Rick Warren has once again picked up his sword of spin and shield of fallacy.”Harsh”, you say? May be, but let us look at the evidence.
First though, it must be noted that evangelical Christians and pastors are amazed and outraged by Rick Warren's most recent address regarding 'marriage and homosexuals' as homosexuals are. For instance, one homosexual blog website characterised Rick Warren with comments as being,
ROCK ------A pastor who wants to have it both ways------- HARD PLACE1
Rick: Genuinely sick or characteristically slick?
Rick Warren is bearing false witness. Period.
Whilst some Christian (and Catholic) websites note,
Rick Warren's Shakiness on Homosexual Marriage Baffles Leaders
Pastor Rick Warren Supports Homosexual Agenda
Rick Warren Sells Out to the Sodomites and Forsakes God’s Word
The US state of California conducted a referendum at the 4 November 2008 general election. That referendum included “Proposition 8”. The California state election website states that Proposition 8,
Eliminates Right of Same-Sex couples to Marry/
Initiative Constitutional Amendment
Changes the California Constitution to eliminate the right of same-sex couples to marry in California.
Provides that only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California.
Summary of Legislative Analyst's Estimate of Net State and Local Government Fiscal Impact:
Over the next few years, potential revenue loss, mainly from sales taxes, totaling in the several tens of millions of dollars, to state and local governments.
In the long run, likely little fiscal impact on state and local governments.
The outcome of the general election referendum was the passing Proposition 8 meaning that the state Constitution was changed, “to restrict the definition of marriage to opposite-sex couples and eliminated same-sex couples' right to marry, thereby overriding portions of the ruling of In re Marriage Cases.”
The Constitution change and the referendum which resulted in the change was a matter of much public debate in America and especially California. The homosexual lobby is – not unsurprising – extremely unhappy and angry about the change. Nevertheless, “marriage” has always been about the uniting of a man and a woman historically and traditionally as indicative of the 1969 Pocket Oxford Dictionary definition.
marry, v.t. & i. Unite (man & woman), give (daughter, son, ward, to or to person), take (woman, man), in wedlock (married life or state, matrimony); unite (qualities &c.); take a wife or husband. [F f. L (maritus husband)]
The 1987 (Australian) The Macquarie Dictionary follows this definition, and even though it goes on to include another less restrictive third interpretation, that definition seems to be included for de facto unions of a man and woman.
marriage, n. 1. the legal union of a man with a woman for life; state of condition of being married,; the legal relation of spouses to each other; wedlock. 2. the legal or religious ceremony that sanctions or formalises the decision of a man and woman to live as husband and wife. 3. any intimate union.
That the homosexual lobby seeks to hijack marriage – when they had “domestic partnerships” (in California, which Proposition 8 did not affect) – shows that the agenda of the lobby is not so-called equal rights or acceptance per se, but the undermining of traditional – especially Christian – standards, values and life. They want homosexuality to be regarded and enshrined in law as being 'normal and natural' – that there is nothing wrong with it. But this is the clincher … from a Christian and Biblical view homosexuality is a sin. From God's point of view it is a sin, an abomination (Lev 18:22) and unnatural (Rom 1:26) and the outcome of such a life is rejection by God (1 Cor 6:9).
So, what does all this have to do with Rick Warren? On April 6 2009 Rick Warren was interviewed by Larry King (Larry King Live, CNN). Below are excerpts from that interview, the full transcript of which can be found on the CNN website.
KING: No matter what you may think of Rick Warren's opinion on things, he's an extraordinary guy and always a great guest and it's always good to have him.
He's pastor of the Saddleback Church. He's the number one "New York Times" bestselling author of "The Purpose-Driven Life." He delivered the invocation at Barack Obama's inauguration. He comes to us from Irvine, California.
How did you handle all the controversy that resulted about the president selecting you?
PASTOR RICK WARREN, DELIVERED PRAYER AT OBAMA'S INAUGURATION: Yes, you know, Larry, there was a story within a story that never got told. In the first place, I am not an anti-gay or anti-gay marriage activist. I never have been, never will be.
During the whole Proposition 8 thing, I never once went to a meeting, never once issued a statement, never -- never once even gave an endorsement in the two years Prop 8 was going.
The week before the -- the vote, somebody in my church said, Pastor Rick, what -- what do you think about this?
And I sent a note to my own members that said, I actually believe that marriage is -- really should be defined, that that definition should be -- say between a man and a woman.
And then all of a sudden out of it, they made me, you know, something that I really wasn't. And I actually -- there were a number of things that were put out. I wrote to all my gay friends -- the leaders that I knew -- and actually apologized to them. That never got out.
