Give Rick Warren a Break!

I don’t keep up that much with Rick Warren, but I have read many of his books.

I have always scratched my head in confusion as so many Christians want to burn him at the stake. Well, I scratch my head a lot at all the friendly fire that is out there. We shoot stun darts at enemies and bazookas at our family. With Warren, at every turn, I see “discerning Christians” trying to rub him out.

These type of Christians stake out in front of the house of their target and don’t leave—ever. I suppose that I could go there and see where they are coming from. I suppose that I can understand their wiring. After all, from their perspective, they are standing up for the truth of the Gospel. They are “contending for the faith.” Grace must take a backseat to truth since, after all, it is truth that produces grace, right? Mercy must stand in line as it waits for contention to run its course. Maybe we will get to those things later, but the foundation must be laid. Onward Christian soldiers!

I call this “the gift of parochialism”:

1) The ability of Christians to target and focus only on the bad in others; 2) The chronic display of other people’s shortcomings; 3) The gift of the Holy Spirit to be excessively narrow in our findings; 4) The uncanny ability of being indignant of other people’s theological shortcomings and indulgent of our own.

But it is easier. It is easier to attack than it is to be tactful. It is easier to lead rash assaults. “Skip the reconnaissance. Did you hear what he said?” After all, hastiness is natural. “‘Behold, you have now heard the blasphemy; what do you think?’ They answered, ‘He deserves death!'” . . . “Master, we saw him casting out demons in your name and we tried to stop him.” . . . “Master, do for me whatever we ask (for I am worthy and I can handle anything). Grant to me that I sit on your right hand, so that I can act as the judge and you can get a break.” . . . “Cut off his ear!” (Loosely, Matt. 26:65-66; Mark 9:38; Mark 10:35-41; Jn. 18:10).

In fact, you will always have a following if you are hasty and rash because it appeals to the same in all of us. Wisdom, understanding, grace, and tact are not welcome when we are inciting a lynching. “He deserves death!” Everyone is a rookie of grace, but an expert at “monster.” The human body comes standard with pitchforks. Bandages are optional.

Back to Warren.

I feel sorry for Rick Warren. Well, I don’t feel too sorry for him because I know that he has thick enough skin to take what is being dished out. I also know that there are a lot of people who appreciate and see all the good that he does. Has he said some stuff that is theologically off? Possibly. Who has not? Has he misrepresented our faith here and there? Certainly. We all have (and do). Is he perfect or imperfect? Please use a number 2 pencil and shade in the circle next to “imperfect.” In fact, do that for everyone but Christ.

Why today? Why Warren? Why this post?

Because I read a blog post that was warning people about Warren and, simply put, it hurt to read. I get Warren’s tweets through my tweet catcher, TweetDeck. I have been impressed by his daily thoughts. Impressed and encouraged. You can tell a lot about a person by the way they tweet. (For those of you who are unfamiliar with Twitter, what it amounts to is quick thoughts that are 140 characters or less.)

Here are some of the more encouraging ones that Rick Warren has posted over the last 28 hours:

“If someone is full of bitterness hate, no amount of logic will change their mind. Absorb their hurt, love, forgive & pray for them.”

“What we think is a deadend is often God’s detour to a better way.”

“For Kay & me,our best way to pray together is conversationally, back & forth aloud, rather than 2 uninterrupted prayers.”

“The most common way Jesus comes into our lives is through a broken heart.”

“Prayer is dialog, not mere monolog. 50% is quiet listening.”

“Prayer isn’t convincing God to do our will but alligning ourselves with His will, which requires overcoming evil with good.”

“Neither the length nor eloquence of your prayers causes God to answer. God responds to faith. See Mark 11:24

“It’s dumb not to learn from others because u disagree with much of what they say.Even a broken clock is correct twice a day” [oh, the irony of that one]

“We’re always just one heartbeat away from eternity.”

“Giving up faith in God because perversions of faith occur is as irrational as giving up sex because rape & incest occur.”

“If u think divorcing& marrying another will bring u happiness know this:74% of 2nd marriages AFTER a divorce end in divorce.”

