Purpose-Driven “No Matter What it Costs”

by Tamera Hartzell
author of In the Name of Purpose
Used with permission.

Sacrificing Righteousness and Holiness

“If you will commit to fulfilling your mission in life no matter what it costs, you will experience the blessing of God in ways that few people ever experience. There is almost nothing God won’t do for the man or woman who is committed to serving the kingdom of God. Jesus has promised, ‘[God] will give you all you need from day to day if you live for him and make the Kingdom of God your primary concern.’ [endnote: Matthew 6:33 (NLT)]” (PDL; pp. 286-287; first brackets in the original; bold added)

Looking at the fruit of Rick Warren’s Purpose-Driven Paradigm, “no matter what it costs” has already included the high costs of sacrificing truth, righteousness, holiness, and obedience to God. Indeed, righteousness has been deleted again in his very paragraph of declaring “no matter what it costs.” The version that he chose to quote has deleted essential truth from Scripture:

“But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.” (Matthew 6:33)

The Kingdom of God can only be sought through the righteousness of God because His Kingdom consists only of those who have been truly born again by the Holy Spirit through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, thereby receiving His imputed righteousness.

Rick Warren’s unscriptural claim that fulfilling your mission “no matter what it costs” will bring God’s blessing in ways that only a “few people” experience is completely presumptuous and erroneous. God reiterates throughout His uncorrupted Holy Scriptures that His blessings are reserved for the righteous.

Sacrificing the Truth of the Faith

On November 22, 2004, in one of his interviews with Rick Warren, Larry King asked:

“What is the purpose-driven life? And can non-Christians lead one?”1

Excellent question! Would the Lord Jesus Christ have “modeled” a life or taught others how to live a life that non-Christians (non-followers of Christ) could lead? And would this be “the work that brought glory to God”?

“Jesus modeled a purpose-driven life, and he taught others how to live it, too. That was the ‘work’ that brought glory to God.” (PDL; p. 310; emphasis added)

Regarding the work of God, the Word of God has this to say:

“Then said they unto him, What shall we do, that we might work the works of God? Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent.” (John 6:28-29)

There is a huge difference between Jesus being our “model” Whom we are to “imitate” in living a purpose-driven life and Jesus being our Lord and Saviour in Whom we are to believe and before Whom we are to kneel. Yet according to Rick Warren in this same interview, “This book has enormous cross-over and everybody’s reading it” (emphasis added). “Does that mean that a Jew, a Muslim, an agnostic, an atheist could benefit from this book?” asked Larry King. To which Rick Warren replied, “If that’s the question, sure. Anybody can benefit from it.” He then proceeded to give an example of a Jewish lady passing it on to a Muslim lady.2

This would be fantastic if the saving, uncorrupted Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ was actually in this book for the world to read so they could “believe on him whom he hath sent.” But then the book would be offensive to the world instead of embraced by it.

The Purpose Driven Life is even praised on a website devoted to promoting Vijay Eswaran’s book In the Sphere of Silence, which is overtly steeped in Eastern (specifically Hindu) religious beliefs and practices. The praise was part of a favorable review of Eswaran’s book:

“Of late, books have come into the scene and continue to change or enrich lives. The bestseller, ‘Purpose-Driven Life,’ has crossed religious boundaries to be a handy practical guide to people.” (Emphasis added)3

On December 2, 2005 during another of Larry King’s interviews of Rick Warren, a caller identifying themself as of the “Jewish faith” commented that they were currently reading Rick Warren’s book and asked him:

“I just wanted to know one question. How did you get a turning point to get your purpose-driven life?”

Notice that they did not see the need for the Lord Jesus Christ in their reading of his book, but merely getting one’s “purpose-driven life.” Likewise, Rick Warren didn’t see the need to point that out. His typical feel-good, man-centered answer to the caller’s question included nothing about the Lord Jesus Christ or the necessity of believing in Him as the way to God:

“I think it wasn’t one turning point. I think over a period of time, as I began to study the Bible over and over, I kept seeing this concept that you are not an accident, that there are accidental parents, but there are no accidental children. There are illegitimate parents, but there are no illegitimate children.

“In other words, your parents may not have planned you, but God did. And honestly, it really doesn’t matter whether your parents were good or bad or indifferent. The fact is the reason they were your parents is God chose them because they had just the right DNA that would create you.

“And God was more interested in making you than he was in their parenting skills, so they might have been terrible parents or they might have even abandoned you, and that concept that you’re not an accident, you’re made to last forever, you were made by God and for God, and until you understand that, life doesn’t make sense.” —Rick Warren4

The truth of the faith is being sacrificed in favor of feel-good, man-centered teachings that facilitate interfaith unity. It soon won’t matter which religion’s local church people attend, especially since it is believed that all religions (faiths) “have a portion of the truth.” With this belief, what difference would it make in the new way of thinking which religion you decide to become “purpose-driven” in?

