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      Rick Warren Vs. The Gospel

      Thursday, January 3, 2008


      I receive criticism because of my stance against what Warren teaches, but, if I'm faithful to God, I believe there really isn't a choice to be made between whether I serve God in truth or invoke my seal of approval on whatever Wal-mart and its loyal constituents deem to be trustworthy. In this recent article by Chris Rosebrough at ExtremeTheology.com, Chris shares what, I believe, gives the best explanation that I've found as to why Chris, myself, and many others who buy the truth and sell it not take no part in buying what Warren is selling. My prayer is that those who do not understand why I do not approve of Rick Warren will understand after reading the following article:


      Warren's Mulligan Theory of the Atonement:
      A False Gospel?


      If you didn't see Rick Warren's Christmas Sermon on Fox News then you missed a dooosie of a sermon and by dooosie I don't mean that it was a good sermon I mean that it was a bad sermon.

      This year's "Christmas Sermon" at Saddleback is a perfect example of the quintessential Warren sermon.

      First of all, the sermon was chock full of verses ripped from their context which were cited from really bad paraphrases like "The Message". Warren delivered these verses in such a fashion that they didn't even remotely resemble what the Bible actually says and means in the original languages. (Since, when did this practice become okay?)

      Secondly, his sermon barely mentioned sin and the entire context of what we need a savior for. Instead of giving us the Biblical context of sin and the gospel proclamation of a savior being born to us Warren, like a used car salesman, listed out 3 benefits that people could receive by accepting God's "Christmas Present" to them. (Warren and his apologists call this approach the 'Positive Gospel'). Here were the promised benefits.

      1. Presence - You lose your loneliness
      2. Pardon - Jesus gives you a Mulligan, a 'do-over'
      3. Purpose - You find out who you are (discover your purpose)

      The "benefit" that I want to focus on for this post is the second one, Jesus gives you a Mulligan. Here is some video from that segment of Warren's sermon:

      video

      Warren says that God wants to give us a 'second chance', a do-over and a Mulligan. Is this the Biblical Gospel? Is the 'good news' of the New Testament the proclamation that Jesus is offering you and me an opportunity for a 'do-over'? Before you answer, consider the implications of this 'gospel' very carefully.

      I play golf nearly every week. My USGA Handicap Index is a 15.3. You could say that I have a lot of experience with Mulligans. Here is how a Mulligan works. When a golfer stands on the tee box, addresses the ball then takes a swing and finds to his dismay that rather than heading straight down the fairway his ball instead flies off into the woods or into a house or into a water hazard. Making a mistake like this on the tee box is not only embarrassing, it can be very costly. When a golfer finds himself in this situation (if his playing partners are feeling forgiving) he can invoke the Mulligan and re-tee his ball and take another swing. There is a catch. If your second shot is just as ugly as your first, there are no third chances. You cannot take a second Mulligan.

      So if you take Warren's Mulligan metaphor and mistakenly think that is what the Biblical gospel is all about then you are going to believe a false gospel.

      The Bible does NOT teach that Jesus Christ came to Earth and died on the cross so that you can have a 'do-over'. If that were the case then our salvation would still be based upon us and our keeping of God's law. That is like saying that we messed up the first time, so Jesus is giving us a 'second chance' but if we mess up another time there is no hope for us. Quite frankly, I don't need one do-over, I need hundreds of do-overs every day.

      This whole do-over/Mulligan metaphor that Warren used is at best wrong and at worst is a 'false gospel'.

      So what would be an appropriate Golf illustration that conveys the truth of the Biblical Gospel?

      If you want to use a golf analogy to convey the true 'Good News' of the scripture it would sound like this.

      Pretend you are a terrible golfer (for most there is not much imagination needed here). Now pretend that your eternal salvation depends on you scoring a perfect round of Golf (par or better for the entire round) at Bethpage Black (arguably the toughest golf course on the planet) and the course has been set up for U.S. Open conditions (7400 yards long, 8 inch rough and greens so fast it's like putting in a bath tub). But, wait just to make things even more difficult, the devil has thrown in gail force winds that are swirling and gusting as high a 60 miles an hour.

