Purpose-Driven Life

Discussion in 'Books / Publications Forum' started by Joshua Rhodes, Sep 3, 2003.

  1. Joshua Rhodes

    Joshua Rhodes
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    Anyone here reading/have read the Purpose-Driven Life by Rick Warren? I really don't want this to degrade into a "Rick Warren is the devil" thread, but I genuinely would like to hear from others that have read or are reading the book. I'm on Chapter 3, and have already enjoyed it. What do you think?
     
  2. dianetavegia

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    Joshua, Gina's church has been doing this. Maybe she'll see this message and jump in.

    Diane
     
  3. Gina B

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    Yes, our church is doing it. I don't think Rick
    Warren is the devil himself, but I dislike him and cannot wait for this study to be over.
    At first I thought it seemed pretty decent. I usually am wary of authors that use translations other than the KJV, but at first glance I was fine with it as he seemed to have done some decent research and I didn't find any verses that were out of whack, so that part was fine, but as it went on I'm to the point where I dread going to church and having to go through one more study.
    I know this isn't the answer you wanted, but that's my take on it. With some adjusting by a good and studious person the book would be excellent though, really. It has some really good material, but some of it is also misleading or just plain silly IMO.
    Here's a few of the problems I have with it so far.
    The first video welcomes the unsaved to commit themselves to studying God's word and learning their purpose in life. If they decide to do this he congratulates them and welcomes them into God's family. VERY wrong, and it scares me to think of how popular this book is and how Warren encourages people to invite the unsaved, then tells them that if they want to study God's word and learn their purpose in life than TA DA! They're saved!

    I don't agree with
    Question: "Why did God create you?"
    Answer: "He wanted someone to love."

    There's a lot of things that keep jumping out at me in the videos that are just false. Unfortunately I didn't keep track of them. I'll begin to do so.

    I think part of my problem might be that with some things, I tend to think extremely basic on and adding extras annoys me. It seems like a waste of time and words. My own version would go something like this:

    1. Want to avoid burning in hell? Believe in Jesus as the son of God who died for your sins and repent of your sins. Christ promises that those who have done this are saved securely and eternally.
    2. Want to know your purpose in life? The answer is GO. Go tell others about Christ. That's it.
    3.Are you wondering what in the world you're supposed to do with your life? Go read the answer to question two again.
    4. Wondering why your life isn't going like it should? Go read the answer to question one again.
    5. Afraid that God doesn't love you anymore? Go read the answer to question one again. If you still have doubts seek out one of your Christian friends or go to your pastor, because it needs to be discussed and I cannot possibly know why you feel this way unless I talk to you in person.

    That's about it! Guess that's why I didn't write the book and make a bunch of money. [​IMG]
    Gina
     
  4. Guitar25

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    My brother is reading this book. he is telling me that its good. But i cant read it now. im studying 1st, 2nd and 3rd John
     
  5. computerjunkie

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    It would be really hard for a non-Christian who is wondering what his purpose in life is to go tell others about Christ.

    Gina, there are so many people who don't have a clue as to why they are here. Can you imagine a more hopeless feeling? Can you imagine just "existing" with no idea of why? And can you imagine just thinking life here on earth is "it", and there is nothing else when we die? Millions of people live like that every day.

    I will be the first to admit I have heard tons of pros as well as cons about this study. My church is beginning "40 Days of Purpose" this Sunday.

    I really don't have an opinion yet, as I have been putting off reading the book until we start it as a church body this week. But I do know that I am going into it with an open mind and an open heart, asking God to make me more like Him as I study His word. I am also asking Him to search my heart and clean out any areas of my heart and life that keep me from having a closer relationship with Him.

    I truly hope I do not come away after 40 days thinking the way you do about this study. But maybe I will. Only time will tell...and my willingness to learn what He wants me to know.
     
