The Rev. Rick Warren, who delivered the invocation yesterday at President Obama’s inauguration, has become a real lightning rod for critics—both on the left and far right. Liberals don’t like him because of his stance on homosexuality and gay marriage. And the far right, well, they don’t like him because he isn’t enough of a fundamentalist—despite what Jeff Sharlet calls Warren’s “big-tent fundamentalism.” An example comes from this e-mail I received today from a reader:
“To all who think RW is the greatest thing since deodorant, I’d encourage them to do a little research on him which will reveal a lot of very troubling problems.
“In a nutshell, the Bible and Jesus Christ are VERY offensive to the unbeliever and any pastor who is faithfully preaching and teaching what the Bible says and who Jesus is and what he requires to be His follower is going to be extremely unpopular. RW is the most popular preacher in the US and probably the world which says volumes about what he’s teaching. Rick, as do all pastors in the “seeker friendly” church movement, preaches a shallow, watered down, generic, feel good “gospel” devoid of any doctrine designed so as to entertain, not to offend anyone and to attract large numbers of people to their churches. Unfortunately, most of his followers are headed for hell.”
There are so many hilarious lines in there, I don’t even know where to start. But the point worth making is this: Warren’s church belongs to the Southern Baptist denomination, which belongs to the conservative branch of the American church, and if a fellow traveler, albeit a far more fundamentalist one, can’t even see those in Warren’s congregation as legitimate Christians, what hope is there for peace in the Middle East?