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 Christianpost.com 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…