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Deceived on Purpose: The New Age Implications of the Purpose-Driven Church

Deceived on Purpose: the New Age Implications of the Purpose-Driven Church, by Warren Smith. Ravenna, OH: Conscience Press, 2004. 170 pages. $12.00 (paper) + $3.00 shipping. Available through Discernment Ministries, P.O. Box 254, High Bridge, NJ 08829-0254, (903) 567-6423, www.discernment-ministries.com.

Have you ever seen yard signs in people’s front lawns asking if you were looking for purpose in your life? Have you had a friend or relative talk about going through the “40 days of purpose”? Did you wonder what it was all about?

I hadn’t thought much of it until I heard an interview on a conservative Christian radio station out of Milwaukee (VCY, America Radio Network) with a man by the name of Warren Smith. Mr. Smith was, up until about 20 years ago, heavily involved in the New Age Movement. He advocated such beliefs as “we are all one” because God is “in” everyone (including unbelievers) and everything (all aspects of creation) (p. 79).

By the grace of God, Mr. Smith was led out of the New Age Movement, and from what I can gather, is now a man of strong faith. He read Rick Warren’s book The Purpose Driven Life and The Purpose Driven Church and was taken aback by some of the teachings and phrases used. Mr. Smith questions the use of a very liberal paraphrase of the Bible called The Message by Eugene Peterson. He felt uncomfortable with Rick Warren’s use of the term “purpose”, his 5-point P.E.A.C.E. plan, and much more.

What Mr. Smith attempted to do in his book is bring to light the hidden implications behind the Purpose-Driven movement. He did extensive research into the teachings of Rick Warren, Robert Schuller, Maitreya (a false New Age “Christ”) and many more, showing that Rick Warren’s teachings are leading away from true biblical teachings and toward world peace and religious ecumenism. Mr. Smith relies heavily on scripture to prove his points, but he also uses his background and basic logic to draw conclusions not obvious to many of us lifelong Christians.

I believe this book could be very beneficial for us as parents as we raise up the covenant seed and strive to teach them to be discerning Christians. Satan is not “entirely predictable” (see p. 133), as Rick Warren claims, but scripture says of him in II Corinthians 11:14-15 “…for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness….” Mr. Smith also reminds us that the Bible describes how “peace” will be the way Antichrist “wonderfully” deceives the world (Dan. 8:23-25) (p. 131).

Let us be ready to give an answer!