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The Purpose Driven Life

Part III... Chapters 1-10

Carol Brooks

Also See Seeker Friendly, Church Growth Failures in The Bible


PART I... Introduction to Rick Warren and The Purpose Driven Life, which is alive, well, and being reinvented for a whole new generation. So what is the Purpose Driven Life about, and why 40 days?

PART II... Who is The Purpose-Driven Life's target audience? A shallow incomplete gospel that cannot save. Theology that falls somewhere between determinism and free will. A plethora of questionable Bible versions that actually alter the meaning of the original Hebrew and Greek text.

    You Are Here 001orange PART III... Some of the problems in Chapters 1-10

PART IV... Some of the problems in Chapters 11-20.

Part V... Chapter 21 (unity at all cost) and Saddleback’s Member Covenant

Part VI... Some of the problems in Chapters 25-40

Part VII... Quoting Some Highly Questionable Authors, The Catholic Mystics, Contemplative Prayer, and The Four Temperaments. Oh yes! And lets not forget the introduction to a well known New Age leader.

Part VIII .... Summary and Conclusion. What you will find in PDL is a wide variety of, potentially, very destructive people, ideas, and practices, and the deliberate and blatant twisting of Biblical text taken to a whole new level. On the other hand, any mention of repentance, discernment, and holiness are glaringly absent from a book that claims to be the "Windows system of the 21st-century church."


Chapter/Day 1:
The very first chapter of PDL is titled It All Starts With God. In it Rick Warren rightly states that it is not about us, and that fulfilling God's purposes for our lives is greater than anything we could possibly imagine, including our families, careers, and ambitions (Pg.17). In his words...

    "If you want to know why you were placed on this planet, you must begin with God. You were born by his purpose and for his purpose."

He goes on to say that "contrary to what we are told by "many popular books, movies, and seminars", we won't discover the meaning of life by looking within ourselves. (Pg. 18). He adds that many books "that suggest ways to discover the meaning of life" could be classified as "self-help" books, because they "approach the subject from a self centered viewpoint, but "life is about letting God use you for his purposes, not your using him for your own purpose" [Pg. 18. Emphasis in original]

Which is all true enough, however....

Romans 8:6:
....Warren then ruins everything he has said thus far, by quoting the "Bible" as saying

    Obsession with the self in these matters is a dead end; attention to God leads us out into the open, into a spacious, free life. (Romans 8:6 The Message)

Compare this with the KJV and the NASB

    For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. [Romans 8:6 KJV]

    For the mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace, [Romans 8:6 NASB]

The sense of being "carnally minded" or having ones "mind set on the flesh" is following the corrupt inclinations of the flesh, or base nature, which is very different from being obsessed with self.

Nor is Paul saying that the obsession with self is a "dead end", but was warning the Romans that the mind set on things of the flesh IS death. Death is not only something that happens in the future but,  in terms of separation from God, is a very present reality. Those who follow the inclinations of the flesh are dead... their reality limited to the physical world, which will come to a rapid end. Read Ephesians 2:1-6

    And you were dead in your trespasses and sins, in which you formerly walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, of the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience. Among them we too all formerly lived in the lusts of our flesh, indulging the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest. But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, [Ephesians 2:1-6 NASB]

When the New Testament speaks about life, it means eternal life as opposed to eternal death, but The Message changes an eternity spent in God's kingdom into a "spacious, free life" here on earth.

How in the world can a Southern Baptist preacher quote a contaminated version of the Bible that dumbs down the Gospel message, and feeds the obsession with the here and now?

Matthew 16:25:

Although he starts PDL by warning that it is not about us, it does not take any time for Warren to flatly contradict himself, pointing the reader in exactly that direction, not once, but at least three times in this chapter alone. The first time is when he quotes Matthew 16:25, from The Message [Emphasis Added]

    Self-help is no help at all. Self-sacrifice is the way, my way, to finding yourself, your true self [Matthew 16:25 MSG]

"Finding yourself" is a very popular expression, often taken to mean that a person acquires "self-knowledge, self-realization, and fulfillment". I have also read that you have "found yourself" when "equilibrium becomes your default state" and "You know your goals. You know your desires. You have healthy boundaries and can hear and say "yes" and "no." And you feel a calm centeredness". [16].

The expression can, perhaps, be traced back to the sixties, when young people discarded traditional values and norms, to say nothing of morality, in the effort to discover a more meaningful existence for themselves. In the quest to "find themselves" people have undertaken back-pack trips to the Himalayas, taken up Yoga and/or meditation etc. However, whichever way you define the expression, it remains about 'self'. In other words, Rick Warren's use of a polluted version of the Bible, completely contradicts his statement that is is not about us..  

In any case, if read in context, Jesus, in in Matthew 16:25, was speaking of eternal life, not "finding oneself". In this passage, the savior clearly teaches that we are to consider our lives dead in order to follow Him.

    [24] Then Jesus said to His disciples, "If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me. [25] "For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it; but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it. [26] "For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul? [Matthew 16:24-26 NASB]

In fact, Jesus and the authors of the New Testament often spoke often of the necessity of both denying oneself, and living for others.

    "Whoever seeks to keep his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life will preserve it. [Luke 17:33 NASB]

    We know love by this, that He laid down His life for us; and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren. [1 John 3:16 NASB]

Ephesians 1:11:

Rick Warren returns to the finding yourself / finding out who you are theme with another quote from The Message's version of Ephesians 1:11.

    It is in Christ if we find out who we are and what we are living for. Long before we first heard of Christ and got our hopes up, he had his eye on us, had designs on us for glorious living, part of the overall purpose he is working out in everything and everyone. [Ephesians 1:11. The Message. Emphasis Added]

He claims this verse gives us three insights into our purpose which, he says, is what this book is all about

    1. You discover your identity and purpose through a relationship with Jesus Christ.”

    2. God was thinking of you long before you ever thought about him. His purpose for your life predates your conception. He planned it before you existed, without your input! You may choose your career, your spouse, your hobbies, and many other parts of your life, but you don't get to choose your purpose.”

    3. The purpose of your life fits a much larger, cosmic purpose that God has designed for eternity.

A literal translation of this verse sheds a very different light on this verse. The NASB reads

     [9] He made known to us the mystery of His will, according to His kind intention which He purposed in Him [10] with a view to an administration suitable to the fullness of the times, that is, the summing up of all things in Christ, things in the heavens and things on the earth. In Him [11] also we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to His purpose who works all things after the counsel of His will, [12] to the end that we who were the first to hope in Christ would be to the praise of His glory.  [13]  In Him, you also, after listening to the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation--having also believed, you were sealed in Him with the Holy Spirit of promise, [Ephesians 1:10-13 NASB]

But isn't the NASB also saying that we have been "predestined according to His purpose"? One also has to pay close attention to the fact that this was a letter Paul wrote to the Ephesians. We cannot read someone else's mail without considering the overall context of the circumstances in, and around, that particular church.

The Ephesian church was a Gentile church, therefore when, in verse 9, Paul spoke about God making known "the mystery of His will", he was speaking of the fact that salvation was no longer limited to the Jews. The Gentiles could now become part of the family of God and have the same privileges without circumcision, or any of the other the rites and rituals of the Old Testament. It was called a "mystery" because it was something that had never been made known before, and had only just been revealed to, and through, the apostles. This is not the only time Paul spoke of salvation for the Gentiles as a mystery. For example...

    For if you were cut off from what is by nature a wild olive tree, and were grafted contrary to nature into a cultivated olive tree, how much more will these who are the natural branches be grafted into their own olive tree? For I do not want you, brethren, to be uninformed of this mystery--so that you will not be wise in your own estimation--that a partial hardening has happened to Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in; [Romans 11:24-25 NASB]

So when Paul told the Ephesians... "He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the kind intention of His will, [Ephesians 1:5 NASB Bold Added], it is very likely that he was referring to God's intention to include the Gentiles in the plan of redemption. (note that the word "us" may not have been in the original Greek). In verse 11, Paul is simply reiterating what he said earlier about the Ephesians being chosen, and predestined according to God's purpose and will. (Again the word "we" may not have been in the original Greek)

Ephesians 1:11 does not give us the three insights that Warren says it does. He wants us to believe that God plans a specific purpose for each and every one of us, before we were born, but this verse says absolutely nothing, as Warren claims, about finding out "who we are", nor discovering "our identity and purpose through a relationship with Jesus Christ". The passage cannot be tortured to mean that every single individual born since then is somehow predestined to a specific purpose that God had in mind for them.

God's Purposes for Mankind

There are innumerable verses in Scripture that tell us what God's purpose for man has always been. As Jesus said

    "Then the King will say to those on His right, 'Come, you who are blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. [Matthew 25:34 NASB]

In the books of Ephesians itself Paul, again referring to a "mystery", gives us an eternal vantage point. He writes [All Emphasis Added]

    To me, the very least of all saints, this grace was given, to preach to the Gentiles the unfathomable riches of Christ, and to bring to light what is the administration of the mystery which for ages has been hidden in God who created all things; so that the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known through the church to the rulers and the authorities in the heavenly places. This was in accordance with the eternal purpose which He carried out in Christ Jesus our Lord, [Ephesians 3:8-11 NASB]

    who has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace which was granted us in Christ Jesus from all eternity, but now has been revealed by the appearing of our Savior Christ Jesus, who abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel, [2 Timothy 1:9-10 NASB]

Apart from a few select people, the Scriptures do not teach that God has individual, specific purposes for every individual born. And none of those chosen for a specific purpose had to go on a 40 day journey to find out what that purpose was... God let them know loud and clear, what He wanted them to do. Abraham was told to pack up and go, Moses was confronted by a burning bush, Gideon came face to face with an angel, Paul was knocked off his horse, blinded and heard God's voice from heaven, and John the Baptist's future was known from the time he was in his mother's womb.

