Rick Warren Cites Hitler Youth as Model For Christian Dedication
Bruce Wilson printable version print page     Bookmark and Share
Thu Jan 15, 2009 at 06:36:33 PM EST

[ source of audio recording used in video : Saddleback Church ]

On April 17, 2005, at the southern California Anaheim Angels sports stadium thirty thousand Saddleback Church members, more than ever gathered in one spot, assembled to celebrate Saddleback's 25th anniversary and listened as Rick Warren announced his vision for the next 25 years of the church: the P.E.A.C.E. Plan.

[Below: new video, with footage, currently posted on Rick Warren's official P.E.A.C.E. Program web site, in which Rick Warren tells disturbing 'Hitler Youth' anecdote.]

Towards the close of his nearly one hour speech, Pastor Warren asked his followers to be as committed to Jesus as the young Nazi men and women who spelled out in mass formation with their bodies the words "Hitler, we are yours," in 1939 at the Munich Stadium, were committed to the Führer of the Third Reich, a major instigator of a World War that claimed 55 million lives. Rick Warren has exhorted Christians towards Nazi-like dedication in at least several public speeches and also during a one hour video recording of a talk by Warren, explaining his P.E.A.C.E. Plan, that is currently hosted on the official P.E.A.C.E. Plan website (see 'video page', "The Global P.E.A.C.E. Plan"). A version of the anecdote can also be found on page 357 of Rick Warren's 1995 book The Purpose Driven Church, which sold over one million copies.

During his Anaheim stadium speech Warren, sometimes called 'pastor Rick' talked about a number of visions and communications he had received from God. By calling on his church members to follow Jesus with the fanatical dedication with which the Nazis, or Hitler Youth, gave to Adolf Hitler, Rick Warren appeared to  be in effect asking his Saddleback members to be fanatically dedicated to Warren's own leadership, given his role in divining God's intent for the Saddleback church flock. During his speech, Rick Warren also explained that God had personally instructed him to seek, for the good of the world, more influence,  power and fame.

Warren moved on, from his celebration of Nazi dedication to purpose, and held up Lenin, and Chinese Red Guard efforts during the Cultural Revolution, as behavioral examples for his Saddleback flock, whom Warren called on to carry out a "revolution".

Concluding his motivational speech, the Saddleback Church founder instructed his ranks in the stadium to hold up signs, from their official programs, with the preprinted message "whatever it takes". Warren then introduced, as leader of the first nation on Earth in which the P.E.A.C.E. Plan would be implemented, Rwandan President Paul Kagame.

In 1998 under Kagame's leadership Rwanda, along with the now officially "Purpose Driven" nation of Uganda, invaded the Democratic Republic of The Congo, touching off a conflict that has claimed more civilian lives than any since World War Two. On December 12, 2008, the United Nations  accused Rwanda of aiding Congolese warlord Laurent Nkunda, accused of massacres and human rights violations and whose recent offensive has created several hundred thousand Congolese refugees.

In March 2008, Rick Warren's Saddleback launched an official national "Purpose Driven Living" program in Uganda, a country which was  indicted in 2005 by the International Criminal Court for perpetrating "massive" human rights violations by invading and looting the natural riches of the Congo. Uganda is know for brutalizing its own population too. In the late 1990's under president Yowerie Museveni, whose wife Janet Museveni has spoken at Saddleback Church conferences, the Ugandan military drove upwards of two million Acholi tribe members in Northern Uganda, through a terror campaign of massacres and bombing, into crowded concentration camps on the Congo-Uganda border where many languish to this day, in what one Former Undersecretary for the UN has described as an ongoing, slow genocide.

Mega-pastor Warren, who will give the opening prayer at the inauguration of president-elect Barack Obama on January 20, 2009, aspires to great moral and spiritual leadership. Rick Warren has called for a second Christian Reformation, and he has stated his intent of inspiring 'one billion' Christians, half of all Christians globally, to become personally and 'radically' committed to changing the world.

With his impressive managerial skills and through his global network of four hundred thousand Christian pastors who have been trained by Saddleback over the last two decades, Rick Warren might well be able to start such a movement.

"Stop dreaming and start doing," the "Purpose Driven Life" author told his Anaheim Stadium crowd. Warren described a global Christian movement to bring the message of Jesus Christ to every man, woman and child on Earth. "It's going to cover the planet," he proclaimed, "and then the end is going to come."

Calling for "total mobilization of this church" and "radical devotion" to the cause, Pastor Warren sketched out his vision, which he declared was from God, of a "revolution", launched through Warren's "Purpose Driven" network of hundreds of thousands as pastors globally, to create a Christian world regime.

Though Warren's speech was in the idiom of Christianity, he did not seek to inspire his Saddleback audience with examples of great religious leaders who have changed history through persuasion or other nonviolent approaches. Rick Warren looked to 20th century exemplars of vision and dedication but not to Mohatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King, or any other religious leaders.

With more than a hint of admiration in his voice, pastor Warren described how in 1939 in a packed Munich Stadium before the leader of the Third Reich, young brown-shirted men and women spelled out in formation, with their bodies, words in German which read "Hitler, we are yours."

"And they nearly took the world, " pastor Rick told the stadium crowd. He moved on to quote another inspirational example from the 20th Century, Lenin, who said 'give me 100 committed, totally committed men and I'll change the world.' Once again Warren observed, "They nearly did."

Having cited dedication and zeal of young Nazis and the efficacy of Bolshevik Revolutionaries, Warren moved on to describe how the sayings of Chairman Mao, printed up in the "Little Red Book", had helped propel the revolutionary fervor of the Chinese Red Guard who had carried out the violent, anarchic revolutionary spasm known as the Cultural Revolution.

With those examples fresh in his audiences mind, Rick Warren instructed the crowd of his thirty thousand to hold up pre-printed signs, within their programs, white letters against a red background, that said  "Whatever it takes."

Looking out at the crowd Warren enthused, "I'm looking at a stadium full of people who are saying, 'whatever it takes, God'.

Initially, the "P" in Rick Warren's P.E.A.C.E. plan stood for "planting churches". In a later iteration the "P" was recast as standing for "promoting reconciliation". But as Warren's one-hour talk currently on his official P.E.A.C.E. Plan website makes quite clear, the plan is primarily about evangelizing the world and multiplying Christian leadership to help carry that out. Compared to the need to save souls, alleviating human suffering is secondary.

As described in a January 7th, 2008 Daily Beast article by journalist Max Blumenthal, the reputation of Rick and Kay Warren, for work on HIV/AIDS reduction, appears considerably overrated. As Blumenthal writes, "a survey of Warren's involvement in Africa  reveals a web of alliances with draconian right-wing clergymen who have sidelined science-based approaches to combating in favor of abstinence-only education. Most disturbingly, Warren's allies have rolled back key elements of the continent's most successful initiative, the so-called ABC program in Uganda. Their activism, according to Stephen Lewis, the United Nations' special envoy for HIV/AIDS in Africa, is 'resulting in great damage and undoubtedly will cause significant numbers of infections which never should have occurred.' "

As Blumenthal's article goes on to explore, one of Rick Warren's allies in Uganda, Martin Ssempa, has played a key role in reducing the availability of condoms in Uganda. Known for publicly burning a pack of condoms at Uganda's Makerere University, Ssempa advises Ugandan First Lady Janet Museveni on HIV/AIDS policy and has successfully lobbied the US Congress to de-fund Population Resources International, a world distributor of condoms. As abstinence-only has ramped up and condom availability decreased in Uganda, the HIV/AIDS rate has begun to climb.

Martin Ssempa has delivered two speeches, and also led workshops, at Rick and Kay Warren's HIV/AIDS conferences. As public health expert Dr. Helen Epstein described, in an excerpt from a recent book of hers published in the New York Review of Books, Martin Ssempa told her that 'Satan worshipers under Lake Victoria' make deals with the devil to stage car accidents and kidnappings in exchange for cash.

Ssempa, a charismatic pastor, runs a church which performs regular exorcisms. Pastor Ssempa is also highly active in antigay activism in Uganda, where homosexuality is illegal, and has publicized names of accused homosexuals who have subsequently gone into hiding.

Media coverage has tended to emphasize the component of the P.E.A.C.E. Plan in which Christians would work to alleviate diseases, such as HIV/AIDS, and address poverty and illiteracy. But the two top problems, according to Rick Warren, have nothing to do with human material or physical needs. The top problem, according to Warren, is "spiritual emptiness".

As Warren explained to a Dallas gathering of 12,000 Baptists, charismatic and nondenominational evangelicals in May of 2005, "spiritual emptiness" is an acute disorder characterized by aimlessness, fear and lack of purpose, afflicting non-Christians, that arises in the absence of a personal relationship with Jesus; "Billions of people live without Jesus Christ. Billions of people don't know God has a purpose for their life," Warren told his Dallas audience. "Egocentric leadership", the second greatest cause of world problems according to Rick Warren, is due to  a lack of 'servant leaders' who model their behavior after Jesus.

Having defined the paramount world problems as, in essence, the fact that  evangelicalism has not fully converted everyone on Earth into Christians,  Rick Warren's P.E.A.C.E. plan squarely addresses that dire need -- for the Christian belief system to envelope the globe.

During his Anaheim speech, Warren revealed that he'd received a message from God to seek more influence, power and fame. God, Warren narrated, led him to Psalm 72, "Solomon's prayer for more influence... in Psalm 72 [Solomon] says 'God, I want you to make me more influential. God, I want you to give me more power. I want you to bless my life more. God, I want you to spread the fame of my name through other countries.' "
"It sounded pretty selfish," mused Warren but, as he explained to the crowd, God had led him on a path towards solving the five biggest global problems.  

Beyond 'spiritual poverty', egocentric leadership is the next most oppressive 'global giant', according to Rick Warren, and thus a higher priority than HIV/AIDS, poverty, and other material afflictions. "The world is full of little Saddams," he observed, "they're in every country, they're in every church, they're in every business, they're in every homeowner's association. They're everywhere. You give a guy a little power and it goes to his head. "


Partial transcript of Rick Warren speech

[ ~minute 33:00 ]

"God is going to use you to change the world.

"We have a kingdom that nothing can destroy... it's indestructible, it's unshakable, going to last forever, it's going to cover the planet.

So the kingdom is multinational, it's powerful, it's eternal and, number four (this is the best news), it's inevitable because God is in control of history. History is his story.

And the Bible says this in Matthew 24 : 'The Good news about God's kingdom will be preached into all the world, in every nation, and then the end's going to come. '

And you can go argue about prophecy all you want but Jesus Christ is not going to conclude history until everybody he's wanted to hear the world has had a chance to hear the word. But one day God's going to bring everything to a culmination.

For the past 18 months we have been on a stealth, secret mission - project - around the world. We've been sending members out, actually over 4500 members somewhere overseas, over the period of time, the last few years, going out to do what we're gonna call the P.E.A.C.E. Plan.

You've been hearing little snippets about it, today we're going to unveil it publicly. But the first thing before I even talk about it in a minute is you need to understand that at the heart of the P.E.A.C.E. Plan is this theme - The Kingdom of God.

Saddleback and our Purpose Driven Network has now trained over 400,000 pastors in over 162 countries."

[ Minute ~43:00 ]

"What is the vision for the next 25 years ? I'll tell you what it is.

It is the global expansion of the kingdom of God.

It is the total mobilization of his church.

And the third part is the goal of a radical devotion of every believer.

Now, I choose that word 'radical' intentionally, because only radicals change the world.

Everything great done in this world is done by passionate people.

Moderate people get moderately nothing done. And moderation will never slay the global giants. . ."

[ minute 48:45 ]

"In 1939, in a stadium much like this, in Munich Germany, they packed it out with young men and women in brown shirts, for a fanatical man standing behind a podium named Adolf Hitler, the personification of evil.

And in that stadium, those in brown shirts formed with their bodies a sign that said, in the whole stadium, "Hitler, we are yours."

And they nearly took the world.

Lenin once said, "give me 100 committed, totally committed men and I'll change the world." And, he nearly did.

A few years ago, they took the sayings of Chairman Mao, in China, put them in a little red book, and a group of young people committed them to memory and put it in their minds and they took that nation, the largest nation in the world by storm because they committed to memory the sayings of the Chairman Mao.

When I hear those kinds of stories, I think 'what would happen if American Christians, if world Christians, if just the Christians in this stadium, followers of Christ, would say 'Jesus, we are yours' ?

What kind of spiritual awakening would we have ? "

[ minute 51:50 ]

"Jesus said, 'I want you to do this publicly.' So what I want you to do is take the card, and in just a minute, and if you say 'Rick, I am willing to serve God's purposes in my generation.'

I want you to open up to the sign that says 'Whatever it takes.'

Whatever it takes.

And I want you to just say, 'This is my commitment, before God and in front of everybody else. I'm in.' "

And I would invite you to just stand quietly and hold up 'Whatever it takes'. . .

I'm looking at a stadium full of people who are saying 'whatever it takes'.

