LAKE FOREST, Calif. — Megachurch leader Rick Warren, known for his best-selling book “The Purpose-Driven Life,” said in a recent interview that he hopes his partnership with a local Roman Catholic leader to collaboratively combat social ills becomes a “model” for others around the world. His remarks have drawn disagreement from those who believe that ecumenism with those who preach another gospel is unbiblical.
The Roman Catholic site Crux published the interview, which featured both Warren and friend Kevin Vann of the Diocese of Orange, on Sept. 14. They were asked by interviewer and diocese Chancellor Pia de Solenni to share about how their friendship formed and developed.
Vann recalled that Warren attended his installation as the bishop of Orange and also called to congratulate him. The two continued to communicate and soon also began praying together.
Vann and Warren agreed that the world is a better place when Evangelicals and Catholics work together to address societal issues. The response was mixed on Twitter.
“Yes pastor! I am happy because Jesus is uniting us,” one commenter wrote.
“How do you explain the Counsel of Trent placing an anathema on those who believe that justification is by faith alone?” another asked.
John Fallahee of Proclaiming the Gospel Ministries and adjunct faculty at Knox Theological Seminary told Christian News Network that the gospel is the only means by which the evils of the world can be addressed, as it is the power of God to save and transform. However, since Catholics preach a different gospel/adhere to erring doctrines as to how men may be saved, how “[c]an two walk together except they be agreed?” (Amos 3:3)
“Jesus Christ’s perfect, once for all sacrifice for sin on the cross and resurrection from the dead three days later (John 19:16–20:29), proves there is no other message or means to address sin and evil in this world,” he explained. “This is why Paul proclaims, “For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek” (Romans 1:16).”
“[But] the false and fatal gospel of the Roman Catholic Church is a different gospel than Jesus Christ and the apostles,” Fallahee continued. “Furthermore, the Roman Catholic Church condemns anyone who believes you are saved by faith apart from works (Trent, Session 6, On Justification, Canon 9, 12, 14, 15). They condemn anyone who denies the necessity of the sacraments (Trent, Session 7, Concerning the Sacraments, Canon 4). And they condemn anyone who denies the eucharistic sacrifice remits sins (Trent, Session 13, Concerning the Eucharist, Canon 5).”
He noted that Jude, in observing false teachings creeping into the Church, instructed the Christians of his day to “contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all handed down to the saints” (Jude 1:3-4). Likewise, Fallahee explained, those in our day who mistakenly think that Christianity can be compromised for the sake of unity do not truly understand the necessity of the purity of the gospel that saves souls.
Fallahee makes a lot of sense.
"For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:Not of works, lest any man should boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them" (Ephesians 2:8-10).