Church Education Trust

Introducing the challenges. P.001

A Critical Study of Rick Warren’s, "The Purpose Driven Church".

Chapter 1: Introduction.                                         

                 The 20th and 21st century church has spent much of its time debating decline, division, the loss of authority and the effect which the deteriorating levels of commitment among its membership is having on the future of the local, national and world church. Ruth Gledhill, the religious correspondent for “The Times”, comments that "attendance in Britain is declining so fast that the number of regular church goers will be fewer than those attending mosques within a generation."

                Eddie Gibbs remarks: For a long time churches in the west have been accustomed to think in terms of survival, not of growth. Battered by the disastrous results of the scientific controversies at the end of the last century, depressed by two world wars and the emerging secularism, all the denominations of mainline Christianity have been in retreat for years.[2] 

               A critical ecclesiological examination of Saddleback Community Church, which is one the fastest growing churches in America, is not just necessary but imperative if the Western church would survive the powerful philosophical and ideological influences of post modernity and the current numerical decline. 

               Saddleback Community Church is one of a growing number of the American megachurches.[3]  It offers an alternative ecclesiology reflecting growth and health.  While “The Purpose Driven Church” may not be considered a weighty, deep or lengthy text, it does create an alternative ecclesiology with immense possibilities.

                 Rick Warren’s purpose driven church is an unambiguous expression of his personal spiritual experience, his strong doctrinal beliefs, and an ecclesiological model driven by five New Testament principles.The contextualisation of his spiritual experiences, doctrines, principles and the process of delivery of his ecclesiology as reflected in his books, web-site, sermons, as well as books written about him, becomes the focus of this dissertation for critical investigation.

                 Warren[6] suggests that because of Saddleback’s phenomenal growth their ecclesiological model has been “dissected, scrutinized, analyzed and summarized”. He[7] reflects that “what outsiders notice about the growing church rarely explains the real reasons of growth”. Saddleback church’s “classical church growth”[8] emphasis links it to the Church Growth Movement[9] and the Mega Church Movement,[10] because of its developing influence, an analysis of all these relationships will be necessary.This will be achieved in subsequent chapters.  

                 Warren remarks that,every theology has a context. You won’t understand Luther’s theology without understanding Luther’s life and how God was sovereignly working in the world at that time. Likewise, you can’t fully appreciate Calvin’s theology without understanding the circumstances in which he forged his beliefs.[11]

                            To understand the Saddleback ministry and to give balance to this critical analysis of his work, research into the cultural setting is necessary.Warren, a very progressive thinker, found himself greatly challenged as he attempted to church plant in a post-modern American cultural setting.

                During the formative years of his theological training, Warren studied at California Baptist Seminary for his Bachelor of Arts degree, South Western Theological Seminary for his Master of Divinity and in Fuller School of World Mission for his Doctor of Ministry. All of these seminaries have a strong tradition in evangelical theology and a direct connection to the Classical Church Growth Movement (CCGM) founded by Dr. Donald McGavran.                       

               At Saddleback's first public worship service on the 30th March 1980, some 200 people were in attendance, the majority of whom had no church connection at all.  In that service a journey which would have unmeasured influence on millions of people worldwide began.  

              Presently, Saddleback Church has more than 200 ministries serving its local community and the consequence of such ministries has been the birth of 34 daughter churches and the global purpose driven ministries movement.

              Some 23,000 worshipers meet each Sunday on the 120 acre Saddleback site, with a total of 80,000 names found on the Church roll, placing Saddleback into the world of megachurches.  Internationally Warren’s influence is immense, this is measured by the popularity of his church growth model and the amazing success of his two books “The Purpose Driven Church and The Purpose Driven Life”  which have sold in excess of 20 million copies and been translated into 28 languages.[12] 

                As Saddleback Church developed numerically and spiritually, it became a serious and challenging Christian movement, having a quantifiable impact on ecclesiological and missiological thinking especially in the Western world and particularly in the area of church growth and church health.  As with every new Christian movement, suspicion, scepticism and doubt engender theological enquiry, provoking serious analysis of its theology, theory and practice. 

               Warren’s influence is such that numerous churches worldwide began with a sense of expectation to reflect and react to his model of church growth.  His approach to life and faith took on new meaning for many within the American nation.  In 1994 “Time Magazine[13] and Christianity Today”[14] were acclaiming Warren as America’s most influential minister.  “The Washington Post”[15] comments that Warren’s books “are being read by millions” and their popularity has astonished the publishing world.  

               His writings are warmly endorsed by a large section of well known pastors, seminary presidents, Christian writers, missionary statesmen and church growth analysts.  Many of their names are recorded on the opening pages of his book “The Purpose Driven Church”.[16]


[1]  Faith, 08/05/08.

[2] Eddie Gibbs, I Believe In Church Growth, London, Hodder & Stoughton, 1981,13.

[3] Mega Churches, Usually Protestant in background with 2000 or more worshipping members.

[4] Ecclesiology: This dissertation, Chapter 5, The Development of Saddleback Community Church.

[5] Rick Warren, The Purpose Driven Church, Grand Rapids, Michigan, Zondervan, 1995.

[6] Rick Warren, The Purpose Driven Church, 21.

[7] Rick Warren, TPDC, 21.

[8] Two Strains of Church Growth exist: Classical and Popular. Saddleback belongs to the Classical;this strain will be dealt with in more depth in chapter 4 of this dissertation.

[9]  The Church Growth Movement, see chapter 2 of this dissertation.

[10]  MCM, Mega Church Movement, Popular Church Growth Movement.

[11] Rick Warren, TPDC, 27.

[ 12] Richard Abanes, Rick Warren and the Purpose that Drives Him, Oregon, Harvest House, 2005, 8.

[13] Time Magazine, Publication date of Magazine, 23:03:04.

[14] Christianity Today, Article 08:11:03.

[15] Washington Post, News Paper Date 22:02:04.

[16] Rick Warren, The Purpose Driven Church, 1-4.              


 Sebuah Studi Kritis dari Rick Warren , " Purpose Driven The Church " .

Bab 1 : Pendahuluan .

