Paul Washer

A speaker at a Southern Baptist youth convention named Paul Washer has stirred up a bunch of controversy by giving a tough message at a youth convention. Here are some thoughts about that message:

Positive Points

  • Paul Washer’s basic point that Salvation is accompanied by holiness and a real pursuit of God was correct, and a lot of people need to hear that message and can be born again because of it.
  • He actually preached from the heart and with conviction,which unfortunately seems to be fairly rare.

His Criticism of the “American Church” was unbalanced.

  • Paul Washer alling us the most godless nation on the face of the Earth. This is ludicrous statement, and I find it spiritually to be somewhat like insulting your own father.
  • Some of his general attacks again “American Christianity” might better fit his Southern Baptist context than the entire church in America.

He showed signs of self-importance.

  • Boasting about leaving home at 18 to be a missionary.
  • Saying they could be his children. A weird statement from someone so young.
  • Rebuking the crowd for applauding in agreement.
  • Seeming to relish that he wouldn’t be invited back.

Paul talk about God “hating” was a misrepresentation of God. God doesn’t love so much that he “hates” and he doesn’t hate unbelievers. When we say that God “hates” sin, I believe that’s a secondary statement. The Love of God within me causes a righteous hatred of sin because it hurts people, not just some flaming “out to get you” kind of a thing.

A message like this will cause some people to really get saved. It will cause some other people who are frustrated with the church and have a similar spirit to be pleased, and it will cause some people who are struggling to be condemned, and these will be the uncounted fruit of messages like this. Paul’s explicit statement that it is not his job to tell people that they are saved is very telling of that fact. Since he spent most of his message telling people they were not saved, to turnaround and say it’s not his job to give people confidence of salvation is borderline mean. Of course at a certain level both are only the job of the Holy Spirit, but the pastor plays a huge role in helping people to accurately discern that.

If the thrust of Paul Washer’s message that holiness accompanies real salvation were put into a different package, I would wholeheartedly agree. As it is, I definitely wouldn’t want to be around preaching like this, and I find it evidence for the need of the Holy Spirit.

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15 Comments

  1. Interesting comments. I don’t agree with these remarks as I’m a bit old school and know that lots of folks did and have received real salvation from fire and brim stone preaching. I guess I’m also wondering what would qualify a country to be more Godless than we. Because we wear a t-shirt or have seminars? Having spent my life reading about missionaries and their exploits and now having my children be missionaries I resonated with almost everything he said. But then you have me in a category don’t you. 🙂

    1. I’m not sure what category you think I have you in. As I mention at the beginning of the post, I have no objection to hard preaching.

      How about murdering people because they believe in Jesus as they do in many Muslim countries? What about strapping bombs to handicapped people in order to kill innocent people? I think that would be “more Godless.” What about actually having almost no believers, and not caring about sin, as in most of Western Europe? I stand strongly by the statement that we are certainly not the “most Godless country on the face of the Earth”

      1. A few Muslim killings compared to the millions killed here in America from abortion proves we are the most godless nation.

  2. I believe the bible teaches that God hates the sinner.

    Leviticus 20:23 – In promising Israel the land of Canaan, God states he will drive out the other nations because of their sinfulness, saying “I abhorred them.”
    Psalm 5:5 – David writes that God hates all who do wrong.
    Psalm 11:5 – The passage states that God hates those who commit violence.
    Proverbs 6:19 – In listing things that God finds detestable, Solomon writes that God hates a false witness who tells lies and a man who causes dissension.
    Hosea 9:15 – Hosea writes that God hated Ephraim because of their wickedness and that “I will no longer love them.”

    P.S.-Paul Washer is a great man of God and I have learned many great truths from his teaching. He is humble and loves the word of God.

  3. What are you going to do with

    For when we were still without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. For scarcely for a righteous man will one die; yet perhaps for a good man someone would even dare to die. But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us (Romans 5:6-8).

    Jesus died for sinners because he LOVED them.

    1. It’s an inexplainable attribute of God. Just like Christ was completely God and man or the trinity. We can’t understand it.

      1. Isn’t that like picking and choosing which scriptures you will apply? So we can understand all the scriptures that say God hates the sinner but as soon as we come across one that says he loves them we say we can’t understand it?

        Check out John 8:43 & 44 for what Jesus had to say about those claimed to not understand.

