By Merv Tucker
Rick Warren is the pastor of Saddleback Church in California , and the writer of The Purpose DrivenÂ® Church and The Purpose Driven Â® Life series of best selling books. With The Purpose DrivenÂ® Church Rick Warren targeted pastors and church leaders, now with the release of The Purpose DrivenÂ® Life ; he turns his attention to laypeople. Since its release in 2002, literally thousands of churches have either used or are using this book in a campaign called ’40 Days of Purpose’.
Rick Warren may well be a very sincere Christian pastor and his book does have some practical truths for believers today. However, even though the book has some very positive aspects, the fact that this book is promoted as a spiritual journey, it must be looked at carefully.
Any error should be exposed by the light of scripture. Rick Warren does a lot of what bible scholars call ‘proof texting’, that means he often takes scripture out of context to back up his point or to sound persuasive.
In appendix 3 at the rear of the book, Rick Warren explains his use of 15 different translations. He states ‘no matter how wonderful a translation is, it has its limitation’. This may be true, but to use 15 different translations, many of them paraphrases and free translations is not good scholarship practice. It can be helpful to read verses in many different versions, but when using paraphrases and free translations, the original meaning of the text can be lost.
Please do not misunderstand me, free translations such as The Message, or paraphrases such as The Living Bible or The New Living Bible, may have their place, but only if they hold to the meaning of the original text . As you will see, some of these do not. When doing serious study, it is a better practice to choose two or three reliable versions and go with them. If a verse is a little hard to understand, then give some explanation to shed some light, after all, that is what good exegesis is.
Rick Warren also states at the bottom of appendix 3 ‘I haven’t always quoted the entire verse, but rather focused on the phrase that was appropriate. My model for this is Jesus and how He and the Apostles quoted the Old Testament’.
However, Jesus and the Apostles did not take those portions of scripture out of context when they quoted the Old Testament, something Rick Warren needs to take note of.
Let us now look at the book itself.
Rick Warren states on (page 9) “Whenever God wanted to prepare someone for his purposes, he took 40 days;
- Noah’s life was transformed by 40 days of rain.
- Moses was transformed by 40 days on Mount Sinai .
- The spies were transformed by 40 days in the Promised Land.
- David was transformed by Goliath’s 40 days of challenge.
- Elijah was transformed when God gave him 40 days of strength from a single meal.
- The entire city of Nineveh was transformed when God gave the people 40 days to change.
- Jesus was empowered by 40 days in the wilderness.
- The disciples were transformed by 40 days with Jesus after the resurrection.”
This is a misrepresentation of scripture. The bible does not teach as Rich Warren suggests that whenever God wanted to use someone he took 40 days.
- “Noah was a righteous man, blameless among the people of his time, and he walked with God.” Genesis 6:9 the 40 days of rain was not at all to transform Noah, as Rick Warren wrongly suggests. Noah was already prepared when the rains came; he had spent approximately 100 years building the ark and was a preacher of righteousness. “If he (God) did not spare the ancient world when he bought the flood on its ungodly people, but protected Noah, a preacher of righteousness and seven others.” ( 2 Peter 2:5)
The 40 days of rain was God’s judgement on a wicked and violent human race not a time of preparation or transformation for Noah. ” The Lord saw how great man’s wickedness on the earth had become, and that every inclination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil all the time. The Lord was grieved that he had made man on the earth and his heart was filled with pain. So the Lord said,” I will wipe mankind, whom I have created, from the face of the earth-men and animals, and creatures that move along the ground, and birds of the air-for I am grieved that I have made them.” But Noah found favour in the eyes of the Lord. This is the account of Noah. Noah was a righteous man, blameless among the people of his time, and he walked with God . Noah had three sons: Shem, Ham and Japheth. Now the earth was corrupt in Gods sight and was full of violence. God saw how corrupt the earth had become, for all the people of the earth had corrupted their ways. So God said ” I am going to put an end to all the people, for the earth is filled the violence because of them. I am surely going to destroy both them and the earth.” ( Genesis 6:5-13 ) (Emphasis added)
- Moses was not called up onto Mt Sinai to be transformed as Rick Warren states. Moses had been changed from the wilful young Hebrew who had left a man buried in the sands of Egypt by 40 years shepherding his father-in-laws sheep. Moses knew while he was still in Egypt that God was calling him to rescue his people, but they did not. “Moses thought that his own people would realise that God was using him to rescue them, but they did not.” ( Act 7:23-25 ) The problem was that Moses like so many churches today was trying to do things in his own strength. Amazing what 40 years in the wilderness alone with God can do to a man.
