Warren and Obama Updated to explain my “Protestant pope” comment Update: Warren apologizes for Syria remarks, then contradicts his apology

posted at 10:16 am on November 30, 2006 by Bryan

I think I’ve established my credibility, or at least indefatigability, as a critic of Rev. Rick Warren here in the past couple of weeks. I also wrote quite a few pieces about him at JunkYardBlog, none of them favorable as they dealt with doctrinal problems within his various church programs and minor but telling issues with his own personal conduct. So know that what I’m about to say doesn’t come from someone who is a fan or follower of Warren.

Warren has adopted AIDS as one of his causes. Which is a fine, if politically correct, choice. It may well signal a move to the left socially, but so far the evidence for that is thin (though he’s already further left than he acknowledges publicly on doctrine, if you take into account the pastors and authors with whom Warren has chosen to associate himself). He’s set to hold an AIDS conference this weekend at his Saddleback megachurch in Southern California, and has invited several speakers to speak to his congregation from his pulpit about AIDS issues. Among the invitees, Sen. Barack Obama. A cynic would say that this is another politically correct choice, and I’m pretty cynical so I’ll say it. It’s a politically correct choice. Many of Warren’s fans and followers are upset at this (I’ve been getting email about it for a week now), and now he’s being pressured to disinvite Obama from the conference over Obama’s very leftwing views on abortion.

In a statement, 18 antiabortion leaders called on Warren to rescind the invitation because Obama supports keeping abortion legal.

“You cannot fight one evil while justifying another,” says the appeal, whose signers include Phyllis Schlafly of the Eagle Forum, Judie Brown of the American Life League and Tim Wildmon of the American Family Association.

Warren, author of the bestseller “The Purpose Driven Life,” responded yesterday by asserting that he and his wife, Kay, are “staunchly pro-life” and “completely disagree” with Obama’s position in favor of abortion rights.

Obama was one of 60 speakers invited to “share his views on AIDS, not abortion or any other issue,” the Warrens said in a statement issued by their Saddleback Valley Community Church. They added that Obama and Sen. Sam Brownback (R-Kan.) will “present two different political perspectives” at the weekend “Summit on AIDS and the Church.”

“Our goal has been to put people together who normally won’t even speak to each other,” the Warrens’ statement said. “We do not expect all participants in the Summit discussion to agree with all of our Evangelical beliefs. However, the HIV/AIDS pandemic cannot be fought by Evangelicals alone. It will take the cooperation of all — government, business, NGOs and the church.”

A spokesman for Obama said he has no intention of withdrawing from the conference, where he is expected to take a public HIV test.

Warren’s AIDS conference is a pretty showy affair, complete with that public AIDS test for Obama. It’s very unlikely that this conference will address one of the main root causes of the spread of AIDS in the developed world, which is promiscuous sexual activity among homosexual males. That’s too politically charged a topic, and would be used by the press to paint the conference as a gay-bashing session. Andrew Sullivan might finally have his “Christianist” head on a pike, which would be an ironic outcome.

But now, of course, the press would paint a disinvitation to Obama as a racial affair when it would be anything but. You know that’s how it would play out. So Warren’s in a bind, and Obama will speak from Saddleback’s pulpit. I actually think, though, that this is far less of a deal than many of my fellow social cons seem to think it is. The problem isn’t Obama, it’s Warren and his judgement.

So here’s where I come down on this. I think the whole AIDS conference is, like Warren’s ministry itself, well-intentioned but ultimately misguided because it’s not founded on or guided by bedrock biblical principles. Obama’s invitation is a symptom of the problems with Warren, not one of the major problems in and of itself. For one thing, it would have been silly to host an AIDS conference and not include a sprinkling of Democrats, if for no other reason than to avoid the conference looking like a one-sided political convention.

Like Warren’s ministry, the conference will be an act of serious window-dressing, phrase-making and bullet points but won’t really do much to deal with the actual crisis it’s intended to address. Having once again injected himself into what has become a political cause, Warren will find his fingers singed again and may finally learn that, like the uncle says in Spiderman, with great power comes great responsibility. Thanks to the success of his Purpose-Driven ministries, Warren is a very powerful man. A few years ago he could get away with shooting off his mouth in Syria or with having far left senators speak from his pulpit, and then spinning it all away to his church afterward. But as the de facto leader of thousands of churches in the US and worldwide, the closest thing we have to a Protestant pope in fact if not in name, he is accountable to an awful lot of people now. The old spin jobs won’t work anymore, as he has hopefully learned from the Syria kerfluffle.

This Obama invitation doesn’t really push my outrage meter much, personally. It’s one speech, and if Obama wanders into abortion it would be both a personal affront to his host and would display a serious lack of character and judgement on his part. Obama is a very smart man so he won’t do that. Warren is giving Obama a chance to connect with socially conservative voters, but they’re smart enough not to be fooled by one speech (er, hopefully). It would have been better if Obama hadn’t been invited given his stance on abortion, but honestly I think the whole conference is a problem in and of itself. I think it’s evidence of a larger problem with Warren’s tactics and ministry, which are gravitating toward politically correct themes and causes, toward the questionable “emerging church” movement, and away from core principles. Rather than focus on who is and isn’t speaking at Warren’s conferences, I’d rather see a focus on what Warren himself says and does.

Update: Clearly, I need to explain what I wrote above, when I said:

But as the de facto leader of thousands of churches in the US and worldwide, the closest thing we have to a Protestant pope in fact if not in name, he is accountable to an awful lot of people now.

Rev. Warren is trying to do something with his PD ministries and its sequels that no other pastor in living memory has tried to do. He is, by his own words, trying to spark a Second Reformation. That’s an ambitious goal, and it’s step farther than Rev. Billy Graham was trying to go when he launched his ministry several decades ago.

To reach that goal, Warren organized and launched the PD ministries. Literally thousands of churches worldwide, across all denominations, have joined up and had their pastors and lay leadership trained to operate as Purpose-Driven churches. Most of these churches re-organized themselves to align with the PD themes, so whether they were Baptist or Methodist before, they’re organized as PD now even though most have stayed with their denominations. Warren sells sermons and PowerPoint presentations, studies and study guides and even games for youth and children at Pastors.com. There’s a forum there where pastors share ideas, and often discuss tactics for getting rid of church members who disagree with PD programs, and Warren sends out a period newsletter advising pastors on best PD practices.

So Warren isn’t a Billy Graham. He’s more influential, albeit more quietly, than Graham ever was. It’s not a stretch to call the man who wants to re-organize entire countries along the PD paradigm “the closest thing we have to a Protestant pope.” Not a stretch at all.

More: Just so you know where I’m coming from on all this, I’m a Southern Baptist in the reformed or Calivinst mode. I’m a deacon in my church, though I’ve been one for less than a year, and I’m also the drummer in our praise band. I’m certainly not against church innovation as long as it’s done in accordance with scripture. When our church started going through the 40 Days of Purpose campaign, I was initially happy about it and looked forward to the campaign and to reading the book. But reading the book and then checking up on some authoritative reviews of it made me skeptical, so I dug further with the help of my JYB co-author Chris and kept finding basic and serious things wrong with PD, PDL and Warren’s various ministries. I’d love to be 100% on board with him and PD, but I can’t be because of what he teaches, the way he twists scripture and some of his tactics.

