Several weeks ago I was visiting some great friends in Troy, Michigan. We were up late one evening scrolling through tv channels and stumbled across a Christian evangelist whose soul purpose of the night was to not only criticize Rick Warrens teachings but to label him as a heretic. I’ll be honest, I was angry. I could not believe that another Christian pastor had the audacity to publicly slam someone on the same team. (Ephesians 4) talks about unity in the Body of Christ and this was anything but unity! Sadly, this is not the first time I’ve watched a very prominent Christian leader be attacked by someone who should be playing for the same team.
Now, I understand that we should examine doctrine and what we are taught and I also understand that there is no way that everyone is going to agree on everything doctrinally, but we should agree on the essentials of our faith and agree to disagree on the disputable’s. I believe some of those disputable’s are style and approach. Everyone will have an opinion and that is valid, but Jesus himself in Luke 6 said “we will be known by our fruit.” When the fruit of Rick Warren’s life is examined, I believe the arguments of his critics are silenced!
With all of that said, I had to the opportunity to observe the fruit of Rick Warren’s labor when I visited Saddleback Church on Saturday night. I would encourage others to not only believe what you hear or read, but to go and see for yourself before you sit in the seat of judgement. I was blown away by the work that has been done in California and around the world and excited to see that God is still doing amazing things at Saddleback Church. (Which by the way has a large cross hanging in the front and a beautiful altar call was given at the end, for all of you who were questioning that. 🙂 )
We were privileged enough to attend on the weekend that Pastor Rick was reviewing the purpose and meaning behind Saddleback Church. He broke down the core values of the church in the name SADDLEBACK. It was great to hear his heart and there were 2 values that really stuck out to me.
1. S – Saddleback is a church for Second Chance Grace people! It is a hospital for sinners not a hotel for saints! (love that line and may have to steal it.) I loved hearing Pastor Rick’s heart for the lost. Every saint has a past and every sinner has a future!
2. B- Bold Faith. I loved Pastor Rick’s value of living a life characterized by bold, limitless faith. It resounds with the beat of my heart to dream big and let God handle the rest! He said “I want to live my life in such a way that I’m bound to fail unless God bails me out.” What a great approach.
All in all, it was an honor to visit Saddleback church and I’m looking forward to learning from Pastor Rick at his conference for church planters. I’m also reflecting on how incredibly grateful I am to be a part of the Body of Christ represented by so many amazing local churches world-wide who are making a difference for the kingdom of God!