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Author Topic: The Purpose Driven Life ... Revisited  (Read 9948 times) Average Rating: 0
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SolEX01
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« on: December 20, 2008, 03:05:34 AM »

Is Orthodox Christianity compatible with The Purpose Driven Life?  Apparently, one OCA Church discussed the book for Pre-Lent back in 2005.  Yet, Another website has taken issue with the Bible translation used by Rick Warren and warns people that the Scriptures are being mishandled to suit the agenda of the book.

In light of declining Orthodox Church attendance while thousands flock to see Rick Warren speak throughout the country, is there anything in The Purpose Driven Life which complements Orthodoxy or goes against Orthodoxy?  To go one step further:

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In light of this fact, we ask our Christian readers this crucial question: Do you care? Are you really so cavalier about God’s written revelation given to you that you don’t mind that prominent teachers like Rick Warren are carelessly handling the Scriptures?
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« Reply #1 on: December 20, 2008, 03:22:11 AM »

Well first off, I haven't read the book. I don't know how helpful it would be, personally I don't think I would encourage it.

That said, I am currently working my way through a series by Lee Strobel: Case for Christ, Case for Creator, Case for Faith.

I don't they are perfect books, definitely have a Protestant bent, but at the same time they do something that I haven't seen done by an Orthodox book (point my way if I'm mistaken). Qute simply, they address the concerns/arguments of unbelievers. I think that that is very valuable these days.
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« Reply #2 on: December 20, 2008, 10:22:25 AM »

Does Warren's book clearly state that Christ is the incarnate Son of God, was crucified for us, and rose from the dead? If so, it at least hints at orthodox Christianity. On the other hand, if all it contains are nebulous suggestions that God wants us to be happy, then it probably resembles more the prosperity gospel heresy and writers like Joel Osteen.
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« Reply #3 on: December 20, 2008, 05:57:08 PM »

I don't like "The purpose driven life" at all.

I don't see it as compatible with Orthodox thought. I am not an expert by any means though. I think it rings too much of the idea that suffering and unhappiness are a result of sin. And that to me, isn't Orthodox thought at all. God is not concerned with our happiness over everything else.
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« Reply #4 on: December 20, 2008, 06:07:25 PM »

In light of declining Orthodox Church attendance while thousands flock to see Rick Warren speak throughout the country,

There is nothing you or anyone can do about this except try to save yourself.
Nothing is happening here that Holy Spirit did not tell us would happen:

"Now the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons, speaking lies in hypocrisy, having their own conscience seared with a hot iron (1 Timothy 4:1-2)

"....for that Day will not come unless the falling away comes first..." (2 Thessalonians 2:3)

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Nyssa The Hobbit
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« Reply #5 on: December 20, 2008, 07:42:17 PM »

Here's what I wrote about this book on my website a few years ago, making a few changes here and there as I discovered Orthodoxy:

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I tried reading this.  My husband tried reading this.  We both quit because of all the misquoted and mangled Scripture and misrepresentations of the Gospel message.  Translations were used based on which one made the exact point the author wanted to make.  You want to know your purpose?  Read the Bible, plain and simple.  It tells you how, more importantly, you fit into God's purposes.
 
I'd find you a good Orthodox critique, except that--not counting the Protestant converts who rip it apart on Orthodox forums--it seems to have fallen under the Orthodox radar.  I guess they're too busy reading Fr. Seraphim Rose, the Church Fathers and the Philokalia instead of fluffy Protestant pop psychology.  So here are some Protestant sites:
 
A site that critiques PDL in detail:
http://www.biblebb.com/files/tonyqa/tc03-148.htm
An Evangelical Lutheran review:
http://www.elca.org/lp/0505_12.html
A Lutheran (Confessional/Missouri Synod) review:
http://www.concordtx.org/msnews/cas_pdl.htm
Another Lutheran--Missouri Synod (LCMS) review, on the radio show Issues, Etc.:
http://www.issuesetc.org/resource/archives/purpose.htm
A review from the point of view of Baptist/traditional Presbyterian (PCA) Reformed theology:
http://www.challies.com/archives/000124.php
 
In the last link, this writer also notes Warren's "carelessness in his use of the Bible.  He continually removes Scripture passages from their proper context in order to make them suit his purposes.  He carelessly applies promises to the reader that clearly do not apply.  He also distorts or changes the meanings of certain passages to make them say what he wants them to say."  What's even more disturbing to me is that I have heard pastors preach sermons doing all these things.  I have read accounts from others that their pastors do the same.  This is one reason why we left the Evangelical Free church.  Has this become a common trend in modern American churches?
http://webpages.charter.net/nyssacugan/cgn_000012.htm
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« Reply #6 on: December 21, 2008, 10:04:01 PM »

Does Warren's book clearly state that Christ is the incarnate Son of God, was crucified for us, and rose from the dead? If so, it at least hints at orthodox Christianity. On the other hand, if all it contains are nebulous suggestions that God wants us to be happy, then it probably resembles more the prosperity gospel heresy and writers like Joel Osteen.
I have read the book, and the main idea behind it is that God has planned out each person's entire life, and we are happiest when we choose to do as He has planned--"find our purpose" as Warren calls it. It's really a bunch of pseudoreligious nonsense.
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« Reply #7 on: December 21, 2008, 10:40:20 PM »

Does Warren's book clearly state that Christ is the incarnate Son of God, was crucified for us, and rose from the dead? If so, it at least hints at orthodox Christianity. On the other hand, if all it contains are nebulous suggestions that God wants us to be happy, then it probably resembles more the prosperity gospel heresy and writers like Joel Osteen.
I have read the book, and the main idea behind it is that God has planned out each person's entire life, and we are happiest when we choose to do as He has planned--"find our purpose" as Warren calls it. It's really a bunch of pseudoreligious nonsense.

Very Aristotelean
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GabrieltheCelt
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« Reply #8 on: December 27, 2008, 10:40:40 PM »

  It's hugely popular in Pentecostal/Evangelical churches and in fact, was given to me by an Assemblies of God friend.  I was a little wary of it, given that I'd just converted to EO, but since it was a gift I thought I'd at least look it over.  There are parts of the book that we can agree with such as God has a purpose for each of us.  Pastor Warren submits that when we align our lives with God's purpose, we are transformed.  This also is true, but though he comes close to the concept of theosis, he quickly loses it and diverges over to something eles altogether.  But the most troubling aspect for me is that he uses 15 different versions of the bible and, as OrthodoxFairyQueen wrote, Pastor Warren "misquoted and mangled Scripture" leading to "misenterpretations... Translations were used based on which one made the exact point the author wanted to make."  I couldn't have said it better.  The final analysis (as far I'm concerned) is this: Pastor Warren makes some very good points and is obviously very sincere in his beliefs.  But rather than trying to separate the wheat from the chaff, it would be much more beneficial and healthy to read something like The Ladder of Divine Ascent.
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