Note: The context of Ephesians 1:1 is all too often overlooked  and thus taken as 'proof text' for Predestination. [See Footnote I]

 Corinthians 2:7:
In telling us that the Bible explains what no self help or philosophy book could know, Rick Warren quotes 1 Corinthians [Pg. 20]. Compare The Message's paraphrasing with a literal translation [All Emphasis Added]

    God's wisdom...  Goes deep into the interior of his purposes.. It's not the latest message, but more like the oldest-what God determined as the way to bring out the best of us. [1 Corinthians 2:7 The Message]

    but we speak God's wisdom in a mystery, the hidden wisdom which God predestined before the ages to our glory; [1 Corinthians 2:7 NASB]

    But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom, which God ordained before the world unto our glory: [1 Corinthians 2:7 KJV]

The verse has absolutely nothing to do with God bringing out "the best in us". God's intention has always been that man be transformed into the image of His Son but, in order to accomplish this, man's fallen condition had to be first dealt with.

In the Bible, the word "mystery" means something hidden in the past... unknowable without God revealing it to us (See Ephesians 3:3-5). The Gospel of Jesus Christ, was a doctrine that had been hidden from human knowledge and understanding since the foundation of the world. However, God had planned that it would be revealed at a certain time, through the preaching of Jesus and the apostles. It was by God's wisdom and plan that Christians could be raised to glory and immortality. In other words, salvation's final purpose is the resurrection of our bodies when we will, in some way not altogether understandable, bear the image of the Christ, and take our place in the kingdom of God.

    So also is the resurrection of the dead. It is sown a perishable body, it is raised an imperishable body; it is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory; it is sown in weakness, it is raised in power; it is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body. If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body. [1 Corinthians 15:42-44 NASB]

In other words, saying, "It's all about God, not about you" is flatly contradicted by the fact that much of the book is very much about self. Rick Warren treats his readers as consumers that must be appealed to out of their love for self, and what they can get out of life..

Chapter/Day 2
Isaiah 44:2a:
The second chapter which is entitled You are Not an Accident, begins with a quote from the prophet Isaiah.

    "I am your Creator. You were in my care even before you were born." Isaiah 44:2a (CEV)

Although he does not always do so, this time Warren acknowledges that he is only quoting half the verse. Lets read it in it's entirety, both from the CEV and a more reliable translation.

    I am your Creator. You were in my care even before you were born. Israel, don't be terrified! You are my chosen servant, my very favorite. [CEV]

    "But now listen, O Jacob, My servant, And Israel, whom I have chosen: Thus says the LORD who made you And formed you from the womb, who will help you, 'Do not fear, O Jacob My servant; And you Jeshurun (a symbolical name for Israel) whom I have chosen. [Isaiah 44:1-2 NASB]

The problem here is that this verse has absolutely nothing to do with people being "accidents" or not. In fact it has nothing to do with any individual, but is God's message to the nation of Israel. Verse 44 has to be read in connection with the previous chapter, in which God reminds the nation of their sins, yet promises them deliverance.

Psalm 138 and 139
Let take a closer look at four of the Bible verses (two from the NIV, and one each from The Message, and The Living Bible) Warren uses in order to substantiate the theme of this chapter.

1) On Page 22 we read...

    "Your birth was no mistake or mishap, and your life is no fluke of nature. Your parents may not have planned you, but God did. He was not at all surprised by your birth, In fact, he expected it. Long before you were conceived by your parents, you were conceived in the mind of God.... It is not fate, nor chance, nor luck, nor coincidence that you are breathing at this very moment. You are alive because God wanted to create you! The Bible says, "The LORD will fulfill his purpose for me." [Psalm 138:8a NIV]

Note: This quote is from the 1984 version of the NIV, which actually has the words his purpose in brackets ("The LORD will fulfill [his purpose] for me"). The reason being that the words "his purpose" was inserted by the translators. This verse reads "The Lord will vindicate me" in later editions of the NIV.

Compare the 1984 version with a later one... http://bible.cc/psalms/138-8.htm and http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Psalm+138%3A8&version=NIV

The KJV and the NASB, render Psalm 138:8 as follows

    "The LORD will accomplish what concerns me; Your loving kindness, O LORD, is everlasting; Do not forsake the works of Your hands. [Psalm 138:8 NASB]

    The LORD will perfect that which concerneth me: thy mercy, O LORD, endureth for ever: forsake not the works of thine own hands. [Psalm 138:8 KJV]

This verse says nothing about God having some purpose set in stone for every person, even before they were born. In fact, as said by commentator Albert Barnes, this Psalm was

    evidently written in view of trouble (Vs. 3, 7), and it expresses confidence that God would interpose in the future in behalf of the author, as he had done in the past; and it is, therefore, adapted to inspire confidence and hope in all who are called to pass through scenes of trial. The psalm does not admit of any particular analysis.

2) Rick Warren teaches that

    "God prescribed every single detail of your body. He deliberately chose your race, the color of your skin, your hair, and every other feature. He custom made your body just the way he wanted it....The Bible says "You know me inside and out, you know every bone in my body: You know exactly how I was made, bit by bit, how I was sculpted from nothing into something" (Psalm 139:15, The Message). [Pg.22-23] Emphasis Added

Rick Warren uses Psalm 139:15 to support his teaching that "God custom-made your body just the way he wanted it", which is not reflected in the words of the Psalmist. To 'custom make' something is to make it according to certain specifications. However, the author of this Psalm is simply saying that God, as our creator, knows exactly how each one of us are made. The NASB renders this verse ...

    My frame was not hidden from You, When I was made in secret, And skillfully wrought in the depths of the earth; [Psalms 139:15 NASB]

As said by pastor David Kroll

    All humans have the same basic physiology. Our genetics determine our individual traits. God created genetics. I see nothing in scripture that suggests that God has/is purposefully arranging the genes in every single human birth to arrive at specific "custom made" individuals. I believe it is much more reasonable to believe that God has set in motion the human creative process and that process produces a variety of human individuals with different traits. To believe that God "Custom-made your body just the way he wanted it,” as Warren would have us believe, would raise some serious questions about the way God operates.

    Is God directly responsible for the hundreds of thousands of babies born each year with AIDs, malformations, missing organs, brain damage, cancer, etc.etc? I don't think so! It is much more reasonable to believe that humans are what they are as a result of biological dynamics that come together each time conception takes place. These biological dynamics (i.e. genetic variations) are influenced by multiple factors. The genetics of the parents, the parent's state of health at time of procreation, environmental factors, and parental nutritional status are just some of the factors that play a role in determining the status of a newborn. To suggest that God is engineering all of this each time a baby is born in order to produce a "custom" product is nonsense.

    This concept of being custom make becomes even more absurd when you consider the fact that we pray to God to heal babies with the kind of problems listed above. If God "custom-makes" these kinds of children, then why are we praying that God "re-customize" them?  [17]

3) Warren says

    "Because God made you for a reason, he also decided when you would be born and how long you would live. He planned the days of your life in advance, choosing the exact time of your birth and death. The Bible says "You saw me before I was born and scheduled each day of my life before I began to breathe. Every day was recorded in your Book!" (Psalm 139:16, LB. The Living Bible. Emphasis Added)

A simple reading of this verse from actual translations of the Bible, rather than paraphrases, makes it quite clear the Psalmist was simply saying that that God sees everything in advance, a fact that is well documented throughout the Bible.

    Your eyes have seen my unformed substance; And in Your book were all written the days that were ordained for me, When as yet there was not one of them. [Psalms 139:16 NASB]

    Thine eyes did see my substance, yet being unperfect; and in thy book all my members were written, which in continuance were fashioned, when as yet there was none of them (KJV)

God often referred to the fact that only He, and not false gods, could accurately foretell the course of future events, in proof that he is the only true God. For example

    Declaring the end from the beginning, And from ancient times things which have not been done, saying, 'My purpose will be established, And I will accomplish all My good pleasure [Isaiah 46:10 NASB]

    Let them bring forth and declare to us what is going to take place; As for the former events, declare what they were, That we may consider them and know their outcome. Or announce to us what is coming; Declare the things that are going to come afterward, That we may know that you are gods; Indeed, do good or evil, that we may anxiously look about us and fear together. [Isaiah 41:22-23 NASB]

    "It is I who have declared and saved and proclaimed, And there was no strange god among you; So you are My witnesses," declares the LORD, "And I am God. [Isaiah 43:12 NASB]

Certainly God knows when each of us are going to be born, and when each of us are going to die. However, this is vastly different from Him "scheduling" every day of our lives. I again, refer to pastor David Kroll, who says

    To believe, like Warren does, that God has chosen the exact time of your birth and death brings up some interesting observations. If I am walking down the street and get killed by a stray bullet, was that God's choice that I die at that moment and in that manner? When multiple thousands of allied solders stormed the beaches of Normandy and thousands were killed, was it God's choice that each one that got killed was killed because it was "their time" while others escaped death because it was not their time. If I get drunk and hit a tree with my car and get killed, was that God's time for me to die? If I take poor care of my health and come down with a fatal disease and die, is that because God foreordained that this was my time to die I hope you can see the absurdity of all this.

    I have no doubt that God, when necessary, determines the future to insure that his overall purpose is fulfilled. I also believe that God does intervene in individual cases to preserve a persons life while others may be unprotected. I see examples of this in scripture and in life. I do not, however, believe such determinism is present for most individuals. When we are born, when we die and multiple other aspects of our lives are not pre-determined. This is not something I see in scripture or in the realities of life.

    I believe that much of what happens in life is fortuitous. Time and chance, cause and effect are the determining dynamics of life. The choices humans make largely determine what occurs in their lives and when it occurs. As with the example above: If I get drunk and ram my car into a tree and kill myself, it was my choice of behavior that led to my death. I would not think that God had anything to do with it other than foreseeing that it would happen. God could certainly intervene to prevent my accident but he certainly would not have foreordained it and take away my free will to to make my own choices. [17]

There is little question that when God created man, he created a very diverse group of people of many different shapes, colors, and abilities. There is also little question that the Bible tells us over and over again that God has a "purpose," or plan, in regard to human affairs which is, and always has been, man's salvation through the Cross (repentance for sin, and faith in Jesus as the Messiah).

