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10 December, 2007 / theexpositor

Rick Warren’s Walmart Minute…..plus 50 seconds

Once again Rick Warren blows a wonderful opportunity to preach the Gospel. Warren was a part of the first ever Christmas Carol Concert presented to all locations of Wal-Mart and Sam’s Club in America which was also presented by the Salvation Army.

Warren spoke for 1 minute 50 seconds and spoke of celebration, salvation and reconciliation, but in his inimitable way, he managed to do it without speaking the Name of Jesus, and of course presented a light and fluffy, back-rubbing waste of time.

What is it that compels people like Warren, Bill Hybels and others to leave the Lord Jesus and the Gospel out of what they describe as Christian messages and events?

Is Rick Warren stupid, dumb or suffering from some physical or mental defect? Of course not, he is a very talented, gifted and articulate person. His worldly success is rivaled by few, generating billions of dollars in the sale of his Purpose Driven empire, from the books to purpose driven merchandise.

So why? What is so wrong with presenting a clear and scriptural Gospel message? My only conclusion has to be that Warren and those like him CHOOSE to deny the Lord. They CHOOSE to be ashamed of the Gospel. They CHOOSE to present a weak and watered down Gospel. They CHOOSE worldly success and fame and acceptance over the self-denial and offense that comes when one presents the Gospel as it should be.

Jeremiah and Isaiah and Paul and Peter and all the others just went about it the wrong way. They should have toned down their presentation. Obviously if these men had been more loved by the world, they, the world, would have loved God, right? Great martyrs of the faith should have tried to get along, and be more tolerant and sensitive. If Polycarp had not been so nick-picky and so bold and direct, perhaps he would not have been murdered.

Rick Warren is not only a joke, he is an embarrassment. He is an embarrassment to the Lord and to the cause of Christ. Pray for Warren. I call on him to repent while there is still time, and to lay down all of this purpose driven trash, and do not be ashamed of the Gospel.

Listen to Warren’s message here!

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21 Comments

  1. Douglas / Dec 11 2007 12 58

    Tragic!

    He gave no explanation of what true salvation really is in that message.

    What are we saved from?

    Brother, Are You Saved?
    R.C. Sproul

  2. Darren Sapp / Dec 11 2007 17 19

    I remember watching Rick Warren on the Larry King show and wondering why he would not present the Gospel more clearly and particularly affirm salvation in Christ alone. The reason I believed he missed the opportunity was because Larry was throwing soft balls that he could have knocked out of the park.

    Then last Christmas, many websites were warning us that he would fail when Fox News showed the Christmas Eve service from Saddleback. They were silent the next day, because he clearly presented the Gospel talking of sin, repentance, and salvation in Christ alone.

    I have heard numerous sermons of his where he presents the Gospel, but he generally seems to pull back in front of a secular audience. I think the reason is that Rick Warren has always chosen to speak of God’s love, inviting people to church and presenting the Gospel in church. Now personally, I am much more into Ray Comfort’s style and believe we should preach the full Gospel at every opportunity as the Holy Spirit leads us.

    Now Mike, if you were asked to speak about radio ministry to the Vicksburg Chamber of Commerce, would you share a full Gospel message? Would you sprinkle it in? I think the answer is in what the Holy Spirit leads you to do. Do we know what Rick Warren was asked to speak about at the Wal-Mart event?

    Therefore, Rick gets an “A” for the Fox News Special and an “F” for the Larry King show from us. However, what does God think? While I immediately cringe at the thought of him speaking to Mormons and Jews about growing their congregations maybe he is doing it for the opportunity to share the Gospel with them or perhaps some of the leaders behind the scenes. That is between him and God and we should not attribute motives of fame and fortune when we cannot know his heart. I know some have suggested his statements reveal a massive ego (not that I agree), he certainly shows no evidence of problems with money.

    My point is that I (that is just me) feel sinful when I judge evangelism methods too harshly. I have found about seven different approaches work for me based on the audience. Sometimes it’s “seeker sensitive” and sometimes it’s “fire and brimstone.”

  3. DT / Dec 11 2007 20 03

    Mike,

    I have been writing about Warren’s nonsense for a long time and it gets to the point where you wonder if he even has a basic understanding of the gospel. It is shameful to have an open forum (especially as a pastor) and totally neglect the gospel.

    Thanks for the great post.
    DT

  4. Sam / Dec 11 2007 23 03

    So, Rick Warren re-defines critical words in Christianity:

    Good News: is daily, weekly news that is positive and happy rather than negative.

    Salvation: Freedom and not needing to struggle with poverty by taking stuff from the Salvation Army. It also means freedom from all things negative, like shame.

    Reconciliation to God: Peace on Earth in the sense of loving everyone and every religious background.

    It is no accident he omits Jesus’ name. Note, he says – “What is the PURPOSE of Christmas?” in the beginning. Once again, he brings the things of God back to his “purpose gospel.”

  5. Douglas / Dec 12 2007 0 25

    Then last Christmas, many websites were warning us that he would fail when Fox News showed the Christmas Eve service from Saddleback. They were silent the next day, because he clearly presented the Gospel talking of sin, repentance, and salvation in Christ alone.

    Rick Warren did fail. He failed miserably. He fails continually. He is not a faithful preacher of God’s Holy Word. He did not proclaim the Biblical gospel. He waters it down. He waters down the gospel constantly.

    Doctrinally sound Bible teacher Dr. Kim Riddlebarger was NOT silent on Rick Warren’s ever so subtle false teaching and Scripture twisting in that Fox News rerun of Warren. Maybe many others were so sick and tired of exposing Rick Warren’s deception that Christmas that they just gave up for the Christmas break. Rick Warren’s teachings really grieve me as there is so much error mixed in with the truth he does speak, it is such an effort to sort out the wheat from the chaff in his messages. He is so dangerous because what he teaches runs so closely parallel to the truth, it is so difficult to discern it and sort it out and to weed that error out. I do not look to Rick Warren as being a reliable biblically sound expositor at all. He is not.

    Did Anybody Else Watch This?
    Dr. Kim Riddlebarger (Ph.D., Fuller Theological Seminary) senior pastor of Christ Reformed Church in Anaheim, California, and visiting professor of systematic theology at Westminster Seminary California. He is also a co-host of the White Horse Inn radio program, which is broadcast weekly on more than fifty radio stations.

    Did anyone else see this? It was absolutely awful. Apparently, I’ve misunderstood the meaning of Christmas. I thought it had something to do with the Incarnation and with Jesus coming to save me from my sins. No, Jesus came to give me purpose and to give Rick Warren slogans. Warren did not preach from a text. He repeatedly turned gospel into law. He spoke in clichés and referred to his “peace” plan over and over. It was the worst bunch of self-promotion in a pulpit I have ever seen. Don’t even start me on the “worship service,” or whatever that abomination was . . .
    Continued in the above link.

    Review of Rick Warrens Christmas Eve Service on Fox news.

    This is an interesting perspective from a lay person. Tim is a nice genuine caring loving man who desires the truth. And yet admits his sins and faults and failings as we all should.

  6. Darren Sapp / Dec 12 2007 1 20

    Douglas,
    Re: Fox News

    Thanks for the links. Unfortunately, they only support their view that they do not like Rick Warren’s preaching method. The point I was making is that folks say Warren never mentions sin, spiritual lostness, and/or salvation through faith in Jesus Christ alone. When he does, folks don’t like they way he does it. The truth though is that he has presented clear Gospel messages numerous times, I just wish he would do it more often in front of secular groups. When he should and should not preach the Gospel to a secular audience is between him and God. James 4:17 says, “Therefore, to the one who knows the right thing to do and does not do it, to him it is sin.”

    Dr. Riddlebarger said Warren did not preach from the text meaning he did not lay out one specific passage and exposit it, but he certainly did use Scripture. Many pastors don’t and oh by the way they don’t have too. Many preachers teach topically on occasion and I would agree that Warren usually does. I love listening to John Piper and John MacArthur whether they preach topically or “preach from the text.” David Jeremiah’s sermon series on angels was one of the greatest preaching series I have ever heard and he was jumping around all over the place with Scripture.

    Now Mike calls him a false prophet but I would disagree. It seems to me that a false prophet does it intentionally and we cannot know Rick Warren’s heart. If you want to call him a lilly-livered weak prophet because you think his preaching method is light, weak, or off the mark many times, that’s your prerogative.

  7. the Rev. Bryan Dabney / Dec 12 2007 14 52

    When you “purposely” use the terminology that Rick Warren has used as Dr. Riddlebarger described, you are more than just a benign or weak prophet, you are perverting the word of God. When you tell people what they are itching to hear instead of giving the truth of the gospel, you are putting aside sound doctrine in favor of “another gospel” which is accursed. (II Timothy 4: 1-4; Galatians 1: 6-10). St. Paul told the truth of Christ to a fallen world, and Pastor Rick ought to do the same.

  8. theexpositor / Dec 13 2007 14 12

    Darren, I understand your point, and overall I agree, regarding knowing the heart. But let me submit Matthew 12:34, where the Lord said, “You brood of vipers! How can you speak good, when you are evil? For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.”

  9. Douglas / Dec 13 2007 21 28

    The point I was making is that folks say Warren never mentions sin, spiritual lostness, and/or salvation through faith in Jesus Christ alone.

    Darren,

    what’s really frustrating is Rick Warren uses those terms but redefines them into something not so serious or something completely different. For instance, he redefines sin and calls sin “mistakes.” He does not explain the exceedingly sinfulness of sin, how treasonous sin is against against God, how awful sin is against each other and against God’s creation. He does not go into how rotten and evil and wicked sin is. He truly does not give the full-orbed, biblical meaning of sin and it true consequences if left un-dealt with. Sins are not mistakes: Mistake Or Sin?

    He redefines “repentance” and calls it “paradigm shift.” He explains the root meaning of the word “repentance” from the Greek; “Change of mind” and then redefines “repentance” into “change your thinking, change the way you think,” not in the full Biblical meaning of “repentance” but in the sort of teachings of Norman Vincent Peales/Robert Schuller’s the power of positive, possibility, thinking/confession errors. Rick Warren basically says that the word “repentance” is too negative and so he likes to use the words “paradigm shift.” Biblical “repentance” is NOT “paradigm shift” even if there is a similarity there.

    Rick Warren has practically redefined all of biblical Christianity into his Purpose Driven Program and millions are blissfully unaware or do not even care. Frightening. Get pastor Bob DeWaay’s book “Redefining Christianity: Understanding The Purpose Driven Movement” or listen to his 15 part broadcast available for free through his website, they are superb in exposing the purpose behind the movement.

    I could go on and on but you have to do your own research and ask for God’s help to open your eyes to see what Rick Warren really is doing and it is not good. People are being saved in spite of Rick Warren and his whole PDL program, not because of it. The new birth, regeneration, is a divine, sovereign, monergistic work of God and is even granted to God’s people who are sitting under false teaching and false prophets.

    The truth though is that he has presented clear Gospel messages numerous times,…

    The truth is, he does not. Show me where he does present “clear Gospel messages numerous times.” I haven’t heard or seen any “clear Gospel messages” from Rick Warren yet, let alone “numerous times.”

    Warren did not preach from the text meaning he did not lay out one specific passage and exposit it, but he certainly did use Scripture.

    And Satan certainly uses Scripture too, often through the mouths of men.

    The focus of Warren’s message that Christmas, was, once again, a message focused upon man and man’s purpose and how God can help you find YOUR purpose. That’s what the whole “Purpose Driven Life” is ALL about. It is “ALL” about you even if Rick Warren says it is not, he lies about that. You, me, your, I, are mentioned thousands of times throughout the PDL book, more than God or the name of Jesus. The whole focus of the book is on you and finding your purpose. Rick Warren does not mention the purpose of the wicked who are reserved for the day of Judgment does he? He does not mention the fact that God hates the workers of iniquity and is angry with the wicked every day. He leaves those Scriptures out of his books. Too negative, eh? He leaves out many of the hard sayings of Scripture or waters then down. He deliberately halves verses of Scripture that negate his points. That’s wicked doing that. And he does that often with the Scriptures, proof-texting them for his own ideas, finding paraphrases or translations that support his own teachings. That is evil. I have never heard a full-orbed, Theo-centric, God-centered message from Rick Warren yet. Rick Warren is a liar and a very clever one at that. He knows how to distort the truth, he is very crafty at twisting the Scriptures, and he smiles while he does it! Incomprehensible! I have heard and read where Rick Warren confesses his “MISTAKES” but never his sins.

    Knowing someones heart? Anyones heart, including my own? Yours? Rick Warren’s heart?:

    Jeremiah 17:9
    The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?

    For further study:

    The Gospel: A Method or a Message?
    How the Purpose Driven Life Obscures the Gospel

    by Bob DeWaay

    and Rick Warren’s Invitation from his own website via Old Truth.com:

    Critique: The Evangelism Message of Rick Warren

    And I sure do not hear clearly the true gospel message proclaimed, preached, exposited, topicalized, textualized from Rick Warren in any of that as well. Rick Warren’s message are hardly any different than Joel Osteen’s “Your Best Life Now”

    I think God allows Rick Warren to continue on without striking him down stone cold dead because the “Purpose Driven” rot is forcing God’s “elect” to delve deeper into the truths of God’ Word and not the words of Rick Warren and they come out from amongst all of that and the rest of the followers of Rick Warren and his Purpose Driven program God passes by.

  10. Kathy / Dec 14 2007 3 34

    Although this recent event with Warren is disheartening, you ain’t seen nothin yet. Consider the following and please, I hope this is passed on to someone loud enough to sound the alarm!

    Huckabee….Purpose Driven!!

    ___________________

    http://www.mikehuckabee.com/index.cfm?FuseAction=Blogs.View&Blog_id=658

    Don’t know if you all know this yet …but baptist preacher Huckabee is Purpose Driven.

    Ref. Link is to Huckabee’s official web page above…his blog…Huckabee uses Rick Warren’s quote…hoping for an official endorsement from him.

    There are 38.8 million baptist in the USA. This is what has spiked Huckabee ahead in the polls suddenly. This could spell disaster for the US if these millions of baptists vote. Approx. 50% of voters vote, then say, the last election went something like 62 million for Bush vs. 59 million for Kerry-Dems. —you see, now in 2008, we have 38 million baptist….then, add on to that, millions of foolish nonbaptist christians who will get on the bandwagon–especially, if Dobson and other ‘leaders’ endorse Hucakbee? Huckabee has the baptist’s vote…then, think if PD Warren does official endorse him. Huckabee is the worst choice on the republican ticket–and the ‘chrisians’ are fixed to give us another Bush. I’ve friends personally who were PD ‘resisters’ and were thrown out of Lamar Baptist Church in TX. Huckabee (and you know the baptist demonination has fully accepted PD false teachings) does not recognize the error of PD—what kind of christian is he–another deluded one, like universalist GW?

