It was never my intention to write so extensively about a man whom I generally ignore, but one thing none of us can ignore is the church growth movement.  And there is no one who personifies this better than Rick Warren.

If you doubt his global scope or think he is just a ‘man of the cloth’, then read on.  He has many connections — secular and religious — around the world, categorised below along with reference links.  Most of these are taken from In Plain Site‘s ‘Rick Warren’s Strange Bedfellows’. Others are indicated with additional links below. The people I have not mentioned can be found in posts here.  It’s a long post — apologies, but it is necessary.  (Emphases are mine, unless otherwise indicated.)

If nothing else, please go to page two to the ‘Council on Foreign Relations’ section to see what is planned for church donations.  Think ‘welfare’.

New Agers

Ken Blanchard teamed up with Rick Warren and Willow Creek’s Bill Hybels.  Who is Ken Blanchard? He is an ageing New Ager who helped train Christians in ‘leadership’:

On November 2nd 2003, Rick Warren gave a sermon at a Saddleback Church service … in which he announced the relationship between his P.E.A.C.E. Plan and Ken Blanchard and his Lead Like Jesus Movement …

A page on the Willow Creek Association web site (dated October 29, 2004) says that Rick Warren, John Maxwell and Ken Blanchard are among the speakers for The 2005 Leadership Summit …

As of July 2010, The Leadership Summit on CD featuring, among others, Ken Blanchard and Chuck Colson was available in the Willow Creek online store…

Blanchard is known as a management expert. His book The One Minute Manager (co-authored with Spencer Johnson) has sold over 13 million copies and has been translated into 37 languages …

Blanchard endorses a book Mind Like Water by Jim Ballard who says in the acknowledgment section that he wishes to acknowledge the great line of masters for their guidance and inspiration. And who count among Ballard’s “line of masters”? … “Jesus Christ, Bhagavan Krishna, Mahavatar Babaji, Lahiri Mahasaya, Swami Sri Yukteswas and Paramahansa Yogananda.”

Does Mind Like Water ring any bells?  The WELS Wisconsin Lutheran Seminary features a course by the same name.  Could the book be on the reading list?

Bernie Siegel is a New Ager with whom Warren has traded book blurbs (endorsements on the cover or inside sleeves). Emphasis in the original below:

In chapter three of The Purpose-Driven Life, Rick Warren suddenly makes reference to someone called Bernie Siegel …

“Hope is as essential to your life as air and water. You need hope to cope. Dr. Bernie Siegel found he could predict which of his cancer patients would go into remission by asking, “Do you want to live to be one hundred?” Those with a deep sense of life purpose answered yes and were the ones most likely to survive. Hope comes from having a purpose.” [Page 31] …

Incidentally, Rick Warren’s reference to Bernie Siegel immediately followed him talking about Isaiah and Job as two men who exemplified life “without purpose” and life “without God.”

    “Without God, life has no purpose, and without purpose, life has no meaning. Without meaning, life has no significance or hope. In the Bible, many different people expressed this hopelessness. Isaiah complained, “I have labored to no purpose; I have spent my strength in vain and for nothing.” Job said, ‘My life drags by—day after hopeless day” and “I give up; I am tired of living. Leave me alone. My life makes no sense.’ The greatest tragedy is not death, but life without purpose. [Zondervan; 1st edition (October 1, 2002) Page 30]

It is a little hard to believe that a Christian pastor can mention men without purpose, and Isaiah and Job all in the same paragraph …  A closer look at Isaiah’s words show that he was, in fact, lamenting that his ministry was having little success. However he consoles himself with the reflection that his cause was with God, and that his labors would not go unrewarded. Job’s words in Job 7:6 had to do with the fact that everything had been taken from him, including his children and health. He had no hope that his miseries were going to be, in any way, alleviated. Neither quote had anything to do with “a life without purpose” or being “without God.”


Dan Kimball  and Brian McLaren: Although Saddleback is not a direct participant in the movement, Warren obviously approves of the Emerging Church movement. Rick Warren was a contributing writer to Dan Kimball’s book The Emerging Church and his web site also features the Innovative Church Conference …

Spencer Burke and The Ooze: At one time Rick Warren had stated that he thought The Ooze website is, “one of the best online communities related to post-modern ministry”, which means that pastors around the world will likely recognize the Ooze as a trusted source for spirituality.

Leonard Sweet: In 1994 Rick Warren and Leonard Sweet teamed up to produce the Tides of Change audio set published by Zondervan

The October 2007 Catalyst Conference featured Rick Warren and … Leonard Sweet along with Erwin McManus …

Rick Warren invited Sweet to speak at the 2008 Saddleback Small Groups Conference called Wired …

Rick Warren wrote this glowing endorsement for the front cover of Leonard Sweet’s book Soul Tsunami

Soul Tsunami shows us why these are the greatest days for evangelism since the first century!”

In the book … Sweet … says that times are changing and you’d better “Reinvent yourself for the 21st century or die.”

… Leonard Sweet’s online book, Quantum Spirituality, sheds some revealing light on the envisioned global “church” for the 21st century. In his view, the offense of the cross has been replaced with a passion for interfaith peace and possibility thinking. To illustrate this point, Dr. Sweet quotes Thomas Merton, the popular Catholic author who popularized mysticism and died in Asia searching the depths of Tibetan Buddhism.

Charismatics and Evangelicals

John Wimber, Charismatic — The Vineyard Community Church

C Peter Wagner, Fuller Church Growth Institute

The Vineyard Community Church has a page on the web site devoted to “A collection of thoughts and RW-John-Wimbermemories of the late John Wimber” [pictured at right, emphases mine below] among which is one by Rick Warren who says:

“I will remember John Wimber as a man who truly loved Jesus more than anything else. I always enjoyed our conversations because that love for Christ produced an uncommon passion in his life that was contagious. I will miss that. A hundred years from today, people will still be singing “Spirit Song” because it verbalizes that deep love for Jesus”.

In the mid 70’s, John Wimber left the Quaker church he pastored to become a lecturer for the Fuller Church Growth Institute he came into contact with C. Peter Wagner, a fellow professor at Fuller, who he was greatly influenced by and vice versa. Through his contact with Wagner, who for years had been a missionary in Bolivia, Wimber was exposed to the stories of supernatural confrontations, miracles, healings, demonic oppressions, and deliverances etc, and “became convinced that the demonstration of the power of the Gospel through miracles always served to validate the preaching of the Word” .

In 1977, Wimber left Fuller to start a local church, which eventually grew to approximately 600 Vineyard Churches worldwide. On Mother’s Day of 1981 Wimber invited Lonnie Frisbee (a former drug taking hippie who had been attending his church) to preach, and the rest is history. The day erupted into a Toronto Blessing-like circus, and after a mystical ‘confirmation’ that this was ‘of God’, Wimber was hooked. (It is alleged that because Lonnie Frisbee practiced homosexuality and died of AIDS, his part in the formation and growth of Calvary Chapels and Vineyards has been all but written out of history books.)

And this gave us a connection between Vineyard and London’s Holy Trinity Brompton.  The Revd Nicky Gumbel, an ex-solicitor who became an Anglican priest, solidified a burgeoning Alpha programme and, erm, the rest is history. Would that it were past history — its errors are more popular than ever.  The Kansas City Prophets would become a renewed Latter Rain, a movement originally founded in Canada and thrown out by the Assembly of God for heresy.

Toward the mid to late 1980’s, Wimber became enamored by the “The Kansas City Prophets”, or now known as the Kansas City Fellowship, founded by pastor Mike Bickle after he heard an audible voice in Cairo, Egypt described by Bickle as “the internal audible voice”. Mike Bickle mentions that he “introduced Paul Cain, Bob Jones and the other ‘prophetic ministers to the Vineyard’” and was in turn introduced to Richard Foster by John Wimber.

At an August 1989 conference in Denver, Colorado, Wimber called on Vineyard pastors to receive the KCP, thus very effectively putting a band aid over the whole affair brought up by pastor Ermine Gruen, who had published a report exposing some of the teachings and practices at Mike Bickle’s church… The Latter Rain had found not only a very comfortable home in the Vineyard church, but a huge and influential platform from which to spread their canker.

