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Section 10A .. The Contemporary Church / ‘Christian’ Courses/Index To Purpose Driven

 

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The Purpose Driven Life

Part VI... Chapters 25-40

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

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

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

    You Are Here 001orange 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."
 

Autumn-Bar 

 

Chapter/Day 25... Transformed By Trouble
Warren opens this chapter with a quote from a Catholic mystic.. Madam Guyon. [DETAILS] Note: this is not the only highly questionable person he has quoted in PDL.

He then goes on to say...

    "God depends more on circumstances to make us like Jesus than he depends on our reading the Bible." (Pg. 193)

However, we cannot possibly know what God wants us to learn through circumstances, unless we are very familiar with what He wants us to be. And that only comes from studying His word. Only those who know God's will, can conform their lives to that will. Only those who know Jesus' character, can conform their lives to that character


Psalm 139:16 (again)

On Page 195, Rick Warren says

    Because God is sovereignly in control, accidents are just incidents in God's good plan for you. Because every day of your life was written on God's calendar before you were born [Psalm 139:16], everything that happens to you has spiritual significance

Psalm 139:16 says

    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.

In chapter 2, Warren uses The Living Bible's version of this same psalm to show that God not only chooses the exact time of our birth and death, but also plans all the days of your life in advance. [DETAILS]

However, a simple reading of this verse makes it quite clear the Psalmist was simply saying that that God sees everything in advance, which is well documented throughout the Bible. 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.

The Psalm itself is an overview of God's omniscience (Vs 1-6); Omnipresence, Vs. 7-12; Power and providence Vs.13-16; His care of the Godly, Vs. 17-18;  and His opposition to the wicked, Vs.19-20;


Jeremiah 29:11
On page 197, under the sub-heading Remember that God's plan is good, Warren says God knows what is best for you and has your best interests at heart. God told Jeremiah, "The plans I have for you [are] plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future". [Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV)]

(Note that in chapter 3, Warren quoted the NCV version of this verse), therefore I am going to repeat what I said in that chapter.

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]

So, are we to take it that God is watching us to prosper us as He states in 29:11, or is He watching us for harm, as He says in 44:27?

It is exceedingly silly to arbitrarily apply promises from the Bible to our lives, when they are so obviously made to a particular individual, or group of people, under very specific circumstances.


Chapter/Day 26.... Growing Through Temptation and Chapter/Day 27...Defeating Temptation

Although I know nothing about Saddleback church's Celebrate Recovery program mentioned on page 213, both these chapters contain good advice on dealing with temptation, and describes how overcoming temptation can be a stepping stone to spiritual maturity.

However, Al Dager's report on the Purpose Driven Life mentions that Celebrate Recovery is a multi-step program based on the Alcoholics Anonymous model "to deal with various sins which are treated as addictions rather than sin", and it "has been channeled out to many churches worldwide". [13]


Chapter/Day 28... It Takes Time
II Corinthians 3:18b
On page 219, Rick Warren rightly says

    Today we are obsessed with speed, but God is more interested in strength and stability than swiftness. We want the quick fix, the shortcut, the on the spot solution.  We want a sermon, a seminar, or an experience that will instantly resolve all problems, remove all temptations, and release us from all growing pains. But real maturity is never the result of a single experience, no matter how powerful or moving. Growth is gradual. The Bible says, Our lives gradually becoming brighter and more beautiful as God enters our lives and we become like him

There is no question that  today's generation is more interested in the quick fix over gradual growth. However, once again, Rick Warren has said the right thing, but has used part of a verse, from a polluted version of Scriptures, to support his statements. The Biblical quote above is The Message's version of 2 Corinthians 3:18 b. However, it pays to read the entire verse, and to see what an unadulterated version of the Bible says

    But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as from the Lord, the Spirit. [2 Corinthians 3:18 NASB]

This verse is a reference to the events related in Exodus 34, in which the skin of Moses' face shone when he came down from Mt. Sinai. We are told that he put a veil over his face" so that the sons of Israel would not see that it was fading away". [2 Corinthians 3:13 NASB]. As said by Bob Deffinbaugh, pastor/teacher and elder at Community Bible Chapel in Richardson, Texas, and regular contributor to Bible.org

    Paul's point is this: the glory Moses experienced in conjunction with the old covenant was a fading glory; in stark contrast, the glory which Paul enjoys in conjunction with the new covenant is unfading: “For if that which fades away was with glory, much more that which remains is in glory" (verse 11, emphasis mine). Moses needed a veil because the glory of the old covenant, as great as it was, faded away. The messengers of the good news of the gospel need no veil at all, because the greater glory of the new covenant never fades: [23]

Jesus is the image of God...

