Rick Warren, pastor of Saddleback Community Church and author of the best-selling book, The Purpose-Driven Life, was the subject of an interview in The Philadelphia Inquirer on Sunday. The article, “The Purpose-Driven Pastor,” is part of the paper’s series on evangelicalism in America today. Interestingly, the article comes just months after another profile on Warren published in the same newspaper. [See previous article here.]
This is how the current article concludes:
Warren predicts that fundamentalism, of all varieties, will be “one of the big enemies of the 21st century.”
“Muslim fundamentalism, Christian fundamentalism, Jewish fundamentalism, secular fundamentalism — they’re all motivated by fear. Fear of each other.
Equating Christian fundamentalism with Muslim fundamentalism is both wrong and dishonest. This falls right into the hands of those who argue for a phenomenological definition of “religion” that includes “fundamentalism” as a general reference to any person or movement that refuses to accept the basic worldview of modernity. Adding the therapeutic category of “fear” just adds to the confusion. The motivation of fundamentalist Christianity is fear of Muslims and Jews?
And, we might ask, just what definition of Christian fundamentalism operates here? Who, exactly, is Rick Warren talking about?
This much is clear — an approach like this doesn’t help.