You would think that as a Christian I'd be pleased that Pastor Rick Warren has been invited to give the invocation prayer at the inauguration of Barak Obama. Some Christian leaders appear thrilled. Bishop Harry Jackson, Jr., of the High Impact Leadership Coalition called Obama's decision "appropriate" and says "Rick Warren has become the next generation's Billy Graham." Considering Obama's twenty year association with the likes of Rev. Jeremiah Wright, many would see Warren's participation as real progress. Indeed, I would love to be more positive and less cynical on this - but I'm not. Homosexual activists are opposed to Warren's participation in the upcoming inauguration and so am I, except for vastly different reasons. While Rick Warren is indeed a dubiously good fit to take part in the event, biblical Christians shouldn't be thrilled to identify with him. So here are some thoughts on why we need to continue to be leery of Rick Warren and why - if he is indeed who he wants us to believe he is - Warren should have rejected Obama's offer.
First, it's hard to get beyond the very reason that we all know the name Rick Warren - The Purpose Driven Life. I have written extensively about the problems of the PDL such as Warren's failure to include repentance as a prerequisite for true salvation and his omission of the fact that all Christians are engaged in a very real spiritual war with a personal and viable adversary, etc. While I applaud some of the recent statements made by Dr. Warren and as much as I'd like to be more charitable, we are sadly stuck with numerous incomplete and sometimes overtly heretical positions taken in his 20 million+ bestseller. Unless Warren clearly recants of some of the things he has asserted, biblical thinkers must carefully view everything he says and does with a grain of (biblical) salt. Without substantial change any future kudos we might want to give him will always be clouded by past faux pas. At this late date it would truly be a miracle for Rick Warren to admit to any practical or theological problems with the PDL book or philosophy, but I for one am still praying that the most visible Christian in our world would also become an orthodox one.
Next, Rick Warren is a proud member of globally minded groups such as the World Economic Forum and the Council on Foreign Relations - unquestionably the USA's most prominent think tank pushing "New World Order" philosophy. Not long ago he went so far as to use a WEF meeting in Switzerland to announce that "The future of the world is not secularism. It is religious pluralism." Besides affirming his new identity as a card-carrying globalist, Warren's statements sounded much more like that of a Universalist than an evangelistically minded bible-believer concerned for the eternity of men's souls. These are just a few of the reasons why I and other concerned Christian pastors, writers and commentators aren't buying Warren's perceived warming on issues that Scripturally minded folk rightfully hold dear. Though he may get it right occasionally, Warren's recent conservative concessions could easily be construed as calculated moves which only serve to add to the already confused state of Evangelical thinking. As I said, Rick Warren IS a perfect fit to join in Obama's inauguration. Both his questionable theology and globalist worldview seem to coincide with the incoming administration.
To Pray or Not to Pray
We indeed need to pray for God's intervention in the affairs of government (I Timothy 2:1-4). But how can any authentic Christian ask God to bless Obama and his cohorts knowing what his announced intentions are once in office? It seems to me that the Prophets of old would have rejected any thought of participating in the coronation of a ruler bent on sacrificing innocents on a demon altar or giving favored status to the perverted. While it would appear that Barak Obama is on track to have much in common with the likes of Ahab and Pharaoh, is it not obvious that Rick Warren has little in common with names like Shadrach, Meshach, Abednego and Daniel? These brave men didn't seek the accolades of kings or their courts. They didn't care about public perception or their personal standing in the media or the polls. Instead, they were determined to do what was right. And even if it meant death, pleasing God and not men was their objective. (Daniel 3, 6) While Daniel and the three Hebrews valiantly rejected endorsing evil kings, Rick Warren's appearance in Washington next month will simply give credence to Barak Obama.
Warren - the Willing Pawn?