  11. Darren Sapp / Dec 14 2007 21 41

    Douglas,

    I appreciate you sharing your view and passion on this subject. Please understand that my mission in life is not as a Rick Warren apologist or to suggest he is the best candidate for “America’s Pastor.” John Piper gets my vote for that. In personal evangelism, and in my opportunities for preaching I do not use his style. So what is his style? If you click on the following link, you will hear a representation of what he generally preaches in church, but I will admit, that he lightens up even more in front of a secular audience. He does use the world sin in a clear and biblical way and discusses that Jesus Christ is the only way to Heaven. Folks say he does not use Scripture, then if they hear him use it, he has used the wrong translation or has twisted it. Is it possible he has done this a few times in the past? Perhaps, but I just do not see any overwhelming evidence of that occurring on a routine basis.

    http://www.purposedrivenlife.com/ click on “What does it mean to follow Christ?” If you listen to this and tell me it is not a “clear Gospel message” than I think we have reached an impasse. Is Paul’s sermon on Mars Hill a “clear Gospel message?” I mean he did not even use the name of Jesus. When Jesus spoke to the Samaritan woman at the well did He use the world “sin” or “repentance?” God blesses us with many methods of sharing the Gospel.

    Regarding Pastor DeWaay, I do not doubt his sincerity or commitment to Biblical preaching but in the two interviews of him I have heard I did not feel like I would read anything new. I had reviewed his discernment tool a long time ago, and saw no reason to change my view on the matter other than I agree that Christian authors should pick one translation and stick to it. DeWaay seems much more focused on how people are mad about changes in their church than anything else and that is the individual church pastor’s fault who thinks they can waive a Purpose Driven wand and fix everything. Folks mad about changes in the church has been going on long before PDL. Commitment to biblical preaching grows a church and if it grows numerically so be it. As far as my research, I feel I have the adequate tools through seminary training and independent studying of what he has said and done. Thousands have come to salvation through his method of preaching and have grown spiritually, ultimately exhibiting the fruits of the Spirit. It may not be perfect, or the method that you like, but it is a method that God is using.

    In summary, I wish “Don’t Waste Your Life” by John Piper were the #1 Christian book in the world, other than the Bible (NASB) of course.

    Press on brother!

  12. Douglas / Dec 15 2007 12 13

    ….purposedrivenlife.com/ click on “What does it mean to follow Christ?” If you listen to this and tell me it is not a “clear Gospel message” than I think we have reached an impasse.

    It is NOT a clear gospel message, it is not a clear Biblical Gospel message, that is for sure. It’s a deceptive Purpose Driven(tm) Life gospel message using God’s Word, many times twisted and out of context to shore it up. Bad news. An impasse? For now? Probably. I do pray God opens up the eyes of your understanding.

    Darren, are you even reading my posts and the links I point to? I already pointed to that gospel message of Warren’s via Oldtruth.com in my previous post???? I totally agree with Jim Bublitz in his post:

    “and Rick Warren’s Invitation from his own website via Old Truth.com:

    Critique: The Evangelism Message of Rick Warren

    This above link is direct to the article by Jim Bublitz which contains the link to Rick Warren’s gospel. Rick Warren’s gospel is a travesty. And Rick Warren’s gospel message aint the biblical gospel my friend. The link in my previous post included other articles by Jim Bublitz but the article I was pointing to was titled and on top of the section. Jim Bublitz is one very bright, loving person. I wish that I was as graceful as him.

    Rick Warren’s gospel message in that video troubled me so much because it is so watered down that I spent days transcribing it out. If I remember correctly I think I sent a copy of it to your friend Mr. Corely, if you would like a copy maybe he can email you one or I can post a copy on your blog if you’d like? I am very slow on the computer these days and with other things due to an illness, that’s why it took me so long. It has taken me many hours getting this post together for you, as all my posts do to every one I post to. It is very difficult and frustrating for me. I will be so glad when I am absent from this body to be present with the LORD Jesus Christ.

    Umm. I think I cannot get you to see what Rick Warren is doing, I honestly believe you are blind to what he really has done with the gospel, how Rick Warren twists, distorts and tortures the Scriptures, millions cannot see that he does that Darren. That is the tragedy of it all. So many people are deceived by Rick Warren and his whole purpose driven movement and I for one do not think I waste one precious second of my life exposing Rick Warren for the wolf he is. He is totally blind too. His false teachings are cleverly crafted. He has redefined Christianity into his Purpose Driven Movement and millions follow him and it now. They have been inoculated against the full-orbed true-truth. They think They are Christians when in actual fact most of them are not even born again. They have a said faith rather than the real faith.

    If these last three articles I will ever link for you about Rick Warren and what he’s up to do not do it, then I just calmly leave you in the hands of the LORD God Almighty who is aseity, I AM.

    The Gospel According To Warren
    by Gary Gilley

    An Examination of Rick Warren’s Teaching on “Exponential Growth”
    by Brian Jonson

    The Gospel According to Hybels & Warren
    (By Nathan Busenitz)

    Brother, please read them slowly, carefully and prayerfully, including the post at Oldtruth.com. It is shocking stuff once you clearly see.

