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The Purpose Driven Life

Part V... Chapter 21 and Saddleback’s Member Covenant

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.

    You Are Here 001orange Part V... Chapter 21 (unity at all cost) and Saddleback’s Member Covenant

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

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

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

Autumn-Bar 

ON THIS PAGE

Protecting Your Church
Saddleback’s Membership Covenant


Chapter/Day 21.... Protecting Your Church
This chapter is, in itself, a very dangerous one in many ways.

Rick Warren, obviously writing from the viewpoint of a pastor of a mega-church, tells his readers that "It is their job to protect the unity of their churches.  He adds that "unity in the church is so important that the New Testament gives more attention to it than to either heaven or hell". He adds that "Unity is the soul of fellowship" and if we destroy it we rip the heart out of Christ's body [Pg. 160].

    "Nothing on earth is more valuable to God than his church. He paid the highest price for it, and he wants it protected, especially from the devastating damage that is caused by division, conflict, and disharmony" (Pg. 161).

    "We share the same salvation, the same life, and the same future — factors far more important than any differences we could enumerate" (Pg. 161).

Romans 14:1, 2 Timothy 2:23
He goes on to say [Emphasis added]

    "But for unity's sake we must never let differences divide us. We must stay focused on what matters most — learning to love each other as Christ has loved us, and fulfilling God's five purposes for each of us and his church. Conflict is usually a sign that the focus has shifted to less important issues, things the Bible calls 'disputable matters' (Romans 14:1; 2 Timothy 2:23). When we focus on personalities, preferences, interpretations, styles, or methods, division always happens. But if we concentrate on loving each other and fulfilling God's purposes, harmony results. Paul pleaded for this: 'Let there be real harmony so there won't be divisions in the church. I plead with you to be of one mind, united in thought and purpose (1 Corinthians 1:10 NLT)"  (Pgs. 161-162).

Which makes it seem that any criticism leveled at The Purpose-Driven Life for faulty interpretation of Scripture will automatically be dumped into the "divisive" bin. While there is absolutely no question that we should never let differences like personality and background cause disharmony among the brethren, neither Romans 14:1, nor 2 Timothy 2:23 can be used to prove that we must be united at all cost. Certainly, the Bible calls us to live in peace with one another, to keep and maintain healthy relationships with our brothers and sisters in Christ, but NOT at the expense of truth.

Romans 14:1 says this

    Now accept the one who is weak in faith, but not for the purpose of passing judgment on his opinions. [NASB]

If you read the rest of the chapter, it becomes obvious that when Paul said they needed to accept even those who were "weak in faith", he was referring to the Jewish convert who had not yet fully grasped, or was comfortable with, Christian liberty, but who could not completely get away from the idea that observing certain days, and refraining from certain food was essential to his standing in the eyes of God.

2 Timothy 2:23 reads (All Emphasis Added)

    But refuse foolish (moros) and ignorant (apaideutos ) speculations (zetesis), knowing that they produce quarrels. [NASB]

The Hebrew word use (zetesis), translated into the English 'speculation' in the verse above, has been rendered as both "debate" and "controversial questions" in other verses

    And when Paul and Barnabas had great dissension and debate (zetesis) with them, the brethren determined that Paul and Barnabas and some others of them should go up to Jerusalem to the apostles and elders concerning this issue. [Acts 15:2 NASB]

    he is conceited and understands nothing; but he has a morbid interest in controversial questions (zetesis) and disputes about words, out of which arise envy, strife, abusive language, evil suspicions, [1 Timothy 6:4 NASB]

In other words, Paul was advising Timothy to avoid foolish and ignorant debates, which do nothing but produce quarrels. (The word foolish, translated from the Greek moros, is where we get our English moron). As commentator Albert Barnes said "The Greeks and the Hebrews were greatly given to controversies of various kinds, and many of the questions discussed pertained to points which could not be settled, or which, if settled, were of no importance. "

In the first place we need to remember that the church is not a brick and mortar building, but the believers themselves who are baptized in his name and filled with his spirit.

    He is also head of the body, the church; and He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, so that He Himself will come to have first place in everything. [Colossians 1:18 NASB]

    Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I do my share on behalf of His body, which is the church, in filling up what is lacking in Christ's afflictions. [Colossians 1:24 NASB]

    For we are God's fellow workers; you are God's field, God's building. [1 Corinthians 3:9 NASB]

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

    because we are members of His body. [Ephesians 5:30 NASB]

    to be specific, that the Gentiles are fellow heirs and fellow members of the body, and fellow partakers of the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel, [Ephesians 3:6 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]

There is no question that God paid the highest possible price for the church, or the body of believers. However, we cannot protect this body by demanding peace at any cost. We cannot possibly minimize critical doctrinal differences for the sake of a false unity. Rick Warren teaches that God wants His church protected from division, differences and conflicts. However, the most solemn warnings in the New Testament concern false teachers whom Paul called "savage wolves" who he said, after his departure, would arise from among the flock, and not spare any of them. By speaking perverse things, or distorting the truth, they would endeavor to draw the disciples away from the truth

    "I know that after my departure savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock; [Acts 20:29 NASB]

And once again, let us not forget that the "church" is not a particular organization, but is made up of individual believers who God wants protected from anything that would draw them away from the faith, and lead them down the path to destruction. And, why does Rick Warren ignore the innumerable number of verses that tell us how we are to treat heretics and disobedient people? The Bible's very explicit instructions are to separate ourselves from men like these. We are shun them, stay away from them, and not associate with them. Read it for yourself. All emphasis in the quotes below have been added

    "Be on guard for yourselves and for all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood. "I know that after my departure savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock; and from among your own selves men will arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after them. "Therefore be on the alert, remembering that night and day for a period of three years I did not cease to admonish each one with tears. [Acts 20:28-31 NASB]

