The Purpose Driven Life:
A Critique of Messages and Methods
By Richard H. Strand, Ed.D.
As a small group member in my first reading of nine chapters in the book I was very surprised that I could not find any fault with what I saw. I knew that the author was a leader of the Church Growth Movement which I thought was part of the globalist movement, so I started to dig deeply and compare what the book said with the King James Bible, and what others have said about his books.
Acts 17:11 (KJV) calls Bereans “more noble” than others because they examine teachings in the light of scripture to see if these things be so. Rick Warren’s teaching does not always survive a scriptural search for the truth. His messages should always be checked against a standard Bible translation, especially the King James Version which comes closest to correctly translating the words of the original manuscripts.
All references to what he always calls “The Bible” are followed by only a footnote number instead of a verse number. To learn what book and verse number of the Bible he is citing you must turn to the distant back of the book. And in every case you have to first look back to see what Day or Chapter in his book you are reading (which is not shown at the top or bottom of the pages). Then you must hunt for the correct “Day” in pages near the end of the book, and then look down the column for the footnote number. It takes as long to do this for each quotation as it has taken me to write about it. It very soon becomes impractical to try to identify any source. So you have to just trust him to be quoting the Bible correctly. Therefore, the format of this book is not designed for any easy study of the Bible.
With only one set of end notes for the whole book, any good editor would have told him to have only one continuous set of footnote numbers if he wanted the reader to use them. He apparently wanted everyone to believe the quotations he carefully selected are what “The Bible” says. His quotations make his book sound wonderful to unbelievers and also to the thousands of pastors who have bought it for their congregations. It is amazing that they have ignored that obvious flaw.
The most common “versions” he uses are often much different from the King James Version (KJV). He uses 15 “Bibles” and selects the quotations he wants in order to appeal to non-believers whom he calls “seekers.” However, many of his converts will not be the kind that God wants because they will not know who God is and why Jesus came to die; and they will not have repented of their sins or even asked God to forgive them – unless the pastors who use the book and the program correct those errors before accepting new believers into the church.
The internet (www.Bible.gospelcom.net) makes it easy for people to find the quotation Warren uses from his many “Bibles” – including the NAB, New American Bible, from the Catholic Press. However one of his versions is not on that website.
ANALYSIS OF THE MESSAGE
In the first Biblical quotation in his book, Rick Warren says, “The Bible says, “Obsession with self in these matters is a dead end; attention to God leads us out into the open, into a spacious, free life.” p. 18. (Rom. 8:6 The Message).That is almost the opposite of what the KJV says: “For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.”
How can he say “the Bible” says you will have a “spacious, free life?” Why did he omit saying that death is the result of being carnally minded? The New International Version (NIV) uses the term “sinful” for “carnally minded.” Carnal and sinful are much more derogatory terms than ”obsession with self” and the death that results from sin is certainly much more serious than “a “dead end” of a road. How will Rick Warren’s new “converts” know that they must stop being sinful or even repent of their sins? At the very beginning of the book they can look forward to simply enjoying a new “spacious free life” whatever that might mean to them.
Pastor Warren quotes paraphrases that deviate greatly from standard translations. Here is another major one that he uses in his first invitation to the non-believers to “receive Christ”: “The Bible says, ‘Whoever accepts and trusts the Son gets in on everything, life complete and forever.’” p. 58 (John 3:36 The Message”). That is misleading because it implies all sorts of wrong things. Who wouldn’t want to accept Christ, if that is what it will do for him?
Here is the KJV translation of that scripture: “He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.” Pastor Warren’s quotation changes everlasting life into gets in on everything, life complete and forever, and he then omits mention of God’s wrath. His is a Positive Thinking paraphrase-littered message, obviously designed to appeal to nonbelievers.
The only mention of God’s wrath is much later, on page 232, where he cites only the following underlined half of Romans 2:8 in the New Living Translation: “But he will pour out his anger and wrath on those who live for themselves, (He then omitted “who refuse to obey the truth and practice evil deeds” which are in that same translation.) He omits the details about sinful or evil behavior and never says what God will do about it. The KJV sentence continues from verse 8 into 9 explaining what God will do: 8 “But unto them that are contentious [This does not say live for themselves.] and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, [God will bring] indignation and wrath, 9 Tribulation and anguish, upon every soul of man that doeth evil, of the Jew first, and also of the Gentile.” Following his skimpy quotation about it, Warren then implies that believers will not really experience God’s “anger and wrath” because their only punishment will be the loss of some eternal rewards.
Now read his invitation to receive Christ (p. 58) and see what all is missing. It is missing the whole idea that Christ had to die because of the unbelievers’ sins, and that the only way God could forgive them was through a blood sacrifice. Warren does not ask his invitees to repent of their sins, nor even to ask God to forgive them. He simply says, “Receive his forgiveness for your sins.” So he minimizes the purpose of Christ’s death and the need to acknowledge one’s sinfulness as the cause of it. And his whole book omits the eternal damnation and punishment that one is saved from. I do not believe that a convert who does not know those things would be very thankful to Christ.
Nowhere in the book did I find Pastor Warren telling people to repent of their sins. Warren’s Purpose #3, “You Were Created to Become like Christ,” is full of great ideas to grow to ultimately to have the character of Christ. However, none of his key verses at the beginning or end of those chapters, ever talks about sin. They always relate to simply avoiding temptation or enduring testing. The book does not mention man’s sinfulness and great need for repentance. Christ died for people who would “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” That was the purpose of John the Baptist’s ministry and Jesus often said the identical words. (Matt. 4:17) Rick Warren uses the word repentance (p. 182) but says it means only “changing one’s mind,” instead of remorse, regret, sorrow for one’s sins, penitence, or confession and apology to God, which is what Bible means. His use of the word is in the section on sanctification, not salvation. I think that in many places in the book he forgets that his audience includes unbelievers who need salvation. He also often calls the mixed small groups part of the Body of Christ.
Doesn’t his omission of repentance as a precursor to remission of sins make Warren’s teaching false? Luke 24:46-7 tells us: “Thus it is written, and thus it behoved Christ to suffer and to rise from the dead the third day: And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.” (KJV)
Pastor Warren says, “Jesus gave up everything so you could have everything.” p. 113. (2 Cor 5:21 TEV) To “have everything” could imply to an unbeliever that He gave his life for you so you could see all your desires fulfilled. That is probably not what Pastor Warren personally believes, but that is what he implies at this point in the book. This has little or no reference to what the Bible really says.
Actually, that verse in the KJV says:”For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him...” So, here “The Bible” does not say, “I can have everything.” It says you can have your sins forgiven and then have the ability to be righteous like Christ. That is not as exciting to a nonbeliever as saying “you could have everything.”
It is ironic that there is a verse Warren could have used that would say almost what he wanted to say, but he did not find it. Rom. 8:32 (KJV) says, “He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things.” So, in this case Warren’s torturing of the Scriptures is not so much of an exaggeration, but merely a wrong interpretation of that particular verse.
The whole book portrays God as only the modern “God of love” who just gives good things to people, one of which is automatic forgiveness. Reverend Warren typically omits mention of any verse or any part of a verse that talks about unrighteousness, sin, the death penalty, disobedience to God’s commandments, or any specific consequences of sin in life. Warren’s God is not a God who hates sin. People who come to Christ with such a wrong view of God will not be worshipping the God of the Bible, but rather man-made ideas of God and his only begotten son. They will be worshipping idols.
Pastor Warren’s readers learn that about the only reason God would keep them out of heaven would be their “rejection” of Him (p. 37), or their “failure to give God glory,” which Rick Warren calls “the root of all sin.” (pp. 54-55.) Here is the closest he comes to saying God will punish them for anything: “If you reject his love, forgiveness, and salvation, you will spend eternity apart from God forever.” p. 37. God apparently will not punish people for disobedience to Him, which the Apostle John says is the definition of sin. “Sin is the transgression of the law.” (1 John 3:4)
The PDL makes loving and pleasing God a major purpose of our life, but it does not tell us that to love God means to keep his commandments. (1 John 5:3, KJV): “For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous.”
The main reason he gives for us doing the things God wants us to do is simply to give Him pleasure. He cites 2 Cor. 5:9 out of its important context by not including verse 10, and the quotation then mistranslates the meaning of the words, saying, “This was Paul’s life goal: ‘More than anything else, however, we want to please him, whether in our home here or there.’” p. 76. (NIT) Contrariwise, the KJV says, 9 “ Wherefore we labour, that, whether present or absent, we may be accepted of him. 10For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad.” Looking forward to the judgment is certainly a far cry from simply wanting to bring God pleasure! It is more like wanting to appease God, rather than to please Him.
Rick Warren’s message does nothing to make a believer fear the Lord, which is the beginning of wisdom. (Psalm 111:10, KJV): “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom: a good understanding have all they that do his commandments: his praise endureth forever. In other words, the fear of the Lord motivates one to keep His commandments. Warren does not want to scare people by talking about either God’s punishment or God’s commandments. He mentions hell a couple of times, in passing, but with no mention of hell’s fire or what the Bible describes. He avoids talking about bad things that he wants you to think his loving God would never do! His God is not mine. My God destroyed tribes and nations that did things that he hates.
Warren says that the need to fear God ended when the veil of the temple was rent from top to bottom, and we could all become “friends with God.” p. 86. This is not true. Paul exhorts us in 2 Cor. 7:1 “Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.” Here again, the fear of God is the motivating power to help us cleanse our self."
Yes Christ’s death reconciles believers to God, but being a believer does not mean that the path to heaven is no longer straight and narrow. If the eternal security of the believer is true, it is only for people who do not backslide and abandon their faith. As H.A. Ironside said, those people were not “true Christians” or born again believers in the first place and he knew there were a lot of people in that category. The Apostle Paul and most of the other writers were clear about that also. They continually exhorted people to keep from sinning, avoiding it at all cost, enduring until the end, or running the race to finally receive the prize. The Apostle Paul clearly expressed fear that he might, after preaching to others, fail to put into practice what he was teaching.
“Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man.” Those are Solomon’s words in Ecclesiastes 12:13. Neither of those ideas is found in the PDL. If this is the whole duty of man, should this not be one of God’s purposes for your life? Not to Rick Warren, because he does not talk about any duty!
So the first part of his book implies that you will experience a wonderful life in which everything you ever wanted will be yours. That sales’ pitch brings thousands into churches – especially those who, as the Bible predicts, “cannot endure sound doctrine.” (2 Tim. 4:3.)
This book leads people to believe that everyone’s sins are forgiven and no one needs to hear about sin anymore. I can find no mention of iniquity, unrighteousness, evil, wickedness, or disobedience to the commandments. Sin is just a word he uses to show the readers he knows about it. The only sins Warren thinks are important are being divisive, having conflict with others, or considering one’s own needs above the needs of the group – in other words, self-centeredness.
Self-centeredness, otherwise known as separateness, is the only attitude that the World Health Organization wants to eliminate. That thinking must be replaced by collective thinking, which later will be transformed to loyalty to the one-world “State.” This is the ultimate purpose of the whole new people-management system in all its applications. Now the Purpose Driven Life and the whole Church Growth Movement are part of this sinister movement. It was developed by humanists and occultists, but has now acquired religious trappings, and Rick Warren is peppering it with Biblical quotations that can be stretched to imply that this is what God means by loving your brothers and your enemies. His books and his whole group process are aimed at subconsciously accomplishing that purpose – not to get rid of personal sin or selfishness, but to get thousands of people ready to support the New World Order and even go on missions to help its cause.
