When my friend Chris Rosebrough of the Christian Accountability Network first approached me with this whole issue of America’s Purpose Driven MegaPastor Rick Warren claiming to be Rupert Murdoch pastor I felt led of the Lord to become involved. Like Warren I am a Southern Baptist pastor myself and I offered to help Rosebrough by writing a short article called Purpose Driven Pornography: Why Rick Warren Must Publicly Rebuke Rupert Murdoch.

The first to plead his case seems right, Until another comes and examines him. (Proverbs 18:17, NASB)

A Wicked Web They Do Weave In Order To Deceive

Yesterday Saddleback “Spin Doctor” Mark Kelly, whose official title is News and Editorial Director for Saddleback Church – Purpose Driven Network, wrote a post called No Incentive for Checking facts. I cover this a little further in Rick Warren: Saddleback’s Purpose Driven Censors Didn’t Spin Fast Enough so here I just point out that it was suddenly pulled without explanation after but hours online. At this point we still don’t know why the “News and Editorial Director” for Rick Warren would be told to remove his newsworthy post, which also contained Saddleback “Chief of Staff” David Chrzan’s allegedly “forceful reply to Joseph Farah of World Net Daily.”

What I’m going to do is in this opening piece is begin to set the record straight regarding some of the facts and events leading up to Joseph Farah’s news story Murdoch’s porn pastor gets heat for mogul’s porn channels which appeared on World Net Daily 5/10/07. In doing so it will also have the benefit of showing you by example just how Saddleback’s Kelly and Chrzan will sow confusion by essentially “spinning” these things backward as to what actually happened.

Kelly will open up his Saddleback version of Purpose Driven pseudo-reality when he says:

Unfounded accusations that business ties with Rupert Murdoch caused Rick Warren to soft-pedal his spiritual influence with the media magnate have elicited a strong response from David Chrzan, Saddleback Church’s chief of staff.

In a forceful reply to Joseph Farah of World Net Daily, Chrzan said Farah’s May 10 article, “Murdoch pastor gets heat for mogul’s porn channels,” contained “errors in definition, assumption and application.”

Now what is important here in this first sentence is Kelly’s assertion that, “Unfounded accusations that business ties with Rupert Murdoch” was the main problem for Rick Warren. Certainly Christians must be careful in such matters but this is not what we’re actually talking about in this case of Murdoch and Warren. We are not confronting Warren for his “business ties” but rather for his own claim that, “I’m Rupert pastor!” This claim is clearly found in an article from The New Yorker magazine on Sept. 12, 2005, which Saddleback secured the rights to and also reprinted at Rick Warren’s very own Pastor’s.com website.

So once we understand the issue correctly it then negates Chrzan’s pontification about any so-called “errors in definition, assumption and application.” But this is the type of clouding of the issues that the Saddleback publicity machine has gotten away with for years. In fact in his article “Anatomy of Saddleback Spin – Part One” at his Extreme Theology website Rosebrough writes:

Many times when I tell other Christians about the tactics that Saddleback employs to protect Rick Warren and his image the response I get is utter disbelief. People think I am describing Bill Clinton’s political spin machine rather than a Christian pastor and his extended staff. But I am not.

When evidence appears on the internet of Rick Warren or members of his church saying or doing things that are out of step with the truth or could be damaging to his image these things have a habit of disappearing from the web. (Online source)

Saddleback Has Built On Sand With Red Herrings And Men Of Straw

We need only consider that this is exactly what happened with the Kelly piece I’m discussing here. Using this insightful information as a backdrop we then come to the next part of Chrzan’s statement of straw where he says of Farah’s WND article:

“The story is based on the assertion that Rupert Murdoch, chairman of News Corp., is a member of Saddleback Church, which is not correct,” Chrzan wrote. “In fact, he doesn’t even live in Orange County, Calif., and has never even attended a service here.”

