Thursday, December 21, 2006

Just Say "NO" to Warrenism

It's like a bad drug that's taken over the mind of the church. Spiritual junk food that impoverishes the Body of Christ. Rick Warren and "Purpose Driven". I say, "Just Say No". Why? Here are a few reasons:

Rick Warren isn't even an example to follow from a pastoral standpoint. Why? He seems to be perfectly happy having a pornographer in his church. Ever heard of Rupert Murdoch? He's the guy who printed Rick's books (Rupert also owns Zondervan).

Now, I've heard it said "Big Deal, so Rupert Murdoch published his books. And what is wrong with allowing a pornographer in your church?". Well, regarding the books, I'd probably be kind of concerned about who is getting my money. And as far as allowing a pornographer in the church, that is fine! Pornographers are sinners, just like all other sinners including me. But this isn't about Murdoch. It's about Warren. And Rick Warren apparently thinks there is something humorous about having a pornographer as a part of Saddleback. And because Rick says he is Murdoch's pastor, that implies Murdoch isn't merely a visitor. So Rick, when are you going to ask him to repent? And if he doesn't, when will you bring on church discipline as outlined in Matthew 18? Again, if Murdoch is going to a church to seek the truth and is seeking salvation, great! But Rick should give him the truth and expect repentance -- and if that doesn't happen, church discipline should be the result.

2. Rick Warren's abuse of God's Word. Now, if you just pick up "Purpose Driven Life" and read it, you don't really notice anything wrong. Why is that? Because he uses paraphrases to make it look like the scriptures support his point. Worse, he uses various versions. Why? Because only a given translation or paraphrase will support his point! This is becoming more and more prevalent in the church. If "The New Living" renders a verse in such a way that it supports your argument, then it is "the most accurate translation". I've actually heard that excuse at my own church -- while we were using some of Warren's material.

The proper way to handle God's Word is to read the verse in question and use the original languages to give a proper interpretation for the verse, taking it literally and also incorporating what we know about the verse in the contexts of history, culture and the rest of scripture. A good rule is to ask "What would this verse mean if I were dead". In other words, kill any self-interest in any meaning other than the true one. The one God meant.

But Rick Warren doesn't do that. He uses The New Living and "The Message" (which sometimes even reverses the original intent of a passage). Does he know better? Well, he's formally trained as a Pastor in the Southern Baptist Conference -- so I'd hope he knows better. I'm sure he does. And there is no excuse for this because there are plenty of biblical language tools out there that are simple enough to use by even the newest believer in Christ. But yet, Rick Warren will flip from version to version, paraphrase to paraphrase depending on which one serves to support his arguments.

3. Rick Warren's teachings include New Age elements. Ever heard of "Discovering your life metaphor"? "The way you see your life, shapes your life." Just listen to Rick in PDL. He'll tell you all about it. He uses the writings of Anais Nin who is a writer of female erotica (another pornographer, Rick?). "We don't see things as they are, we see them as we are". We change reality by changing our thinking. Uh. Hello? This is right out of the human potential movement and it is certainly not biblical.

Now, I can just hear someone saying "Hey, there are some good things in the human potential movement." Well, I'm not going to go there. All I'm going to do is ask you this: Do you really believe that the scriptures are sufficient? Is it or is it not good enough that God has told us what He wants us to know about church growth and how He wants it done? Or has man somehow improved on God's ideas? Am I saying we have no need for books and preachers? Of course not! But we are to examine everything we hear ("Test the spirits") to be sure that what we are hearing accurately represents what God has said in His Word. If we don't do that, we do it at our own peril because God's Word is the only objective standard we have.

Rick Warren denies the true Gospel. Don't think so? Ok -- If you and I were sitting in a room with those who oppose the message of the Gospel -- such as Orthodox Jews, Buddhists, etc., and you heard me tell them that I can't or won't tell them what beliefs are true, what would you think of me as one who professes Christ?

I thought so.

And here is Rick Warren (on video) addressing a group of Orthodox Jewish leaders at Synagogue 3000. And if that doesn't bake your cookies, here's a quote from the Jewish Journal: "Warren told Wolfson his interest is in helping all houses of worship, not in converting Jews. He said there are more than enough Christian souls to deal with for starters."

If that doesn't ruffle your feathers just a little, I'd urge you do ask yourself if you really know Christ.

5. Rick Warren is a serial liar. This is public knowlege. It came to light with his visit to Syria a while back. He went there and gave praises to Syria for being "moderate". He was caught doing this on video. He then lied about a video being made and blamed "Christian Bloggers" for "trusting the Syian press" (funny, I thought he had good things to say about Syria...what happened?). The video was pulled by Saddleback, and Warren kept saying it's all about bloggers telling untruths. He claimed that there was no video. Oddly enough though, he showed it at his "AIDS Summit" at Saddleback! What? Rick? How can you show a video that doesn't exist? To this day, he maintains this is all misrepresentation by bloggers. He just can't deliver the truth that the rest of us can hear and see.

(Article in progress, check back later for updates)


His Kid said...

Amen and God Bless for sounding the warning!

This link also has a lot of good information about the dangers of Warren, et al.

Stephen said...

Warren's abuse of Bible translations is astounding. That alone should scare discerning Christians away from him.

Some points on the New Living Translation (actually my favorite paraphrase for general reading) -- it grew out of the older Living Bible, and the NLT is now in its second revision. But Warren primarily uses citations from NLT 1st edition and the older Living Bible. Why? Because the poor translations he uses to prop up his straw men were fixed in the NLT 2nd edition.

Of course, a large percentage of his verses come from "The Message". What message is "The Message"? Certainly not the Bible. How can you get the Bible to support your man-centered New-Age pop-psychology "gospel"? Easy, just "translate" it so it says what you want. That's the ulterior motive behind "The Message".

Anonymous said...


Great article. I have started a blog dedicated to exposing Rick Warren, I have been slowly adding material, but I would appreciate any content you would like to recommend. Thanks for warning the flock.