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          The "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 phenomenal treatises.
          Over 20 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.
          From the 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.
          Goats are 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 crafty salesmen.
          In Scripture, 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 His sheep.
          Pastors, 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.
          The great 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. D.J.

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June-July 2005 The Fundamentalist Digest; Permission granted for reprint, so long as proper credit is given. The above item is a sample of the numerous timely articles that are contained in the bi-monthly issues of The Fundamentalist Digest.
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