Is Rick Warren a false teacher?


People have been buzzing over Rick Warren for quite a while. Especially since his book, “The Purpose Driven Life” came out many years ago. Lately it seems that many fundamentalist Christian groups have come out in full force again to refute his doctrine and label him as a false teacher and a wolf. Many people at the Church I have pastored at for several years have asked me about this. Some of them have been persecuted for following him on twitter and Facebook. People have been told to run from his false doctrine. People have said that he is easy on sin, that he doesn’t speak about repentance, that he doesn’t talk about hell or believe in it. Many have said that he is pro-gay and sides with the liberal media on issues of homosexual marriage and issues such as these.

I decided to set out on a journey to discover if Rick is indeed a false teacher. I have heard him many times and never was alarmed by anything that I heard. I think it is important first to decide what constitutes a false teacher and then see if Rick Warren fits this description. Please read every verse that speaks about what a false teacher is and then decide if Rick is one. We will deal with them in order.

1 John 4, “Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world. This is how you can recognize the Spirit of God: Every spirit that acknowledges that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, but every spirit that does not acknowledge Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you have heard is coming and even now is already in the world.”

2 John 1:7, “For many deceivers have gone out into the world, those who do not confess the coming of Jesus Christ in the flesh. Such a one is the deceiver and the antichrist.”

Matthew 7:16, “You will recognize them by their fruits. Are grapes gathered from thornbushes, or figs from thistles?”

2 Peter 2, “But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing upon themselves swift destruction”

I Timothy 4: 1The Spirit clearly says that in later times some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons. 2Such teachings come through hypocritical liars, whose consciences have been seared as with a hot iron. 3They forbid people to marry and order them to abstain from certain foods, which God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and who know the truth.

Galatians 1:6-8, “6I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you to live in the GRACE OF CHRIST and are turning to a different gospel— 7which is really no gospel at all. Evidently some people are throwing you into confusion and are trying to pervert the gospel of Christ. 8But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let them be under God’s curse! 9As we have already said, so now I say again: If anybody is preaching to you a gospel other than what you accepted, let them be under God’s curse!

Here is the list of things that Bible says is false teaching and false teachers:

1. Anything that Teaches that Jesus did not come in the flesh, meaning any teaching that doesn’t acknowledge that Jesus was both God and Man.

2. Any teaching that does not acknowledge Jesus.

3. Any teacher that doesn’t bear good fruit. Fruit in the Bible is listed in Galatians 5 as Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Gentleness, goodness, faithfulness and self control.

4. Any teacher that is Denying the person of Jesus.

5. Any teacher who forbids marriage or commands people to abstain from certain foods.

6. Any teaching that is different than that gospel of Grace. Paul said that people had removed themselves from the GRACE OF CHRIST unto ANOTHER GOSPEL, which IS NO GOSPEL AT ALL. Paul pronounced a double curse on those who preached any gospel other than the gospel of grace.

So here is my findings. Rick Warren preaches that Jesus was born of a virgin. He preaches that Jesus is the only way to salvation. He preaches that Jesus came in the flesh. He preaches that Jesus is both God and man. He does not deny Jesus Christ. He bears the fruit of the spirit more than almost any major preacher that I have seen. Always walking in love in spite of the hate from the so called watchmen, who are really just religious gossips who have hateful attitude and want to through stones at Rick because of the sin in their own heart. He preaches the death, burial, resurrection and second coming of Christ. He preaches that man is lost. He preaches that faith in Christ is required to be saved. He preaches repentance. He preaches about sin. He preaches about hell.

Rick does not forbid marriage or command that people abstain from certain foods.

Rick preaches the gospel of the grace of Christ to all people. Rick Warren is not a false preacher. He is a man of God that is holding forth the word of life. The follow Scripture is a rebuke on the so called “watchmen” who would love to pass judgment upon this great man of God who is winning many to Christ with God’s help.

James 4:12, “Do not speak evil against one another, brothers. The one who speaks against a brother or judges his brother, speaks evil against the law and judges the law. But if you judge the law, you are not a doer of the law but a judge. There is only one lawgiver and judge, he who is able to save and to destroy. But who are you to judge your neighbor?”

