Rick Warren: Forget Sola Scriptura, But There is “Plus Scriptura”

Bud Ahlheim of Pulpit & Pen examines the teaching of Rick Warren, senior pastor of Saddleback megachurch which is one of the largest churches in the U.S.  He quotes Tim Challies as saying the following about the man who has been dubbed the “Purpose Driven Pope”:

One need only read Warren’s books or listen to a few of his messages to realize how often he explains and applies passages incorrectly. I assume this is because he has not taken the time to first humble himself before the Scripture and determine what the passages really mean. So do not be confused and presume that Warren is an expository preacher.

Ahlheim also includes something highly influential pastor Charles Spurgeon once said:

Whatever is to be revealed by the Spirit to any of us is in the Word of God already. He adds nothing to the Bible and never will.

Now listen as Bud Ahlheim shreads Warren’s post “The Four Ways God Speaks To You.”  He writes:

Wolf in sheeps clothing 5

When the apostle Paul was writing his final letter to Timothy, he failed to include a number of things that are so frequently hurled about the Christian church today as utterly important, especially when it comes to hearing from God.

For example, the apostle did not instruct his young protégé on the importance of listening for God’s “still small voice” for personal and ministerial guidance. He didn’t remind Timothy about the importance of astutely discerning between God-sent, spiritual “impressions” for direction as opposed to those which might be of a distinctly more carnal nature.  The apostle of our Lord also forgot to advise the young minister about the importance of circumstances God may orchestrate in order to provide spiritual guardrails to guide him down the correct, providential path.

Flash forward from those 1st century apostolic epistles, that time when “the household of God was being built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus being the cornerstone,” (Ephesians 2:19-20; The true church, btw, is still being built on this basis.) to the 21st century church and you’ll find spiritual hucksters galore who are eager to disregard what we have been taught in the faith that was “once for all delivered.” (Jude 3) Once, apparently, wasn’t enough, so modern charlatans and frauds are redelivering a faux faith that more favorably aligns with the modern mind, with its urges for being “spiritual but not religious,” and for self-centered comfort and divine appeasement of our wishes rather than for a faith that requires obedience to “take up your cross daily and follow me.” (Luke 9:23)

It is here, in the midst of an “it’s all about you,” seeker-sensitive stage, where Rick Warren stands, delivering “another” faith under the guise of “the faith.” Warren, who is known for his discern-less, ecumenical alliances, his complacency with regards to orthodoxy, and his embrace of all things mystical, contemplative, and “spiritual,” has, in his recent Pastor Rick’s Daily Hope, corrected the apostle in his instructive oversight to Timothy.

11-25-16-awesome-relationships-four-ways-god-speaks-to-youWarren, in his post, Four Ways God Speaks To You, has minimized what the apostle maximized, and elevated what the apostle didn’t even mention. He has made Scripture equal to experience, precisely the formula of so many other false teachers in the modern church.  The four-pronged answer from “Pastor Rick” is in response to an ill-framed, rhetorical question. “How do I tune in so that I can hear God’s voice?”

The premise presupposed by this query is that God wants to speak to you, but that He’s unable to unless you become sufficiently “tuned in” to His divine wavelength. Though this is popular spiritual mythology today – which Warren is all too eager to consistently exploit – nothing in Scripture indicates the inability of our Sovereign God to make Himself known. There is no esoteric, mystical, spiritual wavelength on which God is transmitting to our ill-tuned spiritual radios. It’s new age hogwash.  (You wanna hear God speak?  Start flipping pages of the Holy Writ.)

But, in Warren’s daily devotion, he gives his readers an answer to this question.

According to Warren, God speaks to you in four ways:

“1. God speaks to us through the Bible.”   If you are actually doing what Christ said would define His disciples, abiding in His word (John 8:31), you’ll recognize that this method of divine speech is THE method of divine speech. God chose to reveal Himself in the Word, the Word that became flesh and the Word that would, by sovereign providence, become Holy Scripture, fully realized, finally closed, and ultimately eternal. (Psalm 119:89) If Rick would’ve stopped at point one, and pointed his devotees to Scripture, it would’ve been right in line with the apostle’s exhortation to Timothy.

