Sarah Pulliam at Christianity Today has just posted her interview with Rick Warren. He talks about the controversy surrounding his invocation at President Obama's inauguration, the uproar over his support of Proposition 8 in California banning same-sex marriage, and the thousands being baptized at his church. Here's an excerpt:
I know a lot has been happening recently at your church. Just a few weeks ago, you baptized 800 in one day.
I was in the water for over five hours. I had webbed feet. It had to be a record. You know, it says in Acts that at the day of Pentecost, 3,000 were baptized and added to the church that day. We had 2,400 added to the church that day. The world belongs to Saddleback. When we started Saddleback, it was a white suburban church. We speak 65 different languages. It's the United Nations. I baptized an Egyptian General; I baptized probably 50 or 60 nationalities.
After you posted an invitation to the baptism and membership, some bloggers criticized the promotion. In the promotion, you said new members could have their photo with Pastor Rick and get a free one-year subscription to The Purpose Driven Connection. Why did you advertise the event that way?
In the first place, I think every person should take a picture with the pastor who baptizes them. That's a memento, that's a spiritual hallmark. That's not anything new. It wasn't like, oh, this is something we've never done that's going to attract people. In the past 10 years, Saddleback has baptized over 20,000 new believers. We are, without a doubt, the most evangelistic church in America. There are churches that are bigger than Saddleback, but there are no churches that reach more people for Christ than Saddleback. There are no churches that send as many people into the missions field. There's not a church that has sent 8,000 people into the missions field.
Read the entire interview here.