Rick Warren: Antichrist?

This article is written by one of my favorite theology bloggers David Ketter. This young man’s blog, The Account, has been a central place for me to read some well-written material on almost any theological topic I so choose. He knows his Bible, and he knows how to defend his point. Today, I’ve asked him to write this post on Rick Warren in light of some previous posts and criticisms of Slice of Laodicea from myself. I hope they read and truly examine their hearts.

The famous battle between Rick Warren and the Purpose-Driven “PEACE” Corps and extreme “temple police” like Ingrid Schlueter and the Dombrowski’s is coming to a new front: that of eschatology, or the study of the End Times. In some posts, Ingrid Schlueter, in referring to Pastor Warren’s trip to North Korea, has either alluded to or made direct reference to a “possibility” that Rick Warren may indeed be the long-dreaded antichrist.

“America’s new superstar pastor wants to rebrand evangelical Christianity. He’s got the management genius to do it. Here’s where he’s leading his troops.” […] Fortune is only saying what I and so many other concerned Christians have been sayins for several years. Rick Warren believes that he owns Evangelical Christianity. He’s “branding” it with his purpose-driven catch phrase on everything but church carpeting. (link)

Rick Warren’s presence in North Korea, just as its insane dictator Kim Jong II is promising to launch more long range missile tests, is no accident. Rick Warren can then become an international “Man of Peace” and will be in even greater demand among heads of state to bring peace and stability to a violent world. Just like a messiah (false) would. (link)

For someone who is as familiar with theology as Ingrid Schlueter is, I would have hoped for better. Unfortunately, contention within the Body of Christ (something Satan must truly enjoy) can blind us often to the truth of the doctrines of Christ. The “man of peace” designation is very well-known about the antichrist, but it could also apply to just about any major political figure in the past – Woodrow Wilson, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Winston Churchill, and Ronald Reagan, included.

Just what are the identifying markers of the antichrist? First, refer to Revelation 13. In this passage, the antichrist is known as “the beast” who comes out of the sea. This tells us a few things in itself. The fact that he comes from the sea refers to Jewish tradition in which the Gentile nations are symbolized by the sea. Thus, the antichrist is a Gentile. The physical description of this beast is even more telling. Among these characteristics are:

• “ten horns” – the horn is a traditional symbol of authority and power. The number ten is traditionally associated with completion or majority. These horns thus represent the fact that antichrist will be the ultimate authority of the human race. The diadems on each head reinforces the fact, as well as demonstrating his unchallenged authority over the nations.

• “seven heads” – the heads represent entities, a traditional representation of leadership or interest. Seven is also associated with fulfillment and unity. The heads then represent the antichrist as representing all forms of life on earth – everybody’s man. The blasphemous names demonstrate the antichrist’s pivotal role in leading the rebellion against God, a rebellion unlike any since the Tower of Babel.

We are offered even further characteristics in 2 Thessalonians 2. The antichrist, in this passage, is thus known as “the man of lawlessness” or “the man of sin,” depending on the translation. Such is this description that reveals to us one key aspect of the antichrist’s moral makeup: an absolute lack of it. In terms that many may find familiar, the antichrist will be the ultimate expression of the doctrine of Total Depravity.

There are many other representations and symbolisms about the antichrist in Scripture – the “little horn” and “great king” of Daniel, the “false Christ” of the Gospel-writers, and simply, the “antichrist.” Take separately, some may indeed describe many men on this planet. Taken together, however, and it is clear that the antichrist is not yet here, and certainly does not speak from the pulpits of the Church. The verdict? Rick Warren could never be the antichrist, even if he desired such an infamous identity.

David Ketter

21 responses to “Rick Warren: Antichrist?”

  1. Kevin Bussey says:

    I guess I’m confused. Has anyone read Philippians 1:12ff? Paul said some preach for wrong motives and some for right, but whatever the reason I rejoice! Why is there so much venom in the church? I don’t pastor a Purpose Driven Church, but I rejoice in the lives changed because of the ministry of Rick Warren. I wish we would be more loving and pray for one another rather than bash fellow Christians. Believe me, I get enough of it at my own church.

  2. Wow, it’s amazing that this person would go to such an extreme to hurt a fellow Christian. Rick’s Warren’s life has been one of integrity. I think that it is important to examine our own life when we think we are big enough to take on the life of another with the printed word. Thanks for sharing this, Tim.

  3. And, by the way, when the Apostle John talks about antichrists in 1 and 2 John, he is speaking about people who were from within the church who were now leading people astray.

    The basic Reformed and non-dispensationalist argument is:

    1) There is no one specific antichrist to come.
    2) History is replete with figures that Satan has used to attack the church, both from within the church and outside of it, and these figures are antichrists.
    3) The figure of the antichrist in Revelation and 2 Thessalonians is the Roman Emperor Domitian, and is indicative of some antichrists that would persecute the church throughout its history.

    In that sense, I would argue that Benny Hinn is an antichrist, along with TD Jakes and Charles Finney.

    If I was premillennial, I would seriously consider George W. Bush as an antichrist, since he is so loved and followed by the American church (Matthew 24.24). But I’m not premill, so I’m not worried.

  4. There’s really no use playing the guessing game on who is the antichrist. When he appears, as David so aptly pointed out, he’ll fulfill the prophecies like no other.

  5. David Ketter says:


    You’re right about the use of “antichrists” in John’s epistles – no denying that. However, Revelation cannot refer to Domitian (he was never mortally wounded and healed miraculously).

    In terms of 2 Thessalonians, he could not have been the man of lawlessness because the “restrainer” has not yet been removed (the Church is the restrainer).

    I’d agree with you on Benny Hinn and TD Jakes. Charles Finney, on the other hand, does not make sense to me at all on why you would call him antichrist. Care to explain?

  6. Finney believed that a Christian needed to remain in a state of perfection in order to remain saved:

    “Whenever he sins, he must, for the time being, cease to be holy. This is self-evident. Whenever he sins, he must be condemned; he must incur the penalty of the law of God … If it be said that the precept is still binding upon him, but that with respect to the Christian, the penalty is forever set aside, or abrogated, I reply, that to abrogate the penalty is to repeal the precept, for a precept without penalty is no law. It is only counsel or advice. The Christian, therefore, is justified no longer than he obeys, and must be condemned when he disobeys or Antinomianism is true … In these respects, then, the sinning Christian and the unconverted sinner are upon precisely the same ground.” (Finney’s “Unity Of Moral action”, Chapter 9)

    Finney denied that Christ’s death on the cross justified Christians:

    “But for sinners to be forensically pronounced just, is impossible and absurd… As we shall see, there are many conditions, while there is but one ground, of the justification of sinners … As has already been said, there can be no justification in a legal or forensic sense, but upon the ground of universal, perfect, and uninterrupted obedience to law. This is of course denied by those who hold that gospel justification, or the justification of penitent sinners, is of the nature of a forensic or judicial justification. They hold to the legal maxim that what a man does by another he does by himself, and therefore the law regards Christ’s obedience as ours, on the ground that he obeyed for us…. The doctrine of an imputed righteousness, or that Christ’s obedience to the law was accounted as our obedience, is founded on a most false and nonsensical assumption, for Christ’s righteousness could do no more than justify himself. It can never be imputed to us….It was naturally impossible, then, for him to obey in our behalf. Representing the atonement as the ground of the sinner’s justification has been a sad occasion of stumbling to many.” (Finney, “Systematic Theology”, chapter 36)

    Phil Johnson has an article critiquing Finney called “A Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing”

  7. David Ketter says:

    Okay, so Finney was a total Arminian – no surprise there (in terms of living a Christian life to maintain salvation). There are many Christians who would very much agree with the spirit of that statement.

    In terms of the second statement, Finney is arguing – in terms of context, as I recognize that particular passage – that the grace of God does not and should not give us license to sin. We cannot suppose that Christ’s perfection makes us forensically righteous or just. No, it is the transformation of our lives through the renewing of our minds in the power of Christ. Atonement does not make us righteous or just – that is the work of faith (and faith without works is dead). Finney’s style of speaking can be very offensive if one does not recognize the context or nature of what he is saying.

  8. […] Note: This post can also be found at Agent Tim Online. […]

  9. At the time, Reformed theologians in Princeton were essentially saying that Finney was a heretic for this sort of teaching.

    I’d like to read your response to Phil Johnson’s article. Johnson is, if you haven’t realised it, one of the “Pyromaniacs” and the guy who edits all of John MacArthur’s books.

  10. David Ketter says:


    I always wondered why the revival in that area was minimal during Finney’s ministry. 🙂

    I have read Finney’s Revivals of Religion and have found it to be very Biblically-based in terms of aiding the cause of revival and living a devout Spirit-filled life. It actually surprised me.

    After I have indulged myself by reading more of Finney’s works to get a better understanding of his lines of thought and his theology, I will definitely address Johnson’s information…thanks for the not-so-subtle suggestion. 🙂

  11. Nathan Knapp says:

    Good article, David. It is so very sad when Christians–already taking fire from the rest of the world–throw flames at each other, while unwittingly giving ‘the rest of the world’ more fuel to the flames. The type of person who does this, in my mind, ought to have no part of the church.

