Judging by how many copies it sold Rick Warren’s book The Purpose Driven Life (PDL) was immensely popular. It was warmly endorsed (back cover of the 2002 hardcover edition) by several well known ‘Christian leaders’. Unfortunately, we are living in the time that Paul spoke about in 2 Timothy 4:3 when people refuse to adhere to "sound doctrine", but heap up for themselves teachers who will tickle their ear "according to their own lusts". Biblical knowledge and discernment are at an all time low in both pulpit and pew.
In PDL the non believer was presented with a shallow incomplete gospel that was woefully inadequate to save, and both they and believers were introduced to a wide variety of potentially very dangerous people, ideas, and practices. Additionally, since the reader was told that the most important thing was 'unity' they never heard a word about discerning between true and false teachings, nor how the Bible instructs them to deal with those who practice and teach untruths.
Finally the only reason this article is still on the site is because 1. Saddleback is still a very influential church and 2. PDL still sells a few copies. Also my hope is that a few people who at some point read and believed what Rick Warren wrote will realize how many dangerous problems the book contained and will perhaps be a lot more discerning in future when the next big fad hits.
Introduction to Rick Warren. The Questions That Spring To Mind - What is the Purpose Driven Life about? A 40-day Spiritual Journey - Why 40 Days?
Who Was The Purpose-Driven Life's Target Audience - The Mature Believer, The New Believer, or The Unsaved?
Repentance - The Missing Message. The Warning in John 3:36. A Profusion of Questionable Bible Versions and Partial Quotes That Alter The Meaning Of The Original Hebrew And Greek Text. And More
PART III - Chapters 1-10
Did God have a specific purpose for each and every one of us before we were born and did He 'custom make' each of us. If the latter is true then is God directly responsible for the hundreds of thousands of babies born each year with congenital disorders such as cleft lips/palate, spina bifida, heart defects, Down syndrome, haemophilia, Sickle cell disease and on and on. Also Rick Warren mentions Isaiah and Job as men without purpose. And More
PART IV - Chapters 11-20 - "Friendship" With God?
PDL emphasizes friendship with God, but says nary a word about the fear of God. Some of the chapters are entitled Becoming Best Friends With God and Developing Your Friendship With God. However, using two related words - phobeo and phobos, the New Testament contains numerous warnings and exhortations to fear God, but there isn't a single text that indicates we can be friends with God. And More
Part V - Chapter 2 - Unity
Unity at all cost is not true unity. It assumes that there is no truth that people are required to stand on and defend. Apparently Rick Warren has forgotten that 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. In fact, the most solemn warnings in the New Testament concern false teachers whom Paul called "savage wolves" and predicted that they would arise from among the flock after his departure and not spare any of them. And More
Part VI - Chapters 25-40
Some of the problems in Chapters 25-40. You cannot (as Rick Warren has done) arbitrarily apply promises from the Bible to our lives when they were specifically made to a particular individual or group of people. Ex. God's words to Habakkuk in chapter 2 verses 2-3. Any person who calls himself a Christian but who obeys unrighteousness instead of the truth is not a Christian who will simply lose rewards as Warren states Also Galatians 6:4 has nothing to do with a Christian comparing his (or her) ministry with others. And More
Part VII - Ill-Chosen, Unsuitable And Inappropriate Quotes
PDL not only quotes some highly questionable authors including some Catholic mystics but also the pioneers of contemplative prayer. And lets not forget more than one 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. The 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."
A Visit To Saddleback. Entertainment Pure and Smple
The quote at the top of the page is from Pg. 131 of Robert Boston's book... The Most Dangerous Man In America? Pat Robertson and the Rise of the Christian Coalition. Robert Boston, who frequently appears on television and radio is an ardent advocate of separation of church and state and has authored three books on the subject. He is (or was) senior policy analyst for Americans United for Separation of Church and State (AU) and the assistant editor of AU's monthly magazine, Church & State. AU was one of three national organizations that opposed the teaching of intelligent design in Dover, Pennsylvania, public schools.
Therefore I would probably not agree with much of what he has to say. However, his statement about Pat Robertson not only hits the nail on the head but perfectly applies to Rick Warren's The Purpose Driven Life. A lot of people bought a book that is only worth a trip to the nearest recycle bin.