It’s About Time:  Rick Warren Makes the Cover

Orginally published on Monday, August 11, 2008 at 7:35 AM
by Todd Rhoades

Have you seen this week's cover of Time Magazine? It's a big mug of Rick Warren, and a full cover story on him. (This will make the watchdoggies go wild as they parse every word for heresy and error)...

Here's one opening paragraph from the article: "If Warren is not quite today's Graham, who presided as "America's pastor" back when the U.S. affected a kind of Protestant civil religion, he is unquestionably the U.S.'s most influential and highest-profile churchman. He is a natural leader, a pathological schmoozer, insatiably curious and often the smartest person in the room. Like Graham, he projects an authenticity that has helped him forge an exquisite set of political connections — in the White House, on both sides of the legislative aisle and abroad. And he is both leading and riding the newest wave of change in the Evangelical community: an expansion beyond social conservatism to causes such as battling poverty, opposing torture and combating global warming. The movement has loosened the hold of religious-right leaders on ordinary Evangelicals and created an opportunity for Warren, who has lent his prominent voice to many of the new concerns. "

I can honestly say that I’ve never seen anyone work a room like Rick Warren.

Supposedly he reads this blog (at least that’s what an email from his staff said).

And when I met him for the first time in Orlando this year, he greated me with… “Todd Rhoades… long time, no see!” Which I found a little odd.  It could only have one of two meanings:

1.  He read my name tag and was making small talk; or

2.  The first time I didn’t meet him, I must’ve made a great impression!

Regardless, Rick Warren has broken many barriers and introduced much change to the American (and worldwide) church; and has done so, for the most part, very graciously.  Whether you’re a Rick fan, or one of his self-proclaimed enemies, you’ll want to read this article.

After you’ve read it… let me know what you think here…


This post has been viewed 1528 times so far.

  There are 31 Comments:

  • Posted by Kevin Bussey

    If Rick does read, I want to tell him God has used him in my life and I’m grateful for that.  He actually sent me a hand written note a few years ago.  Rick thanks for ignoring those who want to stop God’s work and keep leading people to Christ.

  • Posted by Peter Hamm

    Can I add my name to Kevin’s comment? Nope, the man might not be perfect. But an inspiration in a lot of ways no doubt. (So now Ken Silva can add me to the list of heretics who don’t hate Rick Warren’s teaching.)

  • Posted by

    Why do you find the need to take swipes at other people when reporting a story on Rick Warren? Do you think this fosters unity and much needed reconciliation among the body of Christ? Your hypocrisy shows when you continue to use the same methods that the supposed ODMs use.

    Why are these comments necessary:

    Todd:  (This will make the watchdoggies go wild as they parse every word for heresy and error)…

    Peter:So now Ken Silva can add me to the list of heretics who don’t hate Rick Warren’s teaching

    Are you wanting to pick another fight or stir up another hornet’s nest like the lack of grace displayed on the whole Abanes/Silva discourse.

    And dont say, “Well they did it” Rise above it. Stop throwing stones at others. Use kind words and maybe others will take rebuke and reproof in a better light when necessary instead of losing credibility when you take petty shots at others.

  • Posted by Peter Hamm


    I think those statements that Todd and I made, as acerbic as they may seem, are simply true. I suspect some of those Todd is referring to might actually agree with them as stated. As far as showing grace, I think the amount of grace Todd displays in allowing and encouraging both sides of the debate as he did on that thread you mentioned speaks volumes against those who post “news and comment” and yet allow no forum for debate or indeed correction when details reported are false or misleading.

    So, yeah, those comments are necessary, imho.

  • Posted by

    In the article Rick Warren said,

    “"Although public service can be a noble profession, and I believe it is our responsibility to vote, I don’t have much faith in government solutions, given the track record. It’s why I am a pastor, not a politician. None of my values have changed from four years ago, but my agenda has definitely expanded.”