    Declaring the end from the beginning, And from ancient times things which have not been done, saying, 'My purpose will be established, And I will accomplish all My good pleasure'; [Isaiah 46:10 NASB]

    And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. [Romans 8:28 NASB]

    also we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to His purpose who works all things after the counsel of His will, [Ephesians 1:11 NASB]

    This was in accordance with the eternal purpose which He carried out in Christ Jesus our Lord, [Ephesians 3:11 NASB]

    who has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace which was granted us in Christ Jesus from all eternity, [2 Timothy 1:9 NASB]

However, that does not mean that God's purpose for His creation includes a specific plan for every single individual, regarding not only the timing and circumstances of their birth and death, but every moment of their lives in between.

4) Rick Warren further says

    God also planned where you'd be born and where you'd live for his purpose. Your race and nationality are no accident. God left no detail to chance. He planned it all for his purpose. The Bible says "From one man he made every nation, ... and he determined the times set for them and the exact places where they should live." [Acts 17:26 NIV. New International Version] Nothing in your life is arbitrary. It's all for a purpose. [Pg. 23]

However, the quote is incomplete. In it's entirety it reads.

    From one man he made every nation of men, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he determined the times set for them and the exact places where they should live [Acts 17:26 NIV (New International Version)

The missing words, which I have underlined, help understand what Luke was saying in this verse, which is only a small part of Paul's words to the Athenians who had built an altar to an "unknown god".

He told the Athenians that he was going to enlighten them as to who this God was that they did not know. He began with the fundamental truth that God is the creator of the universe, and the sustainer of all life. He does not dwell in temples made with human hands, and does not need anything, since He is the one who gives life and breath to all things.

He went on to say that God produced the whole human race from one man and scattered them over the face of the earth. When and where each country is settled does not happen by chance, but the rise, the prosperity, and fall of each nation has always been in accordance with God's design. He is sovereign. He shapes history for his own purpose, which is redemption. That perhaps all men of all nations would seek Him and grope for Him, although He is not very far from each one of us (Vs. 27). Paul also adds that God was warning people everywhere to repent before the ordained day when he will judge the world in righteousness. 

Leaving out part of the verse, and ignoring the overall context gives the impression that God decides where each and every person would be born, and where they would live. "for his purpose". Read in context it is obvious that Paul words had global implications and cannot be applied to individuals.

James 1:18

On Page 24, we read

    "God designed this planet's environment just so we could live in it. We are the focus of his love, and the most valuable of all his creation. The Bible says "God decided to give us life through the word of truth so we might be the most important of all the things he made. [James 1:18 NCV. New Century Version. Emphasis Added]

The NASB says this [Emphasis Added]

    In the exercise of His will He brought us forth by the word of truth, so that we would be a kind of first fruits (aparche)among His creatures. [James 1:18 NASB]

And what does the English first-fruits mean? The books of Corinthians tells us that Christ was the first to be raised from the dead, and will be followed by those who belong to Him.

    But now Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits (aparche) of those who are asleep. For since by a man came death, by a man also came the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ all will be made alive. But each in his own order: Christ the first fruits (aparche), after that those who are Christ's at His coming, then comes the end, when He hands over the kingdom to the God and Father, when He has abolished all rule and all authority and power. [1 Corinthians 15:20-24 NASB]

The word is not used very many times in the New Testament, but enough examples exist to make the meaning very obvious. In the first quote below, Paul was referring to the fact that the Jews were required to present a small portion of dough to God, as an expression of gratitude for His bounty. The remaining dough was left for him who made the offering; See Numbers 15:19-21.

    If the first piece (aparche) of dough is holy, the lump is also; and if the root is holy, the branches are too. [Romans 11:16 NASB]

    also greet the church that is in their house. Greet Epaenetus, my beloved, who is the first convert (aparche) to Christ from Asia. [Romans 16:5 NASB]

    Now I urge you, brethren (you know the household of Stephanas, that they were the first fruits (aparche) of Achaia, and that they have devoted themselves for ministry to the saints), [1 Corinthians 16:15 NASB]

      Note: Achaia, originally a small territory in Southern Greece was a Roman senatorial province, whose governors were known as "proconsuls" See Acts 18:12

That James' epistle was written to the Jews, is made clear from the opening greeting to "the twelve tribes who are dispersed abroad (1:1). When James said they were a kind of first fruits among God's creatures, he was referring to those believing Jews who, from all men, were the first to be saved by the Gospel message (The word of truth). Both thoughts are echoed in the book of Romans and the books of Ephesians

    For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. [Romans 1:16 NASB]

    to the end that we who were the first to hope in Christ would be to the praise of His glory. In Him, you also, after listening to the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation--having also believed, you were sealed in Him with the Holy Spirit of promise, [Ephesians 1:12-13 NASB]

It would be interesting to know why the NCV (New Century Version) translated the Greek aparche into the most important, and even more interesting as to why a supposed Bible believing pastor would quote this polluted translation.

I take that back. It is very obvious that Rick Warren picks and chooses whichever version comes closest to supporting the theme, or subject matter, of that particular chapter. Accuracy is of secondary importance.

Isaiah 46: 3-4:

A little later in the chapter (Pg. 25), Rick Warren says God didn't need to create us, but wanted to make us "in order to express his love" [Emphasis his]. He then quoted God as saying.

    "I have carried you since you were born; I have taken care of you from your birth. Even when you are old, I will be the same. Even when your hair has turned gray, I will take care of you. I made you and will take care of you. I will carry you and save you. [Isaiah 46:3-4 NCV. New Century Version ]

The problem is that Warren begins the quote from the middle of verse three, without giving the reader any indication that he has done so. Reading verses three and four in their entirety makes it obvious that these words were not directed at anyone who happens to pick up Rick Warren's book, but were very specifically aimed at the nation of Israel.

    "Listen to Me, O house of Jacob, And all the remnant of the house of Israel, You who have been borne by Me from birth And have been carried from the womb; Even to your old age I will be the same, And even to your graying years I will bear you! I have done it, and I will carry you; And I will bear you and I will deliver you. [Isaiah 46:3-4 NASB]

Anyone who bothers to read the larger context, will realize that chapter 46 is merely a continuation of the subject of the previous chapters....  largely the promised deliverance from Babylon.

In chapter 42 God severely rebuked the deaf and blind Jews, and showed them that it was on account of their sins that their calamities had come upon them. Yet, in the first verses of chapter 43, He tells them that they are the people whom he had redeemed, and whom it was his purpose to deliver, and delivers a solemn assurance that they would be rescued. They would be restored to His favor, and to their land [44:1-5]. God would bless their offspring, who would flourish like willows by the waters [44:3-5], and there should be among them a general turning to the Lord, and devotion to his service [44:5]. (Albert Barnes) In chapter 45, God, for the first time, mentions Cyrus who would end the exile.

The first two verses of chapter 46 says the Babylonian idols were unable to defend the city, and were themselves helplessly carried into captivity. This is then contrasted with God's care for His people, whom He has always borne in His arms and whom He will deliver from their bondage [46: 3-4].

The rest of the chapter covers the folly of idolatry [46:5-7] and the attributes and perfection of the true God [46:8-10], mentions Cyrus once more [46:11] and assures His people that His salvation was not far off.

Romans 12:3:
One paragraph later, also on page 25, Warren says that God made us for a reason, and we can only understand our purpose "when we make God the reference point of our lives". In support of this Warren quotes The Message's paraphrase of Romans 12:3, which says [Emphasis Added]

    The only accurate way to understand ourselves is by what God is and by what he does for us.”

Unfortunately this is, once more, a subtle distortion of a Biblical message. Read Paul's words from more reliable translations, and in context... [All Emphasis Added]

    [3] For through the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think more highly of himself than he ought to think; but to think so as to have sound judgment, as God has allotted to each a measure of faith.  [4] For just as we have many members in one body and all the members do not have the same function,  [5] so we, who are many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another.  [6] Since we have gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, each of us is to exercise them accordingly: if prophecy, according to the proportion of his faith;  [7] if service, in his serving; or he who teaches, in his teaching; [8] or he who exhorts, in his exhortation; he who gives, with liberality; he who leads, with diligence; he who shows mercy, with cheerfulness. [Romans 12:3-8 NASB. Emphasis Added]

Verse 4 begins with the word "for", which means it is a continuation of the subject of the previous verse, in which the apostle was talking about pride, and was exhorting the Romans not to over-estimate themselves, for not all members have the same gifts. Paul pointed out that the human body has many parts, each of performs a different function, yet is indispensable in it's contribution to the smooth working of the body. Similarly, God had granted certain gifts to the members of the church, each of whom had a different gift, and had a different role to play. Therefore the Romans needed to humbly use whichever gifts God had given them, for the good of all the members of the church, and the proper functioning of the body of Christ.

(Note: It was possible, or even likely, that new converts were overly proud of the gifts that they had received, therefore tended to disparage others who had 'lesser' gifts.) 

Although this passage in Romans says absolutely nothing about "understanding ourselves" as The Message states, Rick Warren uses it simply because it supports his line of reasoning.

Chapter/Day 3
In Chapter 3... What Drives Your Life?, Rick Warren talks about several forces that tend to control people's lives and actions, such as guilt; resentment and anger; fear, materialism, and the need for approval, which he then compares with the benefits of living a purpose driven live.

Guilt or Transgression:
In the first section, Many People Are Driven By Guilt, he says

    They spend their entire lives running from regrets and hiding their shame. Guilt-driven people are manipulated by memories. They allow their past to control their future. They often unconsciously punish themselves by sabotaging their own success. When Cain sinned, his guilt disconnected him from God's presence, and God said, "You will be a restless wanderer on the earth." That describes most people today---wandering through life without a purpose. (Pgs. 27-28. Emphasis Added)

There are several factors here. Cain did not simply wander the earth "without a purpose". He wandered the earth because this was God's punishment for him killing his brother. It was sin and not guilt that led to Cain being a wanderer and vagrant. Besides which, the curse that God put on Cain was retributive... the soil which had received his brother's blood would never yield a crop for Cain.

