A reply in caveat to: The Purpose Driven Life

What On Earth Am I Here For?

by Rick Warren
Zondervan Publishing; 2002
ISBN: 0-310-20571-9

The Purpose-Driven Life invites a 40-day Spiritual Journey in perspective to reduce your stress, simplify your decisions, increase your satisfaction, and, most important, prepare you for eternity. Inside this book, Rick Warren takes a small start on getting the focus off of self [p.17-18] and into Romans 12:2 [p.42]; exposes the retirement ruse [p.81,119,262]; delivers us a heaping dose of church membership sophistry [Day 17]; makes a brief visit with speaking the truth in love [p.146-147], while prescribing balance [Day 39] in lieu of moderation or steadfastness.
40 days and 334 pages from Rick's spiritual voyage of perceptions, burdened beneath a potpourri of moot points, syncretic quotations, and select verses lent from popular paraphrase-translations of the Bible.

How Do I Begin?

Where does The Purpose Driven Life begin? Rick says, You must begin with God, your Creator, and his reasons for creating you. [Day 1] But how? As it is written, "Your sins have made a separation between you and your God, and your sins have hid His face from you, so that He does not hear." [Isaiah 59:2] Rick's authorship has here left the greatest and most essentional restoration of relationship as tacit; forfeit the message of means to reconcilliation with God.

If you're seeking to begin again with your Creator, Jesus said, "I am the door; if anyone enters through Me, he shall be kept safe." And, "Truly, he who does not enter by the door into the fold of the sheep, but climbs up some other way, he is a thief and a robber. But he who enters by the door is a shepherd of the sheep." God has made Jesus both Lord and Christ. While sin had earned us death, He was crucified (put to death) for our sins, for the free gift of God is eternal life in Jesus Christ our Lord. Receive in faith that He has become for us that one bridge to His Father or Life; the One who holds our authentic purpose in life. "And Peter said to them, 'Repent, and let each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you shall receive the Holy Spirit.'" [Acts 2:38]

The Foundation of Purpose-Driven?

Rick Warren tells us, How you define life determines your destiny, [p.41] thereby identifying this 40-day journey with Life Philosophy. Absent the Gospel of Christ -- the power of God, Rick Warren's purpose becomes further diminished in Theism.

Purpose-Driven or Spirit-Led?

It is written, "Those who are being led by the Spirit of God are the sons of God. [Romans 8:14] For The Purpose Driven Life to become reality, the reader must exchange failing purpose for a Christ-centered life. [Romans 8:1-17; II Corinthians 5:17; Colossians 3:1-7]

                specific problems with PDL:
 {Quotes from The Purpose Driven Life in bold italics}

Day 8

[p.64] The reason you are able to enjoy pleasure is that God made you in his image. We often forget that God has emotions, too. He feels things very deeply. While in greater perspective it is written, "'My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways', says Jehovah. 'For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thought than your thoughts.'" [Isaiah 55:8-9]

Day 9

[p.72] Every parent knows that delayed obedience is really disobedience., while Jesus defines delayed obedience somewhat differently from Matthew 21:28-31.

[p.72-73] Obedience not only brings the Father pleasure; not only is an act of worship; "…He [Jesus Christ] became to all those who obey Him the source of eternal salvation;" [Hebrews 5:9]. Not only are we told to offer God the "sacrifice of praise" and "sacrifice of thanksgiving", our bodies whole are to be to God "a living and holy sacrifice." [Romans 12:1]

Day 10

[p.78] Can I trust God? Trust is an essential ingredient to surrender. You won't surrender to God unless you trust him, but you can't trust him until you know him better. Obedience & submission (rather than mere surrender) is what God desires/requires from His own. None of these 3 truly hold trust as prerequisite. Obedience/submission to God becomes relational, rather than hinging upon it.

Day 11

[p.90] While you cannot spend all day studying the Bible, you can in fact spend all day studying the Bible.

[p.90] With God doesn't expect you to be perfect, but he does insist on complete honesty, Rick employs an internal contradiction. As Jesus said, "Therefore you are to be perfect, even as your Father in heaven is perfect." From the New Testament text, perfection is defined as complete [Matthew 5:48; Strongs #5046].

