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The Purpose Driven Life

Part IV... Chapters 11-20.

Carol Brooks

Also See Section on The Church Growth Movement

INDEX TO ALL SEVEN SECTIONS

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.

PART III... Some of the problems in Chapters 1-10

    You Are Here 001orange PART IV... Chapters 11-20. Chapter 21(unity at all cost) and Saddleback’s Member Covenant

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

Part VI... 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 VII... Summary and Conclusion. What you will find in PDL... 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."

Autumn-Bar 


Day/Chapter 11... Becoming Best Friends With God
In this chapter, Rick Warren begins by telling readers that more than anything else, God wants to be our friend, that "we were made to live in God's continual presence,” [Pg. 85]. He teaches that, in the Garden of Eden, "Adam and Eve enjoyed an intimate relationship with God... but after the Fall that ideal relationship was lost". Except for a few individuals who were actually considered friends with God "fear of God, not friendship, was more common in the Old Testament. That is, until the coming of Jesus, at who's death the veil of the temple was rent, "indicating that direct access to God was once again available". [Pgs. 85-86].

But is it entirely correct to say that Jesus' death and the symbolism of the temple veil indicated not only that we now can approach God anytime, but that God now invites us to enjoy "friendship" with Him? While it is true that, as Rick Warren mentions on page 86, Jesus told His disciples

    "You are My friends if you do what I command you. "No longer do I call you slaves, for the slave does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I have heard from My Father I have made known to you. [John 15:14-15 NASB]

It seems clear, in light of His very next words, that He was specifically speaking to His disciples, and His words did not necessarily apply to all Christians in every era.

    "You did not choose Me but I chose you, and appointed you that you would go and bear fruit, and that your fruit would remain, so that whatever you ask of the Father in My name He may give to you. ....Remember the word that I said to you, 'A slave is not greater than his master.' If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you; if they kept My word, they will keep yours also. [John 15:16, 20 NASB]


Romans 5:10-11:
This chapter is headed by a quote from the New Living Translation's version of Romans 5:10 [Pg. 85], and since verse 5:11 is quoted on the very next page, lets read both together. [All Emphasis Added]

    For since we were restored to friendship with God by the death of his Son while we were still his enemies, we will certainly be delivered from eternal punishment by his life. So now we can rejoice in our wonderful new relationship with God because our Lord Jesus Christ has made us friends of God. [Romans 5:10-11 NLT (New Living Translation)]

Reading a word for word translation of the above verses, does not convey exactly the same message [Emphasis Added]

    For if while we were enemies we were reconciled (katallasso) to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled (katallasso), we shall be saved by His life. And not only this, but we also exult in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received the reconciliation (katallage) . [Romans 5:10-11 NASB]

The Greek word used in the above quote is katallasso, defined by Strong's Lexicon as "to return to favor" [18]. Which is why katallasso has been translated into the English word reconcile, which means to reestablish a close relationship or make compatible. Without trying to put too fine a point on it, I do not believe that friendship, which can give the impression of familiarity, and an easy camaraderie, gives the sense of katallasso


2 Corinthians 5:18
Other than 1 Corinthians 7:11, which speaks of reconciling, or re-establishing, the relationship between husband and wife, katallasso is used only three other times in the New Testament, all instances found in the book of Corinthians. (katallage, a derivative is used twice in these verses).

    [18] Now all these things are from God, who reconciled (katallasso) us to Himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation (katallage), [19] namely, that God was in Christ reconciling (katallasso) the world to Himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and He has committed to us the word of reconciliation (katallage). [20] Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were making an appeal through us; we beg you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled (katallasso) to God. [2 Corinthians 5:18-20 NASB]

Yet, Rick Warren goes on to quote the TEV's version of 2 Corinthians 5:18 which also says "Christ changed us from enemies into friends", instead of God reconciled us to Himself through Christ

    Friendship with God is possible only by the grace of God and the sacrifice of Jesus. All this is done by God, who through Christ changed us from enemies into friends." [2 Corinthians 5:18a TEV. Today's English Version] [Pg. 86]

The Greek philos, found some 29 times in the New Testament, is the word most often translated friend. However, it is never used in connection with God

    "The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and they say, 'Behold, a gluttonous man and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners!' Yet wisdom is vindicated by her deeds." [Matthew 11:19 NASB]

    and the Scripture was fulfilled which says, "and Abraham believed god, and it was reckoned to him as righteousness," and he was called the friend of God. [James 2:23 NASB]


"Fear" of God?
The problem here is that the entire theme of this chapter resonates with today's popular version of God that is more along the lines of a benevolent grandfather/celestial-bellhop, rather than all powerful, all knowing, and all holy God. It emphasizes friendship with God, but says nary a word about the fear of God. In fact, Rick Warren says that "fear of God, not friendship, was more common in the Old Testament" [Pg. 86], which implies that under the new covenant, friendship with God is, or should be, more prevalent. However, the New Testament mentions the "fear" of God time and time again, using two related words a) phobeo: to frighten, to be alarmed; to be in awe of, revere: and b) phobos: be afraid, + exceedingly, fear, terror.

At it's most benign, phobeo means reverential fear. As seen in the first quote below, the Savior Himself warned men to fear the Father.

    "Do not fear those who kill the body but are unable to kill the soul; but rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell. [Matthew 10:28 NASB]

    "And his mercy is upon generation after generation toward those who fear Him. [Luke 1:50 NASB]

    Therefore, knowing the fear of the Lord, we persuade men, but we are made manifest to God; and I hope that we are made manifest also in your consciences. [2 Corinthians 5:11 NASB]

    Therefore, having these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all defilement of flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God. [2 Corinthians 7:1 NASB]

    and be subject to one another in the fear of Christ. [Ephesians 5:21 NASB]

    So then, my beloved, just as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your salvation with fear and trembling; [Philippians 2:12 NASB]

    Honor all people, love the brotherhood, fear God, honor the king. [1 Peter 2:17 NASB]

    "And the nations were enraged, and Your wrath came, and the time came for the dead to be judged, and the time to reward Your bond-servants the prophets and the saints and those who fear Your name, the small and the great, and to destroy those who destroy the earth." [Revelation 11:18 NASB]

    and he said with a loud voice, "Fear God, and give Him glory, because the hour of His judgment has come; worship Him who made the heaven and the earth and sea and springs of waters." [Revelation 14:7 NASB]


Exodus 34:14:

On page 86, Warren says

    That God would want me for a close friend is hard to understand, but the Bible says "He is a God who is passionate about his relationship with you". [Exodus 34:14 NLT]

But, once more, we need to turn to other, more accurate translations, to see what this verse in Exodus really says

    --for you shall not worship any other god, for the LORD, whose name is Jealous (qanna), is a jealous (qanna) God [Exodus 34:14 NASB]

    For thou shalt worship no other god: for the LORD, whose name is Jealous (qanna), is a jealous (qanna) God: [Exodus 34:14 KJV]

The Hebrew word qanna is used a total of six times in the Old Testament. In every single case, it is used in connection with a warning to the Israelites not to make for themselves any graven image but, instead to tear down the altars and smash the sacred pillars built by the inhabitants of the land they were going into. They were warned not to make a covenant with the inhabitants of the land lest they be invited to eat that which was sacrificed to the idols, or their sons be enticed by the daughters of the pagans, to "play the harlot" with their gods.

    "You shall have no other gods before Me. "You shall not make for yourself an idol, or any likeness of what is in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the water under the earth. "You shall not worship them or serve them; for I, the LORD your God, am a jealous (qanna) God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children, on the third and the fourth generations of those who hate Me, [Exodus 20:3-5 NASB]

    "So watch yourselves, that you do not forget the covenant of the LORD your God which He made with you, and make for yourselves a graven image in the form of anything against which the LORD your God has commanded you. "For the LORD your God is a consuming fire, a jealous (qanna) God. [Deuteronomy 4:23-24 NASB]

    'You shall not make for yourself an idol, or any likeness of what is in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the water under the earth. 'You shall not worship them or serve them; for I, the LORD your God, am a jealous (qanna) God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children, and on the third and the fourth generations of those who hate Me, [Deuteronomy 5:8-9 NASB]

In other words, the verse does not mean that God is "passionate" about His relationship with us, but that he is intolerant of disloyalty or infidelity. Note the explicit warning He gives the Jews.. that He will wipe them off the face of the earth should they worship other gods.
 

    "You shall not follow other gods, any of the gods of the peoples who surround you, for the LORD your God in the midst of you is a jealous (qanna) God; otherwise the anger of the LORD your God will be kindled against you, and He will wipe you off the face of the earth. [Deuteronomy 6:14-15 NASB]

There is a great deal more to be said about this chapter in which Rick Warren refers to a Catholic mystic called brother Lawrence, and so called "breath prayers" introduced by Richard Foster in 1982.  See Chapter VII on Warren's endorsements of Contemplative Prayer for details


Ephesians 4:5 and Shades of Pantheism
On Pg. 88 Rick Warren says "Adam and Eve were in constant communion with God. Because God is with you all the time, no place is any closer to God that the place where you are right now". He then quotes the second half of Ephesians 4:5 from The New Century Version.

    He rules everything and is everywhere and is in everything.

This verse can be a little confusing because the King James and the NASB differ inasmuch as one has included the Greek word for "you" (in bold below), and the other does not.

    one God and Father of all who is over all and through all and in all. [Ephesians 4:6 NASB]

    One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all. [Ephesians 4:6 KJV]

Obviously, the Greek manuscripts, on which the NASB is based, did not include the word "you". However, if the context is carefully examined, the word "you" is understood. That is, Paul was saying that the one God dwelt in all of them.

The Ephesian church was a Gentile church, and Paul's letter to them followed a very definite pattern. The first three chapters had to do with doctrine, followed by three chapter on practice. The second three chapters, or the 'how' are based on the 'why' of the first three.

    Ch. 1: Paul began this letter by 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 as the Jews.. and that it had always been God's intention to include the Gentiles in the plan of redemption.

    Ch. 2: He then details how the Ephesians were once separate from Christ, excluded from the commonwealth of Israel, without God, therefore with no hope. But they had been brought near by the blood of Christ, and no longer strangers and aliens, but members of God's household, and fellow citizens with the saints. It was Christ Jesus who had broken down the dividing wall, and made both groups into one.

    Ch 3: He then reiterates the fact that "the Gentiles are fellow heirs and fellow members of the body, and fellow partakers of the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel," and prays that God would give them spiritual strength and enable them to comprehend the immeasurable extent of God love.

Note how much of the first three chapters is devoted to unity... the fact that the Gentiles were now one with the Jews.

Chapter 4 begins with the word "Therefore". In other words, because the Jews and the Gentiles no longer had a barrier between them, but had been brought into one body by the blood of Christ, Paul exhorted them to walk worthy of their vocation, and to live in peace and unity. It was not a unity they had to create, but one which they had to preserve. They were to be gentle, patient, and show tolerance for one another.

Because, and once again Paul returns to what they all (Jews and Gentiles) have in common...

    one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all who is over all and through all and in all. [Ephesians 4:5-6 NASB]

It is a pity that this verse was not a little more carefully elucidated. Warren's words again...

    Because God is with you all the time, no place is any closer to God that the place where you are right now". The Bible says "He rules everything and is everywhere and is in everything."[Ephesians 4:5b The New Century Version]

The NCV verse "He rules everything and is everywhere and is in everything" quoted immediately after the statement "Because God is with you all the time, no place is any closer to God that the place where you are right now", implies that God is in all creation. This seems to give weight to Pantheism, which regards God as identical with the material universe, or the forces of nature. The fact is that God is not "in everything". He does not live within every aspect of His creation, nor in all people, but abides in believers.

    in whom you also are being built together into a dwelling of God in the Spirit. [Ephesians 2:22 NASB]

    Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own? [1 Corinthians 6:19 NASB]

    "In Him we live, and move, and have our being" (Acts 17:28)


Psalms 25:14:
In a continuation of his theme of friendship with God, Rick Warren goes on to say

    Friends share secrets, and God will share his secrets with you if you develop the habit of thinking about his Word throughout the day. God told Abraham his secrets, and he did the same with Daniel, Paul, the disciples, and other friends.

