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…)
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Good comments Jim. When we think Reformers, we should understand their initial training was in the Catholic Church and they were out to reform the church. Calvin was heavily influenced by Augustine who was in a cult for 7 years which was New Age in theology before our generation resurrected it. In addition, Augustine brought a good deal of philosophy into the mix of his spiritual experiences and scriptural understanding. Understandably, he is still regarded very highly by the RCC which practices infant baptism as he taught.
“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
We are not to leave it as in abandon it, but to stop dwelling in the cellar and build a house on the foundation.
Hebrews 6 New King James Version (NKJV) The Peril of Not Progressing
6:1: Therefore, leaving the discussion of the elementary principles of Christ, let us go on to perfection, not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works and of faith toward God, 2 of the doctrine of baptisms, of laying on of hands, of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment. 3 And this we will do if God permits.
Last comment: the dying thief offered a ‘little prayer’ and it did indeed save him, without works or all the usual trappings. As soon as he called, he got salvation forever.
Luke 23:40 But the other, answering, rebuked him, saying, “Do you not even fear God, seeing you are under the same condemnation? 41 And we indeed justly, for we receive the due reward of our deeds; but this Man has done nothing wrong.” 42 Then he said to Jesus, “Lord, remember me when You come into Your kingdom.”
43 And Jesus said to him, “Assuredly, I say to you, today you will be with Me in Paradise.”
If by some miracle the thief had lived, the Reformed spokesmen would have doubted his salvation just as they do ours. But we trust the Word of God and are assured by Christ we will be with Him forever.
God bless, Dennis
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My family members always say that I am wasting my time here
at net, except I know I am getting know-how everyday by reading such fastidious articles or reviews.
Washer even mentioned “final salvation” once in the book concerning glorification. I got a Catholic type vibe from it. The Reformers certainly didn’t do enough to get away from Cahtolic error. Even some guys today like John Piper and Francis Chan are tolerant of things like lectio divinia. A type of Catholic contemplative prayer where God is suppose to speak to you as you meditate.
You said, “Does Washer think that Jesus “culled” believers because they would not follow Him in discipleship? Does Washer think that by “culled”, that means that Jesus withheld His promise of eternal life for anyone who would believe on Him as Savior? If so, then Washer believes that Jesus is a liar. If so, then Washer is professing belief in a Savior that would not be qualified to save him.”
I think Washer is of the view that those who don’t follow in discipleship did not have “saving” faith. It all flows from the Reformed overall errors. He makes it sound as if God is a coach walking up and down the sidelines looking for the best most committed players for His team. We however know this isn’t the case. Heaven is not just for “super” Christians that were perfectly submissive and completely committed always in discipleship. No such person exists anyway. We know that some will be saved yet so as by fire with little to show for themselves but they will be saved no the less because their salvation was never based on them or their performance but on Christ and His righteousness.
To me, anyone that teaches a compromised gospel in essence makes God out to be a liar. Think of how the following verses become lies if Washer’s discipleship gospel is true.
Joh 3:16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
(No mention needing discipleship there to seal the deal.)
Joh 3:18 He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.
(Same for this verse)
Joh 1:12 But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:
Rom 4:3 For what saith the scripture? Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness.
Rom 4:4 Now to him that worketh is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt.
Rom 4:5 But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness.
Rom 4:6 Even as David also describeth the blessedness of the man, unto whom God imputeth righteousness without works,
Rom 4:7 Saying, Blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose sins are covered.
Rom 4:8 Blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not impute sin.
Rom 4:16 Therefore it is of faith, that it might be by grace; to the end the promise might be sure to all the seed; not to that only which is of the law, but to that also which is of the faith of Abraham; who is the father of us all,
Rom 4:23 Now it was not written for his sake alone, that it was imputed to him;
Rom 4:24 But for us also, to whom it shall be imputed, if we believe on him that raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead;
Rom 4:25 Who was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification.
why dont these guys just come out of the closet and join the roman catholic church already
Jim, you said: “Let’s see if it gets any better from here.”
My comment: It doesn’t.
The following quote from Washer really sums up his false gospel of works:
“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…”
Maybe in John MacArthur’s false “Gospel According to Jesus”, but not in the real gospel of Jesus. Washer’s first claim is not supported by scripture:
Following are some true conversions from scripture. In none of these cases does scripture say these converted people went on to costly discipleship:
John 8:31-32: ” Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”
John 11:25-27: “Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. Believest thou this? She saith unto him, Yea, Lord: I believe that thou art the Christ, the Son of God, which should come into the world.”
John 12:42-43: “Nevertheless among the chief rulers also many believed on him; but because of the Pharisees they did not confess him, lest they should be put out of the synagogue: For they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God.”
Does Washer think that Jesus “culled” believers because they would not follow Him in discipleship? Does Washer think that by “culled”, that means that Jesus withheld His promise of eternal life for anyone who would believe on Him as Savior? If so, then Washer believes that Jesus is a liar. If so, then Washer is professing belief in a Savior that would not be qualified to save him.