Friday, March 9, 2007

Warren Casts The First Stone

From the Watcher's Lamp

Casting the First Stone

An Open Letter to Rick Warren

Dear Rick,

I watched your interview with Martin Bishar on NIGHTLINE. Your words were careful, confident and deliberate. The world was told how to know what a real church is by virtue of your question:

“Is it going to live for itself, or is it going to live for the world that Jesus died for.”

The world now has the impression that there are only two types of churches:
One that is selfish and self centered.
One that spends itself on the world.

Living for the world , Rick ? I am not as credentialed as you , but the following verses in the Bible immediately come to mind:

John 17:9 I am praying for them. I am not praying for the world but for those whom you have given me, for they are yours.

Read the rest here


  1. Good Letter, excellent question. Rick Warren is showing just what he is...for those who have the eyes to see.
    And I don't like being "Anon...", but I also don't want to create any accounts. So I'll give my name:

  2. In your attempt to chastise Warren, your question takes scripture out of context.

    When read in context with the entire chapter, John 17:9 indicates that Jesus was praying for current AND future believers. Any “future” believer is either not yet born or, obviously, “in the world”. Had you read further to John 17:20, you’d have seen that He also says, “My prayer is not for them alone. I pray for also for those who will believe in me…” There is plenty of reference in this chapter to the fact that He cared for the world – not worldy ways - but for the people in the world, as Rick Warren proposes we the church should do. Read the whole thing.

    Scripture tells us to “care for the sick”, not “care only for the believers.” The simple fact that Jesus came for the sick (instead of the healthy) reveals that he came for the people in the world, not the “world” itself. See also Luke 23:34, a clear example that Jesus cared for the people of the world).



  3. Michael, I do agree with you, the writer of the letter did take the verse out of context. However, I can think of other verses that back up what the author is saying, he is right, he just didn't communicate it very well.
    Think about this, 1 John 2:15 "Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16For everything in the world—the cravings of sinful man, the lust of his eyes and the boasting of what he has and does—comes not from the Father but from the world. 17The world and its desires pass away, but the man who does the will of God lives forever.

    When you do the will of God, the world will hate you. When the world loves you you can be sure that you're not doing the will of God. Didn't Jesus say that, "blessed are you when men shall hate you"
    Jesus was not talking about those who are lost. Because they "hate the light" I could give you another 50 verses that substancially back up what we are saying, but it will do no good. You first have to be willing to accept that what we are saying might be the truth. Then you have to search it out and see if it is true.
    Charles always has a way of phrasing things, "the chruch that the world loves, God abhors"

  4. Michael,

    I absolutely agree with you regarding vs 9, and all of Chapter 17 reflecting Christ's prayer for the believers thoroughout time. Those belivers, known as the Body of Christ, the ecclessia, or "called out" ones.

    I agree with you that the Body of Christ as illustrated in the Book of Acts and James, is to show the world our good works, that men may glorify God. Faith without works, is dead, as James said.

    These good works are not rooted in humanism, but good works as produced as the fruit of the Holy Spirit, through sanctification. Christ said, "I am the vine, you are the branches. You can do nothing apart from me."

    There are number of global, charitable relief efforts in Catholicism and Mormanism. These noble works do not excuse nor justify the false doctrine these religions represent.

    Rick Warren unfortunately has produced fruit that has been manufactured from a foundation that is man-centered,pragmatic and ecumenical.

    I did not set out to attack Rick Warren or his ministries. In 2005
    I was excited about the 40 Day program coming to my SBC church. As a Deacon and Sunday SChool teacher, I began to prepare for the program, as our family intended to act as a host home. The rest of the story is in my profile.

    Anonymous' reply to you says it best... "you have to search it out and see if it is true."

    That's what I have done for over 2 years. That's why this blog exists. Not to convince or defend, but rather spur people to investigate before they buy into anything, including anything I may say. There are plenty of tools here to start your own investigation. May God bless you as you seek His face.


  5. Thank you for offering your feedback in a kind manner. So many of these sites are simply vindictive and mean (CRN!) and surely grieve the Lord's heart in their nature.

    My point is, ultimately, that with all the RW bashing that does happen, so much that I see is rooted in people's desire to find anything to nail him on, even if it means choosing a semantics argument over a true intention.

    The world, in the context you are speaking about and in what 1 John 2:15 implies (see "anonymous' post) is "the cravings of sinful man, the lust of his eyes and the boasting of what he has and does". OBVIOUSLY, Warren is NOT saying the church should exist to promote and serve that "world". In the context of a conversational interview he gave that started this post, it is clear that what he meant was that the church should exist, in part, to reach the lost people in the world.

    Its just that when its that obvious but we choose to find a way to nit-pick exact with a negative agenda, it does not serve the Kingdom well. There is plenty for us Christians to disagree with each ther on without having to manufacture things.

    I challenge you to resend your note to Rick Warren in light of this. It might even warrant an apology.

    Thanks for 'listening'...
    - Michael

  6. Sorry for the typos...
    This sentence should read:

    "choose to find a way to nit-pick exact WORDS"

  7. Michael,

    I have a better understanding of what you describe, regarding the "world". I agree that in the context of 1 John; lust etc, it would seem that my letter to Rick would accuse Rick of advocating the pursuit of the flesh.

    No doubt in my mind that Rick or anyone associated with PDL would ever advocate the pursuit of fleshly lusts, etc. I do believe he is morally motivated.

    My issue is that the his question and comments portray the church as:
    - In a state selfishness,
    Unconcerned with the outside world (social needs)
    - In a state of confusion ("the church has to make a decision")
    - Infers that the church must change to reverse the two conditions above.
    - Infers that PDL & PDC is the way for the church to get back to meeting the needs of the outside world
    - Criticizes those who have resisted the PDL changes in local churches, and calls them indulgent.

    On it's face, Rick's comments / logic makes perfect sense.

    On the Bible (there's that word that changes the scales), everything changes.

    Our understanding of the Biblical Church, the Body of Christ, how the church lives, grows and serves (yes, including the outside world, that men would give glory to God, the true witness of the church) under the headship of Christ will determine our understanding of what was said in the interview.

    This is where the rubber meets the road. In a nutshell, I believe that:
    - PDL operates from bad theological (evidence on the site) foundation
    which continues to drive false assumptions about what the church should be doing and how. This includes inside the church and outside the church.

    Rick has given the unsaved world the impression that it should be getting more from today's church.

    And in a sense, I do not disagree with that statement. However I emphatically disagree with the worldly theology, methodology, and psychology PDL employs to reach that end.

    I disagree with departing from the God-given blueprint for the church, found in the Bible to achieve that end.

    I disagree with Rick's willingness to "throw people under the bus" who don't get on the PDL bus. My family experienced that first hand.

    I disagree with Rick's pursuit of the social gospel, and his statements on national television effectively validating it in the ears of the unsaved.

    Rick has taken a shortcut to serve the world (evidence on the site), which is in dire need.

    The world doesn't care about the shortcut, because the world needs medicine, water, and food.

    But I submit to anyone reading this, just because I label my actions as "Christian", does not mean God agrees with my motive and means.

    I may claim to know God as I do things the expedite and productive way, but when at the end of the day, there real question is, "Does God know me ?"

    This is the very risk that each believer must reckon daily.

    Matt 7
    22On that day many will say to me, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?' 23And then will I declare to them, 'I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.'

    Thank you for your time


  8. Michael,

    Thank you again for your time and interest. I do appreciate it.

    God bless


  9. Please read Possessing the Treasure's article about confusion in the church...


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