Thursday, May 10, 2007

Rick Warren: Why He Is A False Teacher

Have you ever had the notion that something just wasn't right with Rick Warren and his Purpose Driven stuff, but couldn't really put your finger on it?

I have. And after doing a lot of reading and research, I hope that this summary along with the quotes and sources, can help you nail Warren's PDL/PDC/40 Days of Purpose jello to the wall. His error is often subtle and at times its not what he says (although there's plenty of that) but what he doesn't say, as well as frequently contradicting his own statements, that makes him a false teacher. And you might note that his whole PDL line was to get the world ready for his P.E.A.C.E plan. Go Purpose Driven Life site:

The Times ( London) - “ Business and political leaders across America are turning to Rick Warren for guidance.”

TIME - “Movie stars and political leaders aren't the only ones turning to Rick Warren for spiritual guidance. Millions of people – from NFL and LPGA players to corporate executives to high school students to prison inmates – meet regularly to discuss The Purpose Driven Life.”

Notice they aren't discussing Scripture. They aren't turning to the Lord Jesus Christ. No, they are getting their ears tickled by a man who's selling them the Lorel line, "because you're worth it". And you know what? He learned it from marketing guru Peter Drucker, and New Age heretic, Robert Schuller.

Scripture says, however, in contrast to the world loving Jesus Christ's disciples:

Luk 6:26 "Woe to you, when all people speak well of you, for so their fathers did to the false prophets."

Joh 15:18 "If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you.19 If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you.

The "Gospel" of Rick Warren

article “The Gospel: A Method or a Message? How the Purpose Driven Life Obscures the Gospel”.


Rick Warren begins the first day of his journey by saying, “It’s not about you” (Warren: 17). Yet the entire book “feels” like it is about you and reads like self-help literature. He dedicates the book to “you” on the first page after the copyright information and uses the pronoun “you” continually throughout the book. Consider the following from day eight:

You were planned for God’s pleasure. The moment you were born into the world God was there as an unseen witness, smiling at your birth. He wanted you alive, and your arrival gave him great pleasure. God did not need to create you, but he chose to create you for his own enjoyment. . . . Bringing enjoyment to God, living for his pleasure, is the first purpose of your life. When you fully understand this truth, you will never again have a problem with feeling insignificant. It proves your worth. If you are that important to God, and he considers you valuable enough to keep with him for eternity, what greater significance could you have? (Warren: 63).

God won’t ask about your religious background or doctrinal views. The only thing that will matter is, did you accept what Jesus did for you and did you learn to love and trust him?” (Warren: 34).


Mysticism usually goes hand and hand with pietism wherever it exists. When people promote “secrets for the deeper life,” they generally claim to have received them by some divine revelation. These secrets often involve prayer techniques that help someone hear from God. True to form, Warren offers these in Practicing the Presence of God (Warren: 88) where he states, “practicing the presence of God is a skill” (Warren: 89). This mystical approach is borrowed from some versions of Roman Catholicism.

Warren also promotes “breath prayers” which are endless repetitions of short phrases (Warren: 89). Jesus forbids this type of prayer: “And when you are praying, do not use meaningless repetition, as the Gentiles do, for they suppose that they will be heard for their many words” (Matthew 6:7). It is a pagan practice that has the effect of shutting down the mind. Warren suggests that God will share His secrets with us if we follow Warren’s techniques (Warren: 91). He promises that the meditative techniques he promotes will “let God speak to you” (Warren: 91). He says, “In the next chapter we will see four more secrets of cultivating a friendship with God” (Warren: 91).

Warren: don't bother studying Scripture

Rick Warren makes an amazing claim. He writes, “The last thing many believers need today is to go to another Bible study. They already know far more than they are putting into practice” (Warren: 231)

Later in his book we learn why Warren warns against Bible study for those who are not perfect: he has an alternative! “I strongly urge you to gather a small group of friends and form a Purpose-Driven Life Reading Group to review these chapters on a weekly basis” (Warren: 307).

Warren also says, “After you have gone through this book together as a group, you might consider studying other purpose-driven life studies that are available for classes and groups” (Warren: 307). The message of the gospel has been replaced with the method of Rick Warren. The Bible has been supplanted by the wisdom of man.

End quote.

Anyone who dissuades you from studying Scripture is a false teacher and doesn't love the truth, nor the brethern. Our love should be God's Word and His children, helping them grow in the grace and knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ. Scripture alone is living and active, held above all things by God (along with His name), and it alone is God-breathed, prefect, and able to teach, rebuke, and ready us to grow up in Him, able to distingquish good from evil.

