New accusations that mega-church pastor Rick Warren is promoting a new world religion that will usher in the Antichrist are raging again, despite Warren’s adamant and frustrated denials.
Fanning the flames on the Internet this time are none other than The New American magazine, the official publication of the right-of-center John Birch Society and conservative columnist Joseph Farah. Renewed interest in “Chrislam” and Warren was apparently sparked by an article in a local newspaper, the Orange County Register.
Warren, pastor at southern California’s Saddleback Community Church in the Los Angeles suburb of Lake Forest, is accused of trying to merge Christianity and Islam. When asked, Warren shakes his head in amazement – saying it’s “the lie that won’t die,” but which keeps resurfacing.
So, what’s causing all the chatter?
“The Rev. Rick Warren,” writes the Register’s Jim Hinch, “one of America’s most influential Christian leaders, has embarked on an effort to heal 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."
Did Warren actually say that? Hinch continues: “The effort, informally dubbed King’s Way, caps years of outreach between Warren and Muslims. Warren has broken Ramadan fasts at a Mission Viejo mosque, met Muslim leaders abroad and addressed 8,000 Muslims at a national convention in Washington D.C.”
Hinch then notes that Saddleback worshippers have invited Muslims to a Christmas dinner and even played interfaith soccer at a picnic in Irvine “attended by more than 300 people.” The game was not Christians vs Muslims, but “pitted pastors and imams against teens from both faiths,” reports Hinch. “The teens won.”
So, what’s wrong with a dinner and soccer game? And did Warren actually say that Muslims and Christians worship the same deity?
“I’ve had a number of issues with Rick Warren over the years,” writes syndicated conservative columnist Farah, a former executive news editor at the right-of-center Los Angeles Herald Examiner and Sacramento Union newspapers. “But, with his latest effort to find common theological ground with Muslims and suggesting Christians and Muslims worship the same God, the man dubbed ‘America’s Pastor’ by the secular media is getting very close to heresy – if not crossing the line.
“Here is the key to illustrating his error: Do Muslims even claim to
worship the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, as Christians and Jews do?” asks Farah. “No, they do not. They believe God did not create a covenant with Isaac and Jacob, but rather with Abraham’s firstborn son Ishmael. They believe the Jewish and Christian Bibles are misrepresentations of truth. They believe the Quran accurately and faithfully represents the true personality and will of God.
“This is not a minor theological difference. It is as basic and fundamental as it gets.”
“Into this breech, Warren seeks common theological ground,” objects Farah. “It would be easier to find common theological ground between Christians and atheists than Christians and Muslims. In a very real sense, as Joel Richardson has propounded in his brilliant work, The Islamic Antichrist, Islam represents the polar opposite of Christianity.
“Worse yet, in seeking this universalist creed, Warren is agreeing not to evangelize Muslims in favor of the following: making friends; building peace; working on shared social service projects.
“Those are all high ideals,” writes Farah, “but the ultimate expression of love, according to the God of the Bible, is to introduce non-believers to Him and the pathway to salvation through repentance. Though Warren steadfastly denies it, what his Saddleback Church is doing is very close to efforts to blend Christianity and Islam into a universalist creed called ‘Chrislam.’”
Farah admits that Warren adamantly denies such a charge: “In response to that accusation, Warren wrote: ‘My life and ministry are built on the truth that Jesus is the only way, and our inerrant Bible is our only true authority.’”