The internet has been abuzz since Sunday on the news that Rick Warren “has embarked on an effort to heal divisions between evangelical Christians and Muslims by partnering with Southern California mosques and proposing a set of theological principles that includes acknowledging that Christians and Muslims worship the same God” (source).
Now it seems that Warren, who sits on the Tony Blair Faith Foundation’s interfaith Religious Advisory Council, is backtracking or is trying to cloud his intentions as to what he is attempting to accomplish through his interfaith P.E.A.C.E projects.
Ken Silva has more about that at Apprising.
What I would like to briefly address in this post is the fact that Rick Warren signed a 2007 document published in the NY Times titled, A Christian Response to ‘A Common Word Between Us and You’.
The following is an excerpt from the document, and clearly shows the Christian writers suggested that Christians and Muslims believe, serve, and love the same God:
What is common between us lies not in something marginal nor in something merely important to each. It lies, rather, in something absolutely central to both: love of God and love of neighbor. Surprisingly for many Christians, your letter considers the dual command of love to be the foundational principle not just of the Christian faith, but of Islam as well. That so much common ground exists – common ground in some of the fundamentals of faith – gives hope that undeniable differences and even the very real external pressures that bear down upon us can not overshadow the common ground upon which we stand together. That this common ground consists in love of God and of neighbor gives hope that deep cooperation between us can be a hallmark of the relations between our two communities…
…Abandoning all “hatred and strife,” we must engage in interfaith dialogue as those who seek each other’s good, for the one God unceasingly seeks our good. Indeed, together with you we believe that we need to move beyond “a polite ecumenical dialogue between selected religious leaders” and work diligently together to reshape relations between our communities and our nations so that they genuinely reflect our common love for God and for one another…
…We are persuaded that our next step should be for our leaders at every level to meet together and begin the earnest work of determining how God would have us fulfill the requirement that we love God and one another. It is with humility and hope that we receive your generous letter, and we commit ourselves to labor together in heart, soul, mind and strength for the objectives you so appropriately propose.
As a reminder, Rick Warren signed this document. Rick Warren is also the man who John Piper has given a full-fledged endorsement since 2010 by stating that Warren is “at root theological and doctrinal and sound” and has given Warren multiple platforms over the last two years for which Piper has affirmed his endorsement of Warren’s ministry.
As for “A Common Word Between Us and You“, I actually first covered this document in a December 2010 article titled, Global Peace, Stability, and Unity Through Interfaith Cooperation, where King Abdullah of Jordan highlighted “A Common Word” as being the backbone for future interfaith harmony between Islam and Christianity. So this is no minor issue and holds great significance as the world enters into a global pluralistic religious society that will ultimately morph into a global antichrist religion.
This brings us to the following transcript from the below 2008 video. In it, John Piper makes a clear and precise case as to why documents like “A Christian Response” are not helpful but hurtful to the Church and to unbelievers. It is deceitful in fact. My hope is that John Piper would consider his very words from just four years ago and how they might apply to his relationship with Rick Warren.
Will we hear from John Piper about Rick Warren’s continued push for Chrislam, and will Piper separate from Warren? Also, Piper mentioned in this video that he desires to prepare an alternative document that clearly proclaims the deity and authority of Jesus Christ the Son of God, that this new document would give us a basis for which Christian leaders can engage Muslim leaders based on the truth and love of Jesus Christ, the Second Person of the Godhead. I am not aware that Piper has put an alternative document together, but now would be an appropriate time. This is what the Church, the invisible Church, the true Body of Christ, needs at this hour to fight this ecumenical and interfaith pluralism seeking to build unholy alliances between today’s apostate church and the world’s religions.
Now from John Piper:
The main thesis [of the “A Common Word Between Us and You”] was that love for God and love for neighbor is a common ground between Christianity and Islam…The main [response] that concerns me is…the one that was published in the NY Times back in November 2007…it’s called “Loving God and Neighbor Together, ‘A Christian Response to a Common Word Between Us’”.