Being sinful is not wrong in the eyes of the Mental Health gurus of the U.N. In fact, sin is being used to create the chaos they need to bring about total surveillance of peoples’ lives. So Rick Warren’s theology fits in beautifully with the globalists’ plans. He does not discuss sin and he presents God as only a loving being who simply forgives everybody for everything. This creates a serious spiritual problem for his readers. Those who choose to live for God from his small groups are getting an erroneous Biblical message, but few people seem to be aware of that.
Rick Warren recommends that you grow to be like Christ for the sole purpose of bringing God pleasure, and the only reason he gives you for doing that is as a response to his love for you, rather than for fear of punishment. Sin is disobedience to God’s commands, and death was (and still is) the penalty for that sin. God wants people to obey him, but the fear of the promised death penalty was not enough to keep Adam from disobeying, so how can a person believe that the mere feeling of thankfulness for God’s mercy will give Adam’s descendants the necessary motivation?
In this book you are to believe that no matter what you’ve done, God will forgive you if you simply “receive” him, and sing songs to praise him – in rock and roll or rap or any other style of secular music that appeals to you. In future “errors” or “failures” that you stumble into, instead of repenting and not sinning any more, just confess them to the subgroup.
Pastor Warren says, “He (God) wants you to enjoy life, not just endure it” (p. 64) and “The reason you are able to enjoy pleasure is that God made you in his image.” In this part of the book no distinction among pleasures is made. People are supposed to enjoy “a spacious free life.” In retrospect, I don’t think he ever made any distinction between good and bad pleasures.
The first half of his book smacks of hedonism. It certainly is humanism. Where does the Bible say anything about God “enjoying life” so you should do the same because he made you in his image? Yes, God wants us to have joy, but not the kind of pleasures that unregenerate man thinks of as joy.
The whole book implies that we are all okay in God’s eyes. God loves us just the way we are and the only reason he wants us to gradually mature to be like Christ is because it will please him. That theology makes people want to be church members and call themselves Christians, but it is wrong. The reason God wants you follow Christ is so that you can become the kind of person who can live in paradise and have fellowship with God and Christ there. Paradise will be where people all love each other and are moral saints of God. No one else will be allowed in that paradise because, if they were, it could not be a paradise where people do not get hurt by each other.
Adam was cast out of the earthly paradise God had created for him, because he sinned by doing what God told him not to do so he could not be allowed to live eternally on earth. His sin proved that men would keep sinning and hurting each other. That would destroy the paradise in which God could fellowship with the inhabitants.
People need to be told that God cannot abide sin and people must try to stop it and let God know that they do not want to disobey him anymore. However, even though its pleasure is momentary, sin is so much fun that they will only stop it if they realize that not doing so will destroy their hope for eternal life in heaven and may even punish them in hell with Satan and his fallen angels.
I wonder if Rick Warren is a born again believer. In “What Makes God Smile,” pp. 70-84, he talks about being surrendered to God, but he never explains the importance of the new birth. He assumes that all who call themselves Christian are born again (p. 35). On page 182 he says people should simply “change their mind” about some of their behavior – which he says is repentance. They evidently do not need a new birth or God’s help to be saved or even to become sanctified. Joseph Chambers said in the first page of his hard-hitting internet article, “The Purpose Driven Life”: A Modern Day Golden Calf“– “it teaches contemplative religion, not experiential new birth salvation.” 
Getting a new life does not come without being willing to give up the old one. God does not force anyone to abandon it, but he wants you to realize that you need and want to stop sinning. In my opinion the people who come to Christ through the PDL’s ministry will not even come close to repenting, unless they had previously learned of it through someone else. So I do not believe they will be born again. Christ told Nicodemus, “Verily, verily, I say unto thee, except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” (John 3:3, KJV)
One of his Verses to Remember: “Surrender your whole being to him to be used for righteous purposes.” p. 84, Romans 6:13b (TEV). This sounds like what God wants. Because of many statements that sound fine like this one, thousands of pastors have made this book the best seller for two years. That is good Biblical advice to believers. But it is not good enough to tell nonbelievers, because they will not know what it means. What does “for righteous purposes” mean to them?
The KJV of that same verse, Rom 6:13, actually says: “Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God.” The part of the verse that Warren omitted describes what it means to “surrender your whole being to him to be used for righteous purposes.” Again repeating what I have said, Pastor Warren avoids mentioning unrighteousness consistently and predictably. You are not taught that “righteous purposes” includes the idea of not being unrighteous anymore. That is why I said unbelievers will not know “what righteous purposes” means. They are left to decide for themselves, or let the pastor decide what he wants them to do for his church. I do not believe that Pastor Warren thinks it is wrong to be unrighteous “for righteous purposes.” As an example, is it right to make Scripture imply things it doesn’t say in order to convince people to join the church?
This is why Pastor Rick appeals to “seekers” and brings thousands into churches. He appeals to their “itching ears” (2 Tim. 4:3) because they are not required to do anything different to live their new “Christian” life. “For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears.” He appeals to their human desires or “felt needs” in order to “grow” the church. This is his marketing device or technique that he learned from humanistic experts and that he is now teaching to myriads of pastors in his seminars and books. Does that not qualify Pastor Rick as one of the false teachers that we are repeatedly warned about?
Before talking about his plans to change the world by means of small groups he is essentially creating in thousands of churches, here is one more example of The Message cited at the end of his book, on page 319, to contrast with the KJV. As we imagine we are standing before the throne of God, “Together we will say, “Worthy, O master! yes, our God! take the glory! the honor! the power1 You created it all; It was created because you wanted it!” (Rev. 4:11, The Message). The KJV says, “Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created.” I cannot see why Eugene Peterson’s flowery, exclamatory writing is better than the standard translations of the Bible.
Revelation says, “If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book.” (Rev. 22:18) Warren was citing Revelation. Most paraphrased versions of the Bible are just adding a lot of humanistic ideas to it that are not in the original manuscripts. So they are no longer “God’s word” and should not be called “The Bible,” which Rick Warren always does.
