THE ABCs OF RICK WARREN
By Paul Proctor
March 9, 2007
I guess it helps to have powerful friends at The Council on Foreign Relations, because the Purpose Driven Pastor, Rick Warren, has once again been puff pieced by the mainstream media - this time at ABC News - with an article subtitled: "Pastor's Unconventional Approach Inspires Some, Alienates Others."
Unfortunately, that title is about as hard-hitting as ABC News gets in this little dialectic exercise - just enough to make you want to read the piece - and lame enough to make you wish you hadn't. This is controlled opposition at it finest, friends - guaranteed to neutralize naysayers by boring the as-yet-uninformed with all the trivial and underwhelming aspects of the Purpose Driven movement till everyone's sick of the subject and thoroughly convinced it is all much ado about nothing.
The first paragraph, as usual, reads like a Rick Warren promo before the article's authors sucker you into the second paragraph with edgy words like "schisms" and "rumblings" only to end up talking about a little church trading in their hymnals for drums and guitars, which resulted in their attendance growing from 30 to 300.
Yeah, I'll bet that made old Rick squirm in his seat. ABC should have just titled the article: "False Alarm" and spared us all the suspense - but then, that's all part of the conditioning process, isn't it? That way, the next time someone blows the ram's horn over some PDL controversy, you'll treat them like Chicken Little and excuse yourself from the fray to go get your felt-needs waxed.
The third paragraph, subtitled "Self-Help Ministry," disappoints yet again, mentioning, just in case you missed it, the egregious exchange of "reverent worship" for guitars, before getting into the real meat of the matter with this startling revelation:
But beyond ageism, there's more serious criticism that's now leveled at Warren and his purpose-driven churches: that the fundamental doctrines of Christianity are being mixed with popular psychology to help produce an evangelical version of "self-help."
Yeah well, considering that the world's most recognized name in protestant Christianity, besides maybe Billy Graham, namely James Dobson, is widely known and celebrated the world over for mixing Christianity with psychology, who's going to get their shorts in a twist over this?
Nevertheless, risking their very reputations, ABC's crack reporters jump to Warren's defense in the fourth paragraph with the following, lest he be unduly dragged into another scurrilous scandal:
Warren said that there is a danger in merging Christianity with psychology," adding, "Absolutely, there's a danger"�"Because what it does is feed this self-centeredness � I say, it's not about you. It's all about God�"
Now, that's funny - if merging Christianity with psychology is dangerous because it feeds "self-centeredness," and Rick Warren claims "it's not about you," why did he ask the readers of his column in the March 2005 issue of the Ladies Home Journal, about their "wobbly self-esteem" and then carefully teach both Christians and non-Christians alike that "the five truths that form the basis of a healthy self-image" were: "Accept yourself, Love yourself, Be true to yourself, Forgive yourself and Believe in yourself?"
Was that Christianity he was teaching there or psychology? - or both?
Was he telling the truth back then? Or is he telling the truth now? Or would he prefer to have it both ways - doing, as he always recommends to his followers, "whatever it takes?"
For some reason, ABC News didn't mention this inconvenient contradiction in their riveting expose on "The People's Pastor."
ABC did, however, summarize it all for us by concluding the article with a dialectic question in the beginning of the fifth paragraph. Dialectic questions, you see, are designed to distract and persuade, not reveal and inform.
The question was this:
"So the debate goes on: Is the purpose-driven method simplifying Christianity in exchange for church growth?"
Who said the purpose driven method "simplifies Christianity?" If they were quoting someone else here, they certainly didn't give them credit. I mean, what's wrong with simplifying Christianity? Absolutely nothing, of course! And they know that!
Then, is ABC News suggesting, via this dialectic query, that Christianity, apart from Rick Warren, is complicated and that his PDL program simplifies it?
After all, "simplify" was their word, was it not?
Rick's purpose driven method doesn't "simplify Christianity" - it distorts it into something it's not - and in a very duplicitous, disingenuous and unscriptural manner - something ABC's reporters never addressed - choosing instead to talk about churches getting rid of hymnals - adding guitars and drums to their services and mixing Christianity with psychology - things that few Christians today would even have a problem with.
But, I'm sure they knew that too.
So, what about those "schisms" the authors alluded to in the beginning of the article? Well, they finally get around to that on their way out:
The founder of the movement (Warren) says the conflicts and divisions are inevitable costs.
Of course you wouldn't, Rick - unless they got in the way, right?
"Am I willing to put up with pain so the people [that] Jesus Christ died for can come to know him? Absolutely."
So, Warren's the one in pain over this great divide, huh? What about those who have been thrown out of their churches over him and his programs?
Warren said that if some churches may suffer as a result of applying some of those principles, then "that's the price."
Let me see if I've got this straight: Suffering for Rick's PDL principles is a good thing?
"Every church has to make the decision. � Is it going to live for itself, or is it going to live for the world that Jesus died for?"
Jesus died so we could "live for the world?" Is that your gospel, Rick?
When asked if he thinks that some of these splits are actually because Christians themselves are indulgent and refusing to change, Warren said, "Oh, without a doubt."
OH so, it's the "indulgence" of PDL objectors and resisters that's causing all of the pain, suffering and church splits, huh? - Not you and your PDL programs? How stupid of me�
And when asked if he blames them, he replied, "I do blame them."
Of course you do, Rick - It's THEIR FAULT - not yours!
It's NEVER your fault because "it's not about you," is it?
"Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them. For they that are such serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly; and by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple." - Rom. 16:17-18
� 2007 Paul Proctor - All Rights Reserved
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Paul Proctor, a rural resident of the Volunteer state and seasoned veteran of the country music industry, retired from showbiz in the late 1990's to dedicate himself to addressing important social issues from a distinctly biblical perspective. As a freelance writer and regular columnist for NewsWithViews.com, he extols the wisdom and truths of scripture through commentary and insight on cultural trends and current events. His articles appear regularly on a variety of news and opinion sites across the internet and in print.
purpose driven method doesn't "simplify Christianity" - it distorts it
into something it's not - and in a very duplicitous, disingenuous and
unscriptural manner - something ABC's reporters never addressed...