Rick Warren Critic Reports on Visit with Rick Warren

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On May 22nd, Bob DeWaay, pastor of Twin City Fellowship in Minneapolis, attended a semi-private, recorded meeting with Rick Warren. The meeting occurred after Warren invited DeWaay to travel to the Saddleback campus. DeWaay has been a long-time critic of Warren and the Purpose Driven program. After the meeting took place, DeWaay made statements to his congregation about the meeting, which led Rick Warren’s chief apologist and defender, Richard Abanes, to make public statements saying that Bob DeWaay saw nothing wrong with Warren and his beliefs. Below is a statement by DeWaay to reaffirm his continued belief that Rick Warren is part of a global movement to bring about a “One World church.”

In addition, DeWaay’s statement below discusses author Warren Smith, who was also the topic of Abanes’ statements. Smith, a former New Ager, is the author of Deceived on Purpose: The New Age Implications of the Purpose Driven Life. He will be speaking this coming week to 800 pastors at the Calvary Chapel Senior Pastors Conference. In DeWaay’s comment below, he reiterates that he is in agreement with Warren Smith’s conclusions regarding the Purpose Driven program and it’s New Age implications.

Note: On May 13th Lighthouse Trails received an email from Rick Warren asking us to attend his PEACE Coalition conference. In Warren’s letter, he stated that we attack him regularly and consider him to be an enemy. He issued an invitation to attend his conference, offering to pay all travel expenses. He stated that he would like to “get to know” us personally and said: “I don’t know what motivates you, and you don’t know what motivates me.”

Lighthouse Trails declined the invitation. The matters we address in our books and articles deal with Rick Warren’s public teachings and doctrine and have nothing to do with relationships. We do not consider Rick Warren a personal enemy, we do not hate him, and we do not attack his private life or character.

However, regardless of his motivation, be it good or bad, we believe his public teachings, writings, and speeches promote contemplative (i.e., mystical) spirituality and the emerging church, both of which advocate New Age spirituality and are instrumental in restructuring the Christian church so it no longer represents biblical Christianity. This new age/new spirituality that is coming forth puts the spiritual welfare of millions in harm’s way.

Because these matters have already been brought out and addressed through our books, articles, and various communications with Rick Warren’s ministry, we feel that such a proposed meeting would be unfruitful and counterproductive.

by Bob DeWaay
I wrote my book, Redefining Christianity, assuming that Rick Warren actually believes the Saddleback Church’s statement of faith, but that he refuses to preach it because he wants to be popular with the world and grow his movement. I still think that could still be true–I give him the benefit of the doubt.

At the Saddleback Church conference, he was speaking of winning souls for Christ and talking about his father’s legacy of building churches and winning souls. More than likely he believes Baptist doctrine. But along the way he was derailed by reading the church growth theory of Donald McGavran. While in seminary I studied under a disciple of McGavran. McGavran’s book was required reading. His philosophy hinges on this idea: “people do not become Christian for theological reasons, but for sociological ones.”

Rick Warren believed McGavran and set out to study people to find out what makes them tick so he could get them into church — thus “Saddleback Sam.” Purpose Driven is a franchise system to multiply this idea into other churches. Warren tells pastors that they do not have to change any doctrine to join his movement. The reason for that is that doctrine becomes unimportant because it is no longer taught. I don’t think Rick Warren changed his Baptist doctrine either; he just doesn’t allow it to determine what he teaches and what he does. When we met that is what I challenged him about.

So I have not moved in my beliefs nor have I changed my position on any doctrines I have preached.

I will not allow myself to be pitted against any of [Rick] Warren’s critics. I read Warren Smith’s book [Deceived on Purpose] and spoke with him on the phone. He is a wonderful brother. The New Age implications are in Rick Warren’s movement and are helping lead toward a One World church. But because he has publicly made statements besides his statement of faith that he believes there is a literal hell and that people without Christ will go there, I don’t believe Rick Warren is a true New Age believer, and neither does Warren Smith. Warren Smith simply says there are New Age implications to what Rick Warren is doing, and I agree with him.

Sunday morning I will make a statement clarifying what I mean when I said that we did not have theological disagreements in our meeting. Rick Warren did not disagree with my positions on doctrine in our meeting. But he did not comment on everything I said. Please read my book, because in it I point out that Rick Warren privately affirms orthodox Christian theology–he did so again in our presence. So this is not news worthy.

To set the record straight, for those who think I am suddenly okay with Rick Warren–I am not. I asked him to preach Christ and honor the idea of scripture alone–and I pointed out that he cannot have a “reformation” based on general revelation.[see LTRP article on this global reformation]

These are huge issues, and he did not say he was going to change anything–but he did not disagree. Do Warren’s supporters really think that having an orthodox theology in private is all that God expects of a preacher? Do they think we should not hold Rick Warren accountable to sola scriptura? Do they think that we can have any old ministry philosophy even if doing so totally changes the definition of the church and her message from how the Bible defines them?

I challenge Rick Warren’s supporters to step up to the plate and demand that Rick Warren repent, as I requested him to do in my book. Otherwise [his defenders and apologists] have no business claiming that I agree with them.

Bob DeWaay
May 31, 2008

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