Skip to comments.American Christianity (a scathing critique)
Posted on 12/30/2009 12:56:16 PM PST by CondoleezzaProtege
"Im not troubled in my heart about your self-esteem. Im not troubled in my heart about whether or not you feel good about yourself, whether or not life is turning out like you want it to turn out, or whether or not your checkbook is balanced. Theres only one thing that gave me a sleepless night. Theres only one thing that troubled me all throughout the morning..."
"Do you realize how much love it takes for me to stand before 5,000 people and tell you that that American Christianity is almost totally wrong?"
(Excerpt) Read more at youtube.com ...
Love? Sounds more like arrogance to me.
Maybe he should put the rest of the world on hold and be a missionary in America.
Thanks for posting the vid
Typical screed of someone selling something. It worked really well in the 19th century; there’s no reason they won’t buy it in the 21st.
That was awesome.
I’ve never heard of this guy Paul Washer before, but he’s got it right.
Romans 4 speaks of salvation by faith and uses Abraham as an example. But look at the life of Abraham. His renowned faith was not an intellectual acknowledgement of God. His was an active, total-change-of-life, money-where-your-mouth-is, all-out daily walk. It was an active, obedient faith.
We live more as Laodiceans than as Philadelphians.
Thanks for posting.
It’s a message we all need to hear sometimes. With God, there is no half stepping.
Hi Giovanna, that’s exactly what he’s doing even though he dreaded coming back to the states (after spending a decade in Peru)—as he’s disheartened by the materialism and the apathetic, cultural Christianity that has dominated the church in this country for so long. He is an evangelist and he sees his primary mission field to be composed of Christians (or those who believe theselves to be Christians) moreso than unbelievers.
It’s “Christians” that need to hear the real Gospel more than ever today. He’s pointsout that in America, it’s the church that needs reform. The church has lost its power because it’s become too worldly. It needs to be strengthened in the Word and become a better reflection of Christ—which means standing in stark contrast to our godless culture. Only then can we reach out to the unbelieving world.
Washer continues to travel frequently, namely Europe and Latin America. His home church is in Alabama, but his main ministry is the organization he founded called “Heartcry Missionaries.” His passion for Christ and to see Him glorified continues to challenge and convict my own standing in the faith. His sermons are on youtube if you want to hear more of his preaching. God bless!
So he is saying these verses are wrong???
John 1:12 But to all who have received him—those who believe in his name—he has given the right to become God’s children
John 3:16-18 For this is the way God loved the world: he gave his one and only Son that everyone who believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world should be saved through him. 18 The one who believes in Him is not condemned. The one who does not believe has been condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the one and only Son of God.
Thanks for posting this....
Thanks for posting this....
Pardon me...he says you will not find anywhere in scripture about asking for Jesus to come into your life in prayer; he calls it the greatest heresy. I recall reading “Seek and you shall find, ask and you shall receive, knock and the door will be opened..”. Seeking, asking, and knocking are affirmative actions, not thoughts about faith. You are asking for Jesus to enter your life, and he said you had to do affirmative things for this to occur. Sorry, this guy is working an angle to an audience.
Let’s get our priorities in order first and this preacher is not doing that.
A Christian’s **most** important and URGENT mission field is first himself. There is a reason the flight attendants tell us to put the oxygen mask on our own faces before helping others. We as Christians must **first** strengthen our own faith in Christ.
The next most important mission field is that of our **own** children! That means giving them an education the **fully** integrates our Christian faith with secular knowledge. This is IMPOSSIBLE to do in our secular humanist, Marxist, and atheistic government schools. Therefore,...Christians must get their kids out of the government schools. The statistics for Christian children attending government schools and remaining faithful are ABYSMAL!!! ( Yes, I have links.)
After this...A Christian’s next most important mission field is the children of his congregation. We are failing miserably in providing Christian schools for our Christian youth. In my opinion God will not be happy with many ministers who are too afraid to offend the many government schools workers sitting in their pews, or who are also themselves addicted to free government school babysitting.
Finally, we as Christians must work in our neighborhoods, then counties, cities, and states. We must look to our nation first. Only then should we be working in Romania or Peru. If the United States falls then the whole world will quickly fall into a 1,000 year or longer dark age of tyranny.
I think he is talking about those who claim to be Christians but conduct their lives like they not only never had a salvation experience but love this world and it's "delights" and have no interest at all in knowing Christ as savior.