UPDATE on the Syria kerfluffle: WorldNetDaily’s Joseph Farah received a personal apology from Rick Warren regarding Warren’s controversial Syria comments. But shortly after that, Warren wrote to his own congregation that he’s taking flak for doing God’s work from people who, Warren says, are doing Satan’s work in criticizing him.

This is not a good development.

Warren obviously should not have showered the Assad regime with praise when he visited Syria. He should not have denied making those remarks (while blaming it all on bloggers and Franklin Graham) when the Syrian press reported them, and should not have used scripture to deceptively defend himself. And he should not apologize for his actions on one hand while defending them on the other. That’s double-mindedness and dishonesty, and apparently that’s not lost on at least one of his church members since one of them leaked the email to WND.

His remarks in Syria were bad enough. Everything he has done since then has made this problem much larger than it would have been otherwise.

(thanks to Chris)


Related Posts:

Breaking on Hot Air

Blowback

Note from Hot Air management: This section is for comments from Hot Air's community of registered readers. Please don't assume that Hot Air management agrees with or otherwise endorses any particular comment just because we let it stand. A reminder: Anyone who fails to comply with our terms of use may lose their posting privilege.

Trackbacks/Pings

Trackback URL

Comments

But as the de facto leader of thousands of churches in the US and worldwide, the closest thing we have to a Protestant pope in fact if not in name,

Bryan, don’t you think that’s a bit of a stretch? really.

pullingmyhairout on November 30, 2006 at 10:30 AM

Andrew Sullivan might finally have his “Christianist” head on a pike, which would be an ironic outcome.

Bryan…deduct points for that one. You are a very bad man.

Somebody ask Sullivan. How do you do head on a pike?

Puritan1648 on November 30, 2006 at 10:44 AM

But as the de facto leader of thousands of churches in the US and worldwide, the closest thing we have to a Protestant pope in fact if not in name,
Bryan, don’t you think that’s a bit of a stretch? really.
pullingmyhairout on November 30, 2006 at 10:30 AM

Going with pullingmyhairout. Never heard of the guy. But I have heard of the Pope. :I

naliaka on November 30, 2006 at 10:45 AM

But as the de facto leader of thousands of churches in the US and worldwide, the closest thing we have to a Protestant pope in fact if not in name, he is accountable to an awful lot of people now.

And yet he’ll continue to cherry pick Christ’s teachings to support whatever it is he’s done. This is the age old problem with organized religion specifically, and positions of power in general.

Pablo on November 30, 2006 at 10:46 AM

Bryan, don’t you think that’s a bit of a stretch? really.

pullingmyhairout on November 30, 2006 at 10:30 AM

No, I’d just say it was an oxymoron, an absurdity. Protestant Pope? The best way to split Protestants is to try to unite them under a “Pope.”

spmat on November 30, 2006 at 10:50 AM

Just to clarify, it’s supposed to be Jesus who is the head of the Church. Having a man such as the Pope as the authority on earth is one of the reasons the Protestant Church exists.
Who’s screwing this up? The MSM (that infallibly clueless judge of things religious) or this guy, Warren, or some other such as an excitable crowd with a laurel-leaf crown?

naliaka on November 30, 2006 at 10:51 AM

I’m a Protestant and I have no idea who this Warren guy is.

I didn’t vote for him.

/Python

Benaiah on November 30, 2006 at 11:04 AM

Not knowing or wanting to know these strangers, my only fault is that the “big” democr@p name is a so-far-wannabee presidential candidate for 2008 and a bad one at that. Who needs the press heavy breathing about what osama does now. Keep this clown out of the spotlight until the rest are there with him. We will weed the chaff from the grain then.

tormod on November 30, 2006 at 11:04 AM

I think the whole AIDS conference is, like Warren’s ministry itself, well-intentioned but ultimately misguided because it’s not founded on or guided by bedrock biblical principles.

That’s the main problem I have with Warren, like I said on the other post,Christianity light.

the conference will be an act of serious window-dressing,

Which is all this is. This is more about Warren and his “purpose driven empire” than it is about the gospel or even social change. Warren is no William Wilberforce.

vcferlita on November 30, 2006 at 11:06 AM

Bryan,
I too, think its a bit of a stretch. Mr Warren is nothing but an author to me, A very good author. Most Church members have no idea who he is. I feel you’re overreacting on this but you’re normally dead on and I enjoy what you have to say.

Unless Obama really goes off on a rant, I don’t think we will hear anything else about it.

God Bless!

GoodBoy on November 30, 2006 at 11:08 AM

I think I’ve established my credibility, or at least indefagitability, as a critic of Rev. Rick Warren here in the past couple of weeks.

Please explain what you mean by that?

One Angry Christian on November 30, 2006 at 11:09 AM

No, it’s not a stretch unfortunately. I’m not saying he’s a pope, but the closest thing the Protestants have to one. Through the PD book and ministries and his pastors.com website that sells, among other things, sermons that preachers preach from their pulpits, Warren either controls or has very significant influence over what’s said in thousands of churches on any given Sunday. I’ve heard Warren sermons preached in my local church. He has trained about 300,000 pastors worldwide to re-organize their churches to align with his PD paradigm, and about 40,000 churches are using his PD materials to some extent. Thousands of them — most — have re-organized themselves to incorporate PD thinking into everything they do, making themselves satellite versions of Saddleback. Small groups in those churches and many, many more are also basing their studies on PDL. Many churches have done away with Sunday School and replaced it with PD small group training, which puts Warren’s teachings into churches in place of their own denominational doctrines and materials.

So he is very, very influential and not just in evangelical churches.

Bryan on November 30, 2006 at 11:12 AM

Indefagitable = tireless. Or at least, not one to shut up anytime soon.

Bryan on November 30, 2006 at 11:13 AM

Apparent influence is not the same as authority, especially among Protestants, and certainly with regards to attempts to unify the various Protestant denominations.

Warren wrote a well-marketed and somewhat clever refactoring of Biblical principles. Its success is as much an indictment of mainstream Christianity’s ignorance of their own scriptures as it is a unifying conversation piece among denominations. If he or anyone involved with him thinks he’s going to unite the Church under an earth toned, focus group-approved banner, there are more than a few that won’t answer the call.

spmat on November 30, 2006 at 11:16 AM

I forgot to mention that Pastors.com sells stuff for youth groups and family ministries too, so Warren’s influence isn’t limited to the pulpit. It’s pervasive in any church that has signed on to his programs.

Bryan on November 30, 2006 at 11:17 AM

Apparent influence is not the same as authority, especially among Protestants, and certainly with regards to attempts to unify the various Protestant denominations.

I would agree, but the fact is that more than a few people have been thrown out of PD churches for voicing any concern at all about Warren, his teachings or his tactics. His influence extends pretty far into the area of authority.

Bryan on November 30, 2006 at 11:19 AM

The problem isn’t Obama, it’s Warren and his judgement.

…bingo. Mr. Warren has stepped into the arena, deciding to use some of that “currency of power” to pay for a a$$-whupping, evidently, thinking that his fandom will translate into a political teflon-coating if he addresses political causes using ministerial terms…global “warming” as “Christian stewardship of the Earth”, AIDS awareness *WITHOUT* any reference to 1 Corinthians 6:0 or Leviticus 18.

He appears to be a minister who left his Bible in his other suit, but is still willing to intone on worldly things.

…said it before, sayin’ it again: two kingdoms, Rick….

I think the whole AIDS conference is, like Warren’s ministry itself, well-intentioned but ultimately misguided because it’s not founded on or guided by bedrock biblical principles.

…*ANY* effort to direct funds into AIDS research is, in and of itself, a *GREAT* thing. The science we all put such store in — and correct me on this, guys, as I’m not a scientifico — has never found a cure for a virus. Finding a cure for *THIS* virus might lead to dealing with other, more serious and potentially deadly strains like hanta, ebola and whatever these clever little beasties evolve into next.

This is a *HUMAN* survival effort, and has been, *VERY UNFORTUNATELY* politicized into a referendum on homosexuality. There should be no such referendum, especially when there’s a preacher, claiming Christianity, front and center. That should be off the table straight way…pardon the pun.

They will almost certainly, as Bryan points out, skirt around the whole “Biblical thing”, aim toward false unanimity and comradeship in support of the wider issue…but, for a Christian pastor, that’s ridiculous, as well as being a betrayal of his calling. Again, 1 Corinthians 6:0 and Leviticus 18 are *PRETTY* clear on these matters, reiterated in the Noahide Laws for Gentiles and other references in other religions. I don’t think that Islam can get very far into dealing with AIDS as a public health issue without denouncing homosexuality…help me out here….

…but AIDS research and funding? Noble effort.

Obama’s invitation is a symptom of the problems with Warren, not one of the major problems in and of itself.

…he’s stepped up to the plate, checkbook in hand, ready to sign away some of that celebrity capital in exchange, I’m sure he hopes, for an investment in *MORE* teflon-coated celebrity capital, convertable into political capital a some possible future date.

As this is the issue, we shouldn’t hear any “you’re picking on Pastor Rick” or “he’s only trying to do the Christian thing” from any of his apologists. He’s entered the arena. He’s subject to the rules of the arena.

In addition to all cited above, he’s using Obama, and Obama’s using him. Obama gets an entree, he thinks, into the realm of “values voters”. Rick gets an entree into the lower circles of Obama-lovers-land. This isn’t a match made in any heaven I’m aware of.

Thanks to the success of his Purpose-Driven ministries, Warren is a very powerful man…But as the de facto leader of thousands of churches in the US and worldwide, the closest thing we have to a Protestant pope in fact if not in name, he is accountable to an awful lot of people now.

…bingo.

I don’t know if I’d call him a “Protestant pope”…the tiny hairs on the back of my Reformed Tradition neck stand at attention at the very stringing-together of those two words. He’s certainly no more a “pope” than was Billy Graham. Matter of fact, he’s shown himself to be a bit slippery, and as such hasn’t done anything to convince me that he’s a patch on Rev. Graham….

…and I don’t have much use doctrinally for Rev. Graham. I will, however, refer to Billy Graham as “Reverend”. I prefer to refer to Rich Warren as “Mister”. He’s coming into the public eye as a very worldly preacher, doing the world’s work. So, he gets “Mister”.

Folks need to realize that there are Protestants…and, then, there are Protestants. I don’t know of many in my own church who have much use for Mr. Warren or his book or books. I’m sure that he’s regarded kindly, but, when discussed (if it’s discussed) his theology is usually not accepted.

…then again, it’s helpful to point out that the church I attend here in San Antonio is a staunch reformed tradition church…geographically positioned, sort of, between John Hagee’s “prosperity gospel” megachurch and Max Lucado’s “Lucado prosperity” megachurch.

…but honestly I think the whole conference is a problem in and of itself. I think it’s evidence of a larger problem with Warren’s tactics and ministry, which are gravitating toward politically correct themes and causes, toward the questionable “emerging church” movement, and away from core principles. Rather than focus on who is and isn’t speaking at Warren’s conferences, I’d rather see a focus on what Warren himself says and does.

…bingo again. Collect your box of cigars.

This is a good chance for Christians to reexamine their doctrine…if they’re even in a church which *HAS* an identifiable doctrine…and “my creed is the Bible” isn’t a doctrine.

It’s beyond time to wrench this whole “evangelical” train off its political “moral majority” tracks and return, as you say, to core principles and confessional and biblical basics.

If you consider yourself a Christian on the basis of how you live your life, you’re not a Christian…you’re probably a Republican, but not a Christian. If, on the other hand, you consider yourself a Christian on the basis of what you believe, and you live your life according to the doctrines, principles, and Biblical truths of that belief, your life will align itself…works will follow faith…and it won’t be a smooth ride, as we all know.

Christianity isn’t easy. It has homework. It certainly isn’t something handily translated into political activism..even in noble causes. Faith first, acts after.

As far as Warren’s efforts in support of AIDS research, I’d have to say what Calvin would say under these circumstances: “Good luck!” (calvinist inside joke)

Puritan1648 on November 30, 2006 at 11:19 AM

any reference to 1 Corinthians 6:0 or Leviticus 18.

…that’s 1 Corinthians 6:9. Slip of the keying finger.

OK, Mr. Karma…come and get me….

*THUNDERCLAP*

Puritan1648 on November 30, 2006 at 11:24 AM

Folks, you may not agree with Bryan’s continuing commentary on the weaknesses of Rick Warren’s “Purpose Driven” drivel, but my goodness, have you seriously never heard of this guy?

He has the largest single church in America, and has a network of churches which act as, essentially, disciples to his Purpose Driven tm theology.

Bryan is dead-on in his presentation of who Warren is, and the scope of his outreach. If there is a major non-Catholic Christian church in America, they have knelt at his altar. I was unaware of his influence of the Catholic church, but I guarantee Bryan knows better than me.

Bryan, that said, your criticism of Warren seems a little picayunish at times. I guess you don’t like him much, and neither do I for mostly the same reasons. I think I commented elsewhere in HotAir that I put down Purpose Drivel Life at chapter five, seeing that it was pointless to continue a theology lesson that I already disagreed with.

Jaibones on November 30, 2006 at 11:25 AM

Oh, yeah; Obama. Screw Obama, he’s a fraud with ethical problems…skip…he’s a fraud with ethical problems…skip…he’s a fraud with ethical problems…skip…he’s a fraud with ethical problems…skip…

Sorry. Gotta get that fixed.

