Rick Warren's sermon at Desiring God has huge ramifications for those of us who call ourselves reformed. Have we blurred the lines on what we are willing to tolerate? In our zealous efforts to be civil and amicable do we throw all combativeness out the window? If it is tolerated at the epicenter will it be embraced at the outer reaches of the fall out zone? Exactly where are the lines and what does one have to do to cross them? Where will those of us who live in the land of apostasy go for a discernment benchmark? Does this mean that we may see a growing tendency not to witness to people who say they are Christians but preach a different Gospel?
What are we to do with Bible verses like:
Romans 16:17 Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them.
Galatians 1:8-9 But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed. As we have said before, so now I say again: If anyone is preaching to you a gospel contrary to the one you received, let him be accursed.
Ephesians 5:11 Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them.
1 Timothy 5:20 Them that sin rebuke before all, that others also may fear.
2 Timothy 4:2 Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all long suffering and doctrine.
Titus 3:10 A man that is an heretic after thefirst and second admonition reject;
Titus 1:13 This witness is true. Wherefore rebuke them sharply, that they may be sound in the faith;
Jude 1:3-4 Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints. For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ.
Does Rick Warren preach another gospel and, if so, what response does that warrant from true shepherds like Dr. Piper?
Starting in the new year (January 3) we will launch straight into some more in-depth analysis of Rick Warren's "message" preached at the 2010 Desiring God conference. I believe there is much that is beneficial to be learnt from Warren - particularly what not to preach. We will learn about the pervasive seductiveness of moralism, how a wrong view of conversion perverts your preaching, and how to listen with discernment so we can detect whether a message is gospel-centered or man-centered.
Christmas is upon us and I plan to repost my Christmas evangelism series from two years ago that will run each day for the next 9 days up until Christmas. Christmas is a great time to evangelize and if you don't have any good tools then I want to offer this series as a interesting and thought provoking Gospel presentation for unbelievers.
But because there are some readers who are truly gluttons for punishment, I will leave you all with this entree for my upcoming series starting January 3rd 2010. Chris Rosebrough is not everybody's cup of tea but he was more than willing to dive into this debate and offer 2 hours of blow by blow analysis. For the punishment gluttons, feast on this: