The Tulip Driven Life Podcast

Saturday, February 5, 2011

A Pastor Does Not Preach The True Gospel Here

UPDATE 2/2015: I did not intend to cause confusion or frustration for some who have noted that there are multiple pastors/evangelists with the name of David Wood. At this point, I would like this blog post to simply be read as a critique of a real sermon  by a minister. Who it was exactly is not the important thing. If you are going to hear a David Wood preach and you have read this blog post, you will probably be able to tell if that is the David Wood or not. But I would not want to harm the ministries of any other David Wood's who are preaching the truth.

Original Post:

I want to demonstrate with this post how someone can come in who is truly a Christian, truly loves the Lord, sound like he is preaching the true gospel, but on closer inspection, simply is not preaching the true gospel. I watched this sermon on the church’s website where the preacher, David Wood, preached. In it he says many true and helpful things. The problem is, his purpose in this sermon was to help people know they were saved, help people know how to share the gospel, and to define what “Bible salvation” as he called it, is.

David Wood read from Acts 16:30 to explain the gospel. He emphasized the fact that the jailor initiated the salvation conversation and asked:  

Acts 16:30 “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?”

Now, I am going to take quotes from Pastor David Wood that I have transcribed from the audio of the sermon. When I directly quote him, this is what he said. It may not be word for word, but the meaning of what he said has not in the slightest sense been changed or altered. In other words, when I quote him, you are getting the precise meaning of what Pastor Wood said.

At this point, David Wood opened with prayer. I want everyone to notice what he says at the end of the prayer:


“Lord I pray for that person who has never been saved. If they died they would spend eternity in hell. Lord may the Spirit of God so work that... God may somehow make every person that is unsaved say yes to Jesus.”

Ok notice the acknowledgement of God’s sovereignty over salvation in his prayer. Notice Pastor Wood RIGHTLY prays that God would “somehow make every person that is unsaved say yes to Jesus.” Pastor Wood is asking God to regenerate unbelievers so that they would “say yes” to Jesus, which I am assuming by this Pastor Wood means repent and believe the gospel so that they would be saved. So just keep in mind, according to Pastor Wood’s prayer, he believes that God can cause people, “make” people, repent and believe and be saved. Do not forget this.

Now Pastor Wood begins his sermon in earnest:

“The subject of the salvation of God has become so confused that people don’t know what it means to be born again according to the clear teaching of the Word of God.”
“You can know that you are saved, your sins are forgiven, and you are going to heaven when you die.”

Now Pastor Wood is going to teach us how to share the gospel with others, and what the gospel is.
He says:

“Bible salvation (knowing that you are saved according to the clear teaching of the Word of God) always begins with a desire. Not sometimes, but always. Bible salvation always begins with a desire... if I should put a microphone here on one side and one on the other.... and have person after person tell us their salvation testimony... and ask them, ‘Did God force Himself upon you and make you get saved?’ No, there is not a person here who can stand and testify I wanted nothing to do with God and God knocked me down and made me receive Christ as Savior. God doesn’t force Himself on anybody. God wants you to come to Him because you want to be saved. Bible salvation starts with a desire to be saved.”

Hmmm. This is very confusing. In his opening prayer, Pastor Wood explicitly asked God to “make every person that is unsaved say yes to Jesus.” Yet in his actual sermon, Pastor Wood tells the congregation that God does not make anyone get saved! Pastor Wood says there is not even one person who can stand and testify that they wanted nothing to do with God, and God knocked them over and made them receive Christ as Savior!

Everyone, I am here to say that unless God had chosen to save me, unless God made me say yes to Jesus, I never would have said yes to Jesus. I never would have repented and believed the gospel, unless God so worked in my heart and made me willing to repent and believe the gospel. And you need to be humbled and understand that every one of you who are saved never would have repented and put your faith in Christ, you never would have “said yes” to Jesus, unless God first regenerated you, unless God first gave you the desire to repent and believe.If you are saved, think God for electing you and choosing that you would repent and believe. Thank Him for His saving grace that brought you to faith and repentance.

So, to comment a bit more on what Pastor Wood said above- I do agree, Bible salvation DOES start with a desire to be saved. However, I adamantly disagree that “God wants you to come to Him because you want to be saved.” Why do I say that? Because Romans 3 says that no one seeks God, no one does God, and no one is righteous. And I say that because 2 Thessalonians 2:13-14 says that God has chosen certain people to believe the truth which He called us to by the gospel! So you see, whenever someone believes the gospel, they believe because God opens up their hearts of stone and gives them the desire to repent and believe. Unless God does this, we would never repent and believe because we are dead in trespasses and sins (Ephesians 2:1-10).

