First Person Life


PEACE: Rick Warren's Halle

The pietism inherent in the Purpose Driven Life is obvious to most. His new PEACE plan should clinch it for those who might still not agree.

ARTICLE: 'We're Made for More Than Success' - Newsweek Society -

That Warren is a theologian of glory should be obvious too, but this quote should convince those who might think otherwise.

Warren: ...[American's are successful, but they're still asking] why do I feel so unfulfilled? Why am I so unhappy?

Interviewer: Why do you think that is?

Warren: It's because we're made for more than success. And everyone needs to hear that.

It'd be great if that something "more" was the reestablishment of our relationship to God through the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. And that through this, we are freed from the bondage of sin and death to be instruments of His care for His creation through service to our neighbor.


But like the pietists of old, Warren thinks of Christ as a "starting point" and not the ultimate goal.

After the pietistic self adulation of "see how pious I am -- because of the success of my book, I've given back all of the salary that my church has paid me in my 25 year ministry" -- why? not because the church was in need or to benefit his neighbor or even because he was blessed with the ability to do so, but simply in order to point to himself and say "I've served my church for free for 25 years."

Well, whoop-dee-do!

Don't get me wrong, it's not that the actions of his PEACE plan are inherently wrong, bad, or anything like that. In fact, that's the aluring part of pietism. Generally the works that pietists set out to do are noble, good, and need to be done!

The problem is that the motivation is wrong. It's not about love for God and care of His creation (including the neighbor), it's about seeing how good I am by how many good things I can do. Then God surely will let me into heaven because look at all the good things I've done.

Of course, it never starts like that, but by pointing to our own works instead of Christ's work and taking credit for the things God is currently doing in His creation through us (i.e. through the Christian's Vocation), we end up pietists.

Sad, really.

What is the something more? It's not being part of a bigger movement! It's recognizing that in spite of all the apparent "good" things we do, we are sinners in need of a Savior. It's recognizing that that Savoir has come, was miraculously born of a virgin as the Son of God, took upon himself our sins and suffered and died in our place. He rose from the dead, ascended into heaven and is "with [us] always, even to the end of the age."

But what about "good works?"

These we do in the course of our daily lives as we live out our station in life making the most of every opportunity to serve our neighbor when it arises. Always recognizing that it is God who gave us the ability, will, and oportunity to do so. Thus, we are only instruments in His hand for the continued care of His creation.

And what is the greatest "work"?

Bringing them to the same recognition of their sinful condition and Salvation through Christ. This is another thing completely missing from Warren's initiative. It isn't to spread the gospel, it's an end in itself. In this regard, even designating it his "Halle" is too much of a compliment!

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  • In all fairness, what are you doing for the poor, abused, diseased, and cast-out; the kind Jesus hung out with, healed, advocated for and basted the religious hypocrites over for their lack of concern for their neighbor's plight? When I read in 1 Cor. 13 (the love chapther) and Col. 3 (the New Man Chapter), I cannot escape the fact that "love" is the capstone of our faith in Christ. So before ramming Rick Warren so hard, why not take a close examination in the mirror to question how love in action is presenting itself in your life and who are the benefactors of this love. If theology doesn't manifest itself in love in action, then it is nothing more than dead religion, which is dispcable in the eyes of a love-in-action God. It is easy to rant in a blog, but it is arduous to live out the high calling of Christ-like love.

    By Blogger Jon M. Holmes, at 1/07/2006 12:18 PM  

  • Jon --

    You're right, "It is easy to rant in a blog, but it is arduous to live out the high calling of Christ-like love." And also, "If theology doesn't manifest itself in love in action, then there is nothing more than dead religion."

    But consider this -- Let's say I had 4 gazillion dollars and could stamp out world hunger by writing a check... but in the process, the people fed would be barred from hearing the Gospel of Christ.

    I'm not blasting Warren for what his faith is pompting him to do. My problem is that he didn't talk about the greatest love you can show to a person. Namely, declaring the love that Christ has for each living person on earth... love enough to die for them so that they can spend eternity with Him.

    If I *had to choose* between feeding somebody bread and proclaiming the Gospel to them, the choice is clear. The Gospel is the news that can bring them eternal life, not just temporal life. The Gospel says, "In spite of the fact that you are a sinner who deserves nothing but punishment and the wrath of God, God loves you and through Jesus Christ has taken the punishment that you deserve upon himself, you have been forgiven." The LOVING thing to do is to proclaim to that person the Gospel - even if it means they starve to death in this life.

    I Praise God that there are few situations which require us to make such a choice! In many cases we can do both! However, when we feed them with bread and do not bring them the Gospel -- it's not only unloving, it is a mockery of Christ who we claim to serve. It says He isn't worth talking about and sharing with people. It says that his death was in vain. It calls Christ a Liar.

    For someone who masquerades as a CHRISTIAN leader to not talk about Christ as the centerpiece of his ministry and the love for us that God exhibited by sending Christ so that we may inherit eternal life -- is worse than being a hypocrite.

    By Blogger dm42, at 1/07/2006 2:34 PM  

  • dm42,

    I agree whole heartedly, but I'm not sure we're hearing the whole scoop on Warren's activities. I am somewhat familiar with Rick Warren and his ministry activities and from everything I've witnessed in "in-person" experiences where he is present, I see nothing more than a humble man who desires to see Christ proclaimed and lives transformed. My assumption is that Newsweek and the other popular media outlets who are intrigued by R.W., are not interested in sharing the fact that the benevolent activities are for the purpose of paving the way for the Gospel message. If he's at fault, maybe it's that he doesn't demand that these media channels tell the full story of the missional endeavors. I am of a Reformed mindset and desire that all missional activities done in the "Name of Christ", have Christ's redemptive love exposed to all of the empty souls who have had their physical needs met by Christian charity; and expect that the end result would be lives transformed by nothing less than the Truth regarding the life, death, and ressurrection of our dear Lord.

    Bona Dona,


    By Blogger Jon M. Holmes, at 1/09/2006 1:06 AM  

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