If we truly seek, ask, and knock to find Christ--the real Christ, then we'll learn through the Word that salvation as Washer reminds us, is by *FAITH* alone and that genuine faith is preceded by repentance--a turning away from sin. Genuine faith is followed and reflected by a life of repentance: a growing hatred for the things God hates (namely sin) and a growing in love for God and the things of God, such as righteousness and holiness. This doesn NOT mean instant perfection, but that there should be a genuine change in the heart of a believer after they are "born again" and that this change should be reflected in their life overall.
Many people in America think they can go on living like pagans, but that when they die they'll be in a better place because they go to church sometims or said a prayer when they were 8.
As Christ reminds us, believers are recognized by their fruit.
"You can identify them by their fruit, that is, by the way they act. Can you pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? A good tree produces good fruit, and a bad tree produces bad fruit. A good tree cant produce bad fruit, and a bad tree cant produce good fruit. So every tree that does not produce good fruit is chopped down and thrown into the fire. Yes, just as you can identify a tree by its fruit, so you can identify people by their actions." ~ Matthew 7 :16-20
The man is saying that it is your works that save you......false in its entirety.
Paul was “of this world” and one would have a hard time convincing me that he wasn’t saved by the grace of God. “All things are lawful but not all things are helpful (expedient).” Paul in discussing the idea that The Law is passed away and that grace is sufficient.
the scripture is clear, “...He came once, for all.” Not for some not for those who believe Washer but for everyone.
What error???? Because I wear clothes he( Washer) doesn’t approve of? Because I listen to music that he (Washer) doesn’t approve of? This man is preaching legalism pure and simple.
Washer believes and says those exact things and his life, family, and work are a reflection of that. He is a pastor and evangelist so his work and committments extend beyond where God calls most other people to with regard to things like church leadership and mission work. This video is an excerpt from just one of his many sermons and was geared toward a specific audience of young people—though it’s obviously applicable to all ages.
I’ve seen some of Washer’s sermons on video and he is not at all arrogant. He is simply grieved by the low level American Christianity has fallen to and fears that millions who think they are “Christians” and go to church are going to spend eternity in Hell, because they have been sold a false Gospel that does not include repentance from sin or living a life any different from the unsaved.
Washer is rightfully grieved and frightened by the “repeat this simple prayer and then go on behaving the same way you always did” version of Christianity that has taken over way too many of our churches, and is considered to be normal by the masses of those claiming to be “Christians” these days.
You mean like Jimmy Swaggert???
Or perhaps Paul Washer who is busy telling people whom God will and will not condemn
As one of my favorite poets put it, Christ died to FREE us from sin, not to indulge in it.
As far as clothing goes, the Bible reminds believers that we are owned by Christ, bought with his very blood. Therefore we are to honor him with our bodies, and our bodies are to be a temple of the Holy Spirit. Satan would obviously rather have us degrade our bodies and make us pretend as if Christ's sacrifice counts for nothing.
Our culture drinks sin down as if it were water--as if Christ died in vain. If we truly love Christ, we would love the things of God and stay away from the things he died to save us from.
This does NOT mean we are to live in church box and sing hymns all day...Whether it's food or music or fashion, they all exist for our enjoyment--NOT our abuse. We should approach the world with great discernment and be a reflection of Christ in all we do and say--and this should make us starkly contrasted to our godless culture.
"And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise." ~ Phllippians 4
No, he is saying that those who TRULY believe in Christ will be saved AND as a result they will seek to lead holy lives.
Saying you believe in Christ (which is pretty much all popular “Christianity” asks of “converts”, these days) and actually believing in Him are very different things.
There needs to be a balance in the preaching and teaching of God’s word. We must be careful to remember we are saved by faith, not by works, but at the same time, we must not think that some shallow, insincere or half-sincere profession of faith will result in salvation.
If one is not seeking to lead a holy life and is not grieved by his sins, if he continues practicing the same sinful ways he always did and no change in behavior is happening, there is no reason for that person to believe he has a true faith in Christ and has been saved.
21 Not everyone who says to Me, Lord, Lord, shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. 22 Many will say to Me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name? 23 And then I will declare to them, I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness! - Matthew 7:21-23
You and the rest of the Pharisees of the modern day may well wonder when Jesus returns and you are part of his elect. You presume to know the mind of God and of whom He approves. That is out and out blasphemy
“he calls it the greatest heresy.”
I think the heresy is his. He’s saying you have do to it “the right way”, which is HIS way. That’s adding requirements to the single requirement. He’s flat wrong. I understand what he’s trying to say, but he’s flat wrong as to its effect on a person’s salvation.
To be fair, I don’t think that CondaleezaProtege is meaning to condemn anyone. But Jesus said that “by their fruits you will know them”.
