Rick Warren, the Lead pastor and overseer of the 25,000 members, 14 campuses Saddleback Church, has recently seen a resurgence from discernment ministries after announcing they were having a “Blacks Only worship service” where no white members were allowed in, so the “black fold” could have a “safe space” to “heal,” blasted white Christians for having no discernment and not caring about black people, and started to ordain women pastrixes.
Now, in an interview with the Barna Group’s ChurchPulse podcast in March 2021, Warren doubles down on statements he made in an interview with Steven Strang of Relevant Magazine in December 2020, where he said churches aren’t actually being persecuted by restrictions, given that concerts and large sports events are likewise closed. At the time he said ‘I don’t want to be a super-spreader. I’m not doing this out of fear; I’m doing this out of love. You wear a mask for love of your neighbors, yourself.“
He meant it. Five months later, Warren eventually opened for outdoor services but in his outdoor services, he now segregates his church in that only the vaccinated members can choose to not wear masks, despite being socially distanced, whereas those who are unvaccinated must mask up. Children who cannot get the vaccine are strongly encouraged to wear masks.
Now, speaking to Carey Nieuwhof, the questions is asked: “Any thoughts about the pastors who are saying, hey, the government’s trying to suppress the church by not allowing us open, or now there’s a conversation about, well, we’re going to get shut down on YouTube or social media accounts because we’re Christians?”
RICK WARREN: “Yeah, I totally reject that idea. And the very fact that people tried to politicize a pandemic is just dumb. This is a safety issue, not a First Amendment issue. Now, you might have a case if everything else opened up except the church, okay? But we’re not being discriminated against.”
… And the Bible says “Love your neighbor as yourself.” The most practical way right now you can love your neighbor as yourself, wear a mask. Okay? And to not wear one basically says, “I don’t care about you, or I don’t even care about your fears.”
… What’s insidious about this is that you could be a carrier and have no symptoms. That’s a problem. I could carry it and not have symptoms. And so when I don’t wear a mask, I’m gambling without knowing that I’m safe, that I’m not harming you.
… I’ve had enormous pressure to reopen the church from my own members. Not from everybody, but from pretty much the people who are watching those three hours [of cable news] every night on TV. And they’re pressuring, “Why aren’t we reopening? Why aren’t we reopening?”
And I’m going: wait a minute. We’re winning more people to Christ than ever before. We got more people in groups than ever before. We’ve got a great ministry to seekers out there through food. All these different things are going on. What’s the problem? We baptized more people. But when they say the pressure’s on, I say this:
As a pastor, God has called me not just to feed the flock but to protect it, and that means protecting it physically as well as emotionally and spiritually. I will one day stand before God and give an account of my leadership to him, how well I shepherded this flock. Did I protect the sheep that God put in the stewardship of me?
I couldn’t imagine going to Heaven and saying that I let people, members, die because I had such an ego I needed a crowd to speak to. I’m not willing to gamble the health of my members to nurse my ego that would like to have a live audience…But then I said, “Are you, those of you members who want me to reopen, are you willing to accept the responsibility, to stand before God one day? I had three members die this week of COVID, okay? Without services. No telling what could happen. Are you willing to accept responsibility for the death of a brother or sister in our family?”
h/t to Woke Preacher TV for the transcripts
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