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A Doctrinal Critique of Rick Warren’s book

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The “gospel according to Rick Warren” is not the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. It is a lukewarm, almost social gospel, designed to appeal to our humanistic natures – and it may well make people aware of Jesus, but they will never meet Him. The “gospel according to Rick Warren” stands for nothing, demands nothing and convicts no one! Adding to this insult is the acceptance, of Rick

Brett Bigg
PART three of this doctrinal critique of Rick Warren’s book The Purpose Driven Life looks exclusively at the Gospel.
When does Rick Warren give his readers the opportunity to hear the Gospel and what does Rick Warren say in presenting the Gospel?
Does Rick Warren adequately and truthfully present the Gospel to the unsaved person who may be reading his book; and if they are accepting of what Rick Warren says, will they be born of God; or become resistant to the true and complete Gospel in the future - because they will have become lulled into thinking they already have salvation?

Some worship God as a mere form, and some in spirit and in truth.
Some give their hearts to God, and some give them to the world. Some believe the Bible and live as if they believed it: others do not.
Some feel their sins and mourn over them: others do not.
Some love Christ, trust in Him, and serve Him: others do not. … Now what is the explanation of the difference?
I answer, unhesitatingly, regeneration or being born again. I answer that true Christians are what they are, because they are regenerate, and formal Christians are what they are, because they are not.
The heart of the Christian in deed has been changed.
The heart of the Christian in name only has not been changed.
The change of heart makes the whole difference.
— J.C. Ryle (1816-1900), Regeneration, p12

Study Technique
Previously we looked at Rick Warren and the infl uence of Peter Drucker on his ministry. We also evaluated the introduction and the fi rst two chapters of The Purpose Driven Life. A question which must be answered — and answered correctly — is, “Should we be ‘Purpose-Driven’ or ‘Spirit-Led’?”
Which is Rick Warren advocating?
When studying and analysing doctrine we need to utilise more literal translations of the Bible. That is versions which translate words and phrases as literally as possible, without losing the meaning of cultural idioms.
For example: for me to say, “run up a red fl ag” will not mean much to a person who does not know that a ‘red fl ag’ is a warning sign or signal.1
Furthermore, when analysing doctrine, we must look at the Word of God in the CONTEXT in which it is placed, and not dissect a verse and only quote a phrase which distorts its origin and/or true meaning.

Furthermore, we need to look at the difference between translations and paraphrases.
A paraphrase is NOT a translation, but is the rendering of a piece of work to convey the general meaning, intention or gist, of the author (and sometimes, only the interpretation or perspective the writer of the paraphrase wishes to emphasise and have their audience perceive).
Though a paraphrase may be acceptable for devotional readings etc, a devotional is not ideal for doctrine and study.
We must remember that the Holy Spirit is the Spirit of Truth and not the Spirit of Error.
No matter how sincere the intentions of its authors, a person who creates a rendering of the Bible (New Testament and/or Old Testament) for the purpose of “easy reading” can do a disservice to us.
God seeks DISCIPLES (students) not pew warmers. Therefore, let us take on-board Paul’s advice to Timothy

(2 Tim 2:15): Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth. (NAU *2) Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. (KJV *3) Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. (KJV4) Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a workman who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth. (NIV *5)
In many ways The Purpose Driven Life contains biblical truth.
But – and I stress this “but” – it is the leaven which is interspersed within it that makes it dangerous, heretical and even blasphemous; just like many other writings in the world.
Numerous extra-biblical and unbiblical works exist, some of which are sold through alternate religions, such as Islam, as well as exponents of new age, mysticism and cult-type outlets.
Even some modern secular bookstores are stocking such material as The Gospel of Barnabus *6 and The Secrets of Enoch *7.
Despite these works being shown to be unauthentic, uninspired and heretical many people, within and without the Church, seek them.

