Apprising Ministries continues with our documentation of what just may be a great falling away.

We watch as silly superstitions disguised as so-called Spiritual Formation slither deeper into the very heart of the mainstream evangelical community.

Now largely only pretending to be Protestant as so many bow before the Golden Calf of corrupt Counter Reformation Contemplative Spirituality/Mysticism (CSM) as perpetrated by Southern Baptist minister Dallas Wilard and his former pastor and close friend, Living Spiritual Teacher and Quaker mystic Richard Foster.

You’ll see a perfect example of this with Protholics like Rick Warren of the SBC flagship Saddleback Church as evidenced e.g. in James Robison And Rick Warren Working To Reverse The Protestant Reformation and even with Apprising Ministries Exclusive On Rick Warren, Jim Hinch, And Islam.

That latter piece basically came about because of a post by Ed Stetzer, the President of LifeWay Research—the publishing arm of the Southern Baptist Convention. Stetzer felt he need to come to Warren’s defense concerning controversy regarding a document called King’s Way.

You’re probably aware that the conflict began with Rick Warren builds bridge to Muslims where free lance reporter Jim Hinch told us:

The Rev. Rick Warren, pastor of Saddleback Church in Lake Forest and one of America’s most influential Christian leaders, has embarked on an effort to heal divisions between evangelical Christians and Muslims by partnering with Southern California mosques and proposing a set of theological principles that includes acknowledging that Christians and Muslims worship the same God.

The effort, informally dubbed King’s Way, caps years of outreach between Warren and Muslims… At [a] dinner, Abraham Meulenberg, a Saddleback pastor in charge of interfaith outreach, and Jihad Turk, director of religious affairs at a mosque in Los Angeles, introduced King’s Way as “a path to end the 1,400 years of misunderstanding between Muslims and Christians.”

The men presented a document they co-authored outlining points of agreement between Islam and Christianity. The document affirms that Christians and Muslims believe in “one God” and share two central commandments: “love of God” and “love of neighbor.” The document also commits both faiths to three goals: Making friends with one another, building peace and working on shared social service projects. The document quotes side-by-side verses from the Bible and the Koran to illustrate its claims. (Online source)

Rick Warren would then say Hinch’s story contained factual errors; thereby impugning Hinch’s character as a reporter. Ed Stetzer  now enters this story with his post Rick Warren Interview on Muslims, Evangelism & Missions (Responding to Recent News Reports)  where he opines:

Once again, watchbloggers are accusing Rick Warren of heresy. Why? Because, Warren explains, a secular Orange County newspaper got something wrong about a religious issue. Some of the usual bloggers have done their usual job.

However, due to the nature of the story, some mainstream news organizations and bloggers, without the constant anti-Warren agenda, were asking questions and wondering what what was going on. I was. So, I emailed Rick and asked him.

Rick sent me this interview where he seeks to bring clarification. He gave me permission to share it here at the blog. I think it will be helpful. (Online source)

However, here’s a couple of things we need to get straight. My Christian Research Network editor Daniel Neades of Better Than Sacrifice immediately covered Rick Warren Categorically Denies OC Register Report. Stetzer neglected to mention this; and he also decided not to publish my comment at his blog.

This morning I made Ed Stetzer aware that there was more to this story, which I shared last night, and I left him the link to Apprising Ministries Exclusive On Rick Warren, Jim Hinch, And Islam. You see, yesterday I asked Jim Hinch about the King’s Way document, which he has. Hinch began with a recap of the situation:

Rick Warren initially posted a comment to the article claiming that the article contained “multiple errors.” That comment was later deleted, I presume by Warren. After seeing that comment I reached out to Warren’s director of communications.

On Monday, Feb. 27 a Saddleback representative called and told me that while the Register story was factually accurate, folks at Saddleback would prefer that the opening paragraph read “Muslims and Christians believe that God is one.”

Following a discussion with a Register editor Saddleback decided to withdraw its request for a clarification. At no time has anyone at Saddleback said to me or to anyone else at the Register that the story contains factual inaccuracies.

You should be able to see why online apologetics and discernment ministries work to expose the methodology of Rick Warren. What “multiple errors” is Warren talking about? He also kept insisting that no one contacted him. Hinch then sets the record straight:

Warren states in his white paper that “no one even talked to me about that article!” I made numerous attempts to contact Warren, both by phone and by e-mail, before the story was published.

