Help understanding Paul Washer on assurance?

BayouHuguenot

Puritanboard Clerk
I've never read much of Paul Washer. I keep seeing guys praise him for making you feel horrible. I don't know if that is true, but how would he present assurance of salvation?
 

BayouHuguenot

Puritanboard Clerk
Perhaps consider this as a request for one of your awesome book reviews:


I just borrowed the audiobook from my library. I do plan to do a critical review of it (if Washer is saying what I think he is saying and what is fans say he is saying, I am not a fan), but it won't be super analytical because I won't be able to refer to page numbers.
 

alexanderjames

Puritan Board Freshman
I used to listen to Paul Washer a lot and my take away was that while he often emphasised the need for the new birth, evidenced by a radically changed nature, he acknowledged that the evidences of grace may be weak. He also urged that the Christian's bedrock confidence is always and only Christ by His merits.
I don't recall Washer's preaching making me feel rubbish personally, though I realise that may be the case for some. I have benefited greatly from his sermons and am very thankful for helping direct me in the earlier days of my faith. I recall a series of sermons on 1 John helping me greatly in assurance.
Yes, sometimes in zeal to convict and reprove I think Washer has gone too far. He admits this himself. But on the whole I think the conviction that his preaching brings is good for self examination and looking to Jesus.
 

RPEphesian

Puritan Board Junior
I used to listen to Paul Washer a lot and my take away was that while he often emphasised the need for the new birth, evidenced by a radically changed nature, he acknowledged that the evidences of grace may be weak. He also urged that the Christian's bedrock confidence is always and only Christ by His merits.
I don't recall Washer's preaching making me feel rubbish personally, though I realise that may be the case for some. I have benefited greatly from his sermons and am very thankful for helping direct me in the earlier days of my faith. I recall a series of sermons on 1 John helping me greatly in assurance.
Yes, sometimes in zeal to convict and reprove I think Washer has gone too far. He admits this himself. But on the whole I think the conviction that his preaching brings is good for self examination and looking to Jesus.

I found Washer very helpful years ago on 1 John. Good balance on what are the marks, accounting for remaining sin.
 

Ryan&Amber2013

Puritan Board Senior
I used to listen to him a lot. I think he's pretty balanced. I haven't noticed anything heretical in his teaching. It all seems Biblical, just more nuanced on living like a Christian. His sermons generally felt very similar to me, so I eventually moved on. It seems he's doing a lot for the Church to help people see their need of true conversion. I did get bummed out to hear him regularly make hard-line statements as if they are declaratively true, that I knew weren't always true in all circumstances. I imagine it's some sort of fallacy in the world of logic. Overall I think he's solid.
 

Ethan

Puritan Board Freshman
I’ll be interested in reading your review. Based on what I’d seen from YouTube, I pigeonholed him as being very lopsided in his theology but he posted a library tour in the last year that was very balanced in my estimation. I think his whole “persona” is more of a reflection of what gets views on YouTube rather than of his actual ministry.
 

Pilgrim

Puritanboard Commissioner
I just borrowed the audiobook from my library. I do plan to do a critical review of it (if Washer is saying what I think he is saying and what is fans say he is saying, I am not a fan), but it won't be super analytical because I won't be able to refer to page numbers.
If Washer says what Ryle says in "Holiness" then he can't possibly be wrong since "Holiness" is like the 67th book of the Bible.

BTW, assuming you borrowed this from Hoopla, this is another example of my library system apparently having the "budget" option. They have a handful of Washer titles, but not this one.
 

Pilgrim

Puritanboard Commissioner
I’ll be interested in reading your review. Based on what I’d seen from YouTube, I pigeonholed him as being very lopsided in his theology but he posted a library tour in the last year that was very balanced in my estimation. I think his whole “persona” is more of a reflection of what gets views on YouTube rather than of his actual ministry.
I think I remember seeing a video where he said that the "Shocking Youth Message!" was a bit unbalanced. It was extemporaneous remarks in response to some kids goofing off that ended up going viral.
 

RPEphesian

Puritan Board Junior
That’s his signature passage right? Like Keller with the Prodigal Son?

I'm not sure. Part of the problem is, like @Ethan alluded to, what has gotten up on YouTube in the earlier years has been what fans have put up. He doesn't manage his online presence, last I've known. Washer is known for messages that sort the wheat from the tares, possibly because that's what the fans find most intriguing. I don't keep up on him now, but most of his messages on the net were itinerant, special-speaker messages. If Washer was preaching week after week to a congregation, you might see a different side to him.
 

LilyG

Puritan Board Freshman
Paul Washer is not a Calvinist, though he may claim that. He is Arminian. Instead of comforting his people with Christ's active obedience, he beats them with continual striving after obedience to maybe someday hopefully get to a spot where God might be pleased and accepting of them. It is the complete opposite of the gospel.
 

LilyG

Puritan Board Freshman
I just glanced over the chapter headings in his book on assurance from the link, under Part 1: Biblical Assurance. Look at all the self works in those headings.

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Jerusalem Blade

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
This booklet by Prof (and pastor) David Engelsma may shed some light on assurance:
 

Attachments

  • Gift of Assurance booklet, DJE.pdf
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Pilgrim

Puritanboard Commissioner
If you’re going to throw Washer under the bus on the topic, then consistency demands that you throw Dr Beeke under the bus along with him. RHB published it, and Beeke could hardly have given it a more glowing recommendation. In his endorsement, Beeke refers to this book as “tremendously helpful,” “masterful,” and “sweet help for God’s children.”


