New accusations connect Rick Warren with Chrislam
After an Orange County Register article describes Saddleback Community Church's outreaches to the Islamic community, pastor taken to task on conservative websites
BY: Rob Kerby
"Pastor Rick Warren has often said that 'you never win your enemies to Christ, only your friends.' And he’s gone far past the limits most believers are willing to broach in order to form friendships and love a world in need of Jesus. Because of this, he’s often the target of unfair criticism and unfounded rumors. If you’ve longed for Pastor Rick to clear the air with boldness and clarity, keep reading. It’s the transcript of an interview between Rick, the Christian Post, and myself. Read on…
"QUESTION: Do people of other religions worship the same God as Christians?
"WARREN: Of course not. Christians have a view of God that is unique. We believe Jesus is God! We believe God is a Trinity: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Not 3 separate gods but one God. No other faith believes Jesus is God. My God is Jesus. The belief in God as a Trinity is the foundational difference between Christians and everyone else. There are 2.1 billion people who call themselves Christians… whether Catholic, Orthodox, Protestant, Pentecostal, or Evangelical…and they all have the doctrine of the Trinity in common.
"QUESTION: A recent newspaper article claimed you believe Christians and Muslims worship the same God, that you are 'in partnership' with a mosque, and that you both agreed to 'not evangelize each other.' You immediately posted a brief refutation online. Can you expand on that?
"WARREN: Sure. All three of those statements are flat out wrong. 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! So let me address each one individually:
"First, as I’ve already said, Christians have a fundamentally different view of God than Muslims. We worship Jesus as God. Muslims don’t. Our God is Jesus, not Allah. Colossians 2:9 'For in Christ dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily.'
"Second, while we urge our members to build friendships with everyone in our community, including Muslims and other faiths, ('Love your neighbor as yourself'), our church has never had any partnership with a mosque. Friendship and partnership are two very different levels of commitment. Some of our members have hosted a Bible study with Muslim friends, which I applaud, but I’ve never been to it, and a Bible study certainly isn’t any kind of partnership or merger! It’s just crazy that a simple Bible Study where people explore Scripture with non-Christians would be reported as a partnership and others would interpret that as a plan for a new compromised religion. Just crazy!
"Third, as both an Evangelical and as an evangelist, anyone who knows me and my 40 year track record of ministry knows that I would never agree to 'not evangelizing' anyone! I am commanded by my Savior to share the Good News with all people everywhere, all the time, in every way possible! Anyone who’s heard me teach knows that my heart beats for bringing others to Jesus."
The interview goes on to quote Warren to talk about his years-long efforts to build bridges between the Christian and Muslim communities.
"QUESTION: 'Building a bridge' sounds like compromise to many people.
WARREN: Building a bridge has nothing to do with compromising your beliefs. It’s all about your behavior and your attitude toward them. It’s about genuinely loving people. People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care. Before people ask, 'Is Jesus credible?' they want to know if you are credible. Before people trust Jesus they must trust you. You cannot win your enemies to Christ, only your friends. It’s part of what Paul calls 'the ministry of reconciliation.' It is Christ-like to treat people with dignity and listen to them with respect."
In an earlier statement on pastors.com, Warren stated: “As an evangelist, I spend much of my time speaking to non-Christian groups. You cannot win your enemies to Christ; only your friends, so we must build bridges of friendship and love to those who believe differently so Jesus can walk across that bridge into their hearts. Besides, it is not a sin, but rather COMMANDED by Jesus that we love our enemies. In the past 10