Chapter Four:


Purpose #1: You Were Planned for

God’s Pleasure






Worship That Is about You Is Not Worship of God

 

“Bringing enjoyment to God, living for his pleasure, is the first purpose of your life. When you fully understand this truth, you will never again have a problem with feeling insignificant. It proves your worth.” (PDL; p. 63; emphasis added)

 

“Bringing pleasure to God is called ‘worship.’” (PDL; p. 64)

 

“You only bring him [God] enjoyment by being you. Anytime you reject any part of yourself, you are rejecting God’s wisdom and sovereignty in creating you.” (PDL; p. 75; emphasis added)


Worship of God is not about being you. True worship of God is completely about the nature and worthiness of God, not about who you are or your worth. Furthermore, true worship of God is found in the fear and reverence that comes when we recognize and enjoy God for Who God really is, not when God enjoys who we are! Exactly who is worshipping whom in the purpose-driven definition of worship?

 

“Give unto the Lord the glory due unto his name; worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness.” (Psalm 29:2)


True worship of God that pleases God also consists of living a life of faith, righteousness, and obedience because God is worthy.

 

“That ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God.” (Colossians 1:10)

 

“I know also, my God, that thou triest the heart, and hast pleasure in uprightness.…” (1 Chronicles 29:17)

 

“So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God.” (Romans 8:8)


Although the Lord Jesus Christ and His Word say otherwise, according to Rick Warren’s counsel we are not to reject any part of ourselves. In fact, he admonishes us to realize that God Himself wants us to worship Him by unloading all of our sinful, fleshly emotions on Him, “holding back nothing” of what we feel:

 

“In the Bible, the friends of God were honest about their feelings, often complaining, second-guessing, accusing, and arguing with their Creator. God, however, didn’t seem to be bothered by this frankness; in fact, he encouraged it.” (PDL; p.93; emphasis added)

 

Tell God exactly how you feel. Pour out your heart to God. Unload every emotion that you’re feeling.… God can handle your doubt, anger, fear, grief, confusion, and questions.” (PDL; p. 110; emphasis added)

 

“To instruct us in candid honesty, God gave us the book of Psalms—a worship manual, full of ranting, raving, doubts, fears, resentments, and deep passions combined with thanksgiving, praise, and statements of faith. Every possible emotion is catalogued in the Psalms. When you read the emotional confessions of David and others, realize this is how God wants you to worship him—holding back nothing of what you feel.” [!] (PDL; p. 94; bold added)

 

“Can God handle that kind of frank, intense honesty from you? Absolutely!… What may appear as audacity God views as authenticity.” (PDL; p. 94)


This aspect of Rick Warren’s definition of “worship” is plainly all about you. We are free to be exactly who we are in the flesh, treat the loving Almighty Lord God far worse than dirt, and then proceed to the epitome of audacious and authentic defiance in referring to this as worship! This is what brings the Almighty Lord God pleasure and is what He is worthy of? This is part of Rick Warren’s first and foremost purpose for why we are here.

 

“Ye have wearied the Lord with your words. Yet ye say, Wherein have we wearied him? When ye say, Every one that doeth evil is good in the sight of the Lord, and he delighteth in them; or, Where is the God of judgment?” (Malachi 2:17)

 

“The foolishness of man perverteth his way: and his heart fretteth against the Lord.” (Proverbs 19:3)


God makes it clear throughout His Word that He is not even close to being pleased with, nor does He even remotely encourage “resentments,” “ranting,” “raving,” “complaining,” or “accusing” Him. Rick Warren’s dangerous man-centered claim can only be derived at by twisting, ignoring, and taking unholy scissors to a multitude of Scriptures. “Candid honesty” or not, God does not “encourage” these sins, which these people, for example, definitely regretted (e.g., see also Numbers 11:18-20, 33):

 

“And when the people complained, it displeased the Lord: and the Lord heard it; and his anger was kindled; and the fire of the Lord burnt among them, and consumed them that were in the uttermost parts of the camp.” (Numbers 11:1)

 

“Woe unto him that striveth with his Maker! Let the potsherd strive with the potsherds of the earth. Shall the clay say to him that fashioneth it, What makest thou? or thy work, He hath no hands?” (Isaiah 45:9)

