Rick Warren acknowledges Christians and Muslims worship same God

Yesterday’s article in the Life section from the Orange County Register (the same county where Rick Warren’s Saddleback Church is located), is entitled “Rick Warren builds bridge to Muslims.” It describes how Warren is a part of an effort named King’s Way that is attempting to bring evangelical Christians and Muslims together. It goes on to state:

“The Rev. Rick Warren, pastor of Saddleback Church in Lake Forest and one of America’s most influential Christian leaders, has embarked on an effort to heal divisions between evangelical Christians and Muslims by partnering with Southern California mosques and proposing a set of theological principles that includes acknowledging that Christians and Muslims worship the same God” [1]

Whether or not Warren’s theological principles directly say that Muslims and Christians worship the same God, this was a legitimate impression of the reporter. Though Warren claims that Jesus is the only way, his efforts to set aside theological differences and evangelism for the sake of “love of neighbor,” “common ground,” and “peace” with Muslims is a compromise of the greatest magnitude.

Rather than apologetics demonstrating the inconsistency between the Koran and the Bible, Allah and Yahweh, the co-authored document affirms that Christians and Muslims believe in “one God,” share two central commandments: “love of God” and “love of neighbor,” and commits both faiths to three goals: Making friends with one another, building peace and working on shared social service projects.

For this reason, in addition to Warren’s P.E.A.C.E. Plan and endorsement of the A Common Word document, many Christians believe that Warren is not heralding the true Gospel of Jesus Christ but a global religion which comes together for social justice and world peace.

In the comments section of the same article, Warren wrote:

“I deeply love my Muslim neighbors but this article contains multiple errors – factually and theologically that neither our dear friends in the Muslim Community nor the Christians at Saddleback Church would agree with.”

 

But this is not the issue. Other Christians have at least come to disagree with Warren’s evangelistic strategy but are apprehensive to expose Warren as a false teacher because he is doctrinally orthodox, they say. May this article be used to demonstrate the problem is far deeper than Warren’s evangelism. Regardless of Warren’s doctrine on paper and theological professions of the exclusivity of Christ, his P.E.A.C.E. Plan, involvement with King’s Way, A Common Word, and neglect to preach the Gospel in evangelistic bridge-building reveal his actions in direct opposition to his beliefs to the extent of denying the exclusivity and divinity of Christ by finding common ground between and even endorsing these aspects of Islam which say otherwise.

In truth, there is no happy medium or theological agreements that can be made between Christianity and Islam. Warren’s concessions that both religions come from the same divine origin and both teach love of God and neighbor is a denial of Christ by works despite his doctrine. It is interesting that Jim Hinch, the author of the article, responded to Warren’s comment saying:

“I’m sorry Rev. Warren feels the story contains errors but the story was based on interviews and documents and it was thoroughly fact-checked,” Hinch said. “I discussed all of its major points with Tom Holladay, an associate senior pastor at Saddleback. I checked with other sources quoted in the story this morning and they said they did not see any errors. While reporting this story I asked to speak to Rev. Warren directly but was told he was too busy for an interview. If any facts need to be corrected I hope representatives from Saddleback will get in touch with me.”

Somebody is not presenting the whole truth. Nevertheless, Hinch’s conclusion that “Rick Warren acknowledges Christians and Muslims worship the same God,” will be clearly documented below as a valid conclusion based upon Warren’s past conduct. May the Lord grant wisdom and repentance to Warren, that he would begin to use his friendship with the world to truly preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ without compromise and bring glory to God.

