChurchwith Rick Warren presenting this social gospel.

            Dave:

So how does Rick justify this?  Why would he have this co-sponsored, does he not know who they are? 

            Tom:

Well, you’ve said before that you believe that Rick is sincere, but Dave, I believe there’s a simple problem here.  The social gospe–the best it can do is deal with symptoms, right?  The symptoms, I mean, poverty, disease and all these things are symptoms of what?  The sinful nature of man.

            Dave:

Well, Tom, the problem is the symptoms are about this earth, they are mainly physical, these are all physical things.  There is no truth in this, and there’s no way that you’re going to solve the problems of the world without changing the heart of man.

            Tom:

Right.  Now see, Rick claims that this is his first priority, I can quote you.  He says, “It’s to proclaim the gospel truth of salvation in Jesus Christ.”  Now how does that work when he’s got this follow-up inner-faith meeting with 30 Christians, Jewish and Muslim leaders?  Is he going to present Christ as the way, the truth and the life?

            Dave:

Absolutely not.

            Tom:

It would torpedo his agenda, the program.

            Dave:

Right, so you cannot possibly carry on his P.E.A.C.E. program to solve poverty and disease, and so forth all over the world, bringing all of these people together who have different beliefs.  Oh they are people of faith, they have some kind of a faith, but you cannot possibly do it, it’s doomed from the very beginning.

            Tom:

Dave, it reminds me of the words of Jesus.  Now I want to paraphrase this, so I am paraphrasing, but look at it this way.  What shall it profit people of faith if they solve all the problems of the world, yet lose their own souls!

            Dave:

Very well put Tom.

Source: http://www.thebereancall.org/node/7016

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