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Rick Warren recently sent out an info letter which he presents his Peace Plan that will solve the greatest problems in the world.  www.saddleback.com/peaceplan (this was openly posted on his site until the end of 2004 where it was changed. Here is the new address where you can read it) http://www.saddlebackfamily.com/peace/Services/110203_high.asx )  

On Sunday, April 17, 2005 Speaking before 30,000 at Angel Stadium in Anaheim, he announced his Global Peace Plan. He believes it will herald in a new worldwide spiritual awakening in the 21st century.

But before he made the announcement, he decided to have some fun and surprised the audience when he said, “I've always wanted to do in this stadium.” He then sang an impersonation of Jimi Hendrix's hit song, Purple Haze. As the audience erupted into laughter, the church band joined in playing back up to it. http://www.assistnews.net/Stories/s05040087.htm 

Purple Haze is a song by Jimi Hendrix from his album “Are you experienced?” (about a LSD trip).

The lyrics go like this: Purple haze all in my brain Lately things just don't seem the same Actin' funny, but I don't know why 'Scuse me while I kiss the sky. Purple haze all around Don't know if I'm comin' up or down Am I happy or in misery? Whatever it is that girl put a spell on me. Purple haze all in my eyes Don't know if it's day or night, You got me blowin', blowin' my mind Is it tomorrow, or just the end of time?

Frankly I find the song quite revealing and fitting for what Warren has been doing. Sometimes God shows us what is under the surface. Amazing that people would approve of this as he launched his plan to  change the world.

“He then went on to unveil and outline the PEACE Plan, his aggressive and progressive vision to mobilize the American church to help churches in the developing world take on problems so big that no government - not even the United Nations -- can tackle what he called “these giants” alone.
“Our goal will be to enlist 'one billion foot soldiers for the Kingdom of God,' who will permanently change the face of international missions to take on these five “global giants” for which the church can become the ultimate distribution and change agent to overcome Spiritual Emptiness, Self-serving Leadership, Poverty, Disease and ignorance (or illiteracy)
,” he said. http://www.assistnews.net/Stories/s05040087.htm 

The Warren Peace Plan

He states this is “the most important series of messages we've ever taught in 23 years here at Saddleback church” He says “We believe it is part of the beginning of a Spiritual Awakening, a Global Movement, a New Reformation.”  

(my comments are in blue)

 This is nice to let us know a new reformation has begun under HIS leadership, unfortunately these terms are already being used by the apostle/ prophet movement under Peter Wagner. And there are some similarities that should not be ignored ….

  November had five messages on the P.E.A.C.E. plan: a strategy to have every small group in our church,  and then tens of thousands of small groups in other churches,  become engaged in  solving the five biggest problems in the world: Spiritual Lostness, Lack of Godly Leaders, Poverty,  Disease, and Lack of Education

This is a noble gesture but unrealistic and unbiblical.

Warren is talking about the church changing the world. The fact is this is not his original idea but Peter Drucker's; who said, “The non prophet sector is where management is today most needed and where systematic, principled. Theory- based management can yield the greatest results fastest…Just think of the enormous problems facing the world- poverty, health care, education, International tension and the need for managed solutions become loud and clear.”

To me, this shows a lack of Bible knowledge on Warren's part to claim the church is going to solve the five biggest problems in the world. Jesus said that the end would bring an increase in turmoil, wars and specifically diseases, yet he claims the church is going to solve this before Jesus gets here. Don’t get me wrong; humanitarian efforts are useful and needed. Christians are to help in various ways but this is not our specific mission to solve poverty or disease. Of course if people are starving they cannot listen to a spiritual message about their soul too well. We should be there for catastrophes such as earthquakes, floods... What of the poverty in the church, are we to feed the world and not the brethren? Isn’t this what Jesus said to do in Mt.25. Unfortunately Mt. 25 is often used for a general humanitarian effort of the church. In its primary meaning taking care of the brethren means to care for Christians that are homeless or in jail; (inasmuch as you did it to the least of these My brethren, you did it to me), in a wider application it has to do with the Jews and believers in the tribulation. This cannot be applied to the nations and people who are unsaved by the context and the meaning of the word brethren.

 To say we as the church will solve these matters is absurd. There will be no starvation, poverty, disease or death when the Kingdom of God is here, which means Jesus must be present, but this will not happen before. Anyone who promises to solve these problems is gravely mistaken. .you will be hated by all nations for My name's sake (Matthew 24:9) Matt. 10:34: “Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send  peace, but a sword. (Luke 12:51).The book of Revelations tells us what will take place in the end times and it has nothing to do with making the world a better place, where people will be educated clothed and fed and live in peace.

Lack of Godly Leaders- The world does not need to be corrected the church does, the world does not care for godly leaders, they are unsaved, they do not know what godly is. In fact they would not accept Godly leaders.

Bible education, or just education?  On the web in his message they are talking about education for third world countries.

This all sounds similar to a dominionist/restoration view. What happened to what Jesus said the end would be like? He never said these things would be solved. Imposters would grow worse, the poor we would have with us always. Diseases would increase. Does Warren not believe we are seeing these things today?

1 Thess. 5:3 “For 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.”
There will be no REAL peace until the prince of peace comes, until then there will be a false peace and a false security (which Warren does acknowledge).

This is what is coming… Revelation 6:2-8 “And I looked, and behold, a white horse. He who sat on it had a bow; and a crown was given to him, and he went out conquering and to conquer. When He opened the second seal, I heard the second living creature saying, “Come and see.” Another horse, fiery red, went out. And it was granted to the one who sat on it to take peace from the earth, and that people should kill one another; and there was given to him a great sword. When He opened the third seal, I heard the third living creature say, “Come and see.” So I looked, and behold, a black horse, and he who sat on it had a pair of scales in his hand. And I heard a voice in the midst of the four living creatures saying, “A quart of wheat for a denarius, and three quarts of barley for a denarius; and do not harm the oil and the wine.” When He opened the fourth seal, I heard the voice of the fourth living creature saying, “Come and see.” So I looked, and behold, a pale horse. And the name of him who sat on it was Death, and Hades followed with him. And power was given to them over a fourth of the earth, to kill with sword, with hunger, with death, and by the beasts of the earth.”

Warren: These giant problems are so big that neither the governmnent, nor all the NGOs (non-government organzations) can tackle them. There is only one group large enough to tackle these global issues- the Christian church in all its local expressions around the world. 

Nothing else can compare to the distribution channel of the millions of churches around the world. Even in villages where you cannot find a clinic, a store, a school, or a post office, you can often find a church.

These problems, and the answers, are not newBut the way we intend to tackle them using the small groups of local churches in large numbers is revolutionary.

 What does Warren think we have been doing? Many have already been doing this for some time. There have been many organizations and churches, missions abroad who are actively involved in this for years. This is not something new, this is something churches have been doing all over the world.  Although his proposal seems to take this into a worldwide scale that certainly is unprecedented, it also has him as the head of it. The church is not the answer- Jesus Christ is. Good works will not save souls, the gospel will.

The only difference, in his plan is that it will no longer be autonomous but unified under his leadership? So why does everyone need to unite with Warren's group and come under his leadership?

“… and we've sought  the advice of respected national Christian leaders around the world.  We have “tweaked” the plans often, and will continue to do so as we “learn by doing.” Now we're ready to share the plan with our congregation, friends, and other interested congregations across America.

The bottom line is that we intend to reinvent mission strategy in the 21st century. As I stated, this will be a new Reformation. The First Reformation returned us to the message of the original church. It was a reformation of doctrine - what the church BELIEVES. This Second Reformation will return us to the mission of the original church. It will be a reformation of purpose- what the church DOES in the world.

 “reinvent mission strategy in the 21st century”! This sounds too similar to statements of Peter Wagners apostolic reformation who was also part of Fuller seminary and promoted the church growth movement. Warren is on the same mission board and graduated from the same seminary, could it be some of these things have rubbed off and had an influence?

 Can you start a reformation on works when so many today neglect doctrine? It would be better to uphold the first reformation before one starts another based on our works. Any religion can do works; in fact atheists can be involved in almost all the things mentioned except “Spiritual lostness.” I can’t see the validity of his statement. Terms like spiritual lostness seem to water down the meaning of being unsaved. This can mean something different to different people.  The Bible puts mankind into two groups, saved and unsaved. Is this the type of reformation we will see in action, a change of terms to soften the word of God? Is this what we need at a time when the church is leaving the doctrines of Scripture. We need a new reformation of going back to the basis of the first reformation, not world outreaches

In the first century, mission strategy was always congregationally based. The first missionaries were sent, supported, and accountable to local churches.  The church at Antioch was the first to do this. There were no mission societies, mission boards, or parachurch organizations.  Local churches accepted the responsibility for Jesus' Great Commission and his Great Commandment, and the growth of the church worldwide was explosive.

Yes and there were no church buildings or mega churches either, but house churches. I’m all for the local churches stepping up their missionary efforts but Warren’s plan is not the answer.

Today, most local churches are sidelined and uninvolved when it comes to missions. The message from most mission and parachurch organizations to the local church is essentially  “Pray, pay, and get out of the way.”   But in the 21st century, Kay and I intends to help thousands of other local churches to move back to the frontline in missions, in compassion, and in providing the social services that historically the church provided. I believe the proper role for all the great parachurch and relief organizations is to serve local churches in a supportive role, offering their expertise and knowledge, but allowing the local churches around the world to be central focus and the distribution centers.

