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"Warren's God is not awesome or angry and he does not stand in judgement of human sin. He is genial and mellow and he wants to be your best friend." - The New Yorker, September 12, 2005.
Rick Warren and the 'End Times'
I have found a few things about Rick Warren and his books and programs that ring of 'apostasy', which is the major falling away of Christianity prophesied in the Bible that happens in the 'end times'. (Please note that this article was originally written in June, 2007. I have not researched Rick Warren in many months; if he's heard enough Christians warning about his teachings -- as many have warned in the last few years -- I hope that he has listened, and prayed and that God has opened his eyes to the full truth of the Word. If Rick Warren has not yet done that I pray that God will bring him out of his deception).
Rick Warren's thirty million copy bestseller, The Purpose Driven Life, has been preached and is being preached in thousands of pulpits and is said to have replaced the Bible in many thousands of Bible study groups.
Churches around the country are becoming partners with Rick Warren's Saddleback Church in large numbers. Many are teaching (or have taught) his 40 Days of Purpose program to their congregations, and some of these churches are teaching it in place of the Bible.
Sure, Rick Warren may quote scripture over 1200 times in his book, and it may 'glow with love', and it may be a great book for inspiring the mass population to apparently find God, but that does not make it the Bible.
Jesus Christ predicted that in the 'end times' some would take His name and claim to represent Him � but those same people would be deceivers. They would claim to be Christian but would bring a different message and a counterfeit Christianity.
"But I am afraid that just as Eve was deceived by the serpent's cunning, your minds may somehow be led astray from your sincere and pure devotion to Christ. For if someone comes to you and preaches a Jesus other than the Jesus we preached, or if you receive a different spirit from the one you received, or a different gospel from the one you accepted, you put up with it easily enough." (2 Corinthians 11:2-4)
"...Satan himself transforms himself into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also transform themselves into ministers of righteousness, whose end will be according to their works". (2 Corinthians 11:14-15)
Is Rick Warren a minister for Satan? He sure doesn't seem like it.
In fact, he comes across like your regular guy and he's easy to like.
His book glows with love of God and finding purpose in life by serving God. His book is reported to have brought countless numbers of people to Christ and it's also reported he donates 90% of all income to charities; he's pushing a plan for global peace and he's also working to eradicate HIV/Aids in Africa.
Rick Warren appears to be a God-send.
So, where's the apostasy?
Rick Warren and the 'New Age'
The Purpose Driven Life has sold over 30 million copies, and yet it's surprising that not many seem to be alarmed at his references to New Age teachers, and that he actually quotes them, and actually uses their advice in his book to Christians.
At the top of page 31 in The Purpose Driven Life, he quotes "Dr. Bernie Siegel", a bestselling author and New Age leader; on page 248 he quotes "Aldous Huxley", New Age author who wrote books on the subject of psychedelics and visionary experiences; on page 193 he quotes "Madame Guyon", a French mystic who lived during the 17th and 18th centuries, who's ideas are reported to survive today in the New Age and other non-Christian religions.
Siegel, Huxley, and Madame Guyon
The problem with quoting Siegel, Huxley, and Madame Guyon is that according to the Bible, New Age teachings are Satanic.
Can it get any more clear than that?
The 'New Age' is Satanic, and Rick Warren quotes Satan worshippers.
No matter how enlightened people think the world is today, it does not change the fact that anything 'New Age' is Satanic.
In fact, considering his New Age name-dropping, Rick Warren does not then say anything to condemn the New Age movement, to cover his tracks for having the audacity to quote them in a book aimed at Christians.
That alone is shocking, because many Christians have condemned the New Age movement.
We already know how God feels about the New Age movement. In the Old Testament we're told to stone anyone who practices sorcery or divination or contacts spirits.
So, why is Rick Warren quoting these people?
Why are church pastors across the nation reading his book from the pulpit, and repeating these quotes to their congregations (as must be occuring if they're following his 40 Days of Purpose program as taught in his book)?
I'm not sure how his public relations team missed this one.
What Happened to Fear God?
Throughout The Purpose Driven Life, it's clear that God loves you. God created you for his pleasure. That God smiles when you live your everyday life. That God wants to be your best friend.
But there's a lot more about God, and failing to mention that is like putting a pilot in the driver's seat of a plane with only a half-tank of gas, and an entire ocean to cross.
There is not enough fuel. That plane is not going to make it.
Throughout the Old Testament, God destroys nations that oppose him, and don't
follow his commandments. God also punishes his own servants when they fall short of full obedience.
For example, God took Moses' life on Mount Nebo, and only let Moses look at the Promised Land from a distance, because Moses did not uphold holiness among the Israelites.
