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A Lutheran Critique of “The Purpose Driven Life”

August 30th, 2010
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This is the best, and most thorough-going critique of Rick Warren’s Purpose Drive Life I’ve read, to date, from anyone. In light of the fact of how any number of Lutheran congregations picked up and ran with the “Purpose Driven” craze, in spite of it being quite thoroughly contrary to the Scriptures and the Lutheran Confessions, it is important that this kind of critique be as thoroughly promulgated as possible (I don’t get to use that word ‘promulgated’ too much, try saying it out loud, it’s fun!).

Here’s the paper: WarrenCritique

NOTE: Click the link once, then click on it again, in the next window, and allow time for the PDF file to download to your computer.

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  1. Adam
    August 30th, 2010 at 10:27 | #1

    Rev. McCain looks interesting, but when I tried hitting the link for the critique and it was not working.

    • August 30th, 2010 at 12:29 | #2

      Click the link once, then click on it again and allow time for the PDF file to download to your computer.

  2. Mike Baker
    August 30th, 2010 at 23:24 | #3

    I spent my formative years in the SBC during the initial rise of the Purpose Driven Life/Church which kind of came on the same chariot as “The Prayer of Jabez” and “The Promise Keepers”. This is a very accurate and detailed critique.

    In order to fully embrace Prupose Drivenism, you have to believe three things: 1. You are a prophet who receives regular, reliable divine revelation that is actionable. 2. You are a psychologist capable of understanding all aspects of human nature and relationships. 3. You are a wise philospher capable of safely allegorizing Scripture to suit the moment without being in danger of twisting the original message of God’s Word.

    Deep down, everyone thinks that they are all of these things, but we tend to shrink from such bold assumptions when we are directly confronted with the implications of the claims of this kind of system. These books are so popular because they feed what is always lurking beneath the surface. We like them because they scratch our itching ears. Purpose Drivenism is so appealing because it points us to the three false ladders to heaven of Rationalism, Mysticism, and Moralism rather than to the cross.

    We claim to know better, but I have found that these things generally hide in the subconscious and cloud our discernment. The easiest way to confront this tendency (both internally and externally) is to call a spade a spade and bring to light the false assumption that the Christian life is where we are a Prophet-Therapist-Philospher that only needs to tangentially encounter Christ in His Word and the sacraments.

    As always, spirits and new teachings must be tested and discerned against Scripture. Is this the way that God describes the Christian life and the life of the Church in Holy Writ? Why don’t these two messages seemlessly agree? Why is their emphasis not the same? Why does this system point us back to ourselves when all of Scripture points us to Christ?

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