    And I myself also am persuaded of you, my brethren, that ye yourselves are full of goodness, filled with all knowledge, able also to admonish one another. [Romans 15:14]

    Now I urge you, brethren, keep your eye on those who cause dissensions and hindrances contrary to the teaching which you learned, and turn away from them. For such men are slaves, not of our Lord Christ but of their own appetites; and by their smooth and flattering speech they deceive the hearts of the unsuspecting. [Romans 16:17-18 NASB]

    Now we command you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you keep away from every brother who leads an unruly life and not according to the tradition which you received from us. [2 Thessalonians 3:6 NASB]

    And we exhort you, brethren, admonish the disorderly, encourage the fainthearted, support the weak, be longsuffering toward all [1 Thessalonians 5:14]

    If anyone does not obey our instruction in this letter, take special note of that person and do not associate with him, so that he will be put to shame. [2 Thessalonians 3:14 NASB]

    But avoid worldly and empty chatter, for it will lead to further ungodliness, and their talk will spread like gangrene. Among them are Hymenaeus and Philetus, men who have gone astray from the truth saying that the resurrection has already taken place, and they upset the faith of some. [2 Timothy 2:16-18 NASB]

    Reject a factious man after a first and second warning, [Titus 3:10 NASB]

    Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world. [1 John 4:1 NASB]

    If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither bid him God speed: For he that biddeth him God speed is partaker of his evil deeds. (2 John 1:10-11) 

    See Other Verses

On Pgs. 163- 164, Warren, once again, uses verses that do not say what he claims they do. He says


1) "God warns us over and over not to criticize, compare, or judge each other.

In support of the he quotes five Bible verses, none of which can be used to support his statement. The verses Warren quotes are a) Romans 14:13; b) James 4:11; c) Ephesians 4:29; d) Matthew 5:9; e) James 5:9]. Leaving Romans 14:13 for later, we will examine each of the other four verses


b)
James 4:11

says "Speak not one against another, brethren. He that speaketh against a brother, or judgeth his brother, speaketh against the law, and judgeth the law: but if thou judgest the law, thou art not a doer of the law, but a judge".

In this case, it seems that the KJV comes closer to the actual Greek, translating this passage thus.. [Emphasis added]

    "Speak not evil one of another, brethren. He that speaketh evil of his brother, and judgeth his brother, speaketh evil of the law, and judgeth the law: but if thou judge the law, thou art not a doer of the law, but a judge."

The English word "evil" has been translated from the Greek katalaleo, derived from katalalos, which, according to Strong's Hebrew and Greek lexicon, means to slander.. to be a backbiter. It is

    "What the law calls defamation of character and what we call smearing another's good name, or character-assassination. It is every statement that is made with the purpose of belittling someone, or besmirching his or her reputation, and encompasses everything from out-and-out lies to veiled innuendoes, and even includes true statements when these are told only to hurt the person about whom they are made". [20]

The same word is used in Romans 1:30, in which Paul is describing depraved people, and used by Peter about people wrongly accusing Christians

    being filled with all unrighteousness, wickedness, greed, evil; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, malice; they are gossips, slanderers [katalalos], haters of God, insolent, arrogant, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, without understanding, untrustworthy, unloving, unmerciful; [Romans 1:29-31 NASB]

    and keep a good conscience so that in the thing in which you are slandered, those who revile (katalaleo) your good behavior in Christ will be put to shame. [1 Peter 3:16 NASB]

In no shape or form does James 4:11 apply to using discernment to judge whether what someone in the church thinks, or teaches, is in accordance with the word of God.


c) Ephesians 4:29
 says "Let no corrupt (sapros) speech proceed out of your mouth, but such as is good for edifying as the need may be, that it may give grace to them that hear.

Sapros means rotten, that is, literally or morally worthless, bad or corrupt. However, rotten or unsavory communication has absolutely nothing to do with discerning between true and false doctrine.


d) Matthew 5:9
says "Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called sons of God".
"Peacemakers" are not required to embrace every heresy that comes along in the interests of some artificial peace.


 e)James 5:9

says "Murmur (Greek stenazo) not, brethren, one against another, that ye be not judged: behold, the judge standeth before the doors".
The word stenazo actually means to sigh or groan. Most commentators have taken it to mean to grumble or complain, none of which has nothing to do with discernment of true and false doctrine.
 

Jesus Prayed For Our Unity
So how do the many verses that tell us that we are to reject heretics square with the fact that, as Rick Warren says, Jesus prayed for our unity in His final hours [Pg. 161] .

    "Just like every parent, our heavenly Father enjoys watching his children get along with each other. In his final moments before being arrested, Jesus prayed passionately for our unity".

However lets examine Jesus' prayer a little more carefully... [Emphasis Added]

    "I do not ask on behalf of these alone, but for those also who believe in Me through their word; that they may all be one; even as You, Father, are in Me and I in You, that they also may be in Us, so that the world may believe that You sent Me. "The glory which You have given Me I have given to them, that they may be one, just as We are one; I in them and You in Me, that they may be perfected in unity, so that the world may know that You sent Me, and loved them, even as You have loved Me. [John 17:20-23 NASB]

Jesus prays for unity among believers twice in these three short verses. However, in both places, the unity He prays His followers would have, is based on the unity that exists between the Father and the Son. Not only were Jesus and the Father in perfect agreement, but He did the Father's bidding, and reflected the image of the Father to the world.