    When you read your Bible or hear a sermon or listen to a tape, don't just forget it and walk away. Develop the practice of reviewing the truth in your mind, thinking about it over and over. The more time you spend reviewing what God has said, the more you will understand the "secrets" of this life that most people miss. The Bible says, "Friendship with God is reserved for those who reverence him. With them alone he shares the secrets of his promises." [Psalms 25:14 LB. Living Bible] (Pg. 91)

Warren is quoting from The Living Bible's version of Psalm 25:14. Note what more accurate translations say.

    The secret (sod) of the LORD is for those who fear (yare) Him, And He will make them know His covenant. [Psalms 25:14 NASB]

    The secret (sod) of the LORD is with them that fear (yare) him; and he will shew them his covenant. [Psalms 25:14 KJV]

The Hebrew word yare means to fear; morally to revere. Again.. reverential fear.

As said by commentator Albert Barnes, The word rendered "secret" (sod) means properly a "couch" or "cushion," on which one reclines - whether for sleep, or at a table, or as a divan. Hence, it means a divan, or circle of persons sitting together for familiar conversation, Jeremiah 6:11; Jeremiah 15:17; or of judges, counselors, or advisers for consultation, as the word "divan" is now used in Oriental countries; Psalm 89:7; Jeremiah 33:18. Then it means any consultation, counsel, familiar conversation, or intimacy; See Psalm 55:14; Proverbs 15:22.

In other words, sod means council, counsel, company, fellowship, friendship, gathering. [All emphasis added in the following examples]

    We who had sweet fellowship (sod) together. Walked in the house of God in the throng. [Psalms 55:14 NASB]

    For who in the skies is comparable to the LORD? Who among the sons of the mighty is like the LORD, A God greatly feared in the council (sod) of the holy ones, And awesome above all those who are around Him? [Psalms 89:6-7 NASB]

    Praise the LORD! I will give thanks to the LORD with all my heart, in the company (sod) of the upright and in the assembly. [Psalms 111:1 NASB]

    But I am full of the wrath of the LORD; I am weary with holding it in. "Pour it out on the children in the street And on the gathering (sod) of young men together; For both husband and wife shall be taken, The aged and the very old. [Jeremiah 6:11 NASB

But can be translated "secret" as in the following example

    He who goes about as a slanderer reveals secrets (sod), Therefore do not associate with a gossip. [Proverbs 20:19 NASB]

However, it seems unlikely that sod in Psalms 25:14 can be interpreted as "secret" since the Bible tells us that it is sufficient for salvation, and to teach us how to be pleasing to God.


"Friends" of God
There was, to the best of my knowledge, only two people who the Scriptures mentioned in the same breath with the word friend.  Abraham, who was called a friend of God [2 Chronicles 20:7, Isaiah 41:8 and James 2:23], and Moses, with whom God spoke "face to face, just as a man speaks to his friend". [Exodus 33:11 NASB]

Listening to Sermons and Tapes
Additionally, while it is true that God's word has to be actively studied and meditated upon, and the more one does so, the more knowledgeable one becomes, there is absolutely no evidence that this will cause God to share any anything with us, that has not already been told us in the Scriptures. Worse, Rick Warren gives the impression that listening to a sermon or tape has the same effect.

In fact he says that not learning anything from a sermon or Bible teacher may well be motivated by pride:

    Anytime you feel you are not learning anything from a sermon or a Bible teacher, you should check your attitude, especially for pride, because God can speak through even the most boring teacher when you are humble and receptive. (Pg. 188)

While there is no question that "God can speak through the most boring teacher", the operative word is "can". Warren never even entertains the possibility that people don't learn anything because, as pastor Chuck Baldwin says "What passes for Christianity is instead an anemic, spineless, diluted substitute without convictions or principle" [DETAILS], and too many individuals are simply in the "church business" and not willing to make waves that might offend anyone, or cost them their jobs. [DETAILS]

Unfortunately in this day and age of great apostasy, I am not sure what percentage of sermons and tapes are worth listening to, leave alone meditating on, or even remembering,  Quite frankly, devoid as they are of Scriptural truth, I'd give the vast majority of them a wide berth. [See Today's Good For Nothing Christianity... The People and The Pastors.


Day/Chapter 12... Developing Your Friendship With God
Similarly in this chapter, under the heading "I must choose to be honest with God, Rick Warren says "The first building block of a deeper friendship with God is complete honesty-about your faults and your feelings. God doesn't expect you to be perfect, but he does insist on complete honesty.  None of God's friends in the Bible were perfect.  If perfection were a requirement for friendship with God, we would never be able to be his friends. Fortunately, because of God's grace, Jesus is still the "friend of sinners." (Pgs. 92-93),

There is more than one problem with the statement above.

1) To start with Jesus being the "friend of sinners" has been taken from Matthew 11:19 which says...

    "For John came neither eating nor drinking, and they say, 'He has a demon!' "The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and they say, 'Behold, a gluttonous man and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners!' Yet wisdom is vindicated by her deeds." [Matthew 11:18-19 NASB]

However, just like any other Bible verse, it has to be read in context. The chapter begins with a question from an imprisoned John asking whether Jesus was the Messiah, or whether they were to look for someone else. After Jesus sent His answer to John, about the blind seeing and the lame walking etc. [Vs. 2-6] (knowing full well that John would understand that it was Jesus who was fulfilling the Messianic prophecies), Jesus went on to talk to the crowd about John [Vs 17].

Reminding the people of the words of the last prophet, Malachi: “I will send my messenger ahead of you, who will prepare your way before you" [3:1], Jesus makes it very clear that John was the messenger and He, Jesus, was the Messiah. But He also emphasized the differences between Him and John....

    John lived a life of austerity, neither eating nor drinking. He turned his back on society demanding it repent. Yet people said he had a demon.

    Jesus and His disciples were different. They did not lead an ascetic life, but lived like other people. This caused people to call Jesus a glutton, a drunkard, and even worse, one who associated with sinners.