And last but not least:

“Many CLAIMING to hold to Sola Scriptura actually trust manmade confessions.The WORD,not us,is inerrant,so we need humility!”

Wait, one more,

“The darkest blindess is refusing to see the truth.”

I hope you were encouraged by his words. I hope you saw his heart here.

I am not cherry picking. However, I did leave out this one:

“Hiddenness is the place of purification. In hiddenness we find our true selves.”

This tweet caught the eye of some of our friends who were were staked out, binoculars in hand, in front of his house, in a dark alley. What? . . . You don’t see the problem? Desensitized fool! Oh ye who don’t have the gift of parochialism. Oh ye without the ability to discern. You who do not appraise what you eat. Take a close look at the leaven being put into your mind. 

(The sarcasm here is about to make me point my canon straight up!)

The problem that this particular group has with this quote is this: “Rick Warren’s choice [for tweet] today was New Age mystic, Henri Nouwen, a Buddhist sympathizer who believed all paths lead to God.” They go on to dissect what this must mean about Warren. In short, he is attempting to lead people to universalism.

I tweet. I tweet often. Many times I quote from Christians who are not of the same ilk as me theologically. I just encouraged people to follow my friend Paul Copan, who is an Arminian. I have quoted Francis Beckwith, who is a Roman Catholic. Last week, I even tweeted this: “I slept with faith and found a corpse in my arms on awakening.” This comes from Aleister Crowley, an occultist. It does not mean that I have a secret plan to lead people to occultism. I also, like Warren, tweet straight from the Bible. Just this morning, while reading Genesis, I tweeted this, “Gen 6:1. Angels? ‘The sons of God saw the daughters of men were beautiful; they took them as wives.’ At least they married them 1st!” 

If people are waiting for me to “slip” by quoting or saying something that is a bit off, they won’t have to wait long.

Here is what I think to myself about the attack on Warren here:

1) Who cares if Warren quotes from a guy who is off theologically? Does this mean that he endorses all Nouwen’s theology? Why would we ever think such?

Most importantly…

2) Didn’t they read all of Warren’s other tweets? Didn’t they see how rich they were? His heart is on his sleeve. These other tweets were as orthodox as you can get. He is defending Christianity, not universalism. Why, out of all these, do they pick the Nouwen quote? Why not one of the others? He is quoting the Bible. He is defending marriage. For goodness sake, he is even standing strong on sola Scriptura!

When did grace get put in the trunk? When did reason get flicked out the window? Why do those of us who care about theology so dearly become back alley back stabbers of our own family?

We need to learn to have grace in our theology. We need to recognize those of the same DNA and commend before we condemn. We need to be seen as people of grace before we ever have a right to prune.

Folks, if we are hanging out on theology corner looking for a fight, we can find one. We will also always have an audience who is willing to watch and cheer as we beat someone up. But what we will find is that we become blood thirsty after a few rounds. The cheers of the crowd will become our heroine. However, in the end, we might discover that we are punching the face of our brother.

We need to be theologically discerning. We need “appraise” things. But when we realize that this is all we are doing, I think we need to appraise ourselves.

Grace and Truth. Truth and Grace. What a difficult combination to find.

125 Responses to “Give Rick Warren a Break!”

  1. I was that person when I wore a younger mans clothes.

  2. Michael,

    One of the problems as I see it with someone like Rick Warren quoting Nouwen–even if the quote he used was just fine and he agreed with it 100%–is that people can see a quote used by someone they respect and think something like, “Hmmm, that was a great quote. That author probably has a lot of good to say. Guess I will check him out some more.” Then, if they are not well trained theologically, or very discerning, they may go read some of the stuff Nouwen wrote that is not right on, and find themselves being led astray. The fact is, using a person’s quote because you think that one statement was good can come across as an endorsement for that person. Maybe that is not fair, but I believe it happens.

    It seems to me that if Rick Warren seriously disagress with a good deal of Nouwen’s theology, it would be very wise for him to state something to that effect when using his quote. That would eliminate any possiblity of others thinking you are endorcing something that you may find to be the total opposite of what you really believe.

  3. great post Michael…. I think these folks need to take Intro to Theology and wallow for a bit on the concept of being irenic….