    Sure, there are antichrists in this world. But what did Slice have to gain by naming Rick Warren, other than the satisfaction of slander? The title of Antichrist should not be thrown around so lightly.

    About Oliver Finney: just by reading the quotes OSO provided, he sounds like he somehow forgot that Christ’s coming wasn’t just about obedience, it was about grace! Fairly faulty doctrine there, methinks.

  12. Sam says:

    I know Ingrid personally and I can tell you she does not believe Rick Warren is the anti-Christ. Don’t be that naive. That quote you put from her hardly claims that he is. He may very well be a precursor to the anti-christ, and a false prophet if you will, but he is almost certainly not the anti-christ himself. You accuse Ingrid of slander, but what you are doing in this article is not much different than what she is writing about Rick Warren.

    As I have said, I know her personally and I can tell you everything that she writes is written out of concern for the church and out of a spirit of trying to warn people of subtle dangers. Please be careful what you say about fellow Christians in the future. Again, I gaurantee that Ingrid does NOT belive Rick Warren is the anti-christ.

  13. Tim says:

    Glad to hear that Sam. Very, very glad to hear that. I really do believe, though, that the way that Ingrid has presented some things incorrectly, or hasn’t come across in the right way. It’s something all of us have to work on, especially when people can only see our words.

  14. John says:

    The Risen Chirst is the Antichirst, the first beast that had the fatal wound that had been healed.

    Paul of Tarsus was his false prophet, the second beast who was servent to the first beast and extended its authority everywhere, making the world and all its people worship the first beast.

    If you don’t believe me, read the Bible and no! you will not die if you eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, but your eyes will be opened and you will be like gods.

    “The number (name) of the beast: it is the number (name) of a man” Revelation 13:18 i.e. Jesus Christ.
    “Take care that no one deceives you (the twelve chosen); because many will come using my name and saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and they will deceive many” Mathew 24:4

    We know that the Antichrist has a false prophet:
    “Beware of false prophets who come to you disguised as sheep but underneath are ravenous wolves. You will be able to tell them by their fruits. Can people pick grapes from thorns, or figs from thistles? In the same way, a sound tree produces good fruit but a rotten tree bad fruit. A sound tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor a rotten tree bear good fruit. Any tree that does not produce good fruit is cut down and thrown on the fire. I repeat, you will be able to tell them by their fruits. It is not those that say to me ‘Lord, Lord,’ who will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the person who does the will of my Father in heaven. When that day comes many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, cast out demons in your name, work many miracles in your name?’ Then I shall tell them to their faces: I have never known you; away from me, you evil men!” Mathew 7:15-23

    “Remember, I am sending you out like sheep among wolves; so be cunning as serpents and yet harmless as doves.” Matthew 10:16
    “You will be hated by all men on account of my name; but the man who stands firm to the end will be saved.” Matthew 10:22
    “If they have called they have called the master of the house Beelzebul, what will they not say of his household?” Matthew 10:25
    “’If the world hates you, remember that it hated me before you.’” John15:18

    Who does the world hate, Yahweh God or the serpent?
    No, The serpent was the original Christ, the lamb slain from the foundation of the World. Yahweh God is the Dragon, The Risen Christ is the Antichrist and Paul of tarsus is the False Prophet.

    “On these grounds is sentence pronounced: that though the light has come into the world men have shown that they prefer darkness to the light because their deeds were evil.
    And indeed, everybody who does wrong hates the light and avoids it, for fear his actions should be exposed; but the man who lives by the truth comes out into the light, so that it may be plainly seen that what he does is done in God” John 3:19-21

  15. Tim says:

    One word: context.

  16. John says:

    I try to keep my comments brief, precise and to the point. I assume that you have a Bible and can read the verses around them. My favorite translation is The Jerusalem Bible, it is more clear for me. Focus on the Gospels of Matthew and John and the book of Revelation. Avoid Mark and Luke, since they are not listed among the twelve disciples and if they knew the real Christ, it was from a distance. Luke was a friend of Paul and Paul never knew the real Christ, only the Risen Antichrist. Paul preached the Risen Christ and contradicted the Real Christ, which you can see for yourself.
    “If anyone says to you then, ‘Look here is the Christ’ or, ‘He is there,’ do not believe it; for false Christs and false prophets will arise and produce great signs and portents, enough to deceive even the chosen,”(His own hand picked twelve disciples.)”if that were possible. There; I have forewarned you.” Matthew 24:23-25
    “Then I saw a beast emerge from the sea: it had seven heads and ten horns.” Revelation 13:1
    “I saw that one of its heads seemed to have had a fatal wound but that this deadly injury had healed and, after that, the whole world had marveled and followed the beast. They prostrated themselves in front of the dragon because he had given the beast its authority; they prostrated themselves if front of the beast, saying ‘who can compare with the beast?’” Revelation 13:3-4
    The heads and the horns refer to the many appearances of the Risen Christ. On one of those appearances he had a wound to the side, which is fatal. On other appearances he only had wounds to the hands and feet, which is not fatal.
    The Risen Christ said: “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me” Matthew 28:18
    Revelation 13:2 says: “The dragon had handed over to it his own power and his throne and his world-wide authority”
    The Real Christ said: “You have the poor with you always, but you will not always have me.” Matthew 26:11
    The Risen Christ said: “And know that I am with you always; yes, to the end of time.” Matthew 28:20

