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Warren's wanderings
AN EXPOSÉ OF RICK WARREN AND THE PURPOSE DRIVEN TEACHINGS

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SUMMARY: 
The “kind of life God wants” people to have is NEW LIFE.
New life, not just a better life in a fallen world. Need it be said that the epistles of the New Testament talk not about experiencing success, but about being faithful—irrespective of circumstances (cf. Hebrews 11:36-40).
Let us consider a couple of alternatives to Rick Warren’s acronym, “Plant worldly churches, Equip purpose driven servants, Assist the poor to become purpose driven, Care for those who accept Rick Warren’s teachings and Educate the next generation of Warrenites” or alternatively, “be Popular with the world, be Egalitarian to everyone except those who hold fast to the biblical line, be Accepting of Islamic propaganda, Collaborate with the world, be an Enemy of God and His Word”.

T HAT The Purpose Driven Church and The Purpose Driven Life are unbiblical and unprincipled is, in reality, undeniable. All one had to do was compare the 40 day examples Rick Warren cites in the introduction, “A Journey with Purpose, Getting the Most from This Book”, of The Purpose Driven Life with the Bible to realise that he is either biblically illiterate, illogical or intentionally deceptive.
Intentionally deceptive. If Rick Warren could not even truly, accurately or biblically explain the 40 day examples he cites, then what chance does he have of telling us, “What on earth am I here for?”
And for that matter, why would you trust him, and continue reading the book, relying on him to explain other biblical verses?
If anyone is under the delusion of Rick Warren’s integrity as a Bible teacher and pastor *1, then consider the ongoing wanderings of “America’s pastor”. *2
“Global Summit on AIDSand the Church”
or Submitting the Church to thespiritual equivalent of AIDS?
“Hosted by Rick and Kay Warren and the Purpose Driven Network, Nov 30–Dec 1, 2006, Saddleback Church Conference, Lack Forest, Calif., USA” was the “Global Summit on AIDS and the Church: Race Against Time” *3
The website states, “It brings together the leading authorities from health and relief organisations, governments, international agencies, and ministries to interact with pastors and church leaders from around the world who are modelling reproducible programs”.
Confi rmed speakers include Bill and Melinda Gates, Bono, Senator Bill Frist (United States senator, Tennessee); Senator Barack Obama (United States senator, Illinois), Senator Sam Brownback (United States senator, Kansas) *4
Of concern for many people is the inclusion of proabortion, pro-homosexual, Senator Barack Obama, a fact addressed by an araticle republished on Rick Warren's www.pastors.com website outlining Saddleback's response to complaints made about Senator Obama’s inclusion at the summit. The article includes,
“The name of the seminar at which Sen. Obama will be appearing is entitled, ‘We Must Work Together,’” said a statement signed by 18 pro-life groups. “No, Mr Warren, Mr Obama, we will never work with those who can support the murder of babies in the womb.” *5
In response, Saddleback stated,
“‘We’re not making an endorsement of Obama or any of the other speakers,” continued the statement. “Rather by coming to Saddleback, the Summit speakers are affi rming and supporting the vital role of the Church in fi ghting the pandemic of HIV/AIDS.’ Warren responded to a blogger who claimed he invited Obama to preach in his pulpit to the Saddleback congregation. ‘Of course that is untrue,’ said Warren in an e-mail Saturday to the Purpose Driven Network. ‘I’d never invite any politician to speak from the pulpit to our congregation. Never.’ Receptionists at Saddleback had received ‘rude and vicious’ calls from people complaining about the claimed invitation. The church, with an average attendance of 22,000 people each weekend, made clear that Obama is not speaking to the Saddleback congregation, but rather to a conference comprised of ministry leaders, social workers, and health professionals on the topic of HIV/AIDS only.” *6
Technically, one could say the Saddleback, and Rick Warren’s, statement is true. Nevertheless, the conference is being organised, hosted and advertised by Saddleback. And, the summit’s title is “2006 Global Summit on AIDS and the Church”, not the “Global Summit on AIDS”.
If this was truly a “ministry leaders, social workers, and health professionals” conference, then why publicise it like a church seminar, advertised to congregants and Christians?
