In certain biographical incarnations, Rick Warren likes to say something like: “Wrote some books.” Part of his appeal comes from an alleged folksy approach: I’m just a regular guy, too!
His “Purpose Driven Life” is by now the subject of publishing lore: the second-best-selling book of all time.
It’s when there isn’t an editor around that he gets into writing trouble.
On March 20, “America’s Pastor,” tweeted: “Follow positive tweeps. Unfollow negative twits.”
Predictably, what followed were a series of sycophantic responses that, indeed, Pastor Rick is right and we just need to get positive spiritual energy into our minds.
In February, he tweeted the following: “Your humility is revealed in how you treat those you disagree with.”
His use of social media to – unwittingly, I think – expose a latent nastiness toward “critics” is fascinating.
Warren’s tweets on this subject throb with irony and hypocrisy, but fewer and fewer people today in the American church seem aware of this. To now, he has gotten away with this kind of thing, as the Teflon Don of Evangelicalism, but his bizarre contradictions, made public through social media, are attracting attention.
Incredibly, as I type this, Pastor Rick has tweeted another related message: “Like an EKG, our words show the condition of our heart. ASK: Do my comments show a generous & peaceful heart or a mean & petty one?”
Mind-boggling. Does this guy have a handler?
When a new Rick Warren book comes out, he has an army of editors and publicists assigned to keep the stupid factor at bay. When he’s on his own, with the itchy Twitter finger, it’s a crapshoot.
Related to this subject of Warren’s communication style, the publishing/proclaiming of a leftist worldview is all the rage in the church right now. Not coincidentally, many are Warren’s friends. They’re pretty thin-skinned, too.
The so-called “Chrislam” controversy is typical. Warren has a growing track record of being chummy with Muslims – going back to his breezy 2006 meeting with the Butcher of Damascus, Bashar Assad.
When Relevant magazine publisher Cameron Strang, 35, one of the real influencers of his generation, returned from visiting “Israel/’Palestine'” (I still don’t know where Palestine is) Warren tweeted that the two needed to talk.
Do you think he wanted to discuss the perilous position Israel is in, regarding Palestinian-led terrorism? Hardly. He no doubt is going farther down the road of compromise with Israel’s enemies, and his mentoring persona is in full-flower with young protégés like Strang, Perry Noble, Mark Driscoll and many others.
A recent story that ran in California’s Orange County Register, by reporter Jim Finch, presented a Warren that many found disturbing: cozying up to Muslim clerics and blurring the lines between Christianity and Islam.
I have a journalism degree, and have been fascinated watching Warren’s spin machine set in motion like a whirling dervish. A responsible reporter like Finch fact-checks his story, then is thrown under the bus by Warren’s spin machine from Saddleback Church. For more on Warren, I recommend the following sources:
Paul Smith’s book, “New Evangelicalism”
Ray Yungen’s “A Time of Departing”
Warren’s spin machine in the wake of the Orange County piece is breathtaking. We now live in a time in which disinformation and misinformation – at one time the exclusive domain of the Soviets and their acolytes – reigns in the evangelical leadership world, and rains down on the rest of us like hailstones.
In essence, Warren was able to put across the message that Finch’s story on him was fatally flawed and error-ridden.
A key feature of the new evangelicals is their inherent nastiness –cloaked, astonishingly, behind a mask of tolerance and sweet Christian grace – when anyone calls their methods and/or statements into question. After all, are we not all to be Bereans? Evidently not, if you are pointing out egregious errors in teaching.
In other words, if you curry favor with Warren & Friends, you will be brought into the circle of trust and more than likely gifted with speaking and marketing platforms that heretofore only existed in your dreams. However … raise legitimate and disturbing questions, like Ken Silva, and you will be referred to as a twit. This is preceded, of course, by a tweet that professes a magnanimous stance towards your “critics.”
Researcher Sarah Leslie (Herescope) pointed out to me recently the fascinating link between Emergent/Leadership Network “leaders” (Warren and Bill Hybels are mentors to LN leads Andy Stanley and Craig Groeschel) and the publishing giant, Jossey-Bass.
This has relevance to Warren, because he was mentored by Peter Drucker, who was involved with the Leadership Network and church-growth techniques.
One of the results has been a pushing of a center-left theological foundation. While guys like Warren are ostensibly “conservative” (Warren is Southern Baptist), they are more interested in cultivating friendships with globalists than in promoting a biblical worldview.
Let’s examine this George Soros-like funding of platforms within evangelical leadership ranks, because it is an underreported story that is in fact quite profound.
In any prior era of Christianity, the theology of Brian McLaren would have been outside of the mainstream of orthodoxy. Yet today he and others identify the former Maryland pastor as an “evangelical,” which proves that to some, actual words have no real meaning. They are elastic.
(Interestingly, to highlight the paper trail, Warren and McLaren wrote forewords for Dan Kimball’s 2003 book, “The Emerging Church.” A generation ago, an evangelical leader wouldn’t have been caught dead even standing next to McLaren.)
Said pastor/leader/author one day finds himself in possession of a glitzy book contract from a major publisher. By contrast, many of today’s watchmen on the wall can’t get arrested when trying to attract the attention of a publisher with pockets deep enough to really promote a book. Most self-publish. I well remember about 10 years ago, talking with a publicist friend who told me what a pariah Dave Hunt had become in mainstream Christian publishing. No kidding.
Next, the change agent is being pursued by publicists and media outlets that want an interview. High-profile interviews.
Back in the 90s, some of these large publishers (Baker Books is another Christian publisher that has gone over to the Emergent theology) began to shape the writing and speaking careers of Warren protégés like Mark Driscoll.
It is marketing, folks. Slick, well-financed marketing that has given these speakers a platform to disseminate their ideas. The more worldly success they have, the more arrogant they become.
In back of it all is a malevolent intolerance for conservative Christians, and it is masked by … tolerance! Again, one of the top promoters of this agenda is Rick Warren. His contradictory concoction of syncretism, traditional Christian language and rants against his critics has, amazingly, left his followers intoxicated and unable to discern what is really going on in evangelicalism today.
A linchpin of their agenda, their “purpose,” is to publish widely and gain large followings for their worldviews.
More to come.