WHO IS RICK WARREN?

 

Note:

While it is the devil's work to accuse the brethren, it is the responsibility of all Christians to judge the doctrine, fruit, and spiritual temperment of those who would teach the Bible. "Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep's clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves. You will recognize them by their fruits" (Matthew 7:15-16a).

 

Click Here for Additional Resources on Rick Warren

 

Pastor, philanthropist, best-selling author, theologian, and global strategist, Rick Warren (born 1954) has been named by U.S. News & World Report as one of America’s top 25 leaders, and by TIME magazine as one of the 100 most influential people in the world.1, 2 He has presented at the United Nations, the Council on Foreign Relations, the World Economic Forum, the African Union, TED, Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government, TIME’s Global Health Summit, and the Islamic Society of North America.3, 4, 5 From 2005 to 2006, Rick Warren served as an elected member of the Council on Foreign Relations; he is a signatory of the Evangelical Climate Initiative, and his church has hosted the Global Summit on AIDS and the Church.6, 7, 8 During the 2008 United States presidential election, Saddleback Church also hosted the Civil Forum on the Presidency which featured presidential candidates Barak Obama and John McCain.Rick Warren later presented the invocation at Barak Obama’s first inauguration.10 As a global thinker, Rick Warren is well-respected and sought after.11

On the global front, Warren is perhaps best known for his Global P.E.A.C.E. Plan which is designed to tackle the five global giants that negatively affect the world: Spiritual emptiness, self-serving leadership, poverty, disease, and illiteracy.12 He believes that every attempt by the public and private sector has failed to eliminate these because the only organization big enough to tackle these problems is the network of churches around the world.13 P.E.A.C.E. is an acronym: Promote reconciliation; Equip servant leaders; Assist the poor; Care for the sick; Educate the next generation.14 The mission of the Global P.E.A.C.E. Plan is “to mobilize ordinary people, empowered by God, to make a difference together wherever they are.”15 To realize this vision, he and his wife Kay founded the Global PEACE Fund.

Rick Warren and his wife are so committed to realizing this humanitarian vision of social justice that they donate 90% of their annual income to philanthropic causes.16 However, Rick Warren’s footprint in the world is not limited to his humanitarian efforts. In 1980, Rick Warren founded Saddleback Church. As a seeker-sensitive church following the principles of Warren’s mentor, Peter Drucker, Saddleback Church has grown into a megachurch with a 120 acre campus, an average weekly attendance of 30,000 people, and an overwhelming 300 community ministries to groups such as prisoners, CEOs, addicts, single parents, and those with HIV/AIDS.17, 18, 19, 20 Outreach magazine listed Saddleback Church’s cumulative 14 locations as the sixth largest church in America in 2014.21

Through the Purpose Driven Network, which Rick Warren founded, he endeavors to train other church leaders in his personal model of church planting and growth. The Purpose Driven Network is a global coalition of churches in 162 countries, and today more than 400,000 ministers and priests have been trained worldwide. Additionally, almost 157,000 church leaders subscribe to the Ministry Toolbox.22 This weekly newsletter reaches more pastors than any other single publication or Web resource.23 To further assist these church leaders, Rick Warren also founded Pastors.com and Daily Hope with Rick Warren as resource sites.

Rick Warren’s ministry experiences have afforded him opportunities to speak at the Southern Baptist Convention, the Evangelical Theological Society, and the Desiring God Conference.24, 25, 26 Additionally, Warren is a prolific author whose books have been translated into over 50 languages.27 The Purpose Driven Church is listed in William Petersen’s 100 Christian Books that Changed the Century, and Forbes magazine called it “the best book of entrepreneurship, management, and leadership in print.”28 According to a survey conducted by George Barna, it was voted the second most influential book among Christian leaders.29 Similarly, The Purpose Driven Life has received the Gold Medallion Book Award, sold 32 million copies, and is the best-selling hardback book in American history, according to Publisher’s Weekly.30, 31, 32 So popular was the book that it sold 17 million copies in just the first 19 months. Having been blessed by an abundance of book sales, Rick Warren returned to Saddleback Church 25 years of salary that he had received from the church.33

However, there are some who believe that Rick Warren’s success may have come at the expense of the integrity of the Bible’s message. It is argued that Rick Warren’s purpose driven message is simplifying Christianity in exchange for church growth, and his doctrine is unduly influenced by popular psychology.34According to an ABC News report by Martin Bashir and Deborah Apton, “Many Christian authors and teachers have expressed concerns regarding Rick Warren’s teachings and writings. While acknowledging some valuable content in his books, these authors and teachers complain that Warren tends to use sloppy exegesis, inaccurate paraphrases of the Bible, ecumenical teachings and a watered-down presentation of the Christian gospel. Many have also complained about pragmatism in his books, alleging that he endorses church practices based on their outcome, rather than whether they are doctrinally sound.”35

 

Questionable Mentors

Faithful students are indelibly impacted by their mentors and teachers. Rick Warren recognized this in a tweet, saying, “Never let anyone be your mentor until first you know who his/her mentors have been & currently are.”36 As such, it is notable that Rick Warren numbers among his mentors/teachers several who are unorthodox in both their theology and their ministry methods.

While at Fuller Theological Seminary, Rick Warren wrote his dissertation on developing a new methodology for reaching the baby boomer generation. His mentor was Charles Peter Wagner who helped found the New Apostolic Reformation. “He describes himself as the first person who noticed the movement, gave a name to it and started writing books about it.”37 The New Apostolic Reformation preaches Kingdom Now heresy, advocating the need to assume dominion over the seven mountains of business, government, media, arts and entertainment, education, family, and religion.38, 39

While the extent of C. Peter Wagner’s influence on Rick Warren’s ministry is unknown, it is known that Donald McGavran and Robert Schuller’s approach to church growth played a substantial role in forming Warren’s philosophy of ministry. In his book The Purpose Driven Church, Warren comments that Donald McGavran “brilliantly challenged the conventional wisdom of his day about what made churches grow.”40 It was Donald McGavran’s 1955 book The Bridges of God, cited in Rick Warren’s The Purpose Driven Church, that launched the church growth movement.41 It is worth noting that MacGavran later funded the Fuller School of World Missions and Institute of Church Growth, an organization further expanded by C. Peter Wagner who served as Rick Warren’s mentor when writing his doctoral dissertation at Fuller Theological Seminary.42

Equally as important to the church growth movement is Robert Schuller who popularized the concept, helping to launch the mega-church movement. Robert Schuller was heavily influenced by Eastern religions, denied original sin and the absolute need for forgiveness through Jesus Christ’s atoning blood, and believed that “The most serious sin is the one that causes me to say, ‘I am unworthy. I may have no claim to divine sonship if you examine me at my worst.’ … For once a person believes he is an ‘unworthy sinner,’ it is doubtful if he can really honestly accept the saving grace God offers in Jesus Christ.”43, 44 He is known for preaching the power of positive thinking in the tradition of Norman Vincent Peale. In fact, he once told Paul Crouch, “I preach repentance so positively, most people don’t recognize it.”45

Although Rick Warren has endeavored to divorce himself from Robert Schuller’s influence, it is clear that Robert Schuller significantly impacted Warren’s ministry through his Institute for Successful Church Leadership. In 2002, Kay Warren recounted to Christianity Today that she was terrified of Schuller’s non-traditional approach to ministry, but Schuller won them over. She said, “He had a profound influence on Rick. We were captivated by his positive appeal to nonbelievers. I never looked back.”46 The article goes on to say that Warren adopted Schuller’s approach of building churches that appeal to unbelievers, “Imitating Schuller, Warren walked the (then unincorporated but fast-growing) town of Lake Forest, asking what kept people from going to church.”47 When Robert Schuller began to grow his church, he conducted a survey of unbelievers. Recalling this experience, Schuller said, “So I rang doorbells. ‘Are you an active member of a local church?’ ‘Yes.’ ‘Good! God bless you. Goodbye!’”48 Likewise, in an interview with the Pew Research Center, Rick Warren recounts his experience, “I had a survey with me … ‘Question number one: Are you an active member of a local church–of any kind of religion–synagogue, mosque, whatever?’ If they said yes, I said, ‘Great, God bless you, keep going,’ and I politely excused myself and went to the next home.”49 In his book The Purpose Driven Church, Warren admitted, “I didn’t want to color the survey with believers’ opinions.”50

Robert Schuller himself has also spoken of the impact that his institute has had on Rick Warren, “What has been accomplished already through this church is phenomenal because of the dedicated members and friends we have. I see the results today of the Institute for Successful Church Leadership which we dared to launch 35 years ago and it is still going strong. Here ministers are inspired to believe in their dreams and to present the good news of the gospel in positive terms. And some of those students are well-known. … there’s Rick Warren, a pastor who today is phenomenal. He came to our institute time after time.”51 He also stated that his institute mentored Rick Warren, “We are the home of the world’s first Church Growth Institute, -launching the mega-church movement in the 20th century. Tens of thousands of pastors, including famous graduates Rick Warren, Bill Hybels, Bishop Blake, Walt Kallestad, and Sundo Kim of Korea, were mentored here.”52

Robert Schuller was a disciple of Norman Vincent Peale’s power of positive thinking. Peale combined humanistic psychology with Christianity. Likewise, Schuller’s doctrine and methods were highly influenced by popular psychology. Although Rick Warren has not embraced all of Schuller’s doctrine, he certainly appears to have embraced his methodology.

