Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Paul Washer: 10 Indictments against the American Church. Part One

Paul Washer: 10 Indictments against the American Church. Part One

I want to say first off I have nothing against Paul Washer. I believe him to be sincere and a man seeking after God’s heart. From my understanding he is Calvinist, which again to me is not an issue in the sense that I see him as not one that is of the DOCTRINES of grace variety rather being of the doctrines of GRACE variety.

Now saying that I hope the reader reads this with charity as I am not out to blast Paul Washer rather give a Biblical critic of his sermon the 10 Indictments against the American Church. In this I hope the reader goes to the scripture and not just accept what I say, or just accept what Paul Washer has presented.

I will say I admire his opening prayer. In it I hear a man who dares not be presumptuous. I appreciate the humility and can sense his love for the Church.

I will say I have had trouble listening to this sermon as I see it full of “works” instead of dependency on the Holy Spirit. In fact Paul sets the tone by saying, “We need revival. We need an awakening, but we cannot simply expect the Holy Spirit to come down and clean up all the mess we have made.” (1)

Now this is a huge concern and in this statement I fear that the tone is then shifted from the works of God by the Holy Spirit to the works of man and our own ability to bring revival and reformation. If we believe that to remove the Holy Spirit and to not depend on the Holy Spirit will bring reformation and revival, then we only fool ourselves and leave it in our own hands and out of God’s hands. This is much too serious to overlook that Paul Washer states this. I hope in his heart that he does not believe this as true yet as I look at the indictments I see that he then places all the responsibility on human efforts.

Indictment 1: A practical denial of the sufficiency of Scripture.

In the core I agree with Paul, yet just reading and studying the bible is not enough. In fact by removing the Holy Spirit from the process, one cannot understand the Bible at all. For we are taught:

1 Cor 2: 12. We have not received the spirit of the world but the Spirit who is from God, that we may understand what God has freely given us. 13. This is what we speak, not in words taught us by human wisdom but in words taught by the Spirit, expressing spiritual truths in spiritual words. 14. The man without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually discerned. 15. The spiritual man makes judgments about all things, but he himself is not subject to any man's judgment: 16. "For who has known the mind of the Lord that he may instruct him?" But we have the mind of Christ.

One can only understand Spiritual things by the revelation of the Holy Spirit. For how can we understand without the revelation that comes by the Counselor of all things. (John 14: 15-17, 26) To remove the Holy Spirit from the equation is the most gravest mistake one can make in understanding the Scripture.

Interestingly, Paul sound a bit like many of those Paul’s followers hate. In this statement he sidesteps inherency:

“When you come to believe as a people that the Bible is inspired you have only fought half the battle because the question is not merely is the Bible inspired, is it inerrant. The major question following that that must be answered: Is the Bible sufficient or do we have to bring in every so called social science and cultural study in order to know how to run a church? That is a major question.” (2)

Now I agree with the statement as I see that we have been given all things needed for Godliness. Yet really is it the Bible that equips us with Godliness? If one looks at the scripture itself Peter states:

2 Peter 1:3. His (Jesus) divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. 4. Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature and escape the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.

Note it is not the book, but the Person that equips us. Yes, the bible is one of the tools that Jesus uses to help us and exhort us, yet if we believe it is just the bible that leads us to all truth and believe that by just reading it we will be equipped to bring revival and reformation we only fool ourselves… in fact we deceive ourselves and fall into the very trap that Paul Washer warned about as Paul stated: “There is little need for the devil and evil men to oppose a man praying for revival unless he is also laboring for reformation. We have been given truth and we cannot simply do what is right in our own eyes and then expect the Holy Spirit to come down and bless our labors.” (3)

I do agree that we need be careful not to do what is right in our own eyes. There is danger in mere acceptance of doctrines often passed down as many are not of God but of man. Even in the traditional and most fundamentalist church man corrupts God’s truth with his own. While I agree we must return to Scripture to gain insight in how we must live, again I cannot emphasize enough that without the Holy Spirit it is works and results in nothing more than kindling and does nothing for the Kingdom of God. Using man’s own understanding leads us to only doing what is right in our own eyes. I have been victim and have witness the harshness of those who claim grace yet use worldly ways to bring their own understanding of godliness about. They care less about kindness and see only harsh and harmful words as the tools to bring down their supposed enemies. In this they lost sight of the Power of the Holy Spirit to bring real change in others lives.

