Exposing the “Emerging Church”

Why I Have Issues with all things Purpose Driven


About 3 months ago I ordered a book online from a large Christian bookstore here in Adelaide, South Australia. That book was titled, “Deceived on Purpose” by Warren Smith. I thoroughly recommend you read it. It deals with the blatant errors in Rick Warren’s Purpose Driven assertions. The book took over a month to arrive from a store not 20 minutes from where I live. When it finally did arrive I couldn’t help ponder the irony of the fact that inside the packaging was a flyer advertising an upcoming Hillsong Australia event featuring none other than. .  You guessed . . . the pied piper of all things Purpose Driven, Rick Warren himself. All I could do was shake my head.


You know? I am often asked why for many years now I have been so vehemently opposed to this, “new spirituality” known variously as, Alpha, Seeker Sensitive, the Emerging Church, the Church Growth Movement, the Purpose Driven Church ad infinitum. Simply stated; it is because (in all its forms) it is at odds with the clear teaching of the Scriptures at key and fundamental points. 


Folks, preaching the Gospel is not the only command the church has been given; we who truly belong to Him are to also Test Every Spirit. (1 John 4:1) The word is, dokimazō and it means to examine. The ‘examining’ is done against the benchmark which is the Word of God - not experiential, touchy-feely faith; and I maintain that because this critical mandate of ‘examining’ has been largely neglected, Rick Warren and his ilk have gained a foothold by consequence.


Contrary to being an, ‘end times move of God to sweep souls into the Kingdom’  I, and watchmen alike see it more of a vessel with which to surreptitiously facilitate satan’s end time whore as prophesied in Revelation 17:3. I am not at all suggesting Rick Warren is aware of this but I do insist he is deceived and many along with him. Frankly, I never cease to be amazed at the sheer number of professing believers who, without discernment get sucked into this kind of stuff. I can but only put that down to three things. .


1.      Those along for the ride are not true believers

2.      Lack of Scriptural study

3.      Pack mentality


The following is a checklist from Understanding the Times International which pretty much sums up my concerns along with those who know in their heart of hearts that something is wrong and yet can’t quite put their finger of it . .


·  Scripture is no longer the ultimate authority for many well know leaders of the new evangelicalism.

·   The gospel of Jesus Christ is being replaced by humanistic methods that promote church growth and a social gospel.

·   There is more and more emphasis on “what’s in it for me” in the “here and now”, and less and less concern regarding the warnings of scripture regarding the imminent return of Jesus and a coming judgment ahead for planet earth.

·   More and more Christian leaders are looking for a kingdom of God to be established here on earth by human effort and deny that Jesus Christ will rule and reign in a literal millennial period that is to come.

·   Many bridges are being established that lead in the direction of unity with the Roman Catholic Church.

·   An experiential mystical form of Christianity is being promoted to attract and reach the post-modern generation called the “Emerging Church.

·   We are being told that Christianity needs to be re-invented in order to provide meaning for this generation.

·   Christianity is being dumbed-down as the Word of God comes under attack and images and sensual experiences are being promoted as the key to experiencing God. 

·   In order to re-invent Christianity we are told we need to go back to the past and find out what kinds of experiences were successful to attract people to Christianity. These experiences include icons, candles, incense, liturgy and the sacraments, particularly the sacrament of the Eucharist.

·   Many church leaders are beginning to consider that the Reformation went too far. They are re-examining the claims of the “Church fathers” that communion is more than a symbol and for remembrance and that Jesus actually becomes present in the communion wafer.

·   There is a growing trend towards an ecumenical unity for the cause of world peace that claims there are many ways to God and that Jesus Christ is not the only way.


That Rick Warren can address the godless World Council of Churches with his Purpose Driven hype and be applauded by the delegates there should send chills up one’s spine. That he can speak for hours on end and not mention the Saviour’s name even a single time is, I would have thought, somewhat telling. The fact that Robert Schuller is a highly respected mentor of Warren is simply gob smacking; and that his Purpose Driven doctrine rages like an unchecked bushfire is testimony to the fact that satan can indeed deceive the whole world (Rev 12:9).


Warning Signs

Is your fellowship meandering down Rick Warren’s wide road? Look for these warning signs . . .


“Offensive” symbols are removed; things such as Crosses, Hymnals, Signs with Jesus on them, Pulpits replaced with plastic lecterns, a heavy emphasis on music and ambient surroundings and the replacing of sermons with brief feel good talks where pop psychology and anecdotes replace Scripture.


Watch out also for language redefinition - where, ‘Sinner’ becomes ‘Seeker’, ‘Repentance’ becomes, ‘Plugging into the Divine’, Salvation becomes, ‘Realizing your potential in God’. .  And terms such as Judgment, Hell, Damnation, Eternal Punishment, Lake of Fire, Satan and the like are not mentioned at all.


Rick Warren’s Purpose Driven dribble is a smooth sailing, soft sell sell-out, a mustering of goats into the sheep pen and a one size fits all ticket to the pit.


Among other things, that is why I have issues with all things Purpose Driven


Oh. .  And a word for the wise . . .  GOATS are driven . . . sheep are led.



Tony Dean

© Moriah Ministries Australia 2006