If it was an educational seminar for Christians, then (one would hope) you wouldn’t invite persons with the policies *7 like that of Senator Obama.
A verse of scripture worth considering, here, is what Paul says in 2 Corinthians: Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness?
And what communion has light with darkness?
And what accord has Christ with Belial? Or what part has a believer with an unbeliever?
(2 Corinthians 6:14-15 NKJ) *8 The Berean Call *9, in response to the conference, makes the point, “Saving of lives is certainly paramount, but saving of souls is greater yet. We have seen enough examples that demonstrate whenever evangelicals join hands with the world, the real “good news” will be set aside. That is part of the demands of the world.” *10
The CampOnThis blog *11, also raises an interesting point worth considering,
Rick Warren seems like a compassionate man; but one who is a late-comer to this issue of AIDS. He said on an interview with FOXNEWS this past week that the fi rst priority was to “break the silence of the church on AIDS”.
I beg your pardon Mr Warren, but there have been many churches over for the past 20+ years without fanfare, PR and national media attention have faithfully served the Lord and those that are HIV positive in very sacrifi cial and profound ways. It is good that Rick and Saddleback have fi nally broken the silence and are getting involved on this issue.
But in all honesty, one must logically ask why now? I mean, where has he been all those years when people were dying with AIDS? I can only think in part that this is now due because of his PDL fame and subsequent wealth derived thereof, that he has to have somewhere to use and justify the tens of millions of dollars he has made from “being in the ministry.” Thus... his fascination with social causes.
Mr Warren is being promoted, positioned and perceived, mostly by his own public relations machine, as a global leader in fi ghting HIV infection. However, rather than using his “Q” to drive him deeper into pastoral ministry (i.e. prayer, biblical exposition, the discipleship of God’s people, and the proclamation of the gospel of sola fi de) he has turned to social causes: global warming, getting rid of poverty, bringing his P.E.A.C.E. plan to Syria, and now of course... AIDS. *12
when a brave nurse named Jill Stanek brought about national awareness to a practice at a local hospital in suburban Chicago that allowed the starvation and neglect of newly born children who had survived abortion procedures—Obama opposed her.
He opposed the right of those children to be given the chance to live and he advocates against a ban on such procedures— then known as ‘born alive abortions’”. (Kevin McCullough, “
Why is Obama’s evil in Rick Warren’s pulpit”, Investigate Magazine, January 2007). Consider now, who, Rick Warren is inviting to Saddleback, a man who in one breath advocates the right to kill the helpless and innocent—allowing them to be butchered or die by starvation and neglect; whilst in the next breath he says we must help the victims of AIDS, and no doubt the starving, in Africa.
Visit < http://www.youtube.com/watch?v= Sf9RRJm6Qvw> to see and hear Rick Warren describe the summit to his church. “This next week on Thursday, Friday, we’re doing the Global conference, The Global Summit on AIDS and the Church.
The premier conference on AIDS and the church, in the world.” It seems that in light of the criticism he has received over the invitation of certain persons in the summit, he included, following the remarks quoted above, a carefully crafted warning that one may not necessarily agree with everyone or everything you hear. On the same video, Rick Warren presents to his church a clip of his recent trip to Syria. A trip supposedly not recorded. A trip in which Rick Warren makes controversial remarks and whose story keeps being rewritten.
Rick Warren’s Road to Damascus
On November 28, 2006, Berit Kjos, reported the following story on NewsWithView *13, summarising the furore that has arisen from Rick Warren’s trip to Syria.
On November 13, Rick Warren met with Syria’s Grand Mufti Sheikh Badr al-Din Hassoun in Damascus. Their dialogue was publicised by the Syrian Arab News Agency (SANA) in an article titled, “American Priest (Warren) Says no Peace without Syria:“
“Rick Warren on Monday said... that 80 percent of the American people rejected what the US Administration is doing in Iraq and considered the US policy in the Mideast as wrong.... Warren expressed admiration of Syria and the coexistence he saw between Muslims and Christians, stressing that he will convey this image to his church and country. “
On November 16, WorldNetDaily founder Joseph Farah wrote,
“Rick Warren wrote to me this morning to protest this column. He claims he didn’t say anything he was actually quoted as saying by the offi cial press in Syria. However, in a video... he says Syria ‘does not allow extremism of any kind.’ In fact, Syria is, in many ways, the No. 1 sponsor of terrorism in the world.... Here’s what the Syrian Arab News Agency reported: ‘...Pastor Warren hailed the religious coexistence, tolerance and stability that the Syrian society is enjoying due to the wise leadership of President al-Assad....’”
Despite contrary evidence, Warren proclaimed what the Syrian President al-Assad apparently told him. But the soon-to-follow assassination of Pierre Gemayel, a Christian anti-Syrian offi cial in the Lebanese government —therefore a foe to the Syria-backed Hezbollah terrorists —should shatter those public illusions of tolerant coexistence.
Finally, in a startling exposé on November 20, Joseph Farah wrote,
“I pointed out to Warren that WND had indeed attempted to contact him about his trip. No one from his Saddleback Church ever returned our calls the day the story broke. ‘I’m sure since you were warned in advance by the State Department that you took the precaution of recording your own words,’ I suggested in my response. ‘We look forward to seeing the transcripts.’...
“I really didn’t expect to hear back from Warren—but, a few minutes later, I did, with an absolutely stunning retort. He let me know he is a close friend of President Bush ‘and many, if not most, of the generals at the Pentagon.’ He also told me he did not tape anything while in Syria, ‘because it was a courtesy call, like I do in every country.’
Warren explained that he had also counseled with the National Security Council and the White House, as well as the State Department, before his little courtesy call.... ‘In fact, Warren added, ‘as a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and Oxford Analytica, I might know as much about the Middle East as you.’...
“Not one to let lies go unchallenged, I wrote back to Warren with a link to the YouTube video:
‘If you didn’t tape anything, what’s this?’... It might be that Rick Warren, deep in the bush of Rwanda, never received those last questions, because he never responded—at least not in the last three days. He did, however, within minutes make sure the YouTube video he recorded independent of his meetings with the Syrian brown shirts was removed from the network.” *14
After leaving Syria, and having become aware of the furore that his trip had generated, Christianity Today magazine’s website, reported, in a blog compiled by Ted Olsen,
Rick Warren, criticised for Syria trip, says he was misquoted
After criticism from the Institute on Religion and Democracy and some other quarters for visiting Syria and meeting with president Bashar Al-Assad, foreign minister Walid Al- Mu’allim, higher education minister Ghiath Barakat, and grand mufti Sheikh Badr al-Din Hassoun, Saddleback Church pastor Rick Warren says his trip was misrepresented both by the government-controlled Syrian media and U.S. bloggers. In a letter to church members and others, he wrote:
“In hindsight, I wish we’d been better prepared for our visit to Syria. We would have handled some meetings differently, watched our words more closely, and been more aware of the agenda of their state press. We wanted to just slip in and out, but that’s nearly impossible for me to do anymore. It’s been a learning experience.
… As we left, the offi cial state-controlled Syrian news agency issued some press releases that sounded like I was a politician negotiating the Iraq war by praising the Syrian president and everything else in Syria! Of course, that’s ridiculous, but it created a stir among bloggers who tend to editorialise before verifying the truth. Does it seem ironic to you that people who distrust Syria are now believing Syrian press releases?”
Warren’s office has also issued a press release explaining that the visit to Syria “was neither offi cial nor political, but rather came out of a promise to his Muslim neighbor in California.”
There are, however, some political statements in the press release: recognition of the Syrian government’s treatment of its Christians and its welcoming of Iraqi Christian refugees, for example, as well as some encouragement for more dialogue between the U.S. and Syrian governments. *15
The press release by Rick Warren’s offi ce can be read at: < http://www.alarryross.com/PressRelease. aspx?id=261&cid=37>. And though Warren’s offi ce well spins the graces endowed upon Jews and Christians by Syria, such as, Many Americans don’t realise that both Christianity and Judaism are legal in Syria. In addition, the government provides free electricity and water to all churches; allows pastors to purchase a car tax-free (a tax break not given to Muslim imams); appoints pastors as Christian judges to handle Christian cases; and allows Christians to create their own civil law instead of having to follow Muslim law. Every Christian with whom Dr Warren’s team met—including those in the city of Malula, where they represent two-thirds of the population—expressed gratitude for the government’s protection of their right to worship. *16
However, Bob Unruh, of WorldNetDaily, notes, Thousands of Christians are fl eeing from the violence in war-torn Iraq to Syria, but their new home also holds “ruthless” positions against Christianity which range from life in prison for talking about your beliefs to death for a Muslim who converts, according to ministries working there.