    in whose case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelieving so that they might not see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. [2 Corinthians 4:4 NASB]

    He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. [Colossians 1:15 NASB]

    And He is the radiance of His glory and the exact representation of His nature, and upholds all things by the word of His power. When He had made purification of sins, He sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, [Hebrews 1:3 NASB]

.... And the primary goal for all believers is to become more like Jesus and therefore, more like God

    For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren; [Romans 8:29 NASB]

    My children, with whom I am again in labor until Christ is formed in you [Galatians 4:19 NASB]

    Beloved, now we are children of God, and it has not appeared as yet what we will be. We know that when He appears, we will be like Him, because we will see Him just as He is. [1 John 3:2 NASB]

However, the words "from glory to glory" in 2 Corinthians 3:18, shows that this is accomplished in stages, not overnight. As we respond in repentance and faith, we are gradually changed into His image. As the Psalmist said "The man whose strength is in the Lord goes from strength to strength" [Psalms 84:5-7 NASB]. In short, our lives do not get "brighter and more beautiful", but we are transformed, becoming more and more holy.

    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. [Romans 12:1 NASB Emphasis Added]

    that He might present to Himself the church in all her glory, having no spot or wrinkle or any such thing; but that she would be holy and blameless. [Ephesians 5:27 NASB Emphasis Added]

Habakkuk 2:3:
On page 223, Rick Warren tells his readers not to get discouraged, because...

    When Habakkuk became depressed because he didn't think God was acting quickly enough, God had this to say: "These things I plan won't happen right away. Slowly, steadily, surely, the time approaches when the vision will be fulfilled. If it seems slow, do not despair, these things will surely come to pass. Just be patient! They will not be overdue a single day! [Habakkuk 2:3. LB Living Bible]. A delay is not a denial from God.

Yet one more time, Rick Warren, in the effort to provide Scriptural support for the topic he is writing about, has ensured that the version he uses does not give any hint of the context, thereby appearing to lend Biblical support to the subject at hand. Reading the verse from another version, and in context, makes it very clear that it was a specific vision that God told the prophet would not delay.

    Then the LORD answered me and said, "Record the vision (chazon) And inscribe it on tablets, That the one who reads it may run. "For the vision (chazon) is yet for the appointed time; It hastens toward the goal and it will not fail. Though it tarries, wait for it; For it will certainly come, it will not delay. [Habakkuk 2:2-3 NASB]

The Hebrew word chazon, is derived from chazah: to see; behold; a vision. It also means to prophesy. As seen in the following examples, the visions or prophecies could be true (from God), or false (from other sources).

    Now the boy Samuel was ministering to the LORD before Eli. And word from the LORD was rare in those days, visions (chazon) were infrequent. [1 Samuel 3:1 NASB]

    The vision (chazon) of Isaiah the son of Amoz concerning Judah and Jerusalem, which he saw during the reigns of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz and Hezekiah, kings of Judah. [Isaiah 1:1 NASB]

    Thus says the LORD of hosts, "Do not listen to the words of the prophets who are prophesying to you. They are leading you into futility; They speak a vision (chazon) of their own imagination, Not from the mouth of the LORD. [Jeremiah 23:16 NASB]

    while I was still speaking in prayer, then the man Gabriel, whom I had seen in the vision (chazon) previously, came to me in my extreme weariness about the time of the evening offering. [Daniel 9:21 NASB]

To understand what the vision was that God told Habakkuk to record, we have to step back to chapter one which opens with a lamentation by the prophet, who was greatly upset at the wickedness he saw around him.... destruction, violence, strife and contention. The law was being ignored, justice was never upheld, and the wicked surrounded the righteous. [Vs. 3-4] God answers him and says that He was going to raise up the Chaldeans, a "fierce and impetuous people" who are "dreaded and feared" and who's "justice and authority originate with themselves" [Vs. 6-11]. Through this fierce nation God would bring judgment down on the nation of Israel.

Habakkuk, probably shocked at this news, then tries to dissuade God from His intended course of action, asking Him why He would "look with favor on those who deal treacherously?" and why he would be "silent when the wicked swallow up those more righteous than they?". However, God's only answer to the prophet is that the time for the destruction of the Jewish nation by the Chaldeans, was not only fixed, but was very near. God then instructed the prophet to write the vision of this terrible subject so that all who read it may flee from the impending vengeance [2:1-4].

While there is no question that, as Rick Warren says "..God's timetable is rarely the same as ours" and it often takes many years to develop character [Pg. 222], he is absolutely right. There are no shortcuts to maturity. However, to use Habakkuk 2:3 from The Message, to support this theme is irresponsible and deceptive. When God said the vision was for the appointed time and would not delay, he was specifically speaking of the judgment that would come down through the Chaldeans on an unfaithful, disobedient nation. He was not speaking of His plans for every Christian through the ages.


