John the Baptist Eats Bear Grylls Babies For Breakfast

I appreciate the ministry of Paul Washer. He has a cutting way of encouraging young men to…man up. Yet Washer is considered by many in cultural Christianity to be a bit rough around the edges, too extreme, and too passionate in his plea for sinners (like me) to repent and cast themselves on the mercy of Christ.

I submit that those charges sound eerily familiar to a biblical character of the New Testament:

John the Baptist.

John the Baptist called seemingly sincere people seeking to be baptized by him a “brood of vipers.” He exclaimed vehemently the uncompromising message of broken repentance before the Messiah to any one with a functioning ear (Luke 3:7). He caused a curious stir among communities in Israel and garnered radical disciples to his ministry. He resided in desert caves, ate locusts and wild honey for breakfast, and dressed himself in camel-hair. I’m pretty sure he’d make Bear Grylls look like a cake eating mamma’s boy. John the Baptist was the original Chuck Norris, the only difference being that he was actually good at acting (according to Jewish historian, Josephus; )).

Now think of the ministers you know.

I am not suggesting preachers should take their dietary and fashion tips from a first century Nazarite Jew, but think about the ones you know or have seen on television. What strikes you most about them? Clean cut, with an inordinate amount of hair gel? Politically correct? Bleached teeth? Funny jokes? Nice suits and polished shoes? Great story tellers? Agreeable disposition? Typically, the sermon consists of three crisp points with a couple of relevant illustrations thrown in for good measure (maybe a lighthearted anecdote or two). None of these characteristics are bad in and of themselves, but unashamedly displaying them from the pulpit doth not a preacher make.

John was a real man.

A man’s man. A wild man. A real wild man’s man. A…you get the picture. His tone was blood earnest. His conviction unwavering. For the sake of the Bridegroom he chose to tear into his audience instead of tickling them (Luke 3:3). His weighty material directly flowed out of his love for Christ. Without displaying the sinful state of his audience they could never see their need for repentance, and without repentance they would never see their need for grace. He spoke the truth in love. But he spoke the truth. John loved his audience enough to tear their world apart in order for the Bridegroom to come and gently pick up the pieces. It was his prophetic calling.

Docile manners are not a virtue Scripture esteems greatly (neither am I saying niceness is a vice in Scripture).

The perfect man, Jesus, loved deeply, but he never was deemed “nice” by his closest followers. He was a table turning blasphemer to the most religious folk of His day.

The prophets of old loved their Jewish brethren, but none of their hearers would suggest “nice” as being one of their primary attributes. Broken hearted, men of sorrow, who spoke of shocking judgment coming to the unrepentant nation. Not nice. Not safe. Not sanitary.

The mighty blazing seraphim do not fly around the throne of God in exalted worship singing “NICE! NICE! NICE! Is the Lord of Hosts!” (read Isaiah 6:3, just read that whole chapter for a mindblow!)

Political correctness is the not an utmost concern of the Bridegroom’s friends. A tranquil American church currently majoring in manners watches as the world is dying under the weight of its own sin. It’s not nice to allow the winds of culture to dictate the force of our gospel message, especially when eternal life is at stake.

Sometimes a good sermon is like a roundhouse kick to the soul…just ask my boy John.

Bryan Daniels

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Author: Bryan Daniels

I am a follower of Jesus, a husband to Jessica, and a father of three boys: Josiah, Gideon and Judah. I teach high school math as a job, read reformed theology as a hobby, and write this blog just for kicks. With the rest of my time I coach football and track.

45 thoughts on “John the Baptist Eats Bear Grylls Babies For Breakfast”

  1. LOL I like Paul Washer a lot. Have you seen him street preach in full on spanish? His presentation is almost without flaw; tons of people flocked to him and quietly listened.

    1. Josh
      Never seen that. I know he spent a lot of time in South America as a missionary in the past. I really enjoy his ministry, he seems content with speaking the truth regardless of the result. That is at a premium nowadays…

  2. This reminds me of a pastor in Canada called Bruxey Cavey – long hair, earring, but speaks God’s Word in truth. He has a large church just outside of Toronto and many satellite churches.

    When I first met him at a Bible conference at a camp – he caught my attention because he wasn’t “clean cut” and “pure”. He was one of us. He talked about getting out of the box. Being real. Being who we are.

    My best friend and mentor was convicted for her judgment one day when she went to hear him speak (she didn’t know what he looked like). He came in and sat at the back – and she said to herself “my goodness they let anyone in here – and just look at him”… then he got up and came forward. OOPS. He WAS the speaker. A learning experience for sure.

    God speaks through all of us – in different ways. Bruxey has a young group of Christ followers who love God and are learning to know Him well.

    And the truth is the truth. Some just can’t bear to hear it. We need prophet-like teachers like Paul Washer too. There will always be controversy no matter what you say but if it is Christ’s word – speak it. Word of God – Speak.

    Blessings,
    Jan

    1. Amen, Jan.

      Men with prophetic type ministries and hard to bear sometimes (it’s always been that way), but when need a good jolt of Holy Spirit born truth to awaken us from time to time. Might have look up this Bruxey fellow, blessings to you!

  3. To repent means to change your mind, to change the way you think. John came preaching, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” When John was addressing the “brood of vipers”, he was actually addressing the “Christians” of his day, the carriers of the religious spirit which had taken over the “church.” I don’t know Paul Washer, and I’m all for “encouraging young men to man up”, but if his audience is mainly to prebelievers, I can understand why there is controversy.

