The Pen

Rick Warren: 'Just Accept and Affirm everyone'

“Do two walk together, unless they have agreed to meet? – Amos 3:3

Do you know how you can tell if Rick Warren is saying something unbiblical? … if his lips are moving. Or in this case, his fingers are typing. In a recent blog post, he is saying that our job as Christians is to affirm and accept people. He uses Romans 15:7, where it says, “Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you,” to justify his position. But the key to this passage here is, “as Christ accepted you.” Does Christ accept us in a state of unrepentant sin? Does he affirm our sinful lifestyles, such as homosexuality? No, but apparently Rick Warren thinks he does, and that we should too. Recently, he affirmed the sodomite Elton John’s homosexuality by holding hands with him and joking that them kissing would be the kiss heard around the world.

Contrary to what Rick Warren would have you believe, Jesus does not just “accept people the way they are,” or just “affirm people.” While he forgives people of their sins, he doesn’t overlook or approve their lifestyle. Were he to do this, it would nullify his entire reason for coming – to exterminate sin. The entire Gospel would be ineffectual and absurd. Jesus warned people that their sinful lifestyles would lead them straight to hell. In Luke 13:3-5 he says:

. . . but unless you repent you will all likewise perish. Or those eighteen on whom the tower in Siloam fell and killed them, do you think that they were worse sinners than all other men who dwelt in Jerusalem? I tell you, no; but unless you repent you will all likewise perish.

In fact, the concept was so important, he needed to say it twice. Repentance, turning away from your sin, is a requirement for Christ’s acceptance of you. He never accepts unrepentant sinners, and he never affirms sinful lifestyles. He then writes:

The easy choice sometimes is to snub and belittle and demean people . . . you may be someone who is always punctual, and when other people are late, you tend to look down your nose at them. . . Or maybe you’re a very tidy person who can’t help but notice when you go to other people’s houses how messy everything is, and it makes you feel better about yourself. We tend to project our strengths on other people, forgetting that we have weaknesses in other areas.

rw_accept_affirmWhile it’s true, and I agree with him that belittling people, and demeaning people aren’t the correct way to approaching these things, neither is acceptance, and especially affirmation. As seemingly benign as these things may seem, laziness (sloth), and uncleanness are actually sinful as well. A better way to approach it, if it is a sincere problem, would be to lovingly confront them of their sin. But to show even the slightest affirmation of one’s sin is anti-gospel.

The simple idea would be to just write this off as though Rick is only talking about the differences between us that don’t affect the Gospel–different strengths and weaknesses such as intellect, physical strength, and other things that may give us different areas of importance in the body of Christ. But history tells us that this isn’t the way Rick thinks, and his article affirms it (no pun intended). Rick Warren is historically very accepting and affirming of sinful lifestyles that are gravely dangerous to the Gospel. He has said, in regard to Catholicism, Mormonism, ordained women, etc.:

I’m not going to get into a debate over the non-essentials. I won’t try to change other denominations. Why be divisive?

So, clearly we can see that he considers false Gospels to be “non-essentials,” and what he does consider to be essential is unity. He has also endorsed the Catholics Come Home campaign, addresses Muslims as “brothers,” and also approves and promotes new age practices which are antithetical to Christianity.  Rick Warren is a Southern Baptist, who has signed on to the SBC’s statement of faith, which affirms Scripture as infallible, and the source of authority for all truth, and, he knows that these others proclaim a gospel contrary to the truth, yet he affirms and accepts them in exchange for unity. Romans 1:32 says:

Though they know God’s righteous decree that those who practice such things deserve to die, they not only do them but give approval to those who practice them.

Warren then goes on to say:

The goal of a family, a small group, a church family, or any community group is not to mold people into your image but to accept and affirm each other and help each other discover who God made you to be.

[adsense_inserter id=”506″]


While I agree with him that these groups aren’t for molding people into your own image, they certainly aren’t for accepting and affirming one another. They are actually for quite the opposite. They are for teaching, and instructing each other in righteousness, and holding each other accountable. Contrary to what Rick is trying to portray in his article, encouraging and building each other up is not the same thing as acceptance and affirmation. We should be encouraging each other not to sin (James 5:16, Luke 17:3, Proverbs 27:17, etc.). Yet Warren takes Romans 15:7 out of context, as usual and wants to apply this to everyone so that he can be united with them. Rick Warren wants to claim that he walks with the Lord, but at the same time, he wants to stand united with the world by affirming and accepting people just the way they are, but 1 John 1:5-6 says:

. . . God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth.

For More information on Rick Warren, I recommend the book, Deceived on Purpose: The New Age Implications of the Purpose-Driven Church