Thursday, April 21, 2005

Where do I stand on Rick Warren?

A question: Where do you stand on Rick Warren? I can't really tell through your links and articles. People either love him or despise him, it seems.

Despise him? Why?

Here is a guy who, after seminary, looked for a relatively Christ-less place on the map and found the Saddleback Valley in California. He plants an innovative, purpose-driven church that wins thousands to Christ, plants a few dozen churches and writes a couple of best selling books that are used in seminary classes and sold in secular bookstores across the nation.

Despise him? Only if you are jealous. Or you have some kind of quibble with his use of technology, contemporary music and that he never buttons up for a church service.

Time for some of us to grow up and get over it.

Not that the guy is perfect. I am quite sure that he is not. And his being a Baptist gives him a slightly different theological construct than my own.

So - anybody who is within the orthodox Christian faith, wants to evangelize the unredeemed in his corner of the world, is passionate about church planting, fervent in his role concerning missions, is eager to share his secrets, and is apparently as humble a man of his popularity as can be expected to be and, joy of joys, has a happy marriage – well, that is a saint to be counted as a brother and a friend.

He is a man worth emulating and praising the Lord for.

And now this – for his mid-life crisis he has decided to start a massive new international initiative called PEACE. It is Warren’s plan to, in his words, “do the five things Jesus did while He was here on earth." It is an acronym that stands for

Plant churches,

Equip servant leaders,

Assist the poor,

Care for the sick and

Educate the next generation.

The emphasis calls for churches and small groups to adopt villages where lack of spiritual leadership and holiness, where disease and poverty have kept people from knowing the abundant life God wants for them.

My hunch – there will be some out there that will begin taking Warren to task for sliding off into the abyss of the social gospel or some such thing. And I am sure, having read his Bible adequately, Warren will lose no sleep over the criticism. For Jesus was about building his church, equipping the saints, and assisting the downtrodden and disenfranchised and making disciples (educated ones) for their future in the Lord.

“The world is my parish” John Wesley once said. And apparently, Warren with all the boldness God has gifted him with, thinks the same. That he could participate with Christ in bringing shalom to the world well beyond Saddleback isn’t a bad way to decide to spend a good chunk of the last half of your life.

Where do I stand on Rick Warren? With him.

40 Comments:

At 8:15 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Please Publish Rick Warren Sattleback Church's By Laws and Administrative rules and regulations

 
At 8:40 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm with you on Rick Warren ,I believe he has been deeply Blessed by God Almighty.I have learned more from reading his book and have been able to draw closer to God ,then anything I have ever read by any other person.We should read the Bible first but those of us who sometimes have trouble with understanding.Should read The Perpose Driven Life.He has great insight.God Bless

 
At 9:21 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

My first question would be:
Did he just go and start his own church?
Or did the church that he was a member of send him to establish the new church?
I would hope that the latter is true because it would be the right way to establish a new church. And as you said, Jesus was out building His Church, but the authority to build new churches was given to His Church. The Church in turn use the preacher/pastor/missionary to start new missions which develop into churches. The world may have been John Wesley's parish, but the Church is not the world. The Church is an assembly or congregation of baptized believers in some given locality. I don't have a problem with using contemporary music or technology to bring lost people to Christ. If it works, use it. It is just better if he had the Authority to start a Church in the first place. If he did, I say Praise God and that I am behind him 100%.

 
At 10:14 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Read Who's Driving The Purpose Driven Church by James Sundquist

 
At 10:39 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

How about reading Deceived on Purpose by Warren Smith. You gotta be careful about who you listen too. This stuff came off sounding New Age to me. So I started doing some research. Found out a few things.

 
At 10:44 PM, Anonymous Jay Spires said...

I don't really know Rick Warren but I did read his book, "Purpose Drived Church". My concern is that he will use any translation of the Bible and we know that many of them are badly translated. Just check John 3:16 in the NIV. Then I am told that people may simply fill out a form to join the church and a profession of faith is not necessary. I have not documented this last statement. I do appreciate anyone who has a love to win souls and who is starting good, sound Bible believing chruches. Just wish that I have been just 1/10th as sucessful as He has if every thing is in order gospel wise.

 
At 11:14 PM, Blogger Threefold Cord said...

