Pastor Rick Warren stood by his opposition to same sex marriage in our conversation this week, saying that he does not believe the church should conform to accept growing support for same sex marriage.
"History shows that when the church accommodates culture, it weakens it," Warren said.
"If I'm unpopular for certain beliefs, well, then I'm unpopular for certain beliefs," he added. "And to me, the Bible is very clear that sex is for a man and a woman in marriage only."
TAPPER: You oppose same sex marriage. ABC News in a recent poll found that 52 percent of the American people now support same sex marriage. That's definitely the direction that public opinion is going. Do you think there will come a time when Saddleback Church needs to adjust its position on same sex marriage in the same way that churches have throughout the years adjusted their positions. For instance, on divorce. Divorce used to be, you know, if you got divorced, you were persona non grata.
WARREN: I think divorce is a much bigger problem. I do. I think it has caused far more families grief than other problems. But you know what, it's funny, every interview I do I get asked this question as if a Christian pastor is going to change his mind. I serve a higher power, Jesus Christ. I make no apologies in saying that.
WARREN: And so I believe what Jesus says about the Bible - and he says the Bible is the word of God. Well, if the Bible is the word of God, then I don't have the right to change it. Policies come and go over the years. And so if I'm unpopular for certain beliefs, well, then I'm unpopular for certain beliefs. And to me, the Bible is very clear that sex is for a man and a woman in marriage only.
WARREN: That makes me extremely unpopular. Why? Because I don't believe in premarital sex. I believe sex is only for marriage, between a man and a woman, and it has a purpose there. Why? Because I believe the Bible. Why would anybody expect a Christian pastor to believe anything else?
TAPPER: I didn't ask you if you'd change your mind. But certainly your church has members who have engaged in premarital sex.
WARREN: Oh, of course.
TAPPER: And I'm wondering if you think the church, in order to continue to thrive, might have to adjust its policy on same sex marriage?
WARREN: Actually, history shows that when the church accommodates culture, it weakens it. This is why there is a very weak church in Europe today. It's almost non-existent in many areas.
TAPPER: When President Obama spoke here at Saddleback, he said that he opposed same sex marriage. He thought marriage was between one man and one woman. He has since said that he's evolving on this issue. I think a lot of people in Washington think that President Obama after November will come out in favor of same sex marriage, whether he is a second-term president or an ex-president. Are you concerned at all about what his position might be in 2013 on this issue?
WARREN: I can't control what other people believe. I just know what the Bible says.