Rick Warren Responds to OC Register, “Chrislam” reports

Here is the official response from Rick Warren, reported from Ed Setzer’s blog:

Once again, watchbloggers are accusing Rick Warren of heresy. Why? Because, Warren explains, a secular Orange County newspaper got something wrong about a religious issue. Some of the usual bloggers have done their usual job.

However, due to the nature of the story, some mainstream news organizations and bloggers, without the constant anti-Warren agenda, were asking questions and wondering what what was going on. I was. So, I emailed Rick and asked him.

Rick sent me this interview where he seeks to bring clarification. He gave me permission to share it here at the blog. I think it will be helpful.

Furthermore, it is important to note that secular newspapers do not get the nuance we often use in evangelical Christianity. However, when we read well-known Christian leaders quoted as saying something in a local paper that seems out of character or contrary to their views over many decades, perhaps we might give that person the benefit of the doubt.

I am sure those who quoted the OC Register will also quote this to clear up any confusion.

Here in the interview Rick sent me:

QUESTION: Do people of other religions worship the same God as Christians?
WARREN: Of course not. Christians have a view of God that is unique. We believe Jesus is God! We believe God is a Trinity: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Not 3 separate gods but one God. No other faith believes Jesus is God. My God is Jesus. The belief in God as a Trinity is the foundational difference between Christians and everyone else. There are 2.1 billion people who call themselves Christians… whether Catholic, Orthodox, Protestant, Pentecostal, or Evangelical… and they all have the doctrine of the Trinity in common. Hindus, Muslims, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Christian Science, Unitarians, and everyone else do not accept what Jesus taught about the Trinity.

QUESTION: A recent newspaper article claimed you believe Christians and Muslims worship the same God, that you are “in partnership” with a mosque, and that you both agreed to “not evangelize each other.” You immediately posted a brief refutation online. Can you expand on that?

WARREN: Sure. All three of those statements are flat out wrong. Those statements were made by a reporter, not by me. I did not say them … I do not believe them… I completely disagree with them … and no one even talked to me about that article! So let me address each one individually: First, as I’ve already said, Christians have a fundamentally different view of God than Muslims. We worship Jesus as God. Muslims don’t. Our God is Jesus, not Allah. Colossians 2:9 “For in Christ dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily.” Second, while we urge our members to build friendships with everyone in our community, including Muslims and other faiths, (“Love your neighbor as yourself”), our church has never had any partnership with a mosque. Friendship and partnership are two very different levels of commitment. Some of our members have hosted a Bible study with Muslim friends, which I applaud, but I’ve never been to it, and a Bible study certainly isn’t any kind of partnership or merger! It’s just crazy that a simple Bible Study where people explore Scripture with non-Christians would be reported as a partnership and others would interpret that as a plan for a new compromised religion. Just crazy! Third, as both an Evangelical and as an evangelist, anyone who knows me and my 40 year track record of ministry that I would never agree to “not evangelizing” anyone! I am commanded by my Savior to share the Good News with all people everywhere, all the time, in every way possible! Anyone who’s heard me teach knows that my heart beats for bringing others to Jesus.

QUESTION: That same article mentioned that you ate an Iftar dinner with Orange County Muslims. What is that all about?

WARREN: It’s called being polite, and a good neighbor. For years, we have invited Muslim friends to attend our Easter and Christmas services, and they have graciously attended year after year. Some have even celebrated our family’s personal Christmas service in our home. So when they have a potluck when their month of fasting ends, we go to their party. It’s a Jesus thing. The Pharisees criticized him as “the friend of sinners” because Jesus ate dinner with people they disapproved of. By the way, one of my dear friends is a Jewish Rabbi and my family has celebrated Passover at his home, and he attends our Christmas and Easter services. I wish more Christians would reach out in love like Jesus.

QUESTION: Why do you think people who call themselves Christians sometimes say the most hateful things about Muslims?