 

“Nay but, O man, who art thou that repliest against God? Shall the thing formed say to him that formed it, Why hast thou made me thus?” (Romans 9:20)

 

“Moreover the Lord answered Job, and said, Shall he that contendeth with the Almighty instruct him? he that reproveth God, let him answer it. Then Job answered the Lord, and said, Behold, I am vile; what shall I answer thee? I will lay mine hand upon my mouth. Once have I spoken; but I will not answer: yea, twice; but I will proceed no further. Then answered the Lord unto Job out of the whirlwind, and said, Gird up thy loins now like a man: I will demand of thee, and declare thou unto me. Wilt thou also disannul my judgment? wilt thou condemn me, that thou mayest be righteous?” (Job 40:1-8)


These people will also regret their man-centered “frank, intense honesty” with God:

 

“… Behold, the Lord cometh with ten thousands of his saints, to execute judgment upon all, and to convince all that are ungodly among them of all their ungodly deeds which they have ungodly committed, and of all their hard speeches which ungodly sinners have spoken against him. These are murmurers, complainers, walking after their own lusts; and their mouth speaketh great swelling words, having men’s persons in admiration because of advantage.” (Jude 1:14-16)


Contrary to leaders today, the apostle Paul gives genuine wise counsel that needs to be carefully heeded:

 

“Neither let us tempt Christ, as some of them also tempted, and were destroyed of serpents. Neither murmur ye, as some of them also murmured, and were destroyed of the destroyer. Now all these things happened unto them for examples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come. Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall.” (1 Corinthians 10:9-12)


On the other hand, following Rick Warren’s counsel on how to “worship” will result in God’s anger and displeasure, according to His Holy Scriptures. True worship kneels before the Almighty Lord God in awe and reverence for Who He is. This is the opposite of Rick Warren’s man-centered “manifesto” that exalts who man is above the holy Lord God.

 

“Exalt ye the Lord our God, and worship at his footstool; for he is holy.” (Psalm 99:5)

 

“God is greatly to be feared in the assembly of the saints, and to be had in reverence of all them that are about him.” (Psalm 89:7)

 

“Let all the earth fear the Lord: let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of him. For he spake, and it was done; he commanded, and it stood fast.” (Psalm 33:8-9)

 

“And all the inhabitants of the earth are reputed as nothing: and he doeth according to his will in the army of heaven, and among the inhabitants of the earth: and none can stay his hand, or say unto him, What doest thou?” (Daniel 4:35)


“Worship” mixed with the ugliness of man’s fleshly emotions is anything but holy, and no one, least of all the Almighty Lord God, deserves to be treated in such an irreverent manner. Rick Warren has done exactly what he says we should not do:

 

“But we cannot just create our own comfortable or politically correct image of God and worship it. That is idolatry.” (PDL; p. 101)


I couldn’t agree more. Yet you and the purposes of God, according to Rick Warren’s personal understanding of them, continue to be placed above the Person of God. Anything placed above God Himself is idolatry, especially so when fear of God, reverence, truth, and holiness are sacrificed in the process. And that includes music.


Offering the Strange Fire of Profane Music Is Not Worship of God

 

“The Church has sprung a leak and the world is leaking into the Church.” —A.W. Tozer1


Music is just one more area in Rick Warren’s worldly Purpose-Driven movement in which he has done exactly what he says we should not do. He has created his own comfortable image of God that lets him do what he likes:

 

“God loves all kinds of music because he invented it all … You probably don’t like it all, but God does! If it is offered to God in spirit and truth, it is an act of worship.” (PDL; p. 65)

 

“But God likes variety and enjoys it all.

 

“There is no such thing as ‘Christian’ music; there are only Christian lyrics. It is the words that make a song sacred, not the tune.” (PDL; p. 66)


First, “Christian lyrics” are increasingly man-centered and error-laden and as such would not be offered to God in spirit and in truth. Second, synthesizing “Christian lyrics” with the profane noises (“tunes”) that ‘musicians’ such as death metal bands and other bands in darkness create while they are stoned and blaspheming God, etcetera, would never make the songs from this wicked culture sacred and enjoyed by God! If you don’t think “Christian music” is extreme enough to rival ‘music’ from cultures of darkness, then you have never had the displeasure, to put it mildly, of hearing modern “Christian” bands scream Jesus’ name with a voice that sounds possessed, with a “tune” to match.

