Jesus says “You will be my witnesses…”
In a courtroom, a witness isn’t expected to argue the case, prove the truth or press for a verdict; that is the job of the attorney. Witnesses simply report what happened to then or what they saw” Rick Warren
For many who are anxious about apologetics or about whether they can remember the doctrines right, this takes the fear away from sharing faith. It is simply about saying what difference God has made in a particular experience.
Having heard Rick Warren speak about his attitude to giving at the HTB Leadership conference yesterday, it’s pertinent to post this old TED talk in which Rick explains what a life of purpose is about, which includes his attitude to the fame and wealth that came to him after explosive sales of his book.
Rick Warren is the author of the book, The Purpose Drive Life, which has sold over 25 million copies in the US alone and many more worldwide and which has been translated into over 50 languages. Here, he speaks to the TED conference about wealth, fame and happiness:
An historic day as the first African American is sworn in as President of the United States. But this is not the unique moment I am referring to. Before he spoke, before he was sworn in, Pastor Rick Warren began the ceremony with a prayer – a great prayer reminding us of God’s actions throughout history. A cracking prayer:
Then he led the world in saying the words of the prayer that Jesus prayed, and the words he taught us to pray. The Lord’s prayer which acknowledges God’s Sovereignty, asks for His kingdom to come into the world, and calls for each person to recognise their place in that by turning away from evil, asking for forgiveness and offering it to others.
As Rick Warren led this prayer at the beginning of the ceremony which was being beamed around the world watched by probably hundreds of millions of people, many of them praying along with him, I wondered, was this the moment in history when more people were praying this for God’s Kingdom at the same time than at any other moment in history. Powerful stuff.
I watched segments of the interviews that Rick Warren of Saddleback church held with John McCain and Barack Obama. They were asked what their faith was like and how it helped them in their lives.
This is a wonderful touching story, and I’m sure it meant a lot to him. But it is a story that describes someone else’s faith – the faith of his prison guard. (Time magazine makes this same point in this article – “surely McCain must have an example of his own faith from the past 40 years.”) Albeit, it is one that we can gain a lot of strength by hearing an example of Christian solidarity.
Well, it seems that he does. In this article a fellow prisoner of McCain’s at the Hanoi Hilton prisoner of war camp describes McCain leading services for the prisoners.
“He was a very good preacher, much to my surprise,” said Day, now 83, a retired Air Force colonel who works as a lawyer for veterans in Fort Walton Beach, Fla. “He could remember all of the liturgy from the Episcopal services … word for word.”
He also apparently prayed ‘regularly and fervently’, and since release uses a well worn prayer book every day.
However, on his own youtube stream he describes his faith less satisfactorily.
Talk of a ‘higher being’ rather than God, and ‘Judeo-Christian tradition’ rather than following Jesus.
Now I am aware that McCain is a politian and is trying to canvas for votes from all quarters and that may explain his language. From what I’ve read, I also have no reason to doubt that his faith is heartfelt, sincere, and that God has been a genuine support to him throughout his life. But it does raise questions about how each of us talks about our faith. Are we speaking in ways that communicate our genuine reliance on God? Does is sound sincere – can listeners tell it makes a difference to us? Are we communicating a faith that makes a difference or simply portaying it as an optional extra add-on for life?