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Rick Warren Tells Lies?

Wow. This story is a year old, but I learned about it only last night. And I owe a "hat tip" for it right at the outset to someone who does not blog--my husband, Tim. In fact, one of the "smoking gun" links was something he found, though obviously someone else put it out there to be found. But it isn't mentioned, that I know of, on another blog. I'll note that one when I get to it.

Here's the story, as initially covered by Joseph Farah, of WND: Last year, Rick Warren, of Purpose Driven (TM) fame, went to Syria and fell all over himself talking about how wonderful and tolerant Syria is. He was so reported in the Syrian news (of course). He also made the stunningly ignorant statement that St. Paul was Syrian, but I suppose that's by the way.

So far, so unsurprising.

Warren has been moving leftward for some time, wanting to promote peace, luv, and fluffy bunnies to all the world. And letting yourself be a tool for propaganda purposes by totalitarian regimes is almost a tradition for big-name Protestant evangelist types. Billy Graham was infamous for it during the Cold War. As for the ignorance of history and shoddiness that allowed the statement about St. Paul, let's just say that if you've read Warren's book, that won't surprise you. (The ladies' Bible study I attend was Purpose Driven (TM) through the book a couple of years ago until we nearly broke out in open rebellion.)

Okay. Well, Farah felt that finally enough was enough, and he told Rick in no uncertain terms that all this "Syria is so graaand" stuff was pernicious nonsense. Whereupon Warren wrote to him more in sorrow than in anger, gently chiding him for not fact-checking his story with Saddleback church first. After all, y'know, the media in those types of countries isn't to be relied upon. Had he, asked Farah, recorded his own trip to provide a more accurate record? Why, no. Of course not. It was a courtesy call. He didn't record anything.

But Farah found that this was a lie. Warren was recorded while in Syria saying very much the sorts of things the Syrian media attributed to him. Farah confronted Warren with this, whereupon within minutes the video was pulled from Youtube, but not before a radio talk-show host from Tulsa had downloaded the audio. You can listen to it in another of Farah's pieces, here. The voice is clearly recognizable as Warren's.

That's pretty bad, but there's even one more small bit of evidence, and here it is, in the link Tim found. Unfortunately this link requires you to watch rather a lot of Warren before you get to the punchline, so I'll tell you what you're waiting for: About seven minutes in, Warren brags to his church about his "peace trips" and says that on the trip to three countries (Germany, Rwanda, and Syria) they recorded many hours of video, which for the people of Saddleback they have boiled down to three minutes. The video he plays does indeed contain a segment in Syria, though it does not contain (no surprise) the bit in the audio clip. Still, it shows quite definitely that they did indeed make videotapes of their trip to Syria. I doubt that of those sixteen hours or so, only that short bit was shot in Syria!

I have to admit to being shocked. I can believe Warren a soft-hearted and left-swinging fool. I hadn't wanted to think him a liar.

Why should you care? Here's why:

The evangelicals of America are very important to the fights both against Islam and against liberalism. You may like them or dislike them. You may be one of them or not. But if you have eyes to see and any sociological sense at all, you can see that they provide a huge amount of the foot-soldiering for the various culture wars, and that if they can be mobilized to recognize the Islamic threat, they can provide foot-soldiering there, as well. They have given us the Christian schools and the homeschooling movement of the past forty years (Christian schools first, then home schools), which have had an enormous part in saving a generation from brainwashing and are going to save more generations still.

Just as Catholics know that it is important to Protestants whether the Catholic Church goes off the rails (and it is), so it is important to Catholics, Orthodox, Anglicans, and assorted other Christians if the evangelicals go off the rails. I'm inclined to say that this is because, in the words of that famous Jew of Tarsus, we are "all members one of another," part of the same Body. But whether you put a sociological or a spiritual significance onto it,we cannot ignore what is happening to the evangelicals. And the megachurch movement, and still more, the Emergent Church movement, are sapping that vitality. And if the leaders of these movements lie to save their images, that is an outward and visible sign of an inward and spiritual problem.

So Rick Warren's lie may be a small thing in the life of a big man, but it may not be such a small thing in the big picture.

Comments (14)

I love this post. You absolutely nail the issue!

One more example of an evangelical leader who is ill-equipped for the spotlight.

I'd state that it was all unbelievable, save for the fact that I know a little about Warren's corruptions of doctrine and sound order in the Purpose-Driven literature. How shocking is it, really, when someone who butchers theology also butchers other arenas of knowledge?

Additionally, the concerns about the drift among evangelicals are apropos. Surely the willingness of many evangelicals to throw their support behind current presidential candidates, particularly a certain card-carrying member of the culture of death and former mayor of New York, evidences that declension - which bodes ill for conservatism generally.

