Purpose #4: You Were Shaped for Serving God
Serve God According to Who He Is, Not According to Who You Are
The purpose-driven SHAPE system is an unscriptural aspect of the Purpose-Driven Paradigm about which a book could be written. In fact, Christian author James Sundquist discusses it in his detailed book, Who’s Driving the Purpose Driven Church?: A Documentary on the Teachings of Rick Warren.1 Suffice it to say that whether deliberately or not, there are aspects of the SHAPE system that stem from Carl Jung, which Sundquist discusses. Jung’s theories were deeply rooted in the occult and Gnosticism and became foundational to much of psychology.
Although psychology contains humanist philosophies that stand in direct opposition to the Word of God, it has nevertheless been blindly invited into Christianity by its leaders.2 In spite of Rick Warren’s statements against psychology, his SHAPE system (not to mention his Paradigm) actually contains a great deal of its man-centered philosophies and tools.
The gifts of the Spirit are manifested in us the same way as the fruit of the Spirit—through the direct working and power of the Holy Spirit Himself, within us and through us. But rather than relying on the Holy Spirit to minister through us in His power and in how He chooses to do so at any given time, this fourth purpose is about finding out who you are, listening to the inner promptings of your heart, assessing your gifts, your abilities, and your experience, and using worldly man-made tools to learn about your personality, so you can serve God accordingly. But trying to serve God according to who you are rather than Who He is leads to everyone doing what is right in their own eyes and in their own power.
Throughout The Purpose-Driven Life (as well as the Purpose-Driven Paradigm), Rick Warren shapes Scripture according to what he has to say by picking and choosing verses or phrases from certain versions with just the right wording that seems to support his statements at the time. Thus contradictions abound in his pragmatic Paradigm, as what he has to say changes according to the purpose of the immediate situation or topic. We are far better served when we see what Scripture has to say and then shape our premises and teachings accordingly.
In the previous purpose, Rick Warren quoted a verse from a version that claims our deceitful heart is “beyond cure.” Yet in this purpose he says that listening to the inner promptings of this heart is the “H” in his SHAPE program for determining what ministry a person should have!
“Jeremiah said, ‘The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure.’ [endnote: Jeremiah 17:9 (NIV)]” (PDL; p. 215)
“SHAPE: Listening to Your Heart
“The Bible uses the term heart to describe the bundle of desires, hopes, interests, ambitions, dreams, and affections you have.” (PDL; p. 237)
“Listening for inner promptings can point to the ministry God intends for you to have.” (PDL; p. 238)
If a deceitful heart that is “beyond cure” is to be listened to in figuring out how best to serve God, then no wonder the worldly Purpose-Driven movement is walking so much in the flesh in how it is trying to go about its service of God. Yet this result fits with what Scripture actually says:
“The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?” (Jeremiah 17:9)
This is why we are to grow in the knowledge of Who God is and study God’s Word to show ourselves approved, instead of growing in the knowledge of who we are and doing what our heart—or manmade tests—tells us is right.
“A fool hath no delight in understanding, but that his heart may discover itself.” (Proverbs 18:2)
When we serve God according to Who He is, we understand that the holy and righteous God will not consider unholy and unrighteous works as service to Him regardless of whether they are done in His name, regardless of whether people are following their heart or their abilities or their entire SHAPE, and regardless of whether an unbeliever happens to be “purpose-driven” and serving other people.
On March 22, 2005, Larry King interviewed Rick Warren and asked him:
“You can, though, Rick, have a purpose-driven life and be an agnostic or an atheist, can’t you? Still do good, still help others, still have purpose?”
Carefully notice Rick Warren’s reply:
“Absolutely, you can help other people. I believe that we were made for a purpose, and that purpose is really to know God and to serve God and to love God, and to serve other people by -- serve God by serving others. You know, you can’t really serve God directly, Larry, not here on Earth. The only way you can serve God is by serving other people.”3
Agnostics and atheists do not believe in God. If people who in God’s book do not know, love, or serve God can still have a purpose-driven life, then the purpose-driven life is not about God, statements to the contrary notwithstanding.
Larry King then responded by asking:
“Since you believe in God, if an agnostic or an atheist is doing good, God appreciates it, according to you, right?”
Again, carefully notice Rick Warren’s answer:
“God wants us all to be loving to each other, there is no doubt about that. In fact, Jesus wouldn’t have made any distinction between someone who was of a different background. The issue was, do they love him and do they have a purpose? Are they following his purpose?”4
Refusing to believe in the truth of God’s Word and of the Lord God Himself is neither following His purpose nor love or service for God regardless of the dedication with which one serves the world. People outside the faith are way beyond being of “a different background.” They are enemies of God abiding on the broad way. No matter how “good” someone’s works are, without faith it is impossible to please God (see Hebrews 11:6), and this Scripture is not referring to any “faith” of other religions!
The Lord Jesus Christ is the only way to God, including serving Him. And there is no way to the Lord Jesus Christ apart from faith, which is believing and obeying the truth on His narrow way. Serving other people is the fruit of our serving God directly through faith, love, obedience, and truth. To do this, we must abide in the Lord Jesus Christ on His narrow way (see also Matthew 7:13-14):
“Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me. I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing. If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned.” (John 15:4-6)
The Lord Jesus Christ said that if we love Him we will keep His commandments (see John 14:15, 21, 23-24; and 1 John 5:3). Yes, He did summarize His commandments into loving God and loving our neighbors, but this does not eliminate obediently doing so in righteousness and holiness and truth.
Yet in the Purpose-Driven Paradigm, knowing and loving and serving God are being given broad definitions that allow other religions (faiths), which do not believe in the truth, to participate in its purpose-driven works of serving God “by serving other people.”
“It is inconceivable that a sovereign and holy God should be so hard up for workers that He would press into service anyone who had been empowered regardless of his moral qualifications. The very stones would praise Him if the need arose and a thousand legions of angels would leap to do His will.
“Gifts and power for service the Spirit surely desires to impart; but holiness and spiritual worship come first.” —A.W. Tozer5
“Now therefore fear the Lord, and serve him in sincerity and in truth …” (Joshua 24:14)
“If any man serve me, let him follow me; and where I am, there shall also my servant be: if any man serve me, him will my Father honour.” (John 12:26)
“For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost. For he that in these things serveth Christ is acceptable to God, and approved of men.” (Romans 14:17-18)
More often than not, the truth that our lives are to be grounded in righteousness and holiness has been excluded from Rick Warren’s advice on how we are to live. This is a very serious omission from a book that is supposedly a “blueprint for Christian living.” This “blueprint” also completely twists Scripture to support the unscriptural viewpoint that we are to serve God according to who we are:
“God loves to use weak people.…
“In fact, you have a bundle of flaws and imperfections: physical, emotional, intellectual, and spiritual.… Usually we deny our weaknesses, defend them, excuse them, hide them, and resent them. This prevents God from using them the way he desires.
