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Here you can find articles (re-) published by the Center for Research on Christianity. They are not neccesarily in chronological order. Click on "RESEARCH" to browse articles and more per topic.



JANUARY 31, 2006 - Rick Warren is making world news as he is rapidly organizing a world wide network of "Purpose Driven" Churches to establish his "Global Peace Plan". His Saddleback Church serves as a role model for the churches that go through the pre-defined eight step transformation process. 

Europe has it's own Saddleback Church and it's own Rick Warren. Is it a coincidence, that yours truly lives in Drachten, the Netherlands, where Europe's own Saddleback Church is located? 

Whether it's a coincidence or not, is not really that important.

It's more important to know what's going on in the Bethel Church, where pastor Orlando Bottenbley has seen his church become what is known to be the "fastest growing Church in the Netherlands".

With a membership list of over 2000, and counting, Bottenbley may not only call himself the pastor of what is known as a Mega Church, he may also call himself a personal friend of Rick Warren!

An on january 30th, 2006, it was time for the Bethel Church to be introduced to The Sixth Step: Deal With The Opposition!

A report.

The Bethel church is a true succes story...

When in the 1990's the Toronto Blessing was sweaping across the world, Bottenbley exposed this unbiblical trend. This gave him a national reputation of a "Bible believing Christian". His church quickly became a place where Rootical Christians of different denominational backgrounds found a place where they would be able to have Spiritual fellowship. Or so they thought...

The press picked up the story and Bottenbley became a known guest in magazines and television programms. The Bethel church got in touch with Willow Creek and to make a long story short, they seem to have now become the model church for Europe when it comes to the Purpose Driven trade mark. 

Rick Warren, who calls himself "Rupert Murdoch's Pastor", also has a success story. His Saddleback Church exceeds 30,000 enlisted members. Warren's book "The Purpose Driven Life" generates millions of dollars for Rupert Murdoch's media empire as churches all over the world force their congregations to buy the book and "Do 40 Days of Purpose"...

Rick Warren recently spoke about a "second reformation", in which he announced his own Purpose: a global network of Purpose Driven churches all working together with the State and Businesses world-wide in a "Global Peace Plan" to create a new world order that will bring about the second comming of "Jesus Christ". We have reported about this scary situation.

The Purpose Driven Process has alarmed many "Bible believing" Christians world wide. Denominational as well as non-denominational Christians blow the whistle. This Transformation of the churches into one global Purpose Driven network serves a purpose. The purpose of a "Global Peace" after which Jesus Christ will return. According to Rick Warren, that is. 

What the Toronto Blessing couldn't do, Rick Warren with his New Age and Televangelist connections can. Orlando Bottenbley and his staff do the best they can turn to the whole Bethel Church into the Purpose Driven Paradigm. And they're quite succesfull. The Free Baptist Bethel Church in Drachten (Netherlands) is the role model for the Global Purpose Driven Network in Europe. It's truly... Europe's Own Saddleback Church. 

Bottenbley himself is known to be a "Bible believing" Christian. But as we will see in this article, he didn't show much of that yesterday when he activated the Sixth Step. It couldn't be different. As the Eight Step program used to transform churches into the Purpose Driven Paradigm is carefully implemented, Step Six would inevitably be next on the agenda someday. 

Why is this important? The Bethel Church in Drachten leads the Purpose Driven Movement in the Netherlands, and isn't called the "fastest growing church in the Netherlands" for nothing. And the connection with Rick Warren leads way back, from before the time Rick Warren was called "America's Pastor" by Time Magazine.

Let's recall these eight steps. On a website called Church Transitions, they're listed:

  • Step one - Prepare for change
  • Step two - Define your changes
  • Step three - Plant your vision with your key leaders
  • Step four - Share your vision with the whole church
  • Step five - Implement your changes
  • Step six - Deal with the opposition
  • Step seven - Make adjustments
  • Step eight - Evaluate the result

As you can see, the eight step programme reads like a manipulation manuel. Until the fourth step, total secrecy is required in the process. Very carefully you have to plant stuff with your key leaders, and when you've done that you can share (initiate) all members after which you simply implement (do it). 

Of course, when the fifth step is activated, this is where the action begins. And there's a lot of action in Drachten. The Bethel Church allready has key leaders that continually go to Willow Creek and Saddleback with a frequency similar to that of Roman Bishops visiting the Vatikan. They allways come back with material and impressive success stories. The implementation of the programms is in full swing.

The inevitable Sixth Step was activated january 30th, 2006. It was time to "deal with the opposition". Away with the foundation, so it seems. Rick Warren is quoted in this context as saying:

But when you define the vision, you’re choosing who leaves. You say, “But Rick, they’re pillars of the church.” Now you know what pillars are. Pillars are people who hold things up.

There's something wrong with this statement. The literal meaning of the word "Pastor" is shepherd. Pastors are told to "feed the flock of God which is among you". But the above statement shows a shepherd that doesn't even care about the sheep at all. When they hold things up, you must choose that they leave. Regardless of their identity as a sheep of the flock of God which is among you.

Obviously we are very interested in witnessing just how the Purpose Driven Movement "deals with the opposition". We can read reports from all over the world containing tragic stories about true Christians who are forced to leave a congregation where they have been all their life. Rick Warren calls them "old pillars"... 

The Bethel church has not yet a name for them. But they surely activated step six on January 30th, 2006. Members of the Bethel church were invited on that monday evening to a presentation entitled "Rick Warren... Where does the critique come from?" Questions could be asked as well.

Your's truly went to the evening and witnessed with open mouth how the unbiblical reasonings, and even untruths were poured out over the heads of the believers who attended the evening. Displaying that he didn't forget his psychology study, Bottenbley did his best to convince the audience how Rick Warren could never possibly be a false teacher. But in the same time, he seems to have forgotten some crucial elements of his theological study as we will notice further on. Or did he unwillingly show the big gap between the two studies?

The evening itself was held in the Youth's Quarters of the Bethel Complex, located in the Industrial zone of Drachten. The small hall is called (translated) "Nuff Space" but was quickly filled with well over 150 people. It was obvious, that the staff didn't expect that much worried believers which was later confirmed as Bottenbley said he only had expected about 50 people... 

Not all people came because they were worried about Rick Warren and his teachings, though. One person, when asked what he thought about "the critique from Bible believing Christians", answered: "The question is: do we have to look at it just like these Bible believing Christians?" And it seems like there was a "Rick Warren fanclub" as well, cheering out loud from time to time as if they were on a football game rather then a congregation of concerned believers.

The evening was opened by Bottenbley. He told the congregation that he was going to have a long speech, after which questions could be asked. That speech was long, indeed. By the time he was finished, most people were exhausted.

The speech itself was very interesting. Although it is very painfull to hear a "Bible believing" Christian defending a system of New Age apostacy, it was a revealing event.

Bottenbley started by saying that he personally knew Rick Warren, as well as other major figureheads in the Purpose Driven movement like Willow Creek's Bill Hybels. He told the audience how he had contact with Rick Warren even before the man became famous. The connection is obviously deep.

He then went on to paint a bad picture of the opposition. He told stories how people received "threats". And of course, he himself had received threats. As he read one of the e-mails he received, it became clear he considered biblically based critique a "threat" as well. There was nothing threatening in the e-mail, only a strong warning against the obvious false teachings of Rick Warren.

Bottenbley clearly set the tone when he read that "threatening" e-mail. A part of the audience was sincerely shocked as people heard how their pastor was being told to believe what the Bible says. That was threatening indeed... They had all the understanding in the world, when he went on to say: "Sometimes, I don't even read that stuff anymore". We have to assume that he's talking about the correspondence, here...

A lot of effort was put in painting a truly bad picture of the opposition. In the Netherlands, the two people best known for their critique on the Purpose Driven Movement are writer Arie Geelhoed and pastor van Berghem. Van Berghem has published a paraphrased translation of Warren Smith's outstanding book "Deceived on Purpose". Bottenbley mentioned the book, and said: Everything in this book is van Berghem parroting Warren Smith". Subtle deception, given the fact that is was intended to forward the message of Warren Smith's book to the dutch reading public.

According to Bottenbley, basically "all" critique against Rick Warren comes from Warren Smith. He did his best to paint Warren Smith as a paranoid ex-new ager with a conspiracy theory on a lonely mission. And to a Dutch speaking audience that has never heard of the Biblical research of James Sundquist or Noah Hutchings, such a thing is easily said. But is it true? English reading people know very well this is not the case. And the critique on the Purpose Driven Movement doesn't come from one particular side either.

James Sundquist, who wrote the book "Who's Driving The Purpose Driven Church", told the author of this article he was surprised by this statement of Bottenbley. He responded:

I am a good friend of Warren Smith's we pray together and support each other's ministry. His book complements mine. But there is another great book that just came out opposing Rick Warren by Pastor Bob DeWaay entitled Redefining Christianity. He is also a colleague of mine.  

So the pastor you refer to is wrong because there are a number of pastors, ministries and authors throughout the world who are opposing Rick Warren, including Dr. John MacArthur, who exposed Warren in a chapter in his book called Fool's Gold.  Dave Hunt, Jacob Prasch (UK), Richard Bennett, Perry Rockwood (Canada's oldest Christian national radio ministry), Roger Oakland, David Cloud, Dusty Peterson (UK wrote documentary exposing the Alpha Course), Cecil Andrews (TakeHeed Ministries in Ireland), Despatch Magazine in Australia, Ken Ham (Answers in Genesis), Loren Davis (well known Evangelist in Africa), Richard Bennett (Berean Beacon and former Roman Catholic priest), Dr. Noah Huthings & Dr. Larry Spargimino of Southwest Radio Church (America's longest running Christian radio national program), and a host of others listed in my book and online, have all come out against Purpose Driven nightmare. 

In the last few years I have been a guest on about 1,000 radio stations on the following and related topics.  So there are many Christian radio stations who have given me a platform to come out against Warren's teachings.  

I have also documented true accounts of Christians throughout the U.S. and Canada who have been purpose-driven from their churches for opposing Rick Warren's teachings and programs and/or who have refused to sign Warrenite covenants. 

So much for the statement that it's only Warren Smith doing it. But it was one of the strongest points in the defense of Rick Warren.

There was more said about Warren Smith. Rick Warren reportedly told Bottenbley personally that he had tried many times to get in contact with Warren Smith to "talk it over". Not in public, of course... As if it was a personal problem between two people.

Repeatly, Bottenbley spoke about the critics as "negative" and said things like "they're only critisizing". But is that the standard according to which Christians are encouraged to judge by? The Bible states in Psalm 53:

God looked down from heaven upon the children of men, to see if there were [any] that did understand, that did seek God. Every one of them is gone back: they are altogether become filthy; [there is] none that doeth good, no, not one. (Psalm 53:2-3)

And so, it is obvious that it is only true how there is none that doeth good. It is something to consider. It shows the possibility that man can do things which are not good. It is because of this truth, that Jesus has commanded all kinds of things for His church to prevent what can best be described as church-fascism.

Rick Warren's connections with Robert Schuller came up. These connections have been well covered on many websites and also in the book Deceived on Purpose. It was very revealing, to hear Bottenbley defend Robert Schuller. 

Robert Schuller is interviewed for the New Age Unity Church. In that interview, he clearly identified himself as a self conscious New Ager:

Q: Dr. Schuller, we hear a lot of talk these days about the New Age, the Age of Aquarius, the type of New Age thinking that we are involved in with Holistic healing and various other things that are part of what is called the New Age. Will you describe the role of what you might consider the New Age minister in the '80s and beyond?

A:Well, I think it depends upon where you're working. I believe that the responsibility in this Age is to positivize religion. Now this probably doesn't have much bearing to you people, being Unity people, you're positive. But I talk a great deal to groups that are not positive... even to what we would call Fundamentalists who deal constantly with words like sin, salvation, repentance, guilt, that sort of thing. So when I'm dealing with these people... what we have to do is positivize the words that have classically only had a negative interpretation. (from an address at Unity Village, Unity tape)

Given the fact that Bottenbley is considered in the Netherlands to be an ikon of "Bible believing Christianity", it is at least strange to note how he has no problem with Robert Schuller, a man who so clearly identifies himself as a "New Age minister", indirectly teaching his own church how to be "positive".

Schuller openly says that Fundamentalist are "not positive". After all, they "deal constantly with words like sin, salvation, repentance, guilt, that sort of thing." Take into consideration, that Fundamentalist Christians are the same as "Bible Believing" Christians. Just recently, the press had this to say about Rick Warren:

Warren predicts that fundamentalism, of all varieties, will be "one of the big enemies of the 21st century."

"Muslim fundamentalism, Christian fundamentalism, Jewish fundamentalism, secular fundamentalism - they're all motivated by fear. Fear of each other."

It is not so difficult to see what's going on with Purpose Driven. Step by step, churches are being transformed for the New Age. And it has now come to the point that an ikon of "Bible believing" christians in the Netherlands leads "the fastest growing Church in the Netherlands" straight into to arms such people as Warren and Schuller with an obvious New World Order agenda.

Bottenbley knows who Schuller is, but he tried to minimize Schuller's influence by trying to make it so that Rick Warren "only" appeared on Schuller's seminars every now and then. However, Rick Warrens wife Kay said in Christianity Today:

During his last year in seminary, he and Kay drove west to visit Robert Schuller's Institute for Church Growth. "We had a very stony ride out to the conference," she says, because such nontraditional ministry scared her to death. Schuller, though, won them over. "He had a profound influence on Rick," Kay says. "We were captivated by his positive appeal to nonbelievers. I never looked back."