It is thanks (in part) to the incorporation of mystical, mythological and cultural folk-beliefs (even Jewish and Christian folk-beliefs) into Christian churches and communities that the true Gospel message and Biblical teaching has, at different times in history, been lost or corrupted — even to fi rst generation Christians, as can be seen by Paul’s letter, correcting such syncretism, to the Colossians.
The perpetuation of such folkbeliefs and heresies can be seen in their infl uence upon the Muslim prophet Muhammad who, for example, repeats these heresies (as though they were inerrant and inspired) in the Qur’an8.
The question we must ask is, “To what category does the gospel according to Rick Warren, in The Purpose Driven Life, belong? Orthodox Evangelical/ Protestant, Roman Catholic, incomplete, or like the extra-biblical works cited above — heretical?”
Let us examine what Rick Warren says about the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ, and see if it conforms to the Word of God.
The Gospel according to Rick Warren
I must point out that the chapters in The Purpose Driven Life are ordered chronologically according to Rick Warren’s syllabus of 40 Days of Purpose. As such the Day 7 chapter falls within the introductory portion of the book, and is not, explicitly, part of the fi ve purposes Rick Warren is endeavouring to teach us — but are a part of Rick Warren’s explanation, exhortation and justifi cation of The Purpose Driven Life.
The Law of God, the commandments of Christ, are to be taken very seriously. We are not saved by keeping them, but if we’re saved we will keep them.
Chapter 7, The Reason for Everything, begins by expounding some of God’s attributes and stating, In the entire universe, only two of God’s creations fail to bring glory to him: fallen angels (demons) and us (people).
All sin, at its root, is failing to give God glory.
It is loving anything else more than God.
Refusing to bring glory to God is prideful rebellion, and it is the sin that caused Satan’s fall – and ours, too.
In different ways we have all lived for our own glory, not God’s.
The Bible says, “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”(ix) None of us have given God the full glory he deserves from our lives. This is the worst sin and the biggest mistake we can make.
On the other hand, living for God’s glory is the greatest achievement we can accomplish with our lives. God says, “They are my own people, and I created them to bring me glory,”(x) so it ought to be the supreme goal of our lives.
— The Purpose Driven Life, p54-55.
Included references are: (ix) Rom 3:23 (NIV) and (x) Isa 43:7 (TEV)9.
Romans 3 verse 23: “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” is a “given”. We have all heard it and know it to be true.
I know and say, as the apostle Paul did, that I am the worst sinner (1 Tim 1:15).
This is not simply a matter of agreeing that Romans 3:23 is true, but evaluating my own life in relation to God’s standard.
As such, merely assenting to the idea that I am a sinner is NOT the same as knowing you are a sinner.
And in order to know you are a sinner is to know what God regards to be sin, and to know that God expects us to repent, that is turn from such a sinful lifestyle, and ask Him for forgiveness.
Everyone who practices sin also practices lawlessness; and sin is lawlessness1 John 3:4 NAU. Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law.1 John 3:4 KJV. The Law of God, the Commandments of Christ, are to be taken very seriously. We are not saved by keeping them, but if we are saved we will, and have a desire to, keep them. To emphasise how serious God regards this issue, He summarises at the end of the Book of Revelation by saying,
But for the cowardly and unbelieving and abominable and murderers and immoral persons and sorcerers and idolaters and all liars, their part will be in the lake that burns with fi re and brimstone, which is the second death. Outside are the dogs and the sorcerers and the immoral persons and the murderers and the idolaters, and everyone who loves and practices lying.Revelation 21:8; 22:15 NAU.

It is against the standards outlined in God’s Word that we are compared. Despite the decrees allowing homosexual marriages and ministers in some denominations, the Word of God identifi es that such persons are included in Revelation’s abominable and immoral persons. It is not for us to determine what “we” think is right, it only matters what God says is right (and wrong).
Rick Warren fails to raise God’s standard and to fl y God’s colours. He talks in general terms of “not giving glory to God”, rather than addressing the issue of what sin is.