Okey, dokey, then, Matt. Now I know. :) Thanks. :) I have no beef with Warren, myself. I have simply picked up around the web alot of criticism of him, and wondered what you though. Many, particularly those of the Reformed faith, charge that he is shallow, espouses easy believism, and as is already mentioned, chooses various translations to back up specific points. Some have also criticized his recent announcement that 4000 came to Christ at the Easter service at Saddleback. They question whether these were true commitments.

Obviously others were interested...lots of comments! Blessings to you, and thanks for answering. :)

 
At 11:56 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

On the decline of the culture and religion in America, Warren seems to be rather a part of the problem than a solution to it, especially in his recourse to rock music. God is holy whereas trash dims and eventually kills the soul in us. http://www.nccg.org/008Art-PopMusic.html. No wonder only 9% of Christians in this country have a Biblical worldview. Read also Schaefer, Addicted to Mediocrity.

 
At 12:58 AM, Blogger D.R. said...

As a Reformed Christian, I have had my share of disagreements with Warren. I think to place these in the category of jealousy is rather naive and childish. There are some serious problems to be found in all megachurches -- the music and style should be the least of people's worries. And I applaud his evangelism efforts. What I have been most concerned with are his discipleship methods, that is, until the Purpose Driven Life came out and I realized that what Warren is doing is allowing God to work without shoving doctrine down people's throats. He, as a fellow Calvinist, sees salvation to be wholly a work of God wrought in the believer. And he seems to be getting out of the way and letting God do that through his church. He feels commissioned by God to grow the kingdom in a distinct way. And after reading his interview with "Modern Reformation" magazine I now see how, for many, his method has blurred his message, at least to those not at his church. But now that he is more open to his critics and more open to change himself, I am finding more and more in common with the guy. I am excited that he is on board with so much of conservative Christianity and that he is now showing the world with his new program what Christianity is supposed to look like.

D.R.

 
At 7:41 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

AS anyone can see from really reading and critiquing his books and lately his Ladies Home Journal Articles, he is all about self esteem and nothing about repentance and denying self to follow Christ. He never mentions Christ in his articles, it's all about how to feel good about yourself. If we see ourselves as the sinners that we really are and see what Christ did for us, how can we feel good about ourselves? That is called "Pride," which "goeth before a fall." Ask a few of those 4000 converts from the Easter service what salvation is, I guarantee you most of them have no idea; they just feel better because they think they have a free ticket to go on and continue with their previous sins. They really don't get it. Trust me I know.

 
At 7:52 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Man,WOW! Did you hear that everybody?All we need is Rick's books! We can chunk our Bibles out the window and follow Rick!Might as well cause the Bible he preaches and the Bible I read are DIFFERENT. I couldn't care less how his church has grown.I'm quite sure there will be alot of people in hell don't mean I want to join them.I listened to the show yesterday and you were talking like evangelism and compassion are two different things. The most compassionate thing you can do is tell a person that he is a sinner on his way to hell and is in need of a Savior( a little more tactful than that of course). It's a great thing to take care of people's needs but those needs are temporary. Eternity is forever. And for all you people who hate 'shoving the gospel down people's throat' it is quite apparent how much you hate the Word. From what I gather, his methods are nothing more than sociological manipulation instead of the Holy Spirit working to change people. It's just another name-it-and-clam-it type of gospel. This will blow away just like Prayer of Jabez. Everybody still got your coffee mug from that one?They've got lots of branches but not roots.

 
At 8:47 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sorry to hear that you have jumped on Rick Warren's "bandwagon" which uses the methods of the world in an attempt to reach sinners for Christ. It is time for us to consult the scriptures regarding our work for the Savior.

 
At 9:20 AM, Blogger Threefold Cord said...

Why is everyone posting anonymously?

 
At 10:15 AM, Anonymous Rick Godley said...

Rick 'The Wizard' Warren' is the Wide Gate Keeper of the Wide Gate Gospel Road! Enter in at your own risk. Why would a supposed covenant people need to enter in to another covenant of Purpose Driven?

Are we not supposed to be Spirit Led and not purpose driven?

Keep in mind, 'that which is highly esteemed among men is abomination in the sight of God' Luke 16:15

 
At 10:30 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is great, it's like mormonism now. You have to accept another book in order to interpret the bible. And, if you decide not to, you need to grow up.

I don't blame people for posting anonymously, they want to avoid getting shouted down and insulted by pastors like these.

 
At 10:44 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

What's the shame of posting anonymously? Your words are still the same without a username. Do you think you will know if I post a username?

