Richard Abanes, author of Rick Warren and the Purpose that Drives Him (Harvest House, 2005), recently criticized Scott for his post entitled "15 Things I Learned at Saddleback." Richie, as was his stage name during his dancing and acting days, questioned Scott's accuracy on the following two issues:
1. Who was the speaker at Saddleback who said, "God taught me how to live victoriously as a single between my first and second marriage."?
2. The message of Saddleback is "affirmation" not "transformation" of a person's life as taught in the aforementioned sermon about Zacchaeus.
It just so happens that I was with Scott when he "learned" this. The man who taught upon the subject of living victoriously as a single was Bill Butterworth. The sermon title was "Living Life to the Max" and was preached March 2-3, 2002. In fact, in the sermon hand-out we filled in blanks as Bill spoke upon this subject. As he listed so-called "traits of fulfilled single adults", his first point was "Unconditional Acceptance of Myself." The scriptures given to prove this were Proverbs 23:7, "For as he thinks within himself, so he is." And Isaiah 62:5, "As the bridegroom rejoices over the bride, so your God will rejoice over you." Of course, if anyone takes this advice I hope they like being single, because I expect no one will want to marry such a conceited, self-centered person who thinks everyone, including God, must accept them just like they are. (My wife and God are still working on me. Ouch.)
Concerning the second issue, I heard the same sermon preached as Scott did. In fact, it was Saturday August 26, 2000. That was the same service where we were specially noticed as out-of-towners because we carried Bibles. The sermon that day was preached by Rick Warren from Luke 19:1-4, entitled "How Much You Matter To God." Using the Message Bible, Rick read a portion of Luke 19:5, "When Jesus got to the tree, he looked up." Point number one was "No Matter How Insignificant I Feel, Jesus Notices Me."
After an interlude of special music, Rick transitioned to the second point by reading from the Living Bible a portion of Luke 19:5, "Jesus looked up at Zacchaeus and called him by name 'Zacchaeus!' he said." Rick then says (and in amazement I wrote it down), "When Jesus said Zacchaeus' name, it was the first time Zacchaeus had heard his name in years." (Now from where did Rick learn that? I could not find it in any of his 25 favorite translations or paraphrase Bibles or my Greek New Testament.) By the way, the second point in the sermon was, "No Matter What Others Say About Me, Jesus Affirms Me."
Now let it be remembered, the reason that I have posted this additional information is because Scott's integrity was questioned by Richie. Furthermore, I believe that Saddleback's unbiblical gospel message is in the same line of psycho-babble-christianity as Joel Osteen and others. I spend most of my time preaching the Gospel and some of my time defending the Gospel from Biblical distortions of our era. This post fits the latter.