One Man’s Opinion
Nov.22, 2004 Larry King Live interviewed Pastor Rick Warren of Saddleback church.
Larry King did an good job with some of the questions. Unfortunately he did not pursue Warren when he did not answer them and changed the subject. Most of the questions were answered by stories or examples. If Warren was a boxer in a ring one could easily say he ducked every swing at him. The excerpts of this interview is reveals what Warren believes and should be considered before anyone buys into the new system Warren is presenting to the Body of Christ. My comments follow when necessary.
Larry King introduced Warren by quoting Publishers weekly in reference to his book being the best selling hardcover non- fiction book in American history. (It has been on the NY Times best-seller list for 100 weeks. (According to Warren’s Interview with Bill O’Rielly Factor on Fox Network the book is selling nearly 25,000 copies a day).
Larry King: “What led to writing it?”
Rick Warren: “Well I just think as I speak to people theres is fundamental need, its like this is the basic question of life why am I here. Why am I here.” “Actually comes out in three questions. Existence, why am I alive, it comes out in uh, purpose, what is my purpose. And it comes out in significance, does my life matter. I think everybody at some point kind of lays their head down on the pillow and goes what’s this all about.”
Larry King: “Did it take off right away?”
Rick Warren: “Yeah it did. It actually, we actually pre sold a half million copies before it hit the market.”
Larry King: “Was it originally considered the Christian book sales…”
Rick Warren: “Yeah that’s a surprise too. “Is that, as I, y’know I’m a pastor and so I thought I was writing for church members Christians things like that, this book has enormous crossover. And everybody is reading it.”
Larry King: “Like a country hit that becomes pop.. Rick Warren: Yeah exactly like rock or pop stuff like that” Larry King: “Does that mean a Jew or a Muslim or an agnostic and an atheist can benefit from this book.”
Rick Warren: “well yeah, if that’s the question, sure anyone can benefit from it. In fact the other day” – Warren then relates a story of a Jew and Muslim lady sitting together at a little league game, the Jewish lady was reading his book the Muslim expressed interest in the book so she gave it to her “said here take mine”– “Okay here’s a Christian pastor writing a book that a Jewish lady is passing on to a Muslim lady, okay.”
If all the religions can benefit from the book how can it be promoting the Bibles teachings on God since these same religions do not accept but reject the Bible and Jesus Christ as God in the flesh? Then its basis cannot be Jesus Christ as the only way. What are they benefiting? How can one know their purpose if it is not found in Christ with whom all the riches and wisdom of God’s glory resides! If the creator has plan for and purpose for our lives doesn’t it make sense to know who this God is and learn of Him first. Otherwise this becomes very generic and can be applied to any given belief system.
Warren makes his position clear in his interview with Bill O’Rielly on Fox Network where O’Reilly asked, “Do you have to have faith to read the book….” Warren: “Well you have to be a seeker to read the book…” (Fox News Dec 2004).
Larry King: “It is not, you said a how to book; what is it?”
Rick Warren: “Well its not self help, y’know. Yeah, self help,” Larry King: lessons though.” Rick Warren: “ it is lessons its helpful, the bottom line is this if I were to hold up an invention and I was to say wha’is the purpose of this and you’ve never seen it before you wouldn’t know the purpose is, the only way you know the purpose is to either ask the inventor, okay who made it, the creator, or you read a owners manual. And I think the same thing is true with us. Everybody wants to know their purpose in life and if you read most self help books they fundamentally will say things like uh, make up your purpose, figure out your purpose, look for your purpose, and the big one is look within. It’s kind of like trust the force Luke, look within. Well I looked within and I didn’t like what I saw. Y’know I just got confused. The truth is I didn’t create me so I can’t tell me what my purpose is.”
All one has to do is read the SHAPE Questionnaire or his statements on personality to know it is about “you.” As he states, “When you minister in a manner consistent with the personality God gave you, you experience fulfillment, satisfaction, and fruitfulness.” The problem is that you can “minister” like this without even being born again, being a Christian. Our personality being used is not what brings satisfaction or fulfilling God’s will, it is exclusively a work of the Holy Spirit in a believers life, which exclude this being present in everyone’s life.
Larry King: “How do you know who created you?”
Rick Warren: “Well I believe God created me”
Larry King: “You believe that?”
Rick Warren: “Of course I do.”
Larry King: “But how do you know it?”
Rick Warren: “Well, I have to say I first accepted it on faith and then I went through a doubting period, where I doubted, do I really believe in God. And then now as uh my own personal relationship, experiences I have had and then seeing it happen in literally tens of thousands of other lives.”
Larry King: “Why do you believe that God is a Christian God? Warren: “Yeah” Larry King: Why isn’t he a Jimmi God (?) or a Muslim God a Jewish God or just God?”
Rick Warren: “Yeah, well the question, the bottom line is this, every religion is mutually exclusive. The problem today Larry is not unbelief, the problem today is that everyone wants to believe everything. They want to believe it all, I want to believe in reincarnation and heaven. Those are mutually exclusive things. I want believe in Elvis and I want to believe in Jesus, those are mutually exclusive. And the truth is, it is all a matter of faith, at sometime you have to take the step, Larry King: theres a leap.” There is a leap of faith, I would just wish somebody had told me when I was younger that I could have doubts and still believe. Those are a big deal. That I didn’t have to have all my doubts resolved to believe. Uh I, I have to say this, theres a story in the Bible where Jesus is walking down the street and a guy comes up to him and he’s got a daughter that’s sick and uh, uh Jesus goes uh, he goes I need you to heal my daughter. And Jesus said well do you believe I can heal her. And he goes uh, I want to believe, help me with my doubt and Jesus goes that’s good enough. And he heals this girl. So, To even say that God, okay God, I want to believe, I have so many, y’know Larry I have been a pastor now Larry for 25 years, I, there’s still things in the Bible I can’t figure out. I look at them and go why in the world did God do that? Y’know, it just doesn’t make sense.”
(What Warren is describing from what I can tell is Jairus’ daughter and it said nothing like this, this is not about doubt but unbelief). If every religion is mutually exclusive as Warren states how can everyone benefit the same from his book unless they convert to Christianity?
Larry King: “another question now, why do you believe that Bible why not that Bible or that Bible...”
Rick Warren: “Yeah, yeah, well first there’s historical evidences for the text the Bible itself is the most historically attested book in history. And this true -- you can take this in any Encyclopedia, for instance y’know we base a lot of our things we read Shakespeare today. Did you know that there’s not a single original manuscript of Shakespeare in existence, not one. They are all copies of copies of copies. Same thing with Plato, same thing with Socrates. But when the Dead Sea Scrolls were found in 1948 they found that the text we have been using and the text they found in the Dead Sea Scrolls were at least 1000 years older and they were identical. And so I believe in that, I believe it because its textually there, there’s historical records, like when the Bible says there was Jericho well they find it.”
This is one of the few times Warren answered the question directly and adequately. However I must mention a correction: they were not exactly identical but over 99.5%, the book of Esther was also missing; and we are talking about the Old Testament only, which Warren did not make clear.)
Rick Warren: Speaking of a Billy Graham crusade. “It just shows Larry there’s a hunger for meaning. There’s a hunger for meaning in our nation and I saw people from all religious backgrounds and no religious background come and filling that stadium…
“Billy Graham has been a mentor for me for a long time, he’s taught me a lot. Uh he would be one of my spiritual fathers. Uh, Peter Drucker is mentor and Billy Graham has been a mentor both of them to me for years.”
Peter Drucker is known as “The Father of Modern Management,” who has a humanistic approach to solve our problems. Warren’s admittance of this is not a secret. Warren has borrowed marketing and business techniques and models for his church structure and message from Peter Drucker. But to equate Drucker who is a marketing guru for fortune 500 companies along with Graham shows there is an underlying problem of where Warren is learning his concepts.
Larry King: “You have, there are some critics of you (Warren: “sure”), one accused you of commercializing Christianity. Time magazine article quoted fundamental bible church pastor Dennis Costello who said that, “the purpose driven ministry is a marketing strategy, we believe the Bible tells us to present the word of God without packaging it for contemporary cultural context.”
Warren: “Yeah, yeah. Well the first place I don’t even know this church, I mean you can find a critic anywhere, but, uh, I like what the NY Times said about me. It said, y’know marketers uh, create a message in order to market. Warren creates tools in order to create a message, in order to propel a message. And that’s it, uh if you talk about getting the message out, I will use every way possible because I really do believe that we have a positive message. Theres a lot of negativity in the world. We’ve been through this election the nation’s divided, and I just think the positive message. Your not an accident, I don’t believe anyone’s an accident. I believe everything on this earth has purpose, every rock, every tree, every human being. If you hearts beating you got a purpose. Now there may be accidental parents, okay, but I don’t think there are accidental kids.”
To quote a liberal paper to prove ones position is not wisdom. The NY Times is liberal paper if there ever was one not someone you want to cite on your side. Notice how Warren dismisses anyone who has a different opinion on what he is doing; he ignores it. Warren had previously acknowledged Drucker as one of his mentors yet he skates over the marketing of his message that he implements from Drucker. Warren’s intentional dismissal without reading what pastor Costello, saying, “you can find a critic anywhere” shows disdain for those who oppose in any way what he is doing. He simply will not receive it. On the other hand, you can equally you can find those who support you as well. It would do Warren well to read what pastor Costello has written, it may help him pause and rethink the new ways he is introducing to the churches. Warren explanation of “marketers create a message in order to market,” a positive message shows his lack of understanding of what the gospel actually is and what it is to do. I will cover this more in detail later in this article. The Bible is not about positive or negative messages. The Gospel actually affirms the most “negative news,” it makes us aware that we are sinful on the way to destruction, but it does not leave us there, it gives us the solution.
His comments remind me of a story about a man swimming a mile from shore. He is a good swimmer and someone comes along in a boat and says for him to take this life preserver, get in it or you will drown. The man laughs at this, confident of his ability to swim to shore as he can see it from where he is. The man in the boat tries to persuade him to take the life preserver without ever telling him what is wrong, so the swimmer ignores it. What the swimmer did not know is that there was a tremendous current up ahead that even the best swimmer could not get through and that he will be swept away. So what’s the lesson of the story? Well first of all the man offering the life preserver did not give him all the details (the negative side) of why he needed it, so why would the swimmer consider taking it. Secondly the swimmers ability to swim was not the matter but his inability to cope with the rough waters that were soon to come upon him. So it is with everyone in life that is confident of their ability to overcome the situations they face. If we do not tell them the full message why it is necessary to take God’s life preserver, they will never consider it. Why consider to have Christ in your life unless you know you cannot survive without him. We must tell them He is the ONLY way.
Warren doesn’t begin with Scripture but uses humanistic concepts and reasoning as his basis for his message and adds the Scripture when necessary. There is a lot of “negativity” in the Bible, not just positive, such as promises, but also correction and rebukes. All one has to do is read the epistles to see all the NEGATIVE words said to correct the church from going astray.
His comment “Now there may be accidental parents, okay, but I don’t think there are accidental kids,” is self contradictory. All kids grow up for the most part to be parents of their own; many parents do not plan to become pregnant; so this statement is self- contradictory. If the parents are accidental how is a kid who grows up by not, what does this mean? Here Warren contradicts his prior statement of everything has a purpose- this is convoluted philosophy.
Does every rock that is an inanimate object have purpose? To equate us with something that has no life is demeaning man who alone is made in the image of God. Warren’s confusion on these matters escalates as the interview continues.
Continuing with Warren: “I think that there is a God and I think that God even takes into account our mistakes, our errors, Larry King interrupts: “even judging you too?” Warren: “even our sins.”
Rick Warren: “God sets the rules but God also forgives and that’s what the whole good news is about.” The good news is that heaven is a perfect place. And that means only perfect people get to go there. Well I stopped batting a thousand a long time ago, like year one.”
Larry King: “That means nobody’s there?”
Rick Warren: “Nobody’s going to make it on their own effort. Its kind of like, a lot of people think grades on a curve that if your, y’know, if your good things on this side and your bad things, well y’know, we kind get, but the truth is God is perfect and if you got a Titanic and you got a criminal and you got Mother Theresa, they’re both gonna sink with it because the Titanic is sinking. And the human predicament is nobody’s perfect, not me, not you, not the Pope. So God sent a savior to be perfect for us. Uh I like to tell a story of a guy who took his 3 kids to a carnival for his birthday, took his son and threes sons, three kids. And at, at every carnival ride he’s give his son a ticket and give his 3 friends a ticket. He’s got to the next ride and give his son a ticket and his 3 friends a ticket. On about the fourth little ride he looks down he uh he says a fourth hand of a little kid out there he’s never seen before. He says who are you? And he goes, the guy goes I’m your sons new friend (haha) and he said uh, and my, my, this kid said if I was his friend his dad would give me a ticket.”
While Warren said a number of things correctly, the neglect of the most important elements are missing; God sent a savior to be perfect for us should lead into the gospel and the person of Christ not another story.
Warren continues: “I was actually in China had a ate dinner in Tienamen square in peoples hall and uh was there with a well known communist official who has been uh in the government for over 50 years. And I was telling this story to him and I said y’know he told me, he had said he had a brain tumor and was dying of cancer.”
Warren: “I said y’know my father is dying of cancer right now and (he’s passed away now) but he is not afraid to die because he’s made his sense (sic) he’s got his ticket. God has a ticket for you your heavenly Father has a ticket for you, you can’t buy it you can’t earn it, you can’t uh pay for it. The only way you get in is by being a friend of his son, he said I want one of those tickets by the way. I want one of those tickets, so he became a believer.”
The story is something that one would use to a child who has little comprehension, but it does not explain anything about the man’s condition before God and have a Biblical basis for the gospel. This is what the Seeker friendly approach does, it tells stories that are elevated over the Bibles words and precepts. Is this what we need, a ticket? This is modernizing the gospel; eliminating essential portions. To become friendly to his son is not an accurate message. While I understand the usage of colloquiums for points to be made, our model must be the Scripture. Obviously the four spiritual laws, even with its flaws are out and these new ways are in. Sin must be explained lest we give someone a false sense of security because of friendship. Jesus did not tell stories to make it seem easier. Even the parables had a twofold purpose: to conceal and reveal. Parables were given to further illustrate the truth for the disciples who were already learners. Parables were given to hide it from those who have no spiritual understanding who do not want to know and rejected him; the very people who these men want to reach. This proves Jesus was not seeker sensitive.
Larry King: “lets talk about the … are you concerned about the evangelical right which is very politically motivated. And one example we might give of it, Bob Jones led into President Bush at the election. “God has graciously granted America though she doesn’t deserve it a reprieve from the agenda of paganism, you owe the liberals nothing because they despise you because you because they despise your Christ” (yeah)”Isn’t that bad for the nation?
Rick Warren: “Yeah but I am, there are lot of things said in the name of Christianity not just in the past but right now that I would liked to totally disavow. And I would like to say that’s not me. The first place a lot of the people uh don’t understand there’s a difference between the religious right and evangelicals. And between evangelicals and mainline believers and Catholics. …But evangelicals, the word evangelical comes from the Greek word; it means good news, that’s what it means. So when you hear bad news that’s not really evangelical. Good news it come from evangelion the Greek word means good news. Evangelicals basically believe three things. They believe the Bible is the word of God. Uh they that believe Jesus Christ was who he claimed to be, he was Son of God, and that he proved it by being raised from the dead and that they believe it is our job to spread the good news to other people. Now we do not believe in conv, coercion, we do believe in persuasion, and that’s why I’m a pastor. In other words I believe everybody ought to hear the good news that your past can be forgiven, uh, God has a purpose for livin’ and you can have a home in heaven, that’s’ good news.”
So in other words telling someone they are a sinner would be bad news (negative) and not part of the Gospel. Warren wants to disavow what some say as “incorrect Christianity.” What about disavowing all the unbiblical ways to promote the gospel to the “unsaved” is this not more of a concern.
Larry King: “Do you believe in sin?”
Rick Warren: “Of course I do, I do it all the time hahaha.”
Larry King: “Is a gay person a sinner?”
Rick Warren: “I Think a gay persons a sinner just like I’m a sinner, I don’t think, Larry King (interrupts): “No different than your sin,” Rick Warren: “Oh I think the worse sin is pride, in fact the Bible says it. The Bible says pride is the worst sin, it is, as the Bible says it is the sin that got Satan kicked out of heaven.”
While it is true that pride caused Satan’s fall and others as well the Bible does not say that pride is the worst sin, it may be a more common one (Mk.7:21-22). A person with a certain amount of pride can go to heaven but a person who is practicing homosexual, practicing fornicator and adulterer will not (1 Cor.6:9-10; Rev.21:8 it does not mention pride). Blasphemy of the Spirit was considered an unforgiveable sin (Mt.12).
Rick Warren: “it’s the sin that cause Nebuchadnezzar to lose his kingdom and king Herod and a bunch of others, pride goes before destruction. Because pride is basically saying “I,” I’m in charge the middle letter pride is “I” and the middle letter sin is “I.” And the bottom line is” goes to a basketball problem now taking place. “One of the things about that is we are in a narcissistic culture that basically says it’s all about me. I need to do what I want to do, I want to have what I want to have, I want to be what I want to be—its very self centered culture and that’s why I think one of the things about the book that took off, its kind of a slap in the face because the first line of the book says its not about you. Now I don’t know a self-help book in the world that starts with “its not about you.” But every other book on self help will basically say it’s all about you, it’s all about your needs, your dreams, your desires. And kids who are acting out like to these brawls and stuff like that, they’re just portraying the, the value of our society which says I have to think of me first.”
(“I think” is what Warren speaks all throughout his interview. As far as his book not beginning with “I,” as a self-help theme, it may not have this word but the concept is underlined throughout it. This is why so many that do not follow Christ are attracted to his book-- it’s all about “my purpose, my dream.” God becomes generic and is applied to what you think you were created for. That no matter what religion you belong to you can find a purpose in God.
Larry King: “Is organized religion part of a problem?”
Rick Warren: “Well it certainly can be. I think anything organized can get, at our church we have disorganized religion hahaha, (this is not something to laugh about). I’m not that organized, but uh, a lot of things again are done in the name of religion”
Larry King: “your damn right,” that are not have, don’t have anything to do with Jesus Christ.” Okay, and don’t have anything to do with uh, with faith or uh, forgiveness or uh, all these other things in life. Y’know everybody’s life is driven by something. That’s why I call this book the Purpose Driven life. Some people are driven by fear, y’know people like this there driven by the opinions of others. They live for the expectation of their parent or husband, boyfriend, something like that. Some people are driven by worry, uh their driven by guilt, their driven by shame, uh some people are driven by loneliness, and I don’t think God wants any of our lives to be driven by these things I think the bottom line is that we were out on earth for a purpose. Part of that purpose is to know God and part of that purpose is to help other people.”
To say their church is exhibiting disorganized religion is a not a plus in my book. Yes God wants us not to be driven by these things but above all things to find the riches that are in Christ Jesus so we can be led by His Spirit to what God has planned for us (Eph.2:8-10).
Rick Warren: “…There is purpose to everything even behind our pain there's a purpose, and God’s purpose for our life is always greater than the pain we got though.”... I think we live in fallen world and we make choices and most of the problems I bring on myself, there not God’s, God didn’t cause them.”
Larry King: “what about a typhoon?
Rick Warren: “Well there are natural disasters there's no doubt about,” Larry King: “then it has to be God then…” Rick Warren: “Well God set up the universe that creates both light and dark, uh I mean we could have all sunshine but all sunshine and no rain makes a desert and so there has to be storms. And so there have to be there have to be different things and, and yes people get hurt. Y’know what, I don’t know that there's an answer to the why question. That’s the one that we all ask, that when something happens like a typhoon or a hurricane. Why did this happen? Some of those things, I think its kind of like an ant trying to understand the internet. I don’t have the brain capacity to understand why God does the things he does.”
There is an answer, a simple one, we live in fallen world and nature responds erratically. While God can use nature to judge, the fact is bad things do happen to both non- believers and believers alike. God does supernaturally protect us or warn us at times but not always.
Larry King: “isn’t it though a copout to say its easy to say, “I believe in God I finally believe he’s my lord he’s my master and when a typhoon comes allright, its too its beyond me” Warren: yeah” if that’s beyond you how can you believe in Him?” Rick Warren: yeah “Well I don’t think, that’s a great question by the way. I don’t think it’s a copout to say I believe that God is in control in that he has also given us free will. The first question I was asked after 911 was, okay, why, where was God? And my, my answer, where was God when all this happened is he’s where he’s always been, and that is in the hearts of the people who were there during the rescuing, during the caring, it was great opportunity even good came out of that terrible, terrible tragedy in that there was heroism and, and character grew.”