 
At 10:46 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sorry about my last sentence.It should say Do you think you will know me if I post my username.

 
At 11:24 AM, Blogger Marsha said...

Matt,you said in your article," My hunch- there will be some out there that will begin taking Warren to task for sliding off into the abyss of the social gospel or some such thing." Your straight about that but people have done that since his books hit the shelves not just recently. You pooh-pooh this accusations but they need to be taken seriously. Anybody who extols his look-at-me virtues needs to be scrutinized.I've researched about the purpose driven message and I am not convinced of the purity of the message. It's a good immitation of the gospel but it doesn't ring true. It's a beautiful empty vase.

 
At 3:17 PM, Blogger grant said...

Friday, April 22, 2005
warren's apostacy
Rick Warren is a businessman plain and simple - He, with consultation from his business consultant friends Bob Buford and Peter Drucker mapped out an optimum location ripe for growth of pretentious, self serving, wealthy yuppies, in South Orange County (where I lived for 11 years) and made a big score.

He has unsuccessfully merged capitalism and Christianity and has done more harm in 5 years through his version of the prosperity gospel or culturally relevant Christianity than any other cult (but not to worry Jesus is Lord of the Church not Warren) . An hour of trial is coming upon the consumer driven US culture by the name of "Peak Oil", and it is coming to every town near you (look at the Stock market being eaten alive by inflation this week). It will be very interesting to see how many of Warren's sheep are following when the consumer spending US culture falls flat on its face. Anyone attending Warrens church should heed these verses and examine your faith closely...

Rev 3:16-18 So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth. (17) Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked: (18) I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see.

1Ti 6:17 Charge them that are rich in this world, that they be not highminded, nor trust in uncertain riches, but in the living God, who giveth us richly all things to enjoy;

Grant Smith
Milpitas Ca

 
At 4:50 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Coming out of a church that copied Mr Warrens dream of a church found in The Purpose Driven Church verbatim, and then teaching 101 to our new members and stating " I stand confidently before you, convinced that that this well come true because it is inspried by God" , only to be told later to take it out because it was no longer our dream. When I confronted our leadership that we had sinned by saying this dream was inspired by God and then no longer claiming it, I was told I was taken it to seriously. My Pastor told me that Mr. Warren had given permission to use his dream to any church that wanted to use it. In the traing videos for the small groups in preparing for the 40 days Mr. Warren says "If you have a VCR you can be a star". All this became way to "Man Centered" for me. I have read Whose Driving the Purpose Driven Church? and Deceived on Purpose and find them much more convincing then Mr. Warren. I would pray the we all slowly and caefully read, study and pray over our Savior and Lords words to the seven churches in Rev 2 and 3. Paying particular attention to the contrast of those asked to repent and those who are not. It is great to be in a church now that loves and follows the 5 Sola's of the Reformation. Thanks for your ear, T. Eyrich

 
At 4:58 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Gee, I dared to post a message stating that Mr. Warren's use of paraphrases and scriptures taken out of context is not the proper method of building a theologically sound argument and my contribution gets pulled. Now we are being "invited" to compare our accomplishments for Christ with Mr. Warren's. The issue here is concerning Scriptural authority and integrity, not a carnal contest of credentials and deeds. If you are going to allow Mr. Warren to so grossly mishandle the Holy Word and still promote and support him, then you owe most every cult in existence a huge apology.

The greatest man (according to Jesus) who ever lived had this attitude: "I must decrease that He may increase". He TRULY knew that it is NOT about you...it is all about Him.