There were some things said that -- you know, everybody should have 10 percent grace when they say public statements. And I was asked a question that made it sound like I equated gay marriage with pedophilia or incest, which I absolutely do not believe. And I actually announced that.
All of the criticism came from people that didn't know me.
WARREN: Not a single criticism came from any gay leader who knows me and knows that for years, we've been working together on AIDS issues and all these other things.
KING: All right. Do you, therefore, criticize or not comment on the Iowa court decision to permit gay marriage?
WARREN: Yes. I'm -- I'm totally oblivious to - - to what -- that's not even my agenda. My agenda is two things.
One, today is the 15th anniversary of the genocide in Rwanda. It's a national day of mourning, which I -- as you know, I've been heavily involved in -- in Rwanda and helping rebuild that nation and I'm very concerned about that.
And the second thing is, I'm interested in what the recession is doing to the spiritual climate of our nation. And as we start Easter week and Passover week, which is a really big week for those of us who are Jews or Christians, Passover and Easter, it's our biggest week of the year. And it actually was the -- the week that I started Saddleback Church 30 years ago this Easter Sunday.
KING: We're back with Rick Warren. He's in Irvine and we're in New York. One other thing in the gay issue, while you said you were not an activist at all...
KING: Did you not encourage your flock to vote yes on Proposition 8?
WARREN: Oh, yes. You know, I don't think that the definition of marriage should be changed.
KING: So you did ask your people who worship with you to vote that way?
WARREN: Yes. I just never campaigned...
KING: ...because that's an active issue.
WARREN: I never campaigned for it. I never -- I'm not an anti-gay activist -- never have been. Never participated in a single event. I just simply made a note in a newsletter. And, of course, everything I write it's -- it's (INAUDIBLE).
KING: It's not high on your road of issues?
WARREN: No, no, it's very low. In fact, I am working with a number of gay organizations on issues that we care about, in saving lives.
KING: OK. Do you think Christianity is slipping in America? That's the front cover of "Newsweek," out today. Quite a loss occurring in the Christian community. There you see the headline.
WARREN: Well, I would say it's the best of times and the worst of times. First place, I don't think that all of the questions that are asked in surveys are always as objective as they could be. For instance, if you ask people, are you a Protestant -- and the number of Protestants has gone down dramatically in the last 30 years. I don't even call myself a Protestant.
So terminologies are changing. I don't think faith is changing that much. I think that during a recession three things happen, Larry. Three things go up when money goes down. Church attendance goes up, bar attendance goes up, and movie attendance goes up, because people are looking for three things when they're disappointed in materialism. They're looking for meaning, and that's why they start going to church. They're looking for connections in relationships, and that's why they go to bars. They're looking for relief, and that's why they go to movies.
We at Saddleback have been trying to -- actually have created three different programs that we're launching nationally for connection, for relief and for meaning. At the same time, bad times are good times for churches in many ways, because people are much more open to spiritual truth than any other time. We're seeing spiritual awakening at our church.
KING: Aren't they at the same time saying, where is god?
WARREN: Oh, I think people ask that question constantly. That's not a question of doubt. That's a question of seekers. It's the person who says, I'm not worried with anybody -- everybody has doubts. I have doubts. People have doubts all the time. I'll read things in the Bible and go, why did that happen? I wouldn't have done if it I had been god. You better be glad I'm not god. But there are a lot of things -- I learned a long time ago that I don't have to understand everything for me to benefit from it.
I don't understand how a car works but I drive it. I don't understand how digestion works but I eat.
KING: What do you say to people who have lost everything, they're out of work, they lose their home, foreclosures? God ain't going to come in tomorrow and help them.
WARREN: First place, I would say, god sees, god knows, god cares, god can help, god understands. I would say the greatest things in life aren't things. One of the things we need to learn is that when tough times come along, there are lessons we can learn that -- god whispers to us in our pleasure, but he shouts to us in our pain. Pain is god's megaphone.
Last Saturday, we had the largest single membership class in the 30-year history of Saddleback Church. There's so much spiritual hunger. I had, Larry, 2,400 people come to the class I've taught every month now for over 30 years. We usually have 100 to 200 new members. We had 2,400 people join our church in a single day. And I baptized 800 new believers. We baptize by putting people under water.
I was in the baptism pool for over five hours. That's never happened. While there are people who are hurting, people are also searching.
KING: The Obamas are searching, too, for a church, apparently in Washington. They don't have one. Do you think it's important for the public to see their leader go to church?
WARREN: I think it's important for the public to see our leaders having faith. I think it expresses a sense of humility that says, I recognize that I'm not the end all, be all. It's a good sense of humility and a declaration of dependence upon god. And there are -- I could recommend a dozen really good churches in Washington D.C. area. I have a lot of pastor friends of all different styles. You tell me the style you want and I'll tell you a good church in Washington, D.C.
KING: I'm sure they'll call you. Back with more of Rick Warren. Your emails, phone calls and blogs for Rick still ahead. Stay with us.
KING: We're with Rick Warren. An e-mail question from Mim in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. "Are you a consultant to President Obama as Billy Graham was to previous presidents? Is that a role you would want?"
WARREN: No. In fact, I told the president that. I'm a friend and I'm a prayer partner, but I'm not a consultant. I'm not a pundit. And it's not my role to do that. My role is to help people in their personal lives. I have helped a lot of leaders, both locally and globally, with issues about family and issues about personal stress. That's a pastoral role. I'm a pastor, as you know, Larry. I'm not a politician and I'm not a pundit.
I care about each person individually, whether I happen to agree with them or not. We all have the same basic needs. We all want to be loved. We all want to have a place of service. We all want our lives to count. We all want to know our purpose in life. These are things that everybody deals with. KING: Do you still give 90 percent away from what you take in?
WARREN: Yes, sure do.
KING: A lot of comments on the below about tonight's show. Our correspondent David Theall is here with some of what you're saying about Pastor Warren.
DAVID THE ALL, CNN BLOG CORRESPONDENT: Larry, we're hearing from people who are fans of the pastor's work and we're also hearing from people who are angry still at some of the positions that he has taken over the last couple years. Says this person, "Rick Warren saved my life, my marriage and my family with the 'purpose Driven Life.'" He thanks the pastor.
We heard from somebody who said this, "my son is gay, a veteran, and I resent people like Rick Warren using the Bible to tell my son who he can marry." That's just a little bit of some of what's happening on the blog tonight, Larry.
KING: Thank you so much, David. Rick, I guess that last comment doesn't shock you, does it?
WARREN: Well, it's not my opinion. As a pastor, I just have to do what the Bible tells me to do. And the way I interpret it, I believe that marriage is between a man and a woman. And that's good for society. That doesn't mean that people don't love each other. It just means that marriage is for a man and a woman.
You know, Larry, regardless of all these things we've just been listening to, whether it's terrorism or whether it's the economy, we really have to come together. And we have to figure out a way to work together, even though we have differences on the issues that really matter most. One of the things we're doing is our goal is to start what we're calling 10,000 connection groups across America, to just get people to sit down together and talk.
In each of the new issues of the magazine we're doing, we're providing material that causes discussions, causing people to discuss issues like, well, how do we get along together? And what is the purpose of connecting? What is real community all about? Where did we come from? Where are we going? What does it mean to be a part of a community?
I'm going to talk about some of these things on April 19th, Sunday evening. For 30 years, Larry, I have done an annual State of the Church Message for Saddleback Church. And this year, for the first time, we're actually going to webcast it nationally on our PurposeDriven.com site. Anybody who wants to hear about that. I'm going to talk about what are we supposed to be doing in coming together during the recession on that April 19th
** Interview Ends **
In what I can only interpret as answering questions in such a way as to try to remain popular and not offend anyone, whilst remaining “biblical”, Rick Warren answered the Proposition 8 question by stating that he is just following the Bible,
Well, it's not my opinion. As a pastor, I just have to do what the Bible tells me to do. And the way I interpret it, I believe that marriage is between a man and a woman. And that's good for society. That doesn't mean that people don't love each other. It just means that marriage is for a man and a woman.
But this is being elusive. The Bible states that marriage is just “between a man and a woman” because the union of men with men and women with women is an abomination to God. There is no Biblical marriage of homosexuals because homosexuality is not allowed. To make a statement of deferring to the Bible in a manner which is elusive and incomplete whilst making yourself out to be on God’s side – especially in such a public forum with much opportunity to truly state the Christian position – seems to be a form of acquiescence, leaning towards compliance to acts which God is against.
“Good for society” is Rick Warren's claim … but is this the basis of his opinion? No doubt the homosexual would claim that allowing homosexuals to marry would be good for society. Surely Rick Warren is not basing his stance on his perception of society. Is he taking a Biblical line or not? Nevertheless Rick Warren (in effect) assents to homosexuals loving and living with each other – so long as it's not called 'marriage'.
Rick Warren claimed he is “not an anti-gay or anti-gay marriage activist” and “never have been, never will be”, it is obvious that what he means is that he hasn't and won't actively and publicly “campaign” as such and neither attended any events stating such. And though one may not participate or campaign in such manner – it is that Rick Warren “wrote to all [his] gay friends – the leaders that [he] knew – and actually apologised to them” that is a concern? What did he apologise for? For sending a note to members of his congregation advising that he believes the definition of marriage “should be – say between a man and a woman”? What exactly was the apology for? Advising a so-called Christian Church that marriage should only be between a man and a woman? If he apologised then did he not mean what he told the congregation? Or is he playing both sides?
