We have begun our look at Paul Washer’s book The Gospel’s Power and Message. Let’s see if it gets any better from here.
“Anyone who thinks that he knows the gospel well enough to leave it behind and go on to greater things would do well to follow the admonition of the apostle Paul: “If anyone thinks that he knows anything, he knows nothing yet as he ought to know.”10 Washer, Paul (2012-10-12). The Gospel’s Power and Message (pp. 27-28). . Kindle Edition.
(I have heard this before from Calvinists. What a crazy type statement. Sounds like they want believers to not press on and grow.)
“To alter the gospel in any way is to bring a curse upon ourselves and to hand down a corrupt gospel to the following generations.” (p. 32).
(You think? Wow, at least he know this potentially but I wonder he then promotes a gospel that is not what the Bible presents.)
“Through His suffering, divine justice was satisfied and the wrath of God was appeased, that God might now be both just and the justifier of those who place their faith in Him.27” (p. 36).
(Yes, so why does he add to this at other times?)
“We must not reduce the great commands of repentance and faith to nothing more than the repetition of a sinner’s prayer. Our hearers must understand repentance as a change of mind that encompasses not only the intellect but also the will and emotions.” (p. 38).
(There are some partial truths here. Receiving salvation really isn’t a simple repetition of a sinner’s prayer. It is trusting Christ alone that He will save you based on His atoning work. Yes, repentance is a change of mind, but here is often where Calvinists slip up. Notice the addition of the part about the intellect, will, and emotions. A change of will could something like a choice to change direction in life or make Christ Lord. Emotions could be made out to be a deep regret or sorrow or disdain for sin. Be careful what you add in that the scripture does not. More could be said about this but I’ll leave it for now.)
“Furthermore, we must instruct our hearers regarding the evidence of conversion. We must warn them that genuine repentance brings forth the fruit of repentance, and that faith without works is dead.35 We must admonish them to examine themselves and test themselves to see if they are in the faith, and they must be diligent to make their calling and election sure.36” (p. 38).
(James 2 does not fit what Washer is trying to say because it is talking to believers about ongoing sanctification and also justification before men. Likewise, making our calling and election sure has to do with growth in the Christian life – not testing to see if we have enough evidence to consider ourselves saved.)
“The gospel of Jesus calls men to repent of their sins and believe.26 He promises those who obey the call will receive eternal life.27 He warns the rest that they will perish under the wrath of God if they continue in their unrepentant and unbelieving state.28 The gospel of Paul provides the very same promises and warnings. The apostle solemnly testified, to both Jews and Greeks, of the need for repentance toward God and faith in our Lord Jesus Christ. He proclaimed that God has commanded all people everywhere to repent, and he warned men not to be deceived by empty works, for the wrath of God is coming upon the disobedient.29” (p. 44).
(Ok, now see what happen to that earlier correct statement in light of this. What about “Through His suffering, divine justice was satisfied and the wrath of God was appeased, that God might now be both just and the justifier of those who place their faith in Him.27” ?? Now Washer has committed, in typical Calvinist fashion, the error of the addition of other elements to the gospel. Now I am starting to see why he thinks it takes so long to understand the “gospel.”
(God does not call people to repent of their sin. Yes, those who perish in an unbelieving state will be lost eternally. The repentance mentioned there by Paul is a change of mind leading to trusting Christ alone. It is all one thing. Empty works are anything that can’t save which is all of a lost man’s works. Not even the good ones are anything more than filthy rags in God’s sight. Mankind must change their minds and trust Christ alone to save based on the gospel.)
“In the gospel of Jesus, sincere and costly discipleship always accompanies genuine conversion. Jesus frequently culled the large crowds that followed Him by making radical demands upon them: “If anyone comes to Me and does not hate his father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and his own life also, he cannot be My disciple.”30 He even warned His own disciples, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it.”31 The gospel of Paul contains the same radical demands of discipleship. With regard to holiness, Paul admonishes believers to come out from this world and be separate.32 With regard to righteousness, he commands believers to consider themselves dead to sin and alive to God as instruments of righteousness.33 With regard to faithfulness, they are encouraged to endure in spite of the many tribulations and persecutions that are certain to come against all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus.34”(p. 45).
(Is Washers considering Christ call to discipleship the same as the call to believe the gospel? The fact is that discipleship does not always follow conversion. Why else did Christ have to urge the believers to follow in discipleship in the first place if it was automatic! Discipleship can indeed have radical demands but don’t confuse these for conditions to show you’ve obtained salvation, or worse yet, commitments that have to be made before your faith can be real. Yes Paul admonishes many to live as they ought as believers, not for salvation or to prove their salvation but because they are saved.)
“The gospel of Jesus teaches men that a mere profession of faith alone is no sound evidence of salvation. Jesus warned that not everyone who says to Him, “Lord, Lord,” will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of His Father in heaven.35 He was adamant that the fruit of one’s life is the proof of salvation, and that everyone who does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.36 The gospel of Paul contains the same solemn warnings. He admonished those who have professed faith in Christ to examine and test themselves to see if they are truly in the faith.37 He warned men about having a form of godliness but negating its power, and professing to know God but denying Him with their deeds.38” (p. 45).
(Notice the falsehood of the first line of this quote. Think about what Washer is really saying here. It is absolutely mind boggling. A profession of faith in the right object for salvation is indeed all the evidence needed provided that that object is Christ. Everything else falls short. Our works prove little but Christ proves everything.
Jesus was warning those who will not trust Christ alone for salvation but instead go about doing “great things” for God trusting in their own righteousness. See, they had to be born again before they could do the will of God. They weren’t born again because they never believed. We know this because there is only one way of salvation and that being by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone. So if they are being condemned it is that they never believed! They are not condemned for failing to behave.
No he was not adamant that fruit in one’s life is proof of salvation. Fruit is proof of faithfulness and faithfulness is different than faith itself. We also cannot say that all believers will always be faithful. We still have the sin nature present with us and will always have struggles with it.
Examining one’s self to see that they are in the faith is to look at and consider who you have trusted in for salvation. Your salvation is as good as the person you are trusting is capable of providing that salvation.
Having a form of godliness and denying the power… hmm. That doesn’t sound too far off from those that have succumbed to LS error or Reformed error. Whenever the gospel is changed, even in the slightest, it saps the power and effectiveness of the gospel message thereby denying its power.)
“The Reformed gospel is completely different from the Roman Catholic gospel; a faith-based gospel is in direct contradiction to a works-based gospel; a truly evangelical gospel stands in contrast to an ultracharismatic gospel.” (p. 48).
(I still find similarities because, as shown above, Washer has added to the gospel too. I can tell which tree the Reformed apple has fallen from. Let’s not be a part of the heritage of Rome or the Reformers but let’s look at the Word directly through the guidance of the Holy Spirit and discern the true and proper gospel of grace. To be continued…)