But what gospel does Warren preach? In chapter 7 of his ultra-popular book The Purpose Driven Life, he explains as follows how to become a Christian:
“If you are not sure you have done this, all you need to do is receive and believe. ... First, believe. Believe God loves you and made you for his purposes. Believe you’re not an accident. Believe you were made to last forever. Believe God has chosen you to have a relationship with Jesus, who died on the cross for you. Believe that no matter what you’ve done, God wants to forgive you. Second, receive. Receive his forgiveness for your sins. Receive his Spirit, who will give you the power to fulfill your life purpose. ... Wherever you are reading this, I invite you to bow your head and quietly whisper the prayer that will change your eternity. ‘Jesus, I believe in you and I receive you.’ Go ahead. If you sincerely meant that prayer, congratulations! Welcome to the family of God!” (The Purpose Driven Life, pp. 58, 59).
This is one of the most superficial “gospels” I have ever seen. There is nothing here that would offend or convict the Pope, a Mormon, or even many New Agers. It is not the gospel that was preached in the book of Acts or Romans.
For one thing, there is no clear dealing with sin. Warren’s book is intended for wide distribution in society at large, and it is not sufficient in such a context merely to mention the word “sin.” The average individual in North America will admit that he is not perfect and that he is a “sinner” in some sense, but he also thinks of himself as a pretty good person. When he thinks of himself as a sinner, he does not mean what the Bible means, that he was shaped in iniquity and conceived in sin (Psa. 51:5), that his heart is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked and full of evil (Jer. 17:9; Ecc. 9:3), that he is unrighteous and unprofitable (Rom. 3:10-11), that in his flesh dwells no good thing (Rom. 7:18), and that his very righteousness is as filthy rags before a holy God (Isa. 64:6).
Rick Warren’s incredibly shallow gospel allows any person who will admit that he is a sinner in any sense whatsoever to pray a “sinner’s prayer” and then to consider himself a genuine Christian, even though he might continue to deny what the Bible says about sin and to think of himself as sort of a good person.
There are many other things we could expose in Warren’s gospel. There is nothing about God’s holiness and justice. There is no clear teaching on what Jesus did on the cross. There is nothing about the blood of Christ.
Warren invites the reader to “believe on Jesus.” What Jesus? People today believe in all sorts of false christs, but Warren does not warn them of this nor does he take the time to identify the true Jesus of the Bible in any clear fashion and to distinguish Him from false ones, such as the false christ of The Shack or the Roman Catholic wafer Jesus or the New Age yoga Jesus. According to Rick Warren’s gospel, all you need is to “believe on Jesus” and, presto, you are ready to heaven.
And Warren completely ignores repentance. There is not a hint that the sinner must repent of his sin and idolatry and false gospels. This is not the gospel that the apostle Paul preached. Paul summarized his message as follows: “Testifying both to the Jews, and also to the Greeks, repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ” (Acts 20:21).
Warren says that he believes in the Great Commission and he mentions it in passing in The Purpose Driven Life, but he ignores repentance, which is a part of the Great Commission. Christ gave the Great Commission in Luke 24:44-48 and He commanded that “repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations.”
The apostle Paul boldly preached repentance to the philosophers and idolaters in Athens, and if he were alive today, he would preach repentance to the idolaters in America! Paul said that God “now commandeth all men every where to repent” (Acts 17:30), and we can be sure that God hasn’t changed His mind.
Beware of Rick Warren. He is the blind leading the blind. He is an end-time bridge builder extraordinaire for the apostate one-world “church.”
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