Sunday, December 21, 2008

Rick Warren is a Centrist Choice

Rick Warren is a leading voice in the next generation of evangelical Protestants engaging the world. I thought it was a great idea that Warren was the one Barack Obama and John McCain went to together to reach an evangelical audience that might not pay attention to worldly politics at all. Warren could have taken the enormous success of the Saddleback Church and A Purpose-Driven Life and rested on it. Instead, he, his wife, and his church have reached out into addressing the problems of the worst-off people in the whole world. This is a great thing for evangelicalism.

As to his rejection of homosexual practice (not homosexual people), that is what Southern Baptists do, that is how they read the Bible, that is the official position of the denomination. And so do most evangelicals, who make up thirty to forty percent of Americans. Rejecting a third of the electorate out of hand always gets liberals and Democrats in trouble.

President-elect Obama wants to bridge the gap and reduce the polarization in the nation. That is what he has said all along. That is part of what we elected him for. Choosing Rick Warren, with whom he does not agree on all worldly issues but does agree on the crucial question of who is the president's savior, is a good step in bringing all Americans together.


Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Mac said...

Good comment. As I have said elsewhere, Senator Obama was not my choice for President. That being said, at 12:01 pm on January 20, he will be our president, the only one we have, and we can thank God for that. No tanks in the street, no artillery fire on the South Lawn.

That means that he will be the political leader of those of us who believe that Scripture clearly defines homosexual acts as sinful. He will also be the political leader of those who think just the opposite and of those who think the Bible is nothing but an out-dated collection of stores and mores of long-dead clans.

And that is OK, because as a 5 point Calvinist, I believe the most important election has already happened. Hope I'm on the ticket that was elected, but none of us will know until we "cross over the river and rest in the shade of the trees."

But as an example of political savvy, the selection of Pastor Warren was a very pragmatic choice. Not unlike another Illinoisan of some political skill, one A. Lincoln, Esquire, the Senator is exercising some considerable political discipline in a time in which the nation is as philosophically divided as it has been since 1860.

What Pastor Warren prays will be between him and God. Some will agree with his petition, some will not, and some will deny that Warren is speaking to anyone at all. But for that 30 to 40% of the electorate that the Senator will need to have in his corner as he grapples with some really serious problems, this was a good choice.

Anonymous said...

Do you think Rob Bell might have been an even more centrist choice? He's an evangelical megachurch pastor who appears to have a broader theological appeal than Warren.

And he is NOT a Boomer (and I say that as a Boomer). So you'd have the generational change thing.

Curious that you gave Warren the "Next Gen" tag. He's a boomer and if my memory serves me you have been know to long for the days when Boomers retire from the scene. (As are Andy Stanley, Ed Young, Tim Keller, and Brian McClaren using the Struass/Howe dates).

Gruntled said...

I was counting next generation from Falwell. Warren is a real Boomer, as you say - born 1954.

Mac said...

N ow, now boys. No squabbling. As an original Boomer (1946) it is disturbing my afternoon nap! 8>)

Anonymous said...

not a squable

just a little polite coffee house conversation.

I must admit I was surpsrised at how old all Warren and all the folks I listed are. The young evengelical leaders aren't all that young. I am 51 and most of those guys are older than me. Stanley is the same age and Young is a couple years younger

I still think Rob Bell would have been a more interesting centrist choice.

Anonymous said...

The reason I think Rob Bell is more centrist than Warren is mu hunch that you will find copies of his Nooma videos in a greater range of congregations than you will find copies of Warren's PDL.

In Presbyterian terms I could imagine Rob Bell keynoting an event at Peachtree, Atlanta or Fourth, Chicago. Warren, not so much. By the way, never been to either of thiose congregations, suing them in a symbolic manner.

Anonymous said...


have no interst in suing either congregation