In other words that generation were like children... nothing pleased them (....'We played the flute for you, and you did not dance; we sang a dirge, and you did not mourn.' [Matthew 11:17 NASB]). And certainly, neither John nor Jesus conformed to their ideas, which led to them first being criticized, then killed.

Jesus being called a "friend of sinners" was a remark made by self-righteous, religious hypocrites. As said by David Servant [Emphasis Added]

    Jesus indeed spent time with sinners, but He was certainly not their friend. The Bible that Jesus inspired says that anyone who is a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God (see James. 4:4). Jesus was not an enemy of God, and neither was He a friend of the world. They hated Him and ultimately crucified Him. Jesus Himself declared that the world hated Him because He testified that its deeds were evil (see John 7:7). That is, He preached repentance. They didn't like His message of repentance and holiness. So let us not imagine Jesus hanging around with unrepentant people, laughing at their dirty jokes and joining in their gossip. Unrepentant sinners were extremely uncomfortable around Jesus. [David Servant. A Silly Gospel]

2) In the quote above, Warren also says "God doesn't expect you to be perfect, but he does insist on complete honesty". (Pg. 92). However, Jesus said

    "Therefore you are to be perfect (teleios), as your heavenly Father is perfect (teleios). [Matthew 5:48 NASB]

Although this verse has given many students of the Bible much food for thought, since it sounds like Jesus was asking more than we can possibly do, if being "perfect" had been impossible, Jesus would never have told us that we had to be perfect like the Father, using the Greek teleios for both. The context shows that Jesus was using a very specific aspect of the Father, one that it was possible to attain.

Jesus was challenging His audience to go beyond the Old Testament 'eye for an eye' and 'tooth for a tooth' idea, and treat their enemies differently than the religious leaders did. Just as God not only "causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous" [Vs. 45] but demonstrated His own love toward us, in that "while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us" [Romans 5:8]. Similarly they were to go beyond loving only their families and friends, which everyone does. Instead they were to love (and pray for) their enemies, thus following the Father's example. By this they would demonstrate completeness and perfection.

While teleios means complete (be it in labor, growth, mental or moral character), it does not necessarily signify maturity or growth, as when Jesus told the young man how to achieve perfection.

    Jesus said to him, "If you wish to be complete (teleios), go and sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me." [Matthew 19:21 NASB]

Paul said some of them were perfect

    I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. Let us therefore, as many as are perfect (teleios), have this attitude; and if in anything you have a different attitude, God will reveal that also to you; [Philippians 3:14-15 NASB]

And that they were laboring towards the goal that every believer stand perfect in Christ

    We proclaim Him, admonishing every man and teaching every man with all wisdom, so that we may present every man complete (teleios) in Christ. [Colossians 1:28 NASB]

    Epaphras, who is one of your number, a bondslave of Jesus Christ, sends you his greetings, always laboring earnestly for you in his prayers, that you may stand perfect and fully assured in all the will of God. [Colossians 4:12 NASB]

In summary, rather than tell his readers that God expects them to strive towards perfection, Rick Warren tells them that God doesn't expect them to be perfect, but insists on complete honesty.

Additionally, when Rick Warren says

    "It is likely that you need to confess some hidden anger and resentment at God for certain areas of your life where you have felt cheated or disappointed. Until we mature enough to understand that God uses everything for good in our lives, we harbor resentment toward God over our appearance, background, unanswered prayers, past hurts, and other things we would change if we were God." (Pg. 94 )

It is possible that, in this day of almost zero accountability, some could use this as an excuse for their imperfections and sins.


Day/Chapter 13...Worship That Pleases God
In this chapter Rick Warren teaches that in order for a Christian's worship to be pleasing to God, it must not only be wholehearted and genuine, but engage the whole person... body and soul. Worship must be "genuine and heartfelt", and not just a matter of "saying the right words". As Warren says "God looks past our words to see the attitude of our hearts". [Pg. 101]

On the next page, he so rightly says that "sincerity alone is not enough" because we can be sincerely wrong. Therefore "both spirit and truth are required". He makes the point that "many equate being emotionally moved by music as being moved by the Spirit, but these are not the same thing"... "real worship happens when your spirit responds to God, not to some musical tone". He then goes on to say that Christians "often differ in the most appropriate or authentic way to express praise to God, but these arguments usually just reflect personality and background differences.
 

Sacred Pathways
However, he then quotes his "friend" Gary Thomas, author of Sacred Pathways, thus opening a door to the dangerous and deceptive world of Contemplative prayer ... (See Sacred Pathways in the Contemplative section of this article)

John 4:23
Warren continues by saying "there is no "one-size-fits-all" approach to worship and friendship with God. One thing is certain: you don't bring glory to God by trying to be someone he never intended you to be. God wants you to be yourself." He validates his point with a quote from The Message:

    "That's the kind of people the Father is out looking for: those who are simply and honestly themselves before him in their worship.'" [John 4:23 The Message. Emphasis Added] [Pg. 103]

Except that is not what the verse says. Reading it from a word for word translation, and in context makes it clear that 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 what the woman said to Him, which was... [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 said to her, "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 met these two criteria were the only kind of worshiper God seeks.


1 Corinthians 14:16-17

On Page 104, Rick Warren says

    "God insists that our worship services be understandable to unbelievers when they are present in our worship gatherings. Paul observed "Suppose some strangers are in your worship service, when you are praising God with your spirit. If they don't understand you, how will they know to say, "Amen"? You may be worshiping God in a wonderful way, but no one else will be helped. [1 Corinthians 14:16-17 Contemporary English Version (CEV)]

However, this verse probably has nothing to do with strangers in a 'worship service'. It says

    Otherwise if you bless in the spirit only, how will the one who fills the place of the ungifted say the "Amen" at your giving of thanks, since he does not know what you are saying? For you are giving thanks well enough, but the other person is not edified. [1 Corinthians 14:16-17 NASB]

Paul had just gotten through telling the Corinthian church .... "Therefore let one who speaks in a tongue pray that he may interpret" (Vs. 13 NASB), encouraging the person speaking in tongues to seek the additional gift of interpretation, because tongues do not profit other members of the church who do not have the gift of interpretation, nor can they say "Amen" to a message when they do not have a clue as to what was just said.

    If tongues fail to significantly benefit the individual who speaks in tongues privately without being interpreted (verses 13-15), neither do they profit the group assembled in the church meeting without being interpreted (verses 16-19). Apart from interpretation, those who hear a man speaking in tongues have no way of responding to it since they don't know what has been said. Praise and thanksgiving may very well have been offered to God, but who else knows it? It is extremely difficult to say "Amen" to what one has not understood. That is like signing a contract written in another language. [18b]

It is not until verse 22 that Paul addresses the benefits of the gifts of tongues vs. prophecy, in the light of the impression given an unbeliever who walks into an assembly of believers. He clearly distinguished between the ungifted and the unbeliever...

    So then tongues are for a sign, not to those who believe but to unbelievers; but prophecy is for a sign, not to unbelievers but to those who believe. Therefore if the whole church assembles together and all speak in tongues, and ungifted men or unbelievers enter, will they not say that you are mad? But if all prophesy, and an unbeliever (apistos) or an ungifted (idiotes) man enters, he is convicted by all, he is called to account by all; [1 Corinthians 14:22-24 NASB]

See more on Tongues
If, as shown, tongues were a known language in the New Testament and there is absolutely no evidence to show that it was some form of ecstatic speech, and Paul instructed that everything was to be done decently and in order, where does the unintelligible gibberish, jerking, twitching, falling on the floor etc. all come from? Is it even possible that the devil has substituted the true gift of tongues with a knock-off version? Has the allure of receiving some form of deeper spiritual experience deceived countless millions into accepting this counterfeit?


Romans 12:1-2:

On Page 105, under the subheading "God is pleased when our worship is practical", Rick Warren quotes the Bible as saying

    "Offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God - this is your spiritual act of worship." [Romans 12:1-2 NIV]

He then goes on to say "Why does God want your body? Why doesn't he say, "Offer your spirit"? Because without your body you cant do anything on this planet. In eternity you will receive a new, improved, upgraded body, but while you're here on earth, God says, "Give me what you've got!" He's just being practical about worship.

I don't think so!

Paul's words in Romans 12:1-2 are not about God "being practical about worship" but, read in context, tell a very different story. They are the words of the apostle calling on those to whom he wrote to dedicate themselves to God, without reserve. To start with, the verse begins with the word "therefore", which means it is related to, and built upon, the preceding verses. [Also See Context is CRUCIAL]

    Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect. [Romans 12:1-2 NASB]

In this case chapter 12 is a transition verse... from the doctrinal foundation laid down in the first eleven chapters, to an introduction to how these doctrines are to be implemented in our daily lives. The "therefore" of Roman 1, begins a section on right action, based on the right belief outlined in chapters 1-11, in which Paul showed that all were sinful by nature, and that no one has any claim on God, who has shown great compassion in giving his Son to die for us, and in pardoning our sins. In other words, this is what both them, and us, need to do, based on what God has already done.

When Paul urged Christians to present their bodies "a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God", he was referring back to the Old Testament sacrifices made on the altar. Note that in the Old Testament animal sacrifices, the one who offered the sacrifice released all claim, or right, to the offering, which was submitted to God, set apart and wholly devoted to Him. Now, under the New Covenant, instead of a dead animal, Christians have to choose to actively offer their bodies as living sacrifices... bodies which are also  set apart and wholly devoted to His service... just as much the Lord's property as the burnt offering was. 

    Note: that the very definition of the word "holy" is set apart. [See What Is Holiness?]


Paul went on to tell the Romans that they needed to be transformed, by the renewing of their minds. The term "transformed" has been translated from the Greek word metamorphoo, from which we get our English "metamorphosis.” In other words Paul was telling them (and us) that they were not to conform to the habits, mindset, and lifestyle of "the world", but were to be governed by the laws of the Bible, fashioning their lives after the example of Christ. However, the changes must have their seat in the mind, since the mind controls the body. Any outward changes would be both useless and hypocritical without an inward change.

Please note that on Page 228, Warren uses the TEV version of Romans 12:1, which says

    "Because of God's great mercy . . . Offer yourselves as a living sacrifice to God, dedicated to his service." (Romans 12:1 TEV)

He also quotes the same version in a June 2010 article on his site, under the heading.. A saved heart will want to serve [19]


Chapter/Day 14... When God Seems Distant
This, to me, is a very important chapter, since most Christians can tell you that there are many times when God does seem distant, and it takes a very mature Christian to understand that not 'feeling' His presence does not mean He has withdrawn from the person.  However, in support of the this subject, Rick Warren has, on Pg. 109 quoted  the NLT's version of Job 23: 8-10, which says

     "I go east, but he is not there. I go west, but I cannot find him. I do not see him in the north, for he is hidden. I turn to the south, but I cannot find him. But he knows where I am going. And when he has tested me like gold in a fire, he will pronounce me innocent. [Job 23:8-10 (New Living Translation)]

The problem here is that these words cannot be used to show that we sometimes do not "feel God's presence" in our lives.

In the previous chapter Eliphaz charges Job with innumerable transgressions, and reproves him for his attempts to clear his character and establish his innocence, He then exhorts him to repent and acknowledge his sins, telling him that removing unrighteousness far from his tent, and returning to the Almighty will lead to his (Job's) restoration. In reply to this, Job apologizes for his complaining and says that he wishes to present his case to the Lord, who he is sure will listen to, and deliver him. However, the problem is, as Job says, he cannot find the Lord to plead his case in person

    "Behold, I go forward but He is not there, And backward, but I cannot perceive Him; When He acts on the left, I cannot behold Him; He turns on the right, I cannot see Him. [Job 23:8-9 NASB]

He goes on to say that although he cannot find the Lord, the Lord knows that he has been blameless, and he will come out of this trial like gold

    "But He knows the way I take; When He has tried me, I shall come forth as gold. "My foot has held fast to His path; I have kept His way and not turned aside. "I have not departed from the command of His lips; I have treasured the words of His mouth more than my necessary food. [Job 23:10-12 NASB]


Chapter/Day 15... Formed For God's Family
This chapter begins "purpose two".

