31 July 2005

On loose cannons and perfunctory research

At the urging of several people, I'm posting this brief reply to the accusations Richard Abanes has made against John MacArthur in an interview Abanes gave to Tim Challies.

My inclination was to ignore the matter until I've had an opportunity to read Abanes's book and evaluate the actual substance of his central complaint against John MacArthur. Unfortunately, virtually all the material referencing MacArthur in the Challies interview is merely innuendo and abusive ad hominem. I don't need to respond to that at all.

But Abanes has also included three broad accusations, which I'll deal with in reverse order as they appear in part 2 of the Challies interview:

  1. He suggests that MacArthur sinned against Rick Warren by not contacting him personally before criticizing The Purpose-Driven Life.
         This is one of the most confusing sections of the Abanes interview. It comes on the heels of a lengthy acknowledgment from Abanes that Matthew 18:15 does not require the critic of a published work to contact the author privately before making his or her criticism public. Yet Abanes also manages to argue that MacArthur was obliged to clear his criticisms with Warren before making them public, because unlike "other critics," who Abanes admits could "never get through to [Warren]," MacArthur "could easily have contacted Warren, as far back as several years ago when MacArthur first started voicing concerns about seeker-sensitive and related issues."
         Indeed, as Abanes is clearly aware, MacArthur's biblical objections against "seeker-sensitive" ministry were published and well known for more than a decade before he ever made any public criticism of Rick Warren by name. Which is to say, MacArthur's objections to Warren's pragmatism are biblical, principled, and philosophical objections, not the sort of personal vendetta against Rick Warren Abanes portrays.
         Furthermore, Abanes himself made no attempt to contact John MacArthur privately before launching his ad hominem broadsides in the Challies interview. Yet Abanes has more of a relationship with MacArthur than MacArthur has with Warren. MacArthur endorsed a book Abanes wrote in 1995. Abanes personally contacted MacArthur to solicit that endorsement, and received it from MacArthur via a personal letter. Abanes sought a second endorsement from MacArthur on a different book last year. MacArthur was unable to supply the endorsement because he did not have time to read the book before the publisher's deadline. But in the process of seeking the endorsement, Abanes wrote to MacArthur more than once. He certainly knows how to get in touch with MacArthur and "could easily have contacted" him but didn't.
         To be clear, I agree with Abanes when he says critics are not obliged to follow the steps outlined in Matthew 18:15-17 before publishing criticism of a Christian leader's published work. So I'm not criticizing Abanes for failing to contact MacArthur. I'm merely pointing out that both his words and his own actions prove that he does not really believe private contact is necessary in such cases. So its very hard to understand his rather forceful criticism of John MacArthur on this point.
         Also, the complaint Abanes makes is actually somewhat ambiguous. (Does his reference to "the aforementioned biblical passages" include Matthew 18, or not?). His actual complaint seems to hinge on his assumption that MacArthur was merely repeating "gossip" about Warren's book. That's where the other two complaints come in.
  2. He claims MacArthur "falsely accus[ed] Warrren of things that Warren has never taught," and specifically that he did this on CNN.
         A complete transcript of what MacArthur said about Warren "on CNN" is here. The program in question (Newsnight with Aaron Brown, March 16, 2005) included a segment that was, in fact, a rather significant misrepresentation of MacArthur's position. The day after the program aired, I posted a statement on the Grace to You website explaining that the main substance of John MacArthur's complaint about The Purpose-Driven Life had been deleted in the editorial process, and the program was a gross misrepresentation of both what MacArthur said and why he said it.
         In other words, MacArthur's comment about Warren's book on CNN was not false, as Abanes alleges. But it was removed from the context where MacArthur had adequately explained what he meant.
         To be more specific: MacArthur made only one statement about the content of Warren's book that was not edited out of the segment. MacArthur said, "What you've got is a feel-good kind of approach. This is telling people exactly what they want to hear, telling people that God agrees with you. God wants you to be what you want to be. And this is pretty heady stuff, to tell somebody that the God of the universe wants them to be exactly what they want to be. But that is not the Christian message." MacArthur did not invent that complaint out of thin air, as Abanes seems to think. It was part of a much more lengthy critique of the self-esteemism inherent in statements like "God wants you to be yourself" (p. 103). Abanes may not agree with MacArthur's criticism of that sort of teaching. (I wouldn't expect him to, given his tendency to affirm whatever Warren says and explain away whatever Warren's critics say.) But his outrage here is all out of proportion to the facts. It also seems somewhat hypocritical, given the fact that Abanes is basing his opinion of MacArthur on statements CNN deliberately removed from their context, and Abanes has apparently made no effort to discover what the actual context really was.
         Abanes may claim he did not know MacArthur felt his statements on the CNN broadcast were deliberately twisted. If that's the case, he has no excuse, especially since his own main complaint is that Warren's critics are guilty of shoddy research. If he had done a simple Google search for the words "macarthur warren newsnight CNN," Google would have given him, ranked in order, a copy of the Grace to You statement, Tim Challies' next-day analysis of "Newsnight," (complete with a trackback link to Jollyblogger's careful deconstruction of CNN's hack-job on MacArthur), and the original of my statement on the Grace to You website (including a link to Justin Taylor's excellent blogpost, "CNN, John MacArthur, and Slander by Suggestion.")
         In other words, the three top links at Google would have put him onto at least five articles showing that MacArthur, not Warren, was the one whose position was distorted by the CNN broadcast—which, after all, did portray The Purpose-Driven Life in an almost completely sympathetic light.
         Abanes himself ought to have done the kind of careful research he calls for. Would he still disagree with MacArthur's position? No doubt. But it would be nice to be able to focus on the doctrinal, biblical, and philosophical difference between our different positions, and keep the harsh personal invective out of the discussion.
         Finally,
  3. He suggests MacArthur has not done his own research and that someone is "feeding him information" about what Warren has written.
         Simply untrue. MacArthur has read both of Warren's major works thoroughly. I have MacArthur's marked-up copy of The Purpose-Driven Church. (I bought him a clean copy and took his annotated one, with his permission.) I've seen his marked-up copy of The Purpose-Driven Life. This sort of baseless conjecture on the part of Abanes is likewise inconsistent with his own call for careful research.

Because there has been misunderstanding about this in other venues, I want to state for the record that I have no complaint with the fact that Tim Challies published this interview. My criticism of certain statements by Richard Abanes should not be construed as criticism of Tim Challies, for whom I have the utmost respect, and who I believe conducted a very helpful interview.


Phil's signature

41 comments:

TulipGirl said...

Phil, you said that very graciously.

Sometime, would you blog on how to respond to criticism or carefully critique a Christian teaching--without slipping into gossip or unkindness?

Ransom said...

If you have ever read any of Abanes' books on abberrant religious movements (such as American Militias), you would realize that an "unwillingness to think rationally" is not Abanes' weakness.

I personally suspect he just has a bit of a blind spot where criticism of his pastor and church are concerned.

