That’s a fantastic question from a fantastic article recently posted by Worldview Weekend entitled:
Rick Warren’s Infiltration of the Reformed Faith
This is a must-read for everyone who’s concerned with what’s been happening lately in Reformed circles.
Here’s a quote from the article to whet your whistle:
“Rick Warren desires credibility and influence more than anything else, and he has been able to accomplish both over much of the religious landscape in America over the last decade. Some important holdouts have been the celebrity pastors of the Reformed book/conference circuit who were in stated opposition to him for his handling of Scripture and his man-centered, false gospel. All of that is changing quickly. What Rick Warren needed was to win over a leader whose status was great enough among Reformed evangelicals who could deliver the holdouts into his arms. He found such a man in John Piper. . . . Warren’s photo ops with Reformed leaders do nothing for the truth, and they do everything for Rick Warren’s relentless campaign for credibility and influence among those who should know better.”
Read the entire article from Worldview Weekend here.
Many thanks for sharing this!!! This is an incredibly accurate expose’ of what’s been going on. Besides the excellent quote you gave above, another one that jumped out at me was:
Thus there is good reason why the Scripture commands:
“But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed.” (Gal.1:8)
Couldn’t have said it better myself!
Warren has proven himself time and again to be the ultimate religious pragmatist/syncretist/ecumenist whose spiritual prostitution truly knows no bounds. On the one hand it’s saddening to me that Piper has gone in “hook, line, and sinker” as he has, but on the other hand it’s not too hard to see why he would have been Warren’s primary target because of Piper’s questionable background promoting emotion-based experiential Christianity – some would argue at the expense of sound doctrine in certain cases – in addition to his roots in a strongly unity-focused church movement that was somewhat of a reaction to the old-school (and overly divisive) “fightin’ fundies”.
Hold on folks, I think it’s going to be a bumpy ride!
I’m curious, because I’m still new to the theology realm. What is it that Rick Warren has done, because I see a lot of people slamming him, but I don’t see what the issue actually is. It seems more like ad hominem rather than attacking the message sent forth.
I’m not trying to say anything about you, I’m just curious to what the “gospel” he is preaching is.
Rick Warren came to my attention when the “Purpose-Driven Life” was out and big news. A local radio show host had him on talking about it and he said that even though it was a Christian Sunday School guide, he knows of Mormons, Muslims, and Buddhists that have benefitted from it as well. That concerned me because, frankly, a Christian Sunday School program should be angering them; the Bible promises eternal damnation for those who do not follow Him, and if these others are OK with what a Christian is saying, clearly he didn’t say it right. But the radio host was an anti-Christian sodomite, so perhaps he was just speaking to a difficult audience.
I led a Bible study on one of Warrens books, God’s Power to Change Your Life, which was about the Fruit of the Spirit. It was a good study, although there were a couple minor points I had issue with, one of them being his claim that people are required to give offerings every week, even if they’re paid only once a month. (Spread out your offerings.) And when he stood against homosexual marriage in California and for Proposition 8, he seemed like a guy who’s made a couple mistakes but is generally OK.
Then he led a prayer at Obama’s inauguration. That started concerning me. It angered many on the political left, as such things do, so I initially found it amusing. Then I noticed who else was speaking, including the other prayer. Uh oh.
Looking into his theology, I found a ecumenical mess. Then I looked more into his political ambitions. Working with the U.N., establishing a “social gospel” purpose for the church – which was neither designed nor purposed for such things, and his denying that he ever took part in the Proposition 8 campaign. Even then, I thought, “political liberal, but what does he promote spiritually?”
That’s when the fun really begins.
He founded Saddleback with the intent of building with only nonbelievers, in order to shake things up. Now, shaking things up is not inherently bad; only difference between a rut and a grave is 3 feet. But as a purpose onto itself? Pointless. And people in a building you want to fill with unbelievers and put them in charge, why not serve alcohol and call it a bar?
One of his big beliefs is that the church leadership is not to be questioned. The elders and deacons are mini-popes. I left a church because they took on this mentality (after finishing “Purpose-Driven Church”); when I told the pastor that I had concerns about where the church was going and the fact that people – like my wife – were told in the business meeting they should not ask questions about financial matters, he told me, “Since you disagree with the deacon board, I am putting you on the ‘inactive member’ list until you repent of your sin.” (For the curious: the treasurer of that church recently left when he found out that they were not giving money to the missionaries and only paying the interest on the mortgage and were hiding it.)
He promotes an environmentally- friendly interpretation of the Gospel, ignoring that Earth is not supposed to be around forever and is doomed.
He brings in unbelievers to preach from the pulpit of his church. Big problem. Recently, he launched a health program from his church and brought in the 3 doctors from the TV show The Doctors, neglecting to mention that non of them are Christian. Their practices range from the healthy to the unusual to the simply unacceptable, such as the transcendental meditation.