Whatever it takes, God.  Time, talent, energy, money, effort, vision... God, whatever it takes.

Whatever it takes, that's what I'm going to do.

And I believe that today we are making history. We're making history that's going to start a movement that will bring a new Reformation in the church of God and a new spiritual awakening in our world. And, our world needs it.

And today, as you say 'whatever it takes,' you're saying publicly, "I'm in, God. I'm in...

...I'm in.' "

I don't recall offhand, did Rick Warren ever spend time with "the Family" (aka "the Fellowship")? The Hitler, Stalin, Mao schtick is essentially identical to Coe's, as portrayed in Sharlet's book ("The Family", 2008).

by NancyP on Fri Jan 16, 2009 at 01:17:59 AM EST
It's nearly the same, and Warren may have heard Coe telling the anecdote. But who knows ?

by Bruce Wilson on Fri Jan 16, 2009 at 01:21:31 AM EST

I don't recall offhand, did Rick Warren ever spend time with "the Family" (aka "the Fellowship")? The Hitler, Stalin, Mao schtick is essentially identical to Coe's, as portrayed in Sharlet's book ("The Family", 2008).

by NancyP on Fri Jan 16, 2009 at 01:18:15 AM EST

I can see why people like Rick Warren would want to emulate those mass movements like Nazism and Bolshevism because look at what they have done and still do. Shake the pillars of the world. [They also cause misery and death in their wake as they clear the area of what they consider to be 'impure' contaminates--you and me who don't fit into their square peg world.] Democracy and republics are notoriously messy and slow and tend to impede mass movements of authoritarian bend like Dominionism. Sweeping it all away with a surge of an armed angry directed mob is one way to do it. One of the same mind (and same uniform?) is what they as a group want. Though hitting us both from the top and bottom subverting our gov't against us has been done. I wait to see just how much of a change president Obama will be. Why hasn't Warren been called on the carpet for this? Well most of the CMSM agree with him or at least have no problem with him an his particular religious ethos. Once we can move away from monopoly ownership we can have more varied and free discourse. Fortunately we still have the Internet to get this information we need. Thank you Talk2Action.

by Nightgaunt on Fri Jan 16, 2009 at 01:09:43 PM EST
I'll be honest - I don't know a lot about Rick Warren. However, from what I have heard I'm not a big fan.

But I'm very curious: in the audience for this sermon of his, where was the "armed angry directed mob"? Were they armed? Were they even angry? Were they all wearing the same uniform? Was he actually talking about politics? It doesn't seem so to me.

Sorry, but some of the reaction sounds a bit like a Bill O'Reilly diatribe against imagined enemies.

by chipmunk on Fri Jan 16, 2009 at 05:51:46 PM EST

believe me that his "army" has brutalized me by these means.  

happy now?

by Laurel on Fri Jan 16, 2009 at 09:10:03 PM EST

sorry, i exceeded the character limit of the subject line.

by Laurel on Fri Jan 16, 2009 at 09:11:23 PM EST

I know people who have been brutalized by dictatorial regimes. I have friends who have been persecuted (tortured) for their religious faith or political commitments. I have had friends killed because of their religious faith.

When you say that you have been 'brutalized' by someone's words and votes, I can't quite muster the same compassion.

I disagree with the right-wing anti-gay movement. I think it is often hateful and spiteful. And some gay people have been brutalized, but not by words and votes.

by chipmunk on Sat Jan 17, 2009 at 03:37:49 PM EST

My wife's entire extended family in Europe, both sides, was wiped out by dedicated followers of Adolf Hitler.

I don't found Warren's exhortations acceptable. Rather, I consider them monstrous - morally abhorrent.  

by Bruce Wilson on Sat Apr 11, 2009 at 04:47:18 PM EST

1- Warren did not say emulate Nazi behavior, he said see what passionate commitment can do. They meant it for evil, passionate Christians, even if relatively small in number, can bring about remarkable change for good. 2 - Rwandas incursion into the DRC was to defend itself against the Rwandese rebels who instigated the genocide. It is disingenuous to suggest Kagame caused the casualties. The recent UN report was fill of falsehoods, promulgated mostly by the French to absolve their culpability. A rebuttal report by the government of Rwanda cleared up the facts. The fact is Kagame is not supporting Nkunda. 3- Ssempa is not an ally of Warren's. Ssempa's actions are his own and have nothing to do with Warren's activities.

by Jona on Thu Jan 15, 2009 at 09:29:35 PM EST
1 - Rick Warren called on his listeners to be as dedicated to Jesus as the Hitler Youth, or the Nazis, were to Adolf Hitler.

