Rick Warren is the head pastor at the Orange County based mega-church Saddleback Church where the average weekly attendance is around 20,000. Warren has also authored a number of christian books including the Purpose Driven Life and many others in the Purpose Driven series. His ministries extend around the world and Warren has been invited to speak at a number of events to represent the American Church including Ted.com and the inauguration of the secular President Barack Hussein Obama. With such an extensive outreach to the global community and in such public view of the media, Rick Warren has a special obligation to properly represent the orthodox Gospel and not another Gospel. What is Rick Warren teaching? Is it biblically accurate? This blog will examine those questions.
- Rick Warren has lied about his position on same-sex marriage and on national television undermined his entire congregation as well as the Messianic teaching on marriage.
Before the passing of California Proposition 8 which confirmed the definition of marriage as between one man and one woman (Prop 8 had nothing to do with banning anything), Rick Warren issued a statement:
“Now let me say this really clearly: we support Proposition 8 — and if you believe what the Bible says about marriage, you need to support Proposition 8. I never support a candidate, but on moral issues I come out very clear…”
Then, in a vicious backpedal on the nationally televised Larry King Show, Rick Warren distanced himself from his statement saying:
There is obviously a huge contradiction here and immediately we should be examining Warren’s credibility but many faiths like Islam and Mormonism actually condone lying if it’s done to further the faith. Let’s compare this with what is written in the prophetic texts of orthodox Judaism and Messianic Judaism (aka: christianity). After all, Rick Warren teaches “christianity” in a huge church and delivers the message of Christianity to a large number of followers. If a christian is indeed one who follows Christ (Messiah) as written about in the orthodox texts, we must examine a christian teacher against accepted christian texts. For example, in Colossians, Paul writes about the behavior of one who follows the Messiah (Yeshua) in the following way:
“Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator.” Col 3:9-10
This is consistent with what is taught in the Old Covenant as well:
“Do not spread false reports. Do not help a wicked man by being a malicious witness.” Ex 23:1
“Do not testify against your neighbor without cause, or use your lips to deceive.” Prov 24:28
So initially in judging Rick Warren we see that in lying or turn-coating against his own teachings and statements, he is also betraying the Gospel of which he claims to be a teacher. Regardless of what your personal views are on the topic of gay-relationships and lifestyles, Warren clearly lied about his position on the matter and he has been called to task by the christian community and the gay community alike. Christians decry his deliberate misleading from christian scripture while gays take note that christian conservative pastors cannot be trusted.
Furthermore, homosexuality is not supported by the Gospel of Jesus and this is well known throughout most of the country. While the person trapped in homosexuality is to be loved and respected and ministered to (provided there is a repentant heart), there are small pockets of homosexual activists that seek to explain away segments of scripture such as Sodom and Gomorah and Romans 1:27. However, the very existence of these arguments validate the disagreement between the traditional view of biblical marriage and the very new and post-modern view on homosexual relationships (this blog will not cover the “gay” issue in depth). For example, if there was no perceived contradiction between homosexual relationships and the Bible, why would there be a need for arguments to re-explain Sodom and Gomorah and Romans 1? So in terms of what christians believe and Rick Warren’s teaching that as a christian teacher he does not disagree with it, again we are left with a huge gap between scripture and Warren.
- Rick Warren denies teaching the doctrine of ruach hakodesh (the Holy Spirit) and the role Yeshua plays in the life of the believer.
Instead, Rick favors a new gospel created by his ministers and published in his book- The Purpose Driven Life. On page 212 of Warrens new bible The Purpose Driven Life (joke), he writes:
“Let me be clear: If you’re losing the battle against a persistent bad habit, an addiction, or a temptation, and you’re stuck in a repeating cycle of good intention-failure-guilt, you will not get better on your own! You need the help of other people.”
To a humanist this may sound exciting- even truish. Secularists from Karl Marx to Michelle Obama all lay claim to the power of socialism for healing our bad habits and ridding society of its ills (it’s therefore surprising that socialism has been the major destructive force of the 20th century, but I’ll cover that in another blog). However, Rick Warren is not teaching humanism per se nor is he supposedly a preacher of socialism. Instead Rick Warren is a bible teacher and one would assume his teachings come from the bible. Unfortunately, the bible does not on any occasion lend support to the doctrine of “other people” but that freedom from an addictive sin is found in the Messiah.
“Jesus replied, “I tell you the truth, everyone who sins is a slave to sin. Now a slave has no permanent place in the family, but a son belongs to it forever. So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.” John 8:34-36
“…because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death”. Rom 8:2
Here we see how Yeshua (Jesus) and Paul teach that only God can set a person free from sin in contrast to Warren who teaches that “other people” can set a person free from sin. To the contrary, the bible teaches that we battle 3 enemies: the world, the flesh, and the devil. In this regard, Warren actually offers a false witness in teaching that our enemy (ie: the world) is actually who can help us!
Warrens book The Purpose Driven Life is severely riddled with false teachings and humanistic feel-goodery based not on biblical teaching but instead on bumper-sticker mentality. While covering all of his book would be hard to do, I’ve listed links below that will demonstrate the work done on exposing Rick Warren and his humanism.
- Rick Warren spoke heretically at the widely received and much viewed TED convention.
