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Warren Panders to Muslim Group, Omits Gospel

"The leader of a Messianic Jewish ministry has written an open letter to mega-church pastor Rick Warren in response to his address to a Muslim group with terrorist connections during its annual convention over the Fourth of July weekend," reports OneNewsNow.

"Warren . . . agreed to appear at the recent convention of the Islamic Society of North America and be part of its main session discussing the convention's theme -- 'Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness.' He told the gathering of 8,000 that 'Muslims and Christians can work together for the common good without compromising my convictions or your convictions.'

"Jan Markell, founder of Olive Tree Ministries, comments on Warren's remarks," according to OneNewsNow:

"I'm sorry, that kind of a 'let's all get along' [solution] is not possible -- and what he needed to do was tell them the truth," she contends. "But that is not what Rick Warren does. He does not tell the truth, at least not when he's outside of his Saddleback Church."

More from "Warren Panders to Muslim Group, Omits Gospel" . . .


It defense of Rick Warren, is it possible that God has put the issues of poverty and fighting AIDS on Warren's heart? Wouldn't that be a gift of mercy from the sovereign Lord himself?

Now, I am not convinced that Rick Warren has compromised the Gospel nor orthodoxy. I mean, "the law is good if one uses it lawfully" (1 Timothy). Perhaps Warren is merely encouraging Muslims to be lawful.

I don't deny that Muslims need to hear the Gospel, for only the Lord Jesus can save anyone from their sins. However, maybe Warren merely felt in this venue that the best thing to do was encourage people to live their lives peacefully (relatively speaking).

While we need to be discerning in all things, we also need to heed the Proverb in our assessments, lest we become 'fault-finders':

He who seeks good finds goodwill, but evil comes to him who searches for it. Proverbs 11:27

I somehow doubt the Muslims invited Warren to present the Gospel at their meeting. I fail to see much difference between Warren speaking to Muslims who are supposedly (allegedly) terrorists and Jesus hanging out with the dregs of society. I don't understand what was compromised by this other than someone's pride. The convention's theme, "Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness" sounds pretty American and Pluralist to me. Isn't that what a civil society is supposed to be?

We are all going to have to give an account for what we've done or failed to do with our lives. Warren's sins may be piled high (like mine) but his accomplishments (by risk-taking) pile is likely going to be higher than many.

The main question you ask is why Rick is speaking at the ISNA conference? While I do not wish to offer an apologia for ISNA, I would refer you to multiple articles that describe the organization’s goals in reaching out to other faiths, including Judaism, and denouncing terrorism (Rabbi Eric Yoffie, the leader of the largest branch of American Judaism, addressed the convention two years ago; also see the AP story on July 1 by Zoll, and stories in the Christian Post, Church Solutions and even the Washington Times in the past week).

What I would like to clarify is Rick’s message and motive. You claim that Rick probably doesn’t have an agenda, but I would like to assert that it is his lifelong agenda that led him to accept the invitation to speak at ISNA. You may have noticed that outside of Saddleback Church, and Rick’s 30 year Purpose Driven Ministry to pastors, he does very little speaking to Christian groups of believers. Instead, he invests his time speaking to groups of unbelievers that most pastors never get the opportunity to share with. He carefully considers the opportunities that God has given him to address these audiences. These are folks that Jesus died for, but would never enter a church to hear the Good News. Jesus said, "It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners." Luke 5:31 (NIV) Rick believes strongly that if you want to actively demonstrate the love of Christ to others as He commands us to, then you have to reach out to a variety of audiences. No one is ever convinced of God’s love by labeling, condemnation, or anger. Rick strongly believes that if we want to behave in a Christ-like example, we must not waste any time judging others (Jesus didn't), but instead, do everything we can to build relationships of love and respect and trust with others.

In our secular culture, there are about a dozen different groups of influencers that we at Saddleback seek to serve and reach out to including those in academics, business, military, sports, health care, media, prisoners, entertainment, other faiths, and government. If we are to fulfill Jesus' Great Commission in the world, we must build bridges to all of these, and more. Just know the goal of every speaking engagement Rick accepts is always the same: The global glory of God. We seek to build bridges of love - from our hearts to hearts of even those we may disagree with - so that Jesus can walk across!

The theme of the session at which Rick will speak is “Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness,? a theme most appropriate for a message on perhaps our country’s most sacred day, Independence Day. Rick will bring a message appropriate to the values of the meaning of this day on what America and all Americans, not just Muslims or Christians, need to maintain our independence. Freedom and independence were at the core of our country’s founders and those who have paid the ultimate sacrifice to protect this country across its history. As a pastor, Rick intimately understands these values, particularly the value of religious freedom, and will fiercely advocate for them unashamedly in front of any audience. But religious freedom means the right to practice the religion of one’s choice regardless of whether or not others agree with a particular religion’s tenets, and the freedom to associate for the common good of all Americans and for those less fortunate than us around the world. That is a value that is not only part of our heritage as Americans, but also a commandment of Jesus Christ.

I appreciate the opportunity to clarify Rick’s appearance before ISNA and would refer you to a recent issue of Rick’s “News and Views? in which he thoroughly discusses why he speaks to a variety of audiences.

If you're interested, here's my take on the whole Rick Warren issue.

My concern is not as much with the terrorism aspect as with the failure to present the Gospel. Along with Rebecca, I encourage you to refer to Warren's "News and Views". In it you will find, not a reasoned defense, but a rant against those who would dare question his presence there.

Actually, Jim, I just visited the link that Rebecca gave and found a very reasoned and measured message from Rick Warren for why he does what he does. I found it biblical, wise and seasoned. I don't know how you can see that as being a "rant" against those who disagree with him. Perhaps his viewpoints are different from yours and that doesn't sit well with you? I encourage you to re-read the link.


“Rant? was probably a poor word choice. The parts about Warren’s blog post that bothered me were his assertions that if people criticize his methodology, they “don’t really understand how much Jesus loves lost people.? And that, “They are more concerned with their own perceived purity that for the salvation of those Jesus died for.? Just because people do not agree with Rick Warren does not make them “religious legalists and self-righteous pundits,? as he insinuates.

His description of Jesus’ and Paul’s “strategy? is misleading at best. In John 6, even Jesus disciples told Him that His teaching was difficult to hear. It was so difficult, in fact, that many of them “turned back and no longer followed Him.? Neither Jesus nor Paul shied away from preaching the whole Gospel—including confronting their listeners with their sin and its consequences. As I pointed out in my post, Acts 17 is a perfect example of Paul’s message to “folks that Jesus died for, but would never enter a church to hear the Good News.?

It is one thing to “associate with unbelievers? and allow them to comfortably remain in their unbelief—even tacitly endorsing their unbelief by building coalitions with them. It is completely another thing to associate with them in the way that Jesus and Paul did. Jesus and Paul continually surrounded themselves with lost people in order to preach the complete Gospel. One example is when Paul preached to Felix and Drusilla in Acts 24. The bridge that he built with them was not a bridge of commonality. He did not spend a lot of time making friends with them and proposing ways that the Christians and Romans could work together to improve the empire. Instead, he boldly preached “righteousness, self-control and the coming judgment.? (Acts 24:25)

In all the reporting of Warren’s presentation to the National Convention of the Islamic Society of North America (including his own) I did not see where he clearly presented the Gospel to them. It took courage for a Christian pastor to even stand before that group, but he missed a tremendous opportunity. By saying that, it does not indicate that I am a religious legalist, a self-righteous pundit, that I am more concerned with my own perceived purity than their salvation, or that I don’t understand how much Jesus really loves lost people.

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