Rick Warren Challenges Mark Driscoll to Celebrity Boxing Match

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“I felt like I needed to swallow my pride and, well, be a fool for Christ,” Warren says.

Rick Warren, author of the bestselling book, The Purpose Driven Life, and pastor of Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, Calif., recently agreed to appear on NBC’s new summer show, Celebrity Match-Up, which pairs celebrities in the boxing ring for charity.

In an effort to reach the church market, NBC approached Warren last fall with the idea, but Warren quickly rejected the offer. NBC came back to Warren in late January promising to contribute $1.5 million to the charity of his choice in exchange for his appearance on the live season premiere in June.

It was an offer Warren couldn’t refuse. “I felt like I needed to swallow my pride and, well, be a fool for Christ,” Warren says. “Besides, it’s a little-known fact, but I was a golden glove champion in high school.”

Warren was given the freedom to select his opponent from a pool of influential pastors, including Joel Osteen, Tony Evans, Charles Stanley, John MacArthur, Mark Driscoll and others. For Warren, the choice was easy. “I think Mark is all talk,” Warren told MSN. “I think I can take him.” 

Mark Driscoll, the lead pastor of Mars Hill Church in Seattle, Wash., and bestselling author, agreed to the match up with the purpose-driven pugilist.  “It won’t go two rounds,” Driscoll told the Washington Post. “I’m all for church unity, but once I step foot in the octagon — I mean, ring — he’s gonna wish he never left Lake Forest. He should have picked someone skinny like Osteen, but he chose a beefy hipster with anger issues,” Driscoll said, smiling. 

Driscoll will reportedly receive $75,000 to go to the charity of his choice. It’s not public which charity Warren or Driscoll will represent in their celebrity boxing match; both are still deciding. 

To prepare for the match, both contenders will be trained by professionals for a three-week boot camp before the season premiere. Warren will be training in L.A. with Floyd Mayweather, a five-division world champion who has won eight world titles. Driscoll will train in Seattle with Nonito Donaire, ranked No. 5 on ESPN’s “best pound-for-pound fighters on the planet” list. 

There’s also a surprising twist to the story. You could call it the knockout punch. Read more here.    

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  • humbleservant


    • austin

      u guys got me. i fell for this one.

  • http://www.lessonsofadad.com/ Lessons Of A Dad


  • http://www.facebook.com/neilhoodwatson Neil Watson

    Has to be an April Fool! :o)

  • Guest

    This surely isn’t serious?! Of course, with Mr Warren, anything is possible!

  • http://www.facebook.com/wilson.morales.988 Wilson Morales

    I love this…. especially the link at end!!! ROFL!!!

    • http://www.facebook.com/adewale.odunlami Ade Odunlami

      lol…I fell for that link too

  • Simon Peter

    You can’t fool a fool.

  • http://twitter.com/karyoberbrunner Kary Oberbrunner

    I remember your Francis Chan one last year. :) I was ready for the Fool this year. Loved it.

    • mjorme

      You’re sharp, Kary. That was two years ago, but you still remembered :)

  • Scott McCracken

    Fell for it!

  • Tracy Moore

    Not this year!!! Ha ha.

  • Heather

    I TOTALLY FELL FOR THIS!!!! I was pretty excited actually to see them go at it! Oh well…good one!

  • peterhamm

    What a wonderful day April 1 is…

  • Samuel

    Lol …this is definitely funny! Oh how good it is for brethren to dwell together in “unity”.

    I am glad both Pastor Driscoll and Warren are able to engage in some “holy entertainment”. Yeah, a great way to show the world that Christians can, do, and will engage in any worthwhile fun activity.

  • Samuel

    LOL LOL LOL, did not click on link at bottom of page … I was fooled!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Ben Emmons

    OBVIOUSLY April Fools day because we all know he would have picked Osteen!!!

  • http://www.facebook.com/MinieMeekeer Minie Garcia Meeker

    Lol! I could not believe you’d subject yourself to a boxing natch. Dr. Amen will be livid. Glad I read the rest of the story. Happy April Fool’s Day!

  • http://www.churchaccomplished.com/ Dave

    Best story of the day!

