Saturday, November 25, 2006

What Are You Thinking, Mr. Warren?

What are thinking, Rick Warren? First, since earlier this year, you seem to have this simplistic notion that you are going to be able to go to North Korea where you are going to be allowed to freely preach the gospel in this totalitarian country and that its oppressed people are really going to be able to hear, understand and accept your message without severe consequences. You completely fail to recognize that totalitarian regimes just love naïve preachers who are willing to be used for propaganda purposes just so long as they get to preach to big crowds and take lots of pictures and video. Then a couple of weeks ago, you toured Syria where, in a videotape released by your own church, then subsequently withdrawn from YouTube, you announced that Syria does not countenance "extremism" and is worthy of praise for its protection of Christians and Jews.

It seems to me long past time that you recognize the limits of your expertise. Being a best-selling author of a motivational book (however good it may be) does not automatically qualify you to be a foreign diplomat. Your faux pas', however well-intentioned, cannot ignored or excused, especially when you mishandle the facts in your dealing with religious restrictive nations.

In a recent message to your congregation, you wrote, "Friends, I am aware that inaccuracies, misquotes, and misperceived motivations get reported about me in the press daily. Most of the time, I just ignore them. Jesus said, 'If the world hates you, remember that it hated me first.' (John 15:18 - NCV)."

I am sorry, Mr. Warren, but you are not being persecuted. You are being criticized by fellow Christians who love the Lord and His people for comments that you keep making which demonstrate just how seemingly naïve you are being. Some of us actually like your books. To be sure, you are being misquoted, but by enemies of the gospel like Syria whose job you make so easy with press releases that praise the rights that Christians supposedly have. But they are not persecuting you. They love folks like you and I am sure would welcome you back to Damascus at any time. Jesus said that we were to be as innocent as doves and as wise as serpents. You have the dove part down pretty solidly. You seem reluctant, however, to embrace the role of the wise serpent.


Jack Niewold said...

Anyone who has read Richard Wurmbrand's books knows that the well-intended but naive efforts of Christian "leaders" can often make life more difficult for the persecuted. Rick Warren's efforts should probably be seen in this light. Like Bruce Wilkinson's quixotic adventures in Africa, Warren's adventures in Uganda, North Korea and Syria are gifts to the world's oppressors, who receive these initiatives as cover for their own sins.

Many western Christian leaders have, as Wurmbrand called it, "the quiet evangelical creed" that believes in the efficacy of its own good intentions and personal spirituality. These virtues, so prized in the pulpits and pews of comfortable postmodern evangelicalism, usually leave the oppressor emboldened, the persecuted church more endangered, and those western leaders and churches self-satisfied.

Glenn Penner said...

well put!!

Mick said...

It is a shame. And worse, because Rick is a bestselling author, he is seen by the unaware public as some sort of international Church leader. It is a shame.

Anonymous said...

I find it kind of interesting that much of the criticism that Rick Warren is receiving focuses on the fact that Syria is the enemy of the nation-states of Israel and America. The AP article on the subject even quotes a talk show host saying that Rev. Warren "owes an apology to Israel, to the American people and to the victims of Syrian-sponsored terror."

I'm glad that you've drawn out other and probably more important dimensions of this controversy and I've linked to this story on my little blog.

-Matthew Loftus

XtnYoda said...

So very well said! Once again we see that zeal without grace and wisdom is nothing more than madness.

And then for Rick to quote YahShua about being persecuted is just...well it is just sad at best.

Keep up the good work.

XtnYoda Shalomed