  4. In Warren’s defense , if I’m not mistaken Chuck Swindoll has also quoted Nouwen…. nuff said!

  5. The tiolet at the local truck stop can look bright white and the water look clean, but I don’t recommend you drink from it.

  6. Thank you, Michael…excellent word.

  7. Speaking of Chuck Swindoll, I saw him in Kroger Sunday night shopping in a salmon colored t-shirt, shorts, and flip-flops. Unlike many in this world he does not allow fame go to his head. He’s a regular guy just like the rest of us and that’s why I love him.

  8. Rick Warren chose to quote Henri Nouwen who was a Buddhist-sympathizer. Guess I’ll go check out all that Nouwen has to say. Oh, here’s what Nouwen believes. Interesting!:

    “Today I personally believe that while Jesus came to open the door to God’s house, all human beings can walk through that door, whether they know about Jesus or not. Today I see it as my call to help every person claim his or her own way to God.”
    —From Sabbatical Journey, Henri Nouwen’s last book
    page 51, 1998 Hardcover Edition

    Cool. People will walk through the door of God’s house whether or not they know Jesus. Looks like Jesus should have saved himself a lot of trouble when he died in agony on the Cross! People could just get to God through Krishna or whatever god they like. So glad Rick Warren introduced me to Henri Nouwen. Never knew who he was until I saw Warren’s tweet. I’d like to share the good news about non-Christians with our small group next week!

  9. “Hiddenness is the place of purification. In hiddenness we find our true selves.” Nouwen

    By the way, would someone please tell me what this quote even means? What is the hiddeness he speaks of and why is it the place of purification? And what is the meaning of our true selves?

    I’m not sure I even know what he is really talking about here.

  10. I guess I would have to ask the question “Do Ideas really matter”? If creeds really are old school, and deeds are all we should really care about, then perhaps RW is right. Why get upset about Nouwen’s universalism, or Mertons zen antics, or RW’s own inclusivism and acceptance of comtemplative prayer and TM and so on? Why worry about his sitting at the feet of Peter Wagner and Robert Schuller and absorbing their “wisdom”?
    I have been witnessing to my mom for over 35 years. About five years ago she told me she had come to believe there was a God!!! But then she said “But I don’t want to get caught up in all the details”. I said “Mom, did you know that every one of the 19 9/11 murderers believed in Jesus? You know the details just might be really important”.
    I quote every rotten philsopher and theologian and heretic that I can think of in my seminars – I especially like to quote Nietzsche of all people. I don’t care who RW quotes – but I do care that so much of his thinking seems to resonate with people like Nouwen, Merton, Schuller, Wagner and so on. I do care as he is probably the most recognized pastor in the world that for many people both inside his huge network and outside of it – that he seen as speaking for God.
    As a slight aside, I think there is an integrity issue to deal with as well. At least three examples that I know of where he publicly stated his position when there was private evidence of his believing/stating the exact opposite. The first was the video several years ago of his little trip down Damascus way with that genial dictator of Syria. The second was his position on inclusivism that was on his family questions page on his website – until it got publicly known and then the page disappeared down the memory hole of the web. The last and perhaps most shameful was his public denial of supporting prop 8 in California on the Larry King show and then the video of him supporting prop 8 to his church. Who is this man???

  11. Regarding comment #7:

    I think that maybe, (just maybe!), all of the reasons (and more) that you gave for concern about Rick Warren in this comment, Bill, are very likely the reasons that people come down so hard on Rick Warren in the first place. It isn’t simply the issue of one Tweet–it is the issue of many things being heaped up over the years that have caused a lot of folks to have very grave concerns about this gentleman and what he believes and preaches. Sure there is good stuff there. But a lot of folks have also seen very grave causes for concern.

  12. I see that there are some comments that must have been in moderation that became visible after I posted my last comment. So the numbering is now way off. I referred to #7. It is at this time #10 and is by Bill Honsberger.

  13. To quote Bob Dylan,

    “You don’t need a weather man to know which the way wind blows.”

    “People seldom do what they believe in. They do what is convenient, then they repent.”

    “Sometimes it’s not enough to know what things mean, sometimes you have to know what things don’t mean.”

    “To live outside the law you must be honest.”

    “People disagreeing everywhere you look makes you wanna stop and read a book.”

    “But if the arrow is straight
    And the point is slick,
    It can pierce through dust no matter how thick.
    So I’ll make my stand
    And remain as I am
    And bid farewell and not give a damn.”

  14. Of all the things to make a fuss over, this is really dumb, honestly. Paul quoted a Greek poet when speaking to the Athenians. Jude quotes an apocryphal book. The book of Genesis quotes the words of Satan himself.

    Sometimes a heretical, secular, or even anti-Christian writer can pen a turn of phrase that is too good to pass up. When Caiaphas said that Jesus would “die for the people” was it wrong for John to include this saying in his gospel, since he was wrong in other areas?

  15. Ken,

    That’s no way to talk about apprising (sic) ministries!

  16. One of the issues that concerns me when we pull people apart for what they say.. such as Henri Nouwen is that they don’t dissect the cultural / historical aspect of where that person is placed.

    Nouwen cared for many intellectually challenged people. He was faced with the pastoral challenges of how do these mentally / physically challenged people know God… and so he had to intellectually work through those processes within the theological / social / church framework he was in.

  17. “Grace must take a backseat to truth since, after all, it is truth that produces grace, right?”

    You speak as though grace is a creation rather than grace as the uncreated life of God communicated to His creation through His energies.

  18. Brian I was just about to make the same comment about Jude…

  19. Now I don’t feel so bad about that Catholic post ;)

  20. Can’t we talk about something else?

  21. Are we practicing grace or truth in pulling apart those who pull RW apart? I wasn’t sure which.

  22. Michael, it sounds like you’re assuming motive. ‘Standing outside with binoculars.’ We don’t need binoculars to see what RW is doing. Also aren’t you doing the same thing you seem to be accusing them of doing? e.g. you’re letting us know something that, in you’re opinion, could be harmful. seems like you’re also reading an attitude into their writing that just may not be there? Have you ever talked with them? Paul quoted non believers, yes, but he didn’t recommend we adhere to what they taught etc.

  23. Some of these comments sound a lot like the ones I see over at Ken Silva’s site. Methinks Ken might have mobilized the “Apprising Army,” all ten of them, to head over here to P&P and snuff out the Warren sympathisers.

    “Attention! Attention! Sympathetic Warren material at P&P. Attack! Attack!”

    Actually, Ken’s toilet illustration may be more apropo than even he realizes. Fact of the matter is that the water in the toilet may be fine for drinking. It would certainly be sufficient to save the life of a dying man. The biggest issue may not be one of safety, but one of distaste. Ken may not like the idea, but I used to have a dog that had no qualms at all. And the dog remained healthy. Perhaps the danger is exaggerated.

    See, a certain amount of contamination is normal in our water and in our food supply. Ken, do you use pepper on food? According to the FDA, pepper may contain insect body parts and mold – “Average of 1% or more pieces by weight are infested and/or moldy” and/or Mammalian excreta – “Average of 1 mg or more mammalian excreta per pound.” And contaminants like that are in all our food. And yet we live longer than ever.

    We all have contaminants in our understanding of God and how well we reflect him. Some are just unaware of their own level of contamination.

    I have no doubt that Warren, like all of us, may have a speck or two in his eye, but for right now, I just focus on ducking the beams swinging around every time the “discernment” guys turn their heads.

  24. I disagree often with things that you say in your posts…but you make me think about things in a different way…that is why I keep reading…maybe you’ll change my mind about something one day. :)

  25. Hodge, that is a fair question and one I certainly anticipated. Therefore, I will take the time to respond briefly.

    First, I did not ever mention what blog I was speaking about. I don’t mind so much if people find out, but I was careful as I believed that my purpose could be accomplished without it. I am sure some of the commentors will figure it out, but 95 percent of the people who visit this blog don’t read the comments. To most, it is just a generic representation.

    Second, I never said that we should not speak out against things. My whole point is that when we are of this mindset, camped out waiting for the next “enemy” to destroy. This mindset will often begin to create enemies, because it is so easy to act in hast.

