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Rick Warren and the Peace-Driven Life

29 Nov

Rick Warren’s popularity has given him an enormous platform. It looks as if he will replace Billy Graham as “America’s Christian Leader.” I do hope that God continues to use Rick to speak to the nation (and to the world) in the same way that Billy Graham has been able to do. This week he is hosting the 2006 GLOBAL SUMMIT ON AIDS AND THE CHURCH, a conference drawing attention to the AIDS epidemic around the world. He is also spending a lot of time focused on the P.E.A.C.E. plan, a missions-initiative targeting the five “giants” of the global community: spiritual emptiness, corrupt leadership, poverty, disease, and illiteracy.

With popularity comes backlash.

This is the sad truth. And most of the backlash is from “evangelical” Christians. I have read a lot of the criticisms hurled towards Rick Warren through books, articles and endless blog posts…and for the most part I am baffled. I can understand if you do not like his use of 3 million Bible translations in one message. I can understand if you are upset that he has dropped the Hawaiian shirt and glasses for untucked, stripped shirts and a gotee, but to say that he is a deceiver, a New Ager or a heretic is simply laughable.

He recently emailed out a letter (through email) addressing some of the more recent criticisms. I confirmed with his office that this is the letter he sent to his church members and then out to those who have been connected to his purpose divine ministry. As a side note, the recovery ministry in our church, Celebrate Recovery, is a saddleback/purpose driven ministry and it is a wonderful way to connect with people in the community who are hurting. Here is Pastor Rick’s letter:

Dear Friends,

This weekend, I shared a very personal message on “Living By Your Convictions”.

When Kay and I announced the launching of the P.E.A.C.E. plan a few years ago, we both knew we could expect severe opposition coming from different angles. The P.E.A.C.E. plan empowers churches to do the 5 things Jesus did, and Jesus warned us, ” People will do to you exactly what they did to me. They will do it because you belong to me, and they don´t know the one who sent me.” John 15:21 (CEV) Millions of Christians throughout history and around the world right now know that persecution is real.

We are in a spiritual battle for the lives of billions, so we expect opposition. The Bible tells us that “Satan is the accuser of the brethren.” Unfortunately, sometimes Christians do Satan´s job for him. They accuse and criticize other believers. I´m sure that makes Satan smile.

The Bible says it is foolish to spout off about issues before knowing the facts, but the Internet has made it very easy to do. God says, ” He who answers before listening–that is his folly and his shame”. Prov. 18:13 (NIV) God also says, “Fools have no interest in understanding; they only want to air their own opinions.” Prov. 18:2 (NLT)

Recently, 4 “bloggers” made accusations about my visit to Syria (between speaking in Germany and Rwanda). They based their accusations on a Syrian state press release! Of course, they had no idea what my motivation was, what I actually did and said, and the confidential results. But they attacked me anyway. Not a single newspaper carried the story, but several websites repeated the gossip without talking to me to get the facts. Most sites were already critical of The Purpose Driven Church and Life, and were just happy to have something else to attack.

Before going to Syria (as a pastor, not a politician) I called Franklin Graham who is very experienced in dealing with the Middle East and asked him what I should say. He said “Thank the government for protecting the freedom of churches from radical Muslims.” The Christian leaders I met with in Syria said the exact same thing. This does not excuse other government actions that we’ve all read about. But my visit was not political . My visit was to encourage the Christian leaders and to get permission from the government to do the PEACE Plan in Syria, which we were given!

Another blogger claimed I´ve invited Barack Obama to preach in my pulpit to the Saddleback congregation. Of course that is untrue. I´d never invite ANY politician to speak from the pulpit to our congregation. Never. The blogger got his facts wrong but he told everyone to call our church office and complain. Many of these people were quite rude and vicious to our receptionists this past week.

