Paul Washer mentions 20 percent of conservative reformed congregants saved

Discussion in 'Preaching' started by A.Joseph, Sep 21, 2018.

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  1. A.Joseph

    A.Joseph Puritan Board Freshman

    I'm a member of the opc and I love my church and my denomination and my pastor to the core. I truly do.
    But when I see some of these pastors and elders and members go astray (with a big A, not to return to true faith), even in some of the most orthodox denominations, I do fear of a strong delusion gripping even some of the most faithful churches and a bit too much complacency .... Again, it starts in my own home. Not sure this is a salvation issue, as much as a discipline issue. God has definitely made a place for Paul Washer, and I fear a day where he could be perceived as anything but an almost John the Baptist of our day, even post Jesus new convenant ...but the 20% was probably over stated and over the top....would love to be able to get more clarification on that sentiment from him.
    Last edited: Sep 25, 2018
  2. Ask Mr. Religion

    Ask Mr. Religion Flatly Unflappable


    I suspect Rev. Washer's rhetorical flourish was but employing the Pareto Principle to make a point.
  3. A.Joseph

    A.Joseph Puritan Board Freshman

    nuff said(?), Amen!
  4. BayouHuguenot

    BayouHuguenot Puritan Board Doctor

    I understand the Pareto Principle and all, but when you are making a claim that people who are washed by the blood, fed from the Table, aren't really saved, or at least 80% of them, then any kind of push back is welcome. Especially since the claim is definitionally impossible to prove.
  5. Harley

    Harley Puritan Board Sophomore

    I believe it was in his testimony that Washer admitted to sometimes being given to exaggeration, with the understanding that this needs to be fixed, which is why everything with him is either the greatest or the worst. So if you were to call it out to him, Washer may just admit you are right. Though, again, with statements like Paul's Pareto percentage we ought to just put on the best charitable construct possible that truth will allow. If anything, the term "Reformed" is used much more broadly than most of us on the board would use it (ie. 4/5 point Calvinists), so his definition of Reformed may make the net of his statement wider than we might assume. One possibility anyway.
  6. BayouHuguenot

    BayouHuguenot Puritan Board Doctor

    The Pareto principle works when you are talking about which people do the most work in a church. Being on a ministry team of sorts in the last few churches I was in, I know for a fact that only 20% of people do the work.

    The Pareto Principle does not work in terms of human salvation, who's getting fed from the Table, etc.
  7. Abeard

    Abeard Puritan Board Freshman

    Our Lord Jesus used hyperbole...

    If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple. Luke 14:26
    Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day. John 6:54

    Our brother Paul is using hyperbole just like our Lord Jesus to invoke an emotional response(which it did). The number doesn't matter, it could be 30, 40 or 60% truly saved. The reality we have to face is that there are a lot people who profess to know and believe in Christ but they are still dead in their sins. What we need to do when we hear things like this is to cry out to God and say with David, "Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting."
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  8. BayouHuguenot

    BayouHuguenot Puritan Board Doctor

    That could be true, but I get the impression from his overall persona that he meant it. Unless he issues a statement saying he was kidding. I'll retract my comments if he does that.

    I know an OPC church in La that has ten people. I am distantly related to about five of them, and I now the other five. I am going to go up to them all at once and say, "8 of y'all ain't saved."
  9. earl40

    earl40 Puritan Board Post-Graduate

    You have hit the nail on the head. How many of the %20 think that their work in the church will give them a greater reward in heaven than the mom and dad who dragged the kids to school or Sundays service. The entire "ministry" model thinking is a pet peeve of mine and is rampant in most reformed churches.
  10. Grant Jones

    Grant Jones Puritan Board Junior

  11. BayouHuguenot

    BayouHuguenot Puritan Board Doctor

    That actually wasn't what I was getting at. I believe the Pareto Principle is true in business, church ministry, etc. I just don't think we can apply it to personal salvation.
  12. JimmyH

    JimmyH Puritan Board Junior

    I have heard Paul Washer in the past. He can preach quite a sermon. His famous 'shocking message', to the Youth Evangelism Conference in 2002, provides much food for thought, and is along the same lines. if you've got an hour to watch it.
  13. Abeard

    Abeard Puritan Board Freshman

    If I was diagnosed with cancer a good doctor would try to use his best judgment to tell me how long I have to live. Now I could question his judgment and ask for a second opinion. Most likely another doctor would give a different timeline. We have heard of many cases where people have been given a year to live and have lived 10-20 years. The problem isn't the number of days we have to live or the number of people who aren't saved. The problem is we are sick and need a cure. The church(myself included) as a whole is sick, is weak and in desperate need of reviving.
  14. Grant Jones

    Grant Jones Puritan Board Junior

    Careful. The TRUE Church is exactly what Christ desires it to be. The bride of Christ. The TRUE Church is sustained by the blood of the Lamb and is STRONG, BOLD, and quite ALIVE because of our GROOM!

    Though the bride is not yet perfected, I think condemning the Church without qualifying should be avoided. Sometimes it is easy to see all “Doom & Gloom”, but remember Christ is the Head of the Church and charges against His bride by default are laid against the "Head" of that bride.
    Last edited: Sep 26, 2018
  15. BayouHuguenot

    BayouHuguenot Puritan Board Doctor

    So what exactly does Word and Table do for people if it can't make us morbidly introspective?

    “However, the power of God unto salvation is not our passion for God, but the passion he has exhibited toward us sinners by sending his own Son to redeem us.”
    ― Michael S. Horton, Ordinary: Sustainable Faith in a Radical, Restless World

    “The gospel makes us extrospective, turning our gaze upward to God in faith and outward to our neighbor in love.”
    ― Michael S. Horton, Ordinary: Sustainable Faith in a Radical, Restless World

    These means of grace and the ordinary fellowship of the saints that nurtures and guides us throughout our life may seem frail, but they are jars that carry a rich treasure: Christ with all of his saving benefits.”
    ― Michael S. Horton, Ordinary: Sustainable Faith in a Radical, Restless World

    “In an economy of grace, there is enough to go around. The Father’s love and generosity are not scarce. His table is brimming with luxurious fare. That is why we invite those who cannot repay us. After all, it is not our table, but his.”
    ― Michael S. Horton, Ordinary: Sustainable Faith in a Radical, Restless World

    “we’ve forgotten that God showers his extraordinary gifts through ordinary means of grace, loves us through ordinary fellow image bearers, and sends us out into the world to love and serve others in ordinary callings.”
    ― Michael S. Horton, Ordinary: Sustainable Faith in a Radical, Restless World

    “This has been the vicious cycle of evangelical revivalism ever since: a pendulum swinging between enthusiasm and disillusionment rather than steady maturity in Christ through participation in the ordinary life of the covenant community. The regular preaching of Christ from all of the Scriptures, baptism, the Supper, the prayers of confession and praise, and all of the other aspects of ordinary Christian fellowship are seen as too ordinary.”
    ― Michael S. Horton, Ordinary: Sustainable Faith in a Radical, Restless World
  16. Dachaser

    Dachaser Puritan Board Professor

    Agreed, as all who are in the NC relationship with God are saved, while among a church membership roles are both the saved and lost.
  17. Dachaser

    Dachaser Puritan Board Professor

    Especially since he appears to be defining one of the fruits of being saved to some degree as having real emotionalism.
  18. BayouHuguenot

    BayouHuguenot Puritan Board Doctor

    And while we can push back pretty hard against Washer, we see the same thing in some Reformed circles that only allow communion twice a year or so. Here's the conversation I've had with them.

    Them: You can't really prepare for communion that often.
    Me: Yes, I can.
    Them: No, you can't really mean it unless you have had a few months to prepare.

    Translation: You just got to "feel" harder when you emote.
  19. Harley

    Harley Puritan Board Sophomore

    With this, perhaps we should give Mr. Washer the last word in the thread, confession and all.

    See the following video at the given time-frame points.
    6:36 - his own assertion he pays no attention to what is posted out on the internet (at least this was true in 2009)
    7:17 - His own openness to criticism, His own assertion that he understands not all he says is right, and he endeavors to stay open to criticism. Context: in part he's commenting on his own imprecision at one point during the Shocking Youth Message.

    "When Jesus was persecuted, when people said bad things about Jesus, they were always wrong. When people make critiques of me, they are not always wrong. We are men. We are weak, we are failing, and I just want people to know that when someone says something about me that's not very positive, they may be right, and I want them to know that I know they may be right, and it breaks me, and I do want to be more exact. I do want to be more holy. I don't want to put an end to the emotions God that has given me, but I do want them to be sanctified and controlled by the Holy Spirit."