2 - Following the 1994 outbreak of mass violence, Rwandan RPA forces are generally acknowledged to have carried out reprisal massacres within Rwanda and also within the Democratic Republic of The Congo.

Some observers charge that the invasion of the Democratic Republic of The Congo was carried out with American approval and/or assistance. During the invasion, principally initiated by Rwanda and Uganda, and also Zimbabwe, the invading countries, especially Rwanda, are charged with looting, in the case of Rwanda, in some regions of the Congo, almost anything of any fungible worth, especially minerals and other natural resources. The invading nations have been charged with serious human rights violations.

You can blame the UN reports (not "report". because there were at least five between 2001 and 2003) on a "French conspiracy" but the fact of the matter is that the Rwandan government to this day has supported violent rebel movements within the Congo, and a recent statistical survey estimated the death toll of the running conflict in the Congo, since 1998, to be 5.4 million excess deaths.

The New York Times, the BBC and a number of politically status-quo oriented media venues have stated that Rwanda is currently aiding Laurent Nkunda.

3 - Martin Ssempa has given speeches, in 2005 and 2006, at Rick and Kay Warren's AIDS/HIV conferences and also led breakout sessions at those as well, which can be purchased as MP3's from Saddleback's web site. In 2006, Kay Warren publicly told Ssempa, at the 2006 AIDS/HIV conference, that Ssempa was like a "brother".

by Bruce Wilson on Thu Jan 15, 2009 at 11:46:12 PM EST

It appears that you have joined this site for the sole purpose of disagreeing with Bruce Wilson's post.

The registration process makes clear that you need to agree with the purposes of this site, and you checked off a box indicating that you do prior to registration. Do you infact support the purposes of this site? Or are you a troll who does not support the purposes of this site?

Seems to me that if you did, you would at least be able to offer evidence of your views -- a constructive approach to our collaborative enterprise here. None of us are perfect, and we are all here to learn, but if you are going to attempt to rebut facts, how about providing some yourself -- with links. That's pretty standard out here in the blogosphere, stranger.

by Frederick Clarkson on Fri Jan 16, 2009 at 11:04:36 AM EST

My take on "Jona" is like yours, but I'd add to what you said that people need to take ANYTHING they get in the network news (ESPECIALLY Fox and the Washington Times) with a mountain-sized grain of salt.  If it comes from the "church grapevine" (like those stupid emails claiming that Obama is Muslim), it is almost CERTAIN to be a lie.

Much of what people see is propaganda and sometimes highly distorted to the point of being deceptive, especially when it involves minorities or overseas incidents.

by ArchaeoBob on Fri Jan 16, 2009 at 11:20:15 AM EST

...you know, it's actually surprising to see someone come out and say it; especially someone trying to actively stealth like Warren is.

I've promoted your article, and am also now working on promoting the video you did, to my various communities I post on--along with some historical notes that I'm not sure Warren got, or at least I'm hoping Warren wasn't aware of (like the fact that in 1939 it was mandatory for all young boys in Nazi-controlled areas to be members of the Hitlerjugend, and some of the other interesting parallels--including the use of "parallel economy" alternatives to Scouting by NAR-linked groups, Communist revolutionary groups, and Fascist and Nazi movements).

by dogemperor on Fri Jan 16, 2009 at 03:22:36 AM EST

I'm not sure Warren knows much about pre-War and WW2 Nazi Germany. In his iterations of the 'Hitler Youth' anecdote he's dated the Munich youth rally at both 1939 and 1943 or 1944. I suspect the correct date for the rally is actually 1938.

There's a one-hour video of Warren, on the official web site of his "PEACE Plan", in which he tells a version of the story. If you can stomach the full version, I tucked it into an updated, expanded version of my video:

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by Bruce Wilson on Fri Jan 16, 2009 at 06:37:52 AM EST

I'm not sure Warren knows much about pre-War and WW2 Nazi Germany. In his iterations of the 'Hitler Youth' anecdote he's dated the Munich youth rally at both 1939 and 1943 or 1944. I suspect the correct date for the rally is actually 1938.

There's a one-hour video of Warren, on the official web site of his "PEACE Plan", in which he tells a version of the story. If you can stomach the full version, I tucked it into an updated, expanded version of my video:


by Bruce Wilson on Fri Jan 16, 2009 at 06:38:38 AM EST

I've linked to both videos, and have also included the specific quote from "Purpose Driven Church" in my own writing (don't have it live on the orange site yet, but I do have it on my Newsvine and elsewhere).

by dogemperor on Fri Jan 16, 2009 at 02:18:26 PM EST

I am a Christian and a pacifist. (Personally, I don't understand how someone can follow Jesus and then want to kill another.) And I think I could say that I am more dedicated to Jesus than Nazis were to Hitler, or other comparisons that Warren tried to make. There are parts where Warren seems to imply that dedication to Jesus is aligned with dedication to Warren, himself, or at least his ideas. However, I doubt that is what he is trying to communicate. It has not been unusual in many evangelical Christian circles to decry the 'lack of dedication' among Christians by making comparisons with communists or Nazis (obvious symbols of evil) who were 'so very much dedicated' to evil causes.

As for his hobnobbing with Kagame and Museveni, I have two comments.

One, Warren could have chosen worse leaders. Both have taken over violently dysfunctional nations and given them some sense of order and economic growth. Neither are angels, but there are certainly worse presidents.

Two, it is not unusual for a Western religious leader to use and be used by an African leader. Both gain a bit of prestige and usually financial benefit. Africa is a highly religious continent, and connections with a famous Christian or Muslim leader brings prestige. There is very little real examination of the person's theological, ideological and political outlook.

There are serious issues out there concerning the Christian Right and the desire of many in this movement to weaken separation of church and state. However, it seems that this article has taken a rather insignificant event and tried to find more than is really there.

by chipmunk on Fri Jan 16, 2009 at 05:19:24 PM EST

and I think that he is no different than many other megachurch preachers and media stars - he's selling Rick Warren as well as Jesus.

Warren is from the American conservative Protestant literalist school of Biblical interpretation, and from an authoritarian denomination in which the theological range of opinion is very narrow, and the preacher is Always Right. It is not surprising that Warren cited examples of dictators changing the world, and not coordinated "bottom-up" action by an activist seamstress, a group of teachers / mimeograph operators in the segregated state teachers' college, housemaids walking miles to work or getting rides from teachers from the segregated schools, teenagers singing in Freedom Choirs, and a certain obscure young preacher. (hint)

The main point is that Warren is Falwell with better mainstream PR.

by NancyP on Fri Jan 16, 2009 at 10:19:54 PM EST

While I might disagree with the "American conservative Protestant literalist school of Biblical interpretation", I don't view it as a necessary sign of evil.

I'm not certain, but I think that Warren's church is not associated with any denomination. And in most Protestant groups the preacher is definitely NOT always right. That is why there are so many different denominations.

I agree that it would be great if preachers like Warren used examples of activists to encourage commitment and give as examples. But that is also to misunderstand what Warren and others are trying to do. He is not presenting Hitler as an example; he is attempting to shame (or manipulate) Christians into becoming more committed in their faith by using a counter-example of people committing themselves to an evil cause. I don't like what he does. But it is incorrect to say that Warren is presenting Hitler as a positive example.

by chipmunk on Sat Jan 17, 2009 at 04:13:15 PM EST

Ted Haggard, in his book The Life Giving Church, wrote that Rick Warren was part of C. Peter Wagner's New Apostolic Reformation. in the book, Haggard wrote at length of his participation in the NAR. Peter Wagner, leader of the NAR, has written that Rick Warren's type of church is "stage one."

The NAR is arising out of Third Wave Christianity which, as a category, falls within what World Christian Trends AD 30 - AD 2200 (WCT) defines as Postdenominational Christianity. WCT is widely considered the standard reference on global Christianity and trends within the faith. It is researched and written by evangelical Christians.

According to WCT, Postdenominational Christianity has "no connection to historic Christianity". WCT calls Third Wave Christian "radical" and "disturbingly different."

Third Wave Christianity has been theologically heavily influenced by the Latter Rain and healing revival movements of the late 1940's which spawned such doctrines as the Manifest Sons of God and Joel's Army.

by Bruce Wilson on Sat Apr 11, 2009 at 04:57:39 PM EST

First, you're implying that those "leaders" made an improvement in the nations they took over.  I don't think everyone (especially in that area) would agree.

Second, Warren was holding up organizations that gained the follower's zeal by BRAINWASHING.  They were brainwashed cult members, ready to do ANYTHING, if it was asked of them.

