Rick Warren has been broadly criticized for both his alliances and his projects. His latest initiative, launched on January 15 at Saddleback, is almost certain to attract similar attention – not so much because of the issue itself, but because of those who are partnering with him.
Jan Markell, over at Olive Tree Ministries, discusses this issue in her latest article which is featured in this edition of the ABI Blog. I hope you will take a few moments to read this important piece.
(This article is reproduced by permission of the author.)
by Jan Markell
What on earth is Pastor Rick Warren thinking? I have avoided being harsh concerning Rick but on the issue I am about to outline, I must be blunt. A series of errors is outlined below but the zinger following them is my focus.
* Praising Syria for its religious freedom when it is an evil, repressive regime.
* Perfecting church-growth efforts that even include synagogues, but what is missing in the process is the proclamation of the gospel. Warren’s church-growth plan focuses only on numbers.
* Being a part of the leadership or board of advisors for questionable organizations such as the World Economic Forum, The Council on Foreign Relations, and Tony Blair’s Faith Foundation which is a pagan, ecumenical outfit.
* Speaking to the North American Islamic Society in July 2009 but withholding the gospel from his message. This was another ecumenical effort.
* Misquoting Jesus in The Purpose Driven Life saying that He stated, “My return is none of your business” when, in fact, the Bible emphasizes that His return is our blessed hope. The Bible encourages us to watch and pray for His return. This theme consumes more than one-third of the Bible.
* Embracing the false theology of Kingdom Now/Dominion eschatology which says the church will save the world through Pastor Warren’s global P.E.A.C.E. plan, global AIDS’ efforts, etc. This is raging through evangelicalism and is a delusion, as we are on a cursed planet that only Christ’s return can save.
* Underplaying the issues of hell, sin, repentance, etc., in his book and other global platforms he has been given.
Because of a new effort launched January 15 at Saddleback Church, I join the voices of vocal critics. He has put the souls and lives of his people and millions more in danger. I do not know his motive. Last Saturday he launched a year-long effort to get his congregation and himself in shape. You can hear and read about it on the Saddleback Web site: “God’s prescription for your health. Be a part of this transformational debut to be a healthier you! We’ll hear from world-renowned doctors on a plan to get healthy and stay that way in the new decade.”
Who are “the world-renowned doctors” who have designed this program just for Saddleback Church? Men who are blatant promoters of Eastern mystical practices. Let me elaborate.
Best-selling author Dr. Richard Amen is a professor of psychiatry and teaches Eastern religious meditation and New Age energy-based Reiki. You can hear Rick and Dr. Amen interacting on the Saddleback Web site. On page 238 of Amen’s book, Making a Good Brain Great, he states, “I recommend an active form of Yoga meditation called Krya Kirtan. It is based on five primal sounds.” He advocates repeating these sounds daily for 12 minutes.
Dr. Mark Hyman is a four-time New York Times best-selling author who again promotes mystical meditation based on Buddhist principles. In his book, The Ultramind Solution, Hyman emphasizes meditation, saying it doesn’t matter what religion one is — all will benefit from it (p. 322). He praises the practice perfected by Buddhists (p. 384).
Dr. Mehmet Oz is a promoter of Reiki and Transcendental Meditation. Oz says he is also inspired by Emmanuel Swedenborg, an 18th century cult founder who taught that all religions lead to God. Swedenborg denied all orthodox Christian beliefs. There are many followers of the cult of Swedenborgism today.
What is Pastor Warren’s comment on the character of his three guests? “I am honored to be partnering with these internationally distinguished health experts.” Has he no understanding that putting into practice the various procedures they teach will put his congregation in great jeopardy?
Is the deception that great today? And what about the tens of thousands of churches who align with Saddleback? Will they get on board as well, putting millions of Christian’s souls and lives at stake? How many demons are lurking around the wicked practices of Transcendental Meditation, Reiki,Yoga, and similar Eastern traditions?
As apologist Eric Barger says, “Among the most troubling aspects of Warren’s progression are his alliances. When the most visible Christian leader of our day rubs shoulders with and aids the causes of assorted globalists, New Agers, Muslims, and now looks to one who is inspired by cultist Emanuel Swedenborg, the results are devastating. When leaders decide to reject discernment in favor of ecumenism, then innocent, unsuspecting people are, in effect, targeted by Satan’s unrelenting plan to move the church away from the truth of God’s Word. This is a perfect example of why following men, instead of the Bible, is a dangerous proposition.”
Rick Warren says, “Americans are getting fatter and fatter and we must do something.” This seems a strange cause for a man some call ‘America’s pastor.’ Shouldn’t our burden as evangelicals be the leanness of the soul and not the body? Equally perplexing is why his church leaders and members are fine with this year-long effort to glorify men who promote Eastern mysticism and other practices that are ungodly.
Ministry leaders have to choose our battles. Criticizing Christian leaders causes us distress and results in the loss of supporters, donations, churches, and even friends. We are called every name imaginable so understand that contending for the faith costs everything. But contending isn’t an option. It’s a commandment in Jude 3. Saddleback Church is now presenting a different gospel via the three doctors who will speak into the lives of many for one full year. These men will be affirmed by Pastor Rick Warren. There will be damage.
If some do not sound a warning, millions will be swept up in a program that could cause far more damage than obesity could ever do. The gods represented by the three doctors are after souls. They are gods who lead people away from eternal life in heaven and target souls for a Godless eternity. We cannot be silent no matter what the cost is to the critics.
Pray for Pastor Rick Warren and his church leaders. The program launched last weekend could be stopped by the leadership if they would grasp the offense of this effort.
To better understand such issues, visit our Web site category of “Spiritual Deception.”