Rick Warren and the Problem with Social Media/Blogosphere

Normally if I find an interesting article I will post a link to it in my weekly This and That post usually on Saturday.  But, normally I do not make any comments on these links.  These are just things I find interesting and I may or may not actually agree with the point of the link.

However, this morning, I came across a link I did want to make a few comments on.  As many of you know Rick Warren has once again found himself in the center of controversy.  A week or so ago the Orange County Register reported that Rick  Warren had agreed not to evangelize Muslims and acknowledged that both Christians and Muslims worship the same God.  Social media outlets blew up.  My twitter feed was filled with comments about it and several blogs I read mentioned it.  However, among those irate about such a heretical move (and had it been true it would certainly have been heretical and worthy of  wide criticism and outrage) were some who were skeptical and thought such a move would have contradicted the Rick Warren they knew.  

Then, Warren began releasing interview clarifying his commitment to evangelizing all people and clearly declaring his belief that Muslims worship a false God.   Well, the truth is the newspaper got it wrong, and so did the bloggers and twitter geeks.  Warren’s name was slandered with false accusations under the guise of “internet evangelists” and “social media apologists” who care more about defaming those they disagree with than actually representing the truth they claim to love.   Worst of all, I have found myself guilty of this very sin so many times…

Warren wrote a letter to his church describing what happened and the Orange County Register published it as well.  Here is just a short excerpt I found both helpful and incredibly convicting:

Let me be clear: This entire misunderstanding is neither the fault of Saddleback members nor our Muslim friends who accepted the invitation to study the Bible together. It’s the result of poor reporting and the willingness of irresponsible bloggers who hate us to automatically believe anything negative about our church. They shoot first, publish a report, then ask for clarification after they’ve done the damage, and finally, they never retract anything when proven wrong. When a national news agency contacted us this week, their conclusion was “There’s no real story here.” Duh!

This incident also highlights the gullibility of people who believe everything negative on the Internet without fact-checking and the willingness of Christians to pass on bad reports about others that they can’t confirm. When people WANT to believe the worst about you, they always pass on negative reports without validating them first. It’s a motivation issue.

“Only a fool believes everything he’s told! A prudent man understands the need for proof.” (Proverbs 14:15)

That’s the rest of the story. We will continue to ignore the irresponsible bloggers who just want to fight, but we will keep you informed when blatant lies are told about our church family. I love you all!

Read the whole letter here – http://www.ocregister.com/articles/rev-344073-rick-saddleback.html

While there is much of Warren’s ministry I have issues with, there is no excuse for spreading false rumors.  So, for the record, let me apologize to you, my internet/social media friends and followers for any misleading statements I may have said about this.  Let me apologize to Rick Warren if I posted anything to further this false impression.

(Note – this post has been edited.  Some of the original content has been deleted in order to further evaluate and expand the missing thoughts in a future post).