Rick Warren is an evangelical leader, best-selling author, and founding and senior pastor of Saddleback Church in Southern California. Along with his wife, Kay, Warren founded Saddleback in 1980 with just a single family to fill the pews. Today the church has a 120-acre campus, 22,000 weekly attendees, and has provided spiritual guidance and source material to over 400,000 ministers worldwide.
He also leads the Purpose Driven Network of churches, a global coalition of congregations in 162 countries. More than 400,000 ministers and priests have been trained worldwide, and almost 157,000 church leaders subscribe to the Ministry ToolBox, his weekly newsletter. His previous book, The Purpose Driven Church is listed in “100 Christian Books That Changed the 20th Century.” Forbes magazine called it "the best book on entrepreneurship, management, and leadership in print.”
Warren received his BA from California Baptist College, his MA from the Southwest Baptist Theological Seminary, and his Doctor of Ministry from the Fuller Theological Seminary. Warren has recently taken on several issues previously ignore by the evangelical community; he is the most prominent signatory of the "Evangelical Climate Initiative," and is the co-founder and co-director (with his wife) of The Global PEACE Fund, which fights poverty, disease, and illiteracy. Warren has spoken at the United Nations, the World Economic Forum in Davos, the African Union, and the Council on Foreign Relations.
Question: Is climate change an evangelical issue?
Rick Warren: I signed on to one of the papers talking about the Climate Change Initiative. And people assumed that that meant that I agreed with everything in that paper. I don’t happen to agree with everything in that paper. But I do believe that climate change is a spiritual issue. And you tell me which side you want to believe – whether you believe global warming is catastrophic or gradual; or whether it’s caused by humans or not caused by humans and it’s just a cycle. Tell me which side you want to believe and I’ll show you which scientific papers to read, because there are scientific papers actually written on both sides.
People need to be honest enough to admit that even scientists have differences. Well meaning and good scientists have differences on that, regardless of where that comes down. As a believer in Jesus Christ, as a follower of the Bible, I believe we have a stewardship to take care of the earth.
That is a spiritual issue that we need to take better care of the earth. And whether global warming is as big a deal or not, or we’re the cause of it or not, we just need to take better care of the planet.
Recorded on: December 11, 2007