As another example, God sent a destroying angel to kill over 70,000 Israelites as punishment for an inaccurate census count during the reign of King David.
Also, God has a habit of making people literally drop dead who oppose him;
that seems to happen on numerous occasions in the Bible.
The point the Bible makes is that we're supposed to truly fear God. It
may sound barbaric to a lot of people, and un-enlightened, however I'm sure
there's a reason that God is so stern on that.
The concern shared by those who are against Rick Warren is that his book
portrays God as a lot more friendly and a lot more loving than the Bible
Then when a Christian comes to Christ after reading The Purpose Driven Life, or
being taught this kind of doctrine, they don't take sin as seriously as they
Why should they take sin seriously? Rick Warren says we're forgiven for our sins (he doesn't say we must now strive to escape sin, and conform to the image of Christ). He says God wants to be our best friend.
At this point, to give a balanced view of the Bible, his book should drive home the reality of Hell and the consequences of disobeying God... but there's barely any mention of Hell.
And it's not described as a Lake of Fire. On page 37, Warren describes Hell as eternal seperation from God.
That's not Hell. That's apostasy.
It has 'New Age' written all over it.
Rick Warren vs. Revelation
Not only is the 'the wrath of God' sorely missing from The Purpose Driven Life along with the blazing fire of Hell, but he even tells us not to fear God.
On page 95 of The Purpose-Driven Life, he writes:
We obey God, not out of duty or fear or compulsion, but because we love him and trust that he knows what is best for us.
We don't serve God out of guilt or fear or even duty, but out of joy, and deep gratitude for what he's done for us.
On page 232, Rick Warren writes:
The Bible warns believers, "He will pour out his anger and wrath on those who live for themselves," but for Christians it will mean a loss of eternal rewards.
What the Bible actually says is essentially this:
Christians who do not measure up to God's demands lose a lot more than eternal rewards - they lose eternal life and go to Hell, where there's 'weeping and gnashing of teeth'.
Revelation is clear on God's demands for Christians of this world.
It's also clear that anyone who God pours his anger and wrath on must repent and put God first in their lives, or they will go to the Lake of Fire where they will burn for eternity.
If you read Revelation 2 and 3, it's clear that most Christians (in God's eyes) are not living Christian lives and are still slaves to sin.
The message from the Book of Revelation is clear: Jesus death on the cross is not a free ticket to keep living in sin. As Christians we are supposed to continually work on conforming to the image of Christ.
Rick Warren lowers the bar for salvation all the way across the board and calls it "spiritual maturity".
God raises the bar and calls it "holiness", and according to the Bible, it is an absolute requirement to salvation.
Through sanctification by the Holy Spirit God wants us to escape sin and become purified by the renewing of our mind. We will never be perfect, but we're supposed to try to be perfect.
Matthew 5:48 - Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.
Now, does a call to stop sinning and turn from wickedness sound harsh? Well, that's not coming from me. God repeatedly says this in Chapters 2 and 3 of Revelation, as a clear warning to all Christians. In fact, if you don't repent, you will face God's wrath.
And if you still don't repent, you will then go to Hell.
Revelation 2:2-5 You have persevered and have endured hardships for my name, and have not grown weary. Yet I hold this against you: You have forsaken your first love. Remember the height from which you have fallen! Repent and do the things you did at first. If you do not repent, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.
Revelation 2:19-23 I know your deeds, your love and faith, your service and perseverance, and that you are now doing more than you did at first. Nevertheless, I have this against you: You tolerate that woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess. By her teaching she misleads my servants into sexual immorality and the eating of food sacrificed to idols. I have given her time to repent of her immorality, but she is unwilling. So I will cast her on a bed of suffering, and I will make those who commit adultery with her suffer intensely, unless they repent of her ways. I will strike her children dead. Then all the churches will know that I am he who searches hearts and minds, and I will repay each of you according to your deeds. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.
Faith without Works is Dead
Essentially, what chapters 2 and 3 of Revelation say is that if you are truly a Christian, then you will truly live, act, think, and love God and neighbor like a Christian should. It's clear that God demands that from us.
Now, God's grace alone saved us. It was nothing we did, accept choosing to believe and accept his free gift of salvation.
But the 'once saved, always saved' concept is false (this will be repeated).
James 2:14-26 - What good is it, my brothers, if a man claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save him?... In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.
...You see that a person is justified by what he does and not by faith alone.
'Lukewarm' Christians are Not Saved
Rick Warren's teachings are set up in such a way to turn faithful Christians into complacent Christians, and we already know what God thinks of complacent Christians. In Revelation 3:16 he calls them 'lukewarm', and then threatens to 'vomit' them out of his mouth.
