I am taking a break from the Dancing Around
the Golden Calf series to focus my attention on the destruction of one of
the most prominent fundamental Christian denominations in the United States. I
have been aware of the inroads that Rick Warren and his Purpose Driven doctrine
are having on Southern Baptist churches. It was not until I was sent a copy of
Rev. Noah Hutchings’ book, “The
Dark Side of the Purpose Driven Church,” that I realized that the
denomination through which I am licensed and ordained is being destroyed by a
hideous spiritual cancer.
Some time ago, as our ministry was revising my
first study book in English (Christian Dynamics Course 1), I had done research
on Rick Warren, his connection with Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary in
Mill Valley, California and the impact this seminary will have on future
ministers. When I realized how destructive the Purpose-Driven doctrine is, I
knew that this information needs to come out to a larger audience than what my
book would reach in the near future.
THE MACHINE BEHIND RICK WARREN
I did not know that Church Transitions,
the organization behind Rick Warren is a well oiled machine that selected and
transformed him into a leading “guru” of the New Age Movement in
Evangelical/Fundamental Christian churches in the United States. I was saddened
and grieved at the information I found when I searched for Church Transitions.
Rather than trying to condense what they are about, I am taking verbatim what
they say on their website
so that you can see how the founder and his helpers describe themselves. One
thing is for sure, someone has invested some big money to get this group going:
process of transition that we teach is a simple one:
- Prepare for change
- Define your changes
- Plant your vision with your key leaders
- Share your vision with the whole church
- Implement your changes
- Deal with the opposition
- Make adjustments
- Evaluate the result
13 successful years as the lead pastor/teacher of Flamingo Road Church, in Fort
Lauderdale, FL, Dan Southerland started Church Transitions Inc., an organization
that trains pastors and church leaders to effectively manage major transitions.
Dan has trained over 100,000 pastors and church leaders in the past seven years.
His focus is how to implement the purpose-driven paradigm in existing churches.
Dan is now one of the pastors at Next Level Church in Charlotte, North Carolina.
(right) is an international transition coach that has directly led multiple
traditional churches through transition to become fully Purpose Driven as both
worship leader and pastor. He currently serves as transitioning coach to
multiple individual churches and pastors groups called ‘Coaching Networks.’ He
has had the privilege of coaching and assisting hundreds of pastors and churches
through transition and change.
(left) is the president and visionary of FutureLead. He is a former pastor of
Calvary Church in Charlotte, North Carolina with an average Sunday attendance of
an author and contributor of nine books including: The Church You've Always
Wanted, Escape From Church, Inc., and The Heart of a Godly Man.
as Vice President and Minister at Large for Promise Keepers, an international
Christ-centered organization dedicated to introducing men to Jesus Christ as
their Savior and Lord; and then helping them grow as Christians.
Southerland (right) is the founder and director of Church Transitions Inc. Dan
developed this process for change while serving as the pastor/teacher of the
Flamingo Road Church in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. During the thirteen years of
his ministry at Flamingo Road, the church made some major changes:
Approach - from being program
driven to being purpose driven.
Target - from reaching believers to
reaching the unchurched.
Worship Style - from traditional to
Pastors - from a senior pastor
model to a shared pastor model.
Leadership - from a committee led
church to being staff led.
Ministry - from pastors doing all
the ministry to pastors equipping people to do the ministry.
Small Groups - from a traditional
Sunday School model to a relational cell group model.
Services - from one weekend worship
service to five weekend services (two on Saturday night; three on Sunday
blessed these changes big time! Flamingo Road grew from 300 in worship to 2300
in average attendance. They also started 23 other churches. And today, 60% of
those who join Flamingo Road Church are unchurched when they first attend.
Southerland has had the privilege of training 100,000 church leaders in these
principles of transition over the past 7 years - in 30 different countries! He
has been teaching at the Purpose Driven Church conference held by Saddleback
Church for the past 7 years. About half of the events we do each year are
co-sponsored by Purpose Driven Ministries.”
