Purpose-Driven Church Movement

Is the Purpose-Driven Church Movement Biblical?

By Dr. Paul M. Elliott
To answer that question, we must compare the movement with Scripture.

From the TeachingtheWord Bible Knowledgebase

 

We're often asked, "Is your use of the term, 'the Scripture-driven church' a response to the Purpose-Driven Church movement?"

We don't know if TeachingTheWord coined the term, but we decided to use it because "Equipping the Scripture-driven church" describes what we endeavor to do. We believe it is a timeless statement of the nature of Christ's church and not merely a fad phrase. So our use of the term isn't a response to one particular movement. Christ's true church must always be the Scripture-driven church.

In contrast, the Purpose-Driven Church movement is but the latest in a long series of damaging influences that have drawn the Evangelical church away from the one true Gospel and the authority of Scripture. It is doubtless the greatest single influence on the Evangelical church today - and one of the most harmful.

The Purpose-Driven Church movement was begun by Rick Warren, founder and senior pastor of Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, California, where 23,000 people attend services each week. Warren holds degrees from California Baptist University, Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary (both affiliated with the Southern Baptist Convention), and Fuller Theological Seminary. Saddleback Church is affiliated with the Southern Baptist Convention.

Over 400,000 ministers and church leaders have attended Purpose-Driven Church seminars led by Warren and his associates. In a 2005 Barna Research survey, American pastors voted Warren's two best-selling books, The Purpose-Driven Life and The Purpose-Driven Church, the #1 and #2 most influential books on their lives and ministries.

However, some Christians have questioned whether the Purpose-Driven Church movement, despite the outward appearances of success, is a benefit or a bane to the Evangelical church. The most valid of these criticisms approach the Purpose-Driven Church movement in the manner of the Bereans in Acts 17:11 - comparing the movement with Scripture, to see if it is true to the Word of God or not.

Careful examination of the Purpose-Driven Church movement against the standard of the Word of God demonstrates that its philosophy, teachings, and practices, though often couched in Biblical language, are in fact a counterfeit of authentic Biblical Christianity. The Purpose-Driven Church movement is contrary to the Word of God, severely harmful to pastors and congregations, and actually leads lost souls farther away from Christ. It has ungodly roots, it preaches an ungodly message, and it produces ungodly fruits.

Is there evidence to support such a strong indictment? Yes there is, and in the next several articles we shall examine some of that evidence in the light of Scripture.

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