The Five Purposes of a Purpose Driven Church

Rick Warren is one of the most influential Christian leaders around today, even praying at President Obama’s inauguration. The Purpose Driven movement is growing consistently larger. It is undoubtedly successful, and many would say that this is because God is blessing the quality of what they are doing.

Yet some people do have difficulty when their church becomes ‘Purpose Driven’. These believers often leave, unable to align themselves with the new church culture. I get the sense that Warren isn’t too concerned about that, as if they stay, they may ferment division and undermine the goals the church hopes to achieve through its new ministries and programs.

Warren is clear that Purpose Driven Churches are not just about numerical growth, but growth in the maturity of Christians. To think they are just about numerical growth is to misunderstand them. Warren describes in his words,

…a new paradigm, the purpose-driven church, as a biblical and healthy alternative to traditional ways that churches have organised and operated.

– From The Purpose Driven Church Part 2, Ch 3

According to Warren, a clear purpose ‘builds morale’, ‘reduces frustration’, ‘allows concentration’, ‘attracts cooperation’ and ‘assists evaluation’. (See Ch 4)

So, what is it that some people are uncomfortable with in the Purpose Driven movement? Is it just predjudice against large churches? Is it just that people don’t like change?

I thought I’d start taking a look at this, as the topic keeps recurring amongst many people I know. So for now, I will list the 5 purposes of a Purpose Driven Church, which can also be found in Warren’s book, “The Purpose Driven Church – Growth Without Compromising Your Message and Mission.

Purpose 1: Love the Lord your God with all your heart

Warren: “The word that describes this purpose is worship. How do we love God with all our heart? By worshipping him! It doesn’t matter if we are by ourselves, with a small group, or with 100,000 people. When we express our love to God, we’re worshipping.”

Purpose 2: Love your neighbour as yourself

Warren: “The word we use to describe this process is ministry. The church exists to minister to people. Ministry is demonstrating God’s love to others by meeting their needs and healing their hurts in the name of Jesus. Each time you reach out in love to another you are ministering to them.”

Warren then rues those churches where real ministry (active service) is replaced by too many meetings.

Purpose 3: Go and make disciples

Warren: “This purpose we call evangelism. the church exists to communicate God’s Word. We are ambassadors for Christ, and our commission is to evangelise the world… [discusses the Great Commission]…Growth is not optional; it is commanded by Jesus. We should not seek church growth for its own benefit, but because God wants people saved.”

Purpose 4: Baptising them

Warren: “…a part of the command to ‘make disciples’… I believe it…symbolises one of the purposes of the church: fellowship – identification with the body of Christ. As Christians we are called to belong, not just believe… It not only symbolises our new life in Christ, it visualises a person’s incorporation into the body of Christ.

Purpose 5: Teaching them to obey

Warrren: “The word we commonly use to refer to this purpose is discipleship. The church exists to edify, or educate, God’s people. Discipleship is the process of helping people become more like Christ in their thoughts, feelings and actions… It is the church’s responsibility to develop people to spiritual maturity…”

These are the purposes that the Purpose Driven approach is designed to serve.

How do they sound to you? If your church was to take these on board, would you be comfortable with it? Is there anything here that could cause people to become uncomfortable?


107 thoughts on “The Five Purposes of a Purpose Driven Church

  1. I have had this book for a while but just glanced through it, ill have a look. I know the book made alot of money.

  2. The purposes sound fine, as do most church’s vision statements etc. Problems can surface when the leadership begin to apply what is said in the day to day practice. Sometimes the outworking can affect the lives of some individuals in ways that aren’t accounted for. But to remain focussed the “line” is held for the good of the larger picture. The lack of flexibility (in the management of people) can cause it’s own problems.

    Discipleship (service and example) can get mixed with people management required to fulfil the goals set within the purposes.

    I think what I’ve said makes sense???

  3. Warren’s definitions seem a bit dodgy to me.

    Purpose 1: Loving Father is worship defined by praise/worship. This is a very small part of loving God. How about “if you love me you will keep my commands”? How about spending time with him? Warren has transformed our love for Father into something that only happens when we are singing but mostly only happens at church.

    Purpose 2: Loving neighbours is “ministry”. I love my kids – is that “ministry”? Ministries tend to be defined in pretty limited ways, sometimes only in the five-fold ministry gifts. Again something we are supposed to do in all of life (love) gets turned into something that sounds very much like a church program.

    Purpose 3: Making disciples is evangelism. There is a lot more to making disciples than evangelism. But again evangelism is a church program and making disciples usually isn’t (not making disciples of Jesus anyway – possibly making disciples of the pastor in my warped experience).

    Purpoe 4: Baptism is about fellowship? Err, not really. It is about death and resurrection.

    Purpose 5: Teaching them to obey? If that means obeying Jesus then yes that is part of discipleship. But again in my experience the pastor (or hierarchy) is the one to obey (yuck – intermediaries between me and my Father).

  4. quite true Heretic.

    When I had a copy of this on PDF, I thought I’d give it a go.

    I scanned through it until I reached, quite early on in the book, “40 days of purpose”.

    It said:

    Moses was transformed by 40 years in the wilderness.
    sorry, no. If Moses was transformed by anything, he was transformed by the Burning Bush encounter and even more at the giving of the Law at Sinai.
    Noah was transformed by 40 days and nights in the Ark.
    sorry, no again. Noah was so affected by God speaking to him he spent a lifetime building the Ark in the first place!
    Jesus was transformed by 40 days in the wilderness.
    nay, nay and thrice nay! If Jesus was transformed by anything, it was being filled with the Holy Spirit at His baptism, which then enabled Him to go into the Desert to be tempted by Satan.