    If you have been associated with this blog or our ministry for long enough, you will find that this type of stuff is not at all characteristic of what we do. This, I believe, helps us gain an audience when we do speak in such a way. If this is all you do, you really have lost credibility except with those who already agree. It is like a friend who corrects you at every turn. Your “holiness” is all they talk about and they are intent on playing the Holy Spirit. There is never any encouragement. They never recognize any of the good you do. All they want to talk about is what you are doing wrong. Sooner or later, you turn them off. But a friend who is balanced, recognizing the good, recognizing their own faults and find correction a hard thing to approach, you listen to them.

    I am certainly not saying I am perfect or that this ministry is perfect, but we are not making stakeouts looking for evil.

    Winston Churchhill “A fanatic is one who won’t change their mind and won’t change the subject.” These type of ministries and people are like that. In fact, they might even be thinking about why I quoted Churchhill! We need a lot more grace. Humility, gentleness and respect goes a long way.

  26. “Some of these comments sound a lot like the ones I see over at Ken Silva’s site. Methinks Ken might have mobilized the “Apprising Army,” all ten of them,…”

    Perhaps in an alternate universe; like Brian McLaren’s site there is no comments section at my site.

    Just something to contemplate while you’re in hiddenness, the ad hominem isn’t likely to show me a better way, ya know.

  27. There are two things I always find funny about these types of things. 1) guilt by association, and 2) the idea that because someone is wrong on one thing they must be wrong on everything. [begin sarcasm] You know those apostate Roman Catholics believe in the Trinity. Just so I’m not associated with Roman Catholics I hereby renounce all belief in the Trinity.

  28. Great job, Michael. Speaking truth and grace of Christ very well here! I also share your concerns of this fairly new cottage industry phenomenon of “let’s get Rick Warren” or whoever we need to police. These folks don’t realize how horribly sick and sad they look.


  30. My issue with Rick (or anyone else who would stand in the pulpit) is being careful with the Word. He simply is not. Now if this was some little backwoods minister it’s still an issue, but when you are supposed to be at the top, it is a big deal. The guy is plain sloppy.

  31. Michael,

    I understand where you’re coming from, and agree with you to some extent. An issue does arise, however, over how egregious Warren’s errors are. One group seems to be presenting them as mere specks in an overall good theology. The other, as huge logs in a mill of bad theology and even false Christianity. I don’t study RW enough to know which is true, but I think we need always to be aware that our dislike for criticism often stems from our cultural sensibilities rather than the Scripture, which frankly is more correction than affirmation in the sense that we use those terms. I agree that encouragement is needed in balance, but not in equal balance. We should never get to the point where we close off another because they criticize us too much in our minds. Otherwise, we fall prey to the spirit of Ahab who cried out against Micaiah, saying, “There is yet one man by whom we may inquire of the Lord, but I hate him, because he does not prophesy good concerning me, but evil.”

  32. BTW for what it’s worth my all time favorite quote from an economist (taken out of context of course) comes from a economist whose philosophy I think is completely wrongheaded.

    “In the long run we are all dead” – Keynes

    I also know of plenty of good ideas and quotes from theologians I disagree with on various issues as well (e.g. Aquinas [Catholic], Pascal [Catholic], Niebuhr [Neo-Orthodox], Augustine [quasi-Catholic], Anselm [quasi-Catholic] just to name a few). The point is one can find that an individual had a good idea or good insight on one thing without accepting their whole belief system.

  33. The trouble with Rick Warren, and not just him but so many Evangelical pastors, is the utter confusion of law and gospel.

    Whe the law is used properly (theologically speaking), it ough convict and kill us off…to our own religious ladder climbing projects.

    Rick uses the law (as do all Baptist preachers) as a ladder for the Christian to climb…instead of the means by which Christ has come all the way down TO US.

    I like Rick, but he’s a Baptist. What else would anyone expect?

  34. I was browsing one of the Saddleback websites tonight:

    I saw at least 5 books by Henri Nouwen that were recommended there and apparently for sale in their store at the church. None of them were personally spoken of by Rick Warren, although other staff members said some of them had been influential in their lives.

