Rick Warren: Walls and Open Gates

The Stoning of StephenIn a tempest that is reminiscent of the bad old days, when my people believed that Roman Catholics built monasteries on hilltops to ensure good positions for their artillery, Rick Warren is being called on to publicly repent for saying that we have much in common the Catholic church.

Well, duh! Of course we do. All one has to do is to read the Creeds, whether you prefer the Apostle’s, the Nicene, or even the Athanasian Creed. As Pastor Warren says we are Christians, believers in our personal Savior, Jesus Christ, who not only died, but is Risen, for us, we are one. Do we in our various churches, have differences? Of course, we do, and I do not think it either meet or fit for me to presume to judge others, That well above the pay grade of anybody on earth. That doesn’t mean that I don’t attempt to persuade others that I am right, because I believe I (and my church) are right, and I want others to as well

Here is part of the article of (and the video) on this controversy from the Christian News Network:

In a new video, megachurch leader and author Rick Warren is calling for Christians to unite with Roman Catholics and “Pope Francis,” who Warren recently referred to as the “Holy Father”—a move that is raising concerns among Christians nationwide and is resulting in calls for Warren to repent.

Warren made the comments following his visit to the Vatican last month, where he spoke at an interfaith conference on the “Complementarity of Man and Woman.”

“We have far more in common than what divides us,” he said in the two-minute video released by the Catholic News Service on Wednesday, described as being an outline for “an ecumenical vision for Catholics and Protestants to work together to defend the sanctity of life, sex and marriage.”

“They would all say, ‘We believe in the Trinity; we believe in the Bible; we believe in the resurrection; we believe in salvation through Jesus Christ,” Warren asserted, speaking of the various denominations within Christianity, of which he included Roman Catholicism. “These are the big issues.”


“Rick Warren says both the Catholics and the Protestants believe in the Bible. But, there is a significant difference between the Bible of the Protestants and the Roman Catholic Church, which has added seven books,” Slick wrote. “[T]here are numerous problems in the apocryphal books, such as the teaching of salvation by works [and] the offering of money for the sins of the dead.”

Except they didn’t, the Protestant churches took them out.

“Warren implies that both Protestants and Catholics have the same view of salvation,” he continued. “Though it’s technically correct to say that Catholics believe in salvation through Jesus Christ, they reject justification by faith alone in Christ alone. Instead, it teaches that good works of various kinds are necessary for salvation.”

Which is quite simply untrue. Read this Declaration:


by the Lutheran World Federation
and the Catholic Church


4.In their discussion of the doctrine of justification, all the dialogue reports as well as the responses show a high degree of agreement in their approaches and conclusions. The time has therefore come to take stock and to summarize the results of the dialogues on justification so that our churches may be informed about the overall results of this dialogue with the necessary accuracy and brevity, and thereby be enabled to make binding decisions.

5.The present Joint Declaration has this intention: namely, to show that on the basis of their dialogue the subscribing Lutheran churches and the Roman Catholic Church[9] are now able to articulate a common understanding of our justification by God’s grace through faith in Christ. It does not cover all that either church teaches about justification; it does encompass a consensus on basic truths of the doctrine of justification and shows that the remaining differences in its explication are no longer the occasion for doctrinal condemnations.

Continuing from the article:

The Christian apologist then pointed to several Roman Catholic teachings on Mary, mainly from the Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC), such as that Mary “by her manifold intercession continues to bring us the gifts of eternal salvation” and that “[b]y asking Mary to pray for us, we acknowledge ourselves to be poor sinners and we address ourselves to the ‘Mother of Mercy,’ the All-Holy One.”

“Rick Warren has not only failed to recognize the problems in these serious areas, but he has lent his credibility as a Protestant pastor in support of the Roman Catholic Church,” Slick wrote. “This should never be done by any Protestant pastor who takes the Bible seriously. I must conclude that Mr. Warren does not take the word of God seriously and/or he does not understand the damnable teachings of Roman Catholicism regarding salvation.”

“Rick Warren needs to repent,” he said.


Which is again utter tripe. there is nothing in my doctrine, that precludes Marian veneration. I know, because I studied it after Our Lady did intervene for me. It is now part of my daily prayers, as it was for the Rev. Dr. Luther.

Rick Warren’s Call for Christians to Unite With Catholics, ‘Holy Father’ Raising Concerns | Christian News Network.

Of course, being a Lutheran, and this is also true for Anglicans, and perhaps others, is that I am not only Protestant and Evangelical but Catholic (albeit not Roman) as well.

Rick Warren doesn’t need to repent, those who castigate him out of Jack Chick tracts do.

My co-blogger Chalcedon451 at All along the Watchtower had a few things to say about this nonsense as well.


Sometimes protestants think that Catholics worship Mary like she’s another god, but that’s not exactly Catholic doctrine,” Warren contended. “People say, ‘What are the saints all about? Why are you praying to the saints?’ And when you understand what they mean by what they’re saying, there’s a whole lot more commonality [that we have with Roman Catholics].”

