27 November 2012

Rick Warren, Gangnam Style and Missing the Point of a "Kingdom Win"

The Chicago Now website carries a column called "A Daily Miracle." Recently, writer "Sister Christian" blogged there about pastor Rick Warren's Twitter confession that, "Gangnam Style has been my ringtone since July 20."
It would not be out of line to question whether or not this particular tweet of Warren's can even be considered newsworthy. These days, few people really care what someone else has chosen for their ringtone. The novelty of personalized ringtones wore off years ago. What is perhaps of greater interest is the perspective with which Sister Christian views Warren's announcement.
This is big news, as “Gangnam Style,” a song by South Korean artist Psy, recently became the most-viewed YouTube video EVER, with over 826 million views as of this month (overtaking my man, J Biebs', "Baby" video). The “Gangnam Style” dance is now a global phenomenon, with thousands buying, playing, and dancing to it on a weekly basis. 
The fact that a popular evangelical pastor chose to publicly support a trend some more conservative individuals deem "idolatrous" and "unbiblical" intrigues me. "Pastor Rick" has an astonishing 794,000+ Twitter followers who interact with him on a regular basis - even though he claims in his Twitter bio that he "doesn't wear socks." Perhaps it's these quirky statements that make him personable and popular - two things Jesus was (thousands attended his sermons on a regular basis). 
Sister Christian seems to have missed the point, especially with the statement that Jesus was both "personable and popular" based upon the fact that his preaching occasions were so well attended. It's true, thousands did gather to hear Christ. And who could dislike a man who healed the sick, raised the dead and miraculously fed the masses? Yet, in the end, Christ was disliked—no, He was disdained—to the point that the masses called for his bloody and brutal murder.

Yes, a great many came to hear Him preach. Yet when He shared with them the hard truth about what it means to follow Him, what happened?
And He was saying, "for this reason I have said to you, that no one can come to Me unless it has been granted him from the Father."
As a result of this many of His disciples withdrew and were not walking with Him anymore. (John 6:65, 66, emphasis added)
Personable and popular so long as "felt needs" were being met. Rejected and abandoned when the truth of the Gospel was proclaimed (read the passage in its broader context, John 6:26—71). The article at "A Daily Miracle" continues:
Even though the song/dance has no Christian themes whatsoever, it's engaging millions of viewers worldwide - and Rick Warren has entered the conversation. Which makes him and his ministry relevant to culture at large.
The bottom line? That even though "Gangnam Style" is an overtly secular song, Pastor Rick's engagement with it is a kingdom win. 
Rick Warren's ringtone is not going to bring anyone to Christ, or even necessarily to church, for that matter. Relevance is nice, but it is not what the church should be seeking. Rather, the church should be striving to proclaim the Truth regardless of how the culture views it. Further, to "engage the culture" to the point that the church cannot be distinguished from the world is not only disobedient to the calls of Scripture to come out of the world, but it also will find the visible church hopelessly irrelevant to the only kingdom that matters—God's.

It is quite disturbing that a "pastor" would boast about his ringtone being that of a secular song whose video and lyrics are worldly and inappropriate. What also is unfortunate is that the author of this article at Chicago Now seems to see this means of engaging the culture as a "kingdom win" with no mention of the proclamation of the Gospel, which is the only thing that can ever be considered a true "kingdom win."

*For those who are completely clueless about 'Gangnam Style,' two things: first, consider yourself blessed. Second, if you must be informed, here's a link to the video, if you dare.

Further Reading
Kay Warren and Mark Driscoll to Preach Weekend Services at Saddleback Church
Caine, Moore and Bevere Teach Thessaloniki Women at "Be the Change" Conference
Church-Going Gimmicks


  1. Friendship with the world is...

    (you guys know the rest)


    PS: The post made more sense once I realized the word was Gangnam, not Gingham. I guess I should count myself blessed, though, as I don't know what Gangnam Style is nor do I care to.

    PS2: The fact that over 3/4 of a million people follow his tweets is a kingdom win alright... for the wrong kingdom.

