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September 17th, 2013
10:24 AM ET

The five things you need to know about Rick Warren

By Daniel Burke, CNN Belief Blog Co-editor

[twitter-follow screen_name='BurkeCNN']

(CNN) - Best-selling author and megachurch pastor Rick Warren is one of the country's most influential Christian leaders.

But Warren and his wife, Kay, have nearly disappeared from public view since their son's suicide in April.

That changed Tuesday night, when Rick and Kay Warren spoke with CNN's Piers Morgan about the death of their son, how their faith has changed and their new mission in life.

Here are five things to know about the Warrens.

1. They lead the sixth largest church in the United States. 

Since its first public service on Easter in 1980, the Warrens' Saddleback Church has spread to eight campuses in Southern California - as well as four international satellites - and counts some 20,000 weekly worshippers.

That's makes it the sixth-largest in the United States, according to an annual tally kept by LifeWay Research, a Christian firm based in Nashville.

MORE ON CNN: Rick Warren speaks about his son's suicide

2. Warren's book, "The Purpose Driven Life," has sold more than 32 million copies and been translated into more than 50 languages. 

Published in 1992, Warren's spiritual self-help book has topped all four major best-seller lists, according to Warren's spokesman, making it one of the best-selling hardcover books in recent history.

The book reached national prominence in 2005, when hostage Ashley Smith convinced her captor to read portions of "Purpose Driven," after which he let her go.

"That really made Warren a household name," said Jeffery Sheler, author of the 2009 biography, "Prophet of Purpose: The Life of Rick Warren."

By 2005, nearly a quarter of Americans had read "The Purpose Driven Life," Christian researcher David Kinnaman told CNN last year. 

3. Warren is an evangelical.  

That means he falls on the conservative end of the spectrum, theologically.

Like other evangelicals, Warren believes he has a personal relationship with God, that Jesus is the only route to salvation, that the Bible is the inerrant word of God and that he has a duty to spread the gospel.

Warren also falls in line with most evangelical political beliefs, opposing same-sex marriage and abortion, for example. But he and Kay also encourage Christians to care about a broad range of causes, from fighting poverty to global warming.

4. Warren delivered the invocation at President Barack Obama's first inaugural. 

Obama took a lot of criticism for inviting Warren to pray at his first inaugural, mainly because Warren had encouraged his huge flock the year before to support Proposition 8, which outlawed same-sex marriage in California.

But Obama defended his selection of Warren, saying that "part of the magic of this country is that we are diverse and noisy and opinionated."

For what it's worth, Warren has also caught flak for inviting Obama to Saddleback Church, over the objections of conservative evangelicals.

5. Rick and Kay Warren are extremely active in lots of social justice causes.

AIDS, poverty,  gun control - it may actually be shorter to list causes that the Warrens have not dedicated time and energy to.

In 2005, Warren started traveling to Rwanda after an invitation from President Paul Kagame to help make the African nation become the first "purpose-driven country."

The pastor continues to visit Rwanda, preaching a message of reconciliation nearly a decade after the country's devastating genocide.

After his son's death, Warren has preached about using his pain and sorrow in service of others. He and Kay also say they have a new mission: shedding light on the toll of mental illness in the United States.

MORE ON CNN: Rick Warren returns to the spotlight

 

- CNN Religion Editor

Filed under: Baptist • Belief • Christianity • Faith • Faith & Health • Media

soundoff (202 Responses)
  1. Lionly Lamb

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=Eq8nQOhZ3u8

    September 17, 2013 at 2:09 pm |
    • mjbrin

      good song! always liked that one

      September 17, 2013 at 2:49 pm |
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    September 17, 2013 at 2:03 pm |
  3. julieejulia

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    September 17, 2013 at 2:01 pm |
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    September 16, 2013 at 11:31 pm | Report abuse | Reply
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    INCUBUS PROJECT – CIFI OR TRUE CNN.

