Rick Warren is the pastor of Saddleback Church in California, one of the largest and possibly most influential in the world. Not only is it a large church with tens of thousands of people but Pastor Warren has countless pastors around the world downloading and hanging on every word he says. Rick Warrens Purpose Driven books are New York Times bestsellers. But do the "results" validate the message? Or has he simply made the "narrow gate" much wider . . .
This is not to suggest that it is a book without merit. There are many helpful things outlined within it's pages. But it is the kind of help that you can find on a secular pop psychology self help programme such as Doctor Phil. Improving our present quality of life is a temporary gain and can actually serve to distract from the infinitely weightier matters of eternity. The glaring downfall of "Purpose Driven Life" is that it fails to ram home the point that an unregenerate man is incapable of changing in a genuine, lasting, God honoring way unless he is born again.
1Co 2:14 The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned.
Eph 4:17-20 Now this I say and testify in the Lord, that you must no longer walk as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their minds. They are darkened in their understanding, alienated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, due to their hardness of heart. They have become callous and have given themselves up to sensuality, greedy to practice every kind of impurity. But that is not the way you learned Christ!--
Joh 3:3 Jesus answered him, "Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God."
Eze 36:25-27 I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you shall be clean from all your uncleannesses, and from all your idols I will cleanse you. And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes and be careful to obey my rules.
The issue is whether people are born again or not. If you are not born again no amount of self improvement will make lasting change of our wicked hearts. To impact people in this way the Gospel of Jesus Christ must be faithfully presented. Rick Warren's books not only fall short, they preach another gospel altogether as John Macarthur sharply pointed out.
This issue lies at the heart of Rick Warren's critics. He and his army of spin doctors would do well to listen to them instead of silence them.
There are those who would rather I remain silent on this issue. But the problem is that I have been silent for too long and I've got more noise to make - stay tuned!
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