Warren does not answer King’s question but instead shifts to another subject. As commendable as it was for people to sacrifice and help in this manner we need to ask was God in ALL the people’s hearts who helped? This is a universalist statement. As if one acts in a Christian ethic then God is there. This is an echo of Robert Schuller’s theology where God is in everyone.
Larry King: “Does it annoy you that the people flying the plane also believed in him?
Rick Warren: “Well yeah, and obviously I don’t believe in that God, in fact a lot of times people say to me well I don’t believe in God, and whenever I hear that I always have two immediate questions. First of all it doesn’t shock me. My first question is, okay, tell me what kind of God you don’t believe in, cause I may not believe in him either. An they will say, “Well I don’t believe in a God who y’know sins da da da and all that kind, and I say well I don’t either. And the second question I ask is what interests me is not why you don’t, that you don’t believe in God but why you don’t believe in God. And I’ll often ask, I was just with a university from Brazil recently and he said, “I don’t believe in God.” I said okay, y’know that’s, y’know were all basing our life on something. But let me ask you this. Would you have to make changes in your lifestyle if you believed in the God of the Bible that Jewish people and Christians worship Jehovah God? Would you have to make some lifestyle changes, he said ‘uh yeah.’ So then really the question is not do you believe in God but are you willing to make the changes hahaha.”
No, this is not the question! Because he first needs to know what he believes in for him to even want to change. Only then would he want to obey the God he is now willing to submit his life to. You don’t make a change to conform to what you don’t believe in.
Another point that should not be overlooked: do both Jews and Christians worship God? Is Judaism acceptable to God without the Messiah and his death on the cross? Again, Warren’s inclusive statements of others are made too often to be a misnomer but presenting a belief system he holds to- again this is a form of universalism.
Larry King: first call “Victoria British Columbia for Rick Warren hello”
Caller: “Hello, Good evening. I’m enjoying your show, if you live your life in kindness and goodness and consideration, I’m an agnostic by the way, I’m not an atheist, agnostic. And you know when your being good and you know when you are being bad why do you need to recognize a book that I think was written by men, thousands of years ago to control but back to the subject -- I really would like to hear your opinion on…”
Rick Warren: “That’s a great question let me ask you a question what do you do, you said you know when you are doing right and you know when you are doing wrong, is that what you said?”
(Caller: yes) Warren: “Okay, let me ask you what did you do with your guilt when you really know when you are doing wrong?
Caller: Um if I really know that I’ve been really bad to somebody I will actually turn right back and apologize to then if unless I’m in a car of course which…I try not to judge but I always, I’d like to treat others as though I wanted to be treated myself.”
Rick Warren: “Yeah that’s a, Larry King: “not be judgmental.” Rick Warren: “obviously… Jesus said judge not lest you be judged and of course. Y’know Larry, its kind of like on a continuum lets say Hitler’s on a zero and mother Teresas at a hundred, where am I going to put myself “Okay I might put myself say, okay, I’m at a 20, okay, I’m not as good as some people, in fact I’m certain there are a lot of people that are better than me . Y’know more moral or more kind more loving than I am and there are lot of people that are worse than me I would say, okay. But it goes back to, I don’t believe God grades on a curve, it’s like, the bottom line is even mother Theresa, uh, has done things wrong and so we all need a savior.”
This is a very bad example-- that Mother Teresa is at a 100 being another sinner! Warren never ministered to this women who called, nor did he give a single thing to think about to counter her answer, in fact he justifies her position in his discussion with Larry King. Warren completely ignored ministering to an agnostic who needs proof to believe. A savior from what? So we don’t feel guilty? Or because our sins have offended a Holy God who is perfect in justice and will have to judge us for sin.
Larry King: “all you need is one law right, do unto others, you don’t need another law?
Rick Warren: “Jesus summarized, this is a good question; Jesus, a guy came to Jesus one time and said what’s the, what’s the most important commandment. And He said Okay, I’m going to summarize the whole thing in two sentences here’s the whole Bible the Old Testament New Testament, all the law and prophets, this is cliff notes on the Bible, love God with all your heart and love your neighbor as yourself- now that’s it. That’s what Jesus said. Which is, okay, I have to get to know him and love God, and second I’ve got to love other people. If I do that you got it made.”
