23 October 2012

Saddleback Church Wants You to Know: "God Knows How Great You Are"

That's right, you are great. You may even be fabulous with a capital "F." And the best part? God thinks so too.
This is not just erroneous, it is dangerous. Perhaps part of the problem is that the folks behind Saddleback Church's Facebook page have chosen to take a half-verse out of its appropriate and full context.
And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience—among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved—and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them. (Eph. 2:1-10)
When one looks at the full context of this verse, Saddleback's conclusion of "God knows how great you are" does not even make sense. We are not great, God is great! It is He who has saved us, He who has granted us faith, He who empowers us to do good works, not to earn salvation, but as a result of salvation. It is God who ordained before the beginning of time what each believer's sanctification and good works would look like. These verses glorify God, they do not elevate man!

This is not the first time that Rick Warren's Saddleback Church has shared some rather atrocious theology. On Christmas Day of last year, Saddleback tweeted out the following:
These offer ideal examples of why doctrine is so important. Saddleback is exhibiting in these messages a dangerous doctrine of man. The truth is, no man is great. Further, God is mad, in a sense, with those who have not repented and placed their faith in Jesus Christ alone for salvation. While He does not wish for any man to perish (2 Pet. 3:9), those who cannot stand before God covered with the imputed righteousness of Christ, those who have not been forgiven of their sins, are enemies of Him.
And you, who once were alienated and hostile in mind, doing evil deeds, he has now reconciled in his body of flesh by his death, in order to present you holy and blameless and above reproach before him, if indeed you continue in the faith, stable and steadfast, not shifting from the hope of the gospel that you heard, which has been proclaimed in all creation under heaven, and of which I, Paul, became a minister. (Col. 1:21-23, emphasis added)
You adulterous people! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God. (James 4:4) 
There are only two choices available to man: darkness or light. Those who have not been saved by Christ live in darkness, and thus live as hostile enemies to God.

If we do nothing more than tell people that God thinks they are wonderful, without delivering to them the bad news that, short of repentance and faith in Christ, they are on their way to eternal damnation, then we demean the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and we aid in the condemnation of sinners. Saddleback Church is one of the largest churches in America, and undoubtedly among the most influential. Yet they appear to stand ignorant of the truths surrounding salvation. Saddleback Church should repent of twisting God's Word and of leading astray those who are lost and dead in their sin. Jesus Christ does not offer easy truth, but He does offer the only truth that can save.

Further Reading
Saddleback Church: God Is Mad About You
Rick Warren Says Annual Campaign Is the "Single-Most Important Ingredient" in Saddleback's Growth
Muslim Woman Concludes "Islam Is all about Living a Purpose-Driven Life" After Hearing Rick Warren on 'Lifeclass'


  1. How sad. I am reading Steve Lawson's book Pillars of Faith, and the opening chapter is very, very convicting about election and the role of God, Christ and Holy Spirit. It pretty much dispels any notion of Saddleback's version being accurate, and resets us to Bibical truth on the matter. #Saddlebackfail

  2. What?! It just gets crazier and crazier.

  3. Yep, Rick Warren praises man being great in the pig slop.. Rick Warren can wash, put make-up, perfume, and a wig on a pig all he wants to and call it GREAT, but it’s still just a pig.

    I can't stand such arrogance. We NEED CHRIST not him needing us in our sinful stenchy rancid state. We are utterly wretched, and DEAD in our sins and all Rick is doing is dressing up a corpse and saying God thinks you're Great!... I shake my head


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