Monday, April 11, 2011

Paul Washer

Fr. Dale Matson

To be enabled to form a clear, consistent, and comprehensive judgment of the truths revealed in the Scripture, is a great privilege; but they who possess it are exposed to the temptation of thinking too highly of themselves, and too meanly of others, especially of those who not only refuse to adopt their sentiments, but venture to oppose them.
John Newton, Anglican Priest 1762.

Paul Washer cannot be accused of thinking too highly of himself but he can be accused of thinking too meanly of others. He has stated that he suffers from depression and I believe it colors both his opinion of himself and the church.

There are some positive things about him and there is more to say in the positive. He is a man who has demonstrated in his life that he loves and fears God. He has the academic preparation of a pastor with an M.Div. He has served God faithfully for many years including being a missionary in Peru for ten years.

For me, Paul’s preaching is outstanding. There is no one that compares to him today. He preaches with the same conviction and power of Billy Graham of the 1950’s. He does not curry favor with anyone and is his own man speaking God’s words to a society in moral decline and a lukewarm church. I have many of his sermons bookmarked. By comparison, my homilies sound like I am dictating to a stone cutter.

I am not here to measure five point Calvinism against the Anglican theology of Richard Hooker. I do believe that Sola Scriptura without church tradition is a ship with a steering wheel and rudder but no keel. What I am concerned about is the degree of judgment and how much this permeates Paul Washer’s sermons. It is important to say that evidence of regeneration is an amended life. It is one thing to say that Christians should leave a church where the Gospel is not preached. It is quite another to overgeneralize with statements like, “The saddest place on the earth is the biblical south where everyone has just enough religion to send them straight to hell.”

My biggest concern is his assault on the Roman Catholic Church. He believes that a Christian can be in the Catholic Church but also believes that a Christian should not remain in the Catholic Church. “I tell people to come out.” Apparently Paul Washer also believes that the Catholic Church is a cult because he was surprised that the late Walter Martin “The Kingdom of the Cults” did not include the Catholic Church. He did not include them because they are a Christian Church.

There is a negativity that is not the judgment of God. It is the judgment of Paul Washer. I believe God the Holy Spirit is speaking to Paul Washer but the Holy Spirit is not saying, “I’ll take Leonard Ravenhill over twenty dead Calvinists.” Paul, we speak for the church and God will judge us for what we have said on His behalf. I am certainly not above criticism here either.

I hope I meet you someday. God bless you my brother Paul Washer. Amen

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