This online apologetics and discernment workApprising Ministries has been among those who’ve been reporting on an ill-advised decision by Dr. John Piper to bring Purpose Driven Pope Rick Warren into the Desiring God Conference 2010 as the keynote speaker. Unfortunately, it got even worse when Dr. Piper defended his decision; and so, Warrengate is now slowly simmering:

At root I think [Rick Warren] is theological and doctrinal and sound. (as cited Online source)

Along this line of being “doctrinal and sound” I point you to a good post called Gospel Trouble With Rick Warren by Aaron Gardner today at his …a great work… blog. Gardner begins:

More aches in the house of Warren, which most know as Saddleback Church in southern California.  The dust is still settling from Warrengate and the Jonas Brothers concert this year’s Easter Sunday worship service, and he still does not seem to have a basic understanding of what the Gospel is… (Online source)

Gardner goes on to do a good job showing a few errors in Warren’s man-centered, and counter Reformed theology, teachings using a couple of recent tweets by Rick Warren. Oddly enough, the first to comment on Gardner’s post turns out to be Frank Turk, who blogs with Phil Johnson at the very well-respectedPyromaniacs blog. Turk tells Gardner that he’s not Warren’s “apologist or cheerleader”; however, he sure has been coming to his defense lately:

I think there’s a lot of room to cut Rick Warren some slack. I’m not his apologist or cheerleader — I think he could be a lot more robust and clear about the things he does — but at the same time I’m not sure it’s completely useful to make him into a Gospel-changer because he thinks that a Gospel without real-life consequences is not the Gospel. (Online source)

The problem for men like Frank Turk is that there’s plenty of evidence showing Rick Warren is notoriously slippery as to what he actually believes. But you see, Frank Turk is not going to listen to someone like me because I’m with one of the new lepers becoming known now as “discernment ministries.” [1] Well then, let’s consider the following from Jeffery L. Sheler, who “spent 24 years reporting for U.S. News & World Report, including 15 years as the religion editor.” [2]

One can hardly call Sheler, who also authored the book Prophet of Purpose: The Life of Rick Warren, an ODM. In Rick Warren: ‘What on earth is he here for?’, which is his interview with Church Executive this month, even Sheler gives us cause for concern about the methodology of Rick Warren when he speaks of Warren’s:

calculated efforts to expand his circle of influence. That was new to me, and I learned about it only by talking with some of Warren’s former associates. He himself characterizes it entirely as “a God thing” that simply fell into his lap… (Online source, emphasis mine)

Those “calculated efforts” would appear to be in line with something Dr. Michael Horton, who in no way, shape, or form, could be considered an ODM, said recently about the chameleon-like Rick Warren so often exhibits:

Pastor Warren tailors his appeals to his audience.  To Calvinists, he stresses his support for the “solas” of the Reformation.  Yet he tells prosperity evangelist David Yonggi Cho, “I’ve read your books on Vision and Dreams – speak to pastors about how you hear the voice of the Holy Spirit?…What advice would you give to a brand new minister?…Do you think American churches should be more open to the prayer for miracles?” (“Breakfast With David Yonggi Cho And Rick Warren,”

In a June 2006 article in, editor-in-chief Rob Eshman reported on a speech that Warren gave for Synagogue 3000, after Rabbi Ron Wolfson became involved in the Purpose-Driven pastoral training seminars. “Warren managed to speak for the entire evening without once mentioning Jesus — a testament to his savvy message-tailoring.”

When USA Today asked him why Mormon and Jewish leaders are involved in his pastoral training programs, Rick Warren reportedly said, “I’m not going to get into a debate over the non-essentials.  I won’t try to change other denominations.  Why be divisive?” (USA Today, July 21, 2003).  Rick Warren endorses a host of books, from New Age authors to Emergent writers to conservative evangelicals.  So why not include Calvinists?… (Michael Horton on Rick Warren, Modern Reformation, and Desiring God)

And then there’s pastor Bob DeWaay, author of Redefining Christianity: Understanding the Purpose Driven Life Movement, the best refutation of Rick Warren’s synergistic people-pleasing pragmatism I’ve seen. DeWaay, who also has the excellent Critical Issues Commentary ministry, is also not a “discernment ministry” [3]; and he has personally met with Rick Warren. On a recent Crosstalk program, hosted by Ingrid Schlueter, DeWaay spoke about what he calls the “file cabinet orthodoxy” of Rick Warren.

DeWaay explains:

You stick it in a file cabinet, and someone questions you about it, you pull it and show [it to] them. Then you put it back in there; but it really doesn’t influence what you do, how you write, how you preach, how you speak. And it’s not very useful orthodoxy. [4]

I don’t know about you, but I’m not hearing reasons why we should be making ”room to cut Rick Warren some slack”; and especially so when we consider his sinful ecumenicism in considering the apostate Roman Catholic Church, whose own anathema remains upon the very Gospel of Jesus Christ itself, a Christian denomination. And, because the Church of Rome preaches another gospel, here we don’t have to ”make [Rick Warren] into a Gospel-changer; for you see, in his accepting Rome’s non-gospel as valid, Rick Warren’s done that all by himself.


1., accessed 5/5/10.
2., accessed 5/5/10.
3.  For the detractors of online apologetics and discernment ministry it’s important for the to include the quotation marks; because those of us in the “ODM world,” quite obviously, could never be as “erudite and “astute as they are.
4., accessed 5/5/10.

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  1. Ken Silva says:

    Hey David,

    Thanks for picking this up. 🙂

  2. David J Horn says:

    I’m glad to help you spread the truth my friend.

    Thanks for being a Berean. 🙂


  3. Acidri says:

    Rick Warren is like two people in the Bible. The rich young ruler who met Jesus and man surprises every one by saying he has kept every one of the commandments”from his youth”. And there for can be called ‘good’ like God…Jesus indeed looks at him and loves him-knowing how self righteous he was he tests him on the first commandment which also tagged onto the second commandment and in a blink of an eye the young man had dishonoured(fifth) his mother and father by lying (ninth) and realising the shame of it all he walks away sorrowful-having failed a simple test in humility. On the other hand he reminds me of a guy called Demus who Paul described as having abandoned the things of God because he fell in love with the world. If these two people in the bible were ever one person -then i would not be surprised because Rick is the modern day equivalent. Rick is more catholic than the Pope. He will become anything to appease any one-either jewish, muslims, new ager, hindus , christians or pagans but he never proclaims the gospel of Christ…

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