An open letter to the Assemblies of God leadership: Why Have You Invited Rick Warren to Address General Council?

http://worldviewtimes.com/article.php/articleid-5188/Brannon-Howse I'm curious to know the thinking behind inviting Rick Warren to speak at General Council this year. What could he possibly have to say that we would want to hear? In my opinion, and that of many other Christians, this man does not represent what the AG faith stands for. We have seen and heard him change his tune to fit whatever group he is speaking to at the moment, or whatever is deemed to be the popular opinion in the political arena. (Prop 8 being the most recent example). He is acting more like a politician than a preacher.

It seems that he might fit the profile mentioned in Matt 7:15 and I am concerned for the people in his congregation. How can they not be confused, when he is speaking out of both sides of his mouth? Jesus always spoke the Truth and did it in a loving way that made people want to follow Him. Jesus loves us enough to tell us the Truth, which is not always what people want to hear, but it is what they NEED to hear, to be able to have the eternal life that He died to provide for us.

This is what we, as Christians, are commanded to do, if we are true Christ followers, to love the people enough to tell them the Truth. It seems that Rick Warren is telling people what they want to hear to make them feel good, instead of standing on the Truth. (2 Tim 4:3) Or, when he does speak the Truth he turns around and takes it back, when there is pressure from an opposing view. (James 1:8)

In October of 2008 he told his congregation that if they believed what the Bible said about marriage, then they should vote for Prop 8. But when some of his friends in the gay community began to complain about his support, he offered an apology to them. Why would you feel the need to apologize for speaking the Truth (John 8:32) when the Bible's position on marriage is clear? (Matt 19:4-6)

I appreciate the fact that Warren is a personal friend of Superintendent Wood, but I respectfully disagree with Dr. Woods comment that fellow believers have distorted who Rick is, and what he believes. I think that Warren has done this all by himself, when he flip flops in his statements to his congregation and the press. Matthew 18:6 says "But if anyone causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a large millstone hung around his neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea."

Because I live in Iowa, I am experiencing first hand the results of Christians and churches alike who failed to speak out and take a stand for traditional Biblical marriage. Pastors like Rick Warren are not only a detriment to God's Word, but a danger to true believers who WILL stand on God's truth. The Iowa Supreme Court noted that people of faith don't necessarily agree on homosexuality as part of their justification to establish same sex marriage in Iowa.The Court offered no protection for pastors who wish to uphold marriage as God designed it.

Now I fear the people of California may suffer the same consequences, since the citizens who were against traditional marriage do not seem to be able to accept the peoples vote, but seem determined to fight this until they win (Rom 1:26,27) and leaders like Warren are now bowing to the world rather than standing on the Word. Rom 12:1, 2 Tim 4:1-5

This past weekend, when fellow Americans were celebrating the 4th of July, and the country we love, Warren was speaking to a crowd of 8000 Muslims, in our nations capital, at the annual convention of the Islamic Society of North America. ISNA has been linked to terrorist groups in the past and believe Sharia Law should be present all over the world. At one point he stated "Muslims and Christians can work together for the common good without compromising my convictions or your convictions." Now, I am no Bible scholar by any means, but in my opinion that flies in the face of 2 Cor 6:14-16. He also stated that "I am not interested in interfaith dialogue but interfaith projects." I believe Col 2:8 speaks to that as well.

Sadly there was no Gospel presentation given, and only a few mentions of Jesus or God, though he did mention "It is the Truth that sets us free," but failed to elaborate on what that Truth is. For an evangelical pastor, I would say he failed miserably to fulfill the Great Commission, and missed out on an opportunity that few Christians will ever have in their lifetime. I am also not sure what he meant when he asked for a coalition of faith, but suffice it to say it does not sit well with my Spirit.

Warren has been asked to speak to our leadership on Friday morning August 7th on the topic of church growth. I have been told that in the last few months several hundred people have come to Christ at Saddleback Church, which is a wonderful thing. However, church growth is not necessarily just about filling the pews, and boosting membership, but should also be about making lifelong disciples. I believe God has a plan for each individual church, as He does for each of us in our own life, and since "the church" is not really the building we go to on Sunday morning, but the people who attend the services, why do we think that what works for one "mega church" will work for all of us ? Are we going to follow man's plan instead of God's ? Without God's blessing there will be no growth, no matter what we try. Far too many churches today, of all denominations, are watering down the Gospel to get people in the door, but not preaching Repentance, Resurrection, and Righteousness. (2 Tim 4:4)

In conclusion, I would like to say that I have no problem with Mr. Warren attending the meeting, as I think he needs to hear the full Gospel presentation, display heartfelt repentance, and receive some sound Biblical teaching and guidance from his personal friend, Dr. Wood (Prov 27:17) but as a speaker, I think there are many other worthy candidates to choose from, and I would respectfully ask that you reconsider your choice.

Linda Chisolm - AG member since 1993