Rick Warren's son lost in 'wave of despair'
April 7th, 2013
06:43 PM ET

Rick Warren's son lost in 'wave of despair'

By Alan Duke, CNN

Los Angeles (CNN) - The weekend's sermon at Saddleback Church was "Surviving Tough Times," a theme Pastor Rick Warren planned before his youngest son killed himself with a gun Friday.

Matthew Warren, 27, committed suicide "in a momentary wave of despair" at the end of a lifetime struggle "with mental illness, dark holes of depression and even suicidal thoughts," the pastor wrote to the staff of his Southern California megachurch.

"Matthew was an incredibly kind, gentle and compassionate young man whose sweet spirit was encouragement and comfort to many," a statement from the church said. "Unfortunately, he also suffered from mental illness resulting in deep depression and suicidal thoughts. Despite the best health care available, this was an illness that was never fully controlled, and the emotional pain resulted in his decision to take his life."

Friend Mike Constantz told CNN he had a "playful spirit."

"There are the days where he was just this bubbly, outgoing, effervescent, reaching out to people," Constantz said. "And there were the days where he just didn't want to be around people. Just the pain, the excruciating pain, was just too much."

- Dan Merica

Filed under: Belief • Christianity • Pastors

soundoff (211 Responses)
  1. palintwit

    I didn't think the NRA would ever use a gay guy for a poster child.

    April 8, 2013 at 11:02 am |
    • William Demuth

      They used Heston

      April 8, 2013 at 1:46 pm |
    • palintwit

      Ha. They sure did.

      April 8, 2013 at 2:46 pm |
  2. William Demuth

    I guess he finally found his purpose?

    Well, with a father like that I can understand the depression thing

    April 8, 2013 at 10:56 am |
  3. derp

    Looks like Rick's kid is going to burn in hell for all eternity.


    He was probably g a y.

    April 8, 2013 at 10:43 am |
    • Topher

      One, you're disgusting. Two, you clearly don't know what you are talking about.

      April 8, 2013 at 10:51 am |
    • sam stone

      what makes you think you know what you are talking about, topher?

      April 8, 2013 at 11:03 am |
    • drep

      "Two, you clearly don't know what you are talking about"

      In regards to what?

      Look, if you expect me to have even an ounce of sympathy for a man whose chosen path in life has directly resulted in countless young people being persecuted and depressed to the point of suicide, you are as crazy as Warren's kid.

      Christians have been causing this type of mental agony to GLBT people for generations. Warren has made his position on orientation known forever. He has perpetuated a myth based discrimination campaign for years. He has likely caused severe depression in scores of young people.

      His so called faith has directly caused the kind of depression that results in suicide.

      Now I am supposed to feel badly for him because his own son has fell victim to the depression that he has been foisting on other peoples children for decades?

      Not going to happen.

      Welcome to Kharma Rick.

      April 8, 2013 at 11:10 am |
    • Bill Deacon

      derp you're the one perpetuating mental agony and feeding off the grief of those who loved Matt to do it. When a person takes their own life, they and they alone are responsible. Blaming the survivors is cruel and ignorant.

      April 8, 2013 at 11:34 am |
    • drep

      "Blaming the survivors is cruel and ignorant"

      I'm not blaming Warren for his sons suicide.

      I'm blaming he and every other hom op hobic preacher for their blanket condemnation of GLBT people for decades that has resulted in countless suicides.

      He has directly caused the kind of pain he is feeling to countless other families.

      I have ZERO sympathy for him.

      As I said, Kharma.

      Now he knows how it feels.

      Maybe he will rethink his position.

      I doubt it.

      April 8, 2013 at 11:48 am |
  4. Uncouth Swain

    The Truth:


    April 8, 2013 at 10:36 am |
    • Rynomite


      April 8, 2013 at 10:41 am |
    • Rynomite

      Demuth is a jack@ss

      April 8, 2013 at 11:00 am |
    • Rynomite

      yes lets steal handles because thats adult

      April 8, 2013 at 11:43 am |
  5. myweightinwords

    It is a sad thing indeed to lose a child. My condolences to the family.

    It is a sad thing to see a life so young lost in the grip of mental illness and know that despite seeking care, the darkness was still profound.

    April 8, 2013 at 10:31 am |
  6. palintwit

    Another idiot with a gun and Sarah Palin's crosshairs poster on his wall. Fortunately, he only shot himself.

    April 8, 2013 at 10:25 am |

    No need to toss insults at the kid. He didn't do anything wrong. His family failed him. Every person that ever prayed for him instead of getting him REAL help failed him. At least he isn't suffering anymore. And thankfully, no god exists to judge him for having mental issues he couldn't control.

    April 8, 2013 at 10:13 am |
    • Uncouth Swain

      Blaming the parents is the wrong way to go when you know nothing about them beyond they have a faith.
      Suicide is a complex thing that has deep emotions involved. No one knows why the kid did it and it could even be possible that he didn't even know why he did it.

      April 8, 2013 at 10:17 am |
    • The real Tom

      Parents can do everything possible to raise a child who is happy and healthy. It's no more their "fault" their son suffered from depression than it would have been their fault if he had autism, cerebral palsy, or cancer.

      The ignorance of the facts of mental illness among those commenting here is appalling. Educate yourselves.

      April 8, 2013 at 10:20 am |
    • The real Tom

      Edit: Parents can do everything possible to raise a child who is happy and healthy and still the child may suffer from mental illness.

      April 8, 2013 at 10:21 am |

      The fault isn't a matter of them causing his mental issues. The fault is in that these kinds of people put their faith in an empty cloud in the sky instead of doing something about the actual problem. Sure, mom and dad didn't give little Frank cancer. But praying it away isn't help. It's called ignorance.

      April 8, 2013 at 10:32 am |
    • The real Tom

      Did you even read the article? I'm no fan of Warren, but it appears he and his wife tried to give their son every kind of medical and psychiatric help possible, you judgmental twit.

      Unless you've walked the walk, save your spew.

      April 8, 2013 at 10:54 am |
    • Lycidas

      @The real Tom- well said.

      April 8, 2013 at 11:02 am |
    • Bill Deacon

      One of the few times I've agreed with Tom

      April 8, 2013 at 11:36 am |

      Yes genius Tom, I've read the article. Self-importance does not denote intelligence and superiority. Resorting to name-calling and insults. Cute.

      I've read quite a bit about this. Stating that they "did everything they could" is merely a statement. Not the factual account of what happened behind doors you've never peered beyond with your own judgmental eyes. Pot, meet kettle.

      April 8, 2013 at 11:51 am |
    • The real Tom

      And of course, MEAT, you know what Warren and his wife did for their son? Why are you assuming it's the parents' fault their son suffered from mental illness from a very early age, apparently long before he could have been influenced by them? Did you read that they had tried to find the best care for him? Why would you disbelieve this? As I said, I'm no fan of Warren, but I don't believe for a moment that he didn't do the best he could for his son as most parents would.

      But do go on being butthurt that I called you out on your assumptions.

      April 8, 2013 at 1:50 pm |
    • The real Tom

      And MEAT, I re-read your post and I stand by what I said about you and your opinion.

      April 8, 2013 at 1:51 pm |
  8. Rynomite

    So who bets the kid liked other guys, but had ben brought up to believe it was "evil" and he would burn for it?

    Religion is child abuse.

    April 8, 2013 at 10:05 am |
    • Uncouth Swain

      Swing and a miss!
      Nice try but quit being a wacko fundie and guessing at things you don't understand.

      April 8, 2013 at 10:08 am |
    • Rynomite

      Eh? Rick Warren is a wacko fundie... I'm the furthest thing from one....

      April 8, 2013 at 10:09 am |
    • Topher

      Rick Warren is NOT a fundamentalist.

      April 8, 2013 at 10:13 am |
    • Uncouth Swain

      "Eh? Rick Warren is a wacko fundie... I'm the furthest thing from one..."

      You are making unfounded guesses about someone who you do not know, his family you don't know anything about and the reasons why he committed suicide.

      Seems like what fundies do all the time....all guesses no facts.

      April 8, 2013 at 10:15 am |
    • Rynomite

      Denial of Evolution & Belief in creationism = fundie.

      April 8, 2013 at 10:17 am |
    • Rynomite

      "You are making unfounded guesses about someone who you do not know, his family you don't know anything about and the reasons why he committed suicide."

      No No. See I will freely acknowledge it is an unfounded guess that would tend to make sense if it were true, but could just be one of many explanations for the suicide...

      A fundie makes unfounded guesses and actually believes the guess to be true and does not acknoweledge that any other possibility exists.

      There's the difference.

      April 8, 2013 at 10:22 am |
    • sam stone

      fair enough...warren is not a fundamentalist wacko. he is a christian wacko....topher, on the other hand, is a fundamentalist wacko

      April 8, 2013 at 12:26 pm |
  9. William Demuth

    It is oftimes asked if a son is guilty of the sins of the father

    In this case, it seems Jeebus believes he is.

    April 8, 2013 at 9:27 am |
    • .

