School of the Tares? Midwestern Baptist Seminary Partners with Rick Warren’s Saddleback Church

A seminary education is both theological and professional. Not only are seminary students taught biblical languages, church history, systematic theology, hermeneutics, and apologetics, they are taught how to run an organization, specifically a local church. That’s why it’s so disturbing to see that Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary has partnered with Rick Warren’s megachurch to form what it calls the “Saddleback Track.’

Warren’s brand of seeker-sensitive, growth-oriented church organization is downright secular. The documentary Church of the Tares provides an in-depth examination of Warren’s unbiblical method of church growth.

Using management science made popular by Peter Drucker, Warren has blazed trails in the American evangelical culture. Like Bill Hybels and Andy Stanley, whom Warren has endorsed, Warren has made popular the creation of church organizations marketed towards non-Christians. Warren’s preaching is light on biblical exegesis and application and heavy on “felt needs.” He is an ecumenist who embraces the Roman Catholic Church, having even referred to the pontiff as “our pope.” His best-selling book, The Purpose Driven Life, has been widely criticized for its inconsistent application of scripture.

From Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary’s Chapel

Warren, who is arguably a semi-pelagian, has already been honored in stained glass at the chapel of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. Now, another Southern Baptist Seminary is including Warren’s church in professionally training young pastors. The constituents of Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary should be concerned to say the least. Seminary president Jason K. Allen and Director of Content Strategy Jared Wilson should be called to account for this partnership with Warren.

Wilson, who is often critical of church growth methodology on social media, is the author of the forthcoming book,
The Gospel Driven Church: Uniting Church Growth Dreams with the Metrics of Grace

*Please note that the preceding is my personal opinion. It is not necessarily the opinion of any entity by which I am employed, any church at which I am a member, any church which I attend, or the educational institution at which I am enrolled. Any copyrighted material displayed or referenced is done under the doctrine of fair use.

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Seth Dunn

Masters of Divinity in Christian Apologetics, New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary Member of the Evangelical Theological Society Certified Public Accountant