    So obviously the best thing to do is host a political debate in church.

  • Posted by Todd Rhoades


    Just check the recent post here about the discernment websites.  Almost 300 comments. 

    Let’s face it… some folks are making a good amount of publicity by dogging other Christians.  If you read through MMI, I think you’ll find that we’re pretty tame here.  AND we welcome input from others who don’t agree with us.

    And that’s a HUGE difference.


  • Posted by Peter Hamm


    No contradiction there I see. Rick says he thinks it’s “our responsibility to vote”. So he hosts this event (not an out-and-out debate as it’s been described), makes sense to me.

  • Posted by


    I have no problem with Rick Warren.  The thing that concerns me, is not the forum itself; I’m afraid that this is going to make the smooth-talking B. Hussein Obama, who has no problem with the killing little, unborn babies and same-sex marriage, come off looking good and cast McCain as an out-of-touch, incompassionate, Conservative who “doesn’t have any love”.

  • Posted by

    In case people don’t subscribe to Time magazine, you can read the article at http://www.time.com/time/nation/article/0,8599,1830147,00.html .  I didn’t see a link in Todd’s post, so I thought I’d include it.

    I’m reading it now.  I’ll chime in later.


  • Posted by

    Tony, disagree with him if you want but the name calling is over the line.

  • Posted by

    I liked the article.  Presented RW well without pandering.


    Please stay away from the fear-mongering (using Obama’s middle name to equate him with the “evil” Muslims).  It’s not helpful.  I wouldn’t say I’m the biggest RW fan, but I have confidence he will be fair to both sides.

  • Posted by

    I submit that in Jesus’ day, there were many ‘religious leaders’ who were exactly that-men who trod the road of religion using it as their platform for self -worship and self-promotion. 
    Sadly, Rick Warren is just one more Christian individual who smoozes with Satan, thus promoting himself.
    Warren seems to be ignorant of the Bible of Jesus, whom he claims to serve:
    a.When you bring those individuals who are of Satan’s camp into your own and promote them, such as Warren loves to do.  One is effectively working against Jesus Christ and for Satan.
    b.When you go abroad and support Mohammedan ideology and personages-which is anti Christ, to say the least, then you are supporting Satan.
    c.When you promote your apology to those of Satan(Mohammedans), one is again supporting Satan and condemning God.

    Strange, Warren is called intelligent.  He claims to be a Christian.  However, he is one of the greatest and most clever self promoters in todays world.
    Mr. Warren and all that he is has been excommunicated by our church and people.
    We will not support those who openly and aggressively support the many causes of Satan.

  • Posted by

    To Fred Johnson - read your own post!

  • Posted by

    And, Duncan Aker, when you slander a brother in Christ with unsubstantiated and unexplained comments like yours, you place yourself as a judge over them and bring the same condemnation on yourself.  That is in the Bible as well.  You need to be careful my friend.  We will each be held accountable for every word that we speak (and print?)


  • Posted by Brian L.

    I’ve said it before, but here goes…

    I find myself increasingly thankful that my name is not Rick Warren or Billy Graham.

    Not because I disagree with them (I don’t!), but because I’d get tired very quickly of having a huge target painted on my back, just waiting for other “Christians” to take a shot.

    Remember that great song from way back when - “They will know we are Christians by our hateful, mean-spirited attacks on each other, by our hateful, mean-spirited attacks on each other, they will know we are Christians by our hateful, mean-spirited attacks on each other...” (Everybody!  They will know....")

    I dare anyone to show me which part of the fruit of the Spirit is displayed in rants against other brothers.  Don’t bother - you won’t find it.

    Disagree with RW all you want (as if you needed an invitation!), but at least ACT like a grown-up when you talk or write about him, not a whiny child who’s upset because another child has his favorite toy.

    Brian L.