  20. Taylor Sexton

    Taylor Sexton Puritan Board Junior

    And, see, despite my (very few) criticisms of Brother Washer, it is this statement and others like it that let me know how much more sanctified he is than me—by millions of miles. No doubt in my mind at all. In the end, whatever misgivings I may have about the extreme to which he sometimes goes with the insistence on self-doubt in his audiences, I know for sure he holds himself to the same, and higher, standard.
  21. BayouHuguenot

    BayouHuguenot Puritan Board Doctor

    That's great to hear. I'm not sure what that has to do with his claim that only 1/5 of my wife's family's church is saved.
  22. LilyG

    LilyG Puritan Board Freshman

    I realize I am straying from the OP, but I think this undergirds Washer's decision to use the stat, however he got it.

    Washer, however humble and teachable he may be, feels the need to preach far more law than gospel. He often thinks (listen to any sermon) that his people are not performing well enough to call themselves christians, and calls them to pull themselves up by their bootstraps and get with the program, without the biblical motivation of the gospel (GOOD news!). What do you think this does to the humble, contrite heart in the congregation? Certainly doesn't comfort and encourage!

    I feel like, ironically, Washer's own heart has not yet been struck with the weight of the law and its condemnation.
  23. Harley

    Harley Puritan Board Sophomore

    I'll only conclude with a loving admonition, LilyG and Bayou, and I do mean it with love. So long as we are willing to be held to the same standard of judgment which we mete out to others, all well and good, but we will be. I think his grasp of Gospel is better than mine personally, especially this week. Bowing out.
    Last edited: Sep 26, 2018
  24. A.Joseph

    A.Joseph Puritan Board Freshman

    It probably depends on his mood.... Just like me as the hearer. I go through seasons where I feel I need to be condemned. I'm in a low place and I want to hear about spiritual warfare, and fighting the good fight, and the narrow road full of trials and hardships like pilgrims progress, cause that is what I'm relating to at that moment, and I feel God is chastising me with my own personal circumstances, an almost purging and cleansing of all the waste in which I've indulged.... When I'm feeling good and life is going well I am more receptive to a message of love and grace....

    I've heard that Washer has encoutered some difficult things during his ministry which probably affects his level of sobriety and sorrow when life is not taken more seriously in the west
    Last edited: Sep 26, 2018
  25. BayouHuguenot

    BayouHuguenot Puritan Board Doctor

    Sure. I am not making any personal remark about him. I am just logically poking holes in his claim. I am also contrasting his pietism with classic and historic Reformed piety. I have no idea what that has to do with how humble, teachable, or "same standard of judgment" he may be.
  26. Dachaser

    Dachaser Puritan Board Professor

    I am still stuck with the impression that he is teaching to us to have confidence and assurance in our salvation by how obedient to God that we are, and while I do see the real need to be obeying the Lord, I place my hope and confidence in the finished work of Christ on my behalf, and not on my own work.
  27. Ask Mr. Religion

    Ask Mr. Religion Flatly Unflappable

    Leaving the matter of what is actually being taught or not aside, I am confident that there is no place in Scripture where faith is separated from actions, hence some self-examination is proper, especially per James 1:25. If one's doctrine is out of accord with one's practice, something is amiss. That said, self-examination can quickly become morbid introspection, always looking inward, versus outward (2 Corinthians 13:5, 6) to discern Our Lord's beliefs and actions.

    Dr Lloyd Jones, Spiritual Depression p.17:

    We all agree that we should examine ourselves, but we also agree that introspection and morbidity are bad. But what is the difference between examining ourselves and becoming introspective? I suggest that we cross the line from self-examination to introspection when, in a sense, we do nothing but examine ourselves, and when such self-examination becomes the main and chief end in our life. We are meant to examine ourselves periodically, but if we are always doing it, always, as it were, putting our soul on a plate and dissecting it, that is introspection. And if we are always talking to people about ourselves and our problems and troubles, and if we are forever going to them with that frown upon our face and saying: I am in great difficulty–it probably means that we are all the time centered upon ourselves. That is introspection, and that in turns leads to the condition known as morbidity.​
  28. BayouHuguenot

    BayouHuguenot Puritan Board Doctor

    Absolutely, but I think here is the unspoken question in this thread:

    When I "examine" myself, what kind of rubrics and checklist am I using? When I examine myself, I usually go back to the fact that Jesus feeds me from his Table, ratifies his suzereign treaty with me, seals me, and so on.

    I never ask whether I experienced hard enough or something.
  29. ZackF

    ZackF Puritan Board Graduate

    Don’t forget Washer’s own wife thought she was falsely assured of her own salvation until relatively recently. I’m sure that’s at play in his thinking.
  30. earl40

    earl40 Puritan Board Post-Graduate

    Jut a quick question. Doe she get baptized again?
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