Sunday, August 23, 2009

Since linking with Tony Blair it appears that Rick Warren is “waxing (becoming) worse and worse” (2nd Timothy 3:13)


The opening verse of chapter 3 of Paul’s second letter to Timothy reads – “this know that in the last days perilous times shall come”. Paul states quite clearly that during “the last days” all will not be well in the professing church. ‘The last days’ are generally accepted by biblical scholars as being ‘the church age’ – that time span between the ascension of Christ as recorded in Acts 1:9 and His return as detailed in 1st Thessalonians 4:16-18. The word “perilous” means ‘grievous’ as in the sense of ‘hard to deal with’ and ‘hard to bear’. Paul is warning God’s people that during the church age they should expect to be confronted with things being said and done in the name of Christ that will grieve them fiercely and intensely because such happenings will disturb the Spirit of God who indwells them as His true people.

From the second verse on Paul outlines some of those who will be the sources of such “perilous [grievous] times” “For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous… traitors (v 4) … Having a form of godliness (v 5) … Now as Jannes and Jambres withstood Moses, so do these also resist the truth, men of corrupt minds, reprobate concerning the truth (v 8) … evil men and seducers shall wax [become] worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived (v 13)”.

Paul predicts that God’s people will be confronted with such men who will be moving in professing Christian circles and claiming to be Christian. Dr H A Ironside wrote in a commentary on this passage – ‘In 2nd Timothy 3 the Holy Spirit is describing conditions in the professing church in the last days! It is not the openly wicked and godless who are being depicted here. It is those who have a form of godliness, while denying its power. [Cecil: From Romans 1:16 we learn that the unique gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ is the ONLY POWER unto salvation and true godliness and by their words and actions these people fail to proclaim and protect this gospel truth] This is what makes the passage so intensely solemn and gives it such tremendous weight in the present day’. The ‘present day’ that Dr Ironside was referring to was back in 1947 and his observations still hold equal weight in the days that you and I now live in.

Verse 2 speaks of men who will be puffed up with their own self-importance and who will have somewhat of an obsession with money.

Verse 4 speaks of men who, whilst claiming to be followers of Christ, will likewise betray truth just as Judas Iscariot is described in Luke 6:16 as the one who betrayed the Lord Jesus Christ who referred to Himself in John 14:6 as “the truth”.

Verse 5 identifies those who have an outward profession of Christian faith but who do not evidence much if any inward saving work of Holy Spirit regeneration. Donald Guthrie in his commentary expresses it rather well when he writes ‘Religion is not entirely denied, but it amounts to no more than an empty shell. There is an outward form of godliness but no power… They have no conception of the gospel as a regenerating force’.

Verse 8 likens these predicted false ‘Christian’ leaders to the magicians in Pharaoh’s court who resisted God’s then appointed prophet, Moses. William Hendriksen in his commentary wrote ‘Just as Jannes and Jambres opposed God’s representative, Moses, so do also these licentious leaders oppose the truth of God as revealed in his Word and as proclaimed by Paul, Timothy etc… Jannes and Jambres were deceivers; so are the purveyors of strange doctrine against whom Paul warns Timothy’. These modern-day ‘magicians’ resist God’s truth that has been revealed by His ultimate promised prophet, the one that Moses wrote of in Deuteronomy 18:15 – that ultimate promised prophet was of course none other than the Lord Jesus Christ as we read in John 1:45 and John 6:13-14.

God’s people today need to face up to the fact that God identifies these false ‘Christian’ leaders as being “men of corrupt minds” and “reprobate concerning the truth”. Donald Guthrie wrote ‘It is no surprise that they are described as (reprobate) rejected (adokimos) for when put to the test as far as truth is concerned they have no hope of being proved acceptable’. Pastor John MacArthur in his bible study notes comments ‘comes from a Greek word meaning “useless” in the sense of being tested (like metal) and shown to be worthless’. William Hendriksen writes ‘these men have been found worthy of emphatic disapproval; hence reprobate, condemned as worthless, unfit, disqualified, utterly rejected.

Verse 13 brings the description of these men to a climax with the words that they are “evil men and seducers (who) shall wax [become] worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived”. Things that are “good” bring glory to God as we read throughout Genesis 1 and supremely in verse 31. This is confirmed in Psalm 19:1. Faithful believers can also bring glory to God when they obediently do that which in God’s sight is truly “good” as we learn in Matthew 5:16. In contrast to “good” we can safely and simply deduce that “evil” refers to words and actions that do not bring glory to God.

The particular danger is that these predicted false ‘Christian’ leaders will have an ability to “seduce” (lead astray) the unwary, unlearned or unsuspecting and sadly there are clearly many such within modern day professing Christendom. The strength of just how misguided these men really are is found in the alternative translation of the Greek word for “seducers” which is “impostors” and the most distressing part of this portion of scripture is the fact that they will ‘become worse and worse’ – they will grow increasingly ‘evil’ and will successfully “deceive” multitudes even as they themselves are “deceived”.

Mirroring the opposition to God’s truth that was mounted by Jannes and Jambres I am firmly persuaded that Rick Warren, under the increasing influence of his connection with Tony Blair, is manifesting the characteristics that Paul pointed to in the portion of scripture that I have just directed your attention to.

The Tony Blair connection was mentioned in my article ‘The political pals of Rick Warren’ that can be viewed on http://www.takeheed.net/CurrentConcerns_2/WarrenPoliticalPals.htm In particular I want to draw attention to two important subjects where both Rick Warren and Tony Blair are jointly in tandem “deceiving and being deceived”. One subject is the ‘gay’ issue and the other is the ‘Interfaith’ issue.

Let me turn first to the ‘gay’ issue. In November 2008 the voters of California were asked to vote either for or against what was known as Proposition 8. The wording of this Proposition 8 read as follows - "Only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California." According to the official figures as listed on http://www.whatisprop8.com/ 52.5% of the population voted in support of this proposition and 47.5% voted against it.

