2 Timothy 4:3 "For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. 4 They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths. 5 But you, keep your head in all situations, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, discharge all the duties of your ministry".

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Rick Warren on Hannity and Colmes: He almost got it!

Last night, Rick Warren went on Hannity and Colmes to promote his book the book "The Purpose of Christmas". My first note: This guy is a marketing genius. He refuses to confront Rupert Murdoch (owner of Fox and calls Rick Warren his 'pastor') about his distribution of pornography etc, and Rupert gives Warren plenty of face time on Fox News and on Christmas specials. He is also a marketing genius because he uses purpose in all of his books, and has peace with God summed up in three pithy phrases, all found in his books. (I do not want to misquote, so I will not write them here)

I was actually tracking with Warren for a time while he and Hannity were talking. The conversation was all about how Thanksgiving and Christmas have both really lost their meaning in a consumer driven society. Warren appropriately mentioned that many families fail to give thanks to God even on Thanksgiving! I really agree with this. The focus has become (for many) family, football, and shopping on Black Friday. Christmas has become less about Jesus Christ, God incarnate, God's gift to mankind , and more about business and sales and family and vacation. (It is kind of hypocritical, therefore, in my view to promote your book that you are trying to sell about Christmas...perfect Christmas gift!)

Now, I am sure Richard Abanes, professional apologist for Rick Warren will disagree with where Rick and I really parted ways. Alan Colmes( a Jew) basically begged Rick Warren to proclaim the Gospel. He went at Rick at least three times, giving him the perfect opportunity to say that Jesus Christ is the only way. Rick kind of partially quoted John 14:6 and said that Jesus is the way; but then Alan Colmes came back at him and asked if that means that you must take Jesus Christ as your Lord to be saved, and Rick dodged that question, as well as the follow up, asking if Jews, Muslims, etc. will be in heaven if they do not believe in Christ. Alan Colmes was giving Pastor Rick Warren ample opportunity to proclaim that it is appointed unto man once to die, and after this comes judgement. A perfect opportunity to say that God sent Jesus into the world not to condemn the world but that the world might be saved through Him- but that whoever does not believe is condemned already. And he could have said that the wrath of God abides on those who will not take this gift. He could have proclaimed the good news. He didn't, except in code and pithy phrases from His book not the Word of God. The real bummer is when he told Alan Colmes to try Jesus for 90 days and if he didn't feel better or get his life improved, he could 'return Jesus' would get his money back. Everybody on the set thought that was really funny. God did not.

Many people who read this blog think I am too hard on the emergents and the wishy-washy seeker sensitive Pastors. This is the very reason. Rick wanted to be a 'bridge builder' (his words) and was more concerned about ratings and not being offensive than he was about preaching the truth. But he will not be asked back you may say. SO WHAT! If he proclaims the truth once with the millions of viewers out there, he will do more than many will do in a lifetime. As usual, and with his seeker sensitive aplomb, Rick Warren decided it was more important to sell books and not offend than it was to preach the Gospel. He thought it better to be a comedian, to make salvation into a sales pitch, to make Christmas all about me, and not the glory of God. For shame, Rick, For shame.

1 comment:

tzippi said...

I happened upon this blog, serendipitously. Perhaps not. Sometimes, the line between overly critical and constructive is a fine one. So, I'm trying to be careful. Rick Warren has touched millions of lives for God. I don't think anyone would debate this fact.

As a Jewish believer in Jesus who watched Warren on the aforementioned program (and also Franklin Graham--who does good work--on a subsequent program in conversation with Allen Colmes), I was disappointed. Words and phrases that Gentile Christians use mean different things to Jewish ears.

Allen Colmes was NOT begging Warren to share the Gospel. He was responding TYPICALLY as I did before I became a believer and as Jewish people do ALL the time . . . to Christians who talk about one way to God. It's a STATEMENT, not a question. And, I think Warren knew this. I've heard Larry King and other interviewers ask the very same question--many times over the years, when interviewing Gentile Christians.

Yes, there IS only one way. But, to Jewish ears and hearts, this seems arrogant. Oh, how I wish these men would be more culturally sensitive when speaking to my people and when they have opportunities to reach millions of "unchurched" people in the viewing audience. Look at the preaching in the book of Acts. When given the opportunity to present the Gospel to their fellow Jewish people, the refrain wasn't "give Jesus a 60-day trial" or something else similarly flippant. It wasn't even "believe on the Lord Jesus Christ--an English translation which sounds totally goyishe (Gentile) to Jewish people--Jewish people who for millennia have been the recipients of anti-Semitic acts at the hands of Christians and in the name of Christ (no, not all Christians, but tomes have been written on the topic and this is another subject).

No. Rather, the book of Acts shows a recounting of Jewish history, from Abraham, through Moses, through the prophets . . . culminating in God's gracious gift of Messiah. A history that many Christians forget. Look how many Christians who genuinely love the Lord think the Older Testament has nothing to offer them--because their pastors don't preach very much from it. Oh, how I wish more Jewish people could hear the message of Good News and love from culturally considerate Christians and would share the Apostle Paul's burden (Romans 10:1). The Apostle Paul . . . Apostle to the Gentiles who ALWAYS visited the synagogues wherever he stopped on his missionary journeys to reach Gentiles.