Paul’s Washer’s Theology placed under the Word of God

Lesson Two, The Fall of Adam

 

Calvinism is a theology that teaches that God is sovereign by divine predetermination. That is, God decreed every minute detail in advance to include evil. There is nothing that happens outside the scope of God’s sovereign, determination.

Dissimilarly, a balanced, biblical view of God recognizes His sovereignty while giving people a libertarian free will. God remains sovereign while allowing sinful actions to occur; He doesn’t decree evil. God knew Adam and Eve would sin in the Garden; His knowledge was not based on an premeditated, evil decree but on true Omniscience.

The Bible doesn’t say or hint that God planned and decreed the fall of mankind. But Washer, true to Calvinism, claims that God ordained the fall. Washer writes (a heading): “Did God Ordain the Fall?” He goes on to write, “The answer to this question is ‘yes,’ but we must be very careful that we understand what this does and does not mean” (location 302).

Washer tries to separate the Calvinist God from the evil He decrees. He writes, “The Scriptures affirm that the fall was not due to any fault of the Creator” (location 288). Since the Calvinist God decreed the fall of two sinless beings and everything He decrees comes to pass, how is the Calvinist God not guilty?

Washer skirts around the contradictory Calvinist teaching that God decreed the fall while man had a free will by using what has been called double talk (or to take back from one hand what was given by the other). He appeals to two contradicting principles while only believing one. He dishonestly writes, “God’s ordaining of the fall does not mean that it was certain to happen” (location 315). Washer doesn’t believe this nor do Calvinists. In fact, in this book he claims that everything that God decreed will happen: “God has decreed a great eternal purpose for His creation and has ordained every event of history by which that purpose is being fulfilled” (location 338).

Since Adam and Eve were perfect beings made in God’s image, and God knew they would sin (correct biblical view of God) He wouldn’t need to decree something that would occur anyway. The God of Calvinism is evil. His knowledge of the future is limited to degrees. The true God gives men libertarian free wills while simultaneously remaining sovereign.

God is “not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance” (2 Peter 3:9b). In the Old Testament God stated, “Say to them, As I live, declares the Lord God, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from his way and live; turn back, turn back from your evil ways, for why will you die, O house of Israel?” (Ezekiel 33:11). More verses affirm that God desires that the wicked repent.

In location 314, Washer admits that God set up Adam and Eve for failure. He writes, “He [God] could have given Adam special sustaining grace to enable him to triumph over it.” Washer communicates that God withheld the grace necessary for Adam not to sin. This is the evil God of Calvinism. Washer tries to limit the wickedness of the fall by reminding his audience that the fall brings glory to God. Image that! What an outrage. He writes, “…God ordained the fall for His glory.

For proof that God decreed the fall, Washer quotes verses that require presuppositions with un-academic hermeneutics for applicability. Here is the first verse (location 326): “As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today” (Genesis 50:20, ESV).

The context of this verse is far removed from the pristine environment of the Garden of Eden where two perfect beings without a sin nature rebelled against God, exactly as God decreed (Calvinist view). This verse is so far contextually out of bounds, it’s embarrassing. By quoting this verse, Washer may believe that God decreed the evil that occurred (“you meant evil against me“). But the context was Jacob’s older brothers and NOT God. The fact that “many people should be kept alive” describes how God turned the sins of Jacob’s brothers into something “good,” because God always cares for His own. Had this evil not occurred, God would have taken care of His children’s using other means; He always does. God does not decree wickedness unless one is a Calvinist. God’s holy, sinless character is dragged through the mud in this book.

The phrase, “God meant it for good” doesn’t exclude the possibility that God allowed what happened without decreeing it. A sovereign, holy God remains in control while allowing evil actions.

Here is the next verse quoted that God decreed the fall (location 326): “This Jesus, delivered up according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God, you crucified and killed by the hands of lawless men” (Acts 2:23). Thousands of years after the fall of man, Peter stands up at Pentecost and delivers a rebuking message to Jews who crucified the Messiah.

This verse demonstrates that God knows the future (“foreknowledge“) and by means of this knowledge, some events are “according to the definite plan.” Secondly, it was God’s “definite plan” that Jesus be “delivered up.” God knew that the rulers wanted Jesus to be crucified. God had previously kept His Son safe when attempts were made to arrest Him (and/or kill Him). It was God’s plan all along that Jesus be handed over at the right time.

Third, while it was God’s plan to turn Jesus over to be crucified, Luke is very clear that these wicked men were responsible: “you crucified and killed by the hands of lawless men.” God’s plan or predestination of this event (turning Jesus over) did not violate people’s free will choices.

Finally, Acts 2:23 offers no support whatsoever that God is the author and architect (decree) of the fall in the Garden. The people who carried out the crucifixion were wicked —confirmed by their actions. Adam and Eve were sinless and perfect.

For truly in this city there were gathered together against your holy servant Jesus, whom you anointed, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, along with the Gentiles and the peoples of Israel, to do whatever your hand and your plan had predestined to take place.” (Acts 4:27-28). Washer submits this last passage (location 338) to implicate God’s holy character in the fall (decree). One must wear Calvinist glasses and disregard principles of hermeneutics for this passage to teach that God decreed the fall in the garden.

These two verses understood independently of other passages can wrongly frame God with interfering with free will choices (“to do whatever your hand and your plan had predestined to take place“). Therefore, a closer look is warranted.

Herod, Pilate, Gentiles, and the Jews took part in acts that were “predestined to take place.” An understanding of “predestined” as used in this verse indicates that God’s hand can predetermine future actions exactly as He pleases within the scope of His holy character. While this is true, there is more to the story.

The events described in Acts 4:28  (“to do whatever your hand and your plan had predestined to take place“) did not happen outside of God’s foreknowledge using libertarian free will. God knows the hearts of men and what actions they will do under certain circumstances. Similarly, God knows our hearts and what tests we would pass/fail.

While Washer and Calvinists claim that God doesn’t force people to sin, one cannot decree evil without being evil. Calvinism places all the blame on man without recognizing the fingerprints of their decreeing God.

Genesis 6:5-6 describes God before the flood: “The Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. And the Lord regretted that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him to his heart” (Genesis 6:5-6). God did not pre-ordain the wickedness of man on the earth to turn around and grieve the wickedness he decreed (Calvinist view).

It’s serious to taint God’s character (as Calvinists do) as a causative of everything to include evil decrees. A true, biblical view of God (again) acknowledges that His decrees are not independent of His foreknowledge of people’s future actions. So God can use His foreknowledge to carry out define plans using people’s free will choices.

If a terrible earthquake occurs that kills thousands of people to include woman and children, did God cause this earthquake or did God allow it to happen? While God remains sovereign as evil happens, there is a big difference in permitting evil to occur (non Calvinist view) and decreeing evil (Calvinist view). Because God allows evil to occur and does not decree it, He holds men accountable for their actions.

If you recall, in the introduction Washer assured his readers that “the student will find that this is primarily a biblical study, and does not contain . . . nor even a great amount of theological commentary” (location 97). You decide if this is true as we continue.

 

Copyright © 2016

Lesson Three, The Fall of Mankind

Washer and Calvinists believe that everyone born is a sinner before they sin. He writes, “Adam’s sins have been imputed to all his descendants and therefore they are subject to the same penalty: death and corruption” (location 562). He provides three verses as evidence:

And when the Lord smelled the pleasing aroma, the Lord said in his heart, “I will never again curse the ground because of man, for the intention of man’s heart is evil from his youth [not birth]. Neither will I ever again strike down every living creature as I have done” (Genesis 8:21). This verse doesn’t state his thesis (all born sinners) without eisegesis. There is a significant difference between the intellectual ability of an infant and one in their youth. This is one of a few verses that seem to imply there is an age of accountability (subject to maturity). One is not born guilty before having sinned. God is just.

The wicked are estranged from the womb; they go astray from birth, speaking lies” (Psalm 58:3). God’s Word is a treasure trove containing different literary genres. To accurately interpret God’s Word, consideration must be assigned to different literatures (based on elementary rules of biblical interpretation). The Psalms are rich in poetry. This genre contains much figurative language. If the figurative language contained in Psalm 58:3 is taken literally, then all poetry must be taken literally.

For the sake of argument, let’s take this verse literally. The “wicked are estranged from the womb.” This means that the day they exit the womb they are already turning from righteousness. Secondly, they also speak lies from birth (impossible). Of course this is figurative language containing exaggerations consistent with biblical poetic language. Washer ignores rules of genre to illegitimately certify the doctrine of original sin.

Since Washer wants you to take this verse literally (Psalm 58:3), let’s take the next verse literally, which is contextually connected: “They [wicked from womb] have venom like the venom of a serpent, like the deaf adder that stops its ear.” Washer must believe that babies since birth not only speak lies, further, they “have venom like the venom of a serpent, like the deaf adder that stops its ear.” It’s wrong to steal a verse from a context and assign a new definition that the author never intended.

Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me” (Psalm 51:5). This is the last verse that Washer cites as proof. Washer also removed this verse from its poetic context and stuffed it with Calvinism.

Calvinism didn’t even exist until the heretic Augustine (354-430) laid the initial groundwork. What happened to the faith that the early church believed as found in the Bible and drawn out from the text (exegesis)? True biblical theology that is carefully drawn out is not popular today, nor was popular when Jesus walked the earth.

For the sake of argument, we’ll render additional verses literally from this chapter and expose how far off course Washer’s theology is from respected and honorable principles of interpretation. David asked God in verse two to literally wash him from his sin (“Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, and cleanse me…”). In verse five, David’s mother actually conceived him in sin. In verse seven, David asked God to literally “purge” him with “hyssop” and to “wash him” (literally) to be “whiter than snow.” In verse eight, he asked God to allow the bones He had broken to rejoice. You surely get the point. The doctrinal consequences of taking figurative poetry literally for church doctrine can be compared to driving a car down the wrong side of the road.

Not only does God’s Word not teach that we are born sinners, it teaches that we are evil from our youth. After the flood, God stated that the “intention of man’s heart is evil from his youth…” (Genesis 8:21b).

Babies are born into a world dominated by the god of this world (Satan). By the age of accountability (subject to maturity), the only person who had not sinned was Jesus Christ. Paul wrote: “for all have sinned [not born sinners] and fall short [because of sins committed] of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). The sin of Adam has infected the human race.

He writes, “all men are born in sin” (header, location 435). He submits Romans 5:12-19 and claims that Adam’s sin has been imputed to everyone (location 435). Here is the verse: “Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man [Adam], and death through sin [not from birth; but through sinning], and so death spread to all men because all sinned” (Romans 5:12).

A summary of this verse is that sin came into the world because of Adam. The result of this sin is death. Because all have sinned (not born sinners), death has spread to everyone.

For the second half of the verse, (“… so death spread to all men, because all sinned…”), Washer goes on to write, “In this case, the historic event to which Paul is referring is the sin and fall of Adam . . . this phrase does not mean that death has spread to all men because all men personally ‘sin’ or ‘have sinned,’ but that death has spread to all men because ‘all sinned’ in that historic moment in the garden when Adam sinned” (location 465). According to Washer, “because all sinned” refers to Adam’s sin. This is pure eisegesis.

Paul, unlike Washer believed that our sin brings the punishment of death (Romans 6:23). Please believe God’s Word over polished church theologians.