“God has a different perspective on your weaknesses. He says, ‘My thoughts and my ways are higher than yours,’ [endnote: Isaiah 55:9 (CEV)] so he often acts in ways that are the exact opposite of what we expect. We think that God only wants to use our strengths, but he also wants to use our weaknesses for his glory.” (PDL; p. 272)
God does use our weakness for His glory, but spiritual flaws are included in his list of what God “wants to use”?! Furthermore, these categories are given as though no flaw within them could possibly be sin in need of repentance, and that God wants to use them regardless. The verse that he uses has been taken completely out of context and actually says the opposite of what he is trying to make it say:
“Seek ye the Lord while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near: Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the Lord, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon. For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.” (Isaiah 55:6-9)
Giving an entirely different meaning to what God wrote to suit one’s purpose is scriptural malpractice. Yet this is done in the following quote as well:
“Knowing and loving God is our greatest privilege, and being known and loved is God’s greatest pleasure. God says, ‘If any want to boast, they should boast that they know and understand me.… These are the things that please me.’ [endnote: Jeremiah 9:24 (TEV)]” (PDL; p. 87; ellipsis dots in the original; bold added)
His man-centered “blueprint for Christian living” has tremendously twisted this Scripture. With his deletions and ellipsis dots, he has given an entirely different meaning to what God delights in:
“But let him that glorieth glory in this, that he understandeth and knoweth me, that I am the Lord which exercise lovingkindness, judgment, and righteousness, in the earth: for in these things I delight, saith the Lord.” (Jeremiah 9:24)
Sadly, there are numerous examples of Rick Warren omitting from his man-centered “blueprint” the God-centered truth that the righteous and holy Lord God wants us to love and serve Him in righteousness and holiness. That we are to be holy has been deleted from the Message that he frequently prefers:
“The Message paraphrase says, ‘Take your everyday, ordinary life— your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering.’ [endnote: Romans 12:1 (Msg)] Work becomes worship when you dedicate it to God and perform it with an awareness of his presence.” (PDL; p. 67)
Romans 12:1 actually says:
“I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.” (Romans 12:1)
Because we are to offer ourselves holy to God, this determines what behavior is acceptable in our “everyday, ordinary life.” Merely offering up whatever we do in dedication to God is not acceptable unless what we do is holy. And nowadays, doing it “with an awareness of his presence” often means unholy contemplative spirituality.
“Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord.” (Hebrews 12:14)
“For the righteous Lord loveth righteousness; his countenance doth behold the upright.” (Psalm 11:7)
“Righteousness shall go before him; and shall set us in the way of his steps.” (Psalm 85:13)
Judging what is righteous and holy is essential to serving God acceptably and for His glory. In addition, righteousness which is by faith in Jesus Christ is essential to being without offence in God’s eyes:
“And this I pray, that your love may abound yet more and more in knowledge and in all judgment; that ye may approve things that are excellent; that ye may be sincere and without offence till the day of Christ; being filled with the fruits of righteousness, which are by Jesus Christ, unto the glory and praise of God.” (Philippians 1:9-11)
Yet in quoting the verse above, Rick Warren chose to quote a version that deletes the specific fruit of righteousness from it:
“Now, for the rest of your life on earth, God wants to continue the process of changing your character. The Bible says, ‘May you always be filled with the fruit of your salvation—those good things that are produced in your life by Jesus Christ—for this will bring much glory and praise to God.’ [endnote: Philippians 1:11 (NLT)]” (PDL; p. 56; bold added)
The righteousness which is by faith has also been deleted from the following:
“The second reason Noah pleased God was that he trusted God, even when it didn’t make sense. The Bible says, ‘By faith, Noah built a ship in the middle of dry land. He was warned about something he couldn’t see, and acted on what he was told.… As a result, Noah became intimate with God.’ [endnote: Hebrews 11:7 (Msg)]” (PDL; p. 70; ellipsis dots in the original; bold added)
Hebrews 11:7 actually says:
“By faith Noah, being warned of God of things not seen as yet, moved with fear, prepared an ark to the saving of his house; by the which he condemned the world, and became heir of the righteousness which is by faith.”
Yet again, feel-good, man-centered teaching takes precedence over the whole counsel of God:
“God’s motive for creating you was his love. The Bible says, ‘Long before he laid down earth’s foundations, he had us in mind, had settled on us as the focus of his love.’ [endnote: Ephesians 1:4a (Msg)]” (PDL; p. 24; bold added)
In its entirety, Ephesians 1:4 actually says:
“According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love.”
“… O my people, they which lead thee cause thee to err, and destroy the way of thy paths.” (Isaiah 3:12)
God’s path is never apart from righteousness (e.g., see Psalm 23:3); that is, all that is right in God’s eyes, according to God’s narrow way and absolute standard of truth and holiness. He never leads people in paths of unrighteousness -- the fellowship and teachings and ways of the world and its broad way. The omissions from its “blueprint for Christian living” have clearly carried over into the behavior of the Purpose-Driven movement, which is more about pleasing and serving the world than God.
“Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness? But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you. Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness. I speak after the manner of men because of the infirmity of your flesh: for as ye have yielded your members servants to uncleanness and to iniquity unto iniquity; even so now yield your members servants to righteousness unto holiness. For when ye were the servants of sin, ye were free from righteousness. What fruit had ye then in those things whereof ye are now ashamed? for the end of those things is death. But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life.” (Romans 6:16-22)
Throughout His Holy Scriptures, the righteous Lord God of truth makes it clear what pleases Him and that His ways are not found outside righteousness and truth. So turning to an unholy, counterfeit “Bible” for help in this area isn’t a wise place to look:
“Since pleasing God is the first purpose of your life, your most important task is to discover how to do that. The Bible says, ‘Figure out what will please Christ, and then do it.’ [endnote: Ephesians 5:10 (Msg)]” (PDL; p. 69)
When the Holy Scriptures are rightly divided and studied to see what God actually says—instead of searched with tunnel vision to extract specific verses or phrases to ‘validate’ what man says—there is no need to “figure out” what pleases the Lord God. He makes it clear from Genesis to Revelation. True Scripture even makes it clear what pleases God in this very sentence from which Rick Warren extracted this verse:
“For ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord: walk as children of light: (For the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness and righteousness and truth;) proving what is acceptable unto the Lord.” (Ephesians 5:8-10)
But yet again, righteousness and truth have been deleted from his “blueprint for Christian living.”
“What thing soever I command you, observe to do it: thou shalt not add thereto, nor diminish from it.” (Deuteronomy 12:32)
His “blueprint” is full of holes and can only build an unstable, faulty Paradigm. And this Paradigm is leading people to believe that adopting the behavior of the world is acceptable to God because the world’s way “works” in “reaching” the world. Besides, this broad way of the world is itself being portrayed as God’s way of “righteousness” and “service” by many corrupt books claiming to be the scriptural mouthpiece for God.
Incidentally, Rick Warren’s use of Noah as an example of a life that pleases God opens the door to further man-centered problems:
“Fortunately, the Bible gives us a clear example of a life that gives pleasure to God. The man’s name was Noah.…
“The Bible says, ‘Noah was a pleasure to the Lord.’ [endnote: Genesis 6:8 (LB)] … Because Noah brought pleasure to God, you and I are alive today.” (PDL; pp. 69-70; bold added)
This Scripture actually says, “But Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord.” This is not the same thing. The man-centered, unscriptural change to God’s Holy Scriptures denies our sinfulness and desperate need for God’s grace. It is because of the grace of God that we are alive today!
Finding Healing Through Our Wounds or
Healing Through Christ’s Wounds?
Christianity today has gotten too used to the many per-versions of the Bible. It seems to have forgotten what God actually says in His uncorrupted Holy Scriptures so no longer sees the error in what it is reading and doing. A fitting example of this, as well as of the grave error of attempting to serve God according to who we are rather than according to Who He is, is the following:
“God wants you to have a Christlike ministry on earth. That means other people are going to find healing in your wounds. Your greatest life messages and your most effective ministry will come out of your deepest hurts. The things you’re most embarrassed about, most ashamed of, and most reluctant to share are the very tools God can use most powerfully to heal others.” (PDL; p. 275; emphasis added)
A “Christlike ministry” means that people will find healing in our wounds? In addition, please notice that our wounds include things we are “most ashamed of,” which includes sins! Christ was wounded to heal us of our sins, but now the most powerful tool to heal others is either our sins or the sins of others that wounded us? The poison has become the cure, and the cure has become the poison. Everything is upside down.
Rick Warren’s claims are a very grievous usurping of the work that belongs to the Lord Jesus Christ alone and a denial of His all-sufficient and finished work on the cross through His wounds and death.
“Jesus answered and said unto them, Ye do err, not knowing the scriptures, nor the power of God.” (Matthew 22:29)
The rejection of the Man of Sorrows continues.
