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Rick Warren Says he Forgives Illegal Gun Dealer for Youngest Son’s Suicide

By Dan Wooding, Founder of ASSIST Ministries, April 12, 2013

LAKE FOREST, CA (ANS) – Pastor Rick Warren, the author of the best-selling book, “The Purpose Driven Life,” and senior pastor of Saddleback Valley Community Church in Lake Forest, California, has revealed that his youngest son, Matthew Warren, 27, died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound, after he had purchased an unregistered gun online.

Matthew Warren

“Someone on the Internet sold Matthew an unregistered gun,” Pastor Rick Warren tweeted on Thursday to his nearly one million followers. “I pray he seeks God’s forgiveness. I forgive him.”

Warren then linked to Matthew 6: 15, which says, “But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.” – NIV.

Matthew Warren was found dead in his home in Mission Viejo, California, last Friday. A sheriff’s spokesman said the death occurred about 10 a.m., and the department was notified about 5:30 that day.

However, the death was not publicly revealed until the following day, when Warren issued an emotional statement to church members saying that his son had struggled with mental illness for many years.

Warren said, “In spite of America’s best doctors, meds, counselors, and prayers for healing, the torture of mental illness never subsided. Today, after a fun evening together with Kay and me, in a momentary wave of despair at his home, he took his life.”

Kay and Rick Warren
(Photo: Dan Wooding)

According to media reports, the Orange County sheriff’s department has struggled to determine where the gun came from, The Associated Press reported. It is practically impossible to trace, sheriff’s spokesman Jim Amormino said.

“We can’t tell if it’s registered or not because the serial number is scratched off,” Amormino said. “At one point in time, it may have been, but it’s going to be impossible to find out.”

Background checks are required on all gun purchases in California, and defacing or altering a gun’s serial number is a federal crime.

The Orange County sheriff’s department was called to Matthew Warren’s home last Friday afternoon. They found him dead of an apparent suicide by gunshot, estimated to have been fired seven hours earlier.

Rick Warren described his son as “an incredibly kind, gentle and compassionate young man whose sweet spirit was encouragement and comfort to many. Unfortunately, he also suffered from mental illness resulting in deep depression and suicidal thoughts.”

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, suicides accounted for 19,392 of the more than 31,000 gun-related deaths in 2010.


Dan Wooding, 72, who was born in Nigeria of British missionary parents, is an award winning British journalist now living in Southern California with his wife Norma, to whom he has been married for 49 years. They have two sons, Andrew and Peter, and six grandchildren who all live in the UK. He is the founder and international director of ASSIST (Aid to Special Saints in Strategic Times) and the ASSIST News Service (ANS) and he hosts the weekly “Front Page Radio” show on the KWVE Radio Network in Southern California and which is also carried throughout the United States and around the world. Besides this, Wooding is a host for His Channel Live, which is carried via the Internet to some 192 countries. Dan recently received two top media awards — the “Passion for the Persecuted” award from Open Doors US, and as one of the top “Newsmakers of 2011” from Plain Truth magazine. He is the author of some 45 books, the latest of which is “Caped Crusader: Rick Wakeman in the 1970s.” To order a copy, go to: Caped Crusader – Amazon

** You may republish this story with proper attribution.

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