    He said, "What have you done? The voice of your brother's blood is crying to Me from the ground. "Now you are cursed from the ground, which has opened its mouth to receive your brother's blood from your hand. "When you cultivate the ground, it will no longer yield its strength to you; you will be a vagrant and a wanderer on the earth." [Genesis 4:10-12 NASB]

Guilt plays an important part in bringing us to repentance, and asking for our Father's forgiveness, therefore it is virtually imperative that people feel guilty until they confess their sins and seek God's forgiveness (without which there is no salvation), and, if possible, the forgiveness of those they have sinned against. However, instead of pushing this very crucial point, Rick Warren tells the reader that they don't have to be prisoners of their past. This gives the impression that by holding onto guilt people are sabotaging their own success. He makes it seem that guilt is the problem when, in reality, it is the sin that a person will be judged and condemned for.

Compounding this huge error, Rick Warren then quotes The Living Bible's version of Psalm 32:1.

    What happiness for those whose guilt has been forgiven!... What relief for those who have confessed their sins and God has cleared their record. (Pg. 28)

A more accurate version of the Scriptures says that the person who's transgression has been forgiven is blessed

    How blessed is he whose transgression (pesha) is forgiven, Whose sin is covered! [Psalms 32:1 NASB]

The Hebrew word pesha, which means rebellion, sin, transgression, is used close to a hundred times in the Old Testament, but perhaps nowhere is it's meaning more clear than in Isaiah 53, which foretells the sufferings of the Messiah, and outlines why He was to die, which was to save us from our sins, not our feelings of guilt

    But He was pierced through for our transgressions (pesha), He was crushed for our iniquities; The chastening for our well-being fell upon Him, And by His scourging we are healed. [Isaiah 53:5 NASB]

    By oppression and judgment He was taken away; And as for His generation, who considered That He was cut off out of the land of the living For the transgression (pesha) of my people, to whom the stroke was due? His grave was assigned with wicked men, Yet He was with a rich man in His death, Because He had done no violence, Nor was there any deceit in His mouth. [Isaiah 53:8-9 NASB]

    Or try substituting guilt for transgression in the following verse.

    "But if the wicked man turns from all his sins which he has committed and observes all My statutes and practices justice and righteousness, he shall surely live; he shall not die. "All his transgressions which he has committed will not be remembered against him; because of his righteousness which he has practiced, he will live. [Ezekiel 18:21-22 NASB]

Matthew 6:24:
Two Masters ... Wealth or Approval?
In another section, Many People Are Driven By The Need For Approval, Warren writes that many people allow the expectations of others (parents, spouses, teachers, peers etc.) to control their lives, and goes on to say

    I don't know all the keys to success, but one of the keys to failure is to try to please everyone. Being controlled by the opinions of others is a guaranteed way to miss God's purpose for your life. Jesus said "No one can serve two masters." (Pg. 29)

While there is no question that we need to seek the approval of God rather than man, Rick Warren's quote from the Scriptures comes from Matthew 6:24, and is part of Jesus' Sermon on The Mount. The message had nothing to do with winning the approval of others, but Warren not only quotes half a verse (without any indication that he has done so), but takes it completely out of context. Jesus was speaking about not storing up treasures on earth, which are subject to loss or destruction. He urged His listeners to store up indestructible and eternal treasures in Heaven, and warned that a person's heart would be where his treasure was. He then went on to say no one can serve two masters. The verse very specifically ends with the words "You cannot serve God and wealth", which fits in with the overall context. Read it for yourself

    [19] "Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. [20] "But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal; [21] for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. [22] "The eye is the lamp of the body; so then if your eye is clear, your whole body will be full of light. [23]  "But if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light that is in you is darkness, how great is the darkness! [24] "No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth. [Matthew 6:19-24 NASB]

Isaiah and Job
While one cannot argue with the fact that, as Rick Warren says... The greatest tragedy is not death, but life without purpose [Pg. 30], It is a little hard to believe that a Christian pastor can mention men without purpose, and Isaiah and Job all in the same paragraph. Neither men's words had anything to do with "a life without purpose" or being "without God."


Warren states

    "Without God, life has no purpose, and without purpose, life has no meaning. Without meaning, life has no significance or hope. In the Bible, many different people expressed this hopelessness. Isaiah complained, "I have labored to no purpose; I have spent my strength in vain and for nothing.” [Isaiah 49:4] Pg. 30.

A closer look at Isaiah's words show that he was, in fact, lamenting that his ministry was having little success. However he consoled himself with the reflection that his cause was with God, and that his labors would not go unrewarded, which is made clear by reading the entire sentence, instead of half of it.

    But I said, "I have toiled in vain, I have spent My strength for nothing and vanity; Yet surely the justice due to Me is with the LORD, And My reward with My God." [Isaiah 49:4 NASB]

Warren then goes on to quote Job 7:6 and 7:16 to demonstrate that life without God has no purpose, no meaning, no significance and no hope. [All Emphasis Added]

    Job said, 'My life drags by-day after hopeless day” [Job 7:6] and "I give up; I am tired of living. Leave me alone. My life makes no sense.' [Job 7:16]

There are two important points to be made here.

1) Contrary to the version that Rick Warren quotes, Job did not say "I give up" but "I waste away".  He did not say "My life makes no sense" but "my days are but a breath". The Hebrew word translated into the English "breath" is hebel, which means emptiness, vanity; or something unsatisfactory.

2) A careful reading of the chapter makes it obvious that, as shown by his words to his wife, Job had never walked away from God, in spite of undergoing great physical and spiritual trials,

    Then his wife said to him, "Do you still hold fast your integrity? Curse God and die!" But he said to her, "You speak as one of the foolish women speaks. Shall we indeed accept good from God and not accept adversity?" In all this Job did not sin with his lips. [Job 2:9-10 NASB]

Therefore Job's words cannot be used to demonstrate that life without God has no purpose or meaning, but had to do with the fact that he was at a very low point in his life. Everything had been taken from him, including his children and health, and he was responding as virtually all humans would under the same circumstances. He had no hope that his miseries were going to be, in any way, alleviated. Job said his life was empty and he was wasting away. In other words he was experiencing life without meaning and purpose, although he had God in his life.

Depending on the circumstances at any given time, life can appear to have no purpose, even if one is a staunch believer who has never wavered from the faith.

Proverbs 13:7:

Rick Warren also says that "Purpose-driven living leads to a simpler lifestyle and a saner schedule". In support of this he quotes the "Bible" as saying

    "A pretentious showy life is an empty life; a plain simple life is full of life".  (Proverbs 13:7. MSG The Message ) [Pg.31]

However, The Message's version of this verse is completely skewed.

    There is one who pretends to be rich, but has nothing; Another pretends to be poor, but has great wealth. [Proverbs 13:7 NASB]

    There is that maketh himself rich, yet hath nothing: there is that maketh himself poor, yet hath great riches. [Proverbs 13:7 KJV]

In other words "There is a seeming wealth behind which lies a deep spiritual poverty and wretchedness. On the other hand, there is a poverty which makes a person rich for the kingdom of God". (Barnes). But isn't that pretty what Jesus said in The Sermon on The Mount?

    [19] "Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. [20] "But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal; [21] for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. [22] "The eye is the lamp of the body; so then if your eye is clear, your whole body will be full of light. [23]  "But if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light that is in you is darkness, how great is the darkness! [24] "No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth. [Matthew 6:19-24 NASB]

Isaiah 26:3

Rick Warren then goes on to say that purpose driven living also lead to peace of mind. "You, LORD, give perfect peace to those who keep their purpose firm and put their trust in you." Isaiah 26:3 TEV [Pg. 31- 32]. Compare Today's English Version's interpretation of Isaiah 26:3, with two word-for-word translations

    "The steadfast (samak) of mind You will keep in perfect peace, Because he trusts in You. [Isaiah 26:3 NASB]

    Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed (samak) on thee: because he trusteth in thee. [Isaiah 26:3 KJV]

The Hebrew word (samak) is used almost 50 times in the New Testament, and has usually been translated lay (or laid) sustained, upheld, or lean.

The verse promised God's "perfect peace" to those "whose minds were stayed on" Him, not to those who "kept their purpose firm." The first verses of Isaiah 26 are a song of praise supposed to be sung by the Jews on their return to their own land, after a long exile during which they had lost everything and been reduced to captivity. "Yet their confidence in God had not been shaken. They still trusted in him; still believed that he could and would deliver them. Their mind was, therefore, kept in entire peace."(Barnes)

Bernie Siegel:
However, perhaps the most disgraceful part of the chapter is when, on page 31, Rick Warren suddenly makes reference to a Bernie Siegel, saying

    "Hope is as essential to your life as air and water. You need hope to cope. Dr. Bernie Siegel found he could predict which of his cancer patients would go into remission by asking, “Do you want to live to be one hundred?” Those with a deep sense of life purpose answered yes and were the ones most likely to survive. Hope comes from having a purpose." [Pg. 31]

So who is Bernie Siegel? [DETAILS]

Jeremiah 29:11:
Rick Warren then makes a very inflated promise on page 31. He says

    "If you have felt hopeless, hold on! Wonderful changes are going to happen in your life as you begin to live it on purpose. God says, "I know what I am planning for you... 'I have good plans for you, not plans to hurt you. I will give you hope and a good future.'" [Jeremiah 29:11 NCV]

The problem is that by quoting only a portion of what God actually said, Warren gives the impression that this was a promise made to all people, or at least to all Christians, for all time. It was, in fact, a message to the exiles in Babylon who were being led astray by false prophets. God was encouraging the people to make their lives in Babylon, with the assurance that when the seventy years were finished, they would be restored to their own land. Pl read it in context (the section quoted in PDL is in bold)

     "Thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel, to all the exiles whom I have sent into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon, [5] 'Build houses and live in them; and plant gardens and eat their produce. [6] 'Take wives and become the fathers of sons and daughters, and take wives for your sons and give your daughters to husbands, that they may bear sons and daughters; and multiply there and do not decrease. [7] 'Seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the LORD on its behalf; for in its welfare you will have welfare.'  [8] "For thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel, 'Do not let your prophets who are in your midst and your diviners deceive you, and do not listen to the dreams which they dream. [9] 'For they prophesy falsely to you in My name; I have not sent them,' declares the LORD.  [10] "For thus says the LORD, 'When seventy years have been completed for Babylon, I will visit you and fulfill My good word to you, to bring you back to this place.  [11] 'For I know the plans that I have for you,' declares the LORD, 'plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope. [12] 'Then you will call upon Me and come and pray to Me, and I will listen to you.  [13] 'You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart.  [14] 'I will be found by you,' declares the LORD, 'and I will restore your fortunes and will gather you from all the nations and from all the places where I have driven you,' declares the LORD, 'and I will bring you back to the place from where I sent you into exile.' [Jeremiah 29:4-14 NASB]

