Purpose #5: You Were Made for a Mission
Was Christ’s Mission on Earth to Atone for Our Sins or to
“Introduce” People to God So They Can Become His Friends?
“The Bible says, ‘Now we can rejoice in our wonderful new relationship with God—all because of what our Lord Jesus Christ has done for us in making us friends of God.’ [endnote: Romans 5:11 (NLT)]” (PDL; p. 86)
Rick Warren’s chosen version for this verse has greatly watered down the tremendous truth of all the Lord Jesus Christ has done for us. This Scripture actually says:
“And not only so, but we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement.” (Romans 5:11)
Friendship with God is one of the precious privileges we receive through the death of His Son, our Lord Jesus Christ. But it is because His sacrificial death on the cross was the atonement—God’s required price and payment for our sins—that we have salvation and peace with God. Thus we are reconciled with God when we believe in the Lord Jesus Christ. It is His atonement that says “it is finished,” thereby completely excluding works so that we cannot add one single thing to what the Lord Jesus Christ has done for us. He paid the full price for our sins.
Rick Warren, who says his aim is to prepare people for eternity, has chosen to quote from a version that deletes the means of salvation from the verse above. Yet without His atonement for our sins, we would have no hope of ever being anything but the enemies of God. Because of the tremendous love of God for us, the true “mission” of Christ was that He came to earth to die for our sins so that we don’t have to. Everything else He did was extra.
Yet preferring to put a man-centered spin on his purpose-driven “manifesto,” Rick Warren says the following:
“The mission Jesus had while on earth is now our mission because we are the Body of Christ. What he did in his physical body we are to continue as his spiritual body, the church. What is that mission? Introducing people to God! The Bible says, ‘Christ changed us from enemies into his friends and gave us the task of making others his friends also.’ [endnote: 2 Corinthians 5:18 (TEV)]” (PDL; p. 282; bold added)
Sadly, Rick Warren repeatedly undermines his stated goal of preparing his readers for eternity by either ignoring the pertinent context (such as in this previous quote of 2 Corinthians 5), or by deleting key phrases of Scripture from the verses he quotes, or by choosing corrupt versions that have already done so.
Reportedly, one of the reasons for changing the “language” of the Gospel (but not the “message,” mind you) is that today’s generation can’t understand Christianity’s so-called outdated words. Well of course they can’t, given the dumbed-down teaching they’re being handed. Yet Christianity’s leaders actually think they are going to resolve this lack of understanding by catering to this dumbing down process. In actuality, they are facilitating the departure from the faith.
Rick Warren’s Paradigm largely reduces Jesus Christ’s “mission” on earth to introducing people to God and modeling the purpose-driven life and the purpose-driven P.E.A.C.E. Plan. This generic feel-good emphasis on Jesus as “model” rather than as the Lord and Saviour is one with which most religions (faiths) have no problem.
Introducing People to Which God?
No one can come to God apart from the Lord Jesus Christ. Because “introducing people to God” is relative according to which God one believes in, there can be an eternal difference between “introducing people to God” and preaching the Gospel of Christ. For example:
“Across America pastors and Christian leaders are allowing representatives of the Islamic faith to freely speak in their pulpits. This happened at Willow Creek Community Church, the largest church in America, where a Muslim man named Faisal Hammouda was allowed to share the pulpit. During the interview with Pastor Bill Hybels, Hammouda claimed: ‘As a matter of fact, we, all of us, believe in Jesus. I believe in Jesus. I believe in Mohammed and all the prophets. So our mission here is to introduce people to God.’ He also stated, ‘We believe in Jesus more than you do, in fact.’” —Editorial, Voice of the Martyrs (Emphasis added)1
This Muslim agrees with Rick Warren’s fifth purpose that his “mission” is “to introduce people to God”! Yet he is introducing people to the false god and false “Jesus” of Islam.
Yet in Christianity today, we are increasingly being taught that Muslims believe in the same God Christians believe in. This couldn’t be further from the truth. Muslims are required to follow the teachings of Islam that their god Allah has no son. Neither is the false god of Islam a Godhead consisting of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. The false “Jesus” of Islam was never crucified or sacrificed for our sins or resurrected, and he is nothing more than merely another human prophet along with “Mohammed and all the prophets.” Their god is not the true God, and their “Jesus” is not the Son of God, the Lord Jesus Christ -- God manifest in the flesh.
