About Attacks on Rick Warren

Discussion in 'General Baptist Discussions' started by gb93433, Aug 3, 2006.

  1. gb93433

    gb93433
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    http://www.leestrobel.com/newsletters/LS_AskLeeAboutAttacks_03aug06.htm

    Ask Lee... About Attacks on Rick Warren

    By Lee Strobel

    8.3.06

    Q. I see that you have a link to some Rick Warren material. I would also like to suggest that you read a book called Deceived on Purpose and listen to a CD concerning the truth about the seeker-sensitive church movement.

    A. Don’t look for me to jump on any anti-Warren or anti-seeker church bandwagons. Rick Warren is my friend. And I came to faith through Willow Creek Community Church, the granddaddy of seeker churches. Neither is perfect, but neither deserves the criticisms that some people have leveled at them.

    I found Deceived on Purpose to be little more than a lame attempt to link Rick with New Age thinking and with Robert Schuller of the Crystal Cathedral. Anyone who knows Rick is aware that his theology is thoroughly biblical and rather conservative. He is, after all, a Southern Baptist! (To read his church’s statement of Faith, click here.) And I can tell you personally that it’s simply inaccurate to suggest that Schuller is a current influence in Rick’s life or ministry.

    If you’d like direct responses to the various allegations raised in this book, try Richard Abanes’ excellent book Rick Warren and the Purpose That Drives Him. Abanes, a credible and award-winning investigative writer, does a point-by-point refutation of these half-baked allegations against Warren.

    As for the seeker church movement, my colleague Mark Mittelberg, author of Building a Contagious Church, summed up the issue well in an article he wrote several years ago for The Christian Research Journal:

    “The concept of seeker-sensitivity, properly understood, is not new and not controversial—because it’s biblical. Paul said in Colossians 4:5, ‘Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity.’ In 1 Corinthians 9:22-23, he said, ‘I have become all things to all people . . . for the sake of the gospel.’

    “That last phrase is key. The goal is the clear proclamation of the gospel by teachers whose concern is to please God, not people (Galatians 6:10). One of the primary ways to please God is to raise the priority of finding lost men and women who matter deeply to him, and to present his message to them in understandable terms, using relevant illustrations and effective modes of communication. All of this is for the purpose of removing unnecessary barriers and helping these people in their journey toward Christ.

    “This is the same principle behind sound missionary efforts. Missionaries are encouraged not only to become articulate with the gospel, but also to study the language and culture of the people they hope to reach. Their goal is to contextualize the message and present it in a clear and compelling fashion that will bear fruit and build the Kingdom in that corner of the world.

    “Unfortunately, we often overlook the need to do this same thing here in America. We forget that, as Christians, we move in our own evangelical subculture that is growing more and more distant from the increasingly secular culture around us. The challenge for us is to develop a missions-mindset and figure out how to crack the cultural code where we live so that we can contextualize the message and effectively reach people in our own back yards.

    “As always, Jesus is our model. He went out of his way to get up close to those he wanted to reach. He spent time with them, he spoke their language, he taught them using illustrations they could understand, and he lovingly challenged them to follow him.

    “Jesus took risks for the sake of the Kingdom. And, need I add, he was misunderstood and criticized for it. It ruined His reputation. Opponents accused him of being a glutton and a drunkard—but it was guilt-by-association. They disparagingly called him “the friend of sinners”—a phrase meant as a put-down, but which he took as a compliment. Jesus came to “seek and to save that which was lost,” and before he left he said, “As the Father sent me, now I also send you.”

    “The challenge is to do this outreach ministry in appropriate ways. It’s certainly not easy, and there are inherent dangers. Jesus said that sick people need a doctor who will go and help them. But there’s always the risk of the doctor catching the disease! And there’s the temptation to spend time with the patients but hold back from telling them the full extent of their problem or from prescribing a treatment that they won’t like.

    “That’s why we caution church leaders to communicate to their culture without ever compromising with their culture. Sometimes, in the thick of ministry, it’s hard to see where to draw that line. It’s easy to make mistakes, and many mistakes have been made under the heading of ‘seeker sensitivity.’ But many lessons have also been learned, progress has been made, and much fruit is being borne.