These were Jews who at the time were under the law. If what Warren is saying is true then we don’t need the cross, only the commandments. Warren omits the essential element Jesus also said- you must be born again to see the kingdom. Warren put the emphasis on works of obedience to the law when Jesus made it clear in using this that no one can be saved by doing this. This becomes salvation by works. This is not what Jesus meant (Matthew 22:35-40; Mark 12:28-34; Luke 10:25-11:4). Warren contradicts his former statement that we need a savior by then saying keep these two laws and you are okay. The way is a person and His work on the cross, not obedience to the law. Jesus said to believe in Him, to follow Him, to obey Him. Again as the way, the truth and the life. 1 Cor. 16:22: “If anyone does not love the Lord Jesus Christ, let him be accursed. O Lord, come!”
Larry King: “Russell Springs Kentucky hello”
Caller: “Yes first of all I would like to say that Rick you have an outstanding book and my question to you is are you going to write another one (laughter) about when?”
Larry King: “purpose driven life 2”
Rick Warren: “That’s the $60,000 question. I am going to write another book I’m not going to write it this year its actually going to be, well this book is going to be on what on earth are we here for? This next book is gonna be on uh, asking dealing with question what are you doing with what you’ve been give. Because I believe we all fundamentally, everything we have is a gift. So I believe, because I believe in God, I believe everything I have my life is a gift… Larry King: “Very eastern philosophy.” Warren ignores this statement and says, “It’s all a gift so we’re stewards, were ste, and by the way, uh, uh, there’s truth in every religion, I, I, Christians believe there's truth in every religion. But we just believe there is one savior. We believe we can learn truth from, I believe I’ve have learned a lot of truth from different religions. Because they all have a portion of the truth. I just believe there's one savior Jesus Christ”
This is simply not true. I’m not sure whom Warren is speaking for but this is not an orthodox evangelical view. We don’t we believe there’s truth in every religion but only in some religions. And the qualification is only if they agree with the Bible. In other words they do not stand on their own revelation. The Bible and God tell us to hear His Scripture only, we are not afforded the openness to go elsewhere for truth. His statement, “they all have a portion of the truth” is straight out of Rosicrucianism and a new age worldview, this is NOT a Christian one. Islam, Mormonism does not have a portion of the truth. This statement of all the ones we have heard is by far the most dangerous and the most revealing. Warren’s admission that he is not only willing but already has learned “a lot of truth” from other false religions shows how open he is. Therefore this justifies the quotes he has in his book and elsewhere. Warren shows us his universal leanings and explains why he can quote liberally others who disagree.
For Jesus to be your savior He must also be the way, the truth and the life. Its not just that Christianity has the savior which is this certain thing missing from the other religions. It is exclusive on everything, the very words of God, or it is nothing. Jesus said thy word is truth -- He gave us God’s word ONLY. He told us to continue in His word. For their to be truth in other religions (besides the Jewish religion abiding on the Old Testament John 1:17; 1Romans 3:1-2; Hebrews 5:12) then we must admit God has given His Word to other men besides the Jewish prophets [after Abraham] which the Bible says is not true. If one follows through with that logic then we must now accept their teachings to some extent. Is the only difference our having a savior? None of these religions had any truth, Jesus never quoted them; they quote Jesus. Jesus said in Jn.5:39 you search the Scriptures (Old Testament) but it all points to Him. If these religions had any truth it would point to Him ALONE, it would say the same things the bible does because they would have the same God’s word that is unchanged. Not even Islam agrees with the Bible on the same subjects mentioned, so his view is false.
If they are all mutually exclusive as he first stated then how does Warren justify his point of view that they all have truth? Truth is not contradictory. What kind of truth can one have that does not affect the whole system? For example Judaism, true Judaism of Moses has truth but none of it contradicts the fulfillment of Christianity, in fact it is the basis for it. What kind of truth can Islam or Hinduism or Buddhism have to the Christian faith? There is only one faith (Jude 3). Warren gives no details, only a general statement, so this is left to be answered another time.
Caller “Yes um, I would like to ask the reverend if um, if he believes that non Christians can get into heaven and be with God when they die?”
