Email from Rick Warren to Lighthouse Trails

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From: Rick Warren []
Sent: Tuesday, May 31, 2005 12:15 AM
Subject: Correcting your Press Release

Dear Deborah,

I wish you had contacted me directly before you released your April 20 Press Release "Rick Warren Teams Up  With New Age Guru Ken Blanchard." It would have saved you a lot of embarassment, and the needless slandering based on false 3rd person information that you got from a book about me that is laughable because of literally hundreds of errors and made-up conclusions. Here are the facts.

    1. George Mair, an unbeliever, evidently wanted to make a quick buck turning out a book on me, at the peak of the popularity of The Purpose Driven Life. He's has made a living churning out "celebrity bios" on such "notables" as Paris Hilton: The Naked Truth,  Oprah Winfrey,  Lethal Ladies, Barry Diller, Lisa Minelli, and Ashley Judd.  Why he chose to write about a pastor I assume was his desire to hitchhike on the success of PDL and hope to make a bunch of money.  Since he is not even born again, he certainly wouldn't understand theology, what I believe, or even the basics of our ministry.

      2. Mair claims that he interviewed Saddleback staff members and even members of my family. The truth is, this person never talked to me, nor to any of my staff, nor to any of my family!  None of us have ever met him or even had a conversation with him on the phone!

      3. My staff has itemized  tons of factual errors- and even "made-up" incidents, stories, and quotes , that are easily proven as completely false.  THERE IS ALMOST NOTHING CORRECT IN MAIR'S BOOK.  Practically every page has  either a factual error, a made-up story, or Mair's weird interpretation of my motives and beliefs.   For example....

                Mair says Kay and Rick went to high school together.   FACT: We lived over 600 miles apart and didnt know each other!

                Mair says  I have one child, a daughter.     
FACT I have 3 grown children , two married, and one grandchild!

                Mair says my father ran a youth ministry.      
FACT: My father never did!

I could go on and on, but any author who gets such basic facts wrong (that are easily checkable) should not be trusted with his interpretation of anything.  This guy, whoever he is, clearly didn't do his homework.

4.. It would be bad enough just to have a book that get the facts wrong, but now critics are quoting Mair as if what he said is the gospel truth.  For instance...

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!  I'm a Southern Baptist and would repudiate every new age belief. My mentor was my own father, and SBC missionary.  My great grandfather on my mother's side was saved under the ministry of Charles Spurgeon and sent to America as a circuit-riding Baptist pastor.

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! I have been in several interdenominational meetings that he was at, and  I shared my testimony about what our church was doing at 3 of his Pastor's conferences in the 1980s. but the invitation came from Wilbert Eickenberger, the director, not even from Schuller himself.  The first time I met Schuller in a meeting was in 1985- 6 years after I started Saddleback - so obviously, he didn't start our church.

Mair says I've hired New Age Guru Ken Blanchard to train leaders for us.

                FACT: This simply isn't true! First, I totally oppose New Age anything.  Second, I haven't hired Ken Blanchard to do anything. 


        Background: Ken is a new believer- a new creature in Christ.  He should not be held accountable for statements or endorsements he made before he became a Christian.  And he's just learning now.  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.  I wanted to support this new believer, and I do not apologize for that.  I believe they taped that conference and sold it. There was nothing new age in it to my knowledge.

 Deborah, since you obviously must hold to the inerrancy of Scripture - the verbal, plenary inspiration of the Holy Spirit, as I do, why didn't you follow Jesus' instructions in Matthew 18 and come to me first, instead of releasing a press release that was inaccurate and hurtful to a brother in Christ?

  Knowing that you would not intentionally publish lies, I know you will want to correct these errors and issue a corrected press release. Next time, please contact me first to make sure. I'm more likely to agree with you than you think.

  Thank you.   rick warren


    PS. 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.  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!  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.

Postscript: Deborah, I forgot to mention that a couple of years ago- Ken volunteered to go on a PEACE trip with one of our teams to Africa for a week. (He has not be able to do that yet) I announced Ken's desire to go in a service - but maybe that's where someone got the idea that we had hired him. It was right before the only time I spoke at his conference. I haven't seen Ken since 2003. But, you need to realized that Ken is growing. He has renounced the "western" view of leadership- which is self-serving and prideful, and has been studying the life of Christ and his sacrificial, servant leadership. Certainly you don't disagree with Jesus as the model of perfect leadership.

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