Jaibones on November 30, 2006 at 11:29 AM

I would agree, but the fact is that more than a few people have been thrown out of PD churches for voicing any concern at all about Warren, his teachings or his tactics. His influence extends pretty far into the area of authority.

Among “his” PD churches, sure, but not among other orders. The bigger he gets, the less many, many Christians will trust him. Striving for “greatest in the kingdom” rarely produces positive results, and usually collapses under its own weight in time.

spmat on November 30, 2006 at 11:37 AM

he’s a fraud with ethical problems…skip…

Sorry. Gotta get that fixed. — Jaibones

…clever. Consider it stolen. Thanks.

Merry Christmas.

Puritan1648 on November 30, 2006 at 11:37 AM

Some criticisms are larger and more important than others, I’ll agree. I don’t think the Obama thing in and of itself is that big a deal, and said so in this post. And I don’t want to turn Hot Air into Anti-Warren Central, so I don’t post about him that often. Most of my problems with him are on core doctrinal issues, and this just isn’t the place to get into that kind of thing.

As for Warren’s influence on Catholic churches, yup, quite a few have gone PD. But he’s less influential among Catholics than among evangelical Protestants by a long shot.

Bryan on November 30, 2006 at 11:41 AM

Bryan,

I appreciate your comments on this subject, it has opened my eyes to the dangers of the PD mindset.

Personally, I have a problem with ANY politician speaking in a church, no matter what the reason. There is no way for them to keep politics out of what they say and that is not the place for it. Church is to worship God, not window dress a major issue like AIDS. I wonder if they will address the homosexual problem since Obama is in favor of gay marriage? Seems Warren is forgetting our main purpose in life which I seem to remember is supposed to be for God’s pleasure. But hey, why bring that nasty sin subject into things? We wouldn’t want people to feel they were unworthy of salvation would we? No reason for people to realize they need a Savior to get to Heaven and they can’t do it with all the good works in the world.

Well, I’d write more but I’m off to my small group lesson (socializing event) to study the gospel of Warren.

Centurion68 on November 30, 2006 at 11:44 AM

I have heard of the guy. I’ve read Purpose Driven Life. It’s a good book. Basic theology. I’ve attended some group studies based on his curriculums (or whatever the word is). They were OK.

I would say he’s influential. I don’t know if I would classify him as a “pope.” There are other men who are head of certain denominations that would more accurately represent such an analogy.

I’m not a follower of this guy. I think he has had some good things to say for the American Christian. Looking at what I’ve seen of his church model, some of his teachings, I would classify it as “seeker-friendly;” a Christianese term for making Christianity look as appealing to non-believers as possible. It is soft and seems to slap the face of reformed theology. But it is that reason why I’m not surprised by seeing who he talks to and whatnot. If he invited Obama to speak at a conference, fine. He’s trying to reach out to the guy. Good for him. But if he invited O to preach on a Sunday, that would be a point of contention between Rick and myself (not to mention his wardrobe selections).

…I think the whole conference is a problem in and of itself. I think it’s evidence of a larger problem with Warren’s tactics and ministry, which are gravitating toward politically correct themes and causes, toward the questionable “emerging church” movement, and away from core principles. Rather than focus on who is and isn’t speaking at Warren’s conferences, I’d rather see a focus on what Warren himself says and does.

Agree. What he says and does is the most important. It shows where he is. I don’t think it should nullify what he said or didn’t do before.

I believe I’m done rambling…

looking4statesmen on November 30, 2006 at 11:48 AM

This might be off subject, but oh well.

I hope John Edwards or B. Obama get the nomination for 2008; which would definitely secure a Republican win.

If Evan Bayh gets it – look out unless he has skeletons.

Bill Richardson – unimportant
H. Clinton – a joke

ar_basin on November 30, 2006 at 11:48 AM

I don’t think the Obama thing in and of itself is that big a deal, and said so in this post. And I don’t want to turn Hot Air into Anti-Warren Central…

…and there’s no reason to be anti-Warren. Mr. Warren *HAS*, however, put himself in the arena, in the public eye, and is heir to all the scrutiny that this entails.

If he were a lawyer, and he was using what some thought was questionable legal philosophy or precedent to advance his cause, I suppose you’d occasionally see lawyers showing up here or elsewhere to take him to task. As it is, he’s a pastor, and Christians are piping up. It’s natural.

Ultimately, though, he’s being political, and is heir to political criticism.

As far as the Obama, it *WOULD* be a tempest in a teapot were it not that controversy sells. Obama’s career is certainly being advanced by all of this. Realistically, other than Episcopalians and folks from the Barry Lynn-to-John Shelby Spong end of the spectrum, most Christians today seem to be — quite unfortunately — socially Christian before they’re doctrinally Christian. This means that Obama’s views would drive ‘em away.

But, all of this could serve to energize the Dean/MoveON base, which will establish credentials to back up the “moderate” creds others are trying to gin up for him.

If Mr. Warren is given a bloody nose over this, maybe he’ll learn.

Puritan1648 on November 30, 2006 at 11:52 AM

Two things real quick. I just jumped into this – the word is -indefatigability and I never really liked the word much but it is appropriate here.
The other thing is Warren’s influence on the Catholic Church. I have seen some of his stuff among Catholic groups but he will never, and I do mean never dictate doctrine to any truly faithful Catholic Church. Much of his stuff seems to go along the lines of the “Seven Habits” people in its influence among Catholics. I will agree, though, that his influence is amazing in the Protestant, Evangelical Protestant mainly, tradition.

DrM2B on November 30, 2006 at 12:20 PM

Warren is quickly becoming a lefty puppet… Global Warming, Syria is Moderate, inviting partial-birth abortion advocates to speak to your 30,000 person flock from your own pulpit? Wake up PDers.

I’m actually surprised that Bryan isn’t more upset about this. I am one of those who emailed him about this the other day, and the only reason I’m not furious is because I’m not a PDer learning that my hero is a fraud.

And folks who are saying they’ve never heard of him… I can sympathize, because out of context, I wouldn’t have recognized his name a few months ago, but I guarantee you’ve heard of his book. So he IS a lot bigger than you realize, even though might not have known him by name. Hell, the guy had his own special on Fox News that they’ve rerun a number of times. As for that pastor who banged the male prostitute, who the hell was he? No one had heard of that guy.

Anyway, who the hell is Obama to speak with any moral authority about… anything? This POS supports jamming scissors in the skull of unborn children and having the brains sucked out. I don’t care what he as to say about AIDs. It’s bad enough to have him speak anywhere, but in the church from the pulpit of the most popular current evangelical? WTF is going on? This is strike 3 for Warren.

RightWinged on November 30, 2006 at 12:25 PM

Puritian1648:

This is a good chance for Christians to reexamine their doctrine…if they’re even in a church which *HAS* an identifiable doctrine…and “my creed is the Bible” isn’t a doctrine.

It’s beyond time to wrench this whole “evangelical” train off its political “moral majority” tracks and return, as you say, to core principles and confessional and biblical basics.