      You are a jack@ss willy.

      April 8, 2013 at 10:09 am |
  10. Regina

    Trust & Believe That God Will Restore You & It Will Already Be Done.

    May The Peace That Jesus Christ brings be with you, your family, your church family & Anyone Hurting.

    April 8, 2013 at 9:22 am |
    • William Demuth

      Nice! Maybe less mumbo jumbo and more reality, and Sonny wouldn't be maggott food

      Another secong geenration lunatic left to twist in the wind.

      April 8, 2013 at 9:26 am |
  11. William Demuth

    Lets see:

    We have a crazy person.
    We have a right wing parent
    We have a dead kid.

    This is PERFECT

    We have found our new poster boy for the NRA!

    April 8, 2013 at 8:30 am |
    • .

      You really are a jack@ss willy

      April 8, 2013 at 9:15 am |
  12. William Demuth

    Another crazy Christian with a gun.

    Thankfully he only shot himself

    April 8, 2013 at 8:27 am |
    • .

      You're a jack@ss willy

      April 8, 2013 at 9:14 am |
  13. William Demuth

    I believe the cult doctrine now indicates that the boys soul will burn in a pit of fire for all of eternity?

    Ain't that Jeebus a hell of a guy?

    April 8, 2013 at 8:22 am |
    • .

      You are a jack@ss willy

      April 8, 2013 at 9:14 am |
  14. Oh Well

    I assume this was god's will? Why would he be sad if he believes in that heaven mumbo jumbo?

    April 8, 2013 at 6:58 am |
  15. Uncouth Swain

    Sadly, grief and tragedies don't ignore us just because we have faith and hope in a higher being. They can @ssist us in getting through these times and hopefully find some peace.

    April 8, 2013 at 6:07 am |
    • William Demuth

      He has committed a damnable offense

      Not only has he NOT found peace, but he has guaranteed whatever agonies he was under shall continue for eternity

      April 8, 2013 at 8:23 am |
    • Uncouth Swain

      William Demuth- "He has committed a damnable offense"

      Says who? You and how your take the Torah? Forgive me while I chuckle at that notion.

      "Not only has he NOT found peace, but he has guaranteed whatever agonies he was under shall continue for eternity"

      I think under the angle of spirituality, you have no idea what you are talking about...again.

      April 8, 2013 at 9:17 am |
    • William Demuth


      Suicide is murder, murder is damnation

      Face it dude, the kid roasts on a demonic fire.

      Like a greasy smore' poping carckiling and hissing like a bad blunt with too many seeds/

      April 8, 2013 at 9:24 am |
    • Bill Deacon

      Entirety of the Catechism:


      2280 Everyone is responsible for his life before God who has given it to him.
      It is God who remains the sovereign Master of life.
      We are obliged to accept life gratefully and preserve it for his honor and the salvation of our souls.
      We are stewards, not owners, of the life God has entrusted to us.
      It is not ours to dispose of.

      2281 Suicide contradicts the natural inclination of the human being to preserve and perpetuate his life.
      It is gravely contrary to the just love of self.
      It likewise offends love of neighbor because it unjustly breaks the ties of solidarity with family, nation, and other human societies to which we continue to have obligations.
      Suicide is contrary to love for the living God.

      2282 If suicide is committed with the intention of setting an example, especially to the young, it also takes on the gravity of scandal.
      Voluntary co-operation in suicide is contrary to the moral law.
      Grave psychological disturbances, anguish, or grave fear of hardship, suffering, or torture can diminish the responsibility of the one committing suicide.

      2283 We should not despair of the eternal salvation of persons who have taken their own lives. By ways known to him alone, God can provide the opportunity for salutary repentance. the Church prays for persons who have taken their own lives.

      April 8, 2013 at 9:51 am |
    • Uncouth Swain

      William Demuth- "Suicide is murder, murder is damnation"

      Not really. You are forgetting that in the text there is only one unforgivable sin listed.

      "Face it dude, the kid roasts on a demonic fire."

      As with most things, you have no idea what you are talking about.

      April 8, 2013 at 10:11 am |
  16. Vic

    God bless his soul.

    This life is full of trials and tribulations! Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ is what sets us apart in the eyes of God the Father; He looks us in the spirit.

    April 7, 2013 at 9:37 pm |
    • Colin

      Yes Vick and faith in your hokey sky fairy helped this poor family, didn't it. When the hell are we going to grow up and get over our bullsh.it superst.itions. Praying got them nowhere. I hope the belief that he will "be with Jesus" didn't contribute to his killing himself, but I've heard comments he made suggesting it might. I have the deepest sypathy for his father and family and only hope their religion did not contribute to this tragedy.

