A month ago, I did a short video analyzing one of Paul Washer’s sermons. The sermon was directed to a church audience and was a semi-evangelistic message. His desire was for people who were false professors to recognize it and then truly believe in Christ. You can see that video here.
Washer thinks that to get into Christ’s coming kingdom a person must persevere in repentance, faith, and good works. You will not enter Christ’s kingdom if you stop repenting, believing, and doing good.
In this blog, I’m providing some additional quotes, then evaluating them in light of Gal 1:6-9. Is Paul Washer’s evangelistic message a false gospel on par with that of the Judaizers who bewitched the believers in Galatia?
In a 2010 sermon, the transcript of which is available online (here), Washer said:
Children, repent, turn from your sin and believe in Christ. Adults, you may be sitting there saying “I’ve never, never had the love of God shed abroad in my heart, my religion is in my head, it means nothing. Repent and turn to Christ. What shall I do? Seek Him. And He will let Himself be found by you. Seek Him. But I don’t know how! We will stay here all day and all night opening up the Scriptures to you. But we will not treat you with five minutes and then turn you away, making you think you’re saved and claiming you as one of our own. Trust in Christ. I plead with you, trust in Christ. And those of you students and others, who have all kinds of plans for your life, it may be that God wants you to do exactly what you’re doing, I do not know, but I know this: you are to do it for His glory. For what He has done on that tree. Everything you do, realize this, students. If you have a passion for Christ, it does not mean that you’re to go into some ministry. What you need to understand is that if you truly believe in Christ, there is nothing secular in your life that no matter what you become, it is holy unto the Lord and it’s to be used for Him. Only for Him, everything for Him.
That is nothing like the message of Jesus in John 3:16. Washer doesn’t mention believing or everlasting life. He emphasizes turning from sins and trusting in Christ. He does not explain what trusting in Christ is.
He implies that trusting in Christ is dedicating your entire life “to be used for Him…everything for Him.”
In a 2014 Washer video available on YouTube (here), his impassioned (i.e., shouted) closing shows his strong Lordship Salvation position. Here is a transcript of what he said, with the time stamp at the end:
When He returns, it will be the most glorious and greatest moment of joy and glory for some and the most terrifying horror for others as He gathers His people to Himself and He destroys the wicked before His own face. That is the gospel.
Now what will you do? I will not ask you to pray a prayer and ask Jesus to come into your heart. I will not ask you to participate in some ritual. I will not ask you to try to reform your life, but by the authority of the Word of God, I will command you to repent of your sins and believe the gospel. And then I will warn you to flee from the wrath to come. And I will tell you that there are many who profess His name yet when they stand before Him on that great day, they will hear, “Depart from Me, you workers of iniquity. I never knew you.”
Make your calling and your election sure. Test yourselves. The evidence of true conversion is that if you have repented unto eternal life, you continue repenting. And if you have believed unto eternal life, you continue believing and growing and changing (1:36:22 to 1:37:58).
Washer’s gospel is that you must turn from your sins, commit everything you have and are to Him, believe in Him, follow Him, forsake the world, and keep on doing all of that until the day you die. Otherwise, He will destroy you before His face.
The gospel of the Judaizers was justification by faith in Christ plus circumcision and keeping the Law of Moses until death (e.g., Gal 5:4). That is essentially the gospel of Paul Washer. You must have faith in Christ,i plus turn from your sins, commit your life to Him, and follow Him faithfully. All of that must continue until death.
Yes, Paul Washer preaches a false gospel. I do not question his heart for God and for the unregenerate. He strikes me as sincere. But his message does not resemble the evangelistic message that the Lord Jesus proclaimed to Nicodemus, the woman at the well, and the Jewish people, as reported in John’s Gospel. His is not the gospel of Jesus. His is a pseudo-gospel.
i Washer is unclear as to all we must believe about the Lord Jesus Christ. He teaches that we must believe that the Lord Jesus will judge us one day and that some will be found to have been wicked and some to have been righteous. In other messages, he suggests we must also believe that Jesus died for our sins and rose again. He speaks in this message of believing “unto eternal life,” but that is not believing that we have eternal life by faith in Him, since Washer says we must also turn from our sins and follow Christ and keep doing all of that until we die. Believing unto eternal life for Washer seems to mean believing that He will give me eternal life if I persevere in repentance and good works.