"Purpose Driven Life" and the "Purpose Driven Church"
may be the most influential books in organized Christianity today. Written
by Rick Warren, pastor of the Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, CA,
these books have taken the religious world, as it were, by storm. New-Evangelicals
and Charismatics, along with some professing naïve Fundamentalists,
have literally been captivated and almost totally mesmerized by these
million copies of The Purpose Driven Life have been sold. This
book can be purchased at most any grocery chain or discount store anywhere
in the USA. Over 40,000 churches have purportedly embraced this plan
or are adopting this program in their ministries, including many mainline
Protestant churches and even some Roman Catholic parishes.
No one seriously
questions the fact that the major emphasis of these books is the "purpose
driven" theme. This topic dominates the chapters of both books.
However, the single question to be asked and answered about this latest
"craze" is simply this: Are they Scriptural? Does the content
and emphasis of the purpose driven life and the purpose driven church
meet the test of Scripture? When scrutinized by the Word of God, are
they approved or condemned? The F.D. editor believes the inerrant Scriptures
give a resounding NO! to this latest religious craze.
inerrant Scriptures it should be noted that human souls are never
portrayed as goats, but as sheep, precious sheep who have gone astray-Is.
53:5-6. In Matt. 9:36-37, Christ portrayed unconverted sinners as fainting
sheep who needed future direction from burdened shepherds, not as frustrated
goats who must be driven by business supervisors. Humanity's major need
is not to institute purpose for the temporal here and now, but to insure
preparation for the eternal hereafter-II Cor. 4:16-18, II Cor. 5:1-8.
driven, sheep are led! There is a distinct difference in the way in
which these animals move. The legalistic Pharisees drove the Jewish
nation of Jesus' day into a cold formal heartless religion. In the market
driven "purpose" church, the aim is to discover the current
religious market and then dictate the worldly moulds into which they
are driven. There is a vast difference between caring shepherds and
Christ is portrayed as the divine shepherd-Ps. 23:1-2, (a) who is the
ransom for his sheep-Is. 53:1-2, (b) who rescues his sheep-Luke
15:1, and (c) who redeems his sheep-Acts 20:28. As the good
shepherd-John 10:11, (a) Christ calls his sheep-John 10:3, as
the great shepherd, He (b) cares for his sheep-Heb. 13:20-21,
as the chief shepherd He comes for His sheep-I Pet. 5:4.
In Luke 15:1-7, Christ (a) pities his sheep, in Acts 20:28, He
(b) purchases His sheep, in John 10:27-28, He (c) protects
who are the local church shepherds, are called to (a) feed God's
sheep-I Pet. 5:2. As shepherds, they have divine responsibilities of
guiding-Acts 20:28-32, guarding-Heb. 13:17 and governing-I
Pet. 5:3-4 local flocks. They are also called to (b) lead God's
sheep-Ps. 23:2-3 [the pastor should be a miniature portrayal of Christ]
and occasionally to (c) fleece God's sheep-I Cor. 3-5 Occasional
shearing-Phil. 4:2, can be a beneficial action. Sheep, however, don't
need regular fleecing, they need regular feeding-John 21:15-17, Acts
20:28, I Pet. 5:2.
need of local churches today is not chief executive officers-
CEO's- who drive churches to worldly dictated purpose goals, but compassionate
edifying overseers who lead congregations into the pastures of God's
Word and the pathways of divine righteousness-Ps. 23:1-3 where their
souls can be spiritually refreshed and their spirits scripturally revived.