Historical Timeline Of
The Quail Springs Church of Christ

Oklahoma City
1997 Fall

In the fall of 1997, Ronnie White started introducing church-growth methods from Rick Warren’s book “The Purpose Driven Church”. In April of 2003 Warren’s “40 Days of Purpose” program was used by the congregation.

Rick Warren (Richard Duane Warren) is the senior pastor of the Saddleback Valley Community Church, a megachurch in Lake Forest, California with 10,000 attendees. It is affiliated with the Southern Baptist Convention and teaches basic Baptist doctrine, including salvation by faith only.

In a message on his website he asks viewers to repeat a prayer asking God “to forgive all my sins” and to “come into my life”. If they really meant that prayer, he tells them they are part of God’s family. This gives people a false sense of salvation. This is not what people were told in the Book of Acts!

In addition to the central Lake Forest Worship Center with a seating capacity of more than 3000, the Saddleback Church has 13 regional campuses and four international campuses (in Manila, Hong Kong, Buenos Aires and Berlin).

Rick Warren is an extremely capable communicator, both verbally and in writing. He has spread his church-growth theories by his book, “The Purpose Driven Church”. It’s basic thesis is good, namely, that a church ought to fulfill the purposes assigned to the church in the New Testament: fellowship, discipleship, worship, ministry and evangelism.

His methods of accomplishing this, however, are based on unscriptural church-growth principles. The sub-heading of his book, “Growth without Compromising your Message & Mission,” is not true.

He encourages church leaders to make it as easy and attractive as possible for unbelievers to become Christians by meeting their felt needs. First draw a crowd using things that are attractive to the unchurched, such as contemporary music. By means of small groups you then teach them spiritual exercises that lead them to commitment.

The idea that church activities should be attractive to unbelievers is contrary to the word of God.

Jesus left when people sought Him because of His healings (Mark 1:35-39). He rebuked the crowd for coming for physical food rather than spiritual food (John 6:26, 27). As a consequence, many stopped following Him (John 6:66). When Jesus spoke in the synagogue at Nazareth, He so offended the Jewish sensibilities of His hearers that they tried to kill Him (Luke 4:25-29).

Stephen called his hearers “stiff-necked and uncircumcised in heart and ears” and was stoned to death (Acts 7:41).

Paul says, “The message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing” (1 Corinthians 1:18). This is true regardless of how we present it. “The natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned” (1 Corinthians 2:14). Christ’s message is designed for people with spiritual discernment, not for the masses. The invitation goes to all: “Many are called, but few are chosen” (Matthew 22:14).

In our “post-modern” world, many do not believe that truth, morality and sin exist. The gospel contradicts much of what people believe! Do we try to attract them on the basis of their felt needs, or do we call them to repentance on the basis of their real needs?

The Christian assembly is for worship and to edify the saints. God is the audience of worship, not secular unbelievers. Any unbelievers present ought to be convicted of sin (1 Corinthians 14:24, 25). The unbeliever must be made to feel uncomfortable in sin before he will repent.

Using contemporary music to please a crowd is not how Jesus and His Apostles preached. Did Jesus travel around with a twelve-man “rock band” to draw a crowd?

Roy Davison

"Worship" at the Saddleback Valley Community Church