If you consider yourself a Christian on the basis of how you live your life, you’re not a Christian…you’re probably a Republican, but not a Christian. If, on the other hand, you consider yourself a Christian on the basis of what you believe, and you live your life according to the doctrines, principles, and Biblical truths of that belief, your life will align itself…works will follow faith…and it won’t be a smooth ride, as we all know.

Christianity isn’t easy. It has homework. It certainly isn’t something handily translated into political activism..even in noble causes. Faith first, acts after.

With great respect, what you said sounds just like Catholicism.

Sydney Carton on November 30, 2006 at 12:27 PM

LOL

I think I’ve established my credibility, or at least indefagitability, as a critic of Rev. Rick Warren here in the past couple of weeks.

Please explain what you mean by that?

One Angry Christian on November 30, 2006 at 11:09 AM

Indefagitable = tireless. Or at least, not one to shut up anytime soon.

Bryan on November 30, 2006 at 11:13 AM

Haha, oh man… Byran, I believe you mean indefatigable, not indefagitable. Lol.

RightWinged on November 30, 2006 at 12:27 PM

Got my boldling wrong at the end there, but you get what I mean… Bryan was spelling it “fagit” instead of “fatig”

RightWinged on November 30, 2006 at 12:28 PM

Heh. Got me on the spelling. Fixed.

Bryan on November 30, 2006 at 12:37 PM

This whole ordeal seems to echo larger themes in our country today. Since when has America and they American people become so arrogant and close-minded they refuse to even listen to someone else’s point of view?

Obama has a different point of view on abortion than most at the church and even though his speech has nothing to do with abortion, thousands are screaming he shouldn’t be allowed to speak. Since when is it a sin to listen to someone else’s ideas even if you don’t agree? Even if it was a summit or abortion, Obama should still speak, and the church members can respectfully and thoughtfully disagree with him. Are they so insecure in their beliefs that they are afraid hearing an opposing viewpoint would cause them abandon their faith? If you do not question your faith, examine all possibilities, and then decide for yourself what you believe and why you believe it you are nothing but a mindless sheep.

This same idea applies to Bush refusing to talk to Syria and Iran because they are our enemies. Hasn’t he ever heard the phrase “keep your friends close and your enemies closer?” I talk to my enemies all time because I want to know what they are up to and what they are thinking. America has always talked to its enemies, in the height of the cold war the direct line from Washington to Moscow with the famous red phones was established. Talking to your enemies or those you disagree with is not wrong or weak; it is smart and the best way to understand what they are about.

JaHerer22 on November 30, 2006 at 12:39 PM

Warren is not anywhere near as influential as the author of this piece suggests. Jim Bakker, Pat Robertson, Jerry Fallwell (sp?) were far more important in their days, and all fell back to earth. Hard. Just as too many national preachers who have gone before, Warren clearly is only about money and his own self aggrandizement.

doufree on November 30, 2006 at 12:53 PM

I’m also the drummer in our praise band

Drums? In church?

-just kidding with you.

Valiant on November 30, 2006 at 12:56 PM

This conversation is interesting – i’m a former Protestant turned Orthodox Christian. I converted for many reasons, one of which was to find the roots of Christianity. it seems that anyone can open a church these days and call it “protestant” which is really too bad. The good news for me anyway is that this Warren guy won’t ever be able to infiltrate the teachings of my church.

pullingmyhairout on November 30, 2006 at 12:56 PM

I strongly disagree with everything you’ve said, including the part about money, doufree. As far as I can tell, Warren is clean on money issues. Very clean, in fact, and reportedly tithes 90% of his Saddleback salary back to the church. He recently donated $2 million (earned from sales of PDL, I think) to help save a few jobs at his Purpose-Driven HQ. He’s a lot of things, but a money-grubbing televangelist isn’t one of them.

As for his influence, none of the pastors you mentioned single-handedly re-organized about 40,000 thousand churches in the span of a couple of years, and did so on a worldwide basis. None of them continue to influence pastors and lay leaders to the extent that Warren does. None of them are even close to his level of influence across all of Protestantism. He avoided their mistakes in getting too political, which made them controversial. Being a politician per se isn’t his goal and never was.

Warren is much quieter than any previous famous pastor, but that doesn’t mean he’s less influential. Do your homework on him and you’ll see that I’m right.

Bryan on November 30, 2006 at 1:01 PM

I’m not going to get down in the weeds on this topic, because it’s nothing that I get worked up about. But bottom line, doesn’t it pretty much boil down to two rock stars–one religious and one political, neither of whom has ever turned down a spotlight, a camera, or a microphone–using each other? Am I wrong in seeing it that way?

Slightly off-topic, but I find it amusing that there are people who apparently think I should be impressed by Warren just because he has the biggest church in America. Sorry, but I could really give a shiny rat’s rectum–status for the sake of status is worthless, not to mention profoundly un-Christlike. That’s what bothers me about the whole “megachurch” phenomenon–I can’t help but see them as a triumph of the slick sales pitch, when doctrinally they’re just a bunch of empty calories. Maybe it’s just my cynical nature, but trendy just doesn’t do it for me. The Atkins Diet was real popular for a while there too, until other fads and flavors-of-the-week came along to draw the lemmings elsewhere.

ReubenJCogburn on November 30, 2006 at 1:08 PM

Heh. Got me on the spelling. Fixed.

Bryan on November 30, 2006 at 12:37 PM

Yeah, indefatigable is fine… But indefagitable sounds like you’re saying you’re a “fagit” incapable of being made straight (“defagit”). Indefagitable. Heh.

RightWinged on November 30, 2006 at 1:15 PM

Talking to your enemies or those you disagree with is not wrong or weak; it is smart and the best way to understand what they are about.

JaHerer22 on November 30, 2006 at 12:39 PM

Talking only lets you hear what they want to tell you. Good thing it is not the only way to know what they are about.

News2Use on November 30, 2006 at 1:19 PM

JaHerer22,

You asked “Since when is it a sin to listen to someone else’s ideas even if you don’t agree?”

That’s not the sin, having Obama, who openly advocates several activities that violate God’s Word, speaking from God’s pulpit is a sin. By allowing that man to have a forum in God’s house of worship, Warren is essentially stepping back and saying that he has no problem with those beliefs. What does light have in common with darkness?

“38 They shed innocent blood,
the blood of their sons and daughters,
whom they sacrificed to the idols of Canaan,
and the land was desecrated by their blood.

39 They defiled themselves by what they did;
by their deeds they prostituted themselves.

40 Therefore the LORD was angry with his people
and abhorred his inheritance. ”
PS 106:38-40

It also reminds me of the warning given to another church long ago, “I know what you are doing. I know you aren’t cold or hot. I wish you were either one or the other! But you are lukewarm. You aren’t hot or cold. So I am going to spit you out of my mouth.” Rev 3:15-16

Centurion68 on November 30, 2006 at 1:23 PM

Talking only lets you hear what they want to tell you. Good thing it is not the only way to know what they are about.