Now you cannot deny that God opens hearts, for the Bible explicitly says this. Just a few verses earlier in chapter 16 of Acts, in verse 14-15 it says,

“Now a certain woman named Lydia heard us. She was a seller of purple from the city of Thyatira, who worshiped God. The Lord opened her heart to heed the things spoken by Paul. And when she and her household were baptized, she begged us, saying, ‘If you have judged me to be faithful to the Lord, come to my house and stay.’ So she persuaded us.”

Incredible! God opened the heart of Lydia so that she would heed the things Paul said, and after this she got baptized. If we really believe that faith is a gift of God (Eph. 2:8-9) and that repentance is likewise a gift (2 Timothy 2:25-26) that God grants, then we understand that it is God who makes us willing to believe, it is God who has chosen that we would believe. Yet Pastor Wood contradicts both the plain teaching of Scripture and his very own prayer in his sermon by saying that God doesn’t “make me receive Christ as Savior.”

So again, Pastor Wood says that salvation starts with a desire to be saved. This is true, but it appears that Pastor Wood believes that the sinner, by his own willpower, must create this desire to be saved. This is simply not true, because man is dead in sin and will never desire to be saved. Now what you are about to see from Pastor Wood is his confusion over the gospel. He is going to say stuff like, “Now wouldn’t you think everyone would want to have their sins forgiven and not go to hell” and other such stuff, as if the gospel was just about getting out of hell. He also fails to realize that, unless God regenerates sinful man, they will never see their sins as wrong and deserving of hell. Therefore, they will not seek a Savior from hell because they do not see themselves as deserving of eternal torment in hell.  

Now, continuing Pastor Wood’s sermon, he says:

“The first question is, do you desire to be saved and know your sins are forgiven and know you will go to heaven beyond a shadow of a doubt? I would think that when a person really begins to understand the penalty of sin (hell), I would think they would have a desire to know Christ, wouldn’t you think so? Sin is the most expensive thing that you will ever try to enjoy in your life. Nothing you ever try to do will cost you as much as trying to live in sin... I try for young people to understand... that sin will absolutely destroy your potential... what I am trying to say is that sin will wreck your life, steal your potential, take the high road that God has for you, destroy your marriage, and wreck your life. The plan of the devil is to steal, kill, and destroy your life, and his instrument is sin.”
The problem with this is that Pastor Wood is trying to get people to want Jesus Christ so that they can simply get out of hell and get good stuff, like the good life (as in not have their life ruined by sin and the devil). A person who wants Jesus Christ solely and/or foundationally on the grounds of getting out of hell and not having a messed up life is not a Christian. Anyone can want that, but to want that is not wanting Christ as Savior nor is it wanting His righteousness, it is just wanting Christ as fire insurance and life improver.

At this point, Pastor Wood starts telling dramatic, emotional stories. Its not worth posting here because all it is is an attempt to play on emotions and show that he has been successful in getting people to “make decisions” for Jesus. He tells the story of some 15 year old girl who was going to kill herself (why is it always a suicide story they have to share?) and went up to Pastor Wood, pulled out a revolver, and handed it to him as well as her suicide note. Apparently she got her sins forgiven and now had a purpose to live. I am not going to speculate on whether or not this is a true story, I would hope that Pastor Wood is a man of integrity and was not making this up or embellishing it. I do not think he would do that. At any rate, I hope this girl truly did repent and believe the gospel, but if Pastor Wood’s message was anything like the one he gave that I am transcribing for you here today, she couldn’t have unless she had prior knowledge of the true gospel elsewhere, because Pastor Wood here simply isn’t preaching the true gospel in its entirety.

