Time Magazine recently listed the “The 25 Most Influential Evangelicals in America.” Predictably, topping that list was Rick Warren, pastor of Saddleback Community Church in Saddleback Valley, California, and author of the bestseller, The Purpose Driven Life. The Purpose Driven Life is a phenomenon that defies comparison. In two years it sold over 22 million copies and easily became the best-selling hardcover book in American history. Hundreds of thousands of pastors have been trained in Warren’s Purpose Driven seminars and tens of thousands of churches have participated in his programs. Time gets it right when they say, “Although Franklin Graham is heir to the throne of the Billy Graham organization, many believe that Warren, 51, is the successor to the elder Graham for the role of America’s minister.”
America’s minister. That is a role to which many would aspire, but which few are suited to fill.
Like many other Christians, while I see that there is much to admire about Rick Warren, I have found myself concerned by certain aspects of his ministry and his teachings. Those concerns have led me to carefully study how The Purpose Driven Life became such a runaway success and how Rick Warren has risen to dominate the evangelical church.