(This article was originally printed in December, 2004)

Rick Warren will use quotations from a variety of Bible translations through his books. Sadly, many of these modern translations are not word-for-word translations which provide an accurate rendering of the original meaning of words, but something else altogether. Most of these new translations are either “paraphrases” or “thought-for-thought” interpretations, which distort the true meaning of the words and Verses. He uses Scriptures out of context to support his thoughts rather than what the Holy Spirit actually wants us to know.
As an example, Warren uses the NLT translation of Romans 12:2, which says, “Let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will know what God wants you to do.” The King James translation says, “And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God” (Rom. 12:2). Notice the NLT omits the phrase “good, acceptable, and perfect will of God.”
This teaching continues through Chapters 12 through 16 of Romans. These Chapters deal with practical Christian living based on the understanding of what Paul wrote to Believers in Chapters 1 through 10, and especially Chapters 6 through 8. If we do not know what the Cross means to us or our position in Christ and how the Holy Spirit works in us through Faith in the Finished Work of the Cross, then Christian practical living becomes nothing but a regimen of works.
One cannot properly understand Romans 12:2 unless one properly understand Romans 12:1. Listen again to the Apostle Paul: “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service (Rom. 12:1). Paul is teaching the very opposite of what Rick Warren is teaching his readers, whether Christian or non-Christian. Presenting our bodies as living sacrifices refers to the Cross and our Faith in that Finished Work; through this alone will the Holy Spirit work. Otherwise, we simply cannot present our bodies as a living sacrifice, which means we cannot experience a “renewed mind.”
“For it is God which works in you, both to will and to do of His good pleasure” (Phil. 2:13).


In his book, “The Purpose Driven Life,” he states: “We need more than the Bible in order to grow; we need other Believers.” He defined this statement better in “The Purpose Driven Church” book, Chapter 18, by explaining how to develop mature members. He claims the statement, “All you need is the Bible to grow,” is a myth. He further states, “Classroom Churches tend to be left-brain oriented rather than cognitive focused. They stress the teaching of the Bible content and doctrine, but give little, if any, emphasis to the Believers’ emotional, experiential, and relational development.”
To better understand this foolish statement, we must look at Warren in his own context. He claims the following to be truth: “Spiritual maturity is very practical. Any Believer can grow to maturity if he or she will develop the habits necessary for spiritual growth. We need to take the mystery out of spiritual growth by breaking the components down into practical, every day habits.” He then uses a weak paraphrase Bible translation of I Timothy 4:7: “Take time and trouble to keep yourself spiritually fit.” Notice the King James Version says, “But refuse profane and old wives’ fables, and exercise thyself rather unto godliness.”
It is not possible for any Christian, by their own means or methods, to keep themselves “spiritually fit.” As we’ve already stated, this is alone the Work of the Holy Spirit and He doesn’t need the help of humanistic psychology or the ways of the world.
What the Holy Spirit taught us through Paul is not a regimen of habits. In fact, we cannot develop true spiritual growth by exercising disciplines, as good and necessary as those disciplines may be. Actually, disciplines (habits), such as daily Bible study, prayer, fellowship, etc., are a result of the Holy Spirit’s Work in us, not the means by which this Work is developed.


He then boasts that “spiritual maturity is demonstrated more by behavior than by beliefs.” What he doesn’t seem to understand is that proper Scriptural believing will produce proper behavior. An effort to produce proper behavior can never produce proper believing. In fact, the Church is trying to sanctify itself through good works, which is impossible.
Paul’s Epistle to the Galatians is our example of the danger in trying to inject the Law back into the Lord’s process of New Testament Grace, which comes to us by means of the Cross of Christ and our Faith in that Finished Work, and by that manner alone. If the Law is introduced, it will always produce spiritual death (Gal., Chpt. 5).
Warren is influenced by the likes of Peter Drucker, Bob Buford, and a host of psychological garbage mixed with New Age teaching and socialism, and certainly not by the Word of God. Yes, he uses Scriptures, but only out of context or from translations which are not proper. This is one of Satan’s favorite ploys – the wrongful use of Scripture, “As also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction” (II Pet. 3:16).
Regrettably, many Christians think that if Scripture is used, that makes the teaching Scriptural. It doesn’t! In fact, the entire effort by Warren (and I mean entire) is to lead the Church away from the Cross and the Word of God. Warren has an objective for you to be changed, and it is not by the Power of the Lord Jesus Christ, with the Holy Spirit leading and working in our lives. His goal is to make one a tool fit to function in a moral society, currently based on Christian philosophy, that will be changed as the New World Order manifests itself. The veil of deception is to use the Word of God out of its intended meaning by provoking the Church to good works apart from the Holy Spirit, Who magnifies Jesus Christ. Instead, the “process” is what gets the glory, with man’s wisdom exalted. Jesus gave us a strong warning when He said, “Take heed that no man deceive you” (Mat. 24:4).


