Why Does Rick Warren Need to Defend His Interfaith Efforts with Muslims?

rick-warren.jpg
Saddleback Church Pastor Rick Warren
It's called interfaith: different religious groups converging to recognize their common values and bridge the gap of misunderstandings, usually accompanied by tea and cookies.

But some groups have a difficult time doing it, unlike Saddleback Church, which is possibly the only evangelical gathering committed to interfaith work. An Orange County Register article from late February detailed the church's effort to build bridges with the local Muslim community; one of those efforts included an informal Bible study where Muslims and Christians drafted a document outlining the commonalities between the two religions. Anti-Saddleback evangelicals, whose numbers are legion, turned the outreach issue controversial, painting Rick Warren as little better than a closet Muslim. Purpose-Driven® Rick went on the offensive against the Register, whom he said got the story wrong.

In his response, Warren cited multiple errors, claiming Saddleback has no partnerships with mosques, isn't trying to evangelize among local Muslims, doesn't believe in the same God as Muslims, and hasn't gone halal in its cafeteria menu (the last one isn't true, but you get the point). Warren later claimed that a partnership is different from friendship, and of course, his whole mission is to evangelize all people and that the Register got its facts wrong about "King's Way"--the "theological document" with Muslims that got evangelicals all riled up. But nowhere in the Reg article is there evidence that "King's Way" suggests Muslims and Christians wanted to forge a new way of religion called 'Chrislam,' as some evangelicals had suggested.

How a document noting the similarities between Christianity and Islam sparked controversy among evangelicals and a furious backtrack by Warren is mind-boggling. Why Warren felt the need to rectify "misrepresentations" of his church's interfaith efforts adds to the confusion. That interfaith with any religious group in 21st-century America still needs justification is disheartening at best.

I heard Rick Warren speak at the 2008 Muslim Public Affairs Council convention. His speech was not very different from the sermons of imams I hear at Friday prayers in the mosque--thoughtful, emotional and uplifting. It was easy to understand why his church attracted many followers. There, I felt little difference between him and me, on a spiritual level at least.

His tone then differed from now, where he feels the need to clarify Saddleback's interfaith work to right-wing evangelicals. What's wrong with recognizing fundamental differences and forging mutual respect in light of that? Why are allegations that Warren is too Muslim-friendly given legitimacy? 

It's because of people like Warren that Muslims like me don't think that all Christians hate Muslims. It's people like him that make me think maybe not all evangelicals are nuts. And now, this. Et tu, Warren? You're better than this.

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19 comments
MFM
MFM

For reference, here is Rick Warren's speech from the above mentioned MPAC '08 Convention - http://bit.ly/wH7YrB

Rick Warren
Rick Warren

FROM RICK WARRENMerwin , the "no cross" myth it's just another 1 of 100s of myths & misconceptions about Saddleback floating on the internet. Check this out from yrs ago: http://twitpic.com/k00p6 There have always been crosses in our buildings and all around our campus too.  Peoplejust repeat what they hear without fact-checking.  By the way, I wish OCWeekly would get a newer picture of me that than 10 year old one! Ha. I  lost 65 lbs this last year and I'm not finished That TIME Mag shot is quite out of date. On the other hand, that pose that TIME had me do always make me laugh out out (along with everyone else who knows me.). It's so stinkin' stiff and pained looking.  The flap was not really about Saddleback's friendship with Muslim neighbors but the stupid idea that we were conspiring to create a new religion. That of course, is nonsense. 

20ftJesus
20ftJesus

His behavior is normal for an Evangelical -- talking out both sides of his mouth.   Timmy Keller gets bashed by his own team for being soft on Evolution, then is forced to explain himself.  D. Wallace gets ripped all the time for admitting we don't have the original words of Jesus, then has to backtrack on this web page because the Evangelicals want his blood.  Hell, Warren has to profess faith in the Flintstones publicly, even though intellectually, he knows it's a cartoon.

The problem they all face is either you tow the party line or we're coming for your church and your money.  If I'm a small time pastor, who am I gonna poach from?  Of course, that Sharia law lovn, closet Muslim Rick Warren.  It's easy pickens. 