    “Almost daily I hear stories of lives being changed. Just yesterday I read a letter that was sent to one of our pastors from a former skeptic who recently trusted Christ. She said, ‘No one could be more surprised than I am at what has happened to me. I know it wouldn’t have happened without Willow Creek, and I thank you from the bottom of my formerly hardened heart for your part in this.’

    “She was one of 300 new Christians who we had the privilege of baptizing this month. And the pastor she wrote to—the one who baptized her—was himself an atheist when his wife first brought him to a church service designed for spiritual seekers. It’s stories like these, combined with the biblical imperative to take the gospel to the whole world, that continue to motivate seeker-sensitive churches.

    “Jesus said, ‘By their fruit you will know them.’ Scrutinize this movement carefully—both its teachings and its results—without relying on media reports or second-hand rumors. When you’re done, I hope you’ll do more than just give a nod of approval. I hope you’ll roll up your sleeves and join with us in finding ways to penetrate the culture with the life-transforming message of the gospel.”
     
  2. Jack Matthews

    Jack Matthews
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    We're all human beings and we all make mistakes, even pastors of large, growing seeker churches. Usually their critics are people who resent their success in reaching people for Christ.

    The crux of the gospel is the fact that Jesus was the Christ, the divine Son of God who came to earth in the flesh, died for the sins of all humankind, rose victorious over sin and the grave on the third day and dwells forever at the right hand of God as the risen savior. To nitpick and argue over anything else is a waste of time, detracts from the gospel message itself, and destroys the witness of Christians as people watch the bickering and fighting over doctrinal purity that is nothing more than human interpretation anyway.
     
  3. El_Guero

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    I like Rick, and I think he is conservative. Yet, claiming he is conservative just because he is SBC is not as strong as I would like.

    However, I also think that while some are jealous of his success, a big part of his problem comes from his public image among Christians. He really doesn't seem to care what Christians think about his theology. I really feel that this is more than just his theology is different. I get the perception he is almost indifferent.

    This is in contrast to other conservatives. Some of the other conservatives seem to be preaching to Christians rather than to the lost.

    You have John Macarthur that does not have a salvation experience, but is followed strongly by many believers. His tape ministry has sent out millions of tapes to Christians around the world.

    I personally think that this is God working through different men to reach different groups of people - IMHO.
     
  4. 2BHizown

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    Proof please!

    Very strange statement about such a godly minister/preacher of the word!
     
  5. 2BHizown

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    Those who think the sinner must make Christ Lord of his life, or at least promise to do so, before he can be saved make assurance rest on the evidence of a surrendered walk. MacArthur cites this as the only way a believer can be assured of his or her salvation. ‘Genuine assurance comes from seeing the Holy Spirit’s transforming work in one’s life, not from clinging to the memory of some experience
     
  6. Marcia

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    I agree with some of this, such as when Jesus talked to the woman at the well. But he only said "Follow me" to some people. His main message was to believe in Him. Sometimes his words were pretty stern or harsh, such as:

    "Let the dead bury their dead"
    "Go and sell all that you have"
    "Love your enemies" and "bless those who curse you"
    "If your hand causes you to sin, cut it off"

    and much more.

    And in Jn 6, when he talked about being bread, many who heard it said it was a "hard" saying and they left.

    So if Jesus is our model, we can't just offer syrupy stuff.
     
    #6 Marcia, Aug 3, 2006
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 3, 2006
  7. Lagardo

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    For once, me and 2BHizown are in agreement. No, I'm sure we agree on much more as we are brothers in Christ.

    But, yes, this is a very strange thing to say without any proof, or even reason for saying it.
     
  8. Aaron

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    Actually, He spoke in parables to conceal His message to those who would not believe.

    And the disciples came, and said unto him, "Why speakest thou unto them in parables?"

    He answered and said unto them, "Because it is given unto you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not given. For whosoever hath, to him shall be given, and he shall have more abundance: but whosoever hath not, from him shall be taken away even that he hath. Therefore speak I to them in parables: because they seeing see not; and hearing they hear not, neither do they understand.