-- END OF QUOTE --
RICK WARREN – THE SPIRITUAL JUNK BOND KING
1980s, there was an American Jewish financial investor by the name of Michael
Milken (right) who became a dreaded word in the business world. Born in 1946, he
was in his forties when he led corporate raids and hostile takeovers of
factories and other businesses in the United States. He financed his empire of
destruction by issuing the so-called junk bonds (high-yield debts). Milken and
his robber barons targeted successful businesses and over powered them with
their large amount of cash. Once a business had been taken over, Milken sold off
the company assets in order to pay back the loans. The end result was that jobs
were lost and the business was irreparably damaged and unable to rebuild. Milken
and his cohorts did not care about the workers, their retirement funds and the
future of their children. Once businesses had been plundered, many of them
closed their doors to never open again.
Eventually Milken was indicted on 98 counts of racketeering and
security fraud in 1989 as the result of an insider trading investigation. After
a plea bargain, Milken plead guilty to six securities and reporting felonies and
was sentenced to 10 years in Federal prison. He served less than two years.
Rick Warren is using a different tactic in taking over churches and
getting them under his control. Using an eight point program, he is luring
pastors to the seminars that are set up to promote the Purpose Driven programs.
Pastors are instructed how to take control of a church, destroy its foundation
and become a clone of the Saddleback church.
RICK WARREN AND HIS PURPOSE DRIVEN LIFE
Warren (right) was born in San Jose, California in 1954. He grew up as a PK
(preacher’s kid) his father being a Southern Baptist preacher. As a PK, he was
moved around and attended high school in Ukiah, California and graduated in
1972. He enrolled at the California Baptist College in Riverside, California,
where he graduated with a BA degree in 1976. He then moved to Fort Worth, Texas,
where he attended Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary and graduated with a
Master of Divinity in 1979. He attended Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena
and graduated with a Ph.D. in Ministry.
Since I was in the Southern Baptist Convention
from 1966 until 1973, attended district conventions, and graduated from Golden
Gate Baptist Theological Seminary in 1973, I can easily see the transition in
Warren’s theological thinking. The Southern Baptist pastors working in
California after World War II were humble men, most of them coming from the
South and Midwest, who toiled hard as they pioneered new churches. Their faith
was simple as they preached salvation and holiness with Jesus Christ at the
center. Many of the pastors worked in secular jobs to feed their families since
the congregations were small and most of the converts were either poor or lower
middle class people. Church buildings were simple, and as the phrase went at the
time, “they were located on the wrong side of the railroad track.”
People born after 1970 do not have any knowledge
of what life was like in a typical Southern Baptist church from 1945 until 1970.
Services were simple, with hymn singing and preaching on Sunday morning and
evening. Before the Sunday morning service, there was Sunday school for all
ages. In the evening there was a teaching program called, “Training Union.” The
material was uniform and produced by Broadman, a Southern Baptist
publishing house. The Sunday school program was designed so that the entire
Bible would be covered in a five year cycle. “Training Union” taught doctrine,
Christian ethics, mission history and current outreaches. My wife and I attended
all services on Sundays, and during our three and a half year stay at our first
church home in Salt Lake City, we were firmly grounded in the Word of God and
sound Christian doctrine. Wednesday night was prayer night and this is where we
learned to pray. Thursday night was visitation, where we would go out and
witness to people in the area. Saturday was occasionally used to repair the
church building. From time to time, there was a fellowship dinner in the church
after the morning service, and on those days, we stayed in church all day till
the evening service started.
My wife and I were on fire for the Lord and we
loved to spend time with the people in the church. Winning people for Christ was
the highlight in our lives. We lived for Christ and for the church, and even
though we spent much time in church, our marriage grew stronger and stronger.
The church would put on a week of revival every spring and fall. An evangelist
(usually a pastor from a different state) would come as the speaker for that
week and there would be special music from a singer or gospel group. Prior to
the revival, we would hand out flyers and double our visitation outreach to
bring in the lost to the church. We learned the phrase, “pack a pew,” in which
each family would be responsible to fill one pew with visitors. Smaller churches
did not have a bus ministry to bring in children for church, so members would
leave an hour early on Sunday mornings and pick up children whose parents would
not come to church, but who allowed their children to do so. There was no
griping about giving too much time to the Lord, as all of us were on fire and we
would do anything to find a sinner and lead them to Christ.