    Therefore Jesus answered and was saying to them, "Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, unless it is something He sees the Father doing; for whatever the Father does, these things the Son also does in like manner. [John 5:19 NASB]

    in these last days has spoken to us in His Son, whom He appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the world. 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 1:2-3 NASB. Emphasis Added]

     Philip *said to Him, "Lord, show us the Father, and it is enough for us." Jesus *said to him, "Have I been so long with you, and yet you have not come to know Me, Philip? He who has seen Me has seen the Father; how can you say, 'Show us the Father'? "Do you not believe that I am in the Father, and the Father is in Me? The words that I say to you I do not speak on My own initiative, but the Father abiding in Me does His works. "Believe Me that I am in the Father and the Father is in Me; otherwise believe because of the works themselves. [John 14:8-11 NASB Emphasis Added]

There can be no unity between a faithful believer and a person who does not believe, follow, practice, and/or teach the truth. As Charles Spurgeon once said [Emphasis Added]

    A chorus of ecumenical voices keep harping the unity tune. What they are saying is, "Christians of all doctrinal shades and beliefs must come together in one visible organization, regardless... Unite, unite!"  Such teaching is false, reckless and dangerous. Truth alone must determine our alignments. Truth comes before unity.  Unity without truth is hazardous. Our Lord's prayer in John 17 must be read in its full context. Look at verse 17: "Sanctify them through thy truth; thy word is truth." Only those sanctified through the Word can be one in Christ. To teach otherwise is to betray the Gospel. [21]

Yet, without any disclaimer, Rick Warren conveys the idea that unity itself is of paramount importance in the church.


2) Romans 14
Rick Warren uses several verses from the fourteenth chapter of Romans to make his point. As mentioned earlier he uses Romans 14:1 as a proof text for focusing on less important issues. Then, on Pg. 161, under the heading Focus on what we have in common, not our differences, Rick Warren quotes Paul as saying

    "Let us concentrate on the things which make for harmony, and on the growth of one another's character" [Romans 14:19 Ph (New Testament in Modern English by J.B. Phillips]

    When you criticize what another believer is doing in faith and from sincere conviction, you are interfering with God's business. "what right do you have to criticize someone else's servants?  Only their Lord can decide if they are doing right [Romans 14: 4 CEV]

    Paul adds that we must not stand in judgment or look down on other believers was convictions differ from our own: "Why then, criticize your brothers actions, why try to make him look small? We should all be judged one day, not by each other's standards or even our own, but by the standards of Christ [Romans 14:10 ph (New Testament in Modern English by J.B. Phillips]

    Whenever I judge another believer, four things instantly happen; I lose fellowship with God, I expose my own pride and insecurity, I set myself up to be judged by god, and I harm the fellowship of the church. A critical spirit is a costly vice.

    The Bible calls Satan "the accuser of our brothers". It is the devil's job to blame, complain, and criticize members of God's family.  Any time we do the same, we're being duped into doing Satan's work for him. Remember, other Christians, no matter how much you disagree with them, are not the real enemy. Any time we spend comparing or criticizing other believers is time that should have been spent building the unity of our fellowship.

Warren then once again quotes Romans 14:19 but, this time, uses The Message's version, which says

    "let's agree to use all our energy in getting along with each other. Help others with encouraging words; don't drag them down by finding fault" [Romans 14:19. The Message]

However, a careful reading of the context of Romans 14 indicates that, in this chapter, Paul was endeavoring to settle some difficult and delicate questions that arose between the Jews and Gentiles respecting food and the observance of particular days. Of particular concern was the question as to whether it was lawful to eat the meat that was offered in sacrifice to idols; [V. 2]. Whether days of fasting were to be observed [Vs. 5-6]. And whether some certain animals were clean or unclean [V. 14].

People were judging each other over these issues, and Paul pointed out that neither fasting nor eating were of consequence, provided it is done conscientiously, and with a desire to glorify God [V. 6]. He added that no meat is unclean in, and of, itself, but is unclean if the person concerned believes it is [V.14].

In other words, their faith consists of more important matters than these kind of more 'secondary issues', which they should not judge each other on [V. 17-18]. However, discerning, or judging, between true and false doctrine, and true and false teachers, is miles away from a secondary issue. How will we "Abhor that which is evil; cleave to that which is good" [Romans 12:9] if we cannot tell the difference?


Judgment:

Let's for a moment examine the words "judge". Merriam Webster's says it is

    1. to form an opinion about through careful weighing of evidence and testing of premises

    2. to determine or pronounce after inquiry and deliberation

    3. to form an estimate or evaluation of

So, in other words, when a person is told not to judge, they are being told that they should not consider and evaluate the evidence. How then we are to arrive at sensible conclusions regarding what we are to believe, or which path we are to follow, is anyone's guess.

Discernment:
Discernment or "judging" is one of the gifts of the Holy Spirit. In speaking of the "diversities of gifts" given by the Holy Spirit, Paul says

    and to another workings of miracles; and to another prophecy; and to another discerning of spirits; to another divers kinds of tongues; and to another the interpretation of tongues: [1 Corinthians 12:10]

The Greek word translated into the English discerning, is diakrisis, which is derived from another Greek word diakrino, defined by Strong's Hebrew and Greek lexicon as

to separate thoroughly, discern, doubt, judge. Additionally, diakrino is made up of two other Greek words... dia which means through, by reason of, and krino which means distinguish, judge, determine.

In other words, one of the gifts of the Holy Spirit is the ability to judge, or determine, between two (or more) things as to which is right and which is wrong. Therefore Biblical "discernment of spirits" involves being able to distinguish between people or practices that serve the cause of Christ, and those that serve other spirits.

The fact that Rick Warren says nary a word about examining the Scriptures daily to see whether the things one is hearing, or reading, are true [Acts 17:11] is a sad commentary on a book that claims to lead believers into a "transformed" life, which, one assumes, involves reaching a higher level of spiritual maturity. Instead he tells the reader to "focus on what we have in common, not our differences."(Pg. 161). And, in order to ensure that members of Saddleback do not stir the waters, he requires each person to sign a covenant.

    "God blesses churches that are unified. At Saddleback Church, every member signs a covenant that includes a promise to protect the unity of our fellowship. As a result, the church has never had a conflict that split the fellowship. Just as important, because it is a loving, unified fellowship, a lot of people want to be part of it! ... When God has a bunch of baby believers he wants to deliver, he looks for the warmest incubator church he can find." [Pgs. 166-167]

See more about Saddleback's Covenant below.