Obiviously they are only going to tell you want they want you to hear. That’s why you must be smarter than them, read between the lines, infer what they actually mean. You must use your eyes as well as your ears, observe their body langauge, observe what their aids are doing in the background. I’m not advocating we accept what they say at face value, I’m saying we use talks as an opportunity to gain intel and get to the bottom of things.

JaHerer22 on November 30, 2006 at 1:31 PM

JaHerer, go read the post I just put up about Iranian guns making their way into Iraq. They’re directly supplying the insurgency. So what should we discuss with them?

Bryan on November 30, 2006 at 1:39 PM

Heh. Got me on the spelling. Fixed.

Yeah, I actually dictionary.com’d the original spelling and nothing came up, so I was kinda worried. Figured I would ask for clarification before making any assumptions.

ya know “ass-u-me”

:-)

One Angry Christian on November 30, 2006 at 1:39 PM

That’s not the sin, having Obama, who openly advocates several activities that violate God’s Word, speaking from God’s pulpit is a sin. By allowing that man to have a forum in God’s house of worship, Warren is essentially stepping back and saying that he has no problem with those beliefs. What does light have in common with darkness?

I understand this in the respect that Obama should not be at the pulpit preaching his beliefs to the congregation. However for them to refuse to listen to what he has to say about AIDs because of his beliefs on abortion seems rather silly. And what if Obama were not preaching, but was merely holding a discussion with members of the church about what he believes and why he believes it regarding abortion and the church has the chance to tell him what they believe and why they believe it? This seems like it would be beneficial to both parties, no?

JaHerer22 on November 30, 2006 at 1:42 PM

JaHerer22,

It may seem silly to you and that is your right to feel that way. However, if he is that far apart from God’s word on those other issues, how can I expect him to have anything worth hearing on AIDS? He does not believe homosexuality to be wrong and that is still one of the leading methods of transmittal! What value is his opinion? None. I know I wouldn’t agree with Hillarycare so why should I listen to her stance on it?

Centurion68 on November 30, 2006 at 1:46 PM

Puritan,

PRCalDude@gmail.com

PRCalDude on November 30, 2006 at 1:52 PM

Centurion,

Abortion is one of those issues that people hold very firm beliefs on which they are usually unwilling change. Debating it is rather pointless as most people will hold to their convictions and any debate almost always unravels into name-calling.

AIDs on the other hand should be an issue everyone can come together on and work towards a solution. It should not be a divisive or partisan issue. Bringing the question of homosexuality into the equation seems to serve no purpose but to make it divisive. Yes, homosexuals spread AIDs but heterosexuals spread it in much great numbers simply because they exist in greater numbers. Furthermore, prevention techniques are exactly the same regardless of sexual orientation. So how does it matter what his view on homosexuality is? Why must we make this an issue? Why can we not agree to work to fix the problem together?

JaHerer22 on November 30, 2006 at 2:05 PM

JaHerer, go read the post I just put up about Iranian guns making their way into Iraq. They’re directly supplying the insurgency. So what should we discuss with them?

We should ask them what they hope to gain by supplying these guns. We should inform them that the more Iraq devolves into civil war the more refugees and more problems they will have on their border.

JaHerer22 on November 30, 2006 at 2:08 PM

We shouldn’t, say, threaten them for supplying people who are killing American troops and trying to defeat us in open warfare?

Do you really think they’ll honestly answer any of your questions? Do you think they care about refugees and border issues, especially when they can ramp up the chaos, drive us out and then just move the border so that Greater Iran includes southern Iraq? And do you think they’ll give a fig what the international community says about any of that, when Iran suddenly controls a huge portion of the world’s oil supply?

Do you think beyond naive assumptions at all?

Bryan on November 30, 2006 at 2:14 PM

We shouldn’t, say, threaten them for supplying people who are killing American troops and trying to defeat us in open warfare?

I’m not opposed to threatening them, threats can work well. But don’t we have to engage in dialoge in order to threaten them? Isn’t a face-to-face threat a lot more effective and powerful than a threat through a third party or through a leaked memo?

Do you really think they’ll honestly answer any of your questions?

No, of course not. Please read what I said in my previous post regarding that.

Do you think they care about refugees and border issues, especially when they can ramp up the chaos, drive us out and then just move the border so that Greater Iran includes southern Iraq?

Yes, I think every country cares about refugees and border issues. They don’t want responsbility for thousands of poor, homeless, bloody refugees. It is probably not their top priority and they would probably deal with the refugees if it meant victory of another sort, but yes, I’m think they care about the issue.

JaHerer22 on November 30, 2006 at 2:31 PM

wow. This just gets worse and worse.

One Angry Christian on November 30, 2006 at 3:07 PM

With great respect, what you said sounds just like Catholicism. — Sydney Carton

Catholicism is works-righteousness, just as I understand Mr. Warren to be. I can’t see, from what you echoed of my screed in your post, where you derive works-righteousness.

Let me go on record, then: it is not by works, but by faith — the best definition for which I’ve found is “taking God at his word”, the belief that God will keep his promises — that one is justified, to stand righteous before a just God. Our works are as rags, but works proceed from the justified sinner, and should be credited not to the sinner but to God, for good only proceeds from the sinner through the ministery of the Holy Spirit.

T.U.L.I.P.

Puritan1648 on November 30, 2006 at 3:21 PM

With great respect, what you said sounds just like Catholicism. — Sydney Carton

…not that there’s anything wrong with that….

Puritan1648 on November 30, 2006 at 3:22 PM

Since when is it a sin to listen to someone else’s ideas even if you don’t agree? — JarHerer22

Obama’s to speak *FROM THE PULPIT* in Mr. Warren’s church.

If he’s speaking from the pulpit, and espouses ideas which contravene scripture — abortion, homosexuality, any of a number of views diverging from biblican teachings — then *PRESTO* it *IS* a sin.

They might not believe that in Mr. Warren’s church. Mr. Warren may not believe that. You’re bound to laws even if you don’t believe in ‘em.

If the meeting isn’t *EXCLUSIVELY* secular, with the auditorium of the church being used simply as a meeting place, and the pulpit as a podium…in other words, if there are no prayers before, after or during the ceremony, then espousing such views — in fact any views other than those involved in the worshipping of the Living God — then it *IS* a sin.

…sin…not in the “bad thing”, “mistake”, “human foible” sense…sin…I’m getting all “Old Testament-y” here. Sin, as in “separation from a just God” sin.

Puritan1648 on November 30, 2006 at 3:29 PM

…to continue screed: this is why churches are *AWFUL* places to hold secular meetings. If you need a venue, rent a hall somewhere. Meet in the gym. I expect that Saddleback has a gym.

Then again, Saddleback is probably one of those big, shiny auditorium-type buildings with stadium-style seating and big panels screens, so you can see the pastor preaching even when you’re in the “cheap seats”…er…so to speak.

If you want to hold a skull-session to figure out the cure for the common cold, energize voters, sell pots and pans, or hear the latest “praise” band sing “Jesus is my boyfriend” music, rent the VFW hall.

