Beware of ‘Rick Warren-ing’ Your Church!
This video can NOT be ignored. (* see Note 1 below). Everyone of us is beholden, individually, to God. We will all answer for what we did or did not do in the service of God. That includes how we participate (or fail to participate) in the Body of Christ as represented by our individual churches. I go to a church that uses modern techniques to grow the church. We do have a rocking church worship team. We are casual. But I believe in the HEART of my pastors. They use the scripture as the basis of their message. We are in the middle of a series called ‘Supernatural’ where we are looking at the life of Elijah. We are looking at his complete and utter faith in God as a model for our lives. My pastors encourage reading the bible all the time. I trust in this.
I can’t say, however, that I have never been concerned about what we do and what we preach. But that would be so for any church. The question we must all ask ourselves is whether our church promotes God or promotes the individual. Whether it promotes faith in God’s power or faith in man’s power to increase the church. Using good business strategy for a church is fine- we are to be good stewards of our money- but if business principles trump Godly principles, then your church is in trouble. You must look closely to see whether it judges its success or failure on numerical growth or on faithfulness to God’s word. Never has the bible concentrated on growth or numbers. It actually focuses on the opposite. Jesus tells us in no uncertain terms that if the world loves us, then we are not serving God. This is true for both the individual and the church. If the world loves your church, then that church cannot be Godly. If the world loves YOU, then you aren’t Godly. Many people are shocked that I say this. But THAT is the radical truth straight from the bible and straight from the lips of Jesus Christ. If you are not HATED by the world, then you are not on the right path. And most of all, if your church pastors don’t teach REPENTENCE as a core necessity for salvation, then he/she is a liar. If all you do in church is have fun, smile, laugh and otherwise have a good time, I think you are in trouble. Think carefully about how others look at you and at your church. You will be convicted by their reactions- especially in light of the following bible passages.
“4 You adulterous people,[a] don’t you know that friendship with the world means enmity against God? Therefore, anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God. 5 Or do you think Scripture says without reason that he jealously longs for the spirit he has caused to dwell in us[b]? 6 But he gives us more grace. That is why Scripture says:
“God opposes the proud
but shows favor to the humble.”
7 Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. 8 Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. 9 Grieve, mourn and wail. Change your laughter to mourning and your joy to gloom. 10 Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.”- James 4
9 “You must be on your guard. You will be handed over to the local councils and flogged in the synagogues. On account of me you will stand before governors and kings as witnesses to them. 10 And the gospel must first be preached to all nations. 11 Whenever you are arrested and brought to trial, do not worry beforehand about what to say. Just say whatever is given you at the time, for it is not you speaking, but the Holy Spirit. 12 “Brother will betray brother to death, and a father his child. Children will rebel against their parents and have them put to death. 13 Everyone will hate you because of me, but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved.”- Mark 13
22 Blessed are you when people hate you,
when they exclude you and insult you
and reject your name as evil,
because of the Son of Man. 23 “Rejoice in that day and leap for joy, because great is your reward in heaven. For that is how their ancestors treated the prophets.
24 “But woe to you who are rich,
for you have already received your comfort.
25 Woe to you who are well fed now,
for you will go hungry.
Woe to you who laugh now,
for you will mourn and weep.
26 Woe to you when everyone speaks well of you,
for that is how their ancestors treated the false prophets.- Luke 6
10Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
11“Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. 12Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.- Matt 5
16“I am sending you out like sheep among wolves. Therefore be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves. 17Be on your guard; you will be handed over to the local councils and be flogged in the synagogues. 18On my account you will be brought before governors and kings as witnesses to them and to the Gentiles.- Matt 10
9 “Then you will be handed over to be persecuted and put to death, and you will be hated by all nations because of me. 10 At that time many will turn away from the faith and will betray and hate each other, 11 and many false prophets will appear and deceive many people. 12 Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold, 13 but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved.- Matt 24
We also have to be careful that NUMBERS do not become the measure for which our church lives and dies. I have never watched Rick Warren in action before. I read ‘The Purpose Driven Life’ many years ago because a friend absolutely raved about it. After I read it, I forgot it. It didn’t touch me at all. This video I am presenting to you now (long, so get a cup of coffee and a bite to eat before you watch it) plays a few of Warren’s speeches. Just his arrogant body posture turned me off! His words were all about HIM and how wonderful and successful he and his book have been. He all about ambition- his own! If the man, himself, is so blatantly evil, how can his philosophy be ‘good’. No, the evil tree MUST produce evil fruit. The way you will know the difference is by what these people teach and do. If their teaching and leadership lead to self fulfillment and huge popularity, then you can bet they are using Christ’s name to profit. True teaching leads to individuals willing to be persecuted severely for Christ. It also will be in full agreement with Christ’s full word. If they are evil, they can NOT produce good fruit. Their testimony and guidance should be thrown quickly into the garbage. See here:
“15 “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves. 16 You will know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thorn bushes or figs from thistles? 17 Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. 18 A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit. 19 Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20 Therefore by their fruits you will know them.”
21“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’ 23Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’ Matt 7
I cannot look up to Rick Warren. He is a devil. How people fail to see this right from the start is beyond me. I do hope my church leadership does not hold him esteem. I love them too much to hope otherwise.