THE MISUSE OF SMALL GROUP “BIBLE STUDIES”
In Days 16 through 19 he virtually equates the Body of Christ with the small groups of a formal local church. These small groups are the foundation of the church growth movement. They are the means of inviting unsaved persons for fellowship meetings and learning the Bible “truths” by thinking together, with or without the help of a group leader who is called a facilitator. I put quotes around “truths” because the way the groups are supposed to be used makes that word questionable. The purpose is to see that the group members come to agree with the ideas everyone is supposed to understand from the book or the videos. They study and dialogue about what the lessons say.
Pastor Warren says, “I cannot overstate the value of being a part of a small Bible study group. We always learn from others truths we would never learn on our own. Other people will help you see insights you would miss and help you apply God’s truth in a practical way.” p. 191.
Rick Warren’s most significant and comprehensive guideline for small group members is, “Relationships must have priority in your life ABOVE EVERYTHING ELSE.” (Emphasis is mine.) p. 124. This is a purely humanistic viewpoint, with no basis in Scripture. Warren has a reason for making the building of relationships the primary purpose of his whole book. I will explain it as we continue. As Christians our highest priority is to love, trust, and obey God and our second one is to love our neighbor as our selves. It is not to make relationships our highest priority.
Here are some reasons why Warren’s relationship priority, which includes relationship with God, should not be our priority. (1) Nothing is as important as seeking, knowing, loving and obeying God; (2) God must be much more than an honored member in our group of relationships; (3) loving our neighbor and our brothers is not synonymous with maintaining a close relationship in any small group, because Christian love is not always reciprocated; and (4) Christ came to break up relationships whose members were unequally yoked because of spiritual differences. “For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law.” (Matt. 10:35, KJV) Building or maintaining such relationships is certainly not God’s priority for us.
Prioritizing relationship in the study of the Bible and then making group dialogue the method of finalizing meaning for the group, as Warren does, is supposed to make people choose an interpretation that people agree upon in order to maintain harmony in the group. And that is only a small part of the damage it can do – which will be explained in more detail later.
Warren’s small groups are supposed to be diverse, containing some unbelievers who have been invited for “fellowship.” Then he asks them to learn to show love, honor and respect to each other and become bound together closely and intimately by sharing all their feelings, confessing to each other to be accountable to them. He strongly recommends that they even agree to a group covenant. He says they need to be committed and dependent on each other. Collectively, all these subgroups will be the church body. Throughout the book he implies that this is “The Body of Christ” even though many of the members have not accepted Christ.
Having a group with diverse opinions and telling them to be bound together and stay that way makes it possible to foster creative tension that leads to compromising one’s position in regard to whatever problem or study is being tackled. Those are certainly not Biblical principles.
It is not Biblical to be unequally yoked together with nonbelievers and people who are unregenerate sinners for any reason whatsoever. I am sure the pastors all know about many verses that say that. Paul tells us we should avoid and cut off association even with Christian brothers: “But now I have written unto you not to keep company, if any man that is called a brother be a fornicator, or covetous, or an idolater, or a railer, or a drunkard, or an extortioner; with such an one no not to eat.” (1 Cor 5:11 KJV) Paul would surely disapprove of forming intimate fellowship relationships with unbelievers.
The verse most people quote on this subject is 2 Cor 6:14 (KJV). “Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?” We should not make any unnecessary covenant or contract with worldly people. So Pastor Warren’s recommendation of a small group covenant is anathema.
In support of his small group method of teaching and learning, Pastor Warren uses faulty arguments. He incorrectly states, “The Bible knows nothing of solitary saints or spiritual hermits isolated from other believers and deprived of fellowship.” p. 130. The implication is that one cannot really be a Christian alone, but you need group input. John the Baptist was certainly one example that disproves Warren’s statement and its implication, and there have been many other lonely prophets and many great individual Christian missionaries then and now. The apostle Paul had fellowship with people like his jailors after he converted them, but he was not a member of any small group like Warren is recommending.
Another of his arguments is, ”The Body of Christ, like your own body is really a collection of small cells. The life of the Body of Christ, like your body, is contained in the cells. For this reason, every Christian needs to be involved in a small group (a “cell”) within their church.” p. 139. That is a flawed analogy and an improper conclusion. The Body of Christ really is a widely dispersed group of individuals that God is calling out from every part of the world. A cell in the body of Christ is certainly not a group of believers and unbelievers that are supposed to commit to each other by a covenant and try to have real “fellowship.”
His most gently stated and seemingly most valid arguments are that a small group helps us learn the Scriptures better by the sharing of insights from group members and then by becoming an accountability group to help us memorize and apply them The flaw in that argument is that his groups are supposed to be diverse in their understandings and more interested in the group understanding of the scriptures than of their individual opinions, and no one is supposed to believe that the Bible itself is where the final answers should come from. This is the dangerous idea that is the core principle of transformational Marxism and of the Church Growth Movement..
He does not explain those guidelines succinctly because people are not supposed to become aware of how their thought is being transformed or they would not participate. He presents all those ideas little by little in his text.
The procedure Warren describes is for groups that he hopes will be semi-permanent or permanent. It will not have a very large impact on all the people in “The Forty Days of Purpose” – for which I thank the Lord! But there are grave dangers for its use in the long-term “little communities” that he wants the churches to create.
Pastor Warren’s meaning of good group relationships is to express tolerance with everyone’s viewpoints, work to come to agreement without quarrelling, and being accountable to the group for abiding by their decisions in order to bring unity to the church and loyalty to the pastor.
He says, “In real fellowship people experience authenticity.” He then describes group sessions of sharing “hurts”, “feelings,” “failures,” and “doubts.” p. 139. Then on page 140 he says, “Make this your common practice: Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you can live together whole and healed.”
The KJV says, in James 5:16: “Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a (one) righteous man availeth much.” But it certainly does not tell us to make a common practice of confessing our sins on a regular basis to a group of people – some of whom will not keep confidences even if they make a covenant about it; and if the group has a professional facilitator he is bound to not keep some of those confidences. In schools and communities already, each individual’s growth toward collective thinking and support of world government goals is being systematically (without their knowledge) put into a digital data base by the mental health program of the United States.
That whole small group management system comes from humanistic social psychology and from the United Nations’ mental health program, not from Scripture. And the group confession idea comes from Hitler’s and Communist dictatorships as the means of finding out who the government wants to eliminate. Pastor Warren does not ask converts to even confess to God and ask for His forgiveness; he tells them only to confess to the group! This small group procedure is the brainwashing technique used in Communist prisons and concentration camps. The group leaders or facilitators keep track of the social development of the group members in regard to their ability to think collectively and be loyal to the group.
“Healing” people in the way we think of healing is not the main purpose of this small group process in churches. One of the expressed purposes is to keep unity in the groups and the churches. A partially hidden purpose is to gradually change the meaning of Biblical truths to accord with modern liberal theology. But the top-secret purpose is to replace independent thinking with collective thinking and a new world view. This is the United Nations’ meaning of mental health that is being used everywhere in the world today.
The small group procedure is transformational Marxism and is being used in every part of American society. Its other legitimate name is brainwashing, which some of its leaders use when talking to each other. In churches it will take longer than “40 Weeks of Purpose” to brainwash any group, but eventually that goal will be attained for many people. They will then be able to survive as “Christians” in the New World while traditional Christians (who were not successfully brainwashed) are being killed. The “purpose-driven” believers will have learned to not be divisive or dissident in the collective communities of the future. Their experience in the small groups will have “healed” them mentally by removing their “insane” notions of individualism, isolationism, or separatism that they learned from their horrible parents and churches.
Warren’s system of group management is based upon Drucker’s corporate communitarian model. This is the model used in Al Gore’s reinvented government that is combining representatives of government agencies, private partnerships, and community groups and implementing the laws and policies of the United Nations without any approval of Congress. As with every part of the world government movement, the populace is almost totally unaware of how seditious this is and how rapidly it is happening.
If pastors are involved in the Church Growth Movement already, they can easily change the group dynamics back to the paradigm of traditional Bible study and fellowship. Then the members will be digging deeply into the Bible as the goal instead of comparing what everyone thinks about it. They can keep the groups but abandon the methodology designed by change agents for reinvented business management, government, schools, and churches.
Warren emphasizes “You were created for community.” p. 143. He keeps calling the small groups a “community” like any good collectivist communitarian who subscribes to M. Scott Peck’s thesis that “In and through the community lies the salvation of the world. Nothing is more important."
Rick Warren previously said that we were created for God – which is true. It is also true that all believers constitute the Body of Christ. But the Body of Christ is not composed of mixed fellowships of believers and non-believers placed into so-called “communities” to which they are accountable for discovering and accomplishing “God’s” purposes for their lives.
That is Rick Warren’s concept of the “cells” in the Body of Christ that he is creating in churches. This world-changing program recommends “cells” in all communities, organizations, and religions. Of course they will not be “in the Body of Christ.” They were first applied in corporate business organizations. By simply changing Gods, the PDL is readily adaptable to any religion or organization. In all these cells relationship is the first priority; then some purpose or purposes (or vision) becomes the second guiding principal in one’s life. That is where the whole “Purpose-Driven” concept originated. The purpose or vision of Warren’s church groups is to accomplish God’s supposed purposes for their lives.
Citing James 3:18 (The Message), Warren says, “You can develop a healthy, robust community that lives right with God and enjoy its results only if you do the hard work of getting along with each other, treating each other with dignity and honor.” p. 145 How different that is from James 3:18 in the KJV: “And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace of them that make peace.” The term healthy, robust community is not a good replacement for “them,” and “peace” does not require all the social behaviors listed to translate it. Eugene Peterson added all those ideas to the Bible. And Pastor Warren still calls that “The Bible” like he does with all 15 versions. Calling it the Bible comes either by ignorance or deception, because Peterson’s paraphrase is certainly not God’s Word.
Peterson’s term “healthy, robust community” stems from the mental health program of UNESCO which began in 1946. People who are not used to thinking collectively usually apply the word healthy to individuals. So now you can guess where the author of The Message stands. That is the Biblical “version” Warren uses 90 times in the PDL.
The National Mental Health Services refers to books and articles on Healthy Cities, Healthy Communities, Healthy Families, Healthy People, and Healthy Start. Now there is one on Healthy Churches written by people in the Leadership Network of the Church Growth Movement and recommended by Rick Warren.
After Warren urges people to “make a group COVENANT that includes the nine characteristics of biblical fellowship” (p. 151), he then says, “this means GIVING UP OUR INDEPENDENCE to become INTERDEPENDENT.” He does not cite any Biblical reference for such a covenant, nor for the nine characteristics for creating interdependence among people. This is his agenda and that of the U.N.
He wants groups to “Emphasize reconciliation, without resolution.” Please think about that! He says, “Reconciliation focuses on the relationship, while resolution focuses on the problem.” p. 158. What does that mean in a Bible study? He has made a very clever new interpretation of the Biblical command to love one another. It now means to give up one’s independence and voluntarily become dependent upon others in regard to the meaning of the Bible, the solution of any problem, and how to decide what is right and wrong! That is the goal of the New World Order for people, namely, to give up individual and national sovereignty in favor of dependence on what the new world government community decides is right. Its purpose is peace through reconciliation.
In a Bible Study this could mean the abandonment of truth. But Warren has said that your first priority in life is relationship building so you are now ready to believe that this includes compromising and sacrificing your principles or former beliefs if necessary. Putting aside differences for the sake of relationship is the “Synthesis” phase of the mind transformation process that Warren’s use of small groups is designed to accomplish.
The new way of learning everything today is to substitute group or majority opinion or imagination for fact, because the humanistic relativists who designed the educational programs do not think there is any objective truth. I would warn a small group member to not let Hegelian dialogues (group thinking with or even without a trained “facilitator”) determine the truth and change your process of thinking to one of DEPENDENCE upon the group or upon the teaching leader. Do not let “group think” or “CONSENSUS” change the meaning of God’s word, or change the way that you learn the truth. People should study the Bible (especially the KJV) themselves and test any teaching by their own reading of the Scriptures.