Watch out if you judge a person, you will bring judgment on yourself. The same level of judgment that you pass on people will be used against you. People have taken his words out of context and used it to fillet him openly yet he doesn’t fight back because he is exercising the fruit of the spirit.

John Piper is a very respected theologian. He holds forth the truth of God’s word. He believes and preaches doctrine in a clear and bold way, more than most. He has interview Rick. He did so because he had also heard that Rick was a false teacher. He decided to read his book and then grill him on his theology. The result was that he found rick to be a solid preacher of the word of God. He exposed the false allegations that Rick doesn’t preach on sin, repentance, the blood of Jesus, the only way to salvation and various things. In fact you will see that he speaks of sin and repentance countless times in the book. The following video leaves no doubt at all that Rick Warren is not a false prophet. Actually he is a leader in the army of God and is more interested in building the kingdom then he is running around and checking everyone’s theology.

All of you pharisees who don’t have anything better to do than to attack Rick Warren, try using your energy to find people who need Jesus and share the gospel with them. If you were more busy doing that, you wouldn’t have time to slander great men of God.

I’m a pastors kid and now a pastor who followed in my dad’s footsteps. I watched people slander him my whole life. It was painful. Dad just continually preached the grace of Christ in spite of the naysayers. Today his ministry’s flourishing because he refused to acknowledge those people. Rick Warren is blessed for a reason.

Link to John Pipers interview grilling Rick Warren on his theology:

God Bless,

Chris Harrison, President, Agape International Ministries



19 thoughts on “Is Rick Warren a false teacher?

  1. Mije Croslow

    Excellent, Chris. Love the way you identified false teaching based on biblical standards. I totally agree about Rick Warren and his ministry. I personally loved the Purpose Driven Life. He is simply saying live a missional life. Thanks for writing this article.

  2. janalea

    Your findings are WRONG!! You are helping him send people to hell!! Just because your a pastors son.. Doesn’t make your finding true or make you creditable.


    I really like the way (according Gods word) you proved that Rick Warren is not a false teacher but a blessed servant of God this is the only way. “God bless you to show the right way to wrong people.”

      1. Matthew Force

        She didn’t ask if you knew what Christianity is, but what Chrislam is. Which is combining the teachings of Christianity and Islam.

        1. Matthew Force

          Though I refuse to tell my side in this argument, I feel obligated to mention in interview that Christianity Today did of Rick Warren. One other issue that you should cover Chris, would be other’s claims of him having questionable mentors like Peter Drucker or people’s complaints of him using too many versions of the bible in his literature. In all probability you are right about some people being persecuted for promoting his literature, just as I have heard the opposite. The question is whether the majority consensus is correct in a debate or the minority, after all their are several cases in which both the majority and minority have been wrong.

          Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they are keeping watch over your souls, as those who will have to give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with groaning, for that would be of no advantage to you.- Hebrews 13:17

  4. Patrice

    oh and one more thing , I wont be surprised if my comment does not get posted on here. He tells people what they want to hear, not what they really need to hear and he is very crafty at what he does.

  5. Elvis Sienna

    rick is definitely a false teacher a messenger from satan. Not everyone who preach Jesus and teaching the Bible are God’s messenger. Satan can disguise himself as an Angel of Light 2Cor 11:14. He is so deceptive that we cannot notice it he slowly twisting the true doctrine of Christ.

    Please read Matthew 24: 4 Jesus told them, “Don’t let anyone fool you. 5 For many will come claiming to be the Messiah and will lead many astray.
    Matt 24:24 For false Christs shall arise, and false prophets, and will do wonderful miracles so that if it were possible, even God’s chosen ones[f] would be deceived

  6. Lavern

    You left out some other important passages. Christ said to go and sin no more. Is that taught by rick? Or does he condone different kinds of sin. Paul instructed a man to be kicked out of the church due to the man committing sexual sin. So does Rick condone or condemn such behavior in his Church, keeping in mind that silence is the same thing as condoning.
    Rick wrote in the Purpose Driven Life that Jesus told the apostles that prophecy is unimportant. Rick’s message to his readers is that people shouldn’t waste their time trying to decipher the meaning of prophecy. This though is a tactic of the devil to keep people blind to what he is doing.
    Warren teaches all faiths should be respected. This is why he meets with so many people who oppose Christianity. But interfaith, and all it stands for is a lie.