This is the way Rick Warren grew up. These were
the times before mega television ministries began to dominate the American
landscape with networks like PTL (Jim and Tammy Bakker), TBN (Paul and Jan
Crouch), and CBN (Pat Robertson), which destroyed the fiber of local churches
and got people used to “high class” Christian entertainment.
|Paul & Jan Crouch
||Jim & Tammy Bakker
California Baptist College and Golden Gate
Seminary were established by humble pastors, led by Area Missionaries (district
supervisors). The goal was to establish learning centers for Southern Baptist
young people and train them to become strong fundamental Bible believing
In the 1960s, a new generation took over; they
were influenced from the Southern Baptist seminaries in the East and South. The
professors at these schools had received their Ph.D.’s from prestigious
seminaries like Union Theological Seminary, Princeton, etc., but they had lost
their faith in the Bible. They bragged about their knowledge of liberal German
theologians whose faith had been shipwrecked and were nothing but proud empty
vessels believing in higher criticism (i.e. the Bible is not infallible).
As Southern Baptist Churches had attracted upper
middle class people with college and professional degrees, there was no more
room for humble pastors. Before 1950, it was enough for a pastor to hold a
preaching license from his home church, but that changed in the 1960s as most
churches required a Bachelor’s degree (BA). It was mandatory in the 1970s to
have a M.Div. (Master of Divinity) and no man today will be called to a
well-established church unless he holds a Doctor of Ministry or Theology.
Church boards nowadays are just like investors in
the stock market, demanding ever increasing profits, not concerned about the
people working in the factories and businesses. In much the same way, church
boards want growth at any cost. They couldn’t care less about the quality of
Christian living as long as the churches are packed full with potential tithers
and the money is flowing in. This is what happened as the spirit of Pride ruled
the churches and it became a competition to see who could have the largest
crowds and biggest church complexes. The more people a pastor could attract, the
bigger his salary would go, and in time he could put in his application for a
bigger church. Church conventions turned into bragging times, where pastors
would size each other up to see who had the fastest growing church, the biggest
attendance, etc. Church Boards would attend these conventions to scout out new
pastors, just like in the sports world where talent scouts look for better
players, and then pay them large sums of money to come and play on their team.
The ambition of becoming a pastor in a mega church is what drives young
ministers coming from the preacher assembly lines (seminaries) today.
In order to be successful in any denomination in
the United States and the Western World, a seminary student must toe the line,
be politically correct, and lick the boots of the power brokers in the
During the 1970-80s, Southern Baptist seminaries
became graveyards, so if a man was on fire for the Lord when he arrived, by the
time he graduated, he had been transformed to a proud scholastic individual,
void of faith in God but well trained in the profession of running a modern day
church. The young preacher would be well-schooled in psychology and marketed as
a social engineer. Local churches wanted growth at any cost, and the Gospel of
the cross, repentance, hell and a holy life had to go by the wayside as churches
became “seeker friendly.”
became a typical social engineer by the time he started his studies at Fuller
Theological Seminary which is well-known for its ultra-liberal theology. Having
been raised as a PK, Rick came from a humble financial background where the
children learned to live a frugal life because there was not a lot of money to
go around. He was like a ripe fruit when he began to attend the Crystal
Cathedral and listen to Robert Schuller (right), a master deceiver and a slick
worker in religion much like Herbert W. Armstrong. The principal teaching in
“The Purpose Driven Life” is nothing but New Age teachings from Robert Schuller.
As of 2007, more than 20 million copies of “The
Purpose-Driven Life” have been sold and 400,000 pastors and leaders from all
over the world have attended a seminar or conference led by Rick Warren.
Saddleback Church has started a non-profit website where Christian leaders in
162 nations are using material developed by Warren and his staff and 189,000
church leaders subscribe to his weekly newsletter.
What is the reason that Rick Warren has
catapulted and become known worldwide as a religious leader? After all, he is
not a charismatic evangelist holding mass meetings to vast crowds of unsaved
A KISS OF DEATH
The leadership of the World Government is always
looking for young people they can harness, train, and use for their own
purposes. Just like Bill Clinton, as a young college student, was given a
Rhode’s scholarship and trained to carry out the policies of his handlers, so
Rick Warren has been snared by the powers that be. It is difficult to trace
every step taken by Rick since his handlers are very cautious about people
knowing the workings behind the scenes, but Rick has left enough of a trail
behind him that it is possible for us to know partly for whom he works and their
The road to
success began in 1979, when Rick Warren and his wife Kay (right) drove from
Texas to the Los Angeles area to attend a workshop on church growth held at the
Crystal Cathedral with Robert Schuller. At that time, Rick was in his last year
at the seminary, and when he graduated he moved to Orange County, close to the
Crystal Cathedral. Both Rick and Kay became great admirers of Schuller and
attended a number of workshops as Rick studied at Fuller Theological Seminary.