Also please note that, just a few chapters later, the promises take a very different turn, when the Lord rebuked the Jews in Egypt for continuing in idolatry after the terrible judgment brought on Jerusalem, and all the cities of Judah which were, until then, in ruins [Jeremiah 44:21-4]

    'Behold, I am watching over them for harm and not for good, and all the men of Judah who are in the land of Egypt will meet their end by the sword and by famine until they are completely gone. [Jeremiah 44:27 NASB Emphasis Added]

The Bible and Doctrine
On page 34, Warren writes [Emphasis Added]

    "One day you will stand before God, and be will do an audit of your life, a final exam, before you enter eternity. The Bible says, 'Remember, each of us will stand personally before the judgment seat of God... Yes, each of us will have to give a personal account to God.’ (Rom. 14:10b, NLT). Fortunately, God wants us to pass this test, so be has given us the questions in advance. From the Bible we can surmise that God will ask us two crucial questions: First, 'What did you do with my Son, Jesus Christ? 'God won't ask about your religious background or doctrinal views. The only thing that will matter is, did you accept what Jesus did for you and did you learn to love and trust him? ... Second, 'What did you do with what I gave you? Preparing you for these two questions is the goal of this book."

Warren's claim that God will ask, "What did you do with my Son, Jesus Christ?" is unscriptural. Jesus said "For the Son of Man is going to come in the glory of His Father with His angels, and will then repay every man according to his deeds. [Matthew 16:27 NASB]. The book of Romans echoes the thought in chapter 14, saying "we will all stand before the judgment seat of God".

Since Jesus was speaking to His disciples, and Paul was writing to people who were already believers who have already been forgiven their sins through faith in the Messiah, they are not going to be asked whether they accepted what Jesus did for them, and whether they had learned to love and trust Him. Therefore the question is what the purpose of the Judgment Seat of Christ is. Paul gives us a little more information in the book of Corinthians when he wrote [All Emphasis Added]

    each man's work will become evident; for the day will show it because it is to be revealed with fire, and the fire itself will test the quality of each man's work. If any man's work which he has built on it remains, he will receive a reward. If any man's work is burned up, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire. [1 Corinthians 3:13-15 NASB]

    For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may be recompensed for his deeds in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad. [2 Corinthians 5:10 NASB]

Similarly John told believers

    Watch yourselves, that you do not lose what we have accomplished, but that you may receive a full reward. [2 John 1:8 NASB]

There is no question that the intent of the heart is important, inasmuch as people often do the right thing with the wrong motives

    For I am conscious of nothing against myself, yet I am not by this acquitted; but the one who examines me is the Lord. Therefore do not go on passing judgment before the time, but wait until the Lord comes who will both bring to light the things hidden in the darkness and disclose the motives of men's hearts; and then each man's praise will come to him from God. [1 Corinthians 4:4-5 NASB]

Unfortunately many Christians, draw the conclusion that since all our sins have been forgiven, our works cannot possibly be considered at the judgment Seat of Christ.. Not true according to I Corinthians 3:9-13.  Apparently there are those that will make it to heaven, but who have earned little or no additional rewards. The Bema judgment of Christ, will take place for the specific purpose of judging the quality of every Christian's work and deeds.

    Now he who plants and he who waters are one; but each will receive his own reward according to his own labor. For we are God's fellow workers; you are God's field, God's building. According to the grace of God which was given to me, like a wise master builder I laid a foundation, and another is building on it. But each man must be careful how he builds on it. For no man can lay a foundation other than the one which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if any man builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, each man's work will become evident; for the day will show it because it is to be revealed with fire, and the fire itself will test the quality of each man's work. If any man's work which he has built on it remains, he will receive a reward. If any man's work is burned up, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire. [1 Corinthians 3:8-15 NASB]

The truth is that while faith and motives/character are tremendously important, they are useless unless manifested in "good works".  I do not believe that any of the New Testament authors had as much to say on the subject, or with as much emphasis, as James the brother of our Lord and the head of the Jerusalem church.

    What use is it, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but he has no works (ergon)? Can that faith save him? If a brother or sister is without clothing and in need of daily food, and one of you says to them, "Go in peace, be warmed and be filled," and yet you do not give them what is necessary for their body, what use is that? Even so faith, if it has no works (ergon), is dead, being by itself. But someone may well say, "You have faith and I have works (ergon); show me your faith without the works (ergon), and I will show you my faith by my works (ergon)." You believe that God is one. You do well; the demons also believe, and shudder. But are you willing to recognize, you foolish fellow, that faith without works (ergon) is useless? [James 2:14-20 NASB]

Therefore, do not be misled by Warren's slightly lop-sided emphasis on a person's character and motives.

    "Much confusion in the Christian life comes from ignoring the simple truth that God is far more interested in building your character than he is anything else ... God is far more interested in what you are than in what you do" (Pg. 177).

    "God is always more interested in why we do something than in what we do. Attitudes count more than achievements. Real servants serve God with a mindset of five attitudes." (Pg. 265 Emphasis Added).

The tragedy is that so much emphasis has been placed on "sincerity" and "motive" that should one believer dare to compare another's beliefs and practices with the Bible, it would not be surprising for them to hear the second believer say something to the effect of "I am sincere, and that is all that matters to God", or "Don't judge me.. you don't know my heart". This, of course, in addition to believer A being labeled "legalistic", "judgmental", "divisive", and/or "unloving".

[Also See The Bema or Judgment Seat of Christ  and  Rewards in Heaven]

Doctrinal Views
When Rick Warren says, "God won't ask about your religious background or doctrinal views", in one respect he is right. God wont ask about your "doctrinal views", because they will be self evident. Doctrine and practice are, for the most part, inseparable. In most cases, what a person believes (doctrine) determines what they do (practice). To put it another way... what a person does (practice) shows what they really believe (doctrine). Therefore, it is doctrine that determines the deeds or actions by which we will be judged.

Sadly, the word "doctrine" has become associated with stuffy and suffocating pages and pages of rules and laws designed to severely limit, if not completely take away all people's freedom. This is far from the truth. The word "doctrine" comes from from the Latin doctrina, which simply means instruction or teaching. Doctrine is simply what a person or organization believes and teaches, therefore doctrine can be true or false. The Church is built upon sound doctrine in the form of the teachings of the apostles and prophets.

    So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints, and are of God's household, having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus Himself being the corner stone, [Ephesians 2:19-20 NASB]

Considering the many New Testament warnings about sound doctrine, one has to wonder whether those Christians who treat doctrine as minimally important actually read their Bibles, which tells us that "sound doctrine', which conforms to godliness, nourishes faith and ensures salvation. Purity of doctrine is emphasized, and those that do not agree are called conceited and ignorant. In 1 Timothy 4:6-7 below, sound doctrine is contrasted with "worldly fables" and the people who contradict it are to be refuted [Titus 1:9]

    As I urged you upon my departure for Macedonia, remain on at Ephesus so that you may instruct certain men not to teach strange doctrines, [1 Timothy 1:3 NASB]

    realizing the fact that law is not made for a righteous person, but for those who are lawless and rebellious, for the ungodly and sinners, for the unholy and profane, for those who kill their fathers or mothers, for murderers and immoral men and homosexuals and kidnappers and liars and perjurers, and whatever else is contrary to sound teaching, [1 Timothy 1:9-10 NASB]

    In pointing out these things to the brethren, you will be a good servant of Christ Jesus, constantly nourished on the words of the faith and of the sound doctrine which you have been following. But have nothing to do with worldly fables fit only for old women. On the other hand, discipline yourself for the purpose of godliness; [1 Timothy 4:6-7 NASB]

    holding fast the faithful word which is in accordance with the teaching, so that he will be able both to exhort in sound doctrine and to refute those who contradict. [Titus 1:9 NASB]

All the apostles took an extremely strong stand against false doctrine (Paul going as far as to say that anyone who preaches a different one is cursed), because he, and the others well knew that, unless repented of and forsaken, false doctrines will damn even a so called, believing Christian's soul to hell. One word that Peter used to speak of the fate of those who introduce heresies, is extremely telling. He said..

    But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will also be false teachers among you, who will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing swift destruction (apoleia) upon themselves. Many will follow their sensuality, and because of them the way of the truth will be maligned; and in their greed they will exploit you with false words; their judgment from long ago is not idle, and their destruction (apoleia) is not asleep. [2 Peter 2:1-3 NASB]

The Greek word apoleia, translated destruction, is derived from apollumi, which means to be fully destroyed, or die.

False doctrine can, and will, destroy you.

Theology and Doctrine
: In part, thanks to apostate, so called "Christian" leaders, all too many Christians seem to be under the impression that "theology" and "doctrine" are of minimal importance. The two words are not only widely misunderstood, but brushed aside by Christians, some of whom believe that theology and doctrine have little relevance to their religious life and practice. Other seem to think that these five dollar words are best left to those who have spent years poring over dusty tomes, or spent at least a year or two in in the halls of academia, and have a string of letters after their names. Perhaps the words "theology" and "doctrine" gets Christians on the defensive, because they have been taught to believe that their faith must be based in the heart, therefore all that is important will be "experienced". Or perhaps they want no challenges to their shallow 'easy Christianity', which requires no intellectual effort, and allows people to coast along, never being stretched, or using their God given brains. The fact is that both theology and doctrine are crucial to authentic Christian faith. [See Theology and Doctrine]

Chapter/Day 4... Made to Last Forever.
On this day, Rick Warren not only brings up eternity... a very important topic, but he makes some very good points. For instance, as he says, If this life is all there is then people may as well live it up while they have the opportunity. And without any eternal consequences, you could pretty much indulge yourself to your hearts content (Pg. 38). He also rightly says that the only time people really think about eternity is at funerals, and that too in a very shallow, sentimental way. As he says "it is "unhealthy to live in denial of death and not consider what is inevitable" [Ecclesiastes 7:2 CEV]

However, I am afraid that his words... "at most, believers will spend a hundred years on earth, but will spend forever in eternity" (Pg. 36) conveys  the impression that eternity will be spent in a heaven that is somewhere removed from the earth. This is not the case.

