by Mike Ratliff
I have been in a fascinating discussion today with members of our discernment team at CRN. It brought back a lot of memories of those early days of this ministry when those wounds and bruises from the battle at our former church over whether it should go Purpose Driven or not were still very evident along with the inherent resentments over how our supposed brothers and sisters in Christ simply brushed us aside not caring that we left since we would not conform to the PDC takeover. From that I learned much. I became determined to find the smoking gun, the mechanisms behind what makes the PDC paradigm and Rick Warren seem so monolithic and impossible to resist while at the same time, so shallow and unbiblical and able to sidestep nearly every very direct and valid doctrinal issue about his theology, ecclesiology, and epistemology. On these issues, he has been like the “Teflon Don,” able to deflect and seem untouchable no matter how well we show what he says and writes is questionable at best when lined up with Christian doctrine.
It was as we had our discussion today that it became clear that, at least back when I first started this ministry, I was running myself ragged going hard after the effect of the PDC paradigm, using every resource I could find showing the damage it was doing and had done. I had dozens if not hundreds of people hitting my posts about this who were also victims of PDC takeovers of their churches and were now churchless. We were focusing on these things and fighting back by going after the symptoms much like trying to deal with cancer by taking Aspirin.
However, I never stopped looking for the cause. Oh, we knew where Rick Warren got his Worldview, which was of course Peter Drucker and his theology, which is from C. Peter Wagner at Fuller Theological Seminary. From a corrupt root only a corrupt plant will come and it will only produce corrupt fruit. However, how all this precisely fit into Rick Warren’s worldview and his own goals and purposes for “the church” as he sees it, were not clear.
If we look at Brian McLaren and see his worldview, we have no problem seeing that his Post-Modernism rules all. I once told my son that it was a total waste of time for him and his friends to try to interest me in anything having to do with Post-Modernism. I was not even a Modernist, but a Pre-Modernist in my thinking. Of course, I was not totally serious, but I really have an issue with Post-Modernism. Why? I am a rational person. Reason is what we are called to in God’s Word. Some would cry foul on that and claim the opposite, but it is not so. We are called in God’s Word to come and reason with Him over His Truth. The Gospel is a message of the completed work of Christ for those He came to save. The Gospel also tells us what that cost him and what it takes those who are saved to become partakers of God’s grace and, therefore, be saved. You see, this is what the Church is to be about. This is what the Church’s worldview must have at its core.
However, Post-Modernism is virulently anti-rational. For those of us who grasp that God gave us reason it is a good thing because through it we grasp the good gifts he has provided through his common grace for all such as individual rights and, of course, God’s transcendent truth, however, Post-Modernism is the opposite. It is anti-individual. It pushes experience over reason, the immanent to the exclusion of the transcendent. It teaches that people experience truth while in conversation with a community.
Rick Warren and all who emulate him are Post-Modernists for the Purpose-Driven paradigm and, of course, all other seeker-sensitive models such as that of Bill Hybels, are no different. At their core is a worldview that does not have the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ as their core. Instead, they have their own version of the gospel that is not biblical. It is social while at the same time having the World Dominionism goals of the NAR whether they even admit that to themselves or not.
Here are some other indicators of it that came out of our discussion. Because of their Post-Modern, anti-rational mindset, they have the view of Sacred Scripture that it is insufficient so there is a great need for supplemental revelation. We see this throughout those in the NAR movement with their emphasis on visions, hearing directly and audibly from God, et cetera. In this mindset, evangelism is not what we would think of, but is the influencing the culture for good, that is, “making a difference.” This is what they mean when they use the term “Missional.”
The absolute leader of this movement is Rick Warren. Within his mindset, his beliefs are binding on the whole church, and he is at war with anyone in the church who disagrees. Here is a link to an interview with Peter Drucker, Warren’s mentor concerning Evangelism. Remember Rick Warren got his worldview from Peter Drucker. Just like Drucker, Warren denies the existence of the individual in this world while believing that in this world the Organic/Authentic Community is what exists, not individuals. Rick Warren like Peter Drucker, exalts experience over reason, therefore, his worldview is irrational. This irrational worldview allows him to hold contradictory doctrines as being true. This is why we were astounded at John Piper’s embrace of Warren as a fellow Calvinist, while we knew that he also claims to be Charismatic, et cetera.
Rick Warren’s leadership principle is that each church as a hierarchy of leaders where every “pastor” leader receives a direct vision from God as to how to “do church” in a way that appeals to a particular “culturally conditioned community” (sub culture) and the leader demands absolute obedience and allegiance from those below him and answers only to his superiors (other more experienced Seeker-Driven leaders and coaches). From this they adhere to the following, “To question the vision of the leader is to question God.”
I just scratched the surface. However, as we worked through these things today it answered a lot of old unanswered questions for me about why these “Christian leaders” act the way they do and say what they say, especially when they are called to task and told that what they are doing or saying isn’t biblical and we prove it to them exegetically. I listened to a podcast today by Perry Noble titled: The Evolution of Criticism. You can go here and download it. I suggest you pray for wisdom and discernment first. If you listen to it, please listen to the whole thing.
What have we learned? We have seen the effect for years and have often been baffled about what is going on. Do you see the cause now my brethren? Now, do you see their goals? Do you also see how widespread this is? I have been told that Rick Warren is very frustrated right now and sees all who oppose him and what he is trying to do as his enemies who must be overcome. I remember when I first started this ministry having “hand-to-hand combat” here and at other sites to assist my friends against some very determined people who simply would not listen as we tried to warn them that what they were calling Christianity was just Purpose Driven deception. It was from that that many of us were labeled as “haters” and were written off as not worthy of their efforts. It was from those battles that I learned a great deal of how dark and hard a deceived heart really is. They will not listen no matter what truths you show them from God’s Word. These we are dealing with here are beyond all that. They still think they are the chosen ones of God and have his vision while we are the Pharisees, but if you examine what they preach and teach it is still unbiblical garbage so we must continue to expose them as long as God allows us to do so.
Is this the beginnings of the one world church that will persecute the Genuine Church?
Soli Deo Gloria!