    I stopped reading at that point.

    Then, a few short weeks ago, our home group started doing this accursed book.

    The first thing that came out was Rick stating in the book: “It’s not about you.”

    Of course it’s about me. The book is supposed to show me my purpose so that I end up with a purpose driven life. It’s a “feel good about myself” book.

    The Bible is the other way around. It’s a “feel good about God” book.

    What is my purpose? Solomon tells us (in the Bible, if we can be bothered to read it) that the purpose of Man is to love God and obey His commandments.

    SO why do I need another book to tell me what my purpose is? So that Rick Warren can make a lot of money. In fact he had to tell everyone how he “reverse tithes” and gives 90% of the proceeds away.

    Great. However, since he made 10 Million Dollars as of 2007 on the book, he is still a millionaire simply because believers can’t be arsed to read the Bible.

    That’s too hard. I also notice that when Warren references Scripture, he mostly doesn’t. He quotes the Message, which is not the Bible. It is a New Age tract, dressed up in Bible clothes.

    Yet I see more and more believers using and referring to that book than they do to a valid translation.

    It is tragic. Particularly when Elders and Pastors do so. They may find it refreshing after using a proper translation for so long, particularly when it is so wishy-washy on the subjects of divorce and remarriage, and sexual immorality of all types.

    However, the example they set to “little ones” inevitably means that the only version of events the young believers read ends up being a false version, leaving them ripe for exploitation and deception.

    Right then, my blood is up now! Time for a coffee!


  5. Warren’s is woeful. He makes next to no attempt to expound what it actually says. I think I might have thrown the book on the floor at one point I was so angered by the twisting of scripture. I had to finish it because our “church” was studying it.

    That’s too hard. I also notice that when Warren references Scripture, he mostly doesn’t. He quotes the Message, which is not the Bible. It is a New Age tract, dressed up in Bible clothes.

    I don’t think the version really matters (I quite like the Message but not for literal study). Warren uses about ten different versions. He seems to (1) work out what he wants to say and (2) hunt around all translations known to man looking for a verse that sounds like it might support the point.

  6. I think it interesting that Warren’s books do so well.

    In the Porpoise Drivel Laugh he states that Christians should never (ever (ever)) criticize what God is blessing.

    Presumably what is doing well is what God is blessing (how else would you know?). RP pointed out that we should, therefore, never (ever (ever)) criticize McDonalds hamburgers since McDonalds is doing so well and therefore so obviously is blessed by God.

    Which raises a point. Since McDonalds hamburgers are so good why are they so blessed (that is: successful). It is because they are very convenient. So why if Warren’s writing is so dodgy why is it so blessed?

    Same reason. It is very convenient theology for pastors. A book that tells all their people to arrange their lives around fitting into “church” and making their church institution the most important thing in their lives.

  7. yes yes and yes.

    Maybe that’s why we’ve had to start doing it. I told my Pastor that I think it’s a load of old cobblers btw. I could tell he didn’t like that one bit.

    Well, Honesty is going to be costly.

  8. I’ll comment more on this tomorrow some time, but I’m going to do a post on bits of this book from time to time. It’s becoming such a prevalent part of the church scene.

  9. I saw here and in other comments a reference to “the Message” can one please explain to me what it is, and why it’s called a “new age tract”? Thanks a lot!

  10. no problem Gandalf.

    The Message is a book written by Eugene Patterson.

    It is a paraphrase of the New Testament.

    A comparison of the Lord’s Prayer is quite illuminating.


    Our Father who art in Heaven,
    Hallowed be Thy Name.
    Thy Kingdom Come, thy Will be done,
    On Earth as it is in Heaven.

    with …

    Our Father in Heaven,
    As Above, so Below.

    Why does that need to be Paraphrased at all? Surely it is understandable to everyone, even in the King James version?

    By Patterson did paraphrase it. He also uses the known New Age mantra “As above, so below.”

    At best, Patterson makes Greg the Explorer look like a frothing at the mouth hellfire preacher!
    At worst … he is bringing in the language of the New Age into the church so that when we believers start using the same language, we end up sounding like New Agers to the point where we become indistinguishable from them.

    Watch your doctrine like a hawk.


  11. thanks, Bull, for the very descriptive explanation. The term you mentioned is indeed very telling as a short Google search shows.
    However from a theological viewpoint I find the omission of “Hallowed be thy name, Thy kingdom come thy Will be done” especially striking.
    Omission and reductionism (maybe hoping to reduce complexity or rational problems thereby) are very virulent concepts in postmodern thought, I guess Rob Bell made a case about it in his book “Velvet Elvis” by asking what would be lost or won if certain “unintelligible” doctrines or those that might be in danger of being disproved by science would be omitted.

  12. mmmmmmm, maybe i wont bother going through it, ive read many Christian books anyhow. Thats why I love, at the moment, focussing on Jesus’s teachings. “love thy neighbour” succinct and important all in one…love it. Still trying to apply it of course :o)

  13. Ok, have flicked through Purpose Driven…its not as bad as some Christian books ive read, i have to say.

    I watched some of his interviews, he’s alot more down to earth than other preachers, likable.