For verse by verse comparison of Warren’s use of several different versions of the Bible compared to a trusted real translation like the NASB, go to DeWaay's article here.

Error in what ISN’T proclaimed

*DeWaay echoes what we’ve said: error also comes by way of what one doesn’t say:

Warren’s explanation of God leaves out many important truths and emphasizes those qualities that make God feel close and safe. This does not result in a full, Biblical understanding of God. You will never hear about God’s wrath against sin from Warren. You will never hear the warnings in the Bible about God’s coming judgment. You will not learn about God’s holiness from Warren. You will not hear passages like this: “See to it that you do not refuse Him who is speaking. For if those did not escape when they refused him who warned them on earth, much less shall we escape who turn away from Him who warns from heaven” (Hebrews 12:25).”

Ken Silva has information here.

*Warren spoke at National Pastors Convention 2004 which includes women pastors.

Warren shares the platform with heretics

*Rick Warren spoke at the Global Day of Prayer: May 15 where he spoke in Dallas, included T.D. Jakes. Jakes rejects the Trinity and is a Word of Faith leaders.

Rick Warren lied about his Syrian trip

Rick Warren was caught lying about his promotion of a “Christian tolerant” Syria by World Net Daily news organization; Warren shows video of Syrian clip he earlier denied.

*WND earlier denied.

PDL for Roman Catholics

Warren believes RCC is a mere denomination of biblical churches. There’s PDL just for Roman Catholics at PDL site.

Warren supports Barack Obama, a pro-abortion politician and had him in his pulpit at Saddleback.

What Rick Warren suggests dealing with dissenters of his programs:

“One of the books [Dan Southerland] sold on Rick Warren's website teaches pastors how to deal with Purpose Driven dissenters. The author characterizes those who resist the transition to the Purpose Driven franchise as "leaders from hell" who are misguided, and have evil motives or are just unwilling to change because of their being caught in traditions. The message is clear - they are incompatible with the new church scheme, and therefore they must go. But some of the victims of the Purpose Driven scheme are speaking out, and it's clear that many of them simply don't fit the trouble-maker profile described by such a book.”

All is not well with PDC's

“The WSJ [Wall Street Journal, "Veneration Gap - A Popular Strategy For Church Growth Splits Congregants," written by WSJ reporter Suzanne Sataline, 9-5-06] article accurately showed that "Congregations nationwide have split or expelled members who fought the [Purpose Driven] changes," and that Purpose Driven training for pastors and leaders meant "help[ing] them leave if they don't stop objecting" and "when those congregants join a new church ... pastors should call their new minister and suggest that the congregants be barred from any leadership role."”

Warren pastors Rupert Murdoch, promoter of pornography according to Chris Rosebrough, head of the Christian Accountability Network. "As a Christian, Murdoch is committing an egregious sin by owning, expanding and profiting from pornographic channels, and Rick Warren, his pastor, has a biblical duty to call Murdoch to repentance and/or put him out of the church."

The ties between Warren and Murdoch go beyond the spiritual. Murdoch also owns Zondervan, the company that published Warren's explosive bestseller "The Purpose Driven Life."

In a Nov. 12, 2006, Orange County Register story, Warren was asked about pastoring a man who publishes tabloids featuring topless women. He responded: "I don't have to agree with 100 percent of what another person does in order to work with them on the 20 percent that we do agree on."

The article also points out Murdoch was among the first patrons to support Warren's PEACE plan, contributing $2 million.

So much for biblical doctrine and purity. Clearly Warren won't slap the hand that feeds him.

Peace, peace when there is no peace

His P.E.A.C.E. plan is to get hunger and war eliminated by use of PDL principles.

To sum up:

If Rick Warren is teaching a “gospel” that is void of essential truth...
If Rick Warren is promoting Easter Mysticism…
If Rick Warren promotes Roman Catholicism…
If Rick Warren shares the platform with homosexuals…
If Rick Warren shares the pulpit with Word of Faith teachers…
If Rick Warren embraces and promotes the Emergent Church Movement….
If Rick Warren lied about his Syrian trip…
If Rick Warren believes in women pastors…
If Rick Warren dissuades his readers from studying Scripture but instead read more PDL…
If Rick Warren distorts and twists Bible verses by taking them out of context….

then the man is a false teacher. 2 Peter 3: 16b “ There are some things in them that are hard to understand, which the ignorant and unstable twist to their own destruction, as they do the other Scriptures.”