15 Principal Errors of “The Purpose-Driven Life”
by Stephen Weir
Reasons For This Paper
As manager of a conservative evangelical Christian literature service I am being asked with increasing frequency by concerned customers for information about Rick Warren”s best-seller of over 20 million copies, “The Purpose-Driven Life” (Zondervan, 2002). There are also believers personally known to me asking for similar information. Many good papers have already been written, to which this is intended to be a useful supplement. Because so many believers and churches are being affected, and because PDL contains so much harmful, dangerous false teaching, I have sought the Lord”s help to set out clearly and systematically, in a single paper, the basic objections and dangers I have found in this book.
Other Recommended Papers
Since this paper covers many issues, it has been necessary to be brief and give few examples on each point. Some excellent papers by other authors deal at greater length with particular issues, give more background on Rick Warren and the Purpose-Driven movement or give more examples and more extensive quotes from the book. The following are recommended (please access directly using the hotlinks below):
“The Purpose-Driven Life: An Evaluation ” “ Part 1″ by Gary E. Gilley
“The Purpose-Driven Life: An Evaluation ” “ Part 2″ by Gary E. Gilley www.svchapel.org/Resources/articles/read_articles.asp?ID=2
“How The Purpose-Driven Life Obscures The Gospel” by Bob DeWaay www.twincityfellowship.com/cic/articles/issue80.htm
“The Adulation of Man In The Purpose-Driven Life” by Richard Bennett www.bereanbeacon.org/articles/rick_warren_purpose_driven.htm
“The Purpose-Driven Life ” “ Demeaning The Very Nature of God” by Richard Bennett
“An Analysis of Rick Warren’s ” ˜The Purpose-Driven Life’” by Matt Costella
“The Purpose-Driven Program” by Albert James Dager
“Paganism In The Purpose-Driven Teaching” by Chris Carmichael
“Charting The Paganism of Galen & Jung” & Charting The Warren-Jung Connection” by Chris Carmichael www.sacredsandwich.com/warren_jung_chart.htm
“Spirit-Led Or Purpose Driven? ” “ Part 1″ by Berit Kjos www.crossroad.to/articles2/2003/1-purpose.htm
“What Kind Of Message is ” ˜The Message’?” (about “The Message” version Warren quotes from)
If you do not have time now to read all the above articles, I suggest starting with Gary Gilley’s, Chris Carmichael’s and Matt Costella’s articles, then others as you have time.
Please note that in my quotations of PDL, italics are Rick Warren’s, while bold is my added emphasis as a tool to highlight what is erroneous in the teaching.
This paper is sent as a service to help equip the saints wherever they are faced with this global movement, and may for this purpose be copied, printed or forwarded in its entirety. Requests to include extracts of this paper in other publications should be submitted to my email below.
Yours in the service of Christ,
1. PDL Uses Paraphrases Constantly
- The Bible is God’s word. Its words are inspired ” “ breathed out by God (2 Tim 3:16; 1 Cor 2:13; Prov. 30:5-6). We are forbidden to add to, delete or alter God’s words (Prov. 30:6; Deut. 4:2; 2 Cor 4:2)
- PDL rarely quotes from translations (“formal equivalence” eg KJV, NKJV, ASV, ESV, NASB-original edition, etc.).
- PDL almost always quotes from versions which constantly add, omit and alter the words God inspired (“dynamic equivalence” or paraphrase).
- Quoting constantly from such versions endorses their sin and leads readers astray.
- Example: pages 327-328 of PDL list which versions have been quoted in the first 7 chapters of PDL. Of these 89 quotes, only 1 is from a translation (NASB). The rest are from New Living (22); Message (16); NIV (16); Good News (11); Living (9); God’s Word (6); New Century (6) and CEV (2).
- Teaching which must be drawn from such loose versions is immediately suspect.
- On page 104 Warren urges us to use “paraphrases” (his term) of the Bible to “expand our expressions of worship” with “fresh words” .
2. PDL Misquotes God Constantly
- This is not identical with the above point. Any version, no matter how bad overall, may sometimes be accurate (or at least, free of obvious error) in some verses
- However Warren not only quotes from bad versions, he constantly quotes particular verses from those versions which say things that God never said and which are contrary to His word
- Space only permits a few examples here ” “ see other papers listed above for many more.
- Page 83: “I am self-sufficient [!] in Christ’s sufficiency” Phil 4:13 Amplified.
- Page 103: “the Father is out looking for those who are simply and honestly themselves before him in their worship” John 4:23 Message
- Page 113 “God made him [Christ] share our sin” 2 Cor 5:21 Good News
3. Demeans Christ and God
- Romans 1:20-23 describes religious man’s tendency to create a God in our own image, dragged down closer to our level and nature: “For since the creation of the world His invisible [attributes] are clearly see, being understood by the things that are made, [even] His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse, because, although they knew God, they did not glorify [Him] as God, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Professing to be wise they became fools, and changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like corruptible man”
- PDL is marked by this sad tendency. A few examples:
- Page 97 “God loves it when we are passionate with him”
- Page 98 “God is not mad at you, he’s mad about you”
- Page 86 “He is a God who is passionate about his relationship with you”
- Page 69 “God said, ” ˜This guy brings me pleasure. He makes me smile. I’ll start over with his family”
- Chapter 9 is all about what “makes God smile” . Warren has God smiling 17 times in this chapter (8 pages), even though the Bible never mentions God smiling. He tells us what we can do to “bring a smile to God’s face” (p 74); how God “comes to Noah and says” ¦Noah, when I look at you, I start smiling” ; and two whole paragraphs about how God “enjoys watching you sleep” ! (page 75).
- Page 10 says “Jesus was empowered by 40 days in the wilderness” [?]
- Pages 93-4 has Moses giving God a good lecture, to which God contritely responds “All right. Just as you say; this also I will do, for I know you well and you are special to me”
- Page 112 tells us Jesus “cried out in total desperation” [?]
4. Makes God Reactive Instead of Pro-active
- Page 82 “God chose Mary to be the mother of Jesus” ¦because she was totally surrendered to him” On the contrary, the Bible say that Mary was “highly favoured” and “blessed” to be the mother of Jesus (Luke 1:28, 30, 42, 48).
- Page 93 claims that Abraham “pestered God” ¦.negotiating God down from fifty righteous people to only ten” . On the contrary, Abraham was quite cautious and respectful (Gen 18:27, 30, 31, 32), he simply asked questions and God answered those questions ” “ there was no “negotiating God down” nor could there be!
- Pages 69-71 reverse Noah “found grace in the eyes of the Lord” (Gen 6:8) into Noah “making God smile” . Such reversals ” “ Biblical examples of God’s grace to us being reversed into our character/personality/humanness etc. making God happy ” “ abound.
5. Preaches A Mutated Gospel
- On pages 58-59, without defining Christ, His Person and work, sin, repentance, etc, Warren gives his gospel appeal as follows (this is it, in full, unedited):
- “Right now, God is inviting you to live for his glory by fulfilling the purposes he made you for. It’s really the only way to live. Everything else is just existing. Real life begins by committing yourself completely to Jesus Christ. If you are not sure you have done this, all you need to do is receive and believe. The Bible promises, “To all who received him, to those he believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God” . Will you accept God’s offer? First, believe. Believe God loves you and made you for his purposes. Believe you’re not an accident. Believe you were made to last forever. Believe God has chosen you to have a relationship with Jesus, who died on the cross for you. Believe that no matter what you’ve done, God wants to forgive you. Second, receive. Receive Jesus into your life as your Lord and Saviour. Receive his forgiveness for sins. Receive his Spirit, who will give you the power to fulfil your life purpose. The Bible says, “Whoever accepts and trusts the Son gets in on everything, life complete and forever!” . Wherever you are reading this, I invite you to bow your head and quietly whisper the prayer that will change your eternity: “Jesus, I believe in you and I receive you.” Go ahead. If you sincerely meant that prayer, congratulations! Welcome to the family of God! You are now ready to discover and start living God’s purpose for your life. I urge you to tell someone about it. You’re going to need support”
- What does the Bible say about a gospel with no repentance (Luke 24:47; Acts 2:38, 26:20)? (“Live for his glory” is not a call to repentance for Warren’s readers, since Warren has just defined “God’s glory” on page 55 thus: “God made ants to be ants, and he made you to be you. St Irenaeus said, ” ˜The glory of God is a human being fully alive’.” So me just “being myself” is the life Warren’s gospel calls me to). How does God regard a gospel that makes no mention of the blood, of guilt, of cleansing? A gospel that gives no conviction of sin (Acts 2:37; Romans 3:9, 19-20), and that may mislead millions into thinking they’re safe because they’ve accepted an invitation to just “be themselves” and “be fully alive” with God’s help?
- “But even if we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you than what we have preached, let him be accursed” Gal 1:8.
6. Enslaves The Reader To The Teacher
- On pages 12-13, the reader is asked to sign a “covenant” with Rick Warren, binding him or herself to read all 330-odd pages of Warren’s book at a rate of one chapter a day, every day for the next 40 days. What kind of slavery is this? How could any believer who knows he or she must “test all things” (1 Thess 5:21-22); “believe not every spirit, but test the spirits” (1 John 4:1); “shun profane and idle babblings” (2 Tim 2:16) etc. put themselves into such a “covenant” of bondage with any mere man?
- On page 307 Warren says “I strongly urge you to to gather a small group of friends [who have read and agreed with PDL] and form a “Purpose-Driven Life Reading Group to review these chapters [of Warren’s book] on a weekly basis [!!]. Discuss the implications and the applications of each chapter.” Not content with enslaving us to read HIS book through in HIS timetable ONCE, he wants us to have group Warren studies every week for the rest of our lives! What cult leader wouldn’t relish having such complete enslavement of his disciples to his unbiblical teachings? Let us hope that even most PDL fans aren’t taking their commitment to Warren’s teaching this far.
- On pages 316-317 the cult-like brainwashing goes a step further. Warren urges the reader to “remind yourself daily” of his 5 purposes by writing out “a shorter statement or slogan that summarizes the five purposes for your life in a way that’s memorable and inspires you.” The book doesn’t mention this, but now there’s a whole range of “Purpose-Driven” accessories (Bible covers, posters, etc) with Warren’s 5 purposes written on them so that you can be “reminded” constantly of Warren’s perspective on the Christian life. Whereas the real Christian life can be inspired by actual Bible verses on our walls or our bookmarks etc (see Deut 6:6-9), the “purpose-driven” life must be “inspired” by human statements.
- On page 312 Warren says “As we come to the end of our forty-day journey together, now that you know God’s purposes for your life, you will be blessed if you do them!” What audacity on Warren’s part! If you’ve read his book ” “ filled as it is with imaginative paraphrases like “The Message” which babble on with things God never said, laced with unbiblical secular psychology teachings such as the “four temperaments” etc., and with some truths of Scripture scattered amongst much wood, hay and stubble ” “ if you’ve read HIS book, you “know God’s purposes for your life” ! Was any cult leader more self-assured and self-opinionated than this man and his beliefs about his own book? “God resists the proud but gives grace to the humble” (James 4:6).
7. Pontificates Statements With No Authority In Scripture
- Rick Warren constantly makes authoritative pronouncements with no foundation in Scripture, even when his most imaginative versions like “The Message” can’t supply him with a pseudo-verse to back him up.
- Others have investigated what is really behind some of his pronouncements ” “ secular psychology theories and other unbiblical sources ” “ which is beyond the scope of this paper (see articles by Chris Carmichael and Matt Costella for some insights). Sometimes the source might be just Warren’s imagination, or what he wants to believe. Regardless of the sources, if you are going to read part or all of PDL, you need to do so with a pen constantly in your hand, ready to write “No!” “Wrong!” “Says who?” “Where does the Bible say so?” etc. constantly as you read, sometimes many times on each page. Never read Warren passively ” “ keep on guard with every line you read.
- Here is just one example: Warren’s little fairy-tale about Adam and Eve on pages 85,88: “In Eden we see God’s ideal relationship with us [?] Adam an Eve enjoyed an intimate friendship with God [?] ” ¦a simple loving relationship between God and the people he created [?] Unhindered by guilt or fear, Adam and Eve delighted in God [?]” ¦that ideal relationship [?] was lost” ¦In Eden, worship was” ¦a perpetual attitude [?]; Adam and Eve were in constant communion with God [?] ” That’s such a lovely story, but where is it told in Genesis? Sadly, where do we find Adam or Eve even offering God one little “thank you” for God’s wonderful creation, let alone being in an “ideal relationship” “delighting in God” , “constant communion” “worship a perpetual attitude” , etc?! Adam and Eve are a warning, not an “ideal” model! Had they been in “constant communion” “worshipping and delighting in God” etc. they would not have listened to Satan and fallen for his temptation. This is just Rick Warren “talking through his hat” , as is so much else in the book.