Scripture is very clear that eternity will be spent, not floating around on clouds strumming harps, but on what the Bible calls the "new Earth". Unless we understand exactly what God has in store for us, how can we convince believers that "heaven" is not some pie-in-the-sky fantasy place out there, but a real, vibrant, rich world. The same world He built and called "good" (before we messed it up, of course).

This idea of an ethereal heaven makes absolutely no sense whatsoever in view of the fact that God's promise to give Abraham an entire country for an everlasting possession, is one of the most solemn declarations He ever made.

    "And I will establish my covenant between me and you and your descendants after you in their generations to be a God to you and your seed after you. And I will give to you, and to your seed after you, the land in which you are a stranger-all the land of Canaan for an everlasting possession" (Genesis 17: 7- 8).

Besides which, Abraham physically lived in a geographical location on earth, which was designated as his future inheritance, However, as the book of Hebrews makes perfectly clear, he never actually owned that land, therefore the land of Canaan can not be considered as a 'type' of a celestial heaven. If it is, then we are in big trouble, since Abraham lived there as an alien. The Greek word paroikeo, translated sojourner in the NASB, means to reside as a foreigner, or to be a stranger.

    By faith Abraham, when he was called, obeyed to go out unto a place which he was to receive for an inheritance; and he went out, not knowing whither he went. By faith he became a sojourner (Gk. paroikeo) in the land of promise, as in a land not his own, dwelling in tents, with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise: for he looked for the city which hath the foundations, whose builder and maker is God. [Hebrews 11:8-10]

Yet, God's words were unambiguous... the physical land in which Abraham lived as a foreigner, forever belongs to him and his descendants. However, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, are all dead, so unless the God of the universe was joking or lying, the only way for this promise to be fulfilled is at the bodily resurrection of believers when Abraham will rise from the dead to receive the land God promised him. 

Besides which, The land was not the only promise God made to Abraham. In fact, it was one of three interconnected and inseparable promises made in the first three verses of Genesis 12. God also promised to make Abraham's descendants into a great nation, and most importantly of all, promised that "in him" all the families of the earth would be blessed, which was the promise of the Messiah.

    Now the LORD said to Abram, "Go forth from your country, And from your relatives And from your father's house, To the land which I will show you; And I will make you a great nation, And I will bless you, And make your name great; And so you shall be a blessing; And I will bless those who bless you, And the one who curses you I will curse. And in you all the families of the earth will be blessed." [Genesis 12:1-3 NASB]

Since the promises that Abraham's descendants would be made into a "great nation", and that  "in him" all the families of the earth would be blessed have both been literally fulfilled, why do we understand the promise of the "land" to be a type of a heaven to come, and not be literally fulfilled as well?

The prophet Amos emphasized Israel's regathering to the land she had been given...

    And I will bring back the captivity of my people Israel, and they shall build the waste cities, and inhabit them; and they shall plant vineyards, and drink the wine thereof; they shall also make gardens, and eat the fruit of them. And I will plant them upon their land, and they shall no more be plucked up out of their land which I have given them, saith the Lord thy God. [Amos 9:11-15]

A simple reading tells us that Jesus was, more than likely, referring to simple geographic directions when He said...

    "...many will come from the east and the west, and will take their places at the feast with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and all the prophets in the Kingdom of God" (Matthew 8:11 and Luke 13:28, 29).

Hebrews 13:14:

In short, we don't go up anywhere, since Heaven will be right here on earth. While there is no question that this ethereal "heaven".. somewhere out there... is a common mis-teaching in the church, once again, Rick Warren's use of a faulty paraphrase is, in this case, partly to blame. He quotes Hebrews 13:14 from The Living Bible

    "This world is not our home; we are looking forward to our everlasting home in heaven." [Hebrews 13:14]

More accurate translations of Hebrews 13:14 say

    For here we do not have a lasting city (Gk. polis) , but we are seeking the city which is to come. [Hebrews 13:14 NASB]

    For here have we no continuing city (Gk. polis), but we seek one to come. [Hebrews 13:14 KJV]

The author of Hebrews uses the same Greek word, polis, more than once in connection with Abraham and the coming kingdom

    By faith Abraham, when he was called, obeyed to go out unto a place which he was to receive for an inheritance; and he went out, not knowing whither he went. By faith he became a sojourner in the land of promise, as in a land not his own, dwelling in tents, with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise: for he looked for the city (Gk. polis) which hath the foundations, whose builder and maker is God. [Hebrews 11:8-10]

    These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them and greeted them from afar, and having confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth. For they that say such thing make it manifest that they are seeking after a country of their own. And if indeed they had been mindful of that country from which they went out, they would have had opportunity to return. But now they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly: wherefore God is not ashamed of them, to be called their God; for he hath prepared for them a city (Gk. polis). [Hebrews 11:13-16]

While it is certain that Abraham expected to have a permanent inheritance, and his faith looked beyond the possession of the promised land, to a permanent home in a future world, it is unlikely that he knew that there would be a capital city from which the Messiah would personally reign. However, by using the Greek word polis, translated "city", the author of Hebrews "imports into the patriarchal faith the contents of a later and more developed faith - that of himself and his readers" (Vincent's word studies). In the over 160 uses of this word in the New Testament, I do not believe there is a single instance when polis is used as anything other than a literal city. For example

    And he entered into a boat, and crossed over, and came into his own city (Gk. polis) . [Matthew 9:1]

    But the king was wroth; and he sent his armies, and destroyed those murderers, and burned their city (Gk. polis). [Matthew 22:7]

    for I am with thee, and no man shall set on thee to harm thee: for I have much people in this city (Gk. polis). [Acts 18:10]

    Come now, ye that say, To-day or to-morrow we will go into this city (Gk. polis), and spend a year there, and trade, and get gain: [James 4:13]

    For this cause left I thee in Crete, that thou shouldest set in order the things that were wanting, and appoint elders in every city (Gk. polis), as I gave thee charge; [Titus 1:5]

In other words when the author of Hebrews said the foundations of the city are built by God, he was referring to a real city, prepared by God for the faithful.

See  What and Where is Heaven?   and   The Rapture

Chapter/Day 5... Seeing Life From God's View
In this chapter, Rick Warren's opening thought is how important a person's perspective is, since that is the determining factor in shaping their lives, and influencing how they will invest their time, spend their money, use their talents, and value their relationships. The chapter is headed by a quote from Anais Nin, a writer of female erotica. [DETAILS]

Then, under thesubheading of Life Is A Test (Pg. 43), Rick Warren says "a very important test is how a person acts when they cannot feel God's presence in their lives. He uses, as an example, God's withdrawal from King Hezekiah to test his character

    "God withdrew from Hezekiah in order to test (nâsâh) him and to see what was in his heart.” (2 Chronicles 32:31 NLT)

The Hebrew word nâsâh does mean "test" as the following examples show.

    Now it came about after these things, that God tested (nâsâh) Abraham, and said to him, "Abraham!" And he said, "Here I am." [Genesis 22:1 NASB]

    Then the LORD said to Moses, "Behold, I will rain bread from heaven for you; and the people shall go out and gather a day's portion every day, that I may test (nâsâh) them, whether or not they will walk in My instruction. [Exodus 16:4 NASB]

    Then Gideon said to God, "Do not let Your anger burn against me that I may speak once more; please let me make a test (nâsâh) once more with the fleece, let it now be dry only on the fleece, and let there be dew on all the ground." [Judges 6:39 NASB]

Continuing the theme, Rick Warren goes on to say "the good news is that God wants us to pass these tests of life, so he never allows the tests you face to be greater than the grace he gives you to handle them;

    God keeps his promise, and he will never allow you to be tested beyond your power to remain firm; at the time you are put to the test, he will give you the strength to endure it, and so provide you with a way out.” (1 Corinthians 10:13. TEV) [Pg. 44]

The NASB and the KJV both use the words tempt, instead of test [All Emphasis Added]

    No temptation (peirasmos) has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted (peirazo) beyond what you are able, but with the temptation (peirasmos) will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it. [1 Corinthians 10:13 NASB]

    There hath no temptation (peirasmos) taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted (peirazo) above that ye are able; but will with the temptation (peirasmos) also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it. [1 Corinthians 10:13 KJV]

It is sometimes difficult to know whether either word is more 'right' than the other, since the Greek word (peirazo) can be translated as both tested and tempted. And, in a sense, every temptation is a test, and every test is a temptation (For examples of how the word is used both ways. [See Footnote II].

Different Paraphrases of The Same Verse
However, on day 27, in the header of the chapter Defeating Temptation, Rick Warren once again cites 1 Corinthians 10:13 but, this time, uses the New Living Translation, which translates peirazo into tempt. In many cases, there can be legitimate disagreements about whether peirazo should be translated into test or tempt in any given verse, but, just to make his point, Rick Warren uses two different versions of a single verse, each of which translates the same word differently ... The NLT uses the word tempted, therefore Warren uses that translation as a header to his chapter on temptation. But when he is talking about being tested, Warren uses the TEV version, which fits into his theme. [All Emphasis Added]

    But remember that the temptations that come into your life are no different from what others experience. And God is faithful. He will keep the temptation from becoming so strong that you can't stand up against it. When you are tempted, he will show you a way out so that you will not give in to it. [1 Corinthians 10:13. NLT] (Pg. 209)

    God keeps his promise, and he will never allow you to be tested beyond your power to remain firm; at the time you are put to the test, he will give you the strength to endure it, and so provide you with a way out.” (1 Corinthians 10:13. TEV) [Pg. 44]

I cannot see this as anything but a gross manipulation of the Scriptures.