When teaching on 1 John (a great book that addresses some of these very issues) I used the illustration of a guy I worked with. He claimed to be a devout Christian. Yet every night he would hit the strip clubs, call women the most degrading names, and have casual sex and even participate in orgies.
His life showed no fruits other than warming a seat at Church every Sunday. I wasn’t a Christian at that point (pretty much atheist) but I could see that he was a hypocrite because we’d call him on it, and he didn’t think it was a big deal. After all, God would forgive him! 1 John is full of warnings against that behavior.
So much of the American Church is full of this. BUT, remember — so was the early church!!!
Otherwise Paul wouldn’t have written his epistles (Oh you foolish Galatians, etc.!). Jesus wouldn’t have had to rebuke a few churches in Revelation, etc.
I think a Christian should always be mindful of the Greatest Commandment. If you are, you will naturally want to do the things that please Him and to discover what things do please Him and which things He hates. And that’s what the scriptures are for.
Let’s all just try to run hard after Him! Down with Legalism! Up with PLEASING God!
Notice also that the first verse says:
to all who believe...he has given the right to become God's children
He does not say you are a child of God simply by saying once that you believe. It is a becoming, a process, a path which you must stay on, and if you do, it will be evident in your life.
Hypocrites will face their Maker at the appropriate time. If I love the Lord my God with all my heart and all my soul and love my neighbor as myself then I probab;y will have led a life that has some meaning to it. but I am not under the judgement of the Law nor any other human. The whited scepulcres will have their day to explain their righteousness ( or lack there of).
And it wasn’t Jesus who said by their fruits it was in fact James.
Jesus in Matthew 7:16, “By their fruit you will recognize them.”
In one of the most chilling statements in the New Testament it ends with:
“22 Many will say to me on that day, Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles? 23 Then I will tell them plainly, I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!
And yes, hypocrites will face their Maker. However, we have a responsibility to tell them that in love they may not actually be Saved when they think they are because they said a quick prayer without actually putting their trust IN Christ.
Those who have put their trust in Christ are no longer under judgement, and do not have to worry about the Law. The real question is — have some who profess to have put their trust in Christ actually done it?
It doesn’t matter to me really ... it matters to them, and loving my neighbor as myself involves being concerned about whether they are deceiving themselves and if they are going to meet their Maker some day and find out that He says, “Depart from me, you evildoer!”
I understand his point, I guess I don’t like how he’s making it - I don’t like his assuming he knows who is going to hell...he doesn’t.
As I said, living to reflect the light Jesus Christ to a dark and lost word, does NOT mean we are to stay cooped up in a church box and sing hymns all day...As Christ reminds us, lamps are not meant to be hidden but put on a lampstead to give light to the whole room—Christians are to be like a shining bright-lit city on a hill. That being said, we are called to change the world—not have the world change us.
Whether it’s food or music or fashion or movies— they ALL exist for our enjoyment—NOT our abuse. There is nothing wrong with looking stylish or enjoying secular music or dancing—but things should raise a red flag when we are indulging in things that directly insult God or violate the faith. Unfortunately today, the majority of mainstream stuff blatantly insults God rather than expresses any real artistic merit. I mean turn on the radio to the latest top 40 song, listen to the lyrics, and you’ll know what I mean.
Don’t take my word for it though. Take Jay Z’s. His song “Empire State of Mind” (featuring Alicia Keys) currently the #1 song on Billboard right now, and *literally* contains the following lyrics in the third verse:
“Hail Mary to the city, you’re a virgin. And JESUS CAN’T SAVE YOU, life starts when the church ends.” ~ Jay Z
This is the #1 song in the country right now, a country where over 85% of people identify themselves as Christians...
We'll see if Paul Washer is similarly exposed. In the meantime, I watched the video and heard him say nothing that was in opposition to Scripture. Now that doesn't mean that what he said will not be offensive to some people- Jesus Christ and His word always has made many, many people very angry. However, just because the principles God gave Christians about the way we should live our lives as His children and, as He called us, "a peculiar people", angers some people doesn't mean that Paul Washer is wrong in what he said.
And it doesn't put him on the same level as Jimmy Swaggart.
Sorry I realize I wanted to clarify...something.
“There is nothing wrong with looking stylish or enjoying secular music or dancingbut things should raise a red flag when we are indulging in things that directly insult God or violate the faith.” — I don’t think “violating the faith” is the best way to put it, what I meant was, it does not elevate Christ nor does it reflect how much we love and value Him. How are unbelievers going to be curious about Christ if we live as if he means nothing to us?
Then I mention “the majority of mainstream stuff blatantly insults God.” The #1 song in the country right now “Empire State of Mind” by Jay Z and Alicia Keys has these lyrics in the 3rd verse:
“Hail Mary to the city youre a virgin. And JESUS CANT SAVE YOU, life starts when the church ends. ~ Jay Z
#1 song in a so called Christian country. You can bet people listen to and sing along to this song on their way TO church.
So no, music—including rap music is not inherently bad At all. There is something wrong though if we call ourselves Christians yet CHRIST means absolutely nothing to us. Shouldn’t we be more excited about singing about HIM, rapping about HIM, talking about HIM? Christ didn’t come to the world to give us rules to follow, he gave us himself so we can know and enjoy God more fully. He is the only thing of any real value in this world. But how can we enjoy and glorify Him if we think he’s boring or not as worth our attention as the latest TV show?
There is something wrong if we call ourselves believers but go on acting as if He doesn’t exist and never died for us. That’s what Paul Washer is talking about.
John Piper sums it up way better than I can
"Catch on to the affectional nature of Christianity of conversion. Its not merely a decision to believe a set of facts but its a heart treasuring Christ and His glory more than football, sex, power, money You gotta make this an issue Sunday after Sunday so that they feel scared that theyre not saved. You know, I think some pastors are so afraid that someone might walk up to them at the end of the sermon and say You really jostled my assurance this morning. If we dont jostle peoples assurance when theyre not saved, we send them to hell! We must preach in such a way and ask What does your heart say about Christ? Pastors lets do this lets help our people be saved! ~ John Piper
"And it wasnt Jesus who said by their fruits it was in fact James."
(Matthew 7:18-20) "A good tree cant produce bad fruit, and a bad tree cant produce good fruit. So every tree that does not produce good fruit is chopped down and thrown into the fire. Yes, just as you can identify a tree by its fruit, so you can identify people by their actions. ~ Jesus Christ
"You have forgotten you first love." ~ Revelations 2:4
What, pray tell, is this nonsense? Last I knew, Romania was an Orthodox Christian country and Peru a Roman Catholic one, or don't Orthodoxy and Roman Catholicism count as Christian in your American Protestant world? What would Christian missionaries be doing there, peddling a foreign, American heresy perhaps? You know, maybe its the embrace of so many ancient heresies by Protestant ecclesial groups here in America which has brought this country to the state it is in!
You should respond with your opinions after watching his open-air preaching in Peru. Washer goes knowing that the majority of Peruvians are Catholics who are not truly saved—the same way majority of Americans are Protestants who are not truly saved. LABELS DO NOT MEAN ANYTHING:
Ted Kennedy perpetuated abortion in this country, and he was “Catholic.” (He did every sacrament, went to church every Sunday.) Vladimir Putin was in the KGB and has dissenters jailed and killed under his orders. Putin is devout “Russian Orthodox.” Barack Obama says he’s Christian. Hillary Clinton says she’s Methodist. Britney Spears is Baptist!
The church you go to, wearing a cross on your neck, having pretty statues of angels in your house, and what water you were splashed with as a baby or the oil at confirmation say nothing of whether you truly have repented of your sin come to saving knowledge of Jesus Christ. Whether you truly have new life in Jesus Christ, whether you know him and truly understand what He did on the Cross and whether you are living in light of that. Whether you understand what the BIBLE says about sin, about faith. Whether you are truly walking with the Lord.
Video of Paul Washer preaching to Catholics in a Peruvian park. (If you are interested)
The level of poaching is elevated to the various groups. There is a group here in the city that is a clone of a megachurch in Chicago that has a ‘mission’ to Romania. They have a church and mission and they basically bribe the people to believe in this new faith. One of my engineers went there last year. It is entirely bribes and facilities. He spoke nicely of the Orthodox influence, but had the typical American superiority to the entire Faith.
I posted recently about the various heresies that the Protestants now embrace. Mostly met by uncomprehending silence.
Are you lecturing Kolo on the Faith? Kolo is perhaps the greatest source of information on Christianity that participates on FR. Your positions are ill informed and provincial. You express no understanding of the Faith, the Fathers, the Apostles, or Jesus the Christ. Grandstanding lectures do not communicate the Faith. They only elevate the speaker to the position that the televangelists currently occupy.
One of the hallmarks of heretics in ancient times was their overwhelming arrogance. I am not surprised therefore to hear that some American heretic preacher presumes to know the salvation status of other people. Of course he knows, right?
The Church will be here long after Washer and his heresies have gone the way of all flesh.