8. Appalling Ignorance of Scripture
- James 3:1 says, “My brethren, let not many of you become teachers, knowing that we shall receive a stricter judgement.” If a man is going to put out over 20 million copies of a 334-page book which is claimed to be “a ground-breaking manifesto on the meaning of life” “a blue-print for Christian living” which “challenges conventional definitions of worship, fellowship, discipleship, ministry, and evangelism” and “will set millions of people free to live the lives they were put on this planet to live” (these are just some of the claims for this book made on the back cover alone!), he will quite rightly have his qualifications to teach scrutinized closely.
- Despite quoting hundreds of “Bible verses” (mostly paraphrased and unreliable), Rick Warren reveals an appalling ignorance of Scripture for one who pastors a huge church, speaks at major seminars and has such immense confidence in his own book. Here is just one example:
- On page 105 of PDL Warren says “without your body you can’t do anything on this planet” ¦You have heard people say, ” ˜I can’t make it to the meeting tonight, but I’ll be with you in spirit.’ Do you know what that means? Nothing. It’s worthless! As long as you’re on earth, your spirit can only be where your body is. If your body isn’t there, neither are you.”
- Besides being (unintentionally we hope) quite insulting and callous towards believers who through age, illness or other restriction sometimes can and do join their brethren “only in spirit” through prayer, Warren’s teaching here is utterly unscriptural and absurd. Is my “body” seated in the heavenlies in Christ (Ephesians 2:6)? No, but I am ” “ Scripture says so. In spirit , not in body, I am already seated there, where the risen, glorified Christ is (Ephesians 1:20).
- How could any “pastor” be so unfamiliar with what the Apostle Paul says in 1 Corinthians 5, such a crucial passage on church discipline? “For I indeed, as absent in body but present in spirit, have already judged” ¦in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, when you are gathered together, along with my spirit, with the power of our Lord Jesus Christ, deliver such a one” ¦” Brethren, we don’t need to throw away all our hymns that say “there is a place where souls unite” ¦though sundered far, by faith they meet, before the common mercy seat” , “in spirit there already” , etc. we don’t need to stop speaking about being “present in spirit” , rather we need to have a very low regard for the credentials and Bible knowledge of the author of the “Purpose Driven Life” .
9. PDL is Basically Humanistic ” “ Man-centred
- Despite beginning chapter 1 with the statement, “It’s not about you” , Rick Warren has written a book which is almost entirely focussed upon and occupied with “me” , and which is basically man-centred, not Christ-centred as Christianity is. Every one of the book’s forty chapters culminates in a summary box headed “Thinking about my purpose” (not God’s purposes, note) and asking questions focussed on “I’ “me and “my” !
- Page 24 claims, “The Bible says, ” ˜Long before he laid down earth’s foundations, he had us in mind, had settled on us as the focus of his love” . God was thinking of you even before he made the world. In fact, that’s why he created it! God designed this planet’s environment just so we could live in it. We are the focus of his love and the most valuable of all his creation. The Bible says, ” ˜God decided to give us life through the word of truth so we might be the most important of all the things he made’. This is how much God loves and values you!”
- Warren is here quoting erroneous paraphrased mutations of verses which are about believers and applying them to the unsaved. (Remember that he doesn’t give his psuedo-gospel until page 58, prior to that he assumes some readers may be unsaved).
- Notice here how Christ is left out of “the focus of God’s love” , and we, not Christ, are “why he created the world” ! Col 1:16 says that all things were created by, through and forChrist. Hebrews 2:10 says God is the one “for whom are all things” as does Romans 11:36.
- The Bible doesn’t teach unsaved man his great “value” , but his sinfulness and obnoxiousness to God! ( Romans 3:12, etc.)
- Page 86 claims “The Bible says, ” ˜Now we can rejoice in our wonderful new relationship with God’” . Actually, Romans 5:11 (here misquoted from a paraphrase) says “We rejoice [or exalt] in God through our Lord Jesus Christ” . We exalt in God, not in our relationship, precious as that relationship is. God Himself is the object of our exalting ” “ that is true worship. This may seem a minor fault, until one sees how constantly Warren does this – shifting the focus from God to ourselves.
- Page 97 claims “The redemption of his people” ¦That’s the whole reason Jesus came to earth” . No, it’s one of the reasons, it’s just part of the purpose of the incarnation. The Lord Jesus also came to do all of God’s will (Heb 10:7), to glorify God (John 17:4), to reveal God and reveal the Father’s Name (1 Tim 3:16, John 17:6), for the truth of God (Romans 15:8), to speak the word of God (John 17:14), etc.
