Common Myths about Purpose Driven

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tcalbrecht

Puritan Board Junior
Originally posted by Jie-Huli
I am curious about your statement that you have seen the gospel more clearly in Mr. Warren's materials than in "lots of reformed" materials. Could you produce for us any quotations from Mr. Warren's materials which set forth the utter depravity and wickedness of men outside of Christ, showing clearly that they are under the wrath of God for their sin?

Before I answer, let me find out your standard. Are you suggesting that every biblical discussion of the gospel and sin much include phrases like "the utter depravity and wickedness of men"? Certainly the lack of such phrases may be characteristic of most (all?) non-reformed preaching. So it seems that the issue is not with Warren per se, but with non-reformed preaching in general. Wouldn't you agree?

To go one step further, do you believe that your standard, whatever it is, is consistently applied even across reformed preaching?
 

R. Scott Clark

Puritan Board Senior
rsc: 1. Where in the NT is there any example of demographically targeted evangelism? The very idea of congregations that are demographically, ethnically, or economically homogenous strikes at the very heart of the errors plaguing the Corinthian congregation.

ta: Do I detect a logical fallacy here? Note the subject shift from evangelism to congregations. Targeted evangelism is no problem. There is ample biblical precedent.

As I understand PD Evangelism, the goal is (as in most church growth materials that I read ca. 1987-93) to create a demographically homogenous church. The homogenous church is the goal of the demographically targeted evangelism and church planting.

Here I have not in mind just PD churches but most all versions of the church growth movement.

As to biblical precedent, I don't think that RW is an apostle, nor has the risen Christ appeared to him and given him a redemptive historical mandate to proclaim the risen Christ to gentiles and not just Jews.

This is the problem with with the way Acts is sometimes used. We are directed to make disciples of all the nations. I see no discrimination there or in "Judea, Samaria, and to the uttermost..."

I have no problem with making prudential judgments in evangelism or church planting. I do have a real problem with homogenous churches, however.

The fact that, as you note, many Reformed congregations are homogenous is an unfortunate fact of history not to be intentionally replicated systematically.

re: pulpits.

Well Tom, now we're quibbling. Okay, pulpits are a cultural preference. Fine. Heidelberg 65 still says that it is only through the preaching of the holy Gospel that God the Spirit brings sinners to faith. That preaching is to be done by ministers authorized by God. Paul was one of those and he ordained others to succeed him. I was using shorthand that I though everyone would understand.

"God has a purpose for you" is not the gospel.

God doesn't save sinners to enable them to fulfill their "purpose" unless that purpose is to glorify God and enjoy him forever (WSC 1), but I don't get the impression that this is intended sense of the PDL. If it is, I'm happy to be corrected.

rsc

[Edited on 11-21-2005 by R. Scott Clark]
 

tcalbrecht

Puritan Board Junior
Originally posted by Robin
Tom has an excellent point about the Reformed camp....the Federal Vision certainly has our work cut out for us...

But that's another thread.

R.

I'm curious to know if folks believe that PCA and OPC churches that have used PDL materials are compromising the gospel? If so, would you be willing to file charges in the appropriate jurisdictional court (presbytery)?
 

tcalbrecht

Puritan Board Junior
Originally posted by R. Scott Clark

As I understand PD Evangelism, the goal is (as in most church growth materials that I read ca. 1987-93) to create a demographically homogenous church. The homogenous church is the goal of the demographically targeted evangelism and church planting.

What exactly is your source for understanding "PD evangelism" on which you base your opinions?

Somehow I would feel more comfortable with your analysis if you were able to provide information directly from Warren's material. By referring to "most church growth materials that I read ca. 1987-93" you don't give me a warm fuzzy feeling that you have done your homework well enough on RW.

Given that he's a pastor, and preaches dozens (hunderds?) of sermons a year, published many books, the snippets of out of context quotes from third party sources given here does not make for a discerning analysis.
 

alwaysreforming

Puritan Board Sophomore
Originally posted by tcalbrecht
Originally posted by alwaysreforming

Here's the "Gospel" by Rick Warren, quoted from page 58.

Page 58 of what?

Sorry, Tom: the Purpose Driven Life

I am still interested in you responding to my concerns; and again, because I want to see another way of looking at them. the last thing I want to do is have an uncharitable spirit towards RW and his methods; but so far, my convictions are saying that their is something going on here that's not quite right.
 

tcalbrecht

Puritan Board Junior
Originally posted by alwaysreforming

Sorry, Tom: the Purpose Driven Life

I am still interested in you responding to my concerns; and again, because I want to see another way of looking at them. the last thing I want to do is have an uncharitable spirit towards RW and his methods; but so far, my convictions are saying that their is something going on here that's not quite right.

