Rick Warren Partnership With Roman Catholic Leader Generates Controversy
Rick Warren, founder and senior pastor of mega church Saddleback Church has said in a recent interview that he hopes his partnership with a local Roman Catholic leader to collaboratively combat social ills becomes a “model” for others around the world. His remarks have drawn disagreement from those who believe that ecumenism with those who preach another gospel is unbiblical.
The Roman Catholic site Crux published the interview, which featured both Warren and friend Kevin Vann of the Diocese of Orange, on Sept. 14. They were asked by interviewer and diocese Chancellor Pia de Solenni to share about how their friendship formed and developed.
Vann recalled that Warren attended his installation as the bishop of Orange and also called to congratulate him. The two continued to communicate and soon also began praying together.
“One way we stay in touch is by texting personal prayer requests to each other,” Warren explained. “When my youngest son died in April 2013, I knew Kevin was praying for me, and when his father died in November 2014, I was praying for him. Sharing pain and grief brought us closer.”
Not only did Warren and Vann pray together, but “brainstorming meetings between [their] two staffs” about the issue of mental illness—in light of Matthew Warren’s suicide—led to the formation of a joint conference and other efforts to address mental health.
“[O]ut of Matthew’s death came a partnership in creating a conference to help others, and also a number of other mental health initiatives,” Warren added. “It also brought Catholics and Evangelicals together as I, and our church, received many letters of comfort from Catholic priests and parishioners.”Vann explained.
In the light of the partnership, Rick Warren who is also known for his best-selling book “The Purpose-Driven Life,” shared on Twitter, writing:
“If you love Jesus, we may serve on different teams, but we’re in the same league of receiving His grace and forgiveness.”
His post generated mixed response, with some commenting in favor of the partnership and others expressing that ecumenism with those who do not adhere to biblical orthodoxy is verboten.
“Yes pastor! I am happy because Jesus is uniting us,” one commenter wrote.
“How do you explain the Counsel of Trent placing an anathema on those who believe that justification is by faith alone?” another asked.