According to Rick Warren God's second purpose for our lives is that we were formed for Gods family...  God wants a family and he created us to be a part of it, which He planned before we were born. 

    "He didn't need a family, he desired one, so he devised a plan to create us, bring us into his family, and share with us all he has.  This gives God great pleasure.  The Bible says, "it was a happy day for him when he gave us our new lives, through the truth of his Word, and we became, as it were, the first children in his new family." [James 1:18 LB. Living Bible]

In "paraphrasing" the Scriptures, the Living Bible has taken a great many liberties, which Rick Warren has played up to the hilt. He has used this version of the Bible in both quotes (above and below) because it seems to provide the Scriptural backing he needs. Except for one problem... The first quote from James says absolutely nothing about it being a "happy day" for God when He gave us our new lives. It is very easy to believe that, maybe, it was a good day for Him, but James never said this.

    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 among His creatures. [James 1:18 NASB]


Day/Chapter 17.... A Place To Belong
The heading of this chapter is a verse from the Living Bible's version of Ephesians 2:19b, used to give weight to the theme of this chapter, which is that every Christian is "fashioned for fellowship", and "none of us can fulfill God's purposes by ourselves". The verse says...

    "You are members of God's own family, citizens of God's country, and you belong in God's household with every other Christian." (Emphasis Added)

The difference between the LB's version and that of the NASB is subtle but, in this context, very significant. The NASB says

    So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints, and are of God's household, [Ephesians 2:19 NASB. Emphasis Added]

However, both the actual words in the NASB, and the overall context of the letter, show that Paul was telling the Ephesians that they had already become members of God's household. The Ephesian church was a Gentile church, and Paul was telling them that salvation was no longer limited to the Jews. They, as Gentiles, were part of the family of God, and they had the same privileges as the Jews did... without circumcision, or any of the other the rites and rituals of the Old Testament.

Warren goes on to say that [Bold added. Italics in Original]

    "for the organs of your body to fulfill their purpose, they must be connected to your body. The same is true for you as part of Christ's body. You were created for a specific role, but you will miss this second purpose of your life if your're not attached to a living, local church. You discover your role in life through your relationship with others.  The Bible tells us, "Each part gets its meaning from the body as a whole, not the other way around. The body we're talking about is Christ's body of chosen people. Each of us finds our meaning and function as a part of his body. But as a chopped-off finger or cut-off toe we wouldn't amount to much, would we?" [Romans 12:4-5. The Message]

I don't even want to know how Eugene Peterson managed to convert two very short verses in Romans into such a lengthy statement. Besides which, Romans 12:4 says absolutely nothing about us not amounting too much should we be separated from other believers.

    For just as we have many members in one body and all the members do not have the same function, so we, who are many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another. [Romans 12:4-5 NASB]


Genesis 2:18
On Page 130, Warren writes

    You are called to belong not just to believe. Even in the perfect, sinless environment of Eden, God said, "It is not good for man to be alone." (Genesis 2:18 NIV). We are created for community, fashioned for fellowship, and formed for a family, and none of us can fulfill God's purposes by ourselves. The Bible knows nothing of solitary saints or spiritual hermits isolated from other believers and deprived of fellowship.

Rick Warren uses this verse to support the idea that because it is not good for man to be alone, he needs to belong to a church. It is impossible to believe that Warren is not aware that, in Genesis 2, God dealt with the problem of Adam being alone (and presumably lonely) by providing him with a wife, not a "church family", therefore, one has to assume that he chooses to ignore that fact.


Assorted Statements in this Chapter
a)
"first symptom of spiritual decline is usually inconsistent attendance at worship services and other gatherings of believers." [Pg. 131]

     "Many believe one can be a 'good Christian' without joining (or even attending) a local church, but God would strongly disagree.” [Pg. 133]

    While it is true that the first symptom of spiritual decline may very well be inconsistent attendance at services and gathering of believers, Rick Warren has conveniently forgotten to say anything about the other side of the coin.... churches that do not teach the undiluted word of God. Many people leave their churches in order to be 'good Christians' loyal to Biblical truth. Anyone that opposes, or walks away from a church that is no longer true to God and His Word, is simply obeying the Scriptures, which is far more important than loyalty to man made doctrines, regardless of who invents them.

    Forgotten is the fact that the Bible gives believers very definite instructions on how believers are to act towards practitioners and teachers of false doctrine.

    First they are to warn the other person of their error, not with the intention of proving oneself right, or superior in any way, but in a genuine caring for the soul and fate of the other person. However, should the person ignore the warnings, and persist in the false beliefs and practices, the Bible is unequivocal in it's instructions to "refuse" or reject him, and to withdraw from him. They are not to have these people in their houses, nor offer them even a word of greeting. To do so, John says is to share in their evil deeds. [All Emphasis Added]

      A factious man (a heretic) after a first and second admonition refuse; knowing that such a one is perverted, and sinneth, being self-condemned. [Titus 3:10-11]. The word translated admonition, is a Greek word that basically means a rebuke or warning.

      Now we command you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye withdraw yourselves from every brother that walketh disorderly, and not after the tradition which they received of us. [2 Thessalonians 3:6]

      And if any man obeyeth not our word by this epistle, note that man, that ye have no company with him, to the end that he may be ashamed. [2 Thessalonians 3:14]

      If any one cometh unto you, and bringeth not this teaching, receive him not into your house, and give him no greeting: for he that giveth him greeting partaketh in his evil works. [2 John 1:10-11]. 