Similarly, Rick Warren has embraced the methodology of Peter Drucker, another of Warren’s mentors. Referred to by Bloomberg Businessweek as the man who invented business management, “Peter F. Drucker was a writer, professor, management consultant and self-described ‘social ecologist,’ who explored the way human beings organize themselves and interact”.53, 54 Although he attended church, Peter Drucker said of himself, “I am not the born-again Christian, no. … I do not claim to be.”55 Rather, he was an admirer of Soren Kierkegaard, and he was enamored with the phenomenon of the mega-church. By mentoring Rick Warren, Bill Hybels, and Bob Buford, Drucker’s corporate management philosophies of decentralization, simplification, marketing, and viewing the congregation as consumers helped to give rise to the seeker-sensitive church movement.56 In a tribute to Peter Drucker, Warren said that he often found himself saying to leaders and to staff, “Well Peter said, well Peter said, well Peter said.”57 He also said, “I loved Peter Drucker. I didn’t just admire him; I loved this man. In my life I’ve had a number of different mentors in different areas of my life, and Peter was one of those mentors.”58

 

Overemphasis on Psychology / Inaccurate Paraphrases of the Bible

Perhaps the most influential individual in Rick Warren’s approach to church ministry is the father of modern management, Peter Drucker. Having adopted Drucker’s approach to church growth, Rick Warren treats his congregation as consumers. As such, he seeks to supply their perceived needs and desires. However, Jeremiah 17:9 warns, “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it?” Self-diagnoses rarely succeeds. As William Willimon told Leadership magazine, “ Jesus doesn’t meet our needs; he rearranges them. He cares very little about most things that I assume are my needs, and he gives me needs I would’ve never had if I hadn’t met Jesus. He reorders them.”59 Nevertheless, Rick Warren’s philosophy of ministry is geared toward supplying people’s perceived physical and emotional needs.

To accomplish this, Rick Warren follows in the tradition of Norman Vincent Peale and Robert Schuller, leaning heavily upon the wisdom of popular psychology. As such, his topical messages often revolve around psychological truisms rather than Biblical exegesis. In order to match this psychology with Scripture, Warren frequently relies upon dynamic equivalent translations of the Bible such as The Living Bible, The New Living Bible, Today’s English Version, The Contemporary English Version, and The Message. Commonly known as paraphrase Bibles, these translations endeavor only to capture the essence of the Biblical text. They do not strive for accuracy, but for readability. As such, they often re-invent the text, conforming the Word of God to match an individual author’s understanding and theological preconceptions. An example of this can be found in Rick Warren’s book The Purpose Driven Life where he quotes Matthew 16:25 from The Message, “The Bible says, ‘Self-help is no help at all. Self-sacrifice is the way, my way, to finding yourself, your true self.’”60  However, Matthew 16:25 says nothing to support Rick Warren’s point in The Purpose Driven Life that the Bible is not a self-help book. According toThe English Standard Version, Matthew 16:25 says, “For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.”

By no means is this an isolated example. In fact, on the very next page, Warren again quotes from The Message to substantiate this same point, “[The Bible] explains what no self-help or philosophy book could know. The Bible says, ‘ God’s wisdom . . . goes deep into the interior of his purposes . . . . It’s not the latest message, but more like the oldest—what God determined as the way to bring out his best in us.’”61 However, the primarily literal English Standard Version more carefully translates 1 Corinthians 2:7 as “But we impart a secret and hidden wisdom of God, which God decreed before the ages for our glory.” 1 Corinthians 2:7 speaks of God’s plan to save us through the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ; it does not speak about God’s way to bring out the best in us. Nevertheless, Rick Warren favors the readability of paraphrase translations of the Bible over the accuracy of more literal translations—even when teaching doctrine.

Furthermore, in order to match his popular psychology with Scripture, Rick Warren depends upon a multitude of Bible translations. For example, in The Purpose Driven Life, Rick Warren employed 15 different translations.62 Whether it is a book or a single message, Rick Warren habitually employs multiple Bible translations to substantiate his points. And given that these are often paraphrase translations that reinvent the Biblical text, the verses from these translations frequently are not interchangeable.

 

Sloppy Hermeneutics

Compounding Rick Warren’s questionable use of paraphrase Bibles is his failure to adhere to sound principles of Bible interpretation. Matt Costella writes, “The Purpose-Driven Life is seriously flawed, hermeneutically speaking, in three ways: First, Warren completely misinterprets and misapplies certain texts; second, Warren presupposes his own ideas and beliefs and then ‘proof-texts’ his points rather than exegeting the Scriptural text in order to discover its true meaning; and third, several paraphrases and translations used by Warren may prove his points, but they fail to relate even remotely the true meaning of the underlying Greek or Hebrew text.”63

In The Purpose Driven Life, Rick Warren writes, “In fact, the Bible tells us that God has given us the ministry of restoring relationships [2 Corinthians 5:18, God’s Word Translation] ... As believers, God has ‘called us to settle our relationships with each other’ [2 Corinthians 5:18, The Message].”64 In response, Matt Costella writes, “Second Corinthians 5:18 does not refer to relationships between individuals but to relationships between individuals and God. The Lord has given Christians the ‘ministry of reconciliation’ (v. 18) and the ‘word of reconciliation’ (v. 19) as ‘ambassadors for Christ’ (v. 20) to declare that unbelievers can be reconciled to God through faith in the person and work of Jesus Christ (vv. 17-21). To use this text as a Biblical support for relationship restoration between individuals is to grossly misinterpret and misapply the Word of God.”65 Rick Warren uses faulty Bible translations to support his faulty Bible interpretation, but it is impossible to faithfully adhere to sound principles of Bible interpretation and derive his interpretation. Second Corinthians 5:18–19 says, “All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation.”

Another example of sloppy hermeneutics by Rick Warren also comes from his book The Purpose Driven Life, “That God would want me for a close friend is hard to understand, but the Bible says, ‘He is a God who is passionate about his relationship with you.’”66 Once again, Rick Warren uses a paraphrase Bible (The New Living Translation) to support his point. However, sound principles of Bible interpretation eliminate any possibility that Exodus 34:14 is about how passionate God is about His relationship with us. Exodus 34:14 is an account of God giving His ten commandments to Moses. It says, “(for you shall worship no other god, for the LORD, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God),” The only conceivable way for this verse to support Rick Warren’s point is to first find a paraphrased version of the verse, and second to divorce it from its immediate context. To say the least, this is sloppy hermeneutics.

 

A Diluted Presentation of the Christian Gospel

Regardless of his hermeneutics, Rick Warren is orthodox in his theology. Doctrinally, he is Southern Baptist, and concerning the gospel, Warren writes in The Purpose Driven Church, “The Good News is that when we trust God’s grace to save us through what Jesus did, our sins are forgiven, we get a purpose for living, and we are promised a future home in heaven.”67 However, Nathan Busenitz, Professor of Theology at The Master’s College, observes, “While the soteriological content of the seeker-sensitive message may be biblical, the gospel message actually proclaimed by Hybels and Warren often deemphasizes certain theological elements— choosing instead to only focus on those parts of the message that sound enticing to potential seekers.”68 Rick Warren often speaks of God’s love and acceptance, but he rarely speaks of God’s judgment and wrath, and little attention is given to the subjects of God’s holiness, repentance, and self-sacrifice.

Seeker-sensitive churches, such as Saddleback Church, deliberately avoid unpopular and controversial theological issues wherever possible. Founder of the Church Growth Movement, Donald MacGavran explains, “From the beginning the Church Growth Movement has been rooted in biblical, evangelical, conversionist theology. But it has refused to take sides on issues such as whether baptism should be administered to infants or only to believers, whether churches should be governed by a Presbyterian, Episcopal, or congregational system, whether tongues proves that one has been baptized in the Holy Spirit, whether Christians should or should not drink, whether women should be ordained to the ministry, whether Christ is truly or symbolically present in holy communion, and on any number of other areas of disagreement among theologians.”69

As might be expected, this reluctance to offend commonly encroaches into the gospel presentations of those within the Seeker-Sensitive Movement, and Rick Warren is no exception. Kimon Howland expounds:70

In sum, seeker churches introduce seekers to the Christian message by presenting the exclusivist theology of evangelicalism in the friendly guise of an egalitarian, fulfillment-enhancing, fun religious encounter with God. As a result, seeker church pastors make orthodox theology less offensive and more civil for a pluralistic society. Seeker church proponents do not abandon the “Gospel truth” but repackage it in a kinder, gentler format. They maintain the evangelical emphasis on the importance of faith in Jesus Christ but subtly transform the reasons why one should pursue such faith. . . . The promise of this-worldly peace and fulfillment supplements, perhaps even supersedes, the eternal consequences of one’s personal response to Christ.

