Your latest WorldNetDaily posting about Pastor Rick Warren contains some errors in definition, assumption and application that I’d like to address for your readers.
First, the story is based on the assertion that Rupert Murdoch, chairman of News Corp., is a member of Saddleback Church, which is not correct. In fact, he doesn’t even live in Orange County, CA, and has never even attended a service here.
While Dr. Warren is Mr. Murdoch’s friend and values the private pastoral opportunities he has with this influential leader, Mr. Murdoch has never been a member of Saddleback Church, and any attempt to exercise biblical authority he doesn’t have would be presumptuous and inappropiate. (sic) It is similar to a person like myself, who regularly reads WorldNetDaily for information and understanding of issues and current events. I could say, “Joe Farah is my editor,” but your influence has nothing to do with the quality of my work. Yet, if one of your staff is inappropriate or out of line – personally or professionally – you have authority and disciplinary responsibility to the people in your shop.
Your attribution to Dr. Warren saying he is Mr. Murdoch’s pastor is in the de facto functional sense, reflecting the numerous spiritual conversations and times of prayer they have had through the years. Similarly, many people, both believers and unbelievers, have referred to Dr. Warren as their “pastor,” because he is the only clergyman they know. A number of media articles have positioned him as “America’s Pastor” – but that doesn’t mean that he is responsible for everything that happens in our nation.
Secondly, you confuse the pastoral function that comes with the calling, from the title and responsibility to a specific congregation – a distinction with a significant difference. One is a responsiblity (sic) from God to speak to personal and societal spiritual needs at every opportunity; the other a biblical mandate to properly discipline members of a local fellowship when necessary or appropriate. Dr. Warren and Saddleback Church take church discipline very seriously, and have acted swiftly and appropriately with members and staff regarding individual or corporate sin while under their spiritual authority –according to procedures outlined in Scripture.
During nearly 30 years of mininstry, (sic) Dr. Warren has dispensed pastoral advice to many public leaders and celebrities – including Mr. Murdoch. But with regard to his “obligations” to admonish Mr. Murdoch, he has no jurisdiction over him. Even if Mr. Murdoch were a member of Saddleback, any spiritual counsel would be private and personal – not public –unless he were in a leadership role of the church, and his actions had immediate and direct bearing on the congregation.
Your story implies that Dr. Warren’s business ties with Mr. Murdoch have limited his spiritual influence, but nothing could be farther from the truth. Dr. Warren has found that behind the scenes persuasion is always more effective than “in-your-face” public rebuke. God has honored Dr. Warren’s faithfulness to speak truth into the lives of influential individuals He brings into his path, but your story does not even recognize that possibility. However, you correctly report his exemplary record in speaking out on pornography and its devastating effects, and I know first-hand that his private conversations and concerns mirror his public message.
Chief of Staff
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