Santa Clara, CA
After reading this recent article:
[url=http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2004/008/0.38.html]A Steady Christian Influence[/url]
Which gives two opposing views, more or less the optimist and pessimist view of the state of Christianity, make that "Christiandom".
The above link is the optimist view point (The pessimist will be posted tomorrow)I have the magazine and have read both already and frankly don't see that either one really gets to the heart of the matter and conviently leaves out too much that should be taken into consideration. Forgetting about for instance rampant divorce on the one side and as it relates to this topic here, well here is snippet:
[i]"There are fewer R-rated films produced now than there were 10 years ago. And one of the most successful R-rated films is The Passion of the Christ.The bestselling books in America, and around the world, in recent years have included The Prayer of Jabez, Left Behind, and The Purpose-Driven Life"[/i]"
All this seems to suggest is popularity and since when was the Gospel 'popular'? At best it is a testament to how far we have gone to show the world that we are just like them, able to compete with the best of them in selling our wares. Being 'successful' seems to imply that we can generate much heat and little light. I guess it depends on what we mean by being successful. If all these things were producing true change in hearts and lives, were is the fruit?
Have thought about writing a book on Death, (seriously) and if I had the backing on it that these same publishers who are savy enough to market it and somehow was able to keep strict control over it's content (which otherwise I wouldn't bother) and was to include all the hard hitting statements that the Lord spoke about, namely Hell, judgement, denying yourself, taking up your cross, suffering, persecution (past and present, including all the gruesome details, torture, being burned alive, etc.) Do we really think we would have a best seller on our hands?
I guess what I am getting at is that while there may be worse out there and there certainly is, the content is not telling the whole story in any of these. That may not have been there purpose. But where are the bestsellers that speak of anything beyond a surface level? Where are the publications that would "cut to the heart"?
Where are all the conversions?
What is the bottom line of all this 'success'?
| 2004/8/4 11:55||Profile|
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
[b]crsschk[/b] and all,
In my personal experience, there were quite a number of spiritually thirsty seekers or new believers who told me that [i]The Purpose-Driven Life[/i] is the first serious book on the Christian faith that they have dabbled in. For the generation growing up in this multimedia, information age, finishing one book outside of the [i]Chicken Soup[/i] series is already quite a feat. Thus, I find [i]PDL[/i] to be a good stepping stone to guide them into other spiritual classics. It is a spiritual milk that leads to more solid food. (And I have found nothing in its [i][b]content[/b][/i] that causes me great concern--nor have I found reviews that adequately point out the problems inherent in its [i][b]content[/b][/i]. Most negative reviews, it seems to me, flow out of concerns about the bigger issue of "popular" Christianity--how it is marketed and hyped up by media). So my approach has always been more pastoral than critical--how do I encourage and guide these people to continue to grow in Christ?
Quote:My take on this: of course, we should not [i]seek[/i] to be popular at the expense of compromising the truth (by the way, I haven't seen any concrete evidence that [i]PDL[/i] did compromise the truth.) But that does not mean anything popular is [i]bad[/i].
All this seems to suggest is popularity and since when was the Gospel 'popular'? ...Have thought about writing a book on Death...Do we really think we would have a best seller on our hands?
It's all in God's hand and His timing is always the best. Billy Graham is a [i]popular[/i] evangelist. C. S. Lewis is a [i]popular[/i] Christian writer. I would not automatically assume that [b]crsschk[/b]'s book on death will never become a bestseller. Perhaps, in His time and according to His way, this might be so. With God everything is possible.
| 2004/8/6 10:34||Profile|
Santa Clara, CA
Have been pondering on this since my last reply. It's interesting the way a train of thought can go when it is coupled with another line of thinking. Which is what I believe I had done here in marrying it to the mentioned article. The result being a generalization.
In my personal experience, there were quite a number of spiritually thirsty seekers or new believers who told me that The Purpose-Driven Life is the first serious book on the Christian faith that they have dabbled in. For the generation growing up in this multimedia, information age, finishing one book outside of the Chicken Soup series is already quite a feat. Thus, I find PDL to be a good stepping stone to guide them into other spiritual classics. It is a spiritual milk that leads to more solid food. (And I have found nothing in its content that causes me great concern--nor have I found reviews that adequately point out the problems inherent in its content. Most negative reviews, it seems to me, flow out of concerns about the bigger issue of "popular" Christianity--how it is marketed and hyped up by media). So my approach has always been more pastoral than critical--how do I encourage and guide these people to continue to grow in Christ?