Indeed, Rick Warren frequently emphasizes the temporal above the eternal while omitting the hard sayings of Christ and the offense of the gospel (Gal. 5:11). Likewise, his presentation of the gospel lacks an explanation of God’s holy character, the legal condemnation of sin, the reason Jesus’ death was necessary, the importance of repentance, the fact that Jesus is God incarnate, and even the bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. When presenting the gospel in his book The Purpose Driven Life, Rick Warren writes:71

Right now, God is inviting you to live for his glory by fulfilling the purposes he made you for. It’s really the only way to live. Everything else is justexisting. If you are not sure you have done this, all you need to do is receive and believe. The Bible promises, “To all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God.” Will you accept God’s offer?

First, believe. Believe God loves you and made you for his purposes. Believe you’re not an accident. Believe you were made to last forever. Believe God has chosen you to have a relationship with Jesus, who died on the cross for you. Believe that no matter what you’ve done, God wants to forgive you.

Second, receive. Receive Jesus into your life as your Lord and Savior. Receive his forgiveness for your sins. Receive his Spirit, who will give you the power to fulfill your life purpose. The Bible says, “Whoever accepts and trusts the Son gets in on everything, life complete and forever!” Wherever you are reading this, I invite you to bow your head and quietly whisper the prayer that will change your eternity: “Jesus, I believe in you and I receive you.” Go ahead.

If you sincerely meant that prayer, congratulations! Welcome to the family of God! You are now ready to discover and start living God’s purpose for your life.

Given his national platform, Rick Warren has been granted incredible opportunities to share the gospel and to provide people with the true secret to living a purpose-filled life, but he consistently refuses to do so. For example, when speaking in Oprah Winfrey’s Lifeclass, he encouraged the people to listen to God, but He failed to specify that the God of the Bible is different from the New Age concept of God that Oprah promotes.72 Furthermore, he told the audience, “Do not—Listen, here’s a pastor telling this—do not resist temptation. … Let me tell you why. What you resist persists because the whole time you’re focused on it. What you need to do is just change your focus.”73 Such popular psychology teaching defies the Bible’s command to resist the devil (James 4:7; 1 Peter 5:8–9), and it only encourages the spiritual confusion of Oprah’s audience. But perhaps the most surprising example of Rick Warren’s reluctance to capitalize on opportunities to share the true gospel message with the nation occurred on the Hannity and Colmes Show. Despite the fact that he was invited onto the show to promote his book, The Purpose of Christmas, it was Shawn Hannity who gave the clearest and most complete explanation of the purpose of Christmas. Furthermore, when pressed by Alan Colmes to clarify the gospel, Rick Warren refused to do so:74                                                              

Colmes: So you think that everybody needs a Savior?

Warren: I do.

Colmes: What about those people who don’t, you know, I happen to be Jewish, not everybody—Jesus by the way, and I have a lot in common—same religion.

Warren: Absolutely.

Colmes: So not everybody necessarily goes that route.

Warren: Well, see the thing is, Alan, I believe Jesus Christ came for everybody. I don’t think He came for Christians. The Bible says, “Take this news to the whole world.” I don’t care whether you’re Baptist, Buddhist, ah Mormon, ah Methodist, Jewish, ah Muslim, or no religion at all. Jesus Christ still loves you. You still matter to God.

Colmes: True, and I think that’s a wonderful message. But if you don’t accept Jesus—if you’re not somebody who goes that route religiously—can you find your way to heaven? Can you still be—go to the same place when it’s all said and done?

Warren: I’m not the authority on that, but I believe Jesus is, and everybody’s betting their life on something. Jesus said, “I am the way.” I’m betting that He’s not a liar. I’m betting that He told the truth.

Colmes: OK. Alright. But what about—what does it say for all those people who do not accept Jesus Christ as their personal Savior?

Warren: I’m saying that this is the perfect time to open their life to give it a chance. I’d say, “Give Him a 60 day trial.”

Colmes: There’s no 60 day trial offer. This is simply the book of the month club.

Warren: Give Him a 60 day trial. See if He’ll change your life. I dare you to try trusting Jesus for 60 days. Your money guaranteed back.

Rick Warren may be orthodox in his theology, but He appears to be reluctant to clearly express his orthodoxy. Consequently, what people hear and understand may not fully align with what Rick Warren truly believes regarding the gospel. It is possible to accept Rick Warren’s presentation of the gospel without understanding who Jesus truly is, without accepting the bodily resurrection of Jesus, without understanding the need for Jesus’ death, and without understanding the meaning and need for repentance.

 

Ecumenical Teachings

The cumulative result of Rick Warren’s diluted gospel presentation, sloppy hermeneutics, over-use of inaccurate Bible translations, and over-emphasis on popular psychology is a message which is well received and respected by people in all walks of faith. Truly Rick Warren’s teachings border on ecumenicalism. He emphasizes the universal church while dispensing with doctrinal differences; he embraces Roman Catholicism; he promotes a form of Chrislam; and he has succumbed to the allure of Eastern mysticism under the guise of contemplative spirituality.

In an interview with Larry King, Rick Warren declared, “I have known many people who believe in the Messiah of Jesus, regardless of what religion they are, because they believe in him. It’s about a relationship, not a religion”75 Similarly, in an address at the United Nations Interfaith Prayer Breakfast, Warren said, “You may be Catholic or Protestant or Buddhist or Baptist or Muslim or Mormon or Jewish or Jain, or you have no religion at all. I’m not interested in your religious background. Because God did not create the universe for us to have religion. He came for us to have a relationship with him.”76 And again at the Aspen Ideas Festival, Rick Warren announced, “I happen to know people who are followers of Christ in other religions.”77 Therefore, it appears as though Rick Warren believes that there are members of false religions who are truly members of Christ’s body. In other words, the universal church includes Christians who have not rejected their false religious practices, or it includes adherents to false religions who are ignorant of the fact that in following the commands of their false god, they are truly following Jesus Christ.

Cathy Grossman writes in USA Today, “Warren is part of the ultra-conservative Southern Baptist Convention, and all his senior staff sign on to the SBC’s doctrines, such as the literal and infallible Bible and exclusion of women as senior pastors. Yet Warren’s pastor-training programs welcome Catholics, Methodists, Mormons, Jews and ordained women. ‘I’m not going to get into a debate over the non-essentials. I won't try to change other denominations. Why be divisive?’ he asks, citing as his model Billy Graham, ‘a statesman for Christ ministering across barriers.’”78 One such conference included pastors and church leaders from 63 different denominations. Rick Warren told them, “It really doesn’t matter your denomination, folks. We’re all on the same team if you love Jesus.”79 But the truth is, Catholics, Mormons, Jews, and Protestants each have a different understanding of the gospel message. Roman Catholics love Jesus, but “In Roman Catholicism that which is necessary for salvation includes the church (CCC 846), baptism (CCC 1257), penance (CCC 980), sacraments (CCC 1129), service and witness to the faith (CCC 1816), keeping the ten commandments (CCC 2036 and 2070), and detachment from riches (CCC 2556).”80 This is the teaching of the Catechism of the Catholic Church. Similarly, the Council of Trent: Canons on Justification declares, “If any one saith, that by faith alone the impious is justified; in such wise as to mean, that nothing else is required to co-operate in order to the obtaining the grace of Justification, and that it is not in any way necessary, that he be prepared and disposed by the movement of his own will; let him be anathema.”81 Similarly, the Book of Mormon teaches, “For we labor diligently to write, to persuade our children, and also our brethren, to believe in Christ, and to be reconciled to God; for we know that it is by grace that we are saved, after all we can do.”82 According to the 13th President of the Mormon Church, Ezra Taft Benson:83

What is meant by “after all we can do”? “After all we can do” includes extending our best effort. “After all we can do” includes living His commandments. “After all we can do” includes loving our fellowmen and praying for those who regard us as their adversary. “After all we can do” means clothing the naked, feeding the hungry, visiting the sick and giving “succor [to] those who stand in need of [our] succor” (Mosiah 4:15)–remembering that what we do unto one of the least of God’s children, we do unto Him (see Matthew 25:34-40, D&C 42:38). “After all we can do” means leading chaste, clean, pure lives, being scrupulously honest in all our dealings and treating others the way we would want to be treated. (emphasis removed)

Although Roman Catholics and Mormons may love Jesus, they do not accept that a sinner can be justified through faith alone in the ministry of Jesus Christ. As such, they do not share the same gospel with Rick Warren. Nevertheless, Rick Warren considers them to be on the same team as he. In fact, he has endorsed the book Catholics Come Home by Tom Peterson, and Rick Warren lauds the Pope, even calling him, “our Pope.”84 He has said of him, “I am nothing but impressed by this new pope,” and “Pope Francis … is doing everything right.”85, 86 He has even promoted a headline which reads, “If You Love Pope Francis, You’ll Love Jesus.”87

Indeed, Rick Warren has been greatly influenced by Roman Catholic authors. In an interview on the Catholic television station EWTN—a station of which Rick Warren is an avid fan, even watching it more than any other Christian channel—Rick Warren said, “One of the things I did before I read—wrote the book [ Purpose Driven Life] was um, I asked the question, ‘How do you write a book that lasts 500 years?’ For instance um, Imitation of Christ by Thomas Kempis, ah Practicing the Presence of God by Brother Laurence, OK, The Desert Fathers, St. John of the Cross, Teresa of Avila—all of these great, classic, devotional works.”88 These are all Roman Catholic authors who incorporated Eastern mystical practices into the practice of their faith.

