September 15, 2005

Rick Warren's weird inconsistency

Two unrelated blog posts today underscore what I think is an odd quirk in the personal theology of Rick Warren.

First, the Calvinist Gadfly posts an excerpt from the transcript of Warren's September 7 appearance on Good Morning America, in which Warren takes the "Tony Campolo" route in discussing Hurricane Katrina:

[Robin] Roberts: Rick Warren is the best-selling author of "The Purpose-Driven Life." . . . I ran across a woman who came up to me and she said, Robin, it's, it's as if God tried to wipe us off the face of the earth. You know there are some people that look and see this destruction and, and say, where, where is whatever it is, or whomever they, they, they look to . . . for guidance in a higher way?

Warren: Right. Well, first thing we need to understand that not everything that happens in this world is God's will. I have a will, you have a will, we have a free will . . . And so, we have a lot of things that go bad . . . But what God wants to do is he wants to comfort us. Somebody asked me when I was actually on the floor of the, the, the Houston Astrodome talking to people and praying with people, said, where is God in all of this? And I'll tell you where God is, he's in thousands of lives of people who love him and follow him, and they are the hands and feet of God. . . .

[Full Text, emphasis added]

Meanwhile, on Challies.com, Tim posts on the continuing saga of Greg Stielstra's book PyroMarketing. To counter rumours that the publication of this book had been suppressed, Warren recently issued a letter to the trade publication Christian Retailing. He says, in part:

I was serving in Africa, in the middle of a 35 day road trip with no opportunity to respond, when "Publisher's Weekly" mistakenly reported that I oppose the publication of a book by Greg Stielstra. That is flatly untrue.

My only concern was that no one, neither Zondervan Publishing nor myself, claim credit for the astounding success of "The Purpose Driven Life" (PDL) book. The worldwide spread of the purpose driven message had nothing to do with marketing or merchandizing. Instead it was the result of God's supernatural and sovereign plan, which no one anticipated.

[Full Story, emphasis added]

If you're keeping score: The runaway commercial success of Warren's book was the direct result of God's will, but the death of hundreds and the destruction of an historic city by the most devastating storm in American history wasn't God's will. Decide for yourself whether this is simply inconsistency or egotism.