Third, those "followers" of Hitler were brainwashed to the point where some reported feeling ill at the idea of being kind to a Jew, and thought nothing of the atrocities that happened because of Hitler's evil- until they were defeated and realized their ass was on the table because they'd supported hell on earth.  They were taught to be obedient, and those who weren't often died (there WAS a German resistance movement!)

The only way you could be more dedicated than they were would be to be more brainwashed than they were.

by ArchaeoBob on Sat Jan 17, 2009 at 11:45:56 AM EST

How many Ugandans have you had discussions with about Museveni? Every Ugandan that I have talked to about his presidency (maybe 10 or so) has expressed an opinion that Uganda is better under him than under previous governments. Of course, that is not always saying much considering his predecessors, Idi Amin and Milton Obote.

I think that most Rwandans believe that Kagame's government is better than genocide!

Second. I think that it is a serious misinterpretation of what Warren was doing to say that he was "holding up" Nazism and brainwashing. That is what the article implies, but it seems very much like a biased misinterpretation. I have heard similar comparisons among Christians over the past many years. The main idea is not to uphold Nazism, Communism, suicide bombers, or even sports fanaticism (another common example), but to 'shame' Christians about their lack of commitment to what they believe to be the absolute truth. The intended communication is - if these 'evil' people can be so committed, even unto death, then why aren't Christians (who possess absolute truth) equally committed.

It is like if I tell my wife that she is as lovely as a rose in full bloom, I don't mean that she is red, full of thorns, and attracts bees, e.g., literally a flower.

I believe that using these comparisons that Warren and many others use to 'shame' Christians into more commitment are a very poor and unwise choice. It is easily misunderstood - not only by those on this website - but also by susceptible listeners. It also seems to involve a bit of manipulation.

by chipmunk on Sat Jan 17, 2009 at 04:00:34 PM EST

Because I used to be one of those "committed Christians"-  willing to die for my faith.  It was back when I was a cult member- I joined and belonged to the Assemblies of God between 1978-79 and 1982 (when I literally walked out!)

I know the power of brainwashing.  I EXPERIENCED IT as a member of that cult.  When you're that committed, you don't question your leaders.  You don't question YOURSELF.  You are dead sure that you're right (really, your leadership is right) and the world is wrong.

You stop thinking for yourself and stop questioning authority- and that is a VERY BAD THING.

Doubt is a good thing.  It prevents massacres.  It prevents things like Jonestown.  It keeps you honest.  It would have kept me from doing things I'm ashamed of today (like persecuting people and supporting evil!)

I'm just glad I wasn't asked to commit murder or something like that.

I will never have "faith" like that again- and I think that is a good thing.

by ArchaeoBob on Sat Jan 17, 2009 at 07:43:38 PM EST

Under Museveni and Kagame, Uganda and Rwanda have been the two main instigators of the invasion of the Democratic Republic of the Congo which resulted in a 5-year war and the subsequent rebel movements that have claimed at least 5.4 million lives in the Congo.

In the late 1990's Museveni's army drove, through bombings, massacres and terror, drove between 1-2 million Northern Ugandans from the Acholi tribe into concentration camps on the Uganda-Congo border, where the surviving remnat languishes to this day in what a former UN Undersecretary has called a slow genocide.

Uganda was indicted in 2005 by the world court for crimes against the Congo, which the court ruled included massive human rights violations and plundering the Congo's natural resources.

Rwanda has been identified in numerous news reports and been accused by the UN of supporting the Congolese warlord Laurent Nkunda, whose recent offensive has made several hundred thousand Congolese into refugees.

I could go on but I think that is sufficient for now.

by Bruce Wilson on Sat Jan 17, 2009 at 01:07:23 PM EST

I did say that they were not angels. And there are often two sides to an argument. There have been many actors in the terrible fighting and destruction in eastern DRC, and Uganda and Rwanda have certainly contributed to it. I can't honestly comment on the degree of their involvement and responsibility. A Congolese friend talks of 'blood cell phones'.

I also know that the Uganda army in fighting against the Lord's Resistance Army has committed many atrocities. The Acholi, who I believe live more near the Sudanese border than the Congo border, have suffered from both the LRA and the Ugandan army. Idi Amin's soldiers were mainly recruited from the northern Acholi areas, and a certain amount of revenge is taken by the Ugandan army.

I am not a fan of Museveni, but it is correct to say that under his regime Uganda has become more stable and a certain level of economic improvement has come about. I know a bit less about Kagame and Rwanda, though I have had several Rwandan friends who mainly talk positively about him.

And lastly, while I wouldn't completely discount UN reports (as Jona did - probably from Rwanda), I don't have complete confidence in them, either.

by chipmunk on Sat Jan 17, 2009 at 04:30:05 PM EST

You have an awful lot of opinions about matters you profess to know little to nothing about, or present as well informed opinion hearsay from your friends.

You present no evidence in support of your views.

Rather than pooh poohing Bruce's well sourced reports, why don't you offer some facts -- with links to source material?

by Frederick Clarkson on Tue Jan 20, 2009 at 05:58:49 PM EST

I do know something about Africa and these matters. I have not read the UN reports that Bruce Wilson refers to.

I don't, and can't, surf the net and link to a dozen sites because I get slow connections sitting here in Kenya. Discussions with people from the Congo and Uganda and Rwanda do not amount to simply 'hearsay'. Many of those I talk with work with NGOs or other organizations often involved in peace and reconciliation work and/or economic development projects.

What I do not like is that the desire to criticize Sarah Palin, earlier, and now Rick Warren, seems to involve a lot of stereotyping of Africa. Africa and Africans are not even important in these discussions. They are simply objects being used to 'prove' the irrational nature of Palin, or the evil associations of Warren. The African situation and cultural background is not understood. Western liberal values are paraded as universal, and much of Africa as basically atavistic and irrational. Rational, of course, has a very interesting definition - what we think is rational; what they think is irrational.

Criticize Warren and Palin and others all you want, but learn about African issues and ways of thinking before using Africans as weapons in your arsenal to attack American religious right leaders.

by chipmunk on Wed Jan 21, 2009 at 01:56:17 PM EST

You do nothing to explain your circumstance or to say anything about the nature of your sources or their reliablity while aggressively criticizing others. And yes, speaking for your alleged friends is hearsay.

It seems to me that in disagreement, or if you hope to correct anyone of any possible prejudices, you owe it to your argument to be much more considered and specific. I don't buy your claim that you cannot support any of your arguments with a link because of a slow connection.

Dozens of links? Who said anything about dozens? How about one, ever, in support of your increasingly contentious arguments that are long on accusation and short on evidence.

by Frederick Clarkson on Wed Jan 21, 2009 at 03:16:07 PM EST

- but these pastors are hardly all of Africa. A good many of the very conservative Protestant pastors represent  relatively recent,  Western-influenced trends of "Word of Faith" or "prosperity Gospel" churches, originating in the US and spreading worldwide (the single largest congregation is in S. Korea), and often related neoPentecostalist Dominionist churches.

To my mind, Word of Faith is just another term for fleecing the flock and blaming them when the magic predictably doesn't work.

Warren is definitely not Word of Faith in theology, at least in his published/ broadcast persona, but he does have pretensions of being the grey eminence behind secular power and does wish to tear down separation of church and state, with the implied or spoken wish of making secular law conform to a particular interpretation of Biblical law.

NeoPentecostalist practices, aimed at producing conformity in group behavior, can be dangerous in many circumstances. Palin's pastor's African guest pastor claimed to have exorcised or run out of town "witches" and other "undesirables". Many American pastors also exorcise, flog, defame, and turn family members and neighbors against "undesirables" in the wider community or non-conforming members of the congregation.

I make no apology for liberal ideals of rational behavior respecting the free will of other people. The Western world has had examples of both rational and irrational behavior (Constitution; Salem and other witch trials), and so have the subSaharan African countries (Archbishop Tutu; various leaders' unwillingness to admit that HIV/AIDS is a problem). There is no single "African way of thinking". It is as much a mistake to portray "all Africans" as always being generous within family and community as it is to portray "all Africans" as being highly attracted to use of utilitarian and hostile magic, superstitious, etc. The first is a flattering and romantic stereotype, the second unflattering, not least in the prosaic approach to the unknown, but like all stereotypes, someone somewhere provides the basis of the stereotype.

by NancyP on Thu Jan 22, 2009 at 09:14:01 PM EST

I've read elsewhere that Museveni and Kagame are both leaders in "Purpose Driven Countries".

Funny, isn't it that these two are lifted up as positive examples- especially if that's true?

I was just checking out dogemperor's dkos blog, the number of trolls coming out of the woodwork is amazing- and all in defense of Warren (and attacking our exposing his wanting people to be as dedicated as a brainwashed cult member).

Maybe we're hitting close to home now, and they're getting nervous.

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