“And by the way, there’s truth in every religion. Christians believe that there’s truth in every religion. But we just believe that there’s one savior. We believe we can learn truth — I’ve learned a lot of truth from different religions. Because they all have a portion of the truth. I just believe there is one savior, Jesus Christ.” —Rick Warren (Emphasis added)5

Yet the Lord Jesus Christ said:

“Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” (John 14:6)

Rick Warren’s statement that “they all have a portion of the truth” actually negates the belief in “one savior” by denying that Jesus Christ is the truth. God’s Holy Scriptures also specifically say that “truth came by Jesus Christ” (John 1:17). To say that truth is in other religions is to say that Jesus Christ is in other religions. This denies that the faith of Christianity is “the faith which was once delivered unto the saints” (Jude 1:3).

Without Jesus Christ, religions (faiths) have no portion of the truth. Jesus Christ cannot be parceled out. Furthermore, the doctrine of Christ which distinguishes between having the Lord Jesus Christ and having another “Jesus” or another “Christ” is not found in other religions (faiths). Jesus Christ, Who is the truth not a truth, said:

“… If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; and ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” (John 8:31-32)

“Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth …” (John 16:13)

“Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you.” (John 14:17)

The truth is not in any other religion (faith) because the Lord Jesus Christ is not in any other religion, and neither is His Word (the Holy Scriptures) nor the Holy Spirit. Everything else is false and counterfeit and found on the broad way, not on the Lord Jesus Christ’s narrow way of the truth of the faith.

Yes, the Lord Jesus Christ and His truth are divisive and exclusive of all who refuse to believe. He is Who He is, regardless of what people believe or want. People’s beliefs do not determine Who He is. Rather, Who He is needs to determine people’s beliefs. Time is running out. All who receive not the love of the truth will be sent strong delusion from God Himself so they will believe a damning lie (e.g., see 2 Thessalonians 2).

The Angel of light’s purpose of uniting all people and religions (faiths) into a global interfaith unity will be completed by his coming false “Christ.” The elimination of “non-essential” doctrines that divide the faiths, and the belief that all faiths have part of the truth actually further the Master Deceiver’s work:

“Today, slowly, the concept of a world religion and the need for its emergence are widely desired and worked for. The fusion of faiths is now a field for discussion. Workers in the field of religion will formulate the universal platform of the new world religion. It is a work of loving synthesis and will emphasize the unity and the fellowship of the spirit.… The platform of the new world religion will be built by many groups, working under the inspiration of the Christ.…

“The churches in the West need also to realize that basically there is only one Church, but it is not necessarily only the orthodox Christian institution. God works in many ways, through many faiths and religious agencies; this is one reason for the elimination of non-essential doctrines. By the emphasizing of the essential doctrines and in their union will the fullness of truth be revealed. This, the new world religion will do …” —Alice Bailey & Djwhal Khul (Emphasis added)6

On July 21, 2003, USA TODAY reported:

“Yet Warren’s pastor-training programs welcome Catholics, Methodists, Mormons, Jews and ordained women.

“‘I’m not going to get into a debate over the non-essentials. I won’t try to change other denominations. Why be divisive?’ he [Rick Warren] asks, citing as his model Billy Graham, ‘a statesman for Christ ministering across barriers.’” (Emphasis added)7

Notice that other religions (faiths), with either a false “Jesus” or no Jesus, are merely referred to here as “other denominations.” Rick Warren’s programs have been defended with the correction that Mormons and Jews were reputedly inserted here by USA TODAY.8 Yet keep in mind that Mormonism is already considered a Christian “denomination” by a growing number of professing Christian leaders, as is Catholicism which is accurately included by USA TODAY because there are “Purpose Driven Catholics.”9

Furthermore, it is good that Rick Warren is said to recognize that Mormonism and Judaism are other religions,10 but, nevertheless, he taught his “preaching seminar” to the rabbis at the University of Judaism last June.11 And this is the point! Doctrines are being set aside as non-essential in favor of watered-down purpose that transcends religious barriers and facilitates interfaith unity.

Although the Lord Jesus Christ said He came to bring “division” (Luke 12:51), “Why be divisive?” the world asks. “We won’t join you on the narrow way of division and separateness, but why don’t you join us on the broad way of unity and Oneness?”

Rick Warren was interviewed by The Dallas Morning News before he spoke at the Global Day of Prayer event,12 held on May 15, 2005. He was asked:

“You’ve become a very popular public speaker. As you’ve traveled, have you noticed any local differences in how your message is received?”

His response was:

“Not at all.… It’s cross-cultural — I get letters from Hindus, from Muslims. [The Purpose Driven Life] didn’t get niched as a religious book.” (Brackets in the original; emphasis added)13

This latest quote follows the emerging pattern of interfaith unity. Hindus and Muslims are referred to here as being from different cultures not religions. This is another deceptive, inclusive, unifying trend in today’s Christianity that has been growing as it increasingly merges with the broad way.

“The Purpose Driven Church ministry philosophy is a transferable biblical process, successful in every culture, in every denomination, in churches of every size and shape.” —PD Staff14

Because The Purpose Driven Life is based more on the teachings of the world than on the Holy Scriptures, this book did not get “niched as a religious book” and is therefore acceptable to those in different religions (faiths) or no religion. This negates its claims to prepare its readers for eternity.

The global transformation—transforming Christianity into a united Churchianity—continues unabated, as the truth of the faith is sacrificed in the name of purpose.

“Purpose Driven’s strategy dovetails easily into the polity of many denominations. We often describe it as a computer chip that can be used in any form of computer.” —PurposeDriven (Emphasis added)15

“‘Personal computers have brand names. But inside every pc is an Intel chip and an operating system, Windows,’ Warren says. ‘The Purpose Driven paradigm is the Intel chip for the 21st-century church and the Windows system of the 21st-century church.’” (Emphasis added)16

The narrow way of the Lord God and His truth cannot be walked on by unbelievers. If it could, then God’s Word would be a lie and salvation would be universal. If other religions (faiths) can be taught how to become purpose-driven, then God and His truth are not the center of the purpose-driven life. Besides, the exaltation of purpose above God and His truth has already been clearly evidenced in The Power of Purpose competition, which Rick Warren said was “exactly what [he] hoped for” when writing The Purpose Driven Life. (From chapter 10 of In the Name of Purpose)


1.  Interview with Rick Warren, CNN Larry King Live, Aired November 22, 2004, Transcript, http://transcripts.cnn.com/TRANSCRIPTS/0411/22/lkl.01.html.

2.  Ibid.

3.  Dante Velasco, Reviews, In the Sphere of Silence, http://www.inthesphereofsilence.com/DesktopDefault.aspx?Myurl=p_default&tabindex=8&tabid=11&subtabid=11.

4.  Interview with Rick Warren, CNN Larry King Live, Aired December 2, 2005, Transcript, http://transcripts.cnn.com/TRANSCRIPTS/0512/02/lkl.01.html.

5.  Interview with Rick Warren, CNN Larry King Live, Aired November 22, 2004, http://transcripts.cnn.com/TRANSCRIPTS/0411/22/lkl.01.html.

6.  Alice Bailey & Djwhal Khul, The Reappearance of the Christ, Chapter VI – The New World Religion, .

7.  “This evangelist has a ‘Purpose’” by Cathy Lynn Grossman, USA TODAY, July 21, 2003, http://www.usatoday.com/life/2003-07-21-rick-warren_x.htm.

8.  Richard Abanes, Rick Warren and the Purpose that Drives Him, p. 90.

9.  See “Purpose Driven Catholics,” PurposeDriven, http://replay.waybackmachine.org/20051021001957/http://www.purposedriven.com/en-US/40DayCampaigns/PurposeDrivenChurches/Catholics/PDCatholics.htm and http://www.purposedriven.com/en-US/40DayCampaigns/PurposeDrivenChurches/Catholics/FromChurchLeaders.htm.

10. Richard Abanes, Rick Warren and the Purpose that Drives Him, p. 90.

11. Discussion “Myths of the Modern Mega-Church,” May 23, 2005, the Pew Forum’s biannual Faith Angle conference on religion, politics and public life, Event Transcript, http://pewforum.org/events/index.php?EventID=80.

12. For information on the Global Day of Prayer, building the Kingdom, and the second Reformation, see “The Global Day of Prayer: Part One” by  Discernment Newsletter, May/June 2005, http://www.discernment-ministries.org/NLMayJune_2005.htm; and “The Second Reformation: The Global Day of Prayer – Part Two” by  Discernment Newsletter, July/August 2005, http://www.discernment-ministries.org/NLJulyAugust_2005.htm.

13. As quoted in “Pastor found ‘purpose’ in spreading God’s word” by Emily Ramshaw, The Dallas Morning News, May 16, 2005,  posted at http://replay.waybackmachine.org/20081015130043/http://www.purposedriven.com/en-US/AboutUs/PDintheNews/Archives/Pastor_found_purpose.htm.

14. “What is Purpose Driven?” by PD Staff, http://replay.waybackmachine.org/20080519111137/http://www.pastors.com/RWMT/article.asp?ArtID=8096.

15. “What is PurposeDriven?”, PurposeDriven, http://replay.waybackmachine.org/20080311065329/http://www.purposedriven.com/en-US/AboutUs/WhatIsPD/7+Myths+of+PD.htm.

16. “Purpose Driven in Rwanda” by Timothy C. Morgan, posted 9/23/05, Christianity Today, October 2005, http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2005/010/17.32.html.

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