Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Pentecost Remix?

I'm no expert on Rick Warren or the ministry of Saddleback Church. I've read a couple of his books and found them unremarkable. He seems to have the facility that many American megachurch pastors have—he can condense the complex and incomprehensible mysteries of God into concise formulas and communicate them clearly, outlining simple pathways for people to follow. He puts the cookies on the bottom shelf.

Then of course, his organization has all the bells and whistles of a superb megachurch. He is committed to missions and making the world a better place. He has also used his well-built platform to garner nationwide public respect through a more moderate and civil approach to evangelical politics. Rick Warren is the epitome of a successful American entrepreneur Christian leader.

But...if you want to get a taste of the kind of shameless marketing, promotion, and religious salesmanship used by Warren and Saddleback, just read Pastor Rick's latest edition of his News and Views. Stand amazed at the church's latest effort to—yes, you heard it right—stage a second Pentecost. Apparently, if enough people will just take four easy steps and become members of Saddleback, divine history will be repeated!

When you read Pastor Rick's upbeat appeal, can you find...
  • An extremely truncated Gospel message?
  • An instant catechism (discipleship) process? (In fact, if I read it correctly, on this day only you even get a "discount" on the normal time required for the membership class!)
  • Horrendous sacramental theology that focuses on rebaptism of those already baptized in other Christian churches?
  • A "pastor" who is apparently such a celebrity that only on rare special occasions is it possible for the hoi polloi to meet him? (On this day, you can even have your picture taken with him!)
  • Free giveaways?
It's history! It's fun! You're the greatest! You can do it all in one Saturday!



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