Synopses & Reviews
Pastor Rick Warrens The Purpose-Driven Life has been both a commercially successful best seller and a widely influential book in the Christian community. As a rejoinder to the fundamentalist assumptions of Warrens book, Robert Price, a biblical scholar, a member of the Jesus Seminar, and a former liberal Baptist pastor, offers this witty, thoughtful, and detailed critique. Following the concise forty-chapter structure of Warrens book, Prices point-counterpoint approach emphasizes the importance of reason in understanding lifes realities as opposed to Warrens devotional perspective.
Price, who was once a born-again Christian in his youth, is in a unique position to offer an appreciation of the wisdom that Warren shares while at the same time challenging many of his main points. In particular, Price takes issue with Warrens use of numerous scriptural quotations, demonstrating how many of them have little to do with the points Warren is trying to make. An important section of the book shows that the popular evangelical notion of "a personal relationship with Jesus Christ" is utterly without any scriptural basis.
Besides criticism, Price also provides many persuasive arguments for the use of reason as a tool for developing moral maturity and an intelligent, realistic perspective on lifes highs and lows. Ultimately, the reason-driven life offers a healthier, alternative approach to wisdom and motivation, says Price, than the simplistic answers and feel-good emotionalism at the heart of Warrens prescription for life.
"Rick Warren's The Purpose-Driven Life has sold more than 25 million copies and been translated into dozens of languages. Until now, its premises have gone largely unchallenged by mainstream Christians. Recovering fundamentalist, member of the Jesus Seminar and former Baptist pastor Price offers the first parody and critique of Warren's bestseller. Following closely the structure of Warren's book, Price divides his book into 40 days. On each day, he criticizes Warren's message for the day-worship, salvation, eternal life, the Bible-and offers his own interpretation of the reasons we live our lives the ways we do. As his title indicates, Price argues that individuals need not be told by an outsider how to find purpose; rather, they can use their own reason to ferret out the meaning of life. Price argues that Warren's view of a personal God conflicts with our morally neutral universe, creating an unhealthy, superstitious approach to life. Warren's God, Price says, is a 'Frankenstein Monster, a divine bully, and an obsessive stalker.' Although Warren's book is certainly ripe for critique, this one falls short: Price violates three of his own principles (get to the point as quickly as possible, stay on topic and do not grandstand) as he smugly plods through the 40 days of reason." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
As a rejoinder to the fundamentalist assumptions of Pastor Rick Warren's "The Purpose-Driven Life," a biblical scholar offers a witty, thoughtful, and detailed critique.
About the Author
Robert M. Price (Selma, NC), Professor of Scriptural Studies at the Johnnie Colemon Theological Seminary, is the editor (with Jeffery Jay Lowder) of The Empty Tomb: Jesus Beyond the Grave and The Journal of Higher Criticism. He is also the author of The Incredible Shrinking Son of Man: How Reliable Is the Gospel Tradition?; Deconstructing Jesus; The Widow Traditions in Luke-Acts; and Beyond Born Again.