Paul Washer is a loved preacher by many evangelicals, but his message is twisted when it comes to the Law and Gospel Distinction.
Instead of me writing too much about him and his message, though I have much to say, I’ll give some resources for those who would like to know for themselves what Paul Washer says. Fair critiques.
I’ve said for quite some time that he is in direct violation of Scripture. Look what Jesus says and then compare it to what Paul Washer does going from church to church, city to city, yanking up the weeds (tares / unbelievers) in the Church only to harm the wheat (true believers). Note what I put in bold:
He put another parable before them, saying, “The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a man who sowed good seed in his field, but while his men were sleeping, his enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat and went away. So when the plants came up and bore grain, then the weeds appeared also. And the servants of the master of the house came and said to him, ‘Master, did you not sow good seed in your field? How then does it have weeds?’ He said to them, ‘An enemy has done this.’ So the servants said to him, ‘Then do you want us to go and gather them?’ But he said, ‘No, lest in gathering the weeds you root up the wheat along with them. Let both grow together until the harvest, and at harvest time I will tell the reapers, “Gather the weeds first and bind them in bundles to be burned, but gather the wheat into my barn.”’” – Jesus Christ (Matthew 13.24-30)
We are told not to do this. I have run into many Washerites who are so bogged down with the Law, yet they have sensitive consciences, needing the Gospel. It is true that when a minister of the Word of God gives the Law, it is through the Holy Spirit that people will feel conviction, contrition, and finally repent, but to slam people with the Law is unbiblical! It is hurtful. I’d highly recommend reading online for free C.F.W. Walther’s Law and Gospel or you can purchase it HERE. If you follow Washer and read Walther, there will be many light bulb moments.
As promised, here are the resources of critiques of Paul Washer. Also, if you know someone hurting from his neonomian teachings, people feeling like, “what use is it? I can’t ever seem to advance in my sanctification,” please give them this blog post or at least the resources and give them Jesus, Jesus, Jesus! He is the healing balm for those suffering under what Martin Luther’s description of despair is: anfechtung. That troubled soul already crushed by the Law ought not be compounded with more Law.
Resource 1: Gospel Assurance and Warnings—Book Review
This is a book review by Rev. Rich Shields, whose blog can be found HERE. “I am writing this review as someone who is outside the Reformed/Evangelical community, namely as a pastor in the confessing Lutheran tradition, but also one who is keenly aware of the need to challenge much of what passes as the Christian faith.”
Resource 2: The Preparationism of Paul Washer
This is a podcast from Rev. Jordan Cooper, whose blog posts, podcasts, and books can be found HERE. “On today’s program, I discussed the connection between the preparationist theology of early American Puritanism and it’s connection to the theology of Paul Washer. I review of ten minute segment of a Paul Washer sermon…”
Resource 3: A Critique of the Theology of Paul Washer
A fair critique by Rev. Jordan Cooper: “On today’s program I reviewed clips from sermons by Calvinistic baptist preacher Paul Washer. I discussed why I believe his theology to be dangerous.”
Some notable quotes by Paul Washer:
“Don’t come down here and just pray a little prayer and think every thing’s okay and go back. Deal with the fact that you are being confronted with the Gospel that demands everything from you.” ~Paul Washer
The Gospel does not demand anything. The Law demands. The Gospel says, “I did this for you.” The Law says, “do this.” He has it backwards, the same as James White does when he says, “The gospel is not a suggestion. It is a command.” – James White and “The gospel is not what God has done for you. The gospel command is ‘Repent and believe.” – James White
“I don’t need to be a prophet or the son of a prophet to know what your God is. I only have to watch your life.” ~Paul Washer
Interesting since Mormons are ofttimes much better at serving their neighbor. Paul Washer’s wife doubted her salvation, brought it up to her husband, and she found she was not saved (I’m skeptical), so if it’s true that Paul Washer can just watch your life to know who your God is, why didn’t he detect it from his closest neighbor, his wife?