Rick Warren on Nightline – Part 1

I am compelled to post my thoughts on several things Rick Warren said to Martin Bashir in an interview on Nightline several weeks ago. Here is an excerpt from the article Rick Warren & Purpose-Driven Strife from ABCnews.com. It is essentially a word for word transcript from the Nightline segment.

Warren said that there is a danger in merging Christianity with psychology. “Absolutely, there’s a danger,” he said. “Because what it does is feed this self-centeredness … I say, it’s not about you. It’s all about God. And one of the biggest myths is that all mega churches are alike. Well, they’re not.”

My Comment: Contrary to Warren’s words, he is largely responsible for the popularization of pop psychology preaching from today’s pulpits. His books are manuals for developing therapeutic, seeker-centered churches and congregates. Self-help, self-diagnosis, self-control, self-realization and self-actualization techniques lie at the heart of Warren’s material. These practices are reflected today in today’s Purpose-Driven churches. The grace of God and the work of the Holy Spirit are left out in the cold. Postmodern man has no need for them.

Warren also admitted that it can be difficult to strike a balance between the concerns of modern life and a focus on the Bible.

“When you’re preaching and teaching the good news, you walk a very fine line where you’re taking the world of the Bible and the world of today, and you’re building a bridge between those [worlds],” he explained. “Now, it’s easy to be biblical if you don’t care about being relevant … And it’s easy to be relevant if you don’t care about being biblical. I happen to want to be both.”

My Comment: Dr. Warren is creating a false dichotomy in this blasphemous quote. He means that being biblical and being relevant are unrelated concepts. He is clearly suggesting the bible is not relevant to the postmodern mindset unless preachers transform (ie. twist, dilute & distort) it to conform to the whims and desires of unredeemed man. Is the bible not relevant in and of itself? Is man’s nature any different then it was 2,000 years ago? If not, isn’t the bible’s remedy for our sinfulness the same as it was in the days of the Apostles? What, pray tell, can postmodern minds possibly do to improve upon God’s timeless word?

My blood boils at the presumption Warren displays. He is strongly implying that his Purpose-Driven system is necessary for people to get saved and become properly discipled. Worship, ministry and evangelism cannot be performed according to scriptures alone but rather by PDL methodology.

Warren fully endorses his own version of “Replacement Theology.” In ‘The Purpose-Driven Life” he writes that the last thing believers need is another bible study. They already know more than they are putting into practice. Later on in the book he encourages churches to have small group studies on ‘The Purpose-Driven Life’. The bible is shunned, but PDL is encouraged. This has become a reality all around the world. Members from Warren’s Saddleback church on recent missions trips have been handing out more copies of Warren’s book than the bible. Some people walk around quoting his book like it was the bible.

The truth is, as OS Guinness once proclaimed, “To always be relevant you must speak things which are eternal.” Only God’s word is eternal. It is inherently relevant to all mankind of any time period. It speaks to every heart concerning sin, condemnation, God’s wrath and righteous judgment. It proclaims the mercy, compassion and glorious grace of God through the cross of Jesus Christ. There is not one soul this truth does not touch. 10,000 years from now, if the Lord tarries, the gospel will be just as relevant as it was 2,000 years ago when it was first preached. Presumptuous preachers like Rick Warren are the ones manufacturing irrelevance in the church by mixing man-made philosophy with God’s precious word. A little leaven leavens a whole lump and the entire batch becomes spoiled.

I’ll post some thoughts on other outrageous remarks from this article shortly.

Part 2

6 thoughts on “Rick Warren on Nightline – Part 1

  1. Pingback: Rick Warren on Nightline - Part 2 « A Peculiar Pilgrim

  2. Pingback: The Psychology of Rick Warren « A Peculiar Pilgrim

  3. I wish I could find it right now, but recently I stumbled across a video on Saddleback’s website that showed people who’d gone on a short-term mission trip from their church. Whenever the photos in the video showed someone handing out some sort of literature to a local person, it was ALWAYS a copy of The Purpose Driven Life. Whatever happened to handing out BIBLES on mission trips? It was really a bit creepy. There were photos of the “missionaries” sitting side-by-side with locals and reading to them from PDL. It’s almost like PDL has become the evangelical version of the Book of Mormon or something — an “addition” to the Bible. I’ll keep looking for that mission trip video and if I find it again, I’ll post a link if you’d like.

  4. Yes, please do. I have seen those pictures before, I just don’t remember where at the moment. They shook me up, though. I heard the ratio of PDl books to bibles that were handed out were at a ratio of 3:1. If this can be verified, then Pastor Warren’s arrogance knows no bounds and I only shudder at the thought of what his emerging PEACE plan will bring.

  5. All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.2 Timothy 3: 16-17

    mr warren is thus unbiblical but u know his book is well loved, well read and well used all over singapore. sigh

  6. Sophie,
    It really pains me to know his book is so widely accepted in other countries. This provides yet another stumbling block to Christians who are trying to spread the true gospel. Preaching to a person who has uttered Warren’s little breath prayer of salvation can be a difficult matter. After all, he’s already saved, right?

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