Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Know ONE

Mark Roberts, Senior Pastor at Irvine Presbyterian Church and blogger extraordinaire is one of the most balanced thinkers and writers on the Internet. I admire how he is able to incorporate multiple perspectives into everything he writes. He is a recognized authority on Scripture and a model of temperance and fairness. I don't necessarily completely change an opinion based on his explanations, but I do always rethink, and usually modify, an opinion when he presents an explanation that conflicts with my own beliefs. I am extremely grateful for him, his dedication to truth, and his blog.

For the last three days, Pastor Roberts has been writing about the sermon Bono gave to the invited guests at the National Prayer Breakfast in Washington D.C. on February 3rd. So far, his remarks have been very complimentary towards Bono. His pieces can be found here, here, and here. I’m sure there will be several more to follow. I can hardly wait!

I have been reading this series with some nervousness and trepidation though since it is also an analysis of the ONE Campaign that I have previously criticized here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, and here.

I want to know exactly what Pastor Roberts believes, but I also want him to articulate a position that is similar to my own and I don’t want to have to rethink this matter [Pride - Of course I will give this matter more thought based on Pastor Roberts remarks.] I have been convinced from the start of the ONE campaign that it is just a repackaging of the same failed policies that have created and perpetuated the poverty and problems that currently exist in Africa.

The goals of the ONE Campaign sure seem to be Biblical, but the methods are the antithesis of an application based on Biblical principles. Taking from some and giving to others is wrong. The circumstances of the person doing the taking (government), the circumstances of the person being robbed (tax-payers), and the purpose of the theft (African Poverty) are all irrelevant.


Anonymous said...


Glad to see you coming along side Pastor Mark before you decide whether the proper response ONE should have is to hug him or mug him.

Since--in the absence of an experience along the Damascas Road--the past is prologue, I am willing on this issue even now to choose mug over hug. I regularly and near universally experience something soft and a-Biblical in pastoral thinking that appears to go like this: if I take care of THIS starving child's hunger, then God or a government program will take care of the rest. There seems to be little ability in those pastors I know to lift their heads up and look out over the landscape and see lots of starving children and say, WAIT: maybe there is something about the way I have chosen to feed THIS one, that is not within THE WAY; maybe what I do even to "the least of these" is in someway responsible for there being so many who we call "the least of these." ONE is one of the programs that feeds the problem more effectively than it feeds the living /starving "symptoms", thus guaranteeing more hungry babies and even bigger "solutions." Do I hear "TWO"; and can "THREE" et al be far behind? Who knows: since as a culture we are so historically illiterate, there may even come a day when someone decides--with no sense of irony--that there is a "Final Solution."

Just as you await Mark's next comments, I await your take on them.

But as I've said before: I'm not "post-modern" enough to regularly accept "both/and" when confronted with either/or. And there are times like now when support of ONE big program now is BOTH feeding the few AND choosing the horrific fate of many later on.

Derek Simmons
Calcitrantes nates ad Dei gloriam

David M. Smith said...

Hi Derek,

I would never mug Pastor Roberts or anyone else. The ONE Campaign is the ONE doing the mugging, not me.

You have left a comment that is far worthier than most of what has been written on blogs and in the media about the ONE Campaign.

What bothers me the most is how few thinkers even care if the ONE Campaign works as advertised or if it is morally right. Compassion for the poor seems to be the only justification. I think it has been demonstrated throughout history that the ONE solution has never worked and in most cases it has created more poverty and made existing poverty much worse. I also think it is not morally right because it is heavy handed thievery. Additionally, I believer the major reason this solution doesn’t work is because it goes against the clear dictates of God.

Thanks for leaving a comment. It’s been getting lonely around here. : -(