It took one false teacher to inivite Rick Warren to speak at Hillsong Conference 2012 to undermine the Christian faith here in Australia.
It took a second false teacher, (Beth Moore), to sink to new depths to use Rick Warren’s son’s death to emotionally manipulate Christians to spread hatred against other believers who question the teachings and practices of Rick Warren.
But we were even more horrified to see the false teacher Rick Warren, further use her article about his own son’s death to support her attack on Christian believers. We are in agreement that it is wrong to be critical of Rick Warren in this time while he is grieving for his son. But this is a rather disturbing thing for a father to do in this time period.
It is possible that Rick Warren has chosen to be incredibly emotionally manipulative in this vulnerable time to spread intolerance towards Christians. Specifically through Beth Moore, it appears he targeted those who would question or criticise his ministry and malign or silence them. If Rick Warren clarifies that he posted Beth Moore’s article because he felt her support as a friend in his time of grief – we shall remove this article. If he is simply emotionally unstable at this time and posted hastily without thinking of the consequences – we shall remove this article. We are saddened for Warren and will attempt not to write articles for the next few months on him.
If you want to discuss this article – please talk respectfully. Here is a good article that covers the issue very well:
Rick Warren Uses Pastors.com to Attack Critics in Wake of Son’s Death
by Jonathan Cousar
I had promised myself not to write anything critical of Rick Warren in the wake of his son’s tragic and untimely death. My heart goes out to him and his family during this incredibly sad time.
So, what could possibly prompt me to write anything about him in less than a week after his great personal tragedy? It was his weekly email newsletter that he sends out to Pastors.com members. In it was featured an article by Beth Moore titled “Beth Moore: Sadness and Madness”.
In her article, Moore actually uses the tragedy of Warren’s son’s death to attack Warren’s theological critics. While I thought it would be appropriate to wait at least a couple of weeks before writing anything about Warren, Moore decided to use his son’s death to silence his critics in less than a week after his death. And someone at Warren’s church, if not Warren himself*, thought it appropriate to include it in this week’s newsletter.
In her article Moore tells how she learned of Matthew Warren’s death and how she, like all of us, was stricken with sadness at the news. She goes onto relate that as the afternoon wore on, the sadder she got, the madder she got. She got mad at the “astonishing satanic force that stoops viciously and swoops in unscrupulously to attack children and to prey on their weaknesses as they grow up.”
But then she takes a bizarre turn, using the tragedy of Matthew Warren’s death to call on Christians to stop attacking Rick Warren. And by “attack”, one can only assume she means those of us who criticize Warren’s theology and teachings. Suddenly, she goes from talking about sadness and madness over Matthew’s death to talking about people she calls “bullies in the body of Christ”.
“And then, in that mixture of emotions Saturday afternoon, I got madder and madder at the bullies in the Body of Christ. I thought how much it turns out that the Warrens have been through personally and, if they are like most leaders, all the while putting out fires and putting up with a bunch of trash-talk from people who would call the same Jesus Lord.” (emphasis mine)
It is true that many secular people “talk trash” about Rick Warren. Some of the tweets I saw over the weekend were disgusting. They were saying terrible and repulsive things about him and his family in the wake of his son’s death. His harshest Christian critics wouldn’t even have such thoughts. Much less express them.
But that’s not who Moore is talking about here. She’s not talking about unbelievers. She’s talking about believers. There are many believers across the world who have serious disagreements with Warren’s positions on a wide variety of theological issues. But let’s recognize that she is talking about the most prominent Christian critics. There would be no need for her to waste her time on people no one has ever heard of.
Since the prominent ones are known, I can say that they have always in my experience, been kind and never attacked Warren personally. I’ve even seen many of them post their sincere condolences to the Warren family in the last few days. No matter what our theological differences, we all grieve when something this tragic happens to anyone. None of them have used the death of Matthew Warren to launch any kind of attacks on Rick Warren. None of Warren’s prominent Christian critics have stooped that low. But Beth Moore has, and now the Warren organization has – because they published and promoted her article – just four days after Matthew’s death.
I’ve never once seen any of these prominent Christian brothers and sisters “trash talk” Warren. They take principled, and defensible Biblical stands against his positions – which is not the same as personally attacking, name calling or insulting. It’s not an insult or an attack to disagree with someone. But these are the people Beth Moore is calling “bullies in the Body of Christ”, for simply stating publicly where and why they disagree with Warren. In fact, calling these people bullies is a worse slur and a more virulent personal attack, than Warren’s Christian critics ever use against him.
Maybe Beth Moore should take Rick Warren’s own advice when he recently said, “Our culture has accepted two huge lies. The first is that if you disagree with someone’s lifestyle, you must fear or hate them. The second is that to love someone means you agree with everything they believe or do. Both are nonsense. You don’t have to compromise convictions to be compassionate.”
Moore though goes on to insult and slander these Christian brothers and sisters who disagree with Warren on various issues with the following quotes:
“Life is hard enough without hatefulness rife in the Body of Christ. We are called to carry one another’s burdens, not pile relentlessly on top of them.”
