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Redefining Christianity: Understanding the Purpose Driven Life Movement Paperback – January 22, 2006

26 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Bob DeWaay is the senior pastor of Twin City Fellowship in Minneapolis, Minnesota. He has been a pastor with Twin City Fellowship for 25 years and the senior pastor since 1995. He holds a B.A. in Bible and Pastoral Studies from North Central Bible College, and a M.A. in Theological Studies from Bethel Theological Seminary. Since 1992 Bob has published over 90 articles on important theological issues through Critical Issues Commentary. He is also a frequent radio guest on KKMS 980am in the Twin Cities and has a Critical Issues Commentary radio show on Oneplace.com. Bob and his wife Diane have been married 33 years and have two children and one grandson. For leisurely activity Bob enjoys fishing and golf.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 252 pages
  • Publisher: 21st Century Press (January 22, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0977196437
  • ISBN-13: 978-0977196432
  • Product Dimensions: 8.3 x 5.3 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (26 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #158,442 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

220 of 238 people found the following review helpful By John Wicklund on February 12, 2006
The topics of the "seeker-sensitive" movement and Rick Warren's methodologies have been a major part of my life the past 3-4 years. I have devoured many books and articles about the Purpose Driven philosophy, especially after I began to have grave concerns about the changes brought into my church by my pastor after he attended a pastors conference sponsored by Rick Warren's Saddleback Church. Eventually, my wife and I were forced to leave that church (amicably) after private meetings with our pastor and a couple of deacons. In our church, Rick Warren started a slippery slope that included a softened and shortened sermon, dropping the name "baptist" from the church name, putting the hymnals in the church attic, selling the organ, needing earplugs to attend praise and worship time, watching an unicyclist parade through the sanctuary, participating in a live, interactive congregational marketing survey during church service time and starting a building program when neither attendance nor the budget supported doing so.

Sound familiar? If not, these seeker-sensitive things will soon be coming to your church if Rick Warren has his say. The final straw was our discovery that our pastor was plagarizing and purchasing Rick Warren sermon series from Pastors.com and fellow church members had no clue that these sermons were not his own. Sorry, but Rick Warren has his tentacles into far too many areas and people don't recognize it. No wonder Jesus used the "sheep" analogy in describing humanity's ability to discern danger.

Thanks for indulging me. I tell my story to lend some credibility to reviewing Bob DeWaay's book.
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48 of 51 people found the following review helpful By S Nyles on June 8, 2006
This is a revealing book written in easy to understand language. It confirms much of what I found to be extremely troublesome with the "purpose driven" movement. Coming from a Mennonite perspective I had to weed out the author's fundamentalist views but overall it is a much needed critical look at the structure and methods behind this movement.

On pages 52-65 DeWaay writes extensively about another Rick Warren endorsed book "Transitioning: Leading Your Church Through Change" by Dan Southerland. DeWaay describes how this book encourages pastors to convince their congregation they've "lost their vision". This is necessary to sell the congregation on the new vision which in combination with the purpose driven formula is imposed on the unsuspecting congregation. Pastors are told to expect vigorous dissent by some and possibly significant loss of members in transitioning to the purpose driven format. According to the PD strategy this is to be expected and seen as success. So much for the shepherd caring for every sheep in his flock!

DeWaay also shows how the purpose driven model uses marketing techniques and vision statements to give pastors a way to "measure" the success of a church. Success, as defined by the PDM, is ultimately based on numerical growth in the church. According to the purpose driven model if a church is not growing in numbers it is seen as a dying congregation. I have seen firsthand the damage this causes in a congregation. Why do so many church leaders jump on this bandwagon with little if any discernment of its merits?
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62 of 68 people found the following review helpful By Dr. Marc Axelrod VINE VOICE on October 3, 2006
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Bob DeWaay says that Rick Warren has redefined Christianity to make it more pleasing to pagans, but it is not the Christianity of the Bible. DeWaay contends that "The Purpose Driven Life" is "an unholy mixture of human wisdom, bad Bible translations, misinterpreted and misapplied scripture, approving citations of New Agers, mystics, an eroticist, a socialist, etc, combined with some of the truths of the gospel."

DeWaay comes to this conclusion after two years of studying and researching the purpose driven movement. He calls into question Rick's ministry philosophy of ministering to a person's felt needs, turning the church of Jesus Christ into a business model of a franchise, and his use of Bible translations that make the point he wants to make even if the author of scripture wasn't making that particular point.

The book goes through how Rick has repackaged and redefined Christianity to make it seeker friendly rather than biblically accurate. One of the most devastating chapters in the book is a discussion of Warren's many mishandlings of scripture. DeWaay shows how Warren applies Ephesians 1 to people in general when the text is speaking of Christians in particular. He also shows how Warren changes the meaning of certain texts such as Genesis 6:8, Matthew 16:25, and a number of others. He notes that if he would have taken the timeto chronicle all of Rick's Bible misinterpretations, it would have filled an entire book!

Pastor DeWaay also charges that Pastor Rick is not preaching that the blood of Jesus is the only ground for salvation, and that people need to be saved from judgment.

Bob also notes that in Christ's messages to the seven churches of Asia Minor, he never once criticizes them for not growing numerically, or for not being more seeker friendly.
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