    1. Well carolyn you and I are in the same boat. I didn't know what Gangnam was neither--not until I read this article. If it's not in the Bible I wouldn't worry about it..

      From time to time, I have the need come over me to do an assessment and ask the Lord to please give me reassurance of genuine salvation in my life ~as we all should-2 Cor.13:5.

      Well, Monday I believe He gave me that answer alright. I go to work and my Manager has the radio on -secular music. It was torturous. One song had "I wanna die young" in it over and over as it's lyrics. I thought what is this -the culture of DEATH we live in?

      Now I hear this dreck "Gangnam" and it's no better. No telling what they're actually saying. Our society has sunken to an all time low. My ears are hurting from all the strident blasphemy.

      I guess if Rick Warren "America's Pastor" lends his so called celebrity status or stamp of approval to something -even secular songs, then the masses can consider it “redeemed” and and thus they are approved by God and in good standing-a "kingdom win". I don't know it's just mind boggling to me that people have no clue.

      someone wrote this-"Who's that lookin' like an angel of light? Who's that dressed in a gown of white? Who's that saying everything's all right? Who's that grinning in the dead of night?"

      sounds like WHO Rick Warren is working for~

  2. Hi Erin, Linda,

    Yes, I literally thought Gingham as in the pretty checked fabric, of which I am fond. So at first, I couldn't put together in my mind a fabric and a ringtone, and what that had to do with twitter, and "America's Pastor" and not wearing socks and "kingdom wins". I guess my confusion reveals my current state of cultural relevance - 2 Cor 13:5 indeed.

    Culture of death, yes, the verses that come to mind: Prov 8:1, 34-36.

    As for celebrity pastor-ship of the various broad-path hirelings of this age: 1 John 4:5

    Thus I feel America's Pastor is truly an appropriate moniker for such a man. America is the world. 1 John 2:15
    I marvel at the Christians who think all this flotsam is genuine Christianity.

    As for us, 1 John 3:1 :)


  3. He seemed to be the darling of the morning talk shows yesterday. Fox included.
    Jokingly he said, "If you're not following my tweets your going to hell".


  4. Pam -

    Seriously? That's amazing. He'll jokingly mention hell as the destiny of people who aren't his twitter groupies, but when asked directly a few years ago on Hannity and Colmes what happens to people who reject Jesus Christ as their Savior, hell was not his answer. Instead, he said that we should try out Jesus, like the book of the month club, money back guarantee, or something along those lines. I was livid.

    2 Tim 3:9, their folly will be obvious to all


    1. Ricks words come forth from a heart that certainly appears not to know the Lord Jesus Christ. Genuine believers who have been granted God's grace and mercy don't spew out such filth. His lack of FEAR and reverence for the LORD tells me that he himself is lacking the true fruit that Jesus said we would recognize them by. All along I'm seeing thistles and thorns from Rick -thus a false teacher.
      If anyone is a classical example of a wolf in sheep's clothing it's Rick Warren.

    2. Linda, no doubt. Regarding RW, I praise God that years ago I "got his number". Christ gave me the discernment to immediately see right through him and his inveterate obfuscation and/or distortion and/or denial of the truth.

      You're so right, lack of fear and reverence in a professing "man of God" = red flag. Out of the mouth comes forth the true heart.


  5. There is an excellent video on YouTube titled Church of the Tares. It is a must see to understand Rick Warren. It shows how relevant it is to the end times. It is long, almost 2 hours, but even if you have to watch some now and some later it is sooo informative. Kind of sad though to see what is happening. It was put together by HolyBibleProphecy website, a young guy, Elliott Nesch.
    Ya'll let me know if you watch it.

    1. Excellent video Pam. Good information that exposes these false teachers and their false teachings. Thank you for sharing sister.

  6. Pam,

    Thanks, I saw the video posted elsewhere... it is a well documented piece. Though I admit I had trouble watching it; I had to mute it every time any of those wolves spoke. I can't look at them or listen to any of their voices, they make me sick.



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