Purpose Driven Life is dangerous

Discussion in 'Books / Publications Forum' started by Psalm145 3, Apr 29, 2004.

  1. Psalm145 3

    Psalm145 3
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    A few years ago I bought the book Purpose Driven Church by Rick Warren. I read a few chapters and threw the book down in disgust. The book was teaching worldly methods to help sinners feel comfortable in the church. Whatever happened to the fear of God? I took it back to the bookstore and kindly asked if I could trade it or get my money back. It was really bad.

    Now, many churches are promoting Rick Warren's latest book Purpose Driven Life. This is a very dangerous book to use for a spiritual journey. How can a good Bible teaching book appeal to so many different groups of professing Christians without offending anyone?

    Please, take the time to read these following articles that explain some of the problems with these books. Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world.

    An Analysis of Rick Warren's The Purpose-Driven® Life

    An Analysis of Rick Warren's "Purpose Driven" Church Growth Strategy

    Spirit-Led or Purpose-Driven?
    The Purpose-Driven Life - A Review of Scripture Misuse
     
  2. Monergist

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    I guess some of what Warren says may be helpful. I haven't read the book, nor do I ever intend to read it. Its just that I'm all too familiar with the man exalting, God belittling tendency of today's poplular writings of this type. So I say no, thanks.


    Anything worthwhile found in the book has probably been said before and said better. So give me something by Edwards, or one of the Puritans, and I'll be content to let this trendy stuff slide on by.

    ( My Life's Purpose, from the Westminster Larger Catechism:
    Question 1: What is the chief and highest end of man?
    Answer 1: Man's chief and highest end is to glorify God, and fully to enjoy him forever.
     
  3. gb93433

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    My purpose driven life is about one thing--making disciples. I would contend that the percentage of people who make disciples, teaching them to observe ALL that God has commanded is very small. Too much is done on an intellectual basis alone and not practically. People can sit in church for years and never be led in a practical way.

    We would never think of doing that with a newborn baby but we do with a newborn again infant in Christ.
     
  4. Ken Clifton

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    If you have a specific problem with the Purpose Driven Life, tell it. Show where the message of the book is incompatible with scripture. If you don't have such a message, what are you doing with your post?
     
  5. Abiyah

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    The Baptist church near my home is doing this series. I was going to visit there, but when I saw this advertised, decided not to go.

    I am amazed at those who will take biblical teachings and mix with them very worldly teachings, feeding them, without a single prick of the conscience, to their congregations. Unfortunately, when Truth is mixed stealthily with lies, many do not realize that that they are then being taught lies. However, satan knew this and used this tactic, too.
     
  6. Pastor Larry

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    Have you read the book Abiyah???
     
  7. LaymansTermsPlease

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    We read the book at our church, and I don't remember feeling either particularly disgusted or particularly enthused.

    This post isn't meant to endorse or condemn the book, it's just simply some random thoughts from my experience with it.

    After reading it, I then found some criticism of it. I guess I'd have to read it again to see if that criticism is valid.

    In analyzing the criticism (from what I can remember of it), I think the critics arguments might have merit in light of maybe new Christians reading the book. Even then, it's not like I think there's anything there that would completely mess them up.

    God forbid that the following statements sound like I'm claiming that I know it all, or am a super-Christian, but let me see if I can make this point.

    I was raised by Christian parents and have always been in the church, and have been blessed to have always attended bible-believing, tell-it-like-it is southern Baptist churches. I feel I have enough grounding in truth, that any of the Purpose-Driven-Life stuff that might have been wishy-washy, or oversimplified wasn't harmful to me.

    You know how when you read something sometimes, you find yourself affirming in your mind when you disagree with an author, or when you see he is presenting the "tip of the iceberg" on something, when you know a lot more.

    I'm sure I just corrected him in my mind, or went on to concentrate on what I knew he might have been leaving out. I used his scripture references a lot.

    I didn't like all the biblical translations he used..not because I'm some KJVer, but I just didn't some of them. I had a KJV and modern versions on hand to look things up in. When he'd use a scripture that I felt he was stretching with, or proof-texting, I usually had enough idea in my mind already of numerous other scriptures that did tell the whole story of the point he was trying to make. Again, not because I'm super-memory man or bible-guru, but because I've been inundated with the Word since nursery days.

    That's a frame of reference of other scriptures that a new Christian might not have without a good concordance...and even then, they might not know the right phrases to search for.

    Again, I don't remember being shocked at any blatant inaccuracy of any of the book. Now, whether it might have given a new Christian 5% of a certain topic and left out the other 95% of that topic, that's another matter entirely. I'm sure there was some, but I don't remember details.

    I mean, wow, the author started out the book with the basic message of "You only exist for God's good pleasure" &lt;my paraphrase&gt;, so with that kind of truth in today's prideful world, the book can't be all bad!!!!

    I can't really give it a thumbs up or a thumbs down.
     
  8. Abiyah

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    Ouch! Do you have any idea how much I hate it when I think I may have stepped on your toes, Pastor Larry?!?!? If I did, I certainly did not intend to, and I am sorry. Looking back, my words were pretty strong, and I would like to detract some of them, to a point.

    I did not read the whole book, Pastor Larry, because I am so deficit in Bible knowledge, and have so much to learn, that I don't have time to apply to books for which I do not have at least 90% respect, and Larry, this one did not fall into that category.

    My reasoning, as I remember it for a short answer, is that its philosophy is quite a bit too Arminian for my taste (main reason), I think at least some of its ideas regarding heaven and the kingdom of heaven to be mistaken, and at least one of its character assessments was in error, as were some of its characterizations of our God. If you see this to be wrong, and would advise me to continue reading it, I would do so, but not for forty days. :) I can see that some of the books has some value.
     
  9. gb93433

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    I suspect that if the average deacon in a Baptist church heard Rick Warren preach about doing ministry they would be offended because he expects more of his members than most expect of their deacons. How many churches can say that 75 percent of their members have come to Christ at the church they attend. Somebody is doing evangelism and it can’t be just the pastor. He started that church without any help from the SBC. He came there without much money and a dream to start a church. How many pastors do you know that would if they could, or could if they would start a church?

    If you were to attend that church just once you would see people not sitting in a dead church. The people I met were excited about their faith and sharing it with others. They have started about two new churches per year. How many churches even start one? I would challenge anyone who criticizes him to get out and do what he did. He began by meeting people in the community and started a church with the people he won. How many do you know are doing that in the church they attend? How many in churches today have even won one person to Jesus?

    I have talked with him personally. I believe he genuinely cares for people. His dad was a pastor and never pastored a church over 50 people. Charles Spurgeon was criticized in his day too. Nobody picks on those who are ineffective. I usually find that others lift themselves up at the expense of others. The critics are not winning people to Christ. They are more concerned with criticizing than with doing ministry. I would like to see some of his critics set out to correct what they believe Warren has done wrong and win people to Jesus.

    I am not Rick Warren and he is not me. Therefore God has gifted us much differently and given us a different task. How can I criticize a man who is serving God to the best of his ability.

    It is easy to criticize but hard to do ministry.

    I was one of Warren’s critics after I read his first book. But then a close friend of mine told me to stop criticizing him and go to the conference. He even agreed to pay for my way. When I left I was not the same. What I read and what I heard him say was quite different. What I read was interpreted in light of what I thought about what I read, but what I saw at the conference was very different.

    I trust that all of us are seeker sensitive. We should never be rude. We should always be polite and have good manners. We should never be a stumbling block to the weaker. I would never give pork to a person with a Jewish background even though there is nothing wrong with eating pork. We must not compromise the message but we must serve those we are trying to reach. We must come with the right attitude. We are no better than non-believers just better off.

    Prov. 25:11,12, “Like apples of gold in settings of silver is a word spoken in right circumstances. Like an earring of gold and an ornament of fine gold Is a wise reprover to a listening ear.”

    Is that not being sensitive?

    When the man asked how to inherit eternal life, Jesus never told the man how. He told him, “ When Jesus heard this, He said to him, "One thing you still lack; sell all that you possess and distribute it to the poor, and you shall have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me."

    Jesus did not give the man the gospel. He went deep into his heart. Was he not sensitive to the man? His sensitivity reached deep. Jesus knew the man’s heart. He did not tell the man the condition of his heart. The man knew when Jesus gave the response of “sell all that you possess.”
    Jesus never said one word about anything else. I suspect that Jesus would be criticized today for not giving the man the gospel.
     
  10. Pastor Larry

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    [Don't feel that way. I was simply curious how much of it you have read. I have read about a third of it.

    Perhaps. My initial impressions from the beginning of that book was that starting off with "It's not about you" is not particuarly arminian. Warren does tend down that road I think, in some ways almost Finneyistic ... i.e., if you do all the right things, people will respond.

    I did not notice this in the part I read. A pastor friend of mine read it and did the 40 days with his church. He did not use the sermons or the music. He said it was good. I don't know if he would do it again. There is a lot of good truth in it.

    I wouldn't make a recommendation either way. Some people here have read it and have given copies to others to read. It doesn't bother me. I try to have a strong enough teaching and preaching ministry that influences their discernment about these things. I have considered actually reading the whole thing, but not for 40 days.