Where did Rick Warren stand on this issue? Well it would apppear that his memory is playing tricks with him when it comes to his recollection of what he said and recommended to his church. On this link http://christsimplicity.wordpress.com/ you can watch a short (2.15) video clip of Rick Warren talking in October 2008 about where he and also where the Presidential candidates (Obama & McCain) stood on this issue of ‘gay’ marriage. This web link quotes the following from what Mr Warren said on this occasion –

Now let me say this really clearly: we support Proposition 8 — and if you believe what the Bible says about marriage, you need to support Proposition 8. … So I urge you to support Proposition 8, and pass that word on. I’m going to be sending out a note to pastors on what I believe about this. But everybody knows what I believe about it.

Another short video (6.34) on this same link also shows Rick Warren speaking on 21st December 2008 about the issue of ‘gay’ marriage and he clearly opposes the idea of those who want to enter into a same-sex relationship being allowed to term their relationship as a marriage. Again the web link quotes from what Mr Warren said

I oppose the redefinition of the meaning of marriage. (at 3:45 and at the end of the video)

However, in an interview on 6th April 2009 on the Larry King Live show Rick Warren claimed that he had never once given an endorsement during the 2 years that Proposition 8 was on the go and he also claimed that he was not an anti-gay marriage activist. This short video (2.42) can be viewed on the same web link and again they quote portions of what Mr Warren said in the interview –

I am not an anti-gay or anti-gay marriage activist. Never have been, never will be. During the whole Proposition 8 thing, I never once went to a meeting, never once issued a statement, never once even gave an endorsement in the two years Prop 8 was going.

Another agency, OneNewNow, a division of The American Family News Network also picked up on these confusing and contradictory statements by Mr Warren in their report of 8th April 2009 as can be seen on this link

http://www.onenewsnow.com/Culture/Default.aspx?id=481280

Referring to Rick Warren’s Larry King interview One NewsNow stated how Mr Warren had said –

"During the whole Proposition 8 thing, I never once went to a meeting, never once issued a statement, never -- never once even gave an endorsement in the two years Prop. 8 was going," Warren told the CNN audience on Monday. "The week before the -- the vote, somebody in my church said, 'Pastor Rick, what -- what do you think about this?' And I sent a note to my own members that said, I actually believe that marriage is -- really should be defined, that that definition should be -- say between a man and a woman."

The OneNewsNow report then continued –

However, just two weeks before the November 4 Prop. 8 vote, Pastor Warren issued a clear endorsement of the marriage amendment while speaking to church members. "We support Proposition 8 -- and if you believe what the Bible says about marriage, you need to support Proposition 8," he said.

Clearly in the April 2009 Larry King interview Rick Warren was trying, for whatever reasons, to portray himself in an entirely different light from the picture that he had painted of himself and his views during the videos of what he had said some months earlier in October 2008 and December 2008.

Just the day after Rick Warren made his statement on 21st December 2008 a very interesting post appeared on this web link

http://www.americablog.com/2008/12/rick-warren-pulls-anti-gay-language.html

As you will see, this reported that Mr Warren had removed some material from his church web site that stated quite openly (and correctly) that unrepentant homosexuals could not be accepted into membership of the Saddleback church. Could the fact that his selection by Barack Obama to pray at his Presidential inauguration had stirred up a storm of opposition from ‘gay’ groupings have had anything to do with his decision to remove this material from his church web site? Only Rick Warren knows the answer to that but it could perhaps be construed as an attempt to pour appeasing oil on waters that were threatening to rock the Presidential inauguration boat.

Whether or not Barack Obama himself had any influence on Rick Warren’s decision to remove this material from the Saddleback church web site I simply do not know but I do know this, that at that time, Rick Warren was already a ‘signed up’ member of the Advisory Council of the Tony Blair Faith Foundation.

It’s interesting to note that just 2 days after Rick Warren was appearing live on the Larry King show on 6th April 2009 [date verified via the video on this youtube link http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pHPIhI5WDM8] Tony Blair had an interview on things ‘gay’ published and the British Church newspaper [Issue 159: 24th April 2009] reported on this interview with Tony Blair as having been published ‘in Attitude which describes itself as Britain’s “best selling gay magazine”’.

The Belfast Telegraph of 8th April 2009 also referred to the interview published that very day under a heading of ‘Pope’s got it wrong about gays – Blair’ and part of that article read as follows –

‘The Pope and the Vatican have an “entrenched attitude” towards homosexuality which is less tolerant than the views of ordinary Catholics, Tony Blair says in comments published today. The former Prime Minister, who converted to Catholicism shortly after leaving office two years ago, said he disagreed with the Pope’s stance on gay rights and controversially suggested that the Church should reform itself along similar lines of how he re-organised the Labour Party. “Organised religions face the same dilemma as political parties when faced with changed circumstances” he said…. Last year Pope Benedict XVI caused widespread outrage in the gay community when he compared toleration of gays to the destruction of the rainforests and said that homosexuality is 2a more or less strong tendency ordered towards an intrinsic moral evil”… Mr Blair, who runs his own religious think-tank, made the comments in an interview with The Independent columnist Johann Hari, who was writing for Attitude, Britain’s biggest-selling gay magazine in its 15th anniversary edition. Asked whether he agreed with the Pope’s latest remarks on homosexuality Mr Blair said he believed ordinary Catholics did not feel the same way about homosexuality but the Church’s leadership was afraid of making any major doctrinal concessions. “There is a huge generational difference here,” he said.

Mr Blair has of course for a number of years now been openly taking great ‘pride’ in voicing his support for all things ‘gay’. At the end of 2005 and the beginning of 2006 I sent faxes to Mr Blair responding to the ungodly legislation that he was helping to push through the Parliament of the United Kingdom. In the couple of years that have followed the sending of my faxes the United Kingdom has seen some of the worst flooding for decades and of course the nation has plunged into levels of debt never before envisaged of encountered. I certainly make no claims for anything ‘prophetic’ in what I wrote – I simply quoted some portions from God’s infallible Word that will eternally stand when the memory of Tony Blair and those others who took ‘pride’ in such legislation is no more. Truly, as God’s Word declares “Be not deceived, God is not mocked” [Galatians 6:7].

