Now, Contending for the Faith. In this regular feature Dave and Tom respond to questions from listeners and readers of The Berean Call. Here’s this week’s question: “Dear Mr. Hunt and Mr. McMahon, I have been listening to your diatribe against The Purpose Driven Life for a couple of weeks now, and I’m really upset that you would badmouth a brother in the Lord over the airwaves. You guys call yourselves biblical, yet, you are hardly doing what the Bible requires regarding Rick Warren. Haven’t you ever read Matthew 18?”
Tom: Dave, even if somebody’s upset in listening to us, the last thing we want to do is badmouth a brother. I hope—and we’d ask forgiveness out there, if anybody got that impression, because that’s not what we’re trying to do here. We want to encourage people to search the Scriptures, to get into God’s Word, to check everything out by God’s Word, whether it be Rick Warren, whether it be Dave Hunt, T.A. McMahon—whoever it might be.
Dave: He uses the word “diatribe.” I would say that’s badmouthing us. That’s making a judgment on us. We’re not into a diatribe against Rick Warren. We’ve tried to say that over and over. We’ve gone through his book, we’ve quoted his book, we’ve asked people to have some discernment, check it out—and this is the very thing that Rick wants people to do—go back over it again and again, you know, and that’s…
Tom: He says it at the end of the book.
Dave: …this is what we’ve done. Now, as far as Matthew 18 is concerned, it says, “If your brother trespass against you, ..you go to him.” You go in private. Rick Warren has not trespassed against you or me privately. He hasn’t said something about us. Our names aren’t even in this book. So, Matthew 18 would not apply at all. This is not an issue between us and Rick Warren. He has a book, that, as we mentioned many times, 20 million copies out there. Twenty million people at least, maybe more, have read this book. This is a public issue.
The matter is if he claims to be quoting from the Bible, is he really quoting from the Bible? Now, I’m not the authority, Rick Warren is not the authority. The Bible is our authority. God’s Word—this is what we go by. That’s the name of this program, as you just said, Search the Scriptures Daily. Why? Because we wrote the Scriptures? No, because the Scriptures will correct you and me and everyone else. Okay?
So, this is not a Matthew 18 issue. And Tom, we have written to Rick Warren, as you know. We’ve even sent him a copy of our last program. I sent him a copy of an issue in the Q&A in The Berean Call before it was published to ask him what he thought of it. If there was anything in there that wasn’t accurate, please let us know. And, so far, we haven’t heard from Rick.
So, to suggest that we’re badmouthing—what do you mean bad-mouthing? That would have to be saying things that were not true. We have not said anything—I challenge anyone out there—you tell us what we’ve said that was not true, and we will publicly apologize for it…
Dave: …over the radio. We do not want to say things that aren’t true. Our concern is for the souls of human beings. Now, you can be very successful—in fact, the most successful people that we read of are in Matthew 7, where they say to the Lord, “Didn’t we prophesy in your name? In your name we cast out devils, in your name we did mighty works, we did miracles.” And Jesus says, “I will say to them I never knew you.” Now, He never knew them. They were never Christians.
I think there are a lot of people who are using Rick’s book as a success manual, and I know that first hand by talking with unsaved people who love this book. Okay? They never got the gospel out of this book—they didn’t get saved by reading it. And they may become very successful in their lives. They may live up to their spiritual profile—whatever it is. But, I’m concerned that the book does not follow the Word of God, and this is our authority. That’s all we’re concerned about.
Tom: Yeah. Dave, about Matthew 18—I remember after Seduction of Christianity, this was the complaint. We got lots of letters to that affect—lots of complaints. And, prior to the book, nobody would talk to us. After the book, some people did talk to us. We met with people who were mentioned in the book. Part of the problem there was—
Dave: Very few of them, Tom.
Tom: Very few.
Dave: Very few would meet with us.
Tom: Right. But those that did, Dave—and even some—oh, that they saw certain things and they said, “Well, yes we agree with you here and there,” but there was never any change. There was never any correction either in their books or things that we had pointed out. So, it wasn’t a Matthew 18 thing, but we do want to go the extra mile and hear somebody out.
Dave: Tom, here’s the problem: I met with a number of people privately. And they’ve said one thing to me in private, but they don’t say that publically. Now, if 20 million people have read a book, and I sit down—you and I sit down with Rick Warren, and he says, “Oh yeah, I think I was wrong here or there…whatever,” but the book isn’t changed—and you know, we’ve dealt with some things like that, where books were not changed, yet the person said, “Well…ah…yeah, I was wrong in that.”
But it’s not a Matthew 18 issue. It’s not a private issue between us and Rick Warren. It’s a public issue. Is false doctrine being taught? Is he true to the Word of God? And I would think that Rick Warren himself would want to consider that very, very carefully.