Under the heading, “Total depravity DOES mean…” (location 534), Washer writes, “2. … that the mind of man is hostile toward God, cannot subject itself to the will of God, and cannot please God (Romans 8:7-8)” (location 534).  This is one of many passages that Calvinists use out of context to “flip” into a total depravity proof text. Here is the passage starting with verse six:

For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace. For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God’s law; indeed, it cannot. 8 Those who are in the flesh cannot please God. ” (Romans 8:6-8). The phrase “to set the mind” is found twice in verse six. One can “set their minds” on the flesh or “set their minds” on the Spirit. To “set the mind” describes a willful act in light of the verse prior. One cannot “set their minds” on the flesh without being “hostile to God” nor are they capable of submitting to God’s laws. Verse eight summarizes Paul’s point that those who willfully “set their minds” on the flesh “cannot please God.

This passage doesn’t teach that the unsaved (“in the flesh cannot please God”) are incapable of believing the Gospel (Calvinist view). While remaining in their rebellion against God, they are hostile to Him.

Jesus said, “Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life. He does not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life” (John 5:24). According to this verse, the spiritually dead unsaved pass (“passed“) “from death to life” when they “hear” and “believe” in Jesus. Don’t believe sincere teachers like Washer who interject total depravity into Scripture.

In the next verse Jesus continues communicating that the unsaved dead can believe. He says, “Truly, truly, I say to you, an hour is coming, and is now here, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God, and those who hear will live” (John 5:25).

Washer continues assembling the fictional doctrine of total depravity: “7. … that man cannot free himself from his depraved and sinful condition. He is spiritually dead (Ephesians 2:1-3), morally corrupt (Genesis 8:21), and cannot change himself (Jeremiah 13:23)” (location 547).

None of these verses state Washer’s false thesis (“that man cannot free himself from his depraved and sinful condition”). But this is the lie that Washer front-loads into the minds of his readers before they look up these verses.

Let’s review them starting with Ephesians 2:1-3. If Washer’s claim is true for this passage (“man cannot free himself from his depraved and sinful condition. He is spiritually dead“), then these Ephesians Christians were still dead in their sins. Because they are believers, it means that the spiritually dead are capable of believing the Gospel message. No one has been saved apart from belief (according to over 100 verses). That is exactly what happened. Verse five states, “even when we were dead in our trespasses, [God] made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved” (Ephesians 2:5). The formerly spiritually dead became alive when they believed the Gospel. Verse eight says, “For by grace you have been saved through faith…” (2:8a). Summary: there is nothing in Ephesians 2:1-3 that teaches that the dead unsaved are incapable of believing the Gospel unless presuppositions are added to the text.

The second proof text cited is Genesis 8:21. We covered this verse earlier: “…for the intention of man’s heart is evil from his youth…” (Genesis 8:21b). Once again Washer wants his readers to interpret the text with a Calvinist slant.

The third text cited as proof is Jeremiah 13:23. This passage is subject to different interpretations: “Can the Ethiopian change his skin or the leopard his spots? Then also you can do good who are accustomed to do evil” (Jeremiah 13:23). Many pretend this verse states, “also you cannot do good,” but it states that that, “you can do good.” Because the immediate context of the same verse affirms an impossibility (“cannot change his skin“), the most logical way to initially interpret the remaining part of the verse is to continue this thought (an impossibility). But grammatically this verse is not a comparison of two impossibilities, but a contrast of what is impossible to what is possible. So while the Ethiopian cannot change their color, the Israelites could “do good,” even thought they “are accustomed to do evil.” Earlier in the chapter Jeremiah affirmed that they could repent of their wickedness (13:16-17). Later in the chapter, God declared why He will judge these people and it wasn’t because of depravity acquired at conception: “…because you have forgotten me and trusted in lies” (13:25b).

 

Lesson Four, Spiritual Death

Reformed Theology (Calvinism) teaches that every human being is born with a terminal sin disease (original sin) inherited from Adam that is impossible to overcome.  This depraved state is so severe, the unregenerate cannot accept the Holy Spirit’s gracious call to be saved. Washer writes this Calvinist doctrine: “Just as a man is declared dead the moment he ceases to respond to all forms of stimuli, so also fallen man is declare spiritually dead because of his absolute inability to respond to God” (location 621).

God’s Word teaches that the unregenerate can respond to the Holy Spirit’s call. Jesus believed that the spiritually dead could be saved. He said, “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden  [those dead in sin], and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28). Jesus also said, “I have not come to call the righteous but sinners to repentance” (Luke 5:32).  Jesus further said, “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to it! How often would I have gathered your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you were not willing” (Matthew 23:37). Someone forgot to inform Jesus of the Calvinist doctrine of total depravity.

Calvinists love Ephesians 2:1-3. Most notably verse one. Paul used the word “dead” to describe their former unregenerate state. Well intending Calvinists have used this verse as a platform to promote that the unsaved are spiritually dead, unable to respond and believe the Gospel unless, “[God, first makes] us alive together with Christ” (Ephesians 2:5b). Washer describes our former state (“dead“) as, “every human being is born into this world as a spiritual stillborn, void of true spiritual life towards God and unresponsive to the person and will of God” (location 632).

Washer and his followers read more into this passage than Paul intended. It doesn’t state that the unsaved were incapable of believing the Gospel, nor that God regenerated them first to be saved. In addition, there is nothing in this passage that teaches that they didn’t have a libertarian free will to believe. In the beginning of this book, Paul wrote, “In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit” (Ephesians 1:13.

For verse three (Ephesians 2:3), Washer writes, “prior to conversion, God’s wrath abides upon a person (John 3:36) It is important to understand that the wrath of God is not directed towards a person simply because of what they do, but also because of what they are” (location 637). But the verse states that it was because of what they did (“we all once lived in the passions of our flesh“) and not because they were incapable of belief. This verse does state that they “were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind.” This biblical description doesn’t come close to the burden of proof that Washer stated, that the unsaved are “a spiritual stillborn” and “unresponsive to the persona and will of God” (location 632).

Throughout the Bible, the justice of God concerns itself with sins that people commit.  Here are a few verses of possible hundreds that communicate that God’s holiness demands a righteous judgment for sins people commit in their lifetime: Job 4:8 (iniquity and trouble); Ezekiel 18:26 (injustice brings death); John 3:36 (disobedience); Galatians 6:7 (what they sow); Romans 1:18 (ungodliness and unrighteousness; Romans 1:32 (sinning = death); Romans 2: 2 (sins = judgment); Romans 2:8 (unrighteousness = wrath and fury); Romans 6:21 (sinful fruit); etc.

In location 663, Washer summarizes Ephesians 4:17-18 inaccurately. Here is the passage: “17 Now this I say and testify in the Lord, that you must no longer walk as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their minds. 18 They are darkened in their understanding, alienated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, due to their hardness of heart” (Ephesians 4:17-18). Washer writes, “a. ‘[fallen men walk] in the facility of their mind, being darkened in their understanding …” (location 663). Paul’s point was not that they walk as they do because of being “fallen men” (Calvinist doctrine of total depravity) but because they were “darkened in their understanding,” “ignorance that in them,” and “due to their hardness of heart.

For verse 18 above, he writes, “Man’s ignorance is self-imposed. He is hostile towards God and does not want to know Him or His will. Man is ignorance of spiritual things because he closes his eyes and refuses to look at God. He covers his ears and refuses to listen” (location 678). Unlike to Washer’s spin, this verse teaches that man’s alienation from God comes from “ignorance” because of “their hardness of heart.

Washer moves on to a new section on how the unsaved are spiritually dead. He writes, “In the Scriptures, there are several descriptions of fallen man’s spiritual death that illustrates what it means to be ‘spiritually dead‘” (location 678 & 693).

Here is the first verse: “but she who is self-indulgent is dead even while she lives” (1 Timothy 5:6). Context: Paul is writing about caring for widows in the church. It’s unscrupulous to rip away verses from the author’s historical intent and breathe new meaning into them. In our secular culture, this practice is academic dishonesty. If Calvinism is true, the historical context must affirm it. Washer’s teaching that, “there are several descriptions of fallen man’s spiritual death..” (location 678 & 693) is a lie for this verse. Washer illustrates how Calvinist theologians disregard inspired content to illegitimately authenticate Calvinism.

Washer continues serving a diet containing eisegesis. For Revelation 3:1, He writes, “a. fallen men have a name that they are Alive, but they are Dead (Revelation 3:1)” (location 693). Washer takes the words of Jesus to the mostly apostate church of Sardis and twists them to describe the unsaved. Jesus says, “…I know your works. You have the reputation of being alive, but you are dead” (Revelation 3:1b). Many in the church of Sardis were “dead.” This death (“dead”) is qualified (context) in the next verse. Jesus declares, “wake up, and strengthen what remains and is about to die…” (v. 2). The “dead” were capable of waking (“wake”) “up” and returning to their former state. Washer dishonestly assigns a fabricated Calvinist context: “Prior to conversion a man may appear very religious or even God-fearing, but all his works are external and motivated by self-love” (location 693).

Lesson Five, Moral Inability

Washer states multiple times in this chapter the Calvinist teaching that natural man is morally unable to “submit,” “obey,” “love,” “please,” and “seek” God. In fact, the chapter title is called “moral inability,” —to describe this Calvinist doctrine. Here are some quotes from this chapter where this principle is taught:

In the same way, fallen man’s hostility towards God is so great he cannot bring himself to submit to God” (location 732).

Nevertheless, the Scriptures testify that fallen man cannot love God” (location 779).

Fallen Man ‘cannot obey or please’ God” (location 884).

Fallen man cannot seek God” (location 859).

Having established man’s inability to love, obey, or please God ….” (location 893).

After establishing (without legitimate biblical support) that it’s impossible for man to submit to God (above), Washer then blames man for not believing the Gospel which he just stated was impossible for them to do. This is outrageous. It’s like blaming a three-year-old child for not knowing how to perform a complex algebra function. Here are a few quotes where Washer blames man for doing what he stated (above) was impossible to do:

His inability is moral and stems from his hostility towards God. Man is unable to love God because He hates God” (location 719).

His corruption and enmity towards God are so greats that he would rather suffer eternal perdition than acknowledge God to be God and submit to His sovereignty” (location 731).

Washer must realize that this Calvinist teaching is “double talk,” he addresses this objection with more “double talk.” He says, “Upon hearing such a doctrine, one may ask, ‘how is man responsible before God if he is unable to do anything God commands?’ The answer is very important. If man did not live or obey God because he lacked the mental faculties to do so, or was somehow physically restrained, then it would be indeed unfair for God to hold him accountable. He would be a victim. However, this is not the case with man” [pause].

Before we continue this quote, please absorb a summary. He is now saying that God is vindicated because man can “live or obey God.” Man does have “the mental faculties to do so,” and God doesn’t unrestraint people. To protect God from the evil Being that Calvinism has made Him to be (apparently), Washer just stated what he doesn’t believe. Do you recall 4-5 quotes at the beginning of this lesson where he states that man was incapable of believing? Possibly he feels justified by making these untrue statements because he has taken them back several times in this book. No reasonable court would accept a witness’s testimony that stated a fact, denied it, then re-stated it. This practice is called perjury.

“[Continued] His inability is moral and stems from this hostility towards God. Man is unable to love God because He hates God” (location 719). These statements are not biblical established facts.

Lesson Six, Enslavement to Satan

He writes, “Although Satan’s rebellion against God is his own doing, it has been ordained and permitted by God for God’s purposes and glory” (location 914). Without any Scripture verification, Washer claims that God ordained Satan’s fall. The Calvinist God receives great glory for this sinful decree. What an outrage from an author who in the book’s introduction promised, ” [it] does not contain . . . nor even a great amount of theological commentary. It was our desire to provide a work that only pointed to the way of Scriptures to speak from themselves” (location 97).

Dear believer, please spend hours in God’s Word at the feet of Jesus learning correct doctrine. Jesus said, “sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth” (John 17:17). Thanks for reading this review. All glory goes to God and His Son, Jesus Christ.

 

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