“I’m sick of the bullying. The mud-slinging and the meanness. I’m sick of careless, idle words thrown out there in the public square and professing believers in Christ standing on the necks of their own brothers and sisters to sound smart and superior. As if it’s not enough that we are surrounded in this culture by Christian haters, we’ve got to have our own hater-Christians. It’s insane.”
“When we turn people into caricatures, everything’s game. The moment we depersonalize them, our consciences harden and we can mock and slander at will and have a blast doing it. Snide blogs and tweets and Facebook posts about various leaders can also be effective ways to jump in their spotlight. Bullies aren’t just mean. They’re self-serving. They’re platform-hunting. They have to borrow one to perform.”
“The Warrens will come forth like gold. The enemy will not win.”
It sounds like Beth Moore is guilty of making her own caricatures and depersonalizing Warren’s critics as she mocks and slanders them – at will.
Let’s break those quotes down and look at what all she has called Warren’s critics. She has called them:
- Mud slingers
- Self seeking
- Self serving
That’s a stunning number of insults for one article to contain. I would challenge anyone to find a prominent Christian critic of Warren’s who has used any of these kinds of insults against him. And I would further challenge anyone to find a prominent Christian critic who has used this many insults and slurs in a single article.
Even more stunning is that this all came from a woman who is writing an article calling on people to stop the name calling and stop the hate.
You have to wonder why the death of Matthew Warren suddenly filled Beth Moore with such rage against Warren’s critics. It seems sadness at Matthew’s death might rather have filled her thoughts.
Personally, I was repulsed by this article. I couldn’t believe that she and the Warren organization would ever, much less so quickly (in less than a week), exploit Warren’s son’s death as an excuse to call for a pity party. And as an excuse to engage in hateful and slanderous rhetoric against people of faith who have legitimate theological disagreements with Warren.
It really shows how threatened Warren and his church and supporters must feel that there are Christians in the world who dare to criticize his theological teachings. To exploit the death of his own son, just four days after his death, and to use it to make an emotional appeal to silence his critics is a desperate and despicable act.
*UPDATE: It turns out that not only did Warren know about this article published on his own website, but he wholeheartedly approved of it. I just found this twitter post he made nine hours ago where he praised her for it:
Source: Jonathan Cousar, Rick Warren Uses Pastors.com to Attack Critics in Wake of Son’s Death, 10/04/2013.
Sadness and Madness
April 8th, 2013 Beth
Tags: Posted in Uncategorized
Saturday shortly after noon, I filled up the dog bowl on the back porch with water and pitched dishes in the dishwasher so that I could head out with Melissa for a bite to eat and maybe a little shoe shopping. She’d spent the night with Keith and me in the country and we’d had a lazy Saturday morning over coffee and conversation. I’d set out my purse and keys and decided to wipe down the kitchen counter before we walked out the door. Just as I sprayed the cleaner and grabbed the dishtowel, Melissa walked in staring at the screen of her phone with the oddest expression.
“Mom, I don’t know if it’s true or not but I’m seeing references on Twitter to Rick and Kay Warren losing a son.”
She was ashen. My stomach flipped and, over the next few minutes as she read to me bits and pieces of breaking news, we feared the worst. I felt a hot sickness in my throat. My relationship with the Warrens is the same as most of yours. I have simply been served and led well by them. Although I had the joy of ministering to women on the Saddleback campus some years ago, my stay was brief and our schedules were wrapped entirely around the event. I have not had the opportunity to get to know the Warrens in the way that personal friends know one another but I always knew in my heart that I’d like them so much. We’re similar ages and in similar seasons with our families. Meanwhile, I have loved them and esteemed them in Christ as faithful and mighty servants of the living Lord Jesus Christ. And quite possibly, among the mightiest to ever serve this generation.
Within an hour of Melissa walking into the kitchen with those first pieces of news, someone very close to the Warren family confirmed the tragedy on Twitter. We were heartsick and not for media personalities or even public servants. We were heartsick for a family of real people with breakable hearts. And we wept. Many of you undoubtedly did as well.
An odd mix of feelings overtook me with increasing force through the afternoon and into the early evening. The sadder I got, the madder I got. Mad at an astonishing satanic force that stoops viciously and swoops in unscrupulously to attack children and to prey on their weaknesses as they grow up, shooting so relentlessly at one spot that they can barely get to their feet between arrows. I’ve been that child and many of you have, too. Madder still that the devil in all likelihood delights in nothing more than targeting the children and dearest loved ones of true servants of God. Nothing tries our faith like the suffering of our children. At the end of the day, our faith is what the devil is after most. Without it, it’s impossible to please God. This is why Paul could say with relief nearly palpable on the page of his final letter, “I have fought the good fight. I have finished the race. I have kept the faith.”
We’ll all finally make it to our finish lines but the cliffhanger along the way will be this: will we keep our faith? That isn’t the same thing as keeping our salvation. I don’t believe my salvation is something I can give back. I received it by grace through faith from Christ Himself and my works don’t secure it no matter how my woes obscure it. His grip never loosens. Nothing can snatch us out of our Father’s hand. What’s at risk is our active belief in who God says He is, what He says He is like, and what He says He can do.