I was eventually told by Warren’s director of communications that Warren was too busy with other projects to speak with me or to e-mail a response to the story’s main claims, which I had e-mailed to the communications director. Instead I was put in touch with Tom Holladay, an associate senior pastor at Saddleback.

I ran all of the story’s claims by Holladay and he affirmed all of them, including the language of the King’s Way document and the fact that King’s Way was an effort to build bridges of friendship and cooperation, not an attempt to evangelize.

During my conversation with Holladay I asked whether the King’s Way effort, including the December dinner and the theological document, was done with Rick Warren’s approval. “Of course it has his approval,” Holladay replied. It is neither fair nor accurate to claim that this story was published without attempting to solicit Rick Warren’s response.

Sadly, what Rick Warren resorted to was obfuscation, rather than address the actual issues brought out in Hinch’s initial OC Register report. The heart of this whole matter begins a few years ago with the original In the Name of God, the Compassionate, the Merciful A Common Word between Us and You, which says:

It is part of the very foundational principles of both faiths: love of the One God, and love of the neighbour. These principles are found over and over again in the sacred texts of Islam and Christianity. The Unity of God, the necessity of love for Him, and the necessity of love of the neighbour is thus the common ground between Islam and Christianity. (Online source, emphasis mine)

Did you catch that; the, as in singular, God. Now the following is the Christian response to the above article from The Royal Aal Al-Bayt Institute for Islamic Thought. Keep in mind that Rick Warren actually signed this response. You’ll see that it also, at least, implies that Islam is an Abrahamic faith believing in the same God as Christians:

A Common Word Between Us and You identifies some core common ground between Christianity and Islam which lies at the heart of our respective faiths as well as at the heart of the most ancient Abrahamic faith, Judaism…in responding to your letter, we ask forgiveness of the All-Merciful One and of the Muslim community around the world…

We applaud that A Common Word Between Us and You stresses so insistently the unique devotion to one God, indeed the love of God, as the primary duty of every believer… (Online source)

“All-Merciful One” is commonly used of Allah of Islam. As I then told Jim Hinch in my email to him, certainly one can hide in the weeds and make the claim all of this doesn’t exactly say Muslims believe in the same God as Christians, but this is the clear implication. I’ve said before, if one doesn’t actually mean this, then they’re really misleading followers of Islam who are believing this is what’s being said.

Then finally, look closely at what the King’s Way document says about God. As you do, remember it was written by Abraham Meulenberg, a Saddleback pastor in charge of interfaith outreach, and Jihad Turk, director of religious affairs at a mosque in Los Angeles:

I. WHO: we believe in


1. God is one (Mark 12:29; Muhammed 47:19)
2. God is the Creator (Genesis 1:1; Al Shura 42:11)
3. God is different from the world (1 Timothy 6:16; An An’am 6:103)
4. God is Good
a. God loves (1 John 4:16; Al Buruj 85:14)
b. God is just (1 John 1:19, Romans 3:26; Hud 11:45)
c. God’s love encompasses God’s judgment (1 Peter 4:8; Al A’raf 7:156; Al Ghafir 40:7)

In closing this, for now, Jim Hinch also points out that his initial report was “based the phrases ‘same God’ and ‘one God’ on the phrasing in this document, which states that Christians and Muslims believe in one God.” Has Rick Warren really not seen the King’s Way document done by his interfaith outreach pastor?

Well, the above from Jim Hinch certainly increases his credibility as an eyewitness, which makes his testimony all the more compelling. Hinch testifies to us that “Tom Holladay, an associate senior pastor at Saddleback,” told him the “theological document, was done with Rick Warren’s approval.”

Are we to believe that Warren didn’t know King’s Way begins, “we believe in One God.” Having the Bible and the Qur’an cited side by side surely gives the impression that we’re talking here about the same God Who “is one” and “the Creator.” We don’t need to get lost in the smokescreen of “worship.”

The issue is, this King’s Way document pretty clearly implies that the Muslim and the Christian believe in the same God; and we absolutely do not. And after-all, Ed Stetzer wanted to make sure that we knew Rick Warren actually agrees with me on this point:

Christians have a fundamentally different view of God than Muslims. We worship Jesus as God. Muslims don’t. Our God is Jesus, not Allah. (Online source)

Here’s a few key questions: How can Islam be considered an Abrahamic faith when it doesn’t believe in the one true and living God of Holy Scripture? Does Rick Warren and Saddleback make sure that the Muslims they meet with know they believe in a different God? And if so, then why use the ambiguous, and misleading, language?

See also: