Review of Richard Abanes book “Rick Warren and the Purpose that Drives Him

April 14, 2008

The first time I debated Richard was over on Tim Challis website. I found a very good review of Richards book here by my brother in the Lord the ever gracious Tim Challis. Here is a excert from Tims review

There were times in reading the book when I felt unsure if Abanes even fully understood the nature of the criticisms levelled at Warren. This became obvious in his defense of Warren against charges that he is teaching New Age philosophies. I don’t believe that Rick Warren and Neil Donald Walsch are golfing buddies or that they get together on weekends to howl at the moon with their families. I don’t know that any of Warren’s critics believe that he is knowingly and deliberately a part of the New Age Movement. But this is what Abanes feels these people believe and he spends several pages proving the obvious – that Warren is not a New Ager. Yet even a person who is not a New Ager can teach things that are consistent with the New Age, and that is what Warren often seems to do. He has spoken at events with New Age leaders and has had some involved in his church. He may deny this, but it is documented fact. So while he is clearly not a member of the New Age, he seems to be, perhaps inadvertently, blurring the lines through his ministry. And this is of great concern to those who foresee a possible convergence between many Protestants and New Agers.

Enough. Suffice it to say that while Abanes does provide some helpful information, I do not feel this book offers significant information and argumentation that will change the minds of those who do not approve of Warren’s ministry. It will be easy to say that his detractors are merely hard-headed troublemakers, but an honest assessment will show that this book falls short of being a convincing apologetic for Rick Warren and all things Purpose Driven.

As I read Rick Warren and the Purpose that Drives Him I could not help but think of Jean Cretien, the long-time Prime Minister of Canada. He was a master at avoiding conflict. When the potential for conflict arose, he always seemed to come out looking clean. How did he do this? He simply denied that there was a conflict in the first place. He refused to allow himself to be driven off-course by his detractors. He was a corrupt and rotten politician, but one who survived years in the public eye, being elected time and again, by avoiding significant conflict. It seems to me that Rick Warren (and many other church and political leaders) has generally done the same. But for an ill-advised email to Lighthouse Trails Publications he has never answered the charges of his detractors. I would guess that the vast, vast majority of Christians who know of Warren and who have read The Purpose Driven Life are not aware that there is any conflict surrounding Warren and his book. It is entirely possible that Abanes’ book will actually work against Rick Warren, making people aware of a conflict about which they had, until they read this book, been entirely ignorant.

In the end I can’t help but conclude that Abanes simply does not understand the concerns people have with Warren and The Purpose Driven Life, and thus he does not answer their charges in a way that might cause them to change their minds.

Here is the link to read the entire review.

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