“…Now I don’t agree with everything in everybody’s denomination, including my own. I don’t agree with everything that Catholics do or Pentecostals do, but what binds us together is so much stronger than what divides us,” he said. “I really do feel that these people are brothers and sisters in God’s family. I am looking to build bridges with the Orthodox Church, looking to build bridges with the Catholic Church.”
The speed with which the Reformed faith is being infiltrated by Rick Warren and his Purpose-Driven false teachings should surprise even those who have been watching the Purpose Driven tsunami in action in the last decade.
Rick Warren has tweeted reminders to his followers several times in recent weeks about the upcoming, groundbreaking regional Desiring God conference with Dr. John Piper that is being held April 29 and 30 at Saddleback Church. He knows that John Piper is under enormous pressure from those who understand the unbiblical teachings of Rick Warren and who are stunned and dismayed to see Piper openly embrace a man who has so manipulated and twisted God’s Word.
Rick Warren desires credibility and influence more than anything else, and he has been able to accomplish both over much of the religious landscape in America over the last decade. Some important holdouts have been the celebrity pastors of the Reformed book/conference circuit who were in stated opposition to him for his handling of Scripture and his man-centered, false gospel.
All of that is changing quickly. What Rick Warren needed was to win over a leader whose status was great enough among Reformed evangelicals who could deliver the holdouts into his arms. He found such a man in John Piper.
Those who refuse to hear any criticism of John Piper, which are the majority of his followers, also refuse to look at the actual facts of what Rick Warren has been teaching. The thinking goes like this: John Piper has done more for the sake of the Gospel than anyone else for decades. I don’t care what you say or what Rick Warren says. I don’t care who Rick Warren has had on his platform or who he has linked arms with; I don’t want to hear it. Don’t touch God’s anointed. John Piper is unable to err. We must follow him wherever he leads us. He knows best.
Even after being confronted by godly men in his own church recently, Piper himself refused to take materials that were offered to him that showed just how dangerous Rick Warren’s spiritual poison is. He has stated this about Rick Warren in video on his own Desiring God website:
“.. I do think he’s deeply theological. He’s a brilliant man. He wouldn’t have the church he does or the Peace Plan, or all the influence he does and of course the greatest sentence in the Purpose Driven Life is the first one isn’t it? It’s not about you, it’s about God. The Glory of God. So I don’t think he’s emergent. At root I think he is theological and doctrinal and sound.”
--John Piper, speaking here on video, 30 minutes in, regarding his invitation to Rick Warren to address the Desiring God Conference, 2010.
Rick Warren’s strategy to gain influence and credibility has not stopped with his co-opting of John Piper and his many followers. What can’t be accomplished outright must be done by more subtle means.
One of those means is the “The Mountain Goes to Mohammed” strategy. If he cannot get men like Tim Challies and Kevin DeYoung, Justin Taylor, D.A. Carson and the like to endorse him, Rick Warren will endorse them, as he did in the new book, Don’t Call it a Comeback from Crossway Books. Rick Warren’s endorsement is prominently featured on this book that features contributions by some of the biggest names in the Reformed world.
“I absolutely love this book! First, each chapter solidly tackles a critical component of our Evangelical faith and practice. Second, the authors demonstrate not only a strong grasp of God’s Word, but also of the perspective of church history, which is sadly lacking in most contemporary books. Third, these guys write tight, making every sentence count, so even though it packed with truth, the book is a quick read. I am so proud of these brilliant, godly men.”
--Rick Warren, author of The Purpose Driven Life
On one of the contributor’s blogs, a confused commenter noted Warren’s endorsement and asked, “Is Rick Warren becoming orthodox in his theology lately?”
That is exactly the question Rick Warren would like to raise and answer in the affirmative in the minds of Reformed readers. Mission accomplished.