Chapter/Day 28... Accepting Your Assignment
The theme of the chapter is that we were put on earth to make a contribution, not just to consume resources. As Warren says "While many best-selling books offer advice on how to "get" the most out of life, that's not the reason God made you. You were created to add to life on earth, not just take from it." [Pg. 227. Emphasis in original]. He adds that every one of us has a role to play, and each of them is important regardless of whether they are visible, or behind the scenes [Pg. 230]

All of which is unquestionably true.

Romans 2:8
On Page 232, we read...

    One day God will compare how much time & energy we spent on ourselves compared with what we invested in serving others.... The Bible warns unbelievers, "He will pour out his anger and wrath on those who live for themselves, who refuse to obey the truth and instead live lives of wickedness, [Romans 2:8. NLT. New Living Translation] but for Christians it will mean a loss of eternal rewards."

The Greek word eritheia has been translated by the NLT into "those who live for themselves". It is translated "contentious" by the King James, and "selfishly ambitious" by the NASB. (The meaning of eritheia, as used in Philippians 1:17, leans towards 'selfish ambition'... "the former proclaim Christ out of selfish ambition (eritheia) rather than from pure motives..." Philippians 1:17 NASB)

What concerns me is when Warren says God will "pour out his anger and wrath on those who live for themselves, who refuse to obey the truth and instead live lives of wickedness" is a warning to unbelievers, but "for Christians it will mean a loss of eternal rewards." Any person who calls himself a Christian, but who obeys unrighteousness, instead of the truth, is not a Christian who will simply lose rewards. In fact, he is a Christian in name only, and will be the object of God's wrath and anger. Note that Paul's words (second quote below) was specifically written to Christians.

    "He who believes in the Son has eternal life; but he who does not obey the Son will not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him." [John 3:36 NASB. Emphasis Added]

    But because of your stubbornness and unrepentant heart you are storing up wrath for yourself in the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God, who will render to each person according to his deeds: [Romans 2:5-6 NASB]


Mark 8:35
Warren goes on to say

    We are only fully alive when we're helping others. Jesus said, "If you insist on saving your life, you will lose it. Only those who give away their lives for my sake and for the sake of the Good News will ever know what it means to really live." (Mark 8:35 LB. Living Bible) This truth is so important that it is repeated five times in the Gospels. [Page 232]

The Bible most emphatically does NOT say those who give away their lives for the sake of the Gospel will "know what it means to really live". The Bible very clearly says "whoever loses his life for My sake and the gospel's will save it."

    "For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake and the gospel's will save (sozo) it. [Mark 8:35 NASB]

    For whosoever will save his life shall lose it; but whosoever shall lose his life for my sake and the gospel's, the same shall save (sozo) it. [Mark 8:35 KJV]

The Greek word, sozo, used in the above verses means, according to Strong's Hebrew and Greek lexicon, to, literally or figuratively, save, deliver, or protect.

    "She will bear a Son; and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save (sozo) His people from their sins." [Matthew 1:21 NASB]
    "Again I say to you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God." When the disciples heard this, they were very astonished and said, "Then who can be saved (sozo)?" [Matthew 19:24-25 NASB]

    "He who has believed and has been baptized shall be saved (sozo); but he who has disbelieved shall be condemned. [Mark 16:16 NASB]

    'And it shall be that everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved (sozo).' [Acts 2:21 NASB]

    They said, "Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved (sozo), you and your household." [Acts 16:31 NASB]

Chapter/Day 31, Understanding Your Shape,

At the end of this chapter, Rick Warren quotes Aldous Huxley, the English writer who was also well known for advocating and taking psychedelics. [DETAILS]


Chapter/Day 32... Using What God Gave You
2 Corinthians 10:13
Under the heading "Accept and enjoy your shape", Rick Warren says

    "part of accepting your shape is recognizing your limitations. We all have defined roles. Paul understood that his calling was not to accomplish everything or please everyone but to focus only on the particular ministry God had shaped him for. He said "Our goal is to stay within the boundaries of God's plan for us, and this plan includes our working there with you." [2 Corinthians 10:13; NLT. (New Living Translation)] Pg. 253

Not exactly! While there is no question that if God has assigned a particular job to a particular person, He, obviously has very good reason for doing so. Therefore, it is more than wise to stay within those boundaries. However, in this chapter, Paul, who had obviously been denigrated by false apostles, was defending himself and his ministry. In his words...

