In articles like Rick Warren And Teachings Of Demons I’ve also clearly documented his sinful ecumenicism as well.
Of course that’s merely one of the fruits festering within apostatizing evangelicalism because of its foolish fascination with corrupt Contemplative Spirituality/Mysticism.
With this in mind, I previously told you that Christian Research Network contributor Christine Pack brought out in her piece Controversy Over An Article About Rick Warren’s Efforts to Bring Muslims, Christians Together:
According to our article posted just a few hours ago, Rick Warren, megachurch pastor of Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, CA, is currently working to build a “bridge” (through a document called “King’s Way”) between Christians and Muslims by claiming that the two faiths worship the same God. The “King’s Way” document, which is the foundation for these bridge building efforts, is not yet publicly available, but a December 2011 meeting at Saddleback Church has been documented here. From the article by Jim Hinch of the Orange County Register:
“The Rev. Rick Warren, pastor of Saddleback Church in Lake Forest and one of America’s most influential Christian leaders, 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.” (Online source)
You might remember that Rick Warren then appeared in the comments section of Hinch’s report with a rather nebulous comment about apparent misinformation allegedly put out by Hinch. So in Rick Warren, Islam, And Jim Hinch I shared with you the result of my personal conversation with Hinch, as well as his subsequent clarification.
To God be the glory that online apologetics and discernment works He’s raised up were able to put enough pressure upon Rick Warren that Ed Stetzer of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Lifeway publishing arm would lament:
Once again, watchbloggers are accusing Rick Warren of heresy. Why? Because, Warren explains, a secular Orange County newspaper got something wrong about a religious issue. Some of the usual bloggers have done their usual job.
However, due to the nature of the story, some mainstream news organizations and bloggers, without the constant anti-Warren agenda, were asking questions and wondering what what was going on. I was. So, I emailed Rick and asked him.
Rick sent me this interview where he seeks to bring clarification. He gave me permission to share it here at the blog. I think it will be helpful. (Online source)
Since I am considered one of those “watchbloggers” this immediately caught my attention. Stetzer would go on to say, “I am sure those who quoted the OC Register will also quote this to clear up any confusion.” Indeed Daniel Neades of Better Than Sacrifice, editor of my CRN, did immediately cover this development.
Neades noted in his piece Rick Warren Categorically Denies OC Register Report:
In an ‘interview’ published by Ed Stetzer of LifeWay Research, Rick Warren, pastor of Saddleback Church and one of America’s most prominent Christian leaders, has categorically denied an Orange County Register report that he had ‘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.’ (Online source)
Well, in the interest of fairness I decided to email Jim Hinch today. Remember, he is a veteran freelance reporter; not some “angry watchblogger.” I asked Jim if there’s any way I could get a copy of that King’s Way piece at the source of this confusion. I explained that without seeing it there wasn’t much more I can say.
I then told him that my guess is the wording of it does imply what what he had stated. I told Hinch it was my opinion, based upon 25 years in the field of Comparative Religion, that likely it’s wording is consistent with the original In the Name of God, the Compassionate, the Merciful A Common Word between Us and You, which says:
It is part of the very foundational principles of both faiths: love of the One God, and love of the neighbour. These principles are found over and over again in the sacred texts of Islam and Christianity. The Unity of God, the necessity of love for Him, and the necessity of love of the neighbour is thus the common ground between Islam and Christianity. (Online source)
Now compare the Christian response to the above that Rick Warren actually signed. You’ll see it also, at least, implies that Islam is an Abrahamic faith believing in the same God:
A Common Word Between Us and You identifies some core common ground between Christianity and Islam which lies at the heart of our respective faiths as well as at the heart of the most ancient Abrahamic faith, Judaism…in responding to your letter, we ask forgiveness of the All-Merciful One and of the Muslim community around the world…
We applaud that A Common Word Between Us and You stresses so insistently the unique devotion to one God, indeed the love of God, as the primary duty of every believer… (Online source)
As I then told Jim Hinch in my email to him, sure, someone can hide in the weeds claiming all of this doesn’t exactly say that Muslims believe in the same God, but it’s my assertion this is the clear implication. I’ll also offer that if one doesn’t mean this then they’re actually being a bit disingenuous to followers of Islam.
