Analysis of Rick Warren's Letter ...

Analysis of Rick Warren's Letter to Lighthouse Trails in 2005

Important Note: The email that Rick Warren sent to Lighthouse Trails Publishing on May 31st contained many statements that are untrue. Our intention here is not to focus on George Mair's book but rather show that the contents of Rick Warren's email cannot be taken seriously.

Links to other information are in Red.

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Excerpts from Rick Warren's email to us:

Warren: "Mair says I have one child, a daughter. FACT: I have 3 grown children, two married and one grandchild!"
Our Findings: Mair never said that Rick Warren has only one child. He said:"In December of 1979, Rick and Kay Warren packed their belongings into a U-Haul and headed west with their baby daughter" (p. 70, A Life With Purpose). And again the same thing on p. 74: "Rick explained that he had just moved from Texas with his wife and infant daughter..."

Warren: "Mair says that New Age Minister Norman Vincent Peale was my mentor! FACT: I've never met Mr. Peale and never even read any book he wrote! It's a total fabrication!"
Findings: Nowhere in Mair's book did he say that Peale was Warren's mentor. He did say that Dr. Criswell, who wrote the foreword to Purpose Driven Church, was Warren's mentor. Mair: "The First Baptist Church of Dallas was, of course, run by Rick Warren's mentor, the Reverend W.A. Criswell" (p. 103, A Life With Purpose).

Warren: "Mair says that televangelist Robert Schuller helped "found" Saddleback Church! FACT: This is impossible! I have never even had a private one-on-one conversation with Mr. Schuller - ever!"
Mair never said that Schuller helped "found" Saddleback Church. He said these comments: "One of the early participants in the Schuller Institute was Bill Hybels of the Willow Creek Community Church in Illinois. Later, another participant would be Rick Warren of Saddleback Valley Community Church" (p. 109, A Life With Purpose). Mair also said: "The need for more clearly defined answers first came in 1980, the year that Rick moved to Southern California and started Saddleback. With the help of Reverend Robert Schuller in nearby Garden Grove, other area churches, and some volunteers, the Warrens managed to start doing services in rented classrooms and other places" (p.138, A Life With Purpose).

Warren: "Mair says I've hired New Age Guru Ken Blanchard to train leaders for us. FACT: This simply isn't true! ... I haven't hired Ken Blanchard to do anything."
Findings: First of all, Mair never called Ken Blanchard a New Age Guru. Secondly, while Rick Warren did not use the word "hire," he did say that Ken Blanchard had "signed on" to help implement the peace plan and help train leaders and the people at Saddleback. See more, including video clip of Rick Warren.

Warren: "Ken [Blanchard] is a new believer - a new creature in Christ."
Findings: According to Ken Blanchard's autobiography (We Are the Beloved, written by K. Blanchard—1994) and an audio interview, Ken Blanchard became a Christian in the late eighties. Ken Blanchard refers to the time after he wrote One Minute Manager as the time he began finding God. Rick Warren refers to that time in his sermon where he announces that Blanchard has signed on. Also see the transcript for the 2003 Lead Like Jesus conference with Blanchard and Warren, where they discuss their working relationship, the Peace Plan and when Blanchard became a "believer."

Warren :"He [Ken Blanchard] should not be held accountable for statements or endorsements he made before he became a Christian. And he's just learning now."
Findings: Ken Blanchard's statements and endorsements are as recent as January 2005 when he endorsed New Age promoter, Jack Canfield's new book, Success Principles and June 2005 when he endorsed In the Sphere of Silence. Once again, please note that Blanchard became a Christian 20 years ago. (See table of other Blanchard endorsements.)

Warren: "That's why - ONE TIME ONLY - I agreed to be one of a dozen Christian speaker's at a conference on Leading Like Jesus in Birmingham, Alabama."
Findings: This particular conference that Warren speaks of took place in 2003. However, a second conference took place six months later. Warren was one of the speakers, but he did it through a video presentation. Yet in his letter to us, he is using deceptive wording and making it look like he only participated in the event once (having actually only physically been there once) but actually participated twice. This statement would give a person the understanding that the only time Rick Warren has had any association with Blanchard was at this one conference. What he did not say was that this summer he will also be sharing a speaking platform with Blanchard and Bill Hybels at the Leadership Summit 2005. They will be broadcasting to over 50,000 leaders throughout North America in 100 different cities. And he did not tell the reader that he is a member of the National Board for Blanchard's Lead Like Jesus organization. Please note New Age promoters on the Board include Mark Victor Hansen and Laurie Beth Jones.

Warren: "Why didn't you follow Jesus' instructions in Matthew 18 and come to me first?"
Comment: Matthew 18 does not refer to the matters in the church that are in the public forum. Rather it refers to the personal offenses (or a sin) between two people. Any knowledgeable Christian should be aware of this. An example of such a situation can be found in Galatians 2:14: "But when I [Paul the apostle] saw that they [Peter and Barnabas] were not straightforward about the truth of the gospel, I said to Peter before them all [publicly]..." (More on Matthew 18.)

Warren: "I'm sure you understand that the more well known a person becomes, the harder it is to stay current with everyone who is using your name for their purposes. For instance, Zondervan publishers asked me to write a commentary on an 'Emerging Church' book, although I am definitely not a part of that group."
Findings: This statement is suggesting that Rick Warren had no control over Zondervan's decision to use his commentary, and he once again omits certain information. Rick Warren not only wrote sidebar commentaries throughout Dan Kimball's book, The Emerging Church but also wrote one of the forewords.

Warren: "If you read that book, you saw that I often disagreed with the author in my sidebar commentary. But when the book came out-it had my name paired with Brian McLaren's on the cover!"
Findings: In the book, The Emerging Church, we found 17 sidebar commentary statements by Rick Warren. Only one was a disagreement and a weak one at that: Dan Kimball was talking about people who didn't like churches that looked like Wal-Marts but preferred buildings with beautiful architecture. Rick Warren's sidebar commentary is: "I wouldn't be so tough on those plain churches that look like Wal-Marts. It is usually a matter of today's economics." Rick Warren did not often disagree with the book. On the contrary other comments Rick Warren makes throughout the book include: "This book is wonderful." "This book can show you how" [to build bridges]. "Thank you so much for sharing your background, Dan.... Go for it." "This is so important." "An outstanding chapter, Dan!" A few times he offered suggestions but showed no disagreement. On the contrary.

Warren: "If I had known that Mr. McLaren was asked to be a commentator too, I would have declined, because I have some major disagreements with his views of the so-called "emerging" movement."
Findings: The fact that Rick Warren tells us here that he wouldn't have even put his name on this "wonderful" book had he known that Brian McLaren was a commentator too seems preposterous. Brian McLaren not only had numerous sidebar commentaries AND also wrote a foreword for the book, but his name was mentioned in the text as well. Plus, Dan Kimball's acknowledgment page thanks Rick Warren and others for taking time to read the book first. While Warren may not have seen McLaren's commentaries when he was going over the manuscript, it is hard to believe he would not have seen the book in its final form for approval prior to printing. The question must then be asked, what does Rick Warren really think about Brian McLaren and the Emerging Church?

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