Paul Washer, Decisional Regeneration, and First Baptist Woodstock

Paul Washer doesn’t play around in preaching, nor does he live in shades of gray.

What is fascinating about Washer’s preaching is that it continually dominates the charts on SermonAudio and attracts thousands through YouTube videos (his “shocking” sermon has nearly 900,000 visitors) while at the same time is never asked to come back and preach at many of the churches he was previously invited.  But what really caught my attention is that Washer was invited to speak at Deeper Conference which was being held at First Baptist Church Woodstock where Johnny Hunt, president of the SBC, is senior pastor.  The Deeper Conference was put on by The Way of the Master guys who had done conferences at Woodstock in years past; nevertheless, the fact Paul Washer was going to preach in the pulpit of the church where the John 3:16 Conference was held–a pulpit that has been grasped by just about every anti-Calvinist in the SBC–is no small thing.

So what was Washer going to say?  Was he going to water down the message, go gray, play politics, etc.? Nope.  In fact, he took on the invitation system and the doctrine of decisional regeneration behind it, showing the folly and unbiblical nature of them.  I can remember sitting through Bailey Smith “Real Evangelism” Conferences in years past shrinking in the pew when preacher after preacher would scoff and ridicule the doctrines of grace and often manipulate people into praying the sinner’s prayer. I cannot help but think that all the stagecraft of years past was exposed on the very platform on which it has been practiced.

To download Washer’s sermon from the Deeper Conference click here (you will need to submit your email address to download it).  Below is the sermon at Woodstock in its entirety (1hr 7min).

Related Articles:

The Sound of HeartCry Missionary Society
Reducing the Need for Church Discipline by Paul Washer (Part 1)
Reducing the Need for Church Discipline by Paul Washer (Part 2)
Missions and the Miracle of Conversion by Paul Washer
Evidences of the Miracle of Conversion by Paul Washer (Part 1)
Evidences of the Miracle of Conversion by Paul Washer (Part 2)

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27 Comments on “Paul Washer, Decisional Regeneration, and First Baptist Woodstock”


  1. […] tip to Timmy Brister who has another “shocking message” posted on his blog. Go spend another hour over there […]

  2. Matthew Svoboda Says:

    One more reason why I love Paul Washer…

    • Jim Allee Says:

      Matthew, I have a question that you may be able to answer in response to your post. “Where do I find that Christ, our “Master Teacher” taught the doctrine of Calvinism? This is NOT meant to be Paul Washer bashing and is not in that spirit. After more the 30 years in the ministry and an untold number of hours in Bible study, I fail to find where Christ taught or even eluded to HIS Grace, mercy or the atoning power of HIS sacrifice on the cross being limited. If Christ did not teach it, why should we?
      If we are to be intellectually honest (as Calvinists), we MUST let people we present the Gospel to know that (If Calvin is right) that there is only a 50/50 chance that God has elected them for salvation and that they might not be on the list. You know, so they don’t get their hopes too high. Just in case God did not love them the same as those “Really Elected.”
      Can you help me out?


      • Jim,

        Actually, I am the author of the post, so I will attempt to address your questions. I say, however, that my response will be brief as this topic cannot sufficiently be addressed in a blog comment.

        1. Unless you are a universalist, you believe in limited atonement. Non-Calvinists believe in limited atonement but in a different way than Calvinists. If you are a non-Calvinist or Arminian, you believe that not everyone is going to heaven but those that do is determined by the will of man. If you are a Calvinist, you also believe that not everyone is going to heaven but those that do is determined by the will of God.

        2. Non-Calvinists/Arminians limit the atonement by staying that salvation is made possible, not actual in the death of Jesus Christ. Jesus did not purchase people but a plan, and therefore substitutionary atonement is not highly esteemed (usually). Calvinists believe that the atonement actually atoned for the sins of specific people (the elect), though had God planned for it to atone for every person who ever lived, it would be equally sufficient. But that was not God’s design. Jesus laid down his life for His sheep. He is given the name Jesus “for He will save His people from their sins. Jesus gave Himself up for His bride, and so on. To argue that Jesus did not teach limited atonement is to not have considered texts such as John 10, John 17, Eph. 1, etc.