[See Fraternizing With The Enemy]

Many people who have had no choice but to leave a church that no longer adheres to the word of God, have been unable to find another (within possible driving distance) that does so.


b) The church is God's agenda for the world. Jesus said, "I will build my church, and all the powers of hell will not conquer it." (Matthew 16:18 NLT) The church is indestructible and will exist for eternity. It will outlive this universe, and so will your role in it. The person who says, 'I don't need the church,’ is either arrogant or ignorant. The church is so significant that Jesus died on the cross for it: "Christ loved the church and gave his life for it" (Ephesians 5:25 GW). [Pg 132]

    Again, it is hard to believe that Rick Warren does not know that the only Greek word that can be properly translated into the English church is only found twice in the New Testament. Church comes from the Greek word kuriakon which means "belonging to the Lord" (The root word of kuriakon is Kurios or "Lord")

      Therefore when you meet together, it is not to eat the Lord's (kuriakos) Supper, [1 Corinthians 11:20 NASB]

      I was in the Spirit on the Lord's (kuriakos)day, and I heard behind me a loud voice like the sound of a trumpet, [Revelation 1:10 NASB]

In other words, the word "church" would have been an acceptable translation for the Greek word kuriakos, however, not by any stretch of the imagination, is it an acceptable translation of the Greek word ekklesia. Yet, in almost every instance, the word church has been inserted wherever the translators came across (about 114 times in the New Testament).

Ekklesia was used of the political assembly of the citizens of ancient Greek states, a regularly convened assembly, or a select civil body, summoned or convened for a particular purpose. The word is used three times in Acts 19 where it is translated "assembly". But, in this case, it refers to an angry mob of silversmiths and other craftsmen whose livelihood depended on the statues of goddesses that they made, and sold. Paul was, obviously, a threat to their trade, and they were threatening to riot, until the town clerk persuaded them to settle their grievances through the courts instead.

    So then, some were shouting one thing and some another, for the assembly (ekklesia) was in confusion and the majority did not know for what reason they had come together... But if you want anything beyond this, it shall be settled in the lawful assembly (ekklesia)... After saying this he dismissed the assembly (ekklesia) . [Acts 19:32, 39, 41 NASB]

 Ekklesia is a compound word made up of ek, a preposition that means out of, or out from, and a derivative of the verb kaleo, which means to "call", or "call forth".

Although it is a compound of a preposition and a verb, ekklesia itself is noun that means "called out". And when someone is "called out", they have to be called out from something. It is the only context in which ekklesia is used, that indicates the specific reason people are called out, or assembled. It is easy enough to figure out that, in keeping with the Bible's concept of separation and holiness, the NT used ekklesia to describe a body of people "called out", or called to be separate, from the rest of the world.


c)
"Except for a few important exceptions referring to all believers throughout history, almost every time the word church is used in the Bible it refers to a local, visible congregation. The New Testament assumes membership in a local congregation. The only Christians not members of a local fellowship were those under church discipline who had been removed from the fellowship because of gross public sin. The Bible says a Christian without a church home is like an organ without a body, a sheep without a flock, or a child without a family. It is an unnatural state. The Bible says, "You belong in God's household with every other Christian"" (Ephesians 2:19 LB).

    The only reason the Bible refers to specific local congregations is simply because people live in different cities in different parts of the world. It was only common sense to speak of the assembly of believers (the ekklesia) in Ephesus, or Corinth, or Thessalonica, especially when each of those congregations had specific issues that the apostles (especially Paul) had to address. However, the Bible nowhere says any of the following... " a Christian without a church home is like an organ without a body, a sheep without a flock, or a child without a family".

    The Bible does say things like

      Now you are Christ's body, and individually members of it. [1 Corinthians 12:27 NASB]

      For even as the body is one and yet has many members, and all the members of the body, though they are many, are one body, so also is Christ. [1 Corinthians 12:12 NASB]

      But now God has placed the members, each one of them, in the body, just as He desired. [1 Corinthians 12:18 NASB]

    But just as he did in Romans 3, Paul was merely pointing out that the human body has many parts, each of which 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 role to play, but all gifts were for the good of the entire church. Therefore, no one should value himself by his gift, nor feel himself dishonored because he had, what he considered to be, a 'lesser' gift. Both the Romans and the Corinthians 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.

    The Living Bible's miserable 'translation' of Ephesians 2:19 has already been discussed, at the beginning of this section.
     

d) "A church family identifies you as a genuine believer. I cant claim to follow Christ if I'm not committed to any specific group of disciples. Jesus said, "Your love for one another "will prove to the world that you are my disciples" (John 13:35 NLT] [Pg.133]

    The problem here is that while it is true that Jesus commanded His disciples to love one another, it was not in the context of membership in a particular church.

      "A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. "By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another." [John 13:34-35 NASB]

    Sprinkled throughout the New Testament are many indications of a true believer however, not a single verse that I can find says anything about a genuine believer being identified by their "church family". While there is little question that a true believer can and does sin, and can demonstrate moments of "unchristian" behavior, the largest part, or primary emphasis, of their lives will be

      Continuing in His word: So Jesus was saying to those Jews who had believed Him, "If you continue in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine; [John 8:31 NASB]

      Not practicing sin: No one who is born of God practices sin, because His seed abides in him; and he cannot sin, because he is born of God. [1 John 3:9 NASB]

      Not indulging in what the Bible calls "the deeds of the flesh" which Paul said are "evident": immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions, envying, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these, of which I forewarn you, just as I have forewarned you, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.

      Demonstrating, what the next verse calls, "the fruit of the Spirit": love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. [Galatians 5:19-24 NASB]

      Good works: What use is it, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but he has no works? Can that faith save him? [James 2:14 NASB]

      Keeping God's commandments: The one who says, "I have come to know Him," and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him; [1 John 2:4 NASB]

      Not loving the world: Do not love the world nor the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. [1 John 2:15 NASB]

      Abstaining from wickedness: Nevertheless, the firm foundation of God stands, having this seal, "The Lord knows those who are His," and, "Everyone who names the name of the Lord is to abstain from wickedness." [2 Timothy 2:19 NASB]

Please note that many Christians believe that we can identify true believers "by their fruit", quoting a statement by our Lord, in Matthew 7. However, the people who are known by their fruits are false prophets, who disguise themselves as sheep. Read Jesus' words in context...