Christians today who blindly accept the propaganda that “Allah” is simply the word for “God” in their own language have been dangerously deceived into equating the true and living God with a false god. “Allah” is no more just a word for “God” than “Baal” is just a word for “lord.” And anyone who knows the Old Testament knows what the Lord God thought of Baal! Both Baal and Allah are the names of false gods who are not even remotely the true and holy Lord God Almighty.
The preferred feel-good, man-centered theology that desires interfaith unity is ignoring God’s many warnings in His Holy Scriptures. For example:
“That God would want me for a close friend is hard to understand, but the Bible says, ‘He is a God who is passionate about his relationship with you.’ [endnote: Exodus 34:14 (NLT)]” (PDL; p. 86)
Exodus 34:14-15 actually says:
“For thou shalt worship no other god: for the Lord, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God: Lest thou make a covenant with the inhabitants of the land, and they go a-whoring after their gods, and do sacrifice unto their gods, and one call thee, and thou eat of his sacrifice.”
In today’s Christianity, covenants are being signed with Catholics, Mormons, and Muslims, as the focus switches from belief in the truth to a generic “relationship” with God. The drive to globally transform Christianity into an interfaith Churchianity continues at rapid pace. This is facilitated as the pragmatic leaders and the popular, mass-produced corrupt “Bibles” continue to take unholy scissors to God’s Holy Scriptures.
Which God is the world being introduced to through interfaith unity? The jealous Lord God will not hold His peace for ever in this world that prefers man-centered relativism to the truth.
“The Lord shall go forth as a mighty man, he shall stir up jealousy like a man of war: he shall cry, yea, roar; he shall prevail against his enemies. I have long time holden my peace; I have been still, and refrained myself: now will I cry like a travailing woman; I will destroy and devour at once.” (Isaiah 42:13-14)
Introducing People to God by Telling Them Mostly about You?
“This is the essence of witnessing—simply sharing your personal experiences regarding the Lord.…
“He [Jesus] wants you to share your story with others. Sharing your testimony is an essential part of your mission on earth because it is unique. There is no other story just like yours, so only you can share it. If you don’t share it, it will be lost forever.” (PDL; p. 290; emphasis added)
We are to be witnesses to the truth, to the Gospel of Christ. His story is completely unique, and if His Gospel is not shared with other people, they will be lost forever! Priorities are just a tad backward here! Nevertheless, your story is given greater importance than the Word of God:
“Another value of your testimony is that it bypasses intellectual defenses. Many people who won’t accept the authority of the Bible will listen to a humble, personal story.” (PDL; p. 291; emphasis added)
“You may feel you don’t have anything to share, but that’s the Devil trying to keep you silent. You have a storehouse of experiences that God wants to use to bring others into his family.” (PDL; p. 289; emphasis added)
“You may not be a Bible scholar, but you are the authority on your life, and it’s hard to argue with personal experience. Actually, your personal testimony is more effective than a sermon, because unbelievers see pastors as professional salesmen, but see you as a ‘satisfied customer,’ so they give you more credibility.” (PDL; p. 290)
So the mission is to introduce people to God by telling them mostly about you because they won’t accept or listen to God’s Word—the Bible? If they don’t want to accept or listen to the Word of God, then why would they want to be “introduced” to God?
The sad fact is that people who won’t accept the authority of God’s Word will not be willing to hear or believe in the Gospel of Christ to receive His salvation. But this tragedy is glossed over by the ‘good news’ that they will supposedly be willing to listen to you talk mostly about you and the new ultimate authority -- experience.
Consequently, you don’t need to know much about the Bible to fulfill your purpose-driven mission because it’s your unique story about your experiences that people want to hear. Subjective, relative experiences that easily can and do lead people astray have greater authority and credibility with people than the objective, absolute truth of God and His Word. Accordingly, Rick Warren neglects to even suggest comparing the lessons of your experiences with the unchanging truth of God’s Word to make sure your experiences are not deceiving you, before you share them with others.
It used to be obvious that we can only be brought into the family of God through salvation by faith and that salvation only comes through the specific message of the Gospel of Christ. God’s Word does not say that “our lives and experiences are the power of God unto salvation,” nor does it say that “faith comes by seeing or hearing about the lives and experiences of others.”
Yet sharing our story is largely what Rick Warren’s fifth purpose is about. Again, God’s Word says otherwise. It is not about us and our lives and our experiences:
“For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek. For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith.” (Romans 1:16-17)
“For we preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord; and ourselves your servants for Jesus’ sake. For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us.” (2 Corinthians 4:5-7)
“That the Gentiles should be fellowheirs, and of the same body, and partakers of his promise in Christ by the gospel: whereof I was made a minister … Unto me, who am less than the least of all saints, is this grace given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ.” (Ephesians 3:6, 8)
Incidentally, the Lord Jesus Christ is not a product to be bought and sold. The unbelievers that see church-goers as “satisfied customers” have more understanding than believers regarding the tremendous influx of money changers into these market-driven churches. Even so, it is no surprise that unbelievers would give more credibility to this Churchianity which centers around people and their perceived needs than they give to true Christianity which is founded on the Lord God and His Word.
“By beginning with people’s needs when you preach or teach, you immediately gain the attention of your audience.… A good salesman knows you always start with the customer’s needs, not the product.” —Rick Warren (Emphasis added)2
A.W. Tozer described today’s Christianity perfectly:
“The rise of a new religious spirit in recent years is marked by disturbing similarities to that earlier ‘revival’ under Constantine. Now as then a quasi-Christianity is achieving acceptance by compromise. It is dickering with the unregenerate world for acceptance and, as someone said recently, it is offering Christ at bargain prices to win customers. The total result is a conglomerate religious mess that cannot but make the reverent Christian sick in his heart.” —A.W. Tozer (Emphasis added)3
Today’s Christianity doesn’t think twice about compromising in order to cater to itching ears that prefer storytellers to truth tellers.
“Personal stories are also easier to relate to than principles, and people love to hear them.” (PDL; p. 290)
People do indeed love to hear them. Scripture foretold today’s refusal to hear the truth, but it does not say to give in to their desire and tell them stories when they won’t listen to God’s Word! It actually says the opposite:
“I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom; preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; and they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.” (2 Timothy 4:1-4)
Here’s a good example of a fable, which reeks of the occult:
“Shared stories build a relational bridge that Jesus can walk across from your heart to theirs.” (PDL; p. 290; emphasis added)
Regardless of the tremendous import ascribed to personal experiences and stories, and regardless of the sad fact that the world is not interested in hearing God’s Word, the Word of God nevertheless unapologetically declares that it is “the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus” (2 Timothy 3:15). Unlike man, who has been bewitched away from the truth by man’s philosophies and so-called wisdom, God, the One Who devised the means of salvation, knows what He is talking about.
The world is without excuse. It cannot hear or understand the preached Word because it does not want to, not because supposedly “outdated” methods are being used. It is the world’s preference for its fleshly ways that lead to its deaf ears and blinded eyes and its hatred for the light in the words of the Lord Jesus Christ (e.g., see Matthew 13:15; Acts 28:26-27; John 3:19-20; 7:7; and 17:14).
Although faith comes by hearing the Word of God (see Romans 10:17), in those who hear it there still must be some faith that is willing to receive and respond to the Word. The preached Word of God will not profit those who have covered their eyes and ears, which Satan then exacerbates:
“But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost: In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.” (2 Corinthians 4:3-4)
“For unto us was the gospel preached, as well as unto them: but the word preached did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in them that heard it.” (Hebrews 4:2)
Yet to cater to the unbelieving world, the “Good News” being spread today is a man-centered message designed to tickle itching ears.
“In this book you have learned God’s five purposes for your life on earth: He made you to be a member of his family, a model of his character, a magnifier of his glory, a minister of his grace, and a messenger of his Good News to others. Of these five purposes, the fifth can only be done on earth. The other four you will keep doing in eternity in some way. That’s why spreading the Good News is so important; you only have a short time to share your life message and fulfill your mission.…
“Question to Consider: As I reflect on my personal story, who does God want me to share it with?” (PDL; pp. 295-296; bold added)
It isn’t the life of the Lord Jesus Christ that is the primary focus of the Purpose-Driven Paradigm.
“sharing Christ: Learn how to enlist people in the worldwide mission of sharing and reproducing their life.” —purpose driven church conference 2005 brochure (Emphasis added)4
The ravaging transformation of Christianity continues.
“I pray that you will always be on the lookout to reach ‘one more for Jesus’ so that when you stand before God one day, you can say, ‘Mission accomplished!’” (PDL; p. 288)
First, the mission of reaching one more for Jesus is not accomplished by sharing our personal story, sharing and reproducing our life, or getting as many unbelievers as one can into compromised worldly churches where the truth has been so watered down and twisted it is virtually unrecognizable—if it is even still given. It is giving them the solid truth, because apart from the truth of Christ and His Gospel these unbelievers will never be saved, or “reached” for Jesus.