- Even Warren’s references to “the glory of God” need to be seen in the light of his warped definition of what he means by that term very early in the book on page 55: “God made ants to be ants, and he made you to be you. St Irenaeus said, ” ˜The glory of God is ahuman being fully alive!’ So I am “the glory of God” when I am being me ” “ that’s humanism to the nth degree!
10. PDL Teaches Self-Acceptance
- PDL repeatedly impresses on the reader the popular but false message that we need to “accept” ourselves the way we are.
- Page 25 states, “You’re just what he [God] wanted to make” , then the next pages asks, “What areas of my personality, background, and physical appearance am I struggling to accept?” Remember, this is addressed to all ” “ including unbelievers ” “ since Warren’s “gospel” message doesn’t come until page 58-59.
- Page 75 makes the unbelievably rash statement, “The are nounspiritual abilities, just misused ones. Start using yours for God’s pleasure”
- Page 102 says, “The best style of worship is the one that most authentically represents your love for God, based on the background and personality God gave you” . WRONG. Worship is supposed to reflect who God is, not my personality or background. “My love for God” might be shallow, faulty, misinformed or otherwise in need of adjustment. Worship should lift me up to God’s thoughts not drag Him down to my mine.
- Page 103 continues by telling us that if we are if we are “traditionalist” personalities, we need to draw near to God through “rituals, liturgies, symbols and unchanging structures” . If we are “sensate” personalities we need “beautiful worship services that involve their sight, taste, smell and touch” [!]. If we are “caregiver” personalities our worship is just by “loving others and meeting their needs” [“worship” that leaves God out altogether]. If we are “activist” personalities it will be by “confronting evil, battling injustice, and working to make the world a better place” . Other forms of “worship that pleases God” include “being outdoors” ¦dancing, creating art..and” ¦dozens of other activities” . In case we haven’t got the message, Warren adds: “God wants you to be yourself. ” ˜That’s the kind of people the Father is out looking for: those who are simply and honestly themselves before him in their worship’” [!] This last sentence is Warren’s quote from “The Message” . The verse in John 4:23 actually says, “The Father seeks worshippers, and those who worship Him must worship Him in spirit and in truth.” Yes, Warren and “The Message” twist this verse to say exactly the opposite of what it actually says!
- Chapters 29 to 35 are all about discovering, accepting and using our “shape” . Page 242 makes the crazy statement (bold is Warren’s) “What I’m able to do, God wants me to do” [!]. In case we missed the bold print, the statement is repeated in a box next to this paragraph. Page 245-6 sanctions the ancient pagan “four temperaments” and tells us we need to find out our “temperament” and “understand our personality” and encourages use of the “many books and tools” available to help us work this out.
- Page 251 falsely claims, “Paul advised, ” ˜Make a careful exploration of who you are and the work you have been given, and then sink yourself into that.” Warren and “The Message” are bearing false witness, of course ” “ what Paul actually said in Galatians 6:4 is “But let each one prove his work, and then he alone will have a boast in himself and not as to another” . Nothing about “carefully exploring who you are” .
- Page 252 has the heading in capitals, “ACCEPT AND ENJOY YOUR SHAPE” and even warns that to do otherwise is to rebel against God who made us how we are! Warren goes on to say, “Your shape was sovereignly determined by God for his purpose, so you shouldn’t resent it or reject it. Instead of trying to reshape yourself to be like someone else, you should celebrate the shape God has given only to you.” The Christian life is God continually reshaping us – “transformed” Rom 12:2 ” “ changing our whole being, making us more like Christ and like Paul His imitator (1 Cor 4:16; 11:1) and like other Christian leaders we should “imitate” (Hebrews 13:7).
- It is true that Warren elsewhere teaches that God wants us to become like Christ, but he is careful to paralyse such teaching by saying that “Becoming like Christ does not mean losing your personality” ¦God created your uniqueness, so he certainly doesn’t want to destroy it. Christlikeness is all about transforming your character, not your personality” . This is confusing half-lie, half-truth. God does want to transform our personalities, and I am very thankful He does ” “ I certainly wouldn’t want to have the same personality I had when first became a Christian! Paul says in 1 Thess 5:23 “And may the God of peace Himself fully sanctify you, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ” . To teach otherwise, encouraging self-analysis and self-acceptance and deifying my present “personality” is a dangerous and imbalanced kind of Christianity.
- See the following link for a recent magazine article by Rick Warren on “learning to love yourself” and the contrast of the Bible’s message with Warren’s:
11. Shaped By, Instead of Separated From, The World
- Galatians 1:4 tells us that Jesus gave Himself “that He might deliver us from this present evil world” . Romans 12:2 commands us not to be conformed to this world. Deut 12: 29-32 teaches us that we must not copy the ways of the world in the way we worship God. God’s holiness requires not only that we worship the right God, but that we worship Him in the right way.
- PDL tells us on pages 65-66, “God loves all kinds of music because he invented it all [He invented punk? Heavy metal?]” ¦You probably don’t like it all, but God does! [says who?]” ¦Christians often disagree over the style ofmusic used in worship” ¦But there is no biblical style!…God likes variety and enjoys it all.” The Bible never teaches this, Warren is just creating an image of the kind of God he wants us to believe in!
- While pretending to be even-handed, Warren’s bitter prejudice against “traditional” worship follows on page 66: “God’s heart is not touched by tradition in worship, but by passion and commitment. The Bible says, ” ˜These people come near to me with their mouth and honour me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. Their worship of me is made up only of rules taught be men.” Warrenmust be aware how these words will be interpreted by readers in the current Christian climate. This is completely consistent with the pop/rock performances which characterise the “worship” so-called in his own mega-church.
- On page 104, Warren pushes his radical contemporary “seeker sensitive” notions of collective worship as being not merely his preference, but Almighty God’s command! “God insists that our worship services be understandable to unbelievers when they are present in our worship gatherings [Wrong!]” ¦Being sensitive to unbelievers who visit your worship gatherings is a biblical command. [No!] To ignore this command is to be both disobedient and unloving” . [Rubbish!]. The sole Scripture Warren uses to justify his aggressive condemnation of non seeker-sensitive worship is 1 st Cor 14:16-17 deliberately quoted from the CEV, because the CEV here OMITS all reference to “tongues” (foreign languages not understood by most present). This is sadly all too typical of the way Rick Warren deliberately switches between a multitude of unreliable versions in order to find “verses” which obscure the meaning and therefore say what he wants the Bible to say. “Worship” cannot be understood by unbelievers until the Spirit of God enlightens their hearts (1 Cor 2:14; 14:25). We should be friendly and loving towards visitors, but we must not make our “worship” cater to the world’s interests and imitate its styles.
12. Abolishes The Fear of God
- The fear of God is not merely left out of Rick Warren’s “Purpose-Driven” Christianity, it is openly denounced as a harmful and bad thing: “Only a few people in Old Testament times had the privilege of friendship with God” ¦fear of God, not friendship, was more common in the Old Testament” (pages 85-86).
- Chapter 12, “Developing Your Friendship With God” , spells out with blasphemous audacity the kind of “friendship” Warren wants us to have with the God he doesn’t want us to fear. He tells us we must start with “complete honesty about” ¦our feelings” (page 92), which will lead us to be “often complaining, second-guessing, accusing and arguing with our Creator” (93). According to Warren, “God ” ¦listened patiently to David’s many accusations of unfairness, betrayal, and abandonment. Job was allowed to vent his bitterness during his ordeal, and in the end, God defended Job for being honest, and he rebuked Job’s friends for being inauthentic” [!!!] (93). Could anything be more EXACTLY OPPOSITE the teaching of Scripture than this? Job’s self-righteous, ignorant complaining and challenging of God is REBUKED by God for EIGHT CHAPTERS (Job 33-41) ” “ firstly through Elihu, then by God personally! “The Lord answered Job” ¦and said, ” ˜Who is this who darkens counsel by words without knowledge?…Would you condemn Me that you may be justified?” (Job 38:1; 40:8) Job’s response in 42:1-6 is “I abhor myself and repent in dust and ashes” . Oh, that the Spirit of God would open Rick Warren’s eyes to get a vision of the REAL God of the Bible, that he also might abhor himself and repent in dust and ashes of the blasphemous audacity towards God which he not only harbours himself, but seeks to poison 20 million readers with!
- Page 94 continues by telling us this apparent “audacity” is “authenticity” without which you CANNOT be God’s friend ” “ He will “bored” with your prayers otherwise! “To be God’s friend, you must be honest to God, sharing your true feeling, not what you think you ought to feel or say” . “Releasing your resentment [at God] and revealing your feeling is the first step to healing” …” this is how God wants you to worship him ” “ holding back nothing of what you feel” [!!]
- When Job – under extreme testing from God and provocation from three friends, without a single book of Scripture having been written, without the Holy Spirit indwelling him as He does the saints of the church age ” “ temporarily utters foolish things to God but then repents, we recognize still a true believer, but one needing correction and understanding. But when a “pastor” and writer like Warren – having the benefit of the full revelation of Christianity and the completed Scriptures ” “ seeks to justify and idolise ungodly audacity towards God as genuine “authentic” Christianity, we have to ask, in the light of Romans 3:18 (“there is no fear of God before their eyes” ) whether this man is in fact born again.
- On page 110 Warren says, “Tell God exactly how you feel. Pour out your heart to God. Unload every emotion that you’re feeling. Job did this when he said, ” ˜I can’t be quiet! I am angry and bitter. I have to speak!’” ¦God can handle your doubt, anger, fear, grief, confusion, and questions” . Unlike Warren’s “god” , the God of the Bible knows everything that’s in my heart. He doesn’t want me to “unload” “doubt” and “anger” in His direction! He wants me to judge those things and turn from them! He requires me to pray “withoutwrath and doubting” (1 Tim 2:8). I must come to Him “doubting nothing” , otherwise I am a “double-minded man, unstable in all his ways” , a “wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind” and will “receive nothing from the Lord” ! (James 1:6-8).
- Hebrews 12:28-29 says, “Let us have grace, by which we may serve God pleasingly, with reverence and awe; for also ” ˜Our God is a consuming fire’”
- Look at what Jesus says about what it really means to be His friends: “You are My friends if you do whatever I command you” . (John 15:14). Friends of God and of the Lord Jesus are in subjection, not “arguing” , “accusing” , “complaining” “venting bitterness” etc. But Warren says that Jesus is “not a boss, but a brother; not a dictator, but a friend” (page 79). Even an earthly “boss” can be a friend, so Warren’s teaching is not even logical, as well as being the exact opposite of Christianity.
- James 2:23 says, “Abraham believed God” ¦and he was called, “Friend of God” . Faith, obedience, subjection, reverence, awe ” “ these are the marks of true friends of God.
- 2 Cor 6:18-7:1 says we should be “perfecting holiness in the fear of God” . Philippians 2:12 tells us to “cultivate your salvation with fear and trembling” . Acts 2:43, 5:5; 5:11; 9:31 and numerous other New Testament verses speak of the fear of God as the mark of true, vibrant Christianity. Proverbs 1:7 says that “the fear of Jehovah is the beginning of knowledge” while Proverbs 1:10 says that “the fear of Jehovah is the beginning of wisdom” . An author who destroys this foundation is a false teacher whose other teachings ” “ all built on a wrong foundation ” “ cannot be trusted either.
13. Prayer & Worship Re-defined Falsely
- Page 88 of PDL says, “Today we often feel we must “get away” from daily routine in order to worship God, but that is only because we haven’t learned to practice his presence all the time. Brother Lawrence found it easy to worship God through the common tasks of life; he didn’t have to go away for special spiritual retreats.” Contrast the way worship is presented in Scripture, eg. Exodus 33:7; Exodus 3:18; 5:1; 7:16; 8:25-28; Hebrews 13:12-15; John 4:23-24, etc. Yes, “whatever we do” , including the washing-up, should be done “to the glory of God” (1 Corinth 10:31), but worship involves separation, consecration, dedicated time, and our MINDS being occupied with “TRUTH” .
- Page 88-89 continues, “Another of Brother Lawrence’s helpful ideas was to pray short conversational prayers continually through the day rather than try to pray long sessions of complex prayers” ¦..use “breath prayers” throughout the day, as many Christians have done for centuries. You choose a brief sentence or simple phrase that can be repeated to Jesus in one breath: “You are with me” ” ¦.[etc]” ¦Pray it as often as possible so it is rooted deep in your heart” ¦Practicing the presence of God is a skill, a habit you can develop [! Not a moral condition?!]” ¦you must force yourself [!] to think about God at different times in your day..”