Yours in Christ until zapped by censors,

tom

 
At 5:10 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

How many of you think we are living in the last days? Do you Dr. Friedman? I think we are at the door and Jesus told us over and over not to let man deceive us. Paul spoke of grievous wolves, the mystery of iniquity and the spirit of anti-christ. We were never told it would get better, but that it(this world) would wax worse and worse. The problem I have with Rick Warren is that he is selling a mixture of humanism and mysticism into God's word. We are told in scripture that a little leaven ruins the whole lump. Rick should be "warning" of what is shortly to come upon us....not "Warrening" his doctrine of mysticism and humanism upon us. Remember, the rabbinic Jews (Pharisees) added to the Torah(written instructions), the Midrash, Talmud etc. They thought God didn't do a good enough job, so they needed to help him out with the oral instructions(leaven). Then came the Kabbalah or the mystic approach to add into the oral teaching. Well, as we can see denominationalism has done the same thing in Christianity(traditions of men or leaven). Then we get people like Rick Warren who add humanism or their own version of mysticism to God's word. Why does he feel he needs to do this? Why does he feel it's his job to add to, twist or massage God's word? We know what Jesus said about adding to or taking away from the word. It is obvious to me and many others that many Christians today aren't really Christians at all. They are socialites looking for Santa Christ to fill their material world with blessings. They are emotionally unstable creatures looking for the next fix or gimmick(Purpose Driven etc.) to make them FEEL like they are getting closer to God. Well, I've got news for anyone I'm offending....you're getting close to a god alright, but it isn't YHVH. Let me be perfectly clear....God is separating the wheat and tare as we speak. The strong delusion has been sent and many are being made to believe a lie. Let me leave you with one small example of how "mankind" is his own worst enemy. Mankind says, "Spare the rod and spoil the child"....Dr. Spock said, " we can't spank our children for they are being tormented and ruined for life due to these horrid spankings." Hmmm! Let's see what God has to say......He says, "Spare the rod, hate the child. He also says, "He who beats his child saves him from hell's fire". Now, many of you who are offended at what I just said, take it up with God...I didn't write it. My point is look at the emotional and disciplinary state of our children today and see where we(mankind) and gurus like Dr. Spock have taken them. It looks to me that God knew what he was talking about. I leave you with this same scenario of Dr. Spock concerning Rick Warren and others like him.....DON'T BE DECEIVED by the gurus. Read you bible for yourself. Run from the harlot...run from corporate christ...run from franchised faith...run from merchandised miracles...RUN FROM THE GOSPEL OF BABYLON. Rev 18:4!!!

 
At 5:56 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

You guys,what are we thinking?Of course we have to be wrong.MATT approves of this dude.Oh,thank goodness.For a second there I was going to take the authority of the scripture on the subject.Sorry for the sarcasm. Matt, read some of the people's comments on air. You are obviously smitten by some of the guy's good works(of which Warren has loudly proclaimed).

 
At 6:19 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is the Hegelian Dialectic at work coming in through the church.
Jesus knows who I am....!
(Rick Warren)

 
At 6:41 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Go to www.christianunplugged.com and click on the left side: Now Showing,Church Growth Movie.

 
At 8:08 AM, Anonymous Curious said...

Mr.Freideman, would do you believe about the social gospel as you call it?I would like to see a more indepth answer from you. I would also like to know exactly how you evangelize. What do you say to people? I know I'm putting the flashlight on you but you are in the public forum.We should examine you.

 
At 8:10 AM, Anonymous curious said...

Sorry. What do you believe about the social gospel?

 
At 1:41 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

To anonmyous (Rick Warren),
I would like to see your explanation on how you see this as the Hegelian Dialectic at work. I am quite curious to see this explained.
T. Eyrich

 
At 3:59 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

My take on Rick Warren is he is another in a line of self help writers, filling people head with so much psycho-babble, and not the bibe. Woe to those who lead people astray, they heap up judgement for theirselves. 1Thoothy 4:1-3,6,7

 
At 8:56 PM, Blogger Marsha said...

I don't think Warren talks enough about sin and repentance.The Bible translations are horrid.I'm not saying he isn't a nice man but I'm not sure what he is promoting.His message isn't clear.It's weak.I've never see him address anything like homosexuality or abortion.

 
At 7:33 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Marsha,
You make good points and your points underline the problem. In the Gospel that he and other's like him promote it becomes very cloudy as to what is one being saved from and svaed to. Biblical repentance is absent or very very vague. I have three points of Theology I try to live by. 1.)Man is in a much worse state then we think we are. 2)Gods grace is much much bigger then man gives it credit. 3. It is all about Jesus.
Sola Deo Gloria, T. Eyrich

 
At 3:34 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Publish how the Purpose Driven Church deals with 'resisters'.Publish what SaddleBack Church makes new members sign.As the first commenters wrote-Publish Rick Warren church's bylaws and administrative rules and regulations.Don't tell me this ain't a cult.Visit vcyamerica.org and read Spirit Led or Purpose Driven Arcticle discussion on crosswalk 4-15-2005.They have radio discussions on the subject too. Do you think we are going crazy over the subject? How about churches who are carrying these books around like they do Bibles?Take a look at how these churches operate.