Second, to stand before God one day and say, “Mission accomplished!” resembles proudly saying, “Look what I did for you, God!” Quite the contrary, we will be humbly falling on our faces before the infinitely holy Lord God overwhelmed with gratitude toward Him in the realization of the magnitude of all that He has done for us. And that includes God mercifully covering our “filthy rags” of seeming righteousnesses and hiding our lives in the Lord Jesus Christ so that only His true righteousness is seen!
But then, the purpose-driven life really is much more about you than it is about God.
“That’s why spreading the Good News is so important; you only have a short time to share your life message and fulfill your mission.” (PDL; p. 295; emphasis added)
“The Great Commission is your commission, and doing your part is the secret to living a life of significance.” (PDL; p. 304)
The important motivation here in sharing the Gospel of Christ is so that before time runs out you can fulfill your mission and achieve significance. The significance, of course, comes from telling the world mostly about you! You were able to share your unique story before it was lost forever.
“There is no greater epitaph than that statement! Imagine it chiseled on your tombstone: That you served God’s purpose in your generation. My prayer is that people will be able to say that about me when I die. It is also my prayer that people will say it about you, too. That is why I wrote this book for you.” (PDL; p. 318)
His purpose for writing this book was so that people will be able to say this about his readers when they die? In fact, what truly matters is that we live our lives focused completely on the Lord God Himself because we love Him, and because we want people to know and love the Lord God and speak words of praise about the Lord God! And the fact of the matter is, as Scripture often reiterates, when we do this, more often than not we will be persecuted and criticized rather than praised.
“Marvel not, my brethren, if the world hate you.” (1 John 3:13)
“Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.” (2 Timothy 3:12)
“Blessed are ye, when men shall hate you, and when they shall separate you from their company, and shall reproach you, and cast out your name as evil, for the Son of man’s sake. Rejoice ye in that day, and leap for joy: for, behold, your reward is great in heaven: for in the like manner did their fathers unto the prophets.” (Luke 6:22-23)
God’s Word also assures us that when we stand up for the name of Christ, He is glorified even if we are reproached by people for doing so.
“If ye be reproached for the name of Christ, happy are ye; for the spirit of glory and of God resteth upon you: on their part he is evil spoken of, but on your part he is glorified.” (1 Peter 4:14)
However, if we water down the truth so much as to make it palatable and inoffensive to everyone who hears it, we need not worry about being reproached by man. But neither will Christ be glorified by us.
When focusing on God’s purposes, the emphasis is not the precious Lord God Himself Who is the greatest Reward and Treasure a person could ask for. Rather, the emphasis becomes the significance of our works and what we do. As a result, the self-centered goal becomes an epitaph praising our works and then a self-aggrandizing entrance into the presence of our Self-sacrificing Lord and Saviour with the proclamation, “Mission accomplished!”
Basically, this is what the many do in Matthew 7:22. They try to get into heaven singing their own praises of their own “many wonderful works,” in essence saying, “Lord, Lord, look at all the things we did for you!” But it’s not about us; it’s about God:
“Many, O Lord my God, are thy wonderful works which thou hast done …” (Psalm 40:5)
Here’s a question to consider: Does the Muslim who claims to “believe in Jesus” and says “our mission here is to introduce people to God” already qualify according to the Purpose-Driven Paradigm to someday stand before God and say, “Mission accomplished!”? In the Paradigm’s man-centered “spiritual journey,” God is not going to ask him about his “religious background or doctrinal views.” Even so, he claims to “believe in Jesus” more than we do!
At any rate, the Paradigm supports him by ascribing greater importance to knowing your purpose than knowing Jesus Christ.
Return to Chapter 7 Proceed to Chapter 9
1. “Muslims in our Pulpits” by Dr. Tom White, Executive Director, Voice of the Martyrs, in “Have We Shamed the Face of Jesus?,” Editorial by Voice of the Martyrs, sent out with VOM’s monthly newsletter in December 2001, http://christianunplugged.com/muslims_in_church.htm. (The editorial is also posted at http://bereanpublishers.com/Cults/Muslims/have_we_shamed_the_face_of_jesus.htm.)
2. Rick Warren, The Purpose Driven Church: Growth Without Compromising Your Message & Mission, p. 225.
3. Tozer on Worship and Entertainment, A.W. Tozer, Selected Excerpts Compiled by James L. Snyder, p. 138.
4. “purpose driven church conference 2005” brochure, PurposeDriven, http://pddocs.purposedriven.com:8088/docs/pdchurch/2005_PDC_Brochure.pdf, p. 5.
Copyright © 2006 Tamara Hartzell. All rights reserved.