Rick Warren - The Purpose Driven Life: What on Earth Am I Here For

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Rick Warren: A Purpose Driven Life, Hardcover Book

Aug 27, 2006
Review by  
Rated a Very Helpful Review

Pros:Interesting to see what the buzz is all about.

Cons:Not necessarily a bad message; but not a Biblical message

The Bottom Line: My recommendation to Christians: read the Bible instead. To people who want to be "in style" and follow trends: Go for it!


The Purpose Driven Life: What on Earth am I Here For? is a non-fiction book written by Rick Warren (Warren), the Senior Pastor of Saddleback Church in southern California. This book has been on the New York Times bestseller list for over three years. The hardback copy of the book is 322 pages with three appendices (one of which containing questions developed to correspond with the chapters) and one section of notes at the end.

After his initial book The Purpose Driven Church, Warren wrote The Purpose Driven Life which has generated many other such titled media, including journals, scripture packets, workbooks, etc….

The premise of The Purpose Driven Life is that each human being has been created to fulfill his mission. By reading and responding to each chapter, the readers will be able to discover “What on Earth Am I Here For?” (Section One); that “You Were Planned for God’s Pleasure” (Purpose #1); that “You Were Formed for God’s Family” (Purpose #2); that “You Were Created to Become Like Christ” (Purpose #3); that “You Were Shaped for Serving God” (Purpose #4); and that “You were Made for a Mission” (Purpose #5).

The format of the book has each section opening with two Bible references. Each chapter begins with a Bible reference and a quote from a famous person relevant to that chapter content. Many pages include a “box” summary. At the end of the chapter, the day of the “journey” is listed; a statement is made for the reader to remember; a point to ponder is included; and a verse to remember is listed. Each section is made up of seven topics, representing seven days, except for the fifth and final purpose which has five days.

The initial questions in Section One and the ensuing answers are meant to be completed in a forty day time period. Warren believes that the reader will gain the most by this strategy in order to have time to consider what he has read. In fact, Warren outlines how the reader will best benefit from the book in his introduction, “A Journey With Purpose: Getting the Most From This Book” (Page 9). Besides using the forty day format, Warren stipulates that the reader should “interact” with the book (Page 10), by underlining and writing notes in the book Also, Warren “strongly” urges (Page 11) the reader to use the discussion questions in Appendix One of the book, as well as having a partner or a group format. Following this, Warren invites the reader and partner to sign a covenant (with Warren’s signature at the bottom) to commit to following the book for forty days. In doing so, Warren claims that “The next 40 days will transform your life” (Page 10).

The first section of the book, entitled “What On Earth Am I Here For?” lists two Bible references and segues into Day (chapter) One, “It All Starts With God.” Warren’s first quote of this chapter is memorable: It’s not about you (Page 17). Day Two, “You Are Not An Accident,” then flows into Day Three, “What Drives Your Life,” and Day Four states, “Made to Last Forever.” Day 5, “Seeing Life From God’s View,” flows into Day 6, “Life is a Temporary Assignment,” and finishes with Day 7, “The Reason For Everything.”

At this point, if the reader has accepted Warren’s framework about his meaning here on earth and continues to follow the book, the reader will discover Warren’s answers for the questions formerly raised.

Warren states that Purpose #1 is “You Were Planned For God’s Pleasure.” He follows up that statement with you were “Planned for God’s Pleasure,” “What Makes God Smile?”, “The Heart of Worship,” “Becoming Best Friends with God,” “Developing Your Friendship with God,” “Worship that Pleases God,” and “When God Seems Distant.”

Next, Warren stipulates “Purpose #2: You Were Formed for God’s Family” which includes “Formed for God’s Family,” “What Matters Most,” “A Place to Belong,” “Experiencing Life Together,” “Cultivating Community,” “Restoring Broken Fellowship,” and “Protecting Your Church.”

For “Purpose #3: You Were Created to Become Like Christ,” Warren includes the topics, “Created to Become Like Christ,” “How We Grow,” “Transformed by Truth,” “Transformed by Trouble,” “Growing Through Temptation,” “Defeating Temptation,” and “It Takes Time.”

“Purpose #4: You Were Shaped for Serving God” is broken into “Accepting Your Assignment,” “Shaped for Serving God,” “Understanding Your Shape,” “Using What God Gave You,” “How Real Servants Act,” “Thinking Like a Servant,” “God’s Power in Your Weakness.”

Finally, “Purpose #5: You Were Made for a Mission,” includes the topics, “Made for a Mission,” “Sharing Your Life Message,” “Becoming a World-Class Christian,” “Balancing Your Life,” and “Living with Purpose.”

I have included each day’s heading, as the titles do a great job of summarizing what is to come.

ANALYSIS
For Christian or inspiration books, I like to make the disclaimer that I am not a theologian (of course, neither is Rick Warren).

Regarding the writing/author: I find Warren’s writing style very engaging. The Purpose Driven Life is not an academic book and does not try to be. Warren writes with passion and is very persuasive. He is a charismatic person who gives much of his income to great causes around the world.

Regarding the theology: The Purpose Driven Life is not a theological, academic book. The so called scriptures quoted are generally used out of context and in a paraphrase that bares no resemblance to what the Bible actually says.

Regarding whether or not to buy this book: This book is for the sheep of the world that love to jump on bandwagons. It is for people who are not terribly intelligent, can’t read the Bible themselves to see what it says, need someone else to tell them what life is all about, etc…. This book is for people who love to be trendy, in style, and be into whatever fad is out there.

Relevance to the Christian faith: This is a dangerous book as it makes the Christian faith about us and what we can do. Like Warren says on Page 17, “It’s not about you” or us. Amen.


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