Must Listen

Must Read

What Art Thinks


Today's Headlines

  • Sorry... Not Available
Man blowing a shofar

Administrative Area

Locally Contributed...



Special Interest

Main Stories
“Church Growth Movement”
by various sources   
September 1st, 2008

A strange distortion of truth has spread like a grass fire on a windy day, through churches around the world. It calls God’s people not just to understand our changing times from the world’s perspective, but to actually blow with the wind and help fuel the transformation. This Church Growth Movement (CGM) uses familiar old words to persuade the people, but it conforms God’s Word as well as human thinking to politically correct views of unity, community, service and change.

Forget solid Bible teaching and the “offense of the cross.” To win the masses “for Christ”, the church must be re-cloaked in a more permissive and appealing image. It must be marketed to the world as a “safe place”, purged of the moral standards which stirred conviction of sin and a longing to separate from the world’s immorality. So they re-imagined a feel-good church stripped of offense - one the world could love and claim as its own.

Their march to a “better world” is well under way. In this new church, group thinking, compromise, conflict resolution, the dialectic process and facilitated consensus are in. Uncompromising conviction and resistance to group consensus are out. For God’s way seems far too intolerant to fit the managed systems of the new millennium.

--Excerpt from Reinventing the Church

The Philadelphia Inquirer ran a story on Rick Warren which tells us a great deal about the man who is changing the face of American evangelicalism. Here’s an excerpt:

Warren predicts that fundamentalism, of all varieties, will be one of the big enemies of the 21st century. Muslim fundamentalism, Christian fundamentalism, Jewish fundamentalism, secular fundamentalism - they’re all motivated by fear. Fear of each other.”

This remark is no surprise to Pastor Bob DeWaay of Twin City Fellowship in Minneapolis. DeWaay has published a book which shines the spotlight on Rick Warren’s brand of Christianity and its sobering implications for the church. The title of DeWaay’s book “Redefining Christianity: Understanding the Purpose Driven Movement” describes what a growing number of Christians are seeing. Rick Warren has subtly and critically changed the message of the Gospel.

In the forward to the book, Gary Gilley, author of This Little Church Went to Market and pastor of Southern View Chapel in Springfield, Illinois, writes,

Bob (DeWaay) painstakingly shows that Rick Warren has done for the church what McDonald’s has done for the restaurant industry. Unfortunately, the church is not in the hamburger flipping business. Applying franchising principles to Christ’s church may result in outward success, but true success cannot be measured by simply reading the bottom line of ‘nickels and noses’, buildings and programs.”

In his steady, scholarly way, Bob DeWaay demonstrates that the Gospel according to Rick Warren is not a biblical call to sinners to throw down their rebel arms at the cross and embrace the salvation offered by the Lord Jesus Christ. Nowhere in the Purpose Driven Life are readers told that sinners (what an archaic term now) are under the wrath and curse of God unless they believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and His atoning sacrifice on the cross. Rick Warren instead retools the Gospel message to appeal to the unregenerate. He does not believe that God’s purposes are declared in His revealed Word, but rather teaches that unsaved should go on a journey of self-discovery in order to locate God’s purposes for their lives.

To Rick Warren, church growth is not the result of the Holy Spirit converting sinners as seen in the book of Acts but is the result of the latest marketing techniques that will make church attractive to those who don’t know Jesus Christ. Thousands of churches are now Purpose Driven franchises with success hungry pastors taking their cues and even their sermons from Rick Warren. Rick Warren calls this “Church-in-a box” and he offers it on his numerous websites. But the true Gospel of Christ, the narrow way that Christ spoke of in the Bible, has been altered to suit the world. Numerical success may be achieved, but the Gospel must be obscured to do it Warren’s way.

Redefining Christianity has excellent chapters in which the author deals with Rick Warren’s redefining of terms like “vision” and “commitment” and his misuse of countless Bible versions and paraphrases to try to justify his teaching. The most important chapter in the book deals with the Gospel according to Rick Warren. The author points out that when original sin and the blood atonement are removed from the message, there is no “good news”. The world is then being given a gospel that is false. It really is that serious.

