Wednesday, August 24, 2005

15 Things I Learned at Saddleback

For my own integrity sake I took the opinion that if I was to speak with any authority on Saddleback Community Church then I would need to actually attend the church itself, and not just take other's word for it. Since moving to California five years ago I have attended Saddleback 12 or 13 times. I am by no means an expert on this church, but I did want to share with you a few things I learned in my trips to this church.

I learned if you take your Bible into the service you will be greeted immediately by an associate pastor, asking how your trip to California has been.

I learned unless you have a Bible with 25 different versions then there is no reason to bring your Bible.

I learned that you can actually get music to loud for 13 year old Californians.

I learned “The Living Years” by Mike and the Mechanics makes for a very sentimental invitation song after you have preached a message on respecting the elderly.

I learned I like outdoor baptisteries.

I learned if you want to be baptized you can do so immediately, and Saddleback will provide you with a T-shirt and shorts to do so. The ­only requirement is check the box marked “I believe in Jesus”.

I learned if you would be like to be baptized again with your family or to rededicate your life or just because… they will provide you with a T-shirt and shorts to do so. No checking the box required.

I learned when Jesus called Zacchaeus’ name that it was the first time he had heard his real name called in years.

I learned how to live single and Godly, from a guy who learned it between his first and second marriage.

I learned that a legitimate testimony consist of “I am being baptized today so I can see my baby daughter in heaven.”

I learned 25 million dollars will build one, sweet children’s facility.

I learned that flower arranging is a spiritual gift.

I learned when Rick Warren tells 2500 pastors to get out their paper and he will give them their sermon outline for Easter Sunday 2498 of them start hunting for a pen.

PS. I learned from RC Sproul the 3 kinds of people in this world. Those who can count and those who can’t.

29 comments:

Tony Langdon said...

It only cost $17M to build Disneyland! Sure that was back in 1955, but given the same factors, this children's facility still would have set a 1955 church back $3.5M. Nice.

Will said...

hmm....very sarcastic. Is such discussion Christian?

http://christiansurvey.blogspot.com/2005_08_01_christiansurvey_archive.html

AuthenticTruth said...

Wow! Did they really play “The Living Years” for an invitation? Interesting that you are made to feel like a tourist if you carry a Bible to church. I had heard – though I cannot confirm this – that people are generally discouraged to bring their Bibles to the various Bible studies they have there at Saddleback. To think that many pastors are looking up to Rick Warren and his ministry as a model for their own church is more than a little frightening! The more I learn about Rick Warren, the more concerned I get.

Scott Hill said...

Yes, they really did play "The Living Years" for an invitation.

Jason E. Robertson said...

Be very concerned. In fact, Mr. Warren is by far the most powerful voice in evangelicalism today. And his voice will be one of those few that come along now and then that will shift the religious debates for at least a century. Don’t take these issues lightly. We shall be responsible for how we reacted to these “Saddleback Shifts.” Will the truth be preserved and defended? We shall see…

Jim from OldTruth.com said...

Another thing that encourages you NOT to bring your bible to this type of church is that, whatever bible verses get talked about, are plastered up on a big screen using PowerPoint. Or in the church that I attended, the verses that the pastor will mention are printed on the church bulletin that was handed to you as you walk in. So why bring your bible? After a while, most people did not bring it to church at all. Lets face it, if you dont need your bible at church, that probably means the sermon is going to be more man-made philosophy than biblical theology.

--Jim from
www.OldTruth.com

centuri0n said...

You're in the running for post of the week, Fid-o. That's classic.

> link <

Barbara said...

I had heard lot of people come out against Rick Warren's book. But, this is the first I'd heard about how he runs his church. This is terrible, that anyone would question someone bringing their Bible to church. I would think you'd encourage someone to follow behind your message.

As Jim said, perhaps it's going to be a man-made philosophy, when the scripture is already printed on the bulletin. My pastor doesn't know, until he steps on the rostrum, if he'll be preaching exactly what he thought he would be. He follows the leading of the Holy Spirit! So, I can't publish in our bulletin what he is going to speak on this weekend.

rabanes said...

THE TRUTH~ From someone who has been attending since 1995, and was on staff for two years.

