Archive for the ‘Rick Warren’ Category

I’ve been reading various blogs about John Piper’s endorsement of Rick Warren’s false gospel this week. The one thing that stands out to me is that so many people are willing to accept Rick Warren as a “misunderstood” preacher of the gospel just because of John Piper. This is a disturbing trend within those who should know better! They are quick to compromise the truth because they are in love Piper instead of being in love with the Word. Years ago, when Piper endorsed the “cussing” pastor Mark Driscoll, this act should have sent red flags out to all who love sound doctrine, but instead of standing up for the truth those who follow Piper just made excuses. Now we fast forward to today and Piper has endorsed a false teacher as a teacher of the Gospel!

Mark 13:21-23 (NASB) 

21 “And then if anyone says to you, ‘Behold, here is the Christ’; or, ‘Behold, He is there’; do not believe him;
22 for false Christs and false prophets will arise, and will show signs and wonders, in order to lead astray, if possible, the elect.
23 “But take heed; behold, I have told you everything in advance.

Rick Warren is a false teacher and John Piper has become a Judas goat. When will the excuse making stop? When will people who love sound doctrine stand up for the truth and call out John Piper instead of compromising?

2 Timothy 4:1-5 (NASB)
1 I solemnly charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by His appearing and His kingdom:
2 preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort, with great patience and instruction.
3 For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires,
4 and will turn away their ears from the truth and will turn aside to myths.
5 But you, be sober in all things, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.

I simply do not see how people can defend John Piper’s poor judgement in endorsing Rick Warren. I just wag my head when I read other Reformed people defending Piper and Warren. It’s one thing to try to reach out to a person in error, but it’s not right to endorse them as “sound in doctrine” when it’s very clear there are problems. I guess the old excuse of “No Perfect People” pardons Piper for failing to see the dangers Rick Warren presents to the body of Christ. – David J

*I found these videos at Apprising Ministries.

(Online source)

Then in a panel discussion immediately after Warren’s video message for DG 2010 Dr. Piper said:

(Online source)

Finally in piece published online yesterday at the Christianity Astray Today website Dr. John Piper said in his response to the questions below:

(Online source)

My friend and AM correspondent, Daniel Neades of  Better Than Sacrifice, has written Enough! Scripture twisting is not ‘doctrinal and sound’ concerning the message of Rick Warren at DG 2010; and today we were discussing the comments which I highlighted above. I told him I’d been reading again what Dr. Piper has said about Warren, as well as the alleged ”slander” of Rick Warren.

The comment by Dr. Piper, “I think we probably need to work harder at getting him right,” is a little vague. Some I’ve talked to thought Dr. Piper meant “we,” whoever that is, need to make Warren “right” because his pragmatic Church Growth Movement techniques are “wrong.” However, this would then be in contradiction with Dr. John Piper’s view that Rick Warren “is biblical.”

Like I shared with Neades, I think that when Dr. Piper said, “we probably need to work harder at getting him right,” most likely he means: Work harder to get people to understand Warren correctly like Dr. Piper apparently feels he does. And as far as the broad-brush charge of some slander by unnamed sources goes, the following cogent response from Daniel Neades is dead-on-target:

The major problem here is that Rick Warren refuses to engage his critics or defend his ideas. Unless he is willing to argue for, say, his handling of Scripture, there can be no development of the critics’ understanding of his position.

This is not the fault of the critics, who have shown themselves to be very willing to engage; but rather of Warren, who refuses to enter into the conversation.

Thus, the plea to ‘work harder at getting him right’ is misdirected if it is aimed at Warren’s critics. Rather, it must be aimed at Rick Warren himself. If he is misunderstood, let him answer his critics and show that he is actually exegeting Scripture in a faithful way consistent with the historic orthodox Christian faith.

I also pointed out that Dr. Piper seems to be making a distinction between “pragmatists” and Rick Warren (the King pragmatist) by saying, apparently unlike them, Warren does a lot of thinking. Dr. Piper says:

What I wanted to do with Rick is force him to talk about thinking so pragmatists out there can say, “A lot of thinking goes into what he does.” (Online source)

The above reads to me as if Dr. Piper is actually coming to the defense of Rick Warren as opposed to whoever these pragmatists supposedly are. That’s why I believe these comments following from Daniel Neades are also helpful here as well as he brings out, “And thus Dr. John Piper seems to be taking upon himself responsibility for Warren’s errors. That’s not a position I’d want to assume.”

