Kim Kardashian, reality TV star and wife of the guy who’s totally cool with blaspheming as long as he makes $$$ doing it (Kanye: “I just talked to Jesus/he said, ‘What up, Yeezus?’/I said…I’m chilling/trying to stack these millions’/I know he’s the most high, but I am a close high”), decided to put aside her hyper-sexualized image for a moment and talk about a book that has helped her put even more focus on herself rather than the, you know, the God who demands worship:
A decade and a half after its release, Purpose Driven Life is still getting some high-profile shout-outs.
Last week, Rick Warren’s best-selling book The Purpose Driven Life was Olympian Michael Phelps told ESPN that it helped him during one of the most difficult times in the life. The entire piece on Phelps’ life is worth the watch, but his comments about the impact of the book show just how powerful Warren’s thoughts are, 15 years after they were first published: “It’s turned me into believing there is a power greater than myself and there is a purpose for me on this planet … It helped me when I was in a place where I needed the most help.”
He’s not the only celebrity to recently talk about the impact of the book. Christianity Today posted a piece looking at the long-term impact of the book, and noted that even reality star Kim Kardashian recently revealed that she was a fan. In an interview with US Weekly a few months back, she said that Purpose Driven Life—which was given to her by Kathy Lee Gifford—was one of her three favorite books. (In case you’re wondering, she also included Tuesdays With Morrie and Embraced by the Light, which said was a gift from her late father.)
To date, the book has sold more than 40 million copies.
We shouldn’t be surprised The Famous Kardashian was able to fit Warren’s version of god into her fame-hawking, narcissistic worldview. That may sound harsh, but anyone outside of Christ and living apart from the reality that God created all, owns all, and is worthy of all worship can’t help but arrange the universe around themselves. This is why Rick speaks to such a broad audience, and why Kardashian and Phelps can maintain fame while sipping on a little religion. Understanding what the Gospel actually accomplished frees us from the world. It doesn’t give us more of it:
Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ, who gave himself for our sins to rescue us from the present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father, to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen (Gal. 1:3-5).
May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world (Gal. 6:14).
If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ (Gal. 1:10).
The problem with the book? You’ll never actually find the Gospel. No mention of the resurrection, no mention of repentance, no mention of Hell, and no laying down the Law in which the sinner is broken. How can one live a life of God-given “purpose” without actually being saved and regenerated. On page 244 of Rick Warren’s A Purpose Driven Church he writes: “The unchurched . . . do want to hear how the Bible relates to their lives in terms they understand and in a tone that shows you respect and care about them. They are looking for solutions, not a scolding.” From Rick’s point of view, a pragmatic approach to God is a good thing, and we should use it to fortify our place in the world.
However, Paul told Timothy that Scripture is “profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness” (2 Tim. 3:16). This is the issue here. The Christian life is about dying to who we are in order to put on all that Christ is — so reproof, correction, and instruction are all part of the package. Kim and Phelps aren’t tasting and handling real, Biblical life here; they’ve just found a counterfeit, and are the worse for it. They haven’t seen the real Jesus. The real stuff brings them overflowing, abundant joy as they moment-by-moment confess their sin, put on Christ, and walk in newness of life. The counterfeit will eventually leave them wanting more and fail them, and they’ll very likely never touch Christianity again.
Unfortunately, Relevant Magazine breaking the news that another unsaved American Icon was able to fit “religion” into their lives is not a cause for celebration. Actually, it’s a cause for mourning.