I will. Just trying to get the context for the quotes. Let me ask you, is page 58 in PDL the only place that Rick Warren talks about "the gospel"? Or, honestly, did you just lift the reference from someone else's critique?
 

alwaysreforming

Puritan Board Sophomore
Oh, no, I didn't just lift the reference. This was my own discovery. I was trying not to go out of my way in my criticism of him, its just that when I started reading the book I couldn't believe how elementary everything was, from the thoughts to the writing to the sentence structure. Everything seemed so obvious as to go without saying and so the popularity of the book amazed me.

And there's nothing wrong with being elementary and simple. We all need to work on those "elementary" things; but it seemed like the book was written at a 6th grade level. (again, my problem is not with the simplicity, but with the elements already stated)
 

BJClark

Puritan Board Doctor
R. Scott Clark


God doesn't save sinners to enable them to fulfill their "purpose" unless that purpose is to glorify God and enjoy him forever (WSC 1), but I don't get the impression that this is intended sense of the PDL. If it is, I'm happy to be corrected.

I'm curious have you ever read the PDL book?

How about others here, how many have actually read the book?

I have, which is why I am asking, our church did the 40 days of Purpose and has seen much spiritual growth in the people of our church who actually took part in the study.

I'll skim through some of the chapters and you decide.

Chapter 17

A Place to Belong

Eph. 2:19, 1 Tim 3:15

You are called to belong not just believe.

Your local fellowship
Why you need a Church family

"Following Christ includes belonging, not just believing. We are members of Christ's Body--The Church. C.S. Lewis noted that the word membership is of Christian orgin, but the world has emptied it of it's orginal meaning.
Stores offer discounts to members, and advertisers use member names to create mailing lists. In churches, membership is often reduced to simply adding your name to a roll, with no requirements or expecations."

"To Paul, being a "member" of the church meant being a vital organ of a living body, an indispensable, interconnected part of the Body of Christ.
We need to recover and practice the biblical meaning of membership. The Church is a Body, not a building; an organism, not an organization." ect ect..

Chapter 19

Cultivating Community

James 3:18; Acts 2:42

"Community requires commitment. "

"Only the Holy Spirit can create real fellowship between believers, but He cultivates it with the choices and commitments we make. "

"If you are tired of fake fellowship and you would like to cultivate real fellowship and a loving community in your small group, Sunday School class, and church, you'll need to make some tough choices and take some risks."

Cultivating community takes Honesty. You will have to care enough to lovinging speak the truth, even when you would rather gloss over a problem or ignore an issue.

Cultivating community takes humility. Self importance, smugness, and stubborn pride destroy fellowship faster than anything else.



Chapter 30:

Shaped for Serving God

Job 10:8; Isaiah 43:21

"You were shaped to serve God. "

God formed every creature on this planet with a special area of expertise. Some animals run, some hop, some swim, some burrow, and some fly. Each has a particular role to play, based on the way they were shaped by God. The same is true with humans. Each of us was uniquely designed, or "shaped," to do certain things."

"before architects design any new building they first ask, "What will be it's purpose?" "How will it be used?" The intended function always determines the form of the building. Before God created you, He decided exactly how he wanted you to serve Him, and then he shaped you for those tasks. You are the way you are because you were made for a specific ministry."

"Not only did God shape you before your birth, he planned every day of your life to support his shaping process. David continues, "Every moment was laid out before a single day passed" Psalm 139:16 This means that nothing that happens in your life is insigificiant. God uses all of it to mold you for your service to Him."

"God never wastes anything. He would not give you abilities, interests, talents, gifts, personality, and life experiences unless He intended to use them for HIS GLORY." By indentifying and understanding these factors you can discover God's will for Your life."

How God SHAPES You for your ministry

"Whenever God gives us an assignment, He always equips us with what we need to accomplish it. This custom combination of capabilities is called your SHAPE."

Spiritual Gifts
Heart
Abilities
Personality
Experience

Point to Ponder: I was shaped for Serving God

Verse to remember: 1 Corinthians 12:6

Question to consider: In what way can I see myself passionately serving others and loving it?

Chapter 31

Understanding your shape

Psalm 139:13

"Only you can be you."

"God designed each of us so that there would be no duplication in the world. No one has the exact same mix of factors that make you unique.
That means no one else on earth will ever be able to play the role God planned for You. If you don't make your unique contribution to the body of Christ, it won't be made."

Shape: Employing Your Experiences

"You have been shaped by your experiences in life, most of which were beyond your control. God allowed them for His purpose of molding you.
In determining your shape for serving God, you should examine at least six kinds of experiences from your past.

Family : What did you learn growing up in your family?
Educational: What were your favorite subjects in school?
Vocational: What jobs have you been most effective in and enjoy the most?
Spiritual: What have been your most meaningful times with God?
Ministry: How have you served God in the past?
Painful: What problems, hurts, thorns, and trials have you learned from?

It is this last category, painful experiences, that God uses the most to prepare you for ministry. God never wastes a hurt! In fact, your greatest ministry will most likely come out of your greatest hurt.

"God intentionally allows you to go through painful experiences to equip you for ministry to others. The Bible says "He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can give comfort to others."