Nor would I.

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He is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways. (James 1:8)

Why Are Evangelical Leaders Silent About Warren’s Sin?

Unfortunately Dr. John Piper made an ill-advised decision to bring in Purpose Driven Pope Rick Warren for the Desiring God Conference 2010 as the keynote speaker. The online apologetics and discernment work Apprising Ministries has been among those who’ve been reporting on Piper Warrengate, which is making some otherwise fragile associations a bit more fragile; especially when one sees who, and what, he’s promoting in Dr. LaVerne Adams And Rick Warren Driven By Destiny?

As another telling example, I have previously showed you Warren’s sinful double mindedness concerning apostate Roman Catholicism in Rick Warren And Purpose Driven Roman Catholics. As one who is myself a former Roman Catholic, whom the Lord graciously delivered from the religious bondage of the Roman Catholic Church into the glorious liberty of the sons of God, I’m going to continue taking issue with Dr. Piper telling us that Rick Warren is “doctrinal and sound.” [1]

Just the other day in Rick Warren Teaching The Law Of Attraction we see, not only has he done the foreward to a book by a positive confession Word Faith flake Dr. LaVerne Adams, who has direct ties to the New Apostolic Reformation, but his own teachings are starting to sound more and more like those of the New Spirituality. That said, in the case of Rick Warren and Roman Catholicism, we begin with an interview for Modern Reformation in 2004 where Warren states, “Theologically, I am a monergist and firmly hold to the five solas of the Reformation.” [2]

With this in mind then I bring to your attention again that Rick Warren has said: “I see absolutely zero reason in separating my fellowship from anybody.” [3] Now consider the following from a USA Today piece from July of 2003:

Warren is part of the ultra-conservative Southern Baptist Convention, and all his senior staff sign on to the SBC’s doctrines, such as the literal and infallible Bible and exclusion of women as senior pastors. Yet Warren’s pastor-training programs welcome Catholics, Methodists, Mormons, Jews and ordained women. (Online source, emphasis mine)

There have been those who’ve attempted to refute the above statement saying the reporter erred; but Christian apologist Chris Rosebrough has documented that, the very week this USA article in question was released, it was even advertised on Warren’s website. [4] For the sake of argument though, let’s leave out “Warren’s pastor-training programs” with “Methodists, Mormons, Jews”; the problem doesn’t go away. For you see, we’re still told that he is/was training Roman Catholic churches, which according to Reformation theology—which Warren says he believes—are preaching another gospel. [5]

Here’s what Rick Warren believes about the Roman Catholic Church, which long ago placed its anathema upon the very Gospel of Jesus Christ:

“I am talking about the fact that about a hundred years ago, Christianity split into two wings… The small group structure is the structure of renewal in every facet of Christianity — including Catholicism.” (Online source, emphasis mine)

“Now I don’t agree with everything in everybody’s denomination, including my own. I don’t agree with everything that Catholics do or Pentecostals do, but what binds us together is so much stronger than what divides us,” he said. “I really do feel that these people are brothers and sisters in God’s family. I am looking to build bridges with the Orthodox Church, looking to build bridges with the Catholic Church,….” (Online source, emphasis mine)

“Most readers will be surprised to learn that the largest international network is…the Christian Church. The Church, in all its expressions—Catholic, Evangelical, Pentecostal, Protestant and many others—has 2.3 billion followers.” (Online source, emphasis mine)

In Rick Warren Awards Purpose Driven Roman Catholics you see that at “the 2006 Purpose Driven Church conference” Warren actually presented a “Church Health Award” to Family of God Church of Tacloban, Philippines; its “denomination” we’re told is “Roman Catholic.” Because this Roman Catholic church used Purpose Driven methods, even though they went about “evangelizing” with the false gospel of the Roman Catholicism, it would be given one of Rick Warren’s 2006 Church Health Awards. [6]

How could an organization that doesn’t preach the Gospel even be considered a “church” in the first place; let alone a healthy one. And so, the question now before us is: Which Rick Warren do we believe?


1. As cited, accessed 7/13/10.
2., accessed 7/13/10.
3., accessed 7/13/10.
4., accessed 7/13/10.
5. Interesting to note here that in Galatians 1:6-9 the Apostle Paul advocates breaking fellowship with people such as this; and not training them how to potentially make more converts to their false gospel.
6., accessed 7/13/10.