    For we are not bold to class or compare ourselves with some of those who commend themselves; but when they measure themselves by themselves and compare themselves with themselves, they are without understanding. But we will not boast beyond our measure, but within the measure of the sphere which God apportioned to us as a measure, to reach even as far as you. [2 Corinthians 10:12-13 NASB]

The false apostles sneered that Paul was terrible only in his letters, but he responded by saying that he would not compare himself with others as they did (Vs. 12), nor did he dare to boast of things wholly beyond the limits assigned him by God, as they had done, but only within the sphere that God has given him, which included the area of the Corinthian church.  (Remember that Paul was the apostle to the Gentiles (Acts 26:17-18)

Note that the word translated "boast", which can have some unpleasant connotations in modern English, also means glory, joy, rejoice


Galatians 6:4
What to me is truly fascinating, in a very negative way, is the fact that there are THREE versions of this verse used in this one chapter. On page 251, under the sub heading "Consider Your Heart and Your Personality", Warren quotes The Message's version of Galatians 6:4, which says

    Make a careful exploration of who you are and the work you have been given, and then sink yourself into that. [Galatians 6:4 The Message]

On page 253, under the sub heading "Accept And Enjoy Your Shape", Warren says

    "God wants you to enjoy the shape he has given you. The Bible says "Be sure to do what you should, for then you will enjoy the personal satisfaction of having done your work well, and you won't need to compare yourself to anyone else. [Galatians 6:4 (New Living Translation)]. Satan will try to steal the joy of service from you in a couple of ways: by tempting you to compare your ministry with others, and by tempting you to conform your ministry to the expectation of others.

A little further down on the same page, Warren says that the Bible warns us "never to compare ourselves with others"

    "Do your own work well, and then you will have something to be proud of. But don't compare yourself with others. [Galatians 6:4 CEV (Contemporary English Version)]

It is not possible to correctly understand this verse (nor most others) unless we do so in its context which, in this case, starts in chapter one. Instead of pulling out a verse here, and a verse there, which often leads to completely erroneous conclusions as to what Paul was talking about, try reading the entire book of Galatians as it was written... one letter, means to be read through, in a single sitting.

Paul's letter to the Galatians was written to combat legalism which was threatening to infiltrate the church, thanks to false teachers called Judaizers, who were insisting that faith in Jesus alone was not enough to save. They taught that the Gentile Christians must abide by the Mosaic ceremonial laws (circumcision etc.) to be saved. This false teaching obviously endangered the faith and salvation of the Galatian Christians, which is why Paul told them "It was for freedom that Christ set us free; therefore keep standing firm and do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery." [Galatians 5:1, NASB]

Paul then warns against dissension and tells them to strive to promote each other's welfare. Obviously the Galatians (unlike the morally lax, anything-goes Corinthians) were emphasizing legalism over liberty, had become harsh and judgmental, and were not serving one another "in love"

    "For you were called to freedom, brethren; only do not turn your freedom into an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. For the whole Law is fulfilled in one word, in the statement, "You shall love your neighbor as yourself." But if you bite and devour one another, take care that you are not consumed by one another. [Galatians 5:13-15 NASB]

In Vs.18-23, Paul makes it clear that their attitude was a "work of the flesh" rather than the "fruit of the Spirit", which is "love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control".

Galatians 6:4 begins with the word "for", which connects it with the previous verse(s). Therefore we need to read verses 1-4 together, while keeping in mind that they are a continuation of the subject begun much earlier..

    [1] Brethren, even if anyone is caught in any trespass, you who are spiritual, restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness; each one looking to yourself, so that you too will not be tempted.  [2] Bear one another's burdens, and thereby fulfill the law of Christ. [3] For if anyone thinks he is something when he is nothing, he deceives himself. [4] But each one must examine his own work, and then he will have reason for boasting in regard to himself alone, and not in regard to another. [Galatians 6:1-4 NASB]

6:4 has nothing to do with a Christian comparing his (or her) ministry with others, nor conforming his (or her) ministry to the expectation of others, but was telling the legalistic Galatians not to treat the wayward in an "I'm better than you" manner, but to attempt to restore them in "in a spirit of gentleness", being careful that they themselves would not be tempted. They, or any other Christian, would be deceiving themselves if they think they are "something", when, in fact, they are "nothing". Again the word "nothing" does not mean that they are a waste of space, but is used in the context of the entire chapter. As said by Bob Diffenbaugh [Emphasis Added]

    In what sense does Paul say we "are nothing"? Is this not devastating to our sense of self-esteem? It is the legalistic Christian who is the most condemning of others, especially those who have fallen. This disdain for the “sinner” coupled with a pride in their own self-righteousness was characteristic of the scribes and Pharisees. This attitude is observable in the proud prayer of the Pharisee, who was grateful that he was not a sinner, like the publican (Luke 18:9-14). Paul is thus speaking of the self-elevation of pride which the legalist has in his own righteousness, based on law-works. It is self-righteousness which causes a man to think he is something special. [24]


Hebrews 12:1
Warren goes on to say that "God assigns each of us a field or sphere of service", and "When we try to overextend our ministry reach beyond what God shaped us for, we experience stress. Just as each runner in a race is given a different lane to run in, we must individually; run with patience the particular race that God has set before us (Pg. 253).

This supposedly comes from Hebrews 12:1. However, once more, Rick Warren has used The Living Bible's paraphrase to substantiate the teaching that individual believers have particular boundaries. The problem is that Hebrews 12:1 reads,

    Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance (hupomone) the race that is set before us, [Hebrews 12:1 NASB]

The author of Hebrews says absolutely nothing about Christians having a particular race to run but, if his words are read in context, is telling us that we are to persevere to the end in our Christian faith, and not allow ourselves to be hindered by sin, or anything else. In other words, we are to continue running, until we have reached the goal. In this race we are encouraged by the example of the multitudes who once ran the same race, and persevered to the end. We are also to keep our eye on Jesus, who suffered so very much, but endured to the end, to finally sit "down at the right hand of the throne of God". Considering Him will help us to not grow weary, or lose heart.

    Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, [2] fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. [3] For consider Him who has endured such hostility by sinners against Himself, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart. Hebrews 12:1-3 NASB

As the author of Hebrews himself said a little earlier on, using the same Greek word...

    For you have need of endurance (hupomone), so that when you have done the will of God, you may receive what was promised. [Hebrews 10:36 NASB]

It is entirely possible that God has assigned some of us a particular field, or given some of us a particular task to accomplish. However, there is little question that someone can experience stress even when strictly doing a God appointed task. I am concerned that a person will read this chapter, and interpret any stress to mean that their work cannot be of Him, therefore give it up. If stress had been the deciding factor, I would have abandoned this site starting several years ago, and many times since.

Very often a God appointed task is difficult, and the person carrying it out will experience many obstacles. In fact, it is often the case that the more valuable their work is for the Kingdom, the more they will face opposition from the enemies of the Gospel.


Chapter/Day 34.. Thinking Like A Servant
At the end of the chapter, Rick Warren quotes Albert Schweitzer, who came to believe that Jesus did not actually exist. Then refers to Henri Nouwen on Page 269. [DETAILS]

Chapter/Day 35... God's Power in Your Weakness
2 Corinthians 12:9-10
In a sub heading entitled "Be content with your weaknesses", Warren quotes Paul's words from 2 Corinthians 12:9-10, from the New Living Translation (NLT). [Emphasis Added]

    "I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me. Since I know it is all for Christ's good, I am quite content with my weaknesses."

However, when I looked up this verse in the NLT, I did not see "Since I know it is all for Christ's good" part. Here is what I read [Emphasis Added]

    Each time he said, "My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me. That's why I take pleasure in my weaknesses, and in the insults, hardships, persecutions, and troubles that I suffer for Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong. [2 Corinthians 12:9-10 New Living Translation (NLT)]

which is what the NASB says as well

    And He has said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness." Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me. Therefore I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ's sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong. [2 Corinthians 12:9-10 NASB]


Chapter/Day 36... Made For A Mission
2 Corinthians 5:18

Once again, in this chapter, Rick Warren quotes the Bible as saying

    "Christ changed us from enemies into his friends and gave us the task of making others his friends also" [2 Corinthians 5:18 TEV. Today's English Version] Pg. 282

However, just one page later, under the heading "Your mission is a wonderful privilege", he quotes the Living Bible's version of the same verse

    "God has given us the privilege of urging everyone to come into his favor and be reconciled to him" [2 Corinthians 5:18 LB. Living Bible]

In the first instance, because he is trying to make the point that we all have a mission, Warren uses the TEV, which says God gave us the task of making other his friends. In the second instance, the focus is on our mission being a "wonderful privilege", so Warren switches to The Living Bible, which uses the word privilege.

However, the Greek word used is actually diakonia, which means neither task nor privilege. Diakonia is used some 30 times in the New Testament, and has usually been translated into the English words ministry or, occasionally, service...  Both being pretty much the same thing, since ministry is defined as the act of serving or ministration. A minister is an instrument of service.

Not only does the NASB use the word ministry, but it also uses the words reconcile and reconciliation, which the TEV has changed into making friends.

    Now all these things are from God, who reconciled (katallasso) us to Himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation (katallage), [2 Corinthians 5:18 NASB]

The meaning of the word reconciliation is to re-establish a close relationship between. And, in the case of humans and God, it more properly applies to being restored to Divine favor, which only happens when He no longer counts our trespasses against us.

