Paul Washer: The Great Sin of the American Pastor

Below is an excerpt of Paul Washer from the DVD Divided by Philip Leclerc.

Because we have dumbed-down the gospel. Because we’re not preaching the true gospel and we are using carnal means to attract people. If you use carnal means to attract men you’re going to attract carnal men and you’re going to have to keep using greater carnal means to keep them in the church. So, what has happened is this; we have these large churches filled with many unconverted carnal people, but in those churches we also have this small group of people that honestly want Christ and they honestly want his word and they honestly want to be transformed. They don’t need anything else all they need is true worship of the true god and scripture being preached to them and lived out before them. That’s what they want.

“Now I want to tell you the great sin of the American pastor, and this has gotten me in a lot of trouble, but it’s true. This small group of converted people in that local church, all they want is Jesus and all they want to do is the right thing. They want purity, they want truth, they want Christ. But, the pastor, in order to keep this larger group of unconverted people, he caters to them. So while he is feeding these carnal men and women with carnal things, he is letting the sheep of God starve to death and he is going to stand before God one day in judgment.

“Listen, brother, if my wife was going grocery shopping and when she was going out to her car some men assailed her, attacked her, brutally and you walked by and you did not want to get involved because you didn’t want to cause trouble, you didn’t want to put yourself in harms way, you just wanted everything to go smooth. After all that was done I would look for those men to deal with them. But, I want you to know this; I’d look for you, too. Because you had a chance to stand for my wife, my bride and out of self-preservation or wrong ideas you did not do it. You’re just as much responsible as those men who attacked her. And, that’s what’s happening all throughout America with pastors.

“It’s the bride of Christ. There are sheep in all these churches, many of them. Even churches that seem somewhat heretical in places, you usually find a group a group of people who truly want Christ, but the leadership is catering to the carnal and letting the bride of Christ starve to death, impoverished. And, that is wrong and there’s going to be judgment for it.

(HT to Jules for the transcription.)

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tagged as in Church Issues,Gospel,theology

{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Cathy M. December 29, 2010 at 4:55 pm

This is a tough indictment. What do you think causes a shepherd to prefer goatherding? Are they reading the wrong books… attending the wrong seminaries? There may be a Barna study in there somewhere. Do you think it’s mostly unintentional or misplaced good intentions? I can sort of sympathize with pastors who are afraid to preach like Bro. Washer, lest they be booted to the curb. They have families to support too.

2 Victoria December 29, 2010 at 6:54 pm

I do love to hear Paul Washer-He is a man who loves God and God\’s Gospel. He gives warnings to the western Church that are very much needed. After Peter had denied the Lord 3 times before the crucifixion -the Lord Jesus after his resurrection found Peter and this is the conversation:
John 21:15-18
15 So when they had eaten breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon, son of Jonah, do you love Me more than these?”
He said to Him, “Yes, Lord; You know that I love You.”
He said to him, “Feed My lambs.”
16 He said to him again a second time, “Simon, son of Jonah, do you love Me?”
He said to Him, “Yes, Lord; You know that I love You.”
He said to him, “Tend My sheep.”
17 He said to him the third time, “Simon, son of Jonah, do you love Me?” Peter was grieved because He said to him the third time, “Do you love Me?”
And he said to Him, “Lord, You know all things; You know that I love You.”
Jesus said to him, “Feed My sheep.

Most of you know that Jesus asked Peter if he had agapao love for Him–at least Peter in light of his recent denial of the Lord- refused in all honesty to use the same word for love that Jesus used-in fact Peter said I have affection for you Lord-not the kind of love that would die for you. After each question to Peter as to his love for the Lord-Peter was told to feed the lambs-to feed the sheep-to tend the sheep.

Any Pastor who does not feed the lambs and feed the sheep and tend the sheep-does not love God. Any Pastor who worries that if he feeds the sheep-he may end up booted out of the Church-and may not be able to care for his family-has an idol-and is worshiping something or someone other than God.

Oh for the days of the Owens and the Edwards and the Spurgeons and the Lloyd Joneses-who loved and feared God alone and who did what God called them to do at whatever personal cost to them. We have a few like that left in this land-but only a few. Paul Washer-by the way-is one of them. Oh and may I add this-my Pastor is one of them too-and I am so blessed!

3 Mark December 29, 2010 at 9:03 pm

There are probably all kinds of reasons pastors don’t preach non-compromising biblical sermons is there is a fear of man. Any Christian can fall into a comfort zone of contentment like this. I’d say we do it all the time in our daily lives which includes in our jobs and among other non-church related gatherings. We don’t trust God and are afraid like Peter was in denying Christ.

And this is exactly why we need our pastors not to lie down, give us baby food and not challenge us. However, it takes wisdom in how a congregation is approached with such convicting and challenging sermons. Washer is challenging the content of what is being preached, but not really telling how it is to be done. Sheep are to be fed and, as I see it, this involves godly wisdom which does not mean shoving their heads into the food bowl.

4 Cathy M. December 30, 2010 at 11:59 am

(“…shoving their heads into the food bowl.” Had to snicker at the mental image.) I am thinking about this from the perspective of a hungry sheep. I’ve had to find nourishment outside of my home pasture, because so little is provided there. At times I’ve been frustrated; but, I’ve also tried to understand the possible reasons for downloaded, warmed-over sermons… and the ones that are more like stand-up comedy routines than Bible exposition.

Maybe it’s my background as a teacher, but I can always tell when he’s preaching someone else’s sermon. It’s become a little game between my husband and I. (He’s learned not to bet against me… it’s so easy to confirm plagiarism these days.) We do love him and his family. We do pray for them.

Victoria is right, I agree with her assessment. It’s just hard to be objective when you’re in the pasture, and still hoping…

5 Larry January 19, 2011 at 10:55 pm

Where I come from they call this lazy pastor’s disease. These men have let there faith be eroded and have concentrated so much on law and felt needs that they do attract the carnal. I don’t particularily like using the word “carnal” because guess what being a sinner I sometimes get carnal. I find that many of the people who go to the goatherders are looking for nothing more than a sense of community that is not any different than attending a social club which is exactly what some of these people want. So these pastors know this and feel that as long as people are coming they do not need to worry about preaching effectively because everyone is coming for some sort of minstry that is not a ministry.

The felt needs are what have kept the people there and to prevent them from leaving or feeling like they are wasting there time and would rather sleep on Sundays; sermons become not about sin and grace and Christ for you but about you and are you living a victorious life. This type of teaching results in despair an hopelessness and sometimes pastors who become atheistic because they have forsaken the First Love. I have news for these people Jesus is my victor and I will live eternally because of him . These men forgot to proclaim Law and Gospel.


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