However, if read in context, it becomes apparent that, in this verse, the English word better suited to the situation, is "tempt". The people were tempted by the daughters of Moab.

The verses immediately preceding 1 Corinthians 10:13 were about the incident related in the book of Numbers (ch. 25) when the people began to play the harlot with the daughters of Moab, bowing to their gods. As a result the leaders were executed and a plague ran rampant through the congregation, killing thousands. Paul writes that "these things happened as examples for us, so that we would not crave evil things as they also craved". [Vs. 6], and warned his readers not to  "act immorally, as some of them did, and twenty-three thousand fell in one day". [Vs. 8]

1 Corinthians 4:7:
Under the subheading Life Is A Trust, Rick Warren quotes Genesis 1:28, and rightly says

    the first job God gave humans was to take care of Gods "stuff" on earth. This role has never been rescinded. It is a part of our purpose today. Everything we enjoy is to be treated as a trust that God has placed in our hands [Pg.44. Emphasis in original]

However, he then quotes the NLT's version of 1 Corinthians 4:7b, to add weight to his point.

    What do you have that God hasn't given you? And if all you have is from God, why boast as though you have accomplished something on your own? [1 Corinthians 4:7b. NLT]

The problem is that in 1 Corinthians 4:7 Paul was not talking about our responsibility to take care of God's "stuff", but was reproving the Corinthians, a strife ridden, quarrelsome, divided church [1 Corinthians 3:3]. Each boasted of who they had been converted or baptized by (Paul, Peter, or Apollos) when, as Paul told them, he and all the other apostles were only instruments which God used to bring them to the knowledge of the truth. Even the apostles work of sowing, and watering the seed, was of little use unless God gave the increase, Vs. 5-8, and they did not need to glory in men (Vs. 21-22)

The theme is continued in the beginning verses of chapter 4, in which Paul goes on to tell the Corinthians "not to think of men above that which is written, that no one of you be puffed up for one against another", because all that they possessed had been given of God, through one of the apostles who first preached the Gospel at Corinth. They themselves had no room to boast.

1 Corinthians 4:7 has absolutely nothing to do with us being caretakers of God's property (although we are), but the misplaced partisanship that the Corinthians were demonstrating.

Chapter/Day 7... The Reason For Everything
Proverbs 16:4:
The chapter begins with what is marked as a quote from Proverbs 16:4 It says "The LORD has made everything for its own purpose". A passage that, at first glance, seems to back Warren's idea that everyone is created with a specific end in mind. However, this is only half of the verse, which actually reads

    "The LORD has made everything for its own purpose, Even the wicked for the day of evil." Proverbs 16:4 (NASB)

Taken at face value, the second half of the verse, which apparently says the wicked are explicitly created for the day of destruction, actually contradicts Rick Warren's teaching that everyone could have a meaningful life if they only take the time, and make the effort, to find out what God's purpose for them is. If we were to take the English translation of Proverbs 16:4 at face value, I would be willing to bet that many people would not really want to find out that God's purpose for them is destruction.

Most translations render this verse is almost exactly the same way...

    The Lord.... has made all things for himself [KJV], has made everything for its own purpose [NASB], works out everything for his own ends [NIV], has made everything for its purpose [ESV]

However, a closer examination of the original words paints a very different picture. The Hebrew word used in verse 4 is ma’aneh, the literal meaning of which is an answer or response, which is why I cannot figure out why it has been translated "purpose" or "end". Although the word ma’aneh is used only 8 times in the Old Testament, it's meaning becomes clear if one pays attention to how it has been used in other verses. Please note that, in six instances, ma’aneh has been translated "answer" or "response". For example...

    And his anger burned against his three friends because they had found no answer (ma’aneh), and yet had condemned Job. Now Elihu had waited to speak to Job because they were years older than he. And when Elihu saw that there was no answer (ma’aneh) in the mouth of the three men his anger burned. [Job 32:3-5 NASB]

    A gentle answer (ma’aneh) turns away wrath, But a harsh word stirs up anger. [Proverbs 15:1 NASB]

    The seers will be ashamed and the diviners will be embarrassed. Indeed, they will all cover their mouths Because there is no answer (ma’aneh) from God. [Micah 3:7 NASB]

This makes me wonder whether a Calvinist pre-bias influenced the translation of Proverbs 16:4, which should read something like... The LORD has made everything to give an answer to Himself, which fits the immediate context.

    [2] All the ways of a man are clean in his own sight, But the LORD weighs the motives. [3]  Commit your works to the LORD And your plans will be established. [4]  The LORD has made everything to give an answer to Himself, even the wicked on the day of evil.  [5] Everyone who is proud in heart is an abomination to the LORD; Assuredly, he will not be unpunished.  [6] By lovingkindness and truth iniquity is atoned for, And by the fear of the LORD one keeps away from evil.  [7] When a man's ways are pleasing to the LORD, He makes even his enemies to be at peace with him. [Proverbs 16:2-7 NASB]

Verse 2 says man's ways seem innocent to him, but the Lord weighs his motives. Verse 3, entreats people to choose to commit their works to the Lord, which would be an impossible task if man could not choose to be do so. Verse 4, says that everyone, including (especially?) the wicked, is responsible for what they do, and will give an account of themselves to the Lord; Verse 5 says the proud are an "abomination" to the Lord and will not go unpunished (not because they were created to remain that way, but because they do not choose to change).

The Salvation Message
The first section of The Purpose Driven life is entitled "What On Earth Am I Here For", and is made up of 7 chapters. The first six seem to lead up to the seventh, which contains one of the most dumbed down versions of the Gospel message that I have ever had the misfortune to come across. In this chapter, non-believing readers are led to commit themselves completely to Jesus Christ [Pg. 58]. To this end, Warren invites the reader to pray a prayer that will change their eternity.

     "Jesus, I believe in you, and I receive you”.

Warren then says "If you sincerely meant that prayer, congratulations! Welcome to the family of God!”

That's it!

According to Rick Warren's theology that prayer is sufficient to make you a member of "the family of God". Left by the wayside are the Bible's teaching on sin, repentance, the Cross, and the wrath of God. Bereft of any mention of any mention of these subjects, Rick Warren's prayer cannot, by any stretch of the imagination, be considered the Gospel message.

Please see The Purpose-Driven Life's Target Audience for details, and links to these very crucial subjects.

Chapter/Day 8...Planned For God's Pleasure

Psalms 147:11
Under the sub heading Bringing Pleasure To God Is Called "worship", Warren quotes the CEV's version of Psalms 147:11.

    "The Lord is pleased only with those who worship him and trust his love"

 Not so! The word used is the Hebrew yârę, which means "fear", and is usually translated so.

    He will fulfill the desire of those who fear (yârę) Him; He will also hear their cry and will save them. [Psalms 145:19 NASB]

    "But for you who fear (yârę) My name, the sun of righteousness will rise with healing in its wings; and you will go forth and skip about like calves from the stall. [Malachi 4:2 NASB]

The Hebrew word for worship is shâchâh, which is used over 200 times in the Old Testament.

John 4:23
Rick Warren then goes on to talk about how anthropologists have noted that "worship is a universal urge, hard-wired by God into the very fiber of our being". He then goes on to say "the reason God made us with this desire is that he desires worshipers! Jesus said "The Father seeks worshipers" [John 4:23]

Interestingly, no particular Bible version has been designated as the source of this quote. However, I cannot find one that says "The Father seeks worshipers" All Emphasis added to the quotes below.

    "But an hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for such people the Father seeks to be His worshipers. [NASB. New American Standard Bible ]

    But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshipers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him [KJV. King James Bible]

    Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. [NIV. New International Version]

    But the time is coming--indeed it's here now--when true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and in truth. The Father is looking for those who will worship him that way. [NLT. New Living Translation]

    But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship him. [ESV. English Standard V ersion]

    but, there cometh an hour, and it now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father also doth seek such to worship him; [John 4:23 YLT Young's Literal Translation]

In John 4, Jesus was talking to a Samaritan woman. The Samaritans differed from the Jews in several key ways. They had built their own temple on Mount Gerizim, believed their line of priests were legitimate, and accepted only the Pentateuch as authoritative (the Prophets and Writings were not considered divinely inspired). Jesus' words were in reply to a question the woman posed when she said... [All Emphasis Added]

    "Sir, I perceive that You are a prophet. "Our fathers worshiped in this mountain, and you people say that in Jerusalem is the place where men ought to worship."

Jesus' reply was

    "Woman, believe Me, an hour is coming when neither in this mountain nor in Jerusalem will you worship the Father. "You worship what you do not know; we worship what we know, for salvation is from the Jews. "But an hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for such people the Father seeks to be His worshipers. [John 4:19-23 NASB]

In other words, the hour was coming when the place would not matter, as long as worship was conducted in the right spirit.... that is through the ministry of the Holy Spirit, who facilitates spiritual worship. He added that men cannot worship God any way they choose (as the Samaritans did). Men can only worship God in truth.... in accordance with what He has divinely revealed in His Word.

And worshipers who meet these two criteria are the only kind of worshiper God seeks. The Father is not seeking worshipers, but a particular kind of worshiper.

Worship and Music
In his book, The Purpose Driven Church, Rick Warren says

    "We used classical, country, jazz, rock, reggae, easy listening, and even rap. The crowd never knew what was coming next. The result, we didn't please any body. Therefore we changed the music to one style, rock! We've often been referred to in the press as the church that likes to rock! We use the style that the majority of the people in our church like to listen to on the radio". (Page 285)

    "Saddleback now has a complete pop/rock orchestra". (Page 290)

While I agree that "Worship has nothing to do with the style or volume or speed of a song", one has to bear in mind that the very term Rock and Roll was first used in 1951 by Alan Freed, a Cleveland disc jockey. It came from the song "My Baby Rocks Me with a Steady Roll", referring to sex.  Besides which ... no other form of music so openly and flagrantly promotes evil. Album covers and Rock associated paraphernalia show clear links with the occult being liberally festooned with Satanic symbols. Only Rock lampoons of every aspect of Christ's life and ministry. Many of the lyrics openly denounce Christianity and present the devil as the answer while promoting violence, sex, suicide, rebellion and drugs.

