Friday, July 11, 2008

All For Jesus?

Purpose Driven Life (PDL) people are at a loss when we say that they have a man-centered approach to Christianity.

They are puzzled how in the world we can say that. Isn't PDL about what we do with Jesus, what we do with what He has given to us? Does not God wait for us to do what he wants done and so thereby blesses us? How could glorifying God be man centered?

This brings me to the title of the post. You may not believe this, but that was the name of the fellowship I first pastored. I came from a fellowship back home that had the same church name, then when I came to Melbourne that was the name also that I adopted when my little Bible Study group became a church. But note the name 'All for Jesus', you can get a sense of pride at this, - as if you really are 'all out for Jesus', (so you think and only if you have an unbiblical view of sin), you can get Pharisaical in thinking you are that - all out and out (as if).

It is funny but when you are lost in the woods all you see are trees. What turned out to be a response to the grace of God, namely: doing all to glorify Christ, becomes the focus of one's Christian walk - then pretty soon, what Jesus has done gets lost in the background. Soon also, things now turn on you and what you need to do -- for Him.

So we come now to why PDL folks are puzzled. To explain this to them (and to quote Prof. Nagel) - who is driving the verbs? When you come now to PDL's challenge questions like - what have you done for Jesus, what are you doing with the gifts God has given to you - guess who is the subject that is meant to work on the verbs - YOU.

When YOU is the subject, then that is where man-centeredness comes. Warren says it is about God but when it comes down to the wire - it is about you doing stuff, it is about you doing and yet you still leave undone, it does not become about what God has finished to do.

If God ever gives me again an opportunity to pastor, one of the church names I like to have in contrast to 'All for Jesus' is 'Christ for You'. To tell people what God has done and has finished to do in Christ is actually glorifying and glorifies Christ.

Another close second is Beggars Church (we are sometimes allowed to day dream).


William Weedon said...

Amen! And those are GREAT Church names.

LPC said...

Thanks Pr. Will.

You can't believe how I abhor listening to my past taped sermons, how man centered they were. I thought and was taught that was what Biblical Christianity was about.


Anonymous said...


Nice one (post), LPC.

Once again you have nailed it. Since the law is written upon our hearts we naturally want to go there (doing for God).

The sacramental view of the Word places Jesus back at the center and puts us back into our proprer role as the acted upon.

In Orange County, California, this PDL is everywhere. You can't take two steps without stepping in it. I guess that's where we come in, try to pick up as much of it as we can and put it into the can.


- Steve M.

LPC said...

Steve M.

I guess that's where we come in, try to pick up as much of it as we can and put it into the can.

Ain't that a job to be done. You put it so well, we who consider these as folk that Jesus died for but have been made to turn their attention onto themselves and not to their savior, should mop up the fog of confusion they have been made to believe.

May God give them eyes to see that if it was Jesus then, it is still Jesus' blood and righteousness even now.



Past Elder said...

Unfortunately, you can hear a lot of this same stuff in churches with Lutheran in their names, or formerly in their names!

Our 1030 service, which though liturgical uses a "praise band", seems particularly fond of a song whose content seems to be singing "I lift your name on high" until the appropriate emotion arises.

Sounds real God oriented, until you think, this isn't about his name being on high, it's about me lifting. And guess what, his name is already on high whether I lift it there or not, that's the message, and his name won't be any more on high for all my lifting or any less on high if I fall into the darkest abyss of unbelief!

All this junk sounds like it's about God, but is about me about God, which is to say, about me.

You might enjoy the encounter with PDL in person at Extreme Theology, an excellent blog.

Doorman-Priest said...


Maybe not.

J. K. Jones said...

Good post, LP. I get tired of all of the things I have to do. I must properly manage my finances, have a strong marriage, raise my children properly, work with integrity, be a strong member of a “community,” etc. Some purpose-driven preaching says “do;” Christ says “done.”

Past Elder said...

Just completed my early morning review of TV church -- Osteen, Young, Schuller (father and son), Swaggart, two or three others, and a local ELCA church. All on early Sunday morning!

Lots about what Jesus is going to do in your life if you do something.

Best of the lot -- Swaggart. Man, I'd love to sit in with Brother Jimmy on "Wasted Years" or some of that stuff.

Hey, anybody heard of Mike Murdoch? He turns up late at night preaching about seed money and Boaz blessings -- give money to God (read: us) and you'll get more back from him. He mentions the Assemblies of God a lot. I wonder what they think of him.

LPC said...


I did here the gospel the first time at Bro. Swaggart's preaching. It was Law/Gospel but of course there was an invitation later.

No matter at least I did hear the voice of the Lord saying - that was the reason he died - because I could not make it and could not do it.


LPC said...


Just trying to clarify why we mean it is man centered. Our PDL bro/sis get confused with our terminology because it seems weird to be charged that way when in fact, they want all to be pro-Jesus.


LPC said...


So what name would you name your church when you get ordained? I mean if you get to pioneer one, of course when you are receiving a call, it is already settled, no?