Friday, July 24, 2009

A Purpose Plea to Pastors

By Todd Friel

Would you let a surgeon operate on you or your family if he didn’t know the procedure perfectly? Of course not. How much more accurate should a pastor be with the Gospel that is the power unto salvation?

If you are responsible for introducing the Purpose Driven Life to your church or small group, please consider the following verses. “I (Paul) have laid the foundations like an expert builder. Now others (you) are building on it. But whoever is building on this foundation must be very careful.” I Cor.3:10.

How careful have you been in endorsing the Purpose Driven Life? Did you study it with a critical eye? Did you know the theology and history of Rick Warren before you fed Purpose to your sheep? Were you “very careful?”

“There is going to come a time of testing at the judgment day to see what kind of work each builder has done. Everyone’s work will be put through the fire to see whether or not it keeps its value. If the work survives the fire, that builder will receive a reward. But if the work is burned up, the builder will suffer great loss. The builders themselves will be saved, but like someone escaping through a wall of flames.” (I Cor.3:13-15)

Hold it, it gets worse. Paul tells us that “God will bring ruin upon anyone who ruins this temple.” (v.17) Uh oh.

For 57 pages, Pastor Warren does not describe sin, righteousness, judgment, God’s holiness, hell, repentance, shedding of blood, atonement or resurrection. Yet on page 58 of PDL, Pastor Warren invites the reader to become a Christian by “whispering the prayer that will change your eternity.” This prayer better be surgically accurate or we have a pastor who is guilty of malpractice (pardon the mixed metaphor). So what is the prayer that will save?

“’Jesus, I believe in you and I receive you.’ Go ahead. If you sincerely meant that prayer, congratulations! Welcome to the family of God.”

If you believe that James 4:9,10 describes the conversion experience of godly sorrow that leads to repentance, then you recognize that Pastor Warren’s presentation of salvation is, and I state this very carefully, not Biblical.

Friend, we can argue about many things in Christianity, but salvation is one message we must have complete accuracy and agreement on. Paul warned that any other Gospel is no Gospel at all. “Let God’s curse fall on anyone, including myself, who preaches any other message than the one we told you about. Even if an angel comes from heaven and preaches any other message, let him forever be accursed.” Gal.1:8

We cannot say, “Well, he sort of presents the Gospel.” Jesus shed His blood for this Gospel, we must get it right. Eternity is at stake.

“Jesus came to Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God, and saying, ‘The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the gospel.’” (Mark 1:14,15) “Repent and trust” is the Biblical response to the Gospel, not whispering a prayer. God commands all men everywhere to repent.

Imagine your spouse committed adultery against you and returned to you and said, “Honey, I believe in you and I receive you.” Would that be acceptable to you? Why would we think that is acceptable to God? It isn’t. That is a false Gospel. That is a damning Gospel.

Luther, Calvin, Moody and Tozer all preached repentance and trust. Charles Spurgeon proclaimed, “While the gospel is a command, it is a two-fold command explaining itself. "Repent ye, and believe the gospel.’"

If you believe that is the only saving Gospel, then you stand at odds with PDL.

While we could discuss the Pastor Warren’s faulty forty day premise, man-centered theology, rampant mis-use of Scripture, using a dozen liberal translations and his questionable connections and endorsement by Robert Schuller, his salvation message alone should disqualify Purpose from being promoted in evangelical circles.

Please, you are the shepherd of your flock. Your sheep are being fed another Gospel. You will be judged for this. All I ask is that you consider what I am saying and check it with Scripture. This is your duty.

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