  6. Gina B

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    CJ, I understand that unsaved people will not get that, but this book is being done as a study in churches. Hopefully people who attend church are saved. [​IMG]
    Also, that's what scares me on it. Some of it IS directed to non-Christians or new Christians who will not be able to discern things or will trust that this guy knows what he's talking about and will believe him on all of it. I especially worry about what salvation is presented as. How many might hear him welcome them into the family of Christ because they want to know their purpose in life learn what the bible says and think that's it, they're "in"? That presentation really bothers me, along with the fact that he is giving answers to things he shouldn't, like saying we were created because God wanted someone to love. That might sound nice, but it's putting words in God's mouth that he didn't say, and he does it a number of times in the book IMO.
    There are a lot of good parts to the book, practical advice, good advice. There's more volume to the good things than the ones I disagree with, but the ones I disagree with, I do so strongly enough that I cannot in good conscience recommend that this book be read by the non-saved or new Christians without a knowledgable Christian involved to correct the errors or misconceptions presented.
    I'll be interested to hear how the study goes with you guys/gals, and what you think of the whole thing.
    Disclaimer to the rest of ya: Don't let MY opinion on this sway you from reading this or cause you to go into it with an attitude that you won't like it. Lots of people love it and are saying it's made a major difference in their lives. Just use the same caution you would with any other material that isn't the bible.
    Gina
     
  7. computerjunkie

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    Gina, with all due respect, I don't find that to be the answer this study gives to that question at all. The first question in the study is, "What on earth am I here for?" The first page of the first chapter of The Purpose Driven Life says, "If you want to know why you were placed on this planet, you must begin with God. You were born by His purpose and for His purpose."

    The second page of the first chapter says, "You exist only because God wills that you exist. You were made by God and for God. It is only in God that we discover our origin, our identiy, our meaning, our purpose, our significance, and our destiny. Every other path leads to a dead end."

    The fourth page of the first chapter says, "You discover your identity and purpose through a relationship with Jesus Christ."

    I "hear" what you are saying. And sounds like you would probably be surprised at how many people attend church who are NOT saved.

    So, thanks for your honest assessment of the program. We'll see how I feel about it after I've completed it! I'm just sorry you "dread going to church to go through one more study"...that certainly can't be very encouraging for you. Maybe you'll soon be finished with it and you can get on to other things more suited to your needs. [​IMG]
     
  8. Gina B

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    No, he wants to repeat it when this is done. LOL
    Most of what I'm saying comes from his videos, which have more impact than reading a chapter for most people since you're seeing and hearing him speak for himself. If I'd just read the book and never seen the videos I might have a different opinion of him.
    Gina
     
  9. Dr. Bob

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    I enjoyed it. Simplistic, but calls us back to basics.

    Don't know about the videos.

    Going to work on the 40-days of purpose when I have some time off in October (to go see another new grandbaby!)
     
  10. Joshua Rhodes

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    So far I've enjoyed it. I'll pop back in when I'm done and let you know what I thought. See you in 3 weeks!
     
  11. Jacob

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    Our church did it this summer. My wife and I loved it and were deeply challenged by it. This book is all about the nuts and bolts of living a Christian life. The first book in awhile which forced me to take an honest look at how I'm living. It impacted several in our church the same way.

    However, our church has a number of Calvinist folks and they either didn't read it or knit picked.

    Jacob.
     
  12. superdave

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    The book is written rather well, and is perfect for what it is. It doesn't claim to be a deep thological read.

    It boils some broad biblical truth down to basic practical and well organized thoughts.

    I enjoyed it, and I felt it cleared up some confusion I had about Rick Warren's philosophy. It contradicted some things I had heard about him even on this board. Something to think about anyway.
     
  13. computerjunkie

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    My church is going through this book now, and I really do like it. It's simple, yet profound.
     
  14. Dr. Bob

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    Jacob - you need to reread some of the sections on bitterness and divisive spirit against folks in your church with whom you might disagree.

    BTW, I'm a staunch Calvinist and appreciate a great deal of Warren's work. It is NOT theological.
     
  15. Jacob

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    Jacob - you need to reread some of the sections on bitterness and divisive spirit against folks in your church with whom you might disagree.

    BTW, I'm a staunch Calvinist and appreciate a great deal of Warren's work. It is NOT theological.
    </font>[/QUOTE]No devisive or bitterness here Bob. Actually I'm the most active person in our church trying to keep us togeather - trying to get us all to consider this issue a secondary one. The Calvinists in our church would violently disagree with you that there's no theology in his work. Although he doesn't explicitly teach theology they would say that much of his writing undermines Calvinist/Reformed theology.

