Mr. Jabez and the namby-pamby evangelical press
Namby-pamby (from Webster's New World Dictionary): [orig. satirical nickname of Ambrose Philips, 18th-c. Eng. poet: in ridicule of his sentimental pastorals] weakly sentimental; wish-washy; without vigor; insipidly pretty or nice.
On December 19, 2005 The Wall Street Journal ran an article on the front page about Bruce Wilkinson's failed venture into Swaziland. This was reported on the Herescope blog that very day, and again on December 21st. The story which we published on Herescope that day was linked to a recent article entitled "Dominionism and the Rise of Christian Imperialism" posted at the Discernment website [http://www.discernment-ministries.org/ChristianImperialism.htm].
This story was picked up over the past weekend (1/08/06) by Bill Berkowitz of Media Transparency, in an article entitled "Paul Bonicelli/USAID: The rest of the story" [http://tinyurl.com/bhtbf] at http://www.mediatransparency.com.
This article is not written from a Christian perspective -- in fact it comes from a website that traditionally has absolutely no fond affection for the Evangelical Right -- but it does speak clearly to the expansion of Christian Imperialism in Africa.
That was it. There has been no further in-depth reporting from either the evangelical press or the secular media. The silence has been deafening.
Granted, it was over the holidays. But there is no excuse for the two pitiful articles that appeared in the past several days in the evangelial press. Christianity Today's "CT Direct," a daily newservice finally picked up the story yesterday in a brief article entitled "Jabez Author Quits Africa" [http://tinyurl.com/co3zq]. The article is basically a re-hash of the Wall Street Journal article with a few sappy comments. Joel Belz of World Magazine basically ignored the Bruce Wilkinson issue altogether, except for a brief summation, choosing to focus his attentions on another mission group that was, in his estimation, doing it better. [See "Think small: When confronting massive problems like African poverty, forget theme parks and golf courses" http://tinyurl.com/7ctap.]
Christianity Today has been the chief media organ for the neo-evangelicals for over 5 decades. It was set up for the specific purpose of cheerleading the new doctrines, philosophies and activities of the megolithic evangelical subculture that was arising out of the ashes of fundamentalism. The details of this are given in this month's Discernment Newsletter posted at http://www.discernment-ministries.org/NLJanFeb_2006.htm.
World Magazine is the chief media organ of the political and patriotic dominionists. It has been the cheerleader for the merger of Church and State through faith-based programs. It would therefore have little to disagree with concerning Rick Warren and Bruce Wilkinson's African excursions.
The evangelical press, from its very inception, was never set up to be a watch-dog over evangelicaldom. It never took on the role of apologetics or discernment ministries. It has never raised the most difficult ethical issues, particularly in the self-examination of its own charismatic and beloved leaders. Now that these evangelical leaders are poised to embark upon a global expansion plan (tragically, in the name of "mission") -- which brings in a humongous network of Corporate interests, national and international governing agencies and institutions, and philanthropic endeavors -- the failings of the evangelical press are most alarming and appalling.
There are many troubling aspects to Bruce Wilkinson's African campaign. Scratch the surface but a little and one learns that it was intricately interwoven with Rick Warren's Global P.E.A.C.E. Plan. Could this be the reason for the evangelical media's silence? Here is just one tiny example of reporting that has not taken place. On June 15, 2004 one could find the following reference, which has since been removed, from http://tinyurl.com/dfwj4, which discloses the interlocking nature of Bruce Wilkinson's organizations with Rick Warren's global purpose-driven campaign:
"Youth Corporation is planning to get very involved in the holistic health of youth ministry in South Africa through networking and training:
"This is where we start: we encourage youth leaders to familiarize themselves with PDM, we will follow this up with Purpose Driven Youth Ministry training and support groups. Walk Through the Bible will be coordinating the Purpose Driven Ministry in the southern Africa region. It will also be a distributor of the accompanying life-changing resources.
"As from August 2003 Walk Thru the Bible has been appointed as the official Purpose Driven representative in southern Africa. The goal is to establish a network of churhces, from all denominations and cultures, which will implement the five purposes, which Purpose Driven represents. Churches and individuals will have access to training, resources and support provided by Walk Thru the Bible. These resources include the Purpose-Driven books, videos, materials and the network strategy. . . .
"At the May 2003 Turn the Tide satellite conference Rick Warren presented his popular course, The Purpose Driven Church, to over 400 registered satellite sites across Southern Africa.
"On this exciting new partnership, Philip R. Walker, president of International Christian Ministries, commented: 'Our organisation, International Christian Ministries, is coordinating the implementation of Purpose Driven Ministries in Africa. It is our pleasure to announce that we are now in partnership with Walk Thru the Bible Southern Africa, who will represent ICM and our other partners including Purpose-Driven Ministries.'" [emphases added]
What happened to this partnership? Chances are, it isn't going to be reported on in the evangelical press. There are many more, very troubling connections and potential conflicts of interest that could be reported on in this recent evangelical dominionist foray into Africa. Stay tuned!
"The tongue of the just is as choice silver: the heart of the wicked is little worth. The lips of the righteous feed many; but fools die for want of wisdom." (Proverbs 10:20-21)