Friends have been recommending Paul Washer to me for some time. I find that the fella is a bit like Marmite in the Christian world, insomuch that people either seem to love him or hate him. Those who dislike him find him ‘too polemic’ (which is generally posh speak for black and white). The schemes like black and white people. We’ve no time for niceties in our theology and certainly not in our gospel. So, I thought I’d give Washer a bash and see what all the fuss is about.
I bought all three of his “Recovering The Gospel” series, although somebody seems to have nicked one from my office! I assure you the perpetrator will be hunted down. Anyway, from the off this 26-chapter book is full of tweetable truths. “God does not call men to make Jesus Lord (as though they had such power), but to live in absolute submission to The Lord He has made.” (p.11) It feels like Washer wrote this book out of concern for the state of Western (US?) churches and the diluted (?) message that they are sending out. He’s definitely not happy with somebody. This is a man who wants a return to the true gospel, the gospel of the Bible and not the self-help mantras often declared from modern pulpits (in his opinion). He wants the gospel of Jesus to have the pre-eminence in our churches again. What’s not to like about that? Fair play to him, I say.
He offers good reminders that mere confessions of faith are worthless without ensuing fruit and enduring faithfulness. These are words we need to hear in a scheme culture when each convert is so hard to come by that the temptation to make it sound easier can so easily slip in. The gospel is the power of God and there is no other way to be saved apart from it. Simples.
I am so glad he takes the time to explain the nature of God’s holy hatred against both sin and sinner. It’s easy when working in this gig to run into those who think that God loves the poor and hates their sin. That is just not true. God’s face is set against both sin and sinner. Chapter 16, entitled “Holy War” should be standard reading for all Christians today, particularly those working among the poor (like we have some sort of get out of jail free card).
I really enjoyed this book as it set out the basics of the gospel message in clear, simple chapters. No smoke and mirrors or clever stories. No buttering us up. No hand holding and hair stroking, whispering sweet moral nothings in our ear. Truth straight up on a plate. Good stuff. Loved it.