What On Earth Am I Here For? — Review

whatonearthBook review by Lawrie Wilmot


This book is an electronic-media-friendly version of and identical to his first book, ” The Purpose Driven Life”. I can add no comment; after all, how does anyone comment critically on a book which sold 20 million copies in its first edition and by now, in its new format, has so far sold 32 million copies? A book described on the cover as ” The best selling non-fiction hardback in history”? Perfectly simple: one doesn’t.

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So why has Warren written it? He gives the answer in the foreword, and I quote, ” Since the Purpose Driven Life was first published, our world has changed dramatically. God’s eternal purposes are still unchanged, but we have many new tools and channels to help people understand those purposes.” He gives an example of a 22-year-old who asked him what his purpose in life was. During that conversation Warren realised that this social-media oriented and computer-savvy generation needs a version which can reach them. Hence this book.

So how does this book do it? By including QR codes in each chapter, which when photographed with a cellphone will automatically download a video for that chapter onto a smartphone. ( Those without a QR code reader can download a free QR code reader app, or visit www.qrcode.zondervan.com for more information.)

Are there any other additions or revision in this book? Yes: Warren has added two chapters at the end which describe what he calls ‘traps’ to prevent people living purpose driven lives: the envy trap and the people-pleaser trap. Both are excellent and come out of his extensive pastoral experience.

Should you buy this book? If you are, or are living with someone whose preferred means of communication is by sms, whatsapp, or email, then this book is for you. But if, like me, when all is said and done you still prefer the printed page, and have read ‘ The Purpose Driven Life’ then save yourself the expense.

However, in coming up with an electronic-friendly version of his book Warren has reminded us of the need to be able to communicate effectively with a younger generation who also need to learn its lessons. I commend him for this initiative and I am sure there may be other authors who need to follow his example.


  1. Consequences of Rick Warren’s Reform Program
    Prof. Johan Malan, South Africa (July 2008)

    Rick Warren’s ideological approach and religious dogma have the potential of causing substantial political, economic and religious turmoil in countries where his proposed reforms are instituted. He advances a religiously-based social order (or new world order, in a wider context) which is aimed at the establishment of unitary structures with the vision, capacity and means to drive reforms toward greater unity, prosperity, and harmony in society.

    Church leaders are specifically challenged to join hands and promote the emerging social order which promises a better life to all. In the process, non-compromising evangelical churches are purposely invaded and changed – or either, if they stubbornly refuse to cooperate – discounted as obsolete forms of “vintage Christianity.” In this way conservative, biblical Christianity is discredited and undermined.

    The following facts about Warren’s training, his associates, religious convictions and ideological approach should be considered to better understand his objectives and strategies:

    Positive thinking. The ideology of positive thinking was passed on form Norman Vincent Peale, to Robert Schuller, to Rick Warren (http://www.bibleguidance.co.za/Engarticles/Peaceplan.htm). This way of thinking focuses on the positive aspects of good but ignores the antithesis of evil, sin, judgment, etc. In a Christian context, positive thinking leads to a non-offensive gospel in which nobody is called a hell-deserving sinner. All people are regarded to be inherently good. Positive thinking also distorts the gospel message since the cross and the shed blood of Christ, which are manifestations of God’s judgment upon sin, are avoided in preaching. For more info on this soulless gospel, see http://www.bibleguidance.co.za/Engarticles/RickWarren.htm

    Promoting the emerging church. Warren made a very big impact in favor of the emerging church. A staggering number of 400 000 preachers in 163 countries have been trained through his purpose driven network. For his skills in leadership training, Warren gives the biggest credit to Peter Drucker and Bob Buford. He collaborated with both of them. In an interview he said that stability in any nation is dependent upon a strong and healthy government, a strong and healthy business sector, and strong and healthy churches. He likened it with a three-legged stool. With a view to promoting this view he travels to various countries to address government leaders, business leaders and church leaders to make them aware of their responsibility to work together in realizing the objectives of stable, prosperous, and purpose driven nations. Rick Warren addresses church leaders of all denominations on the subject of social transformation – including Mormons and Catholics – and often emphasizes that doctrine is not as important as remaining focused on service to the community. Read more on his commitment to the emerging church: http://www.bibleguidance.co.za/Engarticles/Emerging.htm

    A vision for Africa. Both Rick Warren and the like-minded Bruce Wilkinson have a vision for Africa (http://www.bibleguidance.co.za/Engarticles/Africanvision.htm). Wilkinson focused on South Africa and Swaziland, but underestimated the nature of African politics and ethnicity, and his plans soon ended in disaster (http://www.bibleguidance.co.za/Engarticles/Dream.htm). Rick concentrated on Uganda, Rwanda and Kenya, but there are no indications of the feasibility of his program. The dividing factors in multi-ethnic African countries are simply too deeply-rooted to be instantly replaced by unifying mega-structures.

    Dominionism. Warren is totally committed to promoting a man-made kingdom on earth before the second coming of the Lord Jesus. This vision clashes with biblical eschatology, which warns of a deteriorating world that is heading for the great tribulation under die rule of the Antichrist. Not only is Rick’s non-offensive gospel at variance with the evangelical doctrine of salvation, but he also discourages his supporters to study biblical prophecies. The inevitable result is that they end up with a form of godliness which denies the cross and the regenerating power of the Holy Spirit (2 Tim. 3:5). This humanistic dream offers no spiritual advantages, much less a social utopia that stands any chance of uplifting the sick, poor, unemployed, illiterate, and politically deprived millions of Africa

  2. Thought provoking and best guide for meditation as well as it helps to root deeply in the faith of Christ.