Not being greatly impressed with Rick Warren's The Purpose Driven Church and The Purpose Driven Life, I felt ready to read Warren Smith's critique of them, Deceived on Purpose. My three complaints with Rick Warren's books were: 1. the Holy Spirit gets little mention; 2. I, me, and my are overly used; 3. the idea, while marketed knowledgeably, is not unique.
In Deceived on Purpose, Smith critiques these books from a different stance. Christ rescued Smith from a deeply involved New Age background. Since Smith's salvation, he has researched the New Age movement extensively. With this background, Smith recognizes many New Age nuances in Rick Warren's works. Smith firmly considers the King James Version as the most reliable translation of the Bible. Rick Warren uses a superabundance of translations, picking whichever version presents his idea most clearly. In this critique, Smith uses Rick Warren's statements as springboards to also point out that the Bible version, The Message, and Robert Schuller, Pastor of the Crystal Cathedral, are influenced by New Age thought.
This book begins with a look at some of Rick Warren's background, leading up to his two Purpose Driven books, finding similarities between these and New Age idea. Deceived on Purpose continues looking at Rick Warren's books and thoughts, introducing us to many New Age personalities via their quotes. Smith also quotes himself extensively, and, uses I, me, and my often. He closes with warnings about New Age ideas concerning Jesus, including His coming again, comparing them with Bible statements about our Lord. His last section encourages believers to ask God for His wisdom as new ideas are presented. All Smith's quotes from himself and others are fully annotated.
Right now, it is not clear that Smith is any more correct than Warren. The reader must ask God for His wisdom in handling all this. Whatever the rights and wrongs of this topic, whether you are a Warren fan or a Smith fan, or even rather disinterested, Deceived on Purpose is an interesting, challenging book, full of information applicable to subjects other than the one discussed. It will definitely start your thought and argument juices flowing. Donna Eggett, Christian Book Previews.com