On August 17th, acclaimed interviewer and broadcast journalist, Charlie Rose, interviewed Rick Warren. You may listen to this broadcast by clicking here. (You will have to let this file load.)
In the interview, Rose and Warren discuss the Purpose Driven Life paradigm and its relation to Christianity in North America and around the world. Here are a few of the comments:
1. Rick Warren states there are over 2 billion Christians in the world, and says that this number includes hundreds of millions of Catholics.
2. Warren said that, with regard to his book, “I couldn’t figure out why it became such a phenomena. I think now it was because God wanted to provide a platform for these other issues we care about.” (Warren’s 5 global giants)
3. “I’ve been taking people, irreligious people, people with no background in any kind of faith or they haven’t been to church or synagogue or temple in forty years … and we take them where they need to be…. My goal is to move the American church [away] from self-centered consumerism.
This interview showed very clearly Warren’s dream to see Christians and Catholics join together, stating that “minor doctrinal differences” should not keep them separated. “What I am interested in is bringing the church together … we are never going to agree on a lot of things, but I found we do agree on purpose.” He talked about the purposes that all Catholics and Protestants agree on.
But as he has done so many times in the past, Warren took his ecumenism a big step further than just a union of Catholics and Protestants. As Warren did at the Pew Forum on Religion last year, he explained to Rose his “man of peace” concept and said that every village, every government, every place has a man (or woman) of peace. “The man of peace is open and influential … and here’s the other thing, the man of peace does not have to be a Christian believer … could be Muslim, could be Jewish.” Warren said that Jesus sent out his disciples to go find the man of peace in every village. He said Jesus sent them out to find people who would work with them on solving poverty, sickness and the other problems of the world.(He said that they did not have to agree with the disciples message or beliefs.) In the same vein, Warren said that we don’t have to have the same religion or moral beliefs to work with people on poverty, disease, etc. As an example he said he just met with the President of the gay-activist group ACT UP, and asked him, “Eric,[Sawyer] how can I help you get your message out?” Sawyer answered, “Use your moral authority.” Warren then said to Rose, “I’m working with these guys … I’m looking for a coalition of civility, which means let’s get back to the original meaning of tolerance.
Warren has made a terrible distortion of what Scripture actually says. Jesus told his disciples to go out and call people to repentance whereas Warren is suggesting that we are to ignore our differences (including moral differences) and work together for peace (peace was not a goal that Jesus gave the disciples but rather was a blessing the disciples could give to a house that received their message):
These twelve Jesus sent out and commanded them, saying: “Do not go into the way of the Gentiles, and do not enter a city of the Samaritans. But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. And as you go, preach, saying, ‘The kingdom of heaven is at hand.’ Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out demons. Freely you have received, freely give…. Now whatever city or town you enter, inquire who in it is worthy, and stay there till you go out. And when you go into a household, greet it. If the household is worthy, let your peace come upon it. But if it is not worthy, let your peace return to you. And whoever will not receive you nor hear your words, when you depart from that house or city, shake off the dust from your feet. Assuredly, I say to you, it will be more tolerable for the land of Sodom and Gomorrah in the day of judgment than for that city!” Matthew 10:5-15
“Who’s the man of peace in any village – or it might be a woman of peace – who has the most respect, they’re open and they’re influential? They don’t have to be a Christian. In fact, they could be a Muslim, but they’re open and they’re influential and you work with them to attack the five giants. And that’s going to bring the second Reformation.” Rick Warren, May 23, 2005, Pew Forum on Religion