        3. No Calvinist has ever said that a person has a 50/50 chance that God has elected them. Where do you get that idea? God’s election is not a matter of chance but of purpose–a purpose which God had before the foundation of the world. Calvinists preach the gospel indiscriminately because we do not know who the elect are, and God uses the means of the gospel preached to save them. As far as getting hopes up, no one has a hope apart from the mercy and grace in Christ which is abundant for all sinners who turn to him in repentance and faith. Jesus will in no wise cast any who come to Him in such a way, and no Calvinist will argue otherwise.

        Your understanding of the Reformed view of election and particular redemption is very inaccurate and a poor misrepresentation of what they do really believe.

        • Jim Allee Says:

          Timmy,

          Thanks for taking time to address my queries. I take no offense at your mild chiding in your closing paragraph. I must and do agree that a blog is not the venue for an extended conversation and I must also say that electronic “conversation” is often little better than two tin cans and string. I can see where your extrapolation of my view of Reformed Theology was limited based on the brevity of my expressions and questions stated above. I apologize for any ill will that may have risen because of this brief exchange and take responsibility for it if it has ocurred. Satan would rather we attack each other than have a unified assault on his dominion (not too unlike our present political climate wouldn’t you say?)

          In the Service of our King
          Pastor Jim Allee

          • Danny Says:

            I would like to thank both of you for the humble and gracious, yet honest spirit in which you handled the above exchange. Truly refreshing to see in a discussion of this nature and topic. May Jesus continue to be reflected in the midst of disagreement.

  3. Thomas Clay Says:

    I’m waiting to hear what Dr. Hunt has to say about Paul preaching that sermon from his pulpit….especially since he seems to have softened just a wee bit towards Calvinism since becoming SCB president.

    I will say it again. I wish that everyone knew the Paul Washer that we know here at Grace Life. There is none more humble, gentle, and kind than he. It’s only in the pulpit (and on the mission field that he turns into a man on fire!).

  4. johnMark Says:

    Bro Timmy,

    You’re killing me. 😉

    Have a blessed Lord’s Day.

    Mark


  5. Oops. Thou knowest not. 😳


  6. […] thanks to Timmy Brister for the latest post on his blog about a preacher named Paul Washer. As Timmy points out so […]

  7. Erik Says:

    Timmy,

    Maybe I’ve lived under a rock way up here in Oregon, but man oh man, thanks for introducing me to Paul Washer. It’s really refreshing to hear a preacher speak straightforwardly about the gospel and the condition of the church and care less whether or not he just stepped on your toes. Washer is A.W. Tozer and Keith Green for this post modern generation. Many thanks again Tim.

    – Erik

  8. Kenan Says:

    “I will say it again. I wish that everyone knew the Paul Washer that we know here at Grace Life. There is none more humble, gentle, and kind than he. It’s only in the pulpit (and on the mission field that he turns into a man on fire!).”

    I agree with you, Tom.

    Thanks for posting this, Timmy.

  9. Brent Hobbs Says:

    I’d also never heard of him, but am glad you posted this. Powerful and straightforward. I listened to another of his sermons last night. As someone who has long lamented many of the things Washer discusses, the thing I’ve appreciated most is that he has some great positive examples of the way things SHOULD be.


  10. For those of you who are new to Paul Washer, you can find out more audio, resources, and info from my previous post, “The Sound of Heartcry Missionary Society” –

    http://timmybrister.com/2007/05/11/the-sound-of-heartcry-missionary-society/

  11. ChrisB Says:

    After mulling over this for a while, I’m inclined to think this was really rather impolite.

    Stepping into a pulpit as a guest and telling the church that the way they do things is wrong? That’s not bold; it’s rude.

    I can’t imagine you’d be applauding my “boldness” if I preached against Calvinism from John Piper’s pulpit.

    “never asked to come back and preach at many of the churches he was previously invited”
    I can’t imagine why. All he’s accomplished is to ensure most of the people of that church will decline to listen to him every again.


  12. Chris,

    Johnny Hunt did not invite him; The Way of the Master people who were holding the conference did. Johnny Hunt was one of the main speakers, along with Paul Washer. Both WOTM and Hunt knew about Washer prior to his speaking, and so it is neither being rude or impolite. Washer preaches the same gospel no matter the venue, and honestly, it was refreshing to hear someone not water down or change the message depending on whose in the audience or what place they are in.

  13. ChrisB Says:

    Ah, I missed that part — I thought the pastor had invited him.

  14. jason allen Says:

    I’m curious. If he’s invited to preach by groups and these groups know about him and he’s not going to go “off message” depending on the crowd then it begs the question: why is he “never asked to come back and preach at many of the churches he as previously invited?” They knew what he would say/do. That’s odd isn’t it?