Furthermore, does Isaiah 43:7, as quoted by Rick Warren, truly support Rick Warren’s doctrine?
Does the TEV (Today’s English Version, previously called The Good News Bible) support it?
Does a literal translation support it? Let us read how this verse is rendered, in context, in the Updated New American Standard (allowing the scripture to speak for itself 10),

But now, thus says the LORD, your Creator, O Jacob, and He who formed you, O Israel, “Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name; you are Mine! “When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they will not overfl ow you. When you walk through the fi re, you will not be scorched, nor will the fl ame burn you. “For I am the LORD your God, The Holy One of Israel, your Savior; I have given Egypt as your ransom, Cush and Seba in your place.Since you are precious in My sight, since you are honored and I love you, I will give other men in your place and other peoples in exchange for your life. “Do not fear, for I am with you; I will bring your offspring from the east, And gather you from the west.I will say to the north, ‘Give them up!’ And to the south, ‘Do not hold them back.’ Bring My sons from afar and My daughters from the ends of the earth, everyone who is called by My name, And whom I have created for My glory, whom I have formed, even whom I have made.” Bring out the people who are blind, even though they have eyes, and the deaf, even though they have ears. All the nations have gathered together so that the peoples may be assembled. Who among them can declare this and proclaim to us the former things? Let them present their witnesses that they may be justi- fi ed, or let them hear and say, “It is true.” “You are My witnesses,” declares the LORD, “And My servant whom I have chosen, so that you may know and believe Me and understand that I am He. Before Me there was no God formed, And there will be none after Me. “I, even I, am the LORD, and there is no savior besides Me. “It is I who have declared and saved and proclaimed, and there was no strange god among you; so you are My witnesses,” declares the LORD, “And I am God.” Even from eternity I am He, and there is none who can deliver out of My hand; I act and who can reverse it?”Isaiah 43:1-13 NAU, Verse 7 highlighted.

This scripture is talking about God’s elect, Jacob/Israel; and where God scattered them in the past – in judgement – He will remember them, His elect.
The most recent fulfi lment of this prophecy can be seen with modern day Israel, and the return from all the nations from whence they were dispersed. Isaiah 43:7 is directed at Israel – and not the church – as can be seen by God’s specifi c statement “O Jacob”.
Nevertheless, let us continue and see what Rick Warren tells us the solution to our sinfulness is.
Jesus honored God by fulfi lling his purpose on earth. We honor God the same way. — The Purpose Driven Life, p55.

Praying, “Jesus, I believe in you and I receive you” is not the the gospel. It is a false gospel where God’s requirements for salvation are not met.
The above-mentioned quote comes from the section, in chapter seven, titled, “How Can I Bring Glory to God?”
Rick Warren goes on to say, “There are many ways to bring glory to God, but they can be summarized in God’s fi ve purposes for your life.”
These “ways” are defi ned, by Rick Warren, as,
We bring Glory to God by worshipping him.
We bring Glory to God by loving other believers.
We bring God glory by becoming like Christ.
We bring God glory by serving others with our gifts.
We bring God glory by telling others about him.
— The Purpose Driven Life, p55-57.

In the concluding section (“What Will You Live For?”) of chapter seven, Rick Warren makes the following “invitation”,

Right now, God is inviting you to live for his glory by fulfi lling the purpose he made you for. … Real life begins by committing yourself completely to Jesus Christ.
If you are not sure you have done this, all you need to do is receive and believe.
The Bible promises, “To all who receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God.” Will you accept God’s offer?

First, believe.
Believe God loves you and made you for his purposes.
Believe you’re not an accident.
Believe you were made to last forever.
Believe God has chosen you to have a relationship with Jesus, who died on the cross for you.
Believe that no matter what you’ve done, God wants to forgive you.

Second, receive.
Receive Jesus into your life as your Lord and Saviour.
Receive his forgiveness for your sins.
Receive his Spirit, who will give you the power to fulfi ll your life purpose.
The Bible says, “Whoever accepts and trusts the Son gets in on everything, life complete and forever!”
Wherever you are reading this, I invite you to bow your head and quietly whisper the prayer that will change your eternity: “Jesus, I believe in you and I receive you.”
Go ahead. If you sincerely meant that prayer, congratulations!
Welcome to the family of God!
You are now ready to discover and start living God’s purpose for your life.
I urge you to tell someone about it.
— The Purpose Driven Life, p58, 59.

Quoting Jn 1:12 (NIV) & Jn 3:36a (Msg *11)

Some may argue that The Purpose Driven Life includes the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.
But this is not true.
Rick Warren’s “Gospel Invitation”(as I reluctantly call it) is a lie which insulates the unsaved, supposed “born-again believer”, from considering the true gospel.

