Rick Warren in an interview with Steven Walderman:
But going back to this thing about heaven and getting into a perfect place. Let’s say we got a scale of 1 to 100. Let’s put Hitler at zero and Mother Teresa at 100 OK. And Steve you’re at 85 and Larry’s at 65 and I’m at 45. The truth is, some people are better than others, there’s no doubt about it. Some people are more moral than others, they’re nicer, they’re less selfish, less self-centered, things like that. But the truth is, nobody makes [it] to perfection… And so somebody’s got to make up that difference. And that’s the gift I believe Jesus came to – to make up the difference between my zero and my 100 or my 45 and 100 -- somebody’s got to make up that difference. (HT: JT)Is it just me, or does that sound like a Mormon understanding of atonement ("Do your best and Jesus does the rest")? I understand the point of the analogy, and I do believe that there are varying degrees of sin, but this at the very least confuses the issue of depravity (whether from an Arminian or Calvinist standpoint). None of us has anything of ourselves to offer for our justification.
The thing is, I don't actually think Warren is any kind of Pelagian or otherwise a heretic. My guess is that if you pressed him on the analogy, he would admit that nobody can present anything meritorious on his own behalf for justification. The problem is that, as Dan Phillips pointed out the other day, he is prone to go from being an articulate, genuine, and likeable representative of Biblical Christianity before our culture to making frustrating theological mini-gaffes when he could be much more careful.
Maybe I'm being nit-picky here, but then, it is the atonement...