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Join "Rick's Church" and Duplicate Pentecost

Here's the latest from Orange County's own Rick Warren.  Click here: Pastor Rick's News & Views

Warren never ceases to amaze me.  There's always some gimmick and the personal hubris is off the chart.  If I am reading this announcement correctly (see below), to get all the perks that are mentioned, all you need to do is be available this past Saturday (March 28), be willing to "open your heart to Jesus," and be thirty years of age (Warren will explain).    


Two thousand years ago - the Day of Pentecost was the first day of the Christian Church. Acts 2:41 tells us, "About 3,000 people were baptized and joined the church that day." If you'll join us this weekend, history could be repeated at Saddleback! Want to make history?

Which of these requirements do you need to complete this Saturday?

1. Open your heart to Jesus Christ. Click here to learn more.
2. Attend Class 101: Discovering Your Church Family. Sign up.
3. Sign our membership covenant (explained in class).
4. Be baptized the way Jesus commanded and modeled for us.
(Many of us were baptized as kids on our parent's faith. Jesus modeled believer's baptism at age 30 when he was baptized in the Jordan River) It would be my privilege to baptize you after Class 101.



1. I'm personally teaching Class 101 for the first time in ten years.

2. I'm personally baptizing after Class and you'll receive a photo & baptism certificate.

3. You'll get a free one year subscription to Purpose Driven Connection magazine. (Never offered before)

4. You'll get free copy of The Purpose Driven Church book.

5. Your name will be included in the historical list of Saddleback Pioneer Members who joined in our first 30 years. (This Easter is our 30th Easter and I want you included in this list.)

6. The class is 1 hour shorter than normal. You can watch session 3 here online now.

7. You'll be a part of making Christian history! The largest membership class ever!

8. We love you & want you in our family. There is no good reason to procrastinate.

I was asked, "Rick, If you could wish for anything to celebrate your 30 years of service at Saddleback, what would you dream of?" I said, "To experience a repeat of Pentecost - and see 3,000 people affirm their faith and join our church family on a single day." Will you be a part of making this a reality?


I simply can't imagine a church where the members don't know their own pastor (and where its a big deal to actually meet him).  I also cannot envision a "church" which goes to this length (with all the give-aways and gimmicks), solely for the sake of matching the number of conversions at Pentecost.  And then there is this re-baptism business (ugh). 

But then I have been out of the evangelical subculture for a long time . . .   I really don't miss it.

Reader Comments (28)

"Your name will be included in the historical list of Saddleback Pioneer Members"

Is that what Phil 4:3, Rev 3:5, etc. were talking about?
March 31, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterRubeRad
I had the unfortunate experience of attending the much-hyped Redeemer PCA in NYC for several months. I never saw Tim Keller outside of the pulpit even once. He seemed to vanish out a back door after every service. I never even shook his hand. So this isn't just a Rick Warren thing.
March 31, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterJames Vandenberg
So I take it that you will not be helping Rick see his dream fulfilled?
March 31, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterrick

Celebrity is a curious thing. What always makes my Calvinism-o-meter go ape is when these same figures rattle their fingers at real celebrities (and their fawners) for their celebrity-ism and write books on the dangers of the "cult of personality." Please. What's worse, I can think of plenty more than Warren and Keller.
March 31, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterZrim
The baptism remark just reminded me of something. I was once a "member" of the largest church in Hawaii (New Hope Christian Fellowship), 12,000+ (fastest growing church in the country at the time). The pastor, Wayne Cordeiro, was/is so popular that at least one long-time churchgoer had never met him personally, but glowingly told me the story about how she was almost baptized by him only to fall faint while waiting in line on some Hawaiian beach. Another individual had asked the pastor to sign/dedicate their bible to him, still another had a signed photo of him displayed among photos of their family members. Good grief!
March 31, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterThomas
This is material for the Museum of Idolatry. I just threw up in my mouth.
March 31, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterMark Priestap
Did anyone remind Rick that all who were converted and baptized on the day of pentecost were probably Jews or maybe pagans? None of them were moving over from some other denomination, i.e. baptized again, because their first baptism was in their parents' church.

"Open your heart to Jesus" is the only gospel message in this ad, and it is mighty inferior! Actually, it's not the gospel at all.
March 31, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterDB
I agree on the gimickry, but we have to remember that many people have been ministered to, or have come to know Christ through this ministry. We can't discount the validity of any ministry based on a personal relationship with the pastor. In fact, in my lifetime, many of the small, "everyone knows everyone" churches I have been associated with were as dead as a wedge. I think all true Christians would agree--if the message of any church, large or small, is the saving, transforming, life-giving gospel of Jesus Christ-----and after salvation, a relationship with HIM---then that church is profitable in the building of His Kingdom.
March 31, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterJim
Rick Warren is a knucklehead.
March 31, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterStan McCullars
Not to detract from the audacity of the Saddleback announcement per se in this discussion, but do we have any historical evidence that Jesus didn't just stand in the Jordan while John poured water over his head with some vessel instead of actually being immersed? Sure, I'm aware of the Baptist argument surrounding the use of the Greek baptizo (sp?) and the way it was applied to immersion of various pots and pans, but is it meant to be used in a literal sense when it comes to the observance of this sacrament?
March 31, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterGeorge

My jaw dropped at that. Adequate catechesis from a standing start in one day?

The big screen (is that a Jumbotron?) kind of creeps me out too.
March 31, 2009 | Unregistered Commenter"lee n. field"

Where, exactly, is the "life-changing gospel" to be found in any of this?

"Open your heart to Jesus" is not the gospel! When are we going to hear the "God saves sinners" gospel? You know, the gospel that actually changes lives . . .

The pragmatic argument that Warren helps some people misses the entire point. Yes, Warren and Saddleback helps many people. The diaconal ministries at Saddleback are outstanding, and would that every Reformed church be as faithful in ministering to their own as is Saddleback.

But it is hard for me to see people coming to Christ (in a genuine and biblical way) when whatever gospel is found in Warren's preaching is buried under all the self-promotion and gimmickry--not to mention the semi-Pelagianism and confusion of law and gospel found throughout his Forty Days of Purpose (which also characterizes the preaching that I've heard from Warren).

I just wish he'd humbly preach Christ crucified and stop the self-promotion. This is the same guy who bragged that 4000 were saved through "his ministry" a couple of Easters ago (

That's my point.
March 31, 2009 | Registered CommenterKim Riddlebarger
Too many pastors are all about the numbers. They should just worry about preaching the law and the Gospel.

Our church is growing, even though our pastor is doing two parishes, and, unfortunatley, too busy at the present time, to do much in the way of any outreach in either area.

Why? Because GOD IS DOING IT. NOT THE PASTOR!!! God gets all of the glory, and HE adds to HIS church, those that are to be saved. We don't have to be creative -- just preach Christ crucified!

Learn that lesson Rick Warren!!!
March 31, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterLloyd
Rick Warren:

To even think that God needs you (or any of us) to do His work, is a huge sin of pride.

HE must increase, you must decrease! Bow your head and confess your sin! Spend less time in the church growth stuff, and more time in the Word of God -- so at least you'll know its message!
March 31, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterLloyd
>You'll get a free one year subscription to Purpose Driven >Connection magazine. (Never offered before)
>4. You'll get free copy of The Purpose Driven Church book.

"Promotional merchandise for a band, record label, or other entity in the music business, usually distributed at concerts.


"The chief difference between swag and regular merchandise is that its purpose is not to make a profit, but to promote the band/label, and reward its supporters by giving them something cool and unique. "
March 31, 2009 | Unregistered Commenter"lee n. field"

You should have posted this tomorrow (April 1).

Of course, it's not a joke ... which is why it's so sad...

March 31, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterWayne Rohde
I cannot get over the fact that the first two reasons for being baptized and joining Saddleback are focused on Rick Warren himself!! "I'm going..." That is actually sickening, and I too threw up a little in my mouth.

Being baptized is to be included in God's covenant family, and taking a membership class is to be in covenant with a particular manifestation of God's kingdom here on earth. Neither of these should at any level be focused on who the person doing the baptizing is because then the focus is off of God through the Holy Spirit working through means.
March 31, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterMark Vander Pol
Rick Warren complains that children are baptized on their parents faith. He seems to forget that children were and are still circumcised on their parents faith....
March 31, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterTerry
Ironic, Rick's Image on the jumbotron overshadows the cross to the right..
April 1, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterCharles S
I'm just thinking about the math.

RIck indicates that 2000 have already signed up, and he promises to be personally baptizing after the class.

If he baptizes one person per minute, and 3000 people do sign up to be baptized, he will be baptizing people for 50 solid hours...

But I guess it's all worth it for that "picture with Rick." Let's see, if it takes about 30 seconds per picture... ... ...

Guiness Book of World Records???
April 1, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterWayne Rohde

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