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A Purpose-Shaped Worldview

A Critique of chapters 1-7 of The Purpose-Driven® Life by Rick Warren
By David Sheldon

The Purpose Driven Life Turn on the news or skim the newspaper, and you will quickly see that The Purpose-Driven® Life by Rick Warren has a strong appeal to a variety of people. There must be a reason for this. Is its message so profound and precise that one can meet the God of the Bible between its covers? Or, just the opposite, does it have an esoteric message allowing any reader to extract what is poignant to them? The real message of this book may be found simply in noticing the wide array of people enamored with it! However, the reality of the book's message obtains underlying philosophies and "wisdom" which could be purposefully laying the groundwork for a growing world religion and humanistic spirituality. Stay with me. Please read this brief review of chapters 1-7 to understand its "theology" and mood. Then, the review of the final chapter will help you understand why I am so forthright in my assessments.

The following critique is of A Purpose Driven Life's:
Introduction
Chapter 1 – Purpose in Creation or Purpose in Redemption
Chapter 2 – No Accident Here
Chapter 3 – The "Driving Force"
Chapter 4 – Death as "Unfair"
Chapter 5 – Getting a "Handle" on Life
Chapter 6 – Citizens, Strangers – And Rejected
Chapter 7 – "Failing" to Give Glory to God

Introduction

The first seven chapters of PDL are filled with talk about the love of God, something everyone loves hearing. However, many don't realize the love of God that we love hearing about is only His love in the original creation! Let me explain. The book begins with the title "It All Starts with God." But, it should state "It All Starts with God's Original Intention in Creating." Unfortunately, that "original intention" about which the Scriptures give us very little knowledge is over and done with because of the fall of man! Therefore, we can conclude:

Are we fearfully and wonderfully made? Answer: Yes
Shouldn't this wonderful fact save us? Answer: No

Isn't it wonderful that we have an internal revelation from our Creator that we are eternal creatures? Answer: Yes
Doesn't this wonderful revelation give us a sure hope of eternity with Him? Answer: No

Isn't it wonderful that when we look at the creation we know there must be a Creator? Answer: Yes
Does that mean we each have the internal potential to know this Creator in our present condition? Answer: No

Is each of us created in the image of God? Answer: Yes
Is "salvation," then, just seeing oneself in this light? Answer: No

Thus we can conclude, the hope of salvation for a true Christian or for anyone who is pondering the claims of Jesus Christ is not based in "general revelation" which is the term that has been coined to describe the above types of questions. In the first three chapters of Romans when Paul is laying out the gospel message he first shows how utterly needy and depraved we are in our circumstances as fallen man within the creation! Every man is without excuse. In fact, the revelation that there is a God is indeed skewed by the fallen human heart. Paul uses the word "exchange" in Romans. Even though we have revelation of the fact of God, our sinful hearts won't acknowledge that revelation but instead "exchange" it for false worship. The reason we do this is because of our fallen "idolatrous" hearts. This is the foundation Paul uses to then show us the need for a Savior! Warren lays the groundwork for his "gospel" using the exact opposite tactic. Yes, he, like Paul, spends time talking about God the Creator. He will even talk about "sin" later on. But, the reasons and goals seem different.

Chapter One - Purpose in Creation or Purpose in Redemption

This chapter is marketed as "everything starts with God." Instead, the chapter focuses upon filling our minds with thoughts about the image of the one created – man – as related to the original creation. The problem is that being born into this world does not equate with being born "by his purpose and for his purpose" (p.17) in a necessarily good sense. If we were not fallen creatures in Adam, we could agree with what Warren is stating. The reality is that we are born "in Adam" as rebellious to God. Warren uses the text of Colossians 1:16 to introduce his statement. This quote is specific to the Person of the Lord Jesus Christ. It is the pre-eminence of Jesus Christ as Lord over all of His creation. He does not include the full text which also says that he created all things "whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities." Why is this significant? It is this: Jesus Christ is Lord over everything that has been created, whether it is in rebellion to Him or not! He reigns over it! We must not prematurely take assurance or comfort in the fact that He has made everything for His purpose because even the devil and hell itself fulfills a specific purpose of God.