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    September 16, 2013 at 11:31 pm | Report abuse | Reply
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    INCUBUS PROJECT – CIFI OR TRUE CNN.

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    AGENCIES IN THE AREA OF OPERATIONS BLACK, HAVE HUNDREDS AGENTS USING AGENTS IN ROOMS FOR HANDLING HUMAN SCIENTISTS WITH HARDWARE TECHNOLOGY WATCHING MONITORS 15 NEURO BRAIN ACTIVITY OF EACH SUBJECT.
    TECHNIQUE FOR WEEKS ARE PRODUCING STIMULUS INMOBILES CLEARING CELL GROUPS AND ENCOURAGING LAUGHS segregating TRANSMITTERS NEURO SLEEP WORK STRESS.
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    September 16, 2013 at 11:31 pm | Report abuse | Reply
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    INCUBUS PROJECT – CIFI OR TRUE CNN.

    REMEMBER THE SMALLER TOWNS OF EU.

    AGENCIES IN THE AREA OF OPERATIONS BLACK, HAVE HUNDREDS AGENTS USING AGENTS IN ROOMS FOR HANDLING HUMAN SCIENTISTS WITH HARDWARE TECHNOLOGY WATCHING MONITORS 15 NEURO BRAIN ACTIVITY OF EACH SUBJECT.
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    September 16, 2013 at 11:31 pm | Report abuse | Reply
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    September 17, 2013 at 2:00 pm |
  5. FFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFF3452345235

    INCUBUS PROJECT – CIFI OR TRUE CNN.

    REMEMBER THE SMALLER TOWNS OF EU.

    AGENCIES IN THE AREA OF OPERATIONS BLACK, HAVE HUNDREDS AGENTS USING AGENTS IN ROOMS FOR HANDLING HUMAN SCIENTISTS WITH HARDWARE TECHNOLOGY WATCHING MONITORS 15 NEURO BRAIN ACTIVITY OF EACH SUBJECT.
    TECHNIQUE FOR WEEKS ARE PRODUCING STIMULUS INMOBILES CLEARING CELL GROUPS AND ENCOURAGING LAUGHS segregating TRANSMITTERS NEURO SLEEP WORK STRESS.
    THE VICTIM TO RESPOND TO INCENTIVES MAKING CHANGES LAST YEAR INCLUDING BIOLOGICAL NEURONAL SEPARATION OF AREAS FOR VARIOUS USES.
    September 16, 2013 at 11:31 pm | Report abuse | Reply
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    INCUBUS PROJECT – CIFI OR TRUE CNN.

    REMEMBER THE SMALLER TOWNS OF EU.

    AGENCIES IN THE AREA OF OPERATIONS BLACK, HAVE HUNDREDS AGENTS USING AGENTS IN ROOMS FOR HANDLING HUMAN SCIENTISTS WITH HARDWARE TECHNOLOGY WATCHING MONITORS 15 NEURO BRAIN ACTIVITY OF EACH SUBJECT.
    TECHNIQUE FOR WEEKS ARE PRODUCING STIMULUS INMOBILES CLEARING CELL GROUPS AND ENCOURAGING LAUGHS segregating TRANSMITTERS NEURO SLEEP WORK STRESS.
    THE VICTIM TO RESPOND TO INCENTIVES MAKING CHANGES LAST YEAR INCLUDING BIOLOGICAL NEURONAL SEPARATION OF AREAS FOR VARIOUS USES.
    September 16, 2013 at 11:31 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    wwwwwwwwwwwwwhttp://www.pgiorg.weebly.comwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww

    INCUBUS PROJECT – CIFI OR TRUE CNN.

    REMEMBER THE SMALLER TOWNS OF EU.