WARREN: Well, some of those folks probably aren’t really Christians. 1 John 4:20 says, “If anyone says, ‘I love God,’ yet hates his brother, he is a liar. For anyone who does not love his brother, whom he has seen, cannot love God, whom he has not seen.” And 1 John 2:9 says “Anyone who claims to be in the light but hates his brother is still in the darkness.” I am not allowed by Jesus to hate anyone. Our culture has accepted two huge lies: The first is that if you disagree with someone’s lifestyle, you must fear them or hate them. The second is that to love someone means you agree with everything they believe or do. Both are nonsense. You don’t have to compromise convictions to be compassionate.

QUESTION: Let’s talk about evangelism. In the past 10 years, Saddleback Church has baptized over 24,000 new believers. No other church comes close to that record. You are likely the most evangelistic church in America. What’s the key?

WARREN: We are willing to do what many other churches are unwilling to do. We are willing to go beyond our comfort zone.

QUESTION: For instance?

WARREN: Because Jesus commanded us to take the Gospel to everyone, I spend much of my time with groups of people who completely disagree with what I believe. I’m constantly trying to build a bridge of love to nonbelievers, to atheists, to gays, to those I disagree with politically, and to those of other faiths. We don’t wait for these people to come to church; we go to them and share with them on their turf, not ours. Every member is a minister and a missionary. Saddleback was a missional church 30 years before the term became popular. We just called it being “purpose driven”

QUESTION: “Building a bridge” sounds like compromise to many people.

WARREN: Building a bridge has nothing to do with compromising your beliefs. It’s all about your behavior and your attitude toward them. It’s about genuinely loving people. People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care. Before people ask “Is Jesus credible?” they want to know if you are credible. Before people trust Jesus they must trust you. You cannot enemies to Christ, only your friends. It’s part of what Paul calls “the ministry of reconciliation.” It is Christlike to treat people with dignity and listen to them with respect…

QUESTION: What is the PEACE Center?

WARREN: Based on Jesus’ instructions in Acts 1:8, we practice the PEACE Plan in three dimensions: PERSONAL PEACE – my ministry to those closest to me; LOCAL PEACE -our congregation’s ministry to our community; and GLOBAL PEACE – serving other local churches around the world as those congregations do their own local PEACE. The PEACE Center is the building on our church campus that houses about three dozen of our 300 ministries to the community. It offers our food bank, job training, family counseling, legal aid, car repair, tutoring, English as a second language, legal immigration assistance, and many other ministries.

QUESTION: I read an article that claimed you were building a PEACE Center to bring Muslims and Christians together in peace.

WARREN: It was the writer’s mistake. He got two different stories confused. Our recently opened PEACE Center, on the Saddleback Church campus has NOTHING …zero… to do with our Muslim friends.

This is an example of why I always doubt what I read in newspapers and blogs about ministries. Secular reporters trying to cover churches and theological issues often get it wrong . But then Christian bloggers, instead of contacting the ministry, blindly believe, quote and repost the errors made by secular reporters. Then those errors become permanent, searchable, and global on the Internet. I couldn’t count the number of times a secular reporter has gotten a story about Saddleback wrong but then it is perpetuated by Christians who never fact-check. And the three factors I mentioned about the Internet make it impossible to correct all the misperceptions, and outright lies that get repeated over and over…

QUESTION: What is the goal of your ministry?

WARREN: To know Christ and make Him known! To live out Jesus’ Great Commandment and Great Commission! In fact, this has been the motto of Saddleback Church since we started it in 1980: “A great commitment to the Great Commandment and the Great Commission will grow a great church.” Everything we do comes out of these two great texts. God’s five eternal purposes for both our lives and the church proceed from these verses. The Purpose Driven Church and The Purpose Driven Life explain this in detail….

QUESTION: Are you promoting Chrislam?

WARREN: Of course not. It’s the lie that won’t die. No matter how many times we refute it and correct that lie, people keep passing it on as truth. Jesus is the only way to salvation. Period. If I didn’t believe that, I’d get into much easier line of work! But I do believe that everybody needs Jesus and I am willing to put up with false statements and misunderstandings in order to get the Gospel out.

