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“The Purpose Driven Church”
by Art Sadlier   
November 23rd, 2016

In the past ten years a large percentage of churches in North America and around the world have changed from traditional churches to contemporary Purpose Driven Churches.

This is a profound change; it is a total departure from what the Scriptures teach the church should be. It is a change which involves a change of vision. It is a change which involves a takeover of the church by those who have a totally unbiblical vision for the church.

Rick Warren, author of the Purpose Driven Life and the Purpose Driven Church has stated, “When you reveal the vision to the Church, the old pillars are going to leave. But, let them leave, they only hold things up.”

That statement reveals that a profound change in the church is being undertaken. A careful study of the change involved will reveal that the church is being fashioned into something that is not the Church of Jesus Christ.

Look at some of the outward changes that are a part of the pattern of the purpose driven church.

  1. The word church is often eliminated, and replaced with the words campus or Christian fellowship, etc.
  2. Words like sin – lost – hell – unsaved – heaven – are eliminated from the Pastor’s message.
  3. Altar calls for salvation are eliminated.
  4. The terms “saved” and “lost” are replaced with ‘churched” and “unchurched” implying that to be churched is to be saved.
  5. The removal of the Hymn Books, taking away much of the doctrinal teaching of the Church’s music.
  6. Business meetings are eliminated; often biblical offices such as Deacons are eliminated.
  7. The pastor or a new leader, with a few assistants, takes charge of all church business.
  8. New Bible versions are used, often just verses flashed on the screen.
  9. The pulpit is changed or removed.
  10. Those who are not Purpose Driven Supporters are marginalized.
  11. Closed meetings between the Pastor and chosen Staff Members without reports to the congregation.
  12. Service times are changed, some services may be eliminated.
  13. A repetitive 40-day Purpose Driven Study Program, which stresses psychological relationships with each other, with community and the world.
  14. The choir is eliminated, taking away its devotional impact.
  15. The singing of repetitive praise lyrics, an appeal to the emotions rather than the mind.
  16. Purpose Driven films are used prior to the service or during the service.
  17. The organ and piano are replaced with Rock Band instruments.
  18. Dress styles are changed to casual dress; we are not here to meet with a sovereign, awesome God.
  19. The décor of the church is changed to eliminate any resemblance to the former church.
  20. For the youth, the emphasis is made on fun and partying.
  21. Music is changed to Contemporary Rock Style
  22. The Sunday School, the teaching arm of the Church is eliminated or drastically altered.

These changes turn the church around 180 degrees and leave the church unidentifiable as the Church of Jesus Christ. The church is masqueraded so that the world feels comfortable about coming in. If numbers is your only objective, this is a good strategy.

Far more important than the outward changes is the fundamental changes as to what the church believes, what the church is to be, what the church’s message is, and what the church is to be doing.

Rick Warren stated on May 23, 2005, at the PEW Forum on Religion, “the word fundamentalist, actually comes from a document in the 1920’s called The Fundamentals of the Faith, and it is a very legalistic and narrow view of Christianity,” The five fundamentals of the faith to which Warren objected are:

  • The inerrancy and full authority of the Bible.
  • The Virgin Birth and full Deity of Jesus Christ.
  • The bodily Resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.
  • Christ’s Atoning, vicarious death for the sins of the world.
  • The literal Second Coming of Christ.

These doctrines are the basic irreducible essence of Christianity - to reject these truths is to reject Christianity. Doctrinally, Warren is changing the very foundational beliefs of the church.

It is not that the fundamentals of the faith are being denied in Purpose Driven Churches, it is that they are no longer behind the philosophy and practice and teaching of the PDC.

The PDC is preaching a gospel that is not the gospel of the New Testament; it is called Easy-believism. Subtle changes can make a profound difference.

I believe that at some point, the heart of every unregenerate person desires salvation without repentance and a change of life. That is the great contrast between genuine Christianity and all other religions. (Luke 13:3, 5).

Fill the church with the unsaved, preach easy-believism and watch the church grow. Easy-believism is the gospel without repentance and a change of life. You can gather a multitude around that type of a gospel. The multitudes of Christendom and the multitudes of the Cults verify that, but when you build a church on easy-believism, though you may have some Christians in it, you do not have the Church of Jesus Christ.

Wolves among Sheep

When you look at Revelation 2 and 3, you find Christ removing the candlestick (decommissioning) those churches who depart from the Word of God. (See also Matthew 7:21-23).

Rick Warren has stated, “It is my conviction that anybody can be won to Christ if you discover the key to his or her heart … it may take some time to identify it but the most likely place to start is within the person’s felt needs”. This is psychology, not the gospel. The gospel does not consist of meeting the felt needs (desires), the sinner must turn from his or her own desires before they can be saved. This is another gospel, which is not the gospel. This is the ground work for easy-believism. Galatians 1:6, 7.

The PDC has abandoned another vital aspect of the church, SEPARATION. The PDC seeks to make the church appear like the world in every possible way. It creates an environment in which the world can come in and feel at home.

All down through the history of Israel and the church, a mixed multitude has brought destruction to the people of God. (2 Corinthians 6:17)

The church is called out of the world, to be separate from the world. The PDC is determined to change that! The church is called to go outside the camp bearing the reproach of Christ. It is warned not to love the world.

The church is not to bring the unsaved into its fellowship. The church is commanded to go out into the world, to win men and women to Christ, to baptize them and then bring them into the fellowship to be discipled. Subtle changes can make a profound difference.

Ecumenism is a part of the PDC; it is at the leading edge of bringing all of Christendom together. The church is commanded in scripture not to fellowship, or associate with those who depart from sound doctrine. (2 John 10:11, Jude 3)

I believe the Purpose Driven Church is the part of the great last days’ apostasy (Matthew.24:5)

If you are a follower of Christ, I urge you to come out of the whole Purpose Driven and Seeker Friendly Movement. (Revelation18:4, Matthew 24:24).

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