  • HunterPreacher

    I’m sooo glad this was April fools joke. Good job….but in this day where some leaders do the strangest things….I was praying that this was an April fools joke. Well played, well played

  • Queen

    Warren needs to make up his mind and heart who he will serve . The loving God or alliah there is no christlam can’t serve both .
    Every knee shall bow and every young shall confess that Jesus Christ is Lord.
    I am praying for him. The Word is the Word it can’t be changed

    • Amy

      It’s a joke…lighten up!

    • Muhammad

      Your April fools joke isn’t as funny as the article.

    • Muhammad

      Your April Fool’s joke isn’t as funny as the article.

  • http://www.facebook.com/drmecarter Michael Carter

    Got me with this one lol. I was trying to figure out why Warren was going to Get more mey then Driscoll.

  • Jim

    Got me… With the advent of so much reality TV lately my mind just sort of believed it.. I was thinking just how “out of touch” Rick was in selecting Mark as an opponet. Mark would have cleaned his clocked in seconds, theologically as well as physically… Kinda of sad it isnt real…

  • Margie Salzman

    Honestly, I held my breath as I read this… then as I read on I laughed out loud…. we need more laughs as Christians… we need to enjoy the sense of humor that God gave us… keep the laughs coming!!!

  • http://fiercemarriage.com/ Ryan Frederick

    I wish…

  • Mike Boardley

    Is it wrong to wish this wasn’t fake?

    • Billy Tang

      I was also conflicted while reading this, being an ex-boxer, I was excited but then aghast. Gotta love April Fools.

    • http://www.facebook.com/jonathonwwilliams John Williams

      Me too dude, me too!

    • Con (Adelaide South Australia)

      I thought it was real> whats wrong with men of God having a punch up for charity.
      Unfortunately Christians are seen as pussys and weak and uncompetetive so a friendly fight with a bit of righteous indignation is a great idea in my mind.
      I would have loved to see it and see what both these guys are made of.

      too often we grow fat and middle age nominalism takes over… bring on a real fight!
      think outside the square… think of how much more money could have gone to the mission field if the bookies got involved too!

      Luke 16 (the shrewd manager) would have done something like this!

  • http://www.facebook.com/janiedjs Jane Stadlman

    I don’t why I fell for this one. HaHa jokes on me. I was getting really excited until I remembered it’s April 1st. Thanks Pastor Mark. You pulled off a good one.

  • david

    must be april’s fools…they are both NOT celebrities!!

  • Wes Crockett

    That’s too bad. I’d love it if Driscoll gave Warren a need to re-read his own book.

  • Adam

    I would have LOVED to see this happen. Can we make it happen???

  • Adam

    Can we have Driscoll fight John Piper?

  • Jun Baday

    You got me. haha.

  • Jun Baday

    but my rooster is Mark Driscoll for he just a better training camp for I am a Filipino anyway.hahaha

    • Jun Baday

      sorry, “he choose a better training camp” i should say

  • andrew kramer

    thought this was a chriastian website

  • alan

    I want to see it happen!

  • Ben from Australia

    I love that they think it’d take $1.5million for Rick Warren to do it, but Mark Driscoll would do it for $75grand!

  • Ruby Red

    It was the phrase “purpose-driven pugilism” that gave it away!!

  • Nancy511

    Well done! In the immortal words of Sheldon, “BAZINGA!”

  • Jeff

    Maybe they can team up and take on Westboro Baptists preacher!

  • http://www.facebook.com/jonathonwwilliams John Williams

    I would’ve chose Osteen. Even though he’s from Texas, he’s a little girlie and his wife is the one who wears the pants in that family.

  • colourfulchaos

    Haha you guys got me! :)
    If only it were real…that would make things pretty interesting ha

  • amos8

    Now that it is no longer April 1st does it make this article true?

  • http://www.facebook.com/brian.pickett.355 Brian Pickett

    Driscoll in 2!
    If it was against Osteen.. Well..
    His church would need a new pastor

  • Dave

    For those of you who doubt Pastor Rick’s ability to hold his own, you need to think again! He is no lightweight wimp. And it would be like him to take on a challenge rather than seek an easy opponent. I also think he would take a few punches for the right charity!

  • The dude

    Maybe you knock some sense into Rick

  • Anne P

    Lol. Got me too..soo funny

  • edwf

    what about a charity run, followed by inter-church community action and gospel outreach?

  • Karl Ingersoll

    Not funny in my humorless opinion … far too close to possibility