“It’s better than Iraq, but it’s no bed of roses there for sure,” Jim Jacobson, president of Christian Freedom International, told WND. “The Christians (there) are stuck between a rock and a hard place.” While Dubai, Saudi Arabia, Iran and other Middle East nations are well-known for persecuting Christians, Syria’s actions are of a lower profi le. But it is listed among those nations around the world that persecute Christians by everyone from Jacobson’s organisation to the U.S. government.
In Syria, the constitution requires the president to be a Muslim and specifi es that Islamic jurisprudence is a principal source of legislation. And sharing your Christian faith with someone—anyone—is discouraged as “posing a threat to the relations among religious groups” and carries a penalty of up to life in prison, he said.
“For Christians, one of the core tenets is the ability to share your faith, but in Syria that can lead to arrest (and) persecution,” Jacobson said. “We list Syria as one of the top … countries where Christians are facing real persecution.” “Syria isn’t Saudi Arabia, but it’s one of the big untold stories out there,” he said. For those who want to convert from Islam to Christianity, “you’re disowned by your family, if the local mosque issues a death threat, no one is going to do anything about it, you’ll just end up dead.
Nothing is done, no police action, that’s just understood. “If you convert you’d better leave the country,” he said.
For those who already are Christian, the government
allows them to practice their religion —but within harsh and restrictive guidelines. A Christian is not allowed to proselytise—ever. And churches that want to hold an extra service must get a government permit. Sermons are routinely monitored, as is church fundraising. He said the issue for Iraqi Christians is the choice of being dead soon in Iraq, or taking your chance in Syria and so they are fl ooding into Syria. *17
Selectively presenting the freedom and rights of Christians in Syria is not honest, and is a disgraceful betrayal of the Christians living in Syria and other Muslim lands.
Joseph Farah, who founded WorldNetDaily *18, is “a Christian journalist of Syrian and Lebanese heritage who has covered and analysed the Middle East for the last 25 years” *19. Concerning the circus which is Rick Warren’s Road to Damascus, Farrah notes the following pattern,
Warren went to Syria and recorded himself praising the totalitarian police state and its dictator.
Then he denied saying what he said. Then, after removing a video recording from YouTube, he denied any recordings were made in Syria.
Then he told his congregation he had recorded some 12 hours of his trip through Syria and Africa.
Then Warren apologised to me for defending his actions and presumably misrepresenting the truth.
Then he told his congregation in writing that the controversy over his trip was just being stirred up by satanically-inspired internet pundits. (I assumed that was meant to be a description of me.)
Then he told me he was a member of the Council on Foreign Relations.
Then his assistant denied membership. Is any of this important? *20
Yes, is any of this important? Rick Warren says that his trip to Syria was just to promote his Global P.E.A.C.E. Plan.
‘P.E.A.C.E. is an acronym that stands for “Plant churches, Equip servant leaders, Assist the poor, Care for the sick, and Educate the next generation,” Warren said. The emphasis calls for church-based small groups to adopt villages where spiritual emptiness, selfi sh leadership, poverty, disease, and ignorance keep people from experiencing the kind of life God wants them to have’ *21
The “kind of life God wants” people to have is NEW LIFE.
New life, not just a better life in a fallen world. Need it be said that the epistles of the New Testament talk not about experiencing success, but about being faithful—irrespective of circumstances (cf. Hebrews 11:36-40).
Let us consider a couple of alternatives to Rick Warren’s acronym, “Plant worldly churches, Equip purpose driven servants, Assist the poor to become purpose driven, Care for those who accept Rick Warren’s teachings and Educate the next generation of Warrenites” or alternatively, “be Popular with the world, be Egalitarian to everyone except those who hold fast to the biblical line, be Accepting of Islamic propaganda, Collaborate with the world, be an Enemy of God and His Word”.