    Darren, God does not use or bless mans methods or styles, God uses the proclamation of HIS Gospel. A prisoner hanging naked, upside down from the roof of his cell, strung up with chains and hooks pierced through his feet screaming out in agony, preaching the gospel is one method of proclaiming the gospel and God uses the gospel that he is screaming out to the other prisoners in the block but it is not the method that is the sine qua non (without which, not: something essential), it is not the methods used that God blesses, it is the gospel preached, the foolishness of preaching by that prisoner is what God blesses and uses to draw and save His elect. Methods and styles chop and change this way and that at the whim of man but God never changes, His gospel never changes, the Word never changes, Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever. God’s method never changes. One of the means to God’s ends, is the proclamation of the Gospel through the mouths of men so to speak, God blesses that. He may or may not bless the proclaimer, the preacher, eh? I think I am getting a tad frazzled here and wondering if I am making any sense? I better get some sleep.

    My most favorite book next to the Bible is “The Character of God Discovering The God Who Is” by R. C. Sproul, my most favorite Theologian. He is brilliant!!! He is the one Bible teacher that has helped me, an uneducated ex-bike gang member, ex-prison inmate, totally depraved evil wicked sinner understand that God truly DOES love me and that God chose me before the very foundations of the world. Incomprehensible. God meet my real need not my felt needs. I have so many felt needs that I would forget about God if he gave those felt needs to me. I have all I need. I am eternally grateful that Jesus Christ saved me from the wrath of God that is coming.

  13. John / Dec 15 2007 16 18

    Darren,

    Doug did give you a site that critiqued Rick’s message.

    By the way he never preaches this message in church(I attended for a year in 1999-2000). I am running bible studies where I have men who attend Saddleback (so I get a pretty good representation of what is preached) and I have studied him since 1999 so I have done my primary research.

    Since I have those individuals in my Bible Studies (and amazingly they still come 🙂 ) I have documented for them my concern about Rick and his false teachings. For example did you know that till last year Rick’s website taught that you could live in sin and be baptized at Saddleback. (http://web.archive.org/web/20060223042049/http://www.saddlebackfamily.com/membership/group_finder/faqs_smallgroup.asp?id=7509)? That all went away without notice when, for example, Mark Dever commented on what he saw.

    That appears to be a huge change in a ministry that has been around since the early 80s. This means that they have misled how many thousands of people in their small groups? Maybe if they were living in unrepentant sin they were non-believers? How many have gone off thinking they are saved and are satisfied in their sins and on the way to Hell. Why should they listen to any other pastor. Rick said it was okay.

    In addition, be careful with a single message that appears to speak truth. There are a number of non-believers running so-called churches with a decent statement of faith. It is not until you see and hear what they believe that you know the truth.

    But back to the critique. I would recommend that yes we are at an impasse because you have not even addressed the links given to you in detail. Take the time to read the Old Truth and comment to us where it has the gospel wrong or “how much” of the gospel is needed for salvation.

    Remember that deception is the name of the game for Satan. What is a better way to deceive “wealthy Americans”? Preach the Book of Mormon or Koran or preach the Gospel so that you get a little head knowledge but the heart does not change. It is all about deeds and not creeds. So I can stay in my sin and use Jesus speak to feel free.

    I used to be in the military and worked for a while in the intelligence industry. We would give you just enough to think it is the truth so that you would not really look for the truth. If I told you a whole lie up front it would be too easy to discern and you would keep looking. If I tell you a little bit of truth that sounds good then you leave

    I know Bob DeWaay and I know the research he did and how he tried to work with Saddleback’s staff and Rick Warren to deal with the issues. My concern is that you are a Rick Warren apologist and do not want to admit it to yourself. After reading your comments I see no interest to learn or even “debate” on a logical basis.

    For example, your comments on Bob DeWaay are very shallow. You would have to spend at least 20 hours to just listen to his free mp3s on Purpose Driven concerns and at least a few days to read his book and go through his research. In addition he has a number of free articles that he provides as well as post-seminary level material. Then you would have to show me that you contacted him with your concerns.

    Talk with Bob DeWaay, he will respond (pastorbob@twincityfellowship.com). He is a kind and gentle man.

    Right now I care more about what you think the Gospel is and how we are saved. You note John Piper. Can you really read and listen to John Piper and tell me that Rick Warren and John Piper preach the same gospel. If you say yes then I am very concerned about why you think you are saved.

    Blessings

    John O

  14. Darren Sapp / Dec 21 2007 20 56

    Douglas and John O.

    Thank you for your hard work and passion on this subject. I am quite confident in my salvation because of what the Holy Spirit has taught me through the Scriptures. It is the book I read and live by daily. I read a lot of John Piper and have read MacArthur, Packer, and Sproul and love their stuff. I read PDL and thought, huh, kind of shallow.

    I do not have time to do the amount of research you require now, but have read a lot of it in the past including Old Truth and Gary Gilley. It is not because I don’t care, I am just way to busy with family and ministry. For the record, I can think of dozens and dozens of pastors that lost people should hear and books they should read before Warren or PDL. I don’t recommend his books or sermons above others but I do not agree with those that say, “Rick Warren never preaches the Gospel.” That is why I bothered to leave a comment.

    There are those in Egypt who say the Gospel came to them in a dream. They tell of a very simple (you might call it shallow) description of the Gospel. They say it cut right through them and they knew their sin separated them from God and they needed Jesus as their Savior. They prayed for Him to forgive them and become their Lord and Savior. Was that the Gospel? I mentioned Paul preaching on Mars Hill in a previous post and what about Jesus with the woman at the well? Are the words “repent” and “Hell” even used? Would you call them “clear, Gospel messages?”

    We don’t have a soteriological disagreement. We have a Gospel delivering method disagreement. We will probably not be able to resolve it until we are in Heaven and then we will not care because we will be arm-in-arm praising the Father.

    Merry Christmas!
    Darren

  15. Darren Sapp / Dec 21 2007 21 34

    Douglas and John O.

    P.S. Sorry it took so long to reply. I checked this daily to continue our conversation, but did not see your replies until today. Maybe I should have hit “refresh.”

  16. Douglas / Dec 22 2007 14 03

    “P.S. Sorry it took so long to reply. I checked this daily to continue our conversation, but did not see your replies until today. Maybe I should have hit “refresh.””

    I think Mr. Corley has probaly been up day and night trying to catch up with all his emails and posts and what not as he didn’t have such fantastic Internet connection while he was away. Screening posts takes time eh? Especially if they are from folks like me whole write screeds of stuff and post heaps of links one has to sift through.

    God bless you too Darren and have a good Christmas.

    Have a good Christmas everyone.

    Love

    Douglas

    There is none like Jesus!

    (William S. Plumer, “Sinners Saved by Unmerited Kindness”)

    “What is your Beloved more than another beloved?” Canticles 5:9

    Our Beloved alone can do sinners good. His blood alone atones.
    He loved us unto death!

    Jesus has at once an almighty arm–and a brother’s heart!

    None is more exalted–yet none stoops so low!

    None is mightier–yet none is more tender! He shall not
    break the bruised reed, nor quench the smoking flax.

    He is meek and lowly, merciful and mild–at the same
    time He is the omnipotent Jehovah!

    He enlightens, purifies and comforts the heart!

    His word cannot be broken!

    His power cannot be resisted!

    The law of heavenly kindness is in His heart!

    Great is His faithfulness!

    His royal titles are . . .
    Wonderful Counselor,
    Mighty God,
    Everlasting Father,
    Prince of Peace!

    To the pious, Jesus is the source of . . .
    all hope,
    all joy,
    all peace,
    all life,
    all comfort.

    Jesus is still as gentle, as kind, as tender as when He . . .
    wept at the grave of Lazarus,
    gave eyes to the blind, and feet to the lame,
    or granted mercy to a wretch hanging by His side.

    In Him dwell all excellencies!

    He is full of grace and truth!

    He takes poor, vile, ignorant, guilty, helpless
    sinners–raises them to sonship with God, and
    makes them partakers of His holiness!

    There is none like Him–no, not one!

    He is the chief among ten thousand!

    Wherever He is, there is heaven!

    There is none like Jesus!

    “Yes, He is altogether lovely! This is my Beloved,
    and this is my Friend!” Canticles 5:16

    “Worthy is the Lamb, who was slain, to receive
    power and wealth and wisdom and strength and
    honor and glory and praise!” Revelation 5:12

  17. jeff short / Dec 22 2007 19 40

    the most disturbing part of rick warren’s wal-mart christmas message was his description of salvation. the three points of his sermon were excellent, taken from the angel’s announcement to the shepherds of bethlehem found in luke 2. Christmas is about three things, says warren: first, celebration, second, salvation, third, reconciliation. these are great sermon points, unfortunately, rick warren fails to present the three points faithful to the Bible passage he is using. the best example is with point number two, salvation. “Christmas is about salvation,” says warren, but then he launches into a plug for the Salvation Army connecting point two “salvation” with the name “Salvation Army” and explains all the good this organization is doing around Christmas. He then goes on to explain “salvation” as freedom from fear, guilt, bitterness, etc. without mentioning that the primary meaning of salvation in the Bible, and the meaning the angels communicated that first christmas night, that is — salvation from sin, judgment, and condemnation. warren actually redefines salvation to mean some kind of psychological or emotional salvation rather than spiritual soul salvation. He then gives another plug for the Salvation Army and links its work again to the psychological “salvation” he just described. did point number two of his message talk about salvation? yes, but not biblical salvation. so what’s up here? he’s making his message listener-friendly. he’s not wanting to offend anybody, and he’s succeeded, but he’s not been successful in presenting the true meaning of christmas, nor the true meaning of the biblical text he uses, nor the true meaning of salvation. so what good is it to change the meaning of christmas, the meaning of a biblical text, and the meaning of salvation? i don’t know about rick warren but i certainly wouldn’t want to waste my life communicating a false impression of christmas, a false impression of the bible, and a false impression of salvation. it kinda defeats the whole purpose of christian ministry i’d say.

    jeff

  18. jeff / Dec 31 2007 23 07

    follow up on rick warren’s walmart message

    apparently rick warren’s evangelism plan or method is to present a harmless, general, info-mercial of christianity, not offending anyone, while at the same time interesting people and leaving a good impression with them. the gospel isn’t actually presented, but some kind of non-offensive, yet attractive, message is presented with the intent of drawing people later into a setting where the real gospel is presented. also, there is an effort to get people to like or be attracted to the messenger (warren) first so that later they will receive an expanded message the messenger brings. this calls for not offending people but leaving a good first impression, then people will be more open to listening to the real message in another setting (in church, through a book, tape, etc.).

    here’s the problem with rick warren’s approach: it actually distorts the true gospel in the process of presenting an easy, non-offensive gospel. it doesn’t just give a sample of the real gospel, it actually presents a different gospel. for example, in rick warren’s walmart christmas message, point #2 — Christmas means salvation, he actually leaves the false impression that salvation is freedom from fear, lonliness, poverty, education, etc. when in reality true christian salvation isn’t salvation from these things, it’s salvation from eternal spiritual punishment (John 3:16, “. . . that whosoever believeth in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life.” by presenting an easy-listening gospel, warren actually gives the false impression that christian salvation is primarily about being saved from negative emotions and negative life situations, which is totally false. sometimes, as can be seen in church history, true christian salvation actually causes one to suffer more of these earthly difficulties, far from being saved from them. so if the method is to present a gospel-lite message in hopes that people will later receive the full-strength gospel, the method fails because it actually gives a false impression of the gospel rather than simply a sample impression of the gospel. at walmart — at Sam’s club — at least they give out real samples of the food they are trying to sell in larger quantities. at least their samples are the same as the real food they try to sell you later. but rick warren is in effect trying to sell the gospel with a sample of another kind. that’s not ok. his gospel sample may interest many people, but when they find out the real thing isn’t what they sampled, they’ll feel cheated, just as anyone would at Sam’s club after taking a sample of pre-cooked meatballs, only to find out the sample and the kind they sell you aren’t the same. rick’s method is wrong. to make it work properly he should give out a true and accurate sample of the gospel and then draw people to the larger gospel honestly. that’s what the bible preachers did. they never changed the message, but they often shortened it as the occassion determined. but they never distorted the message or gave a false impression of the gospel.

    i think i’m understanding what rick warren is trying to do as a missionary method — trying to get people to nibble on a sample of the gospel and then later feed them the full course meal. the problem is he’s not getting the gospel right in the sample, and consequently, it won’t bring people to the true gospel meal later. i believe i’ve presented a charitable criticism of rick warren’s walmart christmas sermon; i hope it’s taken that way.

    jeff

  19. jeff / Jan 9 2008 0 52

    Rick warren’s Wal-Mart Christmas message text (with critical theological comments in parentheses).

    What is the purpose of Christmas? We find the meaning of Christmas in the words the angels gave us two thousand years ago. It’s a time for celebration, it’s a time for salvation, it’s a time for reconciliation. The angels said three things: I bring you good news of great joy, unto you is born a savior, and peace on earth good will toward men. (Excellent sermon outline, Bible-based, insightful. Off to a fantastic start!)

    This Christmas, make it a time for celebration. It’s a time for good news of great joy. Celebrate the good news in life not the bad news. (Oh no. What started out so good, sound and solid is starting to take a turn toward theological error. By saying, “Celebrate the good news in life not the bad news,” Warren is saying to look on the brighter side of life, as in, “Keep thinking positive about life not negative this Christmas season.” That may be good advice, but it isn’t what the Bible teaches in the passage because it isn’t what the angels announced that first Christmas – and Warren should know this! He’s been to college and seminary. He knows that’s not what the passage is teaching. Shame on you Rick Warren for throwing in a cheap motivational pep talk all the while seemingly drawing it out of the biblical passage. “Good News” in the New Testament means a very specific theological meaning of salvation; it doesn’t mean a general positive outlook on life. To teach that it does is theological error.). Look for the good news, God’s love for you. (Good. Now he’s getting a little closer. I’m glad he tried to make a little self-correction here by mentioning God with “good news” but it’s a case of too little, too late. Plus, the angel’s good news was more than just a general statement that God loves mankind.) Make it a time where you don’t just go through the season thinking, “Well I want to get it over with.” Make it a time to really celebrate. “I bring you good news of great joy.”

