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Thursday, October 7, 2010

Rick Warren Teaches Pelagianism at John Piper's Desiring God

By Justin Edwards

From Apprising Ministrie
This year's controversial Desiring God Conference came to a close Sunday evening with a keynote lecture from Purpose Driven Pope Rick Warren. Earlier this year, John Piper's invitation to Rick Warren sparked a firestorm among fundamental and reformed evangelicals as Warren is known for his pragmatic pulpit, Scripture twisting, and man-centered gospel that has served to do more harm to the Body of Christ than perhaps any other modern church movement. While Warren makes no apologies for his unbiblical methods and even heretical teachings, the fact that John Piper believes he is biblical "at root" left many scratching their heads this past spring. Following the public announcement of Rick Warren's invitation, Piper said,

At root I think he is theological and doctrinal and sound. (Source)

I wonder if John Piper still thinks this to be true. I just got a chance to listen to the entire lecture given by Warren at DG2010 through the review of Chris Rosebrough of Pirate Christian Radio. And what has been made clear more than any other material I've heard or read of Rick Warren, his speech on Sunday left no doubt that he is a heretical Pelagian.

In a nutshell, Pelagianism denies original sin and teaches that man is morally neutral. Man therefore has the capacity to choose God through rational thought and free will apart from the grace of God. In fact, man is born with the same moral purity as Adam before the fall, and it is only the influences of his environment and making poor intellectual decisions that leads man to sin and bad behavior. In other words, man has the ability to fulfill or obey the commands of God by his will alone (for more on the heresy of Pelagianism , please see Pelagianism and Pelagianism: Religion of Natural Man).

So what does this have to do with Rick Warren? Well, as Rosebrough said on his October 4th program, Warren's lecture Sunday was Pelagianism run amok.  Warren believes "all behavior is based in a belief" and "behind every sin is a lie I'm believing" (per Rosebrough from Saddleback's 2008 Purpose Driven Community Conference). In other words, sin only consists in the separate act of the will and if we just learn what the truth is, we can stop sinning. If we just change the way we think, we can change the way we behave. The obvious thing missing here is the grace of God and the transforming power of the Holy Spirit.

Rick Warren's lecture at the DG conference was on "The Battle for Your Mind." Warren asked the audience to listen to his message like their lives depended on it. He makes the claim that "ineffective Christians" are that way because they don't know how to fight the battle in their minds. He even goes so far as to call sin a mental illness and if Satan can get you to believe the lie, then you will sin. What Warren is doing here is denying the total depravity of man and reduces sin to a mental capacity of choosing to do the wrong thing, rather than sin being the very essence of human nature. What's more, Rick Warren outrageously made the comment that we must "put on the fruit of the Spirit". As if this is something that man does in putting on joy, peace, patience, and love, etc. The fruit of the Spirit are the character traits of God manifest in the lives of the born again believer, not something that man can just choose to try out to see if it works ala the Purpose Driven Pope's pragmatic "just try Jesus".

By presupposing a faulty view of sin, Warren believes man can choose to obey God through the Law and thus believes man can be sanctified by submitting to a moralistic list of do's and don't's. Rick Warren preaches a works-based, man-centered gospel that leaves the grace of God, the redemptive work of Christ, and the regenerating power of the Holy Spirit totally out of the picture. As Rosebrough says, this is rank Pharisaical moralism.

If you have been unclear as to why John Piper should have never invited Rick Warren, you must listen to Chris Rosebrough's review. The heresy that was taught at the DG2010 conference must not be left to silence by Piper, Al Mohler, and even John MacArthur who did not speak at the conference. Rick Warren is a hypocrite who says only methods should be changed and not doctrines, while he is doing just that by being at root theologically and doctrinally unsound. To make this point abundantly clear, Warren said the following in closing,

The biggest limitation of your ministry is your imagination...God can't help you reach a goal unless you've got a goal. A goal is a statement of faith and without faith it is impossible to please God.

How much worse can you twist Scripture, Rick Warren? This is what the Scripture actually says in Hebrews 11:6,

And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.

This is about saving faith, Mr. Warren, not about dreams and visions.