 

[I]t takes all kinds of churches to reach all kinds of people.… In just the area of music alone, imagine all the styles of music needed to reach all the different cultures of our world.” —Rick Warren2

 

“Warren’s emphasis on approachable Christianity is reflected at Saddleback, where worshippers can choose from nearly two dozen services that feature different styles of live music, from heavy metal to reggae to hula.” —Associated Press, 4/9/053


Worldly music (complete with blatant secular lyrics) and “worship styles” that appeal to the flesh rather than the spirit is a big part of the purpose-driven transformation in churches. Purpose-driven “worship” is not about Who God is, therefore the “worship style” of today’s churches must match the people:

 

“What matters is that your worship style matches the people you are seeking to reach …” —Rick Warren4

 

“‘I’m never going to deny what I believe, but I’ve got to say it in a way that makes sense to the MTV generation in a postmodern world,’ Warren says. ‘Traditional churches think I’m changing the message, but all I’m doing is changing the method.’” —Chicago Sun-Times, 3/25/055

 

“I discovered that, of course, it takes all kinds of churches to reach all kinds of people. There is more than one way to grow a church and I say if you are getting the job done I like the way you are doing it. The only wrong way is the one way that you think that everybody should do it your way.

 

“What I began to see is that God uses all kinds of styles, all kinds of methods, all kinds of formats to reach all kinds of people.” —Rick Warren6

 

“The Purpose Driven model supports you as your church matches the worship style of those you are targeted to reach in the community.” —PurposeDriven (Emphasis added)7


And what exactly is the “worship” style of the MTV generation?! No wonder church services today resemble the world! It is not the image of Christ that churches are deliberately conforming to. This is clearly all about you, or mankind.

 

“Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, and changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man.… Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen.” (Romans 1:22-23, 25)


In The Purpose-Driven Life, Rick Warren says:

 

“There is a right and wrong way to worship. The Bible says, ‘Let us be grateful and worship God in a way that will please him.’ [endnote: Hebrews 12:28 (TEV)]” (PDL; p. 100)


He even deleted the right way to worship from the verse he quotes on the subject. This verse specifically gives the right way, and thereby also the wrong way, to worship and serve God:

 

“Wherefore we receiving a kingdom which cannot be moved, let us have grace, whereby we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear: For our God is a consuming fire.” (Hebrews 12:28-29)


The version he quotes even ends the verse with, “with reverence and awe,” which he deleted. This deletion is consistent with today’s man-centered “worship.” The reverence and fear of God has obviously and purposefully been removed in order to cater to the unbelieving world.

 

“Human wisdom delights to trim and arrange the doctrines of the cross into a system more artificial and more congenial with the depraved tastes of fallen nature; instead, however, of improving the gospel carnal wisdom pollutes it, until it becomes another gospel, and not the truth of God at all.” —Charles H. Spurgeon8


The Lord God is not pleased with nor does He accept everything that is offered to Him in worship. He did not respect or accept Cain’s offering (see Genesis 4), and He did not accept the “strange fire” offered to Him by Nadab and Abihu. In fact, He killed them with fire for offering it (see Leviticus 10:1-2). Whether or not they believed their offering was offered in spirit and truth was irrelevant. What they were offering was disobedience (therefore apart from truth) and was not considered by God to be an act of worship.


Likewise, modern “worship” is not worship in spirit and in truth; it is “worship” in the flesh and in relativism. “Worship” that “matches the people” so is tailored according to who the unbelieving world is rather than Who God is, is indeed creating one’s own comfortable image of God to idolatrously worship. This has a great deal in common with the Israelites worship of the golden calf -- a worship style that led to the severe judgment of God resulting in the death of thousands and was then followed by a plague (see Exodus 32, especially verses 28 and 35).