    "And in them is fulfilled the prophecy of Esaias, which saith, By hearing ye shall hear, and shall not understand; and seeing ye shall see, and shall not perceive: For this people’s heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest at any time they should see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and should understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them. But blessed are your eyes, for they see: and your ears, for they hear." (Matt. 13:10-16)
     
  9. webdog

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    Justification is an event, though. When one is justified, the Holy Spirit comes into their life. There should be clear recollection of this within the believer. Joel Osteen has claimed to have been "always saved".
     
  10. Kiffen

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    It is true that Justification is an event. Whether one can have a clear recollection of this event is not relevant to assurance of salvation. Too many people base the assurance of their salvation on walking down the aisle, saying a sinner's prayer, etc...when the Bible never tells us to look back to something we did in the past to gain assurance. The entire book of 1 John basis one's assuance on whether a person has faith in Jesus Christ NOW rather than some event that happen 10-20 years earlier.

    The danger in using the conversion experience as assurance is one is trusting in one's memory and emotions rather than Jesus Christ and Him crucified. It is much like a person who trusts in their baptism rather than looking to Christ.

    While everyone must have a conversion experience, whether one recollects it is not relevant to assurance of salvation. The key thing is are you trusting Jesus Christ and Him Alone for your Salvation at this moment for ultimately our assurance is wrapped up in the Cross and if one has Faith in Christ alone.
     
  11. webdog

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    I agree that it is not relevant in regards to assurance, but with the Comforter indwelling us, the moment in time when we were justified should be clear. Maybe not the exact day of the week, hour or even month...but a particular time in life. If someone cannot point to a certain "time" in their life when they were saved, I would have questions for them about their salvation.
     
  12. El_Guero

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    Why thank you for the compliment, but what do you base that assumption upon?
     
  13. El_Guero

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    Do you mean to imply that you know when our brother had a salvation experience?

     
  14. El_Guero

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    I may have mistunderstood your posts. Do you really know of when our dear brother Macarthur accepted Jesus as His Lord and Savior? You know when he first professed Him? Please feel free to give proof of when and where our brother Macarthur came to a salvation experience with Our Lord?

    I really do not think you will find one. This is more than a hunch, but why should I do your research for you?

    Rick on the other hand said:

     
  15. OrovilleTim

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    I never thought of it that way. Very well put! :thumbs:
     
  16. OrovilleTim

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    What if someone said, "I was saved as a young child"? Does that meet your standard?

    There are people that grow up in the Christian faith, and are often saved as they reach the age where they can grasp the concept. I've seen people look down on them because they didn't have a "life-changing" event, even though they are very faithful. They often end up with a testimony prefaced with some sort of defensive statement, almost feeling bad for not being a strung out junkie or something.

    I personally like those testimonies though. They give me something to look forward to with my own children!
     
  17. El_Guero

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    I agree and I disagree. Since I agree and I disagree with myself, I must, of course, do so respectfully.

    I cannot imagine what I experienced as being an escapable even in one's spiritual journey. But, I have met men that genuinely told me that they had 'always believed'. I have been known to ask, "Would you tell me right now that Jesus is your Lord and Savior?" So far the answer has always been 'yes'.

     
  18. Lagardo

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    No, I mean to imply that you have made a very bold statement regarding the salvation of a well respected minister. I find it to be an odd statement to make without anything to back it up.
     
  19. El_Guero

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    Aaron, Aaron, Aaron

    Thank you - "a very bold statement". mmm ... I like the sound of that. It sounds like what a servant of the Most High God would make: "a very bold statement". Since the Gospel itself is "a very bold statement", I must like that.

    Thank you.

    But, do you really think you can show me a statement revealing his salvation experience?

    What did a great man say? "back it up". Sounds apropos, so back it up.

     
  20. Joseph_Botwinick

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    El,

    He's a very successful minister (at least by the purpose driven world's standards) who has written many books on how to turn the church into a market driven business in order to reach the lost for Christ. Of course he is a Christian. How dare you even question it. Isn't that what Christianity is all about...that and waiting for resistors to either die or leave.

    Joseph Botwinick
     

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