Monday, November 20, 2006

Rick Warren Repudiates Syrian News Reports

Last week I linked to reports from Rick Warren's trip to Syria. Ken Fields has now posted an e-mail distributed by Warren. Here's the meat of it:
As we left, the official state-controlled Syrian news agency issued some press releases that sounded like I was a politician negotiating the Iraq war by praising the Syrian President and everything else in Syria! Of course, that’s ridiculous, but it created a stir among bloggers who tend to editorialize before verifying the truth. Does it seem ironic to you that people who distrust Syria are now believing Syrian press releases?
I'm grateful for four things:
  1. That the original reports of Warren's statements were distortions of the Syrian news agency, as I suspected.
  2. That Warren has realized his need to respond, as I suggested.
  3. That the dissipation of eternal truth in evangelicalism has been accompanied by a dissemination of technology that empowers pajama-clad (not that I am right now) bloggers to combat this downgrade and expose its perpetrators.
  4. That Warren (or someone close to him) reads blogs. Obviously, Rick doesn't like them much since many of them have exposed the shallow gospel in his sermons and writings, but perhaps reading a valid critique on a blog will strike a chord of truth in his mind.
In any case, I find the fact that this situation was so quickly repudiated by both bloggers and by Warren to be a healthy development. However, my doubt still stands that engaging in a conversation with Muslim political and religious leaders with Muslim media present is ever likely to advance the gospel. But then, who ever said the gospel is at the heart of Warren's international mission? Seems to me it has more to do with *P.E.A.C.E.

*"Saddleback Church’s “P.E.A.C.E. Plan” to train local churches to attack poverty, disease, corruption, illiteracy, and spiritual emptiness in cooperation with businesses and governments."

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