Throughout “The Purpose Driven Life” book, Warren misapplies Scriptures, as stated, from their correct meaning, in order to support his agenda of imposing “purpose” in place of “Faith in Christ Crucified.” His emphasis is on his five purposes for our lives.
Actually, change can be brought about only by one way, and that is the Bible Way. According to Luke 9:23-24 (“And he said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: but whosoever will lose his life for my sake, the same shall save it”), if the Believer expresses Faith in Christ and what Christ has done for us at the Cross, and maintains his Faith in that Finished Work, the Holy Spirit will then work mightily in one’s life, bringing about the intended purpose (Rom. 6:3-14; 8:1-2, 11). That is God’s Way, and that is His only Way. When man attempts to introduce some other way, it is the same as Cain offering up a sacrifice that was not according to God’s Prescribed Order (Gen., Chpt. 4).
When Paul addressed the Corinthians (and everyone else, for that matter), he did not use excellent speech or worldly wisdom, and he certainly didn’t use the five purposes of Rick Warren (or the purposes of anyone else), but, clearly and plainly, he said: “And I, brethren, when I came to you, came not with excellency of speech or of wisdom, declaring unto you the Testimony of God. “For I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and Him Crucified” (I Cor. 2:1-2).
Now, that’s about as clean, plain, and simple as it can be said. In truth, the Holy Spirit said this through Paul, which means that God is the Author of these statements. So, if we attempt to preach anything other than “Jesus Christ and Him Crucified,” then what we are preaching, whatever it might be, is not the Gospel, and will not have a positive effect in the hearts and lives of Believers.


Many have enquired how the Government of Twelve (G-12) Churches could use Warren’s books?
It is simple. Warren is a strong proponent of the small group or cell group ministry. He says in “The Purpose Driven Church,” Chapter 18, Experiencing Life Together: “Jesus ministered in the context of a small group of Disciples.
He could have chosen more, but he knew twelve is about the maximum size you can have in a small group, if everyone is to participate.”
He then goes on to say, “The Body of Christ is, like your own body, really a collection of many small cells. The life of the Body of Christ, like your body, is contained in the cells. For this reason,” he continues, “every Christian needs to be involved in a small group within their Church.” And then to validate his supposed claim, he incorrectly uses Matthew 18:20: “For where two or three are gathered together in My Name, there am I in the midst of them.”
This Scripture has absolutely nothing to do with being a model for Church size. The emphasis is on any number of people meeting together in the Name of Jesus, and even though it might be only two or three, the Lord says that He will be in the midst of them.
As well, Jesus not only chose Twelve Disciples, but He also chose seventy: “After these things the LORD appointed other seventy also, and sent them two and two before his face into every city and place, whither he himself would come” (Lk. 10:1).
Moreover, the number “twelve” is God’s number for “Government.” It has nothing to do with a small group. And I might quickly add, it’s God’s Government, as outlined in His Word, and not government made up by men, such as the so-called Government of Twelve, etc.


The true Word of God is under attack presently, as possibly it has never been before, at least since the Reformation. However, it is being attacked in a very subtle manner. It is not so much disavowed as it is perverted, twisted, misused, and misstated. As we’ve already stated, the use of Scripture doesn’t necessarily mean that what is being said is Scriptural. It might be, but not necessarily so! A proper interpretation of the Word of God produces harmony with all other Passages on the subject at hand. If the harmony is missing, then the Scripture is being misapplied.
Even though the book, “The Purpose Driven Life,” is one of the best selling books the nation and the world has ever known, at least in the field of religion, still, that doesn’t make it Scriptural. In fact, this book is grossly unscriptural, which means that those who follow its principles will not come to a positive conclusion, but rather the very opposite.
The Believer must understand that we are opposed by Satan and all the powers of darkness. We must also understand that, within ourselves, and irrespective as to how clever the proposals of man may be, we are no match for this power of darkness. God’s Prescribed Order is the only way that we can successfully be what we ought to be in Christ. That Prescribed Order has always been, is now, and ever shall be: “Jesus Christ and Him Crucified.”
The Apostle Paul wrote: “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” (Gal. 1:8).
We had best heed what the great Apostle said!

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