I guess I’m like a lot of Reformed folks out there. I’ve looked at Saddleback from a distance. I’ve read snippets of his stuff here and there. Heard him in short interviews. Watched the presidential debate he hosted. But I’ve never really listened to him. I pigeon-holed him. I thought, “Ah, he’s one of those mega-church types who love skits and only interact with 30% of the bible.” So when I heard that he was invited by Piper to speak at the Desiring God Conference, I was a little taken back.
But in a short video clip, which can be found here (link), Piper defended and explained why he invited him. It is good. Nevertheless, I was still quite intrigued by the move, and I looked forward to hearing Warren speak.
Fast forward to now.
This past Sunday, I eagerly downloaded the message and listened to Rick Warren first. Next I listened to the panel discussion following his message. One of the first questions directed to the panel was what they thought of Rick’s message. Burk Parsons and John Piper answered. Here’s what Mr. Parsons said. I think it sums it up nicely.
“Well, David, I’m almost afraid to say what I think I should say, because I’m afraid of what people I love and think highly of me when I say that I was actually just amazed by how much biblical content and just helpful, simple, straightforward admonition and challenge I received from Rick this evening. I had never heard Rick preach before. I don’t know if I’ve ever heard him speak. I’ve read Purpose Driven Church. I’ve read portions of the Purpose Driven Life. And I’ve read different articles he’s put out, but I’ve actually never heard him speak. And what I think amazed me was I saw… a man and his simple child-like faith and dependence on Christ.”
Let me add a couple other details. Rick couldn’t speak at the conference in person because of several unexpected family emergencies. So he recorded his message at like 10 o’clock at night from his desk. That is tough. Really tough. And yet, it was a challenging and stirring message.
I commend it to you.
P.S. Having said all of this, there are still some elements of Rick Warren’s philosophy of ministry that concern me. Nevertheless, I’m not going to snipe him. He’s doing much good. Let each servant answer to the Lord.
Difficulty: Easy to Moderate
Must Listen Factor: Moderate… although the intrigue factor for many of us will propel this to near must listen heights.
Length: Around an hour.
To Download: Click Picture.