Is He good? Is He faithful?
So the enemy sets out to knock the feet of our faith out from under our walk. And there is nothing more effective toward that end than targeting the ones we love most on this planet.
I don’t say that to scare you. I say it because I believe it is the hair-raising truth. No, we are not abandoned here as victims on this damaged sod. We are not abandoned at all. Our God is with us. The Spirit of His Son is in us. We are more than conquerors through the One who loves us. We are not at the mercy of Satan. We are at the glorious, life-breathing mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ, a mercy that leads, as Jude 21 says, to eternal life and will ultimately spill like a river into a sea of reality where no sufferings of our past will compare with the glory of our present. In the meantime, greater is He who is in us than he who is in the world but make no mistake. This is a vicious world we’ve been left to serve. One God still loves or we would not still be here.
And then, in that mixture of emotions Saturday afternoon, I got madder and madder at the bullies in the Body of Christ. I thought how much it turns out that the Warrens have been through personally and, if they are like most leaders, all the while putting out fires and putting up with a bunch of trash-talk from people who would call the same Jesus Lord.
God help us. In the words of James, These things should not be so, my brothers and sisters.
I don’t believe one of us here in this community thinks that leaders should be immune to questions, constructive criticism, and accountability. That’s not the kind of thing I’m talking about here. I’m talking about bullying. There are Scriptural means for going to a brother or sister to reason with them about matters we genuinely consider to be off base, misleading, or in error. You and I both know that much of what happens out there in public forums is the furthest thing from biblical.
It is slander.
I went on a walk through the woods Saturday late afternoon and did something I don’t often do. I cried angry tears. I got so mad that I could have hit somebody. I kept thinking how believers attack one another and sling stones at each other like the other can’t bruise or break. And all the while that person may be in so much personal pain that it’s nearly unbearable. I’m not transferring this to the Warrens. I do not know them personally. I’m telling you what I know to be true about most people out there. Most of us are in significant pain of some kind. That doesn’t mean defeat necessarily. It just means pain.
Life is hard enough without hatefulness rife in the Body of Christ. We are called to carry one another’s burdens, not pile relentlessly on top of them. We can still hold one another accountable. We can still ask questions. We can still disagree. But we can do it with respect.
I’m sick of the bullying. The mud-slinging and the meanness. I’m sick of careless, idle words thrown out there in the public square and professing believers in Christ standing on the necks of their own brothers and sisters to sound smart and superior. As if it’s not enough that we are surrounded in this culture by Christian haters, we’ve got to have our own hater-Christians. It’s insane.
When we turn people into caricatures, everything’s game. The moment we depersonalize them, our consciences harden and we can mock and slander at will and have a blast doing it. Snide blogs and tweets and Facebook posts about various leaders can also be effective ways to jump in their spotlight. Bullies aren’t just mean. They’re self-serving. They’re platform-hunting. They have to borrow one to perform.
No, I don’t think that saying all of this will change it much but some things still need to be said. Sometimes we need to speak up and call something wrong. There’s a bigger issue in the Body of Christ than immorality. It’s hatefulness. If the greatest priority Christ assigned to us was love, the gravest offender is hate.
Just about the time cynicism threatens to overwhelm us and turn us into the very people we can’t stand, genuine love – the real thing – erupts right here on this earth like concrete breaking open to a spring. Compassion and tremendous affection are pouring forth from the Body of Christ for the Warrens right now. It is right and it is lovely. We have been served well by them and have learned so much from them. To respond with expressions of love, comfort, and intercession is our honor and privilege. We must and we will.
But even now at the hardest moment of their lives the Warrens can teach something vital if we are willing to learn. Their heartbreak demonstrates what has always been true but has never been more profoundly overlooked: these who serve us publicly also suffer privately. They are not caricatures. They are not just personalities. They are people living on a painful planet with the rest of us.
The Warrens will come forth like gold. The enemy will not win. They will fight the good fight. They will finish the race. They will keep the faith.
I love the Body of Christ. I don’t want want to get cynical. I don’t want to sit around and hate the haters or I become one. But this morning I just want to say this. We can love each other better. Let’s do. People have enough hurt. Let’s be careful with one another.
Source: Beth Moore, Sadness and Madness, http://blog.lproof.org/2013/04/sadness-and-madness.html, 08/05/2013. (Accessed 12/04/2013.)
Here is the screen grab of Rick Warren advertising her article on his ‘Pastors Tool Box’ website:
NOTE: ALL SCREENGRABS FROM C3CHURCHWATCH WERE TAKEN ON 12/04/2013.
WE BELIEVE THESE ARTICLES HELP HIGHLIGHT OUR CONCERNS OF THE UPCOMING HILLSONG CONFERENCE. PLEASE NOTE THAT THEIR ASSOCIATIONS, BELIEFS OR APPROACHES MAY NOT REFLECT THE VIEWS ON C3CHURCHWATCH.