 
At 3:55 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

One more thing. Rick Warren,"When you minister in a manner consistent with the personality God gave you,you will experience fulfillment,satisfaction, and fruitfulness." He suggests you take his S.H.A.P.E. program which is a psychology driven personality profile questionaire.Isn't that odd?

 
At 5:25 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

To read about the Hegelian Dialectic go to www.womensgroup.org
and click on U.N.Watch. Last summer I prayed a pray. Lord, your word says that the Holy Spirit would lead and guide us into all truth...and from then till now my eyes have been opened to how very much we are unaware of what goes on around us within the church that is being brought into the church to water down the gospel and get people ineffective. Also go to www.christianunplugged.com click on Now Showing Church Growth Movement, this will put things in perspective.

 
At 10:11 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I had the privilage of attending SaddleBack recently, and meeting with Rick W. I thnk he is a great guy. I believe what Saddleback chuch has done in that community is wonderful, but it isn't the way everyone needs to do it. We have to realize that ppl are different, and what Mr. Warren has done in Saddleback worked because of the ppl there, but we can't all become carbon copies of Saddleback because the ppl we are reaching are different ppl.

 
At 3:52 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

to Jay Spires: Joining Saddleback is not just checking a box on a card. You must go to a membership class, be baptised, and sign a church covanent that includes a profession of faith.

 
At 9:14 AM, Anonymous PSP said...

I guess I will just echo much of what has been said regarding Rick Warren, but I felt the need to do so anyway.

I have been in a church where the pastor brought the 40 Days campaign. Before it all began, my husband first, and then I, went to the pastor privately to express our concerns and to share articles about what is truly behind Rick Warren and his methods. From that point on, we have been villified, ostracized, kept from ministry, etc. I realize this is just one incident, but as I began to read more and more about Warren's teachings, I found that we were being treated as "resistors" just like the Church Growth Movement encourages. Rick Warren promotes that resistors are the cancer in an otherwise healthy body and therefore need to be removed. This is a plague throughout many churches. I would daresay that there are as many 'victims' of abuse from these PDL churches as there are 'converts' using Warren's false gospel. It is so sad about how sick churches become when this market driven methodology comes into play.

It is also sad that good people who are so weak in their Biblical knowledge are being led astray. I don't envy these pastors and church leaders their judgment. It won't include the words, "Well done."

Please, Matt, listen to these who are posting. Don't get fooled by the rapid growth results. Instead, hold your breath and see if the growth results in true fruit. Since it is based on false "seed", it won't. And you don't want to stand before God giving an account of this ministry you are shepherding saying, "Well, It worked for Rick Warren."

PSP

 
At 6:41 AM, Anonymous Douglas said...

>>>"Anonymous said...
to Jay Spires: Joining Saddleback is not just checking a box on a card. You must go to a membership class, be baptised, and sign a church covanent that includes a profession of faith.
1:52 PM"<<<

All of that, including ticking a box on a card, still does NOT make you a Christian. Regeneration by the Holy Spirit of God alone makes you a Christian. God uses the means of the foolishness of preaching, Christ Jesus crucified upon the bloodied brutal Roman Cross, to bring about His ends and Rick Warren just does not preach the gospel, anywhere. He teaches and preaches another Jesus and another gospel which is no gospel at all. Bring forth fruits worthy of repentance.

Douglas
misterdarkriver@yahoo.com

The Fear of God

J. Gresham Machen

Machen (1881-1937) was Professor of New Testament, first at Princeton Theological Seminary, and afterwards at Westminster Theological Seminary, Philadelphia. Published in God Transcendent (1949).

"And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul; but rather fear him, which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell" (Matthew 10:28).

These words were not spoken by Jonathan Edwards. They were not spoken by Cotton Mather. They were not spoken by Calvin, or Augustine, or by Paul. But these words were spoken by Jesus.
http://members.aol.com/rsigrace/fear.html

Do any of you fear God? I do.

 
At 7:35 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am a new Christian (49 years). I am not schooled in all these strange new things but I think I'd better follow Christ if I want to get where He is....You guys follow who you want. If Warren preaches Jesus, great! If not, well Paul talks about some of these hot new Apostles a lot in his letters. One answer is better, you go out and tell people what Jesus has done for you, it works...

 
At 7:52 AM, Blogger Wes said...

The Purpose-Driven movement - a great way to continue to fill up your church pews with tares!

 

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