Rick Warren certainly caused a stir last week with his pronouncement of the tolerant and peace loving status of Syria and then having Barack Obama speak in his church on the AIDS pandemic. Those who missed my comments last week on this can read our blog article Rick Warren – Story Teller As I expected Warren plowed ahead undaunted by those who challenged him to his biblical pastoral responsibilities to guard the flock. Solving AIDS it seems, trumps biblical mandates. I posted the following question on the Apologetics Blog under the topic “Rick Warren and Abortion” on ChristiaNet.com:
Would Rick Warren have someone who is pro choice on slavery from, say, the Sudan, speak in his church if they were concerned about solving the AIDS pandemic? Would it be appropriate for Rick Warren to invite Larry Flint (owner of Hustler magazine) to speak at his church on behalf of solving AIDS? Is there any difference between these scenarios and having Barack Obama speak at Saddleback? Does solving AIDS trump guarding the flock (Acts 20:28-31)?
I think this is a very valid question. Would Warren have a leader of the Ku Klux Klan on the dais if he or she was supportive of AIDS? I am sure the answer to these three scenarios would be an unequivocal NO! Why? Because being “pro-choice” on slavery, involved with promoting and especially financially benefiting from being a purveyor of pornography and being a racial bigot would be viewed as morally reprehensible (not to mention politically incorrect.). In other words, Warren would be afraid of offending non-believers but doesn’t seem to be too concerned about violating God’s revealed Word. It isn’t that addressing AIDS is an issue that Christians should ignore or even that Christians can’t work with those outside the faith to address an issue of public health concern or even public moral behavior. Some hold to a two government view both ordained by God. One is God’s divine rule over all of creation. The other is a human government which He uses as He chooses and which makes laws that govern areas of this life. This seems clear from such passages as Romans 13:1-4, and Psalm 22:28.
In some cases, as in the case of Joseph and Daniel, God’s people have worked for a pagan government for the benefit of all. In other cases such as the Apostles, God’s people have taken stands against government edicts as did Peter in Acts 4:17-20. Activism and challenging the government has a long history even within Christianity to at least the days of Justin Martyr. He wrote his First Apology (defense) to the Roman Senate in which he argued against their persecution of Christians based on false and bigoted beliefs about them. He used sarcasm in some places such as “But you seem to fear lest all men become virtuous, and you no longer have any to punish.” (The First Apology of Justin; The Anti-Nicene Fathers, Vol. 1, Eerdmans, Reprinted October 1989, p 166).
The issues raised are not whether or not Christians should be involved in various causes which impact all citizens of a particular nation or even the world regardless of whether they are believers or not. The issue is should those who hold views which are antithetical to sound biblical teaching be put in to a place as a respected teacher within and under the auspices of the church? The answer is a resounding no! In the first century there were traveling teachers who would go to the home where the church met when they arrived in town. While in town they would reside in that home and teach the church. This is equivalent to giving the teaching position in church to an invited speaker. In addressing this in 2 John 7-10, the elderly Apostle writes:
If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching, do not receive him into your house, and do not give him a greeting; for the one who gives him a greeting participates in his evil deeds.
By flaunting biblical teaching Rick Warren did not bring more credibility to the issue of AIDS but, according to the Apostle John, is participating in Barack’s evil deeds. Rick Warren’s attempt at damage control also raises the question of his honesty. Neither he nor any staff at Saddleback responded to my November 21 email but he did write again to Joseph Farah at WorldNetDaily. Joseph wrote his column Rick Warren says he’s sorry in which we discover opposing correspondence from Rick Warren going out. One to Farah apologizing and asking forgiveness and the other to Rick’s followers where he accuses the blogger’s who brought this to light as serving Satan and that their accusations are false and unconfirmed (even though I, Farah and others provided the supporting documentation and links while Warren simply makes assertions). Farah asks, “Will the real Rick Warren please stand up?” My fear is that if Rick Warren has abandoned sound biblical teaching, which seems to be the case and entered the world of politics, which also appears to be the case, aren’t we seeing the real Rick Warren in his political incarnation?