Is David Pawson a False Teacher?

Not_as_BadI receive many visits to this blog because of my references to David Pawson. It seems a lot of people are trying to find out more about him and his teaching. Maybe one of the most worrying reasons for those visits is demonstrated in a commonly used search term – a phrase entered into a search engine to track down relevant information. That search term is “Is David Pawson a false teacher?”

Why do I find that worrying?

 I’d have to ask why people would be asking whether Pawson was a false teacher. I assume someone out there has been telling people that he is. But the real cause for concern is that people are hearing those claims and then trying to get answers from others about the legitimacy of Pawson’s ministry. I wonder how their final conclusions will be drawn. Will they accept the outcome of majority opinion?

I have no problem with people questioning Pawson’s teaching. I have regularly heard him insisting that his hearers SHOULD question it. But turning to others for judgement is not the way to do that. The way to test ALL teaching is to search the scriptures ourselves. To become personally familiar with what God has revealed of Himself and His ways through His word so we can assess for ourselves whether a teaching is false or not.

As well as this question about Pawson, I’ve often come across people who want names named. Whenever there are general warnings about certain doctrines and practices, there will be some who ask which teachers are being referred to? They want to know who is teaching the falsehoods being exposed. But what about those who are overlooked in the naming? What if someone preaching the same error escapes a list of named false teachers? Does their omission from the list give them legitimacy?

Of course not!

It is up to each of us, individually, to take responsibility for the teaching we accept. It’s up to us to make sure it genuinely conforms to scripture. It is up to us to make sure that the teachers we heed are not merely using scripture (usually parts of scripture) to support their own agenda or theological tradition. Are they leaving something out? Are there parts of scripture they tend to avoid? Do they have to “reinterpret” parts of scripture to make it agree with what they are teaching?

So is David Pawson a false teacher?

Search the scriptures for yourself and find out.

What Ever Happened to … ?

I saw this on the TV on Sunday evening. (about 1/2 hour)

It is mainly about Harry Westcott, a man who played a massive part in my Christian life through the 80s.

mamreHe led (leads) a group called Vision Ministries. In the early 1980s I started their Bible College correspondence course and completed about half of the requirements for their lowest qualification (certificate of theology – or something like that). I went along to a lot of their big events in Sydney to hear speakers like Colin Urquhart, Benson Idahosa, TL & Daisy Osborn and others. David Pawson was a regular speaker but I never got to hear him in person.

Vision Ministries started to hold Saturday night meetings in Parramatta and I drove there from Wollongong as often as I could to attend, taking a few friends along each time. It was about a four hour round trip.

At those meetings I met a woman called Jackie Hamill, a very friendly God-loving woman who always made my friends and I feel very welcome. She was a full time student at the Vision Bible College. Whenever I went to a Vision event she was often the first to greet me. She later gave her life for the Lord, becoming the only literal martyr I’ve known personally.

She went on a mission trip to the Philippines, was taken hostage while visiting a prison and was raped and shot . (see here for more information

dishYears afterwards I found that Harry Westcott entered his own period of spiritual crisis in the late 80s (around the time my own crisis began). He left Sydney and moved back to his parents’ property in Parkes. He was given his parents’ house and given the opportunity to buy some land around it to farm. After a little time away from ministry he turned part of the property in a new Vision ministries headquarters where he started holding annual “Old Fashioned Camp Meetings” to which people would come to stay in tents and caravans to hear invited speakers. After one camp was disrupted by severe storms he set out to build a “Bush Cathedral” – a huge shed with meeting facilities to house future events.

About 10 years ago I got back in contact with Harry, and when Gloria and I started looking for a country escape from Sydney, Parkes was my favoured choice (though we didn’t end up living there).

On one of our regular trips to stay with Gloria’s parents, we decided to go a different route, heading through Parkes instead of Wagga. My planned visit to have coffee with Harry and his wife Doreen was changed to an overnight stay at their invitation. We were given accommodation in a cabin next to the main house, and spent the evening with the Westcotts. The visitors book in the cabin was fascinating – seeing names (and addresses) of some very well-known preachers. It was tempting to note down addresses, but I thought that would have been an abuse of our host’s hospitality.
arenaFurther involvement with Harry and Vision Ministries didn’t eventuate. I felt there were still too many associations with questionable personalities from the charismatic and WOF worlds. Although he was one of the few who spoke out against the excesses of Toronto when that was happening, he remained loyal to the late Benson Idahosa, one of the Nigerian adherents to the prosperity “gospel”, and from the video linked above it is clear that Westcott still holds to the prosperity “gospel” himself.

For a long time Harry and Vision Ministries seemed to have most of the answers I was looking for – they were almost OOC before anyone had dreamed of there being OOC believers. Harry was big on inter-denominationalism,  drawing people from all kinds of backgrounds together to put the focus on Jesus and the gospel instead of denominational theology. But while the right desire and intention may have been there – putting it into practice wasn’t always a success.

The Truncated Gospel by James


The Truncated Gospel by James

In Paul’s day, he and other Jewish apostles and disciples were attempting to spread the good news of the Jewish Messiah to Jews in Israel, Samaria, and in the diaspora and also to give that news to the Gentiles. Jews had been waiting and waiting for the arrival of the Messiah for centuries, and the need for him to come was especially acute during periods of exile and occupation. Israel was a land occupied by a foreign army and desperate to realize its own liberation and redemption. The news of an arrived Messiah who would be King and who would redeem national Israel would be beyond good news…it would be immense in its impact among world Jewry.

From that point of view, explaining why news of the arrived Messiah would be good news to the Jewish people is a no brainer, but we have to work a little harder (which Paul does) to explain why it is also good news to the people of the nations.

See full article here:

Blokes Only

Five of my paintings are included in a “Blokes Only” exhibition held by the local Society of Artists.  The exhibition will run for about 6 weeks, the longest that any of my work has been displayed publicly.

Four of the paintings can be seen in my 2013 gallery page.

They are:

Self PoorTraits

Ebal or Gerazim

Unholy Hybrid (retitled “Rise Up AUS” for the exhibition)

John 3 (retitled “In the same way, Jn 3:16)

The fifth painting is Metamorphose.


The following brief “biography” was provided for the exhibition…

I started painting two years ago.

So far I’ve learned by trial and error (mostly the latter), through regular visits to galleries to see the work of others and by reading a lot about art and artists.

I was initially inspired by New Zealand artists Colin McCahon and Chris Strom who use painted text in their work. (McCahon’s Victory Over Death 2, in the National Gallery in Canberra is one of my favourite paintings.)

My early attempts to paint words were disappointing so I adapted another aspect of McCahon and Strom’s work: portraying local scenic landmarks in a more abstract form.

I have also been inspired by Australian painters Fred Williams, Ian Fairweather and Imants Tillers. Tillers in particular helped me find my way back to incorporating text in my paintings, using stencils instead of freehand lettering.

With a lot of my work I try to address aspects of spirituality and politics, especially where the lines between the two become confused. In this I’ve found inspiration from Jewish artists such as Samuel Bak and Marc Chagall. Their example is leading me to develop a broader vocabulary of symbols to be incorporated into my paintings.