With God, there is no room for complacency. Jesus said:
Matthew 7:13-14 - "Enter through the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the road is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who go through it. How narrow is the gate and difficult the road that leads to life, and few find it."
In other words, a lot more people go to Hell than go to God's kingdom in Heaven.
Matthew 22:14 - "For many are called, but few are chosen."
If either of these verses were on the front of Rick Warren's book, I don't think it would have sold as many copies.
In fact, if we asked Rick Warren his opinion, based on what's written in The Purpose Driven Life, his answer might be something along the lines of, "Relax, if you're a Christian, you have nothing to worry about."
My reply: If you're a faithful Christian and have put God FIRST in your life, and have truly repented of your sins and been saved, and this now reflects in how you live your life � only then do you have nothing to worry about.
However, if you call yourself a Christian but you have not put the Word of God FIRST in your life, and do not maintain a focused LOVE OF GOD and strive to keep his commandments, as well as to love your neighbor as you love yourself, you are in dangerous territory.
Of course, you'd never know that from reading Warren's book.
You have to read the Bible to figure that out � the entire Bible.
Will Saddleback Church be in the Rapture?
Jesus Christ taught that his coming for his church (the rapture) is imminent and will be like a thief in the night. It could happen at any time.
Revelation 3:3 - Remember therefore what you have received and heard; keep it, and repent. But if you are not alert, I will come like a thief, and you have no idea at what hour I will come against you.
I, like the majority of Christians, believe in a pre-tribulation rapture. The Bible is very clear that Christians who are 'lukewarm' or 'complacent' about their faith are NOT SAVED. If you are not saved, you will not be in the rapture of the church.
Rev. 3:16 - I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! So, because you are lukewarm � neither hot nor cold � I am about to spit you out of my mouth.
So while the majority of Christians believe in the rapture of the church, the fact that many Christians fall into the category of 'lukewarm' will ensure that they are not in it (in other words, they will be 'left behind').
On page 297 Rick Warren writes:
You have a choice to make. You will be either a world-class Christian or a worldly Christian. Worldly Christians look to God primarily for personal fulfillment. They are saved, but self-centered.
Read that again. According to Rick Warren, there are two types of Christians � and both are saved?
Well, if I believed this I wouldn't have much concern for my salvation - my salvation appears guaranteed. All I have to do is call myself a Christian.
Once saved, always saved.
That is not true for most people. For most people, "Once saved, always saved," is a false gospel, and a false salvation.
In fact, if you read Chapters 2 and 3 of Revelation, God makes it clear to the seven early churches that most of them are NOT SAVED. If they do not repent and put God first in their lives (by loving God with full faith) and profess full love for God and keep his commandments, they will face God's wrath.
(If you disagree, please read Chapters 2 and 3 of Revelation.)
Rick Warren says that 'worldly Christians' are saved. However, Jesus said, "If you belonged to the world, the world would love its own; but because you do not belong to the world, and I have chosen you out of the world, the world hates you."
There is no such thing as a worldly Christian. That is a dangerous lie.
1 John 2:15-17 - Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For everything in the world � the cravings of sinful man, the lust of his eyes and the boasting of what he has and does � comes not from the Father but from the world. The world and its desires pass away, but the man who does the will of God lives forever.
In fact, being a worldly Christian, just by it's definition, means that you are guilty of breaking the Second Commandment: Thou shalt not make any idols. If there is anything in your life, that comes before God, then you have not put God first in your life, and you are essentially guilty of idolatry.
James 4:4 - You adulterous people, don't you know that friendship with the world is hatred toward God? Anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God.
How to Become a Mega-Church
It's reported that Rick Warren's program to train pastors is aimed at boosting church attendance by catering more to the needs of the population at large, and is reported to advise pastors to preach a lot less of the Bible � which pastors are told the population at large for the most part does not want to hear.
Now, if Rick Warren's book is giving a false portrayal of God (as it seems) and makes God out to be a lot more loving and a lot more friendly than he actually is (according to the Bible) � and if your pastor is teaching Rick Warren's book in your church, your entire congregation may be guilty of breaking the First Commandment...
Thou shalt have no other gods before me.
Because, if you are reading from a different gospel, you are no longer having fellowship with God.
You are having fellowship with a false God. It is a counterfeit Christianity.
Jesus predicted that many, a great multitude, would claim His name but deny Him by their actions. He said they would "call Me 'Lord, Lord,"' but "not do the things which I say" (Luke 6:46).
Rick Warren's book is part of an alarming trend � it is a book that is being taught from the pulpit and read from in place of the Bible.