  4. I actually enjoyed this sermon. I had never heard about Paul Washer, and I found him while researching a Bible study about “Self-examination”, and what the Bible says about it. I took this sermon to be a wake up call, for me. And, yes, there will be many who will not like it and perhaps become upset with his words. I become weary of all the “feel good” preachers, who do not put a real urgency of conviction into my soul/spirit about my relationship with God and Jesus. I have had the great pleasure of being neighbors to an Episcopal Priest and a Southern Baptist Minister. Both were great in their faith, however, I must say, that I learned more from the Baptist Minister regarding my relationship with God than I did from the Episcopal Priest. Yes, we can all point to other “godless” societies, however, my take on his point, was that the US was founded on Biblical principles, and we have now become a godless society because we have allowed it to become so. Our country may never return to the way it was when it was birthed. Should it? However, God has given each and every individual the offer of salvation, and each and every individual has the choice, Life or Death, and of course, God gives us the answer, choose Life. Yet, there will still be many that choose Death. I do see, every day, those that profess to be Christians, chasing after the things of the world, and yes, I include myself in this. For me it is more important to seek the Kingdom of God, because I see that the world offers no hope of salvation.
    Is this a sermon for everyone? It is a sermon that those who are already in the faith can gather something from. Just as the books in the Bible were addressed to specific people, groups, etc., there are Biblical truths that apply to all. Is everyone ready to understand and discern all that they read in the Bible? No. Yet that does not mean that you stop reading the Bible.
    I wonder what people of today would have to say about Saul/Paul? And remember, John admonishes us to test the spirits. So, we must always test the spirits, no matter who utters the words.

    1. Darlene. Thank you. I would say again that I have no opposition to hard preaching. Nor would I discount that this message could have really helped some people, especially say people who are not saved but think they are.

      My point, however was more about the “spirit” that was coming through in the message. I tried to highlight a couple of areas where I saw that. For example, you chose to make a valid point about leaving our Christian foundations. He could have made that same statement, but chose instead to say something much more extreme and, by extension, inaccurate. His choice to do this is an area of concern for me.

  5. Thank you for your response. I will take time to listen to this sermon again, keeping what you have pointed out in mind. Then I shall repost. Again, thank you very much.

  6. If Johnathan Edwards, John Wesley, George Whitefield, or Luther preaching to them, they probably would have been kicked off the platform.

    There were a lot of…. misrepresentations I guess, in the article that I felt compelled to comment on just some of them.

    “Paul Washer alling us the most godless nation on the face of the Earth. This is ludicrous statement, and I find it spiritually to be somewhat like insulting your own father.”

    Let’s see what comes out of our nation, we slaughter over 3,000 of our own citizens every day but our country has legalized the practice the same way Hitler did, by declaring the people to not actually be a human being and our nation calls it a “woman’s right” I’m of course referring to the practice of abortion, if you did deeper into the Jews and Hitler, Hitler offered to send the Jews to our country before he killed most of them, but our president refused to take them.

    Our public school teaches false and outdated information for propaganda to thrust in a godless theory of evolution.

    Our nation legalised same sex marriage, and the hero’s are now transgenders like Bruce Jenner and not the military.

    Pornography is now considered a health crisis
    Sexting is also up there.

    What was once considered dressing like a harlot is, what you had to pay to see is now considered fashion.

    Blasphemy is common, even among teens, and cursing is not even looked at as bad, in fact it people think it is necessary to express the way they feel.

    And I’ve just begun to scratch the surface, fornication is normal so is sleeping together

    And we’ve only scratched the surface, gambling, Sin City, adultery so America is a far cry from a godly country, it’s heathen.

    “Some of his general attacks again “American Christianity” might better fit his Southern Baptist context than the entire church in America.”

    They are not attacks it’s just the truth, I can affirm that it’s not just in the Southern Baptist part of the church, became I’m not a Southern Baptist.

    “Rebuking the crowd for applauding in agreement.” I don’t know how you can consider that self importance, I wish more pastors were like that on youth conferences, I don’t think he’s winning a popularity contest, if he was looking for that he would take tips from Joel Osteen.

    God has always been angry, always, yet at the same time He’s always been loving, merciful, just, compassionate, Jesus speaks of the blasphemy of they who say they are Jews (Christians) and are not but do lie and are of the synagogue of Satan, He’s angry with the wicked every single day, our God is a consuming fire, and that is something that must be preached.

    1. Listing the sins of America does not prove Washer’s overstatement in any way. Are you familiar with abortion statistics in the rest of the world? America is nowhere near the top. Russia aborts 42% of all pregnancies. Or of the killing of infant girls in India and China? Or of some of the even more horrible practices which were stopped by American and British missionaries?

      I honestly do not find this tone in the sermons of Edwards, Whitefield, Wesley or Luther. I find their messages to be earnest appeals to repentance rooted in the love of God, which is not what I heard in the message which made Washer famous. I also do not find God to be always angry, and I”m sorry to hear that you do. It is the kindness of God which leads men to repentance.

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