I haven’t posted in a while, but I thought I would close out this month by sharing with you a comment I received on my recent post entitled, ” Saddleback’s “On Fire” Church Growth Strategy“. It’s from Ray Harris, the lead pastor at The Point Church in Fort Wayne, Indiana. Here’s what Ray said:
You criticize what Pastor Warren wrote for a newspaper (internal or external)? Do you know him?
I don’t. But when I was 17, he spoke at a youth conference in Fresno, CA and the Holy Spirit used his message to call me into ministry along with several dozen other teens.
When I was in the jungles of Bambu, El Salvador, I met a pastor in the village of 60 people who was leading his congregation of 12 thru the PDL.
The associate pastor I work with daily was greatly influenced by Dr. Warren and much of our church’s success in reaching the twenty-something generation of Fort Wayne, IN has come from an PDC understanding we both embrace and use.
I am quite certain I could max out your blog with testimonies of how God has used Dr. Warren’s sacrificial way of life and teaching to impact others – not to mention the major global emphases that he is leading right now.
Perhaps you might take a moment to weigh the advances of the gospel that could be credited to God’s work in Dr. Warren against your view that he is promoting himself or Saddleback in a press release that was written in the heat of the SoCal fires.
This might bode well for you as we are promised that we will be judged as we judge. And the measure you are employing is going to take some significant work and effort on your part to weigh out.
You might want to start advancing the gospel by shutting down your blog and instead, sharing what Christ has done in your heart with your neighbors and friends. I say this with seriousness and not to start an argument.
I think you have a great deal of work to do to measure up to the level of judgment you are leveling.
Ray R. Harris
Now, I know I am gonna take some flack for what I said in response. I mean after all, he’s a lead pastor and I’m nothing but, well, me. But dammit… well… just read what I wrote.
Ray… I hope you read this.
1) Yes. I know Rick Warren. I have known him for almost 20 years now. And I would consider him a friend and someone I respect. I am not sure how this is relevant (but you seem to). Let me ask you something… you criticize me, but do you know me?
2) If you read this post and my subsequent comments you will see that I give plenty of praise to the good things Saddleback does… especially during this crisis.
3) Excuse me, but are you really so ignorant as to think that just because someone does plenty of wonderful, amazing things in the name of God… that they also aren’t able and capable of doing very self-serving things to advance their own name. The two are not mutually exclusive nor do they cancel each other out.
4) This is an age-old situation we have… but you find it ok to judge me and what I have done or not done based solely upon this blog. You do not know me personally yet you have concluded somehow that I don’t share with my neighbors and friends, for example. Apparently, you have prejudged my spiritual depth. Often church people like yourself do those sorts of things…and this is largely why this site exists… to point out how stupid that is to do to someone. I don’t fault you for this judgment… you are free to do so. I only point out that it weakens and silences your position.
Rick is promoting himself and his church. It’s a press release for God’s sake. You said it yourself. I personally think it to be somewhat (but not altogether) self-indulgent. You don’t. Why can’t we leave it at that?
No, instead you make it about judgment. Not just about what I wrote or said, but about me as a person. Certainly, I am self-serving a lot of the time. And I think Rick Warren can be as well on many occasions (all you have to do is attend his Sunday services and see how many times he mentions his books to know that). But I don’t think either one of us is a pompous judgmental ass…. that’s reserved for stupid church people.