Founder of Saddleback Church draws ire of fellow Protestants for Rome-leaning views.
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December 19, 2014
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Pastor Rick Warren has called on non-Catholic Christians to join with Pope Francis and the Catholic Church in pursuit of their common goals.
Warren is founder and pastor of California's well-known Saddleback Church and author of best-selling books including The Purpose-Driven Life, which has sold 36 million copies, and The Purpose-Driven Church.
Pastor Warren was among the speakers in November 2014 at Humanum, the Vatican's International Religious Colloquium on the Complementarity of Man and Woman. Humanum brought together faith leaders from both Christian and non-Christian religions around the world, to examine and propose anew the beauty of the relationship between man and woman in marriage.
In an interview with EWTN's Raymond Arroyo which aired after the conference, Warren called for adherents of various Christian denominations to unite with Roman Catholics and Pope Francis to work together on three shared goals, focusing on the sanctity of life, the sanctity of sex, and the sanctity of marriage. He went on to defend Catholicism and to clarify some of the most common misconceptions about Catholic teaching, pertaining to Marian dogmas and prayer to the saints.
Warren acknowledged that there are still real differences which separate Catholics from other Christian denominations. He envisions Catholics and Protestants working together, not with a structural unity, but rather, with a unity of mission. “If you love Jesus,” he said, “we're on the same team.”
Pastor Warren's remarks were polite and well reasoned, and were well received in the Catholic community. To hear some conservative Christians tell the story, though, you'd think that Warren was devoid of reason and without a moral compass. Evangelical Reformed apologist James White, director of Alpha and Omega Ministries and an avowed anti-Catholic, called on Warren to repent. Matt Slick of the Christian Apologetics and Research Ministry (CARM), was openly critical, mistakenly claiming that Catholics had “added seven books” to the Bible. Brian Houston of Hillsong Church expressed alarm about Warren's “subtle backslide into Catholicism” and claimed that his concern is shared by Christians nationwide.