Rick Warren’s doctrine

June 1, 2008

First and foremost we need to understand that Rick Warren is a businessman.

 And a very good one at that.

Second Rick is selling a product which is his purpose driven religion.

Businessmen will tell you what you want to here so they can sell you their product.

So Rick can agree with all the doctrine he wants to with others.

He however only selectively preaches those doctrine because he plays to the crowd.

Again first he is a businessman selling a product so he will mold the message to what ever crowd he is trying to sell his product to.

Thats what a false teacher does.

Does he believe the doctrines he states he believes in?

I would say no because his methods and public speaking are a reflection  of the true doctrine he believes.

Here is a excerpt from a article written by Mike Oppenheimer my friend and brother in the Lord.

 side note-Portions that have been addressed in Mike’s article may have been altered or removed since the original article was posted in 2007.

Here is a link to the entire article http://www.letusreason.org/Popteac34.htm

Here is a excert from that article

At the Pew Forum’s Conference, Rick Warren was asked, “So are you saying doctrine won’t be important orhis reply: “No, no. I think, though, it’s what Augustinethe five biblical purposes of worship, fellowship, discipleship, ministry, and evangelism. Everybody agrees on that!” (Rick Warren What a purpose driven church is not” by Rick Warren, Rick Warren’s Ministry Toolbox, Issue #208, 5/25/2005) (Emphasis added).

is not important if you bring together all these –.”

said: ‘In the essentials, unity; in the non-essentials, liberty; and in all things, charity.’ And I think that’s Warren’s philosophy is ministry is

He is correct, these are what everyone would agree with; even the cults. Because what is missing are the fundamentals, those teachings that have to do with doctrine. Let Warren explain it in his own words, “And so it doesn’t demand that they change from being Lutheran or Methodist or Nazarene or Assembly of God or Baptist or whatever. I don’t really care what your doctrine is. What I care about is, do you have a process by which you bring people into membership, build them up to maturity, train them for ministry, send them out on a mission, for the glory of God?” (Rick Warren as quoted in “The Church Growth Movement in the 21st Century—Have the Rules Changed?” by Dennis W. Costella, FOUNDATION Magazine, Nov-Dec. 2004 Issue) (Emphasis added).


Warren’s focus is on “doing” instead of doctrine. But how can you build them up to maturity without them being grounded in the doctrine. If this training was coupled with doctrine or doctrine based there would be no problem but because this practice is isolated, it becomes an open door for any practice. Stating I don’t really care what your doctrine is” speaks volumes, since his purpose is to unite with other churches and put into practice this neo evangelicalism. In it most basic function it is really humanism but it is called Christian good works.

As with anything we must go under the surface of words to get to the meanings. As we look at his answers posted to questions on his website, we gain insight into what Rick Warren actually believes on these matters. Many are good answers to questions, some are not. Although Warren may not be directly answering these from his own mouth, he is responsible for these answers to these questions that go up on his website. This needs to be addressed in an adequate manner for those who go to Warren’s website (or promote his way of church) and think that this is what Evangelical churches believes.

“Question 32. What about people who live in a country without Christian witness?
Question: What about people who live in a country where they have never heard about Jesus? Will they be able to get into heaven by some other way?”


Romans 1:19-23 “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? And how can they preach unless they are sent? As it is written,”How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!”

But not all the Israelites accepted the good news. For Isaiah says, “Lord, who has believed our message? Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word of Christ. 18 But I ask: Did they not hear? Of course they did:Quotes-Romans 10:13-21



“Answer: There is only one way to get into heaven, through what Jesus did on the cross for us. He paid the price for our sins on the cross, no one else could do that because He alone is God.

”What about those who haven’t heard about the cross? They can be saved the same way that the people in the Old Testament were saved. The book of Romans tells us again and again that Abraham was saved the same way that we are, by his faith. Abraham didn’t know the name of Jesus or that one day Jesus would die on the cross for his sins, but he trusted all that he knew about the God who had shown Himself to Abraham. Because of that trust, when Jesus died thousands of years after Abraham, the same forgiveness that was offered to us was given to Abraham.”

God still reveals Himself to people who haven’t heard the name of Jesus today. Romans 1:19-23;10:13-21 tells us that, even by nature itself, we can all clearly see who God really is. None of us can stand before God and say, I didn’t understand.” We all live as His creations in the world that He has made… the evidence of the love and grace of God are all around us! Let me be clear about what this means. A person who trusted in God without hearing the name of Jesus would be of the heart to immediately recognize that Jesus was the name of the one they believed in if they were ever to hear His name and story. They would know, just as Abraham would have known, that this is the truth about the God they have been following all of their lives. Someone who has begun to walk in the light is always able to recognize a brighter light.

”Since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities–his eternal power and divine nature–have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse. ‘For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools 23and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like mortal man and birds and animals and reptiles.”