Mr Tony Blair

Fax: 020 7925 0918

24 December 2005

Dear Mr Blair

‘PRIDE’

I saw on television earlier this week how, after extending good wishes to Elton John and his ‘partner’, you said basically that you were ‘proud’ to have introduced the ‘civil partnership’ legislation. There’s a very interesting passage in the Bible namely Romans 1:18-32 and perhaps over this holiday season you might take time to read it. It talks of ‘God’s wrath being revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who hold [suppress] the truth in unrighteousness’ – in other words against men who really know what is right and what is wrong but who prefer to tolerate and promote that which is wrong and not only that but as you will read in verse 32 they ‘have pleasure in them that do them’ – they are ‘proud’ of the wickedness that people perpetrate because they have sanctioned it.

Hurricane Katrina flooded New Orleans just days before the ‘Southern Decadence’ event was about to take place – a gathering of 100,000+ ‘gays’ who on websites advertised tee-shirts encouraging people to throw their bibles in the trash can. Shortly after another hurricane washed out another ‘gay’ event planned for Key West. The Sunday morning after your ‘civil partnership’ act became law there was the massive oil storage explosion – one TV commentator described it as a vision of ‘Armageddon’ – a vision of ‘Sodom & Gomorrah’ would have been more apt.

On the spiritual front you promote Roman Catholicism and Islam as ‘great’ religions – in reality they are the twin peaks of enslaving totalitarianism and in contrast true Biblical Christians are hounded and threatened by ‘politically correct’ police as happened this week in the Fleetwood area if they dare to stand up publicly for God’s truth and identify abominable unrighteousness. In short Mr Blair you are ‘presiding’ over a Nation and a World that is feeling and will continue to feel the wrath of the only true God until His beloved Son returns to judge all people – and that includes you and you will personally give an account to Jesus Christ for your ‘pride’ in sanctioning that which in His eyes is an abomination.

The message of Jesus Christ to you Mr Blair is found in Mark 1:15 – “Repent and believe the gospel’. There are at Westminster members of parliament from where I live who know the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ - I would suggest you seek them out for spiritual guidance and don’t let your ‘pride’ stand in your way for it will take you straight to hell.

Yours, a debtor to the forgiving mercy of Jesus Christ

Cecil Andrews

Northern Ireland

“Righteousness exalteth a nation, but sin is a reproach to any people”

Proverbs 14:34

Mr Tony Blair

Fax: 020 7925 0918

2 January 2006

Dear Mr Blair,

Hard on the heels of your God dishonouring ‘civil partnership’ legislation your government has plumbed new depths by enacting a law that will permit vulnerable children to be ‘adopted’ by same-sex ‘parents’. God’s Word to children is “ Children obey your parents in the Lord for this is right: Honour thy FATHER and thy MOTHER” [Ephesians 6:1-2] – God’s definition of ‘parents’ is plain and no earthly law or human ‘pride’ can ‘sanitise’ what is an abomination in the nostrils of Almighty God.

According to one newspaper report that I read your new year message was to the effect that UK citizens ‘should be grateful to live under a Labour government’ and remember that we live in ‘one of the most successful countries in the world’. The Holy God of Heaven whose standards you have trampled underfoot would not share your view of ‘success’. To a group of people who considered themselves to be similarly ‘successful’ by your definition of the word He wrote “you say ‘I am rich, have become wealthy and have need of nothing and do not know that you are wretched, miserable, poor, blind and naked…I counsel you to buy from Me gold refined in the fire, that you may be rich; and white garments that you may be clothed, that the shame of your nakedness may not be revealed…be zealous and repent” [Revelation 3:17-19].

You apparently stated ‘Britain in 2006 will continue to be one of the most successful countries in the world with a strong economy and good public services’. A God–inspired wise man from a bygone era said, “Do not boast about tomorrow, for you do not know what a day may bring forth” [Proverbs 27:1] and he also wrote “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge but fools despise wisdom and instruction” [Proverbs 1:7] – sadly as a nation we are clearly in the hands of a ‘ship of fools’.

Yours, a debtor to the forgiving mercy of Jesus Christ

Cecil Andrews

Northern Ireland

“Righteousness exalteth a nation, but sin is a reproach to any people”

Proverbs 14:34

In recent times Tony Blair has also been invited to speak at the church of another ‘user-friendly’ spiritual ‘guru’ – I’m referring to the Willow Creek church pastored by Bill Hybels. The following post on http://truedsicernment.com/2009/06/05/willow-creek-church-to-honor-tony-blair-champion-of-homosexuality/ sums up very succinctly the close identity between Tony Blair and things ‘gay’ and also mentions what will be the subject of the second part of this article namely the efforts made by so-called Christians to forge some sort of accommodation/partnership with non-Christian religions and in particular Islam. This was the post –

Willow Creek to Honor Gay Champion,

Tony Blair

h/t to Slice of Laodicea:

Willow Creek Community Church and Bill Hybels will be honoring Tony Blair at its annual Leadership Summit in August. Tony Blair’s “Third Way” was a failure, and he left his country in shambles, but as this article points out, his one singing success was gay rights. In April, Tony Blair had the audacity to lecture the pope on homosexuality, telling him to get the Catholic church up to speed on gay rights.

Bill Hybels doesn’t care where people are being led at his “Leadership Summits.” He’ll feature anyone who is an international celebrity, no matter that they are moral failures. Bill Clinton’s visit to Willow Creek comes to mind. That’s because Hybels long ago departed the faith once delivered to the saints in exchange for his own celebrity status and sense of importance.

Tony Blair is no example of biblical leadership. His new Faith Foundation is dedicated to interspirituality and the promotion of the United Nations’ Millennium Development Goals. He added that the foundation would focus on the “Abrahamic faiths” of Christianity, Judaism and Islam, as well as Hinduism, Sikhism and Buddhism, and that it would help people of those faiths “discover what they share” and “help partner those within any of the faiths who stand up for peaceful co-existence and reject the extremist and divisive notion that faiths are in fundamental struggle against each other.”

This is what Bill Hybels is promoting at Willow Creek as leadership for Christians to follow. God help us.