The second indictment: An ignorance of God.

Paul Washer states: “Why the rampant sinning even among God’s people? A lack of the knowledge of the God, of God.”

I challenge this statement as though it is true in one sense, it is not the lack of the knowledge of God that sin runs rampant, it is the misunderstanding of the Life of Christ that is imparted to us for godlily living. We can have all the knowledge of God we can absorb, yet we are warned of knowledge: 1 Cor 8:1 “…We know that we all possess knowledge. Knowledge puffs up, but love builds up.” It is not more knowledge we need unless it is in the form of God’s love. To state that a lack of knowledge will cure sin is again deceiving ourselves and the Bible teaches that it can lead to pride which is sin… Also, Satan himself has much more knowledge of God and most Christians and is the father of all sin… yet one thing he lacks is love. It is the knowledge of God’s loving kindness and his great love for us as displayed by his Grace through Jesus Christ. Without the very Life of Christ in us, we are no better than an unbeliever as we lack the power to stop sinning. Yet even more there is a fundamental issue in Paul Washer’s understanding that is missing. Jesus is the Lamb of God that took away the sins of the world. If one is in Christ, who has not sin, then we are without sin. Now on the outside we may still do wrong things and fail, yet in God’s eyes through Jesus we are pure as Jesus Himself. The issue is that without the Life of Christ we are only half way to the fullness of the Promise of salvation. One can accept forgiveness yet not realize that they need the Life of the Resurrected Christ which is eternal. One who thinks that all they need is forgiveness and never moves into the Life of Christ remains merely a forgiven dead man. Now, I believe God’s grace will cover much of our missing understanding, yet that is the reason many lack to power to stop their sin. They washed the outside of the cup and missed the inside and are still full of the same filth they started out with. This idea that we must “do” to make God move seems very strange coming from an Calvinist and more strange that other hard-line Calvinist do not stand up and call foul to the “do” list. I will try to get to the other indictments as I can.

Sermon Index Site Ten Indictments - A Historical 21st Century Message by Paul Washer
Sermon Audio Site Download MP3 (14.0MB)


1. Ten Indictments (A Historical 21st Century Message) - Part 1 paragraph 6
2. Ten Indictments (A Historical 21st Century Message) - Part 1 paragraph 5
3. Ten Indictments (A Historical 21st Century Message) - Part 1 paragraph 6


actionsub said...

Mr. Washer comes across as one of those types of guys whom, while he may not believe in sinless perfection, seems to feel he's attained it!

Andre said...

A nice, much needed analysis of some of Washer's reductionist message.

Reformatio said...

It would help if you guys would study the difference between justification and sanctification and not misuse the term "works" for sanctification. 2 Tim 3:16 makes it very clear that sanctification means "training" (cf. a Greek lexicon) in righteousness. It would probably better for you to go out and proclaim Jesus than bashing his preachers. I am sick and tired of armchair theologians who "know" everything but don't DO anything. You love to use fancy terms, like "reductionist" but you hang around in blogs and feel good about your pesudo-intellect rather than be humble, go out and put your wonderful theology to work.
Scripture is not on your side but against you.

iggy said...


Thank you for you edifying and uplifting comment. LOL!

Really it seems that you do not understand sanctification or justification and confuse both with works.

One cannot make oneself more holy than Jesus has already made us... if you believe that to be true, then you only deceive yourself.

Washer states right up front "we cannot simply expect the Holy Spirit to come down and clean up all the mess we have made."

That is a lie and denies what Jesus has already done...

So instead of stating things that really show you have idea what you are talking about... and stating that we can sanctify ourselves in that we then set ourselves apart from the world but that God has set us apart to do His good and perfect will and works He prepared for us. What you and Paul are calling for is that we forsake the Holy Spirit (from Paul Washers own mouth as I have quoted} and set out in some man based separation that is unbiblical. We are sanctified to do good works in Christ... not to be more holy... Holiness only comes from Christ and in imparted to us.