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The Lord chose to raise up Apprising Ministries as an online apologetics and discernment work; as such, it’s a large part on my mission here to cover trends developing within the church visible. Unfortunately we live in a time where, in my opinion, a tsunami of apostasy—likely driven by 1 Peter 4:17 judgments—is rapidly heading toward the mainstream of, largely pretending to be Protestant, evangelicalism. Sadly, we’re watching the Reformation being undone as more and more people embrace corruptContemplative Spirituality/Mysticism (CSM); particularly within the neo-liberal cult of the sinfully ecumenical Emerging Church.

One of the trends developing as the above happens is a neo-Reformed new Calvinism, which I touched upon recently e.g. in Mark Driscoll And Neo-Reformed New Calvinist Contemplative Spirituality. As I said in recent posts such as Acts 29 Network And Reformed Counter Reformation Spirituality? and Acts 29 Pastor Matt Chandler On Being A Reformed Charismatic, in my estimation, there’s very good reason for concern as these people are rapidly growing in popularity, and in influence within the younger sector of the Reformed Camp; blessed as they are byDr. John Piper, who’s seen by some as a “pioneer” of this New Calvinism. [1]

Now I will tell you that I’m really not very familiar with Dr. Piper as he’s never been my cup of tea; it’s not that I’d thought badly of his ministry, it simply wasn’t one that I felt led to follow. As I recall, one of the first posts in which I ever mentioned Dr. Piper was Doug Pagitt, John Piper, And Karma Kick-Back where heretical universalist Emergent Church pastor Doug Pagitt, part of the Emergent trinity along with his progressive theologian in residence Tony Jones and EC guru Brian McLaren, takes issue with Dr. Piper’s views of the Emerging Church and its new “big tent” progressive/liberal Emergence Christianity.

A couple of days later I would write Rick Warren To Be Featured At Desiring God 2010 where I was among the few who broke the story that Dr. Piper had made the ill-advised decision to invite Leadership Network’s propped-up Purpose Driven Pope Rick Warren to DG 2010 as a keynote speaker. Then, as I shared in Rick Warren Doctrinal And Sound?, unfortunately it got even worse when Dr. Piper decided to defend his decision:

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

So whether one even knows it or not, Warrengate is now still slowly simmering; Dr. Piper’s choice here has had the rippling effect of people, even outside of any discernment ministries, beginning to look a little closer at his theology, educational background, and associations; e.g. his charismatic bent, Fuller Theological Seminary, and the late Ralph Winter. To give you a peek into how someone like myself becomes aware of some of these issues, I received a tip from a source; as I followed up on it, it would eventually lead me to discover some disturbing information that I am going to begin sharing below.

It really becomes all the more necessary when I was sent a link today to a book review by Dr. Gary Gilley, pastor of Southern View Chapel, of Dr. Piper’s When I Don’t Desire God; in it Dr. Gilley brings out his own concerns with some of the theology of Dr. John Piper:

• Finally, Piper quotes favorably from a very disturbing stable of authors: Dietrich Bonhoeffer (popular liberal theologian, who, by the way, was executed not for his faith in Christ, but for his part in an assassination attempt on Adolf Hitler) (p. 90), Dallas Willard (leader in the unbiblical spiritual formation movement) (p. 119), G.K. Chesterton (Roman Catholic author) (p. 196), and Richard Foster (father and main promoter of the infiltration of Roman Catholic mysticism into evangelical circles) (pp. 192-193). He also speaks twice of the “dark night of the soul” which comes from counter-reformation Catholic mystic St. John of the Cross (pp. 217, 229).

Most disturbing is Foster’s quote calling for “new prophets to arise in our day” to which Piper responds, “And when they arise, one way that we fight for joy in God is to read what they write” (p. 193). After authoring a book which majors on pointing us to the Bible in our fight for joy, it is disconcerting to now read of an encouragement to read the words of modern prophets; and coming from Foster’s perspective and Piper’s theology on prophets, they are both referring to extrabiblical revelation through present-day prophets).
(Online source)

Most disturbing is right; you know e.g. from Steve Gladen, Saddleback Church Small Groups, And Quaker Mystic Spirituality and Saddleback Church, Rick Warren, And Spiritual Disciplines that the Emerging Church would end up being a Trojan Horse that squishy evanjellyfish leaders would bring right into their own camp as the vehicle from which this spurious CSM spirituality, which is a romanticized version of the Counter (hello) Reformation spirituality of the apostate Roman Catholic Church—which they’ve been pawning off for years as so-called Spiritual Formation—would be unloaded.

I’ve also pointed out that it’s an incontrovertible fact the main purveyors of CSM would be the Living Spiritual Teacher and Quaker mystic Richard Foster, along with Southern Baptist minister Dallas Willard; who many people don’t seem to realize is quite literally Foster’s spiritual twin and teaches the same things. And I’ve also told you, in no uncertain terms, that it’s well past time for evangelical leaders to begin recognizing the inclusive, and increasingly universal, fruit of this spiritual skubalon of Foster-Willardism. So now you have the backdrop upon which to see what I am going to show you; and it just may also shed some more light upon what I already showed you above.

First of all, if you don’t know, Bethlehem Baptist Church (BBC) is where Dr. John Piper is listed as “Vocational Elder; Pastor for Preaching & Vision; Chancellor, Bethlehem College and Seminary.” [2] Under Resources at the BBC website we find the Library, and then at the bottom of that page under Linkswe find the Online catalog. Notice above that Dr. Gilley correctly expressed concern that Dr. Piper “quotes favorably from a very disturbing stable of authors”; two of which are leading proponents, and personal practitioners of, Quaker—and refried Roman Catholic—mysticism; and in addition, both Foster and Willard are hostile to Reformation theology.

Have you stopped to think, if someone knows another’s work well enough to be familiar with it in order to favorably quote from it, they are indeed reading it. The question is: What could a Calvinist holding to the doctrines of grace of Reformation theology learn about proper Christian spirituality from a Quaker mystic whose own prolonged practice of spurious CSM has led him into the sinful ecumenicism of, contra Reformation, considering the apostate Roman Catholic Church—which Dr. John MacArthur calls a front for Satan—as a genuine expression of the Christian faith; even though she long ago placed her anathema on the very Gospel itself?

The main vehicle for CSM is corrupt Contemplative/Centering Prayer (CCP); a type of meditation in an altered state of consciousness, which itself is a form of neo-Gnosticism that flowered in the antibiblical monastic traditions of apostate Roman Catholicism. I’ve also showed you that Foster’s “Christian” message, which is also the fruit of his own practice of CSM, is now so drastically diluted that he’s even listed as one of the gurus at something called the Living Spiritual Teachers Project. Over at the interspiritual website Spirituality & Practice you will find this Quaker mystic included; and since when were Quakers ever evangelical Protestants?

But there is Richard Foster listed right alongside such false religious teachers as Deepak Choprathe Dalai LamaEmergent Church EC guru Brian McLarenThich Nhat HanhEckhart Tolle, and Marianne Williamson. Do you think there’s any chance whatsoever that the aforementioned Dr. John MacArthur would ever find himself listed there; well, maybe about the time ice skates become standard issue in Hell. But I’m sorry to have to inform you it now gets worse concerning Dr. Piper. Look at the following one finds in the Bethlehem Baptist Church library as we search online. Richard Foster, Prayer Finding the Heart’s True Home:

(Online source)

Here, from my personal copy, is a little sample of what we learn about “prayer” from guru Foster:

Contemplative Prayer immerses us into the silence of God. How desperately we in the modern world need this wordless baptism… Contemplative Prayer is the one discipline that can free us from our addiction to words. Progress in intimacy with God means progress toward silence… It is recreating silence to which we are called in Contemplative Prayer…

A Warning And A Precaution

At the outset I need to give a word of warning,… Contemplative Prayer is not for the novice. I do not say this about any other form of prayer… Contemplative prayer is for those who have exercised their spiritual muscles a bit and know something about the landscape of the spirit. In fact, those who work in the area of spiritual direction always look for signs of a maturing faith before encouraging individuals into Contemplative Prayer…

I also want to give a word of precaution. In the silent contemplation of God we are entering deeply into the spiritual realm, and there is such a thing as a supernatural guidance. While the Bible does not give us a lot of information on that, there are various orders of spiritual beings, and some of them are definitely not in cooperation with God and his way! … But for now I want to encourage you to learn and practice prayers of protection. [3]

As I pointed out elsewhere, this couldn’t be clearer that what we’re actually dealing with here is a new form of Gnosticism. Can you see; above we have the “initiated” and “enlightened” ones who are the superior Christians, as they “work in the area of spiritual direction” (when was this ever part of Protestant practice), and then they are looking for those disciples “who have excercised their spiritual muscles” enough for initiation because this CCP—even though necessary for “intimacy with God—still “is not for” every Christian. This is a return to Romanist religious bondage; and an asceticism-lite form of Pietism.