    Jacob.
     
  16. Curly Fries

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    I have just read Purpose-Driven Life and my church is in the middle of going through the 40 Days of Purpose program. Here is an extended version of my review that I posted a few days agon on Amazon.com
    ----

    “Purpose Driven ® Life” is another book from the Purpose Driven ® series by Rick Warren.

    Let me begin my review by saying that this book is definitely not a "GROUNDBREAKING manifesto on the meaning of life" (as the back cover suggests). Nothing that is written in this book is new. When I heard the title of the book for the first time it immediately reminded me of the Westminster Catechism which addresses the problem of the meaning of life already in its first question: "Q: What is the chief and highest end of man? A: Man's chief and highest end is to glorify God, and fully to enjoy him for ever." That was written in 1652. (If you go to a good Presbyterian Church (not PC-USA) every kid should be able to answer that question.)

    In his book Mr. Warren points us towards God in our search for the meaning of life. After the first chapter which puts our lives in correct perspective, the following five chapters deal with how we should live our lives. We should worship God, fellowship with other Christians, grow as disciples of Christ, serve others, and evangelize the unbelievers.

    All this is good. Where the books fails is in the details. It is obvious that Mr. Warren is not a great theologian. He has unquestionable leadership gifts, but his theological insights are either shallow, or intentionally kept shallow in this book (maybe to reach a wider audience?).

    Let me highlight a few areas where this book falls short.

    (1) While the books shows the purpose for our lives, it kind of fails to stir up a passion for that purpose.

    (2) Warren uses a zillion Bible translations and paraphrases. In the appendix he explains that he does this because: (a) no translation is perfect and (b) we are too used to old translations (yeah, right as if people really read the Bible that much). However, after reading this book, I find it hard to believe that these were his only motivations for using so many translations. Rather, it seems that often the traditional translations (e.g. NIV) did not fit his argument as well as he would like, so he picked whatever translation would fit better (for example new translations use word “relationship” more often than the old ones).

    I find it disappointing that Warren uses the “Message” paraphrase so much. It seems to me that it is a Bible version made suitable for reading on the Oprah show - everything that might be offensive to the postmodern mind has been removed.
    For example, I bet you would not have recognized that this passage from Message: "Obsession with self in these matters is a dead end; attention to God leads us out into the open, into spacious, free life." is actually Romans 8:6 which in NIV is translated like this: "The mind of sinful man is death, but the mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace". There is no mention of sin in the Message paraphrase. Moreover, "dead end" does not sound nearly as serious as "death".

    Another bad example from the Message is Phil. 3:10 (does not mention resurrection, sufferings, and death). John 4:23 omits Truth. Acts 2:42 omits breaking bread, i.e. communion. Heb 13:17 omits authority. Rom. 8:29 omits foreknowledge and predestination. 1 Tim. 4:16 omits doctrine. Etc.

    (3) Warren makes a point that our earthly life does not matter much when compared to eternity. However, the way he presents it, it seems as if earthly life mattered really little at all. Nietzsche used to make fun of Christians, saying that they "spend their whole lives waiting for death". It seems almost as if Warren agreed with Nietzsche.
    While I agree that "our earthly life does not matter much when COMPARED to eternity", I think it is clear from the Bible that our normal life on earth has great value and matters a lot, even when it is just a normal family life. Now, knowing that the blessed and glorious life that Gods gives us to live here on earth is nothing COMPARED (this is the key word) to life in heaven, how much more glorious our heavenly life will be. C.S. Lewis was a master in conveying such nuances (e.g. in “Great Divorce”). Warren does not know how to do this and thus he misses to stir up real passion for heaven and thankfulness for our earthly lives.

    (4) I find it bad that his book does not pay much attention to family life (and if it does, than it dismisses its importance). All the 5 purposes of life as defined by Warren can be lived within our own families. Church is not the only place where we can worship, fellowship, serve, etc. We can and we should do all these things with our families.