God commands us to worship Him “in the beauty of holiness” (see Psalm 29:2 and 96:9). Rebellious refusal to separate from the things, beliefs, and ways of the flesh and the world and the profane is the opposite of holiness. Besides, offering profane things of the flesh to God—from “candid honesty” to “all kinds of music” and everything in between—is always about you, never about God.

 

“Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting.” (Galatians 6:7-8)

 

“Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.” (1 John 2:15-17)


It’s not how the masses view something that makes it right or wrong; it’s how God views it. And God knows why the ways and things of the world please the world. God says in His Word, “And be not conformed to this world” (Romans 12:2) and, “Let every one that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity” (2 Timothy 2:19). Nevertheless, history continues to repeat itself -- “but every man did that which was right in his own eyes” (Judges 17:6 and 21:25).


In “Why We Are Lukewarm About Christ’s Return,” A.W. Tozer aptly described Christianity’s predilection for things of the world:

 

“Again, in these times religion has become jolly good fun right here in this present world, and what’s the hurry about heaven anyway? Christianity, contrary to what some had thought, is another and higher form of entertainment. Christ has done all the suffering. He has shed all the tears and carried all the crosses; we have but to enjoy the benefits of His heartbreak in the form of religious pleasures modeled after the world but carried on in the name of Jesus.…

 

“History reveals that times of suffering for the Church have also been times of looking upward. Tribulation has always sobered God’s people and encouraged them to look for and yearn after the return of their Lord. Our present preoccupation with this world may be a warning of bitter days to come. God will wean us from the earth some way—the easy way if possible, the hard way if necessary. It is up to us.”9


Charles Spurgeon also admonished:

 

“Beware of the leaven of worldly pleasure, for its working is silent but sure, and a little of it will leaven the whole lump. Keep up the distinction between a Christian and an unbeliever and make it clearer every day.…

 

“Avoid the appearance of evil. ‘But we must not be too rigid,’ says one. There is no fear of that in these days. You will never go too far in holiness, nor become too like your Lord Jesus. If anybody accuses you of being too strict and precise, do not grieve but try to deserve the charge. I cannot suppose that at the last great day our Lord Jesus Christ will say to anyone, ‘You were not worldly enough. You were too jealous over your conduct, and did not sufficiently conform to the world.’ No, my brethren, such a wrong is impossible. He Who said, ‘Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect,’ has set before you a standard beyond which you can never go.

 

“‘Well, but,’ says one, ‘are we to have no enjoyments?’ My dear friend, the enjoyments which are prepared for Christians are many and great, but they never include sin and folly. Do you call vice and folly amusements?…

 

“‘But,’ you say, ‘I would greatly enjoy a little of the pleasures of sin.’ Judge yourselves, then, to be falsely called children of God.…

 

“As for your Lord’s work, be bound to the altar of Christ and be united for ever to Him, and I am sure you will not find that you are losers by giving up worldly pleasures.” (Emphasis added)10

 

“For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world; looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ; who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works. These things speak, and exhort, and rebuke with all authority. Let no man despise thee.” (Titus 2:11-15)


“Christianizing” or “churching” things of the world, as well as pleasing the world under the guise of pleasing God, is still sowing to the flesh, and God is not mocked. People will reap what they sow. In “Feeding Sheep or Amusing Goats?” Charles Spurgeon further admonished:

 

“The devil has seldom done a cleverer thing than hinting to the church that part of their mission is to provide entertainment for the people, with a view to winning them.

 

“From speaking out as the Puritans did, the church has gradually toned down her testimony, then winked at and excused the frivolities of the day. Then she tolerated them in her borders. Now she has adopted them under the plea of reaching the masses.…

 

“If it is a Christian work, why did not Christ speak of it? ‘Go ye into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature’ (Mark 16:15). That is clear enough. So it would have been if He had added, ‘and provide amusement for those who do not relish the gospel.’ No such words, however, are to be found.…

 

“Then again, ‘He gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some evangelists; and some pastors and teachers .., for the work of the ministry’ (Eph. 4:11-12). Where do entertainers come in?… Were the prophets persecuted because they amused the people or because they refused?

