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
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.