My earlier post on Rick Warren and the controversial "Kings Way document" caused some people to write to me saying that it was a media beat up. They pointed out that Rick Warren has come out and denied ever saying or believing anything concerning Christians and Muslims worshipping the same God. Yes, I am very aware of Rick Warren's response. And no, I have never really entertained the thought that Rick Warren is an exponent of "chrislam". But I stand by the title I gave to the post because it draws attention to the issue of rick Warren's continual ambiguity. Why do people misunderstand him and take him out of context continually? Might it have something to do with the fact that he continually speaks in very vague terms when things get ecumenical? Could he be suffering the fate Margaret Thatcher once warned about when she said that "if you stay on the fence then you get slapped from both sides". Pleasing all men is a futile pursuit that always seems to ultimately end up in a very lonely place. And Rick Warren has a long history of either failing to take a side on an issue or speaking out of both sides of his mouth.
I have no sympathy for Rick Warren as to whether Jim Hinch (the journalist) misunderstood the relationship between Rick Warren's church and their relationship with the local Muslim fellowship. Can you imagine an interviewer ever getting confused by John Macarthur as to whether Allah and the Biblical God are the same? Why not? Because all preachers have a biblical mandate to be explicitly clear and uncompromising about the core tenets of the Christian faith - something Warren continually fails to do.
But there is also the possibility that Warren's denial is not entirely true anyway. Ken Silva (KS) over at Apprising Ministries contacted Jim Hinch (JH) to get his side of the story.
KS: You see, yesterday I asked Jim Hinch about the King’s Way document, which he has. Hinch began with a recap of the situation:
JH: Rick Warren initially posted a comment to the article claiming that the article contained “multiple errors.” That comment was later deleted, I presume by Warren. After seeing that comment I reached out to Warren’s director of communications.
On Monday, Feb. 27 a Saddleback representative called and told me that while the Register story was factually accurate, folks at Saddleback would prefer that the opening paragraph read “Muslims and Christians believe that God is one.”
Following a discussion with a Register editor Saddleback decided to withdraw its request for a clarification. At no time has anyone at Saddleback said to me or to anyone else at the Register that the story contains factual inaccuracies.
KS: You should be able to see why online apologetics and discernment ministries work to expose the methodology of Rick Warren. What “multiple errors” is Warren talking about? He also kept insisting that no one contacted him. Hinch then sets the record straight:
JH: Warren states in his white paper that “no one even talked to me about that article!” I made numerous attempts to contact Warren, both by phone and by e-mail, before the story was published.
I was eventually told by Warren’s director of communications that Warren was too busy with other projects to speak with me or to e-mail a response to the story’s main claims, which I had e-mailed to the communications director. Instead I was put in touch with Tom Holladay, an associate senior pastor at Saddleback.
I ran all of the story’s claims by Holladay and he affirmed all of them, including the language of the King’s Way document and the fact that King’s Way was an effort to build bridges of friendship and cooperation, not an attempt to evangelize.
During my conversation with Holladay I asked whether the King’s Way effort, including the December dinner and the theological document, was done with Rick Warren’s approval. “Of course it has his approval,” Holladay replied. It is neither fair nor accurate to claim that this story was published without attempting to solicit Rick Warren’s response.
Who knows what the whole story is here. But it once again proves my point that the best possible construction on the world of Rick Warren is a giant fog of double speak coupled with a continual failure to proclaim the Gospel in spite of all the doors of opportunity presented to do just that. And what is the worst possible construction on the world of Rick Warren? I think you can join the dots on that one!
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