Your version is that we can set ourselves apart and make ourselves more holy so that God will be forced to move... so you are no better than the name it and claim it false teachers... as we are moved by God and we do not move God to do our will... we are created to do His. Again, this is a lie… forsake the lie and return to the Truth of the Word of God.

Reformatio said...


Once again: You seem not to understand the difference between justification and sanctification. Justification is a forensic concept - everything has been done for us but still are we obligated to do the "training in righteousness". See, this is the problem when preachers only preach the "milk" over and over again while we should eat meat. You seem to omit at least half of the Biblical message but you are quick to spot heresy. You should read Scripture some more before you play "heresy-police" in the cosy safety of your armchar. I didn't mean to be uplifting...that's your whole problem: You want Christianity to be all uplifting, pink and cosy - well it's not. You need to learn to secure your salvation with fear and trembling. You don't seem to really understand the Gospel. Are you one of those guys who have only one subject after Sunday morning church - where the preacher was wrong? Go and DO something! Stand before 5000 and tell them "cheap grace" won't get you anywhere but being a Christian is free but costs you everything. Learn your theology Brother before you go public.

Reformatio said...


I just saw to you are in a Vineyard church. I rest my case.

I will pray for you and PLEASE make an exegesis of 2 Tim 3:16!!
You don't need to like me but you need to understand sanctification. The Holy Spirit doesn't cause sanctification to just happen - He enables us to do the "training in righteousness"...but it remains a "training"

Maybe less emotions and more Scripture would help.


iggy said...


I do understand justification much more than you apparently... as we are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. If not for being justified we could not be forgiven.

For justice had to be served through Jesus on the Cross so that the wages of sin were paid and thus sin forgiven.

You are confusing justification and making a work...

We are set apart to good works... which again you seem to dismiss but is what the bible clearly teaches... yet these works do not add to our righteousness... in that we as a believer then move from having been justified to being just we then do the works God prepared for us in Christ... He does them in and through us...

Also, why are you so sure you systematic theology is right on? I have studied and found much of it wanting...

So instead return to the Bible and it's teachings over you system that was developed by a man...

return to Jesus.

BTW how do you suppose to judge my salvation... how arrogant... may God forgive you in usurping his throne and right to judge all... you have forgotten you are not God.


iggy said...


I might add that the sign of a true believer is love... I felt no love from you... only judgment and condemnation and the want to judge me without knowing me.

You are just too sad. Please go and DO as you claim you do... really I have very little to complain about at the church I attend... they are truly wonderful and loving people... but it seems those in your camp come out and complain about those who show the love of Christ as if it is repugnant. In fact from the run-ins like this I have only seen that it seems many in your camp show contempt for the riches of God's kindness, tolerance and patience toward us... in fact the more I think about it... it makes me ill in how I have been treated as well as many I know by people who claim to know God, yet show little of His love to prove it.

Please go and take your many complaints and false accusations elsewhere.


adam said...

jer 9:23

grutzmacherd said...

Who is the Judge ?
minuut 3-5

Who decides what is right or wrong ? the majority or conscience ?

25 indictments against Paul Washer

1) willfully limiting the subjectmatter of Scripture
2) willfully presenting his own fabricated version of true christianity
3) willfully bringing himself under a cloak of godliness
4) willfully closing the book of Revelation and the Prophets
5) willfully painting the graves of the prophets for his own selfish ends
6) willfully presenting himself since 2002 with remarks that show Billy Graham
to be his brother, although Graham is high in the world and an archdeceiver
7) comparison with the whole of Scripture and the true old paths of the Reformation
show him to be a cloud without water
8) connection in the Netherlands to all false christianity has to offer, even with those
who publicly say calvinism is a complete error
9) presenting himself in 80.000 newspapers in the Netherlands smiling as though
the sins of the churches and the land are no problem to him
10) proclaiming a message of revival that has never come, thereby telling lies in Gods Name.
11) accepting in the core of his message two contradicting systems of doctrine
12) denying the witness of the Holy Spirit in the Reformation against THE antichrist in Rome
13) denying the blood of hunderthousands christian brothers and sisters against THE antichrist in Rome
14) going around the USA and the world to gain one proselyte that he makes a clone of himself
15) being silent about the developements in the outside world, only preaching for his own parish
16) laying burdens on small people, while leaving big names in bibleschools, synods, and gospelmusic untouched and unmentioned
17) connecting himself to Kirk Cameron, known throughout the world for the message of a future antichrist with Left Behind
18) himself not being able to go to Wallmart for fear of sinning, yet laying on big burdens on everyone else
19) printing his own material as though it is manna from heaven, yet is only copying a little text everyone knows with some questions
20) saying he serves the God of heaven, yet he himself is an idolater of the ring on his own finger,
saying in the 10 indictment message that it matters not if one gains the whole world, but looses his family !
21) his minister is Jeff Noblit who teaches a future antichrist, that gain is godliness, and remains in the SBC although a complete apostate body with a statue for Billy Graham
22) closing the Kingdom of God for the people by keeping silent about the true contents of the witness of the old paths
23) denying the true witness of the Waldenses, the reformers, the english puritans, the scottish covenanters
24) denying the true witness of Augustine against Pelagius, Luther against Rome, the Westminster and Dordt Synods
25) being a facilitator and manipulator replacing the true religion of the King Jesus Christ with a false one of the new world order