Chapter 32

Goes on to explain how to use what God gave you

So let's look at His list of Purposes that He covers:

1. You were planned for God's pleasure
2. You were formed for God's family
3. You were created to become like Christ
4. You were shaped for serving God
5. You were made for a mission


So for those of you who have a problem with what this book is teaching, please share with us what it is.
 

ChristopherPaul

Puritan Board Senior
I have read Rick Warren's book and found it helpful at the time I read it. At the time I was rather immature and theologically ignorant. The book offered "promises" that were quite discouraging when my life did not turn out the way Rick Warren paints things. Overall the book concentrates on felt needs more than the law which leads us to Christ. He misuses scripture and utilizes several translations in attempt to find the one that matches his point better than the others. I have read Nathan Busenitz (Grace Church, John MacArthur's Assistant) review in Fools Gold and find it is fair and accurate:

http://www.biblebb.com/files/pdl.htm
 

BJClark

Puritan Board Doctor
alwaysreforming,


This was my own discovery. I was trying not to go out of my way in my criticism of him, its just that when I started reading the book I couldn't believe how elementary everything was, from the thoughts to the writing to the sentence structure. Everything seemed so obvious as to go without saying and so the popularity of the book amazed me.

yes, to many of us it is very obvious how elementary it is, but to many others it's not. Many people in my church grew up in churches where no commitment required or family closeness experienced.

I seen it and felt in some of the churches I have gone to over the years, but not all of them had it. Some of them it was just you go to church on Sundays and Wends and go home, and there was nothing beyond that.

They didn't get together after church and talk, there wasn't the openness and honesty and humilty that drew the body of believers together as a family. They were very much a dysfunctional family when it came to closeness. So if you've never experienced a church like that, then you won't fully understand why this is taking churches by storm.

because it's filling the void of what has been missing for years in many churches, and teaching them HOW to get that. It's teaching them how to LIVE the gospel in their lives, both in their churches and outside the walls of the church.
 

Jie-Huli

Puritan Board Freshman
Originally posted by tcalbrecht
Originally posted by Jie-Huli
I am curious about your statement that you have seen the gospel more clearly in Mr. Warren's materials than in "lots of reformed" materials. Could you produce for us any quotations from Mr. Warren's materials which set forth the utter depravity and wickedness of men outside of Christ, showing clearly that they are under the wrath of God for their sin?

Before I answer, let me find out your standard. Are you suggesting that every biblical discussion of the gospel and sin much include phrases like "the utter depravity and wickedness of men"? Certainly the lack of such phrases may be characteristic of most (all?) non-reformed preaching. So it seems that the issue is not with Warren per se, but with non-reformed preaching in general. Wouldn't you agree?

To go one step further, do you believe that your standard, whatever it is, is consistently applied even across reformed preaching?

No, I do not believe a biblical discussion of the gospel must necessarily include these particular words. But surely it must contain this message, whatever exact words are chosen to contain the message. A discussion of the gospel must convey the utter depravity and sinfulness of man in order for people to understand savingly (by the grace of the God) the meaning of the cross. So if the concept of the depravity of man is excluded from the "gospel" presentation, I certainly do believe it is a false gospel.

If Mr. Warren were not claiming to be preaching the gospel, if he were just writing some motivational book, that would be one thing. But as shown in some quotes referenced above, Mr. Warren presents a message and then asks his readers to respond to that message, and says that they are saved and in God's family if they do so. If he makes such statements and yet excludes the message of our depravity, the very reason of our need for Christ's saving work, then it is certainly a false gospel.

Yes, I believe that, tragically, false gospels are certainly widespread in the church at large. We are discussing Mr. Warren because he is a particularly popular author who is influencing many. This emptying of the true gospel is certainly not prevalent among Reformed churches I have attended . . . I certainly would not regard it as a reformed church, or even a true church, if any church had this sort of gospel presentation.

In short, I will be very charitable . . . if you can show me any quotations from Mr. Warren that set forth, in any words whatsoever, the truth that man is utterly depraved and helpless without Christ, then I will retract my blanket statement that he is not preaching the true gospel.
 

Jie-Huli

Puritan Board Freshman
Originally posted by jdlongmire
LARRY KING: Rick, why do bad things happen to good people?

RICK WARREN: Well, Larry, it's because we live in a broken world. This is not (a) perfect world. This is not heaven and that's why we're depraved 'Thy will be done on earth as it is heaven.' Why? Because in heaven, everything's done perfectly. Things are not done perfectly on this earth.

http://www.assistnews.net/Stories/s05030135.htm

I posted a response to this a little while ago accepting the above quote at face value, but then another brother (with much better eyes than mine) pointed out to me that it is very unlikely that Mr. Warren used the word "depraved" in the above statement. In the context, it would seem clear to me now that what Mr. Warren said was "This is not heaven, and that's why we're to pray 'Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven'."

The words "to pray" were mistakenly typed as "depraved" in the transcript from which this statement comes. What he is speaking about here has nothing to do with explaining that men outside of Christ are depraved and under the wrath of God.

Having said that, I still would like to retract any statements I have made which could be seen as blanket statements that all Mr. Warren's works present a false gospel, as I have no way of knowing that for sure, and I do not wish to speak as to anything beyond what I myself have seen. I can only say that I believe "The Purpose Driven Life" to be a false presentation of the Gospel, because it invites people to "receive Christ" without any true explanation of sin and repentance.

Mr. Warren may indeed be quite "sincere" in what he is doing, and he may be a "nice" fellow as far as men go, and I really do not wish to be uncharitable to him personally. But I believe we do have the responsibility to judge any popular movements like this to see whether they are faithful to the gospel or not. I believe "The Purpose Driven Life" is not. And I will leave it at that.

Kind regards,

Jie-Huli

[Edited on 11-22-2005 by Jie-Huli]

[Edited on 11-22-2005 by Jie-Huli]
 

Bladestunner316

Puritan Board Doctor
From Article Link
David Nederhood, a much younger man, is pastor of a Christian Reformed church in Alameda, California. "[My] biggest challenge is to convince people that this really is Reformed." How does he do that? "It's pretty hard to argue with the Great Commission and the Great Commandment," from which Warren's five purposes are drawn.
 

BJClark

Puritan Board Doctor
I have a question to all the Pastors who are saying RW is teaching a False Gospel, Have any of YOU contacted him personally and confronted him about this? If Not WHY NOT?

It's not about denomational lines, because God is not about Denomations does not the Bible teach us that we are to confront a brother who is in sin, and if You honestly believe He is teaching a false gospel then he is sinning, and you as his Brothers and Fellow pastors have an obligation to go to Him and talk to Him personally about that. If we are truly brothers and sisters in Christ, then it shouldn't matter WHAT church affilitation He belongs to because He is a Pastor.

And for those of us who are gossiping, myself included here, as I have participated in this thread and others like it, we need to go before God and ask His forgiveness for our own sin.

If we really believe God is a God of reconciliation then the slander must stop and those leaders here who believe He is preaching a false Gospel need to put an end to it and go to Him personally and confront Him on it.

Just my :2cents:

[Edited on 11-22-2005 by BJClark]
 

alwaysreforming

Puritan Board Sophomore
Ok, I think I finally came to a conclusion about the PDL and what it is that is bothering me most about it:

I could be wrong, and I would be happy to be corrected (believe me, I really would), but it seems that what the book is lacking is AN EMPHASIS ON Christ. The person and work of Christ it seems has been pared down to "principles" to live by. From all the people I know who LOVE the book (not on the board but my in flesh friends at home), what always gets talked about is "devotions", or "day so-and-so", or "purpose", or "God's will", etc, etc, etc. What I NEVER hear these same people mention is their love for Christ.

If worship is exalting the Lord and beholding his beauty, how does PDL do this? Instead of the book painting a picture of Christ that is so lovely, so truthful, so attractive, so compelling that it makes the reader fall down at the feet of the Lord, it instead talks about "surrender", "faith", "eternity", etc.

Even the chapter on "What Makes God Smile" is skewed. Do you know what the author says makes God smile? You won't believe it! The obvious answer is Christ right, and being found in Him? However, to Warren, its: when we love God supremely, when we trust Him completely, when we obey him wholeheartedly, when we praise and thank him continually, and when we use our abilities.

If this isn't one of the most clear cases ANYWHERE of turning the Law into Gospel, I don't know what is. Sure, there are passing references to Christ, but He is never the sum and substance of anything in the book. It always comes back to what YOU can do for God.

The Bible tells us to fix our eyes on Christ. Warren's book puts our eyes on ourselves and that continually. I don't know how anyone could actually grow in their love of Christ by means of this book. He is so conspicuously absent for the discerning Christian, that the book could hardly be called "Christian" at all. No wonder so many people of other faith's love it. All of the "principles" work, one doesn't need the "Principal" behind the principles. I won't deny that the words "Christlike" and "becoming more like Christ" are replete throughout, but never is enough of Christ given for a person to really make that their foundation.

And I've heard over and over, "Yeah, but its GREAT for the beginner! Don't you get that??? Beginners need to start HERE!!!"

So we have beginners starting with something OTHER than Christ???
Beginners are starting with principles, techniques, obedience, community, etc. Its so easy to defend the book because there's nothing wrong with almost anything in it, "in principle". But the book is NOT about Jesus, and I don't see how a book can be truly edifying when it claims to cover the panoply of the Christian life, yet puts so much emphasis on the individual and what he can and should do, that NO call is made to fall at the mercy of the feet of Jesus, and that without that, EVERY man is under condemnation from God, with NO way out, not now, not ever, for all eternity.

I welcome a well-reasoned reply to this. And please don't just find, "Hey, Jesus was mentioned over 100 times in the book!"
I've been down to the Unity Church and they mention Jesus in their sermons too. Please look for Jesus as the sum and substance, and if He's really there, I'd be glad to hear about it. Maybe I'm missing it... I stand willing to be corrected, honestly.
 

alwaysreforming

Puritan Board Sophomore
Originally posted by BJClark
I have a question to all the Pastors who are saying RW is teaching a False Gospel, Have any of YOU contacted him personally and confronted him about this? If Not WHY NOT?

It's not about denomational lines, because God is not about Denomations does not the Bible teach us that we are to confront a brother who is in sin, and if You honestly believe He is teaching a false gospel then he is sinning, and you as his Brothers and Fellow pastors have an obligation to go to Him and talk to Him personally about that. If we are truly brothers and sisters in Christ, then it shouldn't matter WHAT church affilitation He belongs to because He is a Pastor.

And for those of us who are gossiping, myself included here, as I have participated in this thread and others like it, we need to go before God and ask His forgiveness for our own sin.

If we really believe God is a God of reconciliation then the slander must stop and those leaders here who believe He is preaching a false Gospel need to put an end to it and go to Him personally and confront Him on it.

Just my :2cents:

[Edited on 11-22-2005 by BJClark]

Bobbi,
I have appreciated your input into the discussion, and you raise many very good points, and you have me thinking.

Your latest post certainly gives me pause to think as well. I really hope not to be uncharitable, or bitter, or anything else about RW.

I think the book and its message/methods could still stand just a little more debate, though, especially if we are not attacking the man and his motives but rather trying to point to Christ as Savior and wondering if the book is really doing its job of this.

I hope you will bear with me (and us) and may we all keep an open mind just a little while longer; and you have prompted me RIGHT NOW that I need to pray for Rick Warren as he is such an influential leader.

Thanks for your input.
 

tcalbrecht

Puritan Board Junior
Originally posted by Jie-Huli
:um: I must congratulate you on finding a quotation in which he used the word "depraved". This is not exactly the sort of quotation I was seeking, however . . . I was thinking more of a quotation from his materials (which supposedly contain presentations of the gospel) which would really set forth the doctrine of total depravity and explain that men outside of Christ are under the wrath of God because of their sins. I certainly did not see such an explanation in "The Purpose Driven Life", and I do not think the quote above does that.

With all due respect, I think what you are asking for is for Rick Warren to use explicitly reformed language. As I pointed out before, "depravity" is not necessarily a word that crops up in alot of non-reformed writing.

But PDL does talk about sin and sinfulness quite a bit. On Page 58, the quote that was given earlier, he says, "Receive Jesus into yiour life as Lord and Savior. Receive His forgiveness for your sins." He also speaks of us being "sinful human beings" (p. 87) and "sinful people" (p. 142), and "sinful behavior" (p. 182). He speaks of people confessing their sins to God (p. 28) to one another (pp. 150, 212). He references people being removed from a local fellowship because of gross, unrepentant sin (p. 132). He speaks about our divine image being "damaged and distorted by sin" (p. 172).

He also talks about God's "anger and wrath" being poured out on unbelievers for their sin (p. 232).

If you want to criticize Warren for not being reformed, that's fine. He shares this with probably the majority of those who claim the name of Christ. It think it is "hair splitting" to require him precise, theological language from a system that he does not necessarily share.
 

BJClark

Puritan Board Doctor
alwaysreforming,


I have no problem giving it time, or more discussion. It's just something God laid on my heart to ask of those Pastors here who say he is teaching falsely gone to him privately as per what the Bible teaches?

As a Christian, I already KNOW Christ as a My Savior, and I hear the Gospel message of Salvation in Church every Sunday, so I was not looking for that message when I read this book.

The very first chapter of the book starts out, "It's not about YOU"

Then he goes on to say "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 goes on to say: "Contrary to what many popular books, movies, and seminars tell you, you won't discover your lifes meaning by looking within yourself."

No, He may not talk about our condemned souls without Christ, That is what the Bible is for, that is what preachers within the church are for; and throughout this book I see him pointing people to the Bible to seek out what God's word says and to the churches so that they can be in fellowship and grow.

In Chapter 3 the last page he says:

"One day you will stand before God, and He will do an audit of your life, a final exam, before you enter eternity. The Bible says, "Remember, each of us will stand personally before the judgment seat of God....Yes, each of us will have to give a personal account to God." (Romans 14:10b- 12 NLT)

"Fortunately God wants us to pass this test, so He has given us the questions in advance. From the Bible we can surmise that God will ask us two critical questions:

First, "What did you do with My Son, Jesus Christ?" God won't ask about your religious background or doctrinal views. The only thing that will matter is, Did you accept what Jesus did for You and did you learn to love and trust Him? Jesus said "I am the way the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me." (John 14:6)

Second, "What did you do with what I gave you?" What did you do with your life--all the gifts, talents, opportunities, energy, relationships, and resources God gave you? Did you spend them on yourself, or did you spend them for the purposes God made you for?"

Preparing you for these two questions is the goal of this book. The first question will determine where you spend eternity. The second question will determine what you do in eternity."