    Woudn’t you think however, that since so many of Nouwen’s books are recommended and sold in the store of Warren’s church, that it is likely that he thinks quite highly of Nouwen and at least a share of his theology?

    I must note however, that I couldn’t find the particular book mentioned there that seems to indicate Nouwen believed in a form of universalism.

    But with so many recommendations for Nouwen coming from Saddleback, it is certainly safe to assume that people will probably seek out other books written by him and read them too if they enjoyed these.

  35. If you have read anything by Nouwen you know that he passionately loved Jesus, and believed in him. He certainly had some theological leanings that I think were wrong, but that doesn’t mean he wasn’t a fellow brother in Christ, that also doesn’t mean that he doesn’t have much to offer the church. You don’t have to read him if you don’t want to, but maybe you should cut him and people who find him helpful a little … grace.

    The ultimate question is how powerful was Christ’s death on the cross? How truly deep is his grace? How completely victorious was his resurrection? Do we believe that God can work through every believer, even those who may have some suspect theology?

    In other words, can it save and transform a life even if that life doesn’t get all the theological ducks perfectly in a row? I think and hope so.

    Do does anyone have all their ducks in a row?

  36. Cheryl, C.S. Lewis is mentioned by a lot of people as well. He was an inclusivist like Nouwen. People recommend him without hesitation (as do I). But I don’t suspect that this will automatically turn them into inclusivists.

  37. I can’t find them now (Maybe too early in the morning), but I saw some comments that seemed very disrespectful. Please filter things through the gentleness and respect filter seven times.

  38. Even Paul said that for now we only know in part….. It seems to me that those in the camp of ticking every box and crossing every cross and dotting every I are on the slippery slop of salvation by works…

    Only this sort of work involves what one believes…. The restless reformed camp seems to think the actual gospel is their version of the WHOLE systematic theological base they hold to.

    It makes me ask the question if God really is bound by what we believe or is he actually bigger than that?

  39. Michael,

    I believe that many folks would have more problems with Nouwen then the fact that he is an inclusivist–which, by the way is quite a large problem, is it not? Helping people find their own way to God as I believe he put it?? Is that not quite different then orthodox Chrisitin belief??

    In your OP, you referred to Nouwen as being “theologically off”. You also referred to C.S. Lewis and said you recommend him “without hesitation” although he is an inclusivist too.

    I’m sorry, but I just don’t get recommending someone–anyone–without hesitation if you know that they have some very large theological problems. Recommending them for certain things perhaps with a disclaimer of some sort about the rest. But whole hearted recommendation of someone with major theological differences like this just does not seem to be right to me at all.

    I know many here will not agree with me on this, but it is honestly the way I understand the situation.

  40. A quote from David Barton of Wallbuilders:

    It has always been interesting to me throughout my political and religious life that many Christians seem more intent on whacking allies than enemies. Years ago I helped lead tens of thousands of Christians into civic involvement for their first time, and I then remained engaged with them in the political arena. An axiom I developed during that time was: “I don’t need enemies; I have friends!” I also learned that in public Christian life you should wear a bullet-proof vest, but that it should be turned to the back to protect from the friendly fire!

  41. Cheryl, I can’t endlessly footnote myself or that is all it will be. There is no one that I agree with on everything. Church history is littered with people with whom I disagree on many things, much of which is significant depending on what you are recommending them for. Martin Luther and the Jews, John Calvin and the inquisition, Pascal and his Roman Catholic leaning, Augustine and his views about baptism, Aquinas and his views about the Lord’s supper, John Wesley and his perfectionism, CFD Moule and his view of the Holy Spirit, so-and-so and his eschatology, C.S. Lewis and his view of Biblical authority, Beckwith and his Evangelical Roman Catholicism, C.I. Schofield and his view of classic dispensationalism, BB Warfield and his view of evolution.

    I remember walking into the church library at my old church seeing an elder throwing away CS Lewis books. I asked him why, he said “because he does not believe in inerrancy. He is a heretic.” The problem with throwing away all of the writings of those you have problems with to “protect” the weaker person is that you end up with an empty library. Taken to it end, the only one you will recommend without footnotes is yourself! Then, in Christ’s presence, you will probably, if remaining consistent, have to throw away your stuff as well, for you will find that you were not perfect either.

    Certainly there is a time to footnote, but it will depend on the context of your recommendation, your passions, and the severity of the issue. All of these combined will help you evaluate.

    Hope that makes sense.

  42. Michael, I have read a lot about Warren, though I have not read him. To me, he looks like a sincere gentleman who truly loves Jesus.

    But honestly, I was only thinking of how some self-appointed theological cops were shooting at Billy Graham at his couple of comments that sounded like Inclusivism. Even after his retraction, these cops won’t “forgive” him. They kinda get a kick out of shooting at their own brethren, I guess!

  43. While I certainly think there is a lot of unnecessary rudeness in expressing opinions among Christians, (especially in blogdom) I don’t think being irenic means we have to accept questionable theology in order to show grace to each other.

    It works both ways. Just because we’re legitimately questioning someone on a theological matter doesn’t automatically mean we should be character assassins, and think they should be burned at the stake. OTOH, we shouldn’t be chastised for pointing out when they are deliberately misleading people. Don’t think the Lord would be too pleased with that either.

  44. MBaker,

    That is true, but when that is all you do and are known for, it does not honor God nor does it have a positive effect.

  45. Hey ya’ll, have a question that is somewhat is related to this one… I was just asked to be a part of the leadership of this church plant I go to, whose origin is from the Missouri-Synod Lutheran denomination. I believe contrary to what they believe… namely, they believe in baptismal regeneration, and also the physical presence of Jesus being in the bread and wine. We all know that neither of those teachings are biblical. So my question is this…

    Could you join the leadership having so great a difference on how they say a person is saved?

    And could you email me at with your reasons? Thanks! I just really want to do the right thing here…

  46. Hey Ken and Cheryl,
    Cool, you have it all figured out! Wow, it must be great to know exactly how God works. See, the funny thing is, you are just two of thousands of believers who think you know “the right way”. But you can’t all be right. I used to be you, and I’m relieved to be free of that belief. You are afraid of the boogie man, that somehow God can’t guide “the average person” through faith issues and doctrines. It’s old, tired thinking and it has nothing to do with God.
    Oh, and so cool to come up with the toilet illustration. Wow.

  47. I probably would not be able to be on the leadership. However, the fact that they asked you to join them gives me the impression that they don’t care THAT much about the issue. That is a plus, but probably not enough to make me jump on board.

    However, saying that I could not be part of the leadership is far from saying that I believe that they are damned to hell!

  48. I’m not sure if my comment was not accepted (not sure why), or lost in the mix, but wanted to point out that a negative ministry is all that Jeremiah, Elijah, Micaiah and many of the prophets were known for. If you look at Christ’s ministry, count how many times He corrected someone versus how many times he “encouraged” someone. We need correction if we are in error, specifically concerning who God is, the gospel, what we’re preaching and teaching, our theological emphases if they’re off, etc. People didn’t kill the prophets and Christ because they were primarily encouragers in the sense that we see encouragement. This doesn’t mean they nitpicked everything, but it does show what ministry primarily entails in a world where the devil is so hard at work to destroy the mind through what is false.

  49. I am not an inclusivist, but I can understand the argument, and I can understand that there are nuances in various people’s views on this topic. And being an inclusivist does not mean that you lose a passion for evangelism or proclaiming the glory of Jesus to all people.

    Frankly, a lot of people in evangelicalism are moving away from the classic evangelical motive for evangelism: namely to save people from hell. Many are realizing that that is actually giving the gospel short shrift (are all we selling is fire insurance, how selfish if the only reason you trust God is to get out of something), and that it is really about connecting people to the triune God and allowing that triune God to heal the broken relationship between sinner and God, and then using the healed to reconcile the entire world.

    In other words, there are manifold reasons (and maybe some that are more biblical) to be passionate about telling others about Jesus.

  50. Michael,
    I used to get Warrens tweets on FB, but I had to hide that feed sometime last month. He was tweeting all of these statements that smacked of so much pride and arrogance in his church and PEACE plan. Lots of folks were concerned that perhaps it wasn’t Rick tweeting, and that someone had hacked his account. Until then, I stood up for Warren.


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