The Controversy that is Rick Warren

[buzzsprout episode=’773531′ player=’true’]

Without a shadow of a doubt, Rick Warren has been the most influential pastor in the last two decades. His Saddleback Church is known worldwide and he has personally sold millions of books. The Purpose Driven Life has influenced millions of Christians. The Purpose Driven Church has now influence up to 30,000 churches here in the United States.

Comprehensive Book Review

IX Marks penned a comprehensive review of Rick Warren’s greatest hit for church planting, The Purpose Driven Church. 

There is no argument against the fact that Warren’s book has had a tremendous impact on American churches. This has been both a blessing and a curse. Yes, the growth of the church can be a great thing, on the surface. But the seeker – sensitive feeling of churches has watered down the message from the pastor. Not wanting to offend churchgoers to boost numbers has made a mockery of the gospel of Jesus Christ.

And this controversy brings us to the main point of this article.

Is Rick Warren a wolf? Or is he just misguided on his church growth thoughts?

This church planting focus has made every church feel the same. Dimmed lights, singing “worship” music from the radio, and sermon puns played from secular movies has invaded main street. This sissified gospel message has destroyed Christian families all over the world. But at what cost?

The knowledge people have of Jesus Christ.

Thousands are being led to the slaughter because of this church movement. We will highlight in the coming sections that Rick Warren is sound on his theology, but is that just a play? Is he actually a wolf in sheep’s clothing?

IX Marks Review Quote

The in depth, comprehensive review IX Marks did was astounding. He gave both sides of the argument, while also focusing that he thought Rick was a brother.

Indeed, Warren is part of our own household. On the spiritual battlefield, he is our ally. His understanding of salvation is biblical, he trusts in the sovereignty of God, evangelistic zeal pulsates from his heart, he affirms the inerrancy and sufficiency of Scripture, he believes in regenerate church membership, and he has been practicing church discipline for 21 years now. In fact, his beliefs and values are ours in so many ways that we are wary of questioning his methods lest we be seen as turning our turrets on our own trenches. What’s more, his evident productivity in evangelism is nearly unrivaled, which makes his methods seem sacrosanct, and critically evaluating them taboo.

Rick Warren on Hell with John Piper

Calvinists are starting to grow tired of Piper. Sure, he is the leading the movement of Calvinism becoming mainstream again. But his constant interaction with charismatic and false teachers is questionable. Is he trying to win them over with his association? Or is he secretly wanting to go that route later in life? Only time will tell.

His associations with Rick Warren have been exposed as well. Although I might not consider either of these men to be false teachers, they certainly draw their fair share of critiques.

When pressed about various topics, including salvation, Warren sounds like every other mega-pastor. They promote sound theology with a lot of fluff in-between. That way the listener hears fluff instead of hard hitting theology. Sure individuals may feel away from God when they are spending eternity in Hell. But Hell is also God’s creation. They are there for sinning and not accepting Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior. They did not repent of their sins and follow Him.

Nonetheless, I believe Piper was pressing him on these questions to clear Warren’s name. What Piper is doing in this video is giving Warren a chance to explain himself in this greatly watched YouTube interview.

Rick Warren Associating with Atheists

Sure, we all have atheist friends and family members. Yes, we interact with them. But do we go on national tours and stand next to them in senate meetings? Are we shepherds of God’s flock? No.

Pastors are held to a higher standard than the sheep. Pastors can even expect to be judged more harshly than the sheep because they have more responsibility. So why does Warren insist on crossing the aisle to associate with high ranking Atheists? The answer is still unclear.

“If we kiss, it will be the kiss heard round the world.”

This was a quote taken from Warren while he was in a senate meeting with Elton John. Yes, that Elton John. The homosexual, atheistic singer from across the pond. This quote was picked up by various media personnel that were at the meeting and reported in various articles.

The Daniel Plan

Beneath all the slick marketing and management, you will be able to observe that he works hard to bring in teachers who promote demonic spirituality.

He has recently introduced something he calls the Daniel Plan, which features some doctors who promote, amongst all the healthy living tips, such things as REIKI, EASTERN MEDITATION, and even TANTRIC SEX. These doctors include Dr. Mehmet Oz who recommends Reiki , Dr. Daniel Amen (promoter of Tantric Sex) and Dr. Mark Hyman, another strong advocate for mystical meditation.

Excerpt was pulled from an article at

Saddleback Church is a mega church. Wouldn’t you think he could find various doctors within his congregation to come up with a healthy living plan?

2012 Report on Rick Warren and Homosexuality

Warren has focused a lot of his attention on the outbreak of HIV/AIDS in Africa. To his credit, his church has dedicated millions of dollars to combat this crisis. Warren himself has also donated a great amount of money to this ministry.

But focusing on this issue has focused a lot of attention on the homosexual topic. When pressed on this by a reporter from the Huffington Post, Warren tip toed around it. The quote below is from an article at

“I have many, many gay friends, and have worked around the world with them in gay organizations to try to stop AIDS,” he said. “We’re doing ‘World AIDS Day’ this weekend at Saddleback Church. My wife and I have given millions of dollars to help people with HIV/AIDS and have worked with gay organizations on that.”

“What about the love part, though? I hear about the AIDS part,” asked Hill. “It’s not illegal to love somebody,” Warren replied.

“But you think it’s a sin,” Hill asserted. “No, it’s not a sin to love somebody,” Warren said.

“It might be a sin to have sex with them,” he added. “It might be.”

However, just moments prior, Hill aired a clip from an interview that Warren participated in on Piers Morgan this week, where Warren presented a slightly different answer. He began by responding to the question of whether or not a person can be born homosexual.

Faulty Theology

“I think the jury is still out on that,” he said. “It wouldn’t bother me if there was a ‘gay gene’ found, because here’s what we know about life: I have all kinds of natural feelings in my life, and it doesn’t necessarily mean that I should act on every feeling. … I do not believe that attraction is a sin, but I do believe that some actions are sin.”

Warren stated during his interview with Hill that he believes sex outside of marriage is always sinful, however, and that he obtains his views from the Bible.

“I make no bones about it. I’m an evangelical pastor, so my source of authority is, what does the Bible say about it?” he said. “However, people will have other sources of authority.”

“Or, different readings of the Bible,” Hill injected.

“Or different readings — that’s very true,” Warren agreed.

Later during the interview, when Hill asked Warren if he believes homosexuals will go to Hell, he replied that they will not.

“No, not because they’re gay,” he said. “We go to Hell because we choose to reject the grace of God.”

When Hill asked what happens to a homosexual that accepts Jesus, Warren responded enthusiastically.

“He’s going to Heaven!” he declared. “Without a doubt.”

My Final Verdict on Rick Warren

Do I believe that Warren is in fact a wolf in sheep’s clothing? I still do not know. The above article is very concerning. It may also dispute his claims with Piper on his theology. Sure, Warren is very sound on the core of Christian belief. At least when he was being interviewed by a fellow pastor. It is still unclear if Warren is a true wolf.

Is Warren soft while doing interviews with atheists? Yes. But I believe when writing the books that he did, he truly believed that was the way to go. I believe that he truly wanted to grow churches soundly within the bounds of sound doctrine and teachings. There is no doubt that this movement has had negative effects on Christianity in the west. Churches have been sissified and made a mockery of the gospel. Is this Warren’s fault? Or the fault of his loose teaching? Only time will tell.

God bless