Because I have taken a firm stand against The Purpose Driven Life and thus many of the principles of The Purpose Driven Church, it seems many people have become convinced that I am inherently opposed to purpose. This is not so. I believe purpose is a good and necessary thing. As believers purpose plays an especially significant role, for it is only in Christ that we can begin to understand what our true purpose is.
I find it fascinating that hundreds of years ago, when men gathered to write the Westminster Catechisms, that the very first topic they wrote about was purpose. The first question in the Shorter Catechism is “What is the chief end of man?” This is similar to asking “what is man’s purpose?” or “to what result should men strive?” Clearly purpose was important to these men and clearly it should be important to us today.
What I do not agree with is the near deification of purpose – of making purpose something that is almost idolatrous. For example, Rick Warren tells us that we should make a vision statement – a statement that is based on the purpose he has defined for people – which becomes the measure of future decisions. So when a church needs to decide whether or not to begin a new program or ministry, it does not turn to the Bible, but turns instead to this statment to determine if they should allow or prohibit it. This statement of purpose has then usurped the rightful place of God’s Word which is to be the tool we use to measure whether something is right or wrong.
Furthermore, I do not see any Biblical justification for allowing ourselves to be driven by purpose. I see exhortations to be led by the Spirit. I see instructions to allow our lives and our churches to be energized by the Spirit – to receive our marching orders from Him. Once again, if we allow purpose to become the driving force in our lives, we have usurped a role God reserves for Himself.
So purpose is good and necessary. Our purpose has been determined by God – as the Creator He reserves the right to name a purpose for what He has made. The purpose of every person, Christian or non, is to bring glory to Him and to show forth His wisdom. And we will. But how much sweeter it is if we strive to bring glory to Him through our lives and can look forward to enjoying His presence forever.