Sled Dog said...

Seems like Abanes is digging a pretty large hole. I read Challies interview, as well as the A-Team article (Roger Overton)article. Greg Koukl's response was interesting as well. I think Phil's response in this matter is right on. Abanes is way over the top in defending Warren. He personally destroys any credibility he might have had.

Made me think though. Is Richard Abanes to Rick Warren as Phil Johnson is to John MacArthur? I think there is some legitimate, constructive criticism of MacArthur's ministry, but will it ever be up for discussion here?

I'll be on vacation for the next week, so I won't know if my question will light a fire (pun intended), lie dormant or get deleted!

Brian said...

I am glad Phil responded on this issue.

In addition, I happen to like ransom and sled dog's comments.

rabanes said...

http://phillipjohnson.blogspot.com/2005/07/on-loose-cannons-and-perfunctory.html

Allow me to respond—


PJ: My inclination was to ignore the matter until I've had an opportunity to read Abanes's book and evaluate the actual substance of his central complaint against John MacArthur.
RA: You should have gone with your inclination.


PJ: Unfortunately, virtually all the material referencing MacArthur in the Challies interview is merely innuendo and abusive ad hominem. I don't need to respond to that at all.
RA: Really? Virtually all, is it? Hmmm. Well let's first see ALL of what I said about MacArthur and then we can decide if "virtually all" of it is "innuendo" and/or "abusive ad hominem." Truth be told, you seem to be confusing personal opinions and observations with "innuendo" and "ad hominem." I shall help you and other readers by labeling in my assertions [brackets] for what really they are. The places where I mention MacArthur are as follows:

1. "[M]aking wild accusations against a fellow Christian to the point of calling him (or her) a liar, a non-Christian, a false teacher, a deceiver, or a New Ager is quite another thing. It is sin—plain and simple. And people who have made such false accusations need to be held accountable, especially the more influential critics of Warren such as John MacArthur [FACT—MacArthur has pretty much accused Warren of preaching a false gospel]. . . . [T]heir irresponsible accusations about Warren [OPINION—MacArthur's actions, in my opinin, have been irresponsible] have really caused me to question their motives and their concerns for truth [PERSONAL REFLECTION—this is an expression of my own feelings after thinking about MacArthur's statements]. At the very least, they have been terrifically careless in making the comments they have made [OPINION]."

NO "innuendo" and "ad hominem" in the above.

2. As for John MacArthur, he simply does not know what he is talking about [FACT—both MacArthur and his apparent spokesperson "Nathan Busenitz" have repeatedly made unfair condemnations with a broad brushes as well as factual errors about purpose-driven and seeker sensitive as taught by Rick Warren] and has shown himself to be a loose cannon when it comes to Warren and Saddleback Church [OPINION]. I am not sure who is feeding him information [PERSONAL REFLECTION based on MacArthur's otherwise careful work], but it is false [FACT—and I give an example in my book, but many more examples will be given on my website]. But perhaps MacArthur just doesn't care enough about truth to be careful in his own research [THEORY based on observable actions that you can either agree with it or not agree with it. This is a possible explanation that I am indeed considering]. Therefore, I fault MacArthur for either: a) not doing his own research; or b) not doing his own research carefully enough before falsely accusing Warrren of things that Warren has never taught [MY POSITION—I do fault him for these things]. A good example would be MacArthur's outrageous statement in CNN about what Warren preaches. In my book, I contrast MacArthur's false CNN accusation about the purpose driven message with what Warren has actually stated—it is the exact opposite of what MacArthur alleged [FACT].

NO "innuendo" and "ad hominem" in the above.

3. Forget about contacting Warren personally, these critics have not even bothered to get their facts straight and avoid gossip! [FACT] I am especially troubled by high profile critics who actually COULD have gotten through to Warren, but did not do so. For example, you have John MacArthur, who could easily have contacted Warren, as far back as several years ago when MacArthur first started voicing concerns about seeker-sensitive and related issues. But no contact that I know of was made [FACT, if you have information to the contrary, please let us know]. Most recently, we have MacArthur's accusations against Warren on CNN that were outrageous, irresponsible, and a clear violation, in my opinion, of the aforementioned biblical passages [OPINION, as I have stated]. Why? Because: 1) MacArthur falsely accused Warren of teaching things that Warren does not teach [FACT]; and 2) MacArthur could have indeed gotten through to Warren before making such a wild charge (in my book, as you know, I document what MacArthur stated as opposed to what Warren actually teaches). [FACT]

NO "innuendo" and "ad hominem" in the above.

4. Another example would be Chuck Smith who, like MacArthur, has publicly denounced Rick Warren and his purpose driven teachings [FACT]—not only on the radio, but from the pulpit as well. Smith, also like MacArthur, could have easily gotten through to Warren in a heartbeat. [FACT]

NO "innuendo" and "ad hominem" in the above.


SO, Phil, I'm not sure how you are seeing any innuendo and/or ad hominem in my—let alone claiming that "virtually all" that I say about MacArthur is innuendo and/or ad hominem. But let's move on.


PJ: But Abanes has also included three broad accusations. . . . He suggests that MacArthur sinned against Rick Warren by not contacting him personally before criticizing The Purpose-Driven Life.
RA: You misunderstood me entirely. As you yourself note, I do indeed acknowledge that Matt. 18 has no bearing whatsoever on our need to contact a public figure before criticizing his/her teachings. What I then said regarding MacArthur and other high profile persons was: "Forget about contacting Warren personally, these critics have not even bothered to get their facts straight and avoid gossip!" I subsequently mention how MacArthur could have gotten through to Warren. But I meant IN ORDER TO GET HIS FACTS STRAIGHT—not in order to inform him of coming criticisms.


PJ: Yet Abanes also manages to argue that MacArthur was obliged to clear his criticisms with Warren before making them public, because unlike "other critics," who Abanes admits could "never get through to [Warren]," MacArthur "could easily have contacted Warren, as far back as several years ago when MacArthur first started voicing concerns about seeker-sensitive and related issues."
RA: Wrong. I was saying that MacArthur was obliged to clear his FACTS with Warren—i.e., he needed to verify if what he was going to say about Warren's teachings was indeed true. He didn't do this. And I demonstrate that what MacArthur ended up saying about Warren on CNN was NOT true. Yet he could have verified exactly what Warren taught on such issues, but he failed to do so. THAT is what I am saying.


PJ: Furthermore, Abanes himself made no attempt to contact John MacArthur privately before launching his ad hominem broadsides in the Challies interview.
RA: See above on my actual point.


PJ: His actual complaint seems to hinge on his assumption that MacArthur was merely repeating "gossip" about Warren's book. That's where the other two complaints come in.
RA: First, where, again I ask, where, did I say anything about MacArthur repeating gossip about Warren's "book"? I don't mention Warren's book AT ALL in connection to MacArthur's CNN interview. My contention is that both MacArthur (and "Nathan Busenitz") do not accurately express Warren's teachings or those of Saddleback., Many of the accusations are made against strawman representations of Warren's teachings. I am dealing with far broader issues than just Warren's book.


