Thursday, October 07, 2010

Rick Warren: The use of psychoanalysis and the violation of Mt. 7:1

@RickWarren: Some people only feel close to God when they're angry & attacking. It's caused by fear & deep disappointment. Just love them.


One characteristic seen in the twitter feed during DG2010 after Warren's "message", for example in Ed Stetzer's tweet, is the judgmental attitude of these leaders and/or followers towards their critics. A recent Rick Warren tweet perfectly illustrates the issue at hand.

I know a brother in Christ whom I shall not name who I would place in the New Calvinist camp. One of the conflicts we previously have had was over something akin to this. It amazes me constantly how much information they think they can infer from, in this case my actions on the blogosphere, and from there psychoanalyze me. I have heard it myself that in his view, the critics who have the same view as me and encourage me on many of these issues (ie being against Rick Warren) are most probably men who hide in their mothers' basements in some house in Grand Rapids, Michigan, typing away on their computers.

My intention here is not to attack my friend who has since apologized, especially because he is indeed genuinely concerned for me (although the concern was misplaced), but to use this episode as an example of what it seems is epidemic within the so-called Evangelical and New [Evangelical] Calvinist mindset. I am astonished where all these stereotypes come from, and am sad that those who are termed "critics" are pigeonholed into these categories and judged as such.

Warren's latest tweet, as I have mentioned, perfectly illustrates the problem. The question is: How does Warren (or anyone else for that matter except for God) knows that the critics are critics because of "fear and deep disappointment"? I can grant that some critics may be such, but upon what basis does Warren judged the motives of any and every particular person of whom some he has never even meet or converse in person (not that such would excuse Warren anyway)?

Mt. 7:1-5 state:

“Judge not, that you be not judged. For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you. Why do you see the speck that is in your brother's eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when there is the log in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother's eye. (Mt. 7:1-5)

As Matthew Henry exposited this passage:

The prohibition; Judge not. We must judge ourselves, and judge our own acts, but we must not judge our brother, not magisterially assume such an authority over others, as we allow not them over us: since our rule is, to be subject to one another. Be not many masters, Jam. iii. 1. ... We must not judge rashly, nor pass such a judgment upon our brother as has no ground, but is only the product of our own jealousy and ill nature. We must not make the worst of people, nor infer such invidious things from their words and actions as they will not bear. We must not judge uncharitably, unmercifully, nor with a spirit of revenge, and a desire to do mischief. We must not judge of a man's state by a single act, nor of what he is in himself by what he is to us, because in our own cause we are apt to be partial. We must not judge the hearts of others, nor their intentions, for it is God's prerogative to try the heart, and we must not step into his throne; ...

— Matthew Henry's Commentary on the Whole Bible (Source). Bold added

Warren stands in blatant violation of Mt. 7:1 in its original meaning of the verse. As Matthew Henry later points out, this passage is not against judging per se but hypocritical judging (and judging of motives). In the same way that we judge we will be judged (cf Mt. 7:2). The Warren critics that I know of use the standard of the Word of God, and therefore we will be held to the same standard of orthodoxy that we use with regards to the application of Mt. 7. Warren however judges intentions based upon his bias interpretation of the actions of others, and his own standard of judging will automatically condemn him. The last command by Warren "Just love them" is so condescending it is insulting and demeaning to anyone it applies to, as if critics are to be treated like insane relatives who are to be loved and their insane actions are to be tolerated because they can't make themselves behave properly.

Is this how the New Calvinists are going to treat critics? If so, they stand in violation of Mt. 7:1 and in fact violate the ninth commandment in bearing false witness against the brethren.


Denise said...

Are they "brethren"? 'not spoken as a judge but viewing fruits of the spirit per scripture.

"Let it be a settled principle in our religion that when a man brings forth no fruits of the Spirit, he has not the Holy Spirit within him. Let us resist as a deadly error the common idea, that all baptized people are born again, and that all members of the Church, as a matter of course, have the Holy Spirit. One simple question must be our rule: What fruit does a man bring forth? Does he repent? Does he believe with the heart on Jesus? Does he live a holy life? Does he overcome the world? Habits like these are what Scripture calls “fruit.” When these “fruits” are lacking, it is profane to talk of a man having the Spirit of God within him.'~ J.C. Ryle

and of course Rev.12:10

PuritanReformed said...


Warren probably not, but I am not talking about Warren but about the New Calvinists as a group.

terriergal said...

An excellent post, Daniel. Keep the faith brother! This whole thing is so disheartening to me. People have been shouting this from the rooftops about the danger....and Piper comes in thinking he has the charms with which to tame this snake, while we watch in horror as it charms him and those who side with him.

They are behaving like lemmings. It is a crying shame.

PuritanReformed said...


agreed. Yes, we must not descend to their level. Pray for their repentance, and know that God who is just will mete out justice in the end.