Rick Warren’s talk at the Desiring God 2010 National Conference Think: The Life of the Mind and the Love of God conference follows below. Not surprisingly in some reformed circles online the recriminations continue. People wonder why Piper would invite Warren. But I very much enjoyed this talk. Warren is no lightweight. It is easy to dismiss his talks as lacking theological substance, but to those who’s ears are open, they will realize there is much depth to them. He has the skill, often spoken about in Spurgeon’s ministry of being a consumer of complex theology and repackaging God’s truth in a fresh, superficially simple manner. People used to dislike Spurgeon’s so-called “coarse language” and what was for his era an informal, and simple style.
Rick shows the drive of his ministry in this talk. As a young Southern Baptist he kept writing in his sermon notes YBH – yes but how? I think this disease is very prevalent among us reformed folk. We can be under the illusion that if we just get our doctrine right everything else will flow naturally. Well, it aint necessarily so! Rick grabs us by the scruff of our necks in this talk and gives us some clear biblical tips on how to conquer our thought patterns.
Do I wish that he didn’t use so many Bible translations? You bet I do! But do I understand that he does so with a passion to make familiar truths live for a cynical audience- yes! Would I want to listen to nothing but Warren’s sermons? No, probably not. But, am I glad for all he has done for the church at large, and rejoice in him as a brother- you betcha! It is hard to ignore a man who leads a church that has baptized 20,000 people in just a few years, and has now sent a missions team to every nation on earth! Quite some achievement. Quite a man it would seem, though I am sure he would confess that it is in fact God who has once again taken over a fairly ordinary man to accomplish his extraordinary purposes. You mark my words, Rick Warren is not finished his ministry yet and we will hear much more about him in the future. His current passion to engage the church in world mission and social action is commendable. To hear him say that he read the whole works of Edwards in a year while doing everything else he does makes me just want to say “I shut my mouth and listen, rather than sit in judgment.” Do I want to ape everything about Warren and his ministry, no way. But them, I don’t want to blindly copy everything about Piper’s ministry, either! It is so important to listen to people you disagree with. I may indeed disagree with Warren on some things, but surely in this day when there are enough true enemies of the gospel out there, it is about time people stopped trying to pretend that Warren is one of them?