Posted tagged ‘Rick Warren’

Tim Challies, Rick Warren, and My Take on the John Piper Interview

June 1, 2011

Last Friday, I took some time to post my thoughts on John Piper’s interview of Rick Warren.  And I was entirely not surprised by the comments my post received. However, I did appreciate the interaction I received offline with my fellow pastors and with other friends through email, Tim Challies included. Tim shared with me that he was going to share his thoughts in greater detail, which he did yesterday. I encourage you to check it out, though I take a little different approach, as you will see here.

In his post, Challies shared with his readers that I “marveled at the theological agreement between the two men” and used my blogpost as typical of what the blogosphere was positively regarding the interview. I guess you could say that my blogpost was an appreciative response to Piper’s appreciative interview. Obviously, Challies and I interacted with the interview with different perspectives and came away with different conclusions. Having said that, I thought I’d elaborate more on my take of the interview.

First, I do not consider myself a careful observer of all things Rick Warren.  I have read a couple of his books, follow him on Twitter, and occasionally here about what he is doing during the year. I don’t read the watchdog blogs that are obsessed with him, nor do I care to try to correct him every time he says something I disagree with. It is not that I am entirely ambivalent about Warren as much as it is that I have far greater concerns about the issues in my own life that demand far greater attention. The scope of the interview with Warren was limited to his book The Purpose Driven Life, and while that may have not felt to be sufficient material for a thoroughgoing critique, I’m glad Piper stuck with a first-hand source that all of us can evaluate on its own merits.


John Piper, Rick Warren, and the Purpose Driven Life

May 27, 2011

Let’s just pretend for a moment you did not read the title of this blogpost.  Let’s pretend that there was an anonymous Christian minister who explicitly affirmed the following:

I am passionate about the glory of God above all things.
I believe in the absolute sovereignty of God in all things, including sin and tragedy.
I believe in exhaustive, meticulous divine providence.
I believe in the doctrines of grace, including total depravity, unconditional election, and particular redemption.
I affirm the five solas of the reformation and consider myself a monergist both in justification and sanctification of the believer.
I believe in the eternal, conscious torment in a literal hell.
I believe that substitutionary atonement is at the heart of the gospel.
I believe in that the imputed righteousness of Christ is essential to the nature of the gospel.
I believe that God saves us from Himself by sending us His Son as the wrath-bearing propitiation in my place.
I believe the Bible is the inerrant Word of God.
I believe that those who die never hearing the name of Christ will not go to heaven.  They need to hear the gospel, and the church must go to them and make Christ known in order for them to be saved.
Everything I do in life and ministry has an overarching missionary focus.

Having considered these personal beliefs and affirmations, what well-known evangelical preacher might we be talking about?  John MacArthur? Sounds a lot like him. Albert Mohler? Possibly. D.A. Carson? Perhaps.

Who is it that made these personal affirmations?

Rick Warren.

If you don’t believe me, watch and listen for yourself.

Like just about every other evangelical leader I respect, I don’t agree with everything Rick Warren says and does, but I found this interview very clarifying and confirming.  I cannot imagine the controversy and criticism both John Piper and Rick Warren will receive from this interview, but I’m grateful they made this agreement, having demonstrated a substantive, constructive, engagement on important issues from two very different perspectives.

I don’t know of two pastors in our country who have more influence on my generation than John Piper and Rick Warren.  They have asked that we pray for them, especially in regards to pursuing humility, fighting pride, and stewarding their influence for generations to come.  God has given these men incredible platforms to display the glory of God in the gospel of Jesus Christ.  Let’s pray for them and their continued usefulness in such enormous proportions for the advancement of the gospel both in breadth and depth for many years to come.


Rick Warren’s Inaugural Prayer

January 20, 2009

Let us pray:

Almighty God, our Father, everything we see, and everything we cant see, exists because of You alone. It all comes from You, it all belongs to You, it all exists for Your glory. History is your story.
Scripture tells us:

“Hear oh Israel, the Lord is our God, the Lord is One; and You are the compassionate and merciful One.”

And you are loving to everyone you have made. Now today, we rejoice not only in Americas peaceful transfer of power for the 44th time. We celebrate a hinge-point of history with the inauguration of our first African American President of the United States (Cheers). We are so grateful to live in this land. A land of unequal possibility. Where the son of an African immigrant can rise to the highest level of our leadership. And we know today that Dr. King and a great cloud of witnesses are shouting in heaven.

