Tuesday, April 14, 2009

What's Rick Warren's 'Purpose" in Disavowing Support for California Prop 8?

What's his 'Purpose' in this?

One News Now: California mega-church pastor and author of The Purpose Driven Life Rick Warren says he apologized to his homosexual friends for making comments in support of California's Proposition 8, and now claims he "never once even gave an endorsement" of the marriage amendment.

Monday night on CNN's Larry King Live, Pastor Rick Warren apologized for his support of Prop. 8, California's voter-approved marriage protection amendment, saying he has "never been and never will be" an "anti-gay or anti-gay marriage activist."

"During the whole Proposition 8 thing, I never once went to a meeting, never once issued a statement, never -- never once even gave an endorsement in the two years Prop. 8 was going," Warren told the CNN audience on Monday. "The week before the -- the vote, somebody in my church said, 'Pastor Rick, what -- what do you think about this?' And I sent a note to my own members that said, I actually believe that marriage is -- really should be defined, that that definition should be -- say between a man and a woman."

However, just two weeks before the November 4 Prop. 8 vote, Pastor Warren issued a clear endorsement of the marriage amendment while speaking to church members. "We support Proposition 8 -- and if you believe what the Bible says about marriage, you need to support Proposition 8," he said.

The following is a complete transcript of Warren's comments just weeks before the Prop. 8 election:

"The election's coming just in a couple of weeks, and I hope you're praying about your vote. One of the propositions, of course, that I want to mention is Proposition 8, which is the proposition that had to be instituted because the courts threw out the will of the people. And a court of four guys actually voted to change a definition of marriage that has been going for 5,000 years.

"Now let me say this really clearly: we support Proposition 8 -- and if you believe what the Bible says about marriage, you need to support Proposition 8. I never support a candidate, but on moral issues I come out very clear.

"This is one thing, friends, that all politicians tend to agree on. Both Barack Obama and John McCain, I flat-out asked both of them: what is your definition of marriage? And they both said the same thing -- it is the traditional, historic, universal definition of marriage: one man and one woman, for life. And every culture for 5,000 years, and every religion for 5,000 years, has said the definition of marriage is between one man and a woman.

"Now here's an interesting thing. There are about two percent of Americans [who] are homosexual or gay/lesbian people. We should not let two percent of the population determine to change a definition of marriage that has been supported by every single culture and every single religion for 5,000 years.

"This is not even just a Christian issue -- it's a humanitarian and human issue that God created marriage for the purpose of family, love, and procreation.

"So I urge you to support Proposition 8, and pass that word on. I'm going to be sending out a note to pastors on what I believe about this. But everybody knows what I believe about it. They heard me at the Civil Forum when I asked both Obama and McCain on their views."

During his CNN interview on Monday, Warren expressed regret for backing Prop. 8. "There were a number of things that were put out. I wrote to all my gay friends -- the leaders that I knew -- and actually apologized to them. That never got out," he admitted.

Additionally, Pastor Warren said he did not want to comment on or criticize the Iowa Supreme Court's decision last week to legalize same-sex "marriage" because it was "not his agenda."

Bryan Fischer with the Idaho Values Alliance says Warren is abdicating his biblical role as a pastor. "For Pastor Warren to say that shoring up marriage is not something that's on his agenda is just something that's hard to believe for somebody who believes the Bible is our rule for faith and practice," Fischer notes.

Dr. Jim Garlow, the senior pastor of Skyline Wesleyan Church in the San Diego suburb of La Mesa, helped spearhead the Prop. 8 effort in California. Garlow admits he is confused and troubled by Pastor Warren's decision to apologize for supporting Prop. 8.

"Historically when institutions and individuals back away from convictional biblical truth, it is driven primarily by one single factor -- and that is the respectability of other people. In other words, much more caring about what other people think about them than what God thinks about them," he concludes.

More at Changing Worldviews

Hear Live Stream of today's Show on this subject at 4:30 pm PST4/14/09 on KDIA


Anonymous said...

What he had preached to his congregation in support of propostion 8 was taking a bold stand for the truth. Apologizing for it later is pure cowardice.

Anonymous said...

While this kind of flip-flopping is disturbing, we must remember that Rich Warren is only human. Knowing this, we Christians must be careful when passing personal judgement.

From what I know of the man, he seems to be a good person, but even good people do not always do the right thing.

I would not want to be in his shoes.

Being a Christian has never been about being popular, and yet the popularity of Warren's brand of ministry has done a lot of good in this world.

Gay marriage is the kind of wedge issue that creates a lot of controversy even between different Christian denominations. It shouldn't -- the Bible is very clear on homosexuality being wrong, but these are the times we live in.

And the problem that people like Warren face is that he is trying to show people the love of Jesus Christ, but if a wedge issue like gay marriage is perceived to be the priority of his ministry, many people will just not even listen to the message.

I don't think this has as much to do with his personal popularity (although I do not know the man and cannot say for sure) as it has to do with how attention to him and his stance on gay marriage will effect the evangelism of his ministry.

I'm not saying that only defending half of the truth is better than telling a lie, just that this is a difficult problem, and one that many evangelicals avoid.

Even if you look at Christian missionaries earlier in history, they often found it easier to adapt pagan customs than to outright eliminate them, i.e. Winter Solstice becomes Christmas.

Today, we have a lot of pagans in America, even among those who claim to be Christian.

Rick Warren deserves to be criticized, but not condemned.