Back to Pastor Wood’s sermon:

“The plan of the devil is to wreck your life by sin. If we begin to understand that I think a person would want to have those sins forgiven. I would think you would like to unstrap that burden, throw it aside, and let Jesus take it. And that’s what Jesus did for you on the cross so that you can have the freedom that comes with knowing Christ as your Savior. Very simply what I am saying is this- this is the desire the jailor had isn’t it? He heard them sing, listened to the gospel, and the Bible said in Acts 16:29 the jailor called for a light... and initiated the subject and said, “What must I do to be saved?” This man had a desire to be saved. Do you have a desire to know that you are saved? Do you have a desire to know that you are going to heaven? But I must tell you, that is not all there is to salvation. Bible salvation begins with the desire, but it is activated by faith. It is activated by faith. What do I mean? I mean in order for a person to be saved they must place their faith on the Lord Jesus Christ. They (Paul and Silas) said you must BELIEVE, underline that word in your Bible, it means place your faith in Christ.”
This is just more of the same. Although I would like to point out that the jailor asking “what must I do to be saved” and then Pastor Wood asking his congregation if they “have a desire to know that they are saved” is two entirely different questions. The first is wanting to know how to be saved, the latter is wanting to know how they can be sure that they are already saved. Now Pastor Wood is right, one must have faith in Jesus Christ in order to be saved. And as you will see in a second he does a good job pointing out that it isn’t our faith that saves us, but that our faith is placed in the object of the Savior Jesus Christ that saves us. As Pastor Wood said earlier, believing on the Lord Jesus Christ means the same thing as having faith in Jesus Christ. The problem is, the message of Peter, Paul, and Jesus wasn’t simply to “believe but to “repent and believe.” I’ll demonstrate that later, but for now I just want to point out that Pastor Wood thus far has got the gospel call in half by leaving out repentance and creating an easy believism or “cheap grace” as Dietrich Bonheoffer and John Macarthur call it. Cheap grace simply means that you can receive Christ as Savior without repenting and receiving Him as Lord as well. Perhaps Pastor Wood isn’t meaning to preach this, but this is what his message ends up resulting in.

Back to the sermon again:

“Now this is very important for God’s people to understand. Listen carefully. In order to be saved, faith is important, but the object of your faith is of paramount importance. You can be saved by faith, but it’s not any kind of faith, or faith that’s placed on any object that will save you. Its when your faith is placed on  the correct biblical object, that is the Lord Jesus Christ, because He is the only forgiveness of sin, the only way to go to heaven, and the only answer to the sin problem of this world....”
To all of this I say amen! This is very true and important. The problem, again, is that Pastor Wood has made salvation, and subsequently the gospel out to be nothing more than getting your sins forgiven and going to heaven. But that is not the totality of the “sin problem of the world” at all. The problem is much deeper than that. I’ll demonstrate in a bit.

Next in the sermon, Pastor Wood rightly points out how becoming a member of a church doesn’t save you, or getting baptized does not save you. He then talks about how self-help, making yourself better and better and trying to improve yourself will never make you good enough to go to heaven when you die. He calls this “bootstrap religion” saying that we cannot save ourselves by our own efforts. This is all very true, and in fact the bootstrap analogy I have heard Calvinists use.

Pastor Wood then says, “We cannot forgive our sins and save ourselves, the only forgiveness of sins if through the blood of Jesus Christ.” Amen!

He then rightly condemns the “see and believe” or “name and claim” type of gospel, where if you just visualize it, you will have it.

Pastor Wood says, 

“It’s not faith in an institution, its not faith in yourself, it’s not faith in faith that saves you, its when you place your faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, that’s where forgiveness comes from....Bible salvation begins with a desire. Bible salvation is activated by faith, but Bible salvation is consummated or completed by personal reception.”
He then quotes John 1:12-13 that “as many received Him, to them He gave the right to become sons of God.”

Pastor Wood then says, 
“There are only 2 types of people on earth. Those who have received Christ and have eternal life, and those that have not.”

Next Pastor Wood again goes into how church membership will not save you, and that when he was young they tried to make him a member of a church. But he says they never preached the gospel to him, and so he was a member of the church yet not saved and on his way to hell. He was baptized (by immersion since he seems to think that is extremely important) but not saved, no one ever showed him he needed Jesus Christ as Savior and no one told him what he must do to become a Christian.

Then he said, “You can join every church in the state, but you church membership and baptism will not wash your sins away.” Amen.

“Forgiveness is in the blood of Jesus Christ... But you must individually receive Christ as Savior.” Amen again.

“It’s when you come to the point that you know you are a sinner,  and you say, “I see that Jesus died on the cross, and I went down to receive Him as my Savior.”