    AGENCIES IN THE AREA OF OPERATIONS BLACK, HAVE HUNDREDS AGENTS USING AGENTS IN ROOMS FOR HANDLING HUMAN SCIENTISTS WITH HARDWARE TECHNOLOGY WATCHING MONITORS 15 NEURO BRAIN ACTIVITY OF EACH SUBJECT.
    TECHNIQUE FOR WEEKS ARE PRODUCING STIMULUS INMOBILES CLEARING CELL GROUPS AND ENCOURAGING LAUGHS segregating TRANSMITTERS NEURO SLEEP WORK STRESS.
    THE VICTIM TO RESPOND TO INCENTIVES MAKING CHANGES LAST YEAR INCLUDING BIOLOGICAL NEURONAL SEPARATION OF AREAS FOR VARIOUS USES.
    September 16, 2013 at 11:31 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    wwwwwwwwwwwwwhttp://www.pgiorg.weebly.comwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww

    INCUBUS PROJECT – CIFI OR TRUE CNN.

    REMEMBER THE SMALLER TOWNS OF EU.

    AGENCIES IN THE AREA OF OPERATIONS BLACK, HAVE HUNDREDS AGENTS USING AGENTS IN ROOMS FOR HANDLING HUMAN SCIENTISTS WITH HARDWARE TECHNOLOGY WATCHING MONITORS 15 NEURO BRAIN ACTIVITY OF EACH SUBJECT.
    TECHNIQUE FOR WEEKS ARE PRODUCING STIMULUS INMOBILES CLEARING CELL GROUPS AND ENCOURAGING LAUGHS segregating TRANSMITTERS NEURO SLEEP WORK STRESS.
    THE VICTIM TO RESPOND TO INCENTIVES MAKING CHANGES LAST YEAR INCLUDING BIOLOGICAL NEURONAL SEPARATION OF AREAS FOR VARIOUS USES.
    September 16, 2013 at 11:31 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    wwwwwwwwwwwwwhttp://www.pgiorg.weebly.comwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww

    INCUBUS PROJECT – CIFI OR TRUE CNN.

    REMEMBER THE SMALLER TOWNS OF EU.

    AGENCIES IN THE AREA OF OPERATIONS BLACK, HAVE HUNDREDS AGENTS USING AGENTS IN ROOMS FOR HANDLING HUMAN SCIENTISTS WITH HARDWARE TECHNOLOGY WATCHING MONITORS 15 NEURO BRAIN ACTIVITY OF EACH SUBJECT.
    TECHNIQUE FOR WEEKS ARE PRODUCING STIMULUS INMOBILES CLEARING CELL GROUPS AND ENCOURAGING LAUGHS segregating TRANSMITTERS NEURO SLEEP WORK STRESS.
    THE VICTIM TO RESPOND TO INCENTIVES MAKING CHANGES LAST YEAR INCLUDING BIOLOGICAL NEURONAL SEPARATION OF AREAS FOR VARIOUS USES.
    September 16, 2013 at 11:31 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    wwwwwwwwwwwwwhttp://www.pgiorg.weebly.comwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww

    INCUBUS PROJECT – CIFI OR TRUE CNN.

    REMEMBER THE SMALLER TOWNS OF EU.

    AGENCIES IN THE AREA OF OPERATIONS BLACK, HAVE HUNDREDS AGENTS USING AGENTS IN ROOMS FOR HANDLING HUMAN SCIENTISTS WITH HARDWARE TECHNOLOGY WATCHING MONITORS 15 NEURO BRAIN ACTIVITY OF EACH SUBJECT.
    TECHNIQUE FOR WEEKS ARE PRODUCING STIMULUS INMOBILES CLEARING CELL GROUPS AND ENCOURAGING LAUGHS segregating TRANSMITTERS NEURO SLEEP WORK STRESS.
    THE VICTIM TO RESPOND TO INCENTIVES MAKING CHANGES LAST YEAR INCLUDING BIOLOGICAL NEURONAL SEPARATION OF AREAS FOR VARIOUS USES.
    September 16, 2013 at 11:31 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    wwwwwwwwwwwwwhttp://www.pgiorg.weebly.comwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww

    INCUBUS PROJECT – CIFI OR TRUE CNN.

    REMEMBER THE SMALLER TOWNS OF EU.

