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Rick Warren talks about politics, gay marriage and the resurrection

by Brad A. Greenberg

April 9, 2009 | 2:30 pm

On “Larry King Live” on Monday, the Rev. Rick Warren said stopping gay marriage was “very low” on his priority list. Interesting enough. But Sarah Pulliam, in an interview with Warren for Christianity Today, got answers from Warren on a broader range of issue. (Believe it or not, evangelicals think about more than just homosexuality.)

Here is a sampling:

I know a lot has been happening recently at your church. Just a few weeks ago, you baptized 800 in one day.
I was in the water for over five hours. I had webbed feet. It had to be a record. You know, it says in Acts that at the day of Pentecost, 3,000 were baptized and added to the church that day. We had 2,400 added to the church that day. The world belongs to Saddleback. When we started Saddleback, it was a white suburban church. We speak 65 different languages. It’s the United Nations. I baptized an Egyptian General; I baptized probably 50 or 60 nationalities.

After you posted an invitation to the baptism and membership, some bloggers criticized the promotion. In the promotion, you said new members could have their photo with Pastor Rick and get a free one-year subscription to The Purpose Driven Connection. Why did you advertise the event that way?
In the first place, I think every person should take a picture with the pastor who baptizes them. That’s a memento, that’s a spiritual hallmark. That’s not anything new. It wasn’t like, oh, this is something we’ve never done that’s going to attract people. In the past 10 years, Saddleback has baptized over 20,000 new believers. We are, without a doubt, the most evangelistic church in America. There are churches that are bigger than Saddleback, but there are no churches that reach more people for Christ than Saddleback. There are no churches that send as many people into the missions field. There’s not a church that has sent 8,000 people into the missions field.

The magazine is simply the index of the resources for people to start a small group. And they thought that drew people? (laughs) What about the 20,000 people who have joined in the past 10 years? It certainly wasn’t a promotional event.

(skip)

You haven’t spoken to the media in several months. Why did you decide to start doing interviews again?
It’s Easter week. Easter week I typically make myself available. I didn’t ask to pray at the inauguration — it wasn’t my idea in the first place — and as soon as it was over, I felt like I needed to put my head down and focus on the enormous harvest. People see me out there — I speak to Muslim groups and Jewish groups, I’m actually having a Passover Seder tomorrow night. People never need to doubt why I do what I do, even when associating with people gets me in all kinds of hot water. Jesus got into hot water for the people he associated with. Fundamentalist groups say Warren hangs out with Jews and Muslims and gays and on and on. The point is, I’m not allowed to not love anybody.

Read the rest here.

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