Returning to Mr Blair’s challenge to the Pope, less than 2 years into his ‘pilgrimage’ as a Roman Catholic Mr Blair would appear to be displaying gross ignorance of just what precisely he has got himself into through becoming a Roman Catholic. In the Daily Mail of Saturday 11th April 2009, in an article titled ‘Catholic leaders’ rebuke for Blair’ Steve Doughty wrote the following

‘The new leader of English Catholics yesterday slapped down Tony Blair over his calls for gay rights in the Church. The Most Reverend Vincent Nichols said Roman Catholic thinking was “rather different” to the kind promoted by the former Prime Minister… he dismissed Mr Blair’s grip on spiritual truths adding “I think I will take my guide from Pope Benedict… The brush-off for Mr Blair followed an interview given by the former Prime Minister to a gay magazine, Attitude, in which he pressed for gay rights in the Church… Mr Blair said “Actually we need an attitude of mind where rethinking and the concept of evolving attitudes becomes part of the discipline with which you approach your religious faith… my view is that rethinking is good, so let’s carry on rethinking”’.

Truly there is “no new thing under the sun” and it seems to me that Tony Blair would have been very popular and widely accepted in the days of The Judges where we read that “every man did that which was right in his own eyes” Judges 21:25.

Ann Widdecombe, the Conservative MP and another high-profile convert to Roman Catholicism back in April 1993 summed up Mr Blair’s situation very well in her column in the Daily Express of Wednesday 15th April 2009 when she wrote –

‘All converts to the Roman Catholic faith have to make a very clear statement at the service of reception “I believe all the church teaches to be revealed truth”. Tony Blair, knowing full well the church’s doctrine on homosexuality, must have made that statement. So what happened? Did he agree with the Pope less than two years ago but has since changed his mind? Or did he simply perjure himself? If it is a case of the latter then Anthony Charles Lynton Blair might care to consider that, whereas he could fool the British people and fool Parliament, he cannot fool Almighty God’.

Tony Blair needs to take a fresh look at the Catechism of the Catholic Church and in particular Paragraph 882 that states in part ‘The Roman Pontiff, by reason of his office as Vicar of Christ, and as pastor of the entire Church, has full, supreme and universal power over the whole Church, a power which he can always exercise unhindered’. Tony Blair clearly has aspirations to be the first President of the European Union should the Lisbon Treaty [basically a European Constitution] be foisted upon the peoples of Europe but he will learn that as a Roman Catholic he, like countless European Roman Catholic monarchs and presidents before him, over the past 14 centuries or so, must bow the knee to their spiritual master, the Pope of Rome. Canon 1442 of Rome’s Code of Canon Law states ‘The Roman Pontiff is the supreme judge for the whole catholic world. He gives judgments either personally, or through the ordinary tribunals of the apostolic See, or through judges whom he delegates’.

Rev J A Wylie in his 1851 award-winning book ‘The Papacy’ wrote these enlightening words [pages 146-149]

‘We have shown in the foregoing chapter that nothing in all past history is better authenticated than the fact that the Papacy has claimed supremacy over kings and kingdoms… though the Church of Rome is silent on her claims meanwhile, we are not warranted to take that silence for surrender. They are not claims renounced; they are simply claims not asserted… the Church of Rome cannot renounce this claim because (according to her own claims) she is infallible’

Earlier in his book, and perhaps Mr Blair should take a special note of this, Mr Wylie wrote on page 102 –

‘History presents us with a list of not less than sixty-four emperors and kings deposed by the popes’

Those well acquainted with the ministry of ‘Take Heed’ will know that I am no fan of the Belfast Telegraph’s Religion Correspondent, Alf McCreary, but he wrote some rather apt comments in his column of Saturday 25th April 2009 –

‘Ambiguity in politics sometimes works but it can lead to chaos. In the field of religion it can also create an erosion of core beliefs and this is why Mr Blair’s advice to Pope Benedict is so misplaced… Blair in many senses is a failed politician and his advice to Church leaders, including the Pope, is not only misleading but dangerous’.

Whilst Tony Blair failed to make any impact on the thinking of the Pope or the Roman Catholic church in the matter of ‘things gay’ it would appear that he has certainly had much greater success in impacting, influencing and changing the attitude and views of Rick Warren in these areas and in consequence Rick Warren, in his further departure from the clear teaching of God’s Word, is on this issue “waxing (becoming) worse and worse”.

I want now to move to the second subject where I believe both Rick Warren and Tony Blair are jointly in tandem “deceiving and being deceived and that is the ‘Interfaith’ issue.

Wherever he goes and speaks Rick Warren is for the most part invariably introduced as ‘Pastor’ Rick Warren for of course he is the ‘Pastor’ of his Saddleback Church in Southern California. That being the case it was appropriate that I began this article by looking at some verses from Paul’s second letter to Timothy which, along with his first letter to Timothy and his letter to Titus are commonly referred to as the ‘Pastoral’ epistles because they contain much instruction and guidance for ‘pastors’ as they seek to fulfil the role of ‘pastor’ of a church.

Moving on from the verses in chapter 3 of 2nd Timothy that I referred to earlier I want now to quote some portions from the early verses [1-5] of 2nd Timothy chapter 4 as we begin our look at this ‘Interfaith’ issue. Paul wrote, “I charge thee before God and the Lord Jesus Christ… Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season… endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist”.

Paul was really reminding Timothy that as a pastor he had been commissioned to serve the Lord Jesus Christ and that it is to Him that he must ultimately give an account for his service as a Christian pastor. Paul immediately identifies the first and foremost responsibility of a pastor and that is to preach God’s Word. He is not to be a philosopher or a psychologist or a politician, he is to be a preacher. Dr Ironside wrote ‘He (Paul) did not tell Timothy to preach philosophy, nor preach politics, nor preach some system of morals, but preach the Word!’

Secondly he must be ready to do that irrespective of what the prevailing ‘climate’ happens to be where preaching is concerned – he must be prepared to boldly proclaim God’s Word whether the cultural winds are for or against biblical preaching.

Commenting in his bible study notes on the words “be instant”, Pastor John MacArthur wrote ‘Here the form of the verb suggests the complementary ideas of urgency, preparedness and readiness. It was used of a soldier prepared to go into battle or a guard who was continually alert for any surprise attack – attitudes which are imperative for a faithful preacher’.

Dr Ironside wrote ‘Paul is really saying, “Be constantly on the outlook for opportunities to glorify God and to make Him known to others”’.

