Who Is Paul Washer?


Paul Washer

I have to admit, from the beginning, that I have no interest in Paul Washer. I know some Romanians are enamoured with this preacher, but I am structurally allergic to this kind of over-the-top, fiery, aggressive, neo-Calvinist crusaders.

While most of us could live well without him, it seems that others cannot live without Washer, even in Ukraine, as you could see, in the article below, from Scot McKnight’s blog. I thought this objective assessment might be helpful for some.

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If you’ve been to a foreign country you may well have had an experience like the one John describes below. That country could well be — and often is — awash in controversies that have absolutely no hearing in the USA. Issues, persons, concerns, politics … it always varies. John tells the story of the influence of an American, Paul Washer, in the Ukraine.

What do you know of Paul Washer?

John Frye writes…

On my recent ministry trip to Lutsk, Ukraine, I was asked by some friends there what I thought of Paul Washer. My friends told me that Paul Washer is the subject of great discussion, even admiration by many Ukrainian Christians, especially the youth. I was a little taken back and I had to confess, “I’ve not heard of Paul Washer. I’ll ‘google’ him when I get to the States and let you know.” When I got home I did just that and 427,000 results popped up in 0.32 seconds. I also asked Scot McKnight if he knew anything about Paul. Scot had the same confession as mine.

What’s up with this—my Ukrainian friends are all abuzz about an American Christian leader that has not appeared on my radar screen? Not that my screen is all that big. Scot McKnight invited me to write a short post about Paul Washer for Jesus Creed.

Read on…

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My Romanian readers may also read HERE an article on Washer from Vasile Tomoiaga. The English readers may also make some sense of it by using Google Translate, if at all interested.

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Author: DanutM

Anglican theologian. Former Director for Faith and Development Middle East and Eastern Europe Region of World Vision International

12 thoughts on “Who Is Paul Washer?”

  1. Thanks for mentioning the article I wrote. There are 10 descriotions of how evangelical fundamentalism looks like starting from some assertions made by Washer in a few of his messages, mainly in “Shocking message”. He does not embodies 100% those observations, but intersects with them here and there.

    Paul Washer stirs division indeed, one may sin either disliking him and evantually considering himself better (not a good path to follow for a Christian) or linking his messages to the point of asserting that if Jesus walked the earth today he would preach as Washer does – that is making Washer a small ‘idol’.

    Scott McKnight made a fairly true portrait from my little encounters with Washer messages.

    I think one of the thorns in the flesh for cerebral, analytical or more progressive Christians is to deal with traces of fundamentalism or fundamentalists with less heat, thing that I couldn’t in my essay. But then, can you write without passion of things done with passion?

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  2. Diferenta intre calitatea si atmosfera comentariilor la cele doua articole este prea mare. Pozitiile argumentate civilizat, chiar daca sunt “extremiste”, aduc un real plus de intelegere. Sunt curios cum or fi comentariile in Ucraina…

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    1. La care doua articole va referiti?
      In ce oiveste Ucraina, dat fiind ca se afla in acelasi spatiu al patologiillor postcomuniste, ma indoiesc ca am vedea altfel de comentarii. Dar poate ma insel.

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      1. Mă refeream la cele două trimiteri: de pe Jesus Creed, respectiv Clujul Evanghelic. Eu totuşi cred că, pe lângă comunism, şi genele au cuvinte grele de spus. Mai bine să nu facem întrecere cu Ukraina.

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      2. Absolut de acord. Tarele ‘genetice’ ne-a predispus la ticalosie. Polonezii au iesit cu sabii inaintea tancurilor germane, iar noi ticluiam proverbe perverse, de genul ‘capul plecat…’

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  3. Ca ortodox bagator de seama, pot sa va impartasesc ca Paul Washer mi-a fost chiar simpatic.

    Daca l-am scutura olecutica de sechelele calviniste, ar fi chiar foarte aproape de ortodoxie.

    Comentariul lui Vasile Tomoiaga, in schimb, mi s-a parut cu totul deplasat, pe langa realitate pe undeva. Am vizionat “mesajul catre tineri” dupa ce am citit ambele comentarii, si drept sa spun n-am recunoscut nici unul din capetele de acuzare.

    Washer pare, la prima vedere, un caracter autentic, si destul de moderat, chiar daca un picut melodramatic pe alocuri. Nu cred ca greseste in nici unul din punctele esentiale (afara de unele accente calviniste, care altora poate sa le placa dar ortodocsii si calvinismul sunt ca baba cu mitraliera. Oricum, calvinismul pare destul de neesential in economia discursului. Pe undeva suna “politically correct” (in universul teologic pe unde se invarte dumnealui, si avand in vedere audienta careia is se adreseaza) cand vrea cu tot dinadinsul sa nu fie cumva acuzat ca propavaduieste “salvation by works”.

    Portretul care il face crestinismului in America mi se pare cat se poate de veridic, si concorda cu ce am vizionat personal la fata locului.

    Va rog sa luati impresiile mele sumare doar ca un punct de reper.

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    1. Desigur, si dvs, ca si domnul Tomoiaga, aveti dreptul la un punct de vedere.
      In ce priveste faptul ca Washer ar fi ‘un moderat’, cred ca veti fi de acord ca depinde in raport cu ce.
      Comparat cu un neolegionar sau cu un fanatic athonit, este probabil un moderat. Eu insa prefer repere mai decente. Si in raport cu acestea Washer este, fara putinta de tagada, un ex-centric.
      Asa cum zicea cineva, pe buna dreptate, ‘orice punct de vedere este in acelasi timp si un punct de orbire’.

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      1. Daca tot mi-ati raspuns, v-as deranja si cu o cerere de lamurire: in ce puncte specifice vi se pare Washer “fundamentalist” sau, “fara putinta de tagada” excentric ?

        Va intreb asta, nu ca sa intram, Doamne fereste in polemica, ci ca sa imi largesc si eu orizontul. Nu cred ca sunt in cunostinta de cauza apropos de reperele la care va referiti.

        Reperele mele sunt exclusiv din zona ortodoxiei, cum ziceam, daca ignoram anumite detalii cu “total depravity” si alte cateva chestii de nuanta, Washer spune in esenta acelasi lucru cu, spre exemplu, parintele Paul Tarazi sau episcopul Timothy Ware, care nu pot fi banuiti de excentricitate.

        Hai sa trecem cu vederea de unde au aparut “neo-legionarul” sau “fanaticul atonit” (calugar?) in discutie, sau cum vine cu alaturarea asta ciudata.

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      2. Bine, sa trecem cu vederea.
        Daca insa descrierea lui Vasile Tomoiaga, cu care eu sunt perfect de acord si cred ca se potriveste lui Washer, nu va convinge, atunci nu prea stiu ce mai pot adauga.
        Pe Washer nu l-am intilnit niciodata in persoana, dar la Mitr. Kallistos am fost de doua ori in casa si am povestit mai mult de o ora, de fiecare data si va asigur ca intre el si cel dintii nu poate fi facuta nici un fel de comparatie. Nici macar de departe.
        Cu asemanarea insa intre Washer si o majoritate a spatiului ortodox romanesc sunt de acord. Din fericire exista si exceptii, absolut fericite si nu chiar putine, inaintea carora imi ridic palaria (metaforic vorbind).

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