Rick Warren, Islam and the Real Issue
by Eric Barger
Olive Tree Ministries with Jan Markell
March 7, 2012
Many of you are aware that the Internet and blogosphere are awash with information concerning "Rick Warren builds bridge to Muslims," a story that ran on Thursday, February 23, in the Orange County Register. The story was republished or reported on widely in both the Christian and secular press.
Reporter Jim Hinch stated that "Warren has embarked on an effort to heal divisions between evangelical Christians and Muslims by partnering with Southern California mosques and proposing a set of theological principles that includes acknowledging that Christians and Muslims worship the same God." The guidelines are called "King's Way."
The article reported that "Abraham Meulenberg, a Saddleback pastor in charge of interfaith outreach, and Jihad Turk, director of religious affairs at a mosque in Los Angeles, introduced King's Way as 'a path to end the 1,400 years of misunderstanding between Muslims and Christians."
"The men presented a document they co-authored outlining points of agreement between Islam and Christianity. The document affirms that Christians and Muslims believe in 'one God' and share two central commandments: 'love of God' and 'love of neighbor.' The document also commits both faiths to three goals: Making friends with one another, building peace and working on shared social service projects. The document quotes side-by-side verses from the Bible and the Koran to illustrate its claims."
The Register story also quotes the Muslim leader, Turk, as saying "We agreed we wouldn't try to evangelize each other..."
The "King's Way" plan appears to be an outgrowth of a Saddleback small group whose activities are mentioned as follows:
*4 weeks Small Group Study in your group
*2 events where you will meet Muslim neighbors (we organize a service project with a meal together and a visit to a mosque)
As wonderful and conciliatory as the February 23 article may sound to some, the basis of it is eerily reminiscent of another such idea that Dr. Warren was and is still a part of - the Yale University Center for Faith and Culture's 2007 paper "A Christian Response to A Common Word Between Us and You," which is based on the premise that we all worship the same God.
Now, nine days after the Orange County Register published the article, Rick Warren is denying most of the content and claiming that the many inaccuracies attributed to him in the article were the ideas of the reporter and not his own. Rick Warren is also calling upon friends and surrogates to help dispel the ideas promulgated by the Register's story.
In response to the Register's article, Rick Warren told the Christian Post, "First, as I've already said, Christians have a fundamentally different view of God than Muslims. We worship Jesus as God. Muslims don't."
I agree. However, the fact is that Muslims not only "have a fundamentally different view of God" - they have a different god.
As much as I have been critical of Rick Warren in the past (see this and this), I want to give him the benefit of the doubt here because I am acutely aware of how the press can misquote and manipulate what one says. While it is not surprising that Warren is now refuting the Register's story and, in effect, is calling reporter Jim Hinch a liar, there are elements that need to be considered. When my Grandpa used to say, "Where there's smoke, there's fire," he was right. If just part of what Hinch reported is true, many more authentic evangelicals would take great exception to Warren, as growing numbers have been for some time.
The real point here is this: When is Rick Warren going to demand that his name be removed from Yale's "A Christian Response to A Common Word Between Us and You"? No matter who is being truthful in the "he said, he said" with the Orange County Register, Warren's statements to the Christian Post distancing himself from the idea that Islam and Christianity both worship the same deity, are not in concert with the spirit of the Yale document, which still bears his name.
Let me add that it is certainly not unheard of for those who call themselves "evangelicals" to reject the notion of winning Muslims to Christ. Tony Campolo, and others involved with the dubious "Christ at the Checkpoint" conference being held this week at Bethlehem Bible College, holds to this view.
Concerning Warren and the issue at hand, below are the comments I posted under the Christian Post story from today:
In 2007 Rick Warren signed the Yale Divinity School's paper ("A Christian Response to A Common Word Between Us and You"). The entire premise of the document was that Islam and Christianity both worship the same "god."
Christians need to wake up to the fact that according to the Qur'an and Hadith, Islam teaches that Christianity is corrupt and must be eliminated. Contrary to what most Christians think, the Muslim "Jesus", Isa, which must appear according to Islam, is a Muslim! Furthermore, the Qur'an itself says that Jesus and his disciples were Muslims (Sura 3:52, 4:171-172, 5:111-112, 5:115-117). Therefore, according to Islam, when Isa comes, he will come as a devout Muslim. Sura 4 denies Isa's divinity and Isa is coming to correct the "errors" of Christianity as a sort of enforcer for the Mahdi. If Allah is really Jehovah, then reading the Qur'an and the Bible proves only that God is schizophrenic. How much clearer does it have to be? Islam serves a "different Jesus," has a "different god," and spreads a "different gospel" (II Cor 11:3-4).
Warren can deny the word "Chrislam" all he wants. He can line up surrogates to speak for him day and night. But until he recants the Yale document and clearly defines that Islam's prophet, Isa, isn't Jesus Christ and that Islam's false god, Allah, isn't Jehovah, lots of us are going to speak louder and louder. No matter how you slice it, to confuse Islam's deity with God Almighty is a denial of the one true and living God and His only Son.