    (5) It is sad how simplistic Warren's "instructions" are in Day Seven, on how to accept Christ. He tells the reader to "believe God has chosen you to have a relationship with Jesus, who died on the cross". No explanation at all why Christ had to die on the cross! No mention of repentance!
    If lack of space really did not allow for a more complete presentation of the Gospel, then this "invitation to Christ" should have been omitted from the book. Better not put it at all, than phrase it in such simplistic terms.

    (6) Warren writes as if the Fall of man never happened. Everything between us and God is love, love, love. Doesn't Rom. 9:13 say "Jacob I loved, but Esau I have hated". Doesn't Rom: 9:22 mention "vessels of wrath prepared for destruction". Avoiding these difficult passages leads to simplistic Christianity. (On page 294, Warren writes: "God has never made a person he didn't love" -- Hmm, what about Esau and Pharaoh?)

    (7) Throughout the book it is obvious that Warren does not put much value on doctrine. I find it sad. It is through doctrine that we understand God and his purposes better. Without it our vision of God is small. We need a glorious and magnificent vision of God to be the driving force for our lives.

    (8) Warren writes: "God loves all kinds of music because he invented it all". Yeah, right, including Death Metal.
    BTW, I went to see a simulcast that preceded the 40 Days of Purpose program in my church. The biggest applause in the Saddleback church came when Warren said these words about music. How sad.

    (9) Warren's lack of theological depth and consistency is visible in how he in one chapter seems to put a lot of emphasis on predestination, while in another chapter he writes about God "wooing us to himself". In one chapter he sounds almost Calvinistic, while in another he sounds like a definite Arminian.

    (10) Warren tells us that God cares the most about saving the lost. The Bible teaches us that God cares the most about His glory, that is WHY he chooses to save the lost. To some it might seem like a fine or irrelevant nuance. I believe that it is a crucial difference.

    (11) When Warren writes about church discipline, he neglects to mention anything about who the pastors are accountable to? Are the pastors infallible? In huge non-denominational churches they seem to be accountable to no one except to the success.

    (12)There are a lot of other things that fall short in this book, but I have no time to list them all. I will finish with a funny inconsistency (one of many). On page 317 Warren writes: "At the end of your life it isn't going to matter at all what other people say about you". On the next page he writes: "My prayer is that people will be able to say that about me when I die." Why pray for something that does not matter?


    I do not recommend this book. There are many other better books worthy of your time. Pick for example something by John Piper. Or C.S. Lewis, if you are new to Christianity.

    There is more. From my Christian experience I can see how this book can trap some readers into thinking that doing more and more for God will really revitalize their faith. I have been there, looking for things that I could DO to be "closer to God". Not until I found out that the LIFE of faith is in knowing Christ Crucified, did I become FREE, free to do "the good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them" (Eph. 2:10).

    I finish with another example of how the Message paraphrase falls short (page 70 in the book): In Message we read Heb. 11:7 "As a result, Noah became intimate with God". NIV translates the same verse: "By his faith he condemned the world and became heir of the righteousness by faith". If you know anything of Christian doctrine, you know how sweet "righteousness by faith" sounds and how full of meaning it is. But the modern world prefers to hear about "intimacy" and without doctrine they can interpret it any way they want. Sad.

    PS. I wonder how many paragraphs from the book would need to be changed so that it would be suitable for Mormons. That is a big market.
     
  17. Trotter

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    In process of reading it...great so far!

    In Christ,
    Trotter
     
  18. Molly

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    I agree with Curly Fires!

    Very well said!

    There is MUCH better reading out there! Rick Warren is not someone I would look to for spiriual leadership or how to do things...His Purpose Driven Church book defines the purposes,which most of us already knew,but goes on to say the church needs to do such and such to be successful! He is so far from teaching biblical principles,it makes me want to scream!

    If someone wants to study or read some good books...Read John Macarthur's new one *Hard to Believe*...it contradicts the seeker sensitive mentality witrh a refreshing biblical perspective. It also blows the easy believeism that Rick promotes out of the water. My husband is reading it now and has been reading some of it out loud to me. It is great! I will read it when he is finished.


    Molly
     

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