Muslim Woman Concludes “Islam Is All About Living A Purpose-Driven Life” After Hearing Rick Warren on ‘Lifeclass’

By Erin Benziger

Do Not Be Surprised

“I am going there to preach the Gospel.” This is the reason that frequently is offered when a well-known Christian leader ventures into a forum where some think he ought not go. Oftentimes the Gospel is preached, and Christians rejoice that the lost were able to hear the good news of salvation and forgiveness of sins through Jesus Christ. Other times, however, the Gospel is diluted, or not presented at all, in spite of ample opportunities to share it. These instances are unfortunate and grievous.

Prior to appearing on Oprah’s Lifeclass last Friday, October 5 [2012], pastor Rick Warren of Saddleback Church would tweet,

Paul went to the marketplace. I’ve accepted an invitation to answer questions on Oprah’s Life Class. It will air in Jan 2013. (Source)

The Apostle Paul preached the Gospel wherever he went, so it seems safe to assume that Warren here was implying that he would boldly preach the Gospel and speak the truth about Jesus Christ during his appearance on Lifeclass. Those who watched the live stream of the three-hour taping know, however, that Warren missed multiple opportunities to share the life-saving Good News of Christ. Marcia Montenegro of Christian Answers for the New Age recalls one particularly heartbreaking moment:

What was really hard to watch is when a woman in Norway Skyped to say she realized she needed God but wanted to know who God is and she asked, “What should I do?” It was clear that she was ripe to hear the gospel and needed Jesus! It was a great opportunity to share the gospel with her, and at the same time, for Oprah to hear it. Instead of giving the gospel, Rick Warren seemed uncomfortable and finally just said something like, ‘Go to God and find your purpose.” It was a terrible moment! The woman looked surprised and sad, like she was expecting something else. I prayed for her later and am hoping that the many Christians who witnessed this will pray for her. (Source)

It cannot be known why Rick Warren failed to share the true Gospel with this woman. Whatever the reason, amid many mentions of a “god” throughout the duration of the show, she likely may have been left with more confusion than she clearly already had been experiencing.

Oprah Winfrey refers to a “god” quite often, yet her past declarations make it clear that she is not a Christian, and thus is not referring to the God of the Bible. Rather than make this distinction, however, Rick Warren affirmed Oprah’s elusive, New Age “god,” as well as whatever false gods were upheld by members of the audience and those watching online. Through his silence, in never defining God and Jesus as found in holy Scripture, and in failing to emphasize the exclusivity of salvation in Christ alone (John 14:6), Rick Warren ultimately affirmed the lost in their sin.

An ideal illustration of the shortcomings of Warren’s “gospel” surfaced yesterday in an article in the Huffington Post. Wardah Khalid is a Muslim woman who attended Oprah’s Lifeclass taping, and did so with anticipation.

I have always been a big fan of Oprah Winfrey. Growing up, I remember faithfully watching her show every day after school (after my cartoons ended, of course) and admiring the compassion and courage that she shared with her viewers. So when the opportunity came to attend a taping of her “Lifeclass” show in Houston, I snagged it. The icing on the cake? Pastor Rick Warren was her guest.

Yes, I realize that Pastor Rick is Christian, and well, I am not, but I was familiar enough with his work to know that much of the spiritual advice he gave his Christian followers resonated with Muslims as well. (Source)

“Much of the spiritual advice [Warren] gave his Christian followers resonated with Muslims as well.” Perhaps this may be true if one is preaching the Law void of the Gospel, for most of the world’s religions would affirm similar morals and values as are demonstrated and commanded in God’s Law. A Christian pastor, however, should not preach the Law without also preaching the Gospel, and if the Gospel is preached, it will not resonate with a Muslim or any other unbeliever who is not being drawn by the Holy Spirit. Rather, the Gospel will sound offensive, perhaps even repulsive, to those who are dead in their sins.

For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. –1 Corinthians 1:18

For Jews demand signs and Greeks seek wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles, but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. –1 Corinthians 1:22-24

For we are the aroma of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing, to one a fragrance from death to death, to the other a fragrance from life to life. Who is sufficient for these things? –2 Corinthians 2:15-16

Yet, the advice shared by pastor Warren that day did not convict this Muslim woman of her sin, or expose to her to the deceptions of the false religion to which she is enslaved. Instead, she found herself encouraged by his teaching, especially since she realized that much of what he was saying was supported by her own religious book, the Quran:

The point, Pastor Warren said, was to understand that everyone is given specific cards for a reason. We shouldn’t wish to have the cards of someone else who we think is living a “better” life than us. God gave us this particular hand to shape us into the best person that we could be.

I found this interesting because God discusses a similar concept in the Holy Quran.