In an unprecedented opportunity to reach a pagan audience, Rick Warren spoke at TED about what makes God happy. In continuing a humanistic philosophy of works and feeling good, Warren misled hundreds of people (and thousands who have viewed the film) on what the bible teaches. Instead, Rick delivered a message that had wreaked of mass appeal. For those unfamiliar with TED (technology, education, design), it is a conference of speakers attended by some of the worlds most influential thinkers and doers. A largely atheistic bunch, TED Talks usually center around the latest scientific advancements, philosophy, and music. Speakers have included Bill Gates, Richard Dawkins, and Julia Sweeney (ok, so maybe not the most influential thinkers but they are certainly God-haters). In his talk, Rick said the following:
“Did you know that God smiles when you be you. Some people have the misguided idea that God only gets excited when you’re doing “spiritual things” like going to church or helping the poor or confessing or doing something like that.
The bottom line is that God gets pleasure watching you be you. Why? He made you. And when you do what you were made to do He says ‘That’s my boy!’, ‘That’s my girl!’
You’re using the talent and ability that I gave you… So my advice to you is look at what is in your hand, your identity, your influence, your income, and say its not about me, its about making the world a better place.”
According to this message, God is happy when I use my God-given ability to speak and influence to lure a young child into my car. God is happy when I use my gentle nature to molest a small girl or when I use the steady hands he gave me to torture and skin a stray cat. Additionally, God is happy when I use my body as a sex toy for money. After all, he gave me a body that is attractive to others. These facetious examples of heresy go on and on but culminate into his last line about making “the world a better place.” This is humanism at it’s core. Im reminded that Adolf Hitler believer he was making the world a better place as did Margaret Sanger. As followers of Yeshua, we are too escape the world for
“from within, out of men’s hearts, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, greed, malice, deceit, lewdness, envy, slander, arrogance and folly.” Mark 7:21-22
And John reminds us
“Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.” 1 John 2:15
Now a skeptic might say that based on the above scriptures, christians are separatists and they would be correct. As a follower of The Way, redeemed from my debauchery and sin by the grace of God through the sacrifice of Yeshua, I want nothing to do with the world. If being in a “better place” means living according to American capitalism, Russian socialism, Western liberalism, and post-modern philosophy then- no thanks! Should you come across a christian who disagrees, I would invite them for tea after the rapture (i guarantee they’ll be able to accept the invite). But I digress.
Perhaps more damning than his heresy of being in the world, Rick Warren purports to know what makes God happy. Thankfully, we have prophetic texts which have been tested against skepticism that actually show us what makes God happy. For example, in Hebrews 6 we read:
“And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.”
And again in John 3:18:
“Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.”
Here we see that is impossible to please God without faith and that faith must be placed in the Messiah Yeshua- the only son of the living God. Rick, however, failed to mention this message for a group of intellectuals and instead chose to fill their minds with non-sense. Easily refutable non-sense too! Warren’s message not only reflects on Yeshua poorly but reflects the church body poorly. In Ricks position, orthodox christianity looks splintered, broken, and inconsistent which it is not. Orthodox Christianity (aka: Messianic Judaism) is just fine. It’s all the other types of heretical “christianity” that are a mess :)
- Lastly, Rick Warren has embraced the ChrISLAM movement- a syncretist movement designed by enemies of the Cross to further the idea that we “all worship the same god.”
Perhaps the most concerning of the Warren Heresies is his conviction to serve the false god Allah. On more than one occasion Warren referred to Allah as the God he serves even signing a statement from Yale University claiming to “seek peace” with Islam by accepting that at the core, Islam and Christianity worship the same God. You can view the statement here: VIEW STATEMENT
This statement is foundational to the movement to unite Christianity and Islam together in a move called syncretism and referred to popularly (at this writing) as Chrislam (an obviously non-creative word that represents the blending of the two faiths.) Rick Warren not only signed the statement but in addressing the nation in prayer for the inauguration of President Obama, Warren addressed the Messiah as Isa- the name given to Yeshua by the Moslems who believe he was a liar, a heretic, and a prophet (huh?) and not the son of God. Here, Warren has not only abandoned Adonai but also his Messiah Yeshua. Furthermore, in a speech to a Moslem community, Rick said:
“I hate those who cling to worthless idols; I trust in the LORD.”
“and after they have been destroyed before you, be careful not to be ensnared by inquiring about their gods, saying, “How do these nations serve their gods? We will do the same.”
- Here’s the bottom line:
This blog has taken a substantial amount of time to compile and write. I’ve done my best to find the best sources of information and provide links to videos and articles but it is not possible to compile all the criticism that Rick has received from the “christian” or Messianic community. In his defense, Rick has said nothing. Rather, he continues to ride further and further into this dark area of apostasy without any concern for the souls and minds of his congregation. Rather his congregates remain trusting and largely shallow (a comment I qualify based on my experience with many Saddleback attendees- though not all. If you are currently attending Rick’s church I urge you to leave now. For help in finding a biblical church please write to me personally. I’m in Oceanside, Ca- not far from Orange County. I’d be happy to help you look for a biblical church and am familiar with many in the area).
Rick Warren is no more a solid Christian teacher than any Hindu or Muslim teacher. The only difference is that we don’t expect a Hindu or Muslim scholar to teach the bible. We expect those who call themselves christian to preach the bible. When a pastor like Warren brands himself in the name of Yeshua and preaches a false gospel, it’s time to leave.
But not until after sounding the alarm.