 True there may not be as many churches involved in serious mission work but this does not mean that what has been done is to be ignored. I have never heard any para-church organization say this? Maybe there is one but not most. This is a straw man argument. Warren seems to believe he and his wife are going to spearhead a new campaign in mission work. And if these churches are all under there care it will succeed where we have not before.  Who is going to be the head of these distribution centers?

I deeply believe that any organization that marginalized or minimizes the local congregation's responsibility to “Go”, or bypasses the local church's moral authority to fulfill the Great Commission, is out of sync with the strategy God intended, and modeled in the book of Acts.

 The great commission involves an outreach to the unsaved but its focus on those who are saved to be taught, discipled, the church is lacking in this as well. What if local churches do not want to get behind people going into certain areas, isn’t this why there are separate missions and para-church organizations to go there?

*Let me pause here and go back into the first video that he recommends people to watch on this matter.

Warren says, What are we going to do now, we’re going global, its time to bless the whole world

“If we can figure out a way to attack the 5 giants it would bring glory to God.”

 His wife is brought up to explain the 5 points tot he church. The number 2 point was servant leaders, referring to secular leaders in the world saying, leaders are serving themselves. Of course they are serving themselves, they don’t know God, why should they serve others in a Christian manner. One cannot be a servant like this unless they are born again.

Number 4 was disease.  Ps. 38:3 was used There is no soundness in my flesh because of Your anger, nor any health in my bones because of my sin.” This too was used out of context for those who are stricken with sickness and disease.

 Number 5 was ignorance, speaking about the third world and the need for schools. Hosea 4:6 is quoted. “My people perish for a lack of knowledge.” This has nothing to do with the world but God’s people having a lack of Bible knowledge which is displayed here represented by some of the interpretations of the quotes and the whole peace plan.

As Rick Warren continues he said we are part of the only group capable to take care of these problems…. There is only one organization big enough to tackle the problem, the local church. It is because we have the biggest army of volunteers, millions and we have the moral authority to do it.”

This may be true but he seems to be automatically soliciting and volunteering the church for his way of doing things. Warren is giving the church a new blueprint for how to reach out to the world.

 He also said we will experiment work out all the bugs in it (just as he did with the Purpose Driven Church).

Warren went on and gave insight into his end times view. “If Jesus Christ does not come back a thousand years from today there will be no organizations or government… there will be a Church.”

How does he know there will be no organizations or government? Of course there will be a Church, Jesus said the gates of hell would not prevail. I don’t think the way things are going we will need to wait 1,000 years to find out. however what he is saying in a subtle way is that the church will rule the world- WITHOUT CHRIST BEING HERE. Think about this statement and the theology behind it. It is very wrong.

 “What is the second coming of Jesus? God, in His own time and in His own way, will bring the world to its appropriate end. According to His promise, Jesus Christ will return personally and visibly in glory to the earth; the dead will be raised; and Christ will judge all men in righteousness.” http://www.saddleback.com/flash/believe2.html 

This avoids a crucial point that is part of the resurrection; the rapture. From What I have read Warren does not mention it at all. This would fit in with the new reformation concepts that he himself mentioned and others also hold.

Warren writes “In John 14, Jesus said it like this, “Let not your heart be troubled.  You believe in God, believe also in Me.  In My Father's house are many mansions.  If it were not so I would have told you.  I go to prepare a place for you.  And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you unto myself that where I am there you may be also.”  Jesus said, “I'm going back to heaven and if I go, I'm going to prepare a place and I'm coming back.”

Did He go?  Yes he did.  Is He coming back?  Absolutely.  As surely as He said He was going, He's coming back.  The Bible says that when He comes back, He will set up a reign of peace on the earth.”

  This avoids a crucial point that is part of the resurrection, the rapture, Jesus actually said I will come again and receive you unto myself that where I am there you may be also. Jesus prepared a place in heaven where HE is. From What I have read Warren does not mention the rapture at all, maybe he does believe this but it’s missing.

This would fit in with the new reformation concepts of dominionism that he himself mentions in this article on his peace plan and others hold.

  People ask me why I don't preach more on prophecy.  I say, “Why? Nobody knows”  I could get up here and make some good guesses but they'd all be speculation.  Jesus said, “Nobody knows when it's going to happen.” 

  Warren says that he does not pay attention to prophecy. We are not just talking about Jesus’ coming in reference to a time. Prophecy does not have to be speculation. One quarter to one third of the pages of the Bible are on prophecy, this is part of preaching the whole counsel of God. He stays away from prophecy. Why? Because it has a negative impact, especially on the end times we are living in and it does not fit well into a seeker friendly model of doing church. He is presenting the church as the answer to solve the worlds greatest problems; the Bible tells us that without Jesus Christ coming back to the earth there will be no answer to these problems, they will only increase in the end. 