PJ: He claims MacArthur "falsely accus[ed] Warrren of things that Warren has never taught," and specifically that he did this on CNN.
RA: And this is true. I contrast, in my book, what MacArthur said with what Warren teaches.


PJ: A complete transcript of what MacArthur said about Warren "on CNN" is here. The program in question (Newsnight with Aaron Brown, March 16, 2005) included a segment that was, in fact, a rather significant misrepresentation of MacArthur's position. The day after the program aired, I posted a statement on the Grace to You website explaining that the main substance of John MacArthur's complaint about The Purpose-Driven Life had been deleted in the editorial process, and the program was a gross misrepresentation of both what MacArthur said and why he said it.
RA: Well, this entire comment by you is irrelevant since I was not talking only about Warren's book in connection to MacArthur's CNN statement. Moreover, whether or on CNN "grossly" misrepresented MacArthur does not change in the least the quote that I cite and compare with what Warren actually teaches.


PJ: In other words, MacArthur's comment about Warren's book on CNN was not false, as Abanes alleges. But it was removed from the context where MacArthur had adequately explained what he meant.
RA: See above. MacArthur explained it just fine—and you, in this very post, explain even better, as we shall see.


PJ: MacArthur made only one statement about the content of Warren's book that was not edited out of the segment. MacArthur said, "What you've got is a feel-good kind of approach. This is telling people exactly what they want to hear, telling people that God agrees with you. God wants you to be what you want to be. And this is pretty heady stuff, to tell somebody that the God of the universe wants them to be exactly what they want to be. But that is not the Christian message."
RA: A feel good approach? You tell God what you want to be? Now, this is strange since, as I show in my book, Warren has taught the exact opposite! As far back as 1993, Warren declared: “You become what God made you to be. . . . You will never be fully satisfied in life until you begin to be what God made you to be. . . . Find out what God made you to be and be it. . . . You cannot conform to the will of man if you’re going to be what God wants you to be" (Rick Warren, “Building on My Strengths: The Purpose-Driven Life,” part 3, May 9, 1993). Clearly, there is nothing here in Warren's words about us telling God what we want to be. MacArthur is spreading absolute falsehoods about Warren's views.


PJ: MacArthur did not invent that complaint out of thin air, as Abanes seems to think. It was part of a much more lengthy critique of the self-esteemism inherent in statements like "God wants you to be yourself" (p. 103).
RA: Sorry, PJ, but this charge is indeed invented out of thin air. Warren's statement "God wants you to be yourself" has NOTHING to do with us telling God what we want to be. You have just given a perfect example of how Warren's critics take a word or short phrase OUT OF CONTEXT and expand (twist, pervert, mangle) the meaning of that word/phrase to mean something that Warren never intended or declared.

Obviously, in the 1993 quote I offer above, Warren is not saying that we are supposed to tell God what WE want to be. You (and MacArthur) have inserted that extravagantly wrong (and non-Warren) teaching into the short phrase "God wants you to be yourself." But if either you or MacArthur were to actually read that entire section of The Purpose Driven Life, you would see that what Warren is REALLY saying is something far different than what you (and apparently MacArthur) allege.

In fact, the very sentence just BEFORE the one you quote contradicts what you are asserting!!! PJ, what are you reading?! In context, Warren is talking about "Worship that Pleases God" (chapter title, p. 100). The sub-heading section from which you have lifted your quote is "God is pleased when our worship is authentic" (p. 101). Then, finally, on page 103, after Warren has been talking only about the different ways that various individuals enjoy worshiping God (e.g., in solitude, through traditional liturgy, via social action, by way of caregiving, etc.), THEN Warren says:

"There is no 'one-size-fits-all' approach to worship and friendship with God. One thing is certain: You don't bring glory to God by trying to be someone HE NEVER INTENDED YOU TO BE. God want's you to be yourself [i.e., how he created you]. "That's the kind of people the Father is looking out for: those who are simply and honestly themselves before him in their worship" (p. 103).

Excuse me, PJ, but the only thing Warren is addressing here is how God wants us to worship him in a honest and real way, rather than being fake or trying to worship God in ways that are not consistent with how we were created (e.g., trying to copy someone else's behavior or mode of worship). You (and MacArthur) have misrepresented Warren's views, and pulled a quote from his book out of context in order to prove your false accusation.


PJ: Abanes may not agree with MacArthur's criticism of that sort of teaching.
RA: Actually, I do agree with it. What I don't agree with is MacArthur's false attribution of it to Warren using an out of context quote.


PJ: (I wouldn't expect him to, given his tendency to affirm whatever Warren says and explain away whatever Warren's critics say.)
RA: Nice dig. Talk about ad hominem and innuendo! Now, you also show hypocrisy, as well as yet more false accusations. Can you provide any evidence to show that I tend to not only affirm "whatever" Warren says, but also explain away "whatever" Warren's critics say? Careful, now, PJ. Out of kindness I will tell you in advance that I already have quotes from my own pen that will prove you have erred in your assessment of me.


PJ: Abanes may claim he did not know MacArthur felt his statements on the CNN broadcast were deliberately twisted. If that's the case, he has no excuse, especially since his own main complaint is that Warren's critics are guilty of shoddy research.
RA: I refer to the quote on CNN that you yourself have supported and explained and justified. I am guilty of nothing.


PJ: Abanes himself ought to have done the kind of careful research he calls for.
RA: My research is fine. You need to slow down and at the very least, read page 103 in Warren's book.


PJ: it would be nice to be able to focus on the doctrinal, biblical, and philosophical difference between our different positions, and keep the harsh personal invective out of the discussion.
RA: Seriously? Read your post again, PJ. But if you want to discuss these issues, then fine. We can do so. A good starting point is page 103 in context. Also, I think at this point, you and I may get in the way. I think MacArthur should call Warren and actually ask him what he teaches.


PJ: He suggests MacArthur has not done his own research and that someone is "feeding him information" about what Warren has written.
RA: This is one explanation that I had to at least consider because MacArthur is so off on his assessment.


PJ: Simply untrue. MacArthur has read both of Warren's major works thoroughly. I have MacArthur's marked-up copy of The Purpose-Driven Church. (I bought him a clean copy and took his annotated one, with his permission.) I've seen his marked-up copy of The Purpose-Driven Life. This sort of baseless conjecture on the part of Abanes is likewise inconsistent with his own call for careful research.
RA: Okay. I believe you. But now, in my opinion, that just makes MacArthur's errors all the more egregious.

RAbanes

rabanes said...

BB: In Richard Abanes' perfect world:

RA: I notice that aside from your snide remark, you had no words for the rather serious case of MacArthur/Johnson CLEARLY misrepresenting Warren's words in The Purpose Driven Life. Why is that?