    My only question was about whether you were objecting because you read it and had an issue or because you read what others had said about it. The former is a good reason; the latter is not. No offense intended towards you ... simple curiosity.
     
  11. Abiyah

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    Gotcha, Pastor, Larry. :) Thanks. I would have read it through, but the first few "chapters" really turned me off and certainly would have darkly colored the rest of it. I know that, if I did read it through, rather than gleaning the good from it, I would look for the negative. i hate reading most of such books with that attitude.
     
  12. Pastor Larry

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    What Jesus gave the man was the gospel though ... Leave all and follow me. That is the gospel.

    I think there is much to be learned from Warren, both good and bad. There are a great many critics who are doing nothing. There are a great many critics who are doing something. But we must be careful not to measure a man or his ministry by size. It is fairly easy to draw a crowd. It is far more difficult to build a church. With all churches, great or small, time will tell what the real ministry effect is. I can be thankful that lives are being changed at Saddleback without subscribing to everything he does. And being a "critic" isn't bad. We need to be more discerning than we typically are.
     
  13. swaimj

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    Every other Sunday, I meet with a group of seminarians who are pastoral interns. Last Sunday, our pastor read a section of Rick Warren's book to guage what we all thought of it. The section (and I have not read the book myself) was an illustration Warren gives about evangelism. He tells a story of his father (who was a pastor) on his deathbed reliving events from his life as he passed in and out of consciousness. At some point, Warren's father began to repeat "just gotta bring one more to Jesus, just gotta bring one more to Jesus". The question our pastor asked was "would you use that story as an illustration"? Suffice it to say that there was some disagreement about whether the illustration should have been used. If you are familiar with it, would you use it?
     
  14. Dr. Bob

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    Thought the PDL was very simplistic. But hey, I've been to seminary.

    My son works with totally unchurched teens and college students. PDL is a godsend of some very basic help to these neophyte believers.

    I don't care for it, but it does have its place.

    (And swaimy, No, I tend to avoid all guilt-manipulating illustrations. I will let God do the convicting, not Bob!)
     
  15. Pastor Larry

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    There is a good review article in Foundations Magazine (Jan-Feb 2004). For all who want to see examples of Warren's bad exegesis, this guy details them. This is a good article worth reading if you can find it.
     
  16. PastorGreg

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    There's a link to that article in the original post on this topic. Great article. Heard John MacArthur on the radio a couple of weeks ago responding to a question re: PDL. Thought he gave a great answer. He said that at best, it is very basic Christianity. He was especially troubled by Warren's misuse of Scripture, adn his appeal to something like 15 different versions, giving the appearance of looking until he found one that supported his preconceived notions. This is also addressed in the Foundations article.
     
  17. PastorGreg

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    There's a link to that article in the original post on this topic. Great article. Heard John MacArthur on the radio a couple of weeks ago responding to a question re: PDL. Thought he gave a great answer. He said that at best, it is very basic Christianity. He was especially troubled by Warren's misuse of Scripture, adn his appeal to something like 15 different versions, giving the appearance of looking until he found one that supported his preconceived notions. This is also addressed in the Foundations article.
     
  18. Pastor Larry

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    I didn't realize that link was there, greg. Thanks ... I don't know anything about that site or the church so I in recommending the article, I am not necessarily recommending the church. The article is mislead in a few places but overall pretty good.
     
  19. gb93433

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    I am surprised that the link was listed. Before you post a link investigate them first. That church is not far from where I live. It can speak well for non-growth. They do nothing except criticize. They are nothing but laughing stock for non-believers. I have witnesed to non-believers who have told me what that church is about. Christians I know who have been there have told me they have only been once and the speaker spends more time bashing the MV's than preaching the word. So they didn't return.

    Churhes like that disgust me. This is a hard area to win people to Jesus and there are quite a few antagonists of the gospel in the area. We don't need churches like that who do not evangelize and spend their time criticizing others.
     
  20. Pastor Larry

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    Churches like that disgust me too. But the article was very good for the most part. He pointed out the horrible use of Scripture by Warren, which has long been one of my chief complaints. He points out some of the doctrinal problems and some of hte places where Warren uses bad theology, bad psychology, or denies the Scriptural mandates in some areas.

    The other side of the church you are talking about are those who accept anything without any discernment. They think that because someone has a lot of people coming and says a few good things that they are alright. But that is not the case.

    Why do you think PDL is on the top of the best seller list? Why do you think that people from all kinds of heretical or problemmatic backgrounds are endorsing PDL? That ought to throw up some red flags.

    Just as we don't need churches who don't evangelize, so we don't need churches with no discernment. There is a biblical command for criticism and discernment. If you fail to do that, then you are being disboedient to Scripture.
     

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