Give to our new President, Barack Obama, the wisdom to lead us with humility, the courage to lead us with integrity, the compassion to lead us with generosity. Bless and protect him; his family, Vice President Biden, the cabinet; and every one of our freely elected leaders.  Help us, oh God, to remember that we are Americans; united not by race or religion or blood; but to our commitment to freedom and justice for all.

When we focus on ourselves, when we fight each other, when we forget you, forgive us;
When we presume that our greatness and our prosperity is ours alone, forgive us.
When we fail to treat our fellow human beings and all the earth with the respect that they deserve, forgive us.

And as we face these difficult days ahead, may we have a new birth of clarity in our aims, responsibility in our actions, humility in our approaches, and civility in our attitudes, even when we differ. Help us to share, to serve, and to seek the common good of all. May all people of good will today join together to work for a more just a more healthy and a more prosperous nation and a peaceful planet. And may we never forget that one day, all nations and all people will stand accountable before you.

We now commit our new President, and his wife Michelle, and his daughters, Malia, Natasha, into your loving care. I humbly ask this in the name of the One who changed my life, Jeshua, ‘Isa, Jesus (in Spanish), Jesus, who taught us to pray,

“Our Father, who art in Heaven, hallowed be Thy name, Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done, on earth as it is in Heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil, for thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever, Amen.”

Rick Warren Signs on to Ascol’s Resolution

May 16, 2008

Comment number 101 on Tom Ascol’s resolution on regenerate church membership comes from a Southern Baptist we all know.  In fact, some really admire him; others have dedicated their blogs to expressing their grief over him.  Some fundies are having a cow, while other Southern Baptists are encouraged by the broad support as seen in the public endorsement of Tom’s resolution (for the record, I find myself in the second camp).  Who is it that I am talking about? 

Rick Warren.

In the comments section of Tom’s blogpost, Warren writes the following:

Hi Tom!
I have been personally urging the adoption of a resolution on Membership like yours for over 20 years. I hope it passes. The restoration of the integrity of membership is an absolute foundation to the spiritual health of a congregation.

Saddleback’s membership class, our covenant, and the accountability to it are the secrets behind our members willingness to sacrifice to reach people for Christ. Imagine a church that went 15 years without a building, setting up and tearing down a church for 10,000 people (at that time in the 90s) week after week, regardless of weather. The way you bring members in is the level of commitment they will live up to.

Most people have no idea- zero- of what is Saddleback Church is really like. They have bought into all the stupid misinformation that circulates on the internet, and in books by people who aren’t even believers and have never even talked to me.

The fact is, for 28 years, from the first day of our chuch, we have dilligently practiced church discipline, used the historic Baptist practice of covenants (we have 4, including a membership covenant), have a required membership class, and have graduated over 15,000 members through a six month Systematic Theology course called “Foundations.” I would match any 1,000 members of Saddleback to any 1,000 members of any other church in terms of spiritual maturity, godliness, Scriptures memorized, serving in ministry, and doing missions around the world.

We take membership extremely seriously at Saddleback Church, and people who don’t abide by the covenant are disciplined and removed. We have no such thing as “inactive or non-resident membership” which is a contradiction.

People probably also don’t know that during the past 10 years, most churches were plateaued or declining, we’ve baptized over 20,000 NEW adult believers, put 28,000 studing the Bible weekly in 3,400 small groups, and sent 7,766 of our members to evangelize and plant churches overseas in 68 countries. There’s not another church in America with a more mature membership. It’s because we stress covenants!

Never believe second- hand sources about Saddleback. They are ALWAYS wrong.

By the way, I am not a hyper-Calvinist. I am a Kuyper-Calvinist! Abraham Kuyper was right about so much. You can see his influence all through Purpose Driven Life. (smile)

Years ago, you may remember a lecture by Mark C at a SBC Founder’s Breakfast that compared the similarities between the “the children of Spurgeon and the children of Warren.” I got a kick out of that lecture since my great Grandfather was led to Christ by Spurgeon, went to Spurgeon’s College, and then was sent by Spurgeon to America to plant churches. I have Spurgeon’s handwritten sermons framed on my office walls- passed down from 4 generations of pastors! Another little known fact is that another part of my spiritual heritage is that my namesake Pilgrim ancestor, Richard Warren, came over on that little boat, the Mayflower to escape religious persecution.

Please forgive any typos in this. I don’t usually participate in blogs but I care deeply about this issue, and so I typed this out quickly.

God bless!

Rick Warren
Saddleback Church