Rick Warren Announces His Successor

From left, Stacie Wood, Rick Warren, Andy Wood. (Photo courtesy of A. Larry Ross)

Rick Warren, senior pastor of Saddleback Church of Orange County, California, has announced that he will be succeeded by Andy and Stacie Wood, a husband-wife pastor team. The Woods are currently pastor and “teaching pastor” of Echo Church in San Jose. Saddleback, the second largest church in the Southern Baptist Convention, defies the Convention’s statement of faith (not to say the Bible’s clear teaching) that forbids female pastors. “But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence. For Adam was first formed, then Eve. And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression” (1 Timothy 2:12-14). A year ago, Saddleback ordained its first three women pastors, Liz Puffer, Cynthia Petty, and Katie Edwards. Now it will have a female senior pastor. Called by Christianity Today “America’s most influential pastor,” Warren’s influence is vast. His “Purpose Driven” philosophy, based on his best-selling book The Purpose Driven Life, reaches into every sphere of Christianity, from Catholicism to Mormonism to liberal Protestantism to evangelicalism to fundamentalist Bible and Baptist churches. A decade ago, over 12,000 churches from all 50 states in America and 19 countries had participated in Warren’s 40 Days of Purpose. Over 60,000 pastors subscribe to Rick Warren’s Ministry Toolbox. Many independent Baptist churches have been influenced by Warren’s teaching. He conducted a Purpose Driven Super-Conference in October 2003 at Jerry Falwell’s Liberty University (Falwell was dually affiliated with the Southern Baptist Convention and the Baptist Bible Fellowship). Simultaneously, Warren’s 40 Days of Purpose campaign was shown by telecast in more than 4,000 churches, including independent Baptist. Rick Warren has been called “America’s pastor,” and it is for good reason. He is so shallow in his teaching, so positive in his approach, so slighting of repentance, so neglecting of unpopular doctrines such as judgment and hell, so tolerant of heresies, so ecumenical, so enthusiastic of rock music, so soft-spoken on that nasty subject of worldliness, that apostate America can’t help but love him. All of these characteristics are reflected in his best-selling book. His gospel is so empty that it is unquestionably a false gospel. Here is how to be saved, according to Rick Warren: “Wherever you are reading this, I invite you to bow your head and quietly whisper the prayer that will change your eternity. ‘Jesus, I believe in you and I receive you.’ Go ahead. If you sincerely meant that prayer, congratulations! Welcome to the family of God!” (The Purpose Driven Life, pp. 58, 59). This is not the gospel that was preached in the book of Acts or the epistle of Romans or in 1 Corinthians. There is no clear dealing with the sin issue, nothing about God’s holiness and justice, no clear teaching on what Jesus did on the cross, nothing about the blood, or the resurrection. Just believe in Jesus. What Jesus? Believe what? Believe how? The apostle Paul warned fiercely and persistently of false gospels and plainly and extensively described the true gospel, but Rick Warren is cut from a different cloth. He is a cheerful, upbeat, likable heretic, and the fact that he is a member in high standing in the Southern Baptist Convention reveals that convention’s apostasy. (For extensive further documentation of this charge, see Purpose Driven or Scripture Driven, a free eBook available from www.wayoflife.org.)

(Friday Church News Notes, June 10, 2022, www.wayoflife.org fbns@wayoflife.org, 866-295-4143)