Rick Warren & the Modern Church:
LONGBEARD PRESS, LLC
Fort Worth, Texas
Rick Warren & the Modern Church: PURPOSE DRIVEN DISASTER
Copyright © 2007 by Longbeard Press, LLC
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International Standard Book Number: 978-0-9798190-0-1
The Scripture versions cited in this book are identified in Appendix 1, which is incorporated herein by reference as part of the copyright page.
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Cover design by Duncan Long.
THE COVER ILLUSTRATION
The illustration, lettering, and cover design are by Duncan Long. To view other works of this prolific artist, please visit his web site at http://duncanlong.com.
The significance of the tree being struck by lightning relates to the tree that Rick Warren used on the cover of his “Purpose Driven Life”. The figure of a tree is often used in Scripture to symbolize an individual’s life. The first Psalm speaks of those who study and follow God’s word being like a tree that grows strong and bears fruit. However, Rick Warren’s “Purpose Driven” theories diverge significantly from God’s word. The trees that are growing up under his direction are not bearing the fruit (i.e., exhibiting the character and conduct) God desires. What happens to such trees? They do not grow and prosper, as do those blessed by God. Instead, they come under divine punishment.
Seeing in the distance a fig tree in leaf, [Jesus] went to find out if it had any fruit. When he reached it, he found nothing but leaves, . . . Then he said to the tree, “May no one ever eat fruit from you again.” And his disciples heard him say it. . . . In the morning, as they went along, they saw the fig tree withered from the roots. Peter remembered and said to Jesus, “Rabbi, look! The fig tree you cursed has withered!” (Mark 11:13-14, 20-21 New International Version [hereafter “NIV”])
So he said to the man who took care of the vineyard, “For three years now I've been coming to look for fruit on this fig tree and haven't found any. Cut it down! Why should it use up the soil?” “Sir,” the man replied, “leave it alone for one more year, and I'll dig around it and fertilize it. If it bears fruit next year, fine! If not, then cut it down.” (Luke 13:7-9 NIV)
See how he scatters his lightning about him, . . . This is the way he governs the nations . . . He fills his hands with lightning and commands it to strike its mark. (Job 36:30-32 NIV)
The purpose of this book is to correct the wrong ideas being spread by Mr. Warren and his followers, and to spare some trees from a lot of grief.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
About the Cover vi
1: Is God Entirely Responsible for Your Makeup? 1
2: Does God Love Unconditionally? 5
3: Are Resentment and Anger Always Evil? 13
4: Is Fear Always a Bad Thing? 19
5: Is it Wrong to Seek Material Gain? 25
6: Does God Want Christians to Make Unwelcome Sales Pitches? 31
7: Is Eternal Life Guaranteed by Accepting Jesus as Lord & Savior? 37
8: Are Christians Supposed to Constantly Think about Christ and Pray? 45
9: Is There No Human Effort Required for Eternal Salvation? 53
10: Is Church Attendance Always Beneficial and Prudent? 63
11: How Often Should Christians Meet Together? 75
12: Are Christians to Confess their Sins to All Church Members? 93
13: The Continuing Validity & Importance of the Old Testament 99
Appendix 1: Bibliography 117
Appendix 2: The Misleading Paraphrases 121
Appendix 3: The Early Church Fathers on Good Works 129
Appendix 4: Recommended Reading 135
Appendix 5: Recommended Sources for Christian Literature 141
A book which has gained much popularity among evangelical Christians is “The Purpose Driven Life”, authored by Rick Warren, and first published by Zondervan in 2002. The sales figures for this book indicate that 24 million copies had been sold as of November, 2005. While there are some commendable things said therein, there are also a number of serious errors, which many Christians have not detected. For example, in the first section of the book, subtitled, “A Journey with Purpose”, we read that “memorizing Scripture may be the most important habit you can begin.” This is a very true observation. However, many of the “Scriptures” that the author quotes throughout the book are, in large part, inaccurate paraphrases, or interpretations, of what the Bible actually says. A few paragraphs later, we read that the “best way to explain God’s purpose for your life is to allow the Scripture to speak for itself, so in this book the Bible is quoted extensively.” This would be commendable, except that many of the quotes are from poor paraphrase versions of the Bible, and are so divergent from the actual text of Scripture, that they promote a view contrary to what Scripture teaches.
You may ask: “Why are you picking on Rick Warren and finding fault with his book?” The reason is because of the unbiblical ideas that are being promoted through this book to so many Christians. The Apostle Paul told his protégé, Timothy, that he must gently correct those who were in opposition to the truth. (2nd Timothy 2:25) Paul wanted Timothy to prevent the distortion of Scripture. Paul did not want Timothy’s congregation to be deprived of the full benefit the Scriptures provide.
What if your doctor amputated your finger, when you only needed stitches, because he did not study adequately in medical school? Because your doctor failed to learn the correct treatment for slash wounds, you have been deprived of the proper benefit of medical science. You have been unnecessarily harmed. Mr. Warren has written a book that, if followed, deprives Christians of the full benefits Scripture provides. The book misquotes and misapplies Scripture. If you follow such advice, you will not only be deprived of the proper benefit of Scripture, but will be bringing God’s disapproval upon yourself, instead of God’s blessing.
The point is that the Scriptures, not defective versions thereof, are necessary. First, we must use reliable versions of Scripture. Second, we must become thoroughly acquainted with the Bible. Only in this way can we become capable of interpreting individual passages in a manner that does not contradict other passages of Scripture. The purpose of this book is to show that some church practices and beliefs, promoted by Rick Warren and in vogue today, are based on misunderstandings of Scripture. It is by recognizing these wrong interpretations, and arriving at truly Scripture-based interpretations, that we can grasp God’s will for our lives. The doctor who amputated a finger, which only needed stitches, may have successfully stopped the bleeding, but at what cost? We are cutting ourselves off from God’s full blessings for our lives when we misunderstand his will, and then try to serve and worship him in ways that actually displease God. And, as will be shown, some may even be in danger of cutting themselves off completely from God’s eternal reward.
 Rick Warren, The Purpose Driven Life, p. 11.
 See Appendix 2 at the end of this book entitled The Misleading Paraphrases for some examples of the inaccurate and misleading paraphrases utilized by Mr. Warren.
 Rick Warren, The Purpose Driven Life, p. 11.
The Table of Contents shown above lays out the general areas covered in Purpose Driven Disaster. If you would like to read a sample of the writing style, exegesis, and analysis of the author, please click on the tabs/buttons on the upper left side of this page, entitled Sample Chapters, to be taken to samples from actual chapters contained in Purpose Driven Disaster.
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