“It is We Who portion out between them their livelihood in the life of this world: and We raise some of them above others in ranks, so that some may command work from others. But the Mercy of thy Lord is better than the (wealth) which they amass” (Surah 43, Verse 32). (Source)

The taping lasted nearly three hours, and at the end of the show, Khalid arrived at the following conclusion:

“You can waste your life. You can spend your life. Or you can invest your life. The best use of your life is to invest it in that which will outlast it. Invest it in serving others. And that’s what it means to live a purpose-driven life.” —Pastor Rick Warren

This last quote really struck home with me. Islam is all about living a purpose-driven life. Our purpose on this earth is to worship God and live in a manner that is pleasing to Him. And that includes using our talent and wealth to make a positive impact on the less fortunate. (Source)

While Wardah Khalid is only one of thousands who were in attendance that day, either in person or watching online, her experience perfectly demonstrates why it is that so many lament and decry the weak, man-centered, man-pleasing “gospel” of Rick Warren. This Christian pastor was given an international platform wherein he could share with the lost the hope of eternal life as found in Jesus Christ alone. Instead, he succeeded in merely affirming a nebulous “god” that is palatable to all people and all religions. This obscure, non-existent deity cannot save souls, but rather will aid in their condemnation. In venturing into the marketplace, Rick Warren swindled many, depriving them of the only Truth that can save, namely Jesus Christ.


Erin Benziger runs a personal discernment blog, Do Not Be Surprised. She is currently a graduate student pursuing her Master of Arts in Biblical Studies.

Article re-posted with permission.


  1. Edet John

    Pastor Warren might have made a mistake. But I have Real his PDL and benefited so much from it. Instead of crucifying him why not pray for him.

    • Scripture admonishes us to correct those within the church, to hold each other accountable, and to judge with righteous judgment. Our prayer is that Rick Warren realizes his “mistakes,” publicly states as much, and turns from his error. Teachers are held to a higher standard according to scripture (James 3:1). To insinuate we do not pray for the people we expose is nothing more than an “either/or fallacy”. It is very possible to expose error AND pray for these same people at the same time.

  2. How do you go about finding a church that is not using the Rick Warren doctrine? Myself and a girlfriend have been asked to leave two churches because I nicely asked questions about their beliefs. In one church we went to a 101 class to learn about what they taught. It had many red flags in it so we decided to not support them with our money and the preacher gets up and looks straight at us and says if you can’t trust us with your money maybe you had better find another church to go to and we did but it was another Rich Warren church. There needs to be a directory for those of us that don’t choose to go to his Purpose Driven Church’s. Could use some help with this!

    • Sande,

      I’m sorry to hear about the experience you both had with your previous church. However, being able to not only ask questions about a church’s beliefs, but also fully understanding why not only the believe what they believe, but also they can at least explain to you in a very basic way what those beliefs are so that if you do one day decide to become part of the church or become baptized, you will at least know about your faith and why you believe in it.

      I will also agree with you about Rick Warren, his whole philosophy is not in accordance with God’s word and sadly is hard to recognize a church that is apart of his teachings, unless you spend a good amount of time looking into that particular church. The way you can save yourself a lot of time & energy when it comes to selecting a good church, is judge it according to God’s commandments. That will at least give you a good process of elimination and also, does this church primarily lean on The Bible, as their main source of doctrine and teachings?

      I hope that will at least help in your search for a good church, there are plenty of good ones out there, it just may take some time in finding it but I can promise you that if you ask him to direct you in your search, he will make sure that you find the church he wants you to be in.

  3. What saddens me is that Christians spend time tearing down other fellow Christians. Rick Warren by in large has done so much good in the name of Christ it is so sad to see people out there trying to pick him apart and find something he did or did not do right in their eyes. I’m sure Rick Warren has brought more people to Christ then any of you people leaving negative comments about one of God’s children who is doing his best here on earth with the time that he is given. Websites like this where Christians put down other Christians will never bring others to Christ it makes us all look like complete fool’s. I pray that God will not judge you as harshly as you judge others on this earth.

    • Thank you for contacting us Ruth!

      We see some of the concerns you have, but not only must we point to the facts that we have shown, but also to what the Bible calls all believers to do when it comes to how we look at pastors. First we want to point out that testing our teachers is actually a sign of nobility in Scripture. As we are told in the book of Acts, the Bereans were actually more noble than those in Thessalonica because they examined the Scriptures daily to see if everything Paul was saying was according to Scripture (Acts 17:11). Do you think that Rick Warren’s words are so far above reproach that we don’t dare take a second look at them? Does the fact that an enormous amount of people attend Saddleback (as well as Purpose Driven churches) exclude many of the truths that we have uncovered about him? In Philippians 1:12-20 we are told that even when someone is preaching Christ for envy, strife, and their own selfish ambition, we still rejoice because Christ is proclaimed. However, do we rejoice because these people are preaching for their own selfish ambitions? Of course not! We rejoice because even though there may be bad teaching, fruit may come from it. This is the power of God and His word!