    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). 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 5:19-20 NASB]

For more on reconciliation, see Day/Chapter 11... Becoming Best Friends With God


Ezekiel 3:18
But let us return for a moment to the topic of the mission, about which Warren says

    Your mission is a continuation of Jesus' mission on earth. As his followers, we are to continue what Jesus started. Jesus calls us not only to come to him, but to go for him. Your mission is so significant that Jesus repeated it five times, in five different ways, in five different books of the Bible (Matthew 28:19-20; Mark 16:15; Luke 24:47; John 20:21; Acts 1:8).

All of which is very true. However, he then goes on to say...

    You may have been unaware that God holds you responsible for the unbelievers who live around you. The Bible says, "You must warn them so they may live. If you don't speak out to warn the wicked to stop their evil ways, they will die in their sin. But I will hold you responsible for their death" (Ezekiel 3:18, NCV). You are the only Christian some people will ever know, and your mission is to share Jesus with them.

Warren gives the reader the impression that if a believer's friend, neighbor or acquaintance dies in unbelief, the believer will be held responsible. Reading this verse in context, makes it clear that the Lord was speaking to Ezekiel who he had appointed a "watchman to the house of Israel"

    "Son of man, I have appointed you a watchman to the house of Israel; whenever you hear a word from My mouth, warn them from Me. "When I say to the wicked, 'You will surely die,' and you do not warn him or speak out to warn the wicked from his wicked way that he may live, that wicked man shall die in his iniquity, but his blood I will require at your hand. "Yet if you have warned the wicked and he does not turn from his wickedness or from his wicked way, he shall die in his iniquity; but you have delivered yourself. [Ezekiel 3:17-19 NASB]

The designation "watchman" was frequently used of Old Testament prophets especially Ezekiel. Like literal watchmen, who were the city's first line of defense, they were responsible for alerting people to danger. The Biblical prophets did exactly the same thing... they warned the people of Israel to turn from their sins, lest the Lord bring judgment down on them. As said on The Stand To reason Site

    Now, it's true that as followers of Christ we too are called upon to warn people of the judgment to come and tell them how they can be saved through the work of Christ. However, I don't think we can apply God's words to Ezekiel to our own lives in an exact manner. The reason is that Ezekiel was commissioned a prophet for the nation of Israel, a specific community of people who were in covenant with God. Ezekiel was responsible for those to whom he preached not simply because they lived around him, but rather because he had been appointed by God to speak to them as members of the nation with whom God had entered into a unique relationship. He was a prophet to the nation. [25] Emphasis Added.

Warren then adds "Your mission gives your life meaning", and quotes William James as saying.... "The best use of life is to spend it for something that outlasts it.” [Pg. 285].  William James was the godson of Ralph Waldo Emerson, and shared many of his unbiblical views. [DETAILS]


Matthew 24:14

On the next page, Warren says

    What we do know for sure is this: "Jesus will not return until everyone God wants to hear the Good News has heard it. Jesus said, 'The Good News about God's kingdom will be preached in all the world, to every nation. Then the end will come." [Matthew 24:14 NCV. New Century Version] if you want Jesus to come back sooner, focus on fulfilling your mission, not figuring out prophecy. (Pg. 286).

Matthew 24:14 is not describing the prerequisites for Christ's return for His church, and it certainly does not say that we can hasten or delay His return, which we cannot.

Jesus said the Gospel would be preached in all the world, to every nation during what is often called The Olivet Discourse... Christ's teaching on the Mount of Olives, recorded in Matthew 24.

However, what often escapes notice is that both the Olivet Discourse and the seven Seals (described in Revelation 6) include, in the same sequence, the events leading up to, and the actual tribulation of the church. After which, both talk about the Great Tribulation of God's wrath. (The tribulation in which Christians suffer is NOT synonymous with God's Wrath, but it happens nonetheless, shortly after the anti-christ shows up. It is then that everyone who kills you thinks that he is 'offering service' to God. In fact the spilling of the blood of the saints is one of the reasons for God's wrath falling on the planet). For example,

    The first three Seals (the first three Horsemen of Revelation 6:1-6) correspond with Matthew 24:5-8, inasmuch as both describe the beginning of birth pains...  the events leading up to the tribulation of the church.

    The Fourth Seal (the fourth Horseman) is the actual persecution when many are killed for their faith, while the Fifth Seal talks of the outcome of the Fourth Seal. Compare Matthew 24:9-13.

    Matthew 24:21-22 of the Olivet Discourse, speaks of "great tribulation, such as has not occurred since the beginning of the world", which is described in The Sixth Seal [Revelation 6:12-17].