And by the way, in my perfect world, I would have wished MacArthur and Johnson would simply read a little closer, be a little more careful, and show a littel more consideration—enough to call someone and ask a question more like: "hey, Rick, just wanted to talk to you about some teachings that heard you were teaching. For example, I get the impression that you are advancing the notion that we have the right to tell God what WE want to be. Am I hearing you right on this?

Not so hard. But then again, apparently it is.

RA

Frank Martens said...

I'm confused about this statement...

"And by the way, in my perfect world, I would have wished MacArthur and Johnson would simply read a little closer, be a little more careful, and show a littel more consideration"

I thought Phil said that they did research and read it carefully.

Habitans in Sicco said...

Abanes: "[OPINION—MacArthur's actions, in my opinin, have been irresponsible] have really caused me to question their motives and their concerns for truth [PERSONAL REFLECTION—this is an expression of my own feelings after thinking about MacArthur's statements]. At the very least, they have been terrifically careless in making the comments they have made [OPINION]."

Mr. Abanes, for future reference, when you publicly state so much negative "personal reflection" and "opinion" as if it were fact, when it's really just your private speculation about someone else's motives, that pretty much qualifies as "innuendo and abusive ad hominem." Labeling it as something else doesn't alter the reality of what it feally is.

Furthermore, some of the statements you label "fact" in your self-analysis are unestablished as actual "fact"--such as your assertion that MacArthur is guilty of "Making wild accusations against a fellow Christian to the point of calling him (or her) a liar, a non-Christian, a false teacher, a deceiver, or a New Ager." What you have actually qoted from MacArthur isn't anywhere near as harsh as that desciption would seem to suggest.

Just out of curiosity, since this was the very accusation you were making against John MacArthur, why didn't you attempt to talk to him directly to make sure you understood the context of his CNN remarks? That really is hard to reconcile with the harshness of your criticism against Warren's critics. It's especially amazing if it's true that you personally contacted MacArthur so recently to ask for his endorsement on one of your books.

rabanes said...

FRANK: I thought Phil said that they did research and read it carefully.

RA: Well, this is not displayed at all in their use of Warren's words from page 103, is it? (see above).

RA

rabanes said...

Habitans: Mr. Abanes, for future reference, when you publicly state so much negative "personal reflection" and "opinion" as if it were fact, when it's really just your private speculation about someone else's motives, that pretty much qualifies as "innuendo and abusive ad hominem."
RA: If you read my interview, you will see that I often insert things like "in my opinion" for clarification. I don't believe I ever declared some of these things-especially clear opinions or reflections—as facts. For example, when I say something has caused me to wonder or think something, that is not saying it is a fact.


H: Furthermore, some of the statements you label "fact" in your self-analysis are unestablished as actual "fact"--such as your assertion that MacArthur is guilty of "Making wild accusations against a fellow Christian to the point of calling him (or her) a liar, a non-Christian, a false teacher,
RA: Well,perhaps I am a bit more of a fundamentalist than you, but I would consider MacArthur's charge that Warren teaches a feel good message and/or a watered down gospel to be pretty much consistent with saying that Warren is a false teacher who is compromising the Gospel of Jesus Christ. That assertion, however, is untrue. See above how MacArthur misrepresented in his CNN interview what Warren teaches based on p. 103 of The Purpose Driven Life (according to Philip Johnson).


H: What you have actually qoted from MacArthur isn't anywhere near as harsh as that desciption would seem to suggest. (see above).


RA: Just out of curiosity, since this was the very accusation you were making against John MacArthur, why didn't you attempt to talk to him directly to make sure you understood the context of his CNN remarks?
RA: Did you AT ALL read my above comment??? I have my facts straight. I show that in the above post about p. 103. Bottom Line—What MacArthur stated on CNN about Warren's teachings, as confirmed here by Philip Johnson, was a false representation of Warren. This misrepresnetation of Warren has NOTHING to do with any of the remarks made against CNN by MacArthur (on gty website).


RA

Bill said...

Frankly, this whole tit-for-tat exchange between Mr. Abanes and the rest of the non-Purpose-Driven(R) universe has become tiring. Why don't we let this fade away? The next fad is surely just around the corner. The PDL is on the downslide anyway. Time to spend some time on a book that really matters...the Bible.

Phil Johnson said...

Sled Dog muses aloud: "I think there is some legitimate, constructive criticism of MacArthur's ministry, but will it ever be up for discussion here?"

Looks to me like it already is. See above.

One or two further comments; then I'll wait to reply to further to Mr. Abanes until I read his book:

I don't think he has come close to making the case for absolving Rick Warren from the charge of "feel-good" preaching. I still think the remark cited from page 103 ("God wants you to be yourself"), if taken in the context in which it was given plus the fuller context of Rick Warren's broader ministry (especially some of his more high-profile contributions in the secular arena, such as the "Learn to Love Yourself" piece in Ladies Home Journal), sends a dangerously man-centered message to readers: "Worship in a way that pleases you. God wants that." It is certainly not a faithful proclamation of the biblical message.

In any case, there was a larger context to MacArthur's comments on CNN than the final edit reflected, and we labored to make that clear immediately. The fact that Richard Abanes made no effort to learn what that context was—and yet he still insists that he has a sufficiently thorough understanding of MacArthur's mind and motives—clashes starkly with his repeated pleas for Warren's critics to be carful in their research and charitable in the way they interpret Warren.

I'm pretty sure, though, that the dissonance between what Abanes demands of others and what he himself practices is obvious enough to most. That being the case, I'll let this short reply stand as my final comment in this thread. (See rule 1.) Richard Abanes can have the last word if he wants

Kyrie66 said...

Thank you, Phil, for addressing this. Dr. MacArthur was instrumental years ago in opening my eyes to the unbiblical nature of the consumer driven church movement which began long before Saddleback church ever existed. To call a servant of the Lord like Dr. MacArthur a "loose cannon" for disagreeing with Rick Warren's teachings pretty much sums up the problem with Richard Abanes' current campaign.

Phil Johnson said...

Roger N. Overton posted the following this morning. Because the comment contained a long URL that made my template display weird, I've deleted the original comment, incorporated the URL into a hotlink, and reposted Roger's comment here. Other than the link, the following comment is unedited and unabridged:
____________________

Roger N. Overton said...
I interview Richard Abanes this week as well and he said more on John MacArthur.
7:48 AM, July 31, 2005
_____________________

rabanes said...

KYRIE: To call a servant of the Lord like Dr. MacArthur a "loose cannon" for disagreeing with Rick Warren's teachings pretty much sums up the problem with Richard Abanes' current campaign.

RA: please, please, please, please stop telling people I am saying things that I have NEVER even said. I did NOT call MacArthur a "loose cannon" simply because of his "disagreeing" with Warren. Really, I have to ask, can you not read what I am saying at all? I called MacArthur a "loose cannon" because what he disagreed with was somthing Warren does not even teach. Read the quotes, K.

RA

rabanes said...

Phil,

Thanks for the final word. I'll take it, we can tralk more after you have finished the book. And I'll reserve posting here until that time.

