Rick Warren and His Purpose Driven Gospel

Pastor Rick Warren appearing on CBS show 'This Morning' on Tuesday, Nov. 27, 2012.

Saddleback pastor Rick Warren was on the “CBS This Morning” show to promote the re-release of his extremely successful book “A Purpose Driven Life.”  Apparently 20% of Americans have read his book since it came out in 2002, a record for any devotional or spiritual non-fiction book.

Charlie Rose and Nora O’Donnell, as expected asked the tough questions… but the answers given by the pastor were not anchored in biblical truth.  He gave sound answers on the topic of abortion, but I was deeply disappointed in the way he addressed the issue of homosexuality, gay marriage and most importantly… Jesus!

He was asked why he opposes gay marriage.  He invoked the concept of tolerance and stated about gay marriage that “it is not a big issue to me.”  In the capacity of a pastor whose primary goal is to represent the Bible accurately, he could have very well said that the Bible states that a homosexual relationship is forbidden and that is why he opposes it.  A plethora of biblical text could easily back up such a statement.

However, this was point in the interview where correct biblical doctrine went out the window.  The pastor went ahead to define and discuss tolerance, emphasizing how one can tolerate sin without agreeing with it, and brought Jesus into the discussion stating that “Jesus accepted everybody no matter who they were.”  Leaving this statement out there without following up on Jesus’ firm condemnation of sin is a gross misrepresentation of Jesus’ teaching.  This statement is the basis of a watered-down, cheap gospel of acceptance which has made its way into the Anglican, Episcopalian, Lutheran and some evangelical churches.

In fact, the way Warren worded his answers led the Christian Post to draw the following conclusion in their article about the CBS interview: “The California mega church pastor said that according to the Bible, people need to be tolerant of all views, just like Jesus was – but that does not mean approving of all choices.”  

Despite the not “approving” comment that followed, if after you invoke the Bible and the teaching of Jesus, reporters are left with the idea that Jesus was “tolerant of all views,” you have succeeded in proclaiming a false gospel.  As a pastor, one cannot alter the gospel message based on who is in the audience; it does not matter if the it is the liberal CBS audience or the Sunday morning church membership;  the Gospel must be proclaimed accurately especially when the prompt has to do with human depravity!

The Gospel is the good news that there still is room at the foot of the cross for salvation for all who repent… including Rick Warren.

7 comments on “Rick Warren and His Purpose Driven Gospel

  1. Jesus loves the sinner until the sinner dies in his/her sins. It’s judgement after that…no more love or mercy.

    While no one is out to get them we prefer they change or get back or stay in their closets.

    • God is the One who commands and wants any sinner to undergo that radical change in their life called the new birth, according to the gospel, by turning from their sin and believing in Jesus’ atoning death and His resurrection. I wish RW would have said that…

  2. no problem , Rick Warren will show up soon on some kind of christian tv to make some clarification on what he really meant to say

    This guy is wearing two coats.. one for the main stream media , one for the christian media…

    Actually this is not as bad as the one where he went on Oprah (with Joel Osteen) …. that was bad… if a preacher can not offend Oprah he is not really a preacher of the Gospel….

  3. What does it mean for you “but that does not mean approving of all choices” ??? and what does it mean “tolerant”? I think this is what we must do : “making clear that we do not agree or approve certain things but not to force everybody to think the same way as we do”.

    • Dacian, bine ai venit, welcome to the blog.

      As the name “Delight in Truth” implies, this blog presents views anchored in biblical truth. Now, I have no problem with being tolerant. We do not force anyone to think the way we do. But when Christians distort biblical truth, we must speak out.

      Rick Warren says to tolerate sin without agreeing with it, and that Jesus accepts everyone. On the surface that seems like a benign statement. But in the capacity of a PASTOR speaking to a national audience and being labeled “America’s pastor,” that is a false gospel because he does not condemn sinful behavior. And he does not follow with the call for repentance. He even goes as far as implying against clear Scripture that homosexuality is natural.

      Rick Warren is telling them things they want to hear… they will use his words to excuse their lifestyle.

      In the end we do not force unbelievers to think the way we do. We want to force Rick Warren to proclaim biblical truth.

      In your opinion, is Warrens behavior true to the message of the gospel?

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