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Commentary by Roger Oakland

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Have you noticed that Christianity is undergoing a major transition? “Purpose Driven” pastors are producing “Purpose Driven” churches that are filled with “Purpose Driven” believers. Further, the gospel message that reminds man their need for a Savior has been replaced by the idea that the kingdom of God can be established on earth by human effort. Why is this?

Christianity has always undergone times when new ideas, trends or fads are promoted in the name of Jesus Christ. While proponents of these ideas claim they have discovered a new formula or plan that will produce a new and better brand of believer, we must always test these ideas authored by man with the Scriptures.

In the past, many genuine believers have been led astray, believing that the “new enlightenment” was the ultimate answer to the world’s problems that had previously been hidden in the Bible until recently uncovered or rediscovered.

However, the Bible commands that faith in God must be based on the Word of God. When man’s word does not line up with God’s Word, we should always stick with God’s Word.

History reveals this has not always been the case for many sincere professing Christians. Numerous are the examples of spiritually shipwrecked churches and families who followed spiritual leaders who led unsuspecting believers away from the Scriptures.

The latest plan by a man that is sweeping the world has already attracted thousands of pastors who are influencing millions of Christians.  With the advent of modern technology, this is the first time in history that a single man has the means to market that plan on a global scale in a short period of time.

Of course by now, you know that I am referring to the Purpose Driven P.E.A.C.E. Plan. I also know that when I express my concerns about this plan I will be bombarded with countless number of critics who will not agree with what I am saying.

One of the views promoted by the Purpose Driven movement is the saying that “Christians should only be known for what they are for and not what they are against.” However, I am reminded with several statements I have read from God’s Word that demand we always check out what anyone is saying and compare their ideas with the Scriptures. Jude said we are to “earnestly contend for the faith.” [1] Paul said that “all Scripture is profitable for doctrine, teaching and reproof.” [2] If we reject this biblical advice we face the possibility of being spiritually deceived and even spending eternity in hell. [3]

Also, the Bible is full of references to period a time before Jesus Christ returns when teachers who profess to proclaim the truth are agents of deception. These teachers may be sincere in what they believe, but they themselves have been deceived and they are also deceiving others. [4]

In order to know what is true and what is not, a Christian must be obedient to the following two principles found in the Bible:

  • One – know what God has revealed His Word
  • Two – be Spirit led

Being Spirit led means allowing God to be in charge and take control of your life and leading you on. Being driven by some plan by a man may be a trap if it is not God’s plan.

A New Brand of Christian

In the past, Evangelical Christianity has split over the interpretation of what the gospel means. Many have claimed Christianity is not about accepting a Savior. Thus there are two major views that are both enthusiastically promoted by professing Christians.

One branch believes salvation is based upon faith and belief in the sacrifice made by Jesus Christ when He died upon the cross for our sins. This gospel, according to the Scriptures, claims that every individual must personally make a choice whether or not to accept or reject God’s redemptive plan. Getting to heaven is all about believing and accepting what Jesus did, not what man can do.

On the other hand, there are those who see Christianity from a completely different perspective. They say that salvation is about being a Christ follower. They say that Christianity should be focused on doing the things that Jesus did in order to make the world a better place. This social brand of Christianity was popularized at the turn of the 20th century.

For many who believe this view, hell is not a place of eternal judgment. Nor is heaven just for those who have accepted that Jesus died upon the cross, that His blood was shed, and that He was resurrected from the dead. In fact for those who promote the social gospel, “the Bible might be a good book, but it is not to be taken too seriously”.

Recently, in an interview with broadcaster Charlie Rose, Pastor Rick Warren expounded on a plan to bring these two branches of Christianity together. Here is what Pastor Rick Warren said:

At the beginning of the twentieth century… a lot of the mainline churches said, “There isn’t a need so much for personal salvation as much as we need social salvation. And we can redeem these structures and then we’ll have (hope) - because people are basically good.”


Well, then the other people, which are Fundamentalists and Evangelicals, said, “Now we’re going to focus on Jesus as our Savior.” And they tended to focus on family issues, personal issues. And they defined morality in terms of personal morality, not in terms of public morality.


Well, who’s right? Well, they both are. The fact is they both are. And they need to be brought back together. [5]

This statement by Pastor Rick Warren is very revealing. Pastor Rick clearly stated - “both views are right” and both branches of Christianity “need to be brought back together” again.

Pastor Rick Warren has a plan to bring the two sides back together again. It is called the Purpose Driven P.E.A.C.E. Plan. This ambitious plan promises to work towards the elimination of AIDS, illiteracy, poverty and other social ills in an effort to establish God’s kingdom here on earth. He plans to do this by “whatever it takes to establish God's Kingdom 'on earth as it is in heaven”.  [6]

While this certainly is a noble effort, a simple question should be asked before one takes a blind leap in order to jump on the Purpose Driven P.E.A.C.E bandwagon. What branch of Christianity will move in which direction so that both sides can be brought together? 

Will liberal “Christians” who deny that the Bible is the inspired Word of God start believing that the Bible is the inspired Word of God? Will those who believe that man is basically good begin to accept that sin sends sinners to hell? Will promoters of a social gospel move from their side towards the middle and reconsider that Jesus shed His blood on the cross as a sacrifice for their sins? Will they realize they must repent from their sins in order to be saved? Will they believe that if they don’t believe the gospel according to the Scriptures they will spend eternity in hell?

It would appear to me that if the two branches of Christianity that Pastor Rick Warren is talking about are going to be brought together successfully and become one branch, then those who once believed in the gospel of Jesus Christ will have to move towards those who promote a social gospel that is not the gospel according to the Scriptures.

According to the apostle Paul, that is exactly what will happen in the Last Days. [7]

[1]  Jude 3

[2]  2 Timothy 3:16

[3]  Matthew 7: 21-23

[4]  2 Timothy 3: 13

[5]  Transcript of Rick Warren Interview with Charlie Rose, August 17, 2006 from

[7]  2 Thessalonians 2: 3

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