The Lord be praised, Jim Hinch has given me permission to publish the following, which further explains his thinking in his report. It also includes a bit of the King’s Way document. I read it the same way as Jim Hinch:
1. The primary source for this story was a five-page document jointly drafted by Abraham Meulenberg, a Saddleback pastor in charge of interfaith outreach, and Jihad Turk, director of religious affairs at the Islamic Center of Southern California, a mosque in Los Angeles. The document was unveiled at a December, 2011 dinner at Saddleback Church attended by approximately 300 Saddleback members and members of Southern California’s Muslim community. At the dinner a Powerpoint presentation described the document, and the King’s Way outreach effort which inspired the document, as “a path to end the 1,400 years of misunderstanding between Muslims and Christians.” The document, which was given to me by a source for this story on condition it not be published in its entirety, outlines several areas of theological agreement between Christians and Muslims and commits members of both faiths to three goals: becoming friends; making peace; and sharing “the blessings of God with others.” Here is how the document describes the points of theological agreement:
I. WHO: we believe in
ONE GOD:1. God is one (Mark 12:29; Muhammed 47:19)2. God is the Creator (Genesis 1:1; Al Shura 42:11)3. God is different from the world (1 Timothy 6:16; An An’am 6:103)4. God is Gooda. God loves (1 John 4:16; Al Buruj 85:14)b. God is just (1 John 1:19, Romans 3:26; Hud 11:45)c. God’s love encompasses God’s judgment (1 Peter 4:8; Al A’raf 7:156; Al Ghafir 40:7)
The Register story based the phrases “same God” and “one God” on the phrasing in this document, which states that Christians and Muslims believe in one God.
2. Rick Warren initially posted a comment to the article claiming that the article contained “multiple errors.” That comment was later deleted, I presume by Warren. After seeing that comment I reached out to Warren’s director of communications. On Monday, Feb. 27 a Saddleback representative called and told me that while the Register story was factually accurate, folks at Saddleback would prefer that the opening paragraph read “Muslims and Christians believe that God is one.” Following a discussion with a Register editor Saddleback decided to withdraw its request for a clarification. At no time has anyone at Saddleback said to me or to anyone else at the Register that the story contains factual inaccuracies.
3. Warren states in his white paper that “no one even talked to me about that article!” I made numerous attempts to contact Warren, both by phone and by e-mail, before the story was published. I was eventually told by Warren’s director of communications that Warren was too busy with other projects to speak with me or to e-mail a response to the story’s main claims, which I had e-mailed to the communications director. Instead I was put in touch with Tom Holladay, an associate senior pastor at Saddleback. I ran all of the story’s claims by Holladay and he affirmed all of them, including the language of the King’s Way document and the fact that King’s Way was an effort to build bridges of friendship and cooperation, not an attempt to evangelize. During my conversation with Holladay I asked whether the King’s Way effort, including the December dinner and the theological document, was done with Rick Warren’s approval. “Of course it has his approval,” Holladay replied. It is neither fair nor accurate to claim that this story was published without attempting to solicit Rick Warren’s response.
4. Warren claims in his white paper that it is “flat-out wrong” that either he or members of Saddleback have promised not to evangelize the Muslims they are working with in the King’s Way effort. As I stated above, that was not what I was told by Tom Holladay. Also, every one of the Muslim sources I talked to for this story emphasized that both sides promised not to evangelize one another. Indeed Muslims told me that the promise not to evangelize was one of the things that enabled them to overcome their wariness toward evangelicals and build bonds of friendship. Again, no source for this story, including at Saddleback, ever told me that the intent of the King’s Way effort was to evangelize Muslims.
This story, obviously, has generated a great deal of passionate response. I respect Rick Warren’s desire to make his views and intentions clear. However I do not believe it is fair to question the accuracy of the Register’s story or the way it was reported. I have had several conversations with people at Saddleback following the publication of the story, including with the church’s director of communications. Everyone I have talked to from the church has told me that the story is entirely factually accurate but they wish certain phrases had been worded differently. However, since those phrases stem directly from a printed document whose authenticity no one has questioned, everyone agrees that there is nothing in the story to correct.