However, there is an interlude Between the Sixth and Seventh Seals, during which several things take place, such as the sealing of the 144,000, and the vision of "a great multitude [Revelation 7:4, 9]. It is also very possible that during this interlude that the Gospel will be preached, by natural and supernatural means, to the entire world. It is only after the seventh seal broken and, when John sees a whole series of judgments .... the trumpets and bowls. Note that it is very likely that this interlude will also see the "latter rain" outpouring of the Holy Spirit falling on God's people in complete fulfillment of Joel's prophecy, which was only partially fulfilled at Pentecost, when all believers were given the indwelling Spirit.

    See

    The Seven Seals and Matthew 24 In summary, both the Olivet Discourse and the Seals include, in the same sequence, both the events leading up to, and the actual tribulation of the church, followed by the wrath and judgment of God, or the Great Tribulation such as the world has never seen.

    Also

    The Judgment of God... The First Six Trumpets One often hears of the media describing one of nature's calamities as being "of biblical proportions". This extreme language makes one wonder how they would describe the true plagues that God will send on the earth, which will indeed be "of biblical proportions". The first six of these plagues are each heralded by an angel blowing a Trumpet.

    That Earth-Shaking Seventh Trumpet" is, in a sense, the most consequential of all the judgments, since at this call significant and apparently rapid changes take place. This last Trumpet brings an end to the mystery of God... Jesus appears before the Face of God for us and, the atonement complete, He reaps the earth (what we call the Rapture) and the doors to the Kingdom are closed forever.


Chapter/Day 38... Becoming a World Class Christian
The title of this chapter is a play on words. In it Rick Warren urges Christians to stop focusing on themselves and pay more attention to the global application of the Great Commission. He touches the fact that much of the world already thinks globally, and how much easier it has become to spread the Gospel. Facts that many of us really need to take to heart. Warren then goes on to say

    "The first way to start thinking globally is to begin praying for specific countries. World-class Christians pray for the world Get a globe or map and pray for nations by name. The Bible says "If you ask me, I will give you the nations; all the people on earth will be yours." [Psalm 2:8 NCV]

What Rick Warren neglects to mention is that the promise to give the nations as an inheritance was made to the Messiah, not to any Christian who prays over a globe or map, as commendable as that might be. Note the word in bold (added)

    [1] Why are the nations in an uproar And the peoples devising a vain thing?  [2] The kings of the earth take their stand And the rulers take counsel together against the LORD and against His Anointed, saying,  [3] "Let us tear their fetters apart And cast away their cords from us!" [4]  He who sits in the heavens laughs, The Lord scoffs at them. [5]  Then He will speak to them in His anger And terrify them in His fury, saying,  [6] "But as for Me, I have installed My King Upon Zion, My holy mountain." [7]  "I will surely tell of the decree of the LORD: He said to Me, 'You are My Son, Today I have begotten You. [8]  'Ask of Me, and I will surely give the nations as Your inheritance, And the very ends of the earth as Your possession.  [9] 'You shall break them with a rod of iron, You shall shatter them like earthenware.'" [10] Now therefore, O kings, show discernment; Take warning, O judges of the earth.  [11]  Worship the LORD with reverence And rejoice with trembling. [12] Do homage to the Son, that He not become angry, and you perish in the way, For His wrath may soon be kindled. How blessed are all who take refuge in Him! [Psalms 2:1-12 NASB ]

In the book of Acts, the apostles quoted this Psalm, specifically mentioning that the Lord's Anointed was the Christ

    who by the Holy Spirit, through the mouth of our father David Your servant, said, 'why did the Gentiles rage, and the peoples devise futile things? 'the kings of the earth took their stand, and the rulers were gathered together against the lord and against his Christ.' [Acts 4:25-26 NASB]

Psalm 2 is actually a warning to the kings and rulers who "take counsel together" to take a stand against God, because His Anointed One will "break them with a rod of iron" and "shatter them like earthenware." [Vs. 9]


Luke 9:62

On page 302, Rick Warren so rightly says "so much of what we waste our energy on will not matter even a year from now, much less for eternity. Don't trade your life for temporary things". He then quotes Jesus as saying "anyone who lets himself be distracted from the work I plan for him is not fit for the Kingdom of God" [Luke 9:62 LB. Living Bible].

A word for word translation says

    But Jesus said to him, "No one, after putting his hand to the plow and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God." [Luke 9:62 NASB]

This in the context of three would be disciples, each of whom wanted to follow Christ. However, two of them wanted to first take care of something before following Jesus. The first had what he possibly saw as an obligation to bury his father, and wanted to take care of that first. The other wished to say goodbye to his family before following the Lord. It seems that both men fully intended to become the Lord's disciples, but not quite yet. Jesus' response to each of them emphasized that the choices we all have to make, at some point or another... The world or Jesus... our family or Jesus... our commitments or Jesus.