    My beef is more with the really “out there” teachings. Ive gone to church since 1961 and seen the good, the bad and the ok. What worries me is that some teachers/preachers/ start off with a heart for God and people but somewhere along the way they lose that passion. They become either silly or a bore or just worldy again. Paul warns about this alot and i was lucky when i went to my first pentie church, mid 80s, the teaching always came with warnings. Also encouragment etc but i had the NT paraphrased well. Is still took along time for me to fully ‘grasp” the meaning for it in my life and my purpose in God. And everyone is different, you can’t apply one scripture for everyone, for their learning. Some people need to be fed the meat whilst they are still getting too much dessert for example….

  14. The thing about the Purpose Driven approach is that it does sound logical and convincing when you just read the books. It doesn’t come out with anything overtly extreme, or by the time it does, you no longer think of that thing as extreme, but just as a logical extension of what he says.

    Rick Warren is a very logical man, who communicates in simple, easy to understand terms.

    The thing is, while it all sounds very palatable, I think he’s distorting the Bible’s message to suit his message.

    Looking at the 5 purposes, basically I agree with Heretic.

    The titles of the purposes sound fine (except no.5 raises a question in my mind). But the meanings he ascribes to those things are not quite what the Bible teaches.

    For example,

    “Purpose 1: Love the Lord your God with all your heart”

    Warren says the word for this is worship, but his description of worship is the expression in voice and song. We all know that this is not the only way to express love for God; its just one way. True worship, as many have emphasised elsewhere, is to worship God in all you do, in all your life. To do it all as if you were doing it for Him. This goes way beyond a congregational setting, into the wider world.

    We don’t want to fall into the trap of limiting our expression of love for God into one thing only; otherwise we waste all the opportunity in the rest of our lives!

    “Purpose 2: Love your neighbour as yourself

    Warren: “The word we use to describe this process is ministry.”

    As Heretic said, the term ‘ministry’ seems to limit this love to a church context, although really ministry is just service. We can serve people everywhere, again in our whole lives.

    Particularly important is the fact that we don’t need to find a specific ministry within a church setting in order to love our neighbour. To think of loving our neighbour as being fulfilled when we perform in our ‘ministry’ in our church, limits the expression of our love, and prioritises love in one setting over love in all other settings.

    Not only that – we don’t need a specific ministry of any kind to love our neighbour. It is the outworking of the love that God has birthed in our hearts by His love towards us. We don’t have to be in a ministry to serve someone else.

    Jesus didn’t say ‘love your neighbour as yourself’…’so you need to find your ministry’. He just expected that we would love wherever we find ourselves, in whatever way love expresses itself best in that context.

    There is no program or formula for this, though missions may be birthed from it.

  15. The rest of the points I agree with Heretic on, so won’t repeat it. The only thing is that the last on,
    ‘Teach them to obey’ is a concern if it is used to get people to obey leadership rather than Jesus, and if what God is telling them to do in their hearts is overridden by leadership’s goals.

  16. Bull – I found a tool you might like to use when your church studies the PDL.

    It takes quotes from PDL where Warren talks about a scripture and what it says, then puts the NASB scripture beside it in the next column for comparison. Makes it easier to compare Rick’s quotes to the Bible. Mostly they are OK. I think its just that he sees it all through such a corporate mindset.

  17. To purpose 3: It may be that in postmodern times evangelism, as it is classically understood as a church program might not work anymore, and that it might be necessary to go for an approach similar to St. Paul at the Areopag in Athens. Meaning (Acts 17). That will include to be able to deconstruct post-modern worldview and mindset and to then establish the gospel view. The reason given for this was, that there are so many killer-arguments around that if accepted, make people stop thinking there and not going to think about the matter (e.g. There is no possibility of gaining or communicating objective truth, all truth is subjective and relative).

  18. ah, i see, must have missed those points RP. I did just glance.

    I never read the Message either, i like my writing original and plain.

    Maybe they should do a new version. Yo Moses Whattup?

    Just kidding

  19. MJ, I think that at a quick glance, Warren’s stuff does look OK. People with a mindset that believes all church related stuff is sacred, and ministry, and all stuff basically outside church is secular, and only useful for funding the church or witnessing, may not have a problem with it.

  20. My church (Open Brethren) at the time did the time did 40 weeks of sermons based on the Warren’s book (alot of people just did their own thing with the title, including myself).

    I found his book I little lite on content and was limited in scope but all over it didnt piss me off and had a few goods.

    The only thing I did not like was the miss use of using different versions. His misuse didnt result in anything too out or dangerous, but the practice of using different version to prove a point is very dangerous.

  21. Hi Todd, just wondered what you mean by ‘a lot of people just did their own thing with the title’?

    And its good to have an Open Brethren believer joining in here.

  22. Thats why i like to stick to the Bible, or NT, its pure, reading the context throughout. Although i was lucky when first a “born” again. I had a couple of very wise good elders. They would paraphrase or go through the Bible and get an answer or half a one 🙂

  23. I am not open brethren as such and I have a wide church experience.

    People speaking on a certain title would just put their own theology spin and personality on the topic for that week. Alot of the preachers would go further than Warren eg that Worship included everything we do is worship and not just limited to church activities.

    When I spoke about the word of God, my spin was that the bible was both human and divine as Christ is both Man and God and not given by Angels like the book of Mormon or the Koran. Also, that the bible had a context and the bible used the everyday language of that culture of the day with everyday examples.

  24. Oh, OK – sorry Todd, and thanks for correcting me. A wide church experience can be a good thing, I think.

    I was wondering if what you described was what you meant by ‘people did their own thing with the title’. That sounds really great. People obviously used the titles as a springboard, then thought for themselves, so weren’t limited by Warren’s format/teaching. People would learn a lot that way, and also I imagine, receive feedback and more thought. An exercise like that would always be worth doing.

    My ex-church is now going through it, but the pastor will preach about a chapter a week. I wonder if it will go for 40 weeks, at one day per week?

    MJ – you are doing what I am doing… we do get together regularly with other believers in our situation, but there is no strict timetable. We are doing the odd study, but we all contribute. It’s challenging to get stuff done with kids running around, but you know, we do. God is good. The kids are very happy.

  25. Yeah RP im fortunate that most of my friends are Catholic/Christian so…..i go to “any” church to worship or special silent prayer but even when we socialise we talk about religion, the hereafter, love, pain, children….thats mostly what we talk about and men 🙂

  26. Yeah RP just re-reading the PD steps. Yeah i get what you mean about ministry. Interesting as i never quite understood dedication to a ministry. Love Thy Neighbour means being patient with, say, your mother-in-law when she is a complete B*@#% or something.

  27. mj – has that been happening to you recently??

    Agreed, mj, and sometimes its a difficult struggle to act lovingly in our personal lives. Much easier if we just look on it as a church ministry that we might spend a few hours on a week, rather than 24 hours a day in whatever our circumstances are, and to random people as they come up. The greater struggle 24/7 shows us how much we need God’s help! (Me, anyway.)

  28. hahaha, no, but friends and i chat about our “challenges”.

    Excellent latter point. Yeah, id rather go to church for a couple of hours than supervise and 18th birthday party with 60 guests and the next morning you prommised to drive your mother to whoop whoop to see her sister and…..

  29. Actually today i have to visit a extremely sick uncle and see my cousins and im hoping one of my kids will come along and support but….they’re still asleep :o)

  30. Ha! And I am having the 3 visiting nephews over, plus inlaws for a very rowdy time in the pool and a BBQ – although honestly it will be fun. The ‘loving’ part is actually preparing everything in advance and cleaning up later when I’d rather be a lady of leisure (not that its a big deal)! Wouldn’t we all. 🙂

  31. Yes, i dream one day, i will hire a good caterer for the next party, and my kids will help me clean up that night and massage my tired feet afterwards… can dream

  32. Yes, i have to say i did too. I think church can be important to new Christians of course but everyone has their own road. I read a few books on Bob Dylan (he became a christian after his motorbike accident). He went to a local church and did a Bible study for 6 months or so, wrote some Christian songs for a time (you can get them on cd) “you gotta serve somebody, it may be the devil or it may be the Lord…” sorry, song got stuck in my head. He now just does his own thing in Christ or whatever. I dont know what he’s been doing lately.

  33. mj – on the English Wikipedia site in the article about “Association of Vineyard Churches” it is mentioned that Bob Dylan attended Bible studies set up by the late Larry Norman and Chuck Girard. What later became of him in relation to faith is unclear. Joan Baez told a concert audience in the mid 80s that “We’ve got Bob back from Jesus” but this notion has been disputed by others. His later album lyrics (as far as I know them) allowed for both interpretations. So probably someone to pray for.

  34. Another New Age translation of the ‘Message’ involves the phrase ‘I and the Father are one’. I’ve forgotton what the translation was now, but it made me raise my eyebrows at the time.

    I just recently pulled the ‘Purpose Driven Church’ out of the shelves of our churches bookshelf. I can’t stand his dribble. I would have swallowed Rick Warren’s candy coated sin unless God intervened for my sake. He gave me a vision of a dancing carrot above the heads of people in the congregation.

    I got angry and went home. I felt a find on my back and the carrot before me. I felt like a donkey that would never get what was offered.

    I thought Jesus, a saw a being scowl and drive off. I felt a peaceful burden come upon me and I turned into these old gates as people cried ‘Hosanna’. I realised I was in a scriptural play or something with Christ on my back – me being a beat of burden.

    Rick Warren is offering a carrot to the saints – a carrot that we’ll never reach. Yet false encouragement is the whip used to make saints pursue unrealistic ideals.

    I started reading ‘Purpose Driven Church’ just before Christmas. I shall now read the rest of it.

  35. Raving Pente, sorry if I seemed over the top with correcting you. I just did not want to speak as open brethren, when I dont consider myself nont alligned to anyone christian church.

    Anyway, the series went for 40 weeks. It seemed like that it went forever.

  36. Oh no that’s fine, Todd – I was hoping I hadn’t offended you!

    My alignment is the same as yours, I think. Not aligned to any one Christian church. When I left my last church I also left the denomination, and I can’t imagine joining another. Though I could attend – just not consider myself ‘aligned’ as you put it.

    Only need one alignmnent – to Christ.

    Oh dear – 40 entire weeks. That would feel like forever.

    Does anyone think there is a moral dilemma of any kind when a pastor ‘feeds the sheep’ for 80% of a year, relating to a text book more than the Bible? Even its its good, is there the flexibility to meet people’s needs in other directions?

    I think they can download all the sermons for a fee, too. Makes life a little easier for a while.


    “Many of these churches are now reporting that it was the most transforming event in their congregation’s history.

  37. I think it just plain laziness too RP. Some Christian books are quite off the mark and don’t think they should be promoted as Gospel. there are some decent books like “Sit, Walk, Stand” and i liked CS Lewis for a while but inevitably one has to study the Bible properly to get the real message.

  38. What makes me laugh that 40/80/400 all are represent time of testing eg Jews 400 years in Eygpt, 40 years in the desert, 40 years x 2 in exile and Jesus 40 days in the desert.

    Cant see how Warren’s is testing or challenges.

  39. my main criticism of the “Fad Driven Church” concept is that it promotes a wishy-washy/flim-flam/ hand-wringing Christianity that can’t change individuals, let alone our communities.

    It is theologically light weight, and doesn’t get people off milk and onto meat.


  40. This is an old topic, but I just thought I’d add my two cents.
    The people I’ve met from Saddleback were great people.

  41. individual people are always nice … unless they are nazis.

    That is an aside.

    The real issue is if a strategy to reach people ends up losing the Gospel. If we lose the Gospel in the process, we don’t actually get people into the Kingdom. We merely get them to join a social club that cannot change their character and cannot save them from hell.

    That’s the basic issue here. Can the purpose driven life convict sinners of their sin?

  42. Hold fast the pattern of sound words, which you have heard of me, in faith and love which is in Christ Jesus. That good thing which was committed unto you keep by the Holy Spirit who dwells in us. 2 Timothy 1:13-14

    Hold fast the pattern of sound words that Paul left us.

    If you are listening to any ministry, just ask yourself, Could I imagine Paul teaching that? Does this fit the pattern he left us, as one of our Apostles?

    Or, more to the point, is your own ministry in harmony with the ministries of the Apostles, in teaching and example? Would your ministry fit right into the first century Apostolic setting, and get the full approval and wholehearted support of the Apostles?

    It should do. That’s what we must aim for. Let’s not settle for anything less. We don’t want to live in some christian fantasy, altered-state of reality – that is, deception.


    Warren’s 5 points are obviously good, in themselves. But his interpretation of what they mean and the outworking of it, is wacko.

    E.g. He says a Purpose Driven Church should not use the words heaven or hell.

    So, he makes himself greater than Jesus.

    It’s the “park your brain at the door” mentality.

  43. Reading through many of these responses was more distressing than Warren’s book could ever be. There’s a lot of ugly envy, a viciousness towards a brother in Christ that would do the world proud.For instance, Warren is condemned for being a reverse tither because he makes millions. So he should simply obey literal scripture, and give just a bit over his tithe? That’s Scriptural, after all. Or choosing a different translation. Is there no possibility that Warren was choosing the best translation for the Greek or Hebrew? Every translation has shortcomings and biases, and everyone has strong points. Seems to be a contest on who can eviscerate Warren the most effectively, and not with love for the Body. A lot of self righteous chest thumping and pride, and very little “upbuilding”.

  44. A beautiful “upbuilding” post there, brother!

    In the meanwhile, Warren is holding conferences with Muslims and assuring them that we all worship the same God.

    Warren probably does worship the same god the Muslims do, but he shouldn’t speak on behalf of Christians who don’t.

  45. Bull,
    ‘It is theologically light weight, and doesn’t get people off milk and onto meat.’

    Rick Warren answers the critics who consider his teaching too shallow or not deep enough.

  46. “But You Don’t Understand! I’m Whatever I Need To Be”

    “Pastor Warren tailors his appeals to his audience. To Calvinists, he stresses his support for the “solas” of the Reformation. Yet he tells prosperity evangelist David Yonggi Cho, “I’ve read your books on Vision and Dreams – speak to pastors about how you hear the voice of the Holy Spirit?…What advice would you give to a brand new minister?…Do you think American churches should be more open to the prayer for miracles?” (“Breakfast With David Yonggi Cho And Rick Warren,”

    In a June 2006 article in, editor-in-chief Rob Eshman reported on a speech that Warren gave for Synagogue 3000, after Rabbi Ron Wolfson became involved in the Purpose-Driven pastoral training seminars. “Warren managed to speak for the entire evening without once mentioning Jesus — a testament to his savvy message-tailoring.”

    When USA Today asked him why Mormon and Jewish leaders are involved in his pastoral training programs, Rick Warren reportedly said, “I’m not going to get into a debate over the non-essentials. I won’t try to change other denominations. Why be divisive?” (USA Today, July 21, 2003). Rick Warren endorses a host of books, from New Age authors to Emergent writers to conservative evangelicals. So why not include Calvinists?…
    (Michael Horton on Rick Warren, Modern Reformation, and Desiring God)”

    Dr. Michael Horton

  47. You miss the point, Margot.

    He is not explaining why he is all things to all men.

    He is explaining why and how he preaches a simple message which isn’t a shallow message.

    I’d say he is more Calvin than Joseph Smith, though.

  48. So is Piper – but if you are interested there’s an interesting critique on Fighting For The Faith with Chris discussing, very graciously with Phil Johnson, their concerns on why Piper allows Warren to fly so low under the doctrinal radar. He is well-called a “spiritual chameleon” (Warren)and they are very concerned for it’s confusing message to the church. John Piper has upset a lot of his supporters lately……in saying all this, he is so highly respected and suddenly he’s causing confusion? (And it’s not that they have Piper on a pedestal)

  49. Piper is clearly attempting to demonstrate some wisdom and grace. It is refreshing from a reformist, and far better for opening the curious up to what Calvinism teaches than the rude, dismissive and abrasive approach of some.

    I also think Piper may struggle with some of the more exclusive aspects of reformist thinking, as Warren also makes clear with his more inclusive approach.

    I am not a fan of Rosborough, who has that same superior air which is dismissive of many good men and women of God just so he can look better than the rest. Yuck! And he is often wrong with it, too. It gives me the willies to listen to him. No thanks.

    Piper I’ll hear out, because I think he’s genuinely trying to connect. So is Warren.

  50. Well, if you aren’t interested in a fair critique? You will hear the dialogue between Piper and Warren in long sequences.

    Rosebrough, one of my favourite apologists for the correct contextual use of scripture. Love or hate him, he’s right on the money. And to hear him read long passages from the bible to bring the reviews into context, makes his critiques spot on.

  51. The Lutheran perspective, yes that’s right and what an interesting one. Chris has been a WOF pentecostal, a Nazarene and now a Lutheran apologist/theolgian.

    Still trying to get my head around his take on infant baptism…..

  52. Poor old John McArthur doesn’t know when to be happy, even when there’s revival taking place in his beloved reformed circles.

    He hates yuppy attendees dressing like yuppies because he’s not a yuppy himself, and they should, like him, wear a grey, ironed, tent of a shirt and sing from the old time hymnals to the accompaniment of Sister Martha’s piano, not that there’s anything wrong with this in itself, but it is so facetious, and he can’t see that the ‘young guys’ are well organised in the way they set up church, because, basically they saw what happened to their pastoral predecessors, so the visitation happens still, and the care happens and the pastoral support, but through the Body, not just by an individual who is burnt out at the age of fifty by a demanding congregation.

    He really needs to cheer up and stop moaning just to say something.

  53. Interesting how many people come to Christ through the ministry of Grace Community Church and how many young men are stepping up to the plate to be part of a ministry that honours God and His Word with such great integrity.

    Reminded me that these same young men seem to take this scripture to heart as they get on with their calling ….

    “Remember your leaders, those who spoke to you the word of God. Consider the outcome of their way of life, and imitate their faith.” Heb 13:7

  54. Of course, if he was a Pentecostal, he could give a positive angle to this by telling them to eschew the intoxication of alcohol, and be constantly filled with the Spirit, ‘wherein there is no excess’!

    Emergent Reformed preachers in the breweries of the lost!

  55. Let’s see how long this goes on before they ease off on the beer, embrace the true Spirit, and tongues breaks out amongst the neo-reformists!

    Love it!

  56. We need the fulness of the gospel – the Word with the Spirit – as Paul said, “I have not shunned to declare to you the whole counsel of God”, which is the onus on all believers, leaders and followers, for what God has preordained for us we are compelled to receive, and should not ignore.

    1 Corinthians 2
    1* ¶ And I, brethren, when I came to you, did not come with excellence of speech or of wisdom declaring to you the testimony of God.
    2* For I determined not to know anything among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified.
    3* I was with you in weakness, in fear, and in much trembling.
    4* And my speech and my preaching were not with persuasive words of human wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power,
    5* that your faith should not be in the wisdom of men but in the power of God.

    1 Thessalonians 1
    5* For our gospel did not come to you in word only, but also in power, and in the Holy Spirit and in much assurance, as you know what kind of men we were among you for your sake.
    6* And you became followers of us and of the Lord, having received the word in much affliction, with joy of the Holy Spirit…

    Romans 15
    18* For I will not dare to speak of any of those things which Christ has not accomplished through me, in word and deed, to make the Gentiles obedient–
    19* in mighty signs and wonders, by the power of the Spirit of God, so that from Jerusalem and round about to Illyricum I have fully preached the gospel of Christ.

    1 Corinthians 4
    17* For this reason I have sent Timothy to you, who is my beloved and faithful son in the Lord, who will remind you of my ways in Christ, as I teach everywhere in every church.
    18* Now some are puffed up, as though I were not coming to you.
    19* But I will come to you shortly, if the Lord wills, and I will know, not the word of those who are puffed up, but the power.
    20* For the kingdom of God is not in word but in power.

    Acts 10
    44* While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit fell upon all those who heard the word.
    45* And those of the circumcision who believed were astonished, as many as came with Peter, because the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out on the Gentiles also.
    46* For they heard them speak with tongues and magnify God.

    Acta 11
    15* “And as I began to speak, the Holy Spirit fell upon them, as upon us at the beginning.
    16* “Then I remembered the word of the Lord, how He said, ‘John indeed baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit.’
    17* “If therefore God gave them the same gift as He gave us when we believed on the Lord Jesus Christ, who was I that I could withstand God?”
    18* When they heard these things they became silent; and they glorified God, saying, “Then God has also granted to the Gentiles repentance to life.”

    Galatians 3
    13* Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us (for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree”),
    14* that the blessing of Abraham might come upon the Gentiles in Christ Jesus, that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.

  57. I love this because it is a testimony followed by an apostolic council decision which actuates a doctrine:

    “And as I began to speak, the Holy Spirit fell upon them, as upon us at the beginning. Then I remembered the word of the Lord, how He said, ‘John indeed baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit.’ If therefore God gave them the same gift as He gave us when we believed on the Lord Jesus Christ, who was I that I could withstand God?” When they heard these things they became silent; and they glorified God, saying, “Then God has also granted to the Gentiles repentance to life.”

    The Holy Spirit sovereignly releases the outpouring, not only on the Jews, but now on the Gentiles, an unheard of thing, and quite revelatory to the Jewish team sent to Cornelius’ house by divine appointment.

    It is the beginning of evidence of the inclusion of the Nations apart from Israel in the purposes of God, and is accompanied by the sign of speaking in tongues.

    When the apostolic council heard this they immediately realised that, if the Gentiles had the same experience accompanying the outpouring of the Spirit, God must intend for them to be included in his kingdom, and that they too had received ‘repentance to life’ the free gift of salvation.

    Peter’s explanation highlights this, ‘If therefore God gave them the same gift as He gave us when we believed on the Lord Jesus Christ, who was I that I could withstand God?’

    And who are we to withstand God if he choses to continue the outpouring to this day?