Please beware of The Latter Rain. That’s for another post, but feel free to do a search on them in the meantime.


Both Rick Warren and Erwin McManus are scheduled speakers at the Oct 2007 Catalyst Conference. See Article on McManus and Mosaic] Interestingly Warren has been billed as a “Global Humanitarian and Influencer” on the Catalyst web site. which says…[All Emphasis Added].

    They add:

    The Catalyst brand was initiated for the 20 something and 30 something audience. Over time, it has always allowed for others with a similar mindset to participate. This will continue, however, the core target audience for all new products developed and environments created must stay true to this target audience. The mediums for learning and content distribution will be defined by the relevance to this group.

    Rupert Murdoch

    Rupert Murdoch is supposed to be a born-again Christian and Rick Warren claims to be his pastor: In the Sept 12, 2005 edition of the New Yorker Rick Warren said:

      “I had dinner with Jack Welch [General Electric] last Sunday night,” he said. “He came to church, and we had dinner. I’ve been kind of mentoring him on his spiritual journey. And he said to me, ‘Rick, you are the biggest thinker I have ever met in my life. The only other person I know who thinks globally like you is Rupert Murdoch.’ And I said, ‘That’s interesting. I’m Rupert’s pastor! Rupert published my book!'” Then he tilted back his head and gave one of those big Rick Warren laughs. [30]

    (Murdoch also owns Zondervan, the company that published Warren’s The Purpose Driven Life.)

    In a November 12, 2006, in an Orange County Register story entitled ‘God’s business’, Warren was asked about pastoring a man who publishes tabloids featuring topless women. He responded:

    “I don’t have to agree with 100 percent of what another person does in order to work with them on the 20 percent that we do agree on,” Warren says.

    That pragmatic attitude has paid off. Murdoch was among the first to support the PEACE plan, donating $2 million

    The Templeton Foundation

    Few have done as much to promote a sense of unity among the world’s religions than John Marks Templeton, who has become world renowned for offering a million dollars as his annual prize from his religious research center that is dedicated to develop ‘progress in religion’ …

    The Templeton Foundation has also made several substantial donations to the Association of Unity Churches. The following are Articles 2 and 3 of the basic tenets of the Unity teachings..  [All Emphasis Added by In Plain Site]

      In the words of Let Us Reason ministries:

      His writings display a rejection of the God of the Bible, Christ as the only way to God. He claims that heaven and hell are states of mind we create here on earth that truth is relative, and that Christianity is no longer relevant today as it was in Christ’s day”.

      The Power of Purpose, sponsored by the John Templeton Foundation, is a world-wide essay competition with the theme “The Power of Purpose” with total grand prizes of $500,000 and the grand prize of $100,000 …

      Rick Warren was one of five judges to determine the 2004 winner in the Power of Purpose Essays.

      Council on Foreign Relations (CFR)

      From Berit Kjos for WND (emphases mine):

      “Dear Saddleback Family… This week I shared part of this message in New York City where I spoke at the United Nations, and also to The Council on Foreign Relations.” Group email to Saddleback sent by “Pastor Rick [Warren],” 9-17-05 …

      On November 13, Rick Warren met with Syria’s Grand Mufti Sheikh Badr al-Din Hassoun in Damascus. Their dialogue was publicized by the Syrian Arab News Agency (SANA) in an article titled, “American Priest (Warren) Says no Peace without Syria” …

      A driving force behind today’s global transformation, CFR insiders have helped steer the course of the current shift from U.S. sovereignty to a regional union under the UN (like the European Union) with open borders between Canada, the U.S. and Mexico …

      Rick Warren’s global PEACE Plan fits right into this rising New World Order. As we explained in Warren’s P.E.A.C.E. Plan and UN GoalsPart 2, this Communitarian system is based on partnerships and networks between government (public sector), business (private sector) and churches — the most useful member of civil society (social sector). But it’s never a partnership of equals, since governments wield both financial and standard-setting power. In the global arena, it intends to use the social sector (especially the global network of churches) to meet the needs of its promised welfare system.

