For The Truth

Friday, April 14, 2006

Truth Doesn't Make the Cut with Rick Warren

I have been struggling with what to do with Rick Warren (that is, what to think of his methods/where to classify him).  It has been a struggle because of our (man’s) natural tendency to criticize and cast-through each other; and often those of us that pride ourselves on right doctrine have done so with the least grace and charity.

Now here’s the story.  Ever since I sat in on Dr. Paige Patterson’s class on the Doctrine of the Church and he had us read Warren’s The Purpose Driven Church with a disclaimer concerning some of the content, I have been a little uncomfortable with Rick and his model.  Don’t misunderstand me; I think there is some value in pastors reading his book.  The idea of trying to use it a cookie cutter to punch out clone churches has never sold with me, but it’s more than that.  There is something about his movement that has left me unsettled, but I haven’t invested the time to research him and his writings (I’ve been busy shepherding my flock, studying Scripture, and fighting other fires, so I have not had time to baby-sit Rick ).  Until recently I haven’t been able to put my finger on it, but something has been stinking in the kitchen.

Tonight was the last straw.  I was surfing around The Thirsty Theologian when I noticed a set of links under a section titled “Rick Warren & PDL.”  As I scrolled down, I clicked on a link titled “The Gospel According to Warren” leading to an article by Gary Gilley.  Gary notes that “purpose-driven” is basically “market-driven” and offers some examples of Warren double-speak that would put Orwell to shame.  Then this is what I read:
This brings us to his most disturbing alteration, the gospel itself.  To charge Warren with modification of the gospel is an ugly accusation, one that should not be made lightly.  What is the evidence for such an indictment?  Consider the following:
In the video that accompanies the “40 Days of Purpose,” Warren leads his listeners in prayer at the end of the first session.  The prayer goes like this:
"Dear God, I want to know your purpose for my life. I don't want to base the rest of my life on wrong things. I want to take the first step in preparing for eternity by getting to know you. Jesus Christ, I don't understand how but as much as I know how I want to open up my life to you. Make yourself real to me. And use this series in my life to help me know what you made me for."  Warren goes on to say: "Now if you've just prayed that prayer for the very first time I want to congratulate you. You've just become a part of the family of God."
Whoa!  Did I miss something?  Where is the repentance for sin?  Where is the reference to salvation from the wrath of God to come?  Did Rick Warren just give assurance of salvation to someone who (in their own strength) basically said “Hey God let’s hang out for a while”?   (For the entire article see The Gospel According to Warren)

It seems to me that Rick Warren has fallen off the theological mesa, if he has ever actually been on it.  Now this has not been my first red flag.  Over the past month I have stumbled over other disturbing details.  First there is Rick and the Evangelical Climate Initiative. Then there is was a FOXNews video of Rick where he answers a question about Muslims by blurring the lines between all religions.  (If anyone knows the video I am talking about and knows the link, please post it.)  The interviewer asked Rick about Muslims or Islamic terrorists and Rick begins saying that every group has its kooks: enviro-kooks, Muslim-kooks, Christian-kooks, etc. and never seizes the opportunity to give a biblical response.  Basically, it would seem that Rick might think that all religions are equally valid as well as any movement one might given to.  Then yesterday (at this point, the day before yesterday), at I can’t remember where, I discovered that Warren/Saddleback will baptize a person who lives unmarried with another person and believes that people can trust in God without hearing the name of Jesus, and they would receive the same forgiveness that was offered to Abraham. (see Small Group Information, questions 3. and 32.)  If there is anyone out there in bloggerland reading me, please give me feedback.


  • I'm reading you, Cal.

    By Anonymous Lindele, at 9:20 AM  

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