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What You Should Know About Rick Warren’s Worldview

Rick Warren Tweets Jesus Is God

For some time now, I’ve been serving as a Pastor to Saddleback Church’s correspondence team, a group of dedicated staff and volunteers who answer over 100,000 emails per year about a range of subjects. Not a week goes by that I don’t see an email (or twenty) asking for Pastor Rick’s response to what someone said in criticism of his views on a variety of subjects.

The early Christians were once accused of cannibalism by the Roman officials because of their image as a secret society whose leader challenged them to “drink His blood” and “eat His body.” In fact, Jesus was often misquoted and maligned by leaders who abused the fears of the masses to rally supporters to their cause. It’s very easy to be misunderstood and, as with any evangelical leader, there will be plenty of people on the fence as to what to believe.

A believer in Jesus Christ should seek the truth above all else. We have to be careful as Christians, who at one time were the most understood sect on the planet, not to be quick to believe gossip. We should extend the benefit of the doubt until actual evidence of false teaching is offered. Or as James put it, we should be “quick to hear, slow to speak, and slow to wrath.”

Some of my greatest heroes include Athanansius (who protected early Christendom from Arian teachings), Charles Spurgeon (who offered observations on the theological “downgrade” of his day), and W. A. Criswell (who defended the inerrancy of Scripture when his denomination was involved in theological warfare). I definitely recognize the necessary role of discernment in the Christian life and my own worldview is rock solid. And having spent time with Pastor Rick, having read all of his books, and having listened to many of his messages, I feel confident of these things… Pastor Warren believes the Bible and believes that Jesus is the eternal Son of God who died for the sins of the world and rose again and who is the only Way to heaven and source of Truth and Life.

But I can also assure you that Pastor Warren is deeply concerned for the lost and wants everyone to be reached for Jesus. In fact, it’s this passion that often draws criticism. He’s been willing to cross boundaries, break barriers, use methods, and form relationships that many other believers would avoid out of a fear of criticism.

My plea is that we would work together to genuinely promote this worldview so that all may hear, and so that all may have an opportunity to see that what we ultimately believe as Christians is that “God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him would not perish, but have everlasting life.” ~ [youversion]John 3:16[/youversion] (emphasis mine)

Let me throw some challenges out…

  • Let us listen twice as much as we speak.
  • Let us check our spirits before we criticize.
  • Let us look at our own lives with more scrutiny than we look at others.
  • Let us have a solidly biblical worldview.
  • Let us have unity in the essentials.
  • Let us show liberty in the non-essentials.
  • Let us show love in all of our disagreements.
  • Let us lift up and glorify Jesus most of all – the only One who has ever lived free of error.

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  • dckenney

    and I would say all these same things about Pastor Rob Bell…. it’s sad that America feel it’s their job to tear down celebrities.

    • Brandon A. Cox

      What’s funny is that you don’t see whole ministries built around saying good things about Christian leaders. David, you have one of the most diversified blogrolls I’ve ever seen. Apparently, you have the gaul to think you can actually learn things from a diversity of viewpoints!

  • Casey Tygrett

    Great stuff Brandon. We’ve been “implicated” in the Rick Warren Global New Age/Islamic conspiracy as well for the fact that we used Purpose Driven LIfe material and also because of our involvement of Monvee and the ultimate evil…”spiritual formation”! I appreciate your thoughts on this, though you and I both know that this is likely an inescapable cycle – i.e. the controversies of the early church. I’m praying for thoughtful voices on both sides, and that I may be considered one of them.


    • Brandon A. Cox

      You’re right, Casey. Until Jesus comes, when we’ll all realize just how many little things we were wrong about and just how right He has always been.

  • Ben

    Great post. I admire Rick for the incredible way that he handles the critics. He always shows grace and class. What’s funny is that the same pastors who criticize him are the same ones who are always complaining about the critics in their own church.

    • Brandon A. Cox

      Ben… bingo.

  • Alan

    I like how you ended your post with what really matters … funny, at my church a couple of us have been talking about getting past “doing” church (and all the traps that represents for people to create conflict over the order of service, the type of music, even how our pastors and others dress on Sundays) and start BEING the church (“go and do like wise” and “go and make disciples) … Thanks for that …

    • Brandon A. Cox

      Alan, I love the line of thinking you guys are going down. Keep that conversation going!

  • Gino Rodrigo

    This is a really great article, Brandon – over the past two weeks I’ve become acutely aware that there are some internal squabbles going on around us right now but I’m glad there are like-minded guys like yourself reminding us to be discerning and not to be distracted from God’s call in our lives. :)

    • Brandon A. Cox

      Thanks Gino, I’ll try to keep that up!

  • Anonymous

    Love the heart behind the post Brandon. I don’t think I’ve realized how much of an inner squabble there is going on until recently, but you said all that well.