Saturday, March 12, 2011

Rick Warren on Fundamentalism

"Muslim fundamentalism, Christian fundamentalism, Jewish fundamentalism, secular fundamentalism - they're all motivated by fear. Fear of each other."
~Rick Warren

Really? That reasoning seems pretty simplistic.  It it the kind of reasoning that puts the three major religions in the world on the same common denominator, when they are each distinctive on their own.  In fact, if you were to take a look into it and study it, you might see that religious fundamentalism is motivated by a lot of things, not just "fear."   

But what is "fundamentalism" anyhow?

Wordnet.princeton says: "the interpretation of every word in the sacred texts as literal truth"

Wiktionary says, "The tendency to reduce a religion to its most fundamental tenets, based on strict interpretation of core texts;"
 
Christian "fundamentalism" then, would be a religious view that stresses the infallibility of the Bible's words and message, not only in matters of faith, morals and in the practice of that faith, but also as a  historical record of the Jews, the early church, and the life and death of Jesus Christ.  It would also be one that takes what the Bible teaches into understanding on topics like the creation of the Earth, animals and all that is in it, not to mention the stars and heavens above, and even the origin is things like angels and humans.   Fundamentals of the Christian faith would include, but not be limited to, a belief in the virgin birth of Jesus Christ, (the Messiah who was to come to the Jews,) his teachings, his life, death and the part about his physical resurrection too, which was claimed by those first Christians who wrote the New Testament scriptures, to be God's blood atonement made sacrificially by him in our place for sin.  Add to this the believe that Christ will come again... his Second Coming and you understand what it is that Christians FUNDAMENTALLY believed 2000 years ago, as well as today.


Warren expressed a lot of his views about "fundamentalism" at a conference in Florida in 2005.  Here are excepts of his conversations from a transcript highlighting his opinions on the subject.  You can read the transcript in it's entirety, here.

Note:Underlined parts and emboldened sections are done for emphasis (by me)  Underlined parts are parts to be noted in general and the boldened black font parts are what Warren specifically says about "fundamentalism."  


 ".... about a hundred years ago, Christianity split into two wings in the Protestant division and this hasn't been happening with Catholicism, but it did happen in Protestantism." ~ Rick Warren

Since when has there not been divisions in Catholicism?

"There is a fellow named Walter Rauschenbusch, who is the man who came up with the term "social gospel." Rauschenbusch was a liberal theologian and he basically said we don't need this stuff about Jesus anymore; we don't need the cross; we don't need salvation; we don't need atonement; we just need to redeem the social structures of society and if we do that people will automatically get better. This is basically Marxism in a Christian form." ~ Rick Warren

So here, Rick makes mention of Rauschenbusch....
the one who taught, what Warren calls,  
Marxism in Christian form.
But really, do we know of anyone else working 
to  redeem "the social structures of society," 
maybe someone who  is hoping to 
get everyone on his own bandwagon and 
work together to eradicate his list of terrible evils 
of our world, like  "unhealthy"
pastors and those other social ills...
poverty, disease and illiteracy.
Warren made it a poit to point out that 
Walter Rauschenbusch taught a social gospel...
what Warren calls, "Marxism in a Christian form."

"And there were even magazines like The Christian Century(Might he mean the Christian Oracle?)which was a pretty audacious title when it started at the beginning of the 20th century - as if to say, this is going to be the Christian century; we are going to bring in the millennium simply by changing the social structures of society. Well, nobody believes that anymore after two world wars and a bunch of other stuff." ~ Rick Warren

But what happened is Protestantism split into two wings, the fundamentalists and the mainline churches. And the mainline churches tended to take the social action issues of Christianity - caring for the sick, for the poor, the dispossessed, racial justice and things like that. Today there really aren't that many Fundamentalists left; I don't know if you know that or not, but they are such a minority; there aren't that many Fundamentalists left in America."

"Anyway, the fundamentalist and evangelical movement said they were just going to care about personal salvation when they split from the mainline churches. What happened is the mainline churches cared about the social morality and the evangelicals cared about personal morality. That's what happened when they split. But they really are all part of the total gospel - social justice, personal morality and salvation. And today a lot more people, evangelicals, are caring about those issues." ~Rick Warren
The Myth of the Modern Megachurch, Pew Forum, Transcript, 2005

The "total gospel?"
  
Social justice, personal morality and salvation, mind you, 
are not exclusive to the Christian faith. 
These are pertinent to every religion. 

