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Ed Stetzer and the Nuance of Rick Warren

nu·ance/ˈn(y)o͞oˌäns/

If there should be one thing that is apparent to any real Christian these days, that has even an elementary knowledge of God’s Holy Word, it should be that there has been a dangerous influx of “nuance” into the meaning of Scripture, flooding in from the new Evangelicalism. 

This has, in effect, become the age of “Nuance Theology,” and Rick Warren is leading the pack, along with Bill Hybels on the one side; Brian McLaren, Doug Paget, Rob Bell, and Tony Jones, on another side; C Peter Wagner, Cindy Jacobs, and Rick Joyner on another side; Paul Crouch, Kenneth Copeland, and Benny Hinn, on another side; Jim Wallis, Shane Claiborne, and Tony Campolo, on another side; Glenn Beck, and David Barton on another side; and many more sides could be added to the plethora of the innovators of “NUANCE THEOLOGY;” and all of these have one thing in common, their ability to capitalize on the famine of truth sweeping the globe.

New Evangelicals loudly declare that what they say is important and that they have the Bible to back their claims, and when challenged as to their exact meaning cry, “I have been misunderstood,” or some other ambiguous assertion, so that clarity is forever nuanced; possessing unlimited layers of detail, and meaning is the core of the new theology of nuance.

The Orange County Register ran a story about Rick Warren building bridges to Muslims [2], stating that,

“The Rev. Rick Warren, pastor of Saddleback Church in Lake Forest and one of America's most influential Christian leaders, has embarked on an effort to heal divisions between evangelical Christians and Muslims by partnering with Southern California mosques and proposing a set of theological principles that includes acknowledging that Christians and Muslims worship the same God.”

It is well documented that Rick Warren loves to cherry pick scripture verses and uses many Bible translations to find just the right nuance of meaning to compliment the promotion of his ecumenical agenda. But, let’s hear what just one passage of the absolute, plain, black and white, Word of TRUTH says on the matter.

14 Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness? 15 What harmony is there between Christ and Belial? Or what does a believer have in common with an unbeliever? 16 What agreement is there between the temple of God and idols? For we are the temple of the living God. As God has said: “I will live with them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they will be my people.” 17 Therefore, “Come out from them and be separate, says the Lord. Touch no unclean thing, and I will receive you.” 18 And, “I will be a Father to you, and you will be my sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty.” 2 Cor. 6:14-1

It would seem that preachers, above all men, should speak with lucidity in light of the plainness of God’s Word. When we hear words come out of the mouth of such men it is not our normal tendency to read-between-the-lines; we are not inclined to believe that they are speaking out of both sides of their mouth; we do not assume that they are “lying.” Should sheep have to be able to understand the delicate nuances of these gifted tongues? Or, should we assume, as we do with politicians, that ambiguity is simply the double-speak of men with secret agendas, and that nuances are only clever lies to trick and deceive?

Dr. Ed Stetzer states in reference to the unfavorable article in The Orange County Register [2] concerning Rick Warren that, “it is important to note that secular newspapers do not get the nuance we (as in schooled theologians) often use in evangelical Christianity.” This confuses me. If we can’t speak in understandable terms to a lost secular world, where does this put our mission to “go unto all the (secular) world and preach the Gospel”?

You should not have to guess at meanings when truth is proclaimed!! Truth is as easy to understand today as it was when it was first spoken by our Lord.

Leonard Ravenhill once said,

"One of these days some simple soul will pick up the book of God,
read it, and believe it. Then the rest of us will be embarrassed."

Education, talent, knowledge, and showmanship, and I might add, not a small amount of pride and business management, has replaced what was once the domain of uncomplicated, and uneducated men, who turned the world upside down, by repeating the revelations of inspired words; nothing nuanced and nothing misunderstood.

Peter Drucker, a marketing guru, and a mentor of Rick Warren, has taught Rick well. One of the things Rick learned, and we should learn too, is that, "The most important thing in communication is to hear what isn't being said." This is the art nuance, or in marketing terms, the selling of perceived value, which really is just deception; and this was the art of Satan, way back in the Garden; “Hath God really said. . . .” You see, Rick knows that the vast majority of people are not going to “hear what isn’t being said,” they naturally take words at face value, and thereby he slip his agenda under the radar of the average person.

Dr. Ed Stetzer, another Mega-Church advocate, admits that he too was caught off his guard by Rick’s “nuance” of words and meanings, and says in regards to the Orange County article, “However, due to the nature of the story, some mainstream news organizations and bloggers, without the constant anti-Warren agenda, were asking questions and wondering what was going on. I was.” So, Dr. Ed, and those who are not “anti-Warren” bloggers, (being distinguished from Watchmen who stay on their guard against these intrigues) asked Rick for clarification. (As a matter of fact these watchmen, for a very long time, have been asking Rick for clarification on nearly everything he says, which has only resulted in his back-peddling, statements of misinformation, defamation of “watchbloggers,” or statements of clarification denying what he supposedly said.) 

I want to conclude with the following post over at SOLA SISTERS [3], written by Christine Pack, that says succinctly what I have started to say with many more words. Please visit her web site for many great articles concerning the apostasy that has infiltrated the Church of these last days.

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Rick Warren Addresses Chrislam Controversy [4]

by Christine Pack

The problem with Rick Warren's supposed clarification is that if you hold his statement up against his life's actions, they don't seem to add up. Now that Rick Warren has come out with his statement, I think we must take the statement at face value, but I think we can certainly ask questions. In some ways, it's almost like he's gone under oath and given his testimony. But since he has, we can now present the following Exhibits:

Exhibit A – Jim Hinch Did Attempt to Speak To Rick Warren
Jim Hinch, the writer of the original Orange County article in question, despite what Rick Warren claims, DID try to speak directly with Rick Warren but was told he was unavailable for comment:

RICK WARREN: "Those statements were made by a reporter, not by me. I did not say them … I do not believe them… I completely disagree with them … and no one even talked to me about that article!"

JIM HINCH: "I talked to sources both at Saddleback and in the Muslim community and all of them described the mutual outreach efforts and the attempt to find points of theological common ground. While reporting the story I asked to speak to Rick Warren but was told he was too busy for an interview."

In addition to this, Jim Hinch, the writer of the article that caused such a dust-up is just a regular guy: he's not a theologian, and to the best of my understanding, he's not even a Christian. and after having assessed the data in front of him and after reading the King's Way document, came to the conclusion that it was an interfaith document. The question should not be, "Did Jim Hinch lie?" (because he didn't) but rather, it should be this: Why wasn't the Christian gospel message so profoundly clear in the King's Way document that it was abundantly clear to the secular, on looking world (like Jim Hinch) that Muslims and Christians do not worship the same God?

Exhibit B – Presidential Inauguration
This exhibit includes the Presidential Inauguration, where Rick Warren gave a carefully worded interfaith prayer in which he gave one of the names of Jesus as "Issa." This is NOT one of Jesus' names. "Issa" is the Arabic name for the Jesus of the Qu'ran, and the Jesus in the Qu'ran is not the Jesus of the Bible, but "another Jesus" (2 Cor 11:4) who is not the Divine Son of God, nor the Savior who came to make atonement for sinners.

Exhibit C – Rick Warren Says It's His Desire To Work with Muslims, Jews…Not Evangelize Them
Rick Warren's has given on-the-record statements that he does not feel he needs to evangelize other faiths, but only wants to work together with them to better the community….
…..Jihad Turk, director of religious affairs at a mosque in California and also co-author of the King's Way document crafted by Saddleback Church, said of the agreed upon parameters for the interfaith document: "We agreed we wouldn't try to evangelize each other…….We'd witness to each other but it would be out of 'Love Thy Neighbor,' not focused on conversion." [2]
….In 2006, Rick Warren gave an interfaith talk at a Jewish temple [5], before which he told the organizer of the event (Rabbi Wolfson) that his interest was in "helping all houses of worship, not in converting Jews."