This pattern is so typical of American "missionaries" and their heretical practices in Eastern Europe. Of course they bribe poor, hungry people with their money, money that could be used to alleviate hunger and misery in this country but of course that would be wrong, maybe it would make the American poor "dependent"! No, better to slither into a country whose Christianity extends back 1700+ years and like a thief in the night, steal souls and sow discord, do what one can to destroy an ancient culture and replace it with the dreck of American Protestantism!
Can you send me the list of heresies that modern Protestants are embracing? I’m a non-denominational Christian (though of Protestant influence). I am always curious about the heresies that are being embraced.
Unless you wish to brand all Protestants heretics. In which case I’m not interested. Thanks!
The downfall of communicating via internet forum is that the tone of what one posts can be misinterpreted. I hope I didn’t come off as preachy or condescending. I apologize if I did.
I of course am not questioning Kolokotronis’ knowledge of church history. I do want to know though, to what extent do you both think “labels” play. I bring up the example of Senator Ted Kennedy, who was a practicing Catholic—yet he lived a life so contrary to the teachings of Rome. All the Cardinals at his funeral however pronounced him to be in Heaven. On what grounds?
Russian PM Vladimir Putin is “Russian Orthodox” — he goes to church, he even has a spiritual mentor. Yet, you look at his life and you see him attached to major corruption and even the imprisonment and deaths of people who threatened his authority. But is he still “Christian” because he goes to the right church?
As I said before, Obama is “Christian.” Hillary Clinton is “Methodist.” Britney Spears is “Baptist.” —but what do those labels ACTUALLY mean with regard to the eternal state of an individual soul?
Preachers like Paul Washers and other Bible-believing Christians don’t believe “religion” saves. Only true repentance of sin and saving knowledge of Jesus Christ, on a personal level can make one right with God. Washer believes the majority of self-identified Evangelicals in this country are not truly in the faith, have distorted the BIble, and are preaching a false, watered-down Gospel.
Kolo thinks Washer and other missioaries like him may be preaching some false American heresy to Peruvians and Romanians. That’s why I urge you both to watch the video for yourselves to see what is being taught. And then give your opinions and explain what you believe is wrong with it in light of your knowledge of what Jesus taught and in light of historical Christianity.
So, IF you are still interested. Here it is:
Anyhow, Happy New Year to both of you.
Perhaps they knew something we don't? Perhaps the Pope knew something and told it to the Cardinal Archbishop of Boston. In any event, none of us here have any knowledge at all of the state of Kennedy's soul at his death, or whether or not God will show mercy on him. That, CP, is far, far above our pay grades.
"Russian PM Vladimir Putin is Russian Orthodox he goes to church, he even has a spiritual mentor. Yet, you look at his life and you see him attached to major corruption and even the imprisonment and deaths of people who threatened his authority. But is he still Christian because he goes to the right church?"
Putin is a sinner, perhaps a great one, but I don't really know. I do know this, if he is a great sinner, he will find that The Church is a hospital for sick souls, souls which are healed by God's uncreated energies when the soul opens itself to that grace through repentance. He is a Christian because his baptism made him one. Whether or not he is a good one is a matter for him and his spiritual father.
"Kolo thinks Washer and other missioaries like him may be preaching some false American heresy to Peruvians and Romanians.
What I think is nothing original and far from new. In the 5th century, our God Bearing Father in the Faith +Isidore of Pelusium, having dealt with exactly the sort of heretics now infesting Eastern Europe, wrote this:
"Just as the fishermen hide the hook with bait and covertly hook the fish, similarly, the crafty allies of the heresies cover their evil teachings and corrupt understanding with pietism and hook the more simple, bringing them to spiritual death."
How about this: I’ll provide a list and definition of heresies from the first millennium and you evaluate them and see what you think fits in with Christianity and which doesn’t.
http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/07256b.htm is a good treatise on heresy. Basically, heresy is that which, while professing faith in God, substitutes elements of the Faith for others which are not of the Faith.
He speaks Spanish very well. I wonder how long it took for him to learn the language that well.
Also, I wonder if he speaks Romanian that well.
Well he did spend 10 years in Peru, practically living in the jungles. He goes all around the world and in places where he doesn’t know the language, he has translator that speaks along with him as he gives his sermons. If you want to see how that works, here’s a video of him in a church in the Netherlands: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rL5qX2HGO8Y
Be blessed :)!
Ah, here’s one from Romania:
It’s incredibly moving to think about how God is truly the God of ALL people on earth and that the Gospel message transcends language, race, ethnicity...To this day, there are languages the BIble has not been translated to! Christ truly breaks all barriers and the power of the Cross knows NO boundaries yet the path is so narrow. Christ is the ONLY way. “There is only ONE mediator between God and man...”