- - - - -
HILL'S #1: I learned if you take your Bible into the service you will be greeted immediately by an associate pastor, asking how your trip to California has been.
RESPONSE: Obviously, this is a sarcastic jab at Saddleback—and it's not true. I do not get instantly greeted as an out-of-towner just because you have your Bible. My goodness, people. Clearly, Hill is making reference to the fact that few people bring their Bible's with them to Saddleback. And yet we actually have a poster at Hill's blog who wrote: "Pretty bad when you look like a tourist if you have a Bible."

I suppose it's possible that someone very observant might have wondered if Scott Hill was a visitor because he had a Bible, but it's not likely. Even if such a thing actually DID happen, exactly where does it say in scripture that in order to PROVE how holy you are, or PROVE how godly you are, or PROVE how much you know the Word of God, you must actually be toting around a glimmering Bible with you at church so everyone can see it? Sounds rather prideful to me and for some people might be an external sign of holiness. I saw this ALL THE TIME at Calvary Chapels—hey, man, if you had your Bible with you, you were part if the "IN" crowd, but no Bible got you dirty looks like "Oh, what's wrong with him?" or "Hey, she has no Bible, she might be trouble." Puh-lease.

Here's a thought—how about actually LIVING what's inside the Bible and letting your faith be seen THAT way, rather than just making sure you're carrying a Bible at church (James 2:18 ). When/where did the physical act of carrying a Bible to church become the mark of Christianity??

HILL'S #2: I learned unless you have a Bible with 25 different versions then there is no reason to bring your Bible.
RESPONSE: Another sarcastic jab. (see above).

HILL'S #3: I learned that you can actually get music to loud for 13 year old Californians.
RESPONSE: No real explanation here from Hill, unless he is talking about himself. Hmmm, maybe that explains his post. I cannot help but wonder where in the Bible we have any verses that talk about the godly level of decibels as opposed to when sound waves become unbiblical or non-Christian. Anyone have that verse handy?

HILL'S #4: I learned “The Living Years” by Mike and the Mechanics makes for a very sentimental invitation song after you have preached a message on respecting the elderly.
RESPONSE: Hmmmm, now this is interesting since Hill says he attended Saddleback "12 or 13 times"—Why no mention at all of the other 11-12 services he attended and their message or special music selection? Also, why no listing of the entire set of worship songs for the service?? Could it be that Hill might have just been going and waiting to get some "dirt" on Saddleback like a song he thought inappropriate or a message he found worthy of deriding? Oh, no no no no no no, of course, not, dear, oh dear. Who would do a thing like that???

Also, the song after the message is NOT necessarily an "invitational song," it is a song that compliments the teachings contained within the sermon—it is meant to help attenders hear the message presented in a musical way that causes people to think about the message more and contemplate what was said.

HILL'S #5: I learned I like outdoor baptisteries.
RESPONSE: Fair enough. It is indeed beautiful.

HILL'S #6: I learned if you want to be baptized you can do so immediately, and Saddleback will provide you with a T-shirt and shorts to do so. The ­only requirement is check the box marked “I believe in Jesus”.
RESPONSE: You mean sort of like Acts 2:41 where it says, "Those who had received his word were baptized . . . that day!" Okay. Praise God!!

But is Scott Hill suggesting that this unbiblical??? Is he saying there are requirements to being baptized other than accepting Jesus as your Lord and Savior??? Hmmmmm, that sounds like works to me.

Saddleback's statement on Baptism says, "The purpose [of Baptism] is to publicly confess your personal commitment to Christ." Oh, but as for children, it is a different story. Why? Because Saddleback wants to make sure a kid knows what they are doing and why. So Saddleback's statement on baptism says, "At Saddleback, we wait until our children are old enough to believe and understand the true meaning of baptism before we baptize them."

And here's what Rick Warren actually says: "Baptism declares your faith, shares Christ's burial and resurrection, symbolizes your death to your old life, and announces your new life in Christ. It is also a celebration of your inclusion in God's family. Your baptism is a physical picture of a spiritual truth. It represents what happened the moment God brought you into his family. Baptism doesn't make you a member of God's family; only faith in Christ does that" ("Baptism: Identifying With God's Family").