Also See

    The Four Most Dangerous Mistakes Any Christian Can Make 1) Believe that we, or our pastor/denomination/spiritual leader cannot be fooled, 2) Attribute every personal testimony and "sign" as being of or from God, 3) Take Bible verses out of context and 4) believe that we, as Christians, are not to judge anything or any one. Not necessarily in that order.

    Why Christians Are Deceived The reasons that so many modern day Christians are deceived are numerous. They believe they should be "united", and are commanded to "love". They do not want to be labeled "heresy hunters", accused of quenching the spirit, or found guilty of 'touching' the Lord's anointed etc. etc. However, I believe these, and all other reasons deception is so rampant in the church, can be attributed to just two underlying facts... Too many Christians are Biblically illiterate, their theology confined to catch phrases, and daily devotionals of familiar passages of Scripture, preferably well sprinkled with inspirational stories and jokes. This shallow understanding of their faith causes them to be more conditioned by the culture than by the Bible. Besides which, Christians seem to be very addicted to 'spiritual highs'.

    Theology and Doctrine: In part, thanks to apostate, so called "Christian" leaders like Paul Crouch, all too many Christians seem to be under the impression that "theology" and "doctrine" are of minimal importance. They are not only widely misunderstood, but brushed aside by Christians, some of whom believe that theology and doctrine have little relevance to their religious life and practice. Other seem to think that these five dollar words are best left to those who have spent years poring over dusty tomes, or spent at least a year or two in in the halls of academia, and have a string of letters after their names.

Perhaps the words "theology" and "doctrine" gets Christians on the defensive, because they have been taught to believe that their faith must be based in the heart, therefore all that is important will be "experienced". Or perhaps they want no challenges to their shallow 'easy Christianity', which requires no intellectual effort, and allows people to coast along, never being stretched, or using their God given brains. The fact is that both theology and doctrine are crucial to authentic Christian faith


Jude 1:19
On page 165 Rick Warren says God considers people who listen to gossip as troublemakers. And "troublemakers listen to troublemakers". In this context, he quotes Jude 1:19

    "these are the ones who split churches, thinking only of themselves"

But the question is who exactly was Jude talking about. Read the verse in context.

    But you, beloved, ought to remember the words that were spoken beforehand by the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ, that they were saying to you, "In the last time there will be mockers, following after their own ungodly lusts." These are the ones who cause divisions, worldly-minded, devoid of the Spirit. [Jude 1:17-19 NASB]

In these two verses, Jude echoed the words of Peter. As Barnes said "There is a striking similarity between these two verses and 2 Peter 3:1-3. It occurs in the same connection, following the description of the false and dangerous teachers against whom the apostle would guard them, and couched almost in the same words." However, it was Peter who clarified what the "mockers" would scoff at..

    that you should remember the words spoken beforehand by the holy prophets and the commandment of the Lord and Savior spoken by your apostles. Know this first of all, that in the last days mockers will come with their mocking, following after their own lusts, and saying, "Where is the promise of His coming? For ever since the fathers fell asleep, all continues just as it was from the beginning of creation." [2 Peter 3:2-4 NASB]

In other words, Jude was warning about paying any attention to those who scoffed at the idea that the Lord Jesus would return to the world, and that it will be destroyed.


Hebrews 13:17
On Page 166 Rick Warren says

    "The Bible is clear about how we are to relate to those who serve us. Be responsive to your pastoral leaders. Listen to their counsel. They are alert to the condition of your lives and work under the strict supervision of God. Contribute to the joy of their leadership, not its drudgery. Why would you want to make things harder for them? [Hebrews 13:17-21 The Message]

It is totally amazing how much The Message has elaborated and expanded upon this one verse. A word for word translation, which gives us a much closer picture of the original Greek, says

    Obey (peitho) your leaders and submit to them, for they keep watch over your souls as those who will give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with grief, for this would be unprofitable for you. [Hebrews 13:17 NASB]

Please note that Warren has also quoted the NIV's version of this same verse, without any indication that he is using only using the first half of the verse. He says

    "Pastors will one day stand before God and give an account of how well they watched over you. "They keep watch over you as men who must give an account." [Hebrews 13:17 NIV]. But you are accountable too. You will give an account to God of how well you followed your leaders.

In it's entirety, this verse reads

    Have confidence in your leaders and submit to their authority, because they keep watch over you as those who must give an account. Do this so that their work will be a joy, not a burden, for that would be of no benefit to you. [Hebrews 13:17. (NIV) New International Version]

However, although this one verse has often been used as ‘proof-text’ for submitting to ecclesiastic authority, and seems to empower authoritarian rule in the church, it says no such thing. Peitho has been used some 55 times in the New Testament, most often been translated persuaded, trust or confidence, simply because it has several different English equivalents, such as Agree with, Be assured by, Believe in, Have confidence in, Obey, Be persuaded by, Trust, Yield to. Note some examples of how the word has been translated...

    But the chief priests and the elders persuaded (peitho) the crowds to ask for Barabbas and to put Jesus to death. [Matthew 27:20 NASB]

    "But if we say, 'From men,' all the people will stone us to death, for they are convinced (peitho) that John was a prophet." [Luke 20:6 NASB]

    And Agrippa said unto Paul, With but little persuasion (peitho) thou wouldest fain make me a Christian [Acts 26:28] 

    “And he spake also this parable unto certain who trusted (peitho) in themselves that they were righteous, and set all others at nought” [Luke 18:9] 

    and art confident (peitho) that thou thyself art a guide of the blind, a light of them that are in darkness, [Romans 2:19]

In the case of Hebrews 13:17, translating peitho into obey, is possibly the worst possible choice, simply because it would then flatly contradict a number of other New Testament verses which clearly point out that there is only one leader... Christ. And that human leaders are to lead by example, not seek to control the flock

    Calling them to Himself, Jesus said to them, "You know that those who are recognized as rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them; and their great men exercise authority over them. "But it is not this way among you, but whoever wishes to become great among you shall be your servant; and whoever wishes to be first among you shall be slave of all. "For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many." [Mark 10:42-45 NASB]

    Therefore, I exhort the elders among you, as your fellow elder and witness of the sufferings of Christ, and a partaker also of the glory that is to be revealed, shepherd the flock of God among you, exercising oversight not under compulsion, but voluntarily, according to the will of God; and not for sordid gain, but with eagerness; nor yet as lording it over those allotted to your charge, but proving to be examples to the flock. [1 Peter 5:1-3 NASB]

    "But do not be called Rabbi; for One is your Teacher, and you are all brothers. "Do not call anyone on earth your father; for One is your Father, He who is in heaven. "Do not be called leaders; for One is your Leader, that is, Christ. "But the greatest among you shall be your servant. "Whoever exalts himself shall be humbled; and whoever humbles himself shall be exalted. [Matthew 23:8-12 NASB]

So the word (peitho) has nothing to do with blind obedience, but is more in the sense of trusting, or being persuaded by the elders. However, whenever the Bible mentions "elders" of the church, it is speaking of genuine and true servants of the Lord, who are faithfully and accurately teaching God's word.


Titus 3:10

Warren goes on to say (Emphasis added)

    The Bible gives pastors very specific instructions on how to deal with divisive people in the fellowship. They are to avoid arguing, gently teach the opposition while praying they'll change, warn those who are argumentative, plead for harmony and unity, rebuke those who are disrespectful of leadership, and remove divisive people from the church if they ignore two warnings.

While I have absolutely no idea where the Bible tells pastors to rebuke those who are "disrespectful of leadership", it is true that Paul instructed Titus, a church elder, to "Reject a factious man after a first and second warning" [Titus 3:10 NASB]. However, there were plenty of other instructions to the general church as to how to treat anyone who did not teach and practice the truth. The spirit of what Paul says in the book of Titus, is repeated in the sixteenth chapter of Romans.

    Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offenses contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them.  For they that are such serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly; and by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple.  [Romans 16:17-18]

And he doesn't stop there. Believers are instructed to withdraw themselves from people who follow false doctrine and practices. 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.

    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].

The Scriptures do not endorse blindly following any one who stands behind a pulpit, pastors a church, or writes a book. Everything has to be checked by the word of God. I strongly suggest you read, with open Bible in hand

    One of The Most Dangerous Mistakes Any Believer Can Make is to Believe That We, As Christians Are Not To Judge Anything Or Anyone... People often believe the politically correct, liberal view that we, as Christians, are not to judge anything or any one. "Judge Not" is the one Bible verse that most people love to quote and a common cliché among liberals whose theology comes from liberalism instead of Scripture. They are not sure where it is found, but they do know that those were Jesus' words. However, few seem to realize that this is not a stand alone statement that He pulled out of thin air, then went off to try his hand at fishing for his lunch on the Sea of Tiberias, saying no more on the matter. In fact it has been terribly wrested from it's context. Perhaps we should allow the Lord to complete His thought AND His sentence. And, if we do, we will find that Jesus wasn't saying, or even implying, that we should never make judgments about anyone, at any time, but condemning a certain type of judging. Contrary to popular beliefs.. the Bible makes some very straight forward statements about judging and one of the gifts of the Holy Spirit is the ability to judge or determine between two things as to which is right, and which is wrong. [See Judge Not?]

    Christians are Commanded To Separate Themselves From Those Who Teach, and Practice, False Doctrine
    In the spirit of our overly tolerant, anything goes, society, we tend to look on confrontation as something to be avoided at all cost., but the Bible's instructions on how to deal with those who teach and practice false doctrine in the church are very explicit. It is a two step process. The heresy has to be actively confronted and, if not repented of, has to be shunned. The bounden duty of a true believer towards men who profess to be Christians, and yet deny the Word of the Lord, is to come out from among them. Leaving, or separating oneself from apostasy and heresy is not optional, but commanded. It is an integral part of the holiness without which none of us will see God. [See Fraternizing With The Enemy]

    Why Christians Are Deceived The reasons that so many modern day Christians are deceived are numerous. They believe they should be "united", and are commanded to "love". They do not want to be labeled "heresy hunters", accused of quenching the spirit, or found guilty of 'touching' the Lord's anointed etc. etc. However, I believe these, and all other reasons deception is so rampant in the church, can be attributed to just two underlying facts... Too many Christians are Biblically illiterate, their theology confined to catch phrases, and daily devotionals of familiar passages of Scripture, preferably well sprinkled with inspirational stories and jokes. This shallow understanding of their faith causes them to be more conditioned by the culture than by the Bible. Besides which, Christians seem to be very addicted to 'spiritual highs'.


Saddlebacks' Membership Covenant
In order to ensure that members of Saddleback do not stir the waters, Rick Warren requires each person to sign a covenant.

"God blesses churches that are unified. At Saddleback Church, every member signs a covenant that includes a promise to protect the unity of our fellowship. As a result, the church has never had a conflict that split the fellowship. Just as important, because it is a loving, unified fellowship, a lot of people want to be part of it! ... When God has a bunch of baby believers he wants to deliver, he looks for the warmest incubator church he can find." [Pgs. 166-167]

In his earlier book, The Purpose Driven Church, Warren said [Emphasis Added]

Why do churches have so many people on their membership rolls who give little or no evidence of Christian commitment or even conversion? Why do many churches find it difficult to motivate members to give, serve, pray and share their faith? The answer is simple. The members were allowed to join with no expectations placed on them. You get what you ask for! [22]

There is apparently, a large discrepancy between becoming a member of the Body of Christ, and being "allowed" to join an elite church. None of the apostles required anyone to complete a membership class, nor sign a piece of paper since, unlike Saddleback, they understood that a person becomes a member of the Body of Christ by salvation, through the Holy Spirit. No man-made membership classes, rules, or signatures, required. They also understood that any person led by the Spirit of God, would be faithful to a church led by the Spirit of God.

