Tom: Thanks, Gary. You’re listening to Search the Scriptures Daily, a program in which we encourage everyone who desires to know God’s truth to look to God’s Word for all that is essential for salvation and living one’s life in a way that is pleasing to Him. The topic for this segment of our program is Rick Warren’s Book, The Purpose Driven Life, which Dave and I have both read, and we are taking Rick’s advice at the end of the book, which is to form a discussion group around it. Now, Dave, you and I don’t constitute a group, but this is a very small recording studio and, you know, we’re somewhat prohibited, right?
Dave: Well, I don’t see why we can’t be a group of two!
Tom: Well, okay, if that’ll work. You know, last week we addressed the way the gospel was introduced in The Purpose Driven Life, and today, I’d like to begin with a discussion of other aspects of the book. In our first two weeks, we covered chapter 1 and chapter 2, but I’d like to pick up with chapter 3. But first, Dave, there may be some people that are upset that we are critiquing the book. But, you know, again, as I said, Rick encourages that…
Dave: Of course, we should critique everything that is written, whether you wrote it or I wrote it, or who wrote it! We only don’t critique the Bible, but we learn from the Bible, but…
Dave: We can analyze what others say, as the Bereans did with Paul.
Tom: Yeah, now, Dave, Rick gives what I think is kind of a premise for his book, an opening statement…
Tom: …something which to refer back to. I mean, he says something; well, does he then deliver? On page 20, in chapter 1, he writes, “To discover your purpose in life, you must turn to God’s Word, not to the world’s wisdom. You must build your life on eternal truths, not pop psychology, success motivation, or inspirational stories.” Now, having said that, this gives us something then to look forward to. I would say “Amen” if he can deliver on this, if this is indeed what he is going to present in the book, you know, God’s Word, avoiding the wisdom of the world, particularly psychology, certainly staying away from success motivation, and not upholding inspirational stories over the Word of God, over the scriptures. But, my problem is, is I’ve been through the book; he doesn’t do that. Whether he’s sincere, you know, I’m hoping he’s sincere, but if he is sincere, that brings another problem here. I think our listeners and those who have gone through the book – I would encourage somebody who has been through the book, who loved it, to go back through and see if Rick really lives up to this basic premise. Now, Dave, let’s go to chapter 3…
Dave: Tom, I haven’t found that he lived up to the premise, and a basic problem is that he doesn’t really quote the Bible. We talked about that – he’s quoting the Message, he’s quoting paraphrases that really change the meaning of the Bible. He’s not going to a translation of the documents of scripture. Uh, he does on a few occasions, but not generally.
Tom: Mm-hmm. Well, you know, Dave, I think as, obviously in a couple of radio programs, we can’t cover everything…
Tom: …but I think an honest reader going back over the book carefully will see that Rick not only contradicts himself on the basis of the premises that he has laid out, but it almost reaches a point of doublespeak. When you say something on one page and then on the very next page you contradict it, either you have an editing problem or I don’t know what. But, let’s go through this, and I think our listeners will, if they haven’t read the book, they’ll get an idea of what we’re talking about.
Dave: Well, Tom, could I just go back to page 20 where you were?
Dave: He quotes from the Message; he says it’s in Christ that we find out who we are. Well, if it’s not about me (chuckles), then what’s the point of finding out who I really am? And, if this is what I really am, why do I need Christ to tell me who I really am? And he goes on and misquotes the scripture. He says…I am quoting from the Message now…this is Ephesians:1:11, “Long before we first heard of Christ and got our hopes up, He had His eye on us, had designs on us for glorious living, part of the overall purpose He is working out in everything and everyone.” Now, that makes it sound as though everything that happens in this world is exactly the way God planned it!
Dave: If He has a purpose He is working out in everything and everyone – so earthquakes, volcanoes, tornadoes, hurricanes, the deaths of people—this is all part of a cause that God is working out in everything and everyone. Now, let me quote what Ephesians:1:11 says. It says, “He works all things according to the counsel of His own will.” See, I’ve been through this with Calvinists. Calvinists try to say that everything that happens is God’s will, man has no choice. Well then, all the rape and murder and crime and so forth, and Rick, although I don’t think he is a Calvinist…
Tom: I don’t think he is either.
Dave: …he’s saying basically the same thing, and he’s using the Message to say it. Now again, this is fatalism, and if everything is going to happen the way God planned it, every detail of my life – and he misquotes again Psalm 139—every minute of your life has been planned by God and it will be all worked out the way He wants it, then why do I need to read this book to find out the purpose of my life (which I haven’t really found by reading the book anyway)? But nevertheless, what is the point if it has all been predestined and planned ahead of time by God, well, let’s just go with the flow! Why should I study? This is all the way God planned it!
Dave: And I don’t believe that that’s rational. Look at all the crime, the wars, the… everything in this world. It is not all working out according to God’s will. Now, if we say according to the counsel of God’s will, which is what the Bible itself says, well yes, in the counsel of God’s will, God determined to give man the power of choice, so that He doesn’t deal with us as puppets on a string! We can actually decide whether to obey Him or not to obey Him. There are 10 commandments, but people break them all the time. Well, is that God’s will? Is this the way God planned? And the person reading this book can look back on his past life, maybe they’ve had some horrible problems—he says that this book is now being studied in prisons, in jails! Well then, the person can look back on his life – “I guess my being in jail, I guess the crimes that I’ve committed, this is all what God planned for me, like He planned every gene in my body and so forth.” Tom, it’s not what the Bible says. So, he goes to the Message, which perverts the scripture…
Dave: And gives a wrong impression…
Tom: But reinforces the concepts that he is trying to present!
Dave: Exactly—what he is trying to say.
Tom: Well, Dave, again starting with chapter 3, Rick denies that this book has psychology in it, or you know, “pop psychology,” he calls it. But what he’s talking about is, you know, secular psychotherapy, the concepts, the ideas, and so on and so forth. But you find it peppered, you know, and I use the term “peppered” – uh, we’re going to point these things out as we go through. I’m not going to give somebody a long list of them, but they just appear throughout the book. Now, on page 27, he talks about many people are driven by guilt, and then he says, “They often unconsciously punish themselves.” Now, somebody might just kind of blow past that, but that’s a Freudian idea. I mean, what’s the unconscious? Why is this even introduced here? It’s not true! There’s no such thing as unconscious determinism that I’m the effect of things that are in my subconscious…
Dave: Or that began with my childhood and so forth.
Dave: So here we have pop psychology, which he says this book is not about. Then he goes on, just the page before, Tom. Question to consider: I know that God uniquely created me. What areas of my personality background and physical appearance am I struggling to accept? Well, again, now we’re getting into personality, and he’s, in fact, going to give us some lessons in how we can find out what personality we are and…
Tom: Right, part of our shape, which we will talk about later.
Dave: …it’s just like a psychological test again. So, on the one hand, “it’s not about you”; yes, it IS all about me, it’s the purpose of my life; and it’s not about pop psychology, in fact it is. It’s not a success manual; in fact it is a success manual, and this is why so many unsaved people, athletic teams, and businesses and so forth really love this book!
Tom: Mm-hmm. Dave, on page 28, again, he tells us that he is pointing to the Word of God. Now, at the top of page 28, it says when Cain sinned, his guilt disconnected him from God’s presence, and God said, “You will be a restless wanderer on the earth. That describes most people today, wandering through life without a purpose.” (chuckles) Is that what the scripture is telling us here?
Dave: I don’t think you could apply Cain, a murderer, and the specific punishment that God put upon him and jump from that to say, “Yes, most people are just wandering around like Cain, without a purpose,” and furthermore, “without a purpose” was not the punishment for Cain. It wasn’t that, “Cain, now you’re going to have no purpose in your life,” but God put a mark on him so that they would know who he was and so forth and deal with him in a specific way.
Tom: But it doesn’t support his concept of purpose!
Dave: No, it does not. It does not. Tom, I’m sorry, and I don’t like to say this, but there is a whole pattern. Rick continually uses the Bible—abuses it, actually—to make it say what he wants it to say in order to support his ideas, points that he is trying to get across.
Tom: And, Dave, you know, again, this is the part that’s confusing, because he holds [to] the Bible— there’s no doubt, I can quote you sentence after sentence in which he says “The Bible, that’s the thing, God’s Word, God’s Truth” over and over, yet look down a couple of sentences later, he says, “He turned a murderer named Moses into a leader, and a coward named Gideon into a courageous hero.” Where do you get that idea? Gideon’s a coward?
Dave: I don’t think Gideon was a coward. In fact…
Tom: Dave, I’ve gone to the scriptures, you can’t get that out of that!
Dave: In fact, the very first thing that is said to him is he is a mighty man of valour!
Dave: Not a coward.
Dave: And he was doing things that a coward would not do, in opposition to those who were oppressing him, and as far as Moses being a murderer, well, I think Moses acted on good cause against the oppressors of the people of God.