      To give you an idea of how difficult this feat is, Tiger Woods at the 2002 U.S. Open at Bethpage Black, with practically perfect weather conditions was the ONLY golfer with a score that was UNDER par. Phil Mickleson was the only other golfer that scored an even par for the tournament. Every other golfer was above par for the tournament. But under these course conditions not even Tiger Woods has any hope of being saved. Sadly, even if Jesus gave you a Mulligan then there would still be no hope of your being saved. One 'do-over' would be quickly gobbled up at Bethpage Black under these conditions.

      So then how can you be 'saved' in this scenario?

      The Biblical Gospel teaches us that even under these impossible conditions, Jesus Christ shot the perfect round of golf for you at Bethpage Black and is offering you HIS scorecard as your own. He's already taken your scorecard, the one with all the sins on it, and he's atoned for those sins on the cross. In return, He will give you His perfect scorecard and let you sign your name to it as if you were the one who shot that round.

      Do you see the difference between these two golf metaphors and the implications they carry regarding the Gospel?

      The 'gospel' Warren preached this Christmas was the 'gospel' of the Mulligan and the do-over. But this is really no gospel at all. It puts our salvation back on our shoulders and puts us in an impossible situation by requiring us to get it right the second time.

      The Gospel that the Bible teaches isn't about 'do-overs', its about what Christ has already DONE for you (believers). He has won your (believer's) salvation and is offering you a full and true pardon, complete forgiveness and His perfect righteousness as a gift.

      There is a big difference between Warren's Mulligan Theory of the Atonement and the Biblical Gospel. Which are you going to put your trust in?


      12 comments:

      Philip@ReformedVoices said...

      Romans 3 sure has a different tone to it from the Message paraphrase compared to the NASB. It is truly sad that millions of church-goers will be raised up on this paraphrased mess. I don't want to think of what this movement will have evolved into 20 years from now. Wouldn't a genuine revival be something though, if God would have mercy on these churches and turn them around.

      The Message
      'Since we've compiled this long and sorry record as sinners (both us and them) and proved that we are utterly incapable of living the glorious lives God wills for us, God did it for us. Out of sheer generosity he put us in right standing with himself. A pure gift. He got us out of the mess we're in and restored us to where he always wanted us to be. And he did it by means of Jesus Christ.'

      NASB
      '21But now apart from the Law the righteousness of God has been manifested, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets,

      22even the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all those who believe; for there is no distinction;

      23for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,

      24being justified as a gift by His grace through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus; '

      Philip@ReformedVoices said...

      It is also troubling to see the gospel message changed in order to plug your own book.

      1. Presence
      2. Pardon
      3. Purpose* (available in the lobby)

      Joe C said...

      Philip, your first post is a disturbing look in to these paraphrase Bibles, and your second post was pretty funny. But I don't think the word "purpose" is copywrited yet. I'm wondering if we think Mr. Warren can never use that word again without people thinking it's a plug for his books?

      Also, about the whole "mulligan" thing. No metaphor is perfect, and we really have to understand that. When you're speaking to a massive crowd, you usually gear towards the 'lowest common denominator', as we say in the military. Most people understand 'do over', and 'mulligan'. I honestly do NOT think Rick Warren meant that metaphor maliciously and as a means to perpetrate a false gospel. I think it was a pretty poor metaphor, but I think you guys picked it apart a bit too much, and most people in that audience wouldn't take it like you did. However, all of this could have been prevented if Rick had just said "second life" instead of "second chance". You're right, "chance" implies at least some second-winded effort on our part. That would be bad, in terms of Jesus' Grace.

      You know what I'd be much more concerned with in that video? Not the whole mulligan thing, I mean yeah, it's a poor metaphor but it won't damn anyone. What I'd be worrying about is when Rick Warren said "God is not mad at you, he's mad about you".

      Now that presents a problem for the non-believers...

      Don't they need to know about God's anger towards sin and sinner? How else can one be cut to the heart, unless they see there is a problem? There needs to be a balance between love, law, and grace, and it just wasn't there in that video.

      I agree that God is "mad about us" and definintely loves us, or He wouldn't have humbled Himself and became nothing for our sakes, but He is definintely mad at us too.

      I think Rick Warren is a well-meaning Christian who's dumbed himself, the Bible, and Jesus down so much, that he's now pretty much blind to the weak milk he's preaching at this point. We should pray for him.

      V/R

      Joe

      Lane Chaplin said...

      No metaphor is perfect, and we really have to understand that.