Not surprisingly, Rick Warren has adopted and promoted some of these Roman Catholic monastic mystical practices which today bear the general title “contemplative spirituality.” David Cloud reports:89

[Rick Warren] frequently quotes from Roman Catholics to promote meditation, centering prayer, and other forms of contemplative spirituality. In The Purpose Driven Church and The Purpose Driven Life, Warren advises his readers to “practice his presence” as per Brother Lawrence (of the Roman Catholic Carmelite Order) and to use “breath prayers” as per the Benedictine monks.


Warren quotes from John Main (Catholic monk who believes that Christ “is not limited to Jesus of Nazareth, but remains among us in the monastic leaders, the sick, the guest, the poor”); Madame Guyon (a Roman Catholic who taught that prayer does not involve thinking); John of the Cross (who believed the mountains and forests are God); and Gary Thomas (who defines Centering Prayer as “a contemplative act in which you don’t do anything”). Warren quotes from Mother Teresa and Henri Nouwen, who believed that men can be saved apart from personal faith in Jesus Christ. Nowhere does Warren warn his readers that these were dangerous false teachers.

Warren recommends mystic Richard Foster (The Purpose Driven Church, pp. 126-127) and states that the contemplative movement will help bring the church into “full maturity” and that it “has had a valid message.”

Richard Foster builds his contemplative practices unequivocally upon ancient Catholic monasticism. Foster recommends Ignatius of Loyola, Teresa of Avila, Francis of Assisi, Augustine, Julian of Norwich, Brother Lawrence, Dominic, John of the Cross, the anonymous author of The Cloud of Unknowing, Madame Guyon, Thomas à Kempis, Catherine Doherty, Meister Eckhart, Thomas Aquinas, Alphonsus de Liguori, Bernard of Blairvaux, Nenri Nouwen, John Main, Thomas Merton, John Michael Talbot, and others. There is no warning of the fact that these Catholic mystics trusted in a works gospel, venerated Mary, worshipped Christ as a piece of consecrated bread, believed in purgatory, and scores of other heresies.

It should not be surprising that Rick Warren would fall prey to the allure of these spiritual practices which are rooted in Eastern mysticism because Rick Warren discourages critical evaluation of doctrine. In The Purpose Driven Life, Rick Warren writes, “God won’t ask about your religious background or doctrinal views. The only thing that will matter is, did you accept what Jesus did for you and did you learn to love and trust him?”90 In response, David Cloud questions:91

If this is true, why does the Bible say so very much about doctrine and why did the apostles call for doctrinal purity on every hand? Paul instructed Timothy to allow “no other doctrine” (1 Timothy 1:3). That is the very strictest stance on doctrinal purity, and it is precisely the stance we find throughout the apostolic writings. … If God is unconcerned about doctrine, why did the apostles spend so much time warning about false doctrines and doctrines of devils? See, for example, 2 Corinthians 11:1-4; Galatians 1:6-12; Philippians 3:18-21; Colossians 2:8; 1 Timothy 4:1-5; 1 Timothy 6:20-21; 2 Timothy 4:1-4; 2 Peter 2; Jude 3-23.

Certainly God is greatly concerned with a person’s doctrine. Just because some of these doctrines are not fundamental to the gospel does not mean God is unconcerned about them. Likewise, just because God calls Christians to keep the unity of the Holy Spirit (Eph. 4:3) does not mean God is opposed to all controversy and judgment. Christians are called to judge preaching in 1 Corinthians 14:29, sin in the churches in 1 Corinthians 5, and the spirits in 1 John 4:1.92 Furthermore, 1 Corinthians 2:15 says, “The spiritual person judges all things …,” and Jesus says in John 7:24, “… judge with right judgment.” Nevertheless, Rick Warren writes, “God warns us over and over not to criticize, compare, or judge each other. ... Whenever I judge another believer, four things instantly happen: I lose fellowship with God, I expose my own pride, I set myself to be judged by God, and I harm the fellowship of the church.”93

The folly of such teaching is evident when applied to the example of the Apostle Paul judging the Apostle Peter in Galatians 2. Certainly the Apostle Paul did not lose fellowship with God when he defended the true gospel and revealed the hypocrisy of the Apostle Peter. Neither can we say that the Apostle Paul exposed his pride, set himself to be judged by God, or harmed the fellowship of the church when he judged the Apostle Peter. And the same could be said of the Apostle Paul’s judgments in Galatians 3:1, Galatians 5:12, and 1 Corinthians 5.

Perhaps Rick Warren’s failure to judge spiritually is most evident in the favor he has shown toward Islam. Once again, Rick Warren is orthodox in his theology. When pressed by a reporter with the question, “Do people of other religions worship the same God as Christians?” Rick Warren answered:94

Of course not. Christians have a view of God that is unique. We believe Jesus is God! We believe God is a Trinity: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Not 3 separate gods but one God. No other faith believes Jesus is God. My God is Jesus. The belief in God as a Trinity is the foundational difference between Christians and everyone else. There are 2.1 billion people who call themselves Christians... whether Catholic, Orthodox, Protestant, Pentecostal, or Evangelical... and they all have the doctrine of the Trinity in common. Hindus, Muslims, Jehovah's Witnesses, Christian Science, Unitarians, and everyone else do not accept what Jesus taught about the Trinity.

Nevertheless, it is difficult to discern this understanding of the distinction between Christianity and Islam when listening to Rick Warren’s teachings.

In 2011, a document titled “King’s Way” was unveiled at Saddleback Church to an audience of more than 300 Muslims and Christians. “Under the heading ‘A Path to End the 1,400 Years of Misunderstanding Between Muslims and Christians,’ the presentation included Bible verses and Quran verses side by side to make the case that the God for both religions are one in the same.”95 “The document affirms that Christians and Muslims believe in ‘one God’ and share two central commandments: ‘love of God’ and ‘love of neighbor.’ The document also commits both faiths to three goals: Making friends with one another, building peace and working on shared social service projects.”96 Preceding this, Rick Warren co-signed a document titled “Loving God and Neighbor Together: A Christian Response to a Common Word Between Us and You” which sought to reconcile differences between Christianity and Islam.97 This response affirmed the call for dialogue between the two religions despite the fact that “The lengthy document [A Common Word Between Us and You] … outlines how both Muslims and Christians serve ‘one God’ and makes an argument that the two are one in the same, much like the “King’s Way” document unveiled in December at Saddleback Church.”98 Although Rick Warren may not personally believe that Allah and the God of the Bible are the same God, these documents present the two as though they are interchangeable.

Similarly, Rick Warren interchanged one of the most common titles for Allah with the name of God when praying during Barack Obama’s presidential inauguration. After declaring that the Lord God is One, Rick Warren referred to God as the Compassionate and Merciful One.99 Although these qualities are certainly true of Jehovah God, this title is never found in Scripture. However, it “is a formal Islamic formulation for Allah and is used of Allah in the Koran in 113 of the 114 chapters.”100 Moreover, Warren concluded his prayer by referring to Jesus as “Yashua, Isa, Jesús, Jesus.”101 Rick Warren offered the Jewish, Arabic, Spanish, and English titles for Jesus to close his prayer. However, the Arabic title for the Jesus of the Bible is truly Yasu, not Isa. Isa is the name of an Islamic prophet of Allah who will eventually return to earth, break the Cross, and put an end to all religious sects except Islam.102 At the very least, it is misleading to use official Islamic titles for god and his prophet as though they are synonymous with the Jehovah God of the Bible and His Son, Jesus Christ.

Rick Warren has called for interfaith projects with the Muslim world, but he repeatedly denies claims that he advocates Chrislam, which is the merging together of the doctrines of Christianity and Islam.103, 104 Regardless, when listening to Rick Warren talk about Islam, it is often difficult to discern where the differences lay between the two religions. In this sense, Rick Warren’s teachings border on ecumenicalism.

