Interfaith Issues and Rick Warren

Discussion in 'General Baptist Discussions' started by Marcia, Oct 4, 2008.

  1. Marcia

    Marcia
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    This is not a thread for bashing Rick Warren! I think he is a believer and a good person, and is doing a lot of good.

    But there are 3 points here:

    1) I will not let the feeling that we should not discuss Warren (which I get sometimes on the BB) keep me from posting current issues about him. He's very influential and I think we need to look at the repurcussions of and issues being raised by his actions.

    2) The writer of this is a Muslim. Keep that in mind as you read.

    3)How far should we go on interfaith actions as believers? (I do not mean worshiping with unbelievers)


    This was in today's Washington Post. Please read it if you want to discuss - it's very, very brief. I put 2 excerpts below.
    http://newsweek.washingtonpost.com/onfaith/eboo_patel/2008/09/rick_warren_interfaith_activis.html
    ...This is a big deal, because it signals an important turn in the American Evangelical tradition - from viewing people of other faiths primarily as lost souls requiring conversion to viewing them as partners in the plan to make earth more humane and just. "Progressive Evangelicals" like Jim Wallis, Brian McLaren and Tony Campolo (read an interview here with Campolo on interfaith cooperation), have long been involved in interfaith efforts, but the mainline of that tradition has always been more wary. That could be changing.

    ...When I asked Warren to name something that he admired about Muslims, he answered without hesitation: "you people are not afraid to talk about God, he said with a smile. It's always, 'God willing', or 'God bless', or 'Thanks be to God.' That's something I admire, because I come from the same place."
    That is American religion at its best._____End excerpt
     
  2. Gold Dragon

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    Thanks for bringing this to our attention Marcia.

    I just wanted to point out some similarities to the apostle Paul's initial comments on Mars Hill. Paul followed that up with a wonderful sermon about the one true God and Warren does not and maybe it was not the right time. Paul does not insult and approaches the unbeliever in a respectful manner while strongly disagreeing with their view of God.

    I don't view these comments as interfaith actions but as being loving to neighbors.

    The interfaith actions mentioned in the article include Warren's AIDS forum and joining in the Clinton Global Initiative which approaches poverty. I think this is a good extent to which we can cooperate with non-Christians, in socioeconomic and health issues that impact people of all faiths.
     
  3. Marcia

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    Thanks for your comments, GoldDragon.

    Some would say however that the God Muslims worship is not the God of the Bible, so Warren's comments would be considered misleading to the Muslim, causing the Muslim to think that his worship of God is okay.

    I do not see strong parallels with the Mars Hill speech by Paul. Paul pointed to the statue of the "unkown God," not a specific God or a god worshipped by a known religion, and then told them who the true God is. He denounced false gods.

    Also, Paul was quite pointed when speaking to them, and he proclaimed a coming judgment:
    "Therefore having overlooked the times of ignorance, God is now declaring to men that all people everywhere should repent,
    because He has fixed a day in which He will judge the world in righteousness through a Man whom He has appointed, having furnished proof to all men by raising Him from the dead."

    The result was that many "sneered" though many believed. They would not have believed, however, if Paul had not proclaimed the truth.

    I do not see Warren doing this. His plan seems to be to start a lot of social/poverty aid type programs, and then maybe down the line sharing the truth. Or he thinks that doing these good things will cause people to come to believe eventually. This is not a good plan, imo. Even if some come to believe this way, this is not preaching the gospel. Time is short for Satan (this is in Rev). We are supposed to be prepared for Jesus any day and meanwhile many die each day. They need the gospel.
     
  4. Analgesic

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    I'm not really sure what there is to discuss about RW's comments. He was asked to share something he admired about Muslims, and he did. End of story. There's absolutely no need for him to qualify his complete answer to a specific question with any mention of his many points of disagreement.

    I'm not a fan of Warren, and I'll be arguing against him more often then not, but this seems silly.
     
  5. Reformer

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    This is why this is so sad. He is saying (by implication) "forget theirs souls, lets just all get along for the betterment of mankind"

    This says the same thing, "Lets transform the earth" How about the Great Commission? How about "Lets win people for Christ"

    It is amazing that the Muslim journalist caught all of this Humanism without Christ, but for some reason the vast majority of Christians cant see it.


    Reformer
     
  6. Brandon C. Jones

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    The latest edition of CT has an interview with Warren on a different topic, but it may be helpful to see here: http://www.ctlibrary.com/ct/2008/october/16.42.html

    I can't fault Warren's answer about saying something good about Islam. Missionaries to Islamic countries have told me that Muslims are very willing to talk about spirituality with Christians, but if you open up by saying something derogatory towards Islam and/or Mohammed, then it's basically a non-starter if you wish to go on to share the gospel. I wouldn't get too hung up on his use of the word "God" either. The OT utilized language for God from other cultures. Christians utilized language for God from other cultures in the past, and the history of our English word "God" comes from Germanic religions. Using the English word God to apply to Islam is not controversial as far as I'm concerned.

    It is unfortunate that Christians often fail to have a good balance on social justice and the gospel. Too often factions of the faith veer to one side or the other as if they are mutually exclusive. I for one applaud Warren's PEACE efforts, and think he is right to say that there is nothing wrong with joining other people of goodwill (to use a Catholic phrase) in making differences for people in the here and now. Yes, we should preach the gospel because it is much more important than any situation today, but one's situation today is not without value. A both/and approach is superior, and while it is prone to criticism and dangers, I think it is still a worthy cause.

    BJ
     
    #6 Brandon C. Jones, Oct 4, 2008
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 4, 2008
  7. Marcia

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    Warren was answering a question about what is good about Islam, so saying something negative is not the issue. Nor has anyone here advocated saying something derogatory to a Muslim. This isn't the issue.

    There certainly are those who would agree with you. But the Muslim God is not a generic God; he's a specific god with certain attributes revealed in the Koran, who allegedly chose Mohammed as his prophet, and he is a god who has no son.
     
  8. Brandon C. Jones

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    Marcia the examples I mentioned above were not generic gods either (El, Gott, etc.); they were specific like Islam.

    I must have misunderstood your point about saying something good about Islam, so what is your beef with Warren's answer about saying something good about Islam? Was he too nice?

    BJ
     
  9. Marcia

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    I think we have a semantic difference re the word "God." The god of Islam is a specific god and is not the Christian God - I guess that's my main point on that. The word "God" by itself does not have much meaning but when it's applied to a specific religion, it does.

    What bothered me about Warren's answer is that it gives the Muslim kudos for believing in a false god. For example, I would never say to a New Ager, "One of the good things about you is that you talk a lot about God" (and they do - quite a bit). That is not a good thing because the New Age god is a false god. I know, I used to believe in him/it.

    Warren could have said something else -- like:
    1. Some Muslims can be very devoted to their religion.
    2. I like the way Muslims focus on charity during Ramadan.
    3. I know many friendly Muslims.

    Any of these would have answered the question more truthfully, imo. Warren's answer can lead a Muslim (and I think it did in this case) to think that Warren thinks they are worshiping the same God (and maybe Warren does, in which case, the problem is worse than just this answer).
     
  10. Gold Dragon

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    I did not read anything in the article to suggest that the writer thought they worshiped the same God from that response. I did not get any impression that Warren felt that way either.

    I guess if you are sensitized to being worried about impressions of universalism, then you will probably interpret Warren's answer that way and not be happy with it.

    I do not think it is necessary to highlight the differences between Muslims and Christians during every interaction I have with a muslim.
     
  11. canadyjd

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    The author says Warren uses the language of a "religous pluralist", and the author says it as a compliment.

    When you agree to work with those of another religion, you are telling all who watch that the distinctives of your beliefs do not matter.

    peace to you:praying:
     
  12. ajg1959

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    Warren is becoming more of a politician than a pastor.

    I truely expect him to run for public office in the near future.

    I wouldnt vote for him, nor would I attend his church.

    Oops, sorry, but its hard to discuss RW without bashing him. I dont find much good to comment on, and this story is no exception.

    AJ
     
  13. Reformer

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    You hit the nail right square on the head.:thumbs:
     
  14. Gold Dragon

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    It is a complement to be called a religious pluralist.

    Its most common meaning is to be one who is able to engage in interfaith dialogue, which was the aim of the article.

    canadyjd, you may be referring to religious relativism which is a less common understanding of religious pluralism that says all religions are true.

    I like this understanding of pluralism from the Pluralism Project at Harvard University. It addresses some of the less common understandings of religious pluralism which include religious diversity, religious tolerance and religious relativism and finds them all wanting.
     
    #14 Gold Dragon, Oct 5, 2008
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 5, 2008
  15. Dr. Bob

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    I have spent many hours at the mosque and with groups of my students in inter-faith discussions with moslems.

    They (moslems) are very careful in their wording about "god". They also add phrases in their everyday speech whenever they mention Moses, Jesus, or even the virgin Mary like "blessed be his name" or "remembering the good works", etc Very impressive to a Christian who lives in a society where such names are often curse words.

    And of course we have only a snippet, not the message of Warren. If one goes to his site and studies his message, then the reported information pales into laughability.

    But he is a gracious man and deals with every religiouse group in a kind manner. I would probably be tougher and more confrontational, but his gifts (and subsequent ministry) differ from me.
     
  16. webdog

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    You wouldn't stand toe-to-toes with a muslim in trying to stop abortion? I think you (and many here) are making too much of the article, and as is the norm with RW threads, the context of his statements is not given, but when further research by those who don't despise the man is done, the true context is exposed revealing the OP to be false. I'm sure this thread is no different.
     
  17. webdog

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    I don't believe he has any intention of running for office. Why wouldn't you attend his church? It's as much of a Bible based SBC church as any you will find, albeit much larger.
     
  18. ajg1959

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    I dont go to SBC churches, I go to IFB. Warren is way too liberal and ecumenical.

    AJ
     
  19. canadyjd

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    Really? I will have to disagree.
    Here are a few other defintions I found:

    http://www.allaboutreligion.org/pluralism-definition-faq.htm

    Religious pluralism is a set of worldviews that stands on the premise that one religion is not the sole exclusive source of values, truths, and supreme deity. It therefore must recognize that at least “some” truth must exist in other belief systems. This is one example of “they can’t all be right.”

    http://www.religioustolerance.org/rel_plur1.htm
    A description of some of the meanings of "religious pluralism" follows:
    Meaning 1: Religious pluralism equals religious diversity:
    Some consider religious pluralism and religious diversity to be synonyms; That is, pluralism is a simple recognition of the fact that there are many different faith groups active in the country.

    Meaning 2: Religious pluralism involves inter-religious dialogue:
    Another definition relates to the most basic form of ecumenism, where individuals of different religions dialogue and learn from each other without attempting to convince each other of the correctness of their individual set of beliefs.

    Meaning 3: Religious pluralism means accepting other religions' validity:

    The variety of meanings should make us pause before accepting such compliments. They could easily be mistaken to mean the distinctives of your beliefs do not matter.

    Peace to you:praying:
     
    #19 canadyjd, Oct 5, 2008
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 5, 2008
  20. canadyjd

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    I will assume you mean "side-by-side" and not "toe-to-toe". The answer is "no", I would not.

    peace to you:praying:
     

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