Our decision has to be based on what is eternally more important. Jesus does not want disciples who, like the Israelites of old looked back with regret on the pleasures of Egypt. Anyone who does so is not "fit for the kingdom of God".

The verse says nothing about being distracted from the work Jesus plans for him, but emphasizes the fact that either we are wholly committed, or not at all.


Chapter/Day 40... Living With Purpose
Philippians 4:7

On page 314, Warren asks how we know when God is at the center of our lives. "When God's at the center, you worship. When he's not, you worry. Worry is the warning light that God has been shoved to the sideline. The moment you put him back at the center, you will have peace again. The Bible says

    "A sense of God's wholeness... will come and settle you down. It's wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life." [Philippians 4:7. The Message]

I have absolutely no idea what "A sense of God's wholeness" means. But, it doesn't really matter, since the Bible says no such thing. In context, Philippians 4:7 reads... Emphasis Added

    Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. [Philippians 4:6-7 NASB]

As said by commentator Albert Barnes.. "The peace here particularly referred to is that which is felt when we have no anxious care about the supply of our needs, and when we go confidently and commit everything into the hands of God. Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on thee;" Isaiah 26:3.

Acts 13:36
Under the heading God Wants To Use You Warren says

    About thirty years ago, I noticed a little phrase in Acts 13:36 that forever altered the direction of my life. It was only seven words but, like the stamp of a searing hot branding iron, my life was permanently marked by these words: "David served God's purpose in his generation" [Acts 13:36 a] Now I understood why God called David "a man after my own heart."[Acts 13:22] David dedicated his life to fulfilling God's purposes on earth.

    There is no greater epitaph than that statement! Imagine it chiseled on your tombstone: That you served God's purpose in your generation. My prayer is that people will be able to say that about me when I die. It is also my prayer that people will say it about you, too. That is why I wrote this book for you. [Pg. 318]

Apparently these words, spoken as part of Paul's evangelistic sermon to the Jews in the synagogue at Antioch, provided much of the motivation for writing The Purpose Driven Life. However, while there is little question that, in his time, David served according to God's purposes, this was not the point that Paul was making. His entire argument was devoted to showing that Jesus Christ was the Messiah. He pointed out that after King David died and was buried, he "underwent decay", but Jesus Christ did not. The resurrection proved not only His supremacy over David, but also that He was the Messiah.

The entire passage is not about David fulfilling his purpose, but points to a far larger truth...


Esther 4:14

Warren goes on to say

    This phrase is the ultimate definition of a life well lived. You do the eternal and timeless (God's purpose) in a contemporary and timely way (in your generation). That is what the purpose-driven life is all about. Neither past nor future generations can serve God's purpose in this generation. Only we can. Like Esther, God created you "for such a time as this." [Esther 4:14] God is still looking for people to use. The Bible says, "The eyes of the LORD search the whole earth in order to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him." [2 Chronicles 16:9. NLT] Will you be a person God can use for his purposes? Will you serve God's purpose in your generation? [Pg. 318]

The verse from Esther quoted above gives the impression that Esther was created by God for a particular purpose, when, in reality, we are not told whether He did or not. In context, it reads...

    Then Mordecai told them to reply to Esther, "Do not imagine that you in the king's palace can escape any more than all the Jews. "For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance will arise for the Jews from another place and you and your father's house will perish. And who knows whether you have not attained royalty for such a time as this?" [Esther 4:13-14 NASB]

The words above were spoken by her cousin Mordecai, who warned her that her position in the palace would not save her from the king's decree that all the Jews in the land were to be annihilated. Mordecai then went on to tell her that is she kept silent, relief and deliverance would arise for the Jews from another source, but she and her father's house will perish. It is then that he added "And who knows whether you have not attained royalty for such a time as this?" [Emphasis Added]


CONTINUE ON TO PART 7.... 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.

 

End Notes
[13] Al Dager. The Purpose-Driven Program... A Growing Phenomenon In The Churches http://www.erwm.com/PDProgram1.htm

[23] Bob Deffinbaugh. The Sufficiency of God Through His Spirit (2 Cor. 2:12-4:6)
http://bible.org/seriespage/sufficiency-god-through-his-spirit-2-cor-212-46

[24] Bob Diffenbaugh in "Bearing Burdens: How One Sinner Relates to the Sin of Another" (Galatians 6:1-5)
http://bible.org/seriespage/bearing-burdens-how-one-sinner-relates-sin-another-galatians-61-5

[25] Keith, STR Correspondent. Rick Warren on God's Role in Evangelism. http://www.str.org/site/News2?page=NewsArticle&id=5549

Index To The Purpose Driven Life