I knew it wouldn’t take long for folks to label me a “Rick Warren” defender. I don’t believe that Rick Warren is a heretic and that hasn’t sat well with certain people. I don’t really care what they think or even say about me. One person even said I had to prove that Warren isn’t a heretic….ok. Tell ya what. Let’s look at the definition of what a heretic actually is and then I’ll leave it up to the folks that believe Warren is a heretic to show me proof….how’s that?
2 Peter 2:1-2 (KJV)
1 But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction. 2 And many shall follow their pernicious ways; by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of.
The Greek word for false prophets is ψευδοπροφήτης (pseudoprophētēs) and means;
A spurious prophet i.e. pretended foreteller or religious impostor:
The Greek word for false teacher is ψευδοδιδάσκαλος (pseudodidaskalos) and means;
A spurious teacher, i.e. propagator of erroneous Christian doctrine:
The Greek word for heretic is αἱρετικός (aihretikos) and means the following;
1) Fitted or able to take or choose a thing
2) Schismatic, factious, a follower of a false doctrine
The Greek Word for damnable is ἀπώλεια (apōleia) and means the following;
Ruin or loss (physical, spiritual or eternal):- damnable (-nation), destruction, die, perdition, × perish, pernicious ways, waste.
The Greek word for heresies is αἵρεσις (hairesis) and means the following;
1) Act of taking, capture: e.g. storming a city
2) Choosing, choice
3) That which is chosen
4) A body of men following their own tenets (sect or party)
4a) of the Sadducees
4b) of the Pharisees
4c) of the Christians
5) Dissensions arising from diversity of opinions and aims
I’ve added the definitions of the key words to demonstrate the importance of getting our terms correct. Now if you notice the text, these false prophets and teachers will bring in damnable heresies meaning these heresies taught by spurious teachers will send us to hell if we believe them. These spurious teachers will choose to teach against what are accepted essential orthodox doctrines such as;
1). The Trinity
2). The Deity of Christ
3). The Bodily Resurrection
4). The Atoning work of Christ on the Cross
5). Salvation by Grace through Faith
The Bible tells us how important these beliefs are as they are or should be the core of our doctrinal beliefs; (Matthew 28:19, John 8:24, 1Corinthians 15, Ephesians 2:8-10).
So tell me, how has Rick Warren taught against the Trinity? The Deity of Christ? The Bodily Resurrection? The Atoning work of Christ on the Cross? Salvation by Grace through faith? A heretic would choose to teach a doctrine contrary to the ones previously listed. I don’t see Warren teaching against any of these essentials so labeling him a heretic is completely wrong.
Is Rick Warren a false teacher? Probably and you won’t get an argument from me on that. Here’s a short video where Warren steps outside the Bible;
Adding to the Scriptures? Most certainly! Was he teaching against the essentials? Nope. There are plenty of other similar short videos available online that clearly demonstrate Warren playing fast and lose with the Scriptures and that includes A Purpose Driven Life but I have yet to see anyone categorizing this man a heretic demonstrating how he teaches against essential Orthodox doctrines as listed above.
There is a difference between a false teacher and a heretic Brethren. Both are bad for the Body and should be avoided. Just keep in mind that a false teacher teaches false doctrines that may or may not lead you to hell where a heretic and his teachings WILL lead you to hell…..