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6 Responses to Rick Warren Responds to OC Register, “Chrislam” reports

  1. Mr Davis says:

    Can you even buy this?

    What did he sign again? Common word between us with Muslims.
    What plan is he pushing? Danile Plan which has occult teachers teaching in it. In it he's endorsing them, not against them.

    I know by and large we have laid aside the archaic word of God but;

    Both of these fly straight against 2 Corinthians 6:14 Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? 15 And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? 16 And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. 17 Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, 18 And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.

    I don't know maybe you should include testimony of Folks who came out of Sadleback. They are witnesses to his conduct and his philosophy he lives by. I wonder if their testimony would be similar to Paul's in Acts 20:

    26 Wherefore I take you to record this day, that I am pure from the blood of all men. 27 For I have not shunned to declare unto you all the counsel of God. 28 Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood. 29 For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock. 30 Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them. 31 Therefore watch, and remember, that by the space of three years I ceased not to warn every one night and day with tears.

    I don't know maybe check the Church and see what his disciples are about I'm sure he's been perfectly clear with them of his intensions. See what they say. Do they know the Gospel? Do they understand being borne again? Do they understand what we are called to do as believers? Called into an obedience that comes by faith and love for the one who shed His blood for us to make us right with God.

    Colossians 1:20 And, having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself; by him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven. 21 And you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath he reconciled 22 In the body of his flesh through death, to present you holy and unblameable and unreproveable in his sight:

    Matthew 28:19 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: 20 Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.

    But a better question is would our own pastors pass this examination?

    Who are we following? God or man.


  2. Barney clynch says:

    1. Rick was interviewed by the Christian post regarding the orange county article and supported on this site by Mr. Brandon Cox, his supporter in the ministry. So, naturally he is going to give responses that "tickle the ears". I can just imagine Rick and the Christian post sitting down, drinking coffee, laughing, and taking it easy. To read his response, simply google "rick warren's response to orange county article" and click on christian post article. What is unfair is that if another person or organization questioned him point blank and asked him questions about his contradictions in the PDL book and his beliefs, we know he would "break under pressure" and start telling one lie after another. It is an injustice when people are deceived to thinking his "interview" with the Christian post does "justice" to his beliefs. We very well know if he was interviewed by a source such as the many faithful ministries that have exposed his heresies, he would not have given honest answers, only lies and contradictions. Additionally, Rick was asked questions that only made him feel comfortable. Of course, he is going to flatly reply when asked such questions such as "Tell us the truth about your 'global PEACE plan and does it involve partnering with Muslims." However, if you or I pulled out the PDL book, quoted him in an interview, and asked him how he can host three doctors supporting new age/eastern mysticism in his church, despite claiming that New age is a lie in his book, he would be exposed like everything. It is time people and ministries give him an interview that asks the hard questions exposing his heresies and posts it on the internet to find out he is nothing more than a liar and a wolf in sheep's clothing!

    2. Take time to read the comments from "Mick" on the comment section below the article (on christian post response of Rick Warren). He makes a good point – how can you claim RW is not involved in Chrislam and is not partnering with Muslims, yet he signs a response with 300 other evangelicals on the "common word between us and you" document. To sign your name officially on such a said document says that you support the belief system of such a document that says the God of the Koran and the God of the Bible are the same god. NOT! Rick Warren needs to stop pointing fingers and playing the "blame game" when he knows full well he is in error and is completely wrong. The facts speak for themselves "Pastor" Rick Warren. The proof is in the pudding.