Next, we must ask if this chapter really is all about God why does he misquote and misapply text of Scripture that enhance man's image in his fallen state. The following three points in chapter 1 confirm this:

1. Warren says (p.18) "Many people try to use God for their own self-actualization…" He then denies that is what his book is about. Then continuing with his thought two paragraphs later on the very next page he quotes from:
The Message Bible: "Self-help is no help at all. Self-sacrifice is the way, my way, to finding yourself, your true self."
The same Scripture in the NAS Bible: "For whoever wishes to save his life shall lose it; but whoever loses his life for My sake shall find it."
The same Scripture in the KJV Bible: "For whosoever will save his life shall lose it; but whosoever will lose his life for My sake shall find it."
The Message Bible misquotes Holy Scripture! The context of the passage in question is of course the verse before: Matthew 16:24 – "If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me." {KJV}

Ponder for a moment the mistranslation: "self-sacrifice is…my way" versus the true meaning "whoever loses his life for My sake." This is not about self "doing" through "self-sacrifice" so "self" can attain a "self" identity. In context it is about self "dying," and it is about the new object found, which is Jesus Christ Himself, and not that which is supposedly the "true" self. This is the death of self to Christ. It is conversion, not self-actualization through self-sacrifice. It is about a new identity, but only as it relates to Jesus Christ and for His sake. Even though he says his book is not about self-actualization, he uses a mistranslation of Scripture to make this text seem like it is about self-actualization - which it is not. The Message Bible quote is obviously a very poor paraphrase of the Holy Scriptures which is then used by Warren to support his point.

2. Warren claims (p. 20) that we can have "God's wisdom" from the Word of God. He then quotes about God's wisdom from I Corinthians 2:7. Yet, on the next page in describing this "wisdom" he tells a story of someone who had an "experience" of deity. (p.21) "Suddenly, all by itself, a phrase appeared: Without God life makes no sense. Repeating it in astonishment, I rode the phrase up like a moving staircase, got out of the metro and walked into God's light." (He then summarizes your purpose for life (via his book) as though you are walking into the light.) That statement should be found in a book on New Age Mysticism so that you couldn't miss what it really is! How disconcerting that you find it in this "Christian" book. The good thing is that it doesn't matter what it is labeled. It only matters if it is truth. God's wisdom that Paul describes in I Corinthians 1:17-2:2 is the real wisdom of the cross! Warren uses this very passage to support his own version of wisdom! Jesus had to be crucified because we are sinners! This is the only way we can be saved. The wisdom of the cross is that God can still be a holy God and yet can save sinners in the foolishness of the gospel preached. This wisdom is not that we can decide through some mystical experience that we need God and we secure the knowledge of God by our walk into the "light." Salvation is of God and is based in the message of Christ crucified for sinners. Thus, Warren's example leads us astray from Scripture.

3. Warren's own interperetation of I Corinthians 2:7 leads us astray as well.

Here is his quote from the Message Bible: "God's wisdom…goes deep into the interior of his purposes…It's not the latest message, but more like the oldest – what God determined as the way to bring out his best in us."
Now let's read the same passage from the New American Standard Version: "But we speak God's wisdom in a mystery, the hidden wisdom, which God predestined before the ages to our glory;"
Now we read from the King James Version: "But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom, which God ordained before the world unto our glory:"

As you can see, the Message Bible is misquoting the Holy Word of God once again! God's wisdom is the reality of His being able to save us through the gospel as Paul had already made clear in I Corinthians1:17-2:2. That is what is to "our glory." It was determined this way from eternity, and it is His wisdom, Christ crucified for sinners! In our conversion, He makes us new creatures in Christ Jesus with a new life from and in Him. This wisdom is not "God bringing out his best in us." In fact, the Scriptures say that our "old man" (sinful nature) was crucified at Calvary when we were placed "in Christ." (Galatians 2:20; Romans 6:6) God did not "bring out his best in us" in crucifying Christ. In Christ Jesus, He forgave us all of our sins, identifying us with His crucified Son on Calvary, and recreating us anew, giving us a new heart!

