Rick Warren (born January 28, 1954) is a best-selling Christian author and founding and senior pastor of Saddleback Church, now one of the largest churches in the United States.
Warren is also a public figure. Particular acollades include being:
* Called "America's most influential spiritual leader" and "America’s Pastor".
* Named one of America's Top 25 Leaders in the October 31, 2005 issue of U.S. News and World Report.
* Selected by TIME magazine:
* As one of 15 World Leaders Who Mattered Most in 2004.
* As one of the 100 Most Influential People in the World (2005).
As an author, Warren is best known for:
* The Purpose Driven Church, which is listed in "100 Christian Books That Changed the 20th Century", and has been described as “The best book on entrepreneurship, management, and leadership in print.”
* The Purpose Driven Life, which has sold over 25 million copies, making it the bestselling hardback in American history according to Publisher’s Weekly.
His six books have been translated into over 50 languages.
As a public figure, Warren has served as an advisor to figures in public, private and religious organisations on many issues raised in the course of his ministry, notably:
* Leadership development.
* Poverty, health, and education.
* Faith in culture.
Warren has been invited to speak at national and international forums including:
* The United Nations.
* The World Economic Forum in Davos.
* The African Union.
* The Council on Foreign Relations.
* Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government.
* TIME’s Global Health Summit.
Warren was born in San Jose, California, in 1954, the son of Jimmy and Dot Warren.
He graduated from Ukiah High School in 1971, then taking a Bachelor of Arts degree from California Baptist University, his Masters of Divinity from Southwestern Theological Seminary (1979), and his Doctorate of Ministry from Fuller Theological Seminary. He also holds several honorary doctorates. He has lectured at Oxford, Cambridge, the University of Judaism, and the Evangelical Theological Society, among numerous seminaries and universities. Despite his academic successes, Warren suffers from adult attention-deficit disorder.
Warren and his wife, Kay, have been married for thirty years. They have three adult children and one grandchild.
Rick and Kay Warren have donated 90% of their income through three foundations: Acts of Mercy, which serves those infected and affected by AIDS, Equipping the Church, which trains church leaders in developing countries, and The Global PEACE Fund, which fights poverty, disease, and illiteracy.
Warren considers Bill Hybels, Billy Graham, Peter Drucker, and his own father, himself a baptist pastor and an SBC missionary, to be among his mentors.
The Purpose Driven Network
Main article: Purpose Driven Network
Warren founded and leads the Purpose Driven Network, a global movement of churches in 162 countries which promotes and uses his ideas and material, particularly through synchronised and coordinated "campaigns" to which individual churches subscribe, receiving bulk-priced material and other support.
Through this organisation over 400,000 ministers and priests have been trained worldwide in his theology and practical methods. 189,000 church leaders subscribe to Ministry Toolbox, the weekly newsletter.
The P.E.A.C.E. Plan
Main article: P.E.A.C.E. Plan
Warren's humanitarian efforts have focussed on addressing what he calls the five Global Goliaths:
* Spiritual Emptiness.
* Egocentric Leadership.
* Extreme Poverty.
* Pandemic Diseases.
* Illiteracy and lack of education.
Warren claims that these problems are so large that every attempt by the public and private sector has failed, and that the only organization big enough to take on these problems is the network of Christian churches around the world.
On August 22, 2005, Time magazine reported that Warren has been asked by Rwandan President Paul Kagame to help his country become a "Purpose-Driven nation". To implement this, Warren has enlisted over 2,000 Saddleback church members to go to Rwanda in small groups to initiate a national strategy, and the cooperation of 600 Rwandan churches. Business leaders and leaders of parliament in Rwanda are also involved.
Criticisms of Warren's books and teachings
Many Christian authors and teachers have expressed concerns regarding Rick Warren's teachings and writings. While acknowledging some valuable content in his books, these authors and teachers complain that Warren tends to use sloppy exegesis, inaccurate paraphrases of the Bible, ecumenical teachings and a watered-down presentation of the Christian gospel. Many have also complained about pragmatism in his books, alleging that he endorses church practices based on their outcome, rather than whether they are doctrinally sound.
Warren has also been criticized for affiliation with Bill Hybels and his "seeker-sensitive" or "seeker-friendly" approach to church growth. This "seeker-friendly" movement has been criticized for being more interested with, and catering to, people's (often self-centered) "wants" rather than their real "need" (the latter representing traditional Biblical preaching). Critics also complain about the quality and content of the teachings espoused within this movement.
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At the same time though, Warren has been criticized by many leading Christian pastors and teachers for what they consider to be questionable teachings and practices, such as various tactics for increasing church attendance.
However, both books have come under fierce and widespread criticism from other evangelical teachers for their content. Many evangelical teachers question the practices promoted in these books, claiming that they distort the gospel or otherwise employ questionable tactics. Other common criticisms include objections to the accuracy with which it presents the Christian gospel, the accuracy of their Biblical exegesis, and various allegedly unbiblical teachings.
Warren is inclusive beyond his Southern Baptist roots, and welcomes pastors and leaders from all denominations to his training programs. Warren claims to stick to the "essentials" of the faith and focus on "loving people into the Kingdom" of God in an attractive way without compromising the essential tenets of his faith. Many critics, however, contend that Warren does compromise on various doctrinal truths in his teachings, and that he espouses ecumenical teachings