 

Overly Pragmatic

Incredibly, Rick Warren told the Pew Research Center Forum on Religion and Public Life, “Now the word ‘fundamentalist’ actually comes from a document in the 1920s called the Five Fundamentals of the Faith. And it is a very legalistic, narrow view of Christianity, and when I say there are very few fundamentalists, I mean in the sense that they are all actually called fundamentalist churches, and those would be quite small. There are no large ones.”105 To this Pastor Steve Mitchell responds, “Which of these could be considered narrow or legalistic? The Five Fundamentals of Faith that have been accepted by Christians throughout its history everywhere are: 1.The Deity of our Lord Jesus Christ. 2. The Virgin Birth. 3. The Blood Atonement. 4. The Bodily Resurrection. 5. The inerrancy of the scriptures.”106 It is interesting that Rick Warren should be so quick to disparage fundamentalists when he seems reluctant to disparage any other denomination or religion. In fact, Rick Warren appears to be eager to work with nearly any denomination or religion to accomplish his goals.

In 2008, Rick Warren joined the Tony Blair Faith Foundation’s board of advisors. It appears as though Rick Warren believed the outcomes of the foundation’s efforts in providing “ways to understand more about religion’s relevance to the modern world, and to organize practical projects so that people of different faiths can work together to be a force for good across the globe” superseded the interfaith nature and objectives of the foundation.107 Warren has also called upon the Muslims to work together with Christians for the greater good, and he recruited Ken Blanchard to join his P.E.A.C.E. Plan.108, 109 Ken Blanchard wrote in the forward of the book What Would Buddha Do at Work?, “I look for inspirational messages from a variety of sources besides Jesus. Our folks get to hear words of wisdom from great prophets and spiritual leaders like Buddha, Mohammed, Moses, Mahatma Gandhi, Yogananda, and the Dali Lama, as well as inspirational lay leaders like Nelson Mandela, Martin Luther King, and Dag Hammarskjold. … Buddha points to the path and invites us to begin our journey to enlightenment. I point to this little jewel of a book and invite you to begin (or continue) your journey to enlightened work.”110 Ken Blanchard is also a board member of the Hoffman Institute and a graduate of the Hoffman Quandrinity Process, which is a self-realization course intended to bring forth spiritual leadership in a person by using such New Age techniques as visualization, bio-energetics, Gestalt awareness exercises, and silent meditation.111, 112 Despite this, Rick Warren announced, “Ken [Blanchard] has signed on to help with the Peace Plan, and he’s going to be helping train us in leadership and in how to train others to be leaders all around the world.”113

Rick Warren appears to place greater emphasize on the outcome than he does on the means of attaining that outcome. To acquire this outcome in his writings and teachings, Rick Warren commonly advocates and quotes from spiritual false teachers such as Henri Nouwen, a Universalist who wrote in his final book, “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.”114, 115 Likewise, Warren quotes the wisdom of Bernie Siegel, a New Age leader with a spirit guide named George, and George Bernard Shaw, an atheist who wrote, “To me God does not yet exist; but there is a creative force struggling to evolve an executive organ of godlike knowledge and power; that is, to achieve omnipotence and omniscience; and every man and woman born is a fresh attempt to achieve this object. We are here to help God, to do his work, to remedy his whole errors, to strive towards Godhead ourselves.”116, 117, 118 Rick Warren has joined with false teachers, such as David Yonggi Cho whose ideas are “rooted in Buddhist and occult teachings,” and Oprah Winfrey, who has endeavored to build a “universe of interfaith connectedness.”119, 120, 121, 122 And he promotes as the “best of the best” numerous books by authors who advocate Roman Catholic monastic mystical practices.123

Perhaps the greatest illustration of Rick Warren’s pragmatism appears in the Daniel Plan, which Rick Warren calls “God’s prescription for good health.”124 The Daniel Plan is touted as “a groundbreaking healthy lifestyle program founded on biblical principles,” but to accomplish this, Rick Warren has teamed up with three celebrity doctors who are deeply involved in various forms of Eastern mysticism. The first of these is cardio-vascular surgeon, Dr. Mehmet Oz who is a Sufi Muslim and host of the Emmy-winning Dr. Oz Show.125 Sufism is “a mystical Islamic contemplative practice in which the ‘adept’ spins himself into an altered state of consciousness in order to commune with Allah.”126 Dr. Oz also advocates the use of transcendental meditation and Reiki which is an Occult energy healing practice designed to connect universal energy with the body’s innate powers of healing.127, 128 The second doctor that Rick Warren recruited for his Daniel Plan is psychiatrist and brain imaging specialist, Dr. Daniel Amen who advocates the use of Kriya Kirtan meditation which is a Kundalini-based Hindu practice.129 Dr. Amen is also an enthusiastic activist for tantric sex which “is the ancient key to sexual pleasure and psychic power, attained through a set of rituals practiced by the ‘Hindu Cult of Ecstasy.’ It is kind of ‘sexual magic’ which brings pleasure, power, energy, and control.”130 The third doctor recruited by Rick Warren is Dr. Mark Hyman who is a practitioner in alternative therapies, Editor-In-Chief of Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine, and a Secular Jew.131 He advocates yoga, and “His ‘audio learning program’ presents ‘breathing meditations and visualization exercises for feeling calm, confident, and in good spirits.’”132

In an effort to create a new health and fitness program for himself and for his church congregation, Rick Warren sought the help of “three of the leading health specialists in America.”133 He did not seek the help of Christian doctors; neither did he find doctors who focus solely on science. This prompted Marsha West to ask the question, “[W]hy would a high-profile evangelical pastor choose doctors who are entrenched in New Age/New Thought (occult) spirituality, as well as questionable alternative health practices? Warren’s fully aware that Paul cautioned the church in Thessalonica to abstain from even the appearance of evil (1 Thes. 5:22).”134 2 John 1:10–11 says, “If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching, do not receive him into your house or give him any greeting, for whoever greets him takes part in his wicked works.” Regardless of the health benefits, pastors are never to allow doctors to enter the church and teach the congregation Eastern mystical practices that defy sound doctrine. “As Paul explained to Timothy, ‘Bodily exercise profiteth little: but godliness is profitable unto all things, having promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come’ (1 Tm 4:8). Attempting to care for our bodies in ways that are antithetical to God's Word is sinning against our Creator.”135 It is surprising that a pastor who has been commissioned by God to protect his congregation from false doctrine would not question how these doctors’ personal religious worldviews have shaped their understanding of the human mind, body and spirit.136

 

Conclusion

Humanly speaking, Rick Warren has an unparalleled résumé. He commands the respect of political and religious leaders around the world, and he has endeavored to use his influence to help those in need. Rick Warren undoubtedly has a charitable heart, and he is willing to lead by example. However, many believe that his zeal appears to be more focused on the temporary needs of those in this world than on their eternal needs. In an effort to exact the broadest possible influence, Rick Warren has diluted his gospel presentation, he has supplanted spiritual truths with popular psychology, and he has become overly pragmatic. This may be due in part to his questionable mentors, his sloppy hermeneutics, and his fascination with inaccurate Bible translations. Regardless, it is believed that Rick Warren’s message is lacking in spiritual clarity and absolute truth.

Rick Warren has proven himself to be a great example of Christian humility, love, and generosity, but in the minds of some, he has not proven himself to be a reliable Bible teacher who is capable of accurately dividing the Word of God and of discerning between the spirits. Instead, he employs a chameleon-like approach to teaching. Michael Horton observes:137

Pastor Warren tailors his appeals to his audience. To Calvinists, he stresses his support for the “solas” of the Reformation. Yet he tells prosperity evangelist David Yonggi Cho, “I’ve read your books on Vision and Dreams - speak to pastors about how you hear the voice of the Holy Spirit?...What advice would you give to a brand new minister?...Do you think American churches should be more open to the prayer for miracles?” (“Breakfast With David Yonggi Cho And Rick Warren,” Pastors.com). In a June 2006 article in JewishJournal.com, editor-in-chief Rob Eshman reported on a speech that Warren gave for Synagogue 3000, after Rabbi Ron Wolfson became involved in the Purpose-Driven pastoral training seminars. “Warren managed to speak for the entire evening without once mentioning Jesus — a testament to his savvy message-tailoring.”

Rick Warren adjusts his language according to his audience. Given that he is often addressing a wide audience, he commonly employs ambiguous language which can mean different things to different people based upon their presuppositions. This is why Oprah Winfrey and her audience can feel just as comfortable and inspired by Rick Warren’s teaching as do born-again Christians. And this is why many believe that Rick Warren has truly become all things to all people.

 


1. Sheler, “Preacher with a Purpose.”
2. Steptoe, “The 2005 TIME 100.”
3. Wikipedia, “Rick Warren.”
4. “Ted Speaker: Rick Warren.”
5. Duin, “Rick Warren envisions coalition of faith.”
6. “Rick Warren Biography.”
7. “Rick Warren.”
8. “Ted Speaker: Rick Warren.”
9. “Rick Warren Biography.”
10. The Observer, “Blair Courts Controversial US Pastor Rick Warren in Bid to Unite Faiths.”
11. “Ted Speaker: Rick Warren.”
12. “Missions: Global PEACE.”
13. Wikipedia, “P.E.A.C.E. Plan.”
14. Ibid.
15. “Missions: Global PEACE.”
16. “Ted Speaker: Rick Warren.”
17. “Rick Warren.”
18. Ibid.
19. “About Rick Warren.”
20. Ibid.
21. “The 2015 Outreach 100 American Megachurch annual.”
22. “About Rick Warren.”
23. Duduit, “The 25 Most Influential Pastors of the Past 25 Years.”
24. Kell, “Reflections on the 2014 SBC Pastor’s Conference.”
25. “Rick Warren.”
26. “Rick Warren Biography.”
27. “About Pastors.com.”
28. Ibid.
29. “Rick Warren Biography.”
30. Fairchild, “Rick Warren Biography.”
31. Nelson, “Purpose Driven Life Gets a 10th Anniversary Makeover: PW Talks with Rick Warren.”
32. “About Pastors.com.”
33. “Rick Warren Biography.”
34. Bashir, “Rick Warren and Purpose-Driven Strife.”
35. “Rick Warren.”
36. Silva, “Rick Warren On Mentors Like C. Peter Wagner.”
37. “A Leading Figure In The New Apostolic Reformation.”
38. Ibid.
39. Pivec, “The New Apostolic Reformation: Influence and Teachings.”
40. Warren, The Purpose Driven Church, 29.
41. Church of Tares.
42. Ibid.
43. SERay, “Is Rick Warren a False Teacher?”
44. “Another Possible Gospel of Robert Schuller’s.”
45. Robert Schuller Interview with Paul Crouch, Trinity Broadcasting Network, December 8, 2987, Source: “Another Possible Gospel of Robert Schuller’s.”
46. Rosebrough, “***Updated*** The Real Facts About Warren’s Ties to Robert Schuller.”
47. Ibid.
48. Rosebrough, “Schuller Attacking Expository Bible Teaching.”
49. “Myths of the Modern Megachurch.”
50. Warren, The Purpose Driven Church, 190.
51. Rosebrough, “***Updated*** The Real Facts About Warren’s Ties to Robert Schuller.”
52. Ibid.
53. Byrne, “The Man Who Invented Management.”
54. “Peter Drucker’s Life and Legacy.”
55. Silva, “Rick Warren Mentor Peter Drucker: ‘I’m Not A Born Again Christian.’”
56. Ibid.
57. Silva, “Rick Warren: Peter Drucker Changed My Life.”
58. The Drucker Institute, “Rick Warren on Peter Drucker and the Character of Great Leaders.”
59. Mohler, “The Problem of Preaching to Felt Needs.”
60. Warren, The Purpose Driven Life, 19.
61. Ibid, 20.
62. Ibid, 325–326.
63. Costella, An Analysis of Rick Warren’s The Purpose Driven Life, 2.
64. Warren, The Purpose Driven Life, 152–154.
65. Costella, An Analysis of Rick Warren’s The Purpose Driven Life, 4.
66. Warren, The Purpose Driven Life, 86.
67. Warren, The Purpose Driven Church, 189.
68. Busentiz, “The Gospel According to Hybels and Warren.”
69. Donald MacGavran, Understanding Church Growth, 8–9, Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing, 1990, Source: Busentiz, “The Gospel According to Hybels and Warren.”
70. Kimon Howland, Seeker Churches, 99, New Brunswick: Rutgers University Press, 2000, Source: Busentiz, “The Gospel According to Hybels and Warren.”
71. Warren, The Purpose Driven Life, 58–59.
72. Zaimov, “Rick Warren Tells ‘Oprah’s Lifeclass’ to Listen to God, Read the Bible.”
73. OWN, “Pastor Rick Warren Doesn’t Want You to Resist Temptation | Oprah’s Lifeclass | Oprah Winfrey Network.”
74. Cgkimcbsh, “Rick Warren on Hannity & Combes.”
75. Interview with Rick Warren, CNN Larry King Live, December 2, 2005, Transcript, Source: Mitchell, Steve, “FGBC Emergent & Pragmatic Compromise Documented -Part1.”
76. United Nations, Interfaith Prayer Breakfast, September 2005, transcribed from the audio of Rick Warren’s message available at Lighthouse Trails Research Project, “The New Missiology—Keep Your Own Religion, Just Add Jesus,” at http://www.lighthousetrailsresearch.com/newmissiology.htm; below Rick Warren’s quote–“Listen to entire transcript,” Source: Hartzell, In the Name of Purpose: Sacrificing Truth on the Altar of Unity.
77. “Discussion: Religion and Leadership,” Aspen Ideas Festival, The Aspen Institute, July 6, 2005, http://www.aspeninstitute.org/site/c.huLWJeMRKpH/b.901097/k.C0C7/Agenda.htm, Transcribed from the audio available at Lighthouse Trails Research Project, http://www.lighthousetrailsresearch.com/newsletternovember05.htm, Source: Source: Hartzell, In the Name of Purpose: Sacrificing Truth on the Altar of Unity.
78. Grossman, “This evangelist has a ‘Purpose’.”
79. Dennis Costella, Foundation Magazine, March–April 1998, Source: Cloud, David. “The Church Growth Movement: An Analysis of Rick Warren’s ‘Purpose Driven’ Church Growth Strategy.”
80. Slick, “Rick Warren’s comments on Roman Catholicism.”
81. The Council of Trent, Canons on Justification, Canon IX.
82. The Book of Mormon , 2 Nephi 25:23.
83. The Teachings of Ezra Taft Benson , 354, Source: Slick, “The Gospel According to Mormonism.”
84. “Catholics Come Home Announces First Book from Founder Tom Peterson.”
85. Murphy, “Rick Warren: ‘I am nothing but impressed with the new pope’.”
86. EWTN, “World Over–2014-04-10–Rick Warren Part II with Raymond Arroyo.”
87. Ibid.
88. Ibid.
89. Cloud, “Evangelicals Turning to Roman Catholic Contemplative Spirituality.”
90. Warren, The Purpose Driven Life, 34.
91. Cloud, “A Review of Rick Warren’s ‘The Purpose Driven Life’.”
92. Ibid.
93. Warren, The Purpose Driven Life, 164.
94. Murashko, “ECLUSIVE: Rick Warren: ‘Flat Out Wrong’ That Muslims, Christians View God the Same.”
95. Tombers, “Newspaper Catches Rick Warren Fibbing?”
96. Kerby, “New accusations connect Rick Warren with Chrislam.”
97. “A Common Word Christian Response.”
98. Tombers, “Newspaper Catches Rick Warren Fibbing?”
99. Is It Real or Not Real?, “Pastor Rick Warren Prayer at Barack Obama’s inauguration.”
100. Good Fight Ministries, “Rick Warren, Emergents and Muslims.”
101. Is It Real or Not Real?, “Pastor Rick Warren Prayer at Barack Obama’s inauguration.”
102. “The Return (Second Coming) of Jesus Christ.”
103. Yahya2006, “ISNA 2009: Rick Warren.”
104. LeClaire, “Rick Warren Addresses Rumors He Supports Chrislam.”
105. “Myths of the Modern Megachurch.”
106. Interview with Rick Warren, CNN Larry King Live, December 2, 2005, Transcript, Source: Mitchell, Steve, “FGBC Emergent & Pragmatic Compromise Documented -Part1.”
107. Leisa Garcia, “Coming to America: Tony Blair Faith Foundation,” Personal Update News Journal, May 2010, Source: “Strategic Trends Update.”
108. Vu, “Rick Warren to Muslims: Talk is Cheap, Let’s Work Together.”
109. “Ken Blanchard: Leading Like Jesus or Being Managed by Other Forces?
110. Metcalf, What Would Buddha Do at Work?, i–ii.
111. Mitchell, “FGBC Emergent & Pragmatic Compromise Documented -Part1.”
112. “Ken Blanchard: Leading Like Jesus or Being Managed by Other Forces?
113. Ibid.
114. Warren, The Purpose Driven Life, 269.
115. Nouwen, “Sabbatical Journey, 51.
116. Warren, The Purpose Driven Life, 30–31, 33.
117. Smith, A Wonderful Deception, 75.
118. Gary Sloan, “The religion of George Bernard Shaw: when is an Atheist?” American Atheist magazine, Autumn 2004, Source: “The Religious Affiliation of Irish Playwright George Bernard Shaw.”
119. “Community Connections.”
120. “Oprah and Pastor Rick Warren: Winning the Hand You’re Dealt.”
121. MacArthur, Charismatic Chaos, 180.
122. Walls, “Spirituality According to Oprah.”
123. “Saddleback IS A Contemplative Church.”
124. Warren, “God’s Prescription for Good Health.”
125. West, “Rick Warren’s New Book ‘Daniel Plan: 40 Days to a Healthier Life’ Awash With Doctrines of Demons.”
126. “Question: Why are you and other ‘discernment’ writers so critical of Rick Warren and his new Daniel Plan?”
127. Ibid.
128. Sebastian, “What is Reiki”
129. “Question: Why are you and other ‘discernment’ writers so critical of Rick Warren and his new Daniel Plan?”
130. Thirleby, “What Is Tantra Sex?”
131. West, “Rick Warren’s New Book ‘Daniel Plan: 40 Days to a Healthier Life’ Awash With Doctrines of Demons.”
132. “Question: Why are you and other ‘discernment’ writers so critical of Rick Warren and his new Daniel Plan?”
133. West, “Rick Warren’s New Book ‘Daniel Plan: 40 Days to a Healthier Life’ Awash With Doctrines of Demons.”
134. Ibid.
135. “Question: Why are you and other ‘discernment’ writers so critical of Rick Warren and his new Daniel Plan?”
136. Ibid.
137. Horton, “Michael Horton on Rick Warren, Modern Reformation, and Desiring God.”

