Evangelicals Embrace New Global Priorities

Some top leaders want to broaden the focus from culture-war 'family issues' to helping the world's poor.


11/25/2006 02:32:01 AM

I am so saddened by this poll and by Warren. Last time I checked, Christians can't win any souls - only God can. Our responsibility is to love our neighbour and by doing so, be good ambassadors for Christ. This means we must show the love God has for others, including those who are unborn. Warren mentioned on PBS that AIDS kills more people in the world than almost any other cause. That's because he doesn't really believe the unborn are human beings (over 40 million are killed annually). And yes we should help the poor (I do) but usually what the left means by this is simply creating more gov't programs. It's because we as Christians view people as projects that we've lost any credibility to secular people. It's because we have church leaders like Warren who ignore their own neighbours that we lose relevance to our own society. We have hope for this cynical, dying world and yet we live like obnoxious, arrogant, loveless people. God have mercy on us.


07/04/2005 09:36:20 PM

Global poverty is all well and good, but my question is "why can't we take care of our own here in the United States, for instance, the American Indian?" They are in as back, if not worse, shape than the people overseas. Let's take care of the people here in the United States before we start trying to help all the people of the rest of the world. Thanks for taking the time to read this.


06/25/2005 09:48:15 AM

Not all those who identify as “Evangelicals” are right wing “Christians”. The distinction should not be lost. Only about 20% of Americans are right wing “Christians” making up 40% of the Republican base. I doubt any appeal will convert the hard core indifferent or the bigoted into tolerant, compassionate people. Warren’s message may make a difference among the other 80%. Perhaps even some Republicans.


06/19/2005 05:37:23 PM

Warren’s letter, and his increasingly outspoken endorsement of a global agenda, has some thinking that a natural alliance is emerging between Warren and his socially conservative colleagues and liberal anti-poverty figures like U2 rock star Bono. But in order for such an alliance to fully materialize, says commentator David Brooks, conservative Christians might have to take a break from the abortion- and gay marriage-centered "culture wars." If Warren's intentions really are good, then he has his work cut out for him: he will essentially have to Christianize a bevy of faux Christians: Delay, Frist and Cheney for openers (who can say with a shred of credibility that the actions and words of these men even remotely resemble the teachings and values of Jesus?), on up to GWB himself. Lotsa luck, Rick Warren, and no, I am not being sarcastic.


06/18/2005 01:41:55 AM

The trouble with what joninokc007 wrote is that there is obviously plenty of evil in many people who claim to believe in Jesus Christ. I believe Jesus said (I may be getting this quote a little bit wrong) "By their fruit ye shall know them." But lots of people seem to care about nothing more than whether someone can claim they "found Jesus" and denounce gays and abortion. Any further examination of their character, generosity, or good works is considered unnecessary. Indeed, it's very easy to claim that "Jesus is the solution" to all problems on this Earth -- and gives evil leaders a very convenient way to avoid all responsibility for their own laziness and selfishness.


06/17/2005 06:28:14 PM

Matthew 25:33-46, among other passages. Also, check out the Beatitudes some time.


06/17/2005 03:22:08 PM

Forgive me if I seem a little bit obtuse, but where did Jesus command us to be concerned about the poor. Point of fact He said, "you have the poor with you always . . ." in rebuking the Apostles about being ultraconcerned about the poor. I'm not saying that carring for the poor is not important but that was not why Jesus came to earth. He said, "The Son of Man came to seek and to save that which was lost." Further, in the great commission, which can be found in each of the gospells and the Acts in differing forms, Jesus said we are to reach and teach. If the church did it's job properly then there wouldn't be such a need for caring for the poor. That would be a natural extention of the church's function. As far as homosexuality and abortion are concered if the church taught God's word like we're supposed to they wouldn't be such an issue, but the world and the church are comprised of sinners and until that changes trees will be easier to see than the forest.


06/17/2005 06:48:32 AM

It's about time evangelists woke up and realized the main message of Jesus was addressing the issue of the rich exploiting the poor. I stopped reading A PURPOSE DRIVEN LIFE after I realized Rick Warren believed in a literal Adam and Eve. I'm glad now however, he's finally realized there are more important things to be concerned about rather than the mythical boogeyland called Hell.


06/16/2005 11:02:31 PM

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06/16/2005 03:14:01 PM

Those who think that protecting the environment or eliminating poverty are more important issues to address than winning souls for Christ, are missing the issue. Environmental damage AND food shortages AND poverty AND governmental neglect of the poor are caused by evil in the hearts of man. Period. The only cure for evil in the hearts of man is finding Jesus. Period. Evil in governments, individuals, and corporations spills out in the world as poverty, pollution, and corruption on a global scale. Evil is the problem, and Jesus the only solution.


06/16/2005 11:01:32 AM

Amen to that nmorris3 ! To others who read this post. Pastor Warren is one of the best Pastor that I have ever known. My church is Harvest Christian Fellowship where Greg Laurie is my Pastor. He too, is a well know evangelistic Pastor. I agree that it is our responsibility to win others to Christ. Our Pastor ( Greg Laurie ) is a very well known throughout the country as well around the world. He has crusades, T.V. ministry and our church is involved in several, several ministries. Not just to win souls to Christ . But to help the hurting, the poverty, that drug addict, that alcoholic. It is our responsibiliy as a christian and a commandment in God's Word to spread the gospel! Even if your not a christian . Cant you find it in your heart to help the less fortunate than yourself? Our world is a wasteful and selfish one. PRAISE GOD THAT HE BLESSES THOSE WHOM SERVES HIM AND HIS PURPOSES!


06/16/2005 08:53:01 AM

mnorris3, That's a major difference between Evangelical Christians and Jews. We feel that life is about repairing this world, not about preparing for eternity. We do this through acts of chesed (lovingkindness), tzedakah (acts of charity), and Torah study. We all hope for a place in the world to come, but it's not the focus of our actions.


06/15/2005 10:32:05 PM

Thank God 70% still know enough about the Bible to understand what this life is all about... preparation for eternity. Go ye into all the world and preach the gospel.


06/15/2005 10:10:08 PM

Jesus came to earth with one purpose-to die that we might live eternally.(Read the Gospels.) If we are born again in Jesus, we will do what is right-poverty, etc. Jesus lived His life with one purpose-to glorify God and we have the same purpose-glorify God(Eph. 1:12). We are commanded in the Great Commission(Matt. 28) to spread the Gospel. If you think poverty, Etc. is more important, you need to take it up with a higher authority.


06/15/2005 09:46:31 PM

I just love the poll that goes with this article (sarcasm implied). It asks "What should be the top issue on the evangelical agenda?" and one of the choices is "winning souls for Christ"----like it's a friggin contest or something. It's totally self centered view on religion. Like the religion with the most souls when the word ends wins. It totally negates the personal journey that ones religion, whatever it is, is supposed to be. What really blew me away was that something like 70% of people chose that respone--over healing the environment or putting an end to poverty. People are ignorant.


06/15/2005 06:17:22 PM

Just read Rick Warren's "Advocacy letter" and 2 paragraghs jumped out. Is he writing about Africa OR AMERICA when he says "If you were hopelessly in debt,with no chance of ever getting out of debt-or even your children out of debt-you'd despair." He then goes on about the "G8 conference" and talks about "the world's eight wealthiest nations" THAT is a direct quote from the "G8" press (spin) release. "the leaders of the "G8" will not SOLVE the debt problem, they are largely the CAUSE of the problem as they bow at the altar of Mammon and cowtow to the likes of International Misery Factory etc. Here is a list of the "eight WEALTHIEST countries in the world" and their public DEBT figures as of 2004 est. taken directly from "www.aneki.com" Canada $739.19 Bill. France $ 1.14 TRILL. Germany $ 1.45 TRILL Italy $ 1.65 TRILL. Japan $ 5.53 TRILL. Russia $436.48 Bill. UK $849.66 Bill. USA $ 6.86 TRILL. Wake up Christians,Wake up America.


06/15/2005 05:15:36 PM

The "Christian responsibility to combat global poverty." is a commendable endeavour, but the way in which it will be doubtless undertaken is like putting a band aid on a cancer. The "G8" group, comprising the SUPPOSEDLY 8 richest nations in the world,according to their "press (spin) releases" have forgiven $40 Billion of African debt. They haven't REALLY, if you read the small print, you will see that the debt is, in effect, just being transferred from Africa, to Europe,Canada,USA, AND New Zealand so that the likes of the IMF(International Misery Factory) World Bank(rupters) etc don't lose a dollar. The real causes of poverty are the debt money system, Proverbs 22:7 sums it up,corrupt politicians and greedy corporations. Check out "www.bilderberger.org" If any reader is interested in "ROBBING PETER, AND NOW JOE KIWI, TO PAY PAUL" e mail me at "otherside532@yahoo.co.nz"


06/15/2005 12:10:11 PM

Anti-poverty isn't anything new to evangelicals. While I'm theologically liberal (a UU), I have a profound respect for the activities of various evangelical churches in my hometown that fight poverty. Let's not stereotype people.


06/15/2005 11:55:25 AM

Just a note to the left to thank you for welcoming us right-wingers to the poverty fight. It (poverty) is a topic that goes largely undiscussed in evangelical circles at the expense of values topics like abortion and sexual misconduct. Jesus taught that the religious folk of the day were focusing on the letter of the law without catching the spirit of the law. (I am guilty of this at times myself) However, he goes on to say, "You should have done the latter (spirit of the law) WITHOUT NEGLECTING THE FORMER. Never does charity and compassion eliminate the benefits of purity. We should allow Him to conform us into his image on all fronts.


06/15/2005 10:38:11 AM

Holly Rossi...where have you been? Christians...who have never heard of Tony Campolo but who know Jesus is God and have joined His Kingdom has always taken poverty very seriously. They try to do something about it. Not only do they pay the same federal taxes that anyone else does, but they go far above it by starting many if not most private programs to help the poor. Yet on a scriptural basis they still oppose abortion and homosexual activity. They do their best to follow Jesus' example and His commands.


06/15/2005 09:18:16 AM

I have met Rick Warren and heard him speak about his passion for this mission to carry out the command of our Lord to feed the hungry, care for the poor, and do something other than care about ME. This has become the ME era and how refreshing it is to have someone with affluence use their influence to change our world. Rick Warren will change our world...he already has.


06/15/2005 07:17:46 AM

There is nothing new for Evangelicals in Rick's position; I resent the notion that Rick is a first. I know many evangelicals, conservatives and Bible believing Republicans who feel the same way and are working in the solution already. I think this publication and we people in general ought to think about stop setting each other up as enemies that are so much different. Our similarities are closer that people would have us think. Somebody said in here "I don't know this guy." Well let's get to know each other.


06/14/2005 01:08:01 PM

I'm glad to see evangelicals focusing their attention on the "five giant problems" that billions face. What good would be the Gospel if the intended audience is sick and impoverished? Not a whole lot. Jesus is not going to judge us by how we felt about abortion, gay/lesbian/bisexual/transgendered lifestyles, war, and all the other things that evangelicals traditionally dwelt on. He advised us that it would be how we treated the least in our world (see Matthew 25) that would be the standard of judgement. Let's get to work! Peace!


06/13/2005 11:50:23 PM

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06/13/2005 04:29:35 PM

Let's help our nation's poor with a goat, chicken, crops, and milk cow along with helping the world. I did go on a short-term international mission as I practice PDL. The children in the orphanage taught ME about faith rather than the other way around. Adopting orphanages and villages by congregations lends stability to the relief flow. Provides and opportunity for international mission and income for the homes by having dorms where the missionaries pay a small amount to stay and bring their own food plus pantry extras then assist the home in projects which are paid for by the missionaries. The money is not just thrown at them but the recipients are earning it.


06/13/2005 03:47:19 PM

hey. why is it so surprising when somebody like Rick Warren stands up for poverty? that's not a radical idea. also, I think it's dangerous to paint all evangelicals and Republicans with a broad "I don't care about the poor" brush. That's flat out inaccurate. evangelicals support Republicans because they care about and respect their issues. I welcome the discussion of social justice -- evangelicals who know the Bible and take it seriously will agree with this focus. of course, if you take Scripture seriously, you also have to believe in the sovereignty of God and the divinity of Christ -- you can't just pick and choose what you like out of the Bible (or Jesus' teachings).


06/13/2005 12:35:24 PM

I don't know this guy but if he can get fundementalists thinking more about hunger and poverty than homosexuals I say more power to him.


06/13/2005 01:14:27 AM

Speaking as a card-carrying member of the Religious Left (see Twelve Tribes), I welcome the opportunity to work with my conservative comrades on the crucial issue of global poverty. However, we can't forget the difference between charity and justice. Richard Cizik's warning about "structural evil" echoes the words of Marcus Borg, John Dominic Crossan, and other progressive Christian writers about the domination systems of Biblical times and of our own time. The Republican Party has not distinguished itself in its approach to systemic poverty and injustice in the USA (or anywhere else) or in its approach to the stewardship of God's creation, and evangelical Christians are a core constituency of the GOP. It remains to be seen whether an increased focus on poverty and environmental issues will fray the GOP coalition.


06/12/2005 07:34:38 AM

It's about time. It is good to finally have minister to start to realize why Jesus came. I help people. Christian conservatives need to get off the soapbox on homosexuality (gay people are doing no one any harm) and abortion (a man should not tell a woman what to do with her body and to we really want to go back to the day of coat hangers?). The poor, sick and elderly need help. It's time that we as Christians start doing our part.


06/11/2005 11:16:49 PM

Not all “Evangelicals” are right wing “Christians”. Many people who refer to themselves as “Evangelical” are actually rational. Now the true test is this. Can an “Evangelical” do something good for the sake of good by itself? Can they help the poor without using it as a tool of ‘conversion”? Can they take the responsibility for helping others on their own shoulders saying, I must act as if there is NO GOD and the full responsibility for helping others is mine alone. Don’t tell the hungry that you will pray for them – feed them! Do good without ulterior motive.


06/11/2005 08:34:50 PM

Rick Warren is earnestly well-intentioned, and he will probably do a lot of good with the far-flung enterprise he is trying to get off the ground. But he is deluded if he thinks anything but his intentions will be "far above politics." The concept of "structural evil" is inherently political; no attempt to cope with it can be anything but political. And therein lies the real danger. A man who is immersed in politics but thinks he is above it cannot see the extent to which politics compromises - indeed, controls - his entire enterprise. The only Christian way to handle such things is to say "I know we're getting tainted, but with enough goodwill, and God's grace, I think we can overcome it." With an attitude like that, they might even succeed!


06/11/2005 12:01:16 PM

I trust Rick Warren to push for anti-poverty movement. This man is a good person compared to many evangelists. I do not think Pat Robertson, Jerry Falwell, James Dobson, and John Hagee would ever move to such campaign in full force because they have problems with the poor. In addition, they are the one who takes money from the poor. Every one of the people I have listed above, except Rick Warren, are millionaires who only want to be recognized in history as the great God's messengers. They hate everything that the Left and foreigner believe. What justice does that do?


06/10/2005 08:08:28 PM

What do you suppose are the odds that Falwell and Robertson will join in the anti-poverty crusade? Probably a billion to one. They seem to think they are doing God's will by promoting an America-can-do-no-wrong attitude, along with an endorsement of militarism and unchecked capitalism.


06/10/2005 03:01:45 PM

I'd personally like to add another option to the poll, on this page. i'd like the option to "mind their own business". While i can agree with the need to take care of the poor or less fortunate around the world, i agree with Watsy, to think he isn't doing this for political reasons is nonesense. Perhaps they should learn to give with out thought of return or who can i convert. when i watch the evangels in action, i see one thing and hear another.


06/10/2005 02:40:50 PM

I think that if evangelicals are starting to look at global poverty they are on the right trail, for that is an issue that is central to Christians, of helping others that are in need. Problem is that I think that if the evangelicals are going to get help from their buddies the GOP, forget it, that is the party of "I got it, and to h*ll with you". Plus they aren't going to give up on the culture wars, since when you are talking about "the faithful" in terms of politics the poor just aren't as sexy as ranting against gays or abortion with the voters they are trying to target (and most of those voters could give a rat's tail about global poverty, anyway)


06/10/2005 12:13:33 PM

I believe that Rick Warren is doing a good thing in combatting poverty, but to say that he's not political is ridiculous. These were his words prior to the election last year: "Here are five questions to ask when considering who to vote for in this election: 1. What does each candidate believe about abortion and protecting the lives of unborn children? 2. What does each candidate believe about using unborn babies for stem cell harvesting? 3. What does each candidate believe about homosexual “marriage”? 4. What does each candidate believe about human cloning? 5. What does each candidate believe about euthanasia -- the killing of the elderly and the invalids? Please, please do not forfeit your responsibility on these crucial issues! This election really counts more than most." Now, how is it that global poverty didn't make the top 5? Rick Warren may/may not be a good minister. He's as political as they come.


06/10/2005 10:33:49 AM

The broader global social responsibility, particularly of the wealthier nations, was something near and dear to the heart of the late John Paul II. Perhaps, being an American Protestant will serve to garner Mr. Warren a greater portion of the President's attention on this issue than His Holiness ever managed to command. Somehow I doubt it.