The "profound influence" of Robert Schuller on Rick Warren is evident for people who know the teachings of both men. Warren Smith has documented this in his book Deceived on Purpose. He has exposed how Rick Warren even quotes Robert Schuller without mentioning him. A profound influence indeed. Talking about "parroting"... 

But it gets worse.

As Bottenbley mentioned how Rick Warren's marketing research came from Robert Schuller, he said there was nothing wrong about it. While the Bible says not to "walk in the counsil of the ungodly" (Psalm 1:1), Bottenbley literally said in this context: "Christians are too arrogant".

It was like listening to a New Age rant against "Christian fundamentalism". "Christians shouldn't be so arrogant", Bottenbley said, while refering to unchristian roots of Rick Warren's marketing research. Was this the same man that exposed the Toronto Blessing, the same that is known to be a "Bible believing" Christian?

Conspiracy theorists are known for their emphasis on symbols and rituals as ultimate proof of a Satanic conspiracy. Usually, they're not brought forward as argumentation in favor of a certain organization. But in the case of Rick Warren, this was done.

Bottenbley spoke about the times he was at Rick Warren's Saddleback Church. He was, in his own words, "very impressed". In an attempt to convince people about the very Christian nature of Saddleback, he pointed out to a monument of three crosses and a ritual in the church services where people did something with a physical cross. A strange argument...

Talking about conspiracy theories, the question was asked if Hybels, Warren and Schuller are Freemasons. Bottenbley answered that he "felt" Hybels and Warren were not. And he didn't speak about Schuller.

He did speak about another man, though. A man called Ken Blanchard. Ken Blanchard is a New Ager who runs a "non-profit ministry" called "Lead Like Jesus". And as he spoke on Ken Blanchard, Bottenbley revealed that he was more into a New Age kind of thinking then he would ever care to admit. 

Who is Ken Blanchard? Bottenbley called him one of the "biggest names in Christian Leadership". He denied that Blanchard is a New Ager and said that his staff contacted Willow Creek and Rick Warren directly when the word came out on Ken Blanchard. According to Bottenbley, Blanchard is "a christian for years". 

There has been a lot of controversy around Ken Blanchard's close connection with Rick Warren. The Dutch media reported on the controversy when several Christians in the Netherlands sounded the alarm on the man.

When Bottenbley defined the critique on Blanchard, he revealed his own new Age inspired philosophy. According to Bottenbley, Ken Blanchard had written a foreword in a Buddhist book in which he says that Christians can learn principals of Jesus' Leadership by looking to the Buddhists. And according to Bottenbley, Ken Blanchard was absolutely right and don't you dare call that New Age....

Bottenbley also mentioned how they had been in contact with Willow Creek and Rick Warren about the fact that Ken Blanchard was wearing a Ying Yang sign. They had confirmed to him that indeed Ken Blanchard did do such a thing, but that is was just a sign of the fact that "Brother Ken still has to learn a lot of things". But this is the same man that is called "one of the biggest names in Christian Leadership" by Orlando Bottenbley...

Orlando Bottenbley himself is considered to be one of the biggest names in Christian Ledership in the Netherlands, and in Europe. His succesful Bethel church project is widely covered in the press. Together with Rick Warren and Ken Blanchard, he starred at a Willow Creek "Leadership Conference" where also Dutch Prime minister Jan Peter Balkenende gave acte d' presence. 

There's no turning back, so it seems...

This became even more evidently as the evening continued and congregation was given time to ask questions. A lot of these "questions" were expressions of approval with Rick Warren. They were accepted with a smile on the face of the pastor, who didn't really answer any one the more critical questions. 

When the question came up if the Church of Jesus Christ has to work with the United Nations for a Global Peace which will bring the return of Jesus Christ, Bottenbley clearly said: "no". But when Rick Warren's Global Peace Plan was described to comment on the question, Bottenbley simply re-stated Rick Warren's philosophy.

This is particulary strange, because Rick Warren's dominionist Theology that basically states the Christian Church has to create a New World Order to bring about the return of Jesus Christ is in clear contradiction with Bottenbley's own statements concerning the end times. Just recently, he was even critisized in the newspapers for saying that the end was near.

In this time, we see the Mystery of Iniquity unfolding as the world gets ready for the New Age. What seemed impossible ten years ago, is now commonly accepted. An ikon of Fundamentalist Christians in the Netherlands embracing a writer who has declared war on that very same Fundamentalist or Rootical or "Bible Believing" Christians.

We just witnessed it.

It truly seems, there is no turning back. Bottenbley stated, "We are well on course". 

On January 30th, 2006, Step Six was activated. 

We'll keep you informed.








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