    Contracts and agreements can only be necessary when neither side is led by the Spirit. Besides which, any church that teaches the pastor is above criticism is opening the door to serious problems. As Al Dager remarks"So much does Warren wish for unity that it is mandatory for all members of Saddleback Church to sign a covenant that includes a promise to protect the unity of the fellowship.(Pg. 167) This is a powerful antidote against scrutiny. It places unity above doctrine and forbids anyone from openly challenging what the pastors say. They may be able to speak privately to the pastors, but they would be breaking their covenant (oath) by taking any serious errors before the congregation. Serious error tends to divide, not unify. Our unity must be based upon sound doctrine as well as love for one another: [13]

Four Requirements For Membership
Saddleback's four requirements for membership are...

    1) A personal profession of Christ as Lord and Savior.

    2) Baptism by immersion as a public symbol of one's faith.

    3) Completion of the membership class.

    4) A signed commitment to abide by Saddleback's membership covenant.

About which Warren says

    I urge you to prayerfully prepare and adopt a membership covenant in your congregation if you don't have one. It can revolutionize your church. You may worry, "If we adopt a membership covenant, there will be some who leave our church over it." You're right. There will be some. But here is the fact of reality: People are going to leave your church no matter what you do. Don't be afraid of people leaving. People even walked away from Jesus. When your congregation adopts a membership covenant, at least you're choosing the kind of people who stay. [22]

Saddleback is, apparently so busy protecting their unbiblical methods, that they are unconcerned about who stays and who goes. People take a second place to rules and contracts. Looking at this "covenant" in a little more detail...


THE SADDLEBACK MEMBERSHIP COVENANT
The Saddleback Membership Covenant has four main points. 1) Protecting the unity of the church, 2) sharing in the responsibility of the church, 3) serving the ministry of the church, and 4) supporting the testimony of the church. Each point is followed by three or four Biblical verses that supposedly lend it support.

The Membership Covenant reads...

Having received Christ as my Lord and Savior and been baptized, and being in agreement with Saddleback's statements, strategy, and structure, I now feel led by the Holy Spirit to unite with the Saddleback church family. In doing so, I commit myself to God and to the other members to do the following:

1. I WILL PROTECT THE UNITY OF MY CHURCH

. . . By acting in love toward other members

. . . By refusing to gossip

. . . By following the leaders

"So let us concentrate on the things which make for harmony, and on the growth of our fellowship together." Romans 14:19 (Ph)

    IPS Comment: a careful reading of the context of Romans 14 indicates that, in this chapter, Paul was endeavoring to settle some difficult and delicate questions that arose between the Jews and Gentiles respecting food and the observance of particular days. People were judging each other over these issues, and Paul points out that their faith consists of more important matters than these kind of more 'secondary issues', which they should not judge each other on [See Day/Chapter 21 for details of this and other verses Rick Warren quotes in favor of unity at all cost]

"Have a sincere love for your fellow believers, love one another earnestly with all your hearts." 1 Peter 1:22 (TEV)

    IPS Comment: The TEV version leaves out an important part.. Since you have in obedience to the truth purified your souls for a sincere love of the brethren, fervently love one another from the heart, [1 Peter 1:22 NASB Emphasis Added]

"Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs..." Ephesians 4:29

    IPS Comment: Sapros means rotten, that is, literally or morally worthless, bad or corrupt, as shown by the following verses in which the same words is used...

      "A good tree cannot produce bad (sapros) fruit, nor can a bad (sapros) tree produce good fruit. [Matthew 7:18 NASB]

      and when it was filled, they drew it up on the beach; and they sat down and gathered the good fish into containers, but the bad (sapros) they threw away. [Matthew 13:48 NASB]

    However, rotten or unsavory communication has absolutely nothing to do with discerning between true and false doctrine.

      "Obey (peitho) your leaders and submit to their authority. They keep watch over you as men who must give an account. Obey them so that their work will be a joy, not a burden, for that would be no advantage to you." Hebrews 13:17

    Peitho has been used some 55 times in the New Testament, most often been translated persuaded, trust or confidence, simply because it has several different English equivalents, such as Agree with, Be assured by, Believe in, Have confidence in, Obey, Be persuaded by, Trust, Yield to. In this context "obey" is possibly the worst possible choice. [See Day/Chapter 21 (Above) for details]

"Obey your leaders and submit to their authority. They keep watch over you as men who must give an account. Obey them so that their work will be a joy, not a burden, for that would be no advantage to you." Hebrews 13:17

    IPS Comment: The question that comes to mind is whether "love" and "refusing to gossip" means that one goes along with any and all false beliefs? Are Saddleback members forbidden from challenging, questioning, or criticizing, any unbiblical teaching and beliefs held by other members or any of the Saddleback pastoral staff? Are they supposed to blindly agree with, and follow the leaders, regardless of any false teachings?
     

2. I WILL SHARE THE RESPONSIBILITY OF MY CHURCH

. . . By praying for its growth

. . . By inviting the unchurched to attend

. . . By warmly welcoming those who visit

"To the church ... we always thank God for you and pray for you constantly." 1 Thessalonians 1:2

    IPS Comment: For the most part, Paul's letters had a standard opening...a salutation, followed by thanksgiving. If we were to trouble to read the very next verse, it becomes apparent that Paul was thanking God for the faith, and steadfastness of the Thessalonians. In his words... "constantly bearing in mind your work of faith and labor of love and steadfastness of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ in the presence of our God and Father, [1 Thessalonians 1:3 NASB].

