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Rick Warren on Economy, Mormonism and Jesus the Only Way

Rick Warren on Economy, Mormonism and Jesus the Only Way

Pastor Rick Warren spoke to ABC News and shared his views on the state of the nation's economy, whether Mormons are Christians, and whether Jesus is the only way.

"I have a congregation that's very large. It talks to me all the time. Most people would not think they're better off economically than they were four years ago," Warren told Jake Tapper of ABC News who travelled to Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, Calif., for a special Easter "This Week" show to be broadcasted Sunday.

"I hold everybody responsible for that," the founder and senior pastor of Saddleback added. "I hold the people who got themselves into debt. I hold the government that got themselves into debt. I hold multiple administrations. It's not the fault of any one person."

The Labor Department on Friday said employers added 120,000 jobs last month, about half the December-February pace and much less than the expected number of 210,000. The unemployment rate declined from 8.3 percent in February to 8.2 percent, the lowest since that of the time Barack Obama became President.

Tapper, who quoted excerpts from the interview on his blog, also asked Warren what he thinks of Mormonism, the religion of Republican front-runner presidential candidate Mitt Romney. "The key sticking point for evangelicals and actually for many is the issue of the Trinity… that's the historic doctrine of the church that God is three-in-one," Warren replied. "Not three Gods; one God in Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Mormonism denies that."

Mormons also believe Joseph Smith Jr. is the first latter-day prophet who restored the original Christian church in the 19th century in America. They believe the entire structure of Christian orthodoxy affirmed by the post-apostolic church is corrupt and false. Additionally, Latter-day Saints are often criticized for their belief in "divine" books of scripture, aside from the Bible, including the Book of Mormon, the Doctrine and Covenants, and the Pearl of Great Price.

Tapper then asked whether he believes only those who put their faith in Jesus will reach heaven. "I do believe that. And I believe that because Jesus said it," Warren said. "Jesus said, 'I am the way.' He didn't say 'I'm one of the ways.' He said, 'I am the way, I am the truth, and I am the life.' I'm betting my life that Jesus wasn't a liar."

Asked to explain how a benevolent God could exclude non-Christians from heaven, Warren, a best-selling author, said he didn't think anyone "deserved" to go to heaven. "I think the only way any of us get into heaven is God's grace. I'm not getting to heaven on my integrity. I'm not getting to heaven on my goodness. I'm getting to heaven on what I believe Jesus said is grace, and the fact is it's available to everybody."

Warren's book, The Purpose Driven ChurchThe Purpose Driven Life, which has sold over 30 million copies, making Warren a New York Times bestselling author.


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