Ten Years and Counting. . . 

“When you sign a membership covenant, you are signing a legal document.
Ask yourself if you were told that this is the case.
If you were not told this, ask why you weren’t.
In every other venue outside of a church,
you would most likely get legal advice before signing a contract.
Why would you not do the same for a church contract?”

An audio file has just been posted online of a talk given over 10 years ago at a Discernment Ministries conference. The presentation was by Discernment Research Group member Sarah H. Leslie, and it was an early refutation of the Purpose-Driven church covenant model being widely disseminated by Pastor Rick Warren of Saddleback Church in California.

Early on we recognized and warned about the many problems that would develop as a result of the covenant church model which was based on the corporate business model introduced into the church by Peter Drucker via Bob Buford’s Leadership Network. The purpose-driven brand name was the most recognizable, but many other networks within Leadership Networks’ vast array of downline networks, especially including Acts 29, would also rely heavily upon this covenant-driven model. We anticipated that there would eventually be fallout in churches – particularly among women, children, handicapped, disabled, elderly and others – who would slip through the cracks, be damaged, or penalized for their imperfections. 

Listen to the audio:

The Herescope blog began posting 10 years ago, so if you listen to the audio file you will recognize the references to the many of topics that have been posted on Herescope. However, for those who seek additional documentation, and wish to research these issues further, below is a partial list of topics mentioned in this comprehensive overview conference report.

The audio talk was given shortly after the 2004 monograph The Pied Pipers of Purpose was published. This monograph is available for purchase at the Discernment Ministries office, 903-567-6423, and it is also available for download here:

The talk mentions education reform issues, specifically the book the deliberate dumbing down of america by Charlotte T. Iserbyt, available at or for a free download at:  Also read the 3-part article series about so-called school “choice” titled “The Choice Charade”.

The conference talk specifically references an earlier article critical of church covenants published by Discernment Ministries. Recently this paper, originally titled “The Shepherding Movement Comes of Age,” was republished on the Herescope blog: 

Here is the issue of Leadership Network’s newsletter NEXT that included the eastern religious Ying/Yang sign in its discussion about management guru Jim Collins. Notice the clock graphic and note that each subheading includes a ying/yang graphic. The use of such a well-known occult symbol has raised many questions about which faith Leadership Network promotes.

Leadership Network, NEXT, Vol. 3, No. 1, May 1997

Regarding Rick Warren, our early warnings in 2005 were sadly quite accurate. We believe that the most important post we ever wrote about Rick Warren is “Rick Warren – Is He Scary?” Most of the questions that we raised in this post have never been answered. Rick Warren took his entire P.E.A.C.E. “missionary” plan under the radar and the press has given him a free pass to work his global agenda without critical scrutiny. Below is a sampling of articles (including some that are part of a series) we wrote about Rick Warren’s attempt to turn purpose-driven into a global movement:

Missionaries who were specifically told to NOT preach the Gospel is documented here: Africa Watch Update: Missionaries told “not to minister the Word”! Rick Warren’s early partner, Bruce Wilkinson, experienced a failed venture in Swaziland: Breaking News! Mr Jabez’s Dream Turns to Nightmare

The original 2-part article about Rick Warren’s launching of his Global P.E.A.C.E. Plan is archived in the Discernment Newsletters:

For our writings on the recent Mars Hill debacle, and its connections
to the Leadership Network organization and these same organizational structure
and ideologies, see the series “The Culture Which Gave Rise to Mark Driscoll”:

Finally, we wish to point out that many of the topics covered in this 2005 talk were influential in the publication of Paul Smith’s book New Evangelicalism: The New World Order.  Read about his book here:

Discernment Ministries has recently authorized Dr. Martin Erdmann to
post a number of our current and older, but still relevant, conference
files on the Internet. As Dr. Erdmann puts up more of the Discernment conference videos and audios online, we will post notifications and links for Herescope readers.

1. “The Village Church/Matt Chandler: The Problems With Membership Contracts,” 6/1/15, For another recent covenant horror story, see “Do Acts 29 Churches Share the Same DNA as the Mothership – Matt Chandler’s The Village Church?” 1/3/15,

Note: The audio file may experience problems in the Firefox browser. However you may download the file for playing offline.