      Islam –The 2009 Islamic Society Convention

      Based in Plainfield, [Illinois — not Indiana, as In Plain Site say], the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) is an umbrella organization for Muslim groups across the country. The annual convention, now in its 46th year, regularly draws more than 30,000 people for lectures, prayer and socializing.

      On Saturday, July 4th 2009 attendees of the 46th annual convention, with the Theme of Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness, were addressed by Rick Warren of Saddleback church who told them that “the two largest faiths on the planet” must work together to combat stereotypes and solve global problems, and

      “Some problems are so big you have to team tackle them,”

      Muzammil Siddiqi, one of the most prominent Muslim leaders in America, who was the President of ISNA from 1996 – 2000, was also a speaker at the same convention …

      In an article entitled Apologists or Extremists, the Investigative Project on Terrorism (IPT) (See Footnote), a non-profit research group quoted an Oct. 18, 1996 issue of the newspaper, Pakistan Link, in which Siddiqi wrote an article in which he responded to reader questions…On the subject of the political participation of Muslims in a non-Islamic state, he said:

      I believe that as Muslims we should participate in the system to safeguard our interest and try to bring gradual change for the right cause, the cause of truth and justice. We must not forget that Allah’s rules have to be established in all lands, and all our efforts should lead to that direction.

      Islam — The 2009 Inaugural Speech had this to say [All Emphasis Added]

      Warren has learned some important lessons about rhetorical caution, however, and inevitably, his prayer aimed to be inclusive. He started with God, “our father,” which was innocuous enough, and went on to proclaim that “everything we see and everything we can’t see exists because of you alone.” Language this neutral could hardly be offensive to any but the strictest unbelievers. Then, in a deft and fluid nod to the three great monotheisms, he quoted the Shema, the most important prayer in Judaism: “Hear, O Israel, the Lord is our God, the Lord is One.” In the next phrase he praised God as “compassionate and merciful,” the words religious Muslims incant regularly as they pray. And finally, he spoke of God’s as “loving to everyone”—a reference, of course, to Jesus Christ.

      [The words “the compassionate and merciful one” opens all but one chapter of the Qur’an. It is more than likely that this went well over the heads of the vast majority of Christians who were listening]

      Actually what he said was “I humbly ask this in the name of the one who changed my life, Yeshua, Isa, Jesus….” Isa would have been understood by Muslims, to be the person mentioned in the Qur’an as a prophet, but not the Son of God who died on the cross for the sins of the world..  The end result is that his safe prayer was designed to keep offense to the minimum, implying as he did that “Jesus works for him”. As one comment read:

      By failing to mention Jesus as the Christ, the Son of God, he attempted to appease the Muslim and Jewish communities who believe in Jesus on as a prophet, but not as “God’s Son” or as the Messiah, respectively. Essentially, Warren failed his test, “He who denies Me….” That so many Christians believe “it was a terrific prayer,” “inspiring,” shows the paucity of biblical knowledge that abounds in today’s evangelical community.


      It is a fact that the “40 Days of Purpose” and other church growth and leadership materials produced by Rick Warren are aggressively marketed to Mormons and others outside Christian orthodoxy. When asked why Mormon leaders are involved in his pastoral training programs Rick Warren told USA Today:

        “I’m not going to get into a debate over the non-essentials. I won’t try to change other denominations. Why be divisive?” he asks, citing as his model Billy Graham, “a statesman for Christ ministering across barriers.”  [43]

      Say WHAT? Mormonism has now been defined as a “denomination”.  And the “non-essentials” that Rick Warren doesn’t want to get into a debate of include the identity of Jesus Christ, the route to eternal salvation, and whether or not man can becomes “a god’ [See Section on Mormonism].

      While I do not know whether Rick Warren is either completely ignorant of, or totally ignores, what Mormonism teaches. However the fact remains that neither reason is good enough for a man who is a Christian leader on a national scale. Instead he is helping train Mormon leaders to more effectively present a false religion to the world – a false religion that has led millions of lost souls to an eternal Hell.

      And, so we conclude the Rick Warren canon for now.  There may be more in future, but, thankfully, we can move on to other subjects.

      Please share this information with family and friends.  Too many people still fall under the spell of his writings and videos!