[emphasis mine]

Commentary: If Warren upholds, “There is only one way to get into heaven” by Jesus Christ, then having faith like Abraham becomes ANOTHER WAY. You cannot have one way for “those who haven’t heard about the cross” and another for those who do. Neither can you apply what was before the cross to us today as if Jesus did not make the ONLY way for all mankind to be saved. He came and we have the gospel so to argue with any pre- cross alternative is moot. It is also presumption to postulate that those who believe in God would “recognize that Jesus was the name of the one they believed in if they were ever to hear His name and story.”In answering another: question, 48. Salvation – Unbelievers, Warren seems to contradict this position by saying the correct answer: We are separated from God, and we don’t have the strength and power on our own to get back to him. That is why he had to send a savior.” This is correct, but you cannot have two ways, plan A and plan B, if plan A does not take place, plan B goes into action. If people can be right with God without hearing the gospel and believing in Jesus, then the logical conclusion- to preach the gospel would not be necessary to make anyone right with God. This offers the broad way along with the narrow way, confusing the truth.

There a growing number of people who believe in a wider grace-a wider mercy for salvation. This certainly falls into the category of inclusive salvation. In our day inclusivism has become popular for the simple reason that it makes Christianity less opposed to the average person’s concept of God; it is more “seeker friendly.” There are people who reject Christianity on the basis that God says there is only one way and there is a judgment on those who refuse. To offer another way for those who have not heard makes sense to an unbeliever and is more appealing to those who are repelled by the narrow teachings of Jesus.

Warren appears to be in this camp by his answer[s]. Unfortunately the Bible gives only one way for ALL people, Jesus is the way for all people, not just some of them. So their position not matter how well argued is wrong: Heb. 9:26 “but now, once at the end of the ages, He has appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself.”

The Bible makes it clear, the message is centered on the Son who died for our sins and nothing else will suffice, lest it become another gospel. God’s Word teaches without a decision without having faith in Jesus Christ, there is no hope of salvation. “He that has the Son has life; and he that has not the Son of God has not life” (1 John 5:12).

Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved” (Acts 4:12).  You can’t be called a true evangelical without holding to this statement by the apostle[s].

John 3:18: “He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.” “He who believes in the Son has everlasting life; and he who does not believe the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him”(John 3:36).

Warren’s confusion is that he is disregarding some important facts. Abraham’s encounter with God took place before the cross. Abraham was looking forward to a fulfillment, today we look back at the finished work. Warren says, “They can be saved the same way that the people in the Old Testament were saved. The book of Romans tells us again and again that Abraham was saved the same way that we are, by his faith.”

Does it say this? Not the way Warren is representing it. It is actually the opposite- we are saved the same way Abraham was saved– by faith. Let me explain….

When did God say this to Abraham? Abraham had God specifically reveal himself to him and was called to father the nation of Israel. God had a purpose in calling Abraham (Gen. 22:18). Rom.4:3: “For what does the Scripture say? “Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.” Today we are to believe God by His gospel message for salvation.

This dualistic view of salvation is not clarifying the Bibles position but bringing confusion.


One cannot have faith in the true God like Abraham if the final revelation of God came and that is supposed to be the message the church speaks for men to be saved. In Mark 16:15 Jesus said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature.” Acts 10:42-43 “And He commanded us to preach to the people, …. through His name, whoever believes in Him will receive remission of sins.”(see also Acts 16:10; Romans 10:15). Nowhere do we have another way to be forgiven. 1 Cor. 1:23: “but we preach Christ crucified, to the Jews a stumbling block and to the Greeks foolishness.”

Nowhere do we find any record of the apostles allowing for another way to those (Gentiles) they could not reach. Paul made it clear, “to preach the gospel in the regions beyond you” (2 Cor. 10:16). Even an angel in the tribulation preaches the gospel to the people (Rev.14:6). There is NO OTHER way.

In fact, Paul addresses the other way, “But even if we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you than what we have preached to you, let him be accursed” (Gal 1:8). The gospel is the good news of how one can be forgiven of their sins. Paul is saying if anyone tells you something other than this way they are NOT preaching the gospel delivered to the apostles.

Gal 3:14: “that the blessing of Abraham might come upon the Gentiles in Christ Jesus, that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.” This is very important to understand in relation to what Warren and other neo-evangelical positions teach in their wider mercy doctrine. It is found In Christ Jesus. This is a term for those who believed in the gospel and were saved through Christ’s atonement, not through faith by itself. Gal. 3:22: “…that the promise by faith in Jesus Christ might be given to those who believe.” Believe what, just having faith? Absolutely not, Paul has been juxtaposing the law with faith in his teaching and sums it up by faith placed in the Messiah, not just having faith itself- by faith in Jesus Christ. “For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus” (Gal. 3:26). Believing in Jesus is the faith of Abraham.

Romans 3:25-26 tells us about the sacrificev.26 to demonstrate at the present time His righteousness, that He might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.” Then Paul asks in Rom 3:29-30 “Or is He the God of the Jews only? Is He not also the God of the Gentiles? Yes, of the Gentiles also, since there is one God who will justify the circumcised by faith and the uncircumcised through faith.”So he is saying both the Jews and the Gentiles are justified by faith. And we know what this means because Paul explains that in this dispensation- But now the righteousness of God apart from the law is revealed, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets, even the righteousness of God, through faith in Jesus Christ, to all and on all who believe. For there is no difference” (Rom 3:20-22). No difference- we all have sinned and we all come to God the same way.