Next week, the Global Summit on AIDS and the Church will be held on the Saddleback campus. It is not a church service, but an international summit for pastors and world leaders. Leaders from churches, denominations, health organizations, NGOs, Christian organizations, governments, businesses, and entertainment will meet together to discuss how they can work with and through churches to end AIDS. Participants will hear messages from Laura Bush, Sen. Bill Frist, Sen. Sam Brownback, Bill Gates, Bono, the doctor who discovered AIDS transmission heterosexually, Franklin Graham, the President of World Vision, the President of World Relief, the President of Compassion, and about 30 other speakers who are concerned about AIDS. Sen. Obama is one speaker at a conference which includes Republicans and Democrats, Christians and non-Christians, pastors, business leaders, of all kinds of ethnicities from around the world. Yet the vitriol and unChristlike slander was over the top.

This weekend I taught a message called “Living By Your Convictions” where I´ve explained the 6 Biblical convictions that are the framework for all we do at Saddleback. The video of this message will be available to watch on http://www.pastors.com for free later this week.

Of course, you friends know my heart, my motivation, and my 26 year track record. What matters to me is not pleasure…possessions…prestige…politics…power.. or popularity. I couldn´t care less about these things. I care about bringing people to Jesus, and I will do whatever it takes to “Reach One More For Jesus” as my father´s dying words instructed me. No criticism will ever stop me from doing that.

Like Paul, God has called me as a missionary to non-believing cultures, and he has opened doors in amazing ways to share the Gospel behind lines that pastors don’t normally get invited to. Paul was willing to go anywhere and talk to anyone about Jesus. So was Billy Graham. So am I. I´d go into hell if I could bring some people out with me.

No matter where I´ve been invited to speak – to Congress; to the Davos World Economic Forum; at Harvard, Oxford and Cambridge; to the United Nations; the Foreign Affairs Council; from Rabbis at the University of Judaism to Muslim leaders in the Middle East, from Urban Gays to Rural Cowboys – my message is unchanged:

We all need Jesus! Left or Right is irrelevant to me. I´m not a politician. I am a pastor, and my calling is to go “to ALL nations and ALL people” with the saving knowledge of Jesus.

I believe the Good News with all my heart and I want everyone to have the opportunity to respond to it – not just those who come inside the doors of churches.

I hope you´ll email this weekend´s sermon transcript and email it to others when we post it for free on http://www.pastors.com. I love you all!

Pastor Rick

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11 Comments

Posted by on November 29, 2006 in Ministry

 

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11 responses to “Rick Warren and the Peace-Driven Life

  1. Michellebelle

    February 8, 2007 at 3:33 pm

    I for one am not bashing RW personally.I am bashing his lack of understanding of where the 12 steps came from.There is NOTHING biblical about the 12 steps.Celebrate recovery is nothing more than the demonic AA cult repackaged with a christian sticker on it.The 12 steps came from Bill wilson while in a trance and speaking to a familliar spirit.Before pastors blindly accept certain things they should be looking at the root of where it came from.CR is also loaded with psychobabble that has no place in churches.

     
  2. Michellebelle

    February 8, 2007 at 3:37 pm

    Their idea of sponsorship comes from one verse.Sponsorship was BillWilsons INVENTION.There is nothing biblical about it.

    Ecc 4:9 Two are better than one, Because they have a good reward for their labor.
    10 For if they fall, one will lift up his companion. But woe to him who is alone when he falls, For he has no one to help him up. 11 Again, if two lie down together, they will keep warm; But how can one be warm alone? 12 Though one may be overpowered by another, two can withstand him. And a threefold cord is not quickly broken.

    Another example of RW twisting scripture.This scripture is about friendship not about being accountable to a sponsor.

     
  3. Michellebelle

    February 8, 2007 at 3:48 pm

    “The Bible says it is foolish to spout off about issues before knowing the facts, but the Internet has made it very easy to do. God says, ” He who answers before listening–that is his folly and his shame”. Prov. 18:13 (NIV) God also says, “Fools have no interest in understanding; they only want to air their own opinions.” Prov. 18:2 (NLT)”

    I’m sorry but I have to wonder how much research he put into AA before accepting AA principles into his church.People have the misconception that Bill wilson was christian.Perhaps people need to read his biography to find out how deeply he was involved in the occult.RW claims that christians need to be held accountable to one another,yet he doesnt seem to want to do that himself.He says he doesnt like psychology,yet CR is overloaded with it.

     
  4. derek vreeland

    February 8, 2007 at 9:36 pm

    Michelle,

    You wrote: “Celebrate recovery is nothing more than the demonic AA cult repackaged with a christian sticker on it.” Do you really believe this? Have you ever been to a Celebrate Recovery meeting?

    We have Celebrate Recovery groups that meet in our church and is is not AA. Our Celebrate Recovery ministry is clear we don’t fix people and that the goal is to lead people to Christ. We baptized four people last year, who came to soberity and Jesus through Celebrate Recovery. I do not know the history of CR or AA, but Jesus said to judge all men by their fruits and the fruits of our CR ministry have all been good.

    You can check out our CR ministry online at http://www.cornerstoneamericus.com/ministries/celebrate_recovery/

    Derek

     
  5. derek vreeland

    February 8, 2007 at 9:36 pm

    Michelle,

    You wrote: “Celebrate recovery is nothing more than the demonic AA cult repackaged with a christian sticker on it.” Do you really believe this? Have you ever been to a Celebrate Recovery meeting?

    We have Celebrate Recovery groups that meet in our church and is is not AA. Our Celebrate Recovery ministry is clear we don’t fix people and that the goal is to lead people to Christ. We baptized four people last year, who came to soberity and Jesus through Celebrate Recovery. I do not know the history of CR or AA, but Jesus said to judge all men by their fruits and the fruits of our CR ministry have all been good.

    You can check out our CR ministry online at http://www.cornerstoneamericus.com/ministries/celebrate_recovery/

    Derek

     
  6. derek vreeland

    February 8, 2007 at 9:39 pm

    Sorry the link to our our CR ministry got cut off. It is http://www.cornerstoneamericus.com/ministries/celebrate_recovery/

    Check out “the Eight Recovery Principles,” which are based on the beatitudes.

     
  7. Anonymous

    February 9, 2007 at 2:13 am

    Yes I have read the beatitudes and saw how they have NOTHING to do with recovery.In fact I found that page to be utterly rediculous,laughable almost,yet sad how it has been twisted into something it isnt.I have done EXTENSIVE research into AA and celebrate recovery,its all in my blog. Is the fruit really good?? Good fruit isnt following 12 steps that are NOT biblically based or twisting scripture or following man made psychology.Do you have any idea how many relationships have been destroyed as a result of the co-dependency movement.AA is known to destroy marriages,theyre almost proud of it.”woe is me the poor drunk lost his family” Now he has something to talk about at meetings. The root of AA is the occult,the root of CR is AA.

    Its sort of like taking harry potter movies,putting a christian twist on it and making his majik the power of the holy spirit.The ROOT is still in the occult and nothing can change that.When the christians masses blindly accept something.I take notice.Especially in this age of the luke warm church.Christians love to glob onto things that make them feel good.They dont want to deal with demons or deliverence,they dont want to go deeper and accept the consequences and responsibility of that,they want the easy path that psychoanalises their behavior and used humanistic methods to free themselves.I have gone into great detail as to why christians should avoid mixing the bible with man made psychology that was invented by men who were humanists,hated christians and were involved in the occult.

    The first time I went to the CR site.I took one look at John baker and knew he was AA.I had no idea what CR was about.I hadnt even read his testimony at that point.People who have been in AA for a long time have a spirit about them and you can see it on their face.They even talk in a certain way..PROGRAMMED.
    AA is a cult,it fits the definition of a cult,it uses mind control methods.Bill Wilson said himself that AA was intended to replace one addiction for another.He says that the steps are “suggestions” yet tells you that if you dont do those steps or stay in AA for life you will die.There is a site called the “orange papers” yes there is a lot of God bashing,he lacks understanding,however the guy tells the truth about AA.My husbands family lives and breathes AA.My FIL is almost proud that his son has followed in his AA footsteps…sick or what.!!!
    My MIL stated that after FIL got into AA he “found God” and was baptised,I said okay but was he saved.She couldnt answer.
    Christians believe that AA is christian because of all the “God” talk in the big book.Not once in ANY AA writting is salvation ever mentioned.I actually prayed that my hubs big book would go missing.IT DID.! It hasnt left the house,hubby cant find it anywhere.

