“We want to loosen up the tense muscles of uptight visitors. When your body is relaxed, your attitude is less defensive” (Rick Warren. The Purpose Driven Church. Grand Rapids: Zondervan Publishing House, 1995, p.256).And a less defensive attitude makes conversion “easier.” An “aid” to the Means of Grace. False doctrine!
So a casual atmosphere must be created, because formality is intimidating and doesn’t allow a person to “loosen up in God’s presence.”
“Worship is a powerful witness to unbelievers if God’s presence is felt and if the message is understandable…God’s presence must be sensed in the service. More people are won to Christ by feeling God’s presence than by all our apologetic arguments combined. Few people, if any, are converted to Christ on purely intellectual grounds. It is the sense of God’s presence that melts the heart and explodes mental barriers” (Warren, p. 241-242).So the musical style must be relevant enough to the participants and upbeat enough to bring God’s presence into the room and open unbelievers’ hearts to the power of the gospel. “Feeling God’s presence” is an essential part of the “Arminian/Pentecostal Means of Grace.” False doctrine!
“It is my deep conviction that anybody can be won to Christ if you discover the key to his or her heart…The most likely place to start (looking for the key) is with the person’s felt needs” (Warren, p.219).Man’s heart is not dead in sin, by nature, so it just needs to be unlocked, not with the “Keys of the Kingdom” that Jesus talked about, but by addressing the person’s felt needs. False doctrine!
So the Lectionary and the Church Year are abandoned, because topical series are better able to address people's felt needs. (The Lectionary assumes that all people have common needs caused by common sin, and a common solution in Christ, brought to all in common by the Means of Grace.)
“There are some types of people your church will never reach, because they require a completely different style of ministry than you can provide” (Warren, p.174).The style of your ministry is the key to saving the lost. The Means of Grace depends on the right style in order to be powerful and effective, living and active. False doctrine!
“The style of music you choose to use in your service will be one of the most critical (and controversial) decisions you make in the life of your church. It may also be the most influential factor in determining who your church reaches for Christ and whether or not your church grows. You must match your music to the kind of people God wants your church to reach. The music you use positions your church in your community…It will determine the kind of people you attract, the kind of people you keep, and the kind of people you lose. If you were to tell me the kind of music you are currently using in your services, I could describe the kind of people you are reaching without even visiting your church. I could also tell you the kind of people your church will never reach” (Warren, p. 280-281).This is Church Growth theology in its purest form. Conversion depends on style. Right style = success. Wrong style = failure. False doctrine!
“Explosive growth only occurs when the type of people in the community match the type of people that are already in the church, and they both match the type of person the pastor is” (Warren, p.177).Not the Means of Grace, but the right kind of people and the right kind of pastor will reach the right kind of people. False doctrine!
“Today’s most effective worship songs are love songs sung directly to God. This is biblical worship. We are told at least seventeen times in Scripture to sing to the Lord. In contrast, most hymns are sung about God. The strength of many contemporary worship songs is that they are God-centered, rather than man-centered” (Warren, p.289).What Warren means by “God-centered” is that the songs express man’s feelings about God, rather than God’s gracious acts toward men. What he means by “man-centered” is that man is on the receiving end of God’s saving acts.
"I receive notes that say, 'I loved the worship today. I got a lot out of it.' It isn’t for our benefit! When we worship, our goal is to bring pleasure to God, not ourselves…Bringing pleasure to God is called worship.” (Rhoda Tse. ”Rick Warren’s Secrets of Worship.” ).
“Worship is from believers to God. We magnify God’s name in worship by expressing our love and commitment to Him. God is the consumer of worship.” (Rick Warren. “First-Person: The Evangelistic Power of Worship.”).
So for Warren and the sectarians in general, worship ought to be man’s gift to God, entirely (or certainly mostly) “sacrificial” rather than “sacramental.” Man gives, God receives. Man is active, God is passive. Man works, God enjoys. Man expresses his love for God, God revels in man’s great love for him.
Notice how this is a complete reversal of the Lutheran view of the Divine Service (worship), where God is the primary actor and man is primarily on the receiving end. Lutherans call this “God-centered,” because although man is doing the singing, speaking, and administering, what is it, in the Lutheran Divine Service, that man is singing, speaking and administering? The Word of Christ – God’s saving acts in favor of mankind. In Lutheran worship, a believer’s praise includes a proclamation of God’s saving acts, and when a believer proclaims God’s saving acts and receives God's gifts in faith, God is praised! (Praise is proclamation, proclamation is praise.)
This is why we call sectarian worship “man-centered,” because instead of focusing on God’s saving acts, it focuses on man’s thoughts, feelings and actions.
If Lutherans think they can innocently imbibe the practices of the sects without also drinking in the reasons behind their practices, they are sorely mistaken. This is precisely the sheep's clothing that allows the wolf to enter through the gate.
So if you see any books or Bible studies by Rick Warren in your church library, you should first ask your pastor (kindly), “Pastor, why is this here in our church?” Give him a chance to explain. If he says, “You have to know your enemy in order to defeat him,” or “We’re collecting materials to burn in case the heater goes down,” or something like that, then breathe a sigh of relief.
If he says anything like, “There’s lots of good material in there,” or "The benefits outweigh the risks," or “We can learn some valuable strategies” from Rick Warren, then you should (more forcefully) say to your pastor, “Pastor, we called you as our shepherd to protect us from the wolf, not to invite him into our fold. Please remove this immediately. How about something from Chemnitz or Luther instead?”