Praying, “Jesus, I believe in you and I receive you” is not the gospel.
It is a false gospel where God’s requirements for salvation are NOT met. Major points of the gospel, which Rick Warren has omitted – be it intentionally or accidentally (though it is reprehensible to think that a true pastor, a shepherd of God’s fl ock would, not could, get it wrong) – are: (allowing the scripture to speak for itself)
• Repentance
Peter said to them, “Repent, and each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.Acts 2:38 NAU.

Therefore having overlooked the times of ignorance, God is now declaring to men that all people everywhere should repentActs 17:30 NAU.

For Paul had decided to sail past Ephesus so that he would not have to spend time in Asia; for he was hurrying to be in Jerusalem, if possible, on the day of Pentecost. From Miletus he sent to Ephesus and called to him the elders of the church.
And when they had come to him, he said to them, “You yourselves know, from the fi rst day that I set foot in Asia, how I was with you the whole time, serving the Lord with all humility and with tears and with trials which came upon me through the plots of the Jews; how I did not shrink from declaring to you anything that was profi table, and teaching you publicly and from house to house, solemnly testifying to both Jews and Greeks of repentance toward God and faith in our Lord Jesus Christ
Acts 20:16-21 NAU.

So, King Agrippa, I did not prove disobedient to the heavenly vision, but kept declaring both to those of Damascus fi rst, and also at Jerusalem and then throughout all the region of Judea, and even to the Gentiles, that they should repent and turn to God, performing deeds appropriate to repentanceActs 26:19-20 NAU.

All this time you have been thinking that we are defending ourselves to you. Actually, it is in the sight of God that we have been speaking in Christ; and all for your upbuilding, beloved. For I am afraid that perhaps when I come I may fi nd you to be not what I wish and may be found by you to be not what you wish; that perhaps there will be strife, jealousy, angry tempers, disputes, slanders, gossip, arrogance, disturbances; I am afraid that when I come again my God may humiliate me before you, and I may mourn over many of those who have sinned in the past and not repented of the impurity, immorality and sensuality which they have practiced2 Corinthians 12:19-21 NAU.

The Lord’s bond-servant must not be quarrelsome, but be kind to all, able to teach, patient when wronged, with gentleness correcting those who are in opposition, if perhaps God may grant them repentance leading to the knowledge of the truth2 Timothy 2:24-25 NAU

The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance 2 Peter 3:9 NAU.

The Lord Jesus Christ preached “repentance”, as did John the Baptist, the apostle Peter, Paul and all TRUE ministers of the gospel.
To quote A.W. Tozer (1897-1963),

In the Bible the offer of pardon on the part of God is conditioned upon intention to reform on the part of man. There can be no spiritual regeneration till there has been a moral reformation. That this statement requires defense only proves how far from the truth we have strayed.
In our current popular theology pardon depends upon faith alone. The very word reform has been banished from among the sons of the Reformation! …The promise of pardon and cleansing is always associated in the Scriptures with the command to repent …
I think there is little doubt that the teaching of salvation without repentance has lowered the moral standards of the Church and produced a multitude of deceived religious professors who erroneously believe themselves to be saved when in fact they are still in the gall of bitterness and the bond of iniquity. And to see such persons actually seeking the deeper life is a grim and disillusioning sight. Yet our altars are sometimes fi lled with seekers who are crying with Simon, “Give me this power,” when the moral groundwork has simply not been laid for it. The whole thing must be acknowledged as a clear victory for the devil, a victory he could never have enjoyed if unwise teachers had not made it possible by preaching the evil doctrine of regeneration apart from reformation.
— The Best of A.W. Tozer, Book 2, p115-117. Compiled by Warren W. Wiersbe
• The Cross
Though Rick Warren says, “Believe God has chosen you to have a relationship with Jesus, who died on the cross for you”, he does not truly explain the Cross, and because of this he also omits: the confession of sin, the crucifi xion of the Lord Jesus, the Blood that cleanses us from sin and the resurrection of the Lord Jesus.
Consider, now, the epistles and what was written – not to the unsaved, but to the saved,
but we preach Christ crucifi ed1 Corinthians 1:23a NAU.