 


Works Cited

1. “About Pastors.com.” Pastors.com. Accessed November 9, 2015. http://pastors.com/about/.
2. “About Rick Warren.” Daily Hope with Rick Warren. Accessed November 9, 2015. http://rickwarren.org/about.
3. “A Common Word Christian Response.” Yale Center for Faith and Culture. Accessed November 11, 2015. http://faith.yale.edu/common-word/common-word-christian-response.
4. “A Leading Figure In The New Apostolic Reformation.” NPR, October 3, 2011. Accessed November 9, 2015. http://www.npr.org/2011/10/03/140946482/apostolic-leader-weighs-religions-role-in-politics.
5. “Another Possible Gospel of Robert Schuller’s.” Let Us Reason Ministries. Accessed November 11, 2015. http://letusreason.org/Poptea1.htm.
6. Bashir, Martin, and Deborah Apton. “Rick Warren and Purpose-Driven Strife.” ABC News, June 22, 2007. Accessed November 9, 2015. http://abcnews.go.com/Nightline/story?id=2914953&page=1.
7. Busentiz, Nathan. “The Gospel According to Hybels and Warren.” Accessed November 11, 2015. http://www.biblebb.com/files/gathw.htm.
8. Byrne, John. “The Man Who Invented Management.” Bloomberg Businessweek, November 27, 2005. Accessed November 11, 2015. http://www.bloomberg.com/bw/stories/2005-11-27/the-man-who-invented-management.
9. “Catholics Come Home Announces First Book from Founder Tom Peterson.” Catholics Come Home. Accessed November 11, 2015. http://www.catholicscomehome.org/catholics-come-home-announces-first-book-from-founder-tom-peterson/.
10. cgkimcbsh. “Rick Warren on Hannity & Combes.” Youtube video, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f3XT4CclBi0 (accessed November 11, 2015).
12. Cloud, David. “A Review of Rick Warren’s ‘The Purpose Driven Life’.” Way of Life Literature, March 10, 2008. Accessed November 11, 2015. http://www.wayoflife.org/database/reviewpurposedrivenlife.html.
13. Cloud, David. “Evangelicals Turning to Roman Catholic Contemplative Spirituality.” Way of Life Literature, April 15, 2013. Accessed November 11, 2015. http://www.wayoflife.org/index_files/evangelicals_turning_to_roman_catholic_spirituality.html.
14. Cloud, David. “The Church Growth Movement: An Analysis of Rick Warren’s ‘Purpose Driven’ Church Growth Strategy.” Way of Life Literature, November 10, 2004. Accessed November 11, 2015. http://www.wayoflife.org/database/growthstrategy.html.
15. “Community Connections.” Let Us Reason Ministries, 2013. Accessed November 11, 2015. http://www.letusreason.org/Popteac23.htm.
16. Costella, Matt. An Analysis of Rick Warren’s The Purpose Driven Life, 2. http://www.verhoevenmarc.be/PDF/analysis.pdf.
17. Doward, Jamie, and Paul Harris. “Blair Courts Controversial US Pastor Rick Warren in Bid to Unite Faiths.” The Observer, March 13, 2010. Accessed November 11, 2015. http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2010/mar/14/tony-blair-faith-foundation-america.
18. Duduit, Michael. “The 25 Most Influential Pastors of the Past 25 Years.” Preaching.com, April 20, 2010. Accessed November 9, 2015. http://www.preaching.com/sermon-illustrations/11629162/?page=2.
19. Duin, Julia. “Rick Warren envisions coalition of faith.” The Washington Times, July 5, 2009. http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2009/jul/5/warren-envisions-coalition-of-faith/.
20. EWTN. “World Over–2014-04-10–Rick Warren Part II with Raymond Arroyo.” Youtube video, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dVCY8pW-ACs&feature=youtu.be (accessed November 11, 2015).
21. Fairchild, Mary. “Rick Warren Biography.” About.com. Accessed November 9, 2015. http://christianity.about.com/od/christiancelebrities/p/rickwarrenbio.htm.
22. Good Fight Ministries. “Rick Warren, Emergents and Muslims.” Youtube video, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iiMYRzFR2ZM (accessed November 11, 2015).
23. Grossman, Cathy. “This evangelist has a ‘Purpose’.” USA Today, July 21, 2003. Accessed November 11, 2015. http://usatoday30.usatoday.com/life/2003-07-21-rick-warren_x.htm.
24. Hartzell, Tamara. In the Name of Purpose: Sacrificing Truth on the Altar of Unity. E-Book, 2006. Accessed November 11, 2015. http://inthenameofpurpose.org/chp18.htm#10.
25. Horton, Michael. “Michael Horton on Rick Warren, Modern Reformation, and Desiring God.” White Horse Inn Blog, April 1, 2010. Accessed November 11, 2015. https://www.whitehorseinn.org/blog/entry/general/2010/04/01/michael-horton-on-rick-warren-modern-reformation-and-desiring-god.
26. Is It Real or Not Real?. “Pastor Rick Warren Prayer at Barack Obama’s inauguration.” Youtube video, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tJeNsPIC3vE (accessed November 11, 2015).
27. Kell, Garrett. “Reflections on the 2014 SBC Pastor’s Conference.” All Things for Good Blog, June 12, 2014. Accessed November 9, 2015. http://garrettkell.com/reflections-on-the-sbc-2014-pastors-conference/.
28. “Ken Blanchard: Leading Like Jesus or Being Managed by Other Forces?” Let Us Reason Ministries, 2009. Accessed November 11, 2015. http://www.letusreason.org/Popteac33.htm.
29. Kerby, Rob. “New accusations connect Rick Warren with Chrislam.” BeliefNet. Accessed November 11, 2015. http://www.beliefnet.com/News/Home-Page-News-and-Views/rick-warren-and-chrislam.aspx?p=9.
30. LeClaire, Jennifer. “Rick Warren Addresses Rumors He Supports Chrislam.” Charisma News, November 11, 2014. Accessed November 11, 2015. http://www.charismanews.com/us/32322-rick-warren-addresses-rumors-he-supports-chrislam.
31. MacArthur, John. Charismatic Chaos. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1992.
32. Metcalf, Franz, and Barbara Gallagher Hateley. What Would Buddha Do at Work? Berkeley: Berrett-Koehler Publishers, 2001.
33. “Missions: Global PEACE.” Saddleback Church. Accessed November 9, 2015. http://saddleback.com/connect/ministry/the-peace-plan/lake-forest.
34. Mitchell, Steve. “FGBC Emergent & Pragmatic Compromise Documented -Part1.” Sermon Audio, posted by Beaverton Grace Bible Church, December 1, 2006. Accessed November 11, 2015. http://www.sermonaudio.com/new_details3.asp?ID=9077.
35. Mohler, Albert. “The Problem of Preaching to Felt Needs.” Albert Mohler Blog, September 14, 2006. Accessed November 11, 2015. http://www.albertmohler.com/2006/09/14/the-problem-of-preaching-to-felt-needs/.
36. Murashko, Alex. “ECLUSIVE: Rick Warren: ‘Flat Out Wrong’ That Muslims, Christians View God the Same.” The Christian Post, March 2, 2012. Accessed November 11, 2015. http://www.christianpost.com/news/exclusive-rick-warren-flat-out-wrong-that-muslims-christians-view-god-the-same-70767/.
37. Murphy, Paul. “Rick Warren: ‘I am nothing but impressed with the new pope’.” The Piers Morgan Interview, CNN, December 6, 2013. Accessed November 11, 2015. http://piersmorgan.blogs.cnn.com/2013/12/06/rick-warren-i-am-nothing-but-impressed-with-this-new-pope/.
38. “Myths of the Modern Megachurch.” Pew Research Center, May 23, 2005. Accessed November 9, 2015. http://www.pewforum.org/2005/05/23/myths-of-the-modern-megachurch/.
39. Nelson, Marcia. “Purpose Driven Life Gets a 10th Anniversary Makeover: PW Talks with Rick Warren.” Publishers Weekly, November 28, 2012. Accessed November 9, 2015. http://www.publishersweekly.com/pw/by-topic/industry-news/religion/article/54912-purpose-driven-life-gets-a-10th-anniversary-makeover-pw-talks-with-rick-warren.html.
40. Nouwen, Henri. “Sabbatical Journey. New York: Crossroad Publishing Co., 1998.
41. “Oprah and Pastor Rick Warren: Winning the Hand You’re Dealt.” Oprah, Oprah’s Lifeclass. Accessed November 11, 2015. http://www.oprah.com/oprahs-lifeclass/Oprah-and-Pastor-Rick-Warren-Winning-the-Hand-Youre-Dealt.
42. OWN. “Pastor Rick Warren Doesn’t Want You to Resist Temptation | Oprah’s Lifeclass | Oprah Winfrey Network.” Youtube video, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dqtLt07nV7w (accessed November 11, 2015).
43. “Peter Drucker’s Life and Legacy.” Drucker Institute. Accessed November 11, 2015. http://www.druckerinstitute.com/peter-druckers-life-and-legacy/.
44. Pivec, Holly. “The New Apostolic Reformation: Influence and Teachings.” Apologetics Index, February 24, 2013. Accessed November 11, 2015. http://www.apologeticsindex.org/2977-new-apostolic-reformation-overview.
45. “Question: Why are you and other ‘discernment’ writers so critical of Rick Warren and his new Daniel Plan?” The Berean Call. Accessed November 11, 2015. https://www.thebereancall.org/content/question-why-are-you-and-other-discernment-writers-so-critical-rick-warren-and-his-new-danie.
46. “Rick Warren.” Biblio. Accessed November 9, 2015. http://biblio.co.uk/rick-warren/author/149.
47. “Rick Warren.” Big Think. Accessed November 9, 2015. http://bigthink.com/experts/rickwarren.
48. “Rick Warren Biography.” The Famous People. Accessed November 9, 2015. http://www.thefamouspeople.com/profiles/richard-duane-warren-2669.php.
49. Rosebrough, Chris. “Schuller Attacking Expository Bible Teaching.” Extreme Theology Blog, November 10, 2007. Accessed November 9, 2015. http://www.extremetheology.com/2007/11/schuller-attack.html.
50. Rosebrough, Chris. “***Updated*** The Real Facts About Warren’s Ties to Robert Schuller.” Extreme Theology Blog, December 11, 2007. Accessed November 11, 2015. http://www.extremetheology.com/2007/12/the-real-facts.html.
51. “Saddleback IS A Contemplative Church.” Lighthouse Trails Research blog, June 16, 2008. Accessed November 11, 2015. http://www.lighthousetrailsresearch.com/newsletter061608.htm#LETTER.BLOCK24.
52. Sebastian, Simona. “What is Reiki” Chakra Anatomy. Accessed November 11, 2015. http://www.chakra-anatomy.com/what-is-reiki.html.
53. SERay. “Is Rick Warren a False Teacher?” Discerning the Truth Blog, June 17, 2014. Accessed November 11, 2015. http://www.discerningtruth.org/showthread.php?250-Is-Rick-Warren-a-False-Teacher.
54. Sheler, Jeffrey. “Preacher with a Purpose.” U.S. News & World Report, October 31, 2005. Accessed November 9, 2015.
55. Silva, Ken. “Rick Warren Mentor Peter Drucker: ‘I’m Not A Born Again Christian.’” Appraising Ministries Blog, June 12, 2012. Accessed November 11, 2015. http://apprising.org/2012/06/12/rick-warren-mentor-peter-drucker-im-not-a-born-again-christian/.
56. Silva, Ken. “Rick Warren On Mentors Like C. Peter Wagner.” Apprising Ministries Blog, October 6, 2011. Accessed November 9, 2015. http://apprising.org/2011/10/06/rick-warren-on-mentors/.
57. Silva, Ken. “Rick Warren: Peter Drucker Changed My Life.” Appraising Ministries Blog, June 9, 2012. Accessed November 11, 2015. http://apprising.org/2012/06/09/rick-warren-peter-drucker-changed-my-life/.
58. Slick, Matt. “Rick Warren’s comments on Roman Catholicism.” Christian Apologetics and Research Ministry. Accessed November 11, 2015. https://carm.org/rick-warren-and-catholicism.
59. Slick, Matt. “The Gospel According to Mormonism.” Christian Apologetics and Research Ministry. Accessed November 11, 2015. https://carm.org/gospel-according-to-mormonism.
60. Smith, Warren. A Wonderful Deception. Magalia: Mountain Stream Press, 2012.
61. Steptoe, Sonja. “The 2005 TIME 100.” TIME magazine, April 18, 2005. http://content.time.com/time/specials/packages/article/0,28804,1972656_1972712_1973828,00.html.
62. “Strategic Trends Update.” Koinonia House, May 2010. Accessed November 11, 2015. http://www.khouse.org/articles/2010/919/.
63. “Ted Speaker: Rick Warren.” TED.com. Accessed November 9, 2015. https://www.ted.com/speakers/rick_warren.
64. “The 2015 Outreach 100 American Megachurch annual.” Outreach magazine. Accessed November 9, 2015. http://www.outreachmagazine.com/outreach-100-largest-churches-2015.html.
65. The Book of Mormon , 2 Nephi 25:23. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. Accessed November 11, 2015. https://www.lds.org/scriptures/bofm/2-ne/25.23?lang=eng.
66. The Council of Trent, Canons on Justification, Canon IX. The Council of Trent, January 13, 1547. Accessed November 11, 2015. http://www.thecounciloftrent.com/ch6.htm.
67. The Drucker Institute. “Rick Warren on Peter Drucker and the Character of Great Leaders.” Youtube video, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iPH8VpI-H7I&list=PLldvkid9nliUbIvPinCIeuq3zf_hsrlap (accessed November 11, 2015).
68. “The Religious Affiliation of Irish Playwright George Bernard Shaw.” Adherents.com. Accessed November 11, 2015. http://www.adherents.com/people/ps/George_Bernard_Shaw.html.
69. “The Return (Second Coming) of Jesus Christ.” Discovering Islam. Accessed November 11, 2015. http://www.discoveringislam.org/return_of_jesus.htm.
70. Thirleby, Ashley. “What Is Tantra Sex?” Temple of Tantra. Accessed November 11, 2015.http://www.templeoftantra.com/tantricsex.html.
71. Tombers, Dave. “Newspaper Catches Rick Warren Fibbing?” World Net Daily, March 7, 2012. Accessed November 11, 2015. http://www.wnd.com/2012/03/newspaper-catches-rick-warren-fibbing/.
72. Vu, Michelle. “Rick Warren to Muslims: Talk is Cheap, Let’s Work Together.” The Christian Post, July 5, 2009. Accessed November 11, 2015. http://www.christianpost.com/news/rick-warren-to-muslims-talk-is-cheap-let-s-work-together-39543/.
73. Walls, Barbranda. “Spirituality According to Oprah.” AARP, Entertainment, October/November 2015. Accessed November 11, 2015. http://www.aarp.org/entertainment/style-trends/info-2015/oprah-winfrey-belief-series.html.
74. Warren, Rick. “God’s Prescription for Good Health.” The Daniel Plan, January 4, 2013. Accessed November 11, 2015. http://danielplan.com/healthyhabits/prescription/.
75. Warren, Rick. The Purpose Driven Church.
76. Warren, Rick. The Purpose Driven Life. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2002.
77. West, Marsha. “Rick Warren’s New Book ‘Daniel Plan: 40 Days to a Healthier Life’ Awash With Doctrines of Demons.” Renew America, November 12, 2013. Accessed November 11, 2015. http://www.renewamerica.com/columns/mwest/131112.
78. Wikipedia. “P.E.A.C.E. Plan.” Last updated May 31, 2009. Accessed November 9, 2015. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/P.E.A.C.E._Plan.
79. Wikipedia. “Rick Warren.” Last updated October 25, 2015. Accessed November 9, 2015. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rick_Warren.
80. Yahya2006. “ISNA 2009: Rick Warren.” Youtube video, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qQak4l60Dt4 (accessed November 11, 2015).
81. Zaimov, Stoyan. “Rick Warren Tells ‘Oprah’s Lifeclass’ to Listen to God, Read the Bible.” The Christian Post, January 14, 2013. Accessed November 11, 2015. http://www.christianpost.com/news/rick-warren-tells-oprahs-lifeclass-to-listen-to-god-read-the-bible-88243/.

 

Author: Timothy Zebell, 2015