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Discussion Forum : Scriptures and Doctrine : Purpose Driven Church or the Church of Jesus Christ?

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Joined: 2004/1/17
Posts: 219

 Purpose Driven Church or the Church of Jesus Christ?

The other night simply out of curiousity I browsed through the now "classic" book "Purpose Driven Church" by Rick Warren. (also author of purpose driven life) As I thumbed through its pages I saw things that were good and Biblical, however I also read somethings that disturbed me to the core of my being. As I browsed over the chapter on designing a seeker sensitive service, my heart sunk.
Now before I continue I must say that I am not condemning Warren as a heretic or denying him salvation, nor am I denying that he is called of God.
I was greatly disturbed as I read detailed instructions on how to make our services more palletable (sp?) for unbelievers or "seekers". I read that music should be upbeat and lively. We should open our services with a loud and celebratory type of song. From there do two or three more happy upbeat songs. Then we should slow things down and make them a bit more meditative, however we should avoid songs in minor keys. Songs should not be heavy or depressing. And then we should end on another upbeat happy song.
Now have I had it wrong all these years brothers and sisters? After all these years am I to find out that worship is all about me and my tastes and my cultural predispositions and my happiness and comfort? NO! Worship is about Jesus, plain and simple. Worship is not about me or my taste. Nor is it about making me feel good. I think that today we are so enamored with songs such as "I'm trading my sorrows". (which is a good song) , that we pass over other perfectly good, Biblical, and usable Choruses. Oh, I remeber a little number that James wrote a few years back.
"Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Grieive mourn and wail. Change your laughter to mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up."

And then from there we could flow right into Trading My Sorrows, right? (sarcasm is being laid on heavy in case you're not picking it up):)
We love to right sungs pertaining to scriptures such as, "Thou Hast put off my saccloth and girded me with gladness."
But we forget that there was sackcloth being worn prior to the infilling of joy. Meaning simply there was deep, bitter, and heartfelt repentance first. Why is it that we are always so concerned with making sure everything is light and fluffy? Why are we so concerned about everyone being happy all the time? I doubt that there were many smiling faces amongst the religious crowd the day Jesus drove out the money changers. I doubt to many left with a spring in their steps at that memorable service when Annanias and Sapphira fell dead. As I continued browsing the book, I came upon another section encouraging pastors to lighten up the sanctuary. I read that all the bulbs in our sanctuary should be replaced with ones of a higher wattage and then watch the change that occurs in the people. That paragraph ends with, "You may just have a REVIVAL (caps mine) on your hands."

Once again I see that perhaps I've been doing things wrong. Prayer, fastings, solemn assemblies, tears, repentance, intercession and all these things aren't nearly as important as brighter light bulbs. Revival doesn't need to come through painful intercession and deep crying to deep, we just need to brighten things up a bit. (once again sarcasm being laid on thick) Friends, light bulbs may cost you a few dollars, but the Fire of God, the real answer, will cost you everything you have.

I could go on with venting my disagreements but for the sake of space and time I will conclude. Friends it is my proposal that these methods of "church growth" are anything but Biblical. These are simply the same principles one might use to grow a business etc... It does not take an anointing from heaven to gather a crowd when there are light shows, multi-media presentations, good music, a friendly atmosphere, encouraging words, and coffee and donuts. (Not that there are anything wrong with these things in and of themselves. Especially encouraging words, and coffee and donuts :))

Friends this philosophy of seeker-sensitive ministry, I propose, must be rejected. I do not see that it is the Biblical blue-print for the church of Jesus Christ. I do believe we could grow an organization, build a following, draw a crowd with these methods. But I do not believe it is building the Church of Jesus Christ.


 2004/2/24 18:27Profile

Joined: 2003/10/15
Posts: 1632

 Re: Purpose Driven Church or the Church of Jesus Christ?

Thank you, Jeff!

I was considering taking some classes at our Cincinatti bible College. One of the major classes that you must take for a "leadership and ministry" degree - is the Purpose Driven Church course. I was taken back by this.

It is all methods and formulas now. No more praying and seeking the Lord in what to preach or what to sing or what to do. Soon the churches will be pretty much all the same.

For some reason this reminds me of my German friend who says that most churches in Germany are Govt. churches (all the same)and now lately there are only a few "free" or independant churches that are on fire for God.


In Him, Chanin


 2004/2/24 18:48Profile

Joined: 2004/2/8
Posts: 199
Worthing UK

 Re: Purpose Driven Church or the Church of Jesus Christ?

Hello Jeff,
Your post is very interesting including the funny bits! Although I hav'nt read the book right through I think I can see your points.Can I possibly move the thread on further? It seems in this day that to be popular or have a trendy up beat reputation as a church is important to some.To justify the use of modern 'techniques' shall we say,is "we want to be all things to all men" thus appealing to 21st century man etc, etc. However can we look at some scripture
1, The early church certainly had a particular reputation! see Acts 5 v12-14
2,one of the marks of a new cvenant church if you like is,(and I stress only ONE mark or proof)By this shall all men Know that ye are my diciples,if ye have LOVE one to another John 13v5
There are many other instructions and answers in scripture which tell us how WE, the church should be when gathered together.When His Love has been shed abroard in our hearts surely this will affect visitors or seekers in our meeting together.Of course there are great methods which have God's approval and we must use all resourses available,but not to the detriment of the church.thanks for your thought provoking post jeff
looking ahead & up

derek Eyre

 2004/2/24 19:46Profile

Joined: 2002/12/11
Posts: 37921
"Pilgrim and Sojourner." - 1 Peter 2:11


Once again I see that perhaps I've been doing things wrong. Prayer, fastings, solemn assemblies, tears, repentance, intercession and all these things aren't nearly as important as brighter light bulbs. Revival doesn't need to come through painful intercession and deep crying to deep, we just need to brighten things up a bit. (once again sarcasm being laid on thick) Friends, light bulbs may cost you a few dollars, but the Fire of God, the real answer, will cost you everything you have.

AMEN! I believe that Rick Warren's book is giving false hope to ministers that are at a end of themselves and need a revitatilized church. Man's methods, books, machinery, technology, even websites :-o will not cut it.. we need God's power. its costly are we will to pay the price.. yes there is a price involved.. as you stated brother, [i]'but the Fire of God, the real answer, will cost you everything you have.'[/i]

It is all methods and formulas now. No more praying and seeking the Lord in what to preach or what to sing or what to do.

At my church they are changing the evening service to more of a 'youth' oriented service with contemprary music, etc. But changing tools and means won't change and regenerate people, and bring many into the kingdom of God. The latter requires sweat and tears.. and dare I say travail! When is the last time we have prayed-ed someone into the kingdom. :-(

SI Moderator - Greg Gordon

 2004/2/25 1:30Profile

Joined: 2003/6/3
Posts: 4807


I had to read this book as an assignment. I now hate this book. This is a self help book. The author deliberately uses the Holy Scripture our of context to prove his agenda. I can trust someone who may not fully understand what he is teaching. We are all being worked on by God. Yet the intent of this author is to deceive.

Beware of the leven of the Pharisees!

In Christ

Jeff Marshalek

 2004/2/25 12:41Profile

Joined: 2004/2/12
Posts: 4636
Independence, Missouri



Lets face it, when the Church is backslidden and the people are not bringing in the sheaves from the whited harvest, the tendency is to stay the hand of the fanner (Christ). It is a vicious cycle that begins when the message is weak and the lives of the saints build up with chaff. They feel no desire to evangelize because their life is filled with compromise. And then chaff begets chaff! The whole threshing floor is broken. I refer everyone to Charles Finney's message GOD CANNOT PLEASE SINNERS. If a sinner will not repent he in his HEART will enjoy a message from a lukewarm preacher BUT his CONSCIENCE will condemn it AND the minister. An impenitent sinner is at WAR with themself. A service that panders to the impenitent heart is rejected by the persons conscience and a message that reveals sin and exalts holiness will be rejected by their impenitent heart. YOU CANNOT PLEASE AN IMPINETENT SINNER. It is impossible. Not to mention the anathema that comes upon those who ALTER the gospel message (Galatians 1). WHY do people tamper with God's message? If something does not soon change it will not be the CHURCH it will be the CHAFF. As soon as I get the info back on posting a sermon I will be posting a message titled "RAT POISON" that speaks to all this mess. I pray the admin will get me up and running soon.