And there’s the rub – ‘when you understand’. Warren states the profoundest truth when he says:

“There’s still real differences—no doubt about that,” Warren stated. “But the most important thing is, if you love Jesus, we’re on the same team.”

Indeed, and Amen to that. The same can be said of this comment:

“When it comes to the family, we are co-workers in the field in this for the protection of the sanctity of life, the sanctity of sex and the sanctity of marriage,” Warren said. “So, there’s a great commonality and there’s no division on any of those three.”

But instead of saying ‘alleluia’ and setting about the common enemy, many of his fellow Protestants prefer to set about him instead. Instead of trying to learn, some simply repeat the tired old stuff about Catholics adding seven books to the Bible (when it was the Protestants who took them away – just look at an Orthodox Bible), and teaching ‘works by salvation’. Never matter we don’t and never have, just repeat the old story, blow the old dog whistle and watch the mutts run toward it. The apologist for an apologist went on to repeat all the old untruths about Marian veneration before calling on Warren to ‘repent’.

Continue reading PC gone mad?

And that the real danger here, we live in a time when our faith is under attack, by secularists, relativism, by our governments (often the same thing, of course), by Islamic terrorists, and all and sundry.

It is time we end the Thirty Years War and its circular firing squad hangover.

Let’s end with a poem from the Alexandrian poet Cavafy, from a post of mine that is as relevant today as when I wrote it, The post is titled Walls, as is the poem..

Without consideration, without pity, without shame
they have built great and high walls around me.

And now I sit here and despair.
I think of nothing else: this fate gnaws at my mind;

for I had many things to do outside.
Ah why did I not pay attention when they were building the walls.

But I never heard any noise or sound of builders.
Imperceptibly they shut me from the outside world.



About NEO
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15 Responses to Rick Warren: Walls and Open Gates

  1. This is a real theological issue and difference here, and it was surely part of the Reformation! If we look closely at Luther, he did struggle somewhat trying to put Mary, the Mother of the Lord, in a proper biblical place. But too, Luther was and is not the only voice on Mary, during the Reformation, note Calvin here, as too Bullinger, etc. Myself, I was raised Irish Roman Catholic in the 1950’s, so I am quite aware of the Roman Catholic doctrine and practice of Mary. I would see that Mary is theologically, as the Council of Ephesus, the Mother of the Incarnate Christ, and “Theotokos”, God-Bearer. But, personally I don’t see Mary as an Intercessor, nor as one born without sin, and Thomas Aquinas believed that Mary was born in the Adamic sin, or sin nature. Though perhaps Mary did not sin in any full outright sense, she was born again in Adam. This seems to be the most biblical truth to me! (Luke 1: 46-47) We should note, that the EO or Orthodox generally do not believe in the Immaculate Conception, though strangely (to my mind) they use almost the same kind of mentality in their liturgy toward Mary? And Bernard of Clairvaux appears to have questioned the Immaculate Conception also, but that is debated.

    And finally, as too Rick Warren, he quite simply does not speak for the general history nor practice of the Reformational and certainly Reformed Churches.

    And btw, the so-called Joint Declaration On The Doctrine of Justification (Lutheran Federation, etc.) does not speak for all Lutherans, nor certainly the Reformed Church.

    Here is a quote from the wiki…”Luther came to criticize Roman Catholics for blurring the distinction between high admiration of the grace of God wherever it is manifested in human beings and religious service offered to them and other mere creatures. In some instances he considered the Roman Catholic practice of making intercessory requests addressed especially to Mary and other departed saints to be idolatry.[26]

    "Furthermore, how will you endure [the Romanists'] terrible idolatries? It was not enough that they venerated the saints and praised God in them, but they actually made them into gods. They put that noble child, the mother Mary, right into the place of Christ. They fashioned Christ into a judge and thus devised a tyrant for anguished consciences, so that all comfort and confidence was transferred from Christ to Mary, and then everyone turned from Christ to his particular saint. Can anyone deny this? Is it not true?"[27]

    This distinction separates Lutheran views from Roman Catholic Mariology. It is also significant in the context of Roman Catholic claims, that modern Protestants deserted Luther’s Mariology. Roman Catholics and Protestants may have held some similar views on Mary in the 16th century, but for Luther it was a “passive” Mariology, while for Roman Catholics it was “active” in suggesting devout veneration (“hyperdulia”) and constant prayers for intercession. Questions have been raised, if the Marian views of Martin Luther could bring separated Christians closer together. There seems to be scepticism on both sides.[28] The eighth “Lutherans and Catholics in Dialogue” addressed these issues.