There is nothing at all wrong with having a great worship team. There is nothing wrong with having regular seating (vs. pews) or wearing informal clothing. But there IS something wrong with having flaring fires, rock concert lighting, motorcycles roaring across the stage, people flying around in the space above the congregation and other obvious marketing stunts in place of scripture. We come to church to be TAUGHT the truth of the bible. We come to give fellowship and support for one another. The original churches were for BELIEVERS ONLY. Apostle Paul even gave instructions on how to escort a repeat sinner OUT of the church body. Yet Warren and those who taught him, have based their church message and script toward the UNbeliever. NO! That is not what church is for! The bible tells us to GO OUT and tell the good news. That means outside of church is where our true work lies. Not within the church. Church is not where we tell the good news. Church is to edify believers. To make them stronger. To equip them further for their continuing work OUTSIDE the church. Church is to be a place of rest and rejuvenation and teaching for BELIEVERS only.- and OBEDIENT believers at that. Yet Warren and those like him turn this notion on its ear. Somehow, church is a place for entertainment and selling an exciting version of Christ to those who do not believe. And they put on a secular show to draw them in. Who DOESN’T want to be entertained for free every week? See what Jesus Christ himself said about this topic:
15“If your brother or sister sins, go and point out their fault, just between the two of you. If they listen to you, you have won them over. 16But if they will not listen, take one or two others along, so that ‘every matter may be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses.’ 17If they still refuse to listen, tell it to the church; and if they refuse to listen even to the church, treat them as you would a pagan or a tax collector.- Matt 18
See what Apostle Paul said on this topic:
“5 It is actually reported that there is sexual immorality among you, and of a kind that even pagans do not tolerate: A man is sleeping with his father’s wife. 2 And you are proud! Shouldn’t you rather have gone into mourning and have put out of your fellowship the man who has been doing this? 3 For my part, even though I am not physically present, I am with you in spirit. As one who is present with you in this way, I have already passed judgment in the name of our Lord Jesus on the one who has been doing this. 4 So when you are assembled and I am with you in spirit, and the power of our Lord Jesus is present, 5 hand this man over to Satan for the destruction of the flesh,[a][b] so that his spirit may be saved on the day of the Lord.
6 Your boasting is not good. Don’t you know that a little yeast leavens the whole batch of dough? 7 Get rid of the old yeast, so that you may be a new unleavened batch—as you really are. For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed. 8 Therefore let us keep the Festival, not with the old bread leavened with malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.
9 I wrote to you in my letter not to associate with sexually immoral people— 10 not at all meaning the people of this world who are immoral, or the greedy and swindlers, or idolaters. In that case you would have to leave this world. 11 But now I am writing to you that you must not associate with anyone who claims to be a brother or sister[c] but is sexually immoral or greedy, an idolater or slanderer, a drunkard or swindler. Do not even eat with such people.
12 What business is it of mine to judge those outside the church? Are you not to judge those inside? 13 God will judge those outside. “Expel the wicked person from among you.” 1 Corinthians 5
If our pastors are NOT telling the full truth of God- that he is a God of WRATH and ANGER as much as he is a God of Love, then they are not good preachers. God is not to be used for personal gain. The bible tells us to WATCH for Christ- so any church telling you to ignore prophecy is doing the wrong thing. The bible tells us to LOSE ourselves, so any church telling you that finding your purpose in life are from satan. The purpose of our lives is simple: We are to make disciples of men. We are to GO OUT and preach the good news. We are to give up our whole lives for the sake of others that they might also share in eternal lives with us. We are to be hated, persecuted and killed for Christ. We don’t need church or God to help us find MORE purpose than this. Rick Warren and his ‘philosophy’ is all about GETTING- it is based on this psychobabble bullshit of modern day selfishness. (excuse my french there- but I can’t think of a more suitable way to describe modern psychology today.)
I fear that the huge mega-church model is influencing too many of our young pastors. How could it not tempt? After all, the money, the fame, the great feelings- they are obtained in the service of GOD, right? And how great would THAT feel? Getting rich and serving God! Wow. It’s too bad that this doesn’t mesh with what true discipleship really looks like, according to Christ. We are to understand, up front, that like Jesus, we will be destitute with nowhere to lay our heads at night. He made all this clear. If you read your bible, you will very quickly see the wolves from the shepherds. See what Jesus says on this score. Ask yourself while you are reading, “Do I KNOW the voice of my master? Or am I easily misled? Do I know the difference between a false preacher and God’s true prophet? Do I even know how to test my own church and my own pastor?” If you don’t know scripture, I can assure you that you do not know the voice of Jesus- because his voice is literally in the scripture. Read it and be well prepared
10 “Very truly I tell you Pharisees, anyone who does not enter the sheep pen by the gate, but climbs in by some other way, is a thief and a robber. 2 The one who enters by the gate is the shepherd of the sheep. 3 The gatekeeper opens the gate for him, and the sheep listen to his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. 4 When he has brought out all his own, he goes on ahead of them, and his sheep follow him because they know his voice. 5 But they will never follow a stranger; in fact, they will run away from him because they do not recognize a stranger’s voice.” 6 Jesus used this figure of speech, but the Pharisees did not understand what he was telling them.
7 Therefore Jesus said again, “Very truly I tell you, I am the gate for the sheep. 8 All who have come before me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep have not listened to them. 9 I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved.[a] They will come in and go out, and find pasture. 10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.
11 “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. 12 The hired hand is not the shepherd and does not own the sheep. So when he sees the wolf coming, he abandons the sheep and runs away. Then the wolf attacks the flock and scatters it. 13 The man runs away because he is a hired hand and cares nothing for the sheep.
14 “I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me— 15 just as the Father knows me and I know the Father—and I lay down my life for the sheep. 16 I have other sheep that are not of this sheep pen. I must bring them also. They too will listen to my voice, and there shall be one flock and one shepherd. 17 The reason my Father loves me is that I lay down my life—only to take it up again. 18 No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down and authority to take it up again. This command I received from my Father.”
*Note 1: click the image and it will take you to an article. Ignore the article as it is bogus. But the VIMEO video (which WordPress doesn’t support) is wonderful and well done.)