Is Your Church Going Purpose Driven?

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CalvinandHodges

Puritan Board Junior
Hi:

Below is from a tract I received by a friend that was published by Southwest Radio Ministeries. I thought it alarming enough to reproduce part of it below.

"In the past ten years a large percentage of churches in America, and in other countries, have changed from a traditional New Testament church model to a contemporary Purpose Driven model, many with sorrowful results. Contrary to Purpose Diven Church proponents, millions have been leaving their churches after the change occurred. I is important that every church member know if their church is targeted for a Purpose Driven Church takeover.

Initially, a small clique of church staff, possibly including the pastor or a new pastor, plans the change without telling the rest of the church membership. Church Transitions, an associate of Saddleback Church in California, trains the clique initiating the change in eight published steps. The church membership is not to be informed of the transition until the fourth step. After the sixth step in the process of change, if there are some in the church who voice concerns, the following is suggested:

1) Identify those who are resisting the changes;
2) Assess the effectiveness of their opposition:
3) Befriend those wh are undecided about the changes;
4) Marginalize more persistent resisters;
5) Vilify those who stay and fight;
6) Establish new rules that will silence all resistance.

This means the church membership is not told until it is too late to make a difference. In other words the members either accept the changes, or leave the church, which they may have served and given to build."

The tract then lists 24 symptoms that indicate a change to the Purpose Driven style. Here are a few:

1) Change in music to a contemporary rock style.
4) Repetitive singing of praise lyrics.
5) Dressing down to casual attire.
7) The pastor, or a new leader with a few assistants, usually four, takes charge of all church business.
10) Sunday morning, evening, and/or Wednesday prayer meetings are changed to other times; some may be eliminated.
14) In accordance with Dr. Warren's instructions, new version Bibles are used; or only verses flashed on a screen are referenced during regular services.
15) Purpose Driven Church films, purchased from Saddleback, precede or are used during regular services.
17) The word "church" is often taken from the name of the church, and the church may be called a "campus." Denominational names may also be removed.
20) The elimination of such words as "unsaved," "lost," :sin," "Hell," "Heaven" and other gospel verities from the pastor's messages.
22) The marginalizing, or ostracizing, of all who are not avid promoters of the new Purpose Driven program."

Later on the tract reads:

"Dr. Warren stated on may 23, 2005, at the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life: "The word 'fundamentalist' actually comes from a document in the 1920's called the Five Fundamentals of the Faith. And it is a very legalistic, narrow view of Christianity."

The five fundamentals of the faith to which Dr. Warren objected are:

1) The inerrancy and full authority of the Bible.
2) The virgin birth and full Deity of Jesus Christ.
3) The bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.
4) Christ's atoning, vicarious death for the sins of the world.
5) The literal second coming of Jesus Christ."

The tract concludes:

" To start a Purpose Driven Church or change to one with the full knowledge and consent of the membership is one thing, but to practically steal a church from Christians who have given and served to build it without their knowledge or consent is quite another. One major problem of the PDC is that while food and entertainment may temporarily attract teenagers, when the senior adults leave, the church closes for lack of financial support. Charles Spurgeon said, "The biggest lie the Devil ever told was that churches can win souls with entertainment."

I guess my overall question is whether or not Rick Warren should be considered a brother in Christ, or, a destroyer of the Church?

Blessings,

Rob
 
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Rich Koster

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
This looks like a cookie cutter plan, similar to a businesses hostile takeover , being used against a congregation that is not well grounded in the scriptures. It also is rather non-charitable and sneaky. It looks like something Marx or Hitler would use in a planning session, rather than a congregational meeting.

"1) Identify those who are resisting the changes;
2) Assess the effectiveness of their opposition:
3) Befriend those who are undecided about the changes;
4) Marginalize more persistent resisters;
5) Vilify those who stay and fight;
6) Establish new rules that will silence all resistance."

Now, to complete my thought:
Does Warren really promote this, or is this a summary from the author? I know PD promotes change, but does it really go this far? I read his book in the 90'sand don't remember it being this extreme. Is there stuff being said at training sessions that is not in print? I remember some diagrams about building a core membership group, in a congregation. This was being done from the positive side of the coin. Is it possible that the above quote is a summary of what Warren says to do from a negative argument format?
 