- Wait, it gets more ritualistic” ¦Page 89 continues: “At first you will need to create reminders to regularly bring your thoughts back” ¦Begin by placing visualreminders” ¦You might post little notes that say, ” ˜God is with me and for me right now!’Benedictine monks use the hourly chimes of a clock to remind them to pause and pray “the hour prayer” . If you have a watch or cell phone with an alarm, you could do the same” [!! The Rosary might also help” ¦.maybe the next generation of Catholicised “Evangelicals” will be ready for that “aid” to worship!]
- The back cover of PDL claims this book is “ground breaking” i.e. teaching what no-one else has taught before (what pride!). Actually, error is never new. The only “new” thing is that the very “old” errors of Catholicism as practiced by poor, mostly unsaved religious recluses through the centuries are now being embraced by “evangelicals” keen to turn their backs on much of the light of the Reformation ” “ how sad.
- See also quotes on “worship” under point 10 “Self-acceptance” .
14. Obedience Re-Defined Falsely
- On page 95 Warren tells us that “We obey God, not out of duty or fear or compulsion, but because we love him and trust that he knows what’s best for us” ¦Unbelievers often think Christians obey out of guilt or fear of punishment, but the opposite is true”
- This false redefining of obedience and love to EXCLUDE any element of the fear of God, a sense of duty, a conscience that feels guilty about doing what is wrong, and a healthy fear of divine chastisement is in perfect keeping with Warren’s overthrowing of “the fear of God” . It is typical of how Warren consistently distorts those Biblical truths he does theoretically believe in by excluding (or even opposing) counterbalancing truths. The result is that when Warren uses Biblical words or concepts he is often giving them a different meaning like so many cults do.
- See verses on the fear of God quoted at the end of section 12 above, also read 1 st Peter 1:14-19 for a BALANCED, Biblical description of Christian obedience.
15. Prophesies and Justifies The Spiritual Depression It Will Ultimately Produce
- On the back cover of PDL, false teacher Bruce Wilkinson (disciple of Robert Schuller and author of “Prayer of Jabez” , “Dreammaker” etc. ” “ see www.hourofpower.org/booklets/bookletdetail.cfm?ArticleID=2886 boasts that PDL “will set millions of people free to live the lives they were put on this planet to live” . However, 2 nd Peter 2:18-19 warns that false teachers, although promising “freedom” , actually bring bondage to themselves and their followers. It is “the truth” that really “sets us free” (John 8:32).
- Chapter 14 of PDL actually predicts recurring periods of spiritual depression for followers of the PDL. The words “spiritual depression” aren’t used, but Warren says the following: “A relationship with God, no matter how intimate” will “swing” between “times of closeness and times of distance” . (page 107) He carefully explains that this “distance” is NOT because of sin, or prayerlessness, or any fault on our side, but because “God tests our friendship with periods of seeming separation ” “ times when it feels as if he has abandoned or forgotten you. God feels a million miles away.” (p. 108).
- Page 108-109 continues the dire prophecy: “You wake up one morning and all yourspiritual feelings are gone. You pray” ¦have your friends pray for you” ¦confess every sin you can imagine” ¦fast” ¦still nothing. You begin to wonder how long this spiritual gloom might last. Days? Weeks? Months? Will it ever end?….This is a normal part of the testing and maturing of your friendship with God. Every Christian goes through it at least once, and usually several times” ¦it is absolutely vital for the development of your faith.”
- While Christians may experience depression, either because of sin or because of physiological causes, this divinely-imposed utter spiritual depression Warren is talking about here is neither a “normal” nor “vital” part of Christianity ” “ it is the opposite of what Scripture teaches. Jesus said, “if anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and my Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him” (John 14:23). David wrote, “I have set the Lord ALWAYS before me, because He is at my right hand I shall not be moved. Therefore my heart is glad, and my glory rejoices” (Psalm 16:8-9). Paul wrote, “Rejoice in the Lord ALWAYS” ¦the Lord is AT HAND” ¦the PEACE of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus…the God of peace will be with you” (Philippians 4:4-9). Peter says we “rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory” (1 Peter 1:8). James promises, “Draw near to God and He will draw near to you” (James 4:8 ” “ see also James 1:13-17).
- Only balanced, Biblical Christianity can produce true, deep, continual joy. The PDL, by overthrowing the fear of God, creating a false and imbalanced image of God, being self-focussed instead of Christ-focussed, and replacing the word of God with ridiculous paraphrases, promises revolutionary new freedom but ultimately delivers emptiness, frustration and a weak and unstable relationship with God. Be not mislead!