HILL'S #7: I learned if you would be like to be baptized again with your family or to rededicate your life or just because… they will provide you with a T-shirt and shorts to do so. No checking the box required.
RESPONSE: First of all, the policy on baptism at Saddleback is not as flip, casual, and stupid as Scott Hill is desperately trying to make it. Re-Baptisms are for people who: 1) were baptized as infants/children, but they never really accepted Christ and were baptized as believers; 2) want to experience baptism with a family member (or members) for whom they have been praying and who have finally accepted Christ; 3) lived in a backslidden state so seriously that their first baptism years ago was perhaps not valid because they doubt the validity of their first profession of faith prior to that initial baptism (this is often the case of people, for example, who were raised in churches and viewed their "Christianity" as just the thing to do). Hill makes it all sound so offensive. And NO, you cannot be baptized, "just because" like it's some ride at Disneyland! I am just amazed that so many people want to take what has been godly, special, meaningful, biblical and beautiful things and turn them into something ugly.

HILL'S #8: I learned when Jesus called Zacchaeus’ name that it was the first time he had heard his real name called in years.
RESPONSE: I have no idea what Hill is trying to say here, except perhaps it is another attempt at sarcasm or some other kind of witty stab at Saddleback.

HILL'S #9: I learned how to live single and Godly, from a guy who learned it between his first and second marriage.
RESPONSE: This is a textbook example of several forms of nasty propaganda often used by people who have no interest in doing anything but fostering prejudice in the minds of listeners. In this one statement we have: poisoning the well, guilt by implication and suggestion, negative inference, etc etc etc. Exactly how this effects people can be seen in one of the comments noted by some poor trusting reader at Scott Hill's blog, who says: "By the way, who is divorced there?" You can almost hear the lips being licked and the hands wringing, as the person is saying, "Ooohhhh, tell me more, tell me more. A pastor divorced at Saddleback, which one, which one, pretty please, do tell us."

Scott Hill is quite probably referring to some guy (just a member of the congregation) who probably got up to just share his testimony about what he went through in his life and how Jesus has changed his life. WOW. If Hill can listen to a story like that and just pull out some wise-crack from it in order to slam Saddleback, then Hill is the one who needs help—not Saddleback. None of the teaching pastors I know at Saddlback are divorced. Oh well. Perhaps Hill would be so kind as to actually give a name next time—oh, wait, that might not really leave the impression that it was a pastor. Nevermind.

HILL'S #10: I learned that a legitimate testimony consist of “I am being baptized today so I can see my baby daughter in heaven.”
RESPONSE: Okay, it sounds like what we have here—again—is a single sentence that was ripped out of a 5-10 lengthy testimony by someone from the congregation. Once more, it seems that Hill is not at all really interested in listening/reporting what is being said at Saddlbeack, but instead is filtering everything through a very tight funnel he uses to sift through what he sees and hears in order to find anything with which to condemn the church. This, my friends, is not the way to analyze ANYTHING. Sad, very sad. Hill makes this isolated line into a "legitimate testimony" when, according to my experiences at Saddleback, it sounds like just a single line from what was a very, very detailed story about someone who probably lost a baby through an accident or disease. Dear Scott Hill, how heartless can you be?

HILL'S #11: I learned 25 million dollars will build one, sweet children’s facility.
RESPONSE: True. Who cares? Maybe teh only ones who find this offensive are those churches and people who are just a little upset that THEY don't have $25 million to build a "sweet children’s facility."

HILL'S #12: I learned that flower arranging is a spiritual gift.
RESPONSE: Yeah, it is, if that is the talent God has given you and you make that your spiritual service to God—using it to demonstrate your love for him and others, using all of your heart, soul, mind, and strength. Hill's mockery of tender and godly things at this point is sickening and sad. I suppose Hill also would have made fun of the widow who humbly put two mites into the treasury because that was all she had to give (Mark 12:41).

HILL'S #13: I learned when Rick Warren tells 2500 pastors to get out their paper and he will give them their sermon outline for Easter Sunday 2498 of them start hunting for a pen.
RESPONSE: I just have no words at this point. . . . .

Interestingly, Scott Hill begins his entire derision with " I am by no means an expert on this church." To this I can only give a hearty AMEN!!!!!

R. Abanes
author, "Rick Warren and the Purpose that Drives Him"

PS I have injected my own level of mild sarcasm and attempts to stay as light-hearted as possible given the seriousness of the misrepresentations made by Hill. I hope it is appropriate in this forum. If not, I apologize in advance. More information about Warren can be accessed at my website for free at abanes.com/rickwarrenmain.html.

Tim Wirth said...

Hey Scott great article. Im in Modesto and dont have to play this Sunday in my church so this may be a good Sunday for a road trip down to Southern CA.
Frankly I like Mike and The Mechanics-in church though? As a invitation? I dont think so.
O and pay no attention to the man behind the curtain thats Richard Abanes excuseoligist for Rick Warren. I hear Richard is writing a book titled "The Attention Driven Life." Richard can you confirm or deny this?
And hey Richard can you show the flower arranging gift verse?
Maybe thats in The Book of Warren.
Peace
Tim

rabanes said...

TW: O and pay no attention to the man behind the curtain
RA: Not behind any curtain. I am pretty much out in the open, as evidenced by my declaration of who I am. So, I am not really sure what you are talking about. More of your alternate reality.


TW: thats Richard Abanes excuseoligist for Rick Warren.
RA: Really? Then why I have I posted my own criticisms and concerns about Warren at my own website


TW: I hear Richard is writing a book titled "The Attention Driven Life." Richard can you confirm or deny this?
RA: Denied.


TW: And hey Richard can you show the flower arranging gift verse?
RA: Sure, as soon as you can show me the "you must carry a Bible to church as proof of your Christianity, godliness, and biblical knowledge" verse.

RA

Michael Spencer said...

>want to experience baptism with a family member (or members) for whom they have been praying and who have finally accepted Christ

Sheesh Louise, Mr. Abanes. Defending "family" baptisms? I've heard of this once in my Southern Baptist life and considered it a weird aberration, but now I find out its propagated by Saddleback and defended? As what? What is it? It's obviously not any kind of Christian baptism remotely related to anything every mentioned in scripture. I'm pretty sure that 500+ pages of Beasley-Murray on Baptism in the New Testament won't mention it.

This sort of thing isn't the end of the world, but it speaks deeply to an attitude of flippancy towards things that are special and meaningful ONLY because of their connection to the Gospel.

I don't even want to know if these are counted among the church's impressive baptism figures.

I'm stunned.

Agent Tim said...

I find absolutely nothing wrong with family baptism. In our church, we will sometimes have a person of importance in the pool when the new Christian is baptized.

Either that, or we have the family close by (of course).

But dunking everyone? Well, that is a bit odd, but it's not like it's wrong. Where in the Bible does it say "Thou shall not be baptized twice"?

I mean, I guess it's a matter of opinion in this case.

JIBBS said...

Catspaw:

You said: "Where in the Bible does it say "Thou shall not be baptized twice"?"

This is simply an argument from silence that really doesn't defend or support the practice. It is tantamount to Jesse James pleading, "where does it say in the Bible 'Thou shalt not rob banks or trains'."

GeneMBridges said...

RA: Sure, as soon as you can show me the "you must carry a Bible to church as proof of your Christianity, godliness, and biblical knowledge" verse.

So, the answer is "No, then, eh, Richard?"

Unlike carrying a Bible to church to prove your spirituality (which the author has now stated in his reply is not his intention...that interpolation came from YOUR alternate reality) there are lists of spiritual gifts in Scripture. Flower arranging is not on them. You could argue that the gift of helps/service is a gift and flower arranging is a manifestation of that for a particular use. However, that's not what you argued. You argued that it is a gift and what makes it spiritual is your use of it. Contrast this with Scripture that says the gifts are given sovereignly by the Spirit and that it is the gift that sanctifies the talent, not the use of the talent that sanctifies the talent so that it can be considered a gift. That betrays a man-centered view of spiritual gifts.

NetRealist said...

Mr. Abanes,
" Even if such a thing actually DID happen, exactly where does it say in scripture that in order to PROVE how holy you are, or PROVE how godly you are, or PROVE how much you know the Word of God, you must actually be toting around a glimmering Bible with you at church so everyone can see it? "

I want to thank you for posting on many blogs recently. Every time you post, you give even more ammunition to those of us trying to fight Warren's heresy.

Take your little quote above. Nowhere does it say in scripture that we have to bring our Bibles to church in order to PROVE anything. But then that wasn't the point of the original comment, was it?

The fact that people aren't bringing their Bibles means that they aren't testing everything as 1 Th 5:21 tells us to do. But then we don't want modern day Bereans using their NASB's and ESV's to expose the lies of Warren's Message-centered heresy, do we? That wouldn't be good for sales, would it?

Faithful to Christ my Savior said...

Authentic Truth, I have read the accounts of a few who were asked to leave a Purpose Driven Bible study because they brought their Bible in with them and insisted it be used to confirm the teachings from the Purpose Driven group study guides. No joke, this has really happened to some people. There is something very awry when a "Christian" group shuns not just God's word but those who insist that it is still the absolute truth by which to judge all human teachings by.

centuri0n said...

I am a giant fan of Richard Abanes. His essay/interview a year ago in CBA Marketplace magazine regarding the retailer's responsibility to doctrinal standards was on the mark, and his research into Mormonism is the textbook for approaching apologetics with LDS elders. I also think I met Richard on an elevator at CBA Expo in 2004, but I might be mistaken.

That said, I admire him for defending his home church in this respect: it is his home church, and these are the believers he has chosen to fellowship with. But I want to focus for a second on the matter of a $25 million childrens' center.

Given that the building was built in CA, the property was expensive at face value, and construction costs were undoubtedly not what they would be in Salinas, KS, or Joplin, MO. So there's some room for mercy and grace in looking at whatever it is they built.

The other side of the coin is this: $25 million buys a lot of food for starving people. It buys a lot of low-cost housing. It pays for a lot of missions work at home and abroad. I would never say that Saddleback doesn't support missions or plant churches worldwide, but $25 million is not chump change no matter how big their missions giving is.

We could quibble over details and contingencies for a long time, but I'd challenges Mr. Abanes to answer the following question:

"What are the significant differences between Medieval Cathedral-building and modern megachurch campus-building?"

I have been thinking about this question ever since Joel Ostenn at Lakewood bought the Compaq center, and I'd be interested in Mr. Abanes' thoughts on this view of the matter. FWIW, I think the answer "it's an apples and oranges comparison" is off the mark: in both cases local congregations run by influential or charismatic religious leaders relied on wealthy benefactors to build monuments to religion rather than to funnel that capital in the true religion of comforting widows and orphans in their time of need and growing disciples.

centuri0n said...

Also FWIW, I find this exchange especially troubling:

TW: And hey Richard can you show the flower arranging gift verse?
RA: Sure, as soon as you can show me the "you must carry a Bible to church as proof of your Christianity, godliness, and biblical knowledge" verse.


Mr. Abanes: If you were walking down the street of a town carrying your Bible, and you were stopped by someone from the Chamber of Commerce and greeted as a tourist, and you found out that it was because you were carrying your Bible that you were identified as such (implying that nobody there carried a Bible under normal circumstances), would you think something odd was a foot, or would you think "I'll make sure I leave my Bible in the Hotel room"?

Now carry that over not to a town but to a church -- an allegedly-Protestant church which has some relationship to the BFM2000 if not the LBCF in the age of the mass-produced printed word where I can get you any kind of Bible you feel comfortable carrying and/or reading. You don't find it somewhat disturbing that it seems typical to this person representing your church -- even as a door greeter -- to note that only tourists carry Bibles?

It seems to me that the tourists carrying Bibles appear to the aliens and passersby, if you'd like a Bible verse to square up the edges of the conversation. However, you may have a different point of view which might deserve some fleshing out.

centuri0n said...

That last paragraph should read:

It seems to me that the tourists carrying Bibles appear to be the aliens and passersby, if you'd like a Bible verse to square up the edges of the conversation. However, you may have a different point of view which might deserve some fleshing out.

Sorry for the typo.

Tony Langdon said...

Song suggestions for Saddleback messages.

Topic: Humility
Song: "You're So Vain"

Topic: Tithing
Song: "Can't Buy Me Love"

Topic: Sexual Purity
Song: "Help Me Make It Through The Night"

Topic: Discipleship
Song: "I Will Follow Him"
("I love Him, I love Him, I love Him and where He goes I'll follow, I'll follow, I'll follow...")

ColinM said...

