Archive for the ‘Rick Warren’ Category

Steve Ray and Magisterial Double Standards

April 8, 2009

Mr. Steve Ray, pilgrimage promoting papist, despite supposedly “fasting from blogging and blog reading for Lent,” has provided two recent blog posts in which he illustrates the fact that Romanist apologetics can impair one’s ability to think straight:

a) According to Ray, Warren flip-flopped on homosexuality because he lacks a Magisterium (link);

b) According to Ray, the Roman Catholic senators who voted against a conscience exception amendment in abortion cases did so because they are “stupid” and “wicked” (link).

Does anyone else notice the double-standard?

When a single “Protestant” does something bad (and I in no way endorse Rick Warren’s flip-flop), it is proof of the failure of Sola Scriptura, but when 16 Roman Catholic senators do something bad (and only 9 do the right thing) it is because they are individually wicked and/or stupid. Do you see the problem with Ray’s thought process? The bias there should be evident to even the most simple of readers.

Finally, while we have Mr. Ray on the hook, let’s take a quick peek at the argument he uses against Warren. Ray writes:

Beauty of NOT having a Magisterium … … is that you don’t have to have any solid positions, morals, or theology. You can waffle and change your mind. God has no opinion (obviously, or so think many) so you don’t have to worry about what He might think.

(see first link above, double-ellipsis in original)

a) Remember the Crusades? Seemed like a good idea to the “magisterium” of the day. Not so much these days. Is Mr. Ray willing to concede that the Roman church does not have any solid positions, morals, or theology? Of course not. Mr. Ray would never concede such a thing. But he’s quite willing to throw stones at Mr. Warren’s error.

b) This comment on Ray’s part is a piece of a larger propaganda campaign within Romanism to suggest that the two choices are their magisterium or moral relativism. This false dichotomy is not just illogical it is absurd. There is a “What We Believe” page at Rick Warren’s church’s website. Among a number of articles, that site says:

The Bible is God’s word to all men. It was written by human authors, under the supernatural guidance of the Holy Spirit. It is the supreme source of truth for Christian beliefs and living. Because it is inspired by God, it is truth without any mixture of error.


Now, (out of wickedness, stupidity, fear of men, an overly soft heart, or whatever) Mr. Warren may not faithfully follow his own statement of beliefs, but there they are. He claims that the Bible is truth without any mixture of error, and that God speaks through it to all men. God’s opinion does matter, even though Mr. Warren gets things wrong, for whatever reason he does.

I know that may burst Mr. Ray’s polemical bubble, but Mr. Ray needs to be spurred on to a balanced and honest polemic and away from his double-standards and irrational propaganda.


Rick Warren’s Prayer

January 23, 2009

At Obama’s inauguration, Rick Warren gave a prayer. I’ve heard a few Christians up in arms about the prayer, and they generally focus on three things:

1) It was pretty empty.

This is a legitimate criticism. There wasn’t much substance to the prayer, and some of the time was spent on “preaching to the choir.” On the other hand, one shouldn’t expect a prayer to be a sermon. I’m not trying to defend Rick Warren, but I think that some people’s expectations would not have been met unless Warren had given a 30 minute prayer-homily.

2) Warren referred to God using this sentence: “And you are the compassionate and merciful one.”

The criticism is that this sounds like it is taken from the Koran. It does sound like that. On the other hand, the true God is merciful and compassionate. Scriptures say so. It is not wrong for us to describe God that way, and it may be valuable for Muslims to see that the true God is merciful and compassionate – that such a teaching is not uniquely Koranic, but is borrowed from Christianity.

Psalm 145:8 The LORD is gracious, and full of compassion; slow to anger, and of great mercy.

Psalm 86:15 But thou, O Lord, art a God full of compassion, and gracious, longsuffering, and plenteous in mercy and truth.

3) Warren referred to Jesus as “Isa.”

The criticism is, again, that this sounds like it is taken from the Koran. It does sound like that, and if context is not provided, it sounds very suspicious, particularly when coupled with (2) above. In context, however, Warren’s sentence was:

“I humbly ask this in the name of the one who changed my life, Yeshua, Isa, Jesus [Spanish pronunciation], Jesus, who taught us to pray: [full length version of Lord’s Prayer].”

In context, Warren was simply giving the Arabic name for Jesus in a list among the Hebrew name, the Spanish name, and the English name. In context, Warren is positively affirming that Jesus taught his disciples to pray like Christians, not like Muslims – although he is using the name for Jesus that is familiar to Muslims.

I am not a fan of Rick Warren, and I am not praising his prayer. The fact that he prayed in Jesus’ name is great, but that’s sort of a minimal bar. There are many ways his prayer could have been improved. On the other hand, I don’t think that the claims that Warren was trying to be “ecumenical with Muslims” is valid – or at least cannot be shown from his prayer.

Now, I am not familiar with a large body of what Warren has said elsewhere. So, perhaps, viewed in light of the remainder of what he has said, these seemingly reasonable references could be viewed as inappropriate concessions. No one that I have seen criticize Warren, however, has brought forth that kind of evidence.


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