Christians throughout the world were shocked to learn that Matthew Warren, the son of Pastor Rick Warren and his wife, Kay, had committed suicide Friday evening at his home in Mission Viejo, Calif., following a lifelong battle with depression and mental illness.
A 2012 report published by the Centers for Disease Control reveals that 38,364 people died in the United States in 2010 from suicide – an average of 105 deaths each day. From 2008 to 2009, an estimated 8.3 million adults reported having suicidal thoughts. And among teenagers and young adults, 15 to 24, suicide accounts for 20 percent of all deaths each year.
The Rev. Dawn Anderson, a part-time pastor at Highland Park United Methodist Church in Dallas, Texas, started the Christian Survivors of Suicide (CSOS) support group 17 years after she experienced the trauma of coping with the aftermath of her late-husband's suicide in 1993. more >>
The memorial service for Matthew Warren, the son of Pastor Rick Warren who took his own life last Friday, will be a private one, Saddleback Church announced via its website.
"Since the Warren family is loved by so many, no building in Orange County is large enough to hold an open memorial service," church officials stated. "The family decided it was best to have a small, private service for their son."
The well-known Lake Forest, Calif., pastor "will speak publicly to our church family about the tragedy when he returns to preaching after a grieving period," they said. more >>
SANTA ANA, Calif. – An official autopsy report released today by the Orange County Coroner's Office concluded that Matthew Warren, the 27-year-old son of Pastor Rick Warren, died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound last Friday.
"The autopsy today was completed today on Matthew Warren, 27, of Mission Viejo. The cause of death is a self-inflicting gunshot wound," O.C. Sheriff's Department Office spokeswoman Gail Krause told The Christian Post over the phone, reading from the official statement.
Krause said she did not expect any other announcement coming from the sheriff's department. more >>
In the wake of this past weekend's tragic death of Matthew Warren, son of Pastor Rick Warren and wife Kay, Ed Stetzer, president of LifeWay Research, stressed the need for the church to address mental illness.
Along with shedding the shame and stigma that often accompanies mental illness, Stetzer recently wrote that he believes Christians need to address the issue of medicine relating to mental illness in the church.
The announced sermon for yesterday's services at Saddleback Church was titled, "Surviving Tough Times." It was a theme Pastor Rick Warren planned earlier in the week. He had no way to know how appropriate his subject would be.
Rick and Kay Warren's youngest child took his own life last Friday morning. Matthew Warren was "an incredibly kind, gentle and compassionate young man whose sweet spirit was an encouragement and comfort to many," a statement from the church said. "Unfortunately, he also suffered from mental illness resulting in deep depression and suicidal thoughts. Despite the best health care available, this was an illness that was never fully controlled, and the emotional pain resulted in his decision to take his life."
Christian leaders around the world responded with statements of support and intercession. On his Facebook page yesterday, Rev. Warren said, "Kay and I are overwhelmed by your love, prayers, and kind words." However, as USA Today reports, "a shocking number are taking this moment of media attention to lash out at Warren." Some are claiming that his son is in hell for committing suicide. Another told the pastor to "abandon primitive superstitions and accept the universe for what it is-a place that is utterly indifferent to us." more >>
Rick Warren has issued a memo to his congregation at Saddleback Church, thanking them for their overwhelming support during a time of "anguished grief" at the loss of his son, Matthew. It was announced on Saturday that Warren's son took his own life after suffering from mental illness for most of his life.
"No words can express the anguished grief we feel right now," Warren wrote in the memo. "Our youngest son, Matthew, age 27, and a lifelong member of Saddleback, died today. Matthew was an incredibly kind, gentle, and compassionate man whose sweet spirit was encouragement and comfort to many."
"But only those closest knew that he struggled from birth with mental illness, dark holes of depression, and even suicidal thoughts. In spite of America's best doctors, meds, counselors and prayers for healing, the torture of mental illness never subsided," Warren continued before stating that Matthew took his life "in a momentary wave of despair at his home." more >>