The Reinvention of Rick Warren
The laid-back, Hawaiian shirt and loafers Rick Warren is in the process of being spiffed up in time for a global summit of the World Economic Forum. Check out the recent makeover at http://www.purposedrivenlife.com/rickwarren.aspx. The photo is still the same California casual, but the text is very different.
Discernment Research Group has been predicting for some time that we would see Warren morphing into The Reverand Doctor Richard D. Warren. Before reading the impressive-sounding quotes below, Herescope readers should keep in mind that Warren's doctorate (DMin) was received from Fuller Theological Seminary under the tutelage of C. Peter Wagner, a Latter Rain cult leader who is the founder of the New Apostolic Reformation, and chief conjurer of new dominionist doctrines. His doctoral thesis, not notably scholarly, was to become his first book, The Purpose-Driven Church [see http://www.deceptioninthechurch.com/addendumNAR.html].
Note the new use of the term "Dr." in Warren's image makeover. Also note in the very first sentence that Warren is no longer using the phrase "Global Giants," which he had borrowed from Bruce Wilkinson, who recently left Africa in disgrace (see Herescope posts of 12/21 and 12/23). He is now attacking "Global Goliaths." Marketing is the name of his game:
"Dr. Rick Warren is passionate about attacking what he calls the five “Global Goliaths” – spiritual emptiness, egocentric leadership, extreme poverty, pandemic disease, and illiteracy/poor education. His goal is a second Reformation by restoring responsibility in people, credibility in churches, and civility in culture. He is a pastor, global strategist, theologian, and philanthropist. He’s been often named 'America's most influential spiritual leader' and “'America’s Pastor. . . .
"As a global strategist , Dr. Warren advises leaders in the public, private, and faith sectors on leadership development, poverty, health, education, and faith in culture. He has been invited to speak at the United Nations, the World Economic Forum in Davos, the African Union, the Council on Foreign Relations, Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government, TIME’s Global Health Summit, and numerous congresses around the world. . . . " [emphasis added]
Notably missing from this list above is Rick Warren's foray into the Aspen Institute this past summer. The purpose-driven website continues:
"As a theologian, Dr. Warren has lectured at Oxford, Cambridge, the University of Judaism, the Evangelical Theological Society, and numerous seminaries and universities. His six books are known for explaining theology in understandable ways and have been translated into more than 50 languages. Dr. Warren says he teaches theology without using theological terms and telling people it is theology. . . ."
"As philanthropists, Rick and Kay Warren give away 90 percent of their income through three foundations: Acts of Mercy, which serves those infected and affected by AIDS; Equipping the Church, which trains church leaders in developing countries; and The Global PEACE Fund, which fights poverty, disease, and illiteracy. . . . " [emphasis added]
A corollary puff piece that ran yesterday, Sun, Jan. 08, 2006, in the Philadelphia Inquirer, "The purpose-driven pastor," by Paul Nussbaum, posted at http://tinyurl.com/dqlk3 notes:
"This week, it was the Rose Bowl players' breakfast. This month, it will be the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. Then the President's prayer breakfast in Washington, followed by an entertainment industry conference in Los Angeles. . . .
"In North Philadelphia, the Rev. Herbert Lusk, the former Philadelphia Eagles running back who is pastor of the Greater Exodus Baptist Church and a prominent supporter of President Bush, brought Warren to town in November to raise money for aid to Africa. . . . 'The guy is a preacher's preacher... . He's the leading evangelical in the world, unquestionably,' Lusk said. . . . " [emphasis added]
Concurrent with his new image, due to the ever-present marketing strategies that are incorporated into every activity that he engages in, Warren is also re-packaging his dominionist theologies. Note the "spin" in the comments below. He continues to tie government monies to his international church expansion, in a rapidly emerging global faith-based arena:
"Warren said he sees religious institutions as more powerful forces than governments for solving the world's problems.
"'I would trust any imam or priest or rabbi to know what is going on in a community before I would any government agency.'"
"But, powerful as churches can be in working for the powerless, they can't succeed without governments and nongovernmental organizations, Warren said."
Finally, note the disengenuous statements below. Warren points his finger at "fundamentalists" as the new enemy. This belies the fact that Warren is pumping up -- to a global scale -- pure Latter Rain Dominionism.
"Evangelicals are often equated with fundamentalists or the religious right, which annoys Warren. Although he's politically conservative - opposing abortion and gay marriage and supporting the death penalty - he pushes a much broader agenda and disdains both politics and fundamentalism. . . .
"Warren predicts that fundamentalism, of all varieties, will be 'one of the big enemies of the 21st century.'
"'Muslim fundamentalism, Christian fundamentalism, Jewish fundamentalism, secular fundamentalism - they're all motivated by fear. Fear of each other.'"
"For yet a little while, and the wicked shall not be: yea, thou shall diligently consider his place, and it shall not be. But the meek shall inherit the earth; and shall delight themselves in the abundance of peace." (Psalm 37:10-11)