Well, yes and no. Yes, Farah did say Murdoch might be a member of Saddleback but neither Rosebrough or myself have said this because it is actually irrelevant to the point we are making. You see, whether Murdoch is a member of Saddleback Church or not would make no difference at all because the Church (ekklesia) is made up of whomever is truly born again by God’s grace alone; through faith alone, in Christ alone. So when Warren claims he is Murdoch’s pastor he himself is taking on a spiritual responsibility to account for someone whom Warren apparently considers to be in the Church universal. So in the Lord’s eyes it matters not if that person is a member of the particular local church which happens to meet at Saddleback.

So Chrzan has actually introduced a red herring here because the issue has nothing to do with Saddleback. As a matter of fact, in that same article quoted above Rosebrough goes on to tell us, “The story first broke as a result of a press release that I sent out through the Christian Newswire on May 4, 2007.” And further he informs us that he followed that press release “with [a] post at my ExtremeTheology.com blog entitled “Purpose Driven Pornography?” And then Rosebrough makes it absolutely crystal clear that:

In that article I detailed Rick Warren’s claims to being Murdoch’s pastor as well as the evidence that Murdoch’s status as a born again Christian was being called into question as a result of the expansion of his porn distribution channels in the UK.

My primary point was that since Warren was on the record claiming to be Murdoch’s pastor, Warren had the Biblical responsibility to step in and discipline Murdoch… In my article I NEVER claimed that Murdoch was a member of Saddleback Church. The reason I did not make this claim is because I had called Saddleback church in order to get clarification. When I called, Pastor Warren was out of town but I was able to talk with his administrative assistant…[who] explained to me that Rupert Murdoch was not a member of Saddleback church. I told her that was not the issue. The issue was that Rick had claimed to be Murdoch’s pastor. (Online source)

When we pick this up in Part Two I’ll build on the above as well as Chrzan’s next spin into incertitude as he cogitates:

Farah’s article was based on a May 4 blog posting on another site that demanded Rick Warren “call Murdoch to repentance and/or put him out of the church” because a News Corp subsidiary, BSkyB, owns and operates 18+ Movies, a network that distributes “XXX” media content in Europe.

Neither the original blogger nor Farah bothered to contact the church to ask whether Murdoch was a member. The original writer jumped to that conclusion because he read somewhere that Warren said he was “Rupert Murdoch’s pastor.”

The “May 4 blog posting” to which Chrzan refers is probably Rosebrough’s press release “Rick Warren, Purpose Driven Pornography” as it appeared on Christian Research Net that day. Joseph Farah can speak for himself, though I have a pretty good idea we will find out that he did attempt to contact Rick Warren. However, Chrzan is dead wrong when he says that Rosebrough did not bother “to contact the church.” As you will see next time Rosebrough did personally contact Saddleback Church. He even published that fact in his piece “Purpose driven Pornography: Details Behind the Buzz” at A Little Leaven, and in anticipation of this kind of attempt at character assassination by Saddleback Rosebrough also immediately called me as a second witness after he spoke with Saddleback.

And in addition you will see more proof that Chrzan is also being misleading (to be charitable) when he says, Rosebrough “jumped” to the “conclusion” that Warren was “Rupert Murdoch’s pastor” because “he read somewhere” that Warren had said this. Um yeah – that’s because we all can read Rick Warren say it, just as Rosebrough did, right here at Rick Warren’s Ministry Toolbox:

“I had dinner with Jack Welch last Sunday night,” [Warren] said. “He came to church, and we had dinner. I’ve been kind of mentoring him on his spiritual journey. And he said to me, ‘Rick, you are the biggest thinker I have ever met in my life. The only other person I know who thinks globally like you is Rupert Murdoch.’ And I said, ‘That’s interesting. I’m Rupert’s pastor! Rupert published my book!’” Then he tilted back his head and gave one of those big Rick Warren laughs. (Online source)

One final thing for now, note that when speaking of Jack Welch above Warren says, “I’ve been kind of mentoring him on his spiritual journey.” There’s no claim here whatsoever to be Welch’s pastor. However, in the case of Rupert Murdoch it now becomes even more obvious that Rick Warren was not joking, but rather is actually serious when he emphatically announces, “I’m Rupert’s pastor!”