Amen, BUT, what does it mean to be a sinner? All that Pastor Wood ever said as far as being a sinner goes is that we sin and that because of our sins we deserve hell. So he has presented the entirety of the sin problem as going to hell. But this is not all that it means to be a sinner. Being a sinner means that you are dead in your trespasses and sins, and that outside of being saved you cannot please God (Romans 8:8) and that you will not seek God nor do anything good (Romans 3:10-12). Pastor Wood failed to point out that being a sinner really means that we are enslaved to our sins, that our wills are fallen, and that only Jesus Christ can set us free from this slavery to sin (Romans 6, John 8:34-36). Pastor Wood failed to mention that Jesus Himself said that unless God the Father draws sinners, no one can come to Jesus (John 6:44) and that no one will come to Jesus and believe in Him unless it has been granted to them by God the Father (John 6:64-65). Pastor Wood failed to mention that it is not of the man who wills or desires to be saved that is saved, but of God who shows mercy and makes man willing to be saved (Romans 9:16 and following).  
So you see, the depth of our sinfulness extends all the way to the very core of our being. We are not sinners because we sin, we sin because we are sinners. We are stained with original sin because we are in Adam and of our father Adam. Therefore, our wills and heart’s desires are bent towards self and sin and we by nature hate God and His righteousness. We love sin, and are by nature children of wrath (Ephesians 2:3) and children of the devil (1 John 3:10). The only thing that will bring us to salvation is if God takes out our heart of stone, regenerates us, and gives us His Spirit, thus making us willing to repent and believe (Ezekiel 36:26-27).

So as you see, Pastor Wood hasn’t rightly demonstrated the depths of our own depravity, our own sinfulness, and has actually watered it down, saying that we can, and must, create a desire in our hearts to want to be saved. Also, he has completely left out repentance from his gospel. Repentance is simply a giving up of trying to earn salvation by works and effort, and looking to Christ to be saved out of your slavery to sin. Yet, Pastor Wood never even informs his congregation that they are enslaved to sin, therefore he never presents the glorious truth that Christ on the cross saved us from our deadness and slavery to sin! He simply says that Jesus saves us from hell, but not from our enslavement to sin. Further, he never tells the congregation that in order to be saved, they must turn to Christ to save them from their own love for sin and give them the Holy Spirit which will convict them of sin and enable them to live righteously.  

Continuing with the sermon, Pastor Wood started laying out a time when he was talking with a grown man who was at one of his revivals and apparently wanting to get saved, and Pastor Wood says to the man,

“I believe you'd like to become a Christian?”

 The man said, “Yes I would.”

I(David Wood)  said, “Let’s step aside, it won’t take but a minute.”

 But the guy said, “I have got to go, I have a business meeting.”

 And I (David Wood) said, “Let me show you how to become a Christian, it won’t take a minute."

The guy said he was going to come back that night and accept Christ as Savior. But the guy was killed in a car wreck, according to Pastor Wood. Then Wood said,  

“Whatever you need to do for God, you need to do that right now. Let’s bow our heads together. Now I am going to ask our pianist to just play very very softly. I don’t want anyone to move and I want every eye closed. I am going to ask you to spend a minute with God, right now just a minute with God. In fact I am going to ask you to do it this way. Spiritually speaking draw a circle around yourself- just one of the instruments very very softly- spiritually speaking draw a circle around yourself, as if you were the only person in this room. Now invite God inside of that circle. Just invite God inside that circle and say, ‘God I need you.’ Now here is the question. If God should take your life right now, are you absolutely sure that you would go to heaven? I don’t mean if you are Baptist or charismatic or Methodist. I am talking about your future. Every head bowed and eyes closed, with God speaking to hearts....”
Unfortunately that was the end of the video. It cut off in the middle of the prayer, but as I am sure you can guess, Pastor Wood was likely about to do the whole “say a prayer for salvation” thing. I want to point out the extreme irony here. If you heard this sermon, you would hear that Pastor Wood, as I alluded to, frequently kept blasting churches that try to save people through membership or baptism or through good works or just having faith in yourself. And I am glad he pointed out that heresy and false gospel. But what he apparently fails to realize is, by having people say a prayer for salvation and to just ‘receive Christ’ he is doing exactly the same thing!

Oh, and like you, I have NOOOO  idea what inviting God insead of your spiritual circle and telling Him I need you means. I have no idea what that’s all about, except superstition and traditionalism I guess. I suppose I missed that passage of Scripture where Jesus or Peter or Paul commanded everyone to draw spiritual circles and give God permission to enter it (because after all, God won’t make you let Him in your spiritual circle) in order to get saved. Sheesh.

