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. 2 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, 3 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:
Chris Harrison, President, Agape International Ministries