Day 12

[p.93] Beyond Job's honest approach in suffering, God indemnified Job's words as being right, secure and enduring [Strongs #3559]. Does Rick draw from Jeremiah 4:10 with his comment, God did not slay Jeremiah when he claimed that God had tricked him.? We should note that no message of personal deception is being conveyed by Jeremiah…. Rather, there is reflection upon what may be said "if".

[p.95] Contra 'only obey by love', The fear of the Lord is still the beginning of wisdom. [Psalm 11l:10; Proverbs 9:10; Isaiah 33:6; Micah 6:9 II Corithians 5:11; 7:11; I Peter 2:17; Revelation 14:7; 19:5]

[p.99] Rick Warren writes, There is nothing -- absolutely nothing -- more important than developing a friendship with God; while Jesus says, "You are my friends if you do what I command you." [John 15:14].

Day 13

[p.101] God is pleased when our worship is authentic. When Jesus said you must "worship in spirit," he wasn't referring to the Holy Spirit, but to your spirit. In this, either the Holy Spirit has been set aside, or the Purpose-Driven reader is being saddled with a false dichotomy. [Philippians 3:3]

[p.105] Rick tells us, You have heard people say, "I can't make it to the meeting tonight, but I'll be with you in spirit." Do you know what that means? Nothing. It is worthless! As long as you're on earth, your spirit can only be where your body is. If your body isn't there, neither are you. It was the apostle Paul who early used the with you in spirit affirmation. [I Corinthians 5:4; Colossians 2:5].

Day 16

[p.125] God says relationships are what life is all about. Where does He say this? The reference following reads, You must love the Lord your God with all your heart… …Love your neighbor as yourself. Are we to infer that Rick believes agapè love to be founded upon relationships? Those who ascribe to such would miss the fullest point of God's love for us; the love He has now placed in the hearts of His children. [I Corinthians 13:1-8; I John 4:19, etc.] While relationships falter, love never fails.

Day 17

[p.130-136 & 11] The Bible knows nothing of solitary saints of spiritual hermits isolated from other believers and deprived of fellowship. Not true! [Matthew 14:23; 26:75; Luke 22:40-46; Acts 8:39; Galatians 1:15-2:2; Revelation 1:9]. Being disconnected and cut off from the lifeblood is not genuinely about a man's relationship to any one local church gathering. [Matthew 7:21-23; Hebrews 6:4-6] From here, Rick continues (in fruit of frustration?) to make further unsupported statements, such as: The only Christians not members of a local fellowship were those under church discipline and, I can't claim to be following Christ if I'm not committed to any [one] specific group of disciples. Such words applaud sectarianism, and fall as subtle & pernicious discouragement upon prisoners and apostles/missionaries everywhere. Believers defenseless and powerless against his [Satan's] tactics.? [Acts 1:8; 18:24; Romans 15:13; I Corinthians 2:4-5; II Corinthians 6:7; 10:3-6; Ephesians 1:18-20; 3:16-20; II Timothy 1:7] Rick also writes, When you were born again, you automatically became part of God's universal family, but you also need to become a member of a local expression of God's family. Yet, his mandate for a second local membership delivers the reader a false dichotomy: How must I also become part again of that to which I have been fully joined by God? [Romans 7:4; 12:4-5 I Corinthians 4:17; 10:15-17; 12:27; Ephesians 2:13-16; 4:4 Colossians 1:24-27]

Day 18

[p.141] In real fellowship people experience sympathy Today some call this "empathy," but the biblical word is "sympathy." A more careful check for the footnote cited [Colossians 3:12] reveals "heartfelt compassion" [Strongs #3628]. Rick also writes, Every time you understand and affirm someone's feelings, you build fellowship. Yet, to adopt this psychology would be quite absurd… Shall Christians look to validate in others their feelings of personal anger, bitterness, malice or hatred? [Ephesians 4:31]

[p.143] In writing, If someone hurts you repeatedly, you are commanded by God to forgive them instantly, but you are not expected to trust them immediately, and you are not expected to continue allowing them to hurt you., Warren's counsel departs from the words of Jesus in Matthew 5:38-42.

Day 19

[p.150] {NOTE: Among others, Rick Warren has promoted a small groups church ideal. Within this approach, cell groups (or, "home groups") function much as each a church within a/the church; these participating with a larger, joint assembly each week. Understanding this background point can help to clarify Rick's perspectives concerning fellowship, growth (maturity), "confidentiality", personal restoration, church discipline, etc.}

[p.150] …fellowship of the church is more important than any individual. Such a claim flaunts another false dichotomy; also being in conflict with the words of Jesus from Matthew 18:12-17.

Day 20

[p.152] Rick writes, In fact, the Bible tells us that God has given us the ministry of restoring relationships. [with footnote for II Corinthians 5:18]. From the text, our reconciliation [Strongs #2643] is to receive life in exchange for death. [see also vs. 19-21] Healing (of relationships) follows after the ministry of reconciliation. [I Peter 2:24-25]

[p.155] Rick's counsel in, Nod that you understand even when you don't agree, advances a psychology of petty deception, and comes in contrast to his call for honesty in fellowship. [p.146]

[p.157] You are never persuasive when you're abrasive, while Jesus seemed to know how there is a time for directly getting to the point. [Matthew 23, John 2:13-17, etc.]

Day 20

[p.160] Rick writes, It is your job to protect the unity of your church. And in contrast from page 165, …God gives leaders the responsibility and authority to maintain the unity of the church. Yet, neither statement would be quite correct. May we "be diligent to preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace," while it is God in Christ who protects/preserves His Church. [Ephesians 4:3; Matthew 16:18]

[p.161] God wants unity, not uniformity. But for unity's sake we must never let differences divide us. Such a position of tolerance cannot accept the reality of I Corinthians 11:18-19 or I John 2:18-19. Despite our denials in the effort to shield perception, there is a clear division whenever someone leaves a church over cause.

Day 22

[p.172] In writing, Let me be absolutely clear: You will never become God, or even a god., Rick has somehow set aside the words of Jesus from Psalm 82:6 and John 10:34-36.

[p.174] Another false dichotomy is presented the reader, as Rick declares, Christlikeness is not produced by imitation, but by inhabitation. [I Corinthians 4:16; 11:1; Ephesians 5:1; I Thessalonians 1:6; 2:14; Hebrews 6:12; 13:7; III John 1:11, "imitate": Strongs #3401/3402]

[p.176] Rick writes, Your spiritual transformation in developing the character of Jesus will take the rest of your life, and even then it won't be completed here on earth. And as he writes further, It takes a lifetime to build Christlike character, [p.315] while the Spirit has informed us much differently from Romans 12:2, II Corinthians 5:16-17, II Timothy 4:7-8, etc.

Day 26

[p.203] Temptation always starts in your mind, not in circumstances, But, the Bible text Rick cites [Mark 7:21-23; James 4:1] does not support his claim. As in the Garden and with the temptation of Christ [Genesis 3:6; Matthew 4:1-11; 6:13], both evil and circumstance can be significant to, and a source in, temptation.

Day 27

[p.212-213] Some temptations are only overcome with the help of a partner who prays for you, encourages you, and holds you accountable. This would be speculation, and presents in contrast with Romans 8:37, II Corinthians 4:7-10; 10:13, II Peter 1:3 and James 1:12.

Day 31

[p.247] Paul the apostle undergoes a belated diagnosis by Rick for depression, while there is every indication that Rick's writing has confused being depressed with being distressed. Rick also has included a professional opinion for that warrior of Old Testament times, Gideon: low self-esteem and deep insecurities. [p.275]

Day 35

[p.278] Introducing another point of speculation, Rick suggests, God touched Jacob's strength (the thigh muscle is the strongest in the body) and turned it into a weakness. From that day forward, Jacob walked with a limp so he could never run away again.

Day 39

[p.308] To maintain your physical health, you need regular check-ups with a doctor who can assess your vital signs -- blood pressure, temperature, weight, ans so on. For your spiritual health you need to regularly check the five vital signs of worship, fellowship, growth in character, ministry, and mission. Though we are instructed to examine yourselves, this would be more broadly than in the manner or category of Warren's thesis. [I Corinthians 11:27-32; II Corinthians 13:4-6; Galatians 6:4; I Thessalonians 5:21] In truth, it is the sickly and uncertain who are drawn to pine for those regular physical check-ups, which alone provide no benefit to health.

Day 40

[p.313] What is a life purpose statement? Philippians 2:1-2.

Jesus said, "I am the True Vine, you are the branches;

he who abides in Me, and I in him, he bears much fruit.
For apart from Me you can do nothing."