      Which is the Gospel? Is it Rick's metaphor or Chris' or neither? The law of non-contradiction means that they both can't be right so either one is right and the other is wrong or they are both wrong. I hope you'd agree that they're not the same metaphor.


      I think it was a pretty poor metaphor, but I think you guys picked it apart a bit too much, and most people in that audience wouldn't take it like you did.

      That's the problem. Most people wouldn't take it apart because they don't know what the real Gospel is. Perhaps you hold that Paul the Apostle was a "nit-picker," too when he said, "I marvel that you are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel: Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ. But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed." (Gal 1:6-8) Now I'm assuming that we both agree that Paul wrote this so now we have to decide upon what another Gospel is. Note that he was speaking this after there were Jews that had come in among the Churches at Galatia saying, "Yeah... you have to believe on Christ, but you have to do this stuff, too." He said about them, "Let them be accursed." Now we have Warren who says, "Yeah... you have to believe in Christ, but it's only so you can have a second chance to keep the law and do good." If Paul were alive today, I believe his words would be the antithesis of your comment.


      "I honestly do NOT think Rick Warren meant that metaphor maliciously and as a means to perpetrate a false gospel."

      Joe,

      You either are incredibly naive, you don't know what the true Gospel is, or you don't believe in the true Gospel. Which is it? I can explain it to you if it's the second.

      Joe C said...

      Man...you missed the point entirely of what I was saying. I know the Gospel, thank you for being willing to share anyways.

      What I am saying about metaphors, is if you're going to use one, it's not going to be perfect anyways. Rick chose poorly there. Metaphors aren't perfect because we're not perfect.

      I still don't think Warren is TRYING to preach a false Gospel. The guy actually thinks he's doing good, and he's done plenty of good, but the road to hell is paved with good intentions. He preaches a very fluffed message, at best. I've never heard him preach a false Gospel though, and I'll accept any video or written evidence you have to that end.

      Paul warns about adding to the Gospel, but incase you really need the Biblical litmus test on what the Gospel is, Paul wrote one out for us in 1 Cor. 15:1-6 for a quick reference.

      I'm wondering if you're implying that we should never use parables or metaphors to explain Biblical Truth? Would that be the antithesis of what Paul was saying? Can I use a metaphor to explain the Gospel, even if it's not perfect?

      As for: "You either are incredibly naive, you don't know what the true Gospel is, or you don't believe in the true Gospel. Which is it? I can explain it to you if it's the second."

      This kind of rhetoric is not necessary. You don't know me, cut me some slack.

      V/R

      Joe

      Lane Chaplin said...

      I've never heard him preach a false Gospel though, and I'll accept any video or written evidence you have to that end.

      So you agree with Rick that the Gospel is basically "God gives you a second chance to do good since you've messed up?"

      If you do not agree with Rick that the Gospel is basically this, then you have already had video evidence showing that end. If you do agree with Rick, then either you don't know what the Gospel is or you don't believe it. It's not that complicated. Paul didn't say, "If any man preaches another gospel, let him be accursed... unless, that is, I haven't taken the time to get to know him and see if he has a 'good' heart and is just ignorant of what the Gospel is. In that case, invite him into your home." Since you're coming here and making comments that are directly pertaining to the Gospel, I don't have to have tea with you to know what you believe. The non-seeker-sensitives use the same arguments with Jim at Oldtruth.com and others when they talk negatively about their "church ministries": basically, "You've never even been here. Who are you to judge what we do?" when what they believe is made public for all to see. Apparently they believe that one can't criticize public comments unless they play a game of basketball with them, see a movie, or whatever so they can "know them". Since you came on this blog to make public comments, one doesn't need to be your friend to know what you believe. You've made it perfectly clear. So you say, "I've never heard him preach a false Gospel" and what I've presented clearly shows that I believe what he presents a false gospel, I don't need for people to get to know me for them to know what I believe. No one else does, either. A Muslim says, "I don't believe Christ was crucified on the cross." I don't have to get to know him to know he stands condemned.

      So, back to the quesion:

      Do you agree with Rick that the Gospel is basically "God gives you a second chance to do good since you've messed up?"

      Joe C said...

      No, that's not the Gospel, but that's also not what Warren said, at all. You set up a false ditchomy. You should quote Warren and not make a quote up yourself.

