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The Evangelical Narrative

Getting Rid of the Church

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Here is a story the American press completely missed: Rick Warren, the highly successful pastor of Saddleback Church and the author of the best-sellers, Purpose Driven Church (1995) and Purpose Driven Life (2002), ministers the Bible in ways at odds with the Orthodox Presbyterian Church (OPC). Saddleback does not baptize infants. It does not have an evening Sunday service. Warren does not even mention Sabbath-observance as part of a purpose-driven life. Warren and his church officers do not subscribe to the Westminster Standards, nor do they affirm the eternal decree or predestination. In fact, almost nothing that goes on at Saddleback could be construed as Presbyterian or Reformed. Dog bites man. Shocking!

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1 [ Back ] Whitefield, quoted in Mark A. Noll, The Rise of Evangelicalism: The Age of Whitefield, Edwards, and the Wesleys (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2004), 15.
2 [ Back ] Mark A. Noll, America's God: From Jonathan Edwards to Abraham Lincoln (New York: Oxford University Press, 2002), 173-74.
3 [ Back ] John Williamson Nevin, My Own Life: The Early Years (1871; Lancaster, Pa.: Historical Society of the Evangelical and Reformed Church, 1964), 2-3.
4 [ Back ] Nevin, 8-9.

Darryl G. Hart is Director of Fellowship Programs at the Intercollegiate Studies Institute (Wilmington, Delaware) and author of several books including, John Williamson Nevin: High Church Calvinist (P&R, 2005) and A Secular Faith: Why Christianity Favors the Separation of Church and State (Ivan R. Dee, 2006).

Issue: "Evangelicalism's Winter?" Nov./Dec. 2008 Vol. 17 No. 6 Page number(s): 35-38

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