That is exclusive to Christianity is "the Gospel of Jesus Christ."
and it is the same thing John the Baptist preached
about the man from Nazareth, born in
Bethlehem, named Jesus. 

"Behold, the Lamb of God!"
The "total" gospel  is all inclusive of this statement by John
and it would include what the apostles believed 
and wrote and publicly proclaimed after Jesus'
  Resurrection from death.

"Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, 
you and your household,
and you will be saved." 



"....we need to help journalists use the right terms. There is a difference between "evangelicalism" and "fundamentalism" and "the religious right." And people use them like they are synonyms. They are not - they are very, very different. I am an evangelical. I'm not a member of the religious right and I'm not a fundamentalist. " ~Rick Warren
The Myth of the Modern American Megachurch, Pew Forum, Transcript, 2005


I'm not a fundamentalist. " ~Rick Warren



One year (2005) he says he is not a fundamentalist.
(they are just too radical, 
too extreme in their beliefs.)
and a few years later, (2011...
he is "radical" about the roots of Christianity.

“You need to be radical 
in your connection to God 
so that you are rooted" 
~Rick Warren
 
 Rick Warren said this regarding his recent Radicalis conference.

Also regarding the Radicalis conference,
Liilian Kwan, reporter for the Christian Post quoted
Warren telling the world what being radical meant::
"Being a radical in the truest sense
of the word: rooted in Christ,
rooted in his love,
rooted in the Word."
~Rick Warren
  


Duplicitous Rick
would claim to be
all about fundamentals,
even call himself "Radical,"
but deny being anything
like a Christian "fundamentalist"
who actually believes
the fundamentals of the Christian faith.


" MR WARREN: How do you explain a book by a pastor selling now over 25 million copies? And that's in English. The book has sold over 30 million copies worldwide. And I'm not even a writer.I tell you, there's nothing in the book that's new - not a single thing in the book that's new, that's not in historic Christianity over the last 2,000 years. I just happened to say it in a simple way

ELSA WALSH, THE NEW YORKER: So are you saying doctrine won't be important or is not important if you bring together all these -

MR. WARREN: No, no. I think, though, it's what Augustine said: "In the essentials, unity; in the non-essentials, liberty; and in all things, charity." And I think that's how evangelicals and Catholics can get together. And I don't know if you know this or not, but fundamentalists and Pentecostals don't like each other, okay? They don't. But they could get together. "In the essentials, unity; in the non-essentials, liberty; in all things, charity."
The Myth of the Modern Megachurch, Pew Forum, Transcript, 2005

Evangelicals  and Catholics
even in their differences, 
find fundamental common ground

As for "fundamentalists".... who,
according to Rick warren, 
"do not like "Pentecostals"
note how he is contrasting groups of people
makeing certain to once 
again isolate :"fundamentalists"
as the negative people.
Note also that "Petecostals"
claim to believe those five
the fundamentals of 
the Christian faith.

 JUAN WILLIAMS, NPR: Picking up on this business about the disagreements between the fundamentalists and the Pentecostals, I mean, this struck me as news because when journalists write about it, we go to people like Robertson and Falwell to represent the evangelicals. And that's the way it comes across, so it strikes me that we're ill informed or you're wrong. (Chuckles.) And secondly, that you're not using this God-given influence you spoke of, because your influence is not showing up in the American media in terms of supplanting people who you would tell us are bogus.

MR. WARREN: Well, I tell you, that's the reason I accepted this meeting, because I'm just tired of having other people represent me and represent the hundreds of thousands of churches where the pastors I've trained would nowhere, no way, relate to some of the supposed spokesmen of a previous generation.... Now the word "fundamentalist" actually comes from a document in the 1920s called the Five Fundamentals of the Faith. And it is a very legalistic, narrow view of Christianity, and when I say there are very few fundamentalists, I mean in the sense that they are all actually called fundamentalist churches, and those would be quite small. There are no large ones. ~Rick Warren


 "Legalistic?"  "Narrow view?"

Seriously???
Does Rick Warren mean legalistic,
as in they might actually hold to a
belief in the Ten Commandments?
Is this "narrow view" concept of Christianity
mean they have the audacity to believe
the scriptural ways of
narrowness, like John 14:6?


While Rick faults the Five Fundamentals document,
Rick himself is in the business
of redefining and replacing
and changing Christianity...
be ready for a little slight of mind,
you see,
as Rick finds fault some obscure document

 you never paid much attention to before,
he would be happy to get you to ascribe
another concept of fundamentals...
Five of them...called the Five Purposes.


MR. WILLIAMS: Bob Jones is not a mega-church?

