Steven Waldman Interviews Rick Warren

Rick Warren, pastor of Saddleback Church and author of "The Purpose of Christmas," spoke with Beliefnet Editor-in-Chief Steven Waldman at the offices of our partner, The Wall Street Journal.


12/22/2008 06:17:05 PM

As one committed to loving God who saves me through Jesus the Christ and (however imperfectly) loving people and all God's creation, I'm bewildered by Pastor Warren's simplistic mischaracterizations both of mainline Protestants and evangelicals. But his willingness to at least tolerate (embrace?) differences is a great sign of hope for us who seek to live in full reconciliation with God and all created. I am thankful for and encouraged by his leadership in building relationships between our sinfully divided Christian groups. I've tried to live out my faith through United Methodist communities where our soulful relationships with God cause us to act out and witness to a social gospel. It is just as wrong to categorize "mainline Protestants" as unfocused on personal salvation or personal morality as it is to categorize "evangelicals" as unfocused on social justice. Nonetheless, Pastor Warren appears to be a wonderful pastor and a force for justice, not the fundamentalist caricature that some "social gospel" Protestants sometimes ridicule. I look forward to seeing Pastor Warren walking hand in hand with Barack Obama and insprited leaders like Rev. Joseph Lowery and many others. By God's grace, when we get past preconceptions of each other, we might well be able to hear and do the best that God desires for the world.


12/17/2008 06:51:49 PM

"Pastor" Warren's accusations against mainline Protestants (Methodists, Episcopalians, Presbyterians, etc.) are beyond ridiculous. He calls us Marxists and claims we feel that "we don't really need to care about Jesus' personal salvation, the cross, and repentance." He, and other evangelicals, are going to "take care of personal salvation, personal moral issues, and protection of the family." His comments are beyond ridiculous and, really unworthy of comment. He obviously has no experience, or recent visits to mainline Protestant churches. Personal salvation, the cross, and repentance have always made up the central focus of the Methodist church I'm proud to be a part of. We also take pride in our part in the struggle for social and economic justice for all. This does involve aid to the poor, which Pastor Warren seems to dismiss. Pastor Warren seems to thrive on creating division, evidenced by these comments and his support of Prop. 8. I'm proud of the history of mainline Protestant Christianity. It gave us Martin Luther King Jr. who showed we can focus on personal salvation, and still address our vast array of social problems. I find it unfortunate that Pastor Warren chooses to make such uninformed, divisive comments.