God Bless and Much Brotherly Love in Christ,


Robert Wurtz II

 2004/2/25 13:11Profile

Joined: 2003/10/15
Posts: 1632


I just got back from our local Christian bookstore.Maybe I am wrong for thinking so critically but the walls and rows and windows were covered with Purpose Driven everything. Journals, hats, devotionals, etc...

Along with this are the other 'Top" selling books- including this new one for women- "Finding the DIVA in YOU."

I wish that they would at least give just as much 'marketing space" to those wonderful old classics like Andrew Murray, Hudson Taylor, John Bunyan.

A few years ago, as a lukewarm Christian myself- I had no idea who these classic writers were. I only knew what was "popular".

I can honestly say that if I were back where I was a few years ago, and I had read The Purpose Driven life back then- I would still be a lukewarm Christian. The reason? Because what got me out of my lukewarmness was 'Surrender and Obedience".

I could do all of those things in the book and "look better' to everyone else- but still not have Christ as king on the throne of my heart 100%.In His book and in His "salvation prayer" it does not mention surrendering everything that we once held important- over to Him. And this is Christianity.

Committing yourself to Christ- is not the same as surrendering yourself to Christ- becoming a slave for Him. Here is the prayer he suggests:

"Wherever you are reading this, I invite you to bow your head and quietly whisper the prayer that will change your eternity: "Jesus, I believe in you and I recieve you." Go ahead. If you sincerely meant that prayer, Congratulations! Welcome to the family of God!."

Where is the repentance or the surrender? All we can pray for is that those who are positively effected by the book- will also be brought to "fullness in Christ" by having meat included or as desert after reading the book. :)

If I was a non christian, I could see that this might draw me to a christian life because at least I see I am worth something. So this is the positive thing I see.

In Him, Chanin


 2004/2/26 15:32Profile

Joined: 2003/9/30
Posts: 386
Toronto, Ontario, Canada

 Re: Commercialisation of Christianity


I do agree with you on this point.

As you well know, I am rather positive towards [i]The Purpose-Driven Church / Life[/i]. However, I cannot say the same about the affiliated products. The same applies to other Christian brand names.

Now, I could pardon VeggieTales because it is targeted to kids (and I luv 'em too, especially Larry the Cucumber [i]*smile*[/i]).

However, we've also got "Purpose-Driven [i]whatever[/i]", "Experiencing God [i]whatever[/i]", "The Prayer of Jabez [i]whatever[/i]", etc. A full line of associated products!

I think that's a bit too much. They've really overdone it.



 2004/2/27 9:47Profile

Joined: 2003/7/28
Posts: 404
Watford, UK


A book that looks good (I judge this by the author and the description) is out by John MacArthur:



Mark Nash

 2004/2/27 10:45Profile

Joined: 2004/1/15
Posts: 87
Celbridge Kildare Ireland

 Re: Purpose Driven Church or the Church of Jesus Christ?

Hope this thread is still live. I haven't read PDC
but am not a fan of the concept of seeker sensitive meetings. I met some people who were Willowcreek fanatics and they invited us to an evening meal. The idea was that we would "model" the Christian life but we must not openly talk about my faith. It was such a waste of time as you could not just be youeself and confess Christ.
The Alpha course by Nicky Gumble is in similar vein and the problem is that people "drift" into a religious knowledge of Christ rather than a repentance and translation form darkness to light. That being said Jesus is victor and when He is sought He is found, so many do find Him despite the nonsense of mens ideas.

If you havent heard Gary Wilkersons testimony of how he tried all these new methods, and his eventual realisation that his dads simple "get in the prayer closet" was all that was required, you should try and get to hear him. He even does a credible take off of Nicky Gumble accent, bought himself some flashy shirts to be like Bill Hybels etc. Its a great testimony for all of us who at some stage looked for the quick fix.

Paul R Carley

 2004/3/1 8:55Profile

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