In a Christianity Today interview, Rick Warren qualified the above statement by saying,
The only response that I made was, I wrote an e-mail to all of the gay leaders that I know. I have many friends who are gay leaders whom we've worked with on AIDS campaign on health, poverty, and disease. The guys that I knew, I apologized to them.
In a Beliefnet interview, which was an hour long, Steve Waldman asked me about gay marriage. I said I believe marriage, that term, should be reserved for a man and a woman. I'm not saying same-sex couples don't love each other. I gave some examples of what I think shouldn't be considered to be marriage, like an older guy with a younger woman. Then [Waldman] said, "Are you saying that those are the same thing?" I said, "Oh sure." It made it sound like I was equating homosexuality with pedophilia [American spelling] and incest. I don't believe it, never have, and never would.
The qualification seems to mean that Rick Warren apologised for his comments to potentially be interpreted as equating homosexuality with paedophilia and incest.
There's a lot of hatred out there. People don't realize that you don't have to agree with somebody to love them. I am commanded to love everybody. I can disagree with people, but I'm not free to not love them.
Based on comments by Christians critical of criticism about Rick Warren, today and in the past, I can only assume that there is a fundamental misunderstanding concerning “love”, and its actions and outworkings to the world.
Yes we are “in this world but not of it”, but what does this mean? What does it mean to “love our neighbour”? When Jesus was asked about who the neighbour was, in the Gospel According to Luke, notice that the person asking the question did not ask, “What does love mean” but who is his neighbour. Jesus' response indicated that we are to be considerate, caring and merciful to all in need (Luke 10:26-37). But this teaching does NOT extend to cooperation or collaboration with those opposed to the Gospel and the Bible.
Do not be bound together with unbelievers; for what partnership have righteousness and lawlessness, or what fellowship has light with darkness? Or what harmony has Christ with Belial, or what has a believer in common with an unbeliever? Or what agreement has the temple of God with idols? For we are the temple of the living God; just as God said, "I WILL DWELL IN THEM AND WALK AMONG THEM; AND I WILL BE THEIR GOD, AND THEY SHALL BE MY PEOPLE. "Therefore, COME OUT FROM THEIR MIDST AND BE SEPARATE," says the Lord. "AND DO NOT TOUCH WHAT IS UNCLEAN; And I will welcome you. "And I will be a father to you, And you shall be sons and daughters to Me," Says the Lord Almighty. - 2 Cor 6:14-18 (NAU)
Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children; and walk in love, just as Christ also loved you and gave Himself up for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God as a fragrant aroma. But immorality or any impurity or greed must not even be named among you, as is proper among saints; and there must be no filthiness and silly talk, or coarse jesting, which are not fitting, but rather giving of thanks. For this you know with certainty, that no immoral or impure person or covetous man, who is an idolater, has an inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God. Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience. Therefore do not be partakers with them; for you were formerly darkness, but now you are Light in the Lord; walk as children of Light (for the fruit of the Light consists in all goodness and righteousness and truth), trying to learn what is pleasing to the Lord. Do not participate in the unfruitful deeds of darkness, but instead even expose them; for it is disgraceful even to speak of the things which are done by them in secret. But all things become visible when they are exposed by the light, for everything that becomes visible is light. For this reason it says, "Awake, sleeper, And arise from the dead, And Christ will shine on you." Therefore be careful how you walk, not as unwise men but as wise, making the most of your time, because the days are evil. So then do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is. - Eph 5:1-17 (NAU)
There is a difference between agreeing on an issue, and even cooperating and participating on a government or societal project with groups with whom you may disagree and active association with groups which are inherently opposed to the Gospel, the Bible and true Christian doctrine. I think it preferable for a Christian organisation to go it alone – so to speak – on AIDS issues (such as helping those with AIDS – through no fault of their own) vis-à-vis associating and working with a group who look to educate and aid its homosexual members to practice their deviancy in a “safer” manner. Consider what we, through our associations, become complicit with. Furthermore, what does it mean by not exposing those things which God hates, but rather dwelling with, walking amongst and touching that which is unclean?
Rick Warren – it seems – is failing in his duties, he is compromising, appeasing and apologising in an attempt to remain popular with both Christians and non-Christians. And this is the fundamental difference between being all things to all people (1 Cor 9:22) and being friends with the world and thus being an enemy of God (James 4:4).
Thank you! You are now Subscribed.
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.