    3. RW's response on the question regarding eating a dinner with Orange country muslims exposes his belief system. He even admits that he hosts a potluck dinner after the muslims have completed Ramadan (30 day period of fasting in Islam). Basically, he admits eating with muslims and hosting events to "befriend" them, but nowhere in his response does he share teaching the FULL GOSPEL message of Jesus Christ to muslims he has met who are on their way to an eternity in hell unless they repent of sin and place trusting faith in Jesus Christ. What more can we say brothers and sisters in Christ? RW can run all he wants from the truth, but ultimately, regardless of how many people applaud him, he will spend eternity in hell for his lies unless he repents and gets it right before it is eternally too late. RW may be able to fool some people who do not read God's word and are not seeking God, but he cannot fool God who knows everything and his motives for lying.


  3. L. D. Byrd says:

    Rick Warren's rebuttal above if just further proof that he is very much involved with Chrislam. May God have mercy on him. I would not want to be a current day Judas.


  4. V BOETTJER says:

    As a strong believer and a woman of faith at 55 having known the Lord since I was 5 I am often ashamed of the way that the "religion" of the Church behaves like the pharisees. We as Christians are the only religion that eat our own. I for one never really paid much attention to Rick Warren except to read his daily words of encouragement. Since I heard all of this hoopla I decided to rather than be a sheep blindly led by others seek the truth myself. I cannot wait to walk with the Heavenly Father in heaven with Rick Warren. He is a man who truely understands the LOVE of a Heavenly Father who calls us His Beloved. I woudl rather sit in a bar with 50 unbelievers talking to them about how God has changed my life than to sit in a KJV bibly study with all of you who choose to pick apart a ministry of a man who puts his talents, money and heart behind GOD…the most important description of God ever is GOD IS LOVE. I am again saddened and disilussioned by RELIGION!!!! Jesus saves and if I heard Rick Warren say it once he said it a thousand times. Rick I think that I will write you a check!!!!


  5. David W Miller says:

    I'm grateful this interview of Rick by Ed remains available as the false rumors of Rick promoting Chrislam just won't die. As a pastor committed to the trinitarian God of the Bible, one-way Gospel of Jesus Christ, and reaching all who are far from God, including Muslims, I applaud Rick's heart of evangelism. Cultivating friendship relationships with Muslims to communicate the Gospel is no easy task. But each former Muslim that enters the waters of baptism as public confession of faith in Jesus as Lord and Savior dwarfs any well-intended, but totally unfounded criticism.


  6. andy says:

    All this i heard and read about as far as RW mingling with Muslims is one thing(they need the lord also, if his purpose is to lead them to our God, and not just be friends with them) But my concern is this so called purpose driven church i hear so much about,and read about, i read once of the things to tell you ,and make notice of, that your church has taken a purpose driven stants!
    First of all they tend to do away with christian symbols, aka the cross, which the as a whole our christian faith is founded up,and our lord has died for you and i on, let alone it is a reminder of why we worship, Could it be that is presents to much convicion!And detracts from the so called feel good messages more and more churches , including mine has been talking about.Thats another thing.
    the chuches of which they are less and less refering to Gods house as such,
    you rarely hear, of God! As in the old days,,hey the message is for us,why should the intended way to commumicat it, change just because the world is changing,its Gods word!
    they start taking the once supplied bibles away?As my church did? Whys that , so new belivers cannot read along and has to take there word for it,its Gods word folk.
    And they either do not fly the christian flag or american flag,or will stop at one time or another,as my church did also,as new church took it over,
    They no longer have invations as they used to, so a beliver can come forward to profess there faith.Same again, as in my church,

    I love my church, been going for many ,many years, worked on staff, ministers ect there,it started out conservated(forgive spelling errors).
    within pass year , with all this purpose driven stuff going on, and the new church take over and ways, the christian faith symbols, cross,bible,paintings of rock music ,vrs hymes, all this is a small matter i know,The main issue is getting the word out to non-belivers hearts and to praise God,i know.
    But more and more things of old and the way Gods word is teached,is disappering.

    is it even stated that if a member does not conform to new way, and makes it known they will be asked to leave,i dont know about you,but that was never heard of in the churches of old,,,i know some of you will, make a come back( Well the worlds changing) Im still told that, Yes i am aware of that,,
    But Gods teachings and words remain………………………………..


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