Friday, July 07, 2006

Part 3: The Myth of a Laity-Driven Movement

"Central to Rick Warren's strategy is the involvement of the local church. Pastor Warren understands that the solution to Africa's plight rests in bottom-up rather than top-down change. Accordingly, Warren calls for the local church to channel and export expertise to African communities to help them set up and operate clinics, businesses, churches, and schools."
(Regis Nicoll, "The Challenge of Africa," 7/6/06

The local church is going to be used as a "delivery system" for worldwide social, political, economic, religious and marketplace transformation. This delivery system will function much like a mutli-level networking organization. As in any other pyramid operation it is hierarchical, operating from the top and filtering down through grassroots agencies. This is the cellular structure of the New Apostolic Reformation.

Rick Warren is organizing one of the world’s largest volunteer “armies” of “one billion foot soldiers” to implement his global P.E.A.C.E. Plan. In an article on the topic entitled "The Church -- the greatest force on earth" dated Dec. 19, 2005, Warren explained the logistics of how and why the church would be the perfect vehicle. In a section subtitled "The Church provides for the widest distribution," Warren explains:

"The Church is everywhere in the world. There are villages that have little else, but they do have a church. You could visit millions of villages around the world that don't have a school, a clinic, a hospital, a fire department or a post office. They don't have any businesses. But they do have a church. The Church is more widely spread -- more widely distributed -- than any business franchise in the world."

Professor Johan Malan from South Africa, commented on this ambitious plan:

"Warren bases his ambitious plan on the capacity of the Christian church to change the world. He says: 'I personally believe that the terrible problems of Africa are not solvable by governments. I believe that only the church can solve them, because only the church has the most distribution channels in the world. There are churches in villages where you don’t have schools or clinics or hospitals. We also have the biggest army. We’ve got a billion foot soldiers and we have the promise of the power of God. We have the biblical mandate and the command of God and we have the moral authority to do it.'

"… How…does Rick get to the figure of one billion foot soldiers that are available for mobilisation to advance the Christian cause in Africa and the rest of the world? Who are they and what are their real convictions and objectives?"

This use of the church as a global distribution agency is particularly interesting in light of the UN Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). Rwanda, the nation in Africa which is the first "purpose-driven nation," is also noted for having "one of the best MDG achievement records on the continent." However, a key facet to the implementation of the MGDs across the earth is a new definition of decentralization which means that local governments bypass state and national authorities to work with a global entity. In other words, the top-down control is now shifting to a global operation.

A revealing "Interview with Carol Welch, US Coordinator for the Millennium Campaign, UN Habitat, World Urban Forum 3" is posted on-line, which sheds more light on how this operation will work. Welch stated:

"The Millennium Campaign where I work and where Eveline [Herfkens] works in a UN initiative to promote the Millennium Development Goals. We primarily work with citizen based movements like churches and United Nations associations and groups. Youth organizations like the scouts are quite active in some countries and now also increasingly as you see here more local authorities like mayors and heads of regional government and things like that. Uh, in their efforts to hold their own governments accountable to the Millennium Development Goals most of the policy changes that need to happen to meet the goals will happen at a national level but our premise is that the national level actions doesn’t happen unless citizens at the grassroots get involved if you want to see change."

The "ONE Campaign: To Make Poverty History," which Rick Warren has endorsed, links directly to the international effort to achieve the UN Millennium Development Goals. The fact is that many evangelical mission groups are now connected to this agenda. Mission Frontiers, a missionary publication which has been on the cutting edge of reinventing Christianity for the past several decades -- particularly dominionism -- published an article in July/August 2005 by Darrell Dorr entitles "Who Cares about the Millennium Development Goals?" Dorr explained the overall context in which churches and mission groups can work to implement these Goals:

"…[T]he UN and others are appealing to non-governmental organizations or 'civil society organizations' (CSOs) -- which include mission structures -- to not remain aloof from the MDGs, but to take their place as necessary partners in dialogue and development, even if only through vigorous critiques. For example, the Millennium Project 'how-to' plan of January 2005 notes, 'Within countries, CSOs can contribute to MDG-based poverty reduction strategies in at least four ways: publicly advocating for pressing development concerns, helping design strategies to meet each target, working with governments to implement scaled-up investment programs, and monitoring and evaluating efforts to achieve the Goals. Internationally, CSOs can also mobilize and build public awareness around the Goals, share best practices and technical expertise with governments, and deliver services directly."

Obviously, this article makes it quite clear that this not a laity-driven movement. But it is important to read on. There is another agenda at work here, too -- one which has everything to do with dominionism:

"In addition, mission structures can utilize the MDG processes to clarify their distinctive perspectives on the roots and fruits of international development. The Millennium Project report observes, 'The Goals constitute a minimum set of objectives that the global community has agreed to. In several country contexts, they can provide the basis for more ambitious national objectives. Strategies to achieve them may also require a broader set of inputs than specified by the MDG targets and indicators…. (emphasis mine). For example, the MDGs lean heavily on the vital prerequisite of 'good governance' in developing societies. Don't evangelical mission structures have much to say about where good governance originates and what it looks like -- and where personal and social transformation originate and what expressions they can be expected to take?… Frontier mission sows the seeds of far-reaching transformation, not merely incremental development.

During September 12-15 the Evangelical Fellowship of Mission Agencies [EFMA, ed.], the Association of Evangelical Relief and Development Organizations, and the International Society of Frontier Missiology are conducting joint deliberations in Denver on 'Synergistic Kingdom Advance Among the Least and the Lost.'" (pp. 14-15) [bold emphases added]

The suggestion that mission groups might sow the "seeds of far-reaching transformation," particularly in a publication that first launched the mission dominionism movement, is especially disquieting. Mission Frontiers is inextricably interconnected with the New Apostolic Reformation, and in fact has served as the vanguard intellectual organ of this movement for decades.

The question must be asked: What possible unity is there with the dominionist "Synergistic Kingdom Advance" agenda and the UN Millennium Development Goals?

The Truth:

"Keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life. And of some have compassion, making a difference: And others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire; hating even the garment spotted by the flesh." (Jude 21-23)