Archive for the 'PD/SS' Category

what happens when your poster boys for truth, doctrine and all that is good in the world begin to live a purpose driven life? Well, you have “no choice but to issue this warning to the body of Christ” [link added] Looks like Greg Laurie is joining forces with Rick Warren, and the ODMs are not too happy. This is one crazy case of guilt by association.

story submitted on our submissions page by Richard Abanes

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That if you:

A. confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,”

B. believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead,

you will be saved.

-The Scriptures

Rick Warren’s Gospel presentation from PDL:

First believe God loved you and made you for His purposes. Believe that God has chosen to have a relationship with Jesus, who died on the cross for you. Believe that no matter what you’ve done, God wants to forgive you. Receive Jesus into your life as your lord and savior. Receive his forgiveness for your sins. So I invite you to bow your heads and quietly whisper the prayer that will change your eternity. “Jesus, I believe in You, and I receive You.”

John MacArthur’s required additions to the gospel presentation for salvation

* Repentance
* Know who the family of God is
* A sense of eternal judgment
* A discussion on hell
* Self-denial
* Laying down the law of God against which the sinner is broken
* A sense of guilt in the person
* Sense of condemnation in the person
* A fear of eternal torment in the person
* An understanding of God’s wrath
* The sinner should be crushed under the weight of his violation of the law of God

One might be guilty of laying it on a little light, the other just might be guilty of turning the already narrow road into a tiny beaten path. Let the crusades continue.

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Look, I am fine if you have legitimate beef with Rick Warren’s programs. I am fine if you express realistic frustration over realistic issues with Purpose Driven. The problem is, half of the stuff on the internet from the ODMs is poorly supported, or over exaggerated. There is very little that actually has strong content against Warren. Here is part 5 of a series called “Spirit-Led or Purpose-Driven“, as if it were one or the other. The title immediately told me where this author, Berit Kjos, was going. Here is just on example of the logic that these guys are using.

“Begin by assessing your gifts and abilities. Take a long, honest look at what you are good at and what you’re not good at. Ask other people. Paul advised, ‘Try to have a sane estimate of your capabilities.’ [Romans 12:3b, The Message] Make a list. Ask other people for their candid opinion…. Spiritual gifts and natural abilities are always confirmed by others.” [4, page 250]

They are? What if your spiritual gift has nothing to do with your natural talents or personal preferences? What if God gave you gifts that would show His exceeding greatness, not yours? In stark contrast to Pastor Warren’s view of spiritual gifts, the apostle Paul said,
[I Cor 2:1-5]
Did you hear that? God uses weak but faithful believers who will demonstrate His power, not their own talents. In fact, our own talents are often the opposite of our spiritual gifts. History shows us how some of God’s most powerful messengers served in total weakness, all the more demonstrating the amazing power of the Holy Spirit. Now as then, many of His servants come to Him as quiet, shy introverts who would fear speaking their name in a group and would shudder at the improbable thought of ever speaking in front of a group.

Wait, where did Warren say that your gifts are given to demonstrate your own ability and power? Where did Warren say that all abilities need to show how great you are? Oh wait, he didn’t. Nor did he say that your spiritual gifts and natural abilities have anything to do with each other, besides that fact that they are both confirmed in community. I am amazed how many times the ODMs will do this! Rick Warren says X, but they go on attacking Y — when he never even said Y! I am not up to speed in all of my logic rhetoric, but this sounds like a straw man argument. Kojos is attacking a premise that Rick Warren never stated.

He goes on to misrepresent Saddleback’s SHAPE assessment (which I actually think it is on the few useful tools in the PD program to help people discover how God has made them). Kojos again writes about Warren blurring the lines between natural abilities and spiritual gifts. He connects the A in Shape (discovering your “abilities”) with the S (discovering your “spiritual gifts”). The fact that Warren puts them in two separate categories says a lot. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see that they are different, but Kojos insists that natural abilities and spiritual gifts are synonymous in Warren’s mind. Here is one example from his article.

“Just start serving, experimenting with different ministries and then you’ll discover your gifts,” said Pastor Warren in The Purpose-Driven Life. “…I urge you never to stop experimenting…. I know a woman in her nineties who runs and wins 10K races and didn’t discover that she enjoyed running until she was seventy-eight!” [4, page 251]

So she discovered that she enjoys running races. But what does a new hobby or physical exercise have to do with discovering spiritual gifts? Pastor Warren’s next statement doesn’t help answer that question:

So, I looked up that excerpt in PD Life. The first part of the quote was in the first paragraph on page 251, the last two were in another. Plus, he failed to quote this line right before the story of the seventy-eight year old biker

I have met many people who have discovered hidden talents in their seventies and eighties. [emphasis mine]

Again, Kjos twists the quote to seem like Warren is saying that biking is spome type of spitritual gift. Warren makes it clear when he is talking about spiritual gifts, and when he is talking about natural abilities. And Warren’s whole premise for people finding their abilities is so they can use them for the glory of God. It’s ironic that so many ODMs accuse Warren of only using sections of verses to fit his agenda.

Again, I am not a Rick Warren apologist. But, if you are going to attack someone on an international scale in the name of God, please do so with some degree of legitimacy. I am tired of people using isegesis when “discerning” other people’s ministry. They come with a preconceived premise, and then extract anything they possibly can to support their claims.


Kjos is not a dude.

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Bridge OutAs I sit here, finishing my lunch, I am struck by a recent comment from Nathan on another thread:

Every church is driven by some program, structure, or church plan.


I’m going to be a bit pragmatic here for a moment. Please don’t point this out – I already know it, and I only bring this up because it may demonstrate a truth apparent in many experiences that have been shared:


One of the key axioms of organizational theory teaches that organizations are typically built in such a way as to achieve the results for which they were designed. My initial response to this was “duh”, but having seen it applied as an organizational project manager, I see the truth in this demonstrated in likely and unlikely ways.

One manifestation of this axiom is that organizations built around a single individual lose operational effectiveness when they reach 100-125 people. When an organization is led by a small group (1-15 people) with tight control over the organization, its effectiveness reaches a maximum at 350-400 people. When control is turned over to a second tier of hierarchy, its organizational capability expands to an operational maximum of about 1,000-1250. The next tier goes to about 3,500-4,000; then 10,000 and so on… [please realize I'm simplifying the org structural changes between models for the sake of brevity].

When you examine ‘church growth’ literature, you will find that these same ‘plateaus’ are often recognized and cited. You will also find that many ’stagnating’ churches seem to be hovering around these marks, as well.

So – recognizing this, if you are in leadership in a ’stagnating’ church at one of these tiers, chances are you’ve hit the maximum operating efficiency for the way you have structured the workings of your church. Additionally, you are probably being pressured to ‘grow’ the church in numbers. [There may or may not be spiritual issues, as well, but for the sake of argument, we will assume that these issues are not extraordinary when compared to the norm experienced in most churches today.]

All too often, the ‘answer’ to the stagnation is to simply try to change the programming – either in a ‘home grown’ manner, or ‘off-the-shelf’ (PD, 9 Marks, G12, etc.). Unfortunately, this response only deals with one of the two (or more) underlying issues. Bringing more people into an organization that is already near its maximum operating capacity without addressing the operating capacity, itself, is a recipe for disaster. [Noting that if there are extraordinary spiritual issues going on, as well, leaving these readdressed is even more disasterous.]

To be blunt – if your church has organizational problems before you change its programs, changing the programs won’t fix anything.

Unfortunately, issues of large organizational structure aren’t directly addressed in Scripture. The primary model at the end of the Era of the Apostles was the house church which, while not without its own unique problems, requires little organizational thought beyond having 2-3 men in pastoral roles. Thus, most churches have never diagnosed the organizational problems as problems, and end up hurting a lot of people in the process of changing.

So, from a truly pragmatic standpoint, if the church needs to make changes in its programming, etc., to better meet the needs of the community and to grow, two options need to be considered:

1 – Plant a new church, allowing the new church to be a ‘change agent’, focusing primarily on reaching the unchurched or disconnected.

2 – Go ahead and make the programming adjustments, while making the necessary organizational changes that will support the shift from ‘tradition’.

Unfortunately, many pastors like being king of their domain and are quite loath to relinquish their current level of control (as codified in the org structure), as are many elder boards, as well. So, they forego #1 and attempt #2 without the other change that must occur. Since PD is one of the most popular means of ‘changing programming’, it (and Rick Warren) then become the whipping boys for why strife entered the local church, when the root cause is sitting on the doorstep of the local church:

1) What is the motivation for growth? Is it from God or from ego?

2) Is growth the answer to stagnation? Will simply ‘preaching the Word’ – or dealing with some specific sins and sinful attitudes – end it?

3) Are the leaders, who are looking for ‘change’ to ‘fix’ the problems, willing to radically change their ways of working, as well?

All too often, though, such spiritual and organizational questions are left unanswered – dooming the organization to fail, and ensuring that people will be hurt in the process.


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Remember that part in the purpose driven program where Rick Warren said that pastors should do the following:

- lie, manipulate, and breached confidentiality
- remove Sunday School teachers for refusing to back down from their position on the Purpose Driven program, even if it is a confidential and discreet position.
- no longer welcome confidential and discreet dissenters to attend Sunday School
- refused to respond in writing concerning removal of dissenters (which should occur without a vote by the congregation, even if that congregation originally voted to install the discreet dissenter as a teacher and a deacon)
- tell the secret dissenter’s Sunday School class that they were removed for challenging his authority
- have the deacons claim that they were removed temporarily for an investigation they did not conduct
- not allow the congregation to hear the either side of the complaint
- have the discreet dissenter’s fellow deacons cutoff the mediation process with a mediator from the state convention
- make sure the fellow deacons send them a letter stating that they see no evidence of pastoral misconduct or theological issues with Purpose Driven.

Oh wait… none of that is part of the purpose driven program. But apparently one ODM would like to blame their bad purpose driven experience on Mr. Warren personally. I am finding more and more that many who hate the PD program actually hate the experience they had with a pastor implementing the five purposes of the church. They don’t like the way they were treated, being forced to sing new songs, working with new church structures and that five letter word… change.

I mean, basing everything in your church around worship, evangelism, fellowship, discipleship and service should not be all that alarming. It is the growing pains that come with change, and the bad implementation of the five purposes by pastors who truly do not understand it that cause such dissension. So many times, pastors get over zealous with wanting their church to be the next Saddleback, that they make the wrong changes. So, it is one thing to critique the program, it is another thing to critique the program based on how pastors have inappropriately used it.

Plus, I am not at all familiar with this situation, but it is rare for a whole church community to treat an individual in this manner when they are confidential, discreet, respectful and supports the leadership in the midst of their concern. Red flags are always sent up when the pastor, leadership and deacons all find issue with the person who is in disagreement.

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Mark Driscoll on the recent conference at Saddleback (HT: Michael Krahn)

And, I learned a lot watching Rick Warren behind the scenes and over meals. Not being part of the Purpose Driven Network, I was humbled by how eager he was to bring in leaders from many networks and denominations to share ideas and help influence in his Purpose Driven Network pastors for the cause of Jesus Christ. After spending some time with Rick I am convinced for four things. One, a lot of Christians are jealous of his success and they account for a good percentage of his critics. Two, he really loves the Jesus of the Bible. Three, he really loves pastors. Four, he really loves the church of Jesus in all of it’s expressions, even those who are not doing the Purpose Driven methods he extols.

To be honest, Rick has a brilliant mind that shines even when he sits down and simply lectures from a chair for an hour as he did at the conference. But, what really struck me is how much he loves pastors and churches and how much he wants to serve pastors and their churches by giving away resources and encouragement lavishly. And, it is his affection for Jesus, pastors, and churches that has in my observation endeared him to so many Christian leaders. For those who criticize his methods, it would behoove them to also share in his effort to do something to help pastors other than criticize those who are trying to help. I do not agree with him on everything. But, I also find him to be a servant leader who is willing to learn which is rare among those who are very successful and in that I rejoice.”

So does this mean Mark will be out again, or is he in, or what?

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Does anyone find all of the new and urgent postings about Rick Warren and his recent chat with a few ODMs humorous? It seems like they are scrambling to put a nice back-spin on the story, keep their audience clear of possible confusion. I mean, we wouldn’t want people to look at Warren with a fair and balanced view, now would we.

And that’s just the front page of one ODM site.

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EXTRA! EXTRA! Read all about it! Rick Warren Denies the Gospel! At least that is what CRN said — and once again they failed to deliver. I laughed out loud when I saw the diagram on the page, explaining exactly how Warren has denied the gospel.

If you have to create such a complex diagram to prove that someone denies the gospel, you are really stretching it. This is one crazy witch hunt we have going on! So, I decided to make some of my own conclusions in life.

* Ken Silva reads books
* books are made from paper
* paper comes from trees
* trees come from the earth
* New-Agers worship the earth

* CRN is on the internet
* Al Gore created the internet
* Al Gore supports abortions

Man, oh man… I could go on all day! I guess if you want to make something true, you will stretch all rules of logic to make it so.

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In a recent post by “the editor” was titled “Rick Warren’s Methods are causing Decline in SBC.”

I thought to myself, “wow, that is amazing! I would really enjoy reading the research to show that Rick Warren is single handedly taking down the Souther Baptist Convention. I mean, we know that the SBC (and every other denomination) is in decline right now, and we finally have the answer! Grab your pitch forks, torches and keyboards!”

Alas, I was disappointed. The article only held a quote from Paige Patterson that said this

Weak preaching and cultural adaptability are just two of many reasons Southern Baptists give to explain the decline of membership and baptisms.

Really? I mean, REALLY? This guy is the president of my convention!?! Every summer I make my way through East Texas, visiting family members that live in small towns in the beautiful backwoods of the lone-star-state. And, every Sunday I attend First Baptist in whatever city I happen to be in. Sadly, I have watched these churched decline dramatically in the past 20 years of my life. And it is the same all over the US. But guess what — these church have about as strong of biblical preaching as you can hear, and their pews are about as counter cultural as you can get. Yet they are all still in decline!

So, we can say that it’s the new preaching and the new seating that has us in decline –yeah, that’s it (committees mumble “here here” and “ho hum” in agreement). Or we can look that logical reasons. Maybe we could address the fact that we love our turn of the century cultural practices more than we love people. Maybe we could address the fact that being a Christian means that we live in a safe and sound bubble of Christian music, Christian radio, Christian coffee shops, and Christian diet programs, rather than engage the world. Maybe we could address the fact that “mission” is a word that only happens by a few in foreign lands. Or we could blame it one the preaching and pews (as if we didn’t have enough of it). Just a a thought for the morning.

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As the saying goes; “repeat something enough and it will become truth”. Well holding out hope that the adage will hold true; Ingrid once again has attempted to paint Rick Warren with the “heretic” brush. 

In her latest post entitled “Here a Christ, There a Christ” she rightly connects Leonard Sweet with Rick Warren for the upcoming event “Wired” at Saddleback Church. Only problem is that she formulates an ad hominem attack with an ad nauseam argument and presents an ad hoc solution. Confused? Let me explain.

Ad Hominem- Rick Warren is a heretic because he associates with______________or he uses ______________ in his church.

In this case the fact that Leonard Sweet is speaking at the “Wired” Conference.

Ad Nauseam- How does she formulate her argument? Per the ODM handbook; she links to a Lighthouse Trails Research article about Leonard Sweet. Which is littered with *gasp*  proof-texts, assumptions, and lies misinformation.

Just because you have a whole bunch of 6 people agreeing with you and you have links to their website does not make it truth.

Ad Hoc – Posting an article from a pastor (which was a great article BTW) that doesn’t mention Rick Warren, Leonard Sweet, or Saddleback does nothing to illustrate, strengthen, or offer solution to your argument.

The article does mention Eckhart Tolle and Oprah. It also mentions “christ-consciousness” which is the only connection that I can find to Leonard Sweet. He did after all say that exact phrase 8 times in his 285 page, 1991 book “Quantum Spirituality“.

Thus taking the “guilt by association” game to the championship round.

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