P.E.A.C.E. Plan

Unlike the Gospel message, Warren’s P.E.A.C.E. Plan is all-inclusive. Warren stated on a PBS interview with Charlie Rose:

“When I go out and I start telling people, ‘Do you want to work with us on poverty, disease, AIDS, illiteracy, injustice?’ I often find people are more unwilling to work with us than we are willing to work with them. In other words, we’re saying, ‘You don’t have to change your beliefs for us to work with you.’ If you can only work with people that you agree with, then most of the world, you’re ruling out. Okay. I don’t insist that a Muslim change his belief for me to work on poverty. I don’t even insist that a gay person has to change their beliefs. They’re going to accept my belief, or I’m going to accept theirs” [2]

Warren’s P.E.A.C.E. Plan includes Muslims, homosexuals and other unregenerate people working together to fight poverty, disease, AIDS, illiteracy and injustice. Just what is Rick Warren working for if his co-laborers can be the unconverted. Warren should be laboring for these people, not with these people.

In fact, this is Warren’s idea of the “Second Reformation.” Rather than a spiritual reformation of souls being transformed by the Holy Ghost through repentance and faith in Christ for the forgiveness of sins, Warren’s reformation is bringing about social justice on that Earth when all people, irrespective of their relationship to Christ, yoke together to attack the five global giants. In an interview on The Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life, Warren discussed his P.E.A.C.E. Plan as follows:

“[W]hen Jesus sent the disciples into a village, he said, “Find the man of peace.” And he said, “When you find the man of peace, you start working with that person, and if they respond to you, you work with them. If they don’t, you dust off your shoes; you go to the next village.” Who’s the man of peace in any village—or it might be a woman of peace—who has the most respect, they’re open and they’re influential? They don’t have to be a Christian. In fact, they could be a Muslim, but they’re open and they’re influential and you work with them to attack the five giants. And that’s going to bring the second Reformation” [3]

That’s going to bring about the second Reformation? First of all, Warren is quoting Matthew 10:11-15 and Luke 10:5-7. In these parallel passages, Jesus sent forth the disciples preaching the Gospel of the Kingdom of God (Matthew 10:7; Luke 10:9), not recruiting co-workers to fight social injustice. In Jesus’ instructions, if the disciples were to find unrepentant Muslims or homosexuals, they were to depart out of that person’s house and shake off the dust from their feet (Matthew 10:14; Luke 10:14) regardless of whether or not these people had respect, were influential, or willing to attack the five global giants. But, according to Warren, the preaching of the Gospel is replaced with philanthropy, and those who are worthy (Matthew 10:11) are not those who are devout followers of God who are receptive to the Gospel of Jesus Christ, but anybody who is open to fighting the five global giants.

There may be millions of unrepentant Muslims or homosexuals who will join hands with Warren in his P.E.A.C.E. Plan, but Jesus said to His disciples, “whosoever shall not receive you, nor hear your words, when ye depart out of that house or city, shake off the dust of your feet. Verily I say unto you, It shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom and Gomorrha in the day of judgment, than for that city” (Matthew 10:14,15).

On July 4th, 2009, Rick Warren spoke to a crowd of some 8,000 Muslim Americans at the 46th annual Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) convention in Washington D.C. Warren told them,

“I will tell you that I am not interested in interfaith dialogue. I am interested in interfaith projects. There is a big difference” [4]

Warren stated that he was “committed to the common good” and encouraged Muslims and Christians to work together for the greater good without compromising each groups convictions. However, the very act of such interfaith projects is a serious compromise of the Christian faith. Warren gave practical examples of how Muslims and Christians could work together on his P.E.A.C.E. Plan. Christians are to boldly proclaim the Gospel to Muslims, that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in Jesus’ name (Luke 24:47), rather than trying to find a common word with them or common ground in order to work for the common good.

Notice how Warren’s P.E.A.C.E. is distinctly different than Jesus’ peace plan. In Warren’s project, Christians and Muslims are equally yoked together in ministry whereas Jesus said, “Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword. For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law” (Matthew 10:34-35). Thus, Jesus’ peace plan brings a sword of division between Christians and those hostile to the Gospel such as Muslims so that “a man’s foes shall be they of his own household.” This sword that Jesus spoke of was His word and the Gospel that would divide households once allegiances were made to His kingdom. While Warren’s plan is seeking to bring about interfaith peace and world peace, Jesus said, “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid” (John 14:27).

A Common Word

Together, the leadership of the Emergent Church, Purpose Driven and Willow Creek organizations have made the highest compromise of the Gospel. Their pragmatism in catering to culture and pleasing of men rather than God can be demonstrated in several areas. Perhaps the most egregious abuses of their voices as Christian leaders has been in their endorsement of a Muslim document entitled A Common Word between Us and You.

Dated October 13, 2007, A Common Word between Us and You is an open letter from leaders of the Muslim faith to leaders of the Christian faith. It calls to work for love for God and love for neighbor as common ground and understanding among both Christian and Muslim faiths. In the short time since its release, A Common Word has become the world’s leading interfaith dialogue initiative between Christians and Muslims. [5]

A Christian response to the letter entitled Loving God and Neighbor Together: A Christian Response to A Common Word Between Us and You published in the New York Times. This response was endorsed by almost 300 Christian theologians and leaders, among whom are many personalities we have been discussing such as Emergent leader Leith Anderson (the President of the National Association of Evengelicals), mega-church pastor Bill Hybels (Founder and Senior Pastor of Willow Creek Community Church), Emergent leader Tony Jones (National Coordinator of Emergent Village), Emergent leader Brian McLaren (Emergent author, speaker and activist), self-esteem preacher Robert Schuller (Founder of Crystal Cathedral), and the Purpose Driven Pastor Rick Warren (Founder and Senior Pastor of Saddleback Church). [6]

The problem is that the document contains statements that allude to the false belief that Muslims and Christians worship the same God, that they “share the same Divine origin.” The document states:

“It is hoped that this document will provide a common constitution for the many worthy organizations and individuals who are carrying out interfaith dialogue all over the world. Often these groups are unaware of each other, and duplicate each other’s efforts. Not only can A Common Word Between Us give them a starting point for cooperation and worldwide co-ordination, but it does so on the most solid theological ground possible: the teachings of the Qu’ran and the Prophet, and the commandments described by Jesus Christ in the Bible. Thus despite their differences, Islam and Christianity not only share the same Divine Origin and the same Abrahamic heritage, but the same two greatest commandments” [7]

It is an atrocity that these professing Christian leaders would receive and endorse such a blasphemous document. Among many demonic doctrines of Islam, the Koran clearly denies the Deity of Christ and the crucifixion of Christ (Surah 4:157-158), which is in direct contrast to Christianity which declares that Jesus is both God and man (John 1:1,14; Colossians 2:9) and says there is no salvation apart from the cross (Matthew 26:28, 1 Corinthians 1:18). In the summary of A Common Word Between Us and You, it states,

“The basis for this peace and understanding already exists. It is part of the very foundational principles of both faiths: love of the One God” [8]

Both the letter and the Christian response refer to Muhammad as the “Prophet Muhammad” suggesting that he and Jesus both are prophets. However, according to the biblical standard, Muhammad has been proven to be a false prophet. The Christian response to the letter referred to God as the “All-Merciful One” a title given to Allah 57 times in the Koran. But nowhere in the Bible is Jehovah referred to as the “All-Merciful One.” The response states,

“Before we ‘shake your hand’ in responding to your letter, we ask forgiveness of the All-Merciful One and of the Muslim community around the world” [9]

Though Christians may be in agreement with Muslims about finding common ground in not desiring strife, violence and war, it is on the basis of the Person of Jesus Christ that Christians do not kill. It is dishonest of the Christian response to selectively quote 1 John 4:10, “We love because he [God] first loved us” while excluding the second portion of the same verse which describes how God showed His love to the world in giving His Son Jesus Christ: “[God] sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.” The love of God is uniquely expressed in Christ dying for our sins upon the cross and rising again which Islam rejects.

The Bible is clear in that, “Whosoever denieth the Son, the same hath not the Father: (but) he that acknowledgeth the Son hath the Father also” (1 John 2:23). Muslims reject Jesus as the crucified and risen Son of God Savior of the world; therefore Muslims are rejecting God. Christians and Muslims do not stand together on a common ground or understanding of God or the love of God. “He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life” (1 John 5:12). According to the Bible, Islam is a lie and antichrist: “Who is a liar but he that denieth that Jesus is the Christ? He is antichrist, that denieth the Father and the Son” (1 John 2:22).

Rick Warren who is supposedly a conservative evangelical is sounding no different than the liberal Emergent Church. Clearly, Christianity and Islam have no common word or common ground. However, it was Emergent leader Tony Campolo who stated that “a theology of mysticism provides some hope for common ground between Christianity and Islam” and asks about the Muslim mystics, “Could they have encountered the same God we do in our Christian mysticism?” [10]

Emergent leader Brian McLaren not only signed the response to A Common Word, but also equates Islam on the same level with Christianity suggesting that Muhammad had an encounter with God rather than a demon. McLaren writes:

“And during his lifetime, Abraham—like Moses, Jesus, and Muhammad—had an encounter with God that distinguished him from his contemporaries and propelled him into a mission, introducing a new way of life that changed the world. . . . How appropriate that the three Abrahamic religions begin with a journey into the unknown.” [11]

Such statements and endorsement of the Islamic Common Word is rank heresy.

Obama’s Inauguration Prayer

President Obama sparked controversy when he asked Rick Warren to lead the prayer at the presidential inauguration in January of 2009. After Warren began his speech, he said these words:

“The Scripture tells us, “Hear, O Israel, the Lord is our God. The Lord is One.” And you are the compassionate and merciful one. And you are loving to everyone you have made” [12]

To those listening closely, we can hear how Warren appeals to all the “Abrahamic” religions. This political ploy on Warren’s behalf is a shame to the name of Christ. The first half of the paragraph—”Hear, O Israel, the Lord is our God. The Lord is One”—is the Shema from Deuteronomy 6:5, the most notable prayer in Judaism. This was repeated by Jesus when He was asked which is the first commandment of all. He responded, “The first of all the commandments is, Hear, O Israel; The Lord our God is one Lord” (Mark 12:29).

The problem arises when Warren’s says, “You are the compassionate and merciful one.” Yes, God is compassionate and yes God is merciful. But you won’t find these attributes grouped together like this anywhere in the Bible. You will find them, however, consistently scattered throughout the Koran. In fact, 113 chapters, all except one (Surah “Al Tawbah”), begin with Bismillah al-Rahman al-Raheem, which translates into, “In the name of Allah, the most compassionate, the most merciful.” Other translations translate this phrase as, “entirely merciful, the especially merciful” or “the most beneficent, the most merciful” or “most gracious, most compassionate.” Regardless of how this Arabic expression is translated, merciful and compassionate are consistently grouped together throughout the Qur’an and attributed to Allah but never do they appear in this way in regard to Yahweh in the Bible. Thus, Rick Warren’s cunning invocation was more ecumenical than many people thought.

Worse yet, Warren closed his prayer “in the name of the one who changed my life, Yeshua, Isa, Jesus [Spanish pronounciation], Jesus, who taught us to pray.” Isa is the false Jesus of Islam and in no way represents the Jesus of the Bible. To the Muslims, Jesus is merely one of many prophets of Allah (Surah 4:171; 5:74), not the divine Son of God as the Bible declares. Thus the Isa of the Qur’an is not the Jesus of the Bible. The Isa of Islam did not die on the cross. Various Islamic traditions say that either Judas Iscariot was substituted on the cross in Jesus’ place, or that God miraculously delivered Jesus from the hands of the Jews and the Romans before the crucifixion. The Koran says in Surah 4:157-158:

“they [the Jews] said (in boast), ‘We killed Christ Jesus the son of Mary, the Messenger of Allah’ – But they killed him not, nor crucified him, but so it was made to appear to them, and those who differ therein are full of doubts, with no (certain) knowledge, but only conjecture to follow, for of a surety they killed him not – Nay, Allah raised him up unto Himself.” [13]

The Koran teaches that Jesus did not die by crucifixion, which is in direct opposition to the Bible which says there is no salvation apart from the cross of Jesus Christ. It is the preaching of the cross that is the power of God to us that are saved (1 Corinthians 1:18). Jesus said, “For this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins” (Matthew 26:28).

Surely Rick Warren knows that the Isa of Islam and the Jesus of the Christian faith are not one and the same. Shame on him if he as a Christian leader does not know the difference. Either way, Warren is seeking to please men rather than Christ which the Bible warns against (Ephesians 6:6; Colossians 3:22). Warren also accepted the false proposition that Yahweh and Allah are the same God when he signed the Christian response to A Common Word Between Us and You. Tragically, Warren has once again catered to a false religion that preaches another Jesus and another Gospel, spreading strong delusion all over the world and creating comfortability in a lie.

This Emergent Church and Purpose Driven Jesus is another Jesus, not the Lord and Savior of the Bible. “For if he that cometh preacheth another Jesus, whom we have not preached, or if ye receive another spirit, which ye have not received, or another gospel, which ye have not accepted, ye might well bear with him” (2 Corinthians 11:4).

“I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel: Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ. But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. As we said before, so say I now again, If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed” (Galatians 1:6-9).

Updates:

Nesch, Elliott. “Rick Warren, Muslims and Christians part 2.” Holy Bible Prophecy. March 12, 2012. available: http://www.holybibleprophecy.org/2012/03/12/rick-warren-muslims-christians-part-2-by-elliott-nesch/

Rosebrough, Chris. “King’s Way Aftershock” radio production. Fighting For the Faith. March 12, 2012. available: http://www.fightingforthefaith.com/2012/03/kings-way-aftershock.html

Silva, Ken. “More on the King’s Way Presentation at Saddleback Church.” Apprising Ministries. March 14, 2012. available: http://apprising.org/2012/03/14/more-on-the-kings-way-presentation-at-saddleback-church/

Spreeman, Amy. “Why is a Saddleback pastor teaching on the Kingdom Circles?” Stand Up for the Truth. March 12, 2012. available: http://standupforthetruth.com/2012/03/why-is-a-saddleback-pastor-teaching-on-the-kingdom-circles/

Works cited:

1. Hinch, Jim. “Rick Warren builds bridge to Muslims.” Orange County Register. February 23, 2012. available: http://www.ocregister.com/articles/muslims-341669-warren-saddleback.html:

2. Interview by Charlie Rose with Rick Warren. August 17, 2006. available: http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-5555324196046364882

3. available: http://pewforum.org/events/index.php?EventID=80. p.16

4. Vu, Micelle A. “Rick Warren to Muslims: Talk is Cheap, Let’s Work Together.” The Christian Post. July 5, 2009. available: http://www.christianpost.com/article/20090705/rick-warren-to-muslims-talk-is-cheap-let-s-work-together/

5. “A Common Word Between Us and You.” available: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A_Common_Word_Between_Us_and_You

6. “Loving God and Neighbor Together: A Christian Response to A Common Word Between Us and You.” available: http://www.yale.edu/divinity/news/071118_news_nytimes.pdf

7. The Official Website of A Common Word.” available: http://www.acommonword.com/

8. available: http://www.acommonword.com/index.php?lang=en&page=option1

9. “Loving God and Neighbor Together: A Christian Response to A Common Word Between Us and You.” available: http://www.yale.edu/divinity/news/071118_news_nytimes.pdf

10. Campolo, Tony. Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson, 2004. Speaking My Mind. pp. 149,150

11. McLaren, Brian. Finding Our Way Again. Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson. 2008. pp.22,23

12. “Obama Inauguration: Rick Warren Prayer, Jan 20, 09.” YouTube. available: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z-8R1OXWJz8

13. Koran, Surah 4:157-158