They should not listen to Rick Warren because he is of sound theology; indeed, he preaches a false gospel. There is just enough truth in his message to be believable, and just enough lies in it to be damnable. But people should listen to Rick Warren because this man is an expert on trends in popular culture. It is not by mere accident that he is the author of a New York Times #1 bestseller, which sold a record-breaking seventeen million copies in its first 19 months, making it the bestselling hardback nonfiction book in history, and also the best-selling book in about a dozen languages. And it is also not an accident that he is the founding pastor of one of America's largest churches. He knows trends, and he knows how to capitalize on them. We are commanded by Jesus Christ to be as wise as serpents, which entails understanding what is happening in the culture around us, even if we must at the same time often condemn it.
Here are excerpts from http://pewforum.org/events/index.php?EventID=80 in which Rick Warren discusses popular trends :
MR. WARREN: …And really "mainline" is sideline now. They're not mainline anymore, they're sideline denominations. The mainline is evangelicalism…
Then the other story that I would encourage you to look at is this evolving alliance between evangelical Protestants and Catholics, particularly in the evangelical wing of Catholicism. In 2004, there were three big surprises in our culture. One of them was the success of the movie The Passion, which was roundly panned by everybody and then went on to become the third biggest best-selling movie in history – grossing $600 million. The second was, for the second year in a row, my book was the best-selling book in the world. A book by a pastor – how's a book by a pastor selling that many, almost a million a month? And the third was some of the so-called "values voters" from this past election. And really, I happen to agree with some of what's been said, that there's a lot of over-emphasis laid on that. But in all three of those, Catholics and evangelicals came down on the same side of the fence in many areas. Now when you get 25 percent of America, which is basically Catholic, and you get 28 to 29 percent of America, which is evangelical, together, that's called a majority. And it is a very powerful bloc, if they happen to stay together on particular issues.
…You know, 500 years ago, the first Reformation with Luther
and then Calvin, was about beliefs. I think a new reformation is going to be
about behavior. The first Reformation was about creeds; I think this one will
be about deeds. I think the first one was about what the church believes; I
think this one will be about what the church does.
The first Reformation actually split Christianity into dozens and then hundreds of different segments. I think this one is actually going to bring them together. Now, you're never going to get Christians, of all their stripes and varieties, to agree on all of the different doctrinal disputes and things like that, but what I am seeing them agree on are the purposes of the church. And I find great uniformity in the fact that I see this happening all the time. Last week I spoke to 4,000 pastors at my church who came from over 100 denominations in over 50 countries. Now, that's wide spread. We had Catholic priests, we had Pentecostal ministers, we had Lutheran bishops, we had Anglican bishops, we had Baptist preachers. They're all there together and you know what? I'd never get them to agree on communion or baptism or a bunch of stuff like that, but I could get them to agree on what the church should be doing in the world.
And the way I expressed it is that the Bible calls the church the body of Christ, and what's happened in the last 100 years is that the hands and the feet have been amputated and the church has just been a mouth, and primarily it's been known for what it's against. It's been known for what it's against. And I am working toward a second Reformation of the church which could create a Third Great Awakening in our nation or world…
…it's what Augustine said: "In the essentials, unity; in the non-essentials, liberty; and in all things, charity." And I think that's how evangelicals and Catholics can get together. And I don't know if you know this or not, but fundamentalists and Pentecostals don't like each other, okay? They don't. But they could get together. "In the essentials, unity; in the non-essentials, liberty; in all things, charity." …
See, here's the other reason why I believe a Reformation could happen: every time God's word is put into new technology, there's a Reformation. In 1456 or something, that's when Gutenberg came out with the printing press, and the first thing he prints, what is it? A Bible. It's not pornography; it's the Bible, okay? Within about 50 years of that time we have the Reformation. Why? Because what Martin Luther nailed to the wall of the Wittenberg door somebody pulled off the wall and started reprinting. The Reformation would have never happened without the technology to make it possible. We now have a new technology which allows global networking between millions of local churches. It's called the Internet...
I think that in an election, faith trumps everything. Faith trumps everything. The unspoken factor is this: in the last eight elections, all eight elections, a man who claimed to be, quote, "born again" won – everybody since Carter. And that shows the difference in politics, but Carter, then Reagan-Reagan, Clinton-Clinton, Bush-Bush, all eight elections, a guy who claimed to be born again won the election. America, in the last half of this century, elects born-again presidents. Reagan has been to my church. And both Reagan and Bush number one would tell you privately they were born again….
Rick Warren is asserting in his statements quoted above that there is a growing alliance between “evangelical Protestants” and Roman Catholics, and that this will issue in a new “Reformation” that brings “evangelical Protestants” and Roman Catholics together. We should not be too surprised as that happens.
But as it happens, we should recognize that these “evangelical Protestants” are not really Protestants, for they have abandoned cardinal doctrines of the Bible, like the doctrines of grace, the regulative principle of worship, etc. And we should not confuse their “Reformation” with true reformation, for it is not founded in the truth of God’s word. We should not get tangled in their web, for purposes of political expedience or numeric church growth. We must trust that in due time God will wipe away that which is false, no matter what the numbers may now be or soon become. “He delighteth not in the strength of the horse: he taketh not pleasure in the legs of a man. The LORD taketh pleasure in them that fear him, in those that hope in his mercy.”