Commenting then on “in season and out of season” Pastor MacArthur wrote ‘The faithful preacher must proclaim the Word when it is popular and/or convenient AND when it is not, when it seems suitable to us AND when it seems not. The dictates of popular culture, tradition, reputation, acceptance or esteem in the community (or in the church) must never alter the true preacher’s commitment to proclaim God’s Word’.

Commenting finally on “do the work of an evangelist” Pastor MacArthur wrote ‘this word always refers to a specific office of ministry for the purpose of preaching the gospel to non-Christians… (whilst) Paul did not call Timothy to the office of an evangelist (he instructed him) to “do the work” of one’.

Dr Ironside wrote ‘I do not think Timothy was an evangelist. I think as I read over the passages of Scripture that give information regarding the character of his work, that he was a pastor… But Paul says to him “Do not forget the gospel: men are dying in their sins. Do not be so occupied with feeding the flock (Cecil - or in Rick Warren’s case - other matters) that you overlook the need of those who are out of Christ; do the work of an evangelist’.

Paul was certainly no hypocrite, he did not say one thing and then do something completely different. When he gave these instructions to ‘pastor’ Timothy he was outlining the approach that he himself had adopted. He had preached in some very inhospitable spiritual ‘climates’ – he reminded the believers in Corinth that “I brethren, when I came to you, came not with excellency of speech or of wisdom, declaring unto you the testimony of God. For I determined not to know anything among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified”. In Corinth Paul would have been confronted with an array of cultures, false religions and gross immorality but he simply “preached the word” and “did the work of an evangelist”.

Earlier I also quoted from verse 5 the phrase “endure afflictions” and Paul certainly had to do that in the wake of his preaching and evangelism in places like Philippi, [see Acts 16: 19-23] Thessalonica, [see Acts 17:5-14] and Ephesus {see Acts 19:23 – 20:1]. When a pastor is faithful in his preaching and his evangelism he will very likely experience what Paul wrote in verse 12 of chapter 3 “and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution”.

When addressing those of differing cultures, philosophies and religions Paul ‘stuck to his gospel guns’ and this is well illustrated when he addressed the philosophical and religious groups in Athens as we read in Acts 17:16-33. At the heart of his preaching and evangelism was this simple statement in verse 23 “as I passed by, and beheld your devotions, I found an altar with this inscription, To The Unknown God. Whom therefore ye ignorantly worship, HIM DECLARE I UNTO YOU”.

Has Rick Warren adopted the approach of ‘being instant, in season and out of season’ to ‘preach the word’? Sadly the answer is a resounding ‘no’. In a previous article I outlined how, when invited to address a large group of Jewish rabbis and religious leaders, he did not preach Christ and did not seek to evangelise them but rather he shared ‘principles’ with them as to how they could grow and enlarge their unbelieving faith communities. You can read this article on http://www.takeheed.net/CurrentConcerns_2/Rick_Warren_Judaism.htm

In that article I mentioned that another who heard him speak to the Jewish leaders was a leading American Muslim called Dr Ingrid Mattson, President of the Islamic Society of North America. Like Rick Warren, who had a high-profile involvement at President Obama’s when he led in ‘prayer’, [you can read my assessment of this ‘prayer’ on http://www.takeheed.net/CurrentConcerns_2/Warren_inaugural_prayer.htm] Dr Mattson also had an opportuniy at that time to pray for the Obamas as you can read on

http://www.associatedcontent.com/article/1402878/hamasfriendly_ingrid_mattson_to_join.html

This Warren-Mattson connection will I think therefore explain how ‘Pastor’ Rick Warren came to be an invited guest speaker at the 4th July 2009 Islamic Society of North America conference held in Washington – a rather interesting report on this and talk and also Mr Warren’s previous address to the Jewish leaders is recorded on

http://www.jewishjournal.com/thegodblog/item/rick_warren_speaks_to_islamic_society_of_north_america_20090706/

You can watch what Rick Warren said to the ISNA on

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qQak4l60Dt4&eurl=http%3A%2F%2Fwww%2Esliceoflaodicea%2Ecom%2F&feature=player_embedded

It is perfectly clear that Rick Warren is shunning the instruction of Paul to Timothy – why is he doing that? I believe he simply fails to understand the Christian ‘mission’ in this world. The Christian ‘mission’ is not to ‘patch-up’ and ‘pacify’ the world by employing Rick Warren’s famous [infamous] 3-legged stool analogy – that a partnership of governments, business and religions will solve global problems and bring about ‘social cohesion’ and world peace.

Mr Warren, the Christian ‘mission’ is not to moralise, civilise or sanitise the world but to evangelise the world so that those for whom Christ died will be savingly called out, discipled and prepared for the eternal glory with Christ that is yet to come.

The following portion from an article that highlights Warren’s 3-legged stool approach will illustrate where his ‘mission’ priorities seem to lie – the full article can be accessed on http://www.rickwarrennews.com/080806_hivconf.htm

‘During the session, the leaders spoke of how each of their segments of society – government, business and church – can work in tandem to solve the problem of HIV/AIDS. “Both a one-legged and a two-legged stool will fall over, but a three-legged stool will stand,” Pastor Warren explained. “There is a public sector role of government and NGOs; there is the private or profit sector role of businesses; and there is the faith sector role of churches and houses of worship’.

In an article called ‘The Power of Parishioners’ that was published in 2007 Rick Warren wrote this –

‘The three-legged model of cooperation is something we call the P.E.A.C.E. plan (partner with congregations; equip leaders; assist the poor; care for the sick; educate the next generation). This is a response to the five global problems I mentioned earlier: spiritual emptiness, corruption, poverty, disease and illiteracy. To date Saddleback Church has dispatched more than 4,000 members to more than 65 countries to participate in P.E.A.C.E. projects, in addition to 3,500 other members who served overseas before we launched the plan… It's time to lay aside our prejudices and work together’.

Whilst these are noble social and humanitarian goals they are not the ‘mission’ of Christ’s Church. When a woman came and anointed the Lord with expensive ointment [See Matthew 26:7] the disciples were very indignant at what they perceived to be a waste of something so valuable and they outlined what could be viewed as the first ‘social gospel’ - “this ointment might have been sold for much and given to the poor” [Matthew 26:9].

The Lord responded with “ye have the poor always with you” [Matthew 26:11] indicating clearly that the gospel priority is not the eradication of poverty – yes there will always be opportunities for Christians to be charitable but worship of the Lord Jesus Christ clearly takes priority over any earth-bound social activity and as only true believers can worship ‘in spirit and in truth’ then gospel proclamation should be the priority of Christ’s Church.

In looking at Mr Warren’s huge emphasis on charitable social activity I am once more drawn back to something that Loraine Boettner wrote on pages 30-31 of his classic work on ‘Roman Catholicism’ [another religious system that places undue emphasis on charitable, social activity, because of course of their ‘faith+works’ “gospel”]. For me these words show very clearly how the ‘mission’ of Christ’s Church can so easily and seductively be highjacked and turned into nothing more than a desire to better mankind’s lot whilst here on earth.

Loraine Boettner wrote under a sub-heading of ‘The Church in Politics’

‘She must not allow herself to be used as a pressure group for the securing of certain rights and temporal benefits for men, nor to pressure the state for reform measures even though such reforms may be needed and desirable from the Christian viewpoint. Christians as individuals are indeed to work for whatever reforms may be needed but the Church is not to do so in her corporate capacity. Such action on the part of the Church almost invariably will detract from her primary mission of the proclamation of The Gospel and ministering to the spiritual needs of men and will tend to give people a wrong conception as to what her mission really is’.

As for any faithful church touting an earthbound P.E.A.C.E. plan well this is really just an unscriptural pipe dream. Christ Himself never promised that He would bring peace upon the earth – quite the opposite in fact as we read in Luke 12:51 “Suppose ye that I am come to give peace on earth? I tell you, nay, but rather division”. Conversion to Christ brings ‘peace with God’ which is why Paul, in the midst of writing about spiritual warfare, referred to “the gospel of peace” [Ephesians 6:15].

Commenting on the parallel record of Luke 12:51 as found in Matthew 10:34 John MacArthur in his bible study notes wrote – ‘Though the ultimate end of the gospel is peace with God (John 14:27; Romans 8:6) the immediate result of the gospel is frequently conflict. Conversion to Christ can result in strained family relationships, persecution and even martyrdom. Following Christ presupposes a willingness to endure such hardships [remember Paul’s words to Timothy in 2nd Timothy 4:5 “endure afflictions”]. Though He is called “Prince of Peace” (Isaiah 9:6) Christ will have no one deluded into thinking that He calls believers to a life devoid of all conflict’.

Now, before returning to comment specifically upon what Rick Warren said to the ISNA, as can be seen on the link that I mentioned earlier on http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qQak4l60Dt4&eurl=http%3A%2F%2Fwww%2Esliceoflaodicea%2Ecom%2F&feature=player_embedded

I think it is important, by way of background, to be aware of another initiative that Rick Warren [and also Bill Hybels and also the founding father of the user-friendly movement, Robert Schuller, plus also the ‘emerging church’ heretic Brian McLaren] gave their support to and that was a November 2007 supposed evangelical response to a statement put out in October 2007 by a group of Islamic authorities and scholars. Their statement was called ‘A Common Word Between Us and You’ and it in turn had been prompted by controversial comments made by Pope Benedict the previous year in Regensburg. You can view the background to and wording of this ‘Common Word’ on www.acommonword.com

Discerning evangelicals were able to see through the deceptive nature and aims of this carefully crafted ‘Common Word’ but of course you then have the pseudo evangelicals such as Mr Warren and Mr Hybels etc and they were well and truly taken in by this Islamic ‘overture’. Dr Patrick Sookhdeo of the Barnabas Fund published helpful articles on this initiative and they can be viewed on

http://www.barnabasfund.org/UK/News/Archives/Response-to-open-letter-and-call-from-Muslim-religious-leaders-to-Christian-leaders-13-October-2007.html?&quicksearch=response+to+a+common+word&seperate[general]=1

One extract from this reads – ‘The message is that if Christians will accept Islam’s concept of the unity of God (thus denying the basic doctrines of the Trinity and deity of Christ), Muslims will accept the Christian values of love for God and neighbour as central to Islam. Thus a radical revolutionary change in Christianity is demanded in exchange for a superficial change of emphasis in Islamic perceptions’.

http://www.barnabasfund.org/UK/News/Archives/Barnabas-Fund-Response-to-the-Yale-Center-for-Faith-and-Culture-Statement.html?&quicksearch=response+to+a+common+word&seperate[general]=1

One extract from this reads – ‘Hartford Seminary in Connecticut, one of America’s oldest theological schools, was founded in 1834 by Calvinists who left Yale College to found a new institution of Christian learning. In the early decades of the twentieth century Hartford was a leading institution in the evangelization of Muslims… Today, Muslims make up 35 percent of the student body at Hartford Seminary, an institution which a few generations ago was training Christians to evangelize Muslims. The case of Hartford Seminary shows how the laudable desire to understand Islam and Muslims has brought a Calvinist foundation with a strong missionary emphasis to the point of using its resources to train and equip Muslims to strengthen other Muslims in their faith.’

http://www.barnabasfund.org/UK/News/Archives/Reflections-by-Barnabas-Fund-on-the-Final-Declaration-of-the-Yale-Common-Word-Conference-July-2008.html?&quicksearch=response+to+a+common+word&seperate[general]=

One extract from this reads – ‘Although we respect and love Muslims, Christians cannot accept Islam as an equal and valid revelation from God. The denial of the deity of Christ and His redemptive work as well as of the Trinity will always stand in the way of interfaith dialogue and co-operation. Just as Muslims cannot accept the Christian denial of Muhammad’s prophethood and the Qur’an’s status as the word of God, so Christians must take a clear stand on the central doctrines of their faith. To do so might result in a loss of popularity and influence, but loyalty and faithfulness to Christ, to His people and to His mission are much more important in God’s eyes…. In sum, inherent in this process is the danger of downplaying the uniqueness and deity of Christ, the Bible as the word of God, and mission as a Christian imperative. It may also promote Christian acceptance of Islam and other religions as valid and salvific ways to God. We pray that in our varied globalised and plural world contexts we as Christians may continue to be faithfully focused on Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour and not lose heart in bearing witness to God in Christ reconciling the world to Himself (2. Corinthians 5:17-21).’

