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26 August, 2007 / theexpositor

How To a Become a Mature Christian ala Rick Warren

You got to give Rick Warren one thing, he is consistent if nothing else, even though his spiritual drivel is leading millions to a false sense of salvation and/or leading them away from the truth.

In this post at Christian, Warren published a story entitled Five Tools Saddleback Uses to Develop Spiritual Maturity, and in this self-serving diatribe, Warren begins by boasting of the grand success of Saddleback. He then proceeds to let all of us know just what we need to do to become spiritually mature. You need to read it for yourself, but here are the five things, tools,  Warren says will help you grow as a Christian:

1. Commitment cards

2. Classes based on the purposes

3. Covenants

4. Small groups

5. Campaigns

Whats strangely missing from Warren’s steps is the Father, Son and the Holy Spirit, the Word of God, the Gospel, denial of self, sacrifice, repentance and on and on. In other words, whats missing here is any mention what God’s Word says about maturing as a Christian. Sadly what you can find is Rick Warren’s self-serving, man-pleasing purpose driven lie.

I don’t know what is more heartbreaking, the fact that this stuff is produced to begin with or that so many people are deceived by it.




  1. roger / Aug 27 2007 1 22

    You’re right. The list contains nothing from the Bible. These Southern Baptists will believe anything. Their seminary in Texas is teaching cooking and sewing instead of sound Bible doctrine.

  2. Rick / Aug 27 2007 10 55

    I am not a defender of Rick Warren but I think you like so many others have misrepresented what he is doing in a generalized negative way.

    While we might argue that the elements you mentioned should have been at the highest level of his article, clearly in Warren’s mind he was not addressing that. He was expounding on pragmatic tools that he has found helpful in doing the things you list.

    In fact, much of what you mention is explicit in the details of what he describes under the five headings you provided and if you dig further into his writings we would find those things as well.

    Net – I have issue with priorities, innuendo, etc. from Warren but I do not think your post accurately reflected his point and if people take what you write, they will have negative opinion of a fellow believer based on inaccurate or incomplete information.

  3. Russ N. / Aug 27 2007 11 08

    Mike….come on….

    Rick Warren was writing to a Christian audience. And if you read the article, you see that the things you’re complaining are absent are present in the full description of the tools.

    Classes — ministry and missions. We are all called to be ministers and missionaries. Since Rick is writing to a Christian audience, does he need to spend time defining ministry and missions? Even if he did, would the editor let that through?

    Covenants — pretty strong Biblical basis for covenants.

    Small Groups — I quote: “In these groups they can practice all of the “one anothers” of Scripture (pray for one another, love one another, etc.). It’s a central part of our church’s spiritual growth plan. And by making sure that these groups center on the biblical purposes…”

    Serving, praying, loving — demonstrating Christ, becoming more like Christ, where’s the problem? How is that a “self-serving, man-pleasing, purpose driven lie”?

    Other Christians may very well see these things as helping to become other-serving, God-pleasing, purpose. And you take issue with that? Wow.

  4. theexpositor / Aug 27 2007 12 35

    When are we ever supposed to give the glory to anyone but the Lord God? Rick Warren seldom does this, and I have read and heard a LOT of Warren material, and he definitely brags on himself and Saddleback in this particular article. This article is consistent with all of Warren’s writings and that it, at the very least, glorifies the accomplishments of Rick Warren and Saddleback church.

    If Rick Warren serves the Lord and only wishes to give Him only the glory for all that has been achieved by Saddleback and the Purpose Driven materials, would it hurt so much or be so awful to do that?

    So may folks jump on me for being so hard on Warren. Whether it is in the pulpit, in a book, in a website article or on FOX News (and especially on something like FOX News, why can’t Warren just be clear? Most of us do it all the time, and most of us have far less materials success and influence as Rick Warren has. After all is he a preacher of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, or not?

  5. Douglas / Aug 27 2007 15 09

    Rick Warren has redefined true biblical Christianity into his Purpose Driven trade-marked model. Those that cannot see that he has done this, are blind. He twists and distorts the Scriptures constantly. Sorry to put it so bluntly, but that is the truth and I speak the truth in agape. Those who sit under his teachings are to follow his Purpose Driven program in all of its shapes and sizes. The studies, classes and covenants are all based upon his Purpose Driven curriculum and if people do not comply and question his twisting and distortions of the Scriptures, they are classed as resisters and are removed by whatever it takes. Rick Warren’s plans are for world wide domination with his Purpose Driven scheme and he will not stop until he sees this accomplished. Rick Warren does not publicly preach the true, full-orbed, biblical gospel. He preaches a watered down variety, he preaches another gospel.