Great points. It is all too easy to forget that there is a starting point for everybody. As a stepping stone I agree and I also don't believe we are talking anything heretical here either.
I was actually humbled yesterday ironically. Was doing some work for a elderly couple, very dear people. She asked me yesterday if I was a Catholic and I stated "Well...I used to be, but I am a Christian" After some dialog about my upbringing and a bit of my testimony from prodigal to today and her own experience (long time Catholic) She asked why I had left, wasn't sure if she meant the Faith or being "Catholic", but nodded with understanding about the differences we share. We were talking about our love for books and she picked up a handful of Catholic titles and....."The Purpose Driven Life"
Felt the hypocrite a bit by saying "Ah yes, I have read that" In light of my recent comments here....Was sincerely glad to know that she was reading this and not some book by a prosperity teacher.
I was and am humbled once again.
So my approach has always been more pastoral than critical--how do I encourage and guide these people to continue to grow in Christ?
That says a lot if it doesn't say it all from this perspective. But I still think there is warrant for some caution brought out by others that have already been addressed in other threads on this topic. The over commercialization and spin off products and programs. The sense that our churches need spiritual milk when they should be far into sides of beef by now...it's just opinion, what do I know?
A side note. Progressing through this pile of backed up books, finally got around to "God's Smuggler" Brother Andrew and as part of my musing on all this in recent days, it was a bit striking, right in front of my eyes on the cover:
"10 Million Copies in Print"
To clarify a bit on the "Death" book, (hmmm, maybe that's the title right there) would definitely be striving to strike a balance, but it would be an emphasis on the 'bad' news before the 'good news', which isn't really a balance...
Of course neither is our sin in comparison to our Saviour.
| 2004/8/6 11:41||Profile|
Ex-England colony of Australia
For another perspective or deeper look into this phenomenon please read this article by Berit Kjos.
and the follow the thread to the other articles in the same series. They are long.
| 2004/8/6 17:17||Profile|
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
I like your latest reply; it comes very close to how I see this issue. I appreciate your thoughtful consideration of my line of thinking.
| 2004/8/12 12:44||Profile|
United States Of America
| Re: Purpose Driven Life to Agent001|
I want to address a few lines you had written.
So my approach has always been more pastoral than critical--how do I encourage and guide these people to continue to grow in Christ?
As Christian people, we shouldn't be encouraging others to grow in "Psychology". We should be encouraging them to die to self, by the which i.e. can only be done through THE CROSS!!! According to Mr. Psychological Warren himself, we can grow in God and/or be delivered from sin and temptation through the works of the flesh, which is totally contrary to the very teachings of the Apostle Paul and other writers. Maybe you have forgotten that there isn't any good thing in us (Romans 7), and we have not the power to deliver ourselves from the dominion of sin. As Paul wrote in Galatians, It's no more I that live but Christ living in me. According to Warren in PDL, we can obtain deliverance through teachings similar to A.A. (Alcoholics Anonymous)...or in other words - A 12-Step Program - which will actually put our minds on methods. One man of God said one time, "It's the message, NOT the method" that is capable of setting a person free. Which actually brings me to the concern, Have you yourself actually read the book?
In my personal experience, there were quite a number of spiritually thirsty seekers or new believers who told me that The Purpose-Driven Life is the first serious book on the Christian faith that they have dabbled in.
They "told you" about it...don't see any where you said that you read it.
So my approach has always been more pastoral than critical
And one more thing -- a pastor or a shepherd is not going to allow that which is going to destroy the flock into the church, unless he himself is blinded and unaware to the unbiblical teaching that is taking place in 62% or even more of God's Holy house today. I hope you do change your heart more than your train of thought to that of a pastoral approach to any stiuation. You just might be accountable one day of those you failed to warn of "wolves in sheeps clothing."
| 2004/8/21 21:12||Profile|
I've been following this thread for a bit and thought I'd finally weigh in with my two cents.
We've been using Purpose Driven Life in our ministry here to reach the Hakka Chinese ... and with great effect. It not only leads the non-Christian down the right road towards the cross, but challenges the believers in not being led astray from the "simplicity and purity of devotion to Christ." It is a simple book - and that is its strength. I cringe to see people seeking after deeper knowledge when what they usually need is a fuller experience of the simple truths they already know. Someone once said, "Maturity is mastering the basics." I couldn't agree more. That's why I would never apologize for admitting that this book has taken me back - in a good way - to the basics. And why I would not apologize for encouraging our young churches here to read and apply the principles in this book to their lives.
Agent001 has mentioned a couple of times that this is a great place to review what's actually said in the book (as opposed to making critical generalizations.) I agree. That's why I'd like to write the first sentence from every chapter (for the first ten chapters) and the subtitles from these chapters (if laid out.) This might at least give those who haven't read the book a chance to see some of the basic principles being espoused by Rick Warren.
Its not about you.
You are not an accident.
Everyones life is driven by something.
1. Many people are driven by guilt.
2. Many people are driven by resentment and anger.
3. Many people are driven by fear.
4. Many people are driven by materialism.
5. Many people are driven by the need for approval.
6. Knowing your purpose gives meaning to life.
7. Knowing your purpose simplifies life.
8. Knowing your purpose motivates your life.
9. Knowing your purpose prepares you for eternity.
This life is not all there is.
The way you see your life shapes your life.
1. Life on earth is a test.
2. Life on earth is a Trust.
Life on earth is a temporary assignment.
Its all for Him.
1. We bring God glory by worshiping Him.
2. We bring God glory by loving other believers.
3. We bring God glory by becoming like Christ.
4. We bring God glory by serving others with our gifts.
5. We bring God glory by telling others about Him.
You were planned for Gods pleasure.
1. Bringing pleasure to God is called worship.
2. Worship is more than music.
3. Worship is not for your benefit.
The smile of God is the goal of your life.
1. God smiles when we love Him supremely.
2. God smiles when we trust Him completely.
3. God smiles when we obey Him wholeheartedly.
4. God smiles when we praise and thank Him continually.
5. God smiles when we use our abilities.
The heart of worship is surrender.
1. Can I trust God?
2. Admitting our limitations.
3. What it means to surrender.
4. The blessing of surrender.
5. The best way to live.
Id copy more, but just dont have the time. (Sorry) As Ive been skimming over these chapters (and others in the book) I cant help but be a bit puzzled by accusations that PDL is just another example of easy believism. Over and over Rick Warren calls us to the cross. (ie - Its not about you, its about Jesus. You must surrender every area of your life completely and joyfully to Him.) Are we reading different books?
Please if you have a problem with the book, at least do us (and Rick Warren) the courtesy of quoting the offending portion instead of giving us your own interpretation of whats offensive. Then we can dialogue over whats really written instead of a vague concept.
| 2004/8/21 23:03||Profile|
My first question to the people who are bagging PDL and Rick Warren is "Have you actually read the book?" It's easy to form an opinion on something that you nothing about, due to ignorance. It's even easier to form an opinion on something that has been approached with a biased perspective, based on other peoples opinions and propoganda (yes, I've read "that related document" too).
As Christian people, we shouldn't be encouraging others to grow in "Psychology". We should be encouraging them to die to self, by the which i.e. can only be done through THE CROSS!!!
Firstly, while this statement, in essence is true, the only way to truly serve God is to die the Gal 2:20 death, and the only way to the cross is via futile attempts at fullfilling the Law in your own strength. In some way "psychology" can be a tool used to come to this realisation. One must accept that we are tripart in nature (body, soul, spirit), which means that we must look after our body via exersize, our spirit through devotional discipline, and soul (psyche) via applied disciplined thought life. If we "die to self" we still need to combat the "strongholds" in our thought life, using the "weapons of our warfare" that are "mighty" for pulling them down. True psychology, is applying the Psalms to our "emotions", and Proverbs to our "will", and Ecclessiasties to our "reason".
Sorry, I know major tangent. My own experience with PDL, began 5 years ago, when our church adopted Purpose Driven Church as part of our strategy. Essetially, the concept of 5 spiritual purposes, comes for Acts 2:42-47, which describes the early NT church's begining. Warren's goal, was for a return to his view of what the NT church was, in the it wasn't based around a program, but a process that saw people "added daily" and discipled, as opposed to just becoming "pew warmers".