"The Master said to the servant, 'Go out to the roads and country lanes, and urge the people there to come so my house will be full.'" Luke 14:23 (NCV)

    IPS Comment: This parable was told in "the house of one of the leaders of the Pharisees, where Jesus went to break bread (Vs.1) When one of those who were reclining at the table with Jesus said "Blessed is everyone who will eat bread in the kingdom of God!" (Vs. 15), it was the self-righteous attitude, typical of the Jewish religious leaders, who expected to be blessed in the coming Kingdom.  Jesus, in answer, told the parable of the man giving a big dinner party, to which he invited many. However they, having found other things to do, largely declined the invitation. Upon which the head of the household instructed his servant to "'Go out at once into the streets and lanes of the city and bring in here the poor and crippled and blind and lame." (Vs 21). This the servant did, but on finding out there was still room at the feast, the master then told the servant to fill the banquet with people from the highways and hedges.

    In this parable God is represented by the Father who invited His people (the nation of Israel) to the messianic banquet in the Kingdom of God. The ones who rejected the invitation were the Pharisees and other religious leaders, after which the invitation went out to the common people from "the streets and lanes of the city" whom the Pharisees considered unclean. Finally the invitation moved beyond the city to the highways where the Gentile lived.

    In other words the invitation is to the kingdom of Heaven, not to a church building. And since only the redeemed can participate in the Messianic banquet

      "I say to you that many will come from east and west, and recline at the table with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven; but the sons of the kingdom will be cast out into the outer darkness; in that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth." [Matthew 8:11-12 NASB]

"So, warmly welcome each other into the church, just as Christ has warmly welcomed you; then God will be glorified." Romans 15:7 (LB)

    I cannot find a single Bible version that says we are to welcome "each other into the church". Word for word translations make it clear that Paul was instructing Christians to "accept one another, just as Christ also accepted us". Christ does not receive the unredeemed, nor is God glorified by the unrepentant and lost therefore, Paul obviously means that we are to receive anyone fellow Christians, not just anyone and everyone, regardless of their spiritual condition.

      Therefore, accept one another, just as Christ also accepted us to the glory of God. [Romans 15:7 NASB]

      Wherefore receive ye one another, as Christ also received us to the glory of God. [Romans 15:7 KJV]

      See other versions here [http://bible.cc/romans/15-7.htm]
       

3. I WILL SERVE THE MINISTRY OF MY CHURCH

. . . By discovering my gifts and talents

. . . By being equipped to serve by my pastors

. . . By developing a servant's heart

"Serve one another with the particular gifts God has given each of you..." 1 Peter 4:10 (Ph)

"God gave... some to be pastors and teachers to prepare God's people for works of ministry, so that the body of Christ may be built up..." Ephesians 4:11-12

"Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others. Your attitude should be the same as that of Jesus Christ.. who took on the very nature of a servant..." Philippians 2:3-4,7

    IPS Comment: The problem with this point is that 'being equipped to serve by the pastors ' and "developing a servant's heart" again shut the door to questioning doctrine that does not line up with the world of God. I wonder if one's membership would be revoked should one actually oppose a doctrine or teaching.

There is no question that the Bible calls us to live in peace with our brothers and sisters in Christ, but not at the expense of truth.

 

4. I WILL SUPPORT THE TESTIMONY OF MY CHURCH

. . . By attending faithfully

. . . By living a godly life

. . . By giving regularly

"Let us not give up the habit of meeting together...but let us encourage one another." Hebrews 10:25

    IPS Comment: One of the largest problems in the professing church today is how the Scriptures are interpreted. Either they are being wrested from their context and used to convey whatever meaning the speaker/author wishes them to convey or, based on preconceived ideas, we are reading more into the text than the words say.

    Context: Earlier chapters of the book of Hebrews were largely devoted to the superiority of the New Covenant. Verse 10:19 begins with the word "therefore", which means the author is about to base his conclusions on what he has said before. Verses 22, 23, and 24 all begin with the words "let us". But read all relevant verses in context (All Emphasis Added)

      Therefore, brethren, since we have confidence to enter the holy place by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way which He inaugurated for us through the veil, that is, His flesh, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful; and let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds, not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more as you see the day drawing near. [Hebrews 10:19-25 NASB]

    It is the third "let us" that concerns us here. The people could not stir up love and good works" in one another unless they met together. Besides which, there is a good chance that a believer who does not stay connected can fall away from the faith... therefore Paul was exhorting new believers to stay close. This was not a Divine commandment, but a very good idea.

    Avoiding Presumptions: So what exactly does the text say? The verse in question simply says "assembling together". It says nothing about worship, nothing about services and nothing about a church. It does not specify the time, place, and frequency of the assembling together. Therefore we cannot transform "assembling together" into attending church services every Sunday... ANY Christian meetings, or gatherings, at any time would satisfy the instruction.

    And, Hebrews 10:25 certainly doesn't mean meeting together every Sunday with anyone who happens to call themselves Christians, but whose practices do not conform to Biblical teachings. And it certainly doesn't mean attending church services that are NOT conducted according to the pattern laid out in the New Testament.. [See Section The Church...Then and Now]

    The day is approaching very, very fast, but the people we are supposed to be assembling with are rocking themselves to sleep on the porch.

"But whatever happens, make sure that your everyday life is worthy of the gospel of Christ." Philippians 1:27 (Ph)

"Each one of you, on the first day of each week, should set aside a specific sum of money in proportion to what you have earned and use it for the offering." 1 Corinthians 16:2

    IPS Comment: This verse was specifically directed at the Corinthians who, evidently, intended to financially contribute to the poor in Jerusalem

      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]

    Paul was simply telling them to put the money aside so that, on Paul's arrival, the gift would be ready for someone to carry to Jerusalem. Titus had, according to Paul's directions, begun the process when he was in Corinth.

    However, read chapter 8 of Paul's second letter to the Corinthians, written from Macedonia in northern Greece, after Titus returned from Corinth (2 Corinthians 7:5-7). The Corinthian church had apparently, not followed through with what they originally purposed to do. 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, possibly to stir the Corinthians up to action.

