Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Purpose Driven Apostasy

Forgive my late entry on this story, I just found it... and I am furious! People who know me know that I am pretty open minded and fair. I had been very understanding and patient with the Purpose Driven crowd and contemporary church reforms in general. I had been decieved into thinking that the worst thing that happened with this Purpose Driven program was division and schism in some congregations who attempt to impliment it. I have witnessed it first hand. I was wrong. I thought that the worst thing that the books taught was the typical errors of the Southern Baptist Convention. I was wrong. My rose-colored view of the program ends today.

I was unaware that Rick Warren's pastor-training program welcomes and teaches the leaders of Mormons and Jews. The purpose of this program is to assist pastors grow and strengthen their congregations. If you believe that the Purpose Driven program works, you must now conclude that Rick Warren is attempting to strengthen and increase the number of Mormon and Jewish "congregations". In other words, this program is being used to secure people in religions other than Christianity; religions that do not offer hope of salvation through the one Mediator between God and man, Jesus Christ. When USA Today asked Rick Warren about this policy, how did this pastor respond? To quote the article:

"I'm not going to get into a debate over the non-essentials. I won't try to change other denominations. Why be divisive?" he asks, citing as his model Billy Graham, "a statesman for Christ ministering across barriers."

Faithful Christians and churches who are still loyal to Christ, but still support the Purpose Driven program with their money and time must be unaware of this betrayal of the Gospel. Since this has come out, there have been no attempts to clarify or recant this comment or revise the admission requirements for the Purpose Driven programs. They continue to help false religions grow, attract new members, and become Purpose Driven.

We can only draw one of two conclusions: (1) The Purpose Driven program is a function of the Christian church that needs to repent of its blatant apostasy and turn from aiding false religions. (2) The Purpose Driven program is not a part of the Christian church and is a secular marketing system designed and used by all religions without regard for the truth.

Building bridges is a pathetic excuse for helping to promote error. I can only hope that this is an innocent misjudgement on Rick Warren's part. How can he justify aiding false religions?

I am now convinced that it is impossible for an orthodox church to adopt this program without participating in and helping to fund what appears to be willful apostasy and the murder of souls.

The Purpose Driven program is not about the One, True, God of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

What Christian leader would dare speak this way! Being a Mormon or a Jew is non-essential?!? Helping Mormons and Jews attract people to their churches and increase their success is being a statesman for Christ?!?

For Baptists who care so much about deeds, these actions are speaking volumes!

We are not called to be statesmen. We are called to be witnesses, defenders, and martyrs.

This program is sitting in the temple of God and speaking against the primacy of Christ. It is time for the use of strong language and opposition. The church is under attack by this message of antichrist. The entire Purpose Driven system is an apostate organization! Am I wrong?

Please, prove me wrong!

You can get the full story and a link to the USA Today article here at A Little Leaven.


Christopher D. Hall said...

In all fairness, you could re-state premise (2) to read, "The Purpose-Driven program is a first-article 'gift' which has no explicit or implicit Christian content and thus is a management and administrative process for strengthening the goals and identity of a human organization." This is likely the definition which the Purpose-Powers use to justify their deeds.

Even if you granted this revised second premise, though, the issue remains: this program not only seeks to strengthen the human relationships between members in an organization, but also makes claims for the worship of God and the second-article gifts that God gives the Christian congregation.

I actually hesitate to reply this way. One way that this nonsense took root at Concordia St. Louis was by this assumption: leadership and administration skills and observations are first-article gifts, and can be brought into the church as long as they keep their place.

This is true, as far as it goes. When the "program" or method does not make religious and liturgical claims, this is no problem. For example, who would question the appropriateness of using radio or television broadcasts of services to reach out to shut-ins and others at home on Sundays? That is simply making wise use of the technology and resources God has given us.

But obviously the Purpose-Driven program brings more in. It's not just a system for organization and management of goals and human operations. It makes theological claims and seeks to influence the worship and practice of religious organizations.

Mike Baker said...

This is how they define it at

The Purpose Driven model offers leaders in your church a unique, biblically-based approach to help them establish, transform, or maintain a balanced, growing congregation.


Does your church need to:

Establish or re-establish its core purposes?
Design an intentional discipleship process?
Build an "outward-in" perspective to growth and evangelism?

If so, I invite you to embrace the Purpose Driven model.

Any form of premise (2) is not an option after that kind of thing is said. The program has a “Statement of Faith”. The model is directed toward “discipleship” and “evangelism”. Part of their mission statement says that they “want to see the church…fulfilling the biblical purposes…[and] encouraging the salvation, growth, and development of one another.” This is the work of the Great Commission. Spreading a gospel that is free from error is not adiaphoron.

I strongly disagree with the idea that anyone can introduce the Purpose Driven Program safely in a church in any capacity.

Place the claims, teachings, and approaches aside for a second. When someone pays for these courses, spends money on promotion materials, or buys Rick Warrens books and bible studies, God's money (of which we are stewards) is going to help false teachers so that they are better enabled to secure souls in congregations that offer no hope of salvation. We spend that money knowing that it is being used to directly help the Devil secure souls in hell. No church can do that in good conscience.

It is not just about what error the program may or may not be bringing into our church. Think about what we are helping the program do with money and public support. The survival of the program depends on churches to use and support it. We can’t have it both ways. We can’t say that money sent to the others to train missionaries is doing God’s work to reach people for Christ, but money sent to Rick Warren that trains false missionaries is just a secular, administrative expense that is a wise use of resources.

The television analogy is a bad example because the secular TV channel is a relatively neutral public forum. If it became public knowledge that the TV channel was spending 2% of all of its programming income to fund Embryonic Stem Cell Research, we would look for another channel to financially support. While a church is not responsible for how each of their dollars is eventually spent, she is responsible for the organizations that the church publicly supports and the money that she spends knowing how it will be utilized.

USA Today told America that Purpose Driven includes Jews and Mormons. Our support of the program is a public witness to that. To the world, we agree with Rick Warren’s vision… all of it. Worse, our participation with Rick Warren is securing him in his sin. Our continued flow of money and support is telling him that there are no real consequences for betraying the church.

And Rick Warren said in the article that he is doing all of this in the name of Christ! No matter how we view it from our end, this is an extension of his ministry.