It seems peculiar to me that Dr. Piper would wish his flock to be exposed to Foster’s foolishness. Then there’s Foster’s clone Dallas Willard and his own ode to asceticism Spirit of the Disciplines: Understanding How God Changes Lives:

(Online source)

Pastor Bob DeWaay performed a thorough, and biblical, dismantling of Willard’s twisting of God’s Word in his excellent Critical Issues Commentary article The Dangers of Spiritual Formation and Spiritual Disciplines: A Critique of Dallas Willard and The Spirit of the Disciplines; so here I’ll simply give you DeWaay’s conclusion as he completely blows up the central pillar upon which Foster-Willardism rests:

The spiritual disciplines are not taught in Matthew 11:29, 30 (Willard’s primary proof test), and even Willard admits they cannot be found elsewhere in scripture… As with most unbiblical approaches, the spiritual disciplines are based on the idea of innate human powers that can be harnessed for good. Holding a false concept of sin as a “disruption of that higher [spiritual] life,” Willard looks for a solution through finding our true potential, individually and corporately, through spiritual disciplines that will enable us to reconstruct the rule of God now

Starting with a serious misinterpretation of Matthew 11:29, 30, Dallas Willard built his entire system on the idea that Jesus’ “yoke” consists of various spiritual disciplines. The issue in Matthew 11 was Messianic salvation—finding true Sabbath rest in Christ rather than following meticulous religious rules decreed by the Scribes and Pharisees. The idea of practicing spiritual disciplines was imported to the text, not found there.

We live in an age of mysticism. People lust for spiritual reality and spiritual experiences. The danger is that unbiblical practices will give people a real spiritual experience, but not from God. (Online source, emphasis mine)

Notice the quasi-dominionism these debunked spiritual disciplines are supposed to enable us to start to accomplish; and now we consider that in the BBC library Online catalog we find five books from former professor of Church Growth at Fuller Theological Seminary School of World Mission C. Peter Wagner, including his infamous Third Wave of the Holy Spirit Encountering the Power of Signs and Wonders:

(Online source)

Christian apologist Sandy Simpson has collected some informative articles concerning C. Peter Wagner at his fine Deception In The Church website [4]; so for now I’ll just tell you that “C. Peter Wagner [is]Convening Apostle of the International Coalition of Apostles” [5], one of the spiritually nefariousKansas City Prophets, and “has long held to the heretical Latter Rain position.” [6] Again it would seem rather odd for Dr. Piper to appeal to a false prophet for teaching concerning “spiritual warfare” [7] and to actually encourage his flock to read his warped works [8]. Sadly, since Dr. Piper made his error of inviting Rick Warren to DG 2010, more questions are now arising.

In closing this, for now, let’a consider that Dr. John Piper and C. Peter Wagner were both quite taken with the late “mission engineer” Ralph Winter [9]; each associated with Fuller Theological Seminary, and as you can see in Influences: Rick Warren And C. Peter Wagner Of New Apostolic Reformation, it was Wagner who was Rick Warren’s mentor when Warren “wrote his doctoral dissertation at Fuller Seminary on his church growth ideas.” Now we remember when Dr. Piper said in his defense of the Warren invitation, “I just think he could put me to shame with his aggressively, in-your-life, transformative discipling of his church.” [10]

And we’re told that Dr. Piper met Rick Warren at Ralph Winter’s funeral; as we stop and consider all of the above, another question comes emerging: Could it be they all already had much more in common than we even knew?


[1], accessed 6/16/10.
[2], accessed 6/16/10.
[3] Richard Foster, Prayer: Finding The Heart’s True Home [New York: Harper Collins, 1997], 155, 156, 157.
[4], accessed 6/16/10.
[5], accessed 6/16/10.
[7], accessed 6/16/10.
[8], accessed 6/16/10.
[9], accessed 6/16/10.
[10], accessed 6/16/10.

We here at DefCon (as well as our brothers and sisters at other sites, such as Ken Silva and Ingrid Schlueter) use the written Word of God as the rule and basis for everything we believe about God and how one is to worship Him. For that, we are constantly accused of being “Pharisees” by those who would lead the Body of Christ away from the clear teachings of Scripture, and into areas which are questionable (at best) and/or heretical (at worst).

