Posts Tagged ‘Paul Washer’

I am going to the True Church Conference in Muscle Schoals this weekend with some men from my church–I am very excited about the conference as it features some men whose preaching I have profited greatly from (i.e. Paul Washer, Jeff Noblit, and Voddie Baucham).  Listening to Paul Washer has greatly challenged the way that preach and the way that I treasure Christ.  So in light of being excited about hearing from Paul Washer this weekend, I wanted to share this video which contains excerpts from one  of Washer’s sermons.

Indeed Jesus is everything!


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. . . and then upon receiving an answer in the affirmative, immediately asking them to pray to accept Christ as savior. I know that sounds harsh, but before labeling me a heretic, hear me out.

First of all, when the gospel is preached in Acts, the apostles never ask people if they want to go to heaven when they die. Secondly, when people ask how they may be saved, the are told to repent (2:38). As I have previously argued, John the Baptist preached repentance, Jesus preached repentance, and the Apostles preached repentance (Matt. 3:2, 4:17; Mark 1:15, 6:12; Acts 2:38, 3:19, 17:30, 26:20).

You might ask, Why is it so important that we preach repentance? Doesn’t the Bible say that everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved (Rom. 10:13)?

The problem with asking people to pray to accept Jesus immediately after asking people if they want to go to heaven is that it misses a crucial point of the gospel message and it is this: no one apart from the supernatural work of the Holy Spirit will truly call out to God for salvation. Most people don’t think they need salvation but who doesn’t want to go to heaven?

Paul Washer says, “most people want to go to heaven, they just don’t want God to be there when they get there.” That may sound harsh but think about what the Bible says who we are apart from Christ: we are dead in sin (Eph. 2:1), we are hostile in mind toward God (Col. 1:21), we are enemies of God (James 4:4), we have hard hearts, we are futile in our thinking (Rom. 1:21), our foolish hearts are darkened (Rom. 1:21), we are haters of God, we are slaves to sin (Rom. 6:17), and we are storing up wrath for ourselves on the day of judgment (Rom. 2:5). The point of all this is that most people don’t want to go to heaven because they don’t love God. They don’t love his Word, they don’t live for his glory and they can’t do anything about it nor do they want to because they love their sin and they love world.

The Lord must move in our hearts. He must work out repentance in our hearts, making alive our cold dead hearts so that we might love God and the things of God and hate sin. A dead man is dead apart from the divine supernatural work of the Holy Spirit.

Everyone wants to go to heaven, everyone wants to be rewarded and have eternal life, but most people are not ready to face the Holy God of the universe who they have rejected in their sin. That is why we need to stop asking people if they want to go to heaven as if that were an indication that they are ready for the kingdom. A better question is do you love God more than you love the things of this world? Do you hate the sin that keeps you from Him? Is the sin in your life painful to you? Is His Kingdom really valuable enough to you to give up all you have to follow Him?

When Peter preached at Pentecost, many who heard his sermon “were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, ‘Brothers, what shall we do?'” Peter’s response . . . repent (Acts 2:37-38)!

Conviction of sin and repentance isn’t something we can work out in our own hearts and thus merit our own salvation. The gospel is good news because God is good and chooses to work out faith and repentance in the hearts of those who hate Him, freeing them to love God and glory in His marvelous grace!

I am not saying never to pray with someone who wants to be saved. If someone truly wants to be saved, by all means pray with them! But please don’t tell people that our prayers save us! God saves sinners. And please don’t assume that just because someone wants to go to heaven that they have been cut to the heart and want to be right with God.

Ezekiel 36 sums up well how God brings sinners to repentance:

23And I will vindicate the holiness of my great name, which has been profaned among the nations, and which you have profaned among them. And the nations will know that I am the LORD, declares the Lord GOD, when through you I vindicate my holiness before their eyes. 24I will take you from the nations and gather you from all the countries and bring you into your own land. 25I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you shall be clean from all your uncleannesses, and from all your idols I will cleanse you. 26And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. 27And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes and be careful to obey my rules. 28You shall dwell in the land that I gave to your fathers, and you shall be my people, and I will be your God.

I say these things because I want to see people truly embrace Christ as savior and I fear that many of our converts will be spit out of the Lord’s mouth on the day of judgment.

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. . . they would just “ask Jesus into their heart,” they would be saved. Don’t miss-hear me. I am all for people being saved. There is joy in heaven over just one sinner “who repents” (Luke 15:7). Did you catch that? There is joy in heaven over one sinner who repents.

Paul Washer says that the greatest heresy in the American protestant and evangelical church today is the widely preached idea that “if you ask Jesus into your heart, he actually enters in.” That might be a bit of an overstatement. I say might because I feel the burden that Washer has for the gospel of Jesus Christ which no where calls anyone to “ask Jesus into their heart” nor does it ever ground salvation on praying a prayer.

The message Jesus preached was this: “the time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel” (Mark 1:15, cf. Matt. 4:17). John the Baptist’s message was similar, “repent for the kingdom of heaven is at hand” (Matt. 3:2). Peter preached repentance at Pentecost and Paul called all of those he preached to on his missionary journeys “to repent and turn to God, performing deeds in keeping with repentance” (Acts 2:38, 26:20).

My issue with the “just ask Jesus into your heart” language is that at best it isn’t biblical and at worst it leads to false conversions.

You may think I am being harsh. You may be thinking, “isn’t it true that the Holy Spirit dwells within us as believers and so in a sense, Jesus dwells in our hearts?” Yes that is true, but the Holy Spirit dwells in the hearts of believers. Why would we go around telling those who are slaves of sin that all they need to do to be saved is invite Jesus into their hearts? That is easy to do, but it’s not biblical nor is it the gospel that the Jesus and the Apostles preached.

You might also be thinking if we preach repentance instead, aren’t we making repentance a work in and of itself? While it is possible to preach repentance such that we make it the key to salvation, that is not how we should preach. True repentance is a change of the mind and will. The Bible tells us that we are slaves to sin (Rom. 6:15-22) and dead in our sins (Eph. 2:1). Dead men don’t will themselves back to life! In fact the Bible tells us that the man living apart from Christ “does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and they are unable to understand them because they are spiritually discerned” (1 Cor. 1:14). Thus repentance is ultimately a supernatural work of almighty God to make dead men alive and to change men’s hearts such that they begin to love what they once hated and hate what they once loved (Rom. 7:9-25). Repentance is not a human work meriting God’s favor but a divine supernatural one that God works out in the hearts of sinners who have turned away from him.

So here is my suggestion: instead of telling people to ask Jesus into their hearts, tell them to repent and believe. And instead of asking whether people have ever prayed to ask Jesus into their hearts, ask them if God has done such a supernatural work in their hearts that they love God and the things of God and now hate sin and the things of the flesh. Ask them if God is making their dead heart alive to the greatest joy of all, the joy of knowing Christ and making Him known!

If there is one thing we are passionate about here at EE, it is the gospel of Jesus Christ, so if this post offends you please let me know why. My hope is merely to help people preach the gospel faithfully and biblically–the way Jesus and the Apostles did.

Anyone can pray a prayer, but it takes the power of the Holy Spirit to bring dead men to life.

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Watching this video may be the 10 best spent minutes of your week. I mean that in all earnestness.

Paul Washer understands and communicates the gospel clearly and with tremendous conviction. In this clip, Paul Washer, missionary and evangelist, is interviewed by Kirk Cameron (of Growing Pains fame) on the television show The Way of the Master. Kirk asks him questions about the gospel and about how men can be saved. It’s amazing that this interview was actually conducted on TBN (Trinity Broadcasting Network).

In the interview, Washer speaks candidly about the gospel and conversion. I should warn you to try to block out the cheesy piano music in the background which just distracts from the weight of Washer’s words.

I started listening to some Paul Washer sermons this week and have been convicted beyond words about the way in which I preach the gospel. I wholeheartedly encourage you to check them out. However, if you are a preacher, be careful of trying to preach like Paul Washer in your church; you might lose your job. But then again that might not be such a bad thing if the true gospel is preached.

Washer also talks about his model for missions, here is my favorite quote from the interview:

Give me one man, who believes God with a Bible in his hands, stick him in the middle of the town square and let him preach until he is stoned to death or till someone is converted because God will bless that kind of ministry.

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