My dear friend,
It is a dark hour for the Church. Many false prophets and false teachings have crept into the Church to devour the sheep. Unfortunately, in their greed for money and large attendance, many pastors are following man-centered methods and strategies to entice men and women to attend their church. They are more concerned with church programs that are pleasing to man rather than worship that is pleasing to God.
For instance, many churches have cast out reverent worship and erected an idol - Rick Warren. Warren's books, The Purpose Driven Life and The Purpose Driven Church, have sold millions of copies. His man-centered business methods and strategies to build the Church are idolized by national and international church leaders of many denominations. Unfortunately, Warren's purpose-driven movement has moved into the Church and driven out sound doctrine and holy worship.
And this is happening in my own home church! We are constantly being told that we must concentrate on the youth and adapt our worship to their fleshly desires. Needless to say, very few traditional hymns are sung; they are replaced with contemporary songs. Now let me hasten to say there's nothing wrong with contemporary songs just because they're contemporary, but many are poorly written as I expressed in an e-mail to my pastor:
As I mentioned in an earlier e-mail to you, much of the contemporary music is poorly written, repetitious, and lacks doctrinal truths. Moreover, many of these songs are not suitable for congregational singing. And the atmosphere is more suitable to a secular rock concert than a sacred worship service. I have turned a deaf ear to this music for a year, but the Lord will not allow me to ignore it any longer.
It appears as though the church is more concerned with music that is pleasing to man rather than music pleasing to God; we are serving and worshipping ourselves more than God: “and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator” (Romans 1:25). Furthermore, if you look around during the music, very often many people aren’t singing; it has become merely a program for the music leaders – a concert performance to showcase their talents. And a couple of Sunday mornings ago, we were asked to sing so many new songs that I found the music service very frustrating. I have been singing less and less each Sunday because of the fast, loud songs with meaningless, vague words that drown out the Holy Spirit.
As you know, Pastor, hymns were also sung to false gods, such as Baal. Baal means “lord” and there were many Baalim determined by the place of worship or their peculiar office: Baal-Tsidon, “lord of Sidon;” Baal-Tars, “lord of Tarsus;” Baal-Berith, “lord of covenants;” and so forth. Many of these contemporary songs are so vaguely written with meaningless babblings, it’s often unclear which lord we’re singing about or worshipping. And some songs praise Jehovah; but He is the God of the Old Testament. Jehovah is not even mentioned in the new covenant. Are these Jewish songs? Are we singing these songs because we like the fast beat? When we sing these songs are we confusing emotionalism with the moving of the Holy Spirit? Are we caught up in the emotional hype of rock concerts?
Christianity today seems to be pushing the conservative middle-aged and the elderly out the Church door. Sadly, it appears that our church is following this trend. It’s apparent in the music. Rarely do we sing sacred and reverent hymns beloved by so many men and women.
Friend, do you remember when churches used to have a sign outside that read "Everyone Welcome"? Well, this is no longer true. The conservative middle-aged and the elderly are no longer welcome in church; and I also addressed this issue to our pastor in the same e-mail:
But, as you know, Pastor, the elderly are the faithful attendees and the faithful tithe payers. They have invested years of their life in supporting the Church both financially and spiritually. It is a great sin to show outright disrespect and snub them in favor of the youth.
Of course, I know our church is trying to draw youth by using business marketing strategies: If you want to attract youth, target your advertising and program to youth. Appeal or cater to the youth through music, advertising, and so forth. Just as secular society has become youth-centered, now the Church is becoming youth-centered. And youth despises the middle-aged and elderly. They see us as ignorant with outdated ideals and outdated ways. Oh, the arrogance of youth. They despise the wisdom that only age and experience can teach. Instead of honoring the elderly, the Church disparages them.
The book of Titus teaches us that the most important class in the Church is the aged – the leaders of the young. It is the duty of the aged to lead and instruct the youth. Youth is often characterized by flippancy and levity. Youth are thoughtless, reckless, and unstable. Vainly, they think they know everything when they are too young to really know anything. Therefore, it is the duty of the young to be under the instruction and guidance of the aged.
Unfortunately, the Church today has flip-flopped this and made youth the most important class in the Church. The youth are treated like spoiled children who must get their own way. The aged are now the ones being told it is their duty to be instructed by the youth. Again, like secular society, the Church has become youth-centered. And, as secular youth culture is hedonistic; likewise, the Church is transitioning to a hedonistic youth pseudo-Christian culture.
Yes, the Church is embracing the hedonistic youth-centered culture worshipped by the secular world. So much for the admonition to be separate from the unbelieving world as instructed in Second Corinthians 6:14-18.
 Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?
 And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel?
 And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.
 Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you,
 And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.
But, you say, Warren is a professing Christian and maybe his vision is from God. Well, Warren stated on May 23, 2005, at the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life: "The word `Fundamentalist' actually comes from a document in the 1920s called the Five Fundamentals of the Faith. And it is a very legalistic, narrow view of Christianity."
The five fundamentals of the faith to which Warren objected are:
1. The inerrancy and full authority of the Bible
2. The virgin birth and full Deity of Jesus Christ
3. The bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead
4. Christ's atoning, vicarious death for the sins of the world
5. The literal Second Coming of Jesus Christ
From Radio Liberty @ http://www.radioliberty.com/btds.html
Clearly, Warren is not a true Bible-believing Christian and is spiritually blind. So, why are so many church leaders following a blind man’s vision? And if the blind lead the blind, both shall fall into the ditch (Matthew 15:14).
Warren’s purpose-driven church is a man-made movement. His vision is part of the secular humanist movement to transition the Church from God-centered to man-centered. This is apparent in the new terminology: a church platform is now a stage; a service is now a program; sinners and the unsaved are now the unchurched, and so forth.
Dear friend, America needs a true revival. But the Lord works in mysterious ways, not through the secularization of the Church. We must reverence God and His sanctuary.
Ye shall keep my sabbaths, and reverence my sanctuary: I am the Lord.
O worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness: fear before him, all the earth.
It is written, My house shall be called the house of prayer.
Wherefore we receiving a kingdom which cannot be moved, let us have
grace, whereby we may serve God acceptably with reverence and fear:
For our God is a consuming fire.
Hebrews 12:28, 29
Without the Spirit guiding our lives, we are self-led. Without the Spirit guiding the Church, it is man-led.
Simply put, the purpose of Warren's purpose-driven movement is to drive sound doctrine and holy worship out of the Church. The purpose of Warren's purpose-driven movement is to build a man-centered church opposed to a God-centered church.
Let's pray for wisdom and spiritual guidance.
Faithfully serving our Lord Jesus Christ,
Karen Pansler-Lam, J.D.
P.S. See also these articles:
The Black Plague of Paganism
Rebuke to Purpose Driven Church
Purpose Driven Gimmicks
The Purpose Driven Church (a critique)
The Saddleback Controversy
The Church Growth Movement
An Analysis of Rick Warren's "Purpose Driven"
Church Growth Movement
An Examination of Rick Warren’s Teaching on