RAbanes:

Thanks for ripping my post apart. Did I offend you, or do you think I am that stupid? The post was littered with sarcasm; your comment had tinges of sarcasm; was mine the only serious comment? Ever heard this- context, context, context... But I have been painted as the undiscerning "follower" to illustrate your moderately (as HH would call it:) 'fallacious' diatribe. You used my post not once, but twice!

Does divorce not matter? When you read this post, did you not wonder who he was speking of: a teacher or a layman? Does it not matter? You asked it- I do not appreciate being painted as one who is a lover of gossip:

RA:Exactly how this effects people can be seen in one of the comments noted by some poor trusting reader at Scott Hill's blog, who says: "By the way, who is divorced there?" You can almost hear the lips being licked and the hands wringing, as the person is saying, "Ooohhhh, tell me more, tell me more. A pastor divorced at Saddleback, which one, which one, pretty please, do tell us."

I am truly surprised at your response-not content, but attitude. Not only that, you employ the same methods of attack you denounce FIDO for using. Despite your best intentions, you alienated me from your readership. At the very least, I will always question your exegetical skills given the manner in which you quoted me. If this is the example of mature Christian response-no thanks. I expect more of those walking with God for at least 10 years.

Colin McGahey

Scott Hill said...

I have responded to Richard Abanes in a post. Check it out if you want the full story.

Scott Hill

rabanes said...

Scott,

Thanks for your comments. Here are my final thoughts.

#1 As soon as we were seated a man standing on the stage walked down, introduced himself as the Associate Pastor, and asked, “How has your trip to California been so far?” I thought it was a very astute question so I asked how he knew we were visiting. His response was, “I can always tell the people from out of town by their Bibles.” I am sorry but I do not remember his name. My point had nothing to do with the holiness or lack thereof of taking your Bible to church. My point was, we were singled out because we carried to church the one book God gave us to learn everything we need to live Godly lives, to church.
ABANES: But I wonder why you did not find it equally significant that this pastor actually took the time and effort to leave the stage, walk up to you, and greet you because he thought perhaps you were guests. Instead of focusing on that gesture of Christian love and a welcoming spirit, instead, to found it more important to negatively mention his Bible comment—as if THAT was actually the significant aspect of the story. It is not. As I mentioned, nowhere do we find some biblical command: "And thou shalt carry a Bible to church." Believe me, I have been in plenty of churches where every single person had a ten-pound, marked-up Bible, but not a SINGLE person came up to me to say "Hi."

#2 The comment about 25 translations was indeed a sarcastic jab. One of my issues with Rick Warren is that instead of using exposition of a text he seemingly tries to find a translation that will make the text say what he wants it to say. I have heard Rick’s reasoning for using so many translations. There is no need to refer me to it.
ABANES: Fair enough. But let's draw a distinction between: Expository preaching (which is not necessarily the end-all-be-all of preaching) and Rick's admittedly questionable use of some verses at sporadic times (and as someone who has heard Rick preach for 10 years, it is NOT as bad at all as people are making it sound).

#3 No reflection on Saddleback Church whatsoever, but I found it comically interesting that at a junior high concert in one of Saddleback’s tents a group of 13 year olds approached the stage and asked the band if they could turn it down. This could have happened at any concert. I just didn’t believe until then that 13 year olds thought music could get to loud. Richard you are correct, the Bible does not talk about decibals. Btw, I have no birth date on my profile -- I am 33 years old.
ABANES: Fair enough.

#4 I can see no justification for secular music in a church.
ABANES: Ok, but that is just your opinion. As long as we understand that, I have no argument with you holding that opinion. All I would say is that some secular songs do indeed have some very poignant and can be used to compliment a message.

#6 After a service at Saddleback we were told we could not only watch the baptisms outside, but that we could also be baptized! We approached a woman under a canopy and asked her what we would need to do to be baptized. We were told to check the box marked, "I believe in Jesus" and would be given a shirt, shorts and towel to be baptized in. We asked if we needed to go through any classes, or talk with someone. “No, all you need to do is check the box marked I believe in Jesus.”
ABANES: Hmm. Yeah, I can see this as problematic. I'll check into this a bit more closely, Thanks for the observation.