    Before accepting anything christians need to look at the origin.I have stopped celebrating christmas and chose to celebrate Christs birth everyday.The root of Christmas is catholicism and paganism,the tree is pagan,the yule log is pagan,winter solstice is pagan.NOWHERE are we told to use the winter solstice to celebrate Christs birth,he wasnt even born in the winter.Shephers didnt have their sheep abiding in the fields in the winter.So what are we doing.???We have been told for so long to accept these things that we do it without question.

    RW states”What we need is a biblical and balanced program to help people overcome their hurts, habits and hang-ups. Celebrate Recovery is that program. Based on the actual words of Jesus rather than psychological theory” EXCUSE ME.CR is loaded,full and running over with psychobabble.!!!! I have the papers from my hubbys group straight from the program itself.There is psychological theory galore.You need a program???? last I heard the bible says that the word of God is all you need.!!!

    http://www.aabibliography.com/aaphotonewhtml/aareligion.html

    I dont buy it.Mabe RW is a really great guy but hes notorious for twisting scripture.

     
  8. derek vreeland

    February 9, 2007 at 3:37 am

    So you do not think that if a person responds to the beatitudes that they will come into a season of healing and recovery? This is not pop-psychology, but basic discipleship.

    I think that if a person strives to be poor in spirit, mournful, meek, hungry and thirsty for righteousness, merciful, pure in heart, and peacemakers that the Holy Spirit can bring them to a place of recovery from addiction and past hurts. I believe there are other factors, but I certainly see how the practice of the beatitudes can bring an addict to recovery.

    In all of your research have you been to an actual CR meeting? Have you un-biasly talked to CR leaders or people who have come to Christ through CR? A part of good research is not just the academic research, but field research that is done in an objective manner. I respect your passion for discernment, but I respectfully disagree with your conclusions. In research you have to keep yourself from snap judgments, like saying that you “know” John Baker is AA, by looking at his picture. Jesus was criticized for being a drunkard and a glutton, by those who judged him before knowing him.

    I do not know what the “co-dependancy” movement is, but our CR leaders are trained on how to reach out to people who are co-dependant, so maybe they should go to CR. I would also encourage you to understand the differences between CR and AA, before criticizing CR for the reasons you disagree with AA.

    We do need the Scripture to be our guide, but isn’t all truth God’s truth. When my son needed open heart surgery, I didn’t look for a Scripture on repairing a narrowed heart value. We did pray and ask God to heal him, but we also went to cardiologist who had learned how to fix narrowed hearts. He had learned how God made the heart and from that he learned how to fix the heart. He fixed my son’s heart and he is alive today!

    g&p

    Derek

     
  9. Anonymous

    February 23, 2007 at 6:57 am

    Rick Warren gives me the creeps.I couldn’t say why but once I read some of the things he’s said and now this global peace plan! Does he think he’s the one that will change the world? They recently started a CR group in our church and it scares me.

     
  10. Anonymous

    February 23, 2007 at 6:57 am

    Rick Warren gives me the creeps.I couldn’t say why but once I read some of the things he’s said and now this global peace plan! Does he think he’s the one that will change the world? They recently started a CR group in our church and it scares me.

     
  11. derek vreeland

    February 23, 2007 at 7:51 am

    If RW gives you the “creeps” then I would not listen to him or read what he has to say. I don’t think he things he is the “one” to change the world, but he is doing what he can to help other people…you know…like Jesus.

    As far as Celebrate Recovery, I would encouage you to visit it and judge the fruit of its ministry. Ask God to help you vistit it with an unbiased opinion.

    Derek

     

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