But for Warren – as with so many other slick-tongued, ear-scratching charlatans that plague the modern church – Scripture ain’t enough. Evidently, God can’t say everything He needs to say – and hasn’t said everything He intended to say – in His Word.   Continue reading


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14 Responses to Rick Warren: Forget Sola Scriptura, But There is “Plus Scriptura”

  1. Manny1962 December 2, 2016 at 8:43 pm #

    Mix enough lies with the truth and the undiscerning buy it as the truth. Warren is a super wolf.

    • DonL March 9, 2017 at 10:54 am #

      When one rejects the truth (God’s Word Jesus is the truth) there is a void that must be filled. Having rejected the truth the only thing left is a lie. Those who reject God’s truth fill the void with lies. Satan is the father of lies. Those who reject the truth and fill the void with lies are emissaries of Satan
      Love does not negate judgment nor does it eliminate the need for exposing the lies with the truth. Jesus, the ultimate expressions of God’;s love exposed the lies with the truth. He confronted lies, error, sin and deception head on in a bold manner.
      He spoke the truth in love as we also ought to do.
      We are of the light and must shed light on the works of darkness and those who dispense lies; especially the lies of those reject the truth and proclaim their lies as the truth.
      To those who say the “The Shack” is only a story and is not intended to teach anything are mistaken or trying to be disarming. Would you say that the Bible stories (histories) are only stories and not intended to teach anything??!! NO They are intended to teach are all stories. When the forces of darkness teach lies we must confront them with the truth. We must speak the truth in love.
      How can we say we love if we allow evils, darkness and lies with their destruction prevail and afflict those who do not know the truth. To love is to be of benefit. Exposing lies is of benefit. Shining the light in the midst of darkness is love Jesus said ” I am the light of the world. He that follows me shall not walk in darkness.” Love must respond by expelling the darkness. To fail to do so is to fail in expressing love.

  2. nannette December 2, 2016 at 11:04 pm #

    I guess I’m kinda slow, but, this Bud Ahlheim of Pulpit & Pen promotes Francis Chan’s book ‘Crazy Love’. on Facebook!. Hello?

    • Manny1962 December 3, 2016 at 9:38 am #

      Hi Nannette,

      I don’t do social media……can you post link? That is quite a revelation! Thanks!

  3. Susan December 3, 2016 at 4:50 am #

    It is vital to expose error and I am well aware of concerns re Rick Warren but Bud Ahlheim ought to have better things to do than to spend time pulling apart THIS particular article and adding his own commentary to what is being said. Rick Warren gives warnings within it of extremes. Of course God “speaks” through his written word to us, but who of us have not had some kind of direction via what the Bible teacher brought out on Sunday, or the circumstances we find ourselves in or impressions. The latter three could all be wrong and all need to be tested and weighed against scripture of course.

    There is no desire in me to defend or promote anyone but we who like to oppose error must be truthful and the third point from R.W. is not fully quoted so here it is:-
    “God speaks to us through impressions. There are two extremes to this. One extreme is the rationalist who believes no impression can be from God; it all has to be logical. At the other extreme is the mystical belief that every impression is from God. You need to get in the middle and realize that every impression has to match God’s Word.”

    • Maggie December 3, 2016 at 2:25 pm #

      There has been so much confusion–in my mind and with others who practice this–about what impressions are coming from God and which are from our own imaginings that I have come to the conclusion that one cannot rely on vague impressions. In other words, how do I follow an “impression” if I don’t KNOW for sure that it is the leading of the Holy Spirit? There is no instruction in the Bible for following impressions. I see a lot of time and energy that some Christians spend in trying to discern impressions and then obeying them. What kind of witness is it to people when a Christian says “God told me” and then circumstances show that God definitely did NOT tell me?

      I know this comment won’t change anyone’s mind who is invested in following impressions, but I see too many Christians going down various rabbit holes because of this practice. I think it’s part of the general mysticism that is so currently popular in the visible church that has seduced so many people.