      April 7, 2013 at 10:33 pm |
    • Pete

      Why is this guy different from any other suicide? I thought there was a Christian stigma against taking one's life?

      April 8, 2013 at 12:22 am |
    • Athy

      Religion had nothing to do with his death. Let's get real, people. Life is just a series of random events. There's no one in charge. Get rid of your superstitions. Live your life and forget about the bullshit afterlife myth.

      April 8, 2013 at 1:52 am |
    • HotAirAce

      I think religion and the father's expectations had lots to do with his decision to commit suicide.

      April 8, 2013 at 2:02 am |
    • Uncouth Swain

      HotAirAce- but what you think has no facts to back it up now does it?

      April 8, 2013 at 6:08 am |
    • sam stone

      Vic: Are you claiming that Warren's son did not have enough faith?

      April 8, 2013 at 8:02 am |
    • Vic

      @sam stone

      Quite the opposite!

      What I am saying is that no Christian is without Redemption!!! Mathew Warren's FAITH is what saves him!!!

      What I am saying is that we are saved by the Grace of God through Faith in Jesus Christ as Lord and personal Savior regardless of our actions; that's what SALVATION is all about!!! Now, it is the sole responsibility of the individual to truly BELIEVE!!!

      April 8, 2013 at 9:52 am |
    • sam stone

      His faith is what saved him? He shot himself to death. How is that being saved?

      April 8, 2013 at 10:12 am |
    • HotAirAce

      Correct – pure speculation on my part. It will be interesting to see what truths come out in the future.

      April 9, 2013 at 2:33 am |
  17. Douglas

    Pastor Rick,

    Pastor Warren and Family,

    Please accept the deepest sympathy of the Douglas family at the loss of your
    beloved son, Matthew. We will lift you up in prayer.

    May you be comforted in the knowledge that Matthew's struggle on this earth is over and that he is now at peace with the Lord.

    April 7, 2013 at 8:57 pm |
    • Athy

      How are you going to "lift them up" in prayer? Get real, fools.

      April 8, 2013 at 1:54 am |
    • sam stone

      wow, doogie.....how are you lifting them up?

      April 8, 2013 at 8:06 am |
    • William Demuth

      Lift him up with prayer?

      I suggest you use a mop, he is sort of all over the place at the moment

      Maybe some blotter paper as well, but the prayer thing obviously only drove him mad in the first place.

      April 8, 2013 at 9:35 am |
  18. Mrs. Pepperpot

    My sincerest condolences to Pastor Rick and his family.

    April 7, 2013 at 8:10 pm |
    • midwest rail

      Agreed – as a parent, I cannot imagine losing a child. Truly sad.

      April 7, 2013 at 8:53 pm |
    • Akira

      Having lost my belived son myself, I can tell you, midwest, that it is the single most devatating thing to have to undure.

      My sympathy to Pastor Warren and his family.
      I truly do feel your pain.

      April 7, 2013 at 10:00 pm |
    • Akira


      April 7, 2013 at 10:01 pm |
  19. Psalm 37:23-24

    23 The Lord makes firm the steps
    of the one who delights in him;
    24 though he may stumble, he will not fall,
    for the Lord upholds him with his hand.

    April 7, 2013 at 7:32 pm |
    • William Demuth

      I am not sure, but it seems "the Lord" ground him under his boot!

      The father is crazy, as was the son.

      Those whom God might destroy, yada yada!

      April 8, 2013 at 8:26 am |
  20. Dear Pastor Rick

    Our thoughts and prayers with you and Kay as you go through this tragedy.

    April 7, 2013 at 7:02 pm |
    • Faith made stronger

      In life there are people that will hurt us and cause us pain,
      but we must learn to forgive and forget and not hold grudges.

      In life there are mistakes we will make,
      but we must learn from our wrongs and grow from them.

      In life there are regrets we will have to live with,
      but we must learn to leave the past behind and realize it is something we can't change.

      In life there are people we will loose forever and can't have back,
      but we must learn to let go & move on.

      In life there are going to be obstacles that will cause interference,
      but we must learn to overcome these challenges and grow stronger.

      In life there are fears that will hold us back from what we want,
      but we must learn to fight them with the courage from within.

      God holds our lives in his hands. He holds the key to our future.
      Only he knows our fate.

      He see's everything and knows everything.
      Everything in life really does happen for a reason: "God's Reason".

      Source: Faith and Courage In Life, Inspirational -in life-Angie Flores

      April 7, 2013 at 7:08 pm |
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