      It is a humbling position when we realize that man can merely plant and water, but it is only God who can cause it to grow. “So then neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but God who causes the growth” (1 Corinthians 3:6-7). This point does not validate (nor would Warren’s “fruit” invalidate) another believer’s personal concern about a major Christian figure aligning himself with Islam. As we point out in our DVD, “The Submerging Church,” he did in fact sign a document which claims that Muhammed is a prophet and that Muslims praying to Allah are praying to the same God as Christians. We’re sorry Ruth, but when we examine the Scriptures, just like the Bereans did with Paul, we find that the very spirit of anti-Christ is to deny the Father and the Son:

      1 John 2:22-23
      “Who is the liar but the one who denies that Jesus is the Christ? This is the antichrist, the one who denies the Father and the Son. Whoever denies the Son does not have the Father; the one who confesses the Son has the Father also.”

      Yet in the Qur’an we read:

      Sura 19:88-92
      “They say: “Allah Most Gracious has begotten a son!’ Indeed ye have put forth a thing most monstrous! At it the skies are ready to burst, the earth to split asunder, and the mountains to fall down in utter ruin, That they should invoke a son for Allah Most Gracious. For it is not consonant with the majesty of Allah Most Gracious that He should beget a son.”

      These two verses are mutually exclusive, therefore we cannot be praying to the same God. So when a Muslim is told by multiple Christian leaders (Rick Warren included) that they are just fine in believing what they believe, we must stand up against that. We must share with Muslims their need for Christ. Should we love them? Of course we should! But the worst thing a person could do, especially in a leadership position, is to allow others to drink their poison and tell them it is harmless. We Christians contain the only antidote for the sins of humanity, and that is found in Jesus alone. Who are we to hide it from people? We truly pray that this will help you with your concerns!

  4. Steven Holst

    I don’t know if you are aware that Rick Warren is a member of the Council on Foreign Relation which advocates Globalism (world government?) A couple of years ago he addressed the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) a member organization of the Muslim Brotherhood! He was asking the Muslims to join with him to change the World, with his P.E.A.C.E. plan. ISNA has been declared as an unindicted co-conspiritor in the Holy Land Foundation trial. Which was the largest terrorist funding trial in U.S. history.

    • Also, Rick Warren is one of the founding major supporters of Tony Blairs INTERFAITH ORGANIZATION which is pushing a one world religion agenda. Not only does he want to “embrace” all religions but he feels as though we can “share, adopt and/or incorporate” bits and pieces of all religions into Christiantity and ultimately one global religion.

  5. Richard Dawkins, the UK’s most famous athiest, challenged me to a live online debate my having posted on his website. Having already moved on due to the immaturity of his followers responses, I didn’t bother to decline.

    “…avoid foolish…arguments…” Titus 3.9

    They didn’t want a debate, like their beliefs, their minds were made up.

    Sounds like your Rick Warren is just another bankster funded stooge.

    I’m laughing at the title, sad though this situation is: I knew a guy who wrote a book called “The Emerging Church of Ephesians”.

    The Almighty is not asleep, He has a plan.

    The Lord is God.

  6. Rick Warren is sealing his fate. I have never heard him defend the Christian faith or say that Jesus is the only way to heaven and that you must be born again. He is a classic modern day false prophet! He speaks peace, peace when there is no peace. Jesus said, Woe when men speak well of you and If they hate me they will hate you. Well, I think Rick could be too well liked. Wouldn’t you say? The sad thing is in my church lots of people have read his books the PDC & PDL and loved it and think he is great. Also, like most other churches there was no testing or warning said from the pulpit. I was not at all remotely tempted to read anything by him and thanks to the God given ministries with the gift of discernment I came to know why. God spared me his deceitfulness. Thank you Jesus!! I try to warn my Christian brothers and sisters but I seem to get the reputation of being too critical, but I expect that. Why are Christians so gullible? It just baffles me. I think it’s because they don’t take hell seriously and the gospel isn’t about people ending up there. Eternity to Christians is not that important and neither are souls of the lost.

  7. Erin, thanks for posting this. How sad that a Pastor, whose job it is to preach Christ and Him crucified (2 Cor 2:2), didn’t mention God much, nor Christ’s atonement. This Muslim woman clearly mentions her false god and her desire to serve him though. May we all lift up the Name of Jesus, the Only Name under Heaven by which we are saved. God Bless, Brenda