Bruce Wilson has uncovered audio of a speech Rick Warren delivered in 2005 to thirty thousand Saddleback Church members who had gathered in the Anaheim Angels sports stadium to celebrate the church’s 25th anniversary, during which he implored his followers to dedicate themselves to Christ and create a movement akin to the Hitler Youth, the Bolshevik Revolutionaries, and the Chinese Red Guard:
Though Warren’s speech was in the idiom of Christianity, he did not seek to inspire his Saddleback audience with examples of great religious leaders who have changed history through persuasion or other nonviolent approaches. Rick Warren looked to 20th century exemplars of vision and dedication but not to Mohatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King, or any other religious leaders.
With more than a hint of admiration in his voice, pastor Warren described how in 1939 in a packed Munich Stadium before the leader of the Third Reich, young brown-shirted men and women spelled out in formation, with their bodies, words in German which read “Hitler, we are yours.”
“And they nearly took the world, ” pastor Rick told the stadium crowd. He moved on to quote another inspirational example from the 20th Century, Lenin, who said ‘give me 100 committed, totally committed men and I’ll change the world.’ Once again Warren observed, “They nearly did.”
Having cited dedication and zeal of young Nazis and the efficacy of Bolshevik Revolutionaries, Warren moved on to describe how the sayings of Chairman Mao, printed up in the “Little Red Book”, had helped propel the revolutionary fervor of the Chinese Red Guard who had carried out the violent, anarchic revolutionary spasm known as the Cultural Revolution.
With those examples fresh in his audiences mind, Rick Warren instructed the crowd of his thirty thousand to hold up pre-printed signs, within their programs, white letters against a red background, that said “Whatever it takes.”
Looking out at the crowd Warren enthused, “I’m looking at a stadium full of people who are saying, ‘whatever it takes, God’.
“In 1939, in a stadium much like this, in Munich Germany, they packed it out with young men and women in brown shirts, for a fanatical man standing behind a podium named Adolf Hitler, the personification of evil.
And in that stadium, those in brown shirts formed with their bodies a sign that said, in the whole stadium, “Hitler, we are yours.”
And they nearly took the world.
Lenin once said, “give me 100 committed, totally committed men and I’ll change the world.” And, he nearly did.
A few years ago, they took the sayings of Chairman Mao, in China, put them in a little red book, and a group of young people committed them to memory and put it in their minds and they took that nation, the largest nation in the world by storm because they committed to memory the sayings of the Chairman Mao.
When I hear those kinds of stories, I think ‘what would happen if American Christians, if world Christians, if just the Christians in this stadium, followers of Christ, would say ‘Jesus, we are yours’ ?
What kind of spiritual awakening would we have ? “