  • Posted by

    I often wonder if those who take shots at Christian leaders have ever actually met the person they are attacking.  In the case of Rick Warren, I have been in meetings with him, spoken to him personally, asked him questions about current events, etc, and I have found him to be a very humble, wise, insightful, and Godly man.  Contrary to the opinion of some, he does know the Bible and he uses it often and accurately. 

    He is a person of wide interests, but is focused on reaching the lost like very few people I know. 

    The difference in his approach is that he actually believes we are to feed the hungry, clothe the naked, visit and care for the sick and the imprisoned or who are being treated unjustly. (I think he got that out of the Bible as well.)

    Pastor Rick Warren does not seek the attention of the masses.  I don’t think he cares what the masses think about him or if they think about him. When he does something, it is because he believes it is the best thing to do to please God. He is interested in pleasing one person, honoring one person, living for one person.  He would gladly give his life to help the pastors in the trenches, especially those who have never been given specific training for ministry.  The ones who are out there in the bush getting the job done because God has called them in spite of their lack of educational qualification for the job! 

    If I sound like I am biased about this man, I am.  I have watched him closely for a long time and I am going to “follow him as he follows Christ.” He is not perfect.  In fact, he is very human.  Maybe that is what I like most about him.  He is a real guy who does not put on a facade to make himself look better.

    If you want to talk about Rick Warren, I encourage you to talk about him with God.  That is what he needs most this week as he prepares to interview the two men who will battle it out to be our next president.  Pray that he asks the right questions.  Pray that his health is good and strong.  Pray that he honors Christ as he takes on this unprecedented pastoral role of interviewing presidential candidates before a world audience.  I know he would appreciate your prayers on his behalf.



  • Posted by David Andrus

    Hi Everyone:
    Years ago (1999) God used the venue of the Saddleback Pastors’ conference to change my life forever.  I was so discouraged that I thought I would never go back to Pastoral ministry.  On the last day of the conference, Rick Warren invited anyone to come up front and kneel down and pray.  No one grabbed me and talked to me.  I went forward and I discovered the Holy Spirit wasn’t done with me yet.  I have never been the same since.  I appreciated Rick for providing a setting where God’s touch could revitalize a wounded laborer!!!  I am forever grateful.

    Too bad so many have so much time on their hands to ridicule and tear down.

  • Posted by

    Add me to those who have had their life changed not by Rick Warren, but by the method in which he teaches Biblical Truths. Like him or not, he is extremely smart, very humble (despite his enormous success) and a very down to earth guy, who not only remembers your name, but your children’s names too.
    I can see how some would be against him, as there are those in this world who have a very approach to teaching the bible to a congregation (or to the world)..... but you can not argue with the likes of people like me who can say with honestly… “here is where I was before..... here is where I am now”.... I like where I am now better.
    Congrats Rick on the cover story. May God continue to bless your ministry and your influence.
    I like your blog Todd. My guess is that RW reads your blog, and therefor considers your a known acquaintance, despite you ever having “met’ him in person. On the other hand...if he did read your name-tag and then said “long time, no see"… that sounds like Rick.

  • Posted by Bill Burke

    Todd you said: “Just check the recent post here about the discernment websites.  Almost 300 comments.” in a comment to Fred, you might also tell Fred that about half of those nearly 300 posts (262 at last check) were from Richard Abanes which is par for the course where Richard is involved.Leonard where is the name-calling in Tony’s post?Lesson in what humility is for those who protest that Pastor Rick is very humble: This from a post titled Marks of a Christian: Humility Luke 14:7-11 at http://brandonweb.com/gbt/sermonpages/luke28.htmI. The Meaning of Humility.