For I determined to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ, and Him crucified 1 Corinthians 2:2 NAU.

Now I make known to you, brethren, the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received, in which also you stand, by which also you are saved, if you hold fast the word which I preached to you, unless you believed in vain.
For I delivered to you as of fi rst importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scripture
s — 1 Corinthians 15:1-4 NAU.

knowing that you were not redeemed with perishable things like silver or gold from your futile way of life inherited from your forefathers, but with precious blood, as of a lamb unblemished and spotless, the blood of Christ1 Peter 1:18-19 NAU.

but if we walk in the Light as He Himself is in the Light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin1 John 1:7 NAU.
Rick Warren’s “gospel” is lukewarm, designed to appeal to our humanistic nature. It may make people aware of Jesus, but they will never meet Him.
Giving thanks to the Father, who has quali- fi ed us to share in the inheritance of the saints in Light.
For He rescued us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.
He is the image of the invisible God, the fi rstborn of all creation.
For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities-- all things have been created through Him and for Him. He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together.
He is also head of the body, the church; and He is the beginning, the fi rstborn from the dead, so that He Himself will come to have fi rst place in everything. For it was the Father’s good pleasure for all the fullness to dwell in Him, and through Him to reconcile all things to Himself, having made peace through the blood of His cross; through Him, I say, whether things on earth or things in heaven.
And although you were formerly alienated and hostile in mind, engaged in evil deeds, yet He has now reconciled you in His fl eshly body through death, in order to present you before Him holy and blameless and beyond reproach-- if indeed you continue in the faith fi rmly established and steadfast, and not moved away from the hope of the gospel that you have heard, which was proclaimed in all creation under heaven, and of which I, Paul, was made a minister
Colossians 1:12-23 NAU.

The “gospel according to Rick Warren” is not the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ.
It is a lukewarm, almost social gospel, designed to appeal to our humanistic natures – and it may well make people aware of Jesus, but they will never meet Him.
The “gospel according to Rick Warren” stands for nothing, demands nothing and convicts no one!
Adding to this insult is the acceptance, of Rick Warren’s book, by churches spanning nearly all denominations.
That so many are racing to be involved in Rick Warren’s “40 Days of Purpose” program, including Catholic churches, which have taken it on with no obvious doctrinal concerns, raises questions in regard to pastors who promote Rick Warren and his teachings.
One is forced to ask, “Are these pastors doing their job?
Are these pastors reading and analysing Rick Warren’s doctrines before they endorse it?
Are these pastors living up to their pastoral responsibilities?
Are these pastors truly pastors?”
Consider now the subject we are discussing:
The gospel and salvation.
Would a true pastor endorse an evangelist who did not preach the whole gospel?
One would hope not.
Why then do they endorse The Purpose Driven Life when it is just as defi cient?
Shepherds are supposed to not just lead and guide the fl ock, but to protect it as well, from those things that go beyond scripture, and those things that fall short of scripture.
Rick Warren promotes a superficial gospel, a false gospel that gives people a false hope for the future: be that concerning death, hell, the resurrection, judgement and/or heaven.
Of all the scriptures that Rick Warren quotes, why when discussing the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ are simple, succinct and convicting verses omitted?

Everyone who practices sin also practices lawlessness; and sin is lawlessness1 John 3:4 NAU.

For Christ also died for sins once for all, the just for the unjust, so that He might bring us to God, having been put to death in the fl esh, but made alive in the spirit; — 1 Peter 3:18 NAU. But the Scripture has shut up everyone under sin, so that the promise by faith in Jesus Christ might be given to those who believeGalatians 3:22 NAU.

For I delivered to you as of fi rst importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, — 1 Corinthians 15:3-4 NAU.
As with the Left Behind series of books *12, that failed to include the gospel as even an appendix; and Mel Gibson’s movie The Passion of the Christ *13 (which is based not purely on the gospels but also on the visions and thus doctrines of the Roman Catholic mystic Anna Katharina Emmerick (1774-1824) – who Pope John Paul II beatifi ed on 3 October 2004), numerous people are going to say, “Don’t throw the baby out with the bath water” or “Some good can come out of this book!”
Some “good”! What “good”?
The apostle Paul told the Galatians, A little leaven leavens the whole lump of doughGalatians 5:9 NAU.

This is a reinforcement of what Jesus taught in regard to doctrine. When discussing the Pharisees He said,
And Jesus said to them, “Watch out and beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees.” They began to discuss this among themselves, saying, “He said that because we did not bring any bread.” But Jesus, aware of this, said, “You men of little faith, why do you discuss among yourselves that you have no bread?” Do you not yet understand or remember the fi ve loaves of the fi ve thousand, and how many baskets full you picked up? “Or the seven loaves of the four thousand, and how many large baskets full you picked up? “How is it that you do not understand that I did not speak to you concerning bread? But beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees.” Then they understood that He did not say to beware of the leaven of bread, but of the teaching of the Pharisees and SadduceesMatthew 16:6-12 NAU.

The Pharisees and the scribes asked Him, “Why do Your disciples not walk according to the tradition of the elders, but eat their bread with impure hands?” And He said to them, “Rightly did Isaiah prophesy of you hypocrites, as it is written: ‘THIS PEOPLE HONORS ME WITH THEIR LIPS, BUT THEIR HEART IS FAR AWAY FROM ME.’ BUT IN VAIN DO THEY WORSHIP ME, TEACHING AS DOCTRINES THE PRECEPTS OF MEN.’ “Neglecting the commandment of God, you hold to the tradition of men”Mark 7:5-8 NAU.

Is God right?
Does “a little leaven, leaven the whole lump”?
Or are the advocates who say, “Some good can come out of it,” correct?
A Cross-less Christ is not Jesus Christ; and neither is half the gospel adequate.
Before accepting Jesus we must think out what is involved in the step. There are rich compensations in Christ, but there is a price to be paid.

I am amazed that you are so quickly deserting Him who called you by the grace of Christ, for a different gospel; which is really not another; only there are some who are disturbing you and want to distort the gospel of Christ. But even if we, or an angel from heaven, should preach to you a gospel contrary to what we have preached to you, he is to be accursed! As we have said before, so I say again now, if any man is preaching to you a gospel contrary to what you received, he is to be accursed!
For am I now seeking the favor of men, or of God?
Or am I striving to please men?
If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a bond-servant of Christ.
For I would have you know, brethren, that the gospel which was preached by me is not according to man
Galatians 1:6-11 NAU.

Finally, I think it pertinent to quote the prayer from John Stott’s booklet Becoming a Christian.
As you read it please be aware that this prayer follows a discourse on man’s problem (sin), God’s provision (Jesus) and the terms, i.e. man’s responsibility and the requirements, to be met in order to become a true Christian.
John Stott does not understate what is at stake, when he says, “We too, before accepting him [Jesus], must think out what is involved in the step.
There are rich compensations in Christ, but there is a price to be paid.
What demands does Christ make on me, both at the time of accepting him, and afterwards?” *14
John Stott notes our need is to repent of our sins, surrender to Christ and to confess Christ before men.
Compare now Rick Warren’s “Gospel and Prayer of Salvation”, as stated earlier, with this prayer of conviction. Lord Jesus Christ, I humbly acknowledge that I have sinned in my thinking and speaking and acting, that I am guilty of deliberate wrongdoing, and that my sins have separated me from Your Holy Presence, and that I am helpless to commend myself to You;
I fi rmly believe that You did die on the cross for my sins, bearing them in Your own body and suffering in my place the condemnation they deserved;
I have thoughtfully counted the cost of following You.
I sincerely repent, turning away from my past sins.
I am willing to surrender to You as my Lord and Master.
Help me not to be ashamed of You;
So now I come to You.
I believe that for a long time You have been patiently standing outside the door knocking.
I now open the door.
Come in, Lord Jesus, and be my Saviour and my Lord for ever. Amen. *15
— John Stott Becoming a Christian, p25, 26.

