David Pawson and Proof Texts

Not_as_BadThis morning I read a contributor on another blog saying he doesn’t accept David Pawson’s teaching. That wasn’t surprising because I know the writer is a strong Dispensationalist and Pawson’s teaching challenges those dispensationalist views. But I can’t blame the man for dismissing teaching that opposes his chosen doctrines. I had my own struggle with Pawson in the early 2000s.

I knew of Pawson’s teaching back in the 80s and I had a collection of tapes of his preaching at Vision Ministries conferences in Sydney and Melbourne. This was before I entered one of the worst periods of my spiritual life when my faith was severely challenged for around 15 years.

When I returned to faith after that “spiritual crisis”, Pawson was one of the first teachers I came across through his messages on Islam. After hearing that teaching I sought out more and was horrified by some things I heard – I had trouble accepting a lot of his teaching and more or less pushed him aside. What had happened to him over the years? Surely his preaching had changed since I’d last heard him.

But then, as I read more of scripture for myself, I started to think that Pawson might be right and my own understanding wrong.

Maybe one of the “difficulties” with Pawson is his reluctance to give chapter and verse references to provide on the spot proof for his teaching. That kind of approach doesn’t fit with the way Christians have been conditioned to rely on “texts”. His approach makes us search the scriptures if we want to check what he says.

I found one of his most helpful teachings was a sermon about the Millennium. He had a lot to say about it but gave very little “proof” from scripture, so I assumed he was going overboard with speculation – after all, the only references I knew of this period were in Rev 20 and they gave very little detail. It was only through my general bible reading that I started to come across that detail, in the prophets, and I started to see where Pawson had found the ideas he was teaching.

It was helpful because the experience gave me one of the most important lessons I’ve learned – not just about the millennium. I found how ignorant I’d been and how necessary it was to search the scriptures for myself and not to rely on other to provide “proof” for the validity of their teaching.

see here for access to Mr Pawson’s teaching:


4 thoughts on “David Pawson and Proof Texts

  1. Hi James,
    I’ll give that some thought and get back to you will some recommendations.

    “Unlocking the Bible” is a good on-going series looking at each book of the bible – but not as verse by verse teaching. It is more of a background to each book, giving historical context etc as an aid to private reading and study.

    And knowing a little about your interests and background you might like to check what he has to say about Israel and the Jewish people.


  2. My interests is that the Bible sometimes drives me crazy…not in the reading of it, but in the endless series of debates about what certain sections of it means (see the comments in the last three or four of my blog posts for examples).

  3. James,
    I have found the endless debates ususally revolve not around the bible, but around what has been taught about the bible.

    My approach to bible meaning – when something seems difficult is to put that part aside and not worry about it. It’s most likely that there’s something else I need to understand before that difficult part can become clear.

    I see it like Mathematics – we need to gain understanding of basic arithmetic before we can hope to understand complex algebraic formulas. Too often with the bible we want to understand everything NOW without taking time to understand basics.

    One of the big breakthroughs I experienced that helped make a lot of things so much clearer to me was learning how different parts of scripture relate to each other: for example realising where each of the prophetic books fit into Israel’s history. Which prophets are pre-exile, which are during the exile, and which came after the exile.

    What is NOT helpful is the order that we find the books in the Bible – often out of order (in the case of the prophets they are mostly ordered according to length rather than chronology). I understand that the order of books in Jewish scriptures is quite different and makes more sense.

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