Book Reviews -- By: Anonymous

Journal: Journal of Ministry and Theology
Volume: JMAT 08:1 (Spring 2004)
Article: Book Reviews
Author: Anonymous

Book Reviews

The Purpose Driven Life. Rick Warren. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2002.

In the trendiest Christian book to hit the market since Bruce Wilkinson’s The Prayer of Jabez, author and pastor Rick Warren sets out to answer “life’s most important question.” The Purpose Driven Life is much more than a book. It is a program, a concept, a journey whose end is to find the meaning of life. If you take this journey, the book jacket promises that along the way, you will “reduce your stress, focus your energy and simplify your decisions.”

Rick Warren founded Saddleback Church in the living room of his small condo in Saddleback Valley, California, in 1980. Since that time it has grown to more than 50,000 names on the church roll and a weekly worship attendance of over 20,000. One out of nine people in the area attends Saddleback Church.1 But the influence of this megachurch extends far beyond the immediate neighborhood. More than 200,000 church leaders from around the world have been trained in Saddleback’s purpose-driven philosophy—the approach to ministry made popular by Warren’s first bestseller, The Purpose Driven Church, in 1995. The publisher hails his latest book, The Purpose Driven Life, as “a groundbreaking manifesto on the meaning of life.” It certainly has been well-received by the Christian community in particular and secular culture at large. The book has been on the New York Times bestseller list for almost a year, and to date more than eleven million copies have been sold.

In the introductory section of the book, Warren sets up the journey on which the reader is about to embark: “This is more than a book; it is a guide to a 40-day spiritual journey …” (9–10; italics original). The author contends that God considers forty days to be a spiritually significant time period in light of the biblical examples of Noah’s forty days of rain, Moses’ forty days on Mount Sinai, Jesus’ forty days in the wilderness, etc. Based on this premise, he suggests that his book amounts to 40 Days of Purpose and “strongly urges” the reader to read one chapter per day for forty days. In so doing, “the next 40 days will transform your life.” To help in this transformation, Warren suggests purchasing a Purpose-

Driven Life Scripture Keeper Plus and a Purpose Driven Life journal (10).2 His introductory remarks also inform the reader that the more than 1,200 scriptural quotations in the book are taken fro...

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