Several months ago, I sent out an email to several of my friends and former members of my old church. In it I let my pent up impressions of Rick Warren pour out like a tsunami into digital text. The reaction I received surprised me a bit. The response was overwhelmingly and enthusiastically positive. It seems most everyone could affirm the points I had made. I received several phone calls from concerned believers, confirming with them the dark turn the modern evangelical church as a whole has taken. A turn that leads down a path of heresy and ultimately apostasy from the gospel of Christ if left unconfronted. In the last year I’ve read many accounts from Purpose-Driven refugees; people forced out of their churches by false teaching, watered down preaching and flesh-titillating outreach methodologies. In the past year I and many others have joined the ranks of the disenchanted. We have made our stand against the ungodliness that has seeped into the church, firmly rooting our feet on the solid rock of Jesus Christ and His word. God has been faithful to me through it all. He has led me to attend a baptist church that centers their ministry upon God’s grace through the cross of Christ.
I am reprinting the email here in hope that it will stir awareness and discernment within my readers, opening their eyes to the insidious errors walking through the front doors of our churches unchallenged.
Note: The last link no longer works. The site publishing the article no longer exists. That is unfortunate because it was the inspiration for my email. Oh well…
Dear discerning friends,
These are perilous times and apostasy in the church continues to spread at an astonishing rate. As many of you may know by now, I have left my home church after 11 years. It was the only church I had known since God saved me so long ago. Over the past few years the pastors have changed and the church along with them. They became wrapped up in the Church Growth Movement and its undisputed crown prince of purpose, Rick Warren.
You may think I’ve lost my marbles, but I believe Rick Warren to be a very dangerous man. I say this because of his profound influence on not only the American church, but on the Christian faith throughout the world. His book, Purpose Driven Life has sold more than 25 million copies. In this book, Warren sounds orthodox when he says the church needs to return to the 5 original purposes of the church: worship, fellowship, evangelism, discipleship and ministry. The problem is that he redefines what each of those important facets of our faith means. He twists the Word of God to fit his personal definitions of these things in order to center his teachings on man and not on God. At the beginning of Purpose Driven Life Warren states, “It’s not about you” yet spends the entire 40 chapters talking about you!
His website Pastors.com has hundreds of thousands of subscribers, who regularly download his sermons and preach them from their own pulpits. Over 40,000 churches have participated in his brainwashing 40 Days of Purpose and 40 Days of Community campaigns. These things are done to help ‘franchise‘ the church. So, like McDonald’s, no matter where in America you attend, they preach the same messages, provide similar programs and ministries and all focus on Warren’s redefined 5 purposes of the church.
He has now launched the global PEACE plan to mobilize his franchise churches as part of a three-legged stool of global social reform. This plan calls for the participation and cooperation of Government, Business and Non-profit (churches, synagogues, mosques, temples, etc.) organizations working together to achieve world unity, peace and prosperity. The PEACE plan will supposedly establish the Kingdom of God on earth in due time. This is nothing more than the old social gospel repackaged and marketed toward the modern evangelical movement. The old social gospel destroyed many mainline churches in the early twentieth century with their brand of apostate Christianity that exalted good works above doctrine. Doctrine was considered divisive, preventing unity for the church’s redefined vision of spreading goodwill. Biblical doctrine was then discarded in favor of charity and social service. Warren is doing the same thing now. In his own words:
“I’m looking for a second reformation. The first reformation of the church 500 years ago was about beliefs. This one is going to be about behavior. The first one was about creeds. This one is going to be about deeds. It is not going to be about what does the church believe, but about what is the church doing.”
Of course creeds without deeds is dead, but just as fatal is deeds without creeds. Deeds that endure flow from the true vine, Jesus Christ, whom we are a part, if we abide in Him. We cannot abide in Him unless we have heard of Him, knowing and accepting from the heart the doctrine (creeds) we have received. Jesus said, “You shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free.” (John 8:32). Deeds without adherence to God’s truth profits nothing.
Warren has already stated he is willing to work with anybody (read: Christian or non-christian) who desires to help eradicate poverty, sickness, corrupt governments, illiteracy and ‘spiritual lostness’, which are the 5 global giants the PEACE plan hopes to overcome. Believers (thesis) working together with unbelievers (antithesis) will inevitably lead to compromise (synthesis). He has this formula already at work within his ‘small group‘ framework in his Purpose Driven churches.
