In April of 2013, Pastor Rick Warren let his church know that his 27-year-old son had committed suicide. Pastor Warren’s son, Matthew, had suffered severe depression throughout his life. Many believers posted comments online offering compassion, prayers for the family and encouragement that Rick and his wife will see Matthew again in heaven.
Sadly, and shockingly, others used the occasion of this tragedy to attack Rick Warren for aspects of his theology, label him a false teacher or state that Matthew could be shut out of heaven. It is not surprising that people would attack Rick Warren’s interpretation of the scriptures. You can search ANY publically known minister and find websites that call them false teachers, heretics or worse.
I don’t agree with all of Pastor Warren’s theology, but I believe he is sincere and dedicated and pleasing to our Savior. He is a brother in the faith who has suffered one of the worst trials that anyone can suffer – the loss of a child. This is a time for all of us who call ourselves Christians to offer prayers, support and love to the Warren family.
Under the New Covenant of grace, we are told to love one another. “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” John 13:34-35 NIV
As a depression sufferer myself and a fairly recent “convert” to the teaching that God’s will is that all will be saved, I believe that Matthew received a great welcome by Jesus, his Savior. Jesus’ knew well what he suffered and I expect He commended Matthew for his service to the body of Christ even through his emotional pain. That is the kind of love that Jesus has for us, and we would do well to share that love with everyone.
Thanks for your voice in this matter…yes, love is what makes us most like God.
Makes me wonder if there’s a name to set apart from people who do things like that “in Christ’s Name”… I get so frustrated with how people who call themselves christian lose their sight of what Jesus trully taught and do hateful things in God’s name. I’m not talking about when we don’t know better and make a mistake, but when we do and disregard other people for the sake of being “right” in arguments, etc… I hope I worded that okay, I’m speaking from the heart and that has really been a big thing to me.
KD – Thanks for the comment. There are theological disputes about a great many things. I believe most are sincere in their beliefs, including Rick Warren. I agree with you that a time of great tragedy is not the right time to criticize and there is never a right time for cruel or vindictive attacks. None of us are right about everything and every perfect gift comes from Him so we are correct in being humble and willing to learn as the Spirit of Truth teaches.