“The Purpose Driven Life” is a simple, straightforward exposition of evangelical Christianity 101. It is neither a classic nor the focus of evil in the modern church. The content of the book is unremarkable. That it has gotten such a huge response is simply a reflection of how mediocre the average Christian’s life really is. That is hardly Rick Warren’s fault. He is a nice man, a good communicator, and is not the antichrist nor the messiah. His agenda is obvious; to extend the kingdom of Christ.
There seems to be much agitation among conservative types over the phrase “seeker sensitive”, which is pinned on Warren, then re-defined with whatever content your own church may have out into it. That the church should be “seeker-sensitive” is beyond dispute except for the most frigid of divines. The only argument is on how much we should adapt our means of to the filters of the culture around us. How this works out in the local church involves all sorts of lunacy, little of which is Rick Warren’s fault. I’ve seen posts on the internet blaming Warren because some local church offended all the old people, threw out the hymnal, started singing praise songs, and split the church. It’s nice to have someone else to blame for your own incompetence. These same churches are full of Republicans who decry liberalism for its tendency to play the victim. Rick Warren broke my church, because he wrote something in a book from 1,000 miles away? No, you did a lousy job. Grow up.
None of which is to doubt that Warren has probably said theologically ridiculous things, and will say another honker tomorrow. This gives the heresy hobbyists new fodder. There is a special prestige among them for collecting the pelt of a celebrity. Truth is, the more you talk, and the harder you try to talk clearly to the culture, the more likely it is you’ll say something that somebody will be able to extract, analyze, and demonstrate a technical departure from the correct formulae. Those who do nothing are seldom controversial.
A lot of pastors are jealous of him. Yes, pastors get jealous too.
Much of the success of the local church program (40 Days of Purpose) is due simply to the emphasis on small groups. Most church members are so starved for actual fellowship that when they meet in each other’s homes and new friendships develop there is such a new joy it feels like the book of Acts all over again. It makes little difference, initially, whether you talk about PDL or not. It is the meeting together in homes that does it. Draw your own ecclesiological conclusion.