Just as an aside, those of us living in the United Kingdom will not in any way be encouraged by what Tony Blair’s successor, Gordon Brown said in a National Security Statement made on 14th November 2007 and that can be viewed on

http://www.number10.gov.uk/Page13757

Gordon Brown said

It is by seeking to build on shared interests and shared values that we will isolate extremists and foster understanding across faiths. Following the recent remarkable letter by 138 Muslim scholars from a diversity of traditions within Islam, which paid tribute to the common roots of Islam, Christianity and Judaism and called for deeper dialogue, we stand ready to support new facilities for multi-faith scholarship in Britain. A Green Paper will be published to encourage inter-faith groups to come together in every constituency of the country. I am also inviting the Higher Education Funding Council to investigate the idea of setting up in Britain a European centre of excellence for Islamic studies.

This portion of Mr Brown’s statement is posted [no. 39] to the Islamic ‘Common Word’ website on http://www.acommonword.com/index.php?lang=en&page=responses

With this background information in mind, namely Rick Warren’s openness to the Islamic ‘A Common Word Between Us and You’, I want now to comment briefly on what Mr Warren said when addressing the ISNA in Washington in July 2009.

The first thing I would say is that if you watch Mr Warren’s talk on the link I provided don’t overlook to read the comments posted below the video screen. Christians who have exercised biblical discernment in formulating their comments have clearly written many of them.

Secondly it was very evident that Rick Warren was not going to have to “endure afflictions” by saying anything that would exalt the Person and Work of the Lord Jesus Christ. Any remotely ‘Christian’ terminology was couched in such a way that Muslims would simply nod their heads in misled agreement.

Warren mentioned the Lord once when he said ‘My deepest faith is in Jesus Christ’ – he didn’t elaborate on that by identifying Jesus Christ as The Son of God/God the Son as of course that would have alienated him from his listening audience; he didn’t identify Jesus Christ as the only Saviour of sinners through His atoning death on the Cross of Calvary as that too would have alienated him from his listening audience. In short he totally avoided what Paul referred to in Galatians 5:11 as “the offence of the cross”. Muslims are offended to think that God would allow someone worshipped by Christians as His Son to die on a cross to save sinners from going to hell. That to them is not only offensive but it is also blasphemous in their eyes and yet that is what Christians are commanded to preach to non-Christians but Rick Warren totally ‘bottled out’. Those who fail to confess Christ [fully] before men on earth in effect deny Him and Christ in consequence will deny them before His Father in heaven [see Matthew 10:32-33].

Rick Warren on a number of occasions talked about ‘God’ but never once did he explain that Christians worship a triune God of Father, Son and Holy Spirit as of course that would have alienated him from his listening audience. In fact, by his attitude and wording, he implied that Muslims truly worship ‘God’ but Christians know that this is not the case – the ‘God’ that Muslims worship is a devilish deception designed to lead them to a lost eternity.

Again Mr Warren used ‘religiously-correct’ language designed not to alienate himself from his audience when he often spoke of ‘Congregations of Faith’ in for example his references to Rwanda – here he was equating all of these groups of basically possessing an equal ‘faith’. Not so – there is ‘faith’ and then there is ‘the faith’ that true Christians possess and Christians are commanded in God’s Word to “earnestly contend” [Jude 3] for it. There was certainly no ‘contending for the faith’ as Mr Warren spoke – quite the opposite in fact!

This was basically a politically based moralising crusade where Rick Warren was encouraging what he classed as ‘people of good will’ to walk together even though they don’t see, as he put it, eye to eye, and to work together to achieve some common noble charitable social goals.

He was also encouraging attitudes like protecting freedom of speech and freedom of religion – things that people in the Western world have for centuries taken for granted but which are in effect anathema to the philosophy and ideology of Koranic Islam.

He stated that it should be possible to disagree with someone without hating him or her – that’s not the example that was personally set by Mohammed! Mr Warren wanted Christians and Muslims to work together to restore civility to civilisation and to basically foster universal peace. Doesn’t Rick Warren know that the goal of Islam is to islamise the entire world and then according to Islam there will be universal peace and total civility as all human beings become subservient to Allah and are subject to his Sharia law?

To summarise, ‘Pastor‘ Rick Warren totally failed to “preach the word” and to “do the work of an evangelist” and for that he will one day have to give an account. At the start of his talk he jokingly quoted some examples of ‘feedback’ he had received on occasions from people in his church. One quote was as follows – ‘Pastor Rick your words are like water to a drowning man’ – what he said in this talk was like [polluted] water to Muslims who are presently perishing and drowning in a sea of false religious belief

I want now as a final word on Rick Warren’s talk to the ISNA to post much of an ‘open letter to Rick Warren’ that was penned by a Christian lady, Jan Markell who runs an apologetics ministry called ‘Olive Tree Ministries’. It can be viewed in its entirety on http://www.sliceoflaodicea.com/category/purpose-driven-madness [July 06]

On July 5 the Washington Times online reported that Pastor Rick Warren told his Islamic audience, the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA,) that he envisions “a coalition of faith.” Whether Pastor Warren knows this or not, this is just another term for the coming one-world religion… after reading what the Washington Times has to say about his message to a group of spiritually lost Muslims, I feel I must address this in an open letter to who many say is the most influential pastor in America and some would say the world.

Pastor Warren, you pleaded with 8,000 Muslim listeners on Saturday, July 4, to work together to solve the world’s greatest problems by cooperating in a series of interfaith projects. You said, “Muslims and Christians can work together for the common good without compromising my convictions or your convictions.”

Pastor Warren, you needed to compromise the convictions of the Muslims in attendance. To just say that “My deepest faith is in Jesus Christ” was not enough to a thoroughly lost crowd. The hour is too late to withhold a gospel message without which they will face a Christless eternity, and you will be held accountable. The “world’s greatest problems” will always be with us and the Bible says so in Matthew 26:11. Sin is at the root of them. I have to conclude you are more interested in ecumenical unity and solving AIDS, poverty, and other social issues. Last Saturday you were given a golden opportunity that 99.9% of American Christians could never get.

