In the article Rick Warren Builds Bridge to Muslims, published 2/23/12 in the Orange County Register and written by staff writer Jim Hinch, it was reported that Rick Warren of Saddleback Church was working on an interfaith document aimed at healing “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.”
Understandably, this article went off like a bomb inside the theological community. Bloggers blogged, talk show hosts talked, and social media sites were abuzz with discussion. What did this mean? Was Rick Warren now embracing the heretical, but trendy, new movement known as Chrislam? Eight days later, Rick Warren finally addressed the issue by giving a very clear and unambiguous statement affirming his Trinitarian, his Christian beliefs, and stating unequivocally that Christians and Muslims do not worship the same God. (The entire article can be read here.)
The problem with Rick Warren’s supposed clarification is that if you hold his statement up against his life’s actions, they don’t seem to add up. Now that Rick Warren has come out with his statement, I think we must take the statement at face value, but I think we can certainly ask questions. In some ways, it’s almost like he’s gone under oath and given his testimony. But since he has, we can now present the following Exhibits:
Exhibit A – Jim Hinch Did Attempt to Speak To Rick Warren
Jim Hinch, the writer of the original Orange County article in question, despite what Rick Warren claims, DID try to speak directly with Rick Warren but was told he was unavailable for comment:
RICK WARREN: “Those statements were made by a reporter, not by me. I did not say them … I do not believe them… I completely disagree with them … and no one even talked to me about that article!”
JIM HINCH: “I talked to sources both at Saddleback and in the Muslim community and all of them described the mutual outreach efforts and the attempt to find points of theological common ground. While reporting the story I asked to speak to Rick Warren but was told he was too busy for an interview.”
In addition to this, Jim Hinch, the writer of the article that caused such a dust-up is just a regular guy: he’s not a theologian, and to the best of my understanding, he’s not even a Christian. and after having assessed the data in front of him and after reading the King’s Way document, came to the conclusion that it was an interfaith document. The question should not be, “Did Jim Hinch lie?” (because he didn’t) but rather, it should be this: Why wasn’t the Christian gospel message so profoundly clear in the King’s Way document that it was abundantly clear to the secular, onlooking world (like Jim Hinch) that Muslims and Christians do not worship the same God?
Exhibit B – Presidential Inauguration
This exhibit includes the Presidential Inauguration, where Rick Warren gave a carefully worded interfaith prayer in which he gave one of the names of Jesus as “Issa.” This is NOT one of Jesus’ names. “Issa” is the Arabic name for the Jesus of the Qu’ran, and the Jesus in the Qu’ran is not the Jesus of the Bible, but “another Jesus” (2 Cor 11:4) who is not the Divine Son of God, nor the Savior who came to make atonement for sinners.
Exhibit C – Rick Warren Says It’s His Desire To Work with Muslims, Jews…Not Evangelize Them
Rick Warren’s has given on-the-record statements that he does not feel he needs to evangelize other faiths, but only wants to work together with them to better the community….
…..Jihad Turk, director of religious affairs at a mosque in California and also co-author of the King’s Way document crafted by Saddleback Church, said of the agreed upon parameters for the interfaith document: “We agreed we wouldn’t try to evangelize each other…….We’d witness to each other but it would be out of ‘Love Thy Neighbor,’ not focused on conversion.”
….In 2006, Rick Warren gave an interfaith talk at a Jewish temple, before which he told the organizer of the event (Rabbi Wolfson) that his interest was in “helping all houses of worship, not in converting Jews.”
A Common Word Between Us and You (Interfaith document created by the Muslim community, aimed at uniting Christians-Muslims)
A Christian Response to A Common Word Between Us and You (Interfaith document created by the Christian community, signed by Rick Warren)
The original appears complete with a comments section for you to join the discussion right here.