The Evangelical Universalist Forum

My New Favorite Book - The Purpose Driven Life by Rick Warren

Just read this by Rick Warren. It’s my favorite book out of the hundreds of books I have. Touches on everything significant to me through the past 10 years. If you haven’t read it I would highly recommend it. Over 34 million copies sold.

Forgive me, but I can’t let an endorsement of Rick Warren go unchallenged. Please consider these concerns:

1 Like

I’m a preterist and believe the new heavens and earth was established in 70 A.D. it just has to reach it’s full consummation where there will be no more death or pain. The Church I go to is called Christian “Disciples of Christ”. They were the first non-denominational church in America. Their goal was to bring all denominations together into one church.

They take communion every Sunday but all are invited to partake. They don’t force one set of controversial doctrines on everybody but let the individual come to his conclusions on controversial matters. I’ve read “The Purpose Driven Life” and have to say that Rick Warren is spot on. He touches on everything that has helped me deal with my mental illness the past 10 years. He also has Celebrate Recovery that has helped me with my habits and addictions. “The Purpose Driven Life” and Celebrate Recovery materials both touch on the issues that have helped me with my illness. They have worked for me and I know they’re true because of the freedom and deliverance I’ve experienced. For more here’s Rick Warren being interviewed by John Piper on his book “The Purpose Driven Life”. John Piper has defended the soundness of the teachings of the book. I know it’s true with a deep understanding of the teachings through my experiences with healing and deliverance. I’ve been diagnosed with Schizoaffective (bipolar type), Anxiety, social phobia, panic attacks, and drug and alcohol addictions. As someone who has received tremendous healing I have to say Rick Warren is spot on. I highly recommend “The Purpose Driven Life” and “Celebrate Recovery”

Well, we seen the pro Rick Warren. Now for the other side!

This week you are… You seem to change your position seasonally. I am all for free thinking, but I have observed you going full circle on multiple occasions.

That said, I am truly happy that you are finding a book that keeps you going.

I’ve always been a Preterist. I just changed from Pantellism to regular preterism. The teachings in Purpose Driven Life teach the core doctrines that I haven’t changed on. Except for hell, purgatory, and end times. All other beliefs I’ve held to.

God is in control

Fall in love with God

The heart of worship is surrender, (Let go and let God)

Trust God (have faith in His promises) promises are about the future. Forgiveness is about the past

Self forgetfulness

Everything exists for God’s glory

Get your focus off yourself and on God and others.

It all starts with God. I’m not God.

and others. Get the books. Excellent material.

As far as Celebrate Recovery goes it’s a program that blends the Twelve Steps from AA’s Bill Wilson and Doctor Bob with the Beatitudes to come up with 8 principles of Celebrate Recovery. In the Celebrate Recovery Literature it lists the Twelve Steps with a corresponding scripture. The principles of the Twelve Steps originated in a Christian group called “The Oxford Group” started by a Lutheran pastor.

From Wkipedia:

The co-founders of Alcoholics Anonymous met through the Oxford Group, and codified several of its tenets into AA, the first twelve-step program

Moral standards of absolute honesty, absolute purity, absolute unselfishness, and absolute love, though recognized as impossible to attain, were guidelines to help determine whether a course of action was directed by God. The Four Absolutes seem to have first appeared in a book by Robert E. Speer, titled The Principles of Jesus .[14] In the Chapter, Jesus and Standards , Speer laid down Four Principles (honesty, purity, unselfishness, love) that he believed represented the distilled, uncompromising, moral principles taught by Jesus. Speer quoted Bible verses for each Principle. In 1909, Professor Henry B. Wright of Yale, citing Speer’s work, dug up many more Bible verses that set forth these same Principles in the YMCA book: The Will of God and a Man’s Lifework .[15] Wright dubbed them Absolutes rather than Principles. Next, Frank Buchman and the Oxford Group/Moral Rearmament adopted and popularized the phrase “The Four Absolutes”.

In Oxford terms, sin was “anything that kept one from God or one another” and is “as contagious as any bodily disease”. The soul needs cleansing: “We all know ‘nice’ sinless sinners who need that surgical spiritual operation as keenly as the most miserable sinner of us all.”[9]:11–16

Spiritual practices

To be spiritually reborn, the Oxford Group advocated four practices set out below:[9]:9

  1. The sharing of our sins and temptations with another Christian.
  2. Surrender our life past, present and future, into God’s keeping and direction.
  3. Restitution to all whom we have wronged directly or indirectly.
  4. Listening for God’s guidance, and carrying it out.

Celebrate Recovery 12 steps and scriptures

  1. We admitted we were powerless over our addictions and compulsive behaviors. That our lives had become unmanageable. Romans 7:18 I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out.

  2. Came to believe that a power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity. Philippians 2:13 For it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose.

  3. Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God. Romans 12:1 Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God–this is your spiritual act of worship.

  4. Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves. Lamentations 3:40 Let us examine our ways and test them, and let us return to the LORD.

  5. Admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being, the exact nature of our wrongs. James 5:16 Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed.

  6. Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character. James 4:10 Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.

  7. Humbly asked Him to remove all our shortcomings. 1 John 1:9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.

  8. Made a list of all persons we had harmed and became willing to make amends to them all. Luke 6:31 Do to others as you would have them do to you.

  9. Made direct amends to such people whenever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others. Matthew 5:23-24 Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to your brother; then come and offer your gift.

  10. Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong, promptly admitted it. 1 Corinthians 10:12 So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall!

  11. Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and power to carry that out. Colossians 3:16a Let the Word of Christ dwell in you richly.

  12. Having had a spiritual experience as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to others, and practice these principles in all our affairs. Galatians 6:1 Brothers, if someone is caught in a sin, you who are spiritual should restore him gently. But watch yourself, or you also may be tempted.

Celebrate Recovery 8 Principles

  1. Realize I’m not God; I admit that I am powerless to control my tendency to do the wrong thing and my life is unmanageable. “Happy are those who know they are spiritually poor”
  2. Earnestly believe that God exists, that I matter to him, and that he has the power to help me recover. “Happy are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted”
  3. Consciously choose to commit all my life and will to Christ’s care and control. “Happy are the meek”
  4. Openly examine and confess my faults to God, to myself, and to someone I trust. “Happy are the pure in heart”
  5. Voluntarily submit to every change God wants to make in my life and humbly ask Him to remove my character defects. “Happy are those whose greatest desire is to do what God requires”
  6. Evaluate all my relationships; Offer forgiveness to those who have hurt me and make amends for harm I’ve done to others except when to do so would harm them or others. “Happy are the merciful” “Happy are the peacemakers”
  7. Reserve a daily time with God for self examination, Bible readings and prayer in order to know God and His will for my life and to gain the power to follow His will.
  8. Yield myself to God to be used to bring this Good News to others, both by my example and by my words. “Happy are those who are persecuted because they do what God requires”

Prayers for the Principles of Celebrate Recovery:

Principle 1

Dear God, Your Word tells me that I can’t heal my hurts, hang-ups, and habits by just saying that they are not there. Help me! Parts of my life, are out of control. I know that I cannot “fix” myself. It seems the harder that I try to do the right thing the more I struggle. Lord, I want to step out of my denial into the truth. I pray for You to show me the way. In Your Son’s name I pray. Amen

Principle 2

Dear God, I have tried to “fix” and “control” my life’s hurts, hang-ups. or habits all by myself. I admit that, by myself, I am powerless to change. I need to begin to believe and receive Your power to help me recover. You loved me enough to send Your Son to the cross to die for my sins. Help me be open to the hope that I can only find in Him. Please help me to start living my life one day at a time. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen

Principle 3

Dear God, I have tried to do it all by myself, on my own power, and I have failed. Today, I want to turn my life over to You. I ask You to be my Lord and Savior. You are the One and only Higher Power! I ask that You help me start to think less about me and my will. I want to daily turn my will over to You, to daily seek Your direction and wisdom for my life. Please continue to help me overcome my hurts, hang-ups, and habits and may that victory over them help others as they see Your power at work in changing my life. Help me do Your will always. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.

