Last week I posted John Piper's long-awaited interview with Rick Warren. Many people have responded positively to the demonstration of brotherly love and camaraderie displayed by the two men. Indeed, these are two men who clearly love Jesus and hold each other in high esteem.
Anyone familiar with the ministries of Dr. Piper and Pastor Warren understand the enormous differences between the two. During the interview Piper made mention of that. However, I was more than a little confused by the seeming unity the men shared in theological perspective. If all your knowledge of Rick Warren was this interview you could reasonably conclude that he was ready for ordination in the OPC.
And herein lies my problem with the interview. It is, in my opinion, an example of Rick Warren contextualizing himself. That is, from time-to-time he seems to altar his views, influences, and stated priorities to fit the situation in which he finds himself. Please understand. I am not attacking Pastor Warren. I don't think he would disagree with my assessment. In one context he takes up the mantle of Charles Finney. In another context he is a newer Robert Schuller (Read the pieces Rick wrote for Ladies Home Journal - They are not the outworking of the theology espoused in the interview.). In the Piper interview Pastor Warren is the theological heir of Johnathan Edwards. So, which is it? It certainly cannot be all of the above.
Like his practice of using various Bible paraphrases and his sometimes exotic application of Scriptures Pastor Warren seems to fit himself for whatever context in which he appears. Just as John Piper's practice of ministry is a reflection of his theological convictions, so too is Warren's.
Perhaps I am being too critical. I don't mean to be. I am not one of those who believe Rick Warren is the anti-Christ or the worst thing to ever happen to the church. But I remain deeply concerned about many of the things Rick Warren has written, preached, and taught. I am also reminded of the biblical warning that those of us who are set apart for the ministry of the Word will incur a stricter judgment.
The following are two men's "take" on the interview: