(Photo: Saddleback Church via Christian Post)
Pastor Rick Warren was recently invited by world champion boxer Manny Pacquiao to interview him about his increasingly vocal faith in God. It was during that discussion last week that Warren learned Pacquiao was a "Bible-quoting maniac."
A video of the taped interview was shown during worship services at Saddleback Church this past weekend. Warren introduced the video by saying Pacquiao was the "world's greatest boxer. The only guy to win the world championship in eight different weight categories."
"Manny started out as a young man in a very poor family of six and his mom couldn't take care of him so she kicked him out at 14 and he lived on the streets of Manila. That's where he learned to fight," Warren told his congregation attending Saddleback's main church campus in Lake Forest, Calif., and an online audience.
"He read Purpose Driven Life and came to Christ. He told me, 'Rick, the first time I read through that book I cried through every chapter.' And he said, 'I've given it out to everybody who I know. Now, I'm a Christian, I make all my team … we all memorize Scripture together,'" he continued to say during the introduction of the video.
Warren said the short video segment of his long interview with Pacquiao that he was about to show was a discussion on the importance of "doing the Word, not just studying the Word."
In the video, Warren is seen with Pacquiao – a Catholic – and the boxer's wife, Jinkee.
Warren begins the interview by saying, "This guy's a Bible-quoting maniac. He quoted probably 50 different verses to me in the time we were talking. How important is the Word of God to you?"
Pacquiao answers, "Believing and praying is not enough. In James 2, verses 19 and 20, it says, 'If you believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that and shudder. You foolish man, do you want evidence that faith without action is useless?' In Luke 6:46 it is says, 'Why do you call me Lord, Lord and you do not do what I say?' It's action again. It's action again. In Matthew 7 verse 21 it says, 'Not everyone who says to me Lord, Lord will enter the kingdom, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.'
"So, only the one who does … it's all in action," he added. "You have to do it. We believe in prayer … [but] we have to apply it in ourselves."
When asked by Warren to talk about his training, Pacquiao took the opportunity to tie-in his outlook on his upcoming fight with Timothy Bradley to Christian faith.
"I have the fight on June 9. I believe 100 percent that I am going to win. I have faith that I am going to win. But how can I win if I don't have faith? Same thing in worship … you have to hear it, but you have to apply it in yourself," said Pacquiao, near the end of the video segment.
Pacquiao was recently thrust into the public debate about same-sex marriage when the boxer, who is also a Filipino congressman, responded to President Barack Obama's endorsement of gay marriage by saying that he stands behind the traditional definition of marriage as between one man and one woman.
A media storm ensued when he was banned from a Hollywood mall where he was scheduled to give an interview.
A five-part series of video on an interview done by boxing promotion company Top Rank, "Pacquiao: A Spiritual Awakening," includes the boxer talking about how he came to realize that he could not stop from sinning and that by immersing himself in the Bible, and giving himself fully to Jesus Christ, he was able to have a new focus.
Pacquiao's pastor, also seen in some of the video, is also impressed with the boxer's uncanny ability to memorize Scripture. The next day after one particular Bible study, he was able to quote four verses back to him, the pastor said.
Pacquiao was asked by the interviewer in the Top Rank video series how he reconciles with being a Christian and a participant in the violent sport of boxing.
"Your fans may be worried that now with your [Christian] faith you may have lost your killer punch. What do you say to them?" the interviewer asks in one segment.
"I have been authorized by my opponent to hit him. I have authorized him to hit me. It's just our careers," Pacquiao said.
"This is entertainment. It's to entertain people," he continued. "When I hit my opponent it doesn't mean that I don't like him. I love him."