      I see him say...the 'first shot' isn't counted against us (our previous life before Christ...), I see him start talking about how it'd be nice to have mulligans in every area of day to day life (who wouldn't want that? He's not talking about the Gospel in this instance of the sermon.) Then I see him talk about how God loves to give mulliganS, plural, second chances, plural. Not a "get it right this time, one chance". As if we could do anything to save ourselves, no. But I hear "no matter how many times you screw up, you have THE second chance in Christ, a second life, I don't count the first against you." And this new life is eternal.

      What Warren did definitely say, no metaphor included was: "[God says:] I love you, and I offer you a chance to be forgiven and have [your sins] completely wiped out. (2:38-2:42)" Are you telling me that is factually incorrect? It seems to me that this is the Gospel message in very essence. What you've seemingly failed to realize by what you've written here is that Warren used the set up of a rough metaphor, something that everyone gets and is familliar with in our culture (golf), and then launched in to God's forgiveness from there. Jesus used this method of teaching all the time. It wasn't the best metaphor, and wasn't the best lead-in, but the quote I wrote above IS Gospel-truth.

      Now as for..."Since you came on this blog to make public comments, one doesn't need to be your friend to know what you believe. You've made it perfectly clear." I hope I've been clear that I believe 1 Cor. 15:1-6 is the Gospel. If you disagree with me there, then I'm VERY interested to know what you think is missing? What would you teach me that the Gospel is?

      "A Muslim says, "I don't believe Christ was crucified on the cross." I don't have to get to know him to know he stands condemned."

      Problem here is this: apples and oranges. Rick Warren has said NOTHING like this at all. 1 John details that denial of Jesus as the Christ is proof of not having God. And while a Muslim would say that, Rick Warren has NOT said that, nor anything like that. This was a bad example as it's not comencerate with the person being addressed.

      Like I said, I was more concerned with "God is not angry with you" and on from that point of the video, rather than the mulligan metaphor.

      I don't appreciate the tone you've taken with me. And if you think I'm a heretic, an unbeliver, or someone who doesn't understand the Gospel, depite it being so simple children could 'get it', then that's fine, you're not the Judge anyways Lane. I'll pray for you and your ministry, I hope you great things for the Kingdom. God bless you.

      V/R

      Joe

      Lane Chaplin said...

      What you've seemingly failed to realize by what you've written here is that Warren used the set up of a rough metaphor, something that everyone gets and is familliar with in our culture (golf), and then launched in to God's forgiveness from there.

      Obviously either you haven't read the post or you're willfully leaving out what the author of it said. Chris used a golf metaphor. He explained that Warren uses the wrong metaphor. It's rather simple to understand that they both can't be right. What Warren said is that we have a mulligan. Am I wrong with that? Obviously not. What is a mulligan in golf? It's a do-over after a bad shot, but what happens with a mulligan? Does it mean that the player automatically wins the game regardless of the bad shots he makes from there on out or is it still dependent upon the man to make the mulligan shot down playable? That's the problem. Christ played the round with the perfect scorecard and offers it to everyone who believes. Warren, ***by his mulligan analogy*** says that God gives us a do-over. Is this not what a mulligan is? Since he uses the mulligan analogy, he's not preaching the true Gospel. It's really not hard to understand if one understands what the Gospel actually is. To say I set up a "false dichotomy" is to somehow insinuate that it was because of me that he said, "mulligan". I did not set up a false dichotomy by simply stating what he's said.

      "[God says:] I love you, and I offer you a chance to be forgiven and have [your sins] completely wiped out. (2:38-2:42)"

      What verse is that?

      What you've seemingly failed to realize by what you've written here is that Warren used the set up of a rough metaphor, something that everyone gets and is familliar with in our culture (golf), and then launched in to God's forgiveness from there.

      Have you even read the post? Clearly Chris "uses the set up of a metaphor, something that everyone gets", but uses it correctly. Warren uses a golf metaphor incorrectly.

      Problem here is this: apples and oranges. Rick Warren has said NOTHING like this at all.

      Study Galatians and see if Paul agrees with you.

      I don't appreciate the tone you've taken with me.

