The Purpose Driven Church – An Appraisal

The Purpose Driven Church – 9Marks:

“Yet as much as we want to see Warren’s work enjoy continued success, we cannot help but be lovingly candid about our concerns. While his passion for biblical fidelity and evangelical commitment are obvious and infectious, we fear that his interpretive methods lead to applications that do not always represent the intention of the text he’s using to support his model. While his evangelistic zeal is exemplary, his evangelistic methods tend to make genuine repentance unlikely and can have the effect of rounding off the naturally sharp edges of the Gospel. Sharing his desire for numerical growth, we are reticent to use numbers as a barometer of God’s blessing. Realizing the relative safety of rooting his model in the biblical purposes of the church, the tendency of purpose to replace the primacy of the Gospel has implications for the life of the church that we are confident Warren would not intend. ”

I found this review of Rick Warren’s book of church growth and found it quite insightful. Like others (maybe only a few it seems), I find myself concerned with the uncritical acceptance of this church growth model. I think that Rick is totally and sincerely commited to the methodology as a biblical one and implements it consistently. There is no doubt that it is behind much of the growth that he has seen, but I find myself somewhat troubled by the faddish nature of the churches adopting it around the world. When we adopt “church growth” as the goal we often fall into the law of unintended consequences that take a toll on our biblical integrity. This article is one of the more reasoned and respectful critiques I’ve found. Quite helpful in clarifying my thoughts.

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