Oh, and I guess the Holy Spirit simply cannot work right unless that dag on piano player isn't playing very, very softly. What is this mess?

No Pastor Wood, it doesn’t take “just a minute” to get saved, as if you can just say a few magic words in a prayer and that changes your eternal destination from hell to heaven. That is not what the full gospel is all about. It’s not just getting your eternal destination switched from a place of pain to a place of bliss, its about the supernatural work of God whereby He regenerates you, makes you born again, so that you now see yourself for the sinner that you really are, hate your own sinfulness and desire by the grace and power of the Holy Spirit to live for God. Repentance literally means “a change of mind.” And this change of mind is not a change of mind about wanting to go to heaven instead of hell! Nobody wants to go to hell! The change of mind is a change of mind about what you are living for, self or Christ, sin or righteousness. This change of mind concerning self and sin can only occur after God has regenerated man. So, unless a man is born again, he will not desire to be saved from his sins, and by being saved from sin I do not mean saved from hell, I mean what I said, saved from sin, as in saved from our inability to do good, our slavery to sin. None of this did Pastor Wood even begin to mention. Therefore, what Pastor Wood presented was an incomplete, erroneous, false gospel, a false gospel that is hardly any better than telling people they can be saved by being baptized or becoming a member of a church.

I don’t doubt that Pastor Wood is a Christian, and I also do not doubt that Pastor Wood is incredibly confused over the gospel and how a man is saved. He begins in his prayer by praying that God would “somehow make all who are unsaved say yes to Jesus,” then lays out an entire sermon explaining how God would never do that, and doesn’t want to do that, but rather wants you to of your own willpower desire to say yes to Jesus for salvation. Then, to close his sermon, again in his prayer, the last words that were recorded were Pastor Wood saying, “with God speaking to hearts.” Apparently, Pastor Wood is a Calvinist in prayers and an Arminian at best in his sermons and gospel presentation!

I think I have sufficiently demonstrated that Pastor Wood both contradicts himself and fails to preach the true gospel and what it means to be saved. The saddest part of all of this is that Pastor Wood is a pretty well known guy nationally, and was the main speaker at this church’s revival. Pastor Wood’s job was to teach the congregation how they can know they are saved, and how to share the gospel with others!

Again, as I have said countless times before, we need a reformation in our church before we are ever going to reach the unbelieving world, because our own pastors cannot even get the gospel right.


  1. Thanks for making it clear what salvation from our sins truly means. Here is what A W Pink reveals in his sermon, Present Day Evangelism,

    The nature of Christ’s salvation is woefully misrepresented by the present-day “evangelist.” He announces a Savior from hell rather than a Savior from sin. And that is why so many are fatally deceived, for there are multitudes who wish to escape the Lake of fire who have no desire to be delivered from their carnality and worldliness. The very first thing said of Him in the New Testament is, “Thou shalt call His name Jesus, for He shall save His people (not “from the wrath to come,” but) from their sins.” (Matt. 1:21) Christ is a Savior for those realizing something of the exceeding sinfulness of sin, who feel the awful burden of it on their conscience, who loathe themselves for it, who long to be freed from its terrible dominion; and a Savior for no others. Were He to “save from hell” those still in love with sin, He would be a Minister of sin, condoning their wickedness and siding with them against God. What an unspeakably horrible and blasphemous thing with which to charge the Holy One!

  2. There are several evangelists named David Wood please be specific about which one you are refering to...not to is a bit wreckeless don't you think?

  3. There are three Pastor David Woods in Canada alone...please be more specific

  4. Your TULIP is out and out heresy! Because of this doctrine many people are living in out and out sin thinking they are going to heaven but they are on a road to hell. Why a TULIP driven church who literally believes God would chose some for salvation and others for destruction is beyond me. We are saved by grace alone when we place our faith in Jesus and repent. If I hold out a $1 bill for you to take, the provision has been made, but you need to reach out and take it - God is not going to force you, He gave you a will. This is an out and out difference in doctrine between Calvinists and non- Calvinists - if you are going to point fingers and call the non-Calvinists heretics, than you better look at the four fingers pointing back at you.

  5. He who is without sin throw the first stone. It is amazing to see how people use their time to tear down other ministries.