Tom: Call it manslaughter, but (laughs) there is no intent to kill the Egyptian guard. Dave, look at page 30. What you just said about your concerns about Rick and him abusing the scripture. We have a number of paraphrases here that he puts together. It begins: “Isaiah complained, ‘I have labored to no purpose, I have spent my strength in vain and for nothing.’ Job said, ‘My life drags by, day after hopeless day. and I give up. I am tired of living. Leave me alone. My life makes no sense.’” And then Rick adds, “The greatest tragedy is not death, but life without purpose.” Dave, none of those verses – we have Isaiah:49:4, Job:7:6, and Job:7:16 – I would invite any of our listeners to look up those verses in their Bibles, you know, unless it’s the Living Bible or the Message, which are used here, but they have nothing to do with your purpose!
Dave: Well, Tom, again, I just repeat myself, that’s what is sad about this book…
Dave: Because Rick has in mind – purpose. For example, when we get to it, if we ever do, 40 Days. Well, this is a book, forty chapters, and you’re going to go through a 40-day regimen, and he makes a big thing out of 40 days in order to actually promote this idea. He says Jesus was transformed by 40 days in the wilderness. No, Jesus was not transformed and empowered by 40 days in the wilderness. Happened to be that He spent 40 days there, but that did not empower Jesus. There is nothing magic or sacred about 40 days. He says that David was transformed by the Philistines’ 40-day challenge. Well, as a matter of fact, David wasn’t even there during the 40 days when the Philistine, Goliath, was challenging the armies of Israel. David got there when the thing was all over, apparently. He was only there 1 day, and he said, , you know, “What’s going on here?” and so forth. He had to be informed of what had been going on for the last 40 days. I could give other examples, but, Tom, it’s unfortunate that Rick has an idea, and he’s going to make something out of it, and somehow, he’s going to go to the Bible in order to support it to make it seem like this is biblical, like he’s learning this from the Bible. But he’s not learning it from the Bible; he’s learning much of it from Peter Drucker or Bernie Siegel or various other secular people, and now what does he have to do? Well, he has to search through various rather loose paraphrases, and some of them as bad as the Message, which even changed God’s Word, and he’s going to find a verse here, he’s going to find a verse there in one of these paraphrases that somehow will support the point that he wants to get across.
Dave: This is not exegeting the Bible. This is not deriving something from the Bible, but this is imposing it upon the Bible and trying to make the Bible support what he wants to say!
Tom: Dave, I’m sure some of our listeners out there are maybe getting pretty upset right now because they’re enamoured. They, their church did this, and so on. Here is our challenge: the program is called Search the Scriptures Daily. We want you to check us out, what we’re telling you. All you have to do is, if you have the book, pick, I would say randomly, just pick a couple of verses that he quotes, and look them up in a literal translation, and you will see an incredible difference.
Now, Dave, you just mentioned going to sources to support his view. He said, in the beginning, that we are not to look to the world’s wisdom, but you just mentioned that he quotes Dr. Bernie Siegel. Now, Dr. Bernie Siegel, (chuckles) is not the only one he quotes! He quotes Thoreau, he quotes George Bernard Shaw, he quotes Catholic mystics Henry Nouwen and Mother Teresa a couple of times, Madame Guyon, you know, and so on. Now, he just said not to turn to the world’s wisdom, but what would be the value, Dave—you help me with this—what would be the value of quoting these people who are not believers by any stretch of the imagination, many of them anti-Christian, like you know, George Bernard Shaw. What’s the value of quoting them?
Dave: Well, Tom, truthfully now, you and I have quoted them. Why do we quote them? In order to show their error! Not to search for support for some idea that we’re trying to present and especially saying that this is a biblical idea, and then we’re going to go to George Bernard Shaw to support a biblical idea, or Bernie Siegel, who has a, you know, a …
Tom: Spirit guide!
Dave: Spirit guide.
Dave: A demon.
Tom: (chuckles) We’re not making this up, Dave! Anybody who reads his books, that’s one of the processes that he has of healing in cancer! He has a spirit guide and, you know, this is what he recommends, so…
Dave: Tom, on page 30, he says there are five great benefits of living a “Purpose-Driven Life.” First of all, “Knowing your purpose gives meaning to your life.”
Dave: Well, I, I wrestle with that. My life already has meaning! I’m exactly what God wanted me to be and to do! Every day has been planned out ahead of time!
Tom: Now you’re being facetious here, Dave!
Dave: No, no! This is what he says!
Tom: (Laughing) Right!