Well, here’s my question–what exactly does it mean to be a “Pharisee”? Are we justly accused as Pharisees by the Seeker-Driven™/Purpose-Driven™, “Let’s all just get along in unity” church-goer who does not dare speak for fear that it may offend someone? Or is there a more accurate description of a Pharisee? Let us examine the issue.(source)

Please visit Defending.Contending to read the rest of this well written article that explains from the Bible the characteristics of a Pharisee.

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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From the very beginning the online apologetics and discernment ministry Apprising Ministries has been covering the slowly simmering Warrengate opened Dr. John Piper has made the ill-advised decision to bring Purpose Driven Pope Rick Warren into the Desiring God Conference 2010 as the keynote speaker.

Today I was made aware of a very good commentary on this sad subject by Todd Friel at the Facebook page of Wretched Radio. He begins:

How many people have been deeply wounded because of The Purpose Driven Church? If I were a betting man, I would guess millions have been driven from their beloved church because of the writings of Rick Warren.

That is the second reason I absolutely hate the decision made by a man I love to invite Rick Warren to speak at the Desiring God Conference in the fall of this year.

As Purpose has seduced over 300,000 pastors (that is not a guess) to leave the Jesus Model and follow the Rick Model, faithful sheep have been forced out of their church by their shepherd to make room for the goats. Devastating.

If you are one of those people, I am very, very sorry that one of the men who probably served as an anchor during your storm has seen fit to use his national conference to figure out how Rick Warren ticks. Frankly, we know how Rick Warren ticks. He may have file cabinet orthodoxy, but his public works are nothing short of lethal… (Online source)

You can read the rest of this commentary right here.

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The online apologetics and discernment work Apprising Ministries continues to keep you updated on Warrengate since Dr. John Piper suffered a lapse in judgment by inviting Purpose Driven Pope Rick Warren to be a keynote speaker at the Desiring God Conference 2010. Frank Turk’s snark aside, not everyone gets it.

In his Coming Soon – The John Piper And Rick Warren Controversy Cameron Buettel, a name familiar to AM, weighs in:

When John Piper invited Rick Warren to be a keynote speaker at the 2010 Desiring God Conference, we could feel the explosion in the blogosphere from as far away as Denmark… I would ask that we would operate out of zeal for avoiding bringing reproach on Christ’s Name, out of zeal for the furtherance of the Gospel, and out of love for John Piper’s ministry which has abundantly blessed many of us.

What I would ask is that you watch the video below and privately express your concerns to Dr Piper by sending your e-mails to… (Online source)

You can see the video and read the rest of what Buettel says right here. For me, in addition to Warren’s sinful and double-minded ecumenicsm, my concern with chameleon-like Rick Warren is what pastor Bob DeWaay calls Warren’s “file cabinet orthodoxy.” By this DeWaay means:

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. [1]

No doubt Rick Warren’s welcome to his views; but that’s the heart of the matter, what are they? For example, I’m a former Roman Catholic whom God saved by His grace alone; through faith alone; in the finished work of Christ alone on the Cross, and through nothing I have done brought me into the glorious freedom of the sons of God.

As the Lord would will, I would later go on to become an ordained Southern Baptist minister, as is Rick Warren. So Warren’s stance on the apostate Church of Rome, which condemned the very Gospel of Jesus Christ itself in its answer to the Reformers at the RCC Council of Trent, has very personal meaning to me.

Imagine my confusion, as I touched on before in Rick Warren Is Whatever He Needs To Be, when I read in a 2004 interview of Rick Warren by Modern Reformation:

Theologically, I am a monergist and firmly hold to the five solas of the Reformation. (Online source)

Yet a year later I read from a 2005 report on Rick Warren by Pittsburgh Post-Gazette:

“Now I don’t agree with everything in everybody’s denomination, including my own. I don’t agree with everything that Catholics do or Pentecostals do, but what binds us together is so much stronger than what divides us,” he said. “I really do feel that these people are brothers and sisters in God’s family. I am looking to build bridges with the Orthodox Church, looking to build bridges with the Catholic Church,….” (Online source, emphasis mine)

And now Dr. John Piper tells me of Rick Warren:

Well I put my cards totally on the table here, um I have invited Rick Warren to come to the Desiring God National Conference this fall. And he’s coming. Now I will get a lot of criticism for this from my Reformed brothers, because…not because Rick Warren is openly non calvinistic or non reformed.

I do think he’s deeply theological. He’s a brilliant man. He wouldn’t have the church he does or the Peace Plan, or all the influence he does… (as cited Online source)

But since when has the view that the Roman Catholic Church is “in God’s family” ever been consistent with Reformation theology; its man-made dogma repudiates each of the five solas of the Reformation? And so I find myself asking again: Which Rick Warren am I supposed to believe?


