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PSEUDO-MISSION: A “one size fits all” social gospel

“Have you met with the Pope?
“Not yet, but I hope so. That would be my prayer. You know one of the greatest thrills of my life is when Pope John Paul II died, the CNN reported than [sic] on his nightstand was a copy of the “Purpose Drive Life” in Italian. He was reading “Purpose Drive Life” in Italian on his last days, and that really meant a lot to me. It really touched me.”
(Rick Warren, in an
interview 7/30/06)

Purpose-driven is a “one size fits all” plan and program. It is the ultimate ecumenical tool. From the statements given to the press by Rick Warren in this interview it is clear that Gospel has been removed from the scene. In its place is a social gospel, a new global ethic that tastes like lukewarm leftover evangelicalism.

The interview continued, further illustrating the broad ecumenical appeal of this new social gospel:

“You’ve met our cardinal [Gaudencio Rosales]. Did he say anything about what our biggest problem is?
“Well, I love the cardinal… Cardinal Rosales showed me his purpose statement for the Archdiocese of Manila…

“…They have a purpose statement?
“Yeah, they have a purpose statement. He’s a purpose-driven cardinal! (Laughter) I love this man. Wonderful cardinal.

“Actually, we’re working on the Catholic workbook for the ‘Purpose Driven Life’ that has been written by some priests in America. I asked Cardinal Rosales if somebody could review it and tell us what needed to be changed before it went to print and he could give the blessing that it was okay, that it was for all Catholic congregations and cathedrals, churches, chapels.

“When I met with Cardinal Rosales the other day, he gave me the idea to do 40 Days of Vision. It was a very good meeting ….”

Photos of this historic ecumenical meeting can be found here and here.

Last week, Herescope ran a series that began (7/31/06) with an excerpt from C. Peter Wagner in the early 1980s describing how the neoevangelicals brought in the social gospel. Since Wagner has been one of Rick Warren’s “mentors” and has been at the forefront of this change, it is relevant to take a second look at what he wrote and how it impacts these statements by Rick Warren above.

Wagner cited an important historical book that was eventually to transform evangelical mission doctrines and strategies, Re-Thinking Missions: A Laymen’s Inquiry After One Hundred Years by The Commission of Appraisal, William Ernest Hocking, Chairman (Harper & Brothers Publ., 1932). This book was a report compiled by a commission which was funded by John D. Rockefeller, Jr. to the tune of $320,000 — a good chunk of money at that time. The Rockefeller dynasty was beginning to realize that to achieve their corporate expansionist aims globally they needed to pay attention to the social realm — health care, sanitation, education, etc. — with a goal of creating “healthy workers” for increased productivity. The political realm — which was getting increasingly revolutionary around the world, particularly due to rising communism — was also a concern of the Rockefellers because of the adverse economic impact to their business enterprises.

“…[John D. Rockefeller, Jr.] did not wish to rekindle Fundamentalist fires. He convened a gathering of well-heeled northern Baptists at his Manhattan town house on January 17, 1930, to allow [John] Mott to make his pitch. They wanted to include other mainstream northern Protestant denominations in a formal interchurch commission to oversee the Laymen’s Foreign Missions Inquiry. And Junior, of course, agreed to pick up the entire tab, which by the end of the year came to $320,000.

“The Laymen’s Foreign Missions Inquiry sent out its survey team to Asia in September 1930. It returned nine months later and issued its report, Rethinking Missions, in 1932….

Rethinking Missions recommended reforms that few Fundamentalists could accept: an end to segregation from Asian cultures and appreciation of elements in Asian faiths that were kindred to Christ’s message; more quiet lessons of examples and programs in education, medicine, and agriculture and less evangelical proselytizing; more cooperation and efficiency to reduce the wasteful overlap of programs; and, most important, a gradual transfer of power to indigenous churches.” (Colby & Dennett, Thy Will Be Done, pp. 39-40)

“The report was a bombshell, running through ten printings in six months….”

Re-Thinking Missions was to become one of the landmark reports that reinvented Christianity. Although this report was initiated by the more liberal elements of leadership, these concepts gradually filtered down into reworked mission theologies of the neoevangelicals in a series of conferences that were held a generation later (see 7/31/06 Herescope). A softened-up, watered-down, neutralized social gospel Christianity would replace the old Fundamentalism with all of its nasty stereotypes. This report set the stage for contextualization and syncretism by declaring that it was time for a change, including “an altered theological outlook” coinciding with “the emergence of a basic world-culture.” (p. 18)

From a cursory look at the preceding paragraphs it is obvious that neoevangelicalism would eventually head on a course that would further corporate business expansion (“marketplace transformation”) by focusing their attentions upon the social sector — precisely Rick Warren’s Global Giants of his P.E.A.C.E. Plan.

Tomorrow’s post, Lord willing, will include some key excerpts from this document.

The Truth:

“For my people is foolish, they have not known me; they are sottish children, and they have none understanding: they are wise to do evil, but to do good they have no knowledge.” (Jeremiah 4:22)