Now Complete !

Below the reader will find my critical review of Rick Warren’s The Purpose-Driven Life, which now is complete through all forty chapters. I would like to thank the small set of readers who have maintained their interest in this project through the several years it took to complete. Their encouragement has been very edifying. I will continue to monitor the comments posted here, and will (Lord willing) respond in civil discourse to any who may wish to pursue discussion.


Anonymous Mark Kelly said...


Seeing your post, I wanted to offer a clarification. Rick Warren does not "cast aside" the first reformation; he wants us to build on it. Creeds are important, but creeds without deeds is faith without works, which James says cannot save anyone.

Pastor Rick believes the reformation clarified correct doctrine, so we all know where to stand doctrinally. But he also believes it is time for Christians who have only been hearers of the Word to also become doers of the Word.

I hope this helps.

Mark Kelly, Saddleback Church

9:50 AM  
Blogger S. C. Mooney said...


Thanks for writing and expressing your concern. We all believe that the 16th Century Reformation clarified doctrine. Now, I maintain that Rick Warren casts aside this clarity. I maintain that his so-called second reformation does not at all build upon the doctrinal clarity of the 16th Century Reformation. The ideas presented in “The Purpose-Driven Life” cannot possibly be expressed in terms of truly Reformational doctrine. The doctrinal clarity provided by the historic Reformation must be muddied beyond all recognition before the ideas presented in “The Purpose-Driven Life” can gain any footing. So far you have written only to express general disagreement with my general assessment. But, since your comment is limited to the content contained in the sidebar, I am skeptical whether you have read my comprehensive critique. I suggest that you embark on a forty day “journey” to digest this material, and then write again to comment more specifically on particular points. I would be eager to pursue discussion with you on points of specific content.

Scott C. Mooney

6:16 PM  
Blogger Beyond The Rim... said...

Harry Blamires wrote in The Christian Mind about "the loneliness of the thinking Christian." Anyone who truly makes an effort to study and show themselves approved before God (not men), to think things through honestly and effectively, will find themselves comparatively alone.

Real thinking is real work, and for a Christian will involve real change, since God has a never-ending job of perfection to accomplish in each of our lives. Speaking to itching ears and rewarding shallow thinking will always draw a crowd, because the human heart, while essentially wicked (see Isaiah among others), is fundamentally lazy, shying away from the hard road.

Hard thinking and wrestling with God and our own faults and failures is a lonely event. Thank you for wrestling through this long study, for baring your own soul as you tested the spirit of words of one who would be a prophet (what Paul says we are to do).

Whether one agrees or disagrees with your thoughts, an honest reader cannot doubt the transparency and legitimacy of your efforts. May God use your words to try the thoughts and hearts of those who are will to take the hard road, to engage the tough questions with a tough love.

Grace and peace be with you and all you love and care for.

7:46 AM  
Blogger Matt said...

Thanks for posting your thoughts. I will be having a look at them as I work through the book. Thanks,


10:54 AM  
Blogger S. C. Mooney said...

Mark, it's been more than 40 days. Do you have any particular points of disagreement we can discuss?

William, I thank you for your interest throughout this project, and for your kind and encouraging words here.

Matt, I am glad to hear from you. I pray for you, for wisdom and diligence, as you pursue this study. Please feel free to post here or email me personally if at any point along the way you would like to raise an issue for discussion.

9:15 PM  
Blogger Christian Tots said...

Hi Scott,

Thanks for completing this massive undertaking!

I've linked it at my blog almost immediately! :)

11:14 PM  
Blogger S. C. Mooney said...

Christian Tots, I thank you for your endorsement. It is quite gratifying to me to see this message make its way around the world !

6:30 PM  
Anonymous Peter said...

Dear Mr. Mooney,
While I appreciate the time and effort you put into critiquing this book, I disagree with your assessment that "the core concepts of this book run directly counter to the essence of Christian truth."
I haven't read all of your posts that relate to this book, but the posts that I did read unfairly characterized RW as a heretic (although you may never have used this word).
After reading the entire book, I have no doubt that RW is a fellow believer who is encouraging others to live for God rather than for themselves. I suspect this is the opinion of most readers, and if so, this idea certainly doesn't oppose the truth that we find in God's word.
As some of the other comments pointed out, your criticism is sometimes unfair, overly harsh, or based on what I would call "minor denominational differences." Because of this I don't intend to read any more of your PDL posts.
Let's major on the majors, and minor on the minors.
Your brother in Christ,

7:51 PM  
Blogger S. C. Mooney said...


It is very difficult for me to discern how to respond to your comment. You state that I "unfairly characterized RW as a heretic", though in the same breath you admit that you are not sure I ever used that word. You state that my criticisms are "sometimes unfair", though you cite no examples - or based on "minor denominational differences", though I never mention any denominations or their differences. You suggest that my critique is an exercise in "majoring on minors." I respectfully request that you state what you consider to be the "majors". In particular, do you consider the "core of Christianity" to be of "major" concern, and do you agree with Rick Warren that the "core of Christianity" is "thinking of others"?

9:29 PM  
Anonymous Peter said...

Mr. Mooney, you and I both know you can call a person a heretic without ever using that word, and you can argue denominational differences without ever citing a denomination.

I'm deeply troubled that in your response to my comment you wrote, "In particular, do you consider the "core of Christianity" to be of "major" concern, and do you agree with Rick Warren that the "core of Christianity" is "thinking of others"?"

Nowhere in my copy of The Purpose Driven Life does Rick Warren make that statement! I hope that when you wrongly placed those quotation marks around those words and attributed them to Rick Warren, it wasn't done on purpose.

What Pastor Warren wrote was "Christianity is not a religion or a philosophy, but a relationship and a lifestyle. The core of that lifestyle is thinking of others, as Jesus did, instead of ourselves." You see, he says Christianity is two things: relationship and a lifestyle characterized by thinking of how we can do good to others rather than focusing on our desires.

I'm not interested in pointing out to you other places in your posts where you have unfairly treated the author and his work; I suspect it would be an exercise in futility.

9:55 AM  
Blogger S. C. Mooney said...

Peter, thanks for your response. I am very glad to pursue the discussion.

"Heresy" is a very serious charge and is a word that must not be thrown about lightly. It is quite unfair of you to characterize me as veiling a charge of heresy. If I have not directly charged Mr. Warren of heresy, you have no basis or right to put that into my mouth.

Evidently you do consider the "core of Christianity" to be of major concern, and you have made it quite clear that you feel this is one point at which I have unfairly criticized Mr. Warren. It is irrefutable that if A = B and B = C, then A = C. Mr. Warren certainly does state that Christianity is a lifestyle, and he also certainly does state that this lifestyle is thinking of others. It is entirely fair then to reach the conclusion that in Mr. Warren's mind Christianity is thinking of others.

I would hope that Mr. Warren really doesn't believe that, and evidently you also hope he does not. That is what he said, and if it is not what he really believes, then at best his remarks amount to sloppy writing, which in turn reveals quite sloppy thinking.

Please do go on to point out further areas in which you feel that I have unfairly criticized Mr. Warren. What you have complained of so far makes a very meager pretext on which to dismiss my entire critique. I can state with the utmost certainty that our continued discussion will amount to an exercise in futility only if you should make it so.

11:53 AM  
Blogger Elizabeth T. said...

I opened this book today, and look forward to the journey. I expect to reference this blog often!

5:06 PM  
Blogger Elizabeth T. said...

I opened this book today, and look forward to the journey. I expect to reference this blog often!

5:06 PM  

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