I have never met Rick Warren the pastor of Saddleback church in CA. I understand he is always looking for an unorthodox way to reach people. I am all for that. There are many people around us from different backgrounds and beliefs.
However, there is always a danger for any of us as teachers of God’s word to cross the line. I do not have anything against Mr. Warren as a person, and yet I do have a huge disagreement to his approach and belief on how to reach Muslims. Growing up as a Muslim in the Middle East, I also have insights Mr. Warren does not.
An Islamic website published and article on Feb 26th titled: King’s Way Unites US Evangelicals, Muslims as well The Orange County Register published an article on Feb 23 titled: Rick Warren builds bridges to Muslims in which Mr. Warren started a new outreach program called “King’s Way.” According to the article, Mr. Warren has found favor with various Muslim leaders and apparently is one of the few evangelical pastors (an influential one mind you) doing this kind of outreach to Muslim Imams and the Muslim community. In the process, the article says:
“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.”[Italics my own]
As a Christian from a Muslim background I know for sure that YHWH is NOT Allah. It seems that American Christian leaders have adopted a “Nice Theology” at all cost, even at the cost of the identity of Jesus Christ. If Mr. Warren agrees on the same god Allah, then one must ask, “Does he believe that Jesus of the Bible is the same Jesus (Isa) of the Qur’an as well?” I can assure you, they are NOT.
This approach is a one-way street. You never see Muslims or Imams do this. Growing up as a Muslim, we were taught that the God of the Christian was not Allah. This belief is well known in the Muslim world. Muslims in the west go along with this ignorance because there is an agenda to spread Islam. People like Mr. Warren are helping this agenda by his own naive belief and approaches. This makes me sad, insulted, and I know God is not pleased with this type of compromise.
The article further states:
“Warren has faced criticism from some evangelicals for his outreach to Muslims. Late last year, he issued a statement flatly denying rumors that he promulgates what critics term “Chrislam,” a merging of Islam and Christianity. The “rumor is 100 percent false,” Warren wrote at Pastors.com, a website he founded that provides practical advice to church leaders. “My life and ministry are built on the truth that Jesus is the only way, and our inerrant Bible is our only true authority.””
On one hand, he says Jesus is the only way, on the other, he agrees with the Muslims by saying we worship the same God. Which is it Mr. Warren? It seems that he has divorced God the Father from the Son. Jesus is God and God is Jesus. Mr. Warren does not have the luxury to separate the two when dealing with Muslims. Of course in his website and answering criticisms like this post, he will say that he believes in the Holy Triune God. But, his actions and words when dealing with Muslims tell me otherwise. There are three issues that are raised in my mind:
- I have misunderstood Mr. Warren’s words and claim, and he needs to come out in public and show clearly why the Christian and Jewish teachings of YHWH and the Muslim teachings of Allah have a very long history of a totally different view of God.
- Does Mr Warren believe that Jesus and the Father are not the one, as Islamic writings teach, or that they are one, as the authors of the New Testament writings present?
- If his involvement in this outreach comes from a huge ignorance about Islam, the Qur’an, the Hadith (Islamic Traditions) and the Sira (Muhammad’s Bio), how much harm is being done in the name of “tolerance” and “unity”?
These kinds of activities are not helping the church or America.
In the Middle East, it is a custom to celebrate the death of a child who has taken their own life in an act of jihad against the infidel by the use of a suicide bomb to kill Christians and Jews, the “infidels”.
This teaching is at the heart of Islam. It is also a teaching that is polar opposite of the teachings from the Scriptures and from the lives of Christian martyrs for almost 2,000 years, where being willing to die for your faith at the demands of violent tyrants is well known historic fact the world over.
I will make one final point. As an evangelical pastor, I would assume that Mr. Warren would agree that Christ word’s from the Gospel’s compels him to see men and women come to Christ and leave false teachings. If so, what should Mr. Warren make of this quote by Imam Jihad Turk, director of religious affairs at a mosque in Los Angeles?
“We agreed we wouldn’t try to evangelize each other,” said Turk. “We’d witness to each other but it would be out of ‘Love Thy Neighbor,’ not focused on conversion.”
By agreeing NOT to evangelize Muslims with the desire that they come to faith in Christ, a direct violation of the Great Commission commanded by our Lord Jesus Christ in Matt: 28:16-20, are we not siding with Islam, and standing against YHWH? In the Old Testament, a mixture of other religions with the teachings of YHWH always brought judgment. I see no reason to believe that developing political correct plans in the name of tolerance today should not still bring about judgments from YHWH.
If Mr. Warren still confused about Islamic theology, I would advise him to go to these websites that will educate him and his staff:
Wake up American Church, you have been led by confused and uninformed leaders.