Though I disagree in part with the end result of question two, as I don't know entirely what eternity will be like, and how it will function as a whole in what we will be doing (other than praising God) though I do believe there will be some type of work that we will be doing, as God created Adam to care for the Garden of Eden. But I also believe what we do with the gifts, talents and such will be judged and either be turned to Gold and Silver or rubble and with those things that were done for the purpose of Serving God that will be found pure, we will give those to Christ.

So that purpose could be two fold, and I don't have a problem with that understanding, as I have found many verses speak to me with various deeper meanings as I grow in my walk than they did on the surface when I first became a Christian.


So my question to those who believe this is a false doctrine, what is false about those things? If it is just that he doesn't go into the total depravation of mankind, that is not what this book is about it, that is what pointing to them to the Bible, and churches is for, so that they can hear THAT message.

Someone mentioned that some friends read the book and yet don't 'look' to Jesus, I would be asking them WHAT are THEIR Preachers preaching?
That is their responsibility.

If Rick Warrens book is really filling the church pews and more people are going to Church then the responsibility becomes the Pastors who had better get on the ball and teach them what the Bible says about our sinfulness and need of a Savior.

Rick Warren has in turn fullfilled what God has called him to do with this book, and that is to point them to the Bible and the Churches to be fed,
it's not his responsibility to feed them unless they are in His congregation.

It's not that his book is lacking, it's more that people seem to want to place a purpose on this book that was not intended. After he points people to the Word of God, doesn't it then become THEIR and OUR individual responsibility to search the Scriptures ourselves to find out more about what God's word really says? And isn't up to the Holy Spirit at that point to lead them/us to repentance? And isn't up to the preachers to preach the message once they are in the church buildings?
And also the teachers of each of those congregations to teach the message?

How can anyone claim He's not pointing to People to Jesus, if he's pointing them to the Bible and challenging them to read what it says?
 

BJClark

Puritan Board Doctor
ChristopherPaul


I have read Rick Warren's book and found it helpful at the time I read it. At the time I was rather immature and theologically ignorant. The book offered "promises" that were quite discouraging when my life did not turn out the way Rick Warren paints things.

Can I ask you a question, what were you expecting in your life that did not turn out the way you expected it to per what you read in the book?

What promises do you see were offered or did you read into what he wrote that you became discouraged about?
 

ChristopherPaul

Puritan Board Senior
Originally posted by BJClark
ChristopherPaul


I have read Rick Warren's book and found it helpful at the time I read it. At the time I was rather immature and theologically ignorant. The book offered "promises" that were quite discouraging when my life did not turn out the way Rick Warren paints things.

Can I ask you a question, what were you expecting in your life that did not turn out the way you expected it to per what you read in the book?

What promises do you see were offered or did you read into what he wrote that you became discouraged about?

Hi Bobbi:

I don't have the book with me at work, but I will say that it revolved around the emphasis Warren gives to the magic number 40, and his stress on life change after the 40-day campaign. He does the typical, "˜repeat after me and say this prayer, now expect your life to be fulfilled´ routine that gives a Finney-esque idea that life is good after conversion.

My copy is at home packed away in the basement somewhere.

Although I wouldn´t recommend the book to anyone, I also would not adamantly be opposed to someone who is reading it. I would just be sure to warn them not to treat scripture as casually as RW does and tell them that many of his proof texts are used out of context and manipulated to support his specific points.

I hope this helps.
 

tcalbrecht

Puritan Board Junior
Originally posted by ChristopherPaul
He does the typical, "˜repeat after me and say this prayer, now expect your life to be fulfilled´ routine that gives a Finney-esque idea that life is good after conversion.


I'm not sure what is "Finney-esque" about the idea that life after conversion is superior to life prior to conversion. I would define that as "good", certainly in an absolute sense.

"But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus." (Eph. 2:4-7)

That sounds pretty good to me. We were "dead". He loved us and made us alive in Christ, raising us up and seating us in heavenly places.

"Wherefore, they who are elected, being fallen in Adam, are redeemed by Christ, are effectually called unto faith in Christ by his Spirit working in due season, are justified, adopted, sanctified, and kept by his power, through faith, unto salvation." (WCF III:6)

"They, who are once effectually called, and regenerated, having a new heart, and a new spirit created in them, are further sanctified, really and personally, through the virtue of Christ´s death and resurrection, by his Word and Spirit dwelling in them:" (WCF XIII:1)

Is that all "Finney-esque"? I hope not.

Without defining "good" and how Wareen uses it inappropriately, your critique is off the mark.
 

ChristopherPaul

Puritan Board Senior
Originally posted by tcalbrecht
Originally posted by ChristopherPaul
He does the typical, "˜repeat after me and say this prayer, now expect your life to be fulfilled´ routine that gives a Finney-esque idea that life is good after conversion.


I'm not sure what is "Finney-esque" about the idea that life after conversion is superior to life prior to conversion. I would define that as "good", certainly in an absolute sense.

"But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus." (Eph. 2:4-7)

That sounds pretty good to me. We were "dead". He loved us and made us alive in Christ, raising us up and seating us in heavenly places.

"Wherefore, they who are elected, being fallen in Adam, are redeemed by Christ, are effectually called unto faith in Christ by his Spirit working in due season, are justified, adopted, sanctified, and kept by his power, through faith, unto salvation." (WCF III:6)

"They, who are once effectually called, and regenerated, having a new heart, and a new spirit created in them, are further sanctified, really and personally, through the virtue of Christ´s death and resurrection, by his Word and Spirit dwelling in them:" (WCF XIII:1)

Is that all "Finney-esque"? I hope not.

Without defining "good" and how Wareen uses it inappropriately, your critique is off the mark.

Ok.

Has anyone read Nathan Busenitz´s review in the book Fools Gold? I just lent my book out on Friday, but I thought his review was fair and accurate. If you are interested in a brief overview in a published criticism, I would suggest that. I do not believe the link I provided is his verbatim review from the book.

Cheers
 

BJClark

Puritan Board Doctor
alwaysreforming,



I could be wrong, and I would be happy to be corrected (believe me, I really would), but it seems that what the book is lacking is AN EMPHASIS ON Christ. The person and work of Christ it seems has been pared down to "principles" to live by. From all the people I know who LOVE the book (not on the board but my in flesh friends at home), what always gets talked about is "devotions", or "day so-and-so", or "purpose", or "God's will", etc, etc, etc. What I NEVER hear these same people mention is their love for Christ.

Have you ever asked them why they never mention their love for Christ?
It may have nothing to do with the fact they read this book and loved it,
it could be something totally unrelated.

If worship is exalting the Lord and beholding his beauty, how does PDL do this? Instead of the book painting a picture of Christ that is so lovely, so truthful, so attractive, so compelling that it makes the reader fall down at the feet of the Lord, it instead talks about "surrender", "faith", "eternity", etc.

Is that all worship is about?

Or would it also include on a more personal level surrendering ourselves completely to God first?

What RW writes in his book concerning this:

"This act of personal surrender is called many things: consecration, making Jesus your Lord, taking up your cross, dying to self, yielding to the Spirit. What matters is that you do it, not what you call it. God wants your life--all of it."

There are three barriers that block our total surrender to God: fear, pride and confusion. We don't realize how much God loves us, we want to control our own lives and we misunderstand the meaning of surrender."

He goes on to say:

"God is not a cruel slave driver or a bully who uses brute force to coerce us to submission. He doesn't try to break our will, but woo's us to Himself so that we might offer ourselves freely to Him. "

Isn't that where true worship comes from? When we realize just what God has done for us?


Even the chapter on "What Makes God Smile" is skewed. Do you know what the author says makes God smile? You won't believe it! The obvious answer is Christ right, and being found in Him? However, to Warren, its: when we love God supremely, when we trust Him completely, when we obey him wholeheartedly, when we praise and thank him continually, and when we use our abilities.

You don't think those things make God smile? Couldn't it be those things are a more concise truth to being found in Christ, that we love God supremely, that we trust Him completely, when we obey Him wholeheartly, when we praise and thank Him continually and when we use the gifts He gave us for His glory?

If this isn't one of the most clear cases ANYWHERE of turning the Law into Gospel, I don't know what is. Sure, there are passing references to Christ, but He is never the sum and substance of anything in the book. It always comes back to what YOU can do for God.

Hmmm, isn't that what we are called as Christians to do; Serve God?

We already know what God has done for us, but the question is, why did God save you? For what purpose did God save You? How do You show God that YOU are so very very thankful for what He did for you?

The Bible tells us to fix our eyes on Christ. Warren's book puts our eyes on ourselves and that continually. I don't know how anyone could actually grow in their love of Christ by means of this book. He is so conspicuously absent for the discerning Christian, that the book could hardly be called "Christian" at all. No wonder so many people of other faith's love it. All of the "principles" work, one doesn't need the "Principal" behind the principles. I won't deny that the words "Christlike" and "becoming more like Christ" are replete throughout, but never is enough of Christ given for a person to really make that their foundation.

Does it really cause people to fix their eye's on self to glorify self or more to look within and ask "Am I really living my life for Christ as God expects me to do?" I for one do not see this book as glorifying self, but more asking us to really examine ourselves and see if we are really serving God the way God intended us to.


And I've heard over and over, "Yeah, but its GREAT for the beginner! Don't you get that??? Beginners need to start HERE!!!"

Once they accept Christ as their Savior and they are still babes in Christ, then what? That is where I see many churches failing, in the then what area. We have so many Spiritual babies in our churches that that hear the Gospel and have accepted Christ, but they aren't growing PAST THAT.

They don't know what the Christian life is supposed to be about. Is it that preachers and teachers are failing to teach them these things? They are so concerned about 'getting them saved' but not discipling them, not teaching them what it's all about once you accept Christ.

