CGM: Purpose Driven Life

There is a movement going on in the church right now.  It’s a slow sliding away from truth by adding just enough lie to it to have Christians overlook the problem.  Then just a little more lie is added, and a little more, until there’s little truth left.

I noticed this when we first started going to the Wesleyan congregation. They were starting a series called “40 Days of Purpose”, in which they spent forty days realizing what God’s purpose in their lives was.  That was two years ago.  They were *still* realizing what God’s purpose in their lives is thru Rick Warren’s oh-so-excellent series (this is their… third pass in a row?…) when we left.  Should it be changed to the 740 Days of Purpose…?  …I just don’t think like that.

It was a call for ‘revival’.  Three months after the *original* 40 days, there was another call for ‘revival’.  Did we slip into slumber that fast, or are they searching for a high and not a maintaining level of intimacy with Christ?  I can’t think like that, either.  To me, keeping a close relationship with God is far more important than revival-slump rollercoastering.  I guess it’s the climb that makes them feel like something special is happening, though.  More people, more baptisms, more re-dedications for the umpteenth time… more people at the altar… numbers, numbers.  The name of the game.

I did the 40 Days of Purpose.  Actually, Warren made so much durn money with the book that he added six four-week long home studies to go along with it (brings in even more revenue for him.  Nobody said he wasn’t smart.).  Six times 28 plus 40… I can’t think like that.

I do know one thing:  something didn’t feel right from the get-go.  It brought up  a red flag in my book right away.  Little comments were being made here and there.  It’s all how you interpret it. Or, God doesn’t forsake you, He just steps away.  ((Define forsake.  Isn’t that like… a stepping away?))  Be careful – these statements are ‘grey’ – can be ‘interpreted many ways’.  Not good, but not proveable bad, either.

I wish I could find my study guide… I drew red flags next to the things in there that were ‘borderline’.  First a flag here… then a flag there… by the time I got to chapter 14 in the book, Purpose Driven Life, I was writing in the book itself because I was so aggrevated.

Jesus called thoughtless worship “vain repetitions.”  Even biblical terms can become tired cliches from overuse, and we stop thinking about the meaning. … This is why I encourage you to read scriptures in different translations and paraphrases. (ppg 103-104, Purpose Driven Life)  Now I have a severe problem with this:  because the Bible never becomes ‘cliche’ to those who truly seek Christ.  If it’s cliche, then the problem is in the heart, not in the version.  And no amount of translations is gonna fix that.  And on top of that, it can confuse the new Christian.  Not to mention the fact that quite a few of the paraphrases out there don’t say what the Bible does.  This is NOT what Christ endorsed.  I have yet to meet someone who is bored with the Bible from overuse…????…  I can’t think like that, either.

I see that statement for what it is:  a push to accept as many paraphrases and translations as possible in an attempt to water down truth.  Truth is truth.  But subtle, little statements like this allow us excuses for not serving wholeheartedly.  I’m tired of the cliches, I just need a different version, it’s not me, it’s the translation or whatever…

Related to this, God insists that our worship services be understandable to unbelievers when they are present in our worship gatherings.  Paul observed, ‘Suppose some strangers are in your worship service, when you are praising God with your spirit.  If they don’t understand you, how will they know to say ‘Amen’?  You may be worshiping God in a wonderful way, but no one else will be helped.’  Being sensitive to unbelievers who visit your worship gatherings is a biblical command.  (Pg 104, Purpose Driven Life).  SAME PAGE… taken to the next worst level.  First of all, there is NO SCRIPTURE that says to be sensitive to unbelievers who visit your worship gatherings.  ‘But Anna!’, you say, ‘The scripture is right there!!’  No.  It’s not.

That’s from a paraphrase called ‘The Message’.  It’s not the Bible, and that’s not what that passage in the Bible says.  That passage is (first) taken out of context.  It’s a passage on spiritual gifts being used to glorify God and edify believers.  That passage is (secondly) about speaking in tongues.  Here’re the real verses:  Wherefore let him that speaketh in an unknown tongue pray that he may interpret.  For if I pray in an unknown tongue, my spirit prayeth, but my understanding is unfruitful.  What is it then? I will pray with the spirit, and I will pray with the understanding also: I will sing with the spirit, and I will sing with the understanding also.  Else when thou shalt bless with the spirit, how shall he that occupieth the room of the unlearned say Amen at thy giving of thanks, seeing he understandeth not what thou sayest?  For thou verily givest thanks well, but the other is not edified. I thank my God, I speak with tongues more than ye all:  Yet in the church I had rather speak five words with my understanding, that by my voice I might teach others also, than ten thousand words in an unknown tongue.  (1 Corinthians 14:13-19)

So we have a *paraphrase* being quoted which takes verses out of context and twists the meaning of scripture.  How about that?  RED FLAG!!!!  ((There are verse-a-day thangs in a lot of people’s blogs around here – I refuse to use it, because they only quote from The Message or The Living Translation (both paraphrases, both twist scripture).  Seeing that on a site tells me a LOT.))

To be honest?  Christ is the seeker.  He seeks to save the lost.  To be ‘seeker sensitive’… well, that’s another whole blog, actually.  Coming soon.  Next page!

The Bible says ‘Offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God – this is your spiritual act of worship.’  Why does God want your body?  Why doesn’t he say ‘offer your spirit’? (pg 105, same)  Um… Hello!!  (Hold on, that’s not fair.  Maybe they cut Mark 12:30 from The Message.)  But it’s in my Bible:  And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment.  Strength would be physical, but I’m pretty sure that God tells us to offer more than that to him.  It’s kinda… the greatest commandment.  Ah, but with all the interpretations, that’s relative, and being seeker sensitive, it’s safer to keep it just to offering the body, not the mind or soul or heart… I can’t think like this.

Page 109:  When you are a baby Christian, God gives you a lot of confirming emotions and often answers the most immature, self-centered prayers – so you’ll know He exists.  But as you grow in faith, He will wean you of these dependancies.  Where, praytell, does the Bible say this?  This is warm-fuzzy ‘christianity’ if I have EVER heard it.  Christ says to take up your cross and follow him.  Not that he’ll give you pillows to lay on, and coax you slowly up to move towards your cross.  I see warnings all over this.  It’s not much Biblical at all.

He talks about God hiding his face from us as a trial to us, then compares it to God’s turning his face from Christ on the cross (pg 112).  God turned his face because of the unatoned sin on Christ at that point… not because it was a test, as it is for us.  Um…. er…. not even close to being an accurate comparison…?

To say the least, I continued with the study, but I never bothered to crack the book after… chapter 18…?  I’d had enough by then.   Amazingly enough, it didn’t much make a difference.  Even having not read a durn thing, I easily answered the benign questions in the study (and argued the points it brought up)… And even in the home study… there are some blogs on my sidebar totally criticizing some of the things the Purpose Driven Plan upholds.

I know a lot of people hereabouts are currently reading or want to read this best-selling book… they feel it’s a bandwagon that they’re missing out on.  I’m just giving my opinion on my blog in regards to it.  Bandwagons aren’t typically a good reason to read something.  And if they were… well, geez, I wish more people felt that way about the *actual* Bible.

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