1., accessed 4/13/10.

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Unfortunately well-respected evangelical pastor Dr. John Piper exhibited a real error in judgment by inviting Dr. Rick Warren who, because of bullying tactics so often used in hostile Purpose Driven Church takeovers I refer to as The Purpose Driven Pope [1], to be the keynote speaker at the Desiring God Conference 2010. This is now slowly opening up a bit of a Warrengate across the blogosphere as more and  more people find out; and as more of the big “names” within evangelicalism start to weigh in.

Apprising Ministries has been keeping you apprised as to it all as best I can; however up until now, I’ve also chosen not to offer much personal comment on Warrengate. All I’ve said is Rick Warren’s heretical in, at least, his double-minded stance concerning the Roman Catholic Church. And I chose that issue carefully because while Warren can possibly hide in the weeds concerning his PDC methods, or his chameleon-like teachings, or his seemingly man-centered pragmatism, he has absolutely nowhere to hide from his sinful embrace of the Church of Rome as being “in God’s family.” [2]

Dr. James White of Alpha & Omega Ministries, whom I have much respect for and link on my front page, provides me a very nice lead-in for sharing a couple of my personal concerns about Dr. John Piper’s discernment, which I’ll do below as this post develops. In Warren/Piper, Peter Lumpkins, Corey the Anti-Christian Apologist, and More, on Today’s DL! Dr. White gives us the link to his April 8 edition of The Dividing Line. At the outset of this DL program Dr. White said he counted himself among those people who were “surprised” that Dr. Piper would have extended such an invitation.

He explains that he hasn’t really made it a point of his own labor in the Lord to discuss and/or follow the ministry of Rick Warren. Dr. White tells us that’s why he feels, “I really haven’t spent the time that would be necessary to be able to document what I’m talking about” concerning Rick Warren. And so, as he prepares to play a clip from the interview conducted by Chris Arnzen on his Iron Sharpens Iron radio program with Dr. White’s friend Phil Johnson of Grace to You and Pyromaniacs, he says emphatically: “I agree with this guy.” [3]

Following the clip, where Phil Johnson covers much of what he would later say in his well-written post On the Warren-Piper Connection yesterday, Dr. White added a couple of his own concerns. He tells us, “It’s not that Rick Warren teaches specific areas of heresy; the problem with Rick Warren is what he doesn’t say, it’s not what he does say—it’s what he doesn’t say.” Dr. White mentions, in his view, Warren’s message is “an imbalanced presentation of the Gospel”; and further:

It is not challenging; it is not complete. It doesn’t call for the kind of radical transformation of life and world-view, that would be so offensive in our culture today. And as a result, the entire methodology of ministry that flows from it is fundamentally flawed.

I don’t know how that even works… I was at a church that had 20,000 members, one time. And, in every situation, what happens is, small churches develop within the larger church; because there is no way one man—or one group of men—can pastor 85,000 people.

He did say something—I’d never heard this—and I haven’t taken the time to check this out, but he said that he had seen some evidence that Saddleback remains the largest church [with] 85,000 members.

What Dr. White said above is very important in light of Dr. Piper’s video defense of his invitation of Rick Warren. We’re can be thankful my friend pastor Rob Willmann made the time to transcribe it. Dr. White correctly tells us that Rick Warren’s Gospel presentation is “imbalanced”; “not complete,” nor does it “call for [a] kind of radical transformation of life and world-view.” So as a result, Warren’s “entire methodology of ministry” i.e. the Purpose Driven paradigm “that flows from it is fundamentally flawed.” And yet unfortunately Dr. Piper would want us to believe that:

Practically, and here I just think he could put me to shame with his aggressively, in-your-life, transformative discipling of his church. Uh, they have a membership covenant that you have to sign, and it is really rigorous and there are no inactive members… (Online source)

Dr. White goes on to mention Warren’s type of ministry is “gospel-lite”; all of which should bring up this question: If Rick Warren is willing to endorse the gospel of the Roman Catholic Church as Christian, and if his own gospel presentation isn’t “complete,” then are we really dealing with large numbers of genuine believers whom Rick Warren’s supposedly putting us “to shame with his aggressively, in-your-life, transformative discipling of his church”? Not likely; and just where is the legalistic idea of some “membership covenant” found in the text of Scripture?