#8 The above baptism scene took place after a sermon on Zacchaeus. In this sermon we were told that when Jesus called Zacchaeus’ name, it was the first time Zacchaeus had heard his name called in years (eisogesis), therefore affirming to Zacchaeus that Jesus would accept him as he is. My point was that I believe Saddleback teaches a Gospel of affirmation not transformation.
ABANES: This is ABSOLUTELY false. Transformation of lives is what is paramount to Warren, leadership, and Saddleback. Affirmation is certainly not mutually exclusive to transformation, but transformation is the goal, hope, and prayer. Warren, as I quote in my book, states: " “My model is not anything but following Jesus,” He further explains. “My goal when I preach is not to inform; it is to transform.” In a May 2000 interview, in fact, he also declared: "Saddleback is not a story of numbers. It’s the story of individual lives changed one at a time. Every number represents a real person transformed by the power of Jesus Christ. Rick Warren (May 3, 2000, interview, Baptist Press). Oddly, because Warren has used the very word YOU used, he has been accused of being a New Ager!!! So we have people on your side condemning him for NOT transforming people, then people from another side saying Warren IS talking about transforming people and that is wrong, too.

#9 I did not intend to imply that a Pastor was divorced at Saddleback. It was not a Pastor who spoke. This comment referred to a man who was the guest speaker at a weekend focused on single adults.
ABANES: Thanks for the clarification.

#10 The testimony of a woman standing in the baptistery played over the screens in the sanctuary. Rick Warren asked, “ _________ why are you getting baptized today?” The woman replied, “In 1995 I was as close to God as I have ever been. Then my baby daughter died. I am here being baptized today so I can see my baby in heaven.”
ABANES: Ok, I can see how this is bothersome, but I am not sure you can put as much weight on it as you are putting on it. We have a woman, standing in a baptistry, getting ready to be baptized, and she is asked a question by Rick Warren, live on a 50ft screen. Well, gee, I suppose she answered imperfectly, wrapping up in her faith the fact that she was also now going to be able to see her baby again. Wow. Instead of basing your views on this one woman's off-the-cuff (and clearly emotional) answer, you might want to check out what Saddleback teaches about baptism, Christ, the afterlife, and salvation by grace alone through faith alone. Just a thought.

#11 I do not care how much Saddleback spent on its children’s facility.
ABNAES: FIne, but the open ended way you posted, made it seem as if something was wrong with spending that money. It was an open-ended comment that left readers thinking something negative.

#12 Flower arranging is not a spiritual gift, it is a talent, and neither is recycling. No explanation should be needed.
ABNAES: You miss the point I made. And I suppose, technically speaking (and I mean seriously technically), you are correct. But so what? I mean, really, what is the big deal? You and others act as if saying flower arranging is a gift is tantamount to saying there is no trinity. I just think there is a lot of straining at gnats going on, while weightier matters are being neglected. (Matthew 23: 23-24).

Just my two cents. And interestingly, just because I happen to think Warren's an ok guy and others have made mistakes about Saddlback, I have been accused of serving "my father" the devil and worshiping Warren, and not loving the true God of the Bible. Isn't this getting a bit extreme????

RAbanes

Tim Wirth said...

And for all you Abanes fans who are dying to know more about Richard Abanes check out this link
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Richard_Abanes
Which was written by the Might Abanes or is that Adonis.
This guy is the poster child for Purpose Driven Life fruit.
Peace
Tim

St. Priscilla said...

I have seen Saddleback sermon video personally and can verify that, contrary to Abanes, the use of multiple translations used in the services is TRUE. Maybe when Abanes stops getting paid or receiving incentives from Rick Warren, he will become interested in telling the truth. If not, then one day before the Lord he will have no choice but to tell the truth.

Agent Tim said...

JIBBS: That's not true. The Bible says "Do Not STEAL." That's in the Law of God.

But for some matters, it's just principles that we must live by. I won't argue to much on the whole issue, but I must say that comparing it to what Jesse James would say isn't true.

"Maybe when Abanes stops getting paid or receiving incentives from Rick Warren, he will become interested in telling the truth. If not, then one day before the Lord he will have no choice but to tell the truth."

I invite you to look at my post on comments like that:
http://agenttimonline.com/?p=15

shengy said...