This small group process of arriving at consensus (reconciliation) is the method used in making all U.N. decisions and now most community decisions in our country – which have really been made in advance by the leaders. I hope that not many pastors will use any of those parts of the small group program that are based upon Drucker’s corporate model and the process of DIALOGUE, which is based on Georg (sic) Hegel’s dialectical process of “creative thinking.”
Instead of learning what God wants people to know or do, it creates meanings that appeal to the group. And this happens even without the need of a facilitator!
The Russian, German, Chinese and American experiments in and since World War II have produced that “management system.” A mind transforming “DIALOGUE” joins people together with DIVERSE views and they are given some COMMON PURPOSE. They agree to follow ground rules that say they must do more than tolerate diverse opinions. They must accept, respect and even celebrate everyone’s ideas as valid up to the present time while at the same time realizing that their disagreement is creating a CRISIS. After opposing views (THESIS AND ANTITHESIS) are tentatively presented (as gentle opinions rather than truths), COMPROMISING must occur and students must consent to a new “CONSENSUS” or SYNTHESIS in order to keep harmony (UNITY) in the group. That new agreement will stand as final until a new antithesis appears or is presented to them by change agents. That is how everyone’s thinking is transformed so that change, or the “evolution” of ideas, can occur. The process is led by teachers, consultants, or facilitators, who are change agents, so that the new consensus is probably what they had in mind all the time. If their consensus does not result, they point out that the new consensus will create a crisis so further dialogue is required.
Therefore, in the Purpose Driven Life, “getting along” in groups really means to express loving tolerance and respect for everyone’s viewpoints on the meaning of the quotations, work to come to agreement without quarrelling, and finally be at peace with the conclusion and move on to the next week’s study. This creates a feeling of satisfaction and unity in the small “COMMUNITY” and in the larger church. It also inspires members to want to continue meeting in the group. The only thing that is missing in this “Bible Study” is an actual study of the Bible and learning the truths or facts that are found there.
This is UNESCO’S “educational” process that is being used in education, the work place, and most community groups and legislative bodies in the United States. Collective thinking is the goal, regardless of the method, and the only facts presented in textbooks, workbooks and tests are those that subtly belittle or malign America government and history and support the need for a change to world-government. Berit Kjos has written much and made many speeches about this evil process, which in one generation is expected to turn the school children of any country into good conforming citizens of the New World of the 21st Century. Our school children are almost there under Goals 2000, the School to Work program and the Mental Health program of the United States’ Departments of Health, Education and Labor. All those programs follow guidelines and report results to the President’s Commission on Sustainable Development.
Now the same process is being used in thousands of churches, so they can lead the way in bringing in the New World Order at home and abroad. Most of our citizens will accept it without even “making waves” after everyone’s guns have been taken away. All “divisive” dissidents in the programs will be put in low paying jobs or liquidated. They will be known through their school, workplace, and church “social assessment” records, which are being digitalized as I write.
After telling you that “You were made for a mission,” p. 281, Warren tells you to think like a “World-Class Christian.” p. 299. A very important part of his program for the reader is to “Shift from local thinking to global thinking.” p. 300. Here he is clearly not just talking about the church as a missionary agency, but about the INTERDEPENDENT WORLD COMMUNITY.
He talks about the largest multinational media and business conglomerates doing great things for us. Since the world is becoming interdependent, he wants to develop interdependence in the small groups and have them think like “World-Class Christians.” “We are more connected than we realize.” p.300. “These are exciting days to be alive.”
Yes, but many of us think that we are seeing prophecy fulfilled and our future will be tumultuous under the administration of the global government of the coming “interdependent” world. And the world would not be interdependent if it had not been deliberately made that way by those multinational corporations that put monopolies of production and agriculture in far away places (with the help of government subsidies) so we must now be interdependent.
When the UN accomplishes its purposes the world will not be interdependent. Everyone will have access to only what is made and grows in their own small “sustainable” local areas under a feudal system of local control. I can show you verbatim proof of that plan in the Sustainable Development Syllabus of Dr. Monteith.
Rick Warren wants all Christians to learn to think globally. He recommends several ways. First, begin praying for specific countries. p. 300. Second, read and watch the news “with Great Commission eyes.” p. 301. Third, “The best way ... is to just get up and go on a short-term mission project to another country.” p. 301
He assumes that all persons have some gift that can help people overseas, which is probably true, in secular ways. But I say that this should not be a purpose of every Christian’s life. Rick Warren claims that the Bible says it is God’s Purpose #5 for all Christians.
None of his Biblical references for the fifth purpose convince me. His quotations all relate only to what Christ, his twelve disciples, or the Apostle Paul did. Pastor Warren himself created Purpose #5 because his Global Peace Plan is to send thousands of church subgroups overseas to help end poverty, disease and poor education.
The world-changing program for churches was designed by change agents like George Barna, Doug Murren, Arnold Mitchell, Bob Buford and Peter Drucker, to name a few of the leaders. They are experts in the psycho-social manipulation of people, otherwise known as brainwashing. Their work and that of Rick Warren is influencing thousands of churches here and around the world.
These leaders expect to use the churches to change the world in order to accomplish the dream of world government which will be able to enforce peace and the equalization of the wealth and all the material and social resources of all countries. Their educational methodology is the one most useful to dictatorships, which the coming world government will be.
Thousands of small groups will evidently be used to usher in the New World Order internationally. These small groups are being trained to have RELATIONSHIPS and COMMUNITY building as their top priority along with a vision of an INTERDEPENDENT, multicultural and multilingual WORLD COMMUNITY that will obey the leaders and live in PEACE and SOLIDARITY. (Warren calls it UNITY, referring to the unity of believers.)