Twenty-three years after attending his first
Schuller workshop, “The Purpose Driven Life” was released and printed by
Zondervan publishing house. Why would a mainline Christian publishing house take
on a book that quotes time and time again from “The Message: The Bible in
Contemporary Language?” It is the worst bible produced in the United States.
Worse than that, the book is the hidden life work of Robert Schuller but penned
by Rick Warren. Educated Christian leaders know very well that Schuller is
deeply involved in the occult and has based his theology and writings from
people in the New Age and occult societies. What Rick has done is to take his
study notes from Schuller seminars, the books Schuller has written and presented
it in such a way that the average church member wouldn’t know it was Robert
It is not feasible for me at this time to list
all the New Age teachings in “The Purpose Driven Life.” Instead, I will refer
you to an excellent book written by Warren Smith called, “Deceived on Purpose,”
where this former New Age disciple has done a tremendous scholastic work in
exposing Rick Warren as a disciple of Robert Schuller. We carry this book in our
bookstore, so please contact us if you wish to obtain a copy.
Robert Schuller has been on the inside of the
World Government for years, he even had Mikael Gorbachev appear on the televised
Hour of Power service. I’m sure that Schuller noticed Rick Warren and
developed him into a so-called “pied piper” to lead the Southern Baptist
Convention into the hands of the World Government leadership. At his seminars,
Schuller has “talent scouts” looking for bright young men and women who can be
led astray to embrace occult concepts. The fact that Rick Warren is a disciple
of Schuller can be seen in this quote by Schuller from the Hour of Power
program which aired on April 4, 2004:
“And there’s Rick Warren, a pastor who today is
phenomenal. He came to our institute time after time. And in ‘Christianity
Today,’ his wife was quoted as saying, ‘When we came to that institute, we were
Incidentally, it is interesting to note that
Christianity Today is a liberal magazine started by Billy Graham, but the
thoughts, ideas, references, words, terms, phrases and quotes in “The Purpose
Driven Life” are from the speeches and writings of Robert Schuller, who in turn
has taken much of this from occult writers and New Age people.
SOUTHERN BAPTIST IGNORANCE
During the month
of May, 2007 I decided to contact the Dr. Jeff Iorg (right), who is the
president of Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary (Southern Baptist) in Mill
Valley, California. I wanted to know where the seminary stood on the question of
“The Purpose Driven Life.” Here are the e-mails we exchanged:
Dear President Iorg,
As I was reading through Gateway, Spring 2007, I
became very curious about your stand on “The Purpose Driven Life” as presented
by Rick Warren. My wife and I lived at the seminary in Mill Valley from 1969-73
when I graduated with a M.Div. degree. When you have the time I would appreciate
a response from you.
Yours in Christ,
John S. Torell
Pastor of Resurrection Life of Jesus Church
We are partners with Rick Warren for seminary
education. He has about 40 students from Saddleback that we have enrolled at our
Southern California Campus. I have never been asked for "my stand" on “The
Purpose-Driven Life” but I would endorse the book as a good tool to help people
discover a relationship with God.
Dear President Iorg,
Thank you for your very fast reply. It surprised
In our ministry we carry a book called, "Deceived
on Purpose," by Warren Smith, who came out of the New Age movement some years
ago. A friend of our ministry sent us a copy some time ago, and when I read it,
I was deeply troubled. Rick Warren is not only a Southern Baptist, but he spent
time under the training by Robert Schuller, who is deeply involved in the New
Age. Portions of Rick Warren's book are taken from Schuller's teaching.
Would you be willing to receive a copy of Warren
Smith's book as a gift from our ministry and read it? I know that you are more
than busy, but I believe that when it comes to Biblical doctrine, we must not
overlook this and get into a belief system that is not in harmony with the
When I attended the seminary, I came into
conflict with some of the professors over their stand on the Bible. I was around
26 years old when I started and had been working in civil engineering for six
years; I was married and had been active at Central Baptist Church in Salt Lake
City from my conversion in 1965 until we left in 1969 to attend the seminary. My
pastors were from the south and very conservatively held the Word of God dear.