    Redefining Christianity
    Pastor Bob DeWaay and Brian Flynn discussed Pastor DeWaay’s book Redefining Christianity—Understanding the Purpose Driven Movement in a 15-part CIC Radio Broadcast. The radio broadcasts are archived on the Radio Series page.

    The Purpose Driven Church (a critique)

    The Gospel: A Method or a Message?
    How the Purpose Driven Life Obscures the Gospel
    by Bob DeWaay

    Critique: The Evangelism Message of Rick Warren
    “We were pleased to have a member for two decades of Saddleback church visiting with us this week, in the comments of another post on Old Truth. I always appreciate these opportunities because it gives us a chance to interact with an expert witness of sorts. As he repeatedly challenged us to watch Rick Warren’s evangelism video as a demonstration that the old truth was still being preached at Saddleback, I decided to take him up on that challenge. Here is my analysis of that 13 minute evangelism presentation.”

  6. Russ N. / Aug 28 2007 1 15


    Hold Rick Warren to the same standard you hold yourself to.

    When I read this posting, I don’t see:

    the Father, Son and the Holy Spirit, the Word of God, the Gospel, denial of self, sacrifice, repentance and on and on

    one could even it call it “self serving”….

  7. Russ N. / Aug 28 2007 1 24

    Mike – I fired my last comment off too quickly. I ask your forgiveness.

    One could see your posting as ‘self-serving’ – instead, giving you the benefit of the doubt and reading between the lines of what you wrote to guess what you meant. I’ll assume you meant that should the Lord bless this endeavor and allow these things to happen….

    Perhaps just like what Rick Warren meant in what he wrote for the Christian Post article?

  8. Dan / Aug 28 2007 2 07

    Hey Mike,

    It might be helpful to know that when someone becomes a member of Saddleback, in their membership class notes and what they are taught is what I believe we should be looking for as we make conclusions about things. Below are quotes directly from the membership class that they teach and are given out in their notes:

    “God is the Creator and Ruler of the universe. He has eternally existed in three personalities: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. These three are co-equal and are one God.

    (Genesis 1:1,26,27, 3:22; Psalm 90:2; Matthew 28:19;
    1 Peter 1:2; 2 Corinthians 13:14)

    “Jesus Christ is the Son of God. He is co-equal with the Father. Jesus lived a sinless human life and offered Himself as the perfect sacrifice for the sins of all people by dying on a cross. He arose from the dead after three days to demonstrate His power over sin and death. He ascended to Heaven’s glory and will return again someday to earth to reign as King of Kings, and Lord of Lords.

    Matthew 1:22, 23; Isaiah 9:6; John 1:1-5; 14:10-30;
    Hebrews 4:14,15; 1 Corinthians 15:3,4; Romans 1:3,4;
    Acts 1:9-11; 1 Timothy 6:14,15; Titus 2:13″

    “(Jesus said), “I am the Vine, you are the branches. If you abide in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; but apart from me you can do nothing.” John 15:5

    We believe the only way possible to live the Christian life is by God’s power within us. So we seek to practice a daily dependence on God’s Spirit to enable us to do what is right. (Phil. 2:13, Eph. 5:18)”

    “The Bible is God’s Word to us. It was written by human authors, under the supernatural guidance of the Holy Spirit. It is the supreme source of truth for Christian beliefs and living. Because it is inspired by God, it is the truth without any mixture of error.

    2 Timothy 3:16; 2 Peter 1:20,21; 2 Timothy 1:13;
    Psalm 119:105,160, 12:6; Proverbs 30:5″

    “”All of us like sheep have gone astray and each of us have turned to his own way.” Today we’d say, “All of us have gone astray and everybody’s done their own thing.”

    “If we say we never sin we’re only fooling ourselves and we refuse to accept the truth.”

    Isaiah 59 says “The trouble is that your sins have cut you off from God.” Romans 3:23 says “All have sinned and fall short of God’s glorious ideal.” When it says “all”, does that include Billy Graham? Yes. The pope? Yes. Everybody in this room? Yes. We have all sinned.”

    “People say, “I believe about God.” So does the devil. He knows there’s a God but you’re not going to find him in heaven. So what’s the difference. It means to believe in Christ. God did this for us because He loves us and wants us to know Him. “God demonstrated His love for us in that while we were still separated from God by sin, Christ died for us.” God is on the one side and all the people are on the other side and Christ Jesus is between them to bring them together by giving His life for all mankind. God has already done His part to restore our relationship to Him. He took the initiative. He came to earth. now He waits for each of us to individually accept what He’s done.”

