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Pastors told to get rid of "troublemakers"

HANDLING DISUNITY
(RICK WARREN'S WAY)

Purpose Driven Guru tells Pastors that Disunity is Satan's "Greatest Weapon" (?)

By Eric Barger

It figures that Rick Warren would unite with over 100 assorted liberals, heretics and confused Evangelicals in a love-letter calling for unity and common ground with Muslims. However, when dealing with dissenters who oppose his Purpose Driven philosophy and theology, it’s clearly his way or the highway.

In his November 14, 2007 directive to pastors, “What the Bible says about handling disunity” from his Pastors.com website, Warren outlines that "You've got to protect the unity of your church. If that means getting rid of troublemakers, do it."

Disruptions and disagreements in the Body are unseemly. However, unity in the church at the expense of truth isn’t really unity at all. Likewise, troublemakers may actually be rescuers of the Church if the questions they raise and the opposition they bring are scripturally founded and aimed at restoring authentic biblical teaching and practices. But of course, we need to understand exactly what terms like “unity” and “troublemaker” refer to in Rick Warren’s universe.

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to understand what Warren means when he encourages leaders on how to deal with “dissenters” opposed to what he deems as “progress.” To Warren, “disunity” refers to opposition to the new way to do church, in particular, the Purpose Driven way.

For example, Warren has clearly stated that those who insist on opposing his church transforming plan for growth are “problems.” He has joked about eliminating those of us stuck in what he considers the Stone Age by stating, “The pillars are only holding things up!” Warren claims that when those unwilling to change do leave a church that in reality it’s a “blessed subtraction.” Talk like this should be perceived as offensive. It is sad that so many only chuckle.

What Warren has accomplished in his short tenure as Secretary and Guru of Growth isn’t funny to a lot of people. To condescend about and encourage what amounts to the disenfranchisement of people who have poured their time, money and emotions into a church - for what appears to be the sake of selling more books and materials - is frankly sick. Though I’m sure it sounds cynical, when one considers the money that has changed hands to acquire Purpose Driven materials, it is to Warren’s advantage that any negative voices be made to appear foolishly out of step and silenced if possible. Encouraging the elimination and alienation of those who defy the growing Purpose Driven invasion when it comes knocking on their church doors is a key goal in Warren’s strategy. These dissenters are interfering with his version of unity. They are bad for business. They defy his obvious hunger for power and control. They are the troublemakers.

Warren begins his November 17 email by stating that the Bible speaks more about unity then of Heaven and Hell. Though I haven’t taken the time to count up the references yet, I am confident that this isn’t so. Let me ask, what about references insisting that we ministers hold to sound doctrine Rick? Does unity outweigh that too? It would appear so at least in Warrenessee. Warren concludes by telling his estimated 400,000+ readers that disunity is Satan’s greatest weapon against the Church. What? While it might be construed as progress that Rick Warren even acknowledges the existence of Satan, to espouse the notion that disunity is the Devil’s chief weapon is not just poor theology. It is a lie. Sins, such as greed and lust, are Satan’s greatest weapon against the Church. However, if Rick Warren is able to make these statements unchallenged then slothfulness and biblical ignorance are obviously gaining ground.

WHOEVER SAID THAT MINISTERS ARE ALWAYS RIGHT?

The Bible does warn those who cause division and give instructions on how to deal with them. However, as Paul wrote of this (see Titus 3) the supposition is that those in leadership are indeed theologically correct and acting biblically first. Again, no one wants dissention and division but unless a man named Martin Luther – a troublemaking dissenter – had caused the great stir and division which he brought about we might possibly never have broken the bondages and domination of Rome!

Luther’s Reformation was based on good theology. Warren’s announced quest for a “new reformation” is not. What Purpose Driven and Seeker proponents need to stop and consider before buying further into Warren’s folly is that Jesus warned us a whopping 14 times about religious leaders who would come and mislead. Pastors and leaders – yours truly included - can be mistaken. Does Jesus expect us to unquestionably accept what is taught every time some alleged Christian leader with a publishing deal or a microphone concocts yet another wacky program or theology? Absolutely not! We are to test all teachings, sermons or philosophies to see if they match up to the Bible. (I Thess 5:21) Otherwise, some other neo-evangelical like Rick Warren will use the misguided idea of “unity before truth” to sidetrack others into what can only be referred to as cultism.

During his last visit with them, Paul warned the Ephesian elders that after his departure “grievous wolves (will) enter in among you, not sparing the flock.” Paul then states that “Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them.” He concludes his warning by stating “Therefore watch...” (Acts 20:28-31a)

Peter writes, “But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction.” (II Peter 2:1) In these two passages, Peter and Paul are obviously directing their warnings at the Church. Therefore, it is not “disunity” to oppose unbiblical ideas and teaching inside the Body. It is actually the most appropriate thing to do.

My words here are not intended to give credence to individuals in church who are just plain disagreeable, who buck everything at every turn and who are bent on being upset over silly stuff. But when it comes to indubitably going along with Church leadership on any given issue – particularly, if it’s only for the sake of unity itself – just remember this phrase: Unity at the expense of truth is not the unity taught in the Bible. Believers should all be able to unify on that!

For more on Rick Warren and the Purpose Driven Life see:

Our Disturbing Spiritual Condition

Will They Say of Us: "They Were the Evangelical?"

The Common Ground of Rick Warren and Mitt Romney

Examining the Purpose Driven Philosophy

(c) copyright 2007, Eric Barger

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