  58. I love the Purpose Driven Life. It is like Christianity 101, but it is relevant no matter how long one has been a Christian. I have read it maybe 15 times and still go over different chapters every so often. I attend North Polnt Community Church which is modeled after Willow Creek and going there has revolutionized my relationship with God. I have been a Christian for 37 years, so I have seen alot. Mega Churches are not for everyone, but this purpose driven church is definitely for me. So nice to have a church that I liked to invite people to. Not a bunch of religious people and people in choir robes singing ancient hymns.

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  63. Rick Warren, like so many, preaches an eternal Hell, therefore to me he is simply Hell’s preacher. Like a CZ is to a Diamond – it may fool some but not if you are used to dealing with the real thing. Speaking of CZ’s, Christian Zionism? And I suppose he backs Obama and like most does not understand Romans 13?

    Do any of you actually think that Obama is Christian cos he says so? What does his fruit say? DEATH! He will lead America into darkness. Ask Eashoa/Jesus if you really know Him and if their really is such a place or thing as an eternal hell of suffering and torment and to tell you the truth concerning it and the identity of the woman named Circe, and the Circus called Church which so many mistakenly call the Body of Christ, but which is Jerusalem from beneath and is Sodom and Egypt.

    The real Body of Christ is not made with hands and is forever in the heavens. But Fascists and Communists alike do love to forge order out of Chaos, yes, and will do whatever they can to deny the Resurrection.

    For if all died in Him and all were resurrected in Him, how many does that leave to languish in hell?

    Don’t let wolves in sheep’s clothing lull you to sleep with their tare-full stories.

  64. Eat from your own store, drink from your own well, you need not that any man teach you nor sell you on hell. The word Hel is Norse and is a COLD place ruled by a Friggan woman where there is no hope of warmth. In the Middle-East and Mediterranean, it is a hot place ruled by a demon and you cannot slake your thirst.

    Does anyone of you know what a cultural meme is?

    If you know any believing Jews, especially True Torah types, ask them about Gehenna, or better still, read “What the hell is Hell” by Gary Amirault. The Church of Satan is not based in LA, but rather Rome, and it has Branches and offshoots world wide. It is in essence the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, and when God removes the Life of the Tree, it shall be no more.

  65. Greg – all will be revealed soon enough. Be patient – I have been watching and waiting since 1983. I asked the Master a while back when it would really let rip, and heard, “And when they shall say ‘Peace and safety’, then shall sudden destruction come,as with a woman in labor”.
    Unless of course you asked me a question which I did not answer to your satisfaction. Usually if I have not answered a question, I am simply mimicking Jesus…0(:->)

  66. Don’t let wolves in sheep’s clothing lull you to sleep with their tare-full stories.

    Nor their fantastic conspiracies and supposed secret knowledge.

  67. God has already told us in His word that He has already given us all that we need. Then why do we need Rick Warren’s book? The answer is that we don’t. Is Rick Warren the Messiah? No, Jesus is. We just need to do what God has told us to do in His word, but sometimes people will do anything, and chase after anything but that, often – not always – due to the influence of the Enemy.

  68. I bought Rick Warren’s book. It was part of our church’s Bible study program and this is where these guys make their dough.

    I wasn’t all that impressed with it but it’s better than Bevere, TD Jakes and the Bonnke nonsense I’ve had to sit through.

  69. The book is Christian fatalism derived from a Calvinistic worldview. Doris Day doctrine – Que Sera Sera, What Will Be Will Be.

    No wonder the Muslims love it! It’s Allah Sovereignty training. Only the names are changed to protect the innocent.

  70. “this is where these guys make their dough.”

    Christians who write books? Lots of people write books – now they should just give them away?

    “I wasn”t all that impressed with it”

    I read it too, and ended up wondering why it was so popular. Didn’t see too much wrong with it – just pretty standard fair. But that’s a minority view obviously, so I must have missed something. I think the main reason for it’s success is the marketing – note that Warren is big on marketing in the Hybels/Schuller tradition and of course Peter Drucker as an adviser helps.

    But as for just reading the Bible, Susan, then you could say that most of the Christian book stores should close. Everyone writes books.

    @Steve Never heard of Muslims liking the book. They wouldn’t be very devout ones I’d say.

    As for the fatalism – are you referring to the way he talks about everything that happens is in God’s plan?

    He’s not the only one to say that – though I don’t understand that philosophy at all.

    Esp, coming from a man who in order to start his church sent out 15,000 questionairres asking people why they don’t come to church, and then structured his church to meet their needs (wants?)

    But, I’d say just about all the churches I know subscribe to Schuller’s “marketing approach” to church growth. The Pastors I know all have a target group and tailor services to those people.

    And…it seems to work.

  71. “this is where these guys make their dough.”

    Christians who write books? Lots of people write books – now they should just give them away?

    It’s not the writing of the books. It’s the marketing of a fantastic resource which your church or you couldn’t do without. I had to buy the book as it was part of the church Bible study program.

    Just like Bevere’s teaching on total submission to your pastor and giving him double honour (think money). Pastors lapped that up and pushed it onto their cell groups as a fantastic new teaching.

  72. “Pastors lapped that up and pushed it onto their cell groups as a fantastic new teaching.”

    Is that the one where they said that a Pastor’s income should be double the average or median income of parishioners?


    Yeah. lots of Pastors seem to like that idea..

  73. You know Bones, if you got your ideas right about gay marriage and Israel, you could be a half decent bloke!

  74. Sad to say, but I had to leave a church when they got into this total submission thing.

    “You obey the leadership even when you know what they are telling you to do is unbiblical, because you are doing your duty and can leave the rest up to God”.