    AGENCIES IN THE AREA OF OPERATIONS BLACK, HAVE HUNDREDS AGENTS USING AGENTS IN ROOMS FOR HANDLING HUMAN SCIENTISTS WITH HARDWARE TECHNOLOGY WATCHING MONITORS 15 NEURO BRAIN ACTIVITY OF EACH SUBJECT.
    TECHNIQUE FOR WEEKS ARE PRODUCING STIMULUS INMOBILES CLEARING CELL GROUPS AND ENCOURAGING LAUGHS segregating TRANSMITTERS NEURO SLEEP WORK STRESS.
    THE VICTIM TO RESPOND TO INCENTIVES MAKING CHANGES LAST YEAR INCLUDING BIOLOGICAL NEURONAL SEPARATION OF AREAS FOR VARIOUS USES.
    September 16, 2013 at 11:31 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    wwwwwwwwwwwwwhttp://www.pgiorg.weebly.comwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww

    INCUBUS PROJECT – CIFI OR TRUE CNN.

    REMEMBER THE SMALLER TOWNS OF EU.

    AGENCIES IN THE AREA OF OPERATIONS BLACK, HAVE HUNDREDS AGENTS USING AGENTS IN ROOMS FOR HANDLING HUMAN SCIENTISTS WITH HARDWARE TECHNOLOGY WATCHING MONITORS 15 NEURO BRAIN ACTIVITY OF EACH SUBJECT.
    TECHNIQUE FOR WEEKS ARE PRODUCING STIMULUS INMOBILES CLEARING CELL GROUPS AND ENCOURAGING LAUGHS segregating TRANSMITTERS NEURO SLEEP WORK STRESS.
    THE VICTIM TO RESPOND TO INCENTIVES MAKING CHANGES LAST YEAR INCLUDING BIOLOGICAL NEURONAL SEPARATION OF AREAS FOR VARIOUS USES.
    September 16, 2013 at 11:31 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    wwwwwwwwwwwwwhttp://www.pgiorg.weebly.comwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww

    INCUBUS PROJECT – CIFI OR TRUE CNN.

    REMEMBER THE SMALLER TOWNS OF EU.

    AGENCIES IN THE AREA OF OPERATIONS BLACK, HAVE HUNDREDS AGENTS USING AGENTS IN ROOMS FOR HANDLING HUMAN SCIENTISTS WITH HARDWARE TECHNOLOGY WATCHING MONITORS 15 NEURO BRAIN ACTIVITY OF EACH SUBJECT.
    TECHNIQUE FOR WEEKS ARE PRODUCING STIMULUS INMOBILES CLEARING CELL GROUPS AND ENCOURAGING LAUGHS segregating TRANSMITTERS NEURO SLEEP WORK STRESS.
    THE VICTIM TO RESPOND TO INCENTIVES MAKING CHANGES LAST YEAR INCLUDING BIOLOGICAL NEURONAL SEPARATION OF AREAS FOR VARIOUS USES.
    September 16, 2013 at 11:31 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    wwwwwwwwwwwwwhttp://www.pgiorg.weebly.comwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww

    INCUBUS PROJECT – CIFI OR TRUE CNN.

    REMEMBER THE SMALLER TOWNS OF EU.

    AGENCIES IN THE AREA OF OPERATIONS BLACK, HAVE HUNDREDS AGENTS USING AGENTS IN ROOMS FOR HANDLING HUMAN SCIENTISTS WITH HARDWARE TECHNOLOGY WATCHING MONITORS 15 NEURO BRAIN ACTIVITY OF EACH SUBJECT.
    TECHNIQUE FOR WEEKS ARE PRODUCING STIMULUS INMOBILES CLEARING CELL GROUPS AND ENCOURAGING LAUGHS segregating TRANSMITTERS NEURO SLEEP WORK STRESS.
    THE VICTIM TO RESPOND TO INCENTIVES MAKING CHANGES LAST YEAR INCLUDING BIOLOGICAL NEURONAL SEPARATION OF AREAS FOR VARIOUS USES.
    September 16, 2013 at 11:31 pm | Report abuse | Reply
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    September 17, 2013 at 1:56 pm |
  6. Lionly Lamb

    Roses for mama

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=A0ELWgMp5Ik

    September 17, 2013 at 1:42 pm |
  7. Lionly Lamb

    Red Sovine Teddy Bear

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=5zoTLwrm9QE

    September 17, 2013 at 1:31 pm |
    • Lionly Lamb

      teddy bears last ride

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=8_fOaAXvxTE

      September 17, 2013 at 1:37 pm |
  8. Lionly Lamb

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LayaGk0TMDc&feature=player_embedded

    September 17, 2013 at 1:21 pm |
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      September 16, 2013 at 9:06 pm | Reply
      September 16, 2013 at 9:09 pm |

      September 17, 2013 at 1:44 pm |
  9. IdahoVol

    CNN do some research. Purpose Driven Church was publoishedin 1992. Purpose Driven life was published in 2000 something. Different books entirely.

    September 17, 2013 at 1:17 pm |
  10. Lionly Lamb

    Marijuana: Is It Biblical? Part 1 of 2 Is Cannabis a Sin?

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GOf80pU4QM4&feature=player_detailpage

    Marijuana: Is It Biblical? Part 2 of 2 Is Cannabis a Sin?

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QYpNjQTm-Xk&feature=player_detailpage

    September 17, 2013 at 1:01 pm |
    • Lionly Lamb

      Marijuana: Is It Biblical? Part 1 of 2 Is Cannabis a Sin?

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GOf80pU4QM4&feature=player_detailpage

      September 17, 2013 at 1:03 pm |
    • Lionly Lamb

      What these 2 videos fail miserably in is that there is a cannabis strain being produced nowadays that does not contained the psychoactive ingredient THC but in very miniscule quantities but has a high percentage of a non-psychoactive ingredient called CBD which is the medicinal property of the cannabis plant...

      September 17, 2013 at 1:17 pm |
  11. Check it out

    1 thing about him is not mentioned, he is a FREE MASON!

    September 17, 2013 at 12:55 pm |
    •  

      Godless Vagabond
      You mean he'll lay my bricks without charge?

      September 17, 2013 at 2:27 pm |
    • Dan

      Another fun fact is that he is a CON ARTIST!

      September 22, 2013 at 9:47 am |
  12. Lionly Lamb

    Such evangelical conservatives do voice their insolence bred social agendas with much dismay coming from the non-religious purveyors whose childishness lamenting offers little to the welfares encountering ordainments... Asking any of the Christendom worshippers, "Where do you say the kingdom of God is" and if they don't tell you scriptures exact whereabouts, then call them who answer wrongly stupid fools... If they tell you that their hand built churches are of God's kingdom then call them stupid idiots... For it is so written that the kingdom of God dwells inside us all and our bodies are all Godly built residences for the families of Godliness to live upon and within... To say differently is a dishonor to God and his indwelling generations...

    September 17, 2013 at 12:50 pm |
    • Rob

      And where within the body dost god dwell?

      September 17, 2013 at 1:00 pm |
      • Lionly Lamb

        Rob...

        The generations of God's passing do all live upon and within and inside our body's biologically atomized cellular mainframes... Their scalar differences apart from us will ever be...

        September 17, 2013 at 1:07 pm |
        • Rob

          I do give you credit for integrity and kindness. Please don't let me be wrong.

          September 17, 2013 at 1:18 pm |
        • Lionly Lamb

          Rob...

          May your journeys here upon the celestially terrestrial dimensions be fulfilling and of worthiness to your breeds creeds...

          September 17, 2013 at 1:27 pm |
    • Peter Tred

      OK

      September 17, 2013 at 1:34 pm |
    • Peter Tred

      You're a nut!

      September 17, 2013 at 1:35 pm |
  13. Rob

    I have two things to say: 1 – Religion causes or contributes to mental illness. 2 – The Warren son's behavior is admirable and even a hero for not turning his violence outside and killing others. I have sadness for the pain and confusion his life must have been for him, but much appreciation that he didn't use it as an excuse to hurt other people. He must have been a very strong individual. People like him have special things to offer us, but we just shut our eyes and turn our backs.

    September 17, 2013 at 12:42 pm |
    • Responding to the Pride

      " 1 – Religion causes or contributes to mental illness": Prove it. What a moronic statement that is. Billions and Billions of people have, over the course of human history, had religious beliefs–yet we go about or day (as we have for generations upon generations) without any signs of mental illness. So, again, prove your moronic statement.

      September 17, 2013 at 1:00 pm |
      • Rob

        I have eyes, your god blessed me with. I have ears, your god delivered upon me. I have experience, the hell from which religion comes had been caste upon me. I also have freedom of mind, that which was granted me by the physics of our physiology. The reality of the earth, sun, and moon. I need prove nothing, I know it to be true as surely as you are convinced I'm wrong.

        September 17, 2013 at 1:15 pm |
        • Responding to the Pride

          That is the dumbest thing I've ever read.

          September 17, 2013 at 1:49 pm |
        • Cletus Spuckler

          pridey, you ain't not red yor bibble?

          September 17, 2013 at 3:21 pm |
      • Joey

        I have to disagree, every time you set foot in a church that is a sign of mental illness as far as I'm concerned.

        September 17, 2013 at 1:22 pm |
        • Peter Tred

          And, you're the biggest nut of them all!

          September 17, 2013 at 1:36 pm |
    • Peter Tred

      You're an even bigger nut!

      September 17, 2013 at 1:35 pm |
  14. IslandAtheist

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lZz24qnzVis#t=13

    September 17, 2013 at 12:37 pm |
  15. I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

    It's a Rick Warren-apalooza on the Belief Blog.

    MEMO TO EVANGELICAL PASTORS

    If you want lots of coverage on CNN to push your agenda, agree to appear on Piers Morgan.

    Free publicity = more donations.

    Ka-ching!

    September 17, 2013 at 11:10 am |
    • katcot

      More donations? You mean to Saddleback Church? From which he receives no salary, no matter how many people donate? Yeah, he and his wife are exposing their pain in order to make lots of money...does that make any sense to you? It sure doesn't to me.

      September 18, 2013 at 1:17 am |
  16. Reality # 2

    And the sixth thing to know about the Warrens: They suffer from a severe case of the Three B Syndrome, i.e. Bred, Born and Brainwashed in religion and in their case the flaws in the history and theology of Christianity.

    September 17, 2013 at 10:50 am |
  17. Which God?

    Five things about Warren:
    5. He's a fraud.
    4. He's a fraud.
    3. He's a fraud.
    2. He's a fraud.
    1. he's a fraud.

    September 17, 2013 at 10:44 am |
    • humbleme33

      I am guessing the source of your information is yourself.

      September 17, 2013 at 3:27 pm |
  18. Truth

    And the Christophobes will be here to assassinate his character in 3...2...

    September 17, 2013 at 10:41 am |
    • doobzz

      And your persecution complex has already reared its ugly head, no overused, theatrical countdown needed.

      September 17, 2013 at 10:53 am |
    • Alias

      What you call assassinating, I call telling the truth.

      September 17, 2013 at 12:22 pm |
  19. Martin

    #5 is what I like the most about Pastor Rick.

    September 17, 2013 at 10:29 am |
    • Smith

      Ever heard of the Courthouse shooter-Brian Nichols? CNN was all over this story for days.

      His surrender was in part due to God's grace as shared in this now famous book 'Purpose driven life'

      September 17, 2013 at 10:34 am |
    • Daniel

      No. 3 & 5 is what we like most about the Pastor!

      September 17, 2013 at 10:43 am |
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About this blog

The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.