These groups must be trained to be more than TOLERANT of all other religions and to know (subconsciously) that their own religion is really only a man-made belief system, like all others. Their belief system must fit in with all the others in some way. The Rick Warren forty day program goes far in helping them acquire the kind of “gospel” that will do that.
Group members must always stay agreeable. If they later disagree with the leader or pastor and are called “divisive” they feel unloved and they leave. In one of his seminars Pastor Warren said many people who are pillars of the church would not abandon their traditions for the sake of the necessary compromise and would be “blessed subtractions” from the church. He then joked that pillars are what hold up church procedure!
The PDL has dutifully abandoned the absolute truth of Scripture and substituted man’s opinions about what the Bible means. This is done in three ways: (1) by the author-teacher selecting only parts of Bible passages that he thinks are important; (2) by using paraphrases when the mere omission of scripture does not make the points he wants; and (3) by group dialogue to reach consensus on his meaning by means of workbook questions. Those three things produce the belief about what “The Bible” says to them. It becomes a new belief system which is clearly man-made – actually man-manipulated.
Many graduates of Rick Warren’s “Forty Days of Purpose” will have unknowingly been learning that the Bible cannot be taken literally. They will come to distrust a translation such as the King James, because, as Warren states, it is not so understandable. Therefore subconsciously they will no longer believe that the Bible is God’s Holy Word, or that man must not add to, or subtract from, it. Paraphrases always add a lot, and Rick Warren subtracts a lot, so those things must be all right.
The newcomers are well on their way to believing that truth is relative to the human viewpoints and cultural backgrounds of the Bible interpreters, including themselves. So the small groups are having their old traditional belief in absolute values removed. Even the concept of right and wrong is left open to discussion because God’s commandments are not emphasized. If the small groups continue to use the dialogue method of getting meaning out of the Scriptures they will become thoroughly brainwashed to the collective thinking method of supposedly discovering truth – which actually makes them believe lies.
If you think back on this Critique you will see that the Purpose Driven Life trains groups subconsciously according to all the above guidelines for survival under the coming global government. Even If pastors use the book without any “facilitators,” or “consensus manipulators,” many people will still have their thinking process at least partly changed by Rick Warren in the first six weeks. They are becoming “group (interdependent) thinkers” and are “thinking globally.” Like everything in the book, that way of thinking is assumed to be one of God’s purposes for them.
Pastor Warren’s “GLOBAL PEACE PLAN” explains why he wants thousands of small groups to be missionaries. They will be the emissaries of the churches, under rigidly trained facilitators, to train the rest of the world in this new global thinking process. The following paragraphs present some lengthy quotations from Warren’s document:
He wants the groups to take part in “a Spiritual awakening, a Global Movement, a New Reformation.” His P.E.A.C.E. Plan is “a strategy to have every small group in our church, and then tens of thousands of small groups in other churches, engaged in solving the five biggest problems in the world: Spiritual Lostness, Lack of Godly Leaders, Poverty, Disease, and Lack of Education.”
“Spiritual Lostness” is an interesting way of not talking about the Gospel, or Christianity, or Salvation. The computer does not even recognize the word “lostness.”
He says, “The way we intend to tackle them [the five “giant” problems] using the small groups of local churches in large numbers is revolutionary.” That is correct – and it also means a revolution in Christian theology. As he said, it is “a New Reformation.” I do not say that Rick Warren invented the theology he preaches. He undoubtedly learned most of it in seminary.
His book certainly produces a change in religious doctrine. The message and the music of traditional Christianity have been changed. God is only a God of love and the music is patterned after the secular music that people like to listen to. People who say they believe that the music of the old hymns of the church are better and more spiritual than the modern popular music are called racist. Rick Warren said, “To insist that all good music came from Europe 200 years ago, there’s a name for that – racism.”
The “tens of thousands of small groups” will be working with our government and many NGO’s (non-governmental organizations of the United Nations). He says,” There is only one group large enough to tackle these global issues – the Christian church in all its local expressions around the world.”
His necessary cooperation with the U.N.’s NGO’s tells me that he hopes to make the Christian churches of every country become leaders in the U.N.’s development of an ecumenical religion that will accept any belief system, including occult and pagan religions of all kinds. The only exceptions will be religions that dogmatically claim to be the only way to truth or that believe that man was given dominion over nature which the U.N. hates because it lets people ruin the earth and destroy animals, plants, rivers and rocks. The U.N. accuses Christianity, Judaism, and Islam for those supposedly earth destroying ideas.
The doctrine being preached in the Purpose Driven Church is probably an acceptable form of the “new spirituality” that Mikhail Gorbachev mentions in the U.N.’s “Earth Charter.” It is far from the traditional Christian doctrine. I do not know whether Saddleback has already become an NGO of the U.N., but it may have.
I know that some of my statements are difficult to believe. I have studied for five years – mainly from two hundred speakers on Dr. Stanley Monteith’s “Radio Liberty” programs on radio and internet. I have over 250 tapes of those programs and much written documentation.
One of the U.N. plans is to reduce the world population to less than one billion – down from the present six billion. It is not all genocide. The leaders do not really care who they kill, unless it is one of them. The U.N.’s environmental spokesmen say this is to save the earth, but that is a lie.
The real purpose of the globalists is simply to be able to control the population. They will rule with total surveillance technology and an iron hand and people will simply be told where they must live, how they must live, and what work they must do.
I do not know if Rick Warren is knowledgeable about those plans, which are not really secret. They are published but not publicized and our news commentators never mention them. They are written in the U.N. sustainable development agendas – Agenda 21 and the Biodiversity Treaty and the Assessment Report that preceded it – where they can be found if someone gives you the page numbers. I found them in materials from people who analyzed those documents.
Rick Warren is becoming a world leader of what we can call the reinvented church movement that appears to be made to order for the globalists of the 21st century. Thousands of pastors are cooperating with his plans, attending his seminars, and buying his books.
A brief analysis of some ideas from Rick Warren's earlier Purpose Driven Church (PDC) and Seminars 
Pastor Warren’s worship service at Saddleback is in no way traditional, as you will see. Since the following ideas come from other communications by the same author, expect some redundancy.