You said you were not interested in interfaith dialogue, but you seize every opportunity to talk to all religions and you always leave out the gospel. You even address Jewish groups but you tell them how to grow a mega-synagogue like your own church, Saddleback. In this “can’t we all get along?” generation, you usually leave out the only good news left: There is salvation in Christ and Christ alone (Acts 4:12) and the hour is late, so make a conscious decision to be a follower of the Lord Jesus Christ.

You told ISNA, “Talk is cheap but love is something we do together. We must do something to model what it is to live in peace, to live in harmony.” Pastor Warren, you know your Bible better than that, don’t you? The Bible says there will never be peace and harmony in this world until the Messiah rules… yet you push for foolish and hopeless ecumenical peace!

In your speech you included… suggestions: 1) Create a coalition to end religious stereotyping; 2) Work together to restore civility to American society; 3) Take a common stand against attacks on freedom of religion and freedom of speech. There is civility in American society so why are you even suggesting there might not be? But you won’t find much of it in Islamic society. Go see the film, The Stoning of Soraya M, the true story of what happens to a lot of innocent Muslim women. It’s a lot more gross and bloody than any horror flick and this is reality, not fiction. The Muslims you addressed know all about this procedure. ISNA wants Sharia Law everywhere on earth! You missed a golden opportunity to challenge them to stand up to Islamic governments that perpetrate such atrocities…

The ISNA stated how impressed they were with your charitable work. What charitable work have they done? As terror expert Steve Emerson says, “ISNA has has been an umbrella and a promoter of groups that have been involved in terrorism.” Here again you could have challenged them, but then you would not be invited back had you done so. Joseph Farah says, “Suffice it to say the ISNA is no friend of Christianity or America.” Yet in 2007, Rick Warren was one of many “evangelical leaders” who signed a document begging forgiveness from Muslims for all the evil deeds perpetrated against them by Christians. What evil deeds have true Christians committed against Muslims? Now, Pastor Warren, you’ve gone beyond pandering and are sounding like a fool along with all others who signed that document.

Even the secular Washington Times noted, “Mr. Warren was sparse in his mentions of Jesus and God.” But since works and good deeds were stressed, this reinforced the belief of ISNA members that works will help them get to Heaven.

Pastor Warren, you stated you were committed to “the common good” and that you are commanded to “respect everybody.” You don’t want to deal with the verse that says we are to preach to gospel to all creation” (Mark 16:15). It seems to me that you are more interested in marching hand-in-hand with other faiths down the winding road to the coming one-world religion. We don’t expect you to give altar calls at such meetings as this one. We do expect you to lift high the Name of the Prince of Peace who is coming again and who offers eternal life to all who ask, “What must I do to be saved?” (Acts 16:3031). Many just wanted some variation of that quoted among your many ecumenical statements and how to solve the world’s problems — impossible without God’s help…

Awaiting His return,

Jan Markell

I want finally now to address the Tony Blair aspect/influence as it can be found in what Rick Warren said to the people attending the ISNA conference. There is no doubt that what Mr. Warren said is fully in keeping with the ethos and aims of the Tony Blair foundation in which he serves as a member of the Advisory Council.

On this link http://www.tonyblairfaithfoundation.org/projects/faiths-act/faiths-act-together/ you can view a page devoted to the topic that ‘Faiths Act Together’. The Tony Blair Faith Foundation and Rick Warren by what he said when he addressed the ISNA are clearly ‘singing from the same hymn sheet’ and together they are hindering the Christian Mission to evangelize the lost. In that they are showing which master they are truly serving.

In closing I would mention that there are quite a number of blog sites where this event has been a major topic of discussion and on this one

http://www.answeringmuslims.com/2009/07/video-pastor-rick-warren-speaks-to.html

I particularly liked many of the comments posted by a contributor who titled himself as ‘Nu’ –this is part of what Nu wrote –

Hi people,

Just joined in with the dialogue on this site-I am so excited to find a place where people are speaking freely about what (i think) is the most important exercise of life-finding the truth and saying yes to it (or Him, as I have discovered). I am persuaded that Jesus is the truth, and I am firmly on His side of the fence. I've watched the Rick Warren video; I wonder if he personally knows and loves individual muslims. I also wonder whether the Jesus in the bible is the same one he says he believes in.

I think it is impossible to know Jesus as he is in the bible and to personally care about people who are muslims and then go and give a speech like that. If you have found the truth (or the truth has found you)...i think it would be very very difficult to stand in front of so many people, many of them hanging on your every word, and instead of pointing them to that truth with every minute you have, you start talking about 'promoting freedom of speech and religion', and co-existence, and 'facilitating people to do what they do best'. He sounded like a politician!…

He diagnoses the 'problem' between Muslims and Christians as essentially being a social-cultural misundertanding. The cure he recommends is that the two find a way to 'get along'. All this is not true. The problem is not that we are 'unwilling to reconcile our different views'- these views are irreconcilable!

He also gives the idea that both views/faiths are 'right'; they are the choice of the people following them and everyone should let everyone else the freedom to to choose their religion. What??! Did Jesus say 'I'm doing my thing, you do your thing. If you want to come along with me, that's also your choice. It doesn't matter whatever you choose, the important thing is that you freely exercise your right to choose and that you also make sure you let others choose freely.'

Muhammed, or Allah through Muhammed may have said 'you to your religion, and I to mine’, but there is no shred of laissez faire in Islamic theology or practice. Each faith clearly says; THIS IS THE WAY, if you chose it, blessed are you, if you don't, woe unto you. The MOST IMPORTANT THING is therefore choosing the right thing, the right way. How can a pastor (i.e someone who has aligned himself with a belief and has even obtained a place of leadership in that line) stand in front of people and basically tell them to live and let live?

This is not bridge building, this is taking people off on a detour when you should be a clear signpost.I don't know any signpost that says 'left or right or back, whatever is good for you, as long as you don't get into someone else's way!'. I think Rick did Christians and Muslims and especially Christ, a great injustice:- I know i would not set a toe on any bridge he is building.

It is most heartwarming to know that even as Rick Warren, under the influence of Tony Blair, is clearly waxing [becoming] worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived” God still has His people like ‘Nu’ who have not been taken in by all this Christ dishonouring religious talk and activity and who are able to discern and to warn others of ‘wolves in sheep’s clothing’.

Cecil Andrews – ‘Take Heed’ Ministries – 23rd July 2009

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