Written by Jan Markell
In the early days of all things "purpose driven," I didn't say much. I was, admittedly, skeptical. I had a hunch churches might experience the promised growth thanks to the movement behind "purpose driven," the seeker-sensitive movement; however, it might not be a healthy growth. But as the years moved on, I started hearing about wreckage. Calls and e-mails told me that beloved congregations were caving to all things unsound and even unscriptural. Members were told that the ends justified the means. In other words, numbers trumped everything.
So, I began to watch Pastor Warren more carefully. When he praised the freedom in Syria in 2006, I just shuddered. When he spoke to the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) and withheld the gospel, I reacted again. ISNA is a front for the Muslim Brotherhood. When he told Alan Colmes to "give Jesus a try for 60 days," I came close to writing him off.
When Rick began featuring occultic "New Agers" in his church sanctuary in January 2011, I further realized that "America's Pastor" wasn't as sound as he had been portrayed. Rick allowed a year-long effort at fitness to headquarter out of Saddleback Church and concluded the event by cheering that Saddleback members lost 250,000 pounds. Rick, some souls might have been lost during that time because Drs. Amen, Hymen and Oz represent the dark side of the world, not the light of Jesus. These men are secularists. At one time, Dr. Oz even had a link on his Web site that took you to a place where you could learn how to talk to the dead.·
But Rick did it again coming out of the shoot into 2012 and I am being a bit outspoken about this. He's leading an effort to heal divisions between Christians and Muslims by partnering with Southern California mosques. He is proposing theological principles that include acknowledging Christians and Muslims worship the same God.·
A Saddleback Church spokesman says this effort "is a path to end the 1,400 years of misunderstanding between Muslims and Christians." The root of this madness goes back to "A Christian Response to a Common Word Between Us and You" This was a joint effort between Muslims and Christians to deepen dialogue and relations at the Yale Center for Faith and Culture. Pastor Warren was one of the signers, along with hundreds of other Christian leaders. They also acknowledged that neither Muslim nor Christian would try to evangelize each other. Just like that, evangelism evaporates in the minds of major Christian leaders. We've got to all get along! Rodney King, you would be proud of us!·
One of the statements of this "Common Word" effort was that religious peace would bring world peace. No, the return of Christ will bring world peace. Evangelical signers of this document should have known better.·
I stand with Joseph Farah on this issue. He states, "If you compare the personality of the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob -- the Christian and Hebrew God -- with Allah, Islam's god, the contrast could not be more stark. The Hebrew-Christian God is characterized by love. The Islamic god is characterized by war and vengeance. The Hebrew-Christian God provides a clear path to redemption and personal salvation in a fallen world -- through repentance. The Islamic god provides only one certain path to personal salvation -- martyrdom. The Hebrew-Christian God elevates the status of women. The Islamic god does the opposite.
"The Hebrew-Christian God encourages followers to be a light to the whole world. The Islamic god encourages jihad on the non-Islamic world and, ultimately and unambiguously, calls for the death of unconverted Christians and Jews."·
Farah concludes, "Into this breech, Warren seeks common theological ground. It would be easier to find common theological ground between Christians and atheists than Christians and Muslims."·
What becomes immediately apparent is that while making friends with Muslims is certainly an admirable goal, Warren has prioritized the three goals of making friends, building peace and working together on shared social service projects over and above the commandment of Jesus to baptize and make disciples of the whole world.·
Author Joel Richardson says that rather than obeying the Great Commission and creating disciples of the Jesus of the Bible, Warren is "building a Tower of Babel that leads to nowhere."·
Richardson concludes, "I would agree in that when Christian groups join together with other groups that have such fundamentally divergent goals and doctrines, the danger is always compromise. Throughout the Old Testament, the commandment of God to the Israelites was to never enter into agreements, covenants or marriages with the surrounding peoples, lest the Israelites would find themselves led away to worship other gods. In such a postmodern culture, these concepts may sound amazingly intolerant, but the wisdom of the Lord's prescription against treaties and partnerships is seen in Warren's agreement not to evangelize his Muslim 'friends' and co-laborers for mutual social causes."·
The ultimate hope of Christianity is the Lord's return. Islam awaits a Mahdi who would eradicate Christianity. Thus, I agree with Richardson's conclusion: "If Warren was pursuing friendships for the purpose of evangelism, I would openly stand with him in this goal. But I think it is clear that Warren is pursuing an agenda far more in line with the spirit of the age than with the goals of the early Christian Church."·
Being a critic of Rick Warren costs one plenty! I have lost friends and other loved ones because I have not always been supportive of all things purpose-driven, or market-driven church growth. Do I think Rick loves God and is serving Him to the best of his ability? Yes. I just think "Peace Plans" and global initiatives don't belong in the house of God. Cozying up to Mullahs and uttering words they want to hear produces nothing but a laughing Mullah. Such agendas morph into ideas and plans that are counter productive to God's ultimate call on the church.·
What we can agree upon is that Pastor Rick Warren needs our prayers. While he vehemently denies that he is involved in the Chrislam movement, actions speak louder than words. My radio co-host, Eric Barger, addressed that topic both on air and at my "Understanding the Times 2011" conference. Contact us for more info. We have complete CD or DVD sets of all conference speakers.
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