PJ: I don't think he has come close to making the case for absolving Rick Warren from the charge of "feel-good" preaching.
RA: Indeed. I was not tryingg to make an entire "case." I was specifically addressing what MacArthur said, which is simply not accurate, given the quotes I provided from Warren.


PJ: I still think the remark cited from page 103 ("God wants you to be yourself"), if taken in the context in which it was given plus the fuller context of Rick Warren's broader ministry . . .
RA: Well, now wait, ae we sudden;y broadening everything out to a fuller ministry, or are we sticking with what the actual remark on p. 103 says in context? Anyone can get the book and read it for themselves. It has NOTHING to do with telling God what WE want to be. It os explicitly/specifically about how we worship as individuals that created uniquely for him. THAT is what the text says on p. 103.


PJ: (especially some of his more high-profile contributions in the secular arena, such as the "Learn to Love Yourself" piece in Ladies Home Journal), sends a dangerously man-centered message to readers: "Worship in a way that pleases you. God wants that." It is certainly not a faithful proclamation of the biblical message.
RA: The LHJ thing is a whole other issue that would take pages worth of bandwidth.


PJ: . . . there was a larger context to MacArthur's comments on CNN than the final edit reflected, and we labored to make that clear immediately. The fact that Richard Abanes made no effort to learn what that context was—and yet he still insists that he has a sufficiently thorough understanding of MacArthur's mind and motives—clashes starkly with his repeated pleas for Warren's critics to be carful in their research and charitable in the way they interpret Warren.
RA: PJ, I see the context fo MacArthur's quote. It does NOT change its inaccuracy. Continuing to say that MacArthur had some stuff deleted by CNN does not change the thrust of what they left—you yourself proved that by your own citation of p. 103.


PJ: I'm pretty sure, though, that the dissonance between what Abanes demands of others and what he himself practices is obvious enough to most.
RA: Wishful thinking. Clearly, you will not simply say that you guys took Warren out of context on p. 103. I exhort otehrs to simply look it up. It does not say what you allege. And what Warren preached in the 1993 sermon from Warren is teh exact opposite of what MacArthur said on CNN. THAT is simply the way it is.


PJ: Richard Abanes can have the last word if he wants . . .
RA: Ok, I want. And I choose . . . . hmmmmm. . . . Sassafras.

RA

Habitans in Sicco said...

Abanes: "Continuing to say that MacArthur had some stuff deleted by CNN does not change the thrust of what they left—you yourself proved that by your own citation of p. 103."

Richard, several people have tried to tell you this, and you have dismissed it. Let me add my voice anyway: For someone who pleads for ohers to give Warren the benefit of every doubt, you have a very bad habit of being unfair with your critics and simply ignoring whatever you don't want to see.

For example, here's Phil's original statement about the reference on p. 103:

It was part of a much more lengthy critique of the self-esteemism inherent in statements like "God wants you to be yourself" (p. 103).

You are acting like page 103 was MacArthur's only basis for complaining about self-esteemism. You insist that is all the "context" you needed to label MacArthur a "loose canon" and impugn his integrity.

And when Phil explains once more that there is a larger context for MacArthur's remark (and spells out a little more of what that context is), you claim he is "sudden;y broadening everything out," and you dismiss everything other than p. 103 as "a whole other issue that would take pages worth of bandwidth."

Perhaps you should lay off replying to your critics for awhile and make an attempt to hear what they are actually saying.

Just a thought.

rabanes said...

H: It was part of a much more lengthy critique of the self-esteemism inherent in statements like "God wants you to be yourself" (p. 103).

RA: Ahhhh, my point EXACTLY. Warren does not teach self-esteemism, from p. 103 or anywhere else. Warren is not sime feel-good, Schuller, self-esteem clone. Self-esteemism is an ASSUMPTION—again, exactly my point—that MacArthur, Johnson, and others are building against Warren based on miscontrued conclusions based on preconceived ideas about what Warren must be saying.


H: you dismiss everything other than p. 103 as "a whole other issue that would take pages worth of bandwidth."
RA: wrong again. The p. 103 quote and how it is being abused is only indicative of a much broader problem with how Warren is being misrepresented by MacArthur. Consequently, the so-called fuller context of the CNN material is irrelevant.

What is being ignored here is: 1) my point that MacArthur's overall approach is wrong; and b) my point that MacArthur's specific CNN comment is wrong.

And now, also, everyone is ignoring Johnson's original straightforward comment about Warren's p. 103 remark, which I showed was a sentence bearing no relation at all to even MacArthur's BROADER condemnations—the so-caled broader context.

Oh well.

RA

Renee said...

Phil this was a good post and you hit the mark...

Mr. Abanes' seems extemely defensive when it comes to any cricism of the PDL or Warren's "lukewarm" Gospel presentation (I know Abanes' has posted some "proof" regarding Warren preaching the Gospel on his site however, they weren't exactly convincing).

Regarding the Macarthur interview in question, a blind man could read the CNN transcript and see what CNN and the secular press wanted to portray in the segment with Macarthur. I am with gsmpastor, Abanes' hostility at the CNN interchange (and other criticism) does border on irrational.

What does concern me is whenever Warren is questioned on the Gosepl in one of his many interviews (Larry King comes to mind), he tapdances whenever asked "does the bible say Jesus is the only way" (this I have heard him asked a few times). His normal response is "I believe, etc., etc".... (Only he knows why he won't come right out and say "Yes, the bible says that and here's where you can find it").

I'm sure Abanes' has a copy of sermon somewhere that he can use to prove me wrong, but my question is in regards to what is said to an audience of non-believers, the secular media, the millions of secular tv viewers. Is it more important to push the PDL or the Gospel??

GeneMBridges said...

Richard,

Honestly, you can complain about MacArthur’s criticism until you are blue in the face, but the truth of this is part of the reason we are having some of this conversation is Warren's careless and imprecise use of language in this and other contexts.

To leave PDL for a moment, look at statements from here as a example

http://pewforum.org/events/index.php?EventID=80

Note to Phil: I realize what follows is a different context than PDL and RA's interview w/Tim...but I am citing this as a means of illustrating what I'm trying to get at for Richard. I am not intending to start a separate discussion about these comments.