From the sound of things, this has been happening all over the country and has even spread to other nations.
Considering the size and scope of Rick Warren's book and that his marketing methods from The Purpose Driven Church have been taught to over 400,000 pastors world wide, the reason he may not concern himself with Bible prophecy (see his comments on page 285 of The Purpose Driven Life) is because he himself is fulfilling Bible prophecy. Warren writes:
When the disciples wanted to talk about prophecy, Jesus quickly switched the conversation to evangelism.
My reply: Rick Warren is lying. Jesus taught indepth on 'End Times' prophecy. In addition to the parables of his coming for the church (commonly called the 'rapture', which he said would come at a day or time no one expects), he also gives a complete 'End Times' break down in Matthew 24 (the entire chapter, in fact).
Maybe one of the reasons Rick Warren avoids Bible prophecy and has told over 30 million people not to worry about it, is this:
The Bible reports that in the end times there will be a major apostasy (falling away) of the Christian church.
There will be false Christs with false gospels...
The New Yorker (Sept. 2005) may have unwittingly said it best:
"Warren's God is not awesome or angry and he does not stand in judgement of human sin. He is genial and mellow and he wants to be your best friend." - The New Yorker, September 12, 2005.
Numerous Accusations, Only One Crime
Rick Warren surrounds himself with talk of God, Jesus, and Scripture - there is no crime there, though many well known Christian authors and pastors have not agreed with his use of Scripture and condemned his book for presenting a sugar-coated Gospel.
Though Rick Warren has been accused of many things, the only crime that appears to have been committed is when a church, even if only temporarily, puts the Bible aside, and teaches solely from The Purpose Driven Life.
This kind of teaching isn't limited to The Purpose Driven Life either. Many mega-church preachers may be guilty of a similar crime � they have stopped teaching the Word of God as it appears in the Bible, and have softened their sermons to appeal to the mass population, talking about the things of this world (for example, prosperity gospel), rather than teaching to deny this world... and live solely for the next.
"If anyone wants to come with Me, he must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow Me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life because of Me will find it." Matthew 16:25
There may be serious error in teaching that God loves you and wants to be your best friend � because God said Himself that on judgement day He will turn his back on many who claim to know him.
"Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?' Then I will tell them plainly, 'I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!'" (Matthew 7:21-23)
In the end, there may be quite a few pastors who have given into temptation... and put the Bible completely aside for a few weeks (40 Days of Purpose) to teach from Rick Warren's book.
"You shall not make for yourself an idol, or any likeness of what is in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the water under the earth. You shall not worship them or serve them; for I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God." (Exodus 20:4-5)
After I became a Christian at the
beginning of January, I had a number of dreams / visions, I believe were given to me by the Holy Spirit. One of these visions I received over several days was
a Bible with a serpent-woman built into a cross on the cover. It was a
'hybrid-Bible' and I was made to fear it.
So, for those of you who support Rick Warren and think that I am being very critical, now you know why. God filled me with a fear of hybrid-Bibles... now, I
take that to mean 'false gospel' and I'm very skeptical of all religous text
that isn't an actual Bible.
Fear these books. Church pastors, do not teach them from the pulpit. Only teach the Bible.
If your church is teaching from any book other than the Bible, you should seriously consider finding a new church. But first, let your pastor know he is in dangerous territory of apostasy, and urge him to return to teaching only the Bible - and the entire Bible at that.
Revelation 3:9 - I will make those who are of the synagogue of Satan, who claim to be Jews though they are not, but are liars � I will make them come and fall down at your feet and acknowledge that I have loved you.
Update: I just confirmed by phone that Oaklawn Baptist Church in Winston Salem, North Carolina, spent seven weeks starting April 29, 2007, teaching the 40 Days of Purpose to it's congregation during normal church service. In other words, The Purpose Driven Life was taught from the pulpit. Please note that this is the first church I called. Now, if you visit Rick Warren's web site, it lists many more churches from around the nation who are apparently teaching or have taught The Purpose Driven Life to their congregations...
The apostasy is in other countries as well.
If you read Bible prophecy, then you know this is a clear indicator that the 'end times' are unfolding.
2 Thessalonians 2:3 - "...for that day will not come unless the apostasy comes first and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction [the Anti-Christ]"
Considering what the apostle Paul says above, if the apostasy is here right now, then the next thing to occur is the Anti-Christ (who is a world leader possessed by Satan) to be revealed. If you're following my other articles, then you know that before the Anti-Christ is revealed, the Rapture appears to occur moments before what appears to be a nuclear attack on New York City.
Please read the article listed below for specific details:
Is Christ's Return Imminent? Shocking Evidence for the Rapture