It seems to me that any church would want to distance themselves from "rock".... both the name and the style. To say that.

    God loves all kinds of music because he invented it all – fast and slow, loud and soft, old and new. You probably don't like it all, but God does! If it is offered to God in spirit and in truth, it is an act of worship. [Pg. 65]

is an effort to fault people who do not like the loud music at Saddleback. Music may have been a gift from God, but He quite definitely did not invent "all kinds of music".

Additionally Rock music can and does have an tremendous effects on the human, something Rick Warren seems to realize when he says

    "We have attracted thousands more because of our music". (The Purpose Driven Church Page 285)

     "I sometimes wonder how many more people we might have reached in our early years if we'd had MIDI- quality music in our services". (The Purpose Driven Church Page 290)

What exactly do people come to Saddle back for and, more importantly, what do they stay for? See Section On Rock Music

Worship with "Reverence and Awe"
The book of Hebrews says

    Therefore, since we receive a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us show gratitude, by which we may offer to God an acceptable service [latreuo] with reverence and awe; for our God is a consuming fire. [Hebrews 12:28-29 NASB]

The Greek word latreuo means "to minister (to God), "render religious homage" or "worship".

In other words, the author of Hebrews was telling his reader that God was to be worshipped with "reverence and awe". (The King James uses the word "godly fear" in place of awe). However, he then adds an overtone of warning in the very next verse when he says "our God is a consuming fire". This was taken from Deuteronomy 4:24 in which Moses used exactly the same phrase after warning the people against idolatry.

That the author of the book of Hebrews should put this verse immediately after he speaks about worship should set off a few alarm bells in the heads of those who make the connection. Hebrews is not suggesting we worship with reverence and awe, it is warning us to do so. God was a consuming fire in the days of Moses and He is a consuming fire now, who will once more shake not only the earth, but also the Heavens.

Perhaps there should be much less emphasis on what people want and like, and far more on what is acceptable to God.

Day/Chapter 9. What Makes God Smile?

Chapter nine is about the person who supposedly makes God smile.

Genesis 6:8:
According to Warren

    God was so disgusted with the human race that he considered wiping it out. "But there was one man who made God smile. The Bible says "Noah was a pleasure to the Lord". God said, "This man brings me pleasure. He makes me smile. I'll start over with his family". [Pg. 69]

However, this is the Living Bible's version of this verse in Genesis. Word for word translations render it a little differently..

    But Noah found favor (chęn) in the eyes of the LORD. [Genesis 6:8 NASB]

    But Noah found grace (chęn) in the eyes of the LORD. [Genesis 6:8 KJV]

The KJV translated the Hebrew word chęn into grace, rather than favor as does the NASB. However, the word grace means unmerited mercy or clemency, whereas favor means to be pleased with; to regard with approval. Favor, not grace, is the word supported by the context, because the very next verse tells us why Noah found favor in the eyes of the Lord.

    These are the records of the generations of Noah. Noah was a righteous man, blameless in his time; Noah walked with God. [Genesis 6:9 NASB]

Very simply, Noah was a righteous man, living in a time when, as verse 5 says, "Thee wickedness of man was great on the earth", and "every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually". Noah and his family were spared because he was blameless. But the fact that Noah found favor in God's eyes cannot be expanded to mean he "made God smile".

As an aside, Scripture very clearly tells us that there were always some righteous people who sought the Lord (as did Ruth) and also found favor in His eyes. For example

    The Lord was with Joseph, so he became a successful man. And he was in the house of his master, the Egyptian. Now his master saw that the Lord was with him and how the Lord caused all that he did to prosper in his hand. So Joseph found favor in his sight and became his personal servant; and he made him overseer over his house, and all that he owned he put in his charge. [Genesis 39:2-4 NASB]

    Then she fell on her face, bowing to the ground and said to him, "Why have I found favor in your sight that you should take notice of me, since I am a foreigner?" Boaz replied to her, "All that you have done for your mother-in-law after the death of your husband has been fully reported to me, and how you left your father and your mother and the land of your birth, and came to a people that you did not previously know. "May the LORD reward your work, and your wages be full from the LORD, the God of Israel, under whose wings you have come to seek refuge." [Ruth 2:10-12 NASB]

The first four verses of Psalm 36 provide a general description of human depravity, while verses 5-10 speak of the mercy of God and those who take refuge in the shadow of His wings

    How precious is Your lovingkindness, O God! And the children of men take refuge in the shadow of Your wings. They drink their fill of the abundance of Your house; And You give them to drink of the river of Your delights. [Psalm 36:7-8 NASB]

    None That Seeketh?
    Romans 3:11-18 is often quoted to bolster the claims of universal depravity / that no one ever seeks after God. However if one examines the source of Paul’s quotes a very different picture emerges. The Psalms in question do not show that righteous people have never lived but, on the contrary, often spoke of God’s protection and favor towards the virtuous people of that day. What then could Paul have meant? How could he possibly say that it is of no profit for men to live righteously when innumerable verses say just the opposite? Why did he present one side of the coin and ignore the verses that speak of God’s support and favor for those who feared Him? Actually he didn’t...


Day/Chapter 10. The Heart of Worship
It is more than interesting to note how Rick Warren uses two different versions of Scripture in the same paragraph. Under the sub heading the blessing of surrender (p. 82) , he says this

    "The Bible is crystal clear about how you benefit when you fully surrender your life to God. First you experience peace: "Stop quarreling with God! If you agree with him, you will have peace at last, and things will go well for you." (Job 22:21 NLT). Next, you experience freedom: Offer yourselves to the ways of God and the freedom never quits…. [his] commands set you free to live openly in freedom! (Romans 6:17. MSG)

Job 22:21"
The problem is that the quote from Job was a statement made by Eliphaz the Temanite, one of three friends who sought to console Job. With increasing severity Eliphaz reproved Job for his attempts to establish his innocence. He accused him of various sins, and said that it was because of these iniquities that Job was suffering so horribly. However, in the epilogue, Eliphaz and the other two friends were rebuked by God for not speaking right of Him.

    It came about after the LORD had spoken these words to Job, that the LORD said to Eliphaz the Temanite, "My wrath is kindled against you and against your two friends, because you have not spoken of Me what is right as My servant Job has. "Now therefore, take for yourselves seven bulls and seven rams, and go to My servant Job, and offer up a burnt offering for yourselves, and My servant Job will pray for you. For I will accept him so that I may not do with you according to your folly, because you have not spoken of Me what is right, as My servant Job has." [Job 42:7-8 NASB]

Eliphaz's advice to Job was obviously wrong. Therefore to use his words as a proof text for how to find peace with God constitutes an extremely careless handling of Scripture. 

Romans 6:17:
Warren next says that people who surrender to God will experience freedom. He offers up The Message’s rendering of Romans 6:17 to support his claim.

    Offer yourselves to the ways of God and the freedom never quits…. [his] commands set you free to live openly in freedom!

It is true that we have been set free in Christ, but what kind of freedom is Paul referring to? Read the verse both in context, and from a more accurate version.

    But thanks be to God that though you were slaves of sin, you became obedient from the heart to that form of teaching to which you were committed, and having been freed from sin, you became slaves of righteousness. [Romans 6:17-18 NASB]

Paul is here speaking about freedom from sin and the hold it has on every person. And that, under grace, the Christian acquires another master, and becomes a slave to righteousness.

CONTINUE ON TO PART IV ... Some Of The Problems in Chapters 11-20.


End Notes
[16] How To Find Yourself. http://www.howtofindyourself.net/how-to-find-yourself

[17] David Kroll. Commentary On "The Purpose Driven Life" 

Footnote I:
Ephesians 1:11-13 says

    In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestined according to the purpose of Him who works all things according to the counsel of His will, (V.12) so that we should be to the praise of His glory, we who first trusted in Christ; in whom also you, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; (V. 13) in whom also, having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise.

These verses are often taken as a ‘proof text’ for Predestination. [For More information on Predestination See THIS Page]. However a close reading shows exactly the opposite. There is a distinct difference made between the ‘we’ of verse 11 and the ‘you’ of verse 13. Many commentators suppose that by the word “we” the Jews particularly are intended. Others believe the reference may be to the apostle and his fellow-laborers, which seems to be the correct interpretation in view of Paul saying that the ‘we’ are the ones “who first trusted in Christ”. [Emphasis Added]

So the apostles and disciples were “predestined according to the purpose of Him” simply shows that they were predestined to a large part in the God’s overall plan, since God already knew (Before the foundations of time) what they would do. This is further exemplified in verse 13 where Paul switches to ‘you’ (the Ephesians or, possibly, the Laodiceans) and says AFTER they believed they were "sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise". [PLACE IN TEXT]

Footnote II
Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted (peirazo) by the devil. [Matthew 4:1 NASB]

    The Pharisees and Sadducees came up, and testing (peirazo) Jesus, they asked Him to show them a sign from heaven. [Matthew 16:1 NASB]

    The wife does not have authority over her own body, but the husband does; and likewise also the husband does not have authority over his own body, but the wife does. Stop depriving one another, except by agreement for a time, so that you may devote yourselves to prayer, and come together again so that Satan will not tempt (peirazo) you because of your lack of self-control. [1 Corinthians 7:4-5 NASB]

    Test (peirazo) yourselves to see if you are in the faith; examine yourselves! Or do you not recognize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you--unless indeed you fail the test? [2 Corinthians 13:5 NASB]

    'Do not fear what you are about to suffer. Behold, the devil is about to cast some of you into prison, so that you will be tested (peirazo) , and you will have tribulation for ten days. Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life. [Revelation 2:10 NASB]

Also to be borne is mind is the fact that, as James tells us, God does not tempt anyone. Since there are several Biblical examples of God testing people, the word is in this case, rightly translated tempt.

    Let no one say when he is tempted (peirazo), "I am being tempted (peirazo) by God"; for God cannot be tempted (apeirastos) by evil, and He Himself does not tempt (peirazo) anyone. But each one is tempted (peirazo) when he is carried away and enticed by his own lust. [James 1:13-14 NASB] [PLACE IN TEXT]

Index To The Purpose Driven Life