Posts Tagged ‘warren’

After Matthew Warren’s Suicide

April 8th, 2013 No comments

I feel so bad for Rick and Kay Warren, grieving the suicide of their son Matthew at 27.

Of course, there are no words, but as Greg Laurie said on his blog, there is the Word: God with us. I can’t imagine losing one of my children at all, much less to spend a lifetime watching them battle any type of mental illness. May God give peace to the Warren family.

Adrian Warnack has a nice piece answering the question, can Christians be depressed? (Yes.)

I was grateful to read this reflection, by Beth Moore. I can understand (barely) why people who aren’t Christians might dislike Rick Warren, but it baffles me that so many Christians not only disagree with but even hate him. [Update: Mark Driscoll’s blog entry on this tragedy and the behavior of Warren’s critics is (surprise!) comprehensive and strongly worded.]

Although I don’t know Rick Warren personally, I did get a hug from him once. Two years ago I was attending a conference on the main Saddleback campus in Orange County. Here’s what I said at the time:

I just got a hug from Rick Warren. I’m at Catalyst 1-Day. On a coffee break, chewing on what Craig Groeschel just said (man up, more or less) and Warren comes up from my blind side and says, “How about a hug for a pastor?”, delivers aforesaid hug, and moves on so quickly I didn’t realize at first who it was. Very timely. I really like that guy.

I wish I could return that hug now, when he and his family need it.

Saddleback Church

I do like Rick Warren, as I said. He says we need to be careful about making heroes of living people, because sometimes they don’t finish well, but I think he’s a pretty good model for pastors to aspire to. Not least because he loves other pastors. He did a series of podcasts for people in ministry as impressive as it was brief, and the “Minister’s Toolbox” (subscribe on is certainly worth the time of anyone in ministry.

If you haven’t read The Purpose Driven Life, I recommend you do. I’m just rereading it (actually reading the tenth anniversary reissue) and I’m more impressed now than I was the first time I read it.

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Secular Wisdom ≠ the Prosperity Gospel

April 30th, 2012 No comments

Is this the kind of thinking that gets you a berth at the New York Times? Ross Douthat apparently can’t distinguish between “Prosperity Theology” and the use of secular tools in promoting religious faith:

I should say that I’m an admirer of Rick Warren and I do quote him in the book specifically condemning prosperity theology. But, I think what you see a lot of in American religion, even in areas of American Christianity that don’t go all the way with Osteen to the idea that God wants you to have this big house and so on, the nature of American religion right now, the fact that it is so non-denominational and post-denominational, the most successful churches have to be run more like businesses than ever before. I think that just exposes Christians to a constant temptation to think about the ministry more as a business than they sometimes should.

Of course he’s right to reject prosperity theology. But that doesn’t mean he can’t use secular wisdom to promote his faith. This is an old debate. Tertullian said that Christians had no use for secular ideas (“What has Athens to do with Jerusalem?”). Augustine, by contrast, argued that Christians should use the (secular) discipline of Rhetoric to persuade their opponents (On Christian Doctrine).

On the one hand, we have the purists, who insist that God will provide us everything we need. On the other hand, those who agree, and say that God, not uncommonly, provides what we need by secular means.

Calvin, who believed the age of extraordinary miracles had ceased, thought that God gave us brains so we wouldn’t need miracles. Instead we had science:

It is also from the true science of astrology that doctors draw their judgments concerning the appropriate time to order blood-lettings, infusions, pills, or other medical necessities. Therefore we must admit that there is some correspondence between the stars and the planets and the dispositions of human bodies. All of this, as I have said, is included in the science of natural astrology.—from his “Warning Against Judicial Astronomy.”

We can smile at the idea of using the moon to time a blood-letting, but the point is legitimate. If you use your brains to develop medicine or provide food for the hungry, can’t you use them to spread your faith? Or does God’s providence only work on the horizontal dimension?

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