  17. David Ketter says:


    I encourage you to apply to take A COURSE at Geneva College called BIB 200…it’s about exegesis. Everything you said above violates the rules of interpretation…Better yet, get yourself a copy of “How To Read the Bible For All Its Worth” by Fee and Stuart.

  18. John says:

    David Ketter,

    I encourage you to read the Bible, judge the facts for yourself and follow God’s way and not man’s. Do you seriously believe that God gave us the Law and then said “It’s OK; Jesus paid the price so you won’t have to follow the Law.”

    “And when he comes, he will show the world how wrong it was, about sin, and about who was in the right, and about judgment: about sin: proved by their refusal to believe in me; about who was in the right: proved by my going to the Father and you seeing me no more; about judgment: proved by the prince of this world being already condemned.” John16:8-11

    “I have seen everything that is done under the sun, and what vanity it all is, what chasing of the wind!” Ecclesiastes 1:14

    “He who obeys the command will come to no harm, and the wise man knows there will be a time of judgment. For there is a time of judgment for everything; and man runs grave risks, since he does not know what is going to happen; and who can tell him when it will happen.” Ecclesiastes 8:5-7

    “’God,’ I thought to myself, ‘will judge both virtuous and criminal, because there is a time for all that is purposed or done.’ I also thought that mankind behaves like this so that God may show them up for what they are, and expose them for the brute beast they are to each other.” Ecclesiastes 3:17-18

    “To sum up the whole matter: fear God, and keep his commandments, since this is the whole duty of man. For God will call all hidden deeds, good or bad, to judgment.” Ecclesiastes 12:14

    “I saw underneath the alter the souls of all the people who had been killed on account of the word of God, for witnessing to it. They shouted aloud, ‘Holy, faithful Master, how much longer will you wait before you pass sentence and take vengeance for our death on the inhabitants of the earth?” Revelation 6:10

  19. Rick Warren is an interesting person. In 1974 while being a missionary to Japan he found information on the Donald McGavarans Bridges to God. basically summed up for the sake of brevity friendship, relationships shared interests and shared ethicity.

    the homengous unit principle (hup). oddly enough Donald mcgavaran borrowed this principle from a Mehodist Bishop Waskom in India. the mission in India faltered. In 35 years the mission field only yielded 1000 souls.

    the homengous unit principle is now used amomgst the 300,000 low caste Dahlits in India.

    funny Dr. Warren has a doctorate degree. funny dr. warren is a member of the southern baptist convention the largest protestant denomination in the US.

    funny Dr. Warren keeps adding more and more to the pdl program – shape and peace plan.

    is it not odd that Dr. Warren keeps adding more and more to his PDL program. Where are the sources for his dreams.

    he claims they are God.

    Really God gave him the plan to adopt Donald McGavrans plans that Donald McGavaran renounced as poppy cock.

    really god gave him the plans of the adaptation of the five purposes drawn from Total Quality Management as deemed by Deming and Drucker.

    Really God gave him the plans of C. Peter Wagner whom has adopted the tenants of the word of faith Kenyon, Hagin and Hinn. Oddly enough C. Peter Wagner claimed that healing was poppy cock. Suddenly C. Peter Wagner was healed of something, so he experienced that healing was possible and now he advocates church growth.

    really God wants the church to grow. but at whose expense God works in ways that produce results of minimal significance. man works to produce results that yield high gains but little lasting value.

    Dr. Warren I encourage you to separtae yourself from the wordly values you have adopted and stand on the promises of God not your own selfish purposes.

    you want to help the poor return the money to everyone their money back for false teaching of the Purpose Driven Lie

  20. Jim Cronfel says:

    Rick Warren is AN antichrist not the main antichrist. He denies the gospel in many ways. He is not a man of any intergrety and he has changed no one’s life for the better.

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