So is Rick Warren becoming more orthodox in his theology lately? Has he abandoned the man-centered false gospel he has spread to thousands of Purpose-Driven churches? Has he left in the dust his claim that creeds no longer matter, only deeds? Has he renounced his participation and promotion of apostates like Tony Blair and his anti-christ, global spirituality at the Faith Foundation? Has he repented of failing to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ with Jews and Muslims when he was asked to address a Synagogue 3000 gathering or the Islamic Society of North America convention? Has he publicly renounced and apologized for bringing three pagan spiritual practitioners to the stage of Saddleback church on January 15, 2011 (Dr. Oz, Dr. Hyman and Dr. Amen) misleading the people at his Daniel Plan kickoff?
The answer to all of these questions is a resounding, no!
Rick Warren is employing another strategy in his ongoing quest for legitimacy in the Reformed world. An invitation to Saddleback is a big deal for anyone. It means you have officially arrived. Such a visit to the heart of evangelical apostasy by a Reformed author/speaker can be justified if you tell yourself that you will take the truth with you and really deliver it between the eyes of anyone at the conference/seminar/ event to which you’re invited.
But what Reformed leaders don’t realize is that they are playing directly into Rick Warren’s hands. The few at the Saddleback conference who will hear the Reformed speaker’s brave stand for truth isn’t of concern to Mr. Warren. The fact is that the Reformed leader showed up at all, came to Rick’s office and posed obligingly, grin in place and an arm thrown in a brotherly way around Warren’s shoulders. It is a photo op with enormous implications, and even Michael Horton of the White Horse Inn got used in this way. Horton posted the photo on his blog; it was tweeted around through social media by various people, causing a lot of confusion.
To those reading his blog, like the confused believer in the comment section referenced earlier, it is bewildering and confusing. Is Rick Warren really all that bad then? Dr. Horton has his arm around him. Warren is partnering with men who are promoting Transcendental Meditation and Kundalini Yoga, and introducing them to doctrines of demons, and Michael Horton has his arm around him with a bust of John Calvin between them. Are concerned Christians just overreacting?
There is irrefutable evidence that Rick Warren is a false teacher who terribly mishandles the Word of God for his own spiritual agenda. That is why Warren’s photo ops with Reformed leaders do nothing for the truth, and they do everything for Rick Warren’s relentless campaign for credibility and influence among those who should know better.
Scripture plainly tell us, “And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them.” Ephesians 5:11
Has theology become a sort of arcane academic study for hobbyists with no practical application in the real world of evangelicalism? Is Rick Warren a false teacher leading many astray, or are differences with him not that big of a deal? Can we warn about a ravening wolf spiritually while simultaneously throwing an arm around him?
The issues surrounding Rick Warren are not minor, secondary issues over ways and means. We are witnessing a spiritual battle that is growing in intensity and nothing less than the Gospel is at stake.
The issues are growing more and more refined as lines are being blurred and as good is being called evil and evil is being labeled good by influential leaders.
That is why the divisions are growing deeper, the rhetoric angrier and more hostile, and it is why discouragement is rampant among servants of the Lord. The enemy has come in like a flood, and those attempting to raise up a standard against him are under incredible attack. Biblically faithful believers are watching in shock as men they trusted are serving as useful tools in the hands of the enemy.
The lesson in all of this for those who are Reformed and also for those who are not, is that the blind following of celebrity authors and teachers must end. The near papal devotion some of these leaders inspire blinds followers to spiritual danger.
There is no substitute for knowing and reading the Scriptures. It is easier to listen to a gifted speaker or nationally-known teacher and author than to dig into the Word itself, but therein lies the danger.
Those who may have been reliable guides a year ago may no longer be. The cracks in the spiritual lives of leaders are not always immediately evident. Over the course of time, however, those pastors and teachers on a treadmill with their publishers and handlers and endless conferences can lose the plot. They can believe their own press and grow personally complacent about their own need for prayer and teaching and accountability.
As the spiritual battle intensifies, there must be a renewed commitment by those who love and serve the Lord Jesus Christ to individual humility, prayer and Bible reading. We must ask the Lord to protect our minds and hearts from the seducing wiles of the enemy, asking him to reveal any idolatry of men in our hearts and to give us ears only for the voice of the Savior as found in His eternal Word.
The grass withers, the flower fades, but the Word of our God stands forever.