Monday, August 11, 2014

Yesterday's Close Encounter With Rick Warren

Yesterday I watched a YouTube video of Rick Warren giving a motivational speech preaching a sermon on renewing your mind, using Romans 12:2 as his springboard Scripture. He made several excellent points about sin beginning with how and what we think, and for a while I found myself considering the possibility that I've misjudged him. The longer I listened, however, the more I noticed that he emphasized our responsibility to manage thoughts, even saying outright that God leaves it to us to obey Him in that matter.

By the end of Warren's sermon (characteristically peppered with Scriptures used out of context and in a variety of translations) I couldn't deny that he exalted human ability to resist sin while barely mentioning the Holy Spirit's role in sanctification. Admittedly, I have a history of  making the same error. But my history, and subsequent repentance of that error, perhaps increases my sensitivity to the error.

Certainly, I commend Warren's desire for people to avoid sin. Yet pride is the most grievous sin of all. And Warren's sermon, by maximizing human responsibility and minimizing the necessity of depending on the Lord's power to produce obedience in us, appeals to human pride. I came away missing any sense of God's glory.

Perhaps I shouldn't judge Rick Warren on the basis of one sermon, even though yesterday really wasn't my first encounter with his teaching. I do plan to watch more of his videos. I also plan to read more about his doctrine. I've had enough first-hand experience with him as a result of being in a church that went through his 40 Days of Purpose campaign, however,  to find his caviler treatment of Scripture alarming. The baptized self-reliance that I noticed yesterday (in addition to other problems I've noticed throughout the years) only deepen my  concern that he fails to honor the Lord in his ministry.

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