Add all of these together, and you have an apostate.
I would like to answer Nicholas Potts’ question about what Rick Warren has done. Rick Warren is the star pupil of what is known as the Church Growth Movement (CGM) in America. Back in the 1980’s most Christian churches were in decline. This concerned certain theological seminaries, especially Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, CA.
Fuller is a seminary, which consists of three separate schools: 1) The Center for Advance Theological Studies, 2) Rosemead School of Psychology, and 3) The Center for World Mission and Evangelism. These three schools do not talk to each other. If they did, then the CGM may have never been spawned. The CGM grew out of Fuller’s Center for World Mission and Evangelism. There were three professors there who birthed the movement, and each one of them is a heretic. I will expose each one.
Donald McGavran wrote a magnum opus, entitle “Church Growth.” He reasoned fallaciously that the reason that North American churches were not growing was because they were not doing what churches were doing in the mission field. While the churches were declining in America, they were growing fast overseas. Consequently, McGavran studies what these churches were doing, and started teaching these principles at Fuller. His principles did not square with good, biblical theology. For instance, McGavran’s philosophy of church growth includes the principle that “Birds of a feather flock together.” This is a highly racist church growth principle, because it means that Blacks should worship with Black and Whites with Whites. Rich people should worship with other rich people, and the poor with the poor, etc.
C. Peter Wagner was the second professor at Fuller, who birthed the CGM. Wagner wrote several books, but the most famous was entitled the On the Crest of the Wave. Wagner agreed with McGavran’s racist philosophy, but he added that miraculous signs and wonders should accompany any healthy church, but there is no biblical support for this.
John Wimber was the third professor at Fuller. John Wimber took Wagner’s signs and wonders theology to a whole new level. John Wimber taught that the Holy Spirit has been given in three waves: The first wave was at Pentecost; the second wave came during the Protestant Reformation; and the third wave came at Azusa Street in the early 1900’s. The Azusa Street revival gave birth to many pentecostal denominations today. Wimber started a new movement or wave of the Holy Spirit in the 1980’s through the Vineyard Movement. Vineyard churches practices things, such as holy laughter, signs and wonders, and speaking on tongues. All of this was pure speculation without an ounce of biblical support.
Rick Warren became the star pupil of Donald McGavran, C. Peter Wagner and John Wimber at the Center of World Mission and Evangelism at Fuller Theological Seminary. Rick Warren does not practice everything these men taught him, such as holy laughter, but he did buy into much of what they taught, such as their racist principles of church growth. Since the 1980’s nearly every theological seminary in America has bought into at least some of these principles, leading to what is known today as the Church Growth Movement.
There are a three critical pieces of the Church Growth Movement that every Christian ought to be aware of, because they compromise the Gospel of Jesus Christ and the very nature of the church. First, CGM churches do not practice authentic discipleship. In the Great Commission (Matt. 28:16-20), Jesus did not command his disciples to go out and make converts or to grow a church; instead, he commanded them to make disciples. CGM churches have failed miserably at making disciples, but don’t take my word for it. Instead, listen to the confession of Bill Hybels, the pastor of Willow Creek, one of the largest CGM churches in America. In 2007 Bill Hybels confessed on video tape that he had failed in the area of discipleship at Willow Creek. Second, all CGM churches supplant the worship of God with a seeker sensitive service. Rick Warren’s church, Saddleback, has a seeker sensitive service. A seeker sensitive service is not a worship service. It is not designed for believers to worship; instead, it is designed to minister to the felt needs of unbelievers who may be seeking God. But, the essence of the church is that it is Christians coming together to worship God. For instance, the Greek word for church is ekklesia, which means, “the called out ones.” So, to design the main worship service for unbelievers, instead of believers defies the very nature of what the church is as well as its purpose. Notice how subtle Rick Warren is, though, because the title of one of his best selling books is, “The Purpose Driven Church.” If Rick Warren does not even know what a church is, how can he possibly identify its purpose. Third, CGM churches have severely compromised the message of the Gospel itself. For instance, this year Rick Warren partnered with Ophrah Winfrey to spend a considerable amount of time educating his congregation about diet and fitness. Rick Warren has committed himself to losing 90 lbs. this year. This effort is part of Saddleback’s Decade of Destiny, where the church will focus on the following topics over the course of the next ten years: spiritual health, physical health, financial health, realtional health, vocational health, emotional health, and mental health. Now, these things all sound nice, but they are not the gospel of Jesus Christ. There is nothing wrong with a Christian wanting to learn more about these things, but the central focus of a church should be on the gospel of Jesus Christ, not about the peripheral matters, some of which have no bearing upon the gospel whatsoever. CGM churches have found that when they offer programs on these peripheral subjects, it attracts the general public to attend. CGM churches tend to be all about promoting the size of the congregation, with little or no emphasis placed upon promoting the substance of the gospel message.