MR. WARREN: No, no, no, no, no, no no. Bob Jones is not a mega-church. That's right exactly, it's not, and that group is shrinking more and more and more. On the other hand, Pentecostalism and charismatic evangelicalism is growing by leaps and bounds. It's growing huge all over the world. And so that's the movement that's growing.

MR. WILLIAMS: What's the difference between a fundamentalist and a Pentecostal?

MR. WARREN: A fundamentalist would deny the miraculous today. They would - for instance, one of the hallmarks of a Pentecostal would be praying for miracles of healing and speaking in an unknown tongue and things like that. Those would be hallmarks of Pentecostalism and fundamentalists would say, "Oh no, all that stuff died at the end of the New Testament." They would not accept the miraculous today.

Rick is a bit misleading..  
"Fundamental" teachings
of the Christian faith, 
like the virgin birth and
the resurrection of Jesus,
resurrection from the dead
are not your common everyday occurrence;
these are miraculous indeed, and Christians 
who believe the fundamentals of Christianity
believe those very things.
They do believe in miracles.

As Christians they have the liberty
to be like Bereans
and search the scriptures
so as not to be deceived
when dealing with
signs, wonders and
sensational appearances  
of things like gold teeth
that appear  in people's mouths
and then appear
to some as "miracles"

MR. WILLIAMS: So what's the difference between you and the fundamentalists?

MR. WARREN: Well, I don't agree with that. I believe there are miracles today.

MR. CROMARTIE: Let me give you a quick answer to that. The difference between an evangelical and a fundamentalist is an evangelical is someone who really, really, really likes Billy Graham. A fundamentalist is someone who thinks Billy Graham is a liberal.

MR. WARREN: That would be true. A fundamentalist basically would look at many others in Christianity and say, "You're not even a Christian." They'd say it about Lutherans, Methodists, Presbyterians, Catholics. You know - even evangelicals. It's interesting - maybe 15-20 years ago, Falwell stopped calling himself a fundamentalist, and actually left the fundamentalist fellowship, and he went and joined the Southern Baptist Convention - which is as wide - I mean you can find anything in that."
The Myth of the Modern Megachurch, Pew Forum, Transcript, 2005




 
"MR. GOLDBERG:....The question is, do you think your followers - or the people who come to church, the people who read your books, the people you are talking to all over the world - are sophisticated enough to hold this contradiction in their minds and to see Jewish people as not just Jews, but let's divide the world between the saved and the unsaved. Do you think that they are sophisticated enough -

MR. WARREN: I do. Absolutely, without a doubt because the fundamental issue of Christianity is this: the purpose-driven life is built on two verses of scripture, both by Jesus. One is called the Great Commission, and the other is called the Great Commandment."
The Myth of the Modern Megachurch, Pew Forum, Transcript, 2005

Be amazed as you 
watch Rick redefining 
what a "fundamental" Christian is. 
 He is stating that the purpose driven paradigm is 
built not on fundamentals already established, 
Watch how he circumvents that idea... 
and tells his listeners Purpose Driven
is the  fundamental issue of Christianity.
and it's not built on Jesus, but rather 
built on two commandments...
Jesus gave.
                                
THIS, is legalistic.


"And so I think fundamentally Christianity and Judaism both teach that it's all about love. It's all about loving God and loving your neighbor. That's why I was serious when I was saying you're my cousin; I obviously have far more in common with someone who is Jewish than I do with someone who is a secularist - far more in common because we worship the same God; it is Adonai, it is Jehovah. We worship the same God. We are cousins in the faith.

Now the ridiculous thing is this myth that all religions are not mutually exclusive. If you've studied them - anybody who has studied the world religions knows they cannot all be right because they totally contradict each other. Anybody who says they don't has never studied the world religions. They are mutually exclusive, and that's why I come back to my earlier statement that I'm going to bet my life on one of them because I cannot bet my life on all of them. And I think the stupid thing is not to make a bet." ~Rick Warren

The Myth of the Modern Megachurch, Pew Forum, Transcript, 2005

 
"Now the ridiculous thing is this myth that all religions are not mutually exclusive."
 ~Rick Warren

Are they mutually exclusive or not?
Which is it?


 

"I think fundamentally Christianity and Judaism both teach that it's all about love.
It's all about loving God and loving your neighbor" 



"Muslim fundamentalism, 
Christian fundamentalism,
Jewish fundamentalism, 
secular fundamentalism -
 - they're all motivated by fear.
Fear of each other."
                                                                                       ~ Rick Warren





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