The third distortion of the biblical design for the church stemming from the PDC is a shift in the role of the pastor. Instead of shepherds, pastors are now to be considered vision casting CEOs. Mega-heretic Andy Stanley, a renowned Warren adherent, is actually on record as saying that we should not even use the term shepherd anymore. His weak reasoning was that the term was only used because of the culture of time, which has obviously changed over the millennia. The gospel transcends time and culture however and God views the office of pastor as being a shepherd, period. Jesus Himself is the Good Shepherd. This is one of the reasons why so many pastors were left helpless during the recent pandemic. Viewing themselves only as a vison caster and Sunday morning speaker, they simply had nothing to do when the church had been locked down. This is why so many virulently objected and eventually thumbed their noses at authority to reopen their churches in violation of state ordinances.
This switch was perfect for the rush of uncalled hirelings to flood the pulpits. Being a CEO is business but being a shepherd is personal. These imposters know how to put a sermon together. They may have even gone to seminary. Many are fantastic orators, captivating audiences with their speechcraft. Paul warned that the wisdom of words could strip the power from the gospel. The entire aspect of vision casting is equally unbiblical. We already have a vision caster and His name is Jesus. He has already given us His vision, it is called the bible. Warren's blueprint for church growth however takes the job of horizontal church growth away from the Lord and places it on the narrow shoulders of the vision caster. No wonder so many pastors fall from grace! They are too busy trying to do God's job! If a pastor is given a 200-person congregation that does not grow exponentially, Warrenology calls that pastor a failure. If those 200 are found in the Lamb's Book of Life however, the pastor will hear well done my good and faithful servant. Sure, Joel Osteen may see hundreds of thousands of people but if the vast majority are unsaved because he refuses to present the gospel, his day of judgment will go decidedly different. Until pastors retreat to their proper biblical role, we will continue to see the growth of apostate churches led by men who are destined to fall.
The last infection foisted upon the body of Christ through the PDC is the concept of blessed subtraction. Mark Driscoll famously once bragged about the pile of dead bodies underneath the Mars Hill bus he was driving. These were the people who dared to disagree with his vision. If you watch that clip in full however, he starts by saying that he is all about blessed subtraction. This was not surprising as Driscoll was a huge Warren disciple. The concept of blessed subtraction, taught in the PDC, is that it is ok for pastors to seek the removal of sheep from their sheep pen. Warren mocked people who would disagree with vision as being "pillars of the church" who hold everything up. How this plays out is that the new purpose driven pastor wants to start preaching topically about carnal matters, or has the church read an unbiblical book such as The Shack or the Purpose Driven Life and the biblical church members object. They do so according to scripture but in the end the pastor "suggests" that they need to leave the church. In extreme cases the pastor musters congregational support to shun the offending sheep. This obviously flips the parable of the 99 and 1 on its ear.
The large-scale result is the landscape of modern Christendom is littered with bleeding church hurt sheep. I know many and I am sure you do as well. Most will never return to organized church, which is exactly the goal of the enemy, facilitated through the purpose driven church leaders. Everything becomes a numbers game for them. Kicked a sheep out? No problem as long as you bring two new ones in! Who they actually are becomes irrelevant. Church was not designed to be evaluated using the carnal metrics of this world. Narrow is the road and few are those who find it. Not mega church numbers, few. When Paul left Ephesus he told the elders he was free of their blood because he did not hesitate to preach the entire gospel to them. Paul warns Timothy to guard his doctrine because the eternal lives of his hearers hung in the balance.
What Rick Warren did is fundamentally change how God designed his church. He changed the role of the sheep and the pastors. This is how we have gone from feeding the sheep to entertaining the goats. Whenever you see some ridiculous church promotion realize that is a result of Rick Warren. When you see an absurd sermon series like gleaning life lessons from Avengers End Game, realize that it is because of Rick Warren. When you see secular music in worship realize that it is because of Rick Warren. When your church suddenly starts reviewing Steven Furtick's new book instead of the bible, realize that it is because of Rick Warren. When you ask your pastor why he would focus church pulpit time on Furtick and not God's word and he suggest you leave his church, realize that it is because of Rick Warren. When your church spends Resurrection Sunday focusing on making you feel better about your sinful state instead of telling you that you need a savior, realize that it is because of Rick Warren. As are the eternal sufferings of those whose lives are required of them before they get another chance to hear the gospel.
While it is good news that Rick Warren is retiring I am afraid it is too late. The damage has already been done.
Reverend Anthony Wade - June 10, 2021