Here’s the sermon that often doesn’t get Paul Washer invited back. And no, it’s not because he’s boring. Washer preaches with clarity and passion. The reason Washer has caused such an uproar in some places is because he makes a frontal attack on some of Evangelicalism’s most sacred cows: Assurance of Salvation, and sincerity in “making a decision” for Christ.
Washer pulls no punches. Nor does he just attack for the sake of attack. He attacks these forms of Evangelical religion like a surgeon attacking a cancer. He dissects and explains.
Washer rails against how Evangelicals are so quick to proclaim people ‘believers’. One of the most damnable practices in the church is when a person doubts their salvation, they are usually taken back to that day when they “made a decision” for Christ and “asked Jesus into their hearts”, neither of which are statements found in Scripture (apart from a poor hermeneutic). We are often guilty of giving people a false assurance that is based more on the ‘sincerity’ of their decision than on the presence of a transformed life. Washer claims this tactic sends countless people to hell. At the very point that a person may be coming to Christ with a legitimate doubt about salvation, we kill off that work with a sloppy proclaimation of false salvation.
Washer broadsides contemporary evangelistic practices, including child evangelism and Sunday School programs. He says he would not put his children in 80% of the Sunday school programs, because the gospel presentations we give to children are so seriously distorted they border on heresy.
This message needs to be preached to every church in America. The congregations response would serve as a good litmus test of spiritual health.
Paul Washer’s message on prayer is one of the best, and most convicting and re-orienting, that I’ve ever heard.
Washer turns to Jesus as his model and instructor of prayer. In fact, the disciples turned to Jesus about instruction on prayer. They didn’t ask him to teach them to preach, or cast out demons, or raise the dead. They asked him how to pray. Jesus not only teaches them, but his life is a living example.
One always comes to the question, “Why did Jesus pray if he was God?” The answer we usually get is that Jesus needed to pray because he needed to depend upon God in his humanity, and because he had so much to accomplish. Rubbish, according to Washer. Jesus prayed because he loved to be in communion with God the Father. Need didn’t drive him to prayer, love did. We are commanded to the same love, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart…”
We take prayer so flippantly we ignore the clear instruction of Christ to go into your closet. We must repeatedly pull ourselves away from our surroundings to a place where we can focus without interruption.
Washer also observes that it is so easy to initiate prayer with God. The difficulty comes in persisting in prayer. We don’t know what it means to wrestle with God persistently and not loose heart. He taught this by the widow who hounded the local judge to give her justice with her adversary. This ungodly judge didn’t answer her request because he was a good judge, he answered her because she was annoying. This was taught to teach us to pray with persistence. Yet, immediately after telling this parable, Jesus wondered that when he returned to the earth whether he would find faith on the earth — faith demonstrated by persistent prayer to a listening God.
Have you ever wrestled in prayer all night for a big decision? If you haven’t, Washer says you’re a better man than Jesus.
HeartCry Missionary Society held a conference on prayer in 2006 with a number of preachers. Paul Washer took two messages to talk about missions work, which provide a significant challenge not only in regards to prayer, but in a believers entire dependancy of life on God.
In Session 3 Washer describes his conversion and his early years as a missionary in Peru. God’s work through this humble servant is fascinating, and at the same time, utterly convicting.
In Session 5 Paul talks more about the work HeartCry is involved in across the world, and the particular principles and convictions that they operate by. Paul explains why they are focused on supporting indiginous missionaries rather than sending missionaries. He talks about why they send Bibles to believers and not to unbelievers. He also cuts through the modern day missions clutter to explain how missions minded people must be primarily interested in Biblical truth. “We send truth, not missionaries.”
I have to say this is a very impactful duo of messages.
First Baptist Church in Killen, Alabama hosted Paul Washer for a summit to speak to the men. Washer challenges men not with the challenges the world or the common challenges that most men’s conferences do. Washer challenges men to do what the plain reading of Scripture says.
Men need to get their jobs and ministries in sync with a true belief in God’s sovereignty. This means we don’t sacrifice our wives or children on the altar of career or ministry. To do so is a denial of God’s sovereignty over your life.
Men are called to serve and sacrifice. Do you care for your wife? Do you sacrifice for her good? Do you truly love her without condition? Are you washing her with the Word. Washer says, “If you’ve been married for 10 years and your wife is not any more presentable to you than she was in the first year of your marriage, you are to blame.” Husbands must be ministering the Word of God to their wives and children, not using Scripture to prop you up as a privileged officer.
Washer also suggests that Christian dating organizations are not God’s will, because God’s will is not that you find someone who is compatible. Very often the wife God has for you is far from compatible. Because God’s goal for your life is Christ-likeness, not compatibility in marriage.
Paul also looks at men as fathers, and considers how our society is loosing our children because we are more concerned about socializing them with other children their age while we completely neglect having them around us while we are with other adults. Children need to be around adults.
This is a very challenging and much needed series of 3 addresses to men. I highly recommend them.
What can I say about Paul Washer? Lest I tread too closely to making too much of a man, I can’t help but be excited by a preacher who speaks for God, whose words convict and inspire awe before God and his work of the Gospel. Here is a man who has a prophetic voice in the manner of a Tozer or Lloyd-Jones. And in this message, Washer clearly and effectively levels ten indictments against the modern church that we must take heed of. Here are just a few of Paul’s major points, though not necessarily his exact 10 indictments:
The modern church practically denies Scripture by embracing the sociological, the psychological and the anthropological as having authority over God’s Word. The modern church does not know God. The modern church has exchanged the Gospel and the power of God for tricks, techniques, and pagan-like methodologies.The modern church has robbed people of the power of the Gospel by embracing the heresy of decisionism. The modern church is focused on prosperity and not on sin, thus defusing the one thing necessary for the Holy Spirit to deal with to restore a sinners true relationship with God. The modern church is filled with and caters to the goats while the sheep starve under the hand of capitulating leaders. The modern church has remained silent on the reality that God`s people are called out to be separate. The modern church has torn Matthew 18 from Scripture, and along with it loving, compassionate church discipline.
Paul asks the loaded question of leaders, “Are you smarter than God? Then stop acting like it!” There is a sharp bite to Washer’s indictment, yet the cutting comes from spiritual wisdom, and one who loves Christ’s bride, the Church.