In the first part of this look into the wide chasm between the high call of the Christ-centered life that our Lord Jesus calls all of His disciples to, and the contrasting shallow man-centered doctrines of the Purpose Driven Life, I shared how my initial involvement with ministry to the postmodern church began. Awash with anthropocentric seeker sensitive appeals to the flesh, the Evangelical church is unfortunately following a mythical purpose driven life right back down the broad ecumenical road to that leads to Rome.

Here in part two I’ll show the very real danger the American Christian Church is now in after ignoring the warnings the previous watchmen our Lord has sent to her. The very shallow fruit produced by Rick Warren and his PDL Schulleristic psycho-philosophies has in fact turned the whole message of Christ backward. Instead of faithfully proclaiming Christ’s call of death to self, instead Evangelicalism long ago began preaching it’s own worldly message–the dignity of self.

“Why Do You Call Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ And Do Not Do What I Say?

We are about to examine very briefly–as an object lesson–the type of Christian example considered within “a positive witness” by an actual member of Saddleback church. This is the very congregation where Rick Warren–the author of PDL–and a mega-popular teacher within the Evangelical church worldwide is senior pastor. What I wish to show here is what happens when someone who claims to walk with Christ, and also adheres to the flesh-pleasing message of PDL, is presented with the actual call that Jesus of Nazareth has given to those who would be so bold to call themselves His disciples. Our firsthand witness will be Richard Abanes, a defender of Warren, as well as a staunch PDL adherent, which some have already seen who have followed my interactions with him. Before we go further, however, let’s look at something that is so very important to remember here in the discussion of the lifestyle of the true Christian. This is a vital truth taught by Jesus Christ of Nazareth–our very Creator Himself in human form–that is so greatly ignored in all these seeker sensitive beliefs that have slithered their way into the mainstream Evangelical church today. Our Lord said:

The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eyes are good, your whole body will be full of light. But if your eyes are bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light within you is darkness, how great is that darkness! (Matthew 6:22-23)

First we must ask ourselves: Why do you suppose our Maker said that? Was He ever known to say something just to say it? Did Christ Jesus ever teach things as ideas that might possibly be a good idea for us to try out and see if we like them? I think not. And this touches on what is being obscured by the seeker sensitive leaders who are turning Christian teachings backward to make them accessible to the unregenerate–the absolute authority and holiness of the LORD God Almighty. The Church of Jesus Christ has made a horrible mistake by ignoring the warnings of previous watchmen the Lord has sent and instead has continued to preach a man-centered self-esteem message in the useless power of the flesh. Are we really so opaque spiritually that we just cannot see? Obviously a worldly message will be accepted by the world! Flesh will always please flesh. We have forgotten that our Lord said to God the Father – I have given them your word and the world has hated them, for they are not of the world any more than I am of the world (John 17:14).

Where in these words from Christ can we possibly see a sinner-sensitive message? Sure there are a number of Evangelical “celebrities” today who are even accepted as such within secular social circles, but where in these words do we see anything that tells us the true messenger of God will be popular? The answer is: We can’t; and, we don’t. The major problem with all this psycho-philosophical preaching in the Evangelical church today is that we have literally reversed that which we are sent by Jesus to proclaim. Those who are listening to the true Voice of the Great Shepherd within these words will hear the truth when I tell you that the postmodern Evangelical church spends the majority of its time preaching about man, and what God supposedly wants to do to make his life better here on earth. Think about it. Instead of preaching for the glory and honor of the Creator, we cower before His creation and attempt to appease man’s already inflated self-esteem. It’s called pride; and though the PDL preacher-teacher today may try and tell himself that he is only making the Christian message more “accessible,” the Lord knows that the truth is he is actually preaching this doctrine because of fear he himself won’t be accepted. The seeker sensitive minister, fearful of personal rejection, has convinced himself that his “gospel” is consistent with what Christ taught. However, all one needs to do is to actually open that Bible we profess to believe and then read it for a change to clearly see this anthropocentric self-esteem gospel clearly is not.

In actual fact, the Evangelical church long ago stopped preaching what the Bible actually says, and has instead substituted a message that does an appeal to our culture, which is already centered on the self. It really should come as no surprise that a worldly message will always be accepted by the world, for the world is in love with it-self. Earlier in John’s Gospel our Lord literally says the very same thing – If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own (John 15:19). And the tragic result of the Christian Church in America consistently ignoring the watchman Christ has sent her is that she continues on in her futile attempt to accomplish a supernatural task through natural means. However, an easy raod of telling people what they wanted to hear didn’t seem to be of much interest to these real servants of the Lord – they admitted that they were aliens and strangers on earth…they were longing for a better country—a heavenly one…some faced jeers and flogging,…they went about in sheepskins and goatskins, destitute, persecuted and mistreated—the world was not worthy of them (Hebrews 11, select verses). Doesn’t look too much like the ol’ seeker sensitive message does it? Those who are regenerated will understand why…God had planned something better for us (verse 40). It’s about time for the true child of God to remember who you really are in Christ – “Do not give dogs what is sacred; do not throw your pearls to pigs. If you do, they may trample them under their feet, and then turn and tear you to pieces.” (Matthew 7:6). He who has an ear, let him hear.

The Bible very clearly tells us something that has been thoroughly obscured in all the sinner-sensitive PDL discussion:

Therefore, since through God’s mercy we have this ministry, we do not lose heart. Rather, we have renounced secret and shameful ways; we do not use deception, nor do we distort the word of God. On the contrary, by setting forth the truth plainly we commend ourselves to every man’s conscience in the sight of God. And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing. The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. For we do not preach ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, and ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake (2 Corinthians 4:1-5).

Did you see – nor do we distort the word of God. When will we finally learn that we can never please both God and man. The Church has been so long using the pragmatic (read: worldly) methods of this people-pleasing Church Growth Movement that they have now become a new version of the “traditions” of the Pharisees. And might I remind you that to alter what God has clearly said was a most dubious decision on their part. Permit me to refresh your memory as to the Master’s opinion concerning this choice by the leaders of His chosen people:

“Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you hypocrites; as it is written: “ ‘These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. They worship me in vain; their teachings are but rules taught by men.’ You have let go of the commands of God and are holding on to the traditions of men.” And he said to them: “You have a fine way of setting aside the commands of God in order to observe your own traditions!” (Mark 7:6-9)

Do you honestly think that our glorious Lord Who – stands alone and does whatever pleases Him (see–Job 23:13) has somehow changed His mind now regarding nauseating compromise because now His Church is afraid that unbelievers won’t like us? If we were to be literally persecuted once again for our faith in Christ, and we had to endure more than a mere mocking glare from a person who disagrees with us, would there even be many PDL ministers left? The truth is that the majestic LORD God Almighty–that we say we serve–couldn’t care less about our puny little “new and improved–protect my posterior–gospel.” The one true and living God as revealed in the Bible is interested in our being obedient to say what He told us to do what He told us to do, and to say what He told us to say, and then to trust the results to His Spirit. As it is written: ‘Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit,’ says the LORD Almighty (Zechariah 4:6).

The Critical Role Of Christ’s Ambassador’s

I said all that to say this; what is missing in the sinner-sensitive teachings of PDL/CGM is the message of the self-denying life of total commitment and obedience to the Lord Jesus Christ that the true Christian must be willing to follow as he lives to please His Savior. The Apostle Paul put it this way – I beat my body and make it my slave (1 Corinthians 9:27), and rumor has it that Paul did okay as a Christian example. And this brings us back into what our Maker means when He tells us that – The eye is the lamp of the body – Jesus is trying to get us to understand that what we do each day, the things we listen to, the things we watch, will end up affecting the way we live as a Christian. As in what we were to look at will be “illuminated” by the lamp of our eye, thereby drawing our more full attention to it. The first verse (22) in the following is meant to be taken as obvious; the Master actually desires to draw our attention to the very real consequence of verse 23 – If your eyes are good, your whole body will be full of light. But if your eyes are bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light within you is darkness, how great is that darkness!

It’s not my intention to do an exposition concerning these verses, but Dr. D.A. Carson’s comment is helpful here:

“The eye is the lamp of the body” (v. 22) in the sense that through the eye the body finds its way. The eye lets in light, and so the whole body is illuminated. But bad eyes let in no light, and the body is in darkness (v. 23). The “light within you” Seems ironic; those with bad eyes, who walk in darkness, think they have light, but this light is in reality darkness. The darkness is all the more terrible for failure to recognize it for what it is (cf. John 9:41).

This fairly straightforward description has metaphorical implications. The “eye” can be equivalent to the “heart.” The heart set on God so as to hold to his commands (Ps 119:10) is equivalent to the eye fastened on God’s law (Ps 119:18, 148; cf. 119:36-37). Similarly Jesus moves from “heart” (Mt 6:21) to “eye” (vv. 22-23). (The Expositor’s Bible Commentary, CD Rom)

And here is a good place for me to use as a brief object lesson the very public Christian apologist and best-selling author Richard Abanes, with whom I have previously had direct dialogue concerning this idea that what someone watches, and what they listen to, will affect their Christian world-view. The above from Christ Himself is proof that this is a valid concern for a pastor-teacher within our Lord’s Church. Without a doubt, making accurate judgments is an art that is sadly lacking in the Evangelical Christian Church today, because of our acquiescence to the worldly philosophy – “To each his own.” Well, might I remind the Christian of 1 Corinthians 5:20 – We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, and may I further remind Christ’s Ambassadors that Jesus of Nazareth–the very Creator of this world in the first place–tells us what He expects His true followers to be doing when our Lord says to the Father – As you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world (John 17:18). Although those who teach according to the flesh will try and have us believe God the Son is only referring to the Twelve, He clearly was talking to all His disciples for every age. Unless somehow you are “above” your Master, if you tell the world the truth as Christ did, the carnal reaction in the flesh will always be the same.

If You Listen To The World You Will Become As The World

Case in point here is with my encounters with PDL defender and adherent Richard Abanes. I am previously on record as saying that a very definite and crucial part of every pastor’s labor for Christ is to make right “judgments” concerning individual members of the flock that he is entrusted to under-shepherd by the Great Shepherd Himself. It is so tragic today that this vital role of the pastor in the local church is much too often neglected by us in these times which are so marred by relativism. Couple this with the sad truth, that more and more, the office of the local pastor is being usurped by Parachurch groups, television ministries and the like, and here you have a ready recipe for apostasy. And we are well within Christian ethics to look a little more closely at Richard Abanes as an example of the kind of Christian that Warren’s purpose-driven theology produces, because he is a member of Warren’s own flock.

As I mentioned previously I am not going into great detail in this article as to exactly what was said in two prior full-length pieces between Abanes and myself, suffice to say that I attempted to point out to him what I have just covered above: If the professing Christian continually allows the dark philosophies of the world into the lamp of our souls it will inevitably lead to succumbing to the already weak sinful nature. And this is exactly what God the Holy Spirit is telling us in 2 Corinthians 6:14–using marriage as an example of how easy it is to get dragged down to the level of those who are not worthy in the eyes of their Creator – Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness? What I wish to bring to light here is how the PDL adherent will simply not be able to understand what His supposed Lord has said in this crucial area of the Christian life when those who bring the true meaning of the Scriptures to them. It is sad, but you will see here that it true.

What happened to bring this all about was that Richard Abanes made the choice to offer a long critique of my labor in Christ. Now, I do wish to make it clear that I had no problem whatsoever him doing so; it’s just that I simply have a view that is quite the opposite about these PDL teachings he was defending. So I followed my biblical mandate as a pastor-teacher – Those who oppose him he must gently instruct, in the hope that God will grant them repentance leading them to a knowledge of the truth, and that they will come to their senses and escape from the trap of the devil, who has taken them captive to do his will (2 Timothy 2:25-26). In doing so I attempted to get him to see that the amount of secular music, and more specifically the type of artists he admits listening to on “a regular basis,” are affecting the way he sees the world. He had said he owns “a lot” of country music, and also specifically talked about listening to Green Day, which is a very part of the punk music scene. There can be little question to the Christian that any lifestyle carrying the label “punk,” and unquestionably involves sexual immorality, drugs, and self-mutilation, is not something the Lord would even want His followers listening to–let alone publicly defending!