In fact it become clear throughout the book of Romans where Paul writes about the faith of Abraham And therefore “it was accounted to him for righteousness.” Now it was not written for his sake alone that it was imputed to him, but also for us. It shall be imputed to us who believe in Him who raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead” (Rom. 4:22).

Rom 5:1: “Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ,

This is Paul’s message never detouring from the gospel that was given to him- “that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.”

(Rom. 10:9-10).

Warren’s answer states, “A person who trusted in God without hearing the name of Jesus would be of the heart to immediately recognize that Jesus was the name of the one they believed in if they were ever to hear His name and story.” We are discussing those who have not heard the name and may never hear it.

The concept of salvation cannot be this nebulous. This view is like an alternative evangelism. There are numerous Jews who trust in the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, the God of Israel; and do not recognize Jesus as the name they believed in, so his optimistic viewpoint is quite wrong. Yes. God still reveals Himself to people who haven’t heard the name of Jesus today. But he leads them to the gospel message to be saved, not just by having faith in God. The faith of Abraham is to believe in the Messiah God gave to Israel and his work on the cross. Not just faith any God, not even believing in the God of Israel can save without the Messiah. Otherwise we need not bring the gospel to the Jews who already have a belief in the true God (but not faith).

The Book of Hebrews makes it very clear that the Old Testament system is no longer operative, and there is no longer any other way of salvation outside of Christ and His gospel. What was true for Abraham
is not true for people today. Again, we as Christians have only one proclamation-Acts 4:12: “Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.” This name is of the person who crucified for our sins, no other name, nor a faith in no name can save someone. To teach there is another way without the cross – with only faith is not preaching the gospel and is nonsense. This is not loving people, but condemning them. The idea that you can now be saved without ever hearing about Jesus is not Biblical and would end the motivation for missionary work. Then we have no need to send missionaries with the gospel but the message of Abraham will suffice, we do not need the name of Jesus or the cross. Then we do not have to be concerned to explain the gospel to those who have not heard but only have them trust in God. So, if you don’t have the Son of God and the gospel, not to worry you can still be saved by only having faith! In fact this agrees perfectly with Pope John’s statement of recognizing Islam as having the faith of Abraham. It also agrees with the universal inclusive message on interfaith that is pervading the church.

This brings me to another aberrant view that Rick Warren holds. On other religions teachings Warren does not hold the evangelical position that Christ is the WAY the TRUTH and the LIFE. He states, “there’s truth in every religion, I, I, Christians believe there’s truth in every religion. But we just believe there is one savior. We believe we can learn truth from, I believe I’ve have learned a lot of truth from different religions. Because they all have a portion of the truth. I just believe there’s one savior Jesus Christ” (Larry King Live “Interview with Rick Warren” Nov.22, 2004).

Truth in other religions that have a different God?

“I happen to know people who are followers of Christ in other religions

.” (Rick Warren (Emphasis added) Aspen Ideas Festival, The Aspen Institute, July 6, 2005, “Discussion: Religion and Leadership,” with David Gergen and Rick Warren). (http://www.aspeninstitute.org/site/c.huLWJeMRKpH/b.901097/k.C0C7/Agenda.htm.

Transcribed from the audio available at Lighthouse Trails Research Project, http://www.lighthousetrailsresearch.com/newsletternovember05.htm referenced from the book “In the Name of Purpose, Sacrificing Truth on the Altar of Unity” by Tamara Hartzell).


You can follow Jesus in other religions? How is this possible when Jesus said to forsake all pick up your cross and follow Him (only). Only the religion of Judaism has related teachings of the Messiah.

I have known many people who believe in the Messiah of Jesus, regardless of what religion they are, because they believe in him. It’s about a relationship, not a religion (Interview with Rick Warren, CNN Larry King Live, December 2, 2005, Transcript, (Emphasis added).

What question should pop up in response to this statement with those who think biblically? This broadens Jesus’ narrow road to be all encompassing.

You may be Catholic or Protestant or Buddhist or Baptist or Muslim or Mormon or Jewish or Jain, or you have no religion at all. I’m not interested in your religious background. Because God did not create the universe for us to have religion. He came for us to have a relationship with him” (Rick Warren United Nations, Interfaith Prayer Breakfast, September 2005 (Emphasis added).

This might have played well to the crowd at the UN but to those who have their allegiance to Jesus Christ it is clearly compromise. Statements like these especially to the public and those who have positions of power in the global should not be overlooked. This is diminishing Christianity as distinct from other religions. There are other statements of this genre, which support this direction, especially with Warrens emerging church associations.

end of excert

again go here to read the entire article


Be blessed and I would encorage you in this ever growing time of deception turn to scripture for the truth.

Tim Wirth



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