What was the relationship like between the Pharisees and the Apostles? Were they chummy buddies chilling out? Or were the Pharisees entirely opposed to the Gospel? Certainly the Apostles and Pharisees would agree with basic morality. They would have similar views on stealing, murder and things pertaining to sexuality. That’s really not the point of contention between the two camps. The Gospel is what divides them. So can you imagine the Apostles and Pharisees joining forces, breaking bread and scheming how to preserve the sanctity of marriage in Rome’s increasingly sexually confused culture? If you can imagine that, you should read, reread and read again the New Testament.
Clearly the Apostles had no interest in joining forces with the Pharisees. It would only add to the confusion. The early church had great trouble distinguishing between salvation by works (what the Pharisees taught) and salvation by grace (the Gospel taught by the Apostles). Capitulating to the men in error (the Pharisees) for the sake of preserving marriage is wildly inappropriate given that the greater societal need (the Gospel) will likely be lost in the ecumenical council.
Do I need to detail the parallels between that hypothetical and Rick Warren’s ongoing flirtation with the Vatican? Isn’t it obvious? Isn’t it frightening?
Rick Warren, to me at least, is disturbing. I mean that word literally. He makes me sick to my stomach. Not because he’s overtly evil and hateful, but because everyone loves him. Who do I mean by everyone?
The first time I saw Rick Warren was when he interviewed John McCain and Barack Obama prior to the 2008 election. Both those candidates enjoyed their time with him. Ok, not a huge red flag but somewhat surprising. Then Obama invited Warren to pray at his inauguration. That’s a bigger red flag. Why is the most pro-choice president of all time comfortable having Warren pray on his behalf?
Then I see Warren on the news somewhat retracting but not retracting statements he may or may not have made to his congregation that may or may not have been in support of a movement in California to define marriage in a traditional way. That to me suggested a bit of cowardice or at best confusion and timidity.
Then we take into account that “Purpose Driven Life” is enormously popular. That is a red flag. Anything that popular is almost always theological drivel. And it was and is. It’s seeker sensitive man-centered platitudes that rips verses out of context. Rick Warren doesn’t always use Scripture, but when he does, he uses unreliable translations.
It’s all this stuff combined that had me extremely worried about Warren and those influenced by him. This was about 5 or 6 years ago.
Then he gets interviewed by John Piper. Wow. What an opportunity to see where this guy stands or if he’s willing to take a stand on anything. Guess what? He gave the right answers or at least satisfactory answers. Ok! Maybe I was wrong about him!
Then he gets interviewed by a Catholic. And he gave all the right answers...to make the Catholics happy. Ummm…
Then he gives a Ted talk. And he said all the right things...to make a secular audience happy.
Then he talks to Oprah. And he said all the right things...to make mystical man-centered “Christians” happy.
Then he talks to the Pope. And he said all the right things...to make the most influential false teacher in the world happy.
Do you see why he’s so frightening? It’s unnerving. How can this guy be loved by almost everyone? How can he never offend anyone when the Gospel itself is an offense? How does he expect to be loved by everyone when Christ told us that if we follow Him, we shouldn’t expect to be loved?
Seriously, how can he do it? How can he tell Catholics that we (protestants) are not that different from one another and the Catholics love him for saying it? Shouldn’t that statement be offensive to Catholics AND protestants? That’s like when people say Republicans and Democrats are basically the same. They are? Based on what? Both political parties would or at least should take offense at such nonsense. They might be similar in comparison to a monarchy or some sort of dictatorship, but they aren’t indiscernible from one another. They are quite different.
I don’t know how to convince people to avoid Rick Warren. At best he will leave people of all denominations confused about salvation and at worst he’s the most cunning false teacher on the planet. In either case, he’s not someone people should glean theology from. But he’s the most influential and prominent “protestant” in the world. Most people will violently react to any negative words spoken about him. Even the evangelical world judges a person’s theological credibility based on church size and books sold. How then can we do anything to combat such a formidable force? We pray. We pray for courage. We pray that Rick Warren’s ministry be eradicated. We watch our lives and our doctrine closely. We preach and teach the unchanging Word of an unchanging God. We aim to please God rather than men. We do everything Jesus taught the Apostles. We remain vigilantly for the Gospel and trust God to dispose of false teachers how He sees fit.
A survey of the entirety of Scripture reveals that no man was ever commended for compromise and no man acted in faith by aiming to please a secular society. Real men of the faith act in faith. Fidelity to the one true Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ is an act of faith.