Nov 27, 2006
Rick Warren Needs An End-time Perspective
Rick Warren, the bestselling author of The Purpose-Driven Life and head of a mega-church, has generated a firestorm of controversy with a recent visit to Syria. He may be good at writing motivational books, but his international diplomacy needs much improvement.
Warren went to Syria and said he could find no persecution there of Christians or Jews. He also said he could find no evidence of extremism or terrorism in Syria.
Syria's state-controlled media made good use of the visit. "Pastor Warren hailed the religious coexistence, tolerance and stability that the Syrian society is enjoying due to the wise leadership of President al-Assad, asserting that he will convey the true image about Syria to the American people," reported a Syrian news agency. He was also reported to have conveyed to Syrian officials that "80 percent of Americans reject the U.S. administration's policies and actions in Iraq."
Warren's visit to Syria has been a hot topic with the Christian media. Vic Eliason, host of Crosstalk Radio Talk Show, part of a Christian radio network, called Warren a "mindless shill" for Syria and said he "owes an apology to Israel, to the American people and to the victims of Syrian-sponsored terror."
The strongest critic of Warren would have to be Joseph Farah. He has written several articles for World Net Daily, and has even put enough heat on Warren to generate a personal response via email - something he normally doesn't like do.
In one message to Farah, Warren said, ''As a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and Oxford Analytica, I might know as much about the Middle East as you.'' I found this remark hilarious because in defending himself he admits to being a member of two organizations that are known for being anti-Christ and supportive of a one-world government. This CFR membership might be the reason New Age leader Marianne Williamson came to Warren's defense in a Detroit News article.
The assassination of Pierre Gemayel, Lebanon’s Industry Minister, has brought further scorn on Rick Warren. Gemayel was a representative of the Lebanese Christian community, and he is now the sixth leading anti-Syrian figure to be killed in the past two years. Certainly, there is no reason for Syria to think its murderous campaign has gone too far when a big-time California pastor comes over to offer soothing words.
Warren is scheduled to preach in North Korea next year. I certainly hope he doesn't find that nation to be yet another oasis of freedom. Communist North Korea is the world's worst persecutor of Christians, according to an annual ranking by the evangelical mission group Open Doors International.
Rick Warren is not a fan of Bible prophecy. He thinks Jesus wanted His disciples to worry about the here and now. On pages 285-286 of his book, The Purpose Driven Life, He claims that Jesus told His disciples, “The details of my return are none of your business.”
Since one-fourth of the Bible is prophecy-related, God put it there for a good reason. Jesus did not give the Olivet Discourse just to add filler to the Bible. We are told to watch for His coming.
If Warren understood Bible prophecy, he might not be in such hot water. Some day, Syria will be part of a surprise attack against Israel. His trip can only help embolden Israel's enemy into making its move.
Any leader who rejects prophecy runs the risk of becoming an active player in Satan's end-time plan. Warren is currently promoting a global peace plan, which is the same ploy the Antichrist will use to deceive the world.
There is much for which to be thankful, living life in America. We who write on matters involving Bible prophecy are often accused of seeing only the gloom and doom of things. We are, in fact, accused of being the cause of the President pursuing the war in Iraq, thus by the accusers’ inference, causing the death of Americans, not to mention thousands of hapless innocent Iraqis.
The charges are, of course, ludicrous. True students of God’s prophetic Word watch and compare current issues and events to what the Bible actually has to say about the circumstances at the time leading up to Christ’s return and the characteristics of end-time mankind at that time. We then report on these things. Speculation must always be labeled as just that –speculation.
But as in all other eras, certain people today –even the majority of people—who don’t want to hear what God has to say about the future want to, at least symbolically and sometimes literally, stone the messengers. But at risk of inviting yet again the ire of those who look at us as gloom and doomers, I must remind of the things on the front burner of today's news that look to be like those described by Jesus and the prophets of both the Old and New Testaments.
The nation is slipping beneath the waves of the end-time storm of immorality. Thirty-seven percent of babies being born today are born to unwed mothers. Hollywood and the worshippers of Hollywood idols are enamored with an actor and actress who, after living together for years and having a baby out of wedlock, finally get married. This is the top news –the “stars” receiving lavish accolades-- while things infinitely more important are buried somewhere in the backmost pages. For example: the infanticide that aborts millions of babies each year and the genocide perpetrated on Christians and others who aren’t Muslims in the Sudan and other places where Islam rules supreme.
A comedian makes headlines and his career is almost certainly solidified for publicity purposes, after using in a supposedly out-of-control rant, the “N” word, then making an apology on the Letterman show. But, the politician whom liberal-types consider an enemy is driven from office and subjected to hate-filled rhetoric to this day for once saying something at a birthday celebration that is perceived as a racist remark, when it obviously was not meant in that vein. All the apologies made subsequently have fallen on deaf collective ears of media. (I am referring to Trent Lott and his remarks during Strom Thurmond's birthday celebration several years ago.)
The Apostle Paul prophesied about all of these things in 2 Timothy chapter 3. He said, for example, that people would love themselves, that they would be boasters, proud, blasphemers. He predicted the end-time generation would be addictive, and without natural affection. Boy! Is that a condemnation of our day!
We think of the politicians who thump their chests and say how great they are, and do all they can to vilify the other party and their opponent. We consider the blasphemy in the movies Hollywood throws at us. Jesus’ Name has become the curse word on the lips of our culture, while laws are made to prevent any aspersions being cast that might cause Muslims to be offended in regard to the name of Allah.
We consider the pedophilia running rampant within religious organizations and organizations supposedly serving to benefit the young. Again, the horrendous abortion statistics represent millions of babies murdered each year. We think of the mothers and fathers murdering their children, who are seemingly more and more in number. And, we look at society’s increasingly noticeable embrace of homosexuality within the culture. The term in Paul’s prophecy “without natural affection” stares us in the face every day of our national life.
There seems little to be thankful for on the international scene. The most ominous at present is developments involving Israel and its immediate neighbors.
Since the international community's pressure on Israel to open up a broad pathway for its avowed enemies to use in building up armaments, the threat of a Middle East conflagration has grown exponentially.
One report from a source which is consistently accurate about Middle East hostilities says:
DEBKAfile’s military sources disclose that Israel’s security cabinet decided Wednesday, Nov. 22, that there is no option but to launch a major offensive against Hamas and its terrorist allies in the Gaza Strip - both to pre-empt their war build-up and reduce Qassam missile attacks which climbed to 80 in the last ten days… (DEBKAfile Special Military Report, "Israel Opts for Major War Campaign in 11th Hour of Hamas Build-up," November 22, 2006).
Jesus said, when giving the Olivet Discourse overlooking the Temple Mount, that the end of the age –just before His return—will be marked by increasing wars and rumors of wars. That these will include Israel moreso than other nations was the gist of His prophecies, as well as all other Bible prophets who spoke or wrote about end-time things. We who are charged with proclaiming the end-of-days message must point out the lateness of the hour and the prophecies involved.
We are thankful. We are not thankful for these terrible things we see happening, or for the things that must shortly come to pass upon a Christ-rejecting world. We are thankful for the privilege of living in the most exciting time in human history. We who name the name of Christ have the opportunity to tell all who will listen that Jesus is the way –the only Way—out of the judgment and wrath of God that is to come.
We are thankful for the promises God has given to all who are in His family through belief in His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ.
Paul, the great apostle and prophet, said: “But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him” (1 Cor. 2:9).
Christians will give thanks to the Savior throughout eternity.