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

Reformed Covenanter

Cancelled Commissioner
Not having read Paul Washer's book, it is possible that he encourages believers to be unduly introspective. Looking at the chapter titles, however, I see nothing "Arminian" about it. In fact, superficially at least, it looks in accordance with both a scriptural and confessional view of assurance.
 

Jerrod Hess

Puritan Board Freshman
he beats them with continual striving after obedience to maybe someday hopefully get to a spot where God might be pleased and accepting of them.
That statement my friend, is a blatant lie and ought to be retracted. Washer has never taught a meritorious justification through "enough obedience". You really should be more thorough in the statements you make of others, because this forum takes the ninth commandment seriously. And I would not be surprised if your post sends this thread (mind you, OP had good intentions with his inquiry) into oblivion and argument.
 

arapahoepark

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
The ebook was free either last month or a month before and I thought he did a good of assauging the fears that many here bring up.
 

Jerusalem Blade

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
refuting the view that assurance is earned by diligent strivings after holiness, thus it depends on our progressive sanctification

Thank you. I plan to read it. Does he deal with Washer?

No, Jacob,

But he deals with a view that many of the Puritans held – and possibly Beeke, and Washer – that assurance is earned by diligent strivings after holiness, thus it depends on our progressive sanctification, and is given to very few but the more advanced saints. Engelsma vigorously refutes this view – using Scripture – saying that assurance is given along with justification, as a gift of love for the elect, that they may know their Father and the Son and have eternal life in them (John 17:3). He considers the Puritan view a cruel and harmful misrepresentation.
 

arapahoepark

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
refuting the view that assurance is earned by diligent strivings after holiness, thus it depends on our progressive sanctification



No, Jacob,

But he deals with a view that many of the Puritans held – and possibly Beeke, and Washer – that assurance is earned by diligent strivings after holiness, thus it depends on our progressive sanctification, and is given to very few but the more advanced saints. Engelsma vigorously refutes this view – using Scripture – saying that assurance is given along with justification, as a gift of love for the elect, that they may know their Father and the Son and have eternal life in them (John 17:3). He considers the Puritan view a cruel and harmful misrepresentation.
Where does Engelsma expound this?
 

JimmyH

Puritan Board Senior
His explanation/interview of his famous 'Shocking Youth Message' might be helpful in looking at his motives, at least in that instance. It's only 12 minutes long.

 

Spurgeonite

Puritan Board Freshman
Paul Washer is not a Calvinist, though he may claim that. He is Arminian. Instead of comforting his people with Christ's active obedience, he beats them with continual striving after obedience to maybe someday hopefully get to a spot where God might be pleased and accepting of them. It is the complete opposite of the gospel.
This is just plain false.

If you’re going to throw Washer under the bus on the topic, then consistency demands that you throw Dr Beeke under the bus along with him. RHB published it, and Beeke could hardly have given it a more glowing recommendation. In his endorsement, Beeke refers to this book as “tremendously helpful,” “masterful,” and “sweet help for God’s children.”


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

Beeke also dedicated his new book "A Radical, Comprehensive Call to Holiness" to Paul Washer, and recently had him preach in his church.
 

JimmyH

Puritan Board Senior
I just spent the past hour and forty minutes listening to Paul Washer's exposition of 1 John. The title of the sermon being Assurance of Salvation. Unless I'm badly mistaken it is purely confessional.

 

Charles Johnson

Puritan Board Sophomore
refuting the view that assurance is earned by diligent strivings after holiness, thus it depends on our progressive sanctification



No, Jacob,

But he deals with a view that many of the Puritans held – and possibly Beeke, and Washer – that assurance is earned by diligent strivings after holiness, thus it depends on our progressive sanctification, and is given to very few but the more advanced saints. Engelsma vigorously refutes this view – using Scripture – saying that assurance is given along with justification, as a gift of love for the elect, that they may know their Father and the Son and have eternal life in them (John 17:3). He considers the Puritan view a cruel and harmful misrepresentation.
Let me point out that the Synod of Dort also taught that assurance admits degrees and is dependent upon holiness.
"Assurance of their eternal and unchangeable election to salvation is given to the chosen in due time, though by various stages and in differing measure. Such assurance comes not by inquisitive searching into the hidden and deep things of God, but by noticing within themselves, with spiritual joy and holy delight, the unmistakable fruits of election pointed out in God’s Word—such as a true faith in Christ, a childlike fear of God, a godly sorrow for their sins, a hunger and thirst for righteousness, and so on."
 

Reformed Covenanter

Cancelled Commissioner
From what I recall from reading the David Engelsma pamphlet, he was primarily dealing with a view attributed to Thomas Goodwin and others that infallible assurance was something for only a select few of the elect. I do recall seeing this idea in some "Puritan" writings (Thomas Brooks may have been once such divine), but, from what I can gather, that view was quite an extreme one, which is not representative of mainstream opinion. The mainstream Puritan opinion is that while assurance is not of the essence of faith (so that you cannot be a Christian without it), faith should (ordinarily) grow up into full assurance in every Christian.
 

LilyG

Puritan Board Freshman
Which of these do you take issue with?

Where is the basis, the ground of our assurance? Is it in our works? In our degree of sanctification? Or is it in the complete, finished work of Christ? Our works may surely be an encouragement as the fruit of our salvation. But Christ's imputed righteousness alone is the sure ground of our assurance.
 

ZackF

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
It is also possible, if there is a degree of emphasis issue with Washer, it could be due to Mrs. Washer discovering her conversion was false years into their marriage.
 
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