Rick Warren: “My question would be this (she asked for an answer not a question) whose gets to make the rules. Does God have a right to decide who gets into his place and I would say my opinion really doesn’t matter, uh, I would say this, and I would say this humbly “Jesus said this, he said, I am the way the truth and the life and nobody comes through the Father except through me.” You know what that’s a pretty radical statement if you think about it.” Larry King: “pompous too,” Rick Warren: “It is, if it’s not true. The bottom line is I’m bettin’ my life on that verse. You see this Larry is the fundamental issue.”
Larry King: “So what your saying is the Jew is not going to heaven”
Rick Warren: “I’m saying nobody’s going to heaven except people who go to heaven God’s way. And I don’t get to make the rules. I don’t go to heaven, you don’t go to heaven.”
Here Warren now contradicts what he stated about keeping the greatest commandments to make it. Seems to me he is either confused in what he believes or unable to communicate it.
Larry King: “What, What are you saying; what if John leads a perfect life, he adopts the golden rule all the days of his life except he doesn’t…”
Rick Warren: “first I reject the premise.”
Larry King: “Okay” Rick Warren: “He doesn’t, he can’t lead a perfect life.”
Larry King: “Alright he leads a 99 percent (Warren laughs) Phil leads a 30 percent life he believes in (Rick Warren: “and I lead a 10 percent life,” Larry King: “you go to heaven and John doesn’t, Warren: “no,” Larry King: under those rules bad ruler!”
Rick Warren: “Yeah, the rule, the rule is grace, you see, you have to do the almost impossible to go to hell, you have to reject the love of Jesus Christ, now why would anybody reject that?
Larry King: “Why is it so crowded down there?”
Rick Warren: “Why would anybody reject the love of Jesus. He’s done everything possible, you saw the Mel Gibson movie Jesus stretches out his hands on the cross and says I love you this much. It’s like I’m doing everything possible, I’m doing everything possible so that you don’t have to go to hell so that you don’t have to depend on your own efforts because uh, it Is, uh its by grace. The message of the evangelical, the message of the Bible is not judgment, the message is grace. It is I don’t deserve but I get to go if I trust him”
Wrong. The message has not changed it is not just about grace there is judgment, as Jesus said after God sending his son in love to the world --John 3:17-21: “For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved. ”He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. “And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. “For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed. “But he who does the truth comes to the light, that his deeds may be clearly seen, that they have been done in God.”
It is about God’s grace given to escape the JUDGMENT and it comes by believing in the gospel which is centered on the cross. Warren does not drive anyone to the cross but to purpose. The cross is obscured with what people learn after they are saved. Trust Him in what? The evangelical Warren is representing is the new evangelical wing of the church that has eliminated the only way to salvation- Christ dying on the cross for SIN. I don’t think I’m being too harsh or misjudging this matter after all I have read and heard. Because what Warren and others are talking about is what one gets after they are saved as if it is salvation itself.
Here’s a clue why people reject the message of Christ’s love because their fallen condition and the need for a savior is not sufficiently explained, that’s why! Its not just love people are rejecting but the person and his atoning work that is the ONLY thing that can save them. They are rejecting God, Love does not save anyone the death of his Son and resurrection saves them. I saw the movie— and I read the Bible, and Jesus did not stretch his hands out, that’s how everyone was crucified. His crucifixion was no different then the two thieves on either side. Again Warren is theologically deficient in presenting some very fundamental things of the Christian faith.
Here was the perfect opportunity to explain sin, but he doesn’t explain the “why” of Jesus dying on the cross.
Now we are faced with two possibilities that he intentionally avoided it or worse he does not understand it himself. Think about it, here is a man who is seeker friendly, he has a captive audience to explain the gospel in clarity from the questions Larry King initiated and backs away from this.
In summarizing this interview we need to consider the word of God. Why are so many willing to read his book and not the Bible?
I John 4:5-8: “They are of the world. Therefore they speak as of the world, and the world hears them. We are of God. He who knows God hears us; he who is not of God does not hear us. By this we know the spirit of truth and the spirit of error.”
I John 5:19: “We know that we are of God, and the whole world lies under the sway of the wicked one.” If we do not tell people about sin, its origin, how can they have a correct knowledge and respond to the Messiah who came in love to die for them?
Softening up the message to appeal to people that like desert more than meat is not the answer to a world that is perishing.