Saturday, December 20, 2008

The Gospel: A Method or a Message? How the Purpose Driven Life Obscures the Gospel

This is a great commentary by Bob Dewaay on the Purpose Driven movement and biblically exposing the fact that it is pragmatic and man-centered. I will admit at one time I didn't see the problem with Rick Warren or his book, in fact I championed his cause. This article and Bob's radio series (see link below) really changed the way I viewed the seeker sensitive model. I highly suggest checking out other issues of his Critical Issues Commentary for in depth articles on various topics related to false teaching. -Chris

Redefining Christianity—Understanding the Purpose Driven Movement in a 15-part CIC Radio Broadcast. The radio broadcasts are archived on the Radio Series page.

For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not come to know God, God was well-pleased through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe.” (1Corinthians 1:21)

A few months ago a friend phoned to ask if I had ever heard of Rick Warren. “Yes” I replied. “Why are you asking”? He said, “I just got kicked out of a Bible Study for bringing my Bible to it.” That is how the idea for this article came to me.

The Bible study my friend attended was really a Purpose Driven Life study group. The Purpose Driven Life book they were studying referenced Bible passages that sounded off base. He was told that if he was going to attend the study, he would have to leave his Bible at home, because the issues he brought up were disruptive to the group. He chose to quit instead.

My first reaction was that the study group was just poorly led. A few days later my friend gave me the book to read for myself. In the first three pages I saw why bringing a real Bible would disrupt a group studying Rick Warren. First, Warren cited many questionable Bible translations, often without verse reference. Apart from that, one had to locate the reference (information buried in the back of the book), find the reference in a real Bible, go back to the place where Warren used the passage to see if the quoted “translation” had any resemblance to the passage from an acceptable text, and then make a decision about whether the verse in question supported Warren’s claim. Of course, that would disrupt a Bible study. Forty days of purpose would soon be forty months!

Rick Warren’s eleven million copy bestseller has replaced Bible preaching in thousands of pulpits and has replaced the Bible in many thousands of Bible study groups. His website claims he is starting a new Reformation. His claim is that rather than reform what the church teaches like Luther did, Warren is going to reform what the church does. He is well on his way. Warren has turned the Gospel of Jesus Christ into a method. The method is to invite people on a forty day journey to discover the meaning of life.1 Warren’s students are asked to take an oath before a witness (which Jesus forbids) to turn forty days of their life over to Rick Warren and his method. And there is more. Click title to link to entire article.

1 comment:

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