This is in response to Richard Abanes HILL'S #1 comment - “exactly where does it say in scripture that in order to PROVE how holy you are, or PROVE how godly you are, or PROVE how much you know the Word of God, you must actually be toting around a glimmering Bible with you at church so everyone can see it? Sounds rather prideful to me and for some people might be an external sign of holiness.”

Matthew 22:29 Jesus answered and said unto them, YE DO ERR, NOT KNOWING THE SCRIPTURES, nor the power of God.

1John 4:1 Beloved, DO NOT BELIEVE EVERY SPIRIT, BUT TEST THE SPIRITS TO SEE WHETHER THEY ARE OF GOD; because many false prophets have gone out into the world.

Mark 12:24 Yeshua said to them, "IS THIS NOT BECAUSE YOU ARE MISGUIDED, THAT YOU NEITHER UNDERSTAND THE SCRIPTURES, nor the power of God?

Acts 17:11 Now these (Bereans) were more noble than those in Thessalonikei, for they received the word with all eagerness, EXAMINING THE SCRIPTURES DAILY, TO SEE IF THESE THINGS WERE SO.

2Peter 3:17-18 …as also in all his epistles (Paul), speaking in them of these things, in which are some things difficult to understand, WHICH THE UNLEARNED AND UNSTABLE TWIST AS THEY DO ALSO THE REST OF THE SCRIPTURES, TO THEIR OWN RUIN. You therefore, beloved, knowing this beforehand, BE ON YOUR GUARD, LEST, BEING CARRIED AWAY BY THE ERROR OF UNPRINCIPLED MEN, you fall from your own steadfastness.

The scriptures (you know, the ones you don’t confirm) tell us that when we hear someone preach we are to test the spirits and search the scriptures to see if they are of God. If no one in Saddleback brings their bibles to church and they are relying on a man to provide his own interpretation of them, then they who are in attendance are in error because they know not the scriptures nor do they confirm their soundness. In Matthew 22:29 the word “KNOW” is not a passive act of recalling information based on what you hear in the pulpit but on the following:

KNOW – [eido 1492] to inspect, examine, gain knowledge of, to know how, to be skilled in.

If the members of your church are not examining and inspecting the scriptures as they are being disseminated, you guys are prime targets for wolves and fall prey to the judgment of the seven churches of Revelation, whereby they allowed false teachers to come in among the sheep and are judged accordingly.

quirkyartist said...

right on Shengy!
Right on the word of Gods sound doctrine!
I was distressed as I read the previous answers to the 'bible in church' argument. (as if that should EVEN BE an argument for a christian! Pu-lease!)
We are told explicitly to test all teachings through Gods Holy word.

Consider this everyone....
After the horor of 911...the U.S. Government began teaching our armed service men and women, through the F.B.I. etc...how to spot counterfeit currency. (Because it was used so frequently in terrorist groups.) And do you suppose they learned by hours of studying the counterfeits? NO...
they knew how to distinguish the counterfeit by studying the TRUTH! The real American bill.Only then could they spot the FALSE curency quickly and clearly.And as we study Gods words, we will see clearly the deceptions and the false doctrines of our day.
Just as the scriptures teaches us there will be those 'Hidden among our love feasts' (Jude 1:12)

Jude 1:4
For certain persons have crept in unnoticed, those who were long beforehand condemned, ungodly persons who turn the grace of our God into licentiousness and deny our only master and Lord, Jesus Christ.

Jude1:12
These men are those who are hidden reefs in your love feasts when they feast with you without fear,(pride, arrogance,) caring only for themselves; clouds without water,( void of the Holy spirit?) carried along by winds;(winds of false doctrine?) autumn trees without fruit, (fruit is NOT NUMBERS! David was rebuked for numbering the people!) doubley dead, (well...you get the picture.)

Get out your bibles friends!
Find the most acurate translation. examine, compare, pray and immerse yourself in it's words.
And Not the 'message!' (Or the MESS of this AGE! as I call it.)

What a sad day in our world when bringing a bible to church is considered 'pride' and 'self-righteousness'! (a glittering bible???UGH!) Yes, I'm PROUD. Proud to be a child of the one true living God. Proud to carry HIS holy word in my hands to a place filled with fellow believers.
I thought we lived in America....not communist China.
Remember...the frog in the pot of water.. slowly boils to death before he knows what horrible fate has befallen him.

Sincerely in the Lord Jesus Christ