In any case, Chris Rosebrough's review is well worth the full 2.5 hours where he discusses much more than I have laid out in this post. I pray we will hear from John Piper and other leaders soon as the crossless and man-centered law gospel of Rick Warren must not be left to silent endorsement.

You can stream the show through the video below or download the mp3 here: Rick Warren's Lecture at Desiring God

I also recommend Daniel Neade's Enough! Scripture Twisting Is Not 'Doctrinal and Sound'


  1. why is it that no one is listening to the crap this guy is saying????
    why are people so blind????

  2. jackie, they're blind, because Piper is endorsing them, and they're taught not to be critical of their Christian leaders.

  3. er Piper is endorsing HIM I mean.

    Justin, excellent job. Thank you for posting this. The more voices we can add to this call for repentance the better. It is sad to me that here we have all been shouting from the rooftops about this wolf, some people for decades... and yet more and more respectable pastors are falling for him anyway. I ask, are they completely unaware of what is going on outside their ivory towers?

  4. okay, but why are you using Way of the Master on your site? yikes! And The Rapture? Really. Oh my. Warren is a bucket of heresy, but some of your links, ...??? I don't think so.

  5. Anonymous, I suspect yours will be a drive-by comment, but just in case you'd return, how about elaborating on your superficial jabs. Of course, it could be that you are ignorant on the biblical methods of evangelism and the biblical Rapture of the Church, so I'd welcome the opportunity to discuss these truths with you.

  6. Thank you very much for the encouraging comment, terriegal. This sort of topic is a difficult but necessary one and I agree that many more need to be sounding the alarm. We find ourselves in a time of great compromise, and we need to keep the pressure on those who are ignorantly or blatantly leading sheep to the slaughter. We know the days ahead will only get darker with deception, so we must continue donning the whole armor of God and defending the faith at all costs.

  7. Great post.
    Apprising "borrowed" the picture you used from my blog post - I put that pic together when I did my post on Piper inviting Warren on April 1st. Glad to see it is being passed around the web.

  8. Justin and Jeff, I appreciate the links you both have to Apprising. Thank you.

    Nice piece Justin.

    And Jeff, just so you know, I use Google images so I wasn't aware it was your pic.

    Well done. :)

  9. Hi Jeff, thanks for the comment.

    You did an awesome job with the photo. It's fascinating how it came full circle. :)

    And thanks for stopping by, Ken - very encouraging the post made it your way. I really appreciate all the work you do at Apprising.

    Thank you, brothers.

  10. If you really read and believe the Bible, you would know that there is NO pre-tribe Rapture... Read Matthew 24, it says it all in black and white there, do you think we are better than Yeshua that we should not suffer? He paid the full price, He died for us, Do you not think that we will not go through tribulation on earth? some already do and have , people are killed and die for Christ everyday! This is a lie being taught today... People need to prepare for Tribulation, put on the full armor of God... Please read that scripture to know what really will happen... wake up!

  11. oh yes, and it says , Those who endure until the last will be saved, many are listen to false teachers and turning away from the true Gospel ,, Hence the GREAT FALLING AWAY...Study your bible , Gods word, pray , don't believe everything you hear....

  12. Just so you're not accused of error yourselves, please check the details here - i think he was the Friday night plenary speaker... not Sunday...
    Grateful for all you do!

  13. Thank you for this post Justin Edwards.

  14. Thanks Anonymous - I thought I heard RW make reference to his closing out the conference on the audio. I'll have to double check as the schedule you linked to is prior to Warren's canceling his appearance. If you can confirm this before I can, please let me know.

    Many thanks!

  15. You're quite welcome, 7drizzles7. Thanks for stopping by!

  16. Emily, I suppose you might also be a drive-by poster, but just in case you'd return, I'll make a couple of comments to your faulty post.

    Actually, the pre-trib rapture is indeed taught in Scripture. If you are referring to Matthew 24:29-31, that is about the 2nd coming, not about the rapture of the church.

    There is a major difference between tribulations and persecutions suffered in the Christian life and THE Great Tribulation that is to come, of which no man has not been seen by the world EVER:

    Matthew 24:21 "For then there will be a great tribulation, such as has not occurred since the beginning of the world until now, nor ever shall."

    We are promised persecution as Christians, but this is not the same tribulation that will come upon the inhabitants of the earth during the final 7 years.

    If Christ already paid it all and He has purchased us for a great price, we are already found perfect, blameless, and holy before God. There is no need for us to be "purified." We already are.

    1 Thessalonians 1:10 makes it clear we will be delivered:

    "and to wait for His Son from heaven, whom He raised from the dead, even Jesus who delivers us from the wrath to come."

    Those who endure to the end is a per Matthew 24:13 is a reference to the Jews. Only those Jews who believe in Jesus as the Messiah will be saved. 2/3's of them will be killed during the tribulation.

    Applying that verse to Christians is to reject perseverance of the saints or eternal security. You are placing a condition on salvation instead of resting in the grace of God alone. We are saved by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone, lest we should boast. God holds on to us, we don't hold on to Him.

    If you are attributing the falling away to those who believe in the pre-trib rapture, I think you need to take a hint of your own advice. Perhaps a word study on apostasy might benefit you.

    And oh yes, I absolutely believe in the inerrant, infallible, sovereign Word of God. I *really* do. I also *really* read it.

    If you are serious about studying eschatology through proper hermeneutics, then I encourage you to pick up a copy of Arnold Fruchtenbaum's The Footsteps of the Messiah. Check it out in the recommended books on the left.

  17. Dear Emily,
    You said in your post:

    "do you think we are better than Yeshua that we should not suffer? He paid the full price, He died for us, Do you not think that we will not go through tribulation on earth?"

    Jesus paid the ultimate price for us so we DON'T have to suffer! He took OUR PLACE! That is why we as believers should have the ultimate gratitude for Him because of what HE DID! If we feel as if we must suffer because He suffered, then we essentially say that His sacrifice was not enough—that we have to suffer too. This thought wrongly takes the glory away from Jesus and gives it to us. We are saved OUT OF God's wrath by placing our faith and trust in Jesus Christ! The Great Tribulation is God's wrath on an unbelieving world, not His children! I honestly do not believe Jesus wants to claim His bride smelling like smoke! The verses in Matthew 24 are tribulation verses, not church age verses. Those "enduring to the end" are those who survive the tribulation and go on to live in the millennial kingdom.

    Take heart, Emily! The same God that you put your faith and trust in is going to save you "from the wrath to come"! Give HIM the praise for this!!

  18. Justin,

    Only people who live in America can say they will be raptured out of here and not have to suffer the Antichrist's wrath. If you will read about the persecution that true believers are suffering around the world today you will see that the Tribulation is happening right now. I believe there will come a day when there will be Great Tribulation world wide, including right here in America. When I was first saved I was told that we would be raptured out of here and not have to go through any suffering. Tribulation means a gradual increase in intensity of suffering, like the birth pangs Jesus said would be one of the hallmark signs before His return. We (Gentiles) are grafted into the Jewish tree. The Church is made up of believing Jews and Gentiles, and to suggest that "those Jews" will have to stay behind and suffer the wrath of the Antichrist is anti-semitic. The fact that the church has for the most part not suffered persecution for the last 200+ years is an anomaly. For most of History the Church has been persecuted for our Faith and we are going to be in the very near future. You are confusing the wrath of man from the Wrath of God. "He who endures (the wrath of man) to the end shall be saved".

    P.S. How many times does the Lord return? My Bible says the Second Coming. Only 1 more time, not 2 or 3 etc..

  19. Thanks for the comment, Anonymous. The tribulation doesn't start until the covenant is affirmed. So while the church is under persecution, and in greater persecution outside the American church, it is still not THE Tribulation.

    You are correct - the church is made up of believing Jews and Gentiles, but not Jews of the promise. Read Romans 9-11 and you will see that God clearly has a future plan for the Jews.

  20. So do you think 5 point calvinism (especially the wrong idea of limited atonement)is any better than pelagianism?...

  21. Hi Josh, thanks for the comment. Pelagianism gives man the credit for his (false) salvation, while the doctrines of Grace (or Calvinism as you say) gives ALL the credit to God. Thus, God gets all the glory and man can only boast in the Lord, versus man getting the glory and man boasting in himself.

    So it's pretty clear to me.

  22. Having written two books exposing the false teachings of Rick Warren, including documented case studies of churches in which he is a destroyer of the brethren, I am heartened that so many good brothers and sisters in Christ such as Ken Silva, Ingrid Schleuter, Paula Coyle, Chris Rosbrough, Daniel Neade, and Justin Edwards saw right through the sham that Rick Warren presented at Piper's Desiring God Conference. But am sickened and sorely vexed that Piper and the Panel of sychophants including Piper himself, Pastpr Burke Parsons (Ligonier...R.C. Sproul) and Pastor Kevin Young (University Reformed Church), drunk with Warren's kool-aid, would cheer on this wolf masquerading as a servant of righteousness, rendering themselves derelict watchmen on the wall...a reproach to all of the saints that Rick Warren's PDL and Global Peace Plan ship's propeller has left dismembered throughout the world. Are these men so naive that they don't know that there are now at least twelve books by biblical scholars and lay persons who have authored books which have demolished Warren's strongholds and principalities...the very thing Warren says we must be mindful of? Rick Warren's talks about taking care of his own family, while a host of saints that Warren calls "resisters" and "enemies of the 21st Century" and his co-conspirator Dan Southerland call Sanballats and Tobiahs...leaders from Hell" never receive any justice or due process of Biblical discipline. This is the height of hypocrisy.

    The entire Desiring God panel should be marked for now they have all become accomplices in accordance with this Scripture:

    2Jo 1:10 If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into [your] house, neither bid him God speed:

    2Jo 1:11 For he that biddeth him God speed is partaker of his evil deeds.

    Loren Davis, a God-fearing Evangelist, written up in a front page Wall Street Journal article, has sounded the alarm on His Holy Hill with how Rick Warren is destroying Africa on this broadcast interview on Southwest Radio's Watchman on the Wall:


    As Ken Silva has pointed out, now Rick Warren in his Clairvoyant Christianity has endorsed Dr. Laverne Adams' "DRIVEN BY DESTINY 12 Secrets to Decode YOUR Future"
    Foreword by Dr. Rick Warren. But this does not surprise me, after all , contrary to Jesus Christ's own warning about predicting tomorrow, Warren guarantees his Global Peace Plan will succeed!

    In this regard, I invite you to visit our new website which documents the legions of demons Warren promotes and proves that Rick Warren is a clear and present danger to the Body of Christ at:

  23. The more I listen to Warren the more I see how pridefull he is about his church and his knowledge. He talks to much. Maybe he should take a long holiday away from 'his' Sadleback church and his books. The only book he can take with him is the Bible. That contains all the knowledge of Christ.

    @Justin, you are right: it is all law and 'selfhelp' and worksbased religion that Warren is teaching. It's a Christless christianity.

  24. @Justin, I thought you had made the program, but it was Chris. :-)

  25. Man has a free will and man can choose to repent or reject the gospel. I believe that man coming to salvation is a little but of the Holy Spirit working and man choosing. But the Bible supports both views.

    Why is it that Calvinist sometimes are the most self-righetous of all Christians?

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  29. I kinda like what Pastor Jack Kelly of says about Rapture ney-sayers. That is, wouldn't it be something if we all got the Rapture we believe in? Post-tribbers have to wait it out, mid-tribbers stay for the 1/2 time show, us pre-tribbers are out of here in the begining. But alas in God's mercy, we'll not suffer. As I said to my dad, who's a post-tribber "I'll explain it all on the way up". Eli

  30. That's good, Anonymous - I had not seen Kelly say that before.

    But for the grace of God! \o/

  31. Justin, excellent analysis, thankyou.

    I'm curious to know if you've heard Stan Johnson, of the prophesy club speaking on the topic of the rapture?

  32. Thank you, Jacqui. As to your question, no I have not, but I'd like to keep this thread on topic. Thanks!

  33. Hi Jacqui, I informed Anonymous that I would like him to post comments related to eschatology on appropriate posts, and I ask you to do the same. Sorry for the confusion. :)

  34. I am surprised at how this thread got hijacked by the topic of "rapture"....

    It still doesn't change the fact that Purpose Driven is nothing more than purpose dribble and it IS based on a false heretical theology...

    I din't care how much his apologetics associate (though he says he is not) states and tries to prove that RW is in fact theologically sound.

    Thanks for a great post above on the topic of FALSE THEOLOGY PELAGANISM


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