Footnotes:
*1 Zondervan, “Rick Warren’s Bible Study Methods”. WWW page. < http://www.zondervan.com/Cultures/en-US/ Product/ProductDetail.htm?ProdID=com.zondervan.9780 310273004&QueryStringSite=Zondervan> (c. 2006, cited 15 Jan 2007).
*2 CNN. WWW page. < http://transcripts.cnn.com/ TRANSCRIPTS/0612/15/sitroom.02.html> (c. Dec 2006, cited 15 Jan 2007).
*3 PurposeDriven, “2006 Global Summit on AIDS and the Church: Time is Running Out”. WWW page. < http:// www.purposedriven.com/en-US/HIVAIDSCommunity/ GlobalConference/2006Conference/Time.htm> (c. Oct/Nov 2006, cited 13 Jan 2006).
*4 PurposeDriven, “2006 Global Summit on AIDS and the Church: Speakers”. WWW page. < http://www. purposedriven.com/en-US/HIVAIDSCommunity/ GlobalConference/2006Conference/Speakers/2006_ AIDS_Summit.htm> (c. Oct/Nov 2006, cited 13 Jan 2006).
*5 Lillian Kwon, The Christian Post, (reprinted on the pastors.com website—Ministry Toolbox), “Saddleback responds to complaints about Obama speaking at HIV/AIDS conference”, < http://www.pastors.com/article. asp?ArtID=9632> (c. Nov 2006, cited 13 Jan 2006).
*6 Ibid.
*7 Kevin McCullough, in InvestigateMagazine (< http://www. investigatemagazine.com>), notes Senator Obama’s policy includes actively working to “preserve availability of abortion in all nine months of pregnancy. He opposed parental notifi cation. He opposed any and all bans on partial-birth abortion … and most damnable of all,
*8 NKJ—New King James Version
*9 < http://www.thebereancall.org>
*10 Email, The Berean Call, 9 December 2006.
*11 A Blog (or Weblog) is a journal or diary style website, chronologically listed by the most recent entries fi rst.
*12 CampOnThis, “Broke ‘Saddleback’ Mountain...when a pastor tries to be a politician”. WWW page. < http:// stevenjcamp.blogspot.com/2006/12/broke-saddlebackmountainwhen- pastor.html> (2 Dec 2006, cited 15 Jan 2007).
*13 < http://www.newswithviews.com>. View the article online to investigate the details further, by following the footnoted reference hyperlinks.
*14 Berit Kjos, NewsWithViews, “Mother of all Purpose Driven Deceptions”. WWW page. < http://www. newswithviews.com/BeritKjos/kjos67.htm> (28 Nov 2006, cited 13 Jan 2007).
*15 Compiled by Ted Olsen, Christianity Today magazine, “Weblog: Rick Warren’s Purpose in Syria. WWW page. < http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2006/ novemberweb-only/146-51.0.html> (17 Nov 2006, cited 13 Jan 2007).
*16 The News Kitchen,“Dr Rick Warren includes visit to Syria on three-nation pastoral training and Peace Plan Tour”. WWW page. < http://www.alarryross.com/PressRelease. aspx?id=261&cid=37> (16 Nov 2006, cited 13 Jan 2007).
*17 Bob Unruh, WorldNetDaily, “Christians fl ee Iraq, fi nd Syria ‘ruthless’: Ministries say believers have no Mideast refuge”. WWW page. < http://www.worldnetdaily. com/news/article.asp?ARTICLE_ID=53549> (29 Dec 2006, cited 13 Jan 2007).
*18 < http://www.worldnetdaily.com>
*19 Joseph Farah, WorldNetDaily, “Rick Warren: Is he or isn’t he?”. WWW page. < http://worldnetdaily.com/news/ article.asp?ARTICLE_ID=53688> (9 Jan 2007, cited 13 Jan 2007).
*20 Ibid.
*21 Mark Kelly, PurposeDriven, “P.E.A.C.E. Plan a worldwide revolution, Warren tells Angel Stadium crowd”. WWW page. < http://www.purposedriven.com/en-US/AboutUs/ PDintheNews/Archives/25th_Celebration.htm> (c. 2005, cited 13 Jan 2007).



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Appeared in Issue 13.1 CETF 39 MARCH 2007
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