Chris said...

I have been watching Paul Washer for quite some time now...having listened to and watched several dozen of his sermons, interviews, and Q&A sessions. Knowing that he preaches greatly on the supernatural work of the Spirit, I am certain that he is saying that we cannot just sit on our hands and wait for the Spirit to move, but we must pray and seek after God and His will for the church.
Also, he is a very humble and meek man of God who doesn't preach sinless perfection and who also recognizes that he has flaws within himself. He acknowledges that he is far from perfect.

iggy said...


The evaluation was of the sermon and not of Paul Washer as a person. I was sort of turning things around and showing how someone who does not follow PW may perceive what he is saying. I try to show that often others who criticize emerging folk do not understand what is being stated or twist their statements out of context. I did try though to be much more charitable than most of those type of critics. Yet, there is no doubt in my mind Paul did negate the Spirit and push works in THIS particular sermon at least my judging the words and statements he stated in it.

Thanks though

Chris said...

I admire your meekness in your critique, and I can say that PW isn't a perfect man, because we are all fallible and we make mistakes. So, your critique against that message could be accurate. I, myself, love the overall message that we need to clean up the that it looks like a biblical church and not a culturally influenced church....but with the guidance of the Spirit, of course. :) God bless.

Björn said...

Hi. This is an old post, so maybe you won't get this commet, but I'll try anyway.

I believe that this has alot to do with the difference between Law and Gospel. I agree with you that PW preaches alot of works (Law), but that doesn't mean that it is bad. Maybe that is what God wants him to do?

I never hear him preach the Law as a means to salvation, but in the way that the third use of the Law ought to be: Guidance for Christians to know how their lives should look, as warning signs and directions to those who don't know.

The only real problem I have with this preaching is that PW rarely mentions where the power to follow the Law lies, for us who are justified Christian. It may create an unnecessary confusion on how our life is to become as the Law commands. The thing is that he doesn't preach as if the power lies in the Law, but it can absolutely sound as if that is true, because he is not entirely clear that the power to live by the Law, is the Gospel.


MIKEY said...

From christian thought in OK,

I love you guys and am thankful that you seem to study scripture. I appreciate Chris for examining all of PW teaching and Chris's spirit of discernment. I also agree with Iggy on the sincerity and love for God by PW. Guys we all have holes in our theology (even PW) but lets let HS shrink those holes. Whether you call it legalism or not a sign of true salvation is keeping His commandments (Jesus said it not me)just because we want to by the HS inside of us. We are saved by grace through faith but lets not take it for granted. And in the last of the last days We need to quit playing around we need hard teaching. and like PW says (paraphrasing) Preach like dying men to dying people as if it were the last time we ever did. (yes we all preach to someone by our lifestyle). PW admits he sins if you listen to more teachings but we don't continue in it. a critical spirit almost led me away from the one i was trying to defend. dont get trapped by that because it has nothing to do with love. But do scripture test everything. i love all my bros, God bless you.

acoleinsea said...

I've read through the comment trail and felt compelled to join. It saddens me that we are trying to figure out who is right. I genuinely believe we are all passionate about our desire to do good and seek the truth.

So, I'm sharing my two cents and story. I grew up in a "Christian" home and don't remember learning much at church other than to be kind and do unto others as I'd want done to me.

By not understanding and reading the bible, I fell into many traps and was often deceived. I thought I could just be a good person and do what I wanted. God would forgive me, right? I wasn't properly equipped to deal with all of the temptations and fell very hard!

I got everything that I'd thought would make me happy. Living in Europe, traveling to 20 countries, buying a new home, climbing the corporate ladder and making a lot of money etc..

I became very self centered and drank myself silly every night from exhaustion and trying to keep up. I was feeding my ego and not serving God.

Everything came crashing down at once and it was just me and my self created mess. I had no place to go or look but up. I prayed that God forgive me for all my sins and begged him to heal my soul. He did!!! I've killed my ego, changed my ways and earnestly seek him first.

I'm not moving mountains but spread joy where ever I go. I once "had it all" and held nothing. Now I'm "nothing" and feel so alive and joyful. I hope this message finds you all well and in peace. I just wanted to share my story in hopes it may encourage a fellow Christian.

We're all looking for the same thing. Love is the answer. :) God Bless!

Amabaptist said...

You have done what most people love to do is put down a brother in christ, Instead of listining what God is doing through Paul Washer, you sit here and critisize everything, You need to listen, he dont preach works, but you take a comment that, that maybe didnt come out the right way, in a 2 hour sermon and you jump all over it,like we all are so perfect in our speach, you should be ashamed to do this to a man of God.If you guys have it all figured out I'd love you to post one of your sermons. We are to love eachother, we are to spread the word of God and Mr. Paul Washer is doing a great job. God Bless him.

iggy said...


Actually, I never "put down" Paul Washer, I merely pointed out that this may not be "the greatest sermon ever preached" as so many had claimed it to be. I listened to it and criticized it as many do with my friends (such as Brian McLaren, Rob Bell and so on) and used the same techniques they used on Paul Washer's sermon... of course you see that Paul's sermon under the microscope is not as great as it appears and he is unclear on some important points (unless you agree fully in his theology and understand it... then it is actually worse! but if you don't notice.. if the "fans" of Washer love him... they miss or give grace to his inconsistencies. However, they would never do this for others outside their camp.

However, the major difference I did with this post compared to the people who critisize others is not attack Paul Washer personally, or misquote him to create a straw-man
argument to attack him. I merely analyzed his words and interacted with them as to what was stated in context.

And that brings me to my major point here. Context means something. This post is in a context you are not aware of and in the context written it is understood as it is. Again, read it... and you will see I never stated any personal attacks on PW. In fact, I stated: "ant to say first off I have nothing against Paul Washer. I believe him to be sincere and a man seeking after God’s heart. From my understanding he is Calvinist, which again to me is not an issue in the sense that I see him as not one that is of the DOCTRINES of grace variety rather being of the doctrines of GRACE variety." If you read that, coming from someone NOT a Calvinist, that is a major compliment... I might add that Calvinists and Anabaptist historically never got along... in fact Calvinists would murder Anabaptist over theology... sadly it appears that your Anabaptist theology has allowed for the corruption of Calvinism. While I agree we need to get along... It amazes me when someone seems to lack either historical context of their Denomination or maybe lack knowledge of their denominational theology and blindly allow someone like PW to tickle their ears with fancy words that while soothe their soul, does nothing for their eternal destiny. PW preached works... thinly veiled... but works if you just listen to the sermon and what he words mean.

Agian, this post was in the style that those who loved this sermon use against those who I listen to... and yet, I was much nicer in this post than they ever are.


Hans said...

1 Timothy 4:16

iggy said...


That is exactly why I wrote the piece... as I see that many are taken in by fine words yet miss that these words only tickle their ears as it only agrees with what they already believe... it never truly challenges them to think and grow... I agree with the verse you posted and ask that you also do the same as I have and done so in this post. I have done just as Paul stated to Timothy...

1 Tim 4:16. Watch your life and doctrine closely. Persevere in them, because if you do, you will save both yourself and your hearers.

Now if you will only also watch your LIFE and DOCTRINE and not just your doctrine... while ignoring your life who is the Living Christ... You will also be saved as Paul (not Washer) promises.