Monday, December 13, 2010

The Rick Warren Disaster At Desiring God

It's now two months since Rick Warren's highly controversial appearance (if you count a pre-recorded video as an appearance) at John Piper's 2010 Desiring God conference. A lot of the dust has settled, and a lot of the hot blooded blogging has died down. Straight after Christmas I will be launching a series of in depth examination of Warren's sermon at Desiring God. Why is this necessary? Because Warren represents a subtle yet highly dangerous threat to reformed circles when someone like John Piper gives him any credibility whatsoever.

Because of Warren's Purpose Driven plague that infiltrated countless churches around the world, many pastors lost their jobs because of their refusal to abandon a lifetime of preaching for "40 days of purpose". This has had a massive detrimental impact on mainstream evangelicalism. We all hoped that John Piper would at least take Warren to task with some hard hitting probing questions and critique. But none of this happened as Warren's sermon received two bizarre "deer in the headlights" commendations from John Piper and Burk Parsons. These commendations were strangely contrary to so much of Piper's outstanding teaching and preaching. It just seems that there a so many great preachers out there who are unwilling to step across the line into a combat zone with false teachers for the sake of their 21st century sensibilities.

As we step into the new year I hope that we will all learn a great deal, and sharpen our discernment as to the many popular ideas that sound biblical but are actually nothing more than popular psychology. We will also see more clearly the need for a willingness to mark sharp lines of division when it comes to associations and fellowship.

But for now here is some of Todd Friel's feedback on the sermon in question:


Anonymous said...

So many problems and challenges in the world and we are fighting and arguing with each other...what a shame...

Anonymous said...

@"anonymous" - I should hope that you aren't suggesting that calling out false teachers is a bad thing? I more hope that you don't embrace Rick Warren and works-righteousness gospel as a brother in Christ? His own teachings disqualify him from that...

Jude 3, we are to CONTEND earnestly for the faith. If you were a shepherd of literal sheep... would you allow the wolves to be anywhere near your flock? No. How about if they merely camped a bit outside of your fences? No... You'd take whatever means necessary to drive them away.

Acts 20:28 says that we are to watch over ourselves and the whole flock. So each believer is responsible to help watch out for other believers.

It isn't those who contend for the truth and call out false teachers that cause the division... it is those who are teaching false doctrine. They are choosing to depart from the standard of sound doctrine (2 Timothy 1:13-14). Because they are departing, their falsehoods must be called out. It is biblical, it is mandated, it is necessary for the overall health and safety of the sheep...


Anonymous said...

Hi my name is Tinashe I Live in Zimbabwe. One thing the American Church needs to pray about is Unity. I was shocked that inviting Rick Warren to speak caused such controversy especially all the bloggers.

We had a conference in Zimbabwe where we had all Churches represented, Anglican Baptist Charismatic, Reformed Pentecostal you name it and we knelt and prayed for the nation and we asked God for forgiveness for being so divided.

Perhaps God was more interested in unity than pleasing one's doctrinal flavouring. False Teacher is a strong word...believe it or not even John Piper,Mark Driscoll, Matt Chandler have dodgy doctrine at times. Doesnt mean they are heretics..just means they get some things wrong.

So food for thought..You might get shocked when you get to Heaven and hear God saying well done good and faithful servant to Rick Warren. Just somthing to consider.

Cameron Buettel said...

Hi Tinashe, it is wonderful to hear from someone in Zimbabwe. We are told that things are pretty tough there right now. I would be interested to know how life is for a Christian in Zimbabwe in 2011.

I understand your sentiment in the comment you made and I can assure you that there are plenty of debates that can beset aside for the sake of unity. Nobody has every piece of theology right and no one would suggest otherwise. Where Rick Warren differs from the other people you mention is that he continually gets the Gospel wrong. And any unity based on a different gospel is worthless. Paul himself says that division is actually caused by people who preach doctrine contrary to that found in Scripture (Romans 16:17). So I would contend that I am fighting for true unity by warning against Warren's faulty gospel. Furthermore, Paul also pronounces damnation (Galatians 1:8-9) on anyone who preaches any gospel contrary to the one he preached. Please read the subsequent posts to see how far Warren deviates from gospel purity.

I hope this has been of some help to you Tinashe. God bless all of Christ's disciples who live in Zimbabwe.