    • Stephen James Schneider December 8, 2016 at 7:22 am #

      Hi everybody:

      It occurs to me that Rick Warren is correct in saying that God speaks to us in more than one way. Now, I’m not defending or condemning the man because I wouldn’t anyway — that’s God’s job — but I don’t know enough about what he believes and teaches to draw an opinion. However, the Bible does state in Numbers 12:

      “5 Then the Lord came down in a pillar of cloud; he stood at the entrance to the tent and summoned Aaron and Miriam. When the two of them stepped forward, 6 he said, “Listen to my words: “When there is a prophet among you,
      I, the Lord, reveal myself to them in visions, I speak to them in dreams. 7 But this is not true of my servant Moses; he is faithful in all my house.8 With him I speak face to face, clearly and not in riddles; he sees the form of the Lord.
      Why then were you not afraid to speak against my servant Moses?”

      What the Bible states is that God does speak in visions and dreams and in riddles (Book of Revelation, yes?) in ADDITION TO His holy word, Scripture aka the Bible. And it’s not just prophets. God sent both Joseph, son of Jacob, and Joseph, Jesus step-father, dreams and neither were prophets or Prophets.

      And Jesus said:

      “Therefore I am sending you prophets and sages and teachers. Some of them you will kill and crucify; others you will flog in your synagogues and pursue from town to town.”

      Notice that Jesus NEVER SAID He would send prophets for only the next few years or decades; He left it open-ended and I believe that God has never stopped sending us prophets throughout the (nearly) 2000 years since He ascended into Heaven to remerge with God.

      The problem is that the Devil has also never stopped sending prophets and dreams either. So, how can one discern which is which? 1 John 4:1, as Rick Warren himself said (regardless of the man’s virtues and failings):

      “The latter three could all be wrong and all need to be tested and weighed against scripture of course.”

      Scripture is what all other spiritual messages, ideas, etc. NEED to be tested against. Oh, and obviously most dreams can be dismissed as nothing more than dreams. It’s the dreams in which a clear and consistent message is delivered that we are talking about. Given the inconsistency of most dreams, it is a rare dream indeed that ever needs to be tested against Scripture, but to NOT test those rare dreams or to simply dismiss them JUST MAY be ignoring something God is saying.

  4. Manny1962 December 3, 2016 at 12:38 pm #

    Yes for every kernel of truth, Warren espouses a cob of lies. Such as his Chrislam debacle of a few years back, these are not concerns, these are emergencies, this man should not be given any quarter or respite unless he repeats and confesses what he’s done. Also, his stance on homosexual marriage in California is an abject lesson on compromise, outright lying and heresy.



    The last one is from Uber wolf Brian McLaren ……… Duplicitous, lying, demonic.

    There’s no “concerns” for these antichristian hucksters, they should be called out where they stand, any Christian following any of these hucksters need to be warned.

  5. Manny1962 December 3, 2016 at 12:40 pm #

    As for Bud Ahlheim……. I don’t know him, don’t follow him, don’t know his stand.

  6. Manny1962 December 3, 2016 at 8:11 pm #

    Thanks Nannette!

  7. nannette December 3, 2016 at 9:18 pm #

    Manny1962, you should be able to go to his ‘other’ category and click on each name to go their facebook, and also at the very end he says, ‘and more’ click on that. Also, facebook will tell you to log in, just click ‘not now’. Blessings! The gospel as preached by Paul and the entire Word of God: faith by believing the gospel; 1 Corinthians 15:1-4. The gospel according to Calvinists is ‘saved’ by election, plain and simple. So, then I refer to scripture again: Galatians 1:6-9 which is my authority, not man. Not my feelings or an ‘impression’. God does not lie, and cannot lie, He is Awesome!

  8. Andrew February 7, 2017 at 2:37 am #

    Apparently Rick Warren is now on KWVE. https://www.facebook.com/KWVE107.9/photos/a.501362645290.387534.129153485290/10158138803455291/?type=3&theater

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