Rick Warren’s distaste for Christian fundamentalism, as expressed in the Philadelphia Inquirer, is a result of his distaste for the fundamentals of God’s Word. Those who insist on hearkening back to the Word of God stand in direct opposition to Warren’s “Purpose-Driven” marketing tsunami. Rick’s much vaunted PEACE plan, his unprecedented popularity with the secular media and his continuing ascendancy in American evangelicalism is dependant upon those pastors and leaders who are willing to set aside the clear dictates of God’s Word in order to ride the coattails of Rick Warren and his temporal success. Fundamentalists get in the way.

In the midst of the marketing hype and popular clamor for Rick Warren’s man-centered Gospel, may the clear voice of our Savior Jesus Christ cut through the din.

Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction and many there be which go in thereat: because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, and few there be that find it.” Matthew 7: 13-14 -- excerpt from “The Gospel According to Rick Warren” by B. Kjos

A False Gospel

Thousands of small groups using Saddleback’s study guide and Teaching Video for the 40 days of Purpose are led in a prayer. They hear Pastor Warren speak these words:

“Do you have a relationship with Jesus Christ? If you aren’t sure of this, I’d like the privilege of leading you in a prayer to settle the issue. Let’s bow our heads. I’m going to pray a prayer and you can follow it silently in your mind:

Dear god, I want to know Your purpose for my life. I don’t want to waste the rest of my life on the wrong things. Today I want to take the first step in preparing for eternity by getting to know You. Jesus Christ, I don’t understand it all, but as much as I know how, I want to open my life to You. I ask you to come into my life and make yourself real to me. Use this series to help me know what you made me for. Thank You. Amen.

If you just prayed that prayer for the very first time, I congratulate you. You’ve just become a part of the family of God.”

Is this a response to the gospel? Where is repentance, acknowledgement of need, confession of personal sin? Where is the cross? The Bible tells us that saving “faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God.” Romans 10:17-18. But none of the Scriptures that show the gospel are mentioned in this first lesson. Biblically illiterate friends and neighbors who join the group would pray this prayer without any real knowledge of the cross, of the Savior, or of God’s view of sin. In fact, the meaning of salvation isn’t included in the first lesson. And if it had been there, the context of the lesson would suggest that we are merely saved from a purposeless life --- not from bondage to sin.

-- Excerpt from Spirit Led or Purpose Driven

In a polluted stream there may be some good water, but to drink of that stream you may greatly harm yourself. The Purpose Driven stream is a polluted stream; you drink of it at great spiritual peril.


The PDC Program for Change

Focusing on the “customer’s perspective” brings success. People feel satisfied. They come and they buy. When this process is applied to churches, it works! With polls and surveys, a church can easily uncover the “felt needs” of the unbelievers in the local community - then target their services to their intended customers. Pastor Warren learned that lesson early from Robert Schuler - the “possibility thinker” who called Mikhail Gorbachev a Christian despite the protests of this unrepentant Communist. The people-pleasing methods that worked so well at the Crystal Cathedral would prove just as effective at Saddleback.

You might still wonder why pastors would focus on the felt needs of unbelievers rather than the true needs of God’s family. Doesn’t this strategy turn God’s principles upside down?

Yes, but it also attracts the spiritual diversity needed for the dialectic process - the heart of today’s transformation in churches as well as in business, education, government and other organizations. Dr. Robert Klenck summarizes it in his report on

“The 21st Century Church”

“… in this movement, it is imperative that unbelievers are brought into the church; otherwise, the process of continual change cannot begin. There must be an antithesis (unbelievers) present to oppose the thesis (believers), in order to move towards consensus (compromise), and move the believers away from their moral absolutism (resistance to change). If all members of the church stand firm on the Word of God, and its final authority in all doctrine and tradition, then the church cannot and will not change. This is common faith.”

-- Excerpt from Spirit Led or Purpose Driven

go back button