November 23


Rick Warren’s Preposterous Claim To Be Biblically Pure

On July 4, 2009, Rick Warren addressed the Islamic Society of North America. His speech included absolutely nothing offensive to Muslims. He did not rebuke them for their unbelief or even assert that they should take a hard look at Jesus as the Christ. Rather, he talked about Christians and Muslims working together on social causes. The impression he left with them is they are perfectly fine to reject the Christ and continue in their false religion.

I wrote an article about this that appeared in the September 2009 issue of Truth Magazine. One of the readers of the article sent it on to Rick Warren at Saddleback church. His Chief of Staff, David Chrzan, wrote a reply. You can find a review of one paragraph here. Another paragraph needs attention too because the preposterous claim to biblical purity is made by Chrzan on behalf of Saddleback and Warren.

The paragraph states:

Pastor Rick is Southern Baptist. While Saddleback Church may not look Southern Baptist to most casual observers, we are down the middle Southern Baptist in our theology and doctrinal statements. We are totally committed to reaching the unchurched and contemporary in our worship style, while remaining biblically pure.

“Southern Baptist” is something that cannot be found in the Bible. Never does the New Testament mention a “Southern Baptist” person or congregation. So, how can that be biblically pure?

We can read where the people of God, Christians, were referred to as the “church of God” (1 Cor. 1:2), the “churches of Christ” (Rom. 16:16), the “churches of Galatia” or “church of the Thessalonians” (Gal. 1:2; 1 Thes. 1:1). The latter designations describe churches by their geographical location. The other two describe the church with reference to ownership or headship—God and Christ. Other terms are found in the Bible to describe God’s people, both collectively and individually, but you will never find “Southern Baptist.” Again, we submit, it is impossible to be “biblically pure” and “Southern Baptist.”

Further, Warren and Saddleback are not just “Southern Baptist,” but “down the middle Southern Baptist.” That screams “moderate!” In other words, they are not conservative Sothern Baptist, but among those who are compromisers. From our perspective Saddleback is misrepresenting itself here. Since they compromise with Christ-denying Muslims, they are extremely liberal Southern Baptists, not “down the middle.”

On Saddleback’s web site, under the “What We Believe” section, it professes multiple things that are biblically impure.

This is what they say about salvation and baptism: “Eternal life begins the moment one receives Jesus Christ into his life by faith,” and “baptism does not save you.” The Bible plainly teaches that faith alone does not save you. “You see then that a man is justified by works, and not by faith only” (James 2:24). It also says baptism does save you. “There is also an antitype which now saves us—baptism…” (1 Peter 3:21). Rick Warren and Saddleback say baptism does not save you. The Holy Spirit and Peter say it does. Which is biblically pure?

Saddleback’s site also says, “…the believer is secure in salvation for eternity. Salvation is maintained by the grace and power of God, not by the self-effort of the Christian.” The Bible says we must take heed lest we fall (1 Cor. 10:12). Why the warning if it is impossible to fall? The fact is a Christian can fall from grace, as the Galatians did. “You have become estranged from Christ, you who attempt to be justified by law; you have fallen from grace” (Gal. 5:4). Too, Paul said, “Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling” (Phil. 2:12). Saddleback and Warren say you cannot lose your salvation and there is nothing you can do to keep it. The Bible teaches you can fall from grace and you must put forth effort to secure your final salvation. Who do you think is biblically pure; Warren and Saddleback or Paul and the Holy Spirit?

It is ridiculous for anyone to claim biblical purity while at the same time teaching and practicing the doctrines and commandments of men (Matt. 15:7-9). Sadly, many will not examine Warren’s teaching because of his popularity and the messages he presents are so non-offensive. This is the devil at work, getting people to drop their guard and accept error. Let us not be in that number (Acts 17:11; 1 Thes. 5:21).


Baptism, Bible, Bible study, Christ, Christian, devil, error, eternal security, false doctrine, false teacher, God, Rick Warren, Saddleback, Salvation, Southern Baptist, truth

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