    From what I understand even in the military you can disobey an order that you know is morally wrong.

    But honestly, that’s what some people teach. Scary. Even scarier that people think they are loving God by staying in a church like that.

  75. John Bevere you say Bones? And much like Jacob Boehme too methinks. American Christians are mostly crazy, we know this, they are like the Cretans, only sometimes more like the Cretins. But we love them, yes? But there are ways of dealing with such matters. Witness the Crystal Cathedral – what man builds a tower without counting the cost? Or as Jesus said to me about 10yrs ago, “I did not tell you to build a tower, I told you to COUNT THE COST!” What is the cost of our tower building? IT is our relationship with Him – and He answers us according to our delusions.

    Q, years ago I was part time song leader in a WOF church – used to preach, pray for the sick and all that jazz. One night when I was due to song lead, I arrived all prayed up, ready to go, but about bang on time to start – or maybe a minute late, I don’t know. I had been leading some very deep praise of late and was really looking forward to getting into it. The Pastor snapped at me about my level of commitment and lack of piety – it was like a serpent came out of his mouth and bit me. I was stunned, I said within “What do I do?” I heard, “Leave now!” I left. God taught me that I had been solicited into making commitments to this man and to HIS work which had me bound – and that God had upped the amperage on my gifting to make me distasteful enough to him to spit me out.

    I was to learn that the church is like a great big fish – God wants you to head in a certain direction, but you are disobedient, so it gets all stormy and you are rejected by your fellows and then swallowed up by that fishy thing called “church” and in my instance, spat up on the beach like Jonah.

    After three weeks of healing and restoration, I went back and made my peace with him – God both told me to and showed me how and gave me the grace to follow through. But the chord was cut. I was free….kind of….next phase please…..

  76. The lead guitarist was the reason we were late that night – we were car pooling. He came to see me the following week to try and woo me back – I said no way, no how, and said that when their time to leave happened, that they would feel like they had been mortally wounded, but to please come around as our door would be open. Two weeks later they came around – shattered – and we helped put them back together again. In the end, this man’s church went from a peak of about 450 to 4 or 5, including him, his wife, his Freemason fly in the ointment deacon, and the pianist.

  77. Aha – the spectre of doom rises again – welcome back Ian V.

    Perhaps you could better answer the questoin Ian W was posing if I rephrased it in the following manner.

    If there were 100 people in the world and ALL died in Him (Jesus) how many of the 100 people died in Him (Jesus)?

    Following on from there, of those 100 people, if ALL were resurrected in Him (Jesus again), how many of the 100 were resurrected in Him (You know who by now)?

    If ALL died in Him and ALL were resurrected in Him, how many did not die in him and how many were not resurrected in him?

    Just answer those questions for now – and then perhaps we might be able to move forward from there.

  78. So, Greg, if just one of those 100 go out and sin terribly this week, causing murder, mania and mayhem, does he still get in?

  79. “So, Greg, if just one of those 100 go out and sin terribly this week, causing murder, mania and mayhem, does he still get in?”

    It depends – have they been faithfully tithing week by week?


    You must loose your life to save it.
    You must become an entirely new creature, with a new heart and new mind.
    This does not happen with reading scripture, saying a prayer, getting wet, or saying Jesus is Lord.
    If you are born again, your lust and desires have been crucified to death of self.
    Whoever has been born of God does not sin, for His seed remains in him;
    and he cannot sin, because he has been born of God. 1 John 3:9

    from George Fox’s Journal:
    You must have fellowship with Christ in his sufferings; 1 Pet 4:12-13
    if you will reign with him, you must suffer with him; 2 Tim 2:12
    if you will live with him, you must die with him; 2 Tim 2:11
    and if you die with him, you must be buried with him; Rom 6:4
    and being buried with him in the true baptism, you also rise with him. Col 2:12

    There must be “a coming into his death, a suffering with Christ;”
    and this is of necessity to salvation;
    and not temporarily, but continually: there must be a “dying daily.”

  81. On the other hand you could simply repent, receive Jesus as Lord and follow Him.

    Saves messing around.

  82. I believe that the main purposes for a Church are as outlined in Acts 2-42:- “They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.” According to this verse, the purposes/activities of the church should be 1) teaching biblical doctrine, 2) providing fellowship for believers, 3) observing Communion and 4) praying.
    Our Faith and our beliefs should be grounded by the teaching of Biblical Doctrine within the Church. Ephesians 4-14 states “Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of men in their deceitful scheming.” In the Fellowship of the Church, Christians can devote themselves to each other and show each other honour ( Romans 12-10), they can instruct one another ( Romans 15-14 ). They can be kind and compassionate to each other ( Ephesians 4-32 ), encourage each other (1 Thessalonians 5-11) and more importantly as Jesus commanded, Love one another.(John 13-34).
    Communion or The Lords Supper, remembering Christs death and shed blood, should take place regularly in Church. (1 Corinthians 11-23:26 ). Of course the concept of Breaking Bread ( Acts 2-42 ) also carries the idea of sharing meals together which is an example of Churches sharing Fellowship. Finally, according to Acts 2-42 the Church is to be a place where prayer is encouraged, where prayer is taught and prayer is practiced. Phillipians 4-6:7 teaches us:- ‘Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. Then the Peace of God which passes all understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus’.
    The five purposes suggested for a purpose driven Church should actually be the five purposes for every individual Christian Disciple. If each Disciple lived the purpose driven life then the Church would grow….. The Church would be purpose driven by the Disciples.

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