      1. Then that’s a good thing. 🙂 And yes, there is still controversy but of a different type, one I’m more familiar with.

  4. David Platt and Francis Chan are good examples of this kind of preaching you’re talking about, Bryan. I’m doing a book rec on Radical by Platt next week.

  5. Awesome post! I feel like there is definitely a need for more preachers like Paul Washers and others like him, who aren’t afraid to roundhouse kick the soul in a good sermon! =)

  6. Since when did Jesus ever pick up the pieces? If John tore them apart as you say then those pieces would have been left to rot if they made the right desision and continued in it. You are a new creation in Christ not a second hand bandaged jigsaw puzzle.

  7. I enjoy listening to Washer as well. You might also check out Voddie Baucham on SermonAudio.com. He has the same, clear, straightforwardness that Washer has.

    I get frustrated with preachers who never get to the point or never say anything with clear conviction. As far as I’m concerned, if a preacher is not convicted of the truthfulness of Scripture and and does not declare it as such, then why bother. He would be better off selling insurance.

    1. I like Baucham alot too Pastor Tim, he is a very solid guy who isn’t afraid to throwdown biblically either. Pastors should teach with authority and conviction if they are following Christ, for the crowds marveled because Christ taught with “such authority.”

  8. This is some good stuff. Going to need to have a few folks I know read this, especially after they watch that Paul Washer youtube video.

    Also..an unrelated question as I continue to hack my way through this virtual blogging jungle with my virtual machete (of course with my virtual rippling muscles and virtual sweet hand to hand combat skills)….so today March 24, you simply reposted this entry which you originally wrote in January last year? Is that right?

    And….why? To keep the blog active? Just trying to learn from the ol’ Chief.

    (Now to find some virtual secret military headquarters to attack single-handedly…)

    1. Great question. You’ve partly answered: 1. I’m busy with family, teaching and coaching, so I really can’t write a good post everyday.

      2. I only repost posts from a few months ago, back when I had very small amount of readership. I like to share with my new readership some old stuff, because probably 97% have never read it before!

      Peace and grace brother!

  9. I loved this! We’ve been talking a lot in my small group about our efforts in the church sometimes to “broaden the way” and make the Christian life seem all easy, full of blessing and promises of abundance. It’s amazing how often Jesus spoke the hard truth, even when many people stopped following Him as a result. He wasn’t ever about a popularity contest. He was always about salvation,.

    Good stuff. Thanks for sharing!

  10. My brother-in-law and I argue (in the iron sharpens iron way of course) over eschatology, spiritual gifts, Bible translation and just about anything else two Christians can disagree on, but we both love Paul Washer.

    I followed your link on his name before I finished reading here. And I posted to
    Facebook immediately.

  11. I love this post. John the Baptizer is one of my heroes. He’s right up there with Mother Teresa, St Clare, St Francis, and St Paul. (They’re the circle right below the Trinity :] )

  12. John the Baptist, a very interesting man indeed. I would like to say that I don’t believe he is the model for a New Covenant evangelist, as pattimccarty mentioned. Jesus Himself called him the greatest of Old Testament prophets (the New Covenant began after Jesus’ death) . He had a very specific role in calling Israel to change her mind about the way they thought about the kingdom of God (because it was about to come upon them) and setting the stage for the NT. So while I’m all for preaching unadulterated truth, Jesus and the apostles never referred to sinners as a brood of vipers, but gave the messages like “…neither do I condemn you. Now go and sin no more.” The reason I write this isn’t to criticize your post, but I’ve personally seen evangelists go and preach hard turn or burn John the Baptist style messages to people who were unfamiliar with the true gospel and got absolutely nowhere. Of course, they were just being “persecuted for the truth” 🙂 I would suggest that these guys needed a John the Baptist to tell them to repent (change their thinking) and believe the good news. Thank God there is a better way. Peace

    1. I appreciate the comment John! I agree mostly. It helps to know our audience. Jesus didn’t say “brood of vipers” but he did call sinners/pharisees “whitewashed tombs.” He even called a seemingly humble Samaritan woman a “dog.” So he had a healthy balanced message for both the humble (go and sin no more) and the prideful (repent for the kingdom is near).

      Appreciate the thoughts, peace and grace brother!

  13. Bryan, I liked the post, although what struck me was that if I could be so bold; I would ask that you expand on some more expressive language. I ask this respectfully as I can see how busy you are. I think you have more to give in this area and would hope that you would have expressed more colourful language than “nice”
    Also, have you checked out the European prophet Martin Scott?

    Mark

  14. If Jesus was around today I wonder how we would look at him or how he would see us. Imagine how he would react to all the crap going on in the world especially those mega church preachers raping people of their money for their own benefit.

  15. Never heard him, but I’m intrigued, Regardless, I’ve never understood why these types get so much flack. People who do their best to speak the truth are “rough”. OOOOH…maybe it’s because they step on your toes, make you ‘man up’ and grow a Jesus spine. Hmmm.

  16. I reposted on Noble Heart Base Camp, a closed group led by Gary Barkalow. http://www.TheNobleHeart.com is the open site–Gary was one of the original four recorded in John Eldredge’s series WILD AT HEART, and a few years back launched his own ministry, focusing more on Calling.

    Thanks for the descriptively insightful, thought-provoking, and even humorous take on JtB!

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