    “Salvation is God’s free gift to us but we must accept it. We can never make up for our sin by self-improvement or good works. Only by trusting in Jesus Christ as God’s offer of forgiveness can anyone be saved from sin’s penalty. When we turn from our self-ruled life and turn to Jesus in faith we are saved.

    Heaven is a perfect place. We’re imperfect. There’s not a chance in a zillion you’re ever going to get to go there on your own good works. You’ll never be good enough. So God came to earth in the form of Jesus Christ.”

    “People were created to exist forever. We will either exist eternally separated from God by sin, or eternally with God through forgiveness and salvation. To be eternally separated from God is Hell. To be eternally in union with Him is eternal life. Heaven and Hell are real places of eternal existence.

    John 3:16; John 14:17; Romans 6:23; Romans 8:17-18;
    Revelation 20:15; 1 Cor. 2:7-9″

    Hope this helps you understand the teachings of Saddleback better.

  9. theexpositor / Aug 28 2007 2 33

    Thanks Dan and I am glad to hear this. A couple of thoughts come to mind; why would we have to dig for this information? Why can’t it be totally out in the open and clearly expressed? Rick Warren is obviously a very gifted person. Why do he feels he needs to be so ambiguous in stating what he believes? When the Purpose Driven Church first came out, followed by the Purpose Driven Life, I often said that if Warren wrote a third book, a “meaty” book that stated without reservation or hesitation the clear truth of Scripture, that it could be a tremendous tool for the Gospel. I am still waiting.

  10. Darren Sapp / Aug 28 2007 18 16


    Regarding your response do Dan, remember that Rick Warren was writing to a Christian audience and probably did not feel the need to explain the basic tenants of the faith.

    I will agree that his vagueness on appearances such as Larry King to a general audience, should have been packed with more of what Dan listed above.

    Press On,


  11. Dan / Aug 29 2007 0 19

    I can’t answer the questions you are asking, but this is what they teach all new members of their church and is part of the handouts for all new members. So there is quite a few people who take the class where this is all taught as it is their most popular class for anyone who is part of the church there.

    Looking forward to seeing you in Austin! Stay in touch,


  12. Jim / Aug 30 2007 21 35


    Thank you for bringing this into focus. Those who have studied Warren’s man-centered theology are well aware that the strategy of vagueness is part of the marketing and is undergirded with self-esteem psychology, ecumenism, and a potpourri of the mystical and commercial.

    Biblical spiritual maturity is, as a fruit of the spirit, produced by “the unity of the faith” and “the knowledge of the Son of God.” These will lead to mature manhood, “the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ” (Ephesians. 4:13).
    Next verse speaking the truth in love, growing under the Truth into Him who is the Head, Christ. (Eph:14-15)
    Then add the concept of suffering, to be conformed into His image. The Purpose Driven Life has a blank page on these essential matters.

    Since Warren’s theology is Biblically off-course out-of-the-gate, regarding Biblical Truth, his program of taking people around the training bases results in mere religious activity modeled after corporate America.

    Any pastor concerned with the spiritual maturity of their flock can save themselves $300 and teach the whole counsel of God, verse by verse.

    “But solid food is for the mature, for those who have their faculties trained by practice to distinguish good from evil” (Hebrews 5:14)

  13. Eunice / Aug 31 2007 4 02

    Spiritual maturity is the claim.

    It is not developed in 5 easy steps. It does not happen by filling out cards, signing covenants, 4 hours worth of class 101,202 etc, or any church campaigns – it can perhaps be helped along by studying truths from the Word of God in small groups.
    Church commitment and a sense of belonging perhaps – but not spiritual maturity.

    Spiritual maturity comes with knowing God, taking up your cross, denying self, spending time in prayer and Bible reading, going through difficult, faith stretching times, seeing our sins and repenting, and learning of God.

  14. pturton / Aug 31 2007 14 29

    The Purpose Driven Life tells me everything I need to know about Rick Warren. And Galations 1:6-10 warns me of such teachers and teachings.

    I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel:
    Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ.
    But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed.
    As we said before, so say I now again, if any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed.
    For do I now persuade men, or God? or do I seek to please men? for if I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ.

    Luke 12:5.
    But I will forewarn you whom ye shall fear: Fear him, which after he hath killed hath power to cast into hell; yea, I say unto you, Fear him.

  15. JG / Sep 3 2007 5 12

    Guys, I think these are just the *tools* used to promote growth and encourage next steps in biblical Jesus-centered discipleship.



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