July 26, 2011
Two prominent pastors are defending Rick Warren against rumors that he embraces “Chrislam,” a hybrid of Christianity and Islamic faiths that recognizes both the Bible and the Qu’ran as holy Scripture. Geoff Surratt, pastor of church planting at Warren’s Saddleback Church, and Brandon Cox, author and planter of Grace Hills Church in Arkansas, both vehemently denied the rumors online. Surratt stated on Pastors.com, “Let me be very clear: Pastor Rick Warren does not believe in, promote or validate Chrislam on any level…Pastor Warren is not perfect; he is very open and honest about his challenges and flaws. But his theology is tightly bound to Biblical Christianity.” Cox led his blog post with the title, “Does Rick Warren Endorse Chrislam?” and began the post with a direct answer: “No. Period.” Then he continued, “Make no mistake, Rick Warren loves Muslims deeply!! If you don’t, you have a problem with Jesus who loves Muslims even more than Rick does.”
Warren himself denied the rumor in a response to a blog post perpetuating it, stating, “It is nonsense to believe that you must compromise your beliefs or water down your convictions in order to love someone, or even just treat them with dignity. Jesus was called ‘the friend of sinners’ by the legalistic Pharisees because he hung out with (and clearly loved) unbelievers. I HOPE YOU…refuse to pass on rumors until you’ve checked for the truth with the person accused.”
The Chrislam rumor began, according to The Christian Post, as a statement by televangelist Jack Van Impe on the Trinity Broadcasting Network, who backed up his claim by pointing to Warren’s participation in an Islamic conference in Washington in 2009. Impe has since resigned from TBN, but the claims have been perpetuated by others in the Christian community.