Recently, Pastor Rick Warren was accused of being a Chrislam. After some research into the accusations and the sources here is my response to the viral article that has been jumping from inbox to inbox.
Response to the Article
I am not one to respond to these, in fact, I never have done this with any other erroneous viral email/article. Here is my response to the article in question, which is found here: http://www.nowtheendbegins.com/blog/?p=1366.
Word of Caution
First I believe we should search to see if something is true before we hit send on any email forward. Anytime you hit send to any slanderous forward you are agreeing with what is written.
Go to the Source
The first approach, in a Biblical model, for seeking the truth in a matter like this is found in Matthew 18 – we are to go straight to the source. Thank you to my brother, Chad, for doing the Biblical thing (one that none of these quoted sources attempted) and asking Rick Warren, himself. Pastor Warren graciously responded to him via twitter: “@chadrob Chad, I’ve never heard of “Chrislam” There’s only 1 Gospel 1 Savior, 1 Way to heaven John 14:6″.
Listen in Whole, Not in Sound bytes
After seeking the source, we should look for the context where the accusation was made. Too many people are wrongly accused or labeled for standing for something or having a point-of-view because they were quoted in a sound byte. The article in question is one of these perpetrators.
Below are links to the videos from this event where the article accuses Rick Warren making statements and they take the sound bytes to create the argument for calling him a Chrislam.
It took my wife 3 minutes to find the original videos, not ones edited by others pulling segments out of context to indict Pastor Warren, and another 25 min to listen to his address to the ISNA convention in 2009 – so the truth is not hard to find.
In these videos from the same session, Pastor Rick clarifies he is an “Evangelical” being invited to this event. His address to the convention is not one of Christian contradiction. He appeals to the attendees to put aside religious prejudices and join together on a humanitarian effort of mercy and justice (a valid message for the American Church too).
Before making any decision based on the article in question, which I will breakdown below, please watch the videos and decide for yourself and you determine if Pastor Rick Warren said anything that hass a solid foundation for the accusations.
My Response to the Article
1 :: Love Gospel
“…when the liberal “love gospel” preachers who, desiring to fill their seats and bank accounts, would find a way to merge apostate christianity with the Devil’s religion of Islam. That day is here.”
Pastor Warren has a precedent of not being after money. He has given back to Saddleback Church every dime he has ever been paid, eliminating this argument. Second, we do preach a “love gospel.” Isn’t that what is the foundation of why we are saved and didn’t we learn this in Sunday School? (John 3:16, 13:35)
2 :: Lukewarm
“And unto the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write; These things saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God; I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot. So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth.” Revelation 3:14-16”
To quote this scripture in this response to one video, a video that has a clear indication that Rick Warren does not believe the same way as the Muslims or in the same God, is not a valid use of this passage.
3 :: Faith Mates
“Warren stated that Muslims and Christians must work together to combat stereotypes, promote peace and freedom, and solve global problems. Christians and Moslems – faith mates, soul mates and now work mates! Chrislam! source – Whole Truth Help”
A) Where in scripture is that 1st sentence wrong?
B) Rick Warren never made the statement of faith mates, the article writer does.
C) The “source” (http://wholetruthhelp.com/component/content/article/19-christology/102.html) also states that “Paul Crouch, president and founder of TBN, has presented Christians and Moslems as soul mates.” This dime-a-dozen blogger (nothing wrong with blogging–I too have a blog) is projecting that anyone who says there is a similarity in the Muslim and Christian faith is a Chrislam. I won’t deny there are many moral similarities, nor will I deny what sets ours a part – Jesus Christ, the Son of God rose from the dead proving Himself as the Son of God. I, in this argument, would be labeled a Chrislam.
4 :: Hugging
Picture of Rick and Muslim Leader.
If you watch the video 3, you will see Pastor Rick Warren hugging various leaders back stage and it is there that this picture is taken. You can see the cameras and the men there. They are stating that Rick is best friends with this leader because they are hugging. If that’s the case, I have a lot of best friends, because I hug a lot. Also, a hug has never been admission of belief.
5 :: Sources
“Quote of the Day: “Before we “shake your hand” in responding to your letter, we ask forgiveness of the All-Merciful One and of the Muslim community around the world.” – Rick Warren in a speech to Muslims.”
The article is quick to source the other quotes, but not this one. I don’t recall hearing Pastor Rick make this statement in the videos that is the only account I could find him meeting with Islamic leaders. Even if he did say this, he is asking the “All-Merciful One” and the Muslim community for forgiveness.” I know everyone would want Rick to say the Hebrew word “YHWH” and he doesn’t, but I do not think you can accuse Pastor Warren of being a Chrislam because he uses a universal description of God. If I recall correctly, Paul does the same thing in Book of Acts (an “Unknown God”).
6 :: Photoshop
1st, I didn’t research this church or the claims about it. My only comment is that I am a graphic editor and I can tell the picture is photoshopped and the writer even admits it but says it’s message is “all too real.” If it isn’t real, don’t spread it… please.
7 :: Love Your Neighbor
“The concept of Chrislam, now embraced by such preachers as Rick Warren and Robert Schuller, appears to have emerged from a program on the meaning of “love your neighbor” at Grace Fellowship Church in Atlanta, Georgia “In 2001, like most Americans, we were pretty awakened to the true Islamic presence in the world and in the United States,” says Jon Stallsmith, the outreach minister at Grace Fellowship. “Jesus says we should love our neighbors. We can’t do that without having a relationship with them.”
Stallsmith maintains that a rapprochement between Muslims and Christians can be achieved by the fact that Jesus is mentioned twenty-five times in the Quran.”
Muslims do believe Jesus was a prophet and the Quran states this fact. Our Bible also does state that we are to love our neighbor as ourselves. In my neighborhood here in suburban Shawnee, I pass muslims walking every day and I even work out in the same facility as several. Jesus died for them and the Father wants to save them too. If faith comes from hearing the message, who will they hear this message from if not from me? I hope I get the opportunity to build a relationship with one to reach one – I would bet this is Pastor Ricks prayer too. Are Christians not to have a relationship with the lost? Are we to ignore a group of people because they have made a proclamation of faith in a different God?
I agree with Pastor Jon Stallsmith, quoted as saying “Jesus says we should love our neighbors. We can’t do that without having a relationship with them.” Are we not allowed to build relationships with those of different faiths?
To accuse any Christ follower who is creating relationships with Islamists of being a Chrislam is wrong. It is my assessment that the writers of these articles have a vendetta against popular church leaders like Rick Warren. I would also think that if this were valid, the media would have been all over a story like this. Is the lack of a media story because there isn’t any interest or because there wasn’t any facts to back the accusation?
Please do not believe everything you read online or in an email. I am a strong believer in the wisdom of Solomon in Proverbs 23:23 (NLT) – 23 Get the truth and never sell it;
also get wisdom, discipline, and good judgment.
I believe that we need to seek the truth and get wisdom, while using discipline to search for the truth and using good judgment in the source of your information, always guarding what you hear.