When was Moses ready for what God had called him to?
When he encountered God at the burning bush. This is clear from what God said to Moses at that time, “so now , go. I am sending you to Pharaoh to bring my people the Israelites out of Egypt .” ( Exodus 3:10 ) Note Moses response in ( verse 1)1
But Moses said to God ” Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the Israelites out of Egypt ?” (Exodus 3:11) Wow! The brash wilful young Moses is gone, now God has a man he can use and send, indeed the humble man, “more humble than anyone else on the face of the earth” . ( Numbers 12:3)
Moses did not go up on to Mount Sinai to be transformed by God, scripture makes it clear that he went up to receive the law, and in obedience to God. The Lord said to Moses ” Come up to me on the mountain and stay here, and I will give you the tablets of stone, with the law and commandments I have written for their instruction.” (Exodus 24:12) Was Moses on the mountain 40 days and 40 nights? Yes! But not for transformation, it has much, much more to do with understanding God’s command to “come up to me” (verse 12)
- Rick Warren also states “The spies were transformed by 40 days in the promised land.” Yes they were! Ten came back and gave a bad report to the people they were faithless; this report in turn turned the people away from God in disobedience. Only two, Joshua and Caleb, remained faithful. Infact Numbers states “But because my servant Caleb has a different spirit and follows me wholeheartedly, I will bring him into the land he went to, and his decedents will inherit it.” (Numbers 14:24 ). The 40 days the spies took in the land ended up being incredibly costly for the 10 who spread the bad report because they were struck down by a plague and died “These men responsible for spreading a bad report about the land were struck down and died of a plague before the Lord ( verse 3 7) . And Israel spent one year for each day the spies had been away wondering in the desert “For forty years-one year for each of the days you explored the land-you will suffer for your sins and know what it is like to have me against you.” ( verse 34)
- Rick Warren’s assertion that David was transformed by Goliath’s 40 days of challenge is also wide of the mark.
If Mr Warren had placed this in its scriptural context, he would have found that David was sent by his father to take supplies to his older brothers who were with King Saul and the armies of Israel . David did not arrive until the last day of Goliath’s taunting and challenging Israel . He did not even know about it before that. On his arrival at the battle lines, he was filled with indignation that this uncircumcised Philistine should defy the armies of the living God.
David was not transformed by these 40 days of taunting from Goliath. David was a man after God’s own heart. In fact, we find that from the day Samuel anointed David to be King the Spirit of the Lord came upon him in power. ” So Samuel took the horn of oil and anointed him in the presence of his brothers, and from that day on the Spirit of the Lord came upon David in power. Samuel then went to Ramah. ( 1 Samuel 16:13 )
- We are then led to believe that Elijah was transformed when God gave him a single meal that gave him strength for 40 days. I do not doubt for one second that God can give strength for 40 days from one meal, or 80 days for that matter, but that is not what this passage is about.
When Elijah arrived at Horeb he went into a cave for the night. The word of the Lord came to Elijah, ” What are you doing here Elijah?” This question was intended to reveal the thoughts and feelings hidden in Elijah’s heart. Elijah answered, ” I have been very zealous for the Lord God Almighty. The Israelites have rejected your covenant, broken down your alters, and put your prophets to death with the sword. I am the only one left, and now they are trying to kill me too.” (1 Kings 19:10 ) Elijah’s words, filled with despair, but also a sense of vengeance that the Almighty should immediately punish the idolaters. Because Elijah had not seen the results for his zeal, he thought all was lost. Poor Elijah wanted to reform things by tempest, which is not the gentle way God sometimes pursues in His grace.
