Another book review of Richard Abanes “Rick Warren and the purpose that drives him”

May 2, 2008

Book review
Rick Warren and the purpose that drive him
by Richard Abanes


Scholarship: 3/10
Information content: 6/10
Spiritual content: 5/10
Overall rating: 5/10 (Don’t waste your money if you don’t need the book)


In this book, Richard Abanes, proclaimed best-selling author and journalist, and also a member and former staff member of Rick Warren’s Saddleback church, decided to take on the job of defending Rick Warren from his critics by writing this book, especially those that criticize Rick Warren’s Purpose Driven® Life in particular and of the Purpose Driven phenomena in general. He started off with the famous story of Ashley Smith and Brian Nichols, an introduction, followed by an exclusive interview with Rick Warren and then answering the critics’ points one by one. In this sense, this book is primarily an apologetic book, albeit defending Rick Warren.

Short review:

As I am one of the critics of Rick Warren, I would most definitely have an interest in any attempted defence of the Purpose Driven® Life. I have heard of this book mainly though the blog at, in which Tim Challies reviewed this same book by Richard Abanes. I therefore brought a copy of this book and read and reviewed this book.

At a short 127 pages consisting of 6 chapters, this book is rather short. The first 3 chapters are mainly a short biography of Warren’s life and ministry in chapter 1 and 2, and his clarification on his ministry’s issues in chapter 3. This is followed by answering some of the charges of his critics in chapters 4 to 6.

In my opinion, Richard Abanes does not do a very good job in defending his pastor. In this entire book, he is unsuccessful in defending the purpose driven paradigm in general and the Purpose Driven Life in particular from the charges made by his critics. As this book is a counter-apologetic book, the scholarship rating and similarly the spiritual rating depends on how well he responds to the charges, which is poor. Since that is the case, he is given a scholarship rating of 3, and a spiritual content rating and overall rating of 5.

For a more thorough review of this book, interested readers are advised to get my new book Driven Away by Purpose — An analysis of the Purpose Driven Life and Related Issues (2nd Ed.), which can be found here.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: