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Rick Warren

This charming minister, who is the popular author of the book "A Purpose-Driven Life", has inspired many "40 Days of Purpose" campaigns in churches across the U.S. and further. Still, questions about his materials, practices, and intent, persist, both by numerous individual Christians and pastors. Although what we have compiled below does not represent all concerns expressed, they are the fairest and the best of what was recommended to us. Much of it has been thoroughly researched and footnoted.  

Concerns regarding Rick Warren have included:

*Rick Warren's use of the inaccurate "Message" translation for his book "A Purpose-Driven Life", his occasional practice of taking scripture out of context, and his watered-down 'easy-believism' gospel:

Purpose Verses
The reviewer takes The Purpose-Driven Life book chapter by chapter, overviewing the main points and scriptures used in a simple, easy to understand format

See: The Purpose-Driven Life: An Evaluation - Part 1 by Gary E. Gilley, Pastor-Teacher

 *Rick Warren's association with Robert Schuller and other questionable "New Age" people, as well as the use of their ideas.

See: the book, Deceived on Purpose by Warren Smith

The following description of the book is adapted from Amazon reviewsl: "The author, Warren Smith, is a former New Ager who says "Because of my New Age background, I have written this book Deceived on Purpose to specifically address some of the New Age implications..."  Much of the book is dedicated to a discussion of Robert Schuller as a known major player in the New Age movement. In his extensive research Warren Smith made the  startling discovery that the material in Rick Warren's "Purpose Driven Life" is taken almost  exclusively from Robert Sculler's books. He has visited the Crystal Cathedral a number of times  and received advice from Rob.ert Schuller..."

Please see Chapter 10 update of Warren Smith's excellent on-line book, Reinventing Jesus Christ for a summary of Warren Smith's investigation into Rick Warren's connect with Rober Schuller, as well as a discussion on how Rick Warren and Ken Blanchard worked together to develop and launch the 5-step Global P.E.A.C.E. Plan in Nov. 2003. This update details how Ken Blanchard and Saddleback responded to the controversy raised and how Blanchard promised to be "more discerningand " in 2005, and yet in year 2006, he endorsed another New Age book (John Gordon’s The 10 minute Energy Solution), which quoted from numerous New Age sources and nonChristian sources. It shows how Rick Warren responded to this developments and says he continues to be on Blanchard’s Lead Like Jesus Board of Directors.

Warren Smith uses numerous footnotes and quotes and references throughout.

*Rick Warren's connection to C. Peter Wagner as well as his many other indiscriminate associations, quotes, and appearances: 

See: "Community Connections" from Let Us Reason Ministries.
quote: "Warren’s affiliation with those in the new apostolic movement of Peter Wagner is evident by those he speaks with as well as their approval of what he is doing."

See also: The Seeker Friendly Church Model by Let Us Reason,  and
Feeding Sheep or Amusing Goats? attributed to Charles H. Spurgeon, 1834-1892

Rick Warren By His Own Words (pdf) by Sue Winters

See the controversy over his quotes in Syria:

Rick Warren's Syria assessment disputed
Government sources, religious freedom activists say Christians not 'free'
November 22, 2006

*Rick Warren's financial practices and his PEACE Plan

1) The Price of "Recovery" in the 1990's

FYI: Some Christians have been unsatisfied with A.A. or N.A.'s vague mention of a "Higher Power" or "God as we understood Him" in their Twelve Step Program. Alcoholics Victorious was begun in 1948 by Dr. William Seath as an alternative "Christian A.A." In the 1990's, Rick Warren and John Baker of Saddleback Community Church (a large congregation in southern California), refashioned or condensed the 12 Steps into "Eight Recovery Principles" for a "Celebrate Recovery" ministry program. Today, "Celebrate Recovery Program Kits" are being sold now for about $140.00 to numerous churches and individuals for group use, along with other accessory materials. Unlike Alcoholics Victorious, which is a member of the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability, 100% of Warren's proceeds do not go to helping the homeless and needy.

Celebrate Recovery and Warren's Eight Recovery Principles, however, is not alcohol specific and like the 12 steps, is being adapted to many addictions or personal problems. Not surprisingly (considering the success of 12 step programs in general), there are numerous testimonies as to the success of "Celebrate Recovery" in individual's lives. Changing lives for the better is certainly a positive thing (see our ALCOHOLISM AND ADDICTIONS page), and we understand this. However,it is important to us to make this notation about 12 step groups and the fact that many Christians participate in those-- without these large fees for materials.

2) Current Claims of charity

November 12, 2006
God's business
The Orange County Registe
November 12, 2006

partial quote from article:

"At home in Orange County, Warren says he has set the example by giving 90 percent of the revenue he receives from his best-selling "The Purpose-Driven Life" – Warren will only describe this as "many millions" – to charity.

"I don't give it all to Saddleback because I don't want to give it all to a ministry I'm a part of," he says. "So we give it a lot of times to people we have nothing to do with."

Nevertheless, the "vast majority" of his wealth – Warren estimates about 80 percent of book revenue – goes to the PEACE plan, Warren's new initiative of church-delivered humanitarian and spiritual aid. Warren also gives to Acts of Mercy, an AIDS foundation run by his wife, Kay, and to a pastor-trainng initiative. All three are offshoots of Saddleback Church."

Comment: On the one hand Rick Warren says he doesn't give "it all" to Saddleback (boldened in black), but on the other hand, the 80% he 'gives' goes to offshoots of Saddleback (boldened and italisized). So, almost all that Rick Warren 'gives' goes back into his own projects.

3) The P.E.A.C.E. Plan itself

Book: Redefining Christianity, Understanding the Purpose Driven Life by Bob DeWaay, who is the senior pastor of Twin City Fellowship in Minneapolis, Minnesota

Rick Warren's Global Peace Plan (pdf) on-line book by James Sundquist

The Apostles of the early church began the task of spreading the gospel to the ends of the earth. They also exhorted  their charges to keep the faith in good conscience (I Tim. 1:19).
Go to our Charismatic Concerns webpage
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