It must have been twenty years ago now, but I remember when my church, like so many churches, bought a pallet of Rick Warren’s “Purpose Driven Life” and had everyone reading through it together. Even our youth group meetings had videos of Rick teaching. I don’t remember anything in the content particularly offensive, but then I don’t remember much of the content at all and I was fairly young, so that’s hardly an endorsement. Even still, good, godly men in my life saw a lot of good in what he had written, and so my first experience listening and reading the guy wasn’t a bad one.
When Rick Warren was chosen to speak at Obama’s inauguration, I began to get concerned. Sure, this could be an example of Obama trying to make good Christians feel more comfortable with his reign, but then why would a Christian want to fill that role? Obama, even from the beginning, was obviously a manipulative, evil man. He had some charisma and the entire weight of the media establishment behind him; why play into it? From that moment on, I was skeptical of Warren.
In the past few years, as the diversity/equity/inclusion (DIE) cult has gained momentum and influence in the church, Rick Warren has fallen in line with other influential names like Russel Moore and Tim Keller. At the start of this, they all pushed a subtle form of this stuff, but it’s gotten more blatant as time goes on. A great example came up just this weekend and I think it’s worth dissecting a bit.
What’s the purpose of this?
Most American Christians would be glad to learn the rest of the world has come to Christ; they spend mountains of money and armies of missionaries bringing that about every year. So it can’t be that American Christians are afraid that in heaven, their efforts might have actually been successful. But that’s how it’s framed.
No, this is targeting American Christians who hold the view that diversity is not a virtue; that it’s okay to love where you live in a special way; that you want to build a civilization rather than have one happen to you. Christians “from every era of time & place” aren’t stupid; most of them have this view.
What Rick Warren is doing here is twisting Revelation 5:9 and the Scriptures that speak of Christians coming from the whole world, and he’s twisting it because he wants to condemn the idea that we shouldn’t want our communities overwhelmed by people who hate us and our civilization. For Warren, there’s something intrinsically good about taking a healthy Christian town with godly men and women everywhere, busing in armies of Marxists and unassimilated foreign populations, and turning that town into yet another American ghetto of people who share no common culture and so have no trust.
If American Christians opposed preaching the Gospel to people of other places, or if they hated their neighbor because of his skin color, there might be something to Warren’s comment. But neither of those is true. He serves the god of diversity. For him, it isn’t simply true that in heaven, there will be people from all across the world and all across history and that we might fairly label that crowd “diverse”. No, it’s that American churches are often mostly white, and American Christian towns are often mostly white, and despite the fact that churches everywhere around the world are mostly made up of the most common people who live there, in the West and the West alone, that’s a sin for Rick Warren.
What Rick Warren hates, what Tim Keller hates, what Russel Moore hates, is that the average American Christian doesn’t burn incense to the Imperial Cult. That embarrasses them. It makes Christians – those they ought to be serving – look like uncultured barbarians. It may even be that they find it religiously offensive; I’m not convinced Keller, Moore, or Warren don’t actually do a little worship when they make their offerings to DIE. They don’t seem to care that, if everyone took their cult and ran with it, the American church would cease to exist in a generation because it would be utterly and totally compromised.
If Rick Warren wants something that will destroy the church, destroy Christian families, destroy Christian communities, and prevent the resurgence of Christian civilization, and when he expresses this by twisting Scripture to say things it doesn’t say, and when he does so with obvious contempt for Christians who do love their neighbors and their brethren around the world by slandering them, and when he does all of this from the position of an elder and teacher of great influence, then I think we have a name for this sort of guy.
He’s a false teacher.
That doesn’t mean everything he’s ever said is wrong. It doesn’t mean everyone who has ever valued from his writing and speaking is in sin and must repent. But it means you should stop listening now.