MFW's Response to Questions about The Purpose Driven Life

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Bret Welshymer

MFW's Response to Questions about The Purpose Driven Life

Unread post by Bret Welshymer » Wed Oct 28, 2009 10:09 am

We have chosen to include The Purpose Driven Life as one small part of the Bible program for Ancient History and Literature—High School. During this year we read through the entire Old Testament verse by verse, using The Old Testament Challenge for daily application. We read Ken Ham’s New Answers Book and Unwrapping the Pharaohs. We also include portions of Victor Journey through the Bible and do an inductive study of Daniel.

My Father's World develops new programs with the help of pilot families. These families provide feedback on each of the books included in a pilot program. Books only remain in the program when evaluations confirm that a book is helping students grow spiritually and academically. The feedback we received from students during the pilot program for Ancient History and Literature was overwhelmingly positive. The Purpose Drive Life challenges students to seek God’s purpose for their lives. This is a small part of the overall Biblical challenge for the year—do we live for our pleasures and glory or for the glory of the Lord?

Occasionally we hear concerns about the use of The Purpose Driven Life in our curriculum. We have seen opinions on both sides regarding this book. We do not want to defend or condemn Mr. Warren. Much of what is written on the Internet appears to be with great bias and little context. We do not completely agree with Rick Warren any more than we do with any author of the books used in our curriculum. The reality is that if we only read authors with whom we completely agree, there would be no books left for any of us to read other than the Bible! We consider the content of each book and the goal we are hoping to accomplish by reading the material. We are committed to our goals, not particular books or authors, and are willing to change a book when we find another book that better meets our goals. We will always teach a Biblical worldview and strive to encourage our children to live purposefully for God’s kingdom.

If someone is uncomfortable using The Purpose Driven Life, they may substitute another book. John Piper’s, Don’t Waste Your Life has been suggested to us. As adults we found its content excellent, but our teen pilot group, which included several strong readers, found the content too difficult to understand and implement in their daily lives. Do Hard Things by Alex & Brett Harris has also been suggested. However, this book is included in a later year of our high school program (US History 1877 to Present).

Another suggestion is to use the book in question as an opportunity to teach the student discernment and critical thinking skills. If the parent and the student read the book together, they can identify the message of the book and discuss how that message fits with Scripture and a Biblical worldview.

We hope this helps you better understand our heart and our desire to help you as you raise children committed to living for the King!

David and Marie Hazell

sewardmom
Posts: 44
Joined: Thu Mar 09, 2006 3:51 pm

AHL Don't Waste Your Life/Purpose Driven Life

Unread post by sewardmom » Thu Jan 20, 2011 11:29 am

For those who are considering replacing Purpose Drive Life with Don't Waste Your LIfe by John Piper, Don't Waste Your LIfe and the study guide are availabe as free downloads from Pipers website.
cbollin wrote:I know we tried the download book a while back. My advanced reader didn't understand most of what he was getting at (I had to explain Bob Dylan lyrics...). in other words, her experience with the book is similar to what MFW pilot students experienced:
  • John Piper’s, Don’t Waste Your Life has been suggested to us. As adults we found its content excellent, but our teen pilot group, which included several strong readers, found the content too difficult to understand and implement in their daily lives
so.... It's ok to just skip PDL if you don't want to use it. No sub is "needed." we're using the book. I'm just saying another option is to not worry about subbing the book at all.

and thanks for the freebie info :)
-crystal
My student so far prefers Don't Waste Your LIfe. Time will tell. So glad to have choices.

~Terri
Currently US1and US2 High School
Completed ECC, CTG, RTR, EX1850, AHL, WHL, US1
Nebraksa MFW fan since 2006



May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing....

Julie in MN
Posts: 2925
Joined: Mon Jun 28, 2004 3:44 pm
Location: Minnesota

Purpose Driven Life

Unread post by Julie in MN » Sun Mar 13, 2011 2:21 pm

BostonMom wrote:Has Marie or anyone from MFW released a statement about why they chose this book and this author, considering his theological views?
My 15yo ds is reading this now and he very much reflects what Bret [above] says that the pilot families reported. My son is excited to read something that encourages him to really live his faith, as this is what he's ready to do as he heads toward adulthood, and it's what he wishes he saw more of in the world. He isn't a reader at all, but he asks to do this subject.