Warren could easily have said that Farah was lying about the content of Warren's e-mails. But he hasn't even tried. And the other things--that he did indeed make recordings in Syria, the content of what he said--can be checked. So I'm afraid it's true.

I don't think Warren set out to lie. I think questions of fact and truth at any level just make him uncomfortable. He shies from them like a frightened horse. So when Farah came after him for what he said in Syria, he tried to distract attention from the question of whether what he said was accurate, misleading, confused, etc., to some sort of interpersonal thing: "Why, Joseph, didn't you contact me first?" etc. Which of course gives the impression that he never said what the Syrian media attributed to him, and absolves him of having to stand by it, rethink it, or whatever. Then he says he didn't make any recordings. I suppose it's _barely_ possible that he just wasn't thinking at the moment he wrote that e-mail of the followers assiduously following him about with video camera in hand and was merely thinking of recordings made deliberately for purposes of not letting his words be twisted. But if so, he had ample opportunity to clarify that and admit to having said what was attributed to him after the recording came to light. Instead of which, it's still all about his motives, his intentions, his feelings, etc. Never about truth.

That, I think, is the significant thing. We can't replace concerns about truth with concerns about interpersonal relationships and sentiment.

As for evangelical leaders and that certain politician, well God bless James Dobson. And I hear he's taken some flak, too, and even lost some contributors for saying he wouldn't vote for G. Makes me want to run out and contribute to his organization post haste.

Sadly, years of observing conflicts among evangelicals, and my father's own struggles against the dissemination of seeker-sensitive and purpose-driven managerialist doctrines, have persuaded me that many are susceptible to deemphasizing truth in favour of relationships. One might mention to a friend that so-and-so's sermon or Sunday school lecture was off, theologically, and when word gets back to him, he reproaches you for not keeping the whole disagreement private, as though it is somehow illicit to consult a third party before drawing a definitive conclusion. In too many instances, there's a mentality which dictates keeping disagreements private, and of those in positions of authority attempting to buy off, or intimidate, in private, those who object to certain shenanigans. First, they'll quote that Gospel passage about going to your brother privately, and so forth, and second, they'll accuse you of dividing the Body. I'm assuredly no fan of the particular manner in which some evangelicals construe the foundational elements of the Christian faith as propositions to be believed, but let's be serious about this: theologically speaking, heresy is a principal cause of the "division of the Body". Who divides the church, the minister propagating error, or those who endeavour to call him on it, and to check his deviations? Theological orthodoxy is the hedge that protects the means by which one has that relationship with Christ.

I'm fascinated at what you say about the Matthew 18 thing. My observations of the evangelical "scene" have entirely been from the side for going on 20 years now. Lots and lots of friends, but not myself a member of a Baptist or evangelical church. So this whole burgeoning weird use of Matthew 18 is _just now_ coming to my attention, and coincidentally, I ran into it this very week. Well, of course, Warren was tacitly trying to use that when he wrote Farah initially. The idea being that even if some other believer is a *total stranger* to you who has made *public statements* which you consider incorrect, you can't publish an article on it without writing to him privately first. What silliness!

I recently in e-mail asked someone in all innocence if he knew where I could get a copy of a third person's paper on such-and-such a topic that I'd seen alluded to in a piece by yet a fourth person on-line. This was just the sort of thing, from my perspective, that scholars and bloggers do constantly: "Hey, by the way, do you know where I can find a copy of that paper called ______ by ______ that _____ mentions?" Well. I was told I wasn't (of all silly things) observing Matthew 18 because I hadn't written to the author of the paper to ask for a copy. From which I infer that it's not on-line. :-) But I had no idea it was top-secret info.

Evidently this is like some sort of spreading bacterium in the evangelical culture: No intellectual disagreement or even intellectual investigation of things you _might_ disagree with, or you're violating Matthew 18. It's laughable, and sad.

its amazing, how narrow minded you are. Its amazing how you accept such an arguement without really knowing what the truth is. As if all u read or hear is true. make your own research about history, about people, about nations and its origins, and then make up your own conclusions. how you dare to judge a person, a country, or a nation... just of hearing or reading half of its truth or a manipulated truth, only because someone so called important person want you to know...
dont be a follower of what men say, be a follower of God. and let God make justice, as justice is onlyyyyyyy HIS. and yes Paul, the disciples, and Jesus himself were syrians jews... Jesus died for the whole world, because God simply loves it...He died for sinners, because He simply loves them. our job as christains is to go to those nations spread the great love of Christ, make disciples and baptize them in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit and teach them the word of salvation and of peace... not to condemn anyone.

Why do I have a feeling there is a confusion here over the Roman province of Syria as opposed to the modern country called by the same name, which are not coextensive? Jesus was Syrian? Uh-huh.

In any event, Tarsus was in the province of Cilicia, which,
from the appearance on my maps, looks like it would be in modern Turkey, not modern Syria. I am, of course, willing to be corrected by facts.

But who can be bothered to look at maps, when it gets in the way of saying vaguely positive-sounding things ("Jesus and Paul were Syrian") about contemporary nasty regimes in the course of a Peace mission with a capital P?

Amazed...I feel like reading an AIPAC report when reading "The evangelicals of America are very important to the fights both against Islam and against liberalism".

Well, I have been blessed by the testimony of the forefathers who were killed by Emperors and/or minor governors. Names? John the Baptist, Paul, Peter, James...and Jesus. We may easily extend the list thru the dark age of the Roman domination, the Anabaptist movement, and even to the XX century movements. However, none of those said -ever- that our fight is against Communism, Islam, and Liberalism. Both man and women were brutally killed because they knew who the real enemy is...Satan.
About Syria, Iran, Irak, I honestly just know what and I read (do not underestimate it, I read a lot) but I cannot see my Lord asking me to -literally- fight them...I am called to fight darkness so the darkness do not hide the light in me. If the fight were against people or armies then Jesus would have called the Angels army and just sweep the Pilates' one.
I do not, and will not, fight Syria, Israel, Iran...you name it.
Blessed those forefathers who followed the track of the peace, despite their own life...because they know who the real enemy is and, more important, who our Chief Commander is.

Where are we getting all these odd commentators from on this thread suddenly after all this time? Did Rick Warren send his slightly fuzzy-headed, not terribly well-informed, peacenik congregation over here to express their peaceful thoughts about how nasty the post is for saying such things? Most odd.

Religion and belief in a "god" is only for the gullible and weak. Religion is designed to control and manipulate people, end of story. The decent man "of the cloth" is Billy Graham. Every other televangelist is a thief, a liar, a manipulator, etc. Some are pedophiles/pederasts. Most cheat on their wives. Others claim piety while having meth fueled sex with male prostitutes, demonstrably proving they are gay. Rick Warren is another shill in a long line of liars and losers who promote religion to enrich themselves. Why is everyone surprised? Don't be. The bible is a myth filled book of parables rewritten thousands of times, by man. There was no "divine intervention". It's for weak and gullible.

hi everybody
i am a french speaker so i will just try to write in english what i think.
rick warren is an evangelical pastor, he wrote books and preached jesus; now if there is any mistake in his words or writings, call him and speak to him, let him explain; if he does not, call somebody else and both of you try to speak to him; if that is not possible, call a third and a fourth person and try to speak to him; if he doesnt accept to speak to you, then denounce him, he is surely a fake one or he has been a righteous one and is going astraight.
but we really have to pray for our pastors not to go astraight; the devil is so dangerous; he knows our weaknesses more than us and whether you like it or not, he knows our pastor weaknesses better than themselves, so if we do not pray earnestly for them, who will do it? and why are we amazed to see them going astraight.
let us stop accusing them and let us go on our knees for our pastor and the Holy Spirit Himself will take care of them or will put them aside.
the Lord is still on the throne and His Holy Spirit is there in the church looking for someone to stand with him to bring the builder of the church to build his church and strenghten his BODY.
the end is this, lets go on our knees, lets pray, lets pray.

Hi, Most everyone born again Christian knows R. Warren is an apostate pastor. If you are in a church that promotes him, get out! It will only become worse. We are in the last days and this what the Bible says will happen. Check out Bill Hybels. Same thing. Read IITim. Carol

Hi, Most everyone born again Christian knows R. Warren is an apostate pastor. If you are in a church that promotes him, get out! It will only become worse. We are in the last days and this what the Bible says will happen. Check out Bill Hybels. Same thing. Read IITim. Carol

Jesus was born in Bethlehem, which is modern day Palestine. The events of Jesus' life took place in Jerusalem, which is Israel. Paul was a citizen of Rome, but was born in Tarsus,Cilicia, which is in modern day Turkey, and grew up in Jerusalem. Peter was from Galilee, which is Israel. I won't go on with the birth places of the other apostles, as this information is readily available in libraries and on the internet. Where the apostles were from, or where Jesus is from has nothing to do with the message of salvation, which is meant for everyone on this earth. Politics has no business in Christianity. As Jesus never got involved in politics, and left that for the pharisees and sadducees. I don't know whether this Rick Warren is a messenger of good or evil, as I am unfamiliar with him. What I do know, is that people need to start, reading the word for themselves, and praying to God for understanding. Stop purchasing books from so called men and women of God, who are simply getting rich off the word of God. Be a follower of Christ, not a follower of man.

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