transcript - Pastor Rick Warren's address at ISNA 2009 [Islam and Christianity]

Remarks as Delivered at the 46th Annual ISNA (Islamic Society of North America) Convention
By Pastor Rick Warren, Saddleback Church
Washington , DC
July 4, 2009

I come here today with a spirit of love, a spirit of friendship, a spirit of deep respect. I love my dear, dear Muslim friends, my next door neighbors, …and so many that are friends,…and I love you. Now dear friends as globalization draws us closer and closer together, one of the most pressing questions we have to ask ourselves is how to we deal with our deepest differences? It is a fundamental question that we have to wrestle with. How do we live together in peace and harmony, and not only that, how can we actually work together, maintaining our separate traditions, maintaining our convictions without compromise, working together for the greater good of everybody in the world. Secularists, those who don’t believe in God, don’t understand really, how deeply your ability, my ability and other people of faith, how our identity is tied to what we believe. They just don’t get it. Now of course you understand that. You know that obviously as an evangelical pastor, my deepest faith is in Jesus Christ. But you also need to know that I am committed not just what I call the “Good News,” but I am committed to the common good. And as the Scripture says “Love your neighbor as yourself.” I am commanded to love and I am commanded to respect everybody. Everybody. Now I was asked to speak to you about how Muslims and Christians can work closer together for the greater good, in our world. And I will tell you that I am not interested in interfaith dialogue, I am interested in interfaith projects. There is a big difference. Talk is very cheap. And you can talk and talk and talk and not get anything done. Love is something you do. It is something that we do together. Love is a verb. Now as the two largest faiths on this planet, Muslims and Christians, we must lead in this. We must lead. With over one billion Muslims, and over 2 billion Christians, together, as half the world, we have to do something, about modeling what it means to live in peace, to live in harmony. And there are a lot of things that we could do together but tonight I would quickly want to mention 4 things. Can we work on these things together? And I know we can.

They just don’t get it. Now of course you understand that. You know that obviously as an evangelical pastor, my deepest faith is in Jesus Christ. But

That’s never good.

God bless

I’m no Rick Warren fan by any stretch of the imagination. But (oops, I’m using that conjunction! lol) what did he actually say here that is so contraversial and heretical? Pope John Paul II reached out to Muslims and Vatican II and the catechism call us to reach out to Muslims in peace. Warren is not suggesting we try to create a one-world religion of a synchreticsm of Islam and Christianity. He’s merely saying that both religions are based on love, charity, and good works so let’s get out into the community and do some projects together, act as allies rather than enemies, and walk the walk. Are we not supposed to engage Muslims and consider them unclean gentiles? We don’t have to embrace their faith and they don’t have to embrace ours. We just agree on the principles of love, charity, pro-life, helping the poor, etc. Muslims share many moral principles with Catholics. They are generally pro-life, against the gay lifestyle and gay “marriage,” they are by and large against contraception (though this varies), they are very charitable, etc. Those are commonalities we can tap into. I just don’t see what’s wrong with this? The pope reached out to them, why can’t Warren?

You know that obviously as an evangelical pastor, my deepest faith is in Jesus Christ.** But **you also need to know that I am committed not just what I call the “Good News,” but I am committed to the common good.

There should be no need for a ‘but’ in there. His “deepest faith” in our Lord Jesus Christ should already mean that he is committed to the “common good”. He is pitting his belief in Christ against what is good for the world. I don’t like that. Perhaps it was just worded poorly or I am looking to deeply into but ( ;):D) it rubbed me the wrong way.

God bless you

God bless you, too, RC! I think Warren wasn’t pitting the world vs. Christ but rather accepting that we must all live on the same planet, in the same neighborhoods and streets so we might as well agree on the fundamentals that all religions share: love, peace, charity, helping the poor, and fighting secular evils. It was just an outreach, IMO, and Vatican II and the catechism call us to reach out, not become Muslims or Hindus, but to be charitable; teaming up with them to help the poor will feed the poor, pure and simple, not pit Christ vs. the common good. Our Lord says that when we feed the poor, we feed Him, when we visit a prisoner, we visit Him, when we visit the sick, we visit Him. It’s irrelevent with whom we do this charity really as long as we show our hand is Christ and we are a good example to Muslims. The more we work among Muslims in good will, perhaps we can show the Salt of the Earth that we should be and win converts that way.

I understand your reaction though and like I said, I think Warren is often a blowhard; I don’t trust megachurch dudes. But I think what he said was ok.

God bless, brother!
Scott:)

I would have said something along the lines of:

You know that obviously as an evangelical pastor, my deepest faith is in Jesus Christ. Therefore (not but:D) I am committed not just what I call the “Good News,” but I am committed to the common good…

I don’t have a problem with being charitable towards Muslims or Mormons or whoever in whatever faith in order to accomplish things like feeding the poor together, but my charitableness towards people of other faiths and my charitable actions comes from my faith in Christ… Or rather Grace.

Like I said I am not sure if it was just poorly said or if I am looking to far into it (I am not a fan of Warren’s so this is always possible) but it just rubbed me the wrong way.

Another possibility is that my head has been in the toilet of Fundamentalism the past several months as I have been having an on going email discussion with two of them and perhaps their anti-everything attitude has begun to rub off on me. In which case I thank you for the catch.

God bless you

Sounds like the email discussion has been a drainer! Fundamentalism can be a real mind-bender; it’s tough to get through to those folks that salvation and Church are holistic, based NOT just on scripture alone, and that the Church is NOT invisible! It’s hard for me as a sixth grade teacher when parents say to me, “we used to be Catholic. Our son (my student) was even baptized a Catholic but we left the Church and we’re at a non-denominational church now that is more family-oriented.” It’s hard to bite my tongue! LOL

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