When bought to understand these things during his encounter with God, then he could go back the way he came as instructed by God. This was not about a meal that lasted 40 days. The meal and the 40 days walk did nothing to change Elijah’s condition
I have been considering this passage for some time; it is so rich with meaning. There is so much in this passage, please go and read it for yourself. ( 1 Kings 19)
- The entire city of Nineveh was changed when Jonah went through the city telling them that God was going to send judgement on the city in 40 days and completely destroy the city. This again is about God’s judgement, and the fact that a city repented of its sin in sackcloth and ashes and therefore received God’s grace for a time. When God saw that they did (repent) and how they turned from their evil ways, he had compassion and did not bring upon them the destruction he had threatened. (Jonah 3:10) We know that later on Nineveh was infact destroyed by God because of its wickedness.
- Rick Warren also contends that Jesus was empowered by his 40 days in the wilderness. This again is a manipulation of the text. In fact, scripture in three of the four gospels makes it very clear that the Holy Spirit descended in bodily form at Jesus’ baptism. John’s gospel tells us that John the Baptist saw the Spirit come down and remain on Him and that by this happening; John was able to know who Jesus was. “Then John gave this testimony: “I saw the Spirit come down from heaven as a dove and remain on him. I would not have known him, except that the one who sent me to baptize with water told me, ‘The man on whom you see the Spirit come down and remain is he who will baptize with the Holy Spirit.’ I have seen and I testify that this is the Son of God.” ( John 1:32-34)
Jesus was empowered at His baptism by the Holy Spirit, not after 40 days in the wilderness, which was a time of trial and testing ordained by the Father, directed by the Spirit and fulfilled by the Son. Luke’s account does state ” Jesus returned to Galilee in the power of the Spirit” (Luke 4:14 ) However this is not proof that Jesus was empowered by his time in the wilderness. But it is proof that he was empowered by the Holy Spirit, and when did the Spirit come upon him? At his baptism.
- Rick Warren would then have us believe that the disciples were transformed by 40 days with Jesus after the resurrection. Again there is no biblical evidence for this. It was infact at the day of Pentecost that the disciples were transformed from scared, frightened men into bold preachers of the word. It was the coming of the Holy Spirit that transformed them. “Stay in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high.” (Luke 24:49) And “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you.” (Acts 1:8)
The bible does not teach that God will take 40 days to prepare people for his use. This is a manipulation of scripture to convince the reader of the importance of this book.
The number 40 is very significant in scripture; it is ultimately linked to trials, testing and judgement.
The 40 days of rain at the flood was judgement.
The 40 years for Moses in the wilderness was testing, training and humbling.
The 40 days of taunting by Goliath was about trial and testing for Israel .
The 40 years in the wilderness for Israel was to do with testing and judgement.
The 40 days on Mt Sinai for Moses to receive the law was also about testing for the people, and would they remain faithful to God while Moses was gone, and they didn’t, so God passed judgement.
Rick Warren states (page 22) “Your parents may not have planned you, but God did.”
In a world today where many, many thousands of babies are born outside of marriage, the above statement is to directly attribute those births to Gods plan, so therefore God is responsible for the sin in which they were conceived. God did not plan for children to be born outside of marriage. Those births are a result of sin, not God’s planning.
Rick Warren takes the passage from Psalm 138:8a (“The Lord will fulfill his purpose for me.”)NIV, out of its context to back up his thoughts for the day.
He starts out by building a framework of God planning you, not being surprised by your birth, and then he states ‘You are alive because God wanted to create you’. To then link that to Psalm 138:8 is incorrect. This part of the psalm is about God delivering David from his enemies “Though I walk in the midst of trouble you preserve my life, you stretch out your hand against the anger of my foes, with your right hand you save me. : ( verse 7)
Rick Warren takes only the first half of (verse eight) and in doing so misrepresents the original context of the verse which ends with David asking “.your love, O Lord, endures forever-do not abandon the works of your hands.” Rick Warren could not use this part of ( verse eight) as it would not fit with his thesis. (Verse eight) must be linked with (Verse 7).
Again on (page 23) he stresses that even though some children are conceived in sin they are still planned by God. That cannot be. God does not plan sin or have a hand in it. God’s will is for children to be born within the framework of marriage, but when they are not, God’s love is toward them as it is towards all people. Does God know them before they are born? Yes. Does He knit them together in their mother’s womb? Yes. Does He plan illegitimate children? NO. They are a result of sin.
Rick Warren carries his theme on in (page 24). He states ‘God’s motive for creating you was His love.’ And yes, that statement is partially correct, however he then quotes “Long before he laid down earth’s foundations, he had us in mind, had settled on us as the focus of his love.” ( Ephesians 1:4a Msg) as his proof text, a blatant misuse of scripture. Again he uses only half the verse and even then quotes it completely out of context.
This verse is about God’s sovereign election of those who believe, it is addressed to believers. The word ‘chose’ in Greek is ‘eklegomai’ which means ‘to pick out, to choose’. It is a definitive statement about God’s elective grace concerning believers in Christ, and had it been put in its rightful context, we would see that that election is to be holy and blameless. It is not a verse as Rick Warren would lead us to believe about God choosing to create any and all human kind, because He loves us.
On (page 25) Rick Warren quotes “I have carried you since you were born; I have taken care of you since your birth. Even when you are old, I will be the same. Even when your hair has turned gray, I will take care of you. I made you and will take care of you.”( Isaiah 46:3-4 NCV) but first he makes the comment, ‘There is perfect love in the fellowship of the Trinity, so God didn’t need to create you. He wasn’t lonely. But he wanted to make you in order to express His love’. The verse is then quoted, again completely out of context to what he is saying, this verse is not about God creating individual human beings to express His love, yet again he deliberately drops the first part of ( verse 3) which clearly states ” List en to me, O house of Jacob; all you who remain of the house of Israel you whom I upheld..” This is about Israel and Jacob. What’s more Rick Warren leaves out the ‘a’ in the references at the back of the book showing that the first part of the verse is not quoted, again a misrepresentation as most people would not look the actual verse up. If this was not a deliberate deception, why does Rick Warren use the ‘a’ ‘b’ system sometimes and not others? It must be to hide the fact that the verse is taken out of context. Why else would one do this?
Under the heading ‘Many People Are Driven By The Need For Approval’. Rick Warren writes, trying to earn others approval, including friends, parents and teachers. He then makes the following statement ‘I don’t know all the keys to success, but one of the keys to failure is to try to please everyone. Being controlled by the opinions of others is a guaranteed way to miss God’s purpose for your life. Jesus said ” No one can serve two masters .”‘ Although the thoughts Rick Warren is expressing may be good and sound, he has again taken scripture out of context to give foundation to his thoughts.
This verse found in Matthew 6:24 is part of the passage known as the ‘Sermon on the Mount’, and this particular verse is in the middle of Jesus speaking about storing up treasure in heaven, and not on earth, because where your treasure is there your heart will be also. Jesus also states “No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money.” (verse 24)
These verses have nothing to do with trying to win others approval. Yet again, Rick Warren takes the beginning of the verse, does not quote the whole verse, but in the notes at the back of the book makes it appear that he has given the reader the entire verse. In fact to put ( verse 24) into any sort of context at all, the least one must do, is to read ( verses 19-34). Since ( verse 25) starts with the word ‘ therefore ‘ it is related to the verses above and is a continuation of thought and speech by Jesus.
To take the first part of ( verse 24) and relate it to trying to please others, trying to get others approval, shows incredibly poor exegesis.
At the bottom of page 31 is a quote from ( Proverbs 13:7) in ‘The Message’ version, which completely misses the meaning of the original text.
‘The Message’ reads ” A pretentious showy life is an empty life; a plain simple life is full of life .”
The LITV reads ” There are those who act rich, yet have nothing at all; and those who act poor, yet have great wealth.”
The NIV reads. “One man pretends to be rich, yet has nothing; another pretends to be poor, yet has great wealth..”
As you can see, ‘The Message’ leaves much to be desired with this verse.
We have the same problem on day 1 (page 19), again the Message version is misleading in its translation of ( Matthew 16:25 ) . It reads, “Self-help is no help at all. Self-sacrifice is the way, my way, to finding yourself, your true self.”
The ASV reads “For whosoever would save his life shall lose it: and whosoever shall lose his life for my sake shall find it.”
While the NIV reads “For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will find it.”
Under the subheading of ‘Life Is A Test’ Rick Warren uses the illustration of King Hezekiah (page 43). He quotes “God withdrew from Hezekiah in order to test him and to see what was in his heart.” (2 Chronicles 32:31) The Hebrew word for ‘test’ in this case is – (‘nasa’ to test, to prove character or faithfulness) and in this case is a correct application of this verse. However, on the next page (page 44), still under the same subheading, Rick Warren states ‘the good news is that God wants us to pass these tests of life, so he never allows the tests you face to be greater than the grace he gives you to handle them;. He then quotes from the ‘Today’s English Version’, “God keeps his promise, and he will never allow you to be tested beyond your power to remain firm; at the time you are put to the test, he will give you the strength to endure it, and so provide you with a way out.” (1Corinthians 10:13 ) The problem here is that the word translated ‘test’ in the Today’s English Version is incorrect, the original Greek is “peirasmos” which literal means ‘temptation’. This verse is not about being tested by God as Hezekiah was in ( 2 Chronicles) , this passage from ( 1 Corinthians) is about being tempted to do evil or to sin. To link these two verses under the premise that God will sometimes test us, as Rick Warren does in this lesson, is completely wrong.
There are two very different things happening in these two verses. One is testing and the other is tempting. God may be responsible if we are tested, as seen with Hezekiah, but he most certainly is not involved in any way if we are tempted. James 1:13-14 states ” when tempted, no one should say God is tempting me. For God cannot be tempted by evil , nor does he tempt anyone ; but each one is tempted when, by his own evil desire , he is dragged away and enticed “. NIV (emphasis added)
To take this verse in ( 1 Corinthians 10:13) and place it in the context of testing that Rick Warren has is taking it out of its context in regard to being tempted. Further more, on Day 27 (page 209), Rick Warren uses this same verse in relation to tempting, under the heading ‘Defeating Temptation’ but now he uses a different translation to make the verse say what he wants on this day. The translation he uses this time is the New Living Translation, because it uses the word temptation (which is correct) in place of the word tested . This is deliberate manipulation of scripture for his own ends.
Rick Warren then states as a new sub heading, ‘Life Is A Trust’. He then says at the bottom of (page 44) ‘the first job God gave humans was to take care of Gods ‘stuff’ on earth. This role has never been rescinded. It is a part of our purpose today. Everything we enjoy is to be treated as a trust that God has placed in our hands.. He then gives the reference ( 1 Corinthians 4:7b). Rick Warren is quite correct, mankind is responsible for looking after the earth, and the scripture he gives to back this up is correct ( Genesis 1:28 ). However the passage from ( 1 Corinthians 4:7b) which he uses to add weight to his thesis, has nothing to do with what Rick Warren is discussing in this lesson for Day 5. Again he has taken this verse out of context to give weight to his thoughts.
This verse in ( 1 Corinthians) is part of a gentle caution or reprimand by Paul against pride and self conceit. This passage is directed to the members of the Corinthians Church who were boasting about under who they were converted and baptised, while Paul would rather have them consider that whatever difference there was between them was from God not from man, and that if they had received or enjoyed some benefit under their respective ministers, (apostles) then they had received it from God, therefore they should not be puffed up with pride. Actually it is a continuation of Paul’s theme in ( chapter 1:11 -17) where some were saying ” I follow Paul”; another “I follow Apollos;” another, “I follow Cephas;” still another “I follow Christ”; (verse 12). The rest of this passage I will leave for you to read for yourself. (Verses 13-17)
Paul is not talking about our responsibility to take care of God’s “stuff” (page 44), Paul is dealing with what the Corinthians had received from God through the Apostles, their salvation, and their misplaced pride regarding that salvation.