    A. Definition:

    1. Not proud or haughty; not arrogant or assertive; a spirit of deference or submission.

    2. It is recognizing that God and others are responsible for the achievements in my life.

    3. Note: 1Co. 4:7

    B. Humility is a modest estimation of one’s self.

    1. Note: Ro. 12:3, “For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think...” II. Examples of Humility.

    A. The Apostle Paul.

    1. He boasted about one thing and one thing only: the Cross of Christ.

    2. He certainly could have boasted in his heritage, and in his service for Christ.

    3. He said little about what he had done for Christ, but much about what Christ had done for him.

    B. The Lord Jesus Christ.

    1. He was the central figure in heaven, but He humbled Himself and took upon Himself the form of a servant.

    2. On the night before He died He taught His disciples a tremendous lesson of humility as He began to wash their dirty feet as a servant.

    3. His ultimate expression of humility is seen as “...He humbled Himself and became obedient to death, even the death of the cross.” cf Ph. 2:8
    If you have ever heard an interview of Rick Warren you would more than likely hear of how influential he has been or is, how widely used PD materials are and what he plans on accomplishing through the use of churches to resolve the worlds woes, woes which have taken precedence over the preaching of the gospel as a direct result of trying to harmonize or ecumenize religions that are anti-biblical, anti-Christ or anti-God. To not pay attention to this aspect of his PEACE plan is to ignore the things Christ and Paul called us to pay much attention to. How tragic that is.

  • Posted by HEATHER

    I’m so excited about this Saturday’s “Saddleback Civil Forum.” What a platform for the candidates AND more importantly...Christianity.  I’ll be praying for Pastor Rick as he facilitates this.

  • Posted by

    We are all instructed to be discerning. Jesus warned us about wolves in sheep’s clothing because He knew they would come in to devour the flock.  Satan is a deceiver.  He doesn’t come in with a sandwichboard that states “I am the devil!!” He is subtle and good at it.  For anyone to search Scripture and see that someone teaches a gospel other than the one given to us by our Father is wise and should not be criticized.  Fidelity to Scripture should be our priority and something to be desired by the lost who look in.  When we change the message to suit the lost we make ourselves higher than the Almighty because it is the foolishness of HIS message that He uses to save those who would believe. When we cease to hold our church leaders to the high standards of Scripture then we become religious and, much like the catholics, mormons, JW’s, 7th day adventists, and muslims, blind followers of the teachings of men.

  • Posted by Wyeth

    Todd & Peter,

    I think Fred is partially right: you two should “rise above it”.  There was no need to make comments about Ken Silva and “watchdoggies” in the context of this particular post.  I’m not saying they don’t say far more and far worse.  I think you’re right about them “dogging” other Christians.  But, that doesn’t make it right for you gentlemen to make ascerbic and sarcastic comments about them, here.  Just don’t mention them at all.  After all, the post wasn’t about them; it’s about Rick Warren.

  • Posted by

    I don’t hate Warren but the fact is he doesn’t have a clear understanding of Christian doctrine, including the gospel. I remember, in particular, the comment that “God isn’t mad at you; He’s mad about you!” There goes Romans 1, then the doctrine of propitiation, and if we logically unpack that statement, then the doctrine of hell. If God is not mad at us, then why would Christ have to suffer on the cross? Does he mean subsequent to the cross God is not mad at us? But he doesn’t appear to me to get to that siimple level of sophistication.

  • Posted by

    John, I don’t think it’s wise to try and ascertain Rick Warren’s, or anyone else’s, theology based on one statement.  Especially a statement that sounds more like it was meant to be a sound bite than a doctrinal statement.  I bet you’ve uttered at least one statement that, taken out of context, would seem unbiblical. 

    Study the whole of someone’s theology to be able to make a good discerning opinion.

  • Posted by Peter Hamm


    Wyeth, you’re right, I had not business “stirring the pot”. Me culpa.

    I really appreciate that Rick is one of the few prominent Christian leaders these days who really takes loving the least to heart and is willing to do MUCH to try and DO it. Katrina writes [Fidelity to Scripture should be our priority and something to be desired by the lost who look in.] I agree, but fidelity to the WHOLE of Scripture, including Matthew 25. Loving the least is something we need more people to stand up and do. Thanks Rick!

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