I believe that Obama's choice of Warren to pray at the inauguration is in itself aimed at neutralizing a portion of his most vocal and powerful foe - authentic, bible-believing Christians. It's the old story of courting your enemy. How can we commend Obama for choosing Warren when the President-elect is surely going to continue to support the sodomites, abortion on demand, tax hikes, the global warming farce, liberal judgeships and just about every anti-Christian and anti-conservative cause? Doesn't anyone see what is going on here? Instead, how powerful it would have been for Warren to have boldly rejected taking part in the inauguration of a man and an administration that is poised to take America in a direction so dogmatically opposed to biblical principals. But then we are talking about Rick Warren, who at the last possible moment figured that siding with conservatives over California's Proposition 8 (which upheld traditional marriage) was better than offending his base. This development in itself makes Obama's invitation even more curious - unless we understand the Obama political playbook and the double-mindedness of Rick Warren.
Does anyone honestly believe that when it comes to appointing Federal judges that Obama is going to consult Rick Warren, let alone any biblically consistent Christian leader? Obama wants his cake and wants to devour his opposition too. No matter what Warren may say in the invocation prayer (even if he somehow slips in Jesus' name), it will be but a political tool in the hands of Obama. As much as they may squawk over Warren's inclusion at the inauguration, Obama knows his gay-lesbian base isn't going to suddenly become conservative and leave him. However, he would certainly like to make his Christian opposition appear silly and out of step in light of Warren's inclusion in the affairs of January 20, 2009. Is it hard to imagine being reminded of Obama's choice of Rick Warren in future 2012 campaign ads aimed at attracting naive Evangelical voters?
As recently as December 23rd (2008) Warren was on the Fox News Channel defending his decision to support the Prop. 8 initiative and his participation in the upcoming inauguration. He spoke of how he was just going to love those who oppose him. While love is indeed the right position to take, there is a vast difference between expressing biblical forgiveness for a homosexual activist and consorting with a leader whose political platform can only be called blasphemous. It is frankly despicable to envision Rick Warren up there praying and pretending that God is somehow willing to work with what Obama clearly stands for. While other high profile Christians have participated in inaugurations past, before any Christians jumps aboard with Barak Obama they should examine just who's coat tails - and past history they are riding on.
The hard truth is that America has elected the man who, as chairman of the Senate Health and Human Services Committee, almost single handedly railroaded through the Illinois state legislature the most extreme partial birth abortion bill ever conceived of in our nation's history. This 2003 law allowed babies intended for abortion to suffer and die outside the womb without medical attention if they somehow survived the procedure! What kind of a person would engineer a bill containing such sickening evil? If only for this, how does one muster any respect for Obama or call him "my President?" More so, how can a high profile pastor justify aiding and abetting a politician like Obama whose track record includes something so heinous? God help us that any "Christian" leader would help legitimize such a man!
Let the lines be redrawn and make them crystal clear. The Scriptures clearly deem some kings as "righteous" and others as "evil." Enough with trying to appease all sides. We must ask God to raise up an army of men and women cut from the cloth and character of men like A.W. Tozer, Billy Sunday and D. James Kennedy. Next, we need to pray for God to endue them with the courage to call some in the Church to repent of the self-centered "Purpose Driven" agendas that have been popularized while Satan has had his way in our land. We then need to humbly ask God to forgive America for electing a President and a Congress who are determined to appoint godless judges, are predisposed on keeping abortion mills operating and who want to give gays minority status. Obama, and all who lead us, need to be boldly and publically confronted - not comforted and America needs to know that REAL Christians reject religious charlatans and find no compromise with politicians who legislate wickedness.
"Lord, please plant a hook firmly in Obama's nose that he and those in the Congress, state houses and courts be turned in such a way as to do Heaven's bidding. Have Your way in our nation. Bring us peace, keep us free and forgive our sins. Father, bring our leaders to repentance and either save them or sovereignly remove them from positions of power, in Jesus' name. Even so, come quickly Lord Jesus."
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Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter! Woe unto them that are wise in their own eyes, and prudent in their own sight. - Isaiah 5:20-21
When the righteous are in authority, the people rejoice: but when the wicked beareth rule, the people mourn. - Proverbs 29:2
But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction. - II Peter 2:1