Rick Warren

Update, Febr. 29, 2012: Current Rick Warren controversy: Do Christians and Muslims worship the same God? According to Rick Warren, they do… says a California newspaper.

The Orange County Register reports

The Rev. Rick Warren, pastor of Saddleback Church in Lake Forest and 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.

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.
– Source: Rick Warren builds bridge to Muslims, Orange County Register, Feb. 23, 2012

arrow Do Muslims, Jews and Christians worship the same God?

Update, Mar. 2, 2012: Ed Stetzer at The Lifeway Research Blog says that Rick Warren sent him an “interview where he seeks to bring clarification.”

It is not clear who the interview was with — only that Warren sent it to Stetzer with permission to share it via his blog:

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. Hindus, Muslims, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Christian Science, Unitarians, and everyone else do not accept what Jesus taught about the Trinity.

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!

Read the rest of the ‘interview’: Rick Warren Interview on Muslims, Evangelism & Missions (Responding to Recent News Reports)

In January, 2006, Church Report – “the magazine for church business administrators and para church executives” published the results of a three month survey in which the magazine’s readers were asked their top 10 choices for “The Most Influential Christian (in America) for 2005.” The survey placed Rick Warren in 4th place:

Church Report magazine: Rick Warren

Dr. Rick Warren is the author of the New York Times #1 bestseller “The Purpose-Driven Life.” The book has sold over 19 million copies since October 2002, making it the bestselling hardback nonfiction book in history, which is said to have ignited a spiritual movement in countless communities around the world. Warren is also the founding pastor of Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, Calif., one of America’s largest and best-known churches.
– Source: The 50 Most Influential Christians in America, Church Report, Jan. 2006

To place this in perspective, here is the entire Top 10:

  1. T.D. Jakes, The Potter’s House
  2. Joel Osteen, Lakewood Church
  3. Billy Graham, Billy Graham Evangelistic Association
  4. Rick Warren, Saddleback Church
  5. Bill Hybels, Willow Creek Community Church
  6. Paul Crouch, Trinity Broadcasting Network
  7. Joyce Meyer, Joyce Meyer Ministries
  8. George W. Bush, President
  9. James C. Dobson, Focus on the Family
  10. Chuck Colson, Prison Fellowship Ministries

A year earlier, TIME magazine had Rick Warren heading the “25 Most Influential Evangelicals in America.”

Rick WarrenRick Warren
Click to enlarge

America’s New People’s Pastor: These are heady times for Rick Warren. His book The Purpose Driven Life, which says that meaning in life comes through following God’s purposes, has sold more than 20 million copies over the past two years and is the best-selling hardback in U.S. history. When he took the podium to pray on the final night of Billy Graham’s Los Angeles crusade at the Rose Bowl in November, the 82,000 congregants cheered as if Warren had scored the winning touchdown. And on the eve of the presidential Inauguration, Warren, who pastors the 22,000-member Saddleback megachurch in Lake Forest, Calif., delivered the Invocation at the gala celebration. Later he met with 15 Senators, from both parties, who sought his advice and heard his plan to enlist Saddleback’s global network of more than 40,000 churches in tackling such issues as poverty, disease and ignorance. And when 600 senior pastors were asked to name the people they thought had the greatest influence on church affairs in the country, Warren’s name came in second only to Billy Graham’s. Although Franklin Graham is heir to the throne of the Billy Graham organization, many believe that Warren, 51, is the successor to the elder Graham for the role of America’s minister.
– Source: 25 Most Influential Evangelicals in America, TIME, Feb. 7, 2005

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This post was last updated: Mar. 2, 2012