When one discounts prophecy generally and specifically they change ones outlook about the end times that is leading up to a tribulation period, atime unlike anything the world has ever seen (Mt.24:21).

in fact both Jesus (Mt.24) and Paul said we need to know prophecy so we will not be deceived 2 Thess.2:1-10.

if you want the Lord to come back soon, it's simple. Get out and start sharing your faith.  Every time you tell somebody about Christ you're shortening the time.  Every time you share the gospel with somebody it means it's getting shorter.” (quotes from When it is right to fight article on website )

In his book (PDL) he writes “If you want Jesus to come back sooner focus on fulfilling your mission, not figuring out prophecy” (p.286)

I don’t think there is any proof that we can actually make the time shorter by our witnessing more? God has ordained the times.

However, in Warren’s sermon on his Peace Plan he states this: “You've heard me say many times that the greatest thing you can do with your life is tell somebody about Jesus and invite them to come to know Him ... And I've always said that was the greatest thing you could do with your life.  I was wrong.  There is one thing you can do greater than share Jesus Christ with somebody, and it is help start a church.” (emphasis added) http://www.saddlebackfamily.com/peace/Services/110203_high.asx 

Is not Mt.28 our mandate? Is starting a church more important than engaging in personal witnessing? Then anyone who is witnesses is doing a lesser thing than when they helping someone plant a church. Yet it is by our witnessing that we can engage people to know the Lord (Rom.10). This becomes contradictory to what Warren has written on his peace plan. The fact is, Scripture tells us to be witnesses over and over as a priority of our being in this world. Acts 1:8 tells us that the Holy Spirit baptism was to give them power to be WITNESSES. Acts 10:40-42 the disciples became “witnesses chosen before by God, …“And He commanded us to preach to the people…”

This makes light of our personal witnessing. How many people are actually involved in building a church? All one has to do is read the book of Acts and see the emphasis of their preaching was on salvation by being witnesses explaining what took place with Jesus Christ. God bore witness to their words by accompanying them with signs and wonders.

Paul recalls in Acts 22:15 of his mission ‘For you will be His witness to all men of what you have seen and heard.” And we today are all given the ministry of being witnesses as his priests. 2 Cor. 5:18-20: “ Now all things are of God, who has reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation, that is, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing their trespasses to them, and has committed to us the word of reconciliation. Now then, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were pleading through us: we implore you on Christ's behalf, be reconciled to God.”

Warren ends his Peace Plan letter by telling us about the amazing success of his book, hitting 10 milion (sic) copies, 5 ,000 more churches are doing the 40 Day of Purpose campaign, In 2004 we expect over 15,000 more churches to participate. How he gets requests for autographed copies for famous people, even Castro, presidents, and air force one.  the program has been adopted by corporations, His interviews on TV telling us that this spiritual awakening is starting to get the attention of the media.

I now believe that know why God is blessing this book in such an unusual way. It is more than just a message that God wants to get out to everyone (which is huge).  I now also see that God is using this phenomena to expand the platform for us to mobilize thousands of local churches for global world missions through the PEACE plan.

“But all this is not about us. God's intention is much bigger than the book.  It's all about the global glory of God!  We intend to leverage the attention that the Purpose Driven Life has garnered to bring about a whole new way of thinking and acting in the church about our responsibility in the world.” (emphasis mine)

Warren seems to think God has big plans through his book (it is now doubles to 22 million copies). At the end of his Peace plan he reminds us of how important his book is and how many are on board already.

Can God do his work without the book? Global glory of God, yes sounds tremendous, where is Jesus Christ, the Gospel or the cross in any of this. This is not the method that the apostles used yet the Bible says they turned the world upside down. They had THE Book.

How about starting with one city instead of the whole planet. Lets see Warren use this plan in his own area he lives in instead of having everyone jump on board his global peace plan. Lets see how it works among those where he lives. And what about his statement of the church gaining a whole new way of thinking? Yes this is key, a new way of thinking and doing church. With words such as Peace plan  ... new way of thinking new reformation…Change ... Global Glory for God etc. I don't think we need to wonder how Warren has arrived at this.

Jesus peace plan is to be reconciled to God through the cross and he will one day bring HIS government to earth and peace will reign. Until then nothing will be solved, the Bible says things get worse (read Matthew 24). We may not like to hear this but this is reality. Though Warren may have good intentions it fails in biblical measure. Again we should all be for more mission work and help the needy but Warren's peace plan is not the answer.


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