Merwin joy
Merwin joy

Rick Warren has caused just reason for question within the corporate body of Christ. For now I give him the benefit of the doubt and pray for him and those who follow him. However, I'd like to see the Cross proudly displayed within the sanctuary of his Church. I've never attended his church, but I understand there seems to be a problem with him displaying the cross, please correct me if I'm wrong. A photo would help.

mashudujac
mashudujac

Any religion that denies or rejects Jesus as the Mesiah and that He died, was burried, rose again from the dead, and ascended up to sit at the right hand of the Father, is not to be intertained. There is no such thing as "interfaith" than there is light and darkness (united) mixed together. Repent or perish. We absolutely must believe that Jesus Christ is God manifest in the flesh, was crucified for our sins and rose again.  This is the gospel!

John 8:24 I said therefore unto you, that ye shall die in your sins: for if ye believe not that I am he, ye shall die in your sins.

John 3:18 He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.

Acts 4:12 Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.

There is no salvation in any other name but Jesus!  Not Mohammed, not Buddha; no other name…

The word Islam means "submission".  Not only in the sense of submission to Allah, but in the sense of making everyone submit to the rule of Islam.  Islam is about subduing the world and making it submit.  The Muslims believe that Mohammed is the exemplar of right conduct.  They aspire to be like him in the same manner that Christians aspire to be like Jesus.  Mohammed said to spread, through warfare, the rules of Islam.  Mohammed became increasingly violent during his career and spent 10 years in Medina creating an army to overthrow his homeland, Mecca, after he was ran off by the pagans in 622 AD.  He killed thousands of people and subdued Arabia through war.  Muslims are encouraged to commit acts of heroism in combat.  They are promised that those who kill and are killed will be rewarded with paradise.  This is the basis for suicide bombers.  They believe that since they are killing while they are killed that the sin of suicide is covered by the martyrdom of their action and, as such, they will be rewarded in heaven.  Islam is a religion of political rule, a system of government.  It is not about a personal relationship with Allah, it is about bringing the world under submission to its rule.

gustavoarellano
gustavoarellano

If this is really Purpose-Driven® Rick: Email us your latest glamor shot, and we'll use it from now on: promise! Contact Yasmin at ynouh at ocweekly dot com !

Merwin joy
Merwin joy

 Thank you for your personal reply. You have to understand many of our concerns Rick. I've been involved in ministry myself for over two decades [Assemblies of God type Churches] and as you well know too many prominent Ministers have really given us some black eyes. Naturally we [true Christians] take notice very quickly when the cause of Christ is brought into question. I personally believe that our Church Leaders must carry at least some of the guilt for the condition of America today, simply because they ceased for the most part of dealing with the sin issue from the pulpits. Too many are sick and dying from sickness and disease, but nobody seems to preach on divine healing and miracles. Few have a victorious walk with Christ, but nobody seems to preach on the baptism in the Holy Spirit. In my opinion faith for any need comes through hearing messages on these important issues and certainly from the Word of God itself. Personally having been born-again over thirty years ago I am VERY CONCERNED about the Christian Church and my concern has grown greatly over the last ten years. If you have time and would like to continue this discussion via email, I'd love to share more of my thoughts and concerns with you.  Regardless, you can be sure I have and will continue to pray for you. Email me at: merwinjoy@charter.net [Studied or mentored under the ministries of;  Dr. Lester Sumrall,  T.L. Osborn,  Smith Wigglesworth and John G. Lake]

20ftJesus
20ftJesus

Hey Rick -- do you still believe that man and dinosaur lived together?

mitch young
mitch young

It was actually "Blessed are the cheesemakers", but of course Jesus really meant all those in the dairy industry.

Mulliganville
Mulliganville

There is an appropriately sized cross right on top of the worship center at Saddleback. There are two crosses inside the worship center as well. The church occasionally changes the look and feel inside, but nothing over the top. 

Duribe
Duribe

... and I bet you, assuming there is no cross currently and Warren puts one up, that someone, somewhere, will complain that it ought to be a crucifix instead. 

I'm no longer a Christian, so I have no right to say what is or isn't "right," but from this outsider's perspective, making a fuss over the presence of a cross in someone else' church seems strange. 

Merwin joy
Merwin joy

 Thanks for this information. I assume you attend or have been inside the Church and have seen this yourself.

Merwin joy
Merwin joy

 No fuss, just a simple observation based on a lot of information. If you were a dedicated Christian you would understand Duribe.

Merwin joy
Merwin joy

 Yes I have contacted him....... Thank you

Mulliganville
Mulliganville

Also, you might want to scroll down as Rick answered you himself. 

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