In their discussion about the difference between fundamentalism and evangelicalism this was said:

>>>He said, The first Reformation actually split Christianity into dozens and then hundreds of different segments. I think this one is actually going to bring them together. Now, you're never going to get Christians, of all their stripes and varieties, to agree on all of the different doctrinal disputes and things like that, but what I am seeing them agree on are the purposes of the church. And I find great uniformity in the fact that I see this happening all the time. Last week I spoke to 4,000 pastors at my church who came from over 100 denominations in over 50 countries. Now, that's wide spread. We had Catholic priests, we had Pentecostal ministers, we had Lutheran bishops, we had Anglican bishops, we had Baptist preachers. They're all there together and you know what? I'd never get them to agree on communion or baptism or a bunch of stuff like that, but I could get them to agree on what the church should be doing in the world.
______________________
I find this distressing in his inclusion of Catholics. What theology is he operating from that says that a Roman Catholic can give him a credible profession of faith? In Protestant theology, we distinguish between a saving and a credible profession, and we typically extend more charity to the Catholic parishioner than the clergy, but this kind of statement is of great concern to those of us that believe you must agree on what the church is in order to agree on what it should be doing. If we can’t agree on the gospel, then what is exactly is it that we can being doing as a church? How can we work together as a church if Mary is “Co-Redemptrix” and the Mass is a perpetual sacrifice? The Reformers, whom he mentioned immediately prior, would turn in their graves. It also concerns me as a Southern Baptist, since Rick is also one of us. These are the kinds of comments the denominational press, if they catch them, love to hear.

>>>>Anyway, the fundamentalist and evangelical movement said they were just going to care about personal salvation when they split from the mainline churches. What happened is the mainline churches cared about the social morality and the evangelicals cared about personal morality. That's what happened when they split. But they really are all part of the total gospel – social justice, personal morality and salvation. And today a lot more people, evangelicals, are caring about those issues.
________________
I agree in principle, though I think that this is oversimplification. The last sentence varies geographically. I know some “fundamentalist” churches that do quite well in these areas in the American South. Second, it’s not simply true that the evangelicals cared about personal morality, they also cared about theology,. The rise of classical liberalism reduced God to a theistic ground of being and revelation in Scripture to God language used for motivational purposes, so the difference isn’t simply “morality” it is much more specific, it is a morality that flows from a particular theology.

My primary concern here is this: This was a conference for journalists. Here he is, pastor of a local church, a visible representative trying to teach a quick lesson on historical theology, and he flubbed it.

>>>>>Warren continues later... Well, I tell you, that's the reason I accepted this meeting, because I'm just tired of having other people represent me and represent the hundreds of thousands of churches where the pastors I've trained would nowhere, no way, relate to some of the supposed spokesmen of a previous generation.
_____________________
I want to say “Amen” here. I agree, but I would also say that, based his careless use of language in this discussion, he doesn’t speak for me either.

>>>>Now the word "fundamentalist" actually comes from a document in the 1920s called the Five Fundamentals of the Faith. And it is a very legalistic, narrow view of Christianity, and when I say there are very few fundamentalists, I mean in the sense that they are all actually called fundamentalist churches, and those would be quite small. There are no large ones.... A fundamentalist basically would look at many others in Christianity and say, "You're not even a Christian." They'd say it about Lutherans, Methodists, Presbyterians, Catholics. You know – even evangelicals.

__________________
1. Historical errors in a “educational” talk at that: "It" was not "a document from ca. 1920" but a series of pamphlets published between 1910 and 1915; they were called The Fundamentals."

2. “Legalistic”...What does “it” refer to here? a. Fundamentalism or b. the “document?” or c. the content of the document?

3. If 2a What about it is legalistic? If some of the separation issues, I don’t think too many of us would disagree, since everybody seems to have different ideas and we draw the lines at different places. If social issues, again, that varies? If issues related to worship, etc, that too varies? He’s painting with a broad brush here. However, in preceding comments, he mentions the cessationist/non-cessationist distinction with regard to miracles today, so it seems his concern is theological.

4. 2b would be absurd. How can a written set of documents be “legalistic?” They simply exist as paper.

5. If 2c, then we need to be very concerned, and the SBC executive committee will be asking questions. What does he consider “legalistic” about: the inerrancy of the Bible, the virgin birth of Christ, the doctrine of substitutionary atonement, the bodily resurrection of Jesus, and the authenticity of his miracles?

I don’t believe Rick disbelieves this things...but again, his language is imprecise, so if people get the wrong idea, who’s to blame? You wouldn't have to say that MacArthur and others should contact Rick, if Rick wouldn't make comments like the above so carelessly in public!

6. Small churches. Mr. Warren needs to be careful here. The majority of the churches in his denomination are “small” and on any give Sunday morning worship attendance is around 40 percent of the membership. Many of the smaller “fundamentalist” churches that Warren commented upon are churches that have church covenants and do much better at having all their members in attendance for the set meetings of the churches. The Reformed churches are generally much better at this, and they can generally, in my experience at least, say they are confident all or almost all their membership is regenerate. In his own denomination, this particular issue, the regeneracy of the denomination’s members, is being discussed. Does he really want to go there? Pres. Welch is alienating the smaller churches in the SBC by pressing for a million baptisms and harping on the lower numbers in some churches. Warren's s characterization may be read by some of their pastors as adding insult to injury.

7. Notice the inclusion of Catholics. Rick fails to tell the whole story. The truth is that, aside from some of the folks on the fringe (Landmarkists for example), fundamentalists are consistent Protestants and distinguish between a credible confession of faith and a saving profession of faith with regard to Catholics, and I honestly know very few fundamentalists that do not believe these other Protestants can not give you a credible profession of faith.

It’s no wonder that folks get upset! He’s just labeled those of us that don’t think Catholics can give a credible profession of faith and are dubious on the saving profession are “legalistic" in front of the press. No, we’re just consistent Protestants.

This is all to say that, as you can see, Rick has a way of not telling the whole story or making errors and generally appearing to believe things he does not believe, and he does it in public forums and books. It is this behavior that concerns us greatly, because, when you're in a room full of journalists they may well take your word as writ, even if it is inaccurate, and the reading public that doesn't know Rick or can't reach him for comment is missing an opportunity to hear the whole story. You wouldn't have to run around to put out fires, which I know is frustrating for you, if Rick would improve upon his public presentation.

Renee said...

genembridges wrote,

"Rick has a way of not telling the whole story or making errors and generally appearing to believe things he does not believe, and he does it in public forums and books."

Not telling the "entire story" and giving half answers makes it pallatible to the masses and makes "everyone happy".

(BTW, there are even more "questionable" responses in the article you posted and it would take a book to post them all)

I'm thankful Macarthur and others have the gift of discernment and the courage to point these things out (especially in this world of "false tolerance obsession"). There are many brothers and sisters who have not learned that yet and like a child they need to be taught.

Anyway, I pray Macarthur and others continue to point out borderline, confusing, misleading and false teachings in the futures because it is only going to get worse as more and more compromise is being made in the name of "unity".

a_simple_blogtrotter said...

Could it be that (heated) debate, is forceing to really define what we are taught by the word of God as individually saved sinners by a personal God who actually has a standard. Perhaps even going a little too far in some comments ( followed by conviction and actual repentance )is teaching all involves to think before we speak, speak on what we believe, and do both in light of the grace by which we are saved?

Wierd.

a_simple_blogtrotter said...

( Mine was the most poorly-edited post I have ever seen on this blog... So sorry about that.)

M. said...

Good grief people. Arguing about what so and so teaches.

