It’s Friday already and that means Rick Warren here at Steak and a Bible is almost at a close. Don’t worry, I’m sure Warren will warrant further discussion here, especially if he keeps tweeting. For now, I want to back up and talk a little bit about what should be the most obvious problem with the purpose driven church (not only Saddleback, but its many clones).
As I mentioned the other day, Bob DeWaay’s book “Redefining Christianity” really helped me understand the different between the church model given in the scriptures and the purpose driven paradigm for church.
DeWaay traces Warren’s “philosophy” back to the “church growth writings of Donald McGavran” and C. Peter Wagner. He writes that “McGavrna’s ideas changed how many evangelicals view missions and church growth. One idea was that mission efforts should be held accountable for results: churches that are not growing are failing, and any reasons the leaders of such churches give (such as working amongst a resistant people) are merely rationalizations for their own failure.”
The problem of course is that there is no biblical support for this notion. Where in the Bible does it say this? God does not measure churches by the size of their membership rolls and neither should we. We are commanded by the Word of God to preach the gospel. Preach it! It is up to God to do the rest.
Yet Warren tells churches to “make the service so attractive, appealing, and relevant to the unchurched that your members are eager to share it with the lost people they care about.” This is church for the unchurched (translation: unsaved/nonbeliever). That again is not a Biblical model. The Biblical model set up the church as the “pillar and support of the truth,” the place of fellowship for believers where they can be trained and strengthened to go out and proclaim the gospel to the lost. Then when the lost are found they are welcomed into the church.
I personally think the reason so many have accepted this shift is out of laziness and/or fear. Many people do not want to personally share the gospel, so they justify not going out to proclaim the message by inviting the unsaved to church functions. Yes, evangelism is intimidating, but it is a command. Will we obey or won’t we?
Warren claims that by making the church for the unchurched the message is not compromised, when in fact it is. Because once they’ve drawn the unrepentant sinners in (“attracted them”) they want them to stay and that requires not offending them with a proper explanation of the gospel that explains to them their lost state, calls them to repentance and faith in God’s grace alone.
DeWaay does an excellent job of explaining all of this in his book which I highly recommend. In fact, I think so highly of it I’m giving a copy away (as well as a copy of Deceived on Purpose). If you haven’t done so already be sure to like this post before midnight to enter that drawing: My Rick Warren story and a giveaway.
- Warren: Scripture twisting, eisegesis and allegorization (steakandabible.com)
- Sitting in church, but headed for hell… (steakandabible.com)
- Purposefully driving God out of a church. (atwistedcrownofthorns.com)