    Make it a time for salvation. You know the salvation army for over one hundred years has been using Christmas as a time to collect funds that minister to people all year long — the uneducated, the sick, the poor, the defenseless, the orphan, those who need it most. (Time out! What happened to salvation? The point started out so strong: “Make it a time for salvation.” But all of a sudden we are talking about the Salvation Army. What’s the connection? The word “salvation.” So Warren takes a leap from biblical salvation — the kind the angels spoke of that first Christmas – to The SALVATION Army! What is this? Is this a parlor game, a slight of hand? Rick Warren should be a professional magician, with his skill for pulling out of his coat pocket something entirely different. Why is he using Christmas, the gospel, and salvation to plug the Salvation Army? Imagine using the gospel to get to something else. The gospel is the destination point, salvation of the soul is the goal, not the work of the Salvation Army! The Army would agree!) What does salvation mean? In a word, it means freedom — freedom from fear, freedom from guilt, freedom from bitterness, freedom from loneliness. It means freedom from my past, and freedom to look into the future with confidence. (Is this really the message of salvation found in the New Testament? Is this what the angels were announcing that first Christmas? It’s sounds like emotional salvation. It sounds like salvation from negative life situations. It doesn’t sound like the salvation Jesus came into the world to give. Some of these benefits may result from receiving true soul salvation, but then again, there is no guarantee with real, true biblical salvation that God will save a person from all of these in this life. For example, the Apostle Paul reports on one of his missionary journey’s that things got so bad that he even despaired for his life. That doesn’t sound like he was looking into the future with confidence. In all his describing of “salvation” Warren left out the primary biblical definition of salvation, which is found everywhere in the New Testament, but nowhere more clearly than in John 3:16, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son that whosoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” To define salvation and then leave out this primary meaning can only be described as heretical. I wouldn’t go so far as calling it the unforgivable evangelical sin, but it’s close. Where are the academics, the evangelical theologians, Christian thinkers calling Warren on this? If he’s supposed to be the next Billy Graham of evangelicalism and he’s not even getting salvation right? Are evangelicals going to give this man a free pass on this most grievous error?) This is the message of freedom, the message of salvation, that the Salvation Army has been bringing for over one hundred years. (I hate to say it, but Rick Warren has defined perfectly the social gospel of liberalism – and he’s supposed to be evangelicalism’s leading spokesman! What he’s defined is pure social gospel. Read J. Grecham Machen’s classic Christianity and Liberalism chapter six on salvation and see if Rick Warren’s definition of salvation matches the early 20th century social gospel of liberalism. In that era, salvation was equated with social salvation, the betterment of mankind, etc. No mention of salvation from sin, judgment, eternal punishment. Again, by omitting true, biblical salvation Rick Warren has taught heresy).

    Then, make it a time for reconciliation. At the first Christmas, the angels said, “peace on earth goodwill toward men.” and I don’t know a time in our history when we’ve needed the message of reconciliation more. We need to be reconciled to our families, to our neighbors, to our enemies, to other nations, to each other. It doesn’t matter what religious background you have; we need to be reconciled to God and to each other. (Warren almost escaped his third and last point without raising any red flags, except he had to add the sentence: “It doesn’t matter what religious background you have.” Now taking this in the most charitable way, he could be thinking that no matter what your background everyone needs to be reconciled to God through Jesus Christ – that’s the Christian message. But he didn’t say that, he just said, “It doesn’t matter what religious background you have.” The most normal and natural way of understanding what he said is that he’s saying that everybody needs to be reconciled to God no matter what your religion is. It gives the impression that whatever one’s religious tradition, Buddhist, Muslim, Hindu, Jew, or whatever – this Christmas we need to be reconciled with God. If I’m a Muslim, through Allah, If I’m a Buddhist, through the Buddha, If I’m a Hindu, through Krishna, etc. Play Warren’s sermon to a focus group of people of diverse religious backgrounds and see if that’s what they don’t hear. Again, by leaving such a false and misleading impression of salvation, Warren cannot help but be classified as heretical in this area).

    This is the message that I hope you’ll carry this Christmas.

    (I’ve tried not to criticize Rick Warren the man, but only evaluate his theology based on his short Wal-Mart Christmas message. Does Rick Warren preach the gospel at other times? For the sake of charity, I’m assuming he does. But in this short little message during Christmas ’07 he not only didn’t preach the gospel, he preached heresy. I’d like to invite evangelical theologians and leaders to analyze Warren’s Wal-Mart Christmas message and see if I’m not correct in my evaluation. I’m claiming that in this short message Rick Warren preached the social gospel of liberalism, not the evangelical message of salvation. I’m also calling upon evangelical Christian leaders to read the sermon, analyze it, confirm my conclusions, and then contact Warren and ask to meet with him just as evangelical leaders called upon Tony Campollo a decade ago to clarify and correct his erroneous teachings).

  20. theexpositor / Jan 9 2008 14 09

    Jeff,

    Fantastic work on this article. God bless.

  21. pastor j / Jan 16 2008 19 17

    “Have a nice day” was God’s message to the shepherds through the angels on that first Christmas according to Rick Warren.

    According to Rick Warren in his Wal-Mart Christmas message, “The angels said three things: I bring you good news of great joy. . . . This Christmas, make it a time for celebration. It’s a time for good news of great joy. Celebrate the good news in life not the bad news.” So according to Warren, the angel announced something akin to the yellow smiley face sign with the saying, “Have a nice day.” Apparently this is an example of making the message culturally relevent so as to communicate the timeless truths of Christianity to a secular, post-modern world. But it does nothing other than trivialize the Christian message. There is a word for such an approach to ministry: flippant. Webster’s Dictionary defines the word “flippant” as: “Marked by or showing disrespect, impudence, or the lack of seriousness.” Exactly. Warren’s approach to ministry and preaching is flippant at times, often at the worst times, when he stands before a watching world waiting for a word of God from a man of God. And what does it get? It gets Warren’s trite, flippant, trivial distortion of a very profound tChristian truth. The angels brought the good news or gospel of Jesus Christ not the yellow smiley button, “Have a nice day.”

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