MAN-CENTERED METHODS OF RICK WARREN A LA ROBERT SCHULLER


…he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways. (James 1:8)

First Let Me Say, It’s Not About You. Ok, So Here, Now Let Me Tell You All About Wonderful You

Apprising Ministries continues to do our part to expose the sinful ecumenicism of über-popular Southern Baptist megapastor Rick Warren of the influential Saddleback Church, e.g. Rick Warren And Teachings Of Demons.

You’re probably aware that Warren’s set to celebrate an anniversary. Christian Post Reporter Alex Murashko tells us in 10th Anniversary Edition of ‘The Purpose Driven Life’ Redesigned for Millennials:

Pastor Rick Warren has teamed up with his book publisher and a crowd-sourced graphic design company to create a new cover for his bestseller The Purpose Driven Life. The 10th anniversary edition will also have a rearranged title in hopes of attracting readers from the millennial generation, says the book publishing company Zondervan.

The cover for What on Earth Am I Here For? The Purpose Driven Life features a tree, but unlike the original life-like, two-toned design, it has brightly colored leaves on a white background. (source)

Well, since we’re likely to have a whole new group of people becoming interested in PDL once again, I think it’s a good idea for those of us in online apologetics and discernment ministry to also bring out our critiques as well.

Keeping this in mind, I’m pleased to remind you that a few years ago in his article The Gospel According to Warren Dr. Gary Gilley tells us that Rick Warren best “exemplified the market-driven approach” to church growth.

Dr. Gilley went on to point out that “Warren’s popularity with the masses ha[d] risen to such levels” that he’d “been asked to write a monthly column for the Ladies Home Journal.” Then Gilley brings out:

Rather than preach Christ, Warren’s message, as reflected in the title of his article is, “Learn to Love Yourself.” In his March, 2005 article the man who opened his book with the words, “It’s not about you,” shows that he really thinks it is. He tells his readership, “To truly love yourself, you need to know the five truths that form the basis of a healthy self-image.” What are they? (All the following are direct quotes from Warren’s article)

Accept Yourself

God accepts us unconditionally, and in his view we are all precious and priceless. Focus on this and you will not waste any time and effort trying to be someone you’re not.

Love Yourself

[Warren’s wife affirms], “God really does love me without strings attached.” [On this basis we apparently have been given the freedom to love ourselves]

Be True To Yourself

Discover, accept and enjoy our unique “shape” [which refers to Warren’s S.H.A.P.E. program] ….Be content with them [our weaknesses].

Forgive Yourself

God doesn’t expect perfection but He does insist on honesty. When I honestly admit my errors and ask forgiveness in faith, He doesn’t hold a grudge, doesn’t get even, and doesn’t bring it up again. We should practice such a forgiving attitude with ourselves.

Believe in Yourself

Start affirming the truth about yourself! The truth is God has created you with talents, abilities, personality and background in a combination that is uniquely you. It’s your choice. You can believe what others say about you, or you can believe in yourself as God does, who says you are truly acceptable, lovable, valuable and capable.

What a disappointment! Not only does Warren not share the gospel, the glory of Christ or any theological truth, he muddies the waters by offering anemic pop-psychology none of which is supportable from Scripture. Briefly, remember that Warren is not writing to believers but to the general populace, which he would have to assume is largely unsaved. (source)

As I see it, this “amemic pop-psychology” is a critical component for the the people-pleasing musings of Rick Warren, which to my eye anyway, are vitually identical to the man-loving message of Robert Schuller.

Here’s Schuller from his travesty of a book Self-Esteem: The New Reformation, which absolutely epitomizes 2 Timothy 3:2:

If only we could love ourselves enough to dare to approach God, what constructive dreams he would give us! What noble possibilities God wants to reveal to us–possibilities that would offer stimulation plus real security in service. But we feel too unworthy. So one layer of negative behavior is laid upon another until we emerge as rebellious sinners. But our rebellion is a reaction, not our nature. By nature we are fearful, not bad.

Original sin is not a mean streak; it is a nontrusting inclination. The core of original sin, then is LOT—Lack of Trust. Or, it could be considered an innate inability to adequately value ourselves. Label it anegative self-image,” but do not say that the central core of the human soul is wickedness. If this were so, then truly, the human being is totally depraved. But positive Christianity does not hold to human depravity, but to human inability.

I am humanly unable to correct my negative self-image until I encounter a life-changing experience with nonjudgmental love bestowed upon me by a Person whom I admire so much that to be unconditionally accepted by him is to be born again.1

Robert Schuller makes the following ludicrous comment in that same book: “Classical theology has erred in its insistence that theology be ‘God-centered,’ not man-centered.’ ”2 But theology itself means the study of God.

By definition, theology must be be God-centered; yet we can see where Schuller’s heart—and I would say Warren’s as well—truly lies. So interested in the self-esteem, i.e. human potential, of men that they end up offending God.

Joseph P. Gudel comments further on Schuller’s centered on the self mythology in his powerful piece A New Reformation? The Faulty Gospel of Robert Schuller:

One might legitimately ask why Dr. Schuller believes classical theology errs so gravely. His answer: Luther and Calvin were listening to the wrong person! He asks the following rhetorical question: “Luther and Calvin, we know, looked to the Book of Romans in the Bible for their primary inspiration. Were they, unknowingly, possessed more by the spirit of St. Paul than by the Spirit of Jesus Christ? Are we not on safer grounds if we look to our Lord’s words to launch our reformation?” [18] The implication is that what Jesus said in the gospels overrides everything else in the Bible.

For Schuller then, some parts of the Bible (i.e., what Jesus said as recorded in the gospels) have more authority than other areas of the Bible. In other parts of SELF- ESTEEM: THE NEW REFORMATION, Dr. Schuller is more explicit. “But can anything be above the Scriptures? Yes, the Eternal Word transcends the written Word. Christ is the Word made flesh. Christ is the Lord over the Scriptures; the Scriptures are not Lord over Christ… The Bible must not compete with the Lord for the seat of glory. We are ‘saved by the blood,’ not ‘by the Book.’ We believe in the holy Trinity, not a holy Quadrangle. Christ must be, at all times, Lord over the Scriptures.” (source)

In closing this, for now, here’s Gary Gilley again from his excellent article The Gospel According to Warren, which I cited a couple of years ago in my own The Inadequate Gospel Of Rick Warren:

No one has exemplified the market-driven approach better than Rick Warren, pastor of the huge Saddleback Church in southern California and author of The Purpose-Driven Church and The Purpose-Driven Life.

While Warren is open and up-front about his philosophy, strategy and methods, nevertheless things are not always as they appear.

For example, “purpose-driven” sounds better than “market-driven” but it is basically the same thing. In his book The Purpose-Driven Life, his opening statement is, “It is not about you,” then turns around and writes a whole book about “you.”

He belittles pop-psychology then repeatedly promotes it by simply calling it something else. He publicly cuts ties with Robert Schuller, then regurgitates some of the most odious things that Schuller has been teaching for thirty years.

He claims commitment to the Scriptures then undermines them at almost every turn. He will tell his followers that he is not tampering with the message but only reengineering the methods, when in fact he has so altered the message as to make it all but unrecognizable.
(source, emphasis mine)

We wonder: Why is it Dr. John Piper and his New Calvinist charge Mark Driscoll feel the need to promote Rick Warren? Consider the man-centered mythology from Warren in this exclusive Apprising Ministries video clip:

Further reading

Endnotes

  1. Robert Schuller, SelfEsteem: The New Reformation [Waco: Word Books, 1982], 66, 67, emphasis mine.
  2. Ibid., 64.