Folks, this man may appear orthodox in his statements of belief, but he has demonstrated time after time that he is unwilling to preach sin, judgment, wrath, the cross, the blood atonement and stand up for the exclusivity of Jesus Christ as the only way to salvation. He may state that he believes these things but listen to him carefully when he does interviews or writes articles or speaks before world leaders. Any proclamation of the gospel is conspicuously absent.
He preaches a watered down ‘seeker sensitive’ gospel enable to get more ‘drones’ into his purpose driven churches to help him fulfill his ambitious PEACE plan. He rubs elbows with the world and has gained the respect and admiration of the faithful and the unsaved alike. What happened to the gospel? Scripture declares it is “a stone of stumbling and a rock of offense”. (Rom 9:33) Jesus himself said, “If you were of the world, the world would love its own. But because you are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. Remember the word that I said to you, The servant is not greater than his master. If they have persecuted Me, they will also persecute you.” (John 15:19-20) Preaching the whole gospel to a lost world will breed hostility and fierce opposition in those who love the darkness more than the light. How is it then that Warren and his book have received so much acclaim from people throughout the world who are not professing Christians? Is it perhaps because Warren has removed the offense of the gospel? In its place he has manufactured a lovable, huggable, fluffy feel-good deity who winks at all our ‘mistakes’ and never utters a harsh word of rebuke, lest our fragile self-esteem crumble.
Do not be deceived by his ear tickling speeches. He has two horns like a lamb but speaks like a dragon. I urge you all to take a hard look at the man, his doctrine, his associations and his ambitions. I think once you’ve done your homework, you will agree with me that he is indeed a very dangerous person of influence.
PS: To prove my point above about the ‘franchising of the church’ please read this POST written by a couple of bold young men fed up with the church growth phenomenon that took over their congregation. In honor of Martin Luther they posted these grievances on the church door. The funny thing is, I have the EXACT same grievances against my old church. I’m 100% sure that every single purpose driven refugee like myself that has left their church for higher ground will agree with every jot and tittle of this document. Why? Because the churches of the world are now franchised. Cookie cutter congregations litter the landscape, preaching and teaching Church Growth/Purpose Driven methodologies and not the theology of the bible. They center services around ‘seekers’ and not around Christ and Him crucified. The church of Jesus Christ has fallen victim to a hostile corporate takeover. They are all being assimilated under the Purpose Driven banner. They are being re-birthed as vehicles for Warren’s dominionist plan to destroy the five global giants and usher in a millennium of peace and prosperity.
What is the Holy Spirit’s role in all this? It looks like He has been excluded for He is never inserted into the blueprints for this ‘Second Reformation’. God save us from this man-centered apostasy. It is the story of the tower of Babel reborn for a postmodern world.
If you know of any friends or relatives involved in this movement please forward this message and urge them to check out all the links. These articles are only the tip of the iceberg concerning all the information available, but it is a good place to start.
Blessings in Christ Jesus our Lord
Amen, brother. Rick Warren is a dangerous man. I’m glad for the grace of God in your life. I wish the same grace would spread to Saddleback. The gospel Rick preaches (more by his actions than by his words) is a subtle poison that is sickening many churches today. It’s hard to pin it down when talking to someone about it. That is because Rick seems okay on the surface. Very dangerous. I don’t think he’s evil, just deceived into thinking he is doing good. Great post 🙂
Yeah, most people who have read his books or watched him on TV are flabbergasted by my criticisms. Of course, the bible says false teachers come in as wolves in sheep’s clothing, not in their natural skin. They aren’t always easy to detect… It takes the Spirit of God to open our eyes sometimes.
I checked your site out. We seem to be like-minded brothers. I attend an SBC church now and am loving it.
Like minded indeed. There are more of now than there were a few years ago. Perhaps by the grace of God we will see some real reform in the SBC in our generation. They have a long way to go, though. Sadly, the SBC as a convention seems to be moving in the opposite direction. However, with guys like Mark Dever and Al Mohler in leadership positions, there is hope. God bless.
I agree. But when will Al and Mark come right out not beat around the bush and call a spade a spade. Warren’s be inclusive with catholics, mormons, muslims, and now the gays.
I agree with what you’re saying. I’m an SBC guy, I like Mohler, give me Dever over a hundred guys in the SBC that are skinning and grinning themselves into some sort of earthly legacy.
But I’d like to go the the T4G blog, or hear a Mohler broadcast say the exact same things that you, Sundquist, Warren Smith, Challies, or whoever else is calling him on this teaching.
a little too strong, but some good points.
I certainly didn’t mean to come on too strong. But I would to see others speak up is all. No disrespect. I’m a little frustrated that many are silent about his teachings. Usually, I’m a little more constructive.