In my attempt to help my brother to see that it is not pleasing to God to cause His Spirit to grieve while He is having to listen to things taught by demons. And secondly, I tried to remind Mr. Abanes that His Lord tells him in 2 Corinthians 6:14 not to allow unbelievers to influence his thinking by “yoking” himself to them through the powerful medium of music. Anyone who thinks that music doesn’t have an enormous effect on people need only look at the human carnage among our youth that has been left in the wake of the tsunami-like wave of Rap “music” and its decadent lifestyle–easily the equal of the punk music scene–which has crashed through our sinsick society. Being fifty years old, I was around to have watched the birth of this evil punk music style. As a former professional musician myself, as well as being a country music morning drive radio personality/programmer for years by secular trade, I know first hand what I am talking about. Something that brother Abanes did not know.

The Fruit Of A Purpose Driven Life

The key point here being, watch the immature attitude in the flesh attempt to twist my correct application of 2 Corinthians 6 rather than showing the more reverent submission to what God is actually saying, which we should expect from someone who is an apologist for the Evangelical Christian faith. The discerning Christian will also notice the pride in self exhibited here by someone who is heavily influenced by the man-centered philosophies of Warren’s PDL. This exchange comes from a response to me that Richard Abanes wrote called Ken Silva: Final Round, section 8, subtitled “Enter the Music Police.”

SILVA#49: “However, as for ‘secular music,’ he tells us there are ‘many’ artists that he listens to on a ‘regular basis,’ and ‘almost every day.’ The questions that I as a pastor would hope Rick Warren will soon be asking Mr. Abanes in his office are: So, now can you see who is helping to shape much of your world-view?”

RESPONSE: I must confess that I kept mumbling to myself, “Wow, this guy cannot be serious” when I was reading Silva’s remarks. The terms, thoughts, and experiences he is discussing here are totally subjective. There are no biblical passages that would explicitly cover any of these issues: e.g., listening to music; how much “music” (secular or Christian) is too much music (or not enough music); how often is too often to listen to secular music (or Christian music).

And what makes Silva think that the secular music I happen to enjoy is shaping “much” of my “world-view.” I am not some bubble-gum chewing adolescent, or even a naive young adult, who looks at the latest pop icon as a role-model or who listens to music to learn about life and the world. I’m a married man of 20 years, who has been a Christian since 1979, and who has dedicated the last 15 years of his life to deep biblical study in the area of apologetics (including time spent on staff at a church as a full-time licensed minister). My world-view is already shaped, and it has been shaped by what scripture says—period. My “world-view” has not (and is not) shaped by a country music CD I happen to throw in at 10 a.m. while eating my cornflakes and watching the news on my powerbook.

Also, unlike Silva, and most other Christians, I am a professional musician. This means that I listen to music far differently than a non-professional musician. I am listening to music with an ear toward artistic quality, use of instruments, style variation, chord structuring, pitch, etc. (i.e., it can be very technical, as well as enjoyable) (, emphasis in original).

As I said earlier, my intent is not a detailed rebuttal of my brother’s misunderstandings here. What I feel led to accomplish in the Spirit is to simply let what Abanes says speak for PDL. And so, I am simply going to draw attention to a couple of central points. First, the statement that there are no biblical passages that would explicitly cover any of these issues: e.g., listening to music; how much “music” (secular or Christian) is too much music (or not enough music); how often is too often to listen to secular music (or Christian music), is the type of argument the adolescent makes when he has nothing substantial to offer in his reasoning. Those who have raised children have no doubt been caught on this “roller-coaster” of beginning in one place and go through ups and downs, and rounds and rounds, from one point to the next which really have nothing to do with what you originally started talking about. And this precisely illustrates my contention that seeker sensitive PDL doctrine will only produce an immature Christian, at best.

To the mature Christian, anxious to be transformed into the very image of his Lord, we will recognize immediately that the issue is not a faulty premise of no “biblical passages that would explicitly cover any of these issues,” the real question is: Am I acting like my Lord, Jesus of Nazareth? The true disciple of Christ asks himself this question before he does anything, and this would include what music he would choose to listen to. This would be consistent with the teaching from Christ–the perfect Example of a human being–that we looked at earlier in Matthew 6. The over-all teaching of the Bible will show that the question the Christian asks himself before he partakes on anything here on this earth is: Can I see my Master Jesus doing this. And so, the idea that Jesus Christ would Himself choose to be listening to songs glorifying sexual conquests after drinking in bars, and music which encourages rebellion among our youth and self-mutilation of human beings He created is absolutely ludicrous.

Yet, if one looks carefully at 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 we can see a couple of very important things which have been carefully edited from the modern sinner-sensitive “gospel.” Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body. 1) God lives inside His Christians. Think about it. Do you not realize that whatever you choose to do, God will be doing with you? And 2) The Lord owns the Christian, and we are joyful and willing slaves for Him. Ah, but this doesn’t play well to the self-ish nature of the human being, does it? So, like a little child who doesn’t get his way, he pouts and stomps his feet and says – “But I don’t wan-nu!” Do you see why God has us born as infants and then grow to adulthood? Can you see the Lord’s hand in why parents have to raise children? The answer is found in the mirror. How many of us really like what we see in there? When you get a chance read Romans 7:15-25.

The next two paragraphs of the RESPONSE section of above quote give a clear insight into the immature (read: substandard) Christian world-view of a PDL adherent. Abanes mentions “the secular music I happen to enjoy.” Here the issue is twofold: It’s the kind of secular music listened to, and the admission “I happen to enjoy.” Wouldn’t the Christian living a sacrificial life of letting His Creator and Redeemer use him to serve his fellow man have better things to do than “enjoy” than listening to the darkness of non-believers’ views about their sinful lives? Are we really supposed to think this is what Christ Jesus–the Light of the world–would be doing? Not the One the read about in the Gospels anyway, for He obviously was about God the Father’s business. And didn’t our Master tell us to be doing the same?

Now, a careful reading of the rest of paragraph two, and particularly the third one, reveal someone who seems to have a rather high view of self, and is quite sure he isn’t doing wrong. However, it is written – Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall (Proverbs 16:18), and “Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the body is weak” (Matthew 26:41). I know that I have taken these verses to heart, and regularly pray daily for the Lord to keep me from taking pride in the flesh. Truly He knows my fear of ever teaching someone something false in His name. A man is never so close to falling, as he who thinks he can’t fall.

Set Your Mind On Things Above

Let’s now put this together for someone who doesn’t appear to understand what Jesus was telling us back in Matthew 6:22 – “The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eyes are good, your whole body will be full of light. But if your eyes are bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light within you is darkness, how great is that darkness!” The main point to keep in mind right here is that in Richard Abanes we have fruit from the very ministry of Rick Warren and his PDL psycho-philosophies. And the spiritual immaturity and pride in flesh really couldn’t be more obvious.

It is telling when Abanes writes: “My world-view is already shaped, and it has been shaped by what scripture says—period.” Although our brother my think so, it is obvious here that he doesn’t have a more mature understanding of the Scriptures or he would understand that he couldn’t be more wrong in his next statement: “My ‘world-view’ has not (and is not) shaped by a country music CD I happen to throw in at 10 a.m. while eating my cornflakes and watching the news on my powerbook.” The more one grows in Christ, the less he is interested in this world since you have taken off your old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator (Colossians 3:9-10). And here we can clearly see the self-centered weakness of seeker sensitive teachings like PDL. For if someone who claims to have been a Christian since 1979 had received proper Christian instruction (see–Hebrews 5:11-6:5), then we would expect him to have long ago set his mind on things above, not on earthly things (Colossians 3:2). And this we do not see…

the conclusion in Part 3…