  15. Jason,

    I would argue because many of these churches have lost the gospel (and by that I do not mean Calvinism).

  16. Kris Harrison Says:

    I really wish that this message could be given at the SBC Pastor’s Conference!

  17. cb scott Says:

    This is the same gospel I have believed since God saved me.

    Years ago I picked up a Gideon Bible from a motel room, read a passage (2 Timothy 4:6-7) for the first time in my life.

    I became aware I was an evil person and had never fought a good or fair fight in my life. I had lived by my own creed and code of honor. My departure was at hand, but I had not finished my course. I did not know the course. I had not kept the faith. For I did not know the God of faith.

    I did the only thing I could, for I was totally without knowledge and understanding.

    I cried out to God to forgive my sin, I begged Jesus to cleanse my evil heart and wash my bloody hands. I prayed, alone for over four or five hours, without ever having the witness of another person to me that night about Jesus. I confessed and repented only to Jesus wickedness that I would never tell another living soul. I surrendered my being and person to Jesus. Suddenly and without warning a peace I had never known came upon me. I knew I knew I knew I was forgiven. I knew Jesus had saved my wretched soul.

    I left the life I had lived that very morning. I took the Bible with me. I read it and read it. My life was changed in ways I did not understand.

    By God’s own grace I found fellowship with a gospel believing church. The longer I live the more I know my continual need to repent, not to be saved, but because I am saved and belong to a Holy God.

    Romans 5:8 has become my truth. I had never sought Jesus, nor did I want Him. I did not even know I needed Him until that night in December long ago. I have come to realize more and more as the years go by that it was Jesus who sought me. I am saved because in due time Christ died for the ungodly, sinner that I was and am.

    His grace is sufficient. It is His grace we must preach. It is His grace that saves. There is nothing else.

    I have enjoyed this sermon, not because it is new in content to me for it is not, but because it is what I have heard and believed all of my life with Christ.

    Thank you for posting it.

    cb


  18. CB,

    Thanks for sharing your heart and testimony. It’s always refreshing to hear how God arrested the heart of a sinner and brought them to Himself! I’m glad you enjoyed the message. Have a blessed Thanksgiving weekend.

  19. Victor Says:

    20th Century Prophet A.W. Tozer on Justification & Regeneration! We may also erroneously assume that we can experience justification without transformation. Justification and regeneration are not the same; they may be thought apart in theology but they can never be experienced apart in fact. When God declares a man righteous He instantly sets about to make him righteous. Our error today is that we do not expect a converted man to be a transformed man, and as a result of this error our churches are full of substandard Christians. A revival is among other things a return to the belief that real faith invariably produces holiness of heart and righteousness of life.

  20. Cristian Says:

    Paul Washer wouldn’t last more than 30 seconds on any national television channel.
    They would throw him out the window fast.
    I think this is how John the Baptist or the Apostles preached at Pentecost (so fiercely).
    I love Paul Washer, thank God for people like him!


  21. Note to all the Paul Washer drive-by haters,

    Every time you spam my blog, you comment will be deleted and you will be blacklisted from my blog. Every attempt to float your agenda here on P&P will fail.

    Tim Brister

  22. Lester Says:

    I recently was told about Paul he is inspirational, he speak directly from the bible he does not decorate the thruth. I find myself growing in Christ as a new christian Im so thankful for the lessons that he preachers. Does anyone know when he will be in the UK I would like to hear him in person.If not a church that carries the same message preferably in South London

  23. Gordon Says:

    Johnny Hunt has become a bit more tender toward Calvinism in recent years. I I think one of the things that keeps us from having understanding toward each other is the fact that WE DON’T UNDERSTAND EACH OTHER!. We think we do. But we don’t. We caricature each other but we never do the research of positions that oppose ours. I grew up more or less on the fence on the issue…because I heard so much of both sides. Now I side with Paul Washer on it but I try to be careful of how I deal with brothers and sister who are not Calvinists. I think Dr. Hunt is getting the picture. he was a firebrand back in the day against Calvinism. I was made to understand that Dr. Russel Moor will be speaking at a conference that Jerry Vines is hosting. Jerry Vines is not too fond of Calvinism either. So At least Christians are reaching out and putting their heads together so that their people can be edified in their minds regarding what they believe. One thing is needful in the church is critical thinking and it doesn’t come by simply hearing one side of the story.


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