 

“Again, providing amusement is in direct antagonism to the teaching and life of Christ and all his apostles. What was the attitude of the church to the world? Ye are the salt (Matt. 5:13), not the sugar candy—something the world will spit out not swallow.…

 

“Had Christ introduced more of the bright and pleasant elements into his mission, he would have been more popular when they went back … I do not hear him say, ‘Run after these people Peter and tell them we will have a different style of service tomorrow, something short and attractive with little preaching. We will have a pleasant evening for the people. Tell them they will be sure to enjoy it. Be quick Peter, we must get the people somehow.’ Jesus pitied sinners, sighed and wept over them, but never sought to amuse them.

 

“In vain will the Epistles be searched to find any trace of this gospel of amusement! Their message is, ‘Come out, keep out, keep clean out!’… They had boundless confidence in the gospel and employed no other weapon.

 

“After Peter and John were locked up for preaching, the church had a prayer meeting but they did not pray, ‘Lord grant unto thy servants that by a wise and discriminating use of innocent recreation we may show these people how happy we are.’ If they ceased not from preaching Christ, they had not time for arranging entertainments. Scattered by persecution, they went everywhere preaching the gospel.… Lord, clear the church of all the rot and rubbish the devil has imposed on her, and bring us back to apostolic methods.” (Emphasis added)11


“The Foolishness of Preaching”


When worship is no longer about God, preaching becomes “outdated”:

 

“The message must never change, but the methods must change. If you change the message, you are a heretic.… At the same time, however, I also believe that if you continue to share it in an outdated mode, for instance, like a preaching style that was effective a hundred years ago, you are actually making the message watered down because people can’t hear it.” —Rick Warren12

 

“Are you being faithful to God’s Word if you insist on communicating it in an outdated style?… I contend that when a church continues to use methods that no longer work, it is being unfaithful to Christ!” —Rick Warren13


Methods of relativism will inevitably change a message of absolutism. And this is exactly what is happening.


Unbelievably, preachers of “a hundred years ago,” such as Charles Spurgeon, if alive today and preaching in their “outdated” “preaching style” would be considered guilty of watering down the Gospel and being unfaithful to Christ. Yet people today who cut gaping holes in the Gospel and change the message by changing the methods to cater to the unbelieving world are highly praised, modeled after, and viewed as faithful to God’s Word!


Today’s Christianity clearly doesn’t realize that God’s message and method are tied together because of the nature of His light, which is God Himself and His Word. Preaching the Word of God is God’s message and method because it is in the light of God, not in the ways of the world, that mankind is enlightened in understanding His truth.

 

“O send out thy light and thy truth: let them lead me; let them bring me unto thy holy hill, and to thy tabernacles.” (Psalm 43:3)

 

Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever. For all flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of grass. The grass withereth, and the flower thereof falleth away: But the word of the Lord endureth for ever. And this is the word which by the gospel is preached unto you.” (1 Peter 1:23-25)

 

“Even the mystery which hath been hid from ages and from generations, but now is made manifest to his saints: To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory: Whom we preach, warning every man, and teaching every man in all wisdom; that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus.” (Colossians 1:26-28)

 

“That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world.” (John 1:9)


Nevertheless, preaching is considered to be old-fashioned foolishness by today’s leaders who prefer to follow the world’s ‘wisdom’ and cater to the world’s chosen wickedness. Yet God Himself is the One Who chose “the foolishness of preaching”:

 

For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God. For it is written, I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and will bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent. Where is the wise? where is the scribe? where is the disputer of this world? hath not God made foolish the wisdom of this world? For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe. For the Jews require a sign, and the Greeks seek after wisdom: But we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumblingblock, and unto the Greeks foolishness; but unto them which are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God. Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men; and the weakness of God is stronger than men. For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called: But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty; and base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are: That no flesh should glory in his presence.” (1 Corinthians 1:18-29)


The apostle Paul did not cater to what the Jews or the Greeks wanted. Even knowing that his message and method would be a stumblingblock and considered foolishness to them, he served God, not man, and preached Christ crucified whether they would hear or not. Obedience, not results, is the greater issue.

 

“But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world.” (Galatians 6:14)


The apostle Paul’s faithfulness was to God and to His Word, not to the world. This refusal to compromise led to his and the other apostles being “made a spectacle unto the world,” viewed as “fools,” “despised” and “defamed,” and “made as the filth of the world” and “the offscouring of all things” (see 1 Corinthians 4:9-10, 13).


There is quite a difference between how the world viewed God’s faithful back then who “hazarded their lives for the name of our Lord Jesus Christ” (Acts 15:26) and how it views many of Christianity’s leaders today! The world loves getting its itching ears tickled, and compromising leaders today are quick to please, unlike the true apostles who refused to stop preaching the Lord Jesus Christ even when covered with bloody stripes.

 

“… and when they had called the apostles, and beaten them, they commanded that they should not speak in the name of Jesus, and let them go. And they departed from the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for his name. And daily in the temple, and in every house, they ceased not to teach and preach Jesus Christ.” (Acts 5:40-42)


Unlike the leaders today who are afraid to offend anyone, the apostles suffered all of this willingly, refusing to be ashamed of the Rock of Offence and His truth that greatly offend the world.

 

Be not thou therefore ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me his prisoner: but be thou partaker of the afflictions of the gospel according to the power of God; who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began, but is now made manifest by the appearing of our Saviour Jesus Christ, who hath abolished death, and hath brought life and immortality to light through the gospel: Whereunto I am appointed a preacher, and an apostle, and a teacher of the Gentiles. For the which cause I also suffer these things: nevertheless I am not ashamed: for I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day. Hold fast the form of sound words, which thou hast heard of me, in faith and love which is in Christ Jesus.” (2 Timothy 1:8-13)


It is God’s message and methods that save, not the world’s. This is true in every generation. Tickling the world’s itching ears and calling its ways “worship” will not change anyone’s aversion to hearing the true message. Nor does this bring pleasure to God.

 

“And he said unto them, Ye are they which justify yourselves before men; but God knoweth your hearts: for that which is highly esteemed among men is abomination in the sight of God.” (Luke 16:15)


In his generation, Tozer also faced “advocates of compromise” who sought to make the world “feel at home” in the churches:

 

“Any evangelism which by appeal to common interests and chatter about current events seeks to establish a common ground where the sinner can feel at home is as false as the altars of Baal ever were.…

 

“One of the most popular current errors, and … being carried on in evangelical circles these days, is the notion that as times change the church must change with them. Christians must adapt their methods by the demands of the people.… go along with them—give them what they want. ‘The message is the same, only the method changes,’ say the advocates of compromise.” —A.W. Tozer14


Yet Tozer stood his ground against the crowd who insisted on the necessity of conforming to the times and finding common ground with everybody:

 

“The fish that goes along with the current hasn’t any trouble with the current, but as soon as he starts the other way the current gets sore at him. Just as long as you go the way the wind blows, everybody will say you’re very fine and commend you for being deeply religious. If you decide to go God’s way instead of the way the wind blows they’ll say that your roof leaks or that something has happened to you that you’re a fanatic. You can go along with the times or you can be like Zechariah and Elizabeth and refuse to go along with the times. Personally I’ve decided that a long time ago. They say that if you don’t conform to the times and find a common ground for getting along with everybody that nobody will listen to you. The more I’m nonconformist the more people want to hear me.” —A.W. Tozer15

 

“I’ve been told that I’ve missed the boat but I reply that I wasn’t trying to catch that boat. That boat and a lot of others like it can go on without me and I’ll be quite happy. We can conform to the religion of our times if we want to.

 

“I weigh 145 pounds dripping wet, but I stand here to tell you that I’m a nonconformist, twice born, and a rebel and I will not conform to the times. Up to now I’ve been able to get a hearing and refused to conform to the times. But if a day ever comes when to conform to the times is the price you have to pay to be heard, then I’ll go out and start where I started before on the street corner and preach there. But I won’t conform to the times.

 

“They say you are supposed to do it. They say, ‘Don’t you know we have the same message but it’s just different times we’re living in.’ I know the voice of the serpent when I hear it. The hiss of the serpent is in that and I recognize that. So we can either conform or we can withdraw from the whole business, and Paul says, ‘From such turn away.’” —A.W. Tozer16

 

“Heresy of method may be as deadly as heresy of message.” —A.W. Tozer17


The unfruitful works of darkness used to be warned against by Christianity’s leaders. Now, Christianity largely dismisses the earnest warnings of the few with laughter or antagonism or marginalization, while it participates in the works of darkness and calls them “worship.”

