Christian Retailing

Christian products industry supports Warren family after son's suicide Print Email
Written by Eric Tiansay   
Monday, 08 April 2013 10:16 AM America/New_York

Rick and Kay Warren are mourning the tragic death on Friday, April 5, of their youngest son, Matthew, 27.

"Only those closest knew that he [Matthew] struggled from birth with mental illness, dark holes of depression and even suicidal thoughts," Warren, pastor of Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, Calif., and best-selling author of The Purpose Driven Life (Zondervan), wrote in an email to his staff.

"In spite of America's best doctors, meds, counselors and prayers for healing, the torture of mental illness never subsided," he added. "After a fun evening together with Kay and me, in a momentary wave of despair at his home, he took his life. ... We need your prayer for us. No words can express the anguished grief we feel right now."

Prayers and condolences are flooding into Warren's Facebook page.

"I too have had a son die, so I have a sense of the pain Rick and Kay are facing," said

Greg Laurie, pastor of Harvest Christian Fellowship in Riverside, Calif. "But their circumstances are different and my heart goes out to them. At times like these, there really are no words, but there is the Word. There is no manual, but there is Emmanuel. God is with us."

Zondervan has published books by the Warrens and other family members for nearly 20 years.

"In this dark moment, we pray that Rick, Kay, their family and the congregation of Saddleback will each experience the assurance and comfort of Psalm 23:4, 'Even though I walk through the darkest valley ... you are with me,' " said Stan Gundry, Zondervan's senior vice president and editor in chief.

Mark Schoenwald, president and CEO of HarperCollins Christian Publishing, Zondervan's parent company, added: "We are all grieving for their loss and cannot imagine their pain. Rick and Kay have taught so many about the redeeming power of Jesus and in that, we pray their family will find peace."

Bill Nielsen, chief operating officer of Berean Christian Stores, told Christian Retailing that he has urged the chain in intercessory prayer for the Warrens.

"We have already asked the entire Berean family to be in prayer for the Warren family and for Rick's ongoing ministry," he said. "I have also reach out to all of my blog followers on and asked them to be in prayer as well."