Gereja abad ke-20 dan ke-21 telah menghabiskan banyak waktu berdebat penurunan , divisi , hilangnya wewenang dan pengaruh yang memburuk tingkat komitmen di antara anggotanya adalah memiliki di masa depan lokal , gereja nasional dan dunia . Ruth Gledhill , koresponden agama untuk " The Times " , komentar bahwa " pertemuan di Inggris menurun begitu cepat sehingga jumlah penonton gereja biasa akan lebih sedikit daripada mereka yang menghadiri masjid di dalam satu generasi . "
Eddie Gibbs menyatakan : Untuk waktu yang lama gereja di barat telah terbiasa untuk berpikir dalam hal kelangsungan hidup , bukan pertumbuhan . Dipukuli oleh hasil bencana dari kontroversi ilmiah pada akhir abad lalu , tertekan oleh dua perang dunia dan sekularisme yang muncul , semua denominasi Kristen arus utama telah mundur selama bertahun-tahun . [ 2 ]
Pemeriksaan eklesiologis kritis Saddleback Community Church , yang merupakan salah satu gereja yang paling cepat berkembang di Amerika , bukan hanya perlu tetapi penting jika gereja Barat akan bertahan pengaruh filosofis dan ideologis kuat pasca modernitas dan penurunan numerik saat ini .
Saddleback Community Church adalah salah satu dari sejumlah tumbuh dari gereja raksasa di Amerika . [ 3 ] Ia menawarkan alternatif eklesiologi mencerminkan pertumbuhan dan kesehatan . Sementara " The Purpose Driven Church " tidak dapat dianggap sebagai berat , teks dalam atau panjang , itu tidak membuat eklesiologi alternatif dengan kemungkinan besar .
Purpose driven gereja Rick Warren adalah ekspresi ambigu pengalaman pribadinya spiritual , keyakinan doktrinal yang kuat , dan model eklesiologis didorong oleh lima Perjanjian Baru principles.The kontekstualisasi nya spiritual pengalaman , doktrin , prinsip dan proses pengiriman eklesiologi sebagai tercermin dalam buku-bukunya , web -site , khotbah , serta buku yang ditulis tentang dirinya , menjadi fokus disertasi ini untuk penyelidikan kritis.
Warren [ 6 ] menunjukkan bahwa karena pertumbuhan fenomenal Saddleback itu Model eklesiologis mereka telah " dibedah , diteliti , dianalisa dan diringkas " . Dia [ 7 ] mencerminkan bahwa " apa yang orang luar perhatikan tentang gereja tumbuh jarang menjelaskan alasan sebenarnya pertumbuhan " . " Pertumbuhan gereja klasik " ​​Saddleback gereja [ 8 ] penekanan link ke Gerakan Pertumbuhan Gereja [ 9 ] dan Gerakan Mega Gereja , [ 10 ] karena pengaruhnya berkembang , sebuah analisis dari semua hubungan ini akan necessary.This akan dicapai dalam bab-bab berikutnya .
Warren menyatakan bahwa , setiap teologi memiliki konteks . Anda tidak akan mengerti teologi Luther tanpa memahami kehidupan Luther dan bagaimana Allah kedaulatan bekerja di dunia pada saat itu . Demikian juga , Anda tidak dapat sepenuhnya menghargai teologi Calvin tanpa memahami keadaan di mana ia ditempa keyakinannya . [ 11 ]
Untuk memahami pelayanan Saddleback dan memberi keseimbangan untuk analisis kritis ini karyanya , penelitian pengaturan budaya necessary.Warren , seorang pemikir yang sangat progresif , menemukan dirinya sangat menantang saat dia berupaya untuk menanam gereja dalam pengaturan budaya Amerika post-modern .
Selama tahun-tahun formatif pelatihan teologisnya , Warren belajar di California Baptist Seminary untuk gelar Bachelor of Arts , South Western Theological Seminary untuk gelar Master of Divinity dan di Fuller School of World Mission for Doctor of Ministry . Semua seminari ini memiliki tradisi kuat dalam teologi evangelis dan koneksi langsung ke Gerakan Klasik Pertumbuhan Gereja ( CCGM ) didirikan oleh Dr Donald McGavran .
Pada awalnya layanan ibadah umum Saddleback pada tanggal 30 Maret 1980, sekitar 200 orang hadir , sebagian dari mereka tidak memiliki hubungan gereja sama sekali . Dalam pelayanan itu sebuah perjalanan yang akan memiliki pengaruh terukur pada jutaan orang di seluruh dunia dimulai.
Saat ini, Gereja Saddleback memiliki lebih dari 200 departemen yang melayani masyarakat setempat dan konsekuensi dari kementerian tersebut telah kelahiran 34 gereja putri dan gerakan kementerian didorong tujuan global.
Beberapa 23.000 jamaah bertemu setiap hari Minggu di situs Saddleback 120 hektar , dengan total 80.000 nama yang ditemukan pada roll Gereja , menempatkan Saddleback ke dunia gereja raksasa . Internasional pengaruh Warren sangat besar , hal ini diukur oleh popularitas model pertumbuhan gereja dan keberhasilan luar biasa dari dua bukunya " The Purpose Driven Church dan The Purpose Driven Life" yang telah terjual lebih dari 20 juta eksemplar dan telah diterjemahkan ke dalam 28 bahasa . [ 12 ]
Sebagai Gereja Saddleback dikembangkan secara numerik dan spiritual , itu menjadi gerakan Kristen yang serius dan menantang , memiliki dampak terukur pada pemikiran eklesiologis dan misiologis terutama di dunia Barat dan khususnya di bidang pertumbuhan gereja dan kesehatan gereja . Seperti halnya dengan setiap gerakan baru Kristen , kecurigaan , sikap skeptis dan keraguan menimbulkan pertanyaan teologis , memprovokasi analisis serius teologi , teori dan praktek .
Pengaruh Warren adalah seperti yang banyak gereja-gereja di seluruh dunia dimulai dengan rasa harapan untuk mencerminkan dan bereaksi terhadap modelnya pertumbuhan gereja . Pendekatannya terhadap kehidupan dan iman mengambil makna baru bagi banyak di dalam bangsa Amerika . Pada tahun 1994 " Time Magazine [ 13 ] dan Christianity Today " [ 14 ] yang acclaiming Warren sebagai menteri paling berpengaruh di Amerika . " The Washington Post " [ 15 ] komentar bahwa buku Warren " sedang dibaca oleh jutaan " dan popularitas mereka telah heran dunia penerbitan .
Tulisan-tulisannya yang hangat didukung oleh bagian besar pendeta terkenal , presiden seminari , penulis Kristen , negarawan misionaris dan analis pertumbuhan gereja . Banyak nama-nama mereka dicatat pada halaman pembuka bukunya " The Purpose Driven Church " . [ 16 ]

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