Dave: This is what he says! Well, then, what does it matter whether I know about this or not! And certainly, knowing it is not going to give meaning to my life! I want to be generous with him; maybe he means, well, now you begin to understand the meaning for your life, but what is the point? It’s going to work out the way… the next page he quotes Bernie Siegel and talks about, you know, whether you have a purpose or not, and so forth. And then, does this activity raise the question, your purpose becomes a standard you use to evaluate which activities are essential and which aren’t. You simply ask, “Does this activity help me fulfil one of God’s purposes for my life?” It’s a good question, Tom, and I would endorse that idea.
Dave: Is this what God really wants me to be doing on this, or… but again, why would I ask the question if every moment of my life has been planned?
Dave: If it’s all going to be exactly as God wanted it to be. So, we have a basic foundational contradiction here, and it reveals itself in many ways…
Dave: Throughout the book.
Tom: Dave, on page 34, he writes, “From the Bible, we can surmise that God will ask us two crucial questions: First, what did you do with my Son, Jesus Christ? God won’t ask you about your religious background or doctrinal views.” Now, I want to stop there.
Tom: How could I even come to know Christ without sound doctrine? How can I live a life that would please God without understanding what His Word says and going to sound doctrine? And that’s the problem today; sound doctrine is becoming (laughs) the problem, a divisive item within churches.
Dave: Right, Paul writes to Timothy, 2 Timothy 3: 16: “All scripture is given by inspiration of God. It is profitable (or to be used for) doctrine…” The very first thing he mentions is doctrine. Doctrine is the container of truth. This is how truth is laid out. The second epistle of John, he talks about the doctrine of the Son. If you don’t have the doctrine of the Son, the doctrine of the Father, you’re not a Christian. But now he’s saying God is not concerned about your doctrinal views. I understand he’s apparently trying to be ecumenical or trying to say, “Let’s not split hairs over unimportant things.” But he’s not explaining that, that’s not what he’s saying. He’s saying doctrine isn’t important, when, in fact, this is the foundation of the gospel, it’s the foundation of our salvation and our lives.
Now, the next question is, “What did you do with what I gave you? Preparing you for these two questions is the goal of this book,” okay? Well, now then, Tom, we have a perversion of the Bible on the next page, this is the way the chapter ends. This is Day 3.
Dave: And thinking about my purpose – he always has a little… in a block, little nuggets, you know, to ponder. “Point to ponder: Living on a purpose is the path to peace,” and then, “Verse to remember: “You, Lord, give perfect peace to those who keep their purpose firm and put their trust in You.” That is Isaiah:26:3. It doesn’t say that.
Tom: That’s Today’s English version.
Dave: Right. Let me just quote Isaiah:26:3, “Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on Thee, because he trusteth in Thee.” “Whose mind is stayed on Thee” is not “who keep their purpose firm.” Now, we’re going to read this book to find out what your purpose is, then you’re going to keep that purpose firm – no, my mind is going to be stayed—that’s old English—my thoughts, my worship, my love, everything in my life, it is about God, and I am in His hands. “Whose mind is stayed on Thee” – how am I going to be kept in perfect peace? First of all, it’s God who is going to do it.
Dave: And he gives you the impression that it’s, you know, something that I’m going to do because I’m going to keep my purpose firm, and he says that living on purpose is the path to peace. So I’m going to have peace by following his directions here and finding out what my purpose is and living on purpose. No, the Bible says, “Thou wilt keep him,” that is, God is going to keep him, keep me, keep you, in perfect peace, because our thoughts are taken up with Him and we trust in Him. Not exactly what this book is saying.
Tom: Yeah, and again, Dave, you know, sadly, you find, not only through the use of the Message, which we’ve characterized as being humanistic, and we would challenge anybody – just read some of it if they think that we’re not giving them the truth about it, just over and over—but we find humanistic ideas coming through in whoever he might quote. We have, on page 55, I’ve jumped to chapter 7, he quotes St. Irenaeus saying, “The glory of God is a human being fully alive.”
Dave: Aye… (sighs)
Tom: There are a lot of people out there that are alive!
Dave: There are human beings who are fully alive, and the Bible says that all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.
Dave: We are not glorifying Christ’s secular world through our lives, and it’s not a biblical idea, it’s not a rational idea, and it’s not true, but it gives a false impression. We want… now we’re going to get fully alive by finding out what our purpose is, and follow this book, and you’ll be fully alive and then you’ll glorify God.
Tom: That’s attractive, Dave, but it’s not true.