Thursday, April 26, 2007

The Gospel(less) According to Rick Warren

No one has exemplified the market-driven approach better than Rick Warren, pastor of the huge Saddleback Church in southern California and author of The Purpose-Driven Church and The Purpose-Driven Life. While Warren is open and up-front about his philosophy, strategy and methods, nevertheless things are not always as they appear. For example, “purpose-driven” sounds better than “market-driven” but it is basically the same thing. In his book The Purpose-Driven Life, his opening statement is, “It is not about you,” then turns around and writes a whole book about “you.” He belittles pop-psychology then repeatedly promotes it by simply calling it something else. He publicly cuts ties with Robert Schuller, then regurgitates some of the most odious things that Schuller has been teaching for thirty years. He claims commitment to the Scriptures then undermines them at almost every turn. He will tell his followers that he is not tampering with the message but only reengineering the methods, when in fact he has so altered the message as to make it all but unrecognizable.

This brings us to his most disturbing alteration, the gospel itself. To charge Warren with modification of the gospel is an ugly accusation, one that should not be made lightly. What is the evidence for such an indictment? Consider the following:

In the video that accompanies the “40 Days of Purpose,” Warren leads his listeners in prayer at the end of the first session. The prayer goes like this:

"Dear God, I want to know your purpose for my life. I don't want to base the rest of my life on wrong things. I want to take the first step in preparing for eternity by getting to know you. Jesus Christ, I don't understand how but as much as I know how I want to open up my life to you. Make yourself real to me. And use this series in my life to help me know what you made me for." Warren goes on to say: "Now if you've just prayed that prayer for the very first time I want to congratulate you. You've just become a part of the family of God."

Warren would be hard-pressed to find biblical backing for this presentation of the gospel. We find nothing here about sin, grace, repentance, the person of Christ, Calvary, faith, judgment, or the resurrection. This is the ultimate in a mutilated, seeker-sensitive gospel: the seeker comes to Christ in order to find his purpose in life, not to receive forgiveness from sin and the righteousness of God. Then, to pronounce someone a full-fledged member of the family of God because he has prayed such a prayer (based on minimal, if any, understanding of the person and work of Christ), is beyond tragic.

For full article click here.


mar13 said...

But then the same could be said for many starting points of people in the NT who became disciples of Jesus too.

Did they really have a comprehensive understanding of the Gospel too? Many of them get started just because Jesus healed them.

Justice said...

Well first - Rick Warren is not Jesus. Jesus is the only that can judge the heart of faith - but in His own words we must "Repent for the Kingdom of God is at hand". But my bigger question to you is do you believe that everyone he healed was saved?

You are also taking for granted that these people that came to be healed knew who Jesus was and had more than likely heard some of the gospel and knew what he was about.

To be truthful most were showing up with selfish motives and Christ was doing these signs and wonders to prove his deity.

Rick's prayer would lead people to believe that all you have to do is say a prayer - and that is dead wrong. Salvation is more an action of the heart than the mouth. That prayer is incredibly self centered, there is nothing about acceting Jesus as Lord over your life.

Jesus is not my co-pilot helping me guide my way through this life - He is my Lord, Savior, and King.

Soli Deo Gloria,