“He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not. Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.” (Isaiah 53:3-6)
“Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed. For ye were as sheep going astray; but are now returned unto the Shepherd and Bishop of your souls.” (1 Peter 2:24)
The unscriptural claims that people will find healing in our wounds are based on the foolishness of worldly ‘wisdom’ that prefers to follow Jesus as “model” or “pattern” or “example” rather than as the Lord and Saviour. Quite the contrary, as we obediently follow the Lord Jesus Christ and allow Him to live through us in righteousness and godliness and truth, people will see a difference (not similarities) between us and the world, because of His life in us. In fact, if they believe His Gospel, they will find healing in His crucifixion wounds, His truth, His power, and His life.
Yet today, putting a man-centered psychological and physical band-aid on the world to fix it and bring it “recovery” is given greater importance than telling people how to become totally brand new and achieve victory through the all-sufficient Lord God.
“But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:19)
Airing Our Dirty Laundry Is Not Our Most Effective and
Powerful Ministry in Serving God
Unbelievably, as we have begun to see, a psychological band-aid oozing from sin’s wounds is the preferred method of “ministry” in purpose-driven living.
“If you really desire to be used by God, you must understand a powerful truth: The very experiences that you have resented or regretted most in life—the ones you’ve wanted to hide and forget—are the experiences God wants to use to help others. They are your ministry!…
“You have to stop covering them up, and you must honestly admit your faults, failures, and fears. Doing this will probably be your most effective ministry.” (PDL; p. 247)
“Your greatest life messages and your most effective ministry will come out of your deepest hurts. The things you’re most embarrassed about, most ashamed of, and most reluctant to share are the very tools God can use most powerfully to heal others.” (PDL; p. 275)
Since when is airing our dirty laundry and focusing on the sin and darkness of our lives our ministry for God? And since when is our dirty laundry more powerful than the Gospel of Christ? This is the fruit of corrupting and twisting Scripture. Yet Rick Warren claims:
“If Paul had kept his experience of doubt and depression a secret, millions of people would never have benefited from it. Only shared experiences can help others.” (PDL; p. 248)
What “millions of people” have benefited from the apostle Paul’s supposed “experience of doubt and depression”? It is obvious in the Holy Scriptures that the apostle Paul’s most effective ministry was preaching the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. Besides, contentment belies doubt and depression. This man of God who was clearly filled with the faith and joy of Christ also said, “for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content … I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me” (Philippians 4:11, 13). Knowing the Lord Jesus Christ Himself is the only thing that can give true help to others.
The ludicrous claims in these quotes must be why in modern “testimonies” people go on and on and on about the darkness and sins in their lives. They tend to say little, if anything, about God or the Gospel of Christ anymore, except maybe as an afterthought in the last few seconds with a generic, “… and God made my life better.” But now “testimonies” are even replacing any comments about what God has done for them with all that their church is doing for them. This is just one more example of how Churchianity and community are replacing Christianity as people focus on who they are instead of Who God is.
Return to Chapter 6 Proceed to Chapter 8
1. James Sundquist, Who’s Driving the Purpose Driven Church?: A Documentary on the Teachings of Rick Warren (Bethany, Oklahoma: Bible Belt Publishers, 2004), (available through Southwest Radio Church Ministries at http://www.swrc.com/offers/internet_0205.htm, various ministries on the Internet, and Amazon.com). See also “The Adulation of Man in The Purpose Driven Life” by Richard Bennett, Berean Beacon, http://www.bereanbeacon.org/articles_pdf/rick_warren_purpose_driven.pdf.
2. For information on Psychology and its assimilation into Christianity, see PsychoHeresy Awareness Ministries at http://www.psychoheresy-aware.org/.
3. Interview with Rick Warren, CNN Larry King Live, Aired March 22, 2005, Transcript, http://transcripts.cnn.com/TRANSCRIPTS/0503/22/lkl.01.html.
5. Tozer on Worship and Entertainment, A.W. Tozer, Selected Excerpts Compiled by James L. Snyder, p. 65.
Copyright © 2006 Tamara Hartzell. All rights reserved.