  7. Ronald Allan

    A person can be judged by the company they keep. Rick Warren’s wife, Kay, is appearing with Victoria Olsteen, Joel’s Osteen’ s wife. No one can doubt that Joel is a false teacher.

    1. Chris Harrison Post author

      So if they spend time with Joel Osteen this automatically makes them a false teacher. If we are judged by the company we keep then Jesus was a prostitute loving, alcoholic

  8. Brente R. Blosser

    I can truly say that you have made an impressive defense for Bro. Warren. However, the proofs you put down in this article concerning his beliefs of whom Christ is doesn’t have much validity. Everything you said about his beliefs, (born of a virgin, is the only way to Salvation, is The GOD-man, came in the flesh, shows fruit of the Spirit, etc.) are all the things that the great Deceiver believes. The Deceiver is described as an Angle of light and tells many truths with little lies that ensnare many Christians. I’m not saying that Bro. Warren is not an honorable man, just that your argument as stated above can be a clever deception. I have the utmost respect for John Piper, John MacArthur, Justin Peters and the like and if they endorse him, I’m on the band wagon. I do NOT like, not do I encourage people to listen to “teachers” who want you to “Have Your Best Life Now”. All these feel good preachers are more connected to the Deceiver, (whether they know it or not), than a man like Rick Warren. I have done cursory investigations concerning Rick Warren, but now I must dig much deeper. I thank you brother for your words and your sincerity. You are a breath of fresh air to Christianity. But please keep your mind, eyes and ears open. It is said that all will be deceived, even the elect, if that is possible. We must stay in the Word daily and contemplate and meditate on it’s words.

  9. Brente R. Blosser

    Brother, I have come to realize that Rick Warren has a worldly view of the Gospel and does not preach or teach what is commanded in Scripture. He does touch upon some things biblical, but then he dilutes it with his take on it. This website: , is one of many I have found that gives evidence of his errors. Unfortunately you need a good understanding of Scripture to see this. In fact, many people are deceived by false teachers because they have no working knowledge of Scripture. A verse here, a verse there, nothing in context. I can get you to believe anything if I quote a verse and not tell you what came before or after that verse. Nor would you know the truth by ignoring the Old Testament which is what Christ quotes many times in the Gospels and in the Epistles, the Apostles also quote from the OT. Christ says to beware of false teachers who come to you as sheep but are ravenous wolves. Is not the sword of truth the Word of GOD?

  10. James Sundquist

    Dear Bible Answers,

    I would like to entreat you consider reading both of my books on Rick Warren, published by Southwest Radio.

    You can read them in their entirety at (free):

    also see:
    I also have published works in Conservative Theological Journals.
    (See my color slides on Warren’s SHAPE)

    Regarding Rick Warren’s published statement about the sales of his PDL book which he attributes to Publishers Weekly:

    “Best Selling Non-Fiction Hardback Book in History”.

    George W. Slowik, President of Publishers Weekly:

    “I’ve checked our site which includes all of our content from about 1995.
    Also touched base with our religion editors and there is no finding of a
    quote like that…We don’t generally use the term hardback.” September 30, 2013 11:33:08 PM EDT

    So in event that someone does not believe this report, I appeal to them to call Saddleback yourself for proof that Publishers Weekly made that claim. Then Call George Slowik yourself for his testimony. You won’t be able to obtain Warren’s claim re Publishers Weekly, because it does not exist. PW would never make such a statement anyway because the claim is absurd. And were they to have run a story, they would have supplied who came in second in the history of sales of hardback nonfiction books. They would have documentation to substantiate the sales figures.

    Now here is the documentation of the truth about the best selling books in history:

    In this regard, I also invite you to view this Elliott Nesch documentary film and investigation of Rick Warren:

    Sincerely in Christ,

    James Sundquist


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