“More people are won to Christ by feeling God’s presence than by all of our apologetic arguments combined … It is the sense of God’s presence that melts hearts and explodes mental barriers.” (PDC p. 241)
The KJV certainly disagrees with him and recommends didactic verbal approaches instead of feelings. Ps 51:13 says, “Then will I teach transgressors thy ways; and sinners shall be converted unto thee.” (KJV) Rom 10:17 says, “So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” (KJV) And Jesus repeatedly says, “He who has ears, let him hear.”
Christ never said “feel the presence of God.” That is not something that can be “practiced” either, a la Brother Lawrence and Rick Warren. And the jazzy entertainment with loud instruments and drums like they use in Saddleback is not an appropriate invitation to the Holy Spirit of God. It creates lots of emotion, but it is more like the entertainment at the worship of the Golden Calf.
”The message doesn’t have to be compromised, just understandable.” (PDC p. 244). Reverend Warren then tells you to change the church environment, including the use of modern Bible translations and paraphrases. He uses fifteen different ones – most of the smorgasbord we described. And, of course, change the music to match the preferences of the desired new audience of your growing church.
By selecting the versions, verses, and pieces of verses he wants to use, he certainly does “compromise” and “change” the message in order to appeal to people’s human desires and add members to the church. The message in the worship service is not as important as the small group meetings where the Bible “teaching” occurs and the members’ thinking processes are collectivized.
The members learn that any human interpretation of scripture can still be called “The Bible,” and also that it then has to be reinterpreted in small group dialogues to be better understood. This will help them learn that all truth is relative to the situation and the group of people. They will eventually believe the Bible does not contain any absolute truths or values that are not subject to reinterpretation. Beliefs need to evolve or change with time. The groups will come to believe that this collective way of thinking is the only correct way to learn anything if they stay in this program long enough.
From the marketing and people-managing specialists like Peter Drucker and Bob Buford, Rick Warren has learned to appeal to the unbelievers in three ways: “(1) treat unbelievers with love and respect, (2) relate the service to their needs, and (3) share the message in a practical, understandable manner.” PDC p. 247.
He calls these his three ”nonnegotiables” for a “seeker service.” In relation to number 3, his most obvious appeals are his completely informal sanctuary and dress code and the use of popular music having the same instruments, beat, and sensuous emotion as secular music they listen to at home. He discovered those “needs” from a survey of their interests.
From my other readings about the Church Growth Movement the key words underlined above mean: (1) “love and respect” means to tolerate any person’s belief until it disagrees with the leader or prior group decisions; (2) “their needs” means the felt needs of the seekers so they will stay in your church, and also the needs you see they have in order for you to transform their thinking to the group-think method (Hegelian Dialectic and communitarianism) and (3) “practical understandable manner” means to use the modern translations and paraphrases that teach the interpretation that the leader thinks they will easily accept – omitting anything that would frighten them or make them think that God was a disciplinarian or hard taskmaster.
It is obviously very wrong for a pastor to tell people that anyone will go to hell if they sin or disobey God’s commandments. That negative idea must be omitted because it would change the character of the God you want them to worship. That would frighten them away from your church.
Church members must be willing to “create a safe environment for unbelievers at the expense of their own preferences, traditions, and comfort.” (PDC p. 249) Sacrificing their “traditions” really means giving up their belief in absolutes because, to a humanist, all truth is relative to the situation and, according to Hegel, it needs to be evolved with the help of change agents.
Warren does not say it directly, but the removal of all absolutes is a major goal of the humanistic transformational method of teaching that the Purpose Driven Life uses for the small groups. Every group’s priority is to develop peaceful relationships with each other, learning to agree or accept what the group decides is right after being “educated” by the teaching leader or group facilitator.
That is what transformational Marxists think is needed to produce unity in all the world’s churches, and peace and solidarity in the one-world government. Any later disagreement with leaders will be removed by eliminating any dissenters – people who Rick Warren calls “divisive.” When they leave the church he calls them “blessed subtractions.” In the world government many of them will be permanently eliminated.
1.Robert Klenck’s Rebuttal to the Purpose Driven Life is on the web at www.johnecoleman.org/Bob%20Klenck%20Page.htm
2.Joseph Chambers, “The Purpose Driven Life”: A Modern Day Golden Calf,” www.pawcreek.org/articles/endtimes/The Purpose Driven ...
3. Berit Kjos, speech for Pro America, Pasadena Chapter, April 1, 2004, “The U.N. Plan for Your Mental Health: Building Minds for A Global Village.”
4. Berit Kjos, Re-Inventing the Church, Part 2, p. 4, citing M. Scott Peck’s “Introduction” to A Different Drum: Community Making and Peace.” www.crossroad.to/articles2/2002/change2.htm
5. Words I capitalize in bold face from now on are emphasized so the reader will take special note of them. They are key words or code words in the globalist plans for the New World.
6. Berit Kjos, speech for Pro America, Pasadena Chapter, April 1, 2004, work cited.
7. Radio Liberty’s Sustainable Development syllabus quotes extensively from the United Nations’ Global Biodiversity Assessment Report with specific page references from that report. Phone 800-544-8927.
8. Go to www.saddleback.com/home/todaystory.asp?id=6213 The three pages explain his purpose for small group missions.
9. Berit Kjos, “Re-Inventing the Church,” Part 1, p. 3 . www.crossroad.to/articles2/2002/change_agent-1.htm
[X] Warren on Church Music, www.sunlandneighborhoodchurch.com/articles_view.asp?articleid=13828&solumnid=
10. Stanley Monteith, Sustainable Development Syllabus. Phone Radio Liberty, 800-544-8927.
11. Berit Kjos, “Re-inventing the Church,” Part 1 and Part [www.crossroadto/articles2/2002/change_agent-1.htm]
12. Several of the examples in these two pages are from Dr. Klenck’s Rebuttal (note 1).
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