Unfortunately, Warren introduces you to a different wisdom and labels it God's wisdom. You might not have even noticed since you were reading a "Christian" book. Instead of your thoughts entering the door of "Christ Jesus crucified" they were taken through the door of "mysticism/humanistic philosophy." The reality is that the "wisdom" throughout this book is consistent with the example and the Scriptural misquote sited above. It has nothing to do with the wisdom which Paul describes in I Corinthians.

Thus, Warren begins his book by laying a humanistic philosophy based in the original creation as if the fall was inconsequential to you. At the same time, he is negating and twisting texts which clearly describe to us the need and provision in Christ of His life and a new creation via His crucifixion, resurrection, and our death and new life in Him.

Chapter 2 - No Accident Here

"You Are Not an Accident" is the title of the second chapter of PDL. Thus, Warren continues with his theme of purpose through an understanding of the original creation. But now he is keying in on specifics: "This really is about God creating you." According to Warren, the thrust of this theme of purpose via an understanding of the original creation is even found in the New Testament Scriptures, that is, in his misuse of the Message Bible and misapplying Scripture yet again! The following three examples prove this:

1. (p.24) "Long before he laid down earth's foundations, he had us in mind, had settled on us as the focus of his love." (From the Message Bible, Ephesians 1:4a)

A key piece of the verse has been omitted from the Message Bible. If we read the KJV, it says, "According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world," and the NAS says, "just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world." This love is a love Christians receive in Him. The fact is that God's love is a love for His new creation through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus. That which is Paul's intent in Ephesians 1, Warren twists to the point of negation!

2. (p.24) "God decided to give us life through the word of truth so we might be the most important of all the things he made." (James 1:18, NCV)

Once again, Warren uses a bad translation of this verse to misapply Scripture and make his own point. James 1:18 from the NAS says, "In the exercise of His will He brought us forth by the word of truth, so that we might be, as it were, the first fruits among His creatures." And the KJV says, "Of his own will begat he us with the word of truth, that we should be a kind of first fruits of his creatures." This text is not about birth in the original creation. This text is about new birth through the gospel of Jesus Christ!

3. (p.24) "God formed the earth…He did not create it to be empty but formed it to be inhabited." (Isaiah 45:18, GWT)

This text about creation is in the context of God's redemptive purposes for Israel as their Savior! Let's read it in it's full context.

"Truly, Thou art a God who hides Himself, O God of Israel, Savior! ....
Israel has been saved by the Lord with an everlasting salvation;
You will not be put to shame or humiliated to all eternity.
For thus says the Lord, who created the heavens
(He is the God who formed the earth and made it,
He established it and did not create it a waste place,
But formed it to be inhabited),
I am the Lord, and there is none else….
And there is no other God beside Me,
A righteous God and a Savior;
There is none except Me.
Turn to Me, and be saved, all the ends of the earth;
For I am God, and there is no other" Isaiah 45:15-22, NAS

God is the Savior of Israel, who is the special object of His love. Isaiah states God's love is a specific redeeming love, not a universal original creation love. Warren's comments just before and after his quote, twists this concept into a universal love for creation apart from God being a Savior. Martin Luther described it as the humanistic "theology of glory" versus his Biblical "theology of the cross." Luther saw verse 15 as pivotal to his theology of the cross. "Truly, Thou art a God who hides Himself." For Luther, God's "glory" is now hidden behind His cross!!! One can not see it or know it clearly – unless you truly behold the One who died on Calvary, the Lord Jesus Christ!!!

The New Testament is very specific as to the One who was given for us so that we can be made new creatures in Christ. Because we are fallen creatures, the love of God is not "outside" of Christ's death on Calvary to redeem us. John 3:16 starts with the adverb "thus" or "so" which relates the love expressed in Christ to what went just before the familiar text. The children of Israel are being bitten by serpents and dying in the wilderness. God intervenes. This is redeeming love! However, Warren's humanistic theme based on the original creation remains intact.

