IT'S YOUR CHOICE
By Paul Proctor
March 11, 2005
“This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves,…Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away. For of this sort are they which creep into houses, and lead captive silly women laden with sins, led away with divers lusts, Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.” – 2nd Timothy 2: 1-2, 5-7
James Sundquist, author of a great new book entitled, “Who’s Driving The Purpose Driven Church?” (Which I highly recommend, by the way) recently sent me a copy of Rick Warren’s column from the March 2005 edition of the Ladies Home Journal. What makes this particular piece a must read for any Christian, is how perfectly it illustrates what Pastor Warren REALLY believes and/or wants YOU to believe.
In it, this wolf momentarily steps out of his sheepskin to address what is most important to him; his REAL religion: making people feel good about themselves, which of course, makes them feel good about Rick Warren, and his “ministry.” It is the essence of good marketing: telling people what they want to hear, even if it is a boldface lie; and because he claims to be doing it for Jesus, the “spiritual” end justifies the diabolical means.
You see, a “successful” salesman always makes his prospects feel good. If he accomplishes this, he knows that many, if not most, will reward him by purchasing whatever it is he has for sale because you see, the REAL product for sale IS the salesman. Everything else is just an accessory. The better the customer feels, the more they like the salesman. The more accessories that likeable salesman sells, the more he is acclaimed worthy by the world. Not only that; but the more he is acclaimed worthy by the world, the EASIER his accessories are to sell. In time, the salesman’s growing popularity and the trustworthy image that is perpetuated before the public eye provides all of the necessary momentum to sustain his “success” at least until, for whatever reason, the good feelings wane or the next big thing comes along.
How does a “successful” salesman make you feel good? In a word: Flattery – what we all want to hear from those around us. Flattery And The Big Lie.
In Pastor Warren’s March column, he wrote:
“To truly love yourself, you need to know the five truths that form the basis of a healthy self-image.”
Here he begins by endorsing the very thing conservatives loathed Bill Clinton for: narcissism. Now, keep in mind, this is a “man of God,” a “preacher of the Gospel,” laying out five “truths” for your consideration. But these “truths” came not from the Bible, the Word of God every legitimate shepherd is called to proclaim. No, they came from the world of secular psychology. But, if any preacher or pastor proclaims something other than God’s Word as truth at the expense of the Gospel, he is betraying Christ, not obeying Him.
1. Warren: “Accept yourself…God accepts us unconditionally…”
Does God accept us without Christ? Does He accept us even when we reject Him and/or willfully disobey His Word? Is that not what “unconditionally” means? So, is Pastor Warren implying here that Jesus really didn’t need to suffer and die on a cross two thousand years ago to atone for our sins with His own shed blood to make those of us who belong to Him acceptable to God the Father because God ALREADY accepts anyone and everyone unconditionally? If so, is he also suggesting that Hell is reserved only for the devil and his fallen angels or are they accepted unconditionally, as well?
The truth is; Hell is never mentioned in the article; neither is sin, repentance, redemption or the cross of Christ; only God’s “unconditional acceptance” of everyone reading the Ladies Home Journal, Christian or not.
2. Warren: “Love yourself”
Tell me, who’s more in love with “self” than self? At the very heart of our sinful nature is an unrestrained self-love. Does scripture say: “Thou shalt love thyself with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength?” Of course not! There is a reason for that. We already love ourselves instinctively. We were born with an undying love for self. If it weren’t so, Jesus would not have told us to “…love thy neighbor AS THYSELF.” – Mark 12:31
Even those that commit suicide are doing it for themselves, in spite of the life-altering pain and suffering they inflict on their family and friends. They don’t hate themselves. They’re filled with fear, anxiety, guilt, anger, loneliness, resentment and a desperate need to BE LOVED. If they are simply instructed to “love self,” then their sin and separation from God remains ignored; and not only are they still lost and bound for an eternity in Hell, they are encouraged by false prophets like Warren to love themselves all the more for it! This is the perfect recipe for disaster. It is the anti-gospel and the doctrine of demons.
So, here’s a “minister of the gospel” instructing his readers from every walk of life, Christian or otherwise, not to love others or even to love God as the bible teaches; but instead, to “love yourself.” OK – All you Mary Kay Letourneau, Lynette "Squesky" Fromme, Hillary Clinton, Janet Jackson, Madonna, Brittney Spears types, listen up! I hope you renewed your subscription because the good reverend is about to say something here that I’m quite certain you’re going to like:
3. Warren: “Be true to yourself…consider your heart – what you love to do – as well as the strengths and weaknesses of your personality…Don’t deny your weaknesses…be content with them.”
You might hear that in a Walt Disney movie or on the Dr. Phil Show but you won’t find THAT in your King James, folks. What you WILL find is this:
“The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?” – Jeremiah 17:9
“Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself…” – Matthew 16:24
4. Warren: “Forgive yourself…God doesn’t expect perfection…”
If we forgive ourselves without Christ, without confession and without repentance, not only are we fooling ourselves, we are unwittingly condemning ourselves through delusion and have essentially learned how to bypass the conscience God has given us and “seared” it from ever feeling the burden of our sin and guilt again.
Furthermore, if God doesn’t expect perfection from us, Jesus would not have said:
“Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.” – Matthew 5:48
Apparently, somebody’s lying to us. Do you believe Jesus Christ or Rick Warren?
5. Warren: “Believe in yourself…The truth is God has created you with talents, abilities, personality and background in a combination that is uniquely you.”
The Lord has NEVER ONCE instructed us to “believe in ourselves!” This is the world’s religion – the heart of humanism and “the pride of life” that the Bible repeatedly warns us against! There is nothing to gain from believing in oneself but the praise and admiration of the world, which is not only what Rick Warren wants but also what he knows YOU want, even though it could cost you your very soul.
Here’s what the Word of God says about self:
“But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away.” – Isaiah 64:6
“Thus saith the LORD; Cursed be the man that trusteth in man, and maketh flesh his arm, and whose heart departeth from the LORD.” – Jeremiah 17:5
“Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it. For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?.” – Matthew 16:24-26
And, here’s what scripture says about WHOM we should believe in:
“Jesus cried and said, He that believeth on me, believeth not on me, but on him that sent me.” – John 12:44
“And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die.” – John 11:26a
Pastor Warren closes his heretical commentary with the following:
“It’s your choice. You can believe what others say about you, or you can believe in yourself as does God, who says you are truly acceptable, lovable, valuable and capable.”
Amid all these lies, Rick is right about one thing: IT'S YOUR CHOICE. And, what a choice it is! You can believe what God says about you in His Word or you can "believe in yourself" as Warren and every other self-help motivational speaker advises us to do. But ask yourself this: When did God EVER say He believed in you and me? When did He EVER say we were “acceptable, lovable, valuable and capable?”
Here’s what He REALLY said about you and me:
“For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God” - Romans 3:23
And, FIVE TIMES He said this:
“…there is none that doeth good…” – Psalm 14:1, Psalm 14:3, Psalm 53:1, Psalm 53:3, Romans 3:12
But, about Jesus Christ, God the Father had THIS to say:
“And there came a voice from heaven, saying, Thou art my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” – Mark 1:11
…a Son whose precious name was NEVER ONCE mentioned in Rick Warren’s article. THAT ALONE should speak volumes about what he believes and in whom he believes. Sure he used the name “God” throughout the article; but to a Muslim, that’s not Jesus; to a Mormon, that’s not Jesus; to Moonies and countless other followers of the world’s various religions, that’s not Jesus. That's how he and others like him slip in under the radar. The way he presented "God" in the magazine, "God" could be anybody you want Him to be, including yourself. (Telling you what you want to hear while offending no one) Well friends, he sure offended me, and I HOPE he offended you!
About the name of Jesus Christ, the Bible says this:
“Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” – Acts 4:12
According to Time Magazine, Rick Warren is “America's New People's Pastor.” Judging by the millions of PDL books sold and the thousands of churches that have embraced him, his programs and his accessories, I am inclined to agree.
YOU, my fellow Christian; whether you’re a preacher, a pastor, an evangelist, a church leader, teacher or simply a layman; after reading here what Pastor Warren wrote in The Ladies Home Journal, have an obligation to take a stand for Jesus Christ and His Word and warn others about Warren’s unbiblical teaching. If you do not, and just sit silent to save your ministry, church, career, family, friends or your own reputation then I would encourage you to re-read Matthew 16:24-26 one more time because he is leading people astray around the world in vast numbers and we are commanded to rebuke him for it with the Word of God and separate ourselves from him and his heresy if he does not repent.
That is our duty as disciples of Jesus Christ. If we accommodate anyone’s lies and deceit for selfish reasons, especially those who call themselves a “brother,” then we show our Lord, the world around us, and that “great cloud of witnesses” that we are not FOR Christ, but are in reality, AGAINST Him.
“Woe be unto the pastors that destroy and scatter the sheep of my pasture! saith the LORD.” – Jeremiah 23:1
© 2005 Paul Proctor - All Rights Reserved
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Paul Proctor, a rural resident of the Volunteer state and seasoned veteran of the country music industry, retired from showbiz in the late 1990's to dedicate himself to addressing important social issues from a distinctly biblical perspective. As a freelance writer and regular columnist for NewsWithViews.com, he extols the wisdom and truths of scripture through commentary and insight on cultural trends and current events. His articles appear regularly on a variety of news and opinion sites across the internet and in print.