"A tenth of all your produce is the Lord's, and it is holy." Leviticus 27:30

    IPS Comment:It is not possible to go in to an in-depth study of tithing here, but there is a superb one on this site, which I strongly recommend you read [Link Below]. Suffice to say that tithing is one of the many practices that reflect man-made traditions, instead of biblical truths.

    In any case the verse is specifically talking about the edible produce of the land

      And all the tithe of the land, whether of the seed of the land, or of the fruit of the tree, is the LORD'S: it is holy unto the LORD. [Leviticus 27:30 KJV]

    Many defend their position on by saying that grain and fruit has been replaced by money. As said by Tyler S. Ramey

      "The argument goes something like this:

      The Christian is under obligation to pay a monetary tithe today as opposed to the produce of the land noted in the passage. This is because we have shifted from a bartering society where commodities were used for transactions, to a monetary society that uses coin and paper money for such exchanges today.

      Folks, this is utter nonsense, and it's an argument that fades away by a simple reading of numerous passages where the exchange of money for goods and services was practiced.

      Abraham bought land with shekels of silver (by weight, yet prior to coinage) to bury his wife (Genesis 23:15-16); Jacob purchased land with silver (Genesis 33:19); Joseph was sold into slavery for twenty shekels of silver (Genesis 37:28); Jewish religious leaders purchased the betrayal services of Judas (Matthew 26:14-15); the chief priests paid soldiers money to lie about Christ's body (Matthew 28:12-13), and numerous other passages indicate that actual coin money was used to pay taxes, even by Jesus himself (Matthew 17:24-27)." [See Complete Article on Tithing]


The bottom line is that Saddleback and other churches that ask their members to sign an agreement, are asking people to commit to the church, regardless of whether or not it's goals, beliefs, practices and teachings are in line with the word of God.

The problem is that, often, unbiblical teaching and practices are not readily apparent, but come to light over time. A church may seem, at first, to be doctrinally sound. A warm and inviting atmosphere, a Biblical sounding statement of belief etc. may lead a person into thinking that they can make this their 'home church'. However, large and small discrepancies between what the church believes and teaches, and what the Bible teaches could, eventually, come to light. Additionally, there have been many churches in the past years that have changed direction from Bible believing, doctrinally correct churches, to being led by "church growth" and other unbiblical ideas.

At which point in time, the member who wakes up is Biblically obliged to, not sweep it under the carpet, but to do something. And the first step is to bring it to the notice of those doing the teaching. If that falls on deaf ears then, if the believer wishes to follow the commands set forth in the Scriptures, he has to separate himself from those who teach, and practice, false doctrine. Leaving or separating oneself from apostasy and heresy is not optional, but commanded. [See Fraternizing With The Enemy]

However, the Saddleback formula ensures that you place "unity" above doctrine, and don't make waves.

Look at this way.

In chapter 36 of The Purpose Driven Life, using Ezekiel 3:18 as a proof text, Warren says that "God holds you responsible for the unbelievers who live around you", and that God will "hold you responsible for their death". Although this verse has been taken out of context, this is what Warren apparently believes, since this is what he is teaching. However, he is not at all consistent. If Christian A, becomes aware of a life threatening heresy that Christian B is being taught, then it is his bounden duty to warn Christian B that his soul is in danger. If he does not do so, why would he not not be held responsible for Christians B's fall?

Yet, in the interests of their false unity Saddleback, and other churches that have adopted their membership "covenant" try to ensure that no one will take any serious errors before the congregation. Yet the Bible instructs believers that they are to withdraw themselves from people who follow false doctrine and practices. 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. This after they warn the 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. [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]. 

We cannot keep silent about heresy, nor can we ignore it. Both steps are well summarized in the first quote above.

In fact, from various accounts that I have read, so few people bring Bibles to churches like Saddleback, that literally no one is able to confirm that what is being taught is in line with what the word of God says. In fact, if you spoon feed enough people for any length of time, they could very well become incapable of serious independent Bible study.

What a sad commentary on the modern day church. Is it any wonder that the Bible says judgment will begin in the house of God. That's is exactly where it should begin.

    Also See

    The Four Most Dangerous Mistakes Any Christian Can Make 1) Believe that we, or our pastor/denomination/spiritual leader cannot be fooled, 2) Attribute every personal testimony and "sign" as being of or from God, 3) Take Bible verses out of context and 4) believe that we, as Christians, are not to judge anything or any one. Not necessarily in that order.

    Why Christians Are Deceived The reasons that so many modern day Christians are deceived are numerous. They believe they should be "united", and are commanded to "love". They do not want to be labeled "heresy hunters", accused of quenching the spirit, or found guilty of 'touching' the Lord's anointed etc. etc. However, I believe these, and all other reasons deception is so rampant in the church, can be attributed to just two underlying facts... Too many Christians are Biblically illiterate, their theology confined to catch phrases, and daily devotionals of familiar passages of Scripture, preferably well sprinkled with inspirational stories and jokes. This shallow understanding of their faith causes them to be more conditioned by the culture than by the Bible. Besides which, Christians seem to be very addicted to 'spiritual highs'.

 

CONTINUE ON TO PART 6.... Some of the problems in Chapters 25-40



End Notes
[20] Kay Daigle Blue Jean Faith Week 8: Faith That Repents (Jam. 4:4-17). http://bible.org/seriespage/blue-jean-faith-week-8-faith-repents-jam-44-17

[21] Charles H. Spurgeon, The Essence of Separation, quoted in The Berean Call, July, 1992, Pg.  4.

[22] Rick Warren. The Purpose Driven Church. Zondervan (November 16, 1995) Pgs. 319-320. Also Rick Warren. Church membership covenant: Expect what the Bible expects. www.bpnews.net/storydownload.asp?ID=14061
 

Index To The Purpose Driven Life