We were about 100 men at the orientation in the
fall of 1969 and the professor in charge told us “we were in for a rude
awakening if we had come expecting a camp meeting revival style fellowship. This
is a strict academic institution, and if you want to keep your Christian faith
alive, it is up to each man to take care of this.” We were later told that Moses
did not write the five books of Moses, they were written by others and we should
not take the content as fact, but just look at the principles. We were told the
same thing about the book of Isaiah and that the book of Daniel was forgery,
written by Jews in the century prior to Jesus as a political manifesto. The four
Gospels could not be trusted, so we should never preach an absolute truth out of
them, but only use them as principles for living. The book of Revelation was a
fairytale, written as a coded message from the Apostle John to the congregation
in Ephesus while John was imprisoned on the island of Patmos.
Many of the young men who came directly from
college to the seminary had their faith destroyed; those of us who were older
and had been grounded in the Word of God in our churches were able to keep our
faith. I felt that the seminary was more interested in making "social
engineers," since there was no place for the Holy Spirit and a solid faith in
the Bible as the Word of God.
I am sharing this with you so you will know of
the grief in my spirit that I have over the seminary. I stayed there and
finished my degree because God told me to stay. I learned how to study, write,
and know the apostasy that had crept into the Southern Baptist denomination.
Most of the professors who taught me are now
retired or dead and one day I will meet them again at the Judgment Seat of
Christ. As a result, I could not be silent anymore when I realized the seminary
had embraced the teaching of Rick Warren.
When I read some time ago that you had become the
president for the seminary, I was happy because what I read and heard from you
indicated there was hope for the seminary. Now my heart is broken afresh. I
don't really know how you will react but I await your response.
John S. Torell
The seminary has changed dramatically from the
days you were here. Our professors love the Bible, serve the church (many are
also pastors or in similar roles, and love students. Prayer meetings, mission
trips, and evangelism reports are our daily activities. Our students want to go
to the ends of the earth with the gospel. Our professors have been there, and
come back to send more in their place.
I will be glad to receive your book and put it on
my reading list. I have known Rick since he was a seminary student. Like most
high profile leaders, I think he sometimes mis-speaks. But, overall, I have been
glad to be his friend and support his ministry. I know you have studied this
matter and come to your convictions. I won't try to argue them with you.
I believe Golden Gate is on the right track -
strong commitment to the Bible, missions focus, pastoral hearts, and passionate
students. I hope to meet you sometime and give you a personal flavor for who we
have become and what we are doing.
Jeff Iorg is in the same age bracket as Rick
Warren and according to what he said, he must have attended seminary at the same
time as Warren. Iorg is a well-educated Southern Baptist, yet he has no concerns
about the occult and New Age, and he recommends Warren’s book as a great tool
for people to discover God. However, the god in “The Purpose Driven Life” is not
the God of the Bible. What a tragedy for a man of Iorg’s caliber, who is in
charge of training young men and women for Christian service, that he does not
have the knowledge or desire to protect them from being indoctrinated with
There has been no response from Jeff Iorg after
he received the book, “Deceived on Purpose.” The
following excerpt is from an article that recently came across my desk, and
in my aforementioned correspondence with Jeff Iorg, he failed to declare how
much of a partnership actually exists between Rick Warren and Golden Gate
Baptist Theological Seminary.
“The Lilly Endowment ‘a private founda-tion...that
supports community development, education and religion,’ has also helped fund
the Drucker Foundation. But more recently, it has shown its support for Baptist
leadership and pastoral training. Strangely enough, the two -- Druckers
communitarian vision for the ‘social sector’ and seminary training in
community-building -- fit together. The article, ‘Golden Gate Seminary Receives
$300,000 Lilly Endowment Grant’ tells us that the funds would provide ‘hardware,
software, renova-tions and training needed to fully integrate up-to-date
technology’ with the seminary's training program.
This grant makes all the more sense in light of
a new partnership between Golden Gate Seminary and Saddleback Church. The
Baptist seminary will build a new branch on the Saddleback campus to train
church leaders to use the digital data tracking technology needed to meet and
monitor community needs around the world.”
Two questions come to mind: how much money is
Rick Warren pumping into the Golden Gate Seminary and how many more seminaries
will be infiltrated?
The Destruction of the Southern Baptist Convention
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