To be continued

From Celebrate Recovery:

If you have attended secular recovery programs, you have seen the first four lines of the “Prayer for Serenity.” The following is the complete prayer. I encourage you to pray it daily as you work through the principles!

The Serenity Prayer

God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference.
Living one day at a time;
Enjoying one moment at a time;
Accepting hardships as the pathway to peace;
Taking, as He did, this sinful world
as it is, not as I would have it;
Trusting that He will make all things right
if I surrender to His Will;
That I may be reasonably happy in this life
and supremely happy with Him
Forever in the next.

I’ve recently written down my entire life story. I wrote down all the wrongs I’ve done and all the wrongs done to me and read it to my trusted friend in confidence (steps 4 and 5). What I found is that I was very shame based growing up. I was abused growing up as a child and this cause me to hate myself. This shame would lead to drugs and alcohol. Drugs and alcohol would cause me to act crazy and this would cause more shame. Even sober I was awkward. I was a shame based outcast. Shame produced sin and sin produce intense shame. This is what is known as a shame spiral. I couldn’t communicate or look others in the eye. Shyness turned into social phobia and social phobia turned into a paranoid psychoses. My psychoses is just an intense fear and shame. When I’m having psychotic delusions I’m experiencing high intensity shame. I turn inward and experience self-consciousness to the extreme. What helped me in Celebrate Recovery was writing all this down. It brought me into an awakening and awareness of my self-consciousness. By writing and having people to talk to and express these things to I got my focused attention flowing outward. Surrendering (letting go) and focusing on God in worship through music, writing, poetry and helping someone else got my attention flowing outward and the self-conscious shame/anxiety was released. When you lose yourself you find yourself like people do when they go for a walk noticing the scenery and environment, exercise, listen to music, read, write, blog, play games like solitaire, work, color, worship and praise God, watch a wholesome or educational T.V. show, serve and help others, doing a hobby that focuses your attention like painting, putting models together, and socializing. Anything that gets the attention focused and flowing outside of self gets rid of the intense self-conscious shame and fear and grandiosity. Rick Warren not only speaks of self-forgetfulness (losing self-conscious shame and fear and grandiosity) in “Purpose Driven Life” but it’s part of the principles (Steps) in Celebrate Recovery. The idea is to develop new habits after losing the old ones that turn your focus outward not inward.

In “The Slavery of Death” the psychologist, Dr. Richard Beck, speaks of this "death to self"or becoming “nothing”. Here’s a few quotes:

As Stringfellow explains, because Marsh became secure in God’s love, he “forgot himself” and lost his “self interest” which allowed him to love others. page 96

The answer, as described in chapters 5 and 6, is letting go of an identity of possession, dying to it, and adopting what David Kelsey calls an eccentric identity - an identity that is received from God and centered outside the self. The eccentric identity is experienced as a gift rather than a possession. ~~ page 100

As we see in Paul’s exhortations, singing is a central practice of doxological gratitude. Singing is the practice of “giving thanks to God the Father for everything.” Singing is how we cultivate and express to God the gratitude in our hearts. It’s through singing that we most acutely come to experience our lives as eccentrically grounded. It is through singing that our expressions of gratitude become their most profound, reaching every corner of heart and mind, body and soul. And it is through singing that we learn to experience and received our lives and identities as grace and gift. page 103

One more quote from “The Slavery of Death”

Those of us struggling with shame, fear, guilt, or even spiritual competitiveness with others should stop and sit for a season with practices of doxological gratitude. We should remain with worship and thanksgiving, singing and prayer, until joy, peace, and loving spontaneity return - fruits signaling that the eccentric identity of Jesus has been rehabilitated and restored in our hearts and minds. page 107

I dealt with shame and anxiety here:

I discussed shame spirals leading to psychoses here:

On Falling in Love with God here:

On self-forgetfulness here:

As far as forgiving God it doesn’t say that. It teaches us to make amends to those we have harmed and make amends to God. But this isn’t the same as forgiving God. It’s more along the lines of the Catholic penance.

Both “Purpose Driven Life”, and “Celebrate Recovery” teach self forgetfulness. It teaches to turn outward with our focus rather than inward. We love the new self created in the image of Christ. The true self in Christ not the false old sinful self.