As far as the controversial views of the author, I have heard that he changed a bit after he wrote this book, and I have heard that some churches got way too gung-ho about the author instead of the message. But otherwise I have chosen not to delve into that controversy. I believe my ds is uninterested in the actual author of the book and unlikely to want to read any more of the same thing and get carried away. But he *is* a teen who likes the topic in this book, as he is ready to look at whether the adult world is living out its faith. (He's done other faith/life books with us, such as Created For Work, but PDL is exciting him more.)

I do scan the PDL chapter titles listed in the AHL schedule. If there's a title that is important to our family (such as the one on illness), then I make a point to ask ds what he's read and share my own views and those of other Christians I care about. He's very aware of the fact that Christians differ and that mom feels the whole New Testament, after the gospels, is about that very topic :)

Each family will differ, and I've heard of several who skipped this book, and really that wouldn't be a problem. But I just wanted to share as a family who is really happy with its use in AHL, since we're using it right now!
Julie
Julie, married 29 yrs, finding our way without Shane
(http://www.CaringBridge.org/visit/ShaneHansell)
Reid (21) college student; used MFW 3rd-12th grades (2004-2014)
Alexandra (29) mother; hs from 10th grade (2002)
Travis (32) engineer; never hs

mfwstudent

Re: Purpose Driven Life

Unread post by mfwstudent » Sun Mar 13, 2011 4:51 pm

I'm in 9th grade and using AHL. I just finished PDL not that long ago.

I know my mom talked some with me that not all Christians like Mr. Warren's writing style, and don't like how some churches use his material. And there were times that I didn't agree with him. But it was fun for my dad and me to talk about those times together or how we would have said it better.

But this really cool time happened a few weeks ago. I wasn't sure I really wanted to go on the youth group missions trip to Mexico. I mean, I want to go on the trip, but I wasn't confident about it and wanted my dad or mom to come along on it too. Then, while we were talking and praying, there was this section of PDL that I really think God used at the right time to confirm that I should go on the trip. It was about how to become more mindful of the whole world by taking a short terms missions trip.

So, yeah, it's nice to think about the verses in the book. And yeah, I'm glad we used it. Now to just finish seeing how God will provide the funds for my dad and me to go on the trip together.

Oh, by the way, I didn't really like Don't Waste Your Life. Mom is still trying to explain to me who Bob Dylan is in the book. I'm a strong reader.

and from what we saw at convention, the Harris brother's book is in year 4 of high school.

4Truth
Posts: 334
Joined: Fri Dec 17, 2004 11:59 am

Re: Purpose Driven Life

Unread post by 4Truth » Mon Mar 14, 2011 12:39 pm

BostonMom wrote:Thank you [re: Bret's response]--that's what I was looking for. We'll most likely be using the Piper book as well. God bless!
My dd read the Piper book, as well as Do Hard Things by the Harris brothers. Of course, now I see that the Harris book is going to be included in year 4 of high school. That's typical of our history with MFW.... we've read, or at least already own and are planning to read, many of the same books that Marie ends up using in the curriculum. 8)

We skipped PDL and it was fine without it, but I do like the *way* that it's used in MFW, if one chooses to go ahead and include it. I like how it's scheduled right alongside the wisdom books. Definitely a theme going on there. ;)
Donna, with two MFW graduates and the "baby" in 11th grade! %| Using MFW since 2004.

Bret Welshymer

Re: Purpose Driven Life

Unread post by Bret Welshymer » Fri Mar 18, 2011 9:07 am

Thank you for sharing your concerns about the use of The Purpose Driven Life in our curriculum. We have seen opinions on both sides regarding this book. We do not want to defend or condemn Mr. Warren. Much of what is written on the Internet appears to be with great bias and little context. We do not completely agree with Rick Warren any more than we do with any author of the books used in our curriculum. The reality is that if we only read authors with whom we completely agree, there would be no books left for any of us to read other than the Bible! We consider the content of each book and the goal we are hoping to accomplish by reading the material. We are committed to our goals, not particular books or authors, and are willing to change a book when we find another book that better meets our goals. We will always teach a Biblical worldview and strive to encourage our children to live purposefully for God’s kingdom.

We have chosen to include The Purpose Driven Life as one small part of the Bible program for Ancient History and Literature—High School. During this year we read through the entire Old Testament verse by verse, using The Old Testament Challenge for daily application. We read Ken Ham’s New Answers Book and Unwrapping the Pharaohs. We also include portions of Victor Journey through the Bible and do an inductive study of Daniel.

My Father's World develops new programs with the help of pilot families. These families provide feedback on each of the books included in a pilot program. Books only remain in the program when evaluations confirm that a book is helping students grow spiritually and academically. The feedback we received from students during the pilot program for Ancient History and Literature was overwhelmingly positive. The Purpose Drive Life challenges students to seek God’s purpose for their lives. This is a small part of the overall Biblical challenge for the year—do we live for our pleasures and glory or for the glory of the Lord?

If someone is uncomfortable using The Purpose Driven Life, they may substitute another book. John Piper’s, Don’t Waste Your Life has been suggested to us. As adults we found its content excellent, but our teen pilot group, which included several strong readers, found the content too difficult to understand and implement in their daily lives. Do Hard Things by Alex & Brett Harris has also been suggested. However, this book is included in a later year of our high school program (US History 1877 to Present).

Another suggestion is to use the book in question as an opportunity to teach the student discernment and critical thinking skills. If the parent and the student read the book together, they can identify the message of the book and discuss how that message fits with Scripture and a Biblical worldview.

We hope this helps you better understand our heart and our desire to help you as you raise children committed to living for the King!

cbollin

Re: Purpose Driven Life

Unread post by cbollin » Tue Jun 21, 2011 11:45 am

my3sons wrote:Would someone be willing to PM me the concern with Rick Warren's theology? I do not want to start a debate, I am genuinely curious. I am out of the loop on this one! :)
I didn't realize I'd get several PM so quickly... I'll just print it here.



Good questions to have, for certain. and yes, sometimes with stuff like this, you never know how it will turn on a forum.. eek! anyway...

Long notes here and thoughts on it. So you might need a cup of coffee/tea/water and yummy chocolate squares. I don’t like controversy really. But I do like to help people think through things when it comes to using MFW in their homes.so that's why I'm writing such a long answer.

I can only offer the insights I have for my decision to PDL in the AHL plans. I respect the decision of others to not use it. I don’t have a dog in the fight as they say. I just like to help people. I hope this helps and doesn't cause havoc.

How did this book go for you and her family when oldest used AHL in 9th grade.

It went fine. Let’s just say there was a day in the book that was about going on short terms missions trip that was at the same time there was sign up at our church for such a trip. My husband and daughter went last week on that trip with our church – not with warren, of course.

This book was just one portion of the year and was for more of a smaller devotion each day to apply wisdom from God’s word on various themes in our everyday lives.

uhm, ok, why are people concerned about this book?

Several years ago because of the lively talk on the forum about MFW using this book, I was nervous about using it and wondered “why would MFW do that?!” What is going on here? Then I saw negatives about the Hazells that I thought.. hmm.. nah.. I know them too well. So, I got the book from the library, read it and now I think “why are people concerned about this book?”

MFW schedules the PDL book in AHL and highly recommends that it be done with my guidance. If I read the suggestion in AHL and on the message board correctly, MFW hopes parents (especially dads) will work alongside a high school student to mentor them and do the Bible program with the child as part of our own “daily quiet time”. I wasn’t able to do that 100% of the time every week, but I gave it a try. Hubby did it some. Other weeks, we didn’t meet our own goal for doing that.

Because MFW does not ask our students to follow the author, or to research the author, or join his church, I don’t fret too much about the author. I ignore those comments. They are not relevant.
MFW does not say your church needs to do this program. So I don’t worry about how churches are using it or not using it. I again, ignore those comments.

So, let’s get those logic points and talk about a book. As I read the book, I wanted to process other people’s reactions. I realized that most negatives and concerns about the book fell into 3 big categories.

1.Writing Style of Mr. Warren.
2.Depth of Material in chapter
3. which translation he uses to reference a point and if a verse is a strong or weaker example of the point he is making (again that combines with writing style).

I noticed that few people disagree with the idea of serving God with their lives, so the themes in the book seem to be relevant to us all. The themes are agreed upon in most cases by both sides.

My take on Point 1.
There are minor edits that I would have loved to be on Mr. Warren’s edit committee. Afterall, I’m perfect and all knowing in these things and never make mistakes or weak word choices when I type. (LOL LOL LOL)
One example:
P. 9
*I didn't like on the page 9 where he over states "whenever God wanted to prepare someone for his purposes, he took 40 days". This has the implication that it is always and only 40 days and that's not the case. I'm over thinking it and guess that there are some times where God used more or less than that 40. However, we didn't harp on that issue. Some reviewers do. Some reviews slam Mr. Warren to no end about that sentence. If he had said "there are plenty of times when God wanted to prepare..." there wouldn't be a controversy in my opinion.

My take Point 2. Depth of Book.
Please understand, the book is not used for Theology 101. It is not a huge, deep book for adults to read either. It's a book that is aimed for the students to not just gloss over the Bible but encourage them to use the wisdom in the Word to change and live for God. It gives 40 practical ways to do that. Short chapters aimed for daily devotion on the theme topic of Why am I here and What does God want me to do to love Him and others. Not complicated writing either. The phrase “making wise the simple” comes to mind.

Finally big category of talk about the book. Point 3, he uses multiple translations of the Bible.
Some people who express negative reviews are convinced that his purpose (couldn't resist the pun) in doing so is to twist scripture to say what he wants it to say, or that no one should use xyz translation.
Other people take it at face value from his explanation in Appendix 3

  • "This book contains nearly a thousand quotations from Scripture. I have intentionally varied the Bible translations used for two important reasons. First, no matter how wonderful a translation is, it has limitations. The Bible was originally written using 11,280 Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek words but the typical English translations uses around 6000 words. Obviously nuances and shades of meaning can be missed, so it always helpful to compare translations. Second, and even more important, is the fact that we often miss the full impact of familiar Bible verses, not because of poor translating, but simply because they have become so familiar.
    "
A sub topic of that issue is whether he takes the verse out of context, or whether he just selected a weaker written argument. So, again that blends with intent of author, writing style and translations. I know I can be guilty of that as well.


I hope that helps to see part of the unseen. And everyone has to decide in their families about it.
-crystal

tiffany
Posts: 160
Joined: Thu Mar 10, 2005 9:56 am

Re: Purpose Driven Life

Unread post by tiffany » Tue Jun 28, 2011 5:06 pm

From one whose daughter has read the book, it seemed to make a positive impact on her. I think it was maybe the first time she had thought about the difference of growing up in a Christian home and going to church vs how Christianity affects her personally.

I try to stear clear of the controversies when MFW is involved. I think they put great thought into the materials they select. They do a great job considering the broad and wonderful objectives they have. I would have to say that I rarely agree with 100% of what I read or hear from any Christian source, unless of course you're talking the Bible. I think God wants us to use discernment and rely on the Holy Spirit to guide our theological opinions and not just rely on any one type of author.
Tiffany
Wife to Tim ('88)
Mother to Sophie 16, Jonathan 14, Joey 12, Noah 10, Matthew 8, Eli 4
Have completed MFWK, MFW 1st grade, ECC, CTG, RTR, Exp.-1850,1850-Mod., HS Ancients, HS World
Fall of '11 ECC,HS Ancients, HS U.S. History to 1877

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