From Publishers Weekly
Arguably the most influential evangelical in America, Warren gets full biographical treatment by Sheler, former religion writer for U.S. News & World Report
and author of Is the Bible True?
Sheler leaves no rock unturned in Warren's life and uncovers much about what drives the founder and leader of the 22,000-member Saddleback Church in Orange County, Calif., who has trained pastors in a network of 10,000 churches in 162 countries. In offering a behind-the-scenes look into the making of a megachurch and its pastor, Sheler paints in rich detail Warren's boyhood and family life—including such personal episodes as a tragic honeymoon and his depression. The author is careful to show diverse opinions about Warren, including those who believe the pastor, initially very green in international relations, allowed himself to be used by interests that oppose U.S. foreign policy. Sheler includes the story of Billy Graham's blessing and his apparently passing the mantle of America's pastor to Warren. For Americans who believe that's an important role, this book is a vital biography to have on the shelf.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Sheler’s sober, smooth-reading life of the founder of California’s Saddleback Church makes it abundantly clear why he’s considered Billy Graham’s successor as “America’s pastor.” Warren’s an all-around straight shooter, as he puts it, a man with a purpose—God’s purpose. A gift for undomineering leadership made the presidency a boyhood dream, but in high school, becoming a pastor, like his dad (though not as peripatetic as his dad), became his goal. Inspired by the church-growing movement, he matched and arguably exceeded its premier exponent, Bill Hybels of Illinois’ Willow Creek Community Church. Would-be emulators among his peers prompted his first best-seller (The Purpose Driven Church, 1995) and then the all-time nonfiction best-seller, The Purpose Driven Life (2002), which enriched him enough to start PEACE Plan to encourage all churchgoers to help the world’s needy, beginning with African AIDS orphans. And then Barack Obama requested him to pray at his inaugural, which became controversial in both the asking and the execution, partly because of Warren’s unassuming answers to loaded questions. A creditable profile of an appealing man. --Ray Olson