Church is for worship. Full stop.

Puritan1648 on November 30, 2006 at 3:32 PM

Talking to your enemies or those you disagree with is not wrong or weak; it is smart and the best way to understand what they are about. — JaHerer22

…naive.

Talking with an enemy, especially an extra-national enemy, legitimizes him, and you’re putting him forward as an equal.

Another, more practical point: talking to your enemies only gives them the opportunity to lie to your face, where before they had to take the effort to run around behind you to lie.

Puritan1648 on November 30, 2006 at 3:38 PM

We should ask them what they hope to gain by supplying these guns. We should inform them that the more Iraq devolves into civil war the more refugees and more problems they will have on their border. — JaHerer22

…then what? Do we put ‘em in “time out”?

This is why Mister Rogers stayed on Public Television, playing with cardigans and handpuppets. This is why he wasn’t an international arms dealer or a rising star at the Pentagon.

This betrays an amazing lack of understanding of how nations interact, or even of how people interact. I had expected better.

Puritan1648 on November 30, 2006 at 3:49 PM

PRCalDude,

The file’s 39 Mb. I’ll try to break it up. I tried to zip it, and it’s still to big to attach and email. Sorry. Let me give it some thought.

Puritan1648 on November 30, 2006 at 3:51 PM

…not that there’s anything wrong with that….

Puritan1648 on November 30, 2006 at 3:22 PM

Heh.

Great thread on Warren, all. Appreciate the post, Bryan; well done.

And is it just me, or does anyone else think GregH just changed his name to JaHeyDere22?

Jaibones on November 30, 2006 at 4:07 PM

Bryan,

Most of what I have learned about Warren (other than skimming through his book brought to our office by a co-worker) has come from you. And a big part of what I have learned is that, somewhat ironically, you are riding in his wake. He is your reason-to-be.

By the way, when you use phrases such as “reportedly” instead of specific attribution it carries even less weight than an AP story about the fighting in Iraq.

Ultimately, only time will tell.

doufree on November 30, 2006 at 4:23 PM

So Warren isn’t a Billy Graham. He’s more influential, albeit more quietly, than Graham ever was.

Bryan, I think Warren has about 40 more years to live up to Billy Graham. You are a little naive on the influence of Billy Graham.
Most churches have a small group ministry, PD is now one of the component, but not entirely the focus. Small groups started many years before he was in the pulpit. Fuller Seminary, not far from his church, was one of the leading seminaries to promote and educate small groups. We will see where his church is in 25 years. FYI, Chuck Smith also a So. Cal. minister, has discipled many more church leaders with greater influence than Warren (although as you put it “albeit more quietly”.
Warren is one of many in a long line of charismatic church leaders, I could name a dozen with greater influence in the past 10 years than him.
Warrens influence will either continue or fade away depending on the bedrock it is built upon. He is what I call a “boutique minister”.

right2bright on November 30, 2006 at 4:39 PM

PRCalDude,

The file’s 39 Mb. I’ll try to break it up. I tried to zip it, and it’s still to big to attach and email. Sorry. Let me give it some thought.

Puritan1648 on November 30, 2006 at 3:51 PM

FYI, Puritan, you could upload it to Rapidshare–it’s just a free upload host that’s handy for transferring larger files–and then send PRCalDude the download link that they’ll give to you. All he’ll have to do then is click on the link and download the file to his computer. I use Rapidshare all the time. (Yes, mostly for porn.)

ReubenJCogburn on November 30, 2006 at 4:41 PM

Puritan,

…to continue screed: this is why churches are *AWFUL* places to hold secular meetings. If you need a venue, rent a hall somewhere. Meet in the gym. I expect that Saddleback has a gym.

Then again, Saddleback is probably one of those big, shiny auditorium-type buildings with stadium-style seating and big panels screens, so you can see the pastor preaching even when you’re in the “cheap seats”…er…so to speak.

If you want to hold a skull-session to figure out the cure for the common cold, energize voters, sell pots and pans, or hear the latest “praise” band sing “Jesus is my boyfriend” music, rent the VFW hall.

Church is for worship. Full stop.

Exactly. As Meredith Kline is known for saying, “What hath the cult to do with the culture?”

right2bright,

Fuller Seminary is one of the biggest cesspools of devilry in the Christian sphere today. Their library has a full wall of homosexual studies material. They’re as theologically liberal as they come, and don’t even believe that the Word of God was breathed out by God.

PRCalDude on November 30, 2006 at 4:56 PM

Warren’s not my reason-to-be. I’ve spent less 1% of my blog time writing about him. He wasn’t the reason I started blogging and isn’t the reason I blog now.

Bryan on November 30, 2006 at 4:59 PM

Catholicism is works-righteousness, just as I understand Mr. Warren to be. I can’t see, from what you echoed of my screed in your post, where you derive works-righteousness.

Pruitan,

Although there is a lot of history and anger behind this debate, in general, you’re mistaken about Catholic theology. It is not as you characterize. You originally said “works will follow faith.” That’s exactly the point that Catholicism makes about “works.” They follow faith. Faith without works is dead. The whole “faith alone” vs. “works” debate between Protestants and Catholics has been history’s biggest misunderstandings. In fact, although I don’t have it handy, I recall that recently there was some kind of joint theological statement between the Vatican and the Lutheran Church which basically said “you know what, this debate WAS just a big misunderstanding.” I remember it well in the Catholic blogosphere because posts were headed with titles like “Reformation Over” and stuff like that. Obviously, of course, the 2 churches still have certain theological differences.

Here’s a nice little summary:
http://www.davidmacd.com/catholic/faith_vs_works.htm

Sydney Carton on November 30, 2006 at 6:29 PM

Their library has a full wall of homosexual studies material.
PRCalDude

So how long did you hang out at the wall?

I wasn’t supporting or casting dispersions on Fuller, only stating that small groups in the PD concept have been around well before Warren started preaching. I am sure the seminary you went to is far superior to Fuller.

right2bright on November 30, 2006 at 7:29 PM

Didn’t go to seminary. Haven’t been to Fuller’s library, just told this by one of my ministers about 10 years ago.

BTW, Chuck Smith’s son doesn’t preach on hell. Too controversial: http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-smiths2sep02,0,2227134.story?page=1&coll=la-home-headlines . If he’s so great at discipling, why didn’t he start there?

PRCalDude on November 30, 2006 at 7:42 PM

I grew up in a mainline protestant church, and because of that experience was convinced during my teenage years that Christians were all communist sympathizers. They loved the Sandinistas, loved the Soviet Union, hated Reagan, etc. It’s only because I ended up going to a Christian high school that I found out about other points of view (such as the dreaded evangelical Christians the preacher always warned us about.)

Although I am a protestant, I don’t like the term. I found less to protest about John Paul II, for example, than many protestant leaders.

Coyote D. on November 30, 2006 at 7:46 PM

Indefagitable in the Urban Dictionary.

