The Capranica

Comments on theology and life

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Location: Hemet, California, United States

Co-Pastor of First Baptist Church of San Jacinto, California

Friday, May 20, 2005

Does Purpose Driven Result in God Centered?

What will the results of Rick Warren's blockbuster book The Purpose Driven Life (PDL, over 20 million copies sold) look like? George Barna has conducted a recent review of what "Purpose Driven" currently looks like in America. From the article:

More than four out of every ten adults – 44% – said their top priority in life is having a satisfying family life. This was nearly three times as popular as the second-most common response and more than four times as prolific as the third-most popular reply."
Despite Warren's opening appeal in PDL that "it's not about you," I found much of the remainder of the book to be "much about you." Thus Barana's research, showing that "The second-most common life priority, listed by 18% of all adults, was that of understanding and carrying out the principles of their faith," should not be shocking. As a matter of fact, even Barna's concluding comments about his survey indicate that he also believes that faith is really a means to live a better life. His survey states,
The survey results raise some questions, however, about the faith commitment of many church-going and born again adults. One must wonder,” he continued, “if the struggles evident in so many marriages and parent-child relationships are connected to the fact that people are generally more interested in pursuing a fulfilling family life than in understanding the principles for meaningful living that may help shape such a family experience.”
Does "Purpose Driven" (capital "P" "D") result in being God-centered? Barna's research suggests it does not. We live in a culture that sees God as valuable as long as the individual can remain the center. God's Word is viewed as a means to my own individualistic ends. It appears that "Purpose Driven" is simply another way to bring God into my priorities, rather than me into His. See the following for reviews of The Purpose Driven Life: Review by Paul Alexander, 9 Marks Ministry Review by Nathan Busenitz, The Shepherds' Fellowship (pdf file) For an alternative to The Purpose Driven Life, I would suggest John Piper's Desiring God.


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