1 For example, Leland Ryken states, “of Psalm 24, the NIV does not preserve what the original [text] says with the phrase ‘the Lord of hosts.’ In fact the NIV preface singles out this phrase as one regarding which the translators decided that ‘because for most readers today the phrase ‘the Lord of hosts’ and ‘God of hosts’ have little meaning, this version renders them ‘the Lord Almighty’ and ‘God Almighty.’’ By removing the phrase ‘Lord of hosts’ from sight, the NIV makes it impossible for readers to see a legitimate reference to the armies or citizens of heaven – created beings who are under God’s command in heaven. Furthermore, some commentators, my pastor among them, see in this last verse of Psalm 24 an eschatological level of meaning – in other words, a reference to the redeemed saints in the presence of God in heaven.” Bible Translation Differences, p16, 17.
2 NAU - New American Standard Updated (1995)
3 KJV - King James Version
4 NKJV - New King James Version
5 NIV - New International Version
6 Despite being referenced as late as the fi fth century in church history, The Gospel of Barnabus as it is known today has its origin in the fi fteenth century. The document itself claims to be an account of the life of Jesus Christ, but has a distinctly pro-Islamic perspective. Copies of The Gospel of Barnabus are available online from IslamicBookstore. com, and is published by the American Trust Publication (ATP). The ATP’s name is a bit of a misnomer (or rather an intentional deception) in that the organization is not dedicated to American history or heritage (though the name implies this), but is actually a division of The North American Islamic Trust (NAIT), whose website claims, “After centuries of misrepresentation by orientalists and missionaries, the demand for authentic Islamic literature in North America among Muslims and non-Muslims is very great. American Trust publications (ATP) was established in 1976 in order to meet this demand.” (http://www.nait. net/nait.html)
7 The Secrets of Enoch are a “second-century A.D. Egyptian work in Arabic”. Dr. Anis A. Shorrosh, Islam Revealed, p157.
8 For example, Dr. Anis A. Shorrosh, in his book Islam Revealed, shows how extra-biblical writings were used as the source for (the founder and prophet of Islam) Muhammad’s revelations, “The II Targum of Esther, dating back to the second century A.D., is consistently found to be the source of Surat* al-Naml (The Ant) 27:17-44 … Surat al-Imran (The Family of ‘Imran) 3:35-37 closely follows a spurious gospel account, The Protevangelion’s James the Lesser. This second century A.D. apocryphal Christian fable tells the story of Zachariah, his wife, and John the Baptist … We must further compare The Secrets of Enoch, a second-century A.D. Egyptian work in Arabic, 1:4-10 and 2:1, and the Quaranic record of Muhammad’s Mi’raj … As to the description of what Muhammad saw in the various levels of heaven, one can fi nd an earlier record of the very same details in The Testament of Abraham … Almost fi ve centuries after Barnabas’s death, the Gospel of Barnabas is mentioned by Pope Gelasius I (A.D. 492-496). Because of its heretical teaching, Pope Gelasius forbade Christians to read it. The book was Gnostic in origin and denied the deity of Christ as well as His incarnation. Such a book could have fallen into the hands of Muhammad, providing him with the glaring absurdities of the Quranic account of Christ.” p146, 152, 157-158, 178. * Surat: chapter (of the Qur’an)
9 TEV – Today’s English Version, American Bible Society (1992), also called The Good News Bible.
10 As per Rick Warren’s assertion of “allowing the Scripture to speak for itself”, The Purpose Driven Life, p11.
11 Msg – The Message, Eugene Peterson.
12 I acknowledge that the Left Behind series is fi ctitious – though the premise of the story is based upon Biblical prophecy. Nevertheless, the absence of the Gospel from its pages remains a disappointing omission. 13 Interestingly, the offi cial website of The Passion of The Christ movie, on its Synopsis page, states, ‘On Golgotha, Jesus is nailed to the cross and undergoes his last temptation – the fear that his father has abandoned him. He overcomes his fear, looks at Mary, his Holy Mother, and makes the pronouncement that only she can fully understand, “it is accomplished.” He then dies: “into Thy hands I commend my Spirit.”’ (http://www. Personally, I believe the context of this statement with the capitalization of “Holy Mother” and the lack of capitalization on “father” to be blasphemous and idolatrous.
14 John Stott, Becoming a Christian, p21.
15 Old English words, such as: thy, thou, didst, thine, thee and hast; have been replaced with their contemporary equivalent.

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Appeared in Issue CETF 34 November 2005
"...contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints" -- Jude v3

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