(Photo: Desiring God via The Christian Post)
Two Christian leaders are attempting to squelch a persistent rumor that Saddleback Church Pastor Rick Warren “embraces Chrislam.”
Pastors Geoff Surratt and Brandon Cox have posted their defense online. Warren recognized the posts late last week on Facebook and Twitter where he stated, “The stupid Chrislam lie wont die. Here are 2 true articles quoting me.”
Televangelist Jack Van Impe, who recently left Trinity Broadcasting Network as a result of his accusations aimed at Warren and Robert Schuller, has been suggesting that Warren is pushing Chrislam. He points to an Islamic conference in which Warren was a speaker at two years ago as evidence. Others in the Christian community and beyond have perpetuated the claim.
Followers of Chrislam use both the Bible and Quran and see them both as holy texts. Although Chrislam appears to have a limited number of followers, the term is currently being loosely interpreted by some people, Impe noted.
Cox, who is planting Grace Hills Church in Arkansas and also manages Warren’s global network of pastors in an online community, said he's been wanting to write an article in Warren's defense for quite some time. However, he initially felt addressing the issue might bring more unwanted attention.
"When I saw Rick issue a tweet about it I felt the liberty to go ahead and address it publicly," Cox told The Christian Post. "It's as if both of us (Surratt and Cox) had that feeling of having had enough and wanting to stick up for a friend."
Surratt, who came on staff at Saddleback Church six months ago and is pastor of church planting, posted Warren’s recent response to the controversy. Surratt found Warren’s response in the comments section of a blog post perpetuating the Chrislam rumor.
Several of the above comments are completely incorrect, based on believing 2nd hand false rumors instead of finding out the facts before speaking up. "Only a fool believes all he hears" Proverbs 14:15
The so-called "Chrislam" rumor is 100% false. If the guy who started this libelous myth, or anyone else who passed it on, had obeyed our Lord's command (Matt. 18:18-20) to come directly to me, and then asked what I actually believed – they would have been embarrassed to learn that I believe the exact opposite. As a 4th generation Christian pastor, my life & ministry is built on the truth that Jesus is the only way, and our inerrant Bible is our only true authority.
As an evangelist, I spend much of my time speaking to non-Christian groups. You cannot win your enemies to Christ; only your friends, so we must build bridges of friendship and love to those who believe differently so Jesus can walk across that bridge into their hearts. Besides, it is not a sin, but rather COMMANDED by Jesus that we love our enemies. In the past 10 years, Saddleback Church has baptized over 22,000 new adult believers – simply because we express love to those who don’t know Christ yet.
It is nonsense to believe that you must compromise your beliefs, or water down your convictions in order to love someone, or even just treat them with dignity.
Jesus was called "the friend of sinners" by the legalistic Pharisees because he hung out with (and clearly loved) unbelievers. I HOPE YOU will 1) Always believe that EVERYONE needs Jesus as their Lord & Savior. 2) Have the courage to associate with nonbelievers in order to love them and bring them to the Savior. 3) Consider being called "a friend of sinners" a Christ-like compliment. 4) Refuse to pass on rumors until you've checked for the truth with the person accused. The false statements above should be removed.
God bless you.
Supporting the megachurch pastor and bestselling author, Surratt stated on Pastors.com, “Let me be very clear: Pastor Rick Warren does not believe in, promote or validate chrislam on any level. I have worked for Pastor Rick for the past 6 months, I have met with him on multiple occasions, I listen to him preach every weekend, I have read every book he has written, I have followed his ministry closely for almost 20 years.”
“Pastor Warren is not perfect; he is very open and honest about his challenges and flaws. But his theology is tightly bound to Biblical Christianity,” Surratt added.
Cox was more direct in his defense of the pastor by simply answering his own headline, “Does Rick Warren Endorse Chrislam?” with the first sentence “No. Period.”
“I’m proud of Pastor Warren for deciding to spend his time and attention on the spreading of the gospel for the redemption of the nations rather than defending himself against every false accusation,” Cox stated in his post.
“Make no mistake, Rick Warren loves Muslims deeply!! If you don’t, you have a problem with Jesus who loves Muslims even more than Rick does,” Cox added.