I think the key to the whole Warren phenomenon is exposed in the prayer from the home group video pt 2:

"I ask You to come in to my life and make Yourself real to me and use this series in my life to help me know what You made me for."

"USE THIS SERIES IN MY LIFE." Not use the Bible...use Rick Warren's goods that are for sale. PDL book covers, calendars, note pads, t-shirts, jewelry, hats, pens, and on and on ad nauseum...
Sell us some more junk we don't need. People are using Christianity to market their wares and Christians are gobbling it up looking for an easy fix instead of going to the One who promised to give us abundant eternal life.

I think we need to look at Paul's statement to the Corinthians:

1 Corinthians 1
Divisions in the Church
10I appeal to you, brothers, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree with one another so that there may be no divisions among you and that you may be perfectly united in mind and thought. 11My brothers, some from Chloe's household have informed me that there are quarrels among you. 12What I mean is this: One of you says, "I follow Paul"; another, "I follow Apollos"; another, "I follow Cephas"; still another, "I follow Christ."
13Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Were you baptized into the name of Paul? 14I am thankful that I did not baptize any of you except Crispus and Gaius, 15so no one can say that you were baptized into my name....17For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel—not with words of human wisdom, lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power.

Quit relying on what Warren or MacArthur or anyone else teaches and go to the Bible. We don't need to empty the cross of Christ of its power.

Jus Divinum said...

Abanes wrote:

NO "innuendo" and "ad hominem" in the above.

Habitans in Sicco is right. Virtually the _entirety_ of your points 1 and 2, which you copied out for us, is innuendo and ad hominem. What universe are you living in? :-)

Let's face it. What you call (1) 'opinion,' (2) 'theory,' (3) 'my position,' and (4) 'personal reflection' _just is_ your particular brand of innuendo and ad hominem. All anyone has to do is _read_ on this particular comments page what you've chosen to put under those four labels, to see the truth of Phil Johnson's original charge against you.

Warren said: "the hundreds of thousands of churches where the pastors I've trained..." Huh? Warren has "trained" hundreds of thousands of pastors? How does this work? "You read my book, and I've 'trained' you"?

Wayne Shih said...

When I first read the comments by rabanes, I thought it was a hoax - someone pretending to be Richard Abanes. Which brings up some questions: Could it be an impostor? How do you know this is him? If it isn't, why would someone want to make him sound so defensive (that's just an opinion, not a fact)?

I'm not trying to be sarcastic with this comment (OK, maybe the last question in brackets was a little). Nor do I go for conspiracy theories, except to laugh at them. Maybe you're laughing at this. I just think it's so easy to push people's buttons and anybody can set up a fake id to play that game. When "well-known" individuals are involved, what responsibility is there to verify identities?

rabanes said...

??: When "well-known" individuals are involved, what responsibility is there to verify identities?

RA: It's me.

My ongoing question is why nobody seems at all interested in looking up Johnson's misuse of the Warren quote from p. 103 that supposedly is indicative of Warren's self-esteemism and feel good gospel—when in reality, the quote has nothing to do with such stuff. Why is nobody at all being equally as troubled by that abuse of a comment? Odd.

anyway, I gave my last word to PJ when he graciously gave it to me. I now present my last word to others, until such time as perhaps PJ wants to resume our discussion after he has read my book.

So, my last word to posters other than PJ is . . . . GESUNDHEIT!

RA

RAbanes

rabanes said...

OH OOOOOP!! Almost forgot, I have now posted a response to Koukl's reply (www.abanes.com/koukl.html) and will later today be posting a response to Ken Silva's rebuttle (www.abanes.com/kensilva2.html).

now, finally, gu'bye.

RA

Eric M Schumacher said...

I noticed Abanes' comment about the association with Robert Schuller. He wrote: "For years now, as I document in my book, Schuller has been trying to get Warren to speak at his Crystal Cathedral (and/or his Church Growth Institute), but Warren has said "no," "no," "no," and "no.""

I e-mailed the Crystal Cathedral to ask why they referenced Warren, if the above is true. They replied that they have videos of Warren giving "wonderful presentations" at the 1991-95 and 1997 Institutes. Those videos might be worth pursuing. Seems it could settle that debate real quick.

Habitans in Sicco said...

Abanes wrote, "My ongoing question is why nobody seems at all interested in looking up Johnson's misuse of the Warren quote from p. 103 that supposedly is indicative of Warren's self-esteemism and feel good gospel—when in reality, the quote has nothing to do with such stuff."

What are you talking about? I looked it up first thing, and I absolutely agree with MacArthur's assessment of it. Johnson has already explained this satisfactorily, too. You need to follow the discussion more closely.

Look again: At the top of that page, Warren goes through a long list of different personality types and names the styles of worship he thinks each one would "prefer." (He writes, "Traditionalists draw closer to God through rituals, liturgies, symbols, and unchanging structures. Ascetics prefer to love God in solitude and simplicity. ... Contemplatives love God through adoration. Intellectuals love God by studying with their minds....")

He goes on to say that there is no "one-size-fits-all" style of worship that is "right." You don't bring glory to God by trying to be someone he never intended you to be."

And what kind of worshiper does God want you to be? Warren's answer is adapted from a bad paraphrase of John 4:23: "God wants you to be yourself." The idea is straight out of Eugene Peterson's The Message, which twists Jesus' command about worshiping in spirit and in truth into a prescription for a narcissistic approach to worship where every man does what is right in his own eyes. Warren accepts that approach, uses Peterson's bad paraphrase to justify it, and urges his readers to choose whatever style of worship suits their own tastes, without any reference whatsoever to the true meaning of John 4:23.

"God wants you to worship him in whatever way pleases you." That is the clear message Rick Warren gives, not only in his book, but also in Saddleback's smorgasbord-style approach to "worship."

Put it together with some of Warren's other well-known statements promoting self-love and self-esteem, and MacArthur's complaint on CNN makes perfect sense to me. It's right on target, in my opinion:

MacArthur: What you've got is a feel-good kind of approach [to worship styles]. This is telling people exactly what they want to hear, telling people that God agrees with you. God wants you to be what you want to be. And this is pretty heady stuff, to tell somebody that the God of the universe wants them to be exactly what they want to be. But that is not the Christian message.

Phil Johnson said...

To All:

I'm having some difficulties with my template. In the process of fixing it, some comments may have been lost. Here's one, for example, by S. C. Mooney that I noticed before re-indexing. After I re-indexed, it was gone:

S.C. Mooney:

Regarding page 103: amid all the discussion of context and meaning I must point out that Warren's whole discussion is couched in his idea that worship must be "authentic." Key to understanding his meaning is that he is talking about psychologically authentic, and not theologically authentic. He launched the whole discussion by citing a fragment of Heb. 12:28 and ignoring the rest. This text would have told us what kind of worship pleases God - worship in reverence and fear. But Warren sets all of this aside in favor of his own idea of psychological authenticity. The whole premise is Humanistic and therefore his idea of "God wants you to be yourself" cannot take on any truly orthodox content. Here is a link to read my extended commentary:
http://purposejourney.blogspot.com

--
Posted by S. C. Mooney to PyroManiac at 8/01/2005 03:57:42 PM

rabanes said...

ERIC: They replied that they have videos of Warren giving "wonderful presentations" at the 1991-95 and 1997 Institutes.

RA: Sorry, I couldn't let this go. Why do you think they suddenly stopped in 1997???? Think about it. That was 8 years ago . . . . hmmmmm.

RA

Douglas said...

S. C. Mooney said...
"Regarding page 103: amid all the discussion of context and meaning I must point out that Warren's whole discussion is couched in his idea that worship must be "authentic." Key to understanding his meaning is that he is talking about psychologically authentic, and not theologically authentic. He launched the whole discussion by citing a fragment of Heb. 12:28 and ignoring the rest. This text would have told us what kind of worship pleases God - worship in reverence and fear. But Warren sets all of this aside in favor of his own idea of psychological authenticity. The whole premise is Humanistic and therefore his idea of "God wants you to be yourself" cannot take on any truly orthodox content. Here is a link to read my extended commentary":

The link is broken to the commentary, please try this link to the essay:

Day Thirteen - Worship That Pleases God

Eric M Schumacher said...

RA,

I'm thinking about it, but I'll need a little help here. I'm new to this conversation and I'm not a Warren groupie, so "8 years ago" doesn't ring any bells.

All I know is that you said Schuller has been trying to get Warren to speak for years and that Warren has consistently said 'No,' but that Schuller's 'church' is lying about it. So, I went to do some simple fact-checking and found they claim to have videos of Warren teaching at the Institute.

Are you admiting these videos exist and that Warren DID teach there? If so, why did you imply he has consistently declined invitations?

Eric

rabanes said...

ERIC: Are you admiting these videos exist and that Warren DID teach there? If so, why did you imply he has consistently declined invitations?

RA: I cover this in greater detail in my book, with documents and such, but suffice it to say that: 1) Warren came into contact with Schuller many years ago; 2) basically shared his "testimony" at Schuller's Institute (those are the video tapes); 3) by the mid-1990s he started to receive information about Schuller's false teachings and willingness to allow non-Christians (and people of other faiths) into the Crystal Cathedral pulpit; and 4) broke with Schuller, refusing to ever again speak at his church due to Schuller's compromising (c. 1997). Hence, you no longer have ANY speaking engagements of any kind by Warren after 1997, although he has bene invited time and time again.

Moreover, contrary to what is begin stated by Schuller, Warren was NEVER mentored by Schuller, or the Crystal Cathedral. This is from Warren's own mouth in my interview with him (see my book). Warren had already started Saddleback and was 6 years into its history (c. 1986/85) before he was ever even invited to just share his "testimony" at the Institute.

This is old news. As I said, after Warren learned of what was going on there and some of the things Schuller teaches, he stopped and broke his ties with Schuller. IN fact, in my interview he explicitly rejects Schuller's teachings, saying that Schuller is WRONG. Can be any more clear than that.

RA

Renee said...

See my book? (Does that mean "buy my book?")...

This all smells like book sales is the driving force behind this.

If there was any credibility behind your accusations and charges "see my book" as a response sort of negates it.

Well, since it's all about the book and its "Purpose" and very little about the Word, I think I'll stay away from the book (I'm officially done with this topic and all things "Purpose Driven").

You'll be in my prayers.

M. said...

Renee,
The whole thing driving all of this is the sale of goods. The Gospel does not need man's embellishments to reach lost people. Man needs to embellish the Gospel so that he can sell his 'twist' on scripture so that he can enrich himself. Some claim to have special knowledge or revelation or to have discovered something new or hidden in the scripture. It's all marketing aimed at enriching men (in worldly terms).

All we need is the Bible. Other's opinions can sometimes be helpful but in the end they should always direct you back to the source (the Bible).

Warren makes a stupid claim in PDL:
He writes, “The last thing many believers need today is to go to another Bible study. They already know far more than they are putting into practice” (Warren: 231).

Later, we learn why Warren warns against Bible study:
“I strongly urge you to gather a small group of friends and form a Purpose-Driven Life Reading Group to review these chapters on a weekly basis” (Warren: 307).

We are to have Warren's book/s replace the Bible. Warren also says, “After you have gone through this book together as a group, you might consider studying other purpose-driven life studies that are available for classes and groups” (Warren: 307).

Buy my stuff. Buy my stuff or you won't ever find God or know the REAL Jesus.

The wisdom of man. HA!

Jeremy Pierce said...

It's pretty obvious to anyone not trying to make Rick Warren appear to be a heretic that he doesn't think God will grant everyone whatever desires they happen to have, no matter what those desires are.

Augustine spends a great deal of time saying that what everyone wants is to live a fulfilled and happy life, and God wants the same for them. If you read him further, you'll also see that he thinks you can have that only if you submit to Christ. That doesn't mean his other statements are false or an attempt to mislead. When he says we all seek our happiness and God is happy to oblige for those who really do indeed seek what's best for them, he doesn't mean that God will give them whatever they think will make them happy.

Similarly, Rick Warren does not mean that God will give people whatever they think they want. He means that God will give them what they do in fact want, which they might not be aware of. It's pretty obvious when you look closely at what he says that this is a straw man of his view. I say this as someone who disapproves of his general approach and as someone who knows next to nothing about Abanes. It may well be that MacArthur was misinterpreted, but even the reconstructed version I see here takes Warren to be saying something that he doesn't believe.

rabanes said...

Since PJ posted a link to the articles being posted by Ken Silva against me, I thought I would let interested follks know that I now have posted I have now posted an 8-part (yes, 8-part) reply to Mr. Silva, who took it upon himself to hurl some very interesting judgments in my direction that brought into question not just my views on Rick Warren, but my entire Christian "walk with Jesus"!!!

My lead off Part 1 article is at http://abanes.com/kensilva3.html

Of particular interest, I think, is my response to Silva's unfortunate accusations about my entire "walk with Jesus" based on nothing more than the fact that I happen to enjoy "country music" and the band "Green Day." My response to these rather odd charges can be found in the last part of the series at:

http://abanes.com/kensilva46_65.html

R. Abanes

revival4today said...

Rick Warren is teaching a carnal, false gospel and Laodicean form of Christianity. All anyone has to do is read Revival Lectures by Finney, or antyhing at length from Wesley, Spurgeon, Edwards and the like to see that there is nothing similar to Warren and these men. Their teachings are not only dissimilar, they are diametrically opposed to each other. Warren is leading many into the great falling away. Read Finney and Wesley, forget Warren, Hybels and the like.

revival4today said...

The Bible teaches us to be holy and separate from this world and its evils. Green Day is a wicked band with wicked music. It is no suprise you drink from broken cisterns and from the wells of the world, seeing men like Warren are your mentors--teachers of an easy going, world-friendly, anti-holiness "Christianty"