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Where there is no vision, the people perish; but he that keepeth the law, happy is he. -- Proverbs 29: 18 (KJV)
This week we have been examining the damage wrought by the Purpose Driven Church. While first published in 1995, the damage goes far beyond the book. That is because it became a movement. As we saw in the last devotional, up and coming pastors such as Perry Noble gravitated to this book not as a referent but as a guiding principle. It replaced scripture in many ways. It allowed a generation men like Noble, who normally would have been disqualified from ministry, to believe their carnality was a sign from God affirming their position. Noble after all has over 10,000 people show up every week to listen to him butcher the Word of God. The same can be said for the likes of Steven Furtick, Craig Groeschel, and Mark Driscoll before his collapse. These are just public examples and the names could never end. Just turn on TBN and you will see them. All raised on the organizational principles of the Purpose Driven Church and the mentoring of Rick Warren. When you abandon the spiritual maturity of your sheep as a measurement of success and replace it with worldly metrics such as attendance, you have the recipe for the disaster we see across Christendom today. I would wager that the majority of people who attend church every week in this country are not actually saved. They cannot be because they do not hear the Gospel at the place they call their church. This lines up perfectly with scripture if we are willing to see:
"Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow is the road that leads to life, and only a few find it. -- Matthew 7: 13-14 (ESV)
And Jesus said to his disciples, "Truly, I say to you, only with great difficulty will a rich person enter the kingdom of heaven. Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God." When the disciples heard this they were greatly astonished, saying, "Who then can be saved?" But Jesus looked at them and said, "With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible. -- Matthew 19: 23-26 (ESV)
"Not everyone who says to me, "Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?' Then I will tell them plainly, 'I never knew you. Away from me you evildoers!' -- Matthew 7: 21-23 (ESV)
These three verse sets all support what we are seeing in these end days as the poison of the Purpose Driven Church continues to course through the veins of the body of Christ. The first is the stated fact that most people will not be saved. I know that is a bitter pill for many to swallow because they have been fed this lovey-dovey Jesus that doesn't condemn anyone but that is simply not true. Now do not misunderstand me beloved. God is love and His desire is that none should perish. God is not the problem. Man is. The path to destruction is broad because there are so many people on it but they choose to be on it. When presented with the truth of God's Word and the deception of the Purpose Driven Church, they choose the deception because it scratches their itching ears. The disciples realize this in the second set of verses when discussing the difficulties for a rich man to enter the Kingdom of God. How can anyone get saved! Yet today the mega church mindset is that everyone is saved! You just have to be churched! It is a lie straight from the pit of hell that results in the third verse set, which we have reviewed before. Many will stand on the last day after thinking they were serving God for years only to discover God never knew them! Serving in the Saddleback Church Usher Ministry for 20 years does not mean you are saved! Neither does singing in the choir, running the nursery, or building playgrounds in Guatemala.
So as we have seen so far, the Purpose Driven model changes how we view the lost. Instead of unsaved they are considered unchurched. This shifts the focus from salvation to church attendance. We saw this idea on steroids in the Rick Warren article where he advised pastors to not preach the Gospel on Easter Sunday so their visitors had a "reason to come back." We also saw how the church then easily gets confused regarding who it is there for. The design of God is that the church exists for the saved, not the unsaved. It is meant that the pastor actually shepherd the sheep and mature them in Christ. Do we want the lost visiting? Of course because they will hear the Gospel and only the Gospel can save them! Instead however, the Purpose Driven model demands that the church market itself to the lost. That is why many churches refuse to have crosses for fear of offending the lost. This is what the term "seeker friendly" means. This is why we see smoke machines and strobe lighting in churches. Why sermons are more topical and proof texting than expositing the Word of God. Instead of feeding the sheep, the modern church entertains the goats. That brings us to today and the third greatest shift we have seen as a result of the Purpose Driven Church and that is the role of the pastor himself.
(When asked about pastors being called shepherds) "That word needs to go away. It was culturally relevant in the time of Jesus, but it's not culturally relevant anymore. - Andy Stanley
Now, Andy Stanley is one of the most popular mega church, purpose driven gurus out there today. He has over 35,000 people per week who come to listen to him abandon God's Word. In his mind, the way he has been taught on Warren Theology, the word shepherd is passe. Are you kidding me? The word shepherd is used by God throughout the Bible to describe the job Andy Stanley now holds! This is because pastors are under-shepherds to the Great Shepherd Jesus Christ. Under Stanley's logic, anything that is no longer culturally relevant can be discarded from God's Word? Think how absurd that is beloved! It utterly disqualifies Andy Stanley from ministry but people will still pack in to hear him. Well if the Purpose Driven Church does not view the pastoral office as a shepherd, what should he be? A vision casting CEO.
"I know my leadership style. I am a big picture, vision casting leader"There is nothing inherently right or wrong about being a vision casting leader. It is simply the way God wired me. -- Rick Warren
From a carnal perspective there is nothing wrong with being a vision casting leader but as a pastor there most certainly is plenty wrong about it. Beloved, we already have a vision casting leader and His name is Jesus Christ. His vision has already been revealed to us and it is called the Bible. The theme of this Warren quote may seem familiar to you. That is because we have seen it before in scripture:
You said in your heart, 'I will ascend to heaven; above the stars of God I will set my throne on high; I will sit on the mount of assembly in the far reaches of the north, I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will make myself like the Most High.' -- Isaiah 14: 13-14 (ESV)
But the serpent said to the woman, "You will not surely die. For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil. -- Genesis 3: 4-5 (ESV)
The fall of Lucifer was due to his desire to be God. To replace God. To ascend to the place only the Most High can be. When he tempted Even in the garden he used the same exact desires. Your eyes will be open like His! So along comes Rick Warren who sees the vision God has already laid out in His Word but thinks he know better. He thinks he too can ascend to the throne of the Most High and be like God. The devil loves our carnal vanity and the saddest thing is that for Rick, this is just how God has wired him. We know that cannot be true because God would never wire someone to violate His own Word. Thus we know who has wired him. The same person who wired Eve in the Garden. The same one who tried himself to ascend to the throne. Lucifer. Rick Warren and the purpose driven church movement is nothing but pure carnality disguised as being spiritual on some level. Still unsure? How about this short article from his website for pastors in 2012 teaching them seven ways to help others understand the vision.
"Vision-casting is an important part of your role as a pastor. God has a vision for your church. Your job is to help your parishioners get behind that vision. You'll need to communicate these seven things when you do that." -- Rick Warren