So we have beginners starting with something OTHER than Christ??? Beginners are starting with principles, techniques, obedience, community, etc. Its so easy to defend the book because there's nothing wrong with almost anything in it, "in principle". But the book is NOT about Jesus, and I don't see how a book can be truly edifying when it claims to cover the panoply of the Christian life, yet puts so much emphasis on the individual and what he can and should do, that NO call is made to fall at the mercy of the feet of Jesus, and that without that, EVERY man is under condemnation from God, with NO way out, not now, not ever, for all eternity.

I believe I've already shown where this was taught, in Chapter 3. where He quotes Jesus' words "I am the way the truth and the life NO ONE comes to the Father except by me."

What about Chapter 7

The Reason for Everything

"It's all for Him"

"The ultimate goal of the universe is to show the glory of God. It is the reason that everything exists, including you. God made it all for His glory.
Without God's glory, there would be nothing. "

"What is the glory of God? It is who God is. It is the essence of His nature, the weight of His importance, the radiance of His splendor, the demonstration of His power, and the atmosphere of His presence. God's glory is the expression of His goodness and all his other intrinsct, eternal qualities."

Chapter 7 page 54-55:

"God's glory is best seen in Jesus Christ. He, the Light of the World, illuminates God's nature. Because of Jesus we are no longer in the dark about what God is really like."

'Since God made all things, He derserves all the Glory. The Bible says, "You are worthy, O Lord our God, to recieve glory, and honor and power. For you created everything."

"In the entire universe, only two of God's creations fail to bring glory to Him: fallen angels (demons) and us (people). All sin, at it's root is failing to give God Glory. It is loving anything else more than God. Refusing to bring God glory is a prideful rebellion and it is the sin that caused satan to fall--and ours, too. In different ways we have all lived for our own glory, not God's. The Bible says "All have sinned and fall short of the Glory of God."

None of us have given God the full glory He deserves from our lives. This is the worst sin and the biggest mistake we can make. On the other hand, living for God's glory is the greatest achievement we can accomplish with our lives. God says, "They are my own people, and I created them to bring Me glory," so it out to be the supreme goal of our lives.

"Jesus honored God by fullfilling His purpose on earth. We honor God the same way."

and the question to consider for this chapter:

"Where in my daily routine can I become more aware of God's Glory?"

I see that question as a call to search my life to see where I can become more aware of God's glory, not my own.

So, based on what I've shared here, is this book pointing people to Jesus or to self? Is it challenging people to examine their lives to see where they need to change in order to serve self or to serve God more fully?
 

Robin

Puritan Board Junior
Originally posted by tcalbrecht
Originally posted by R. Scott Clark
As I understand PD Evangelism, the goal is (as in most church growth materials that I read ca. 1987-93) to create a demographically homogenous church. The homogenous church is the goal of the demographically targeted evangelism and church planting.

What exactly is your source for understanding "PD evangelism" on which you base your opinions?

Somehow I would feel more comfortable with your analysis if you were able to provide information directly from Warren's material. ....
Given that he's a pastor, and preaches dozens (hunderds?) of sermons a year, published many books, the snippets of out of context quotes from third party sources given here does not make for a discerning analysis.

Tom,

All my posts include source references from Warren including the Hula worship ministry. The "Propaganda" post is relevent, too. Please read these sources soberly and learn for your self. Things have gone way-past a book. A bit of research provides a much clearer picture.

Your counters are surprising given what has already been posted.

So, are you OK with bringing blatant idol worship (to the false-god Pele) with Jesus' name slapped on it, into the church? Go to the SB webiste: are their "worship venues" OK? (charging worshippers $20 admission) Maybe you think that's a small thing? Maybe it's OK to make merchandise of the Sovreign Lord of the universe? To use a "bait and switch" tactic on men, perishing? That it's OK to defame the purpose of Jesus Christ?

I don't hear Warren talk about the most important purpose in history: Jesus Christ - and what he DID.

Living 30 minutes from Saddleback, the aire of false-humility; self-sufficient religiosity and general silliness permeates. The Pharisees and the moneychangers in the temple court. The unfortunate sheep that don't learn to be pharisees are driven to despar with endless lists of "to do's". (Again, see the SB website.)

Luckily, I regularly meet unbelievers that perceive PD and SB as a scam. They are disgusted and mocking of Christianity because of PD. I have to apologize; do damage control; then explain what the real, historic, Biblical Gospel is: Christ died to save sinners and was raised for our justification. Yes, PDL can be an opportunity to explain the True Gospel.

Btw, Tom....the Christian is to not depend on feelings. Search the Scriptures tirelessly; be a Berean; test every thing. Scripture commands this, instead. (You do know Scripture teaches this, right?)

:book2:

r.
 

Ravens

Puritan Board Sophomore
"Btw, Tom....the Christian is to not depend on feelings. Search the Scriptures tirelessly; be a Berean; test every thing. Scripture commands this, instead. (You do know Scripture teaches this, right?)"

I wish there were little comic book character icons, like maybe Captain Obvious and his loyal sidekick, Unnecessary Boy.
 
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