In conclusion, the truth is "It is all about God's love in Christ Jesus." The truth is not as Warren implies, "It's all about God's love in the original creation!" God's love was planned from eternity for His own people and exhibited in the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ! Warren misapplies Holy Scripture in the above instances and leaves the real concept of God's love out of the whole chapter!

Chapter 3 - The "Driving Force"

This chapter begins with the question: "What is the driving force in your life?" This question implies that each person has a drive toward evil and that this drive must be targeted or channeled toward good. Warren lists five reasons why the human condition can miss the "good" goal and suggests there are many other reasons. He says the problem is because this force that drives your life hasn't come under the guidance of God's purposes. In other words, it is misdirected, unfocused and misinformed. On the contrary, Jeremiah 17:9 gives a different assessment of this "force" that drives your life: "The heart is more deceitful than all else, and is desperately sick, who can understand it?" (NASB) What is the driving force in my life? Could it possibly be a deceitful heart? Yet, Warren is saying this is what the "God of the Bible" is all about: He is there to grant purpose to our misdirected "driving force" of life. Nothing could be further from the truth! God is the author of new life in Jesus Christ, not a refocused or redirected old life. You might say that Warren informs his readers that God is in the business of giving "fresh" starts! So what is the problem? God is in the "business" (if we can say that) of recreating. II Corinthians 5:17 says: "Therefore, if any man is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come." (NASB) The "fresh start" comes from a "new heart" given in a new creation according to this passage. (The old "driving force of life" heart is crucified.) It is God who establishes this new relationship when He saves us. {It can be generally noted in Warren's writings and even his website that he often thinks like this: I will show you how you can establish a relationship with Jesus Christ.} The reality is that we have the "fresh start" only as the result of being saved, and it is Christ that does it. Not vice versa. It happens when we acknowledge our need for a Savior from sin, not our need for an avatar of purpose who Warren says is the God of the Bible and is evidently also the author/creator of this "driving force" of life. The real Jesus is Savior from sin not Avatar for purpose whom we then call "Savior." Yet again, Warren's humanism remains intact and his points are enhanced toward his ultimate conclusions.

Chapter 4 - Death as "Unfair"

The results of the fall of man in the Garden of Eden were total and devastating. They are (not were) spiritual and physical death, along with a few specific curses for Adam and Eve and the serpent. It was the just due of man before a Holy God and it was God's curse upon their disobedience. Yet Warren says that "death always seems unnatural and unfair." (p.37). Why does he throw this "spin" upon the curse of God? The real tragedy of death is the second death according to the Holy Scripture which is eternal separation from God. Apart from Jesus Christ, the condition of any human is eternity without God. We are spiritually dead in trespasses and sins. (Ephesians 2:1) Death is what our Resurrected Lord Jesus Christ had to conquer on our behalf! Unless God in His infinite mercy and grace saves us through the gospel, we remain in our already lost condition. Let me say this again: unless Jesus Christ in His infinite grace and mercy saves you and I from our sinful condition, we have no hope! Physical death is not unfair. It is a curse, and God's curse at that. It is the result of our sin before a holy God. Physical death is definitely not a "door to eternity" (p.40) that we go through which will be our "birthday into eternal life." (p.40) Death is the result of our disobedience in Adam! Unless we already possess the life of our Resurrected Lord Jesus Christ, that will be a very awful day indeed. Carefully note in the first 7 chapters that Warren never clearly presents Christ Jesus as the Resurrected Lord, the One who conquered death, destroyed the powers of darkness at Calvary, and Coming King on the clouds of heaven! Yet, two chapters later, he will offer a prayer you can quietly whisper. If you pray this, you have "believed" and "become a part of the family of God" (pg 59). However, it is spiritually deadly to present death as unfair, when it is actually a curse. To present death as a "door," and that a "Jesus" is waiting for us on the other side of this door is our "birthday" and not mention that death is what our resurrected Lord and Savior Jesus Christ had to conquer on our behalf is also spiritually deadly! But this is exactly what Warren has done! The real Jesus is Lord over hell, death, and the grave He is not the "Lord" waiting for us on the other side of this door called death.

Chapter 5 - Getting a "handle" on life

"Seeing" is "shaping" according to Warren's view of life. "How you define life determines your destiny."(p.41) Ponder this statement for a moment. I am sure that the last time you looked at the stars in the heavens this is the exact phrase that crossed your mind – am I right?? Warren has this incredible capacity to say or give the impression that he is being God-centered in his thinking. Yet, everything is turned back upon man as being the central focus. This chapter has a section that deals with the "tests" and "trusts" of our lives as a "stewardship" before God. They are probably accurate statements for the most part. But what is their context? Is Warren saying man is creature or "determinator." He has brought "God" into the picture, but is it the sovereign God of the universe? Do his "stewardship" statements become misstatements because they are not centered upon the reality of life from God in Christ Jesus? They don't seem to be based on the sovereignty of God in such life. This chapter is about the possibility of you gaining or reclaiming or refocusing a life which he then calls the purpose-driven® life. In the process, you shape that life. That can't be the Christian life because the Christian life is about Jesus Christ giving us His life. The Scriptures state that "in Him was Life" and that "He who has the Son has Life." First, we have a new life in Christ Jesus. It is His life given for us and to us. Because we have been purchased by Him based on His redemption at Calvary, our lives are not our own. So then, how could it be about you shaping your life when such life is not your own? It is supposed to be about the new life a Christian has been given as a gift through the Lord Jesus Christ. The stewardship is our continual response to His sovereign work in and through us. Therefore, we don't determine our stewardship because we don't determine our destiny. This new stewardship we are given is within the framework and sovereign control of an all holy, loving and providential Creator. Unfortunately, Warren's humanistic underpinnings once again shine brightly.

Chapter 6 - Citizens, Strangers – And Rejected

Most people don't act like the world is their temporal home. Maybe that is why it has to be told to us. Warren tells us in this chapter that our life is a temporary assignment. True! It is a mistake to assume that the goal of God for your life is "worldly" success. True! And that every one of us really has a "dual" citizenship. True! And that the physical place called "this earth" is not our final home. True! As a disciple of Jesus Christ you have the potential to be reviled and misunderstood and labeled an enemy by the "god" of this present evil age along with those upon this earth. In fact such disciples of Jesus Christ have the potential to be put to death for their beliefs. Oops! Warren has left that out. The lofty thoughts as presented in this chapter have nothing to do with the "cutting edge" nature and character of Holy Scripture, the call of Jesus Christ for His disciples, the experiences of all the Apostles, let alone Jesus Himself, and anything remotely associated with the challenges of the Christian life. Meaning, the rest of the world knows "Christianity" differently compared with the "Americanized" version of the Christian life. Why don't Americans suffer for the gospel of Jesus Christ? One reason only. We refuse. We must only be "contagious" Christians. That is certainly better than being an "obnoxious" Christian. But, it is not what it means to be an ambassador of another kingdom when that kingdom is absolutely contrary to your present living quarters. Paul uses the metaphor of "aroma" in describing the Christian life in this world. (See II Corinthians 2:14-16) This aroma is two different scents depending on the condition of the person you happen to be rubbing elbows with at the moment. Although Warren says Christians are strangers in this world and citizens of another place, he ultimately just has us "passing through" and pretty comfortably at that, which is most unfortunate. It in no way even remotely helps us begin to understand what it means to be a disciple of Jesus Christ. This kind of "discipleship" only flies in Western culture.

Chapter 7 - "Failing" to Give Glory to God

Well, it's time to roll up your sleeves. Fallen man is now going to live for the glory of God. How can fallen man bring glory to God? Warren lists five reasons. He once again has fallen man look to the original creation, specifically Gods' glory in the creation, to bring us to "faith" and the all important "purpose-driven®" life. Even Jesus lived this purpose-driven® life, so you can too! Oops! Oops! Oops! Warren takes his readers through a series of missteps to bring Jesus to our level and raise fallen man to Jesus' level.

1. On page 54 he lists a series of opportunities that God has given for fallen man to "see" God's glory. Jesus is one in the list. NO! Jesus is NOT one in a list!

2. Immediately following this statement Warren has a perfect opportunity to tell us that Jesus is Unique and Incarnate Deity. He quotes John 1:14. But he leaves from the quote: "glory as of the only-begotten from the Father" which is a specific reference to His deity. This is in the context where he says that Jesus is one who "illumines" the world. Many people and religions in the world view Jesus as someone who "illumines" the world, including those who believe in the Christ of the New Age movement. Some view him even as someone who "came into the world" but not uniquely. But they do not see His uniqueness as Incarnate Deity, and Lord and Savior in their Biblical context. Even the word "son" is not defined specifically in many peoples' minds, nor is it by Warren. It is used very uniquely of Jesus in the Scriptures.

3. On page 55, "Jesus honored God by fulfilling his purpose on earth. We honor God the same way." Once again, Warren belittles the uniqueness of Christ and elevates the abilities of man. Within the immediate context it is about us "refusing to give glory to God" and so now it is time. But, the truth is that we can't not apart from the unique ministry of Jesus Christ! It is not Christ's example for us to then also "copy" because we decide we too can live to God's glory. It is the reality of our obedience within the context of Christ's redemptive work and His saving and recreating us. He is the only reason we can live to God's glory and the glory of the gospel.

4. Jesus struggled with following a difficult path to bring glory to God on page 57 – just like you. When he was facing His crucifixion was when this was made clear. Warren states "Jesus stood at a fork in the road. Would he fulfill his purpose and bring glory to God, or would he shrink back and live a comfortable, self-centered life? You face the same choice." Why does Warren think that Jesus can shrink back and live a "sinful" life?? How in the world can either you or I be facing the same choice in the same way that Jesus did? Do you see this quote as belittling to our Savior and as self-glorifying of man? This takes place just moments before people are asked to "believe" on him. Why does it sound to me like you are really being asked to "believe on yourself?"

So now we come to the ground of the cross. What do we find there? After 7 chapters Warren asks us to consider: "It's time to settle this issue. Who are you going to live for – yourself or God?" (page. 58)

Not – it's time to understand you are a fallen sinful creature.
Instead – "believe you're not an accident"

Not – it's time for you to be crucified!
Instead – "believe you were made to last forever"

Not – it's time to realize the Savior bore the wrath of God for your sinful condition!Instead – "believe that no matter what you've done, God wants to forgive you."

Not – it's time to repent of your sins.
Instead – "believe God loves you and made you for his purposes."

Not – it's time to be broken and amazed at holy, redeeming and unmerited love.
Instead – "believe that no matter what you've done, God wants to forgive you."

So when you look at the cross what do you think? "Who are you going to live for…" Or – Is this what it cost My Lord and Savior? "What wondrous love is this, that caused the Lord of bliss, to bear the dreadful curse – for my soul."

The sad fact is that Warren soothes our souls instead of allowing the Spirit of God to bring conviction to us of our sinful ways. He does this through a combination of two things. First, is the constant emphasis on general revelation in the original creation. These things always find a "yes" response in the human heart!! But second is the constant watering-down of the abiding and enduring realities of man's already present fallen and lost condition before a Holy God. The lack of horror of that condition before a holy God - which Jesus Himself clearly understood in the Garden of Gethsemane – since He would bear that penalty! These two things are a spiritually deadly combination. The final stage is set for us along this path by his expressing his gospel in terms of "whispering" a prayer that puts a change of eternity in your hands - instead of being "convicted" by the Spirit as a sinner with sorrow for that sin, repenting and trusting the Savior, our Lord Jesus Christ. Only He can change a destiny. Warren's gospel is not about our conversion in Jesus Christ. It is not about the "crucifixion" of our sinful nature. "Let Jesus do the dying – I want to live!" seems to be its' mantra. Unfortunately, the western world is filled with this kind of "gospel" message. It is not about Christ Jesus crucified for sinners as Paul preached. The Apostle Paul said he gloried in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ (Galatians 6:14) and that the word of the cross (i.e. its' meaning") is foolishness to those who are perishing (I Corinthians 1:18). The same text says the saved view it differently. It is the power of God.

Since this chapter is about "failing to give glory to God' let's look at three fundamental concepts as it relates to God's glory and man's failure to give glory to God:

1. Romans 1:23 - This text says about man that we "exchanged the glory of the incorruptible God for an image in the form of corruptible man…" In man's fallen condition he is most willing to exchange a true view of God's glory for a perverted one. How does man do this? He exchanges the revelation of the character of God as revealed in the Holy Scriptures. If we don't like the fact that God is holy, we pervert His image. If we don't like the fact that God's love is specific through His Son, Jesus Christ, we make it universal. If we don't like the fact that God's wrath is revealed from heaven, we say that His love in Christ already has affected our eternal outcome. We just don't know it yet, etc. We repaint God in our image and then "accept" or "believe" him. We should be careful that someone doesn't help us do this. We can not exchange the revelation of the God of the Bible as One who is ALL Holy and ALL Righteous and ALL Loving and in ALL of these Immutable - so that he is then made palatable for fallen man. If we do, we have exchanged the images. Yet, we have still been told it is "gospel."

2. The outcome of exchanging the glory of God is "double-speak." Warren says he is helping us to glory in God. And yet, clearly, he glories in man bringing his "driving life force" under the direction of the Creator. But as such, it cannot possibly be glorying in God because it does not glory in the God who recreates us in Christ Jesus through the message of the cross. That is not what Paul or any of the apostles preached or expected to take place in the word of the cross. Warren's "gospel" strokes and soothes our Adamic ego to then bring it to "faith."

3. In a careful reading of the Apostle Paul in the Holy Scriptures as relating to "glory" one finds a very important fact. He did not glory in the God of creation, he did not glory in the "feelings" he got through worship, he did not glory in what he had accomplished, he did not glory in his own Christian life or walk - he only gloried in the cross of Jesus Christ – by his own words! (Galatians 6:14) Warren is quite content to have the cross be one of a number of things which seems to be in our hands to bring glory to God. If we do this we no longer glory only in the Lord Jesus Christ of the gospel.

As I stated in the introduction, Warren could be, in this book, laying the groundwork for a growing world religion and humanistic spirituality. Further proof of this conviction is found in the first session of his "40 Days of Purpose" video tape (Fall 2003). Warren introduces, to an innumerable amount of churches, this book which supposedly introduces people to Christ, and yet fails to even mention that Jesus had to go to Calvary to die for our sins! Does that sound like "glorying" in the God who placed His Son on the cross for you? Yet he leads people in a prayer and welcomes them into "the family of God." Many Christians sit under the preaching of the tape not even realizing that is what has happened! Not realizing it was a different gospel means you were mesmerized into believing it was something that it was not! What spirit did that to you? Unfortunately, people who prayed the prayer were told something they should have never been told based on his "gospel" presentation. The gospel is the power of God unto salvation. Only the gospel is the power of God unto salvation. The Holy Spirit has absolutely nothing to do with an unholy gospel even if you pray until you are blue in the face! True Biblical faith only comes in the preaching and receiving of the true gospel. When someone arrives (even via a video tape) and delivers a "different gospel" there is a Scriptural understanding and obedience which all true Christians should realize at that point. {Carefully read and understand your call in Galatians 1:6-10 and II John 1:8-11} This is why my review of this book is so forthright. I simply see in chapters 1-7 a continuation and confirmation of the first session of the video tape. There is something far worse than not being converted to the Lord Jesus Christ of the gospel. It is not being converted and then being told that you are going to heaven. Pray this doesn't happen to you or someone you love.

More PDL reviews available:
40 Days That Start with a Different Gospel - By David Sheldon
The Jesus Who Stood At A Fork In The Road ("Jesus" in The PDL) - By David Sheldon
God's Wisdom – Christ Crucified! (Versus the "wisdom" on pages 20 & 21) - By David Sheldon

Copyright©, 2006, David Sheldon. Edited by Kerri Sheldon. All rights reserved.
Can be copied in its entirety for personal use or to be distributed, but not for profit.

Theological Studies
Contemporary Concerns
Deception in the Visible Church