And I just want to register publicly a disappointment with this document, in fact a profound disappointment with the way it is worded, and surprise at some of the people who signed it, some of my friends who signed who I would have thought would have been more careful in what they lend their support to, because what’s missing from this document is a clear statement about what Christianity really is and how we can come together to talk with Muslims from our unique, distinctive biblical standpoint.
It won’t work to simply say “you have a prophet, we have a prophet.” Which is really the way this document sounds. “We have a prophet that says love your enemies, you have a prophet that says love your enemies.” That’s how this document sounds. I’m sure the people that wrote this document do not believe that, but that is what it sounds like…
…So I just want to say that when we speak of the love of God and even quote a verse from 1 John 4 and don’t take into account the very next verse where the love of God that sustains us Christians is the love of God that sent the Son Jesus Christ into the world to be the propitiation for our sins, that’s the next verse, but not the one that’s quoted in the document, we are not…being honest.
We are not saying to the world that is reading this document that the love of God that we get strength from is the love of God uniquely expressed through Jesus Christ as the propitiation for our sins because He died on the cross and rose again, all of those things Islam radically rejects. So they do not believe in the God we believe in, they do not believe in the love of God that we believe in, they don’t beleive in the Son of God that we believe in, they don’t believe in the propitiation that He made for us, and to then talk in vague terms as if the love of God is a common standing place is to deceive, it is to be unclear at best.
Jesus is so crystal clear when He talks about this, “if you reject Me (Jesus said in Luke 10:16)…you reject the One who sent Me.” Muslims do reject Jesus Christ as the Son of God, Son of Man, crucified, risen Savior of the world. They reject Him, and therefore they are rejecting God.
We don’t stand together on a common love of God, or a common understanding of God. They don’t worship the true God according to Jesus. He who has the Son has life, He who does not have the Son does not have life. The Bible is so crystal clear that Jesus is the litmus paper as to whether or not we are talking about the same God…
…So all this talk about smoothing over these profound differences, and then using language to lead the readers of the NY Times and to lead the Mulsims to think that we really do have a common vision of love of God when we don’t even have a common vision of God, is not honest. It’s not helpful.
So I want to commend those who are stretching out their hands to Muslims. I want to write an alternative document than this one “Loving God and Neighbor Together”, and put Jesus Christ clear and lucid and unique and distinct and necessary like He should be, right at the center of the document – Who He is, Son of God, Savior, Son of Man, Sovereign King of the Ages, and then say, “we would love to sit down and commend this Christ to you as the basis of tolerance.”
We do not want strife, we do not want war, we do not want violence, we do not want hatred. We want to exalt Jesus Christ as the Son of God as the ground of why we don’t kill. We do not come killing as the way to win disciples. Jesus said, “if my kingdom were of this world, my disciples would fight. My kingdom is not of this world, therefore my disciples are not fighting.” Christians don’t fight to get people to believe in Jesus. That would contradict the very nature of the voluntary nature of saving faith in the Son of God.
So we would be happy to sit down with any Muslim group and commend Christ to them, and let them talk to us about their prophet, but we’re not going to smooth things over and talk in vague language about how we have the same God and the same love of God, call Mohammed a prophet, call Jesus a prophet, quote Scripture selectively so that it sounds just like the Koran, we’re not going to do that.
So may the Lord grant His Church today to be faithful to Jesus Christ as the Son of God, crucified, propitiating sins, justifying and giving righteousness to those who have faith in Him, and rising from the dead and reigning over the world, and coming again, and one day, every knee will bow before Jesus Christ and confess that Jesus is Lord to the glory of God the Father, and those who have not bowed their knee before Jesus Christ Son of God and Savior and the unique representation and embodiment of the Divine and in whom the fullness of the Deity dwells bodily, those who haven’t bowed the knee will be cast into outer darkness. This is no small thing.
Oh may the Church be faithful to her witness to Jesus Christ. It’s the only loving way to lead people out of destruction and into everlasting life. These things are important. If you are involved at all in Muslim-Christian missions or dialogue, I pray, that you for the sake of Christ and for the sake of the lost, will speak the truth about the glory of the Deity and the crucifixion, and the death, and the resurrection, and the unique saving power of Jesus Christ.