    "Beware of the false prophets, who come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves.  [16]  "You will know them by their fruits. Grapes are not gathered from thorn bushes nor figs from thistles, are they?  [17]  "So every good tree bears good fruit, but the bad tree bears bad fruit.  [18]  "A good tree cannot produce bad fruit, nor can a bad tree produce good fruit. [19] "Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. [20] "So then, you will know them by their fruits. [Matthew 7:15-20 NASB]

The fruit that Jesus speak about cannot be the outward appearance, because these false prophets look just like all the other sheep. However, it is also true that the "fruit" can be tested. If the prophet foretells the future then whatever it is he predicts has to come true. If it does not his "fruit" is worthless". Also, since a prophets is also a mouthpiece of the Lord, whatever he claims to be from the Lord, has to line up with what the Bible teaches. We may not be able to tell a true Christian from a  false one by the works he does, since even the faithless often take up noble causes and do some great work. However, we can certainly tell a false prophet from a true one by what he teaches.


e)
"We need more than the Bible in order to grow: we need other believers.” [Pg. 134]

    Hmmm! I could have sworn that Jesus said the Bible is more important than even food, and the Scriptures were what trained a believer training in righteousness, and equipped him for every good work.

      But He answered and said, "It is written, 'man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God.'" [Matthew 4:4 NASB]

      and that from childhood you have known the sacred writings which are able to give you the wisdom that leads to salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work. [2 Timothy 3:15-17 NASB]


f)
"God has assigned us as individuals the responsibility of keeping each other on track... We are called and commanded to be involved in each other's lives. If you know someone who is wavering spiritually right now, it is your responsibility to go after that person and bring him/her back into the fellowship. James tells us, "If you know people who have wandered off from God's truth, don't write them off. Go after them. Get them back.” [James 5:19 The Message] [Pg. 135]

    While it is true that believers have a responsibility to help one another, and we should do whatever we can to restore people who have wandered from God's path, the apostle James did not exactly say "go after them" and "get them back". What he said was "My brethren, if any among you strays from the truth and one turns him back, let him know that he who turns a sinner from the error of his way will save his soul from death and will cover a multitude of sins. [James 5:19-20 NASB Emphasis Added].

In other words tell the rescuer that he has done a great work by saving a soul from death.


g)
"A related benefit of a local church is that it also provides the spiritual protection of godly leaders. God gives the shepherd leader the responsibility to guard, protect, defend, and care for the spiritual welfare of his flock. We are told, "Their work is to watch over your souls, and they know they are accountable to God.” (Hebrews 13:17 NLT). Satan loves detached believers, unplugged from the life of the Body, isolated from God's family, and unaccountable to spiritual leaders — because he knows they are defenseless and powerless against his tactics". [Pgs 135-136]

    Unfortunately, Rick Warren completely ignores the other side of the coin, which is that the "godly leaders" are getting fewer and farther between. Unfortunately, we are living in the countdown to the end of days when, as the Bible warned us, apostasy would run rampant through the churches, beginning with the so called leadership that is often very far from "godly". At best, many of the messages emanating from pulpits around the world are nothing but prissy, man centered, drivel. At worst too many "Christian" leaders are teaching literal doctrines of demons. For their own protection, too many Christians are being forced to leave churches which have become a snare for their feet.

I strongly suggest you refer to the section The Contemporary Church... The Devil’s Playground


f)
"The Christian life is more than just a commitment to Christ; it includes a commitment to other Christians. The Christians in Macedonia understood this. Paul said, First they gave themselves to the Lord, and then, by God's will, they gave themselves to us as well". [2 Corinthians 8:5 TEV] Joining the membership of a local church is the natural next step once you've become a child of God. You become a Christian by committing yourself to Christ, but you become a church member by committing yourself to a specific group of believers.” [Pg 137]

The problem is that while it is without question that all Christians have a commitment to other Christians, Paul's words have been used in the context of joining a local "church", but they do not support that idea. 

Paul's second letter to the Corinthians was written from Macedonia in northern Greece, after Titus returned from Corinth (2 Corinthians 7:5-7). The Corinthian church had evidently intended to financially contribute to the poor in Jerusalem, and Titus had, according to Paul's directions, begun the process when he was in Corinth.

    Now concerning the collection for the saints, as I directed the churches of Galatia, so do you also. On the first day of every week each one of you is to put aside and save, as he may prosper, so that no collections be made when I come. When I arrive, whomever you may approve, I will send them with letters to carry your gift to Jerusalem; [1 Corinthians 16:1-3 NASB]

However, it is equally apparent that the Corinthians had not followed through with what they originally purposed to do and Paul, who quite possibly had the lengthy history of political rivalry between Greece and Macedonia in mind, brought up the incredible generosity of the Macedonians, who, beyond their ability, gave to the poor in Jerusalem, since they themselves were very poor. Paul went on to say that the generosity of the Macedonians exceeded everyone's expectations. They gave themselves to the Lord and then, when they saw that that it was the will of God that they help provide relief for the suffering Christians in Judea, they gave unstintingly to the apostles who would send the contribution to Jerusalem.

Paul finishes this part of the message, by urging the Corinthians to finish doing what they had once been so ready to do. [See 2 Corinthians 8:8 to 8:12]

Additionally, Rick Warren's statements come from the viewpoint of a pastor of a mega church, who has, without an ounce of Biblical support, differentiated between being a Christian, and being a member of a particular church. However popular and widespread that idea may be, the church is not a brick and mortar building, nor an institution.  Born again believers make up the body of Christ... the body of Christ is the church. When you become a Christian you are automatically a member of the church, whether or not you ever step in the doors of a physical building.

And while again there is little question that fellowship is important to believers one cannot, as Warren says a few chapters later, protect the unity of their "church" at all costs.


CONTINUE ON TO PART 5 .... Chapter 21(unity at all cost) and Saddleback’s Member Covenant


    End Notes
    [18] http://www.studylight.org/lex/grk/view.cgi?number=2644

    [18b] Bob Deffinbaugh. Spiritual Gifts, Part 4: The Measure of a Gift (1 Cor. 14:1-25) http://bible.org/seriespage/spiritual-gifts-part-4-measure-gift-1-cor-141-25

    [19] Rick Warren. A Saved Heart Will Want To Serve. http://purposedriven.com/blogs/dailyhope/index.html?contentid=4517
     

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