Folks, you may not agree with Bryan’s continuing commentary on the weaknesses of Rick Warren’s “Purpose Driven” drivel, but my goodness, have you seriously never heard of this guy?

I’m pretty sure I read about him in this Tim LaHaye novel – wasn’t that Carpathia character based on Rick Warren?

In all seriousness, when a preacher starts getting “big” like Warren, Dobson, and many others, I immediately tune him out. I might agree with him on a topic or two, but I don’t seek out his opinions or take him too seriously because in my mind he’s moved from “religious leader” in the Respected category to “politician” in the Disdain and Distrust category, when I think about him at all. Someone gave me a copy of PD Life a few years ago, I flipped through it, recognized it for what it was and filed it appropriately – right after the potato peelings. So when I read the name “Rick Warren” there’s a bit of a hesitation while I make the connection – “Oh yeah, him.” I can’t be the only one who does this.

Laura on November 30, 2006 at 8:23 PM

Indefagitable in the Urban Dictionary.

That’s, um, not what I meant. Good word though.

Bryan on November 30, 2006 at 9:26 PM

And here I thought Warren was trying to corrupt you with more than just a Purpose Driven life. ;-)

Laura on November 30, 2006 at 10:08 PM

Wait a minute.
No wonder it sounded like deja vu.
Obama was in Kenya visiting grannie and had announced he was planning on being on Kenyan TV getting an HIV/AID test in August 2006
http://www.kaisernetwork.org/daily_reports/rep_index.cfm?DR_ID=39382
Making a career out of getting poked for posterity.

What’s not compelling politically for a cure for malaria, the scourge of hundreds of millions of people?

naliaka on November 30, 2006 at 10:37 PM

Allahpundit is to Tom Tancredo as Bryan is to Rick Warren.

Discuss.

see-dubya on November 30, 2006 at 11:36 PM

Heh.

Allahpundit on November 30, 2006 at 11:38 PM

I’m quite amazed by the volume of response to each of the “Warren posts”. Obviously an inflamed nerve is being probed.

Have you ever had an ache you keep trying to isolate, but you can’t quite pinpoint it’s source with the dig of your thumb? The discussion above reminds me of just such an unhappy search – every so often we take it up, only to go back to other things when we again fail to pin it down.

So what is the crux of the matter in the Warren-Assad and Warren-Obama meetings? Is there really a crux? Maybe our discussion would be more profitable if we debate whether it’s “kerfluffle” or kerfuffel. No, I believe one of the most profound truths of a genuine Christian experience is at stake.

Pastor Warren is failing the Sovereign he’s publicly sworn to by deliberately handling the social power levers King Jesus himself wouldn’t touch.

The King of Kings said, “My kingdom is not of this world. If my kingdom were of this world, my servants would have been fighting, that I might not be delivered over to the Jews. But my kingdom is not from the world.” (Joh 18:36 ESV) In other words, Christ The Heir of The Creator ignored the instruments of human power (politics, insurrection, war) as a means to ascending his rightful throne. So what other means did he choose? He claims in scripture to have established his seat of power forever by allowing the religio-political crowd to spike him to some standing timbers. This seems paradoxical to the point of being nonsensical until it’s immeasurably deep wisdom pierces our hearts . . . yes our hearts.

You see, it is the corrupt human heart that is the locus of our pain. Not a rampant virus, not inequitably distributed wealth, not waves of violent oppression and mass murder, not global warming, not our overbearing boss, not the divorce we’re suffering through, not the malignancy our doctor just found. . . these are all only symptoms. The true pathology is each one of our rebel hearts. It’s our self worship that injures people around us. It’s human self-absorption that even sent our cosmic existence spinning away from the Creator’s constant life into disease, decay, entropy, death.

Fallen humanity – each one of us – proves every day that we have no way to cure ourselves (much less nature). Down through the ages we’ve tried by inventing all kinds of religious and social systems with which to medicate ourselves and doctor our environment. But still the symptoms persist and grow even more accute. Rick Warren’s PD P.E.A.C.E. P.L.A.N. is just one among many inadequate prescriptions. Why are his energies spent in mixing up another social/religious power potion aimed to “attack” a handful of symptoms? He is tragically distracted from the real mission.

The real cure to ALL our pain is administered when we recognize the wonder of who Christ is and what he’s done for us individually. It takes effect when we respond as we logically should by humbly and gratefully bending our knee, swearing personal fealty to our true Sovereign, and offering our own heart to him as tribute.

This is the domain he seeks to own – the territory of your heart and my heart. Because when he fully commands us, he can teach us how to stop hurting the people he’s put us next to. He shows us how self indulgence numbs us to the terminal trauma we cause to ourselves and others. He leads us to share what we have with a needy neighbor, or to care for a victim of HIV AIDS. He helps us understand the meaning of “stewardship of the earth”. And on and on the cure goes until another heart, then another is led back to its Healer.

Pastor Warren should be pointing the way to this Healer. Instead he’s selling his own Rx. This makes me angry because it belittles the One I’m sworn to and substitutes another concoction for the Great Physician.

That’s why I’m compelled to keep this discussion thread going.

The Ritz on December 1, 2006 at 1:24 AM

Didn’t go to seminary. Haven’t been to Fuller’s library, just told this by one of my ministers about 10 years ago.

BTW, Chuck Smith’s son doesn’t preach on hell. Too controversial: http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-smiths2sep02,0,2227134.story?page=1&coll=la-home-headlines . If he’s so great at discipling, why didn’t he start there?

PRCalDude on November 30, 2006 at 7:42 PM

This thread tells it all. You were told ten years ago, that is enough to attack. Chuck S. son does not preach on hell, taken from the great Christian paper the LA Times. The paper who thinks the prodigal son is Al Gore. Why Chuck S. jr. even talks to homosexuals, God forbid! Next thing you now he will be accepting those whores.
PRCalDude, the LA Times hates any strong Christian leader, they have done hit pieces on every Christian leader, including Billy Graham for decades. Quoting the LATimes to a Christian means nothing. Unless you have first hand knowledge, don’t attack an instituition for being a cesspool (Fuller seminary has produced some great scholars and ministers), or at least more than “10 years ago someone told me”. Don’t judge a person by how you think he raises his children. And for God’s sake, don’t judge someone by pointing out one supposed failure. You have a long way (we all do) to go in your walk.

right2bright on December 1, 2006 at 9:06 AM

Billy Graham? The same one who believes that all religions lead to the father? http://www.biblebb.com/files/tonyqa/tc00-105.htm

As for Chuck Smith, isn’t the way a man raises his children one of the requirements for eldership? 1 Timothy, Titus (his children must believe – if they’re preaching a different Gospel, how can they be believers?)

Homosexuals need the Gospel, not acceptance. They are no farther off than you and I were when we were called, and need the same Gospel you and I received. They don’t need preachers who’ve studied the ins and outs of homosexuality.

PRCalDude on December 1, 2006 at 1:04 PM

Ritz,

You hit the nail on the head.

PRCalDude on December 1, 2006 at 1:07 PM