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.

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Why, why are we going to be judged in those terms at all if we already have grace?

The judgment there is not for whether you get in or out of Heaven. That’s all by grace. The judgment there is based on what you’re going to be doing in eternity. It’s about rewards, and roles, and responsibility and he said, “if you’re faithful in little things, then you will be faithful in much.” And so, contrary to popular opinion, Heaven’s going to be a pretty interesting place. I mean, the idea of most people of Heaven right now is: it’s all white, it’s a bunch of clouds, you’re sitting on a cloud in a white robe with wings playing a harp. Now, if that was Heaven--to me that’s Hell. I can’t think of anything more boring. On the other hand, you think of this world, and even in its brokenness--with all the crime and rape and murder and sin and self-centeredness--there’s a lot of cool stuff on this earth. You know, cool experiences and sunrises and sunsets. God created all these flavors and gave us taste buds. God created all these beautiful sounds and gave us ears to hear. God created eyes. And all of our senses are examples of how God enjoys watching us enjoy his creation. And so, if God made this place pretty cool, and it’s broken, Heaven is going to be pretty cool. And by the way, you’re not going to have wings in Heaven. You’re not going to be an angel. You are going to be a person. Angels are angels, people are people. So it’s the myth that you’re going to be flying around. You’ll be a person.

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Now that Barack Obama has been elected, are you going to work with them to achieve an abortion reduction agenda or do you think that’s really just a charade?

Of course I want to reduce the number of abortions. Barack Obama is a friend of mine. We totally disagree on this issue. I’ve actually talked to him privately about this before and intend to again in the future. It’s not something I protest out on the street about. It’s something you deal with individually as rational civil people. The reason I believe life begins at conception is ‘cause the Bible says it. In Psalm 139, David says “you formed me in my mother’s womb. You planned every day of my life before I was born.” To me that means God had a purpose driven life for you before you were even born. He already knew in advance. To me, abortion short circuits that plan.

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Steven Waldman
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