Rick Warren is a man that frequently seems to get into trouble. So it was no surprise that many questioned him when he tweeted this:
As a Christian I am sincerely concerned about this quote. Rick Warren was labeled by Time Magazine as "America's Pastor" and many look up to him as an authority when it comes to "leadership" in the church. Many people have retweeted this quote from Rick Warren; as of this moment 117 people have done so. We can see that Rick Warren is a pretty popular man! This can be a good thing, but if someone claiming to be a teacher or authority is teaching false doctrine then this becomes a problem, especially on the internet where false doctrine can spread around like wildfire. I believe that scripturally Rick has said something very wrong on a fundamental level and I must point out this error so that others may not follow in it. The apostle Paul commands us to do this; as he says in Ephesians:
And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather expose them. (Ephesians 5:11)
If this is a "work of darkness" then I must expose it. We test truth against error, so let us take what Rick Warren has said and test it against the solid truth of the Bible. Doing so will show us what kind of a work this is.
The biggest issue I have with Rick Warren is that he is a being a bit hypocritical. We read this in Matthew chapter 7:
And why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye, but do not consider the plank in your own eye?
Rick Warren must pull the plank out of his own eye and start preaching more of Jesus, His death and Resurrection; rather than telling us how to live lives full of purpose. As Chris Rosebrough noted at the Museum of Idolatry (1) that while "Rick Warren has publicly critiqued those faithful pastors who preach Christ and the Cross from every passage of scripture (...) he hasn't said ONE WORD in criticism of his disciples [who] read THEMSELVES into every passage of scripture, including the Gospels." Rick Warren and his followers time and time again seem to find everything else other than Jesus whenever they preach a sermon.
We see here Rick Warren "calling out" people that use "eisegesis" to preach about the cross. He is claiming that pastors can and do over-preach the message of the cross, and when doing so that they are "forc[ing] a theology." Not only that, he calls it a "fad", as if preaching about the cross of Jesus Christ and His finished work on it for the forgiveness of our sins was a short lived craze like yo-yos, Furbies, Pokemon, or Beanie Babies! My question to Rick Warren is this: why are you accusing some of over-preaching the message of the cross, when it seems that you do not preach enough about the cross itself?
Marsha West in her article about Rick Warren and recent controversy (2) tells us about Warren preaching to Jews and how he "managed to speak for the entire evening without once mentioning Jesus". Since when did the Apostle Paul tell us to preach to the lost sheep of Israel without telling them of their Messiah? At the beginning of her article she also notes how he employs three doctors with New Age and occultic influences to help show people how to have a better diet, instead of telling people that they need a Savior to forgive their sins. Since when were the writings of the Prophet Daniel (which are filled constantly with pictures of Christ and both his first and second comings) a weight-reduction plan? Furthermore; instead of telling Muslims that their religion is a lie that keeps them in constant bondage to their works, he tries to make ecumenical peace with them. May I also mention that he replaces the proclaiming of the Gospel with his PEACE plan, an acronym in which nowhere is found the word "Evangelism" despite there being two "E's" in it, as pointed out by Bible teacher Jacob Prasch in his sermon "The Purpose Driven Lie." (3) As we can see, Rick Warren fails when it comes to preaching about Jesus Christ and His Cross.
Despite what Rick Warren says, Jesus did teach us that the Bible was all about Him. When He walked with the two men on the way to Emmaus he "[began] at Moses and all the Prophets, [and] He expounded to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself." (Luke 24:27) Remember, the Scripture Jesus had in His time was the Old Testament and as we can see here, Jesus (who was God in the flesh) clearly showed that the whole Jewish Scriptures from Genesis to Malachi were about Him.
We have a choice here; either we listen to Rick Warren, or we listen to Jesus. Who will you decide to listen to?
P.S. 12 hours after the tweet in question, Rick Warren sent this out:
Not sure if it was related to the forementioned tweet, but sorry Rick. You may not feel the need to prove yourself, but the body of Christ has the need to prove those who claim such anointings. We ask the readers to please keep Rick in prayer; that the Lord will open his eyes to his error. Also please pray for those who follow him; that they will look to the Word of God over the word of man.
- Sergio Martinez
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1 - Chris Rosebrough; Museum of Idolatry:
2 - Marsha West; Rick Warren once again caught up in controversy:
3 - Jacob Prasch; The Purpose Driven Lie:
Other links to check out:
Amy Spreeman; Stand Up for the Truth:
Ken Silva; Apprising Ministries: