As you might have heard, Rick Warren recently was at the Vatican by invitation of the Pope for a consultation of marriage and the family, along with Russell Moore and NT Wright. Evangelical views on these topics have much more in common with Rome than they do with mainline Protestantism. In fact, Evangelicals are finding time and again that Rome is of the same mind on most of the great moral issues of our day. Many Evangelicals have gone over to Rome for their clearer moral vision even if their doctrine has some troubling aspects.
Here is a clip of Warren’s statement about collaboration with Rome.
Readers of my blog know that I am a supporter of Evangelical Catholics Together. I am not a Roman Catholic. If I thought Rome got it right, I would be one. But I believe that she has a defective soteriology that weakens assurance, clouds justification by faith alone, and gives the church too high a place in salvation and the priest too high a priestly duty. And yet…. I don’t need to rehearse here all that leads me to draw a circle that includes Rome within the fellowship that I keep.
Dr. James White posted these words about Warren on his Facebook page.
I don’t want to ruin your [Thanksgiving] celebration, but my heart truly aches when I see something like this. The Pulpit and Pen folks linked to this video featuring Rick Warren. It is, to put it bluntly, a complete capitulation on Warren’s part. It is simply horrific. Either he is utterly ignorant of the realities of the dogmatic teachings of Rome, or, he is so completely compromised on his own view of the gospel that he can speak like this. In any case, if I were not spending the majority of the next 36 hours in planes, standing in lines, or trying to be nice to TSA agents and other assorted unsmiling officials, I would be doing a special edition of the Dividing Line, or a ScreenFlow video, about this. It is such a betrayal of the Reformation and the gospel itself, and it is the fruit of the “Mere Christianity” cancer that has eaten away at the robust faith that once delivered millions from bondage to the darkness that is Romanism. I hope to be able to put together a video fairly early on in Kiev in response to this. Timing will be in the Lord’s hands.
is a video of Dr. White’s response to the words from Rick Warren.
Where do I even begin? I don’t have time to outline the necessary caveats that should be attached to the words of Dr. White. By the way, I regularly listen to his weekly podcasts, posted YouTube debates, and YouTube presentations. He speaks for that kind of conservative Christianity which is very much of the Evangelical dialogue and for which I have significant appreciation. The man does exegesis! If something is going to pass muster with Dr. White, you better have your Bible open and your theology books memorized. But I have some distance from his mindset. The first has to do with attitude and acerbic wording. The approach he takes leads to unnecessary division. There is an underlying anger and a loss of self-control at times that leads him to riffs that are not careful. The second is that he is satisfied with Reformed mantras that don’t answer the questions being asked. For him the answer to the charge that Calvinism is nothing but determinism is that those who make the charge do not make the distinction between primary and secondary causation. That’s where he stops. He is too easily satisfied. Third, he needs to interact with more with the best people and the best arguments rather than the fringe he seems to constantly focus upon. Some scholars will not debate him because of his approach to the debate and not his stand.
By the way, Dr. White indicates he got some of his info on this from Pulpit and Pen, where the host calls Warren, “you lying Satanic bag of trash.” You listen to this stuff, Dr. White? Is this one of the programs you go to in order to keep up with what’s happening? To use your words, “Really? Really?”
And yet I listen to Dr. White because he presses me, chases me down, and makes me give an account of myself for the stands I take. If there is a way for me to get shot down, Dr. White will find it. He will not only find it, he will plant the flag of victory right into my lifeless body.
I think I speak for the majority of Evangelicals who affirm an alliance with Rome on moral issues of the day and an awareness that a Christian’s relationship with Christ can rise above faulty theological formulations. But I need to remember that Evangelicalism is filled with former Roman Catholics who could not find a personal relationship with Christ there. They are angry and disturbed by what happened to them under the Roman system and see no redemption there. Evangelicals who convert to Rome are not so embittered.