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“…your faith should not rest on the wisdom of men, but on the power of God.” I Corinthians 2:5

As committed Christians, we shouldn't be so cavalier about the way our popular church leaders and teachers dissect and disseminate God's word for our edification. Best-selling or not, Christian authors cannot indiscriminately recast verses to fit their inventive teachings or mix God's truth with the fanciful notions of the world. By buying into this evangelical herd mentality, today's Christians are abandoning the pure word of God for a poor imitation where deception is the likely result. Whether sincere or not, Christian teachers like Rick Warren must be held to a biblical standard. But until the evangelical community stands up for God's truth and stops placing their faith in the "next big thing" in Christian consumerism, the Bible will continue to lag behind these bestsellers in influencing postmodern Christian thought and practice. Case in point: Rick Warren's Purpose Driven Life...


The logo for Warren’s “Purpose Driven” teachings is a flourishing tree that represents the purpose-driven life of a Christian; a tree that, as Jeremiah 17:7-8 says, has deep roots and green leaves, and produces delicious fruit. In applying this symbolism to his teaching, Warren is acknowledging the critical importance of a tree’s roots in supplying strength and vitality to the trunk and branches. Admittedly, this is a recurring illustration found throughout Scripture to depict a person’s spiritual well-being, or lack thereof.

In keeping with this parable of the tree, The Sacred Sandwich asks the legitimate question: If the “Purpose Driven” teaching of Warren were viewed as a tree, then where is it rooted? Is it planted deep into the rich soil of Christ’s teachings or is it found in the rocky ground of worldly wisdom?

Sadly, Warren has planted his “Purpose Driven” tree in mixed dirt. While there may be much to commend in encouraging Christians to find their godly purpose, Warren’s teaching has grounded its authority in the world’s wisdom as much as in the Bible. As a result, he has compromised his teaching with manmade sciences that supercede the clear dictates of inspired Scripture.

Perhaps the worst of Warren’s reliance on human ingenuity comes when he directs his readers to the heart of The Purpose Driven Life teaching: “finding your SHAPE.” This is where the Christian is encouraged to complete Warren’s SHAPE program in order to find their “purpose.” By taking this assessment course, the Christian explores how God has shaped them for ministry through their Spiritual gifts, Heart, Abilities, Personality, and Experience. According to Warren, the SHAPE program identifies “the secret” (pg. 248) that helps you “see more clearly how God is calling us to minister in His world.”

The question must be asked, however, how did Paul and the other apostles conduct their ministry without it? In truth, the SHAPE program has little basis in Scripture, and is generally a conglomeration of business techniques, psychology, gnosticism and outright paganism.

Clearly, the fourth tenet of Warren’s SHAPE program, the personality assessment test, is fully rooted in the pagan philosophy of temperament divination. It has no foundation whatsoever in any biblical teaching, not even in part. At the risk of mixing metaphors, the SHAPE program is like a building constructed upon both rock and sand, which will soon collapse upon its shaky foundation. Regardless of whether the rock/sand mix is 90/10, it is still an unreliable and unbiblical underpinning that calls into question the judgment of Warren’s “Purpose Driven” ministry to correctly build up the body of Christ.


“ the latter times some shall depart from the faith giving heed to seducing spirits and the doctrines of devils...” I Timothy 4:11

Rick Warren, whether he realizes it or not, has utilized pagan and occult-influenced psychological theory to help formulate the Personality Theory section of his SHAPE program. Though we have no evidence that it is a calculated act by Warren, we do believe that his refusal to ground his teachings solely on Scripture has led to his misguided involvement with fashionable philosophies of pagan origin.

The charts at the bottom of this page have been created to give a quick overview of the clear and observable connection of the SHAPE personality theory program to historic pagan thought and practice. For the sake of expediency, we have only gone back to second century Greece to show the striking similarities between the pagan teachings of Galen, Swiss psychologist Carl Jung, and Rick Warren’s personality assessment in SHAPE.

To truly see the original roots of paganism, however, one would have to go all the way back through history to Adam’s fall when man first rebelled against the revelation of the one true God and fell into idolatry. As a deliberate religious system, paganism found its true birth in the Egyptian and Babylonian kingdoms through the development of astrology and other manmade philosophies. As a polytheistic nation, the Babylonians saw the skies as incorporating the language of their gods. Through the observations of celestial forces, they attempted to read omens and predict future events, like famine and war, that would affect their people.

As centuries passed and kingdoms came and went, pagan astrology spread to Persia and points beyond, and was eventually embraced by the Greeks. During this Hellenistic period, astrology was molded to fit more closely with Greek philosophy and religion. Thus, astrology was no longer used to predict the fate of the nation, as the Babylonians used it, but was adopted for divining more intimate and personal information. Much of the philosophical underpinnings of historic astrology were used to create the Greek sciences that pertained to the body and soul, like psychology, anatomy and pharmacology.

It was on this pagan foundation that Galen of Pergamum developed his teachings on the four temperaments, or humors, for studying and understanding the construct of the body and soul. (The Galenic temperaments, in fact, are the source for some of Warren’s teaching on personality theory in ministry.) Galen based his beliefs on the earlier work of Empedocles and Hippocrates. Empedocles believed the universe was made up of four elements: fire, air, earth and water, with each having its own god or goddess. Hippocrates, known as the Father of Medicine, believed that these four elements had four corresponding body fluids or “humors.” These were defined as blood, yellow bile, black bile, and phlegm; each one designating personality types. Galen took this premise and further developed the temperament theory into the four categories of melancholic, phlegmatic, sanguine, and choleric.

It is no coincidence, perhaps, that Galen was from Pergamum, a city mentioned by Jesus Christ in Revelation (Rev. 2:12-17). Pergamum was the renowned site of the temple of Asclepius, the Greek god of healing. In his early formative years, Galen was an attendant in that pagan temple and was schooled there in the knowledge of Greek medicine.

People from all over the Roman empire came to seek healing in the temple of Asclepius: the shrine area was inhabited by thousands of non-poisonous snakes that were believed to bring healing to those who were touched by them. To the Greeks and Romans, medicine and science were worshipped as gifts from the gods, and the symbol of this worship was the serpent. The “caduceus,” the staff entwined with a snake, was the healing scepter of the god Asclepius, and is still used as the preeminent symbol of the medical arts community today. (The engraving on the left shows the god Hermes and a merchant approaching Asclepius, who is holding his large caduceus.)

Indeed, Pergamum, Galen’s hometown, was the center of many pagan cults. It was the seat of Babylonian sun worship, and home to many splendid pagan statues and temples to nature and the gods, most notably Zeus. For this reason, Jesus called Pergamum the abode of “Satan’s throne” (Rev. 2:13).

Clearly the religious atmosphere in Pergamum was not conducive to the Christian life, and as a result, the church in that city was sharply admonished by Christ for compromising itself with her surrounding pagan culture. In reaction to this compromise, Christ corrected them by bearing the “sharp sword with two edges,” which is symbolic of the penetrating word of God that is the “discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart,” and from which nothing in creation is hidden (Hebrews 4:12-13).

Sadly, like the church at Pergamum, Warren has seen fit to compromise his biblical principles with the surrounding secular culture of our day. Whether Warren devotees want to admit it or not, Warren’s SHAPE program for personality classification is directly tied to Galen’s (and Jung’s) pagan teachings on temperament and psychological typology. The facts seem to show that Warren has compromised his Christian beliefs with the ways of the pagan world. Therefore, it would do well for Warren and his followers to heed Christ’s eternal admonition for the churches to ground their faith in the “two-edged sword” of God’s word, see the error of their ways, and not be “overcome” by the current paganism in our midst.

For any Christian who defends Warren’s approach and sees no harm in applying Greek or Jungian psychological typology to their lives, you should be informed of the blatant pagan origins of these manmade theories. Not all “truth” is God’s truth, despite the prevalent sentiment of evangelical circles to profess such an idea. Just as Paul wisely resisted the temptation to apply Greek philosophy to the Christian faith in his day, so, too, should contemporary Christian leaders be wary of using the world’s “wisdom” as a proper tool to build up the body of Christ. As Paul taught us, “Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers.”

The following charts will make it all too clear that these personality and psychological theories advocated by Warren not only contradict Scripture, but they are based on occult divination and satanic deception.