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raekwon

Puritan Board Junior
Looks alarmist.

I just read through the mentioned interview in which Warren he talks about fundamentalism. It doesn't look to me like he's saying that the "five fundamentals" are narrow or legalistic, but that Bob Jones-style fundamentalism is narrow and legalistic.
 

Pergamum

Ordinary Guy (TM)
Another question would be how honest the tract is and what are its primary evidences, and can it cite proofs?
 

raekwon

Puritan Board Junior
Looking at Southwest Radio Ministries' website makes me less and less inclined to take them very seriously.

This isn't to say that churches should move toward a "purpose-driven" model -- I'm not a pragmatist -- but as I said earlier... it just looks like your run-of-the-mill fundamentalist alarmism. The sky is falling, etc.
 

Pergamum

Ordinary Guy (TM)
I think Rick Warren steals and eats babies, too, and is a member of the Illuminati and I am going to make a tract about it, too, but with cool Jack-Chick-style artwork!
 

Rich Koster

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
I think Rick Warren steals and eats babies, too, and is a member of the Illuminati and I am going to make a tract about it, too, but with cool Jack-Chick-style artwork!

This is a good illustration of what I suspect happened. There is something going on, but exaggerated details get added and skew the point in attempt to amplify the real issue.
 

Pergamum

Ordinary Guy (TM)
Yes, exaggerated details.......he really doesn't steal and eat babieS...it was just that one baby that one time........
 

KMK

Administrator
Staff member
I was one of Warren's "Blessed Subtractions" about a decade ago. This jibes with my experience.


1) Identify those who are resisting the changes; CHECK
2) Assess the effectiveness of their opposition: CHECK
3) Befriend those wh are undecided about the changes; CHECK
4) Marginalize more persistent resisters; (and instruct the church to shun them) CHECK
5) Vilify those who stay and fight; (I did not stay and fight)
6) Establish new rules that will silence all resistance. (the new rule is if you are against PD you are against Christ's Kingdom) CHECK


1) Change in music to a contemporary rock style. CHECK
4) Repetitive singing of praise lyrics. CHECK
5) Dressing down to casual attire. (anyone on the Worship Team must have 'the look') CHECK
7) The pastor, or a new leader with a few assistants, usually four, takes charge of all church business. CHECK
10) Sunday morning, evening, and/or Wednesday prayer meetings are changed to other times; some may be eliminated. (even if they are not official church meetings!) CHECK
14) In accordance with Dr. Warren's instructions, new version Bibles are used; or only verses flashed on a screen are referenced during regular services. (and do whatever you can do to tear down the KJV including calling King James a sodomite) CHECK
15) Purpose Driven Church films, purchased from Saddleback, precede or are used during regular services. (and especially the sermons) CHECK
17) The word "church" is often taken from the name of the church, and the church may be called a "campus." Denominational names may also be removed. CHECK
20) The elimination of such words as "unsaved," "lost," :sin," "Hell," "Heaven" and other gospel verities from the pastor's messages. (I don't know about this one)
22) The marginalizing, or ostracizing, of all who are not avid promoters of the new Purpose Driven program." (even after they have left the church) CHECK

I did not experience any of the resistance to the 5 Fundamentals. I have never seen any PD literature like that. If you haven't done so already, I suggest listening to a sermon from a PD church and then do a Google search of one of the key phrases. It is very interesting how many preach the exact same sermons. And they are not cheap. Pastors.com sells them for a pretty penny.
 

CalvinandHodges

Puritan Board Junior
Hi:

Thanks for all of the responses. I did some digging and found the interview that is mentioned in the tract. Interestingly, the question posed to Rick Warren was given by Juan Williams - then of NPR - the relevant portion is this:

JUAN WILLIAMS, NPR: Picking up on this business about the disagreements between the fundamentalists and the Pentecostals, I mean, this struck me as news because when journalists write about it, we go to people like Robertson and Falwell to represent the evangelicals. And that's the way it comes across, so it strikes me that we're ill informed or you're wrong. (Chuckles.) And secondly, that you're not using this God-given influence you spoke of, because your influence is not showing up in the American media in terms of supplanting people who you would tell us are bogus.

MR. WARREN: Well, I tell you, that's the reason I accepted this meeting, because I'm just tired of having other people represent me and represent the hundreds of thousands of churches where the pastors I've trained would nowhere, no way, relate to some of the supposed spokesmen of a previous generation.

Now the word "fundamentalist" actually comes from a document in the 1920s called the Five Fundamentals of the Faith. And it is a very legalistic, narrow view of Christianity, and when I say there are very few fundamentalists, I mean in the sense that they are all actually called fundamentalist churches, and those would be quite small. There are no large ones.

MR. WILLIAMS: Bob Jones is not a mega-church?

MR. WARREN: No, no, no, no, no, no no. Bob Jones is not a mega-church. That's right exactly, it's not, and that group is shrinking more and more and more. On the other hand, Pentecostalism and charismatic evangelicalism is growing by leaps and bounds. It's growing huge all over the world. And so that's the movement that's growing.

MR. WILLIAMS: What's the difference between a fundamentalist and a Pentecostal?

MR. WARREN: A fundamentalist would deny the miraculous today. They would - for instance, one of the hallmarks of a Pentecostal would be praying for miracles of healing and speaking in an unknown tongue and things like that. Those would be hallmarks of Pentecostalism and fundamentalists would say, "Oh no, all that stuff died at the end of the New Testament." They would not accept the miraculous today.

MR. WILLIAMS: So what's the difference between you and the fundamentalists?

MR. WARREN: Well, I don't agree with that. I believe there are miracles today.

MR. CROMARTIE: Let me give you a quick answer to that. The difference between an evangelical and a fundamentalist is an evangelical is someone who really, really, really likes Billy Graham. A fundamentalist is someone who thinks Billy Graham is a liberal.

MR. WARREN: That would be true. A fundamentalist basically would look at many others in Christianity and say, "You're not even a Christian." They'd say it about Lutherans, Methodists, Presbyterians, Catholics. You know - even evangelicals. It's interesting - maybe 15-20 years ago, Falwell stopped calling himself a fundamentalist, and actually left the fundamentalist fellowship, and he went and joined the Southern Baptist Convention - which is as wide - I mean you can find anything in that.

MR. CROMARTIE: Well, let me ask John, do you have any data on this?

JOHN DIIULIO, UNIVERSITY OF PENNSYLVANIA: Rick's absolutely right. As I said this morning, just disaggregate the demographics on the evangelical community, and you find intergenerational differences in opinions. Boston College's Alan Wolfe, writing for The Atlantic Monthly, did a long article a number of years ago on the interesting intra-group differences among evangelicals. It was essentially correct. Rick Warren represents evangelicals who are pro-life, pro-family and pro-poor. For him and millions more evangelicals the pro-poor part is every bit as important as the other two parts. A majority of evangelicals are with him.

You can find the transcript here: Pew Forum: Myths of the Modern Megachurch

It is way down the article.

It seems to me that Rick Warren is defining "fundamentalism" as having creeds without deeds (his words). What I am opposed to in the PDC is the serious lack of depth in their beliefs, which has caused Warren and others to make questionable statements, and their opposition to the Regulative Principle. I am also a bit leery about the way he evaluates a church as "growing" or "not growing." Certainly, the Spirit of God can promote healthy church growth, but church growth as a criteria as to whether or not the Spirit of God is present is not a Biblical criteria. We do need churches that have creeds and deeds, but I do not think the PDC model fulfills the Biblical requirement, and may do more harm than good.

In my humble opinion,

Rob
 

jwithnell

Moderator
Staff member
I get annoyed with churches who assume or assert that the particular way they do things is a "New Testament church model."
... and also assumes the church did not exist in the Old Testament. It is this kind of break with the historicity of God's people that leads to so many of the problems in the modern church.

Re: Fundamentalist. The history is basically correct, although I thought the listing of 5 tenets occurred earlier, closer to the turn of the century. The problem isn't the listing of 5 fundamentals, it's the ignorance (both in avoiding and in the lack of knowledge of) the historic creeds and confessions. The moment a believer goes past the 5 fundamentals, he's on his own. How should a church worship? Without the RPW anything goes. How should a Christian dress and behave? W/out the principles of Christian liberty, the rules get made up on the fly.

Is my church purpose driven? Well, it's got 1 pastor and four leaders -- all excellent members of the session. We sometimes drop the "orthodox" from OPC if we're in a context where we're concerned it will cause confusion. (I.e. where are all your icons?) We've changed our stated Sunday evening service to accommodate a congregation spread out over several counties and two states. And you bet we have a purpose: "To glorify God and to enjoy Him forever!"
 

Bill The Baptist

Puritan Board Graduate
I think this tract is perhaps a bit over the top, but I do know from experience that pragmatists believe with all their heart that ANYTHING that grows the church MUST be from God, and ANYTHING or ANYONE who opposes something that could grow the church MUST be of satanic origin.
 

Pilgrim

Puritanboard Commissioner
By that definition, most everyone on this board is a fundamentalist. I guess if you object to Warren's organization training women pastors and Mormons, you're a fundy.

If (and when) Rick Warren or the typical pragmatic SBCer or other broad evangelical (including some in the PCA) calls you a fundy (in the sense of doctrinal precision or separatism from apostasy) or a TR, then count all honor. :2cents:

The use of epithets as a way to cut off dissent is another hallmark of PDL, and it is often also used by many "New Calvinists" and others who employ pragmatic church growth techniques. Use of ad hominem argumentation often goes hand in hand as well. "Typical fundy (or "Old Calvinist") website or person. Move along. Nothing to see here." etc.
 
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Pilgrim

Puritanboard Commissioner
I think this tract is perhaps a bit over the top, but I do know from experience that pragmatists believe with all their heart that ANYTHING that grows the church MUST be from God, and ANYTHING or ANYONE who opposes something that could grow the church MUST be of satanic origin.

This was precisely my point with the controversy a few years ago regarding Driscoll, pornification, etc. (See here and here) While few defended everything he did and few defended the explicit materials linked on his site, the idea was that "this is what you need to do today to reach the lost, etc." Specifically within the SBC, it seemed there was a political motive. Maybe it's the equivalent of Reagan's 11th Commandment--"Thou shalt not openly criticize thy fellow Calvinist."

10 years ago, Calvinism was thought to be completely at odds with pragmatic church growth techniques. (Would this post have been thinkable even 5-6 years ago? Whose position is it that has changed?) Now you see many Calvinistic megachurch leaders brushing shoulders with Warren et al at the Leadership Network. "New Calvinist" church planters use the Homogeneous Unit Principle in much the same way that the Hybels and Warren clones did in the 80's and 90's. Many would sneer at cowboy churches and biker churches, but when their church resembles a college youth ministry, is there really any difference? I also think that a lot of the guys who are under 30 or maybe under 35 aren't familiar with the controversy over PDL, etc. Some may only be familiar with Warren through his Twitter posts, some of which are relatively hard hitting.

It remains to be seen whether plain speaking about sin will continue to be prominent in ministries that are otherwise given over to pragmatism and what could be called Arminian church growth techniques.

---------- Post added at 03:10 PM ---------- Previous post was at 03:09 PM ----------

What's a "TR?" Is that "textus receptus" as in KJV onlyism?

"Truly Reformed" i.e. a fairly strict confessionalist.
 
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Edward

Puritanboard Commissioner
What's a "TR?" Is that "textus receptus" as in KJV onlyism?

No. 'Totally Reformed' (used as a pejorative by the BRs (broadly reformed) folks), or 'Truly Reformed' worn as a proud label by the TRs themselves. Start with strict subscription to the Westminster Standards, and take the more conservative position on most issues under discussion.
 

jwithnell

Moderator
Staff member
Or thoroughly reformed ... in the 80s it was often claimed by the theonomic-leaning in the PCA.
 

Rich Koster

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
Yes, exaggerated details.......he really doesn't steal and eat babieS...it was just that one baby that one time........

No, but he does suggest "stealing and eating" the congregations into his movement. I was part of a SBC congregation that went PD then NAR. It was ugly.
 

SolaSaint

Puritan Board Sophomore
I had to leave a PD church about 6 years ago and much of what is mentioned in the OP is correct from my perspective. I was a deacon and close to the team who lead the change. I felt my family and I either embraced the PD model or leave. I have read some of the SWRM stuff and they do expose the PD stuff but as said already they do over react. I feel Warren has good intensions but is fully decieved by Satan. The real problem is the churches who do the PD model are lead by over zealous pastors who have taken their eyes off of Jesus.
 

Pergamum

Ordinary Guy (TM)
Yes, exaggerated details.......he really doesn't steal and eat babieS...it was just that one baby that one time........

No, but he does suggest "stealing and eating" the congregations into his movement. I was part of a SBC congregation that went PD then NAR. It was ugly.

Can you give me proof?

I know that many megachurches swell in number due to "transfer growth" (i.e. lateral movement of church attendees from one church to another) rather than "new gowth" (reaching the unchurched, and servicing those not serviced by others) but this is rarely their intention. Usually their intention is not to steal other people's "sheep" (using the term loosely) but to reached those remaining unchurched people in a community.

It is one thing to report that such things are happening, and quite another (which needs further proof) to show that this was Rick Warren's intention from the outset.
 

SolaSaint

Puritan Board Sophomore
When we left our PD growing church several years ago, I was told in a deacons meeting to get on board with the PD shift or get out of the way. We started to lose many of long time members due to pews being removed, hymnals removed, Sunday and Wednesday night Bible studies removed, big screens installed, sermons about marriage, finances, addictions, etc. got to be the norm. There was no---no bible based worship or study. It all had to fit the PD program or it was out. When I approached my pastor at my and others discouragement with the direction of the church, I was told those people are immature and it is ok if they leave. I right then and there researched Rick Warren's leadership suggestions and he did say that old church members that get in the way need to be told to leave. I then researched my churches leaders and found that my pastor didn't prepare his own sermons but just repeated a sermon e-mailed to him by Saddleback. After a six week sermon series on finances that had very little scripture referenced, and the last sermon had a 10 minute video at the end advertising a financial counselor in the community. We left and Thank God. Yes that church is growing and attracting many people who are unchurched and many others from churches where they aren't entertained. I later found out through a close friend that the pastor was a big fan of Ed Young Jr. and Brian McLaren. WOW! now that I look back he reminds a lot of Ed Young. His worship services were most always a entertainig production of drama, videos and staged events. He wasn't that way 3 yeras prior to that when he took over as pastor. This is what can happen when Rick Wareen influences a young pastor who is sold out on numbers. Numbers was the BIGGEST indicator of success at this church--so sad.. I'm done with my rant.
 

Rich Koster

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
Yes, exaggerated details.......he really doesn't steal and eat babieS...it was just that one baby that one time........

No, but he does suggest "stealing and eating" the congregations into his movement. I was part of a SBC congregation that went PD then NAR. It was ugly.

Can you give me proof?

I know that many megachurches swell in number due to "transfer growth" (i.e. lateral movement of church attendees from one church to another) rather than "new gowth" (reaching the unchurched, and servicing those not serviced by others) but this is rarely their intention. Usually their intention is not to steal other people's "sheep" (using the term loosely) but to reached those remaining unchurched people in a community.

It is one thing to report that such things are happening, and quite another (which needs further proof) to show that this was Rick Warren's intention from the outset.

You missed my point. I am talking about an existing congregation that gets taken over by the PD movement way of operating. The congregation I was in had ~ 200 members when PDC started becoming the focus. After about 2 years, when I was given the boot, it was down to 18. I was marginalized and villified because I had the audacity to question the pastor. When he saw that I stood in the way of him taking over, with absolute authority, he had some people lock the doors on Sunday AM and had the police on speed dial to have me arrested if I set foot on HIS PROPERTY (the meetinghouse).

Also, people have started out using Warren's methods , but they modify them to build their own little kingdoms. Some people have started out using his methods & literature, then switch to something else from charismania. When the power and spotlight go to their heads, the result is what I mentioned happening above. It goes cultic and off of the deep end. Pergamum, if we ever meet, ask me about the chiropractor and I'll tell you the whole story. You will find it hard to believe.
 
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Pilgrim

Puritanboard Commissioner
I'm not a Warren expert and fortunately have never been subjected to a Purpose Driven takeover. (It was unthinkable in most of the churches I've been involved in.) But I've known some folks who have, although not to the extent that Rich describes.

My understanding is that he stated that pastors shouldn't try to create a bunch of little Saddlebacks. But isn't that basically what happened? Did his organization facilitate that? Isn't that the playbook that is being referred to in this thread? I think that's what's being referred to. And it's played out over and over again all over the country.
 
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