This day presents us with a particularly unbiblical teaching regarding salvation. Rick Warren’s version of the gospel as stated on (page 58) is deeply troubling. Days 1 through 6 seem to build up to Day 7, when supposedly non believers reading the book are ready to invite Jesus into their hearts. He then gives them a prayer to pray to ‘receive salvation’, here is that prayer “Jesus, I believe in you, and I receive you”. Then he adds ‘If you sincerely meant that prayer, congratulations! Welcome to the family of God!” I don’t know about you but my heart grieves at this false gospel that is infact no gospel at all!
Where is REPENTANCE? Jesus the greatest gospel preacher of all came preaching repentance. ( Matthew 4:17). Peter preached repentance . (Acts 2:38 ). Paul preached repentance. ( Acts 20:21 ).
Where is CONFESSION OF SIN? (1 John 1:9)
Where is THE CROSS? (1 Corinthians 2:2)
Where is the CRUSIFIED SON OF GOD? (Acts 2:36 )
Where is the BLOOD THAT CLENSES US FROM SIN? (1 Peter 1:18-19; Revelation 1:5)
Where is THE RISEN SAVIOUR? (2 Timothy 2:8: Luke 24:6)
Infact from day one these things do not get a mention in anyway that relates to what Christ has done for us.
This is incredibly sad ‘seeker friendly deception’. I read a quote by James McDonald recently, it was his response to the “seeker friendly” movement, I really like his comment, ‘The seeker movement, subtitled: How to Fill Your Church with Tares.’
There is more truth in that statement, than in Rick Warren’s entire non gospel. And the thing that is even sadder than Rick Warren’s non gospel, is that thousands of pastors and elders are presenting this book to their congregations as something of value.
One does not need to look too far to encounter problems with Rick Warren’s exegesis yet again. Under the sub heading ‘Bringing Pleasure To God Is Called Worship’, he gives four words only from ( John 4:23 ). He states (page 64) ‘the reason God made us with this desire is that he desires worshipers! Jesus said ” The father seeks worshipers “. This is a misrepresentation of scripture, not only has he taken this completely out of context, but he has also mutilated the verse to suit his own ends. At the rear of the book in the end notes where the scripture references are listed there is no indication as to which version has been used. I wonder why? I have in my resources 23 different bible versions, including Greek Interlinear and Greek New Testaments from the original manuscripts, I checked them all and not one of them has ‘The father seeks worshipers’ in any part of ( verse 23) or anywhere else..
This passage is about worshiping God in spirit and in truth that is the kind of worshipper God is looking for. Rick Warren misrepresents the whole theme of this passage.
On (page 65) he makes the statement ‘God loves all kinds of music because he invented it all – fast and slow, loud and soft, old and new. You probably don’t like it all, but God does! If it is offered to God in spirit and in truth, it is an act of worship’.
This is wrong and unbiblical. The reason most people like loud worship, rock music worship, and other forms of music that are offensive to God is to satisfy their own desire for gratification. God did not invent all kinds of music as Rick Warren suggests, music itself may well be a gift from God, but God did not invent Rock Music, or Rap Music, or Country Music these and others like them came out of mans own sensuality and sinfulness.
In Hebrews 12:28-29 we read “therefore since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe. For God is a consuming fire and a jealous God.” NIV (emphasis mine) Verse 29, is a direct quote from ( Deuteronomy 4:24 ) where Moses warns the people about idolatry and we find he then says ” For the Lord your God is a consuming fire and a jealous God.” It is interesting that the writer to the Hebrews picks up this verse and drops it into the setting of worship as a warning to the Church. We had better understand what God deems acceptable worship. Any part of our worship that is done for our own enjoyment, our own pleasure or entertainment cannot be acceptable worship, as it is not focused on God, but on ourselves. Therefore it is not done in ” spirit and in truth.”
Please keep those thoughts in mind as I quote several passages from Rick Warren’s first book in the Purpose Driven Â® series. In the Purpose Driven Â® Church he encourages young Pastors to leave behind the old fashioned Church music in favour of Jazz or Rock or whatever turns your people on! He encourages churches to imitate the culture and “dress down” for church. How does that fit with ” Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is-his good, pleasing and perfect will” (Romans 12:2). Or with “You adulterous people, don’t you know that friendship with the world is hatred toward God? Anyone who chooses to be friends of the world becomes an enemy of God.” ( James 4:4)
Rick Warren also states in the Purpose Driven Â® Church . “Figure out what mood you want the service to project, and then create it” (page 264) This sounds like manipulation to me, where is the Spirit lead worship?
“We used classical, country, jazz, rock, reggae, easy listening, and even rap. The crowd never knew what was coming next. The result, we didn’t please any body. Therefore we changed the music to one style, rock! We’ve often been referred to in the press as the church that likes to rock! We use the style that the majority of the people in our church like to listen to on the radio”. (Page 285)
“We have attracted thousands more because of our music”. (Page 285) Interesting, I thought Jesus was the attraction.
‘Saddleback now has a complete pop/rock orchestra’. (Page 290)
“I sometimes wonder how many more people we might have reached in our early years if we’d had MIDI- quality music in our services”. (Page 290)
There seems to be much greater emphasis on the type of music that the people want and like, rather than on worship in spirit and in truth. Rick Warren seems to say one thing in the Purpose DrivenÂ® Life and something completely different in the Purpose DrivenÂ® Church. On one hand he is saying worship should be in spirit and in truth, while on the other hand he advocates giving the people what they like. That is not God centered worship that is man centered.
I have taken only the first eight days of this book to analyse, as they are a good indication of the tone and problems throughout this book. These problems are not just in the first eight days, but are prevalent through out the book. I believe it would be futile to review the whole book, as anyone who really does have an open mind and truly loves God’s Word, will see from what is presented here that there are serious problems with, not only this book, but with Rick Warren’s theology and exegesis.
I would not recommend this book. I know that there are those who may feel that this analysis is critical and unloving, that there are some good points in ‘The Purpose Driven Â® Life . There will also be those who say we should not judge, and there are scriptures that talk about not judging others, I freely acknowledge that. However, those scriptures are not about judging in regard to doctrine, false teachers or false prophets. In fact, the New Testament talks twice as much about wrong doctrine as it does about wrong conduct. Why? Because wrong doctrine leads to wrong conduct. Paul actually names people who are responsible for wrong doctrine. 2 Timothy 2:17-18, 2 Timothy 4:14, 2 ;1 Timothy 1:20 and in Galatians 1:8-9 Paul says “But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let him be eternally condemned! As we hav e already said, so I now I say again: If anyone is preaching to you a gospel other than what you have accepted, let him be eternally condemned”.
The most unloving thing we could do is not to warn people about false teaching. Believers are commanded by Jesus himself to ” Stop judging by mere appearance, and make right judgement” (John 7:24 ). The bible very clearly teaches repeatedly that man is capable of being deceived. False teachers are not only ‘ deceiving ‘ others but are ‘ being deceived’ ( 2 Timothy 3:13 ). God requires us to be discerning of doctrine and teaching. God desires that the church is protected from false teachers and their teachings (Acts 20:27 -31; 2 Timothy 3:13 ; 1 John 4:1-6) . When we use discernment and bring all teaching back to the Word of God, then it is not in actuality us who are judging, but the Word of God itself. It is and must always be God’s plumb line from heaven. If it does not line up with the Word of God, then it is false teaching and we must avoid it.
There are also those who would say “well it’s OK some good might come out of it, someone might be touched”. This is an argument we use to make ourselves feel better, and so that we can avoid facing the absolute truth of God’s Word.
God does not and never will judge anything by the end result; he always judges things by the Truth and Light of His Word.
God the Father is the one true God. Jeremiah 10:10; John 17:3
Jesus said “I am the way, the Truth and the Life”. John 14:6
The Holy Spirit is first and foremost the Spirit of Truth . 1 John 5:6
Since all three persons of the Godhead are truth, how can God accept anything that is not truth? When to do so would be contrary to all that God is. The fact that people might be touched is not an indication of God’s blessing, or even that something is of value, it is simply a fulfilling of God’s promise that His Word will not return to Him empty. Isaiah 55:11.