By Jim Bublitz

In the Purpose Driven Life book, Rick Warren says
To discover your purpose in life you must turn to God’s Word, not the World’s wisdom“.

He further states “you must build your life on eternal truths, not pop-psychology, success motivation, or inspirational stories“.

After you read the following excerpts from his book however, you may find yourself scratching your head, wondering why it’s filled with so many instances of exactly what he claims we do not need.

Have you heard the expression “God helps those who help themselves”? I recently learned of a survey in which 65% of Americans said that they believed that this statement is in the bible.

But it actually came from Benjamin Franklin. It’s a good example of a statement that sounds good, and people just naturally assume that it’s true.

These are called “aphorisms”, and Rick Warren’s book is full of them. As you read some of his examples below, be careful not to confuse them with scripture; their source is often pop-psychology and human wisdom (the very things his book also warns us against).

These Purpose Driven Life aphorisms were compiled in Bob DeWaay’s book Redefining Christianity:

Jesus is an example of having a “secure self-image” – P.D.L. page 269

Gideon had “low self-esteem” – page 275

“Ministry begins with vulnerability” – page 276

“Vulnerability is emotionally liberating” – page 276

Paul suffered from doubt and depression – page 248

Paul’s “secret” was a focused life. – page 32

The need for “emotional honesty” – pages 93-94

“Our strengths create competition, but our weaknesses create community” – page 277

“Blessed are the balanced; they shall outlast everyone” – page 305

“The greatest tragedy is not death, but life without purpose” – page 30

“How you define life determines your destiny” – page 41

We need a life metaphor – page 42

“St. Irenaeus said, ‘The glory of God is a human being fully alive'” – page 55

There are “secrets” to friendship with God – pages 87-91

“The truth is – you are as close to God as you choose to be” – page 98

Warren promotes Gary Thomas’ Secret Pathways – page 103

Warren promotes mystics St. John of the Cross and Henri Nouwen – page 108

Supposedly we need to have our feelings validated – page 141

We need to “ventilate vertically” like David supposedly did – page 154

“People don’t care what we know until they know we care” – page 156

“Unity is the soul of fellowship. Destroy it, and you rip the heart out of Christ’s Body” – page 160

“Your character is the sum of your habits…” – page 175

“Tell me what you are committed to, and I’ll tell you what you will be in twenty years” – page 180

“Every behavior is motivated by a belief, and every action is prompted by an attitude” – page 181

“You are only as sick as your secrets” – page 213

“The fear of what we might discover if we honestly faced our character defects keeps us living in denial” – page 220

“Impression without expression causes depression” – page 231

“The last thing many believers need today is to go to another bible study” – page 231

“In determining your ‘shape’ for serving God, you should examine at least six kinds of experiences from your past” – page 246

We must “discover” our ‘shape’, accept it, and develop it to best serve God – page 249

“Service starts in your mind” – page 265

More Resources Relating to Purpose Driven-ism:

The original appears here.

Further reading