 

“Only let your conversation be as it becometh the gospel of Christ: that whether I come and see you, or else be absent, I may hear of your affairs, that ye stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel.” (Philippians 1:27)

 

“Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ; as obedient children, not fashioning yourselves according to the former lusts in your ignorance: but as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation; because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy.” (1 Peter 1:13-16)

 

“Thus saith the Lord, thy Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel; I am the Lord thy God which teacheth thee to profit, which leadeth thee by the way that thou shouldest go. O that thou hadst hearkened to my commandments! then had thy peace been as a river, and thy righteousness as the waves of the sea.” (Isaiah 48:17-18)


 

Return to Chapter 3            Proceed to Chapter 5




 

1.  Tozer on Worship and Entertainment, A.W. Tozer, Selected Excerpts Compiled by James L. Snyder, (Camp Hill, Pennsylvania: Christian Publications, 1997), p. 178.

2.  Rick Warren, The Purpose Driven Church: Growth Without Compromising Your Message & Mission (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Zondervan, 1995), p. 61.

3.  “Two Faces Of Faith: ‘Purpose Driven’ preaching for an MTV world” by Gillian Flaccus, Associated Press, The Modesto Bee, April 9, 2005, http://www.modbee.com/life/faithvalues/story/10279980p-11088489c.html.

4.  “What a purpose driven church is not” by Rick Warren, Rick Warren’s Ministry Toolbox™, Issue #208, 5/25/2005, http://www.pastors.com/RWMT/?artid=8275&id=208.

5.  “Two Faces Of Faith: ‘Purpose Driven’ preaching for an MTV world” by Gillian Flaccus, http://www.modbee.com/life/faithvalues/story/10279980p-11088489c.html. (This quote is also in “Putting Christianity on a modern footing” by Gillian Flaccus, AP, Chicago Sun-Times, March 25, 2005, http://www.suntimes.com/output/religion/cst-nws-purp25.html.)

6.  As quoted in “Purpose-Driven Preaching: An Interview with Rick Warren” by Michael Duduit, Editor, Preaching, September-October 2001 issue, http://www.preaching.com/preaching/pastissues/rickwarren.htm.

7.  “What is PurposeDriven?”, PurposeDriven, http://www.purposedriven.com/en-US/AboutUs/WhatIsPD/7+Myths+of+PD.htm.

8.  Morning and Evening, a Devotional series by Charles H. Spurgeon, Answers in Genesis, http://www.answersingenesis.org/Devotions/devotions.asp?reqDate=7/14/2005&reqDayPer=1.

9.  “Why We Are Lukewarm About Christ’s Return” by A.W. Tozer, The Best of A.W. Tozer, Compiled by Warren W. Wiersbe, (Camp Hill, Pennsylvania: Christian Publications, 1978), p. 57.

10. “Spurgeon and Places of Entertainment,” Charles Haddon Spurgeon, Sword & Trowell, Issue 1995 No. 2, as reprinted by The Middletown Bible Church, http://www.middletownbiblechurch.org/christia/spurgeon.htm.

11. “Feeding Sheep or Amusing Goats?” by Charles Haddon Spurgeon, http://www.crossroad.to/Quotes/Church/Spurgeon.htm.

12. Rick Warren, as quoted in Rick Warren and the Purpose that Drives Him: An Insider Looks at the Phenomenal Bestseller by Richard Abanes, (Eugene Oregon: Harvest House Publishers, 2005), pp. 29-30.

13. Rick Warren, The Purpose Driven Church: Growth Without Compromising Your Message & Mission, p. 65.

14. Tozer on Worship and Entertainment, A.W. Tozer, Selected Excerpts Compiled by James L. Snyder, pp. 165-166.

15. Ibid., p. 136.

16. Ibid., pp. 136-137.

17. Ibid., p. 185.




Copyright © 2006 Tamara Hartzell. All rights reserved.


Home