One thing the Warren seeks to do, in his books, is to admit that, however much we try to deny it, people look at "features and benefits", with everything they do. We shows the "features and benefits" of the gospel, as well as outlining our obligations. Essentially, how the message and heart of the gospel interacts with our life in a practicle sense.
Our church embarked on the "40 Days of Purpose" this year (incidently, the Lord had me avoid reading the book, in favour of listening to Ravenhill and Tozer;-)...however, the sermons that I listened to, lined up with the sermons being preached from Warren's material). Warren mentioned, in his introduction, that one of the most significant moments in his life, was father on his deathbed becoming anxious, and all of a sudden, sat up screaming "Gotta win one more for Jesus". This is the basis behind PDL.
On a whole, I don't really have an issue with the teaching contained in the book. However, some of the meathods can be a bit destructive, although very subtly.
A friend and I were discussing the use of Powerpoint presnetations during preaching. On one hand, we are a visual generation, and diagrams and photos, can be effective tools for communicating a point.
One trend seems to be emerging that can be seen throughout PDL. The use of multiple Bible translations during preaching. I'm not trying to say, that there's only one true translation, or we should all go KJV, but there is something about reading from the same translation, that helps with retention. It is hard enough to memorise something, without changing the wording 3 or 4 times during a series of teaching.
Although this seems like a smmal thing, don't forget that it's the "little foxes the spoils the vine". In an age of ever increasing darkness, one of the greatest necessities is for us to memorise His Word.
As Leonard Ravenhill puts it, "We thinking that it'll be Revival or concetration camps, but Ithink it'll be revival AND concentration camps."
Lord, prepare us for persecution, whether it comes or not.
| 2004/8/22 11:36||Profile|
Some quotes from "The Purpose Driven Life" by Rick Warren. Sounds pretty solid to me.
This act of personal surrender (to God) is called many things: consecration, making Jesus your Lord, taking up your cross, dying to self, yielding to the Spirit. What matters is that you do it, not what you call it. God wants your life all of it. Ninety-five percent is not enough.
Surrendering is best demonstrated in obedience. You say, yes, Lord to whatever He asks of you. To say no, Lord is to speak a contradiction. You cant call Jesus your Lord when you refuse to obey Him.
God doesnt owe you an explanation or reason for everything he asks you to do. Understanding can wait, but obedience cant. Instant obedience will teach you more about God than a lifetime of Bible discussions. In fact, you will never understand some commands until you obey them first. Obedience unlocks understanding.
Genuine surrender says, Father, if this problem, pain, sickness, or circumstance is needed to fulfill your purpose and glory in my life or in anothers, please dont take it away. This level of maturity does not come easy. In Jesus case, He agonized so much over Gods plan that He sweat drops of blood. Surrender is hard work. In our case, it is intense warfare against our self-centered nature.
The most difficult area to surrender for many people is their money. Many have thought, I want to live for God but I also want to earn money to live comfortably and retire someday. Retirement is not the goal of a surrendered life, because it competes with God for the primary attention of our lives.
Sometimes it takes years, but eventually you discover that the greatest hindrance to Gods blessing in your life is not others, it is yourself your self-will, stubborn pride, and personal ambition. You cannot fulfill Gods purposes for your life while focusing on your own plans.
| 2004/8/23 20:52||Profile|
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
| Re: Some Feedback|
[b]theevangelist[/b]: The answer is yes, I have read [i]PDL[/i] and I enjoyed it. I do not find any traces of [i]secular[/i] psychology within the book, nor do I find the claims that this book is "destructive" to be substantial, thus far.
[b]CJaKfOrEsT[/b]: I worry more about today's Christians (especially those in North America) [b]not[/b] engaging in serious Bible study [i]at all[/i] than the trend of using multiple translations. But yes, I do think it is beneficial for a single congregation to stick to one translation for public use, although the use of other translations for specific verses to make a point during preaching is quite acceptable to me.
[b]HakkaMin[/b]: Excellent point concerning living out simple but profound truths rather than seeking "deeper" and "higher" knowledge:
It is a simple book - and that is its strength. I cringe to see people seeking after deeper knowledge when what they usually need is a fuller experience of the simple truths they already know. Someone once said, "Maturity is mastering the basics."
| 2004/8/24 11:09||Profile|