Saddleback’s and Amurica’s pastor Rick Warren is talking revival and spiritual awakening! Can it be that he is finally preaching repentance and surrender to Christ? Well, not exactly. We’re talking about a movement by numbers again, from his latest email blast. What does the Bible have to say about this?
Rick Warren: “If God allowed you to baptize hundreds of new believers, add almost hundreds of new members, and increase your average attendance by thousands in just 40 days, would you call that a revival?”
I’d call it nickles and noses. Proof of revival is not in numbers. Remember, GOD does the increasing. Acts 3:19-21 “Repent therefore, and turn again, that your sins may be blotted out, that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord, and that he may send the Christ appointed for you, Jesus, whom heaven must receive until the time for restoring all the things about which God spoke by the mouth of his holy prophets long ago.”
If, during those same 40 days, God prompted people in your church who were previously uninvolved to start serving in ministry, and caused others to commit to a world missions project, what would you call that? An Awakening?
Nope, that would be you campaigning for 40 days in a carefully crafted appeal, and then plugging people into your church programs. 1 John 1:9 “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”
What term would you use if God led your members to become so concerned for their lost friends that they convinced their neighbors to study the Bible for six weeks in one of thousands of small groups meeting in homes around your city? A Miracle?
Astounding, maybe, since you preach a watered-down social Gospel at Saddleback, but at least having them read their Bibles is a good start. Acts 20:27-20 “For I did not shrink from declaring to you the whole purpose of God. 28″Be on guard for yourselves and for all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood.”
Well, whatever you call it, all this has actually happened at Saddleback Church during the various campaigns that we’ve conducted over the years, and we stand in awe at what God has done. And God has repeatedly worked through campaigns hosted by thousands of churches around the world in similar ways.
Untold thousands have come to Christ, been baptized, welcomed into church membership, connected to a small group or Sunday School class, taught the meaning of real worship and fellowship, equipped for ministry, and then sent out for their mission in the world. Troubled marriages have been healed, broken relationships between church members restored, and a new spirit of unity, vision, and purpose has swept through many congregations.
What is behind this wonderful movement of God?
Wait a second. Something is missing from these years of campaigns and talk of unity and vision. Where is Jesus Christ in all of this? Where is the call for repentance and holiness, the authority of Scripture and the sufficiency of God’s breathed-out Word?
If you haven’t read our White Paper yet on Warren’s Purpose Driven movement, you’ll want to start doing your own investigating.