    Throughout Luther’s life, he called Mary by the title Theotokos, Mother of God,[29] but at the same time he rejected the active invocation of Mary as formulated in such prayers as the “Hail Mary.”[30] Protestantism usually follows the reformers in rejecting the practice of directly addressing Mary and other saints in prayers of admiration or petition, as part of their religious worship of God.[31]


    • And speaking for myself, I don’t see a real forthright aspect to change the Roman Catholic position on Justification, and here I speak historically also. The Council of Trent is still on the books in the Catholic Church! And for the Evangelical and classic Reformed, I would recommend Cornelis Venema’s book: The Gospel Of Free Acceptance In Christ, An Assessment of the Reformation and the New Perspectives on Paul, (2006, The Banner Of Trust Trust). Yes, I am a most Classic and Reformational Protestant Christian as an Anglican, noting both the Thirty-Nine Articles, and the Irish Articles, 1615, (Archbishop James Ussher).


      • And yes, there are some things Christians themselves must divide over, and historically this is still one of them, at least for this Reformed Christian! But, I seek to speak in some aspect of friendship and Christian brotherhood, btw note Paul’s statement in 1 Cor. 11: 18-19! Factions and division in the church should always cause us to seek God’s Word and Truth!


        • NEO says:

          And yet many Reformed are the descendants of the vandals that destroyed 97% of England’s pre-Reformation art. Sorry, I have nothing to say until you can identify your foes from your friends. I don’t believe in circular firing squads.


        • NEO: It seems you might have that same problem? (Think about mate!) Mine is pretty close and I think obvious, I am Reformational and Reformed, and I can’t account or defend all things done in my own history, and certainly “communion”! But, I seek a plain and historical path, which I think is both Reformational & Reformed, creedally and biblically-theologically! 🙂

          *Yes, we must plant our flag somewhere!

          PS..You should perhaps read Diarmaid MacCulloch’s book: Thomas Cranmer, A Life? The Martyrdom of the Archbishop Cranmer, is surely much worse than art aspects! Also with Latimer and Ridley! And the Queen (Mary I) was surely acting at the management/effect and control of the Papacy! It was a tough time!

          Liked by 1 person

        • NEO says:

          It was that, and there is a bit of a beam in my eye as well. There are reasons why I’m Lutheran and no longer E&R 🙂


        • First, I like and love my brother In Christ “NEO”! He is a true historical Christian, which gives and takes, and we all have our favorite places and thoughts! But, in my experience as a Christian (“born from above”, well over 40 years plus now), the Reformation IS a great divide, Protestant verses Catholic, and vice versa its just that simple! But it is not always an easy divide, but it is surely a divide, and make no mistake about that!

          Liked by 1 person

        • NEO says:

          It is, as is the Great Schism, my point is this, we are Christians and we have enemies that are not, serious ones, the heretical Moslems, the relative humanist atheists and such. First I posit we fight those, and then we can discuss all the walls that divide us.


        • That’s one of the reasons I am a so-called “Neo-Calvinist”, and generally I don’t fit the modern or today’s Calvinism for sure! Oh yes I am close on points, but then comes my own modest “eclecticism”, and sometimes they want to lynch me! I mean I really do read and like aspects of Barth! The modern church father in thinking, but of course I can’t even follow him either, (thankfully) 😉 Perhaps my favorite mentor theses days is old John Frame? I would mention his newest book and effort: Systematic Theology, An Introduction To Christian Belief, (2013, P&R, 1219 pages). These are days to dig deep I feel, the “eschaton” is sure and certain! WE are seeing things today we have simply not seen, and especially in the West! Note, Frame and I part company on Eschatology, however! Yes, I am pro-Israel, though Israel in its land is surely still in unbelief, but the great fulfillment of Zech. 13: 8 & 9 is coming, as is chap. 14!


        • Btw, the Battle is the Lord’s and not ours, strictly! And it will always centre the Gospel! (Eph. 6: 10-20) Gentile Apostasy really does abound in our time! (2 Tim. 3: 5, etc.)


  2. the unit says:

    Just a good natured (good faith) comment…
    Fr. Robert and NEO, I’ll have to leave all this to you guys about this discussion. All I know is that in the summer after the sixth grade at summer camp provided by the city park rec. department, there was a Catholic girl, Presbyterian girl, and a Baptist girl (Southern of course), and likely others. The Catholic girl had the prettiest legs (I can see them now). None of them were reformed, heck they hadn’t even become promiscuous yet. 🙂
    I enjoy reading y’all’s discussion and I even do a little research on it. Thanks.


    • Well one thing Unit, and I think we all have that in common, is the beauty and nature of women! Thanks be to God for them! 😉

      Liked by 1 person

      • Btw, when I was a young teen just getting to hold a girls hand, was a big deal! Man have a them days a changed! Leg’s, oh yes always! My wife still has her figure and legs! Somehow she has never had to work at that either…pure beauty! 😉

        Liked by 1 person

      • the unit says:

        My college Chinese friend would say “Ah so.” I should say the net seems not to know exactly the meaning, but we understood…’tis true, and agreed.


  3. Pingback: My Article Read (2-12-2015) | My Daily Musing

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