The Fresh Prince—Destined To Ruin
By Lance Goodall
The Christian world has a fresh prince, not of Bel Air, but from Singapore!
Joseph Prince (JP) is the senior pastor of New Creation Church in Singapore, one of Asia’s biggest churches. Under Prince’s leadership, the church congregation has grown by more than a hundredfold—from about 150 to more than 24,000. A founding member of New Creation Church, Prince initially served as an elder and associate pastor. However, his appointment as senior pastor in 1990 marked a turning point in the history of the church, which started experiencing phenomenal growth.
Prince, the son of a Sikh priest of Indian origin and a Chinese mother, changed his birth name to Joseph Prince from Xenonamandar Jegahusiee Singh, during his previous occupation as an IT consultant. His name change is reminiscent of Joseph the Hebrew Prince of Egypt. He is married to Wendy, and has two young children. As a young man he dabbled in the occult, but he said that “supernatural experiences” opened