Five Tools to Develop Spiritual Maturity – Saddleback Style

I stand in amazement at the audacity of Saddleback Pastor Rick Warren. He has deceived himself (along with countless multitudes of star-struck pastors) into believing that his self-manufactured, man-centered methodologies will bring about tremendous growth in our churches and in our spiritual lives. This article from that I found through a link on Christian Research Network has Warren explaining the five tools he uses to develop spiritual growth. For those who don’t like clicking on links, I will list them here:

1. Commitment cards. – No, you read correctly.

2. Classes. -Well, that’s not bad – but wait, there’s more! These classes are based on Warren’s redefined five purposes of the church!

3. Covenants. So the New Covenant Christ made with his blood is not enough – we need more! By the way, didn’t Jesus say something against making vows and to just let ‘yes’ mean ‘yes’?

4. Small Groups. Because we can’t grow spiritually by ourselves. True, but… well I’ll get to that in a moment.

5. Campaigns – as in spiritual growth campaigns. What? Never heard of such a concept? Your just not with it, man! Wake up to the new millennium! These aren’t just any campaigns, they are Warren’s Purpose-Driven spiritual growth campaigns. For example I’m sure many of you have been through 40 Days of Purpose, 40 Days of Community, and 50 Days of Faith. If not, you just aren’t growing!

Notice anything odd about the above list? I immediately noted two things.

1. Not one of Warren’s five tools of spiritual growth are prescribed in the bible! Look it up for yourself, your search will be in vain.

2. The omission of God. All the tools center on man and what he can do.

Leadership offers commitment cards so the congregation can respond.

Leadership offers classes -on Warren’s PDL material, the congregation sits under their tutelage.

Leadership offers covenants and the congregation makes vows.

The leadership forms a small group network and the congregation gathers for fun and fellowship.

The leadership stages a campaign and the congregation attends enthusiastically.

The Godhead does not make an appearance anywhere in this system of discipleship. What we have here is a ‘manwich’- Two razor thin slices of bread(man) with no meat(God) in the middle. Mmmmm… satisfying.

Where in this system is the Godhead glorified? The Father’s grace by faith is omitted entirely. We can do nothing apart from our union in Christ, yet Warren says nothing of this important truth. The indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit moves us through the process of sanctification, (whether you are alone or in a small group) but you wouldn’t know that by following Saddleback’s system.

Dr Warren, what about prayer? Or Reading and studying the bible? Or denying myself, taking up my cross and following Christ? What about the myriad of other God prescribed means of growing in grace? Why do you not mention things that are actually in God’s word?

Paul says we are transformed by the renewing of our minds – and that by the word of God. Paul also stated that he is what he is by the grace of God.

There but for the grace of God go I…

There but for the grace of God goes Saddleback and Dr. Warren…

8 thoughts on “Five Tools to Develop Spiritual Maturity – Saddleback Style

  1. OK, I’ve got too much to do today to comment right now, so I’ll probably be back another day. Suffice it to say 3 things for now: 1) Do you honest-to-goodness believe that RW promotes a man-centered discipleship – taking in to account all he writes and says? 2) Do you think this little ditty he did was an inclusive way to discipleship? 3) Here you go again…

  2. What about repentance and obediance, and Love? With out these “He” is not with us.

    HOS 7:16 They return, but not to `Him that is’ on high; they are like a deceitful bow…

    REV 3:15 I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot.
    REV 3:16 So because thou art lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spew thee out of my mouth.
    REV 3:17 Because thou sayest, I am rich, and have gotten riches, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art the wretched one and miserable and poor and blind and naked:
    REV 3:18 I counsel thee to buy of me gold refined by fire, that thou mayest become rich; and white garments, that thou mayest clothe thyself, and `that’ the shame of thy nakedness be not made manifest; and eyesalve to anoint thine eyes, that thou mayest see.
    REV 3:19 As many as I love, I reprove and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent.

  3. “Purpose Driven” is a franchise. Warren himself has compared running a local church to running a local McDonald’s. This is old news, but so few know about it. Ya got yer ma and pa church? Turn it into a big timer by buying the franchise! Of course, that means tossing your Bible in favor of a church purpose statement that ignores key Biblical truths to promote…you guessed it!…the purpose driven franchise!

    Covenants? Yup, they do that at Saddleback. Forget the fact that making covenants (same as taking oaths) is forbidden. As you said, the scriptures teach “Let your yes be yes…” What they do is have those who would be members sign a covenant to support and follow their leadership wherever they may lead them. So, if they start straying, you’ve signed a covenant to follow them anyway!

    Then the S.H.A.P.E. program. I went through it way back before I studied PDL any any depth. The “Test” you take to “discover your spiritual gifts” could be taken by any lost person. It’s just basically “what do you find yourself doing? Then that is your gift”. I still have the curriculum for reference purposes. It is a joke! So now we have lost people, supposedly with spiritual gifts, “hooked up” in the church because of some Myers Briggs test.

    Rick Warren promotes a man-centered religion. I believe that not in spite of what he says and writes but BECAUSE of what he says, writes and does.

    It shouldn’t be hard to see that what Warren is doing is wrong.

  4. beaconlight,

    I think your not having replied to a comment (by Billy Edwards) from way back in 2007 is very disappointing. Your not following up implies that you care more about your own opinions than earnestly dialoguing about God’s Word.

    P.S. Do you know the passages you speak of in the original Greek? Just curious.

  5. “what about prayer? Or Reading and studying the bible? Or denying myself, taking up my cross and following Christ?”
    This comment merely shows that you have posted this without checking out the class materials. The classes focus a great deal on these questions.
    It is easy to mock and discourage, but at least do your research first please.

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