And then in his DL program Dr. White brings up Dr. Piper’s reasons for inviting Rick Warren and tells us, “He wants to see what makes [Rick Warren] tick.” Dr. White suggests that this might better be done, for example, “over dinner” rather than to “expose everybody who comes to your big, major conference.” This leads Dr. White to discuss how Rick Warren made it a point to tell Dr. Piper of his being “17 volumes into reading Jonathan Edwards, all the Yale volumes of Jonathan Edwards.”

As impressive as that may be, Dr. White’s rhetorical question to Rick Warren is the same one I have, “Then why is there so little evidence of Jonathan Edwards’ preaching of the Gospel in your ministry? That’s the point.” The other day pastor Bob DeWaay, Senior Pastor of Twin City Fellowship and author of the excellent book Redefining Christianity: Understanding the Purpose-Driven Movement, was on the Crosstalk program, which is hosted by Ingrid Schlueter. As they discussed Warrengate DeWaay talked about the “file cabinet orthodoxy” of Rick Warren.

DeWaay explains of this kind of profession:

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]

Dr. White, using Phil Johnson’s concerns in the aforementioned ISI clip, next points outs that “no matter what” transpires “people are going to look at this and go: ‘Hey, if Rick Warren can be invited to Desiring God, then that must mean the mechanisms that he uses in ministry just aren’t that seriously bad.’” Dr. White then says, “From Phil’s perspective, that’s a complete undermining of the Together 4 the Gospel, which is constantly emphasizing of preaching the entire Gospel—all of the Gospel—and living in light of it.”

We can certainly agree with Dr. White when he reminds us that, “John Piper gets to decide who he invites to a conference.” However he also informs us, “I’ve heard lots and lots of stories about stuff that John Piper’s done in the past. He takes on the mantle of a prophet; and he’s not afraid to tell you what he thinks; he’s very straight forward.” If so, then Dr. Piper shouldn’t be afraid of hearing what someone else thinks as well. As Dr. White tells us, “That’s just John Piper; that’s what you get. He’s gonna mix things up; and he’s gonna challenge you.”

Fair enough; however, as much as Dr. Piper has done for the church, and the respect that he’s earned, there is more than enough reason here—with his opening up Warrengate—to question the discernment of this man who would take “on the mantle of a prophet” of the one true and living God. As Dr. White finishes up his comments concerning Warrengate he critiques the “hope” of “a bunch of people” that there’s some genuine, and actual, change in Rick Warren’s teachings; i.e the wish ”that he would move more toward a biblical, and sound, and complete, pattern of ministry.”

But as Dr. White the goes on to correctly point out, whenever the leadership of these “big, huge churches” try and move back toward a biblically sound pattern of ministry “they no longer remain big, huge churches.” Here I would offer that someone as learned as Dr. Rick Warren is very well aware of this fact. You can download and listen to Dr. White’s The Dividing Line right here. And finally, now I’ll point you to the following insightful thoughts from my friend, and fellow Christian Research Network contributor, Lane Chaplin that will prove quite helpful here.

In his My Cards on the Table Regarding the Warren/Piper Situation Chaplin addresses “giving Piper the benefit of the doubt” because he may have some hidden, and positive, reason for doing so:

People have said that they’re giving Piper the benefit of the doubt in this situation because they don’t know what he’s bringing Warren to the conference for exactly.

The people who employ this rationale have adopted, in my estimation, “the apologetic of unsubstantiated optimism.” In this view, it doesn’t matter what a person has already said regarding the issue, what matters is what you hope happens in the future.

That’s what determines this person’s train of thought. “The apologetic of substantiated fact” is irrelevant and is very often completely omitted from even a comment unless it’s some passing comment dealing with things the person has done favorably in the past.

I’m wondering if the people who are endorsing the former apologetic have seen the two videos where Piper explains why he’s inviting Warren. Here is maybe my most discomforting concern regarding this issue: Piper says that he invited Warren to the conference because John Piper believes (as he states) that Rick Warren is a sound teacher.

This is the truly mind boggling thing for me… (Online source)

Lane’s entire post is well worth the read containing a well-reasoned discussion concerning issues surrounding the sad state of Warrengate.


1. For more I refer you to Dan Southerland And Cult-Like Hostile Takeover Tactics Of Purpose-Driven/Seeker-Driven Church Transitioning.
2., accessed 4/11/10.
3., accessed 4/11/10.
4., accessed 4/11/10.

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