      I'm sure the churches in Galatia didn't appreciate it either when he didn't tickle their ears. Instead, he gave them the truth:

      You stupid Galatians! Who has bewitched you? It was before your eyes that Jesus Christ was publicly portrayed as crucified. Let me ask you only this: Did you receive the Spirit by works of the law or by hearing with faith? Are you so foolish? Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by the flesh? Did you suffer so many things in vain--if indeed it was in vain? Does he who supplies the Spirit to you and works miracles among you do so by works of the law, or by hearing with faith-- just as Abraham "believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness"? Know then that it is those of faith who are the sons of Abraham. And the Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel beforehand to Abraham, saying, "In you shall all the nations be blessed." So then, those who are of faith are blessed along with Abraham, the man of faith. For all who rely on works of the law are under a curse; for it is written, "Cursed be everyone who does not abide by all things written in the Book of the Law, and do them." Now it is evident that no one is justified before God by the law, for "The righteous shall live by faith."

      - Paul the Apostle
      (Gal 3:1-11)

      And if you think I'm a heretic, an unbeliver, or someone who doesn't understand the Gospel, depite it being so simple children could 'get it', then that's fine, you're not the Judge anyways Lane.

      According to Jesus:

      Do not judge...
      according to appearance, but judge with righteous judgment.

      - Jesus Christ
      (John 7:24)


      And according to Paul:

      Do you not know that the saints shall judge the world? and if the world shall be judged by you, are you unworthy to judge the smallest matters? Know you not that we shall judge angels? how much more things that pertain to this life?

      - Paul the Apostle
      (1Co 6:2-3)


      Apparently those two quotes were left out of the "canon" of the Purpose Driven Life, as well.

      Joe C said...

      Wow Lane, all I can say is you've either misrepresented what I've said, or misunderstood me completely. I don't expect you to see this, and since I've tried explaining twice already, I'll let it go. I think what I've said will stand for itself though. Do you always treat your brothers in this way?

      I'm sorry if I offended you with the false gospel I apparently believe in. I guess our sins aren't wiped away by Jesus' death on the Cross, by coming to Him in faith. Someone should call Rick Warren and tell him he was wrong when he said that in the video.

      You win, I'm a heretic, I guess it's very obvious, or something. =(

      See you at the Ressurection of the Righteous, Lane. God be with you. I'll be praying for you and yours brother.

      Love,

      Joe

      Lane Chaplin said...

      Wow Lane, all I can say is you've either misrepresented what I've said, or misunderstood me completely. I don't expect you to see this, and since I've tried explaining twice already, I'll let it go. I think what I've said will stand for itself though.

      I haven't misrepresented or "not seen" what you've said, I just merely haven't agreed with it. There's a big difference. Digressives (what are called "emergents") and non-seeker-sensitives always resort to the straw man that says, "Ah, you just don't get it." every time someone regards the truth to be of a higher value than someone's self-esteem. That's wrong, though. We do get it, we just don't agree with it. When digressives/non-seeker-sensitives really admit that, then there may actually be a conversation instead of people merely talking to themselves about what they think Christianity means to them.


      I guess our sins aren't wiped away by Jesus' death on the Cross, by coming to Him in faith. Someone should call Rick Warren and tell him he was wrong when he said that in the video.

      Did the unbelieving Jews in Paul's day not say, "Yes, you must believe in Christ?" Of course they did. What was Paul's problem with them, then? Was it because there was no mention of Christ in their delivery? No. It's clear they presented that part. What was Paul's problem, then? Well, if you take everything they said in context with everything else they said, they were promoting a false gospel. Although Warren clearly says certain things "correctly" (I use that term very loosely) if you take everything that he says in context, he is promoting an untrue Gospel. If anyone is taking something someone says out of context to fit their own agenda or misrepresenting them, it is you with Rick Warren.

      Lane Chaplin said...

      PS. Since your "discernment" leads you to go ask questions regarding discernment on CRN.lack-of-info and insinuate that I imply you're a heretic, it should be pretty telling to all who actually have discernment as to where your conclusions lead you (as if it wasn't clear to them already.) A person with sound discernment wouldn't go to a thief and ask him about the truth on the morality of stealing and expect to receive a valid answer. You shouldn't go to individuals with a lack of discernment to ask about true discernment, either, even if you do enjoy being flattered. Christ didn't say, "Unless you deny yourself... you're not worthy of me" flippantly. He means it.

      Anonymous said...

      I see that Lane has been "watched" by the watchdog watchers:

      http://tinyurl.com/yshjry

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