Rick Warren is an evangelical leader, best-selling author, and founding and senior pastor of Saddleback Church in Southern California. Along with his wife, Kay, Warren founded Saddleback in 1980 with just a single family to fill the pews. Today the church has a 120-acre campus, 22,000 weekly attendees, and has provided spiritual guidance and source material to over 400,000 ministers worldwide.
He also leads the Purpose Driven Network of churches, a global coalition of congregations in 162 countries. More than 400,000 ministers and priests have been trained worldwide, and almost 157,000 church leaders subscribe to the Ministry ToolBox, his weekly newsletter. His previous book, The Purpose Driven Church is listed in “100 Christian Books That Changed the 20th Century.” Forbes magazine called it "the best book on entrepreneurship, management, and leadership in print.”
Warren received his BA from California Baptist College, his MA from the Southwest Baptist Theological Seminary, and his Doctor of Ministry from the Fuller Theological Seminary. Warren has recently taken on several issues previously ignore by the evangelical community; he is the most prominent signatory of the "Evangelical Climate Initiative," and is the co-founder and co-director (with his wife) of The Global PEACE Fund, which fights poverty, disease, and illiteracy. Warren has spoken at the United Nations, the World Economic Forum in Davos, the African Union, and the Council on Foreign Relations.
Question: Should we leave Africa alone?
Rick Warren: The answer to Africa, and the answer to any developing country, is training. At the fundamental line, whether the problem is spiritual emptiness, or corruption, or poverty, disease, or literacy, the answer to every one of them starts with training. A trained person will figure out how to raise the money. A trained person will figure out how to sustain a project. A trained person will figure out how to use existing resources. It’s all about training.
And so we have to train people in healthcare; train people in job creation.
Instead of wealth redistribution, which I don’t believe in, I believe in wealth creation. That’s what America was built on. It’s what China is doing. Wealth creation in China has passed all the other places like Cuba where they’re just trying to distribute it. It doesn’t work that way.
Here’s the difference; and I have a fundamental conviction about this. Capitalism only works if underneath it there is a moral foundation of Judaism and Christianity. Because it is the ethics of Judaism and Christianity – Judeo-Christian ethics – that keeps capitalism from becoming simply greed. If there is no moral commitment that says, “Hey, you got to take care of your employees. And you’ve got to treat people fairly, pay ‘em a fair wage,” and these kind of things, those are the kinds of things that made America great.
When you take capitalism and you impose it on a country without that moral underpinning being strong, well you have what happened in Russia as the __________ took over. And there was the mob.
And basically you have capitalism, and all of a sudden you had enormous corruption because the underpinning wasn’t there to stop that corruption. And the corrupt communists were replaced by corrupt capitalists in many, many places. So it has to start in the heart.
Recorded on: December 11, 2007