I suddenly find myself in a most strange position. After years of trying to provide rational discourse on Rick Warren and his Purpose Driven teachings; after posting discerning reviews of his books and even going through The Purpose Driven Life day-by-day; after expressing concerns with 40 Days of Purpose and 40 Days of Community; after posting an article just a week ago showing how Rick Warren seems to be involved in abusing his position to suppress a book; after having these articles read by hundreds of thousands of readers; after all of this people are accusing me of waffling on the issues. Why? Because I interviewed Richard Abanes.
This morning, Ingrid Schlueter, someone whose site I read and quite enjoy, posted an article entitled “Tim Challies Gives Richard Abanes Platform.” It has since been retitled “Richard Abanes on Rick Warren’s Critics.” You can read it here . While I suspect she was unhappy to see the interview on my site, she was at least pleasant. No so some others who have since emailed me. And for far worse than that, check out the comments  at Ingrid’s site. Here’s a sampler:
“Thanks Tim, for helping Richard Abanes out of obscurity. His website, which registers almost no traffic whatsoever, according to the online services that measure such things, is sure to see an increase in hits, thanks to your pragmatic efforts. I suspect his book sales will improve, as well.”
“I dont care much what Challies says in defense of propping up Abanes. I watch his fruit trail….what he does.”
“Shame on you Tim Challies…Choose a side…oops…. it appears you have”
“Perhaps a few years in HELL will wake Tim Challies up to the unimaginable damage he has done to the kingdom of God and the cause of Christ!”
Despite those, there are a few which are more helpful. An Anonymous poster said, “I understand, but disagree strongly with Tim Challies posting this article…Brother Tim, I know you mean well, but in reality will you have caused even more confusion?” Now this is helpful. He or she respectfully disagrees with what I have written. I can learn from this type of exhortation.
Another person wrote, “I KNEW Tim was part of the end times apostasy… I just KNEW it! No one can have a website that looks that good and be serving God.”
A person posting as Clement of Rome writes, “Great, Paul… so now we need to start “discerning” Tim Challies?!?!”
Of course those are just plain funny.
You get the drift. I can’t help but wonder if I’ll soon find myself in the unenviable, though ironic, position of being examined by both sides of this controversy. I am simply astounded, amazed and shocked that people are so upset. I have posted two parts of a three-part interview (the third part, as indicated, will be reflections on the interview) and people are already turning on me and writing me off as a deceived tool of the Devil. Most of these, none-too-courageously, are doing so anonymously. At least let me post the third part of the interview. Surely by now I’ve earned the benefit of the doubt.
So before you cast me outside the camp, at least think back to my contribution to the discussion about all things Purpose Driven. I think you’ll find that my record speaks for itself.
Ingrid posted the following at her site:
When I posted the piece below it was by no means intended to be an attack on Tim Challies. I even altered my headline because I didn’t like the first one I put up. Tim Challies has been doing a wonderful job in bringing out many of the strange things that are going on in evangelicalism. I am not going to say that I’m pleased that given Richard Abanes’ anger and vitriol aimed at those who critique Rick Warren, he was allowed so much space to further the confusion, but I have nothing but respect for Tim. Tim has his site and he needs to run things according to the way he believes God would have him. The comment section here is clearly out of control. Let’s back up folks and take a deep breath. Yes, we do grow defensive when we have worked hard under a lot of attacks to speak the truth. But let’s give Tim a chance to post his concerns about Richard Abanes’ interview before we are ready to start making charges here. I understand the strong feelings of those who have posted because after seeing so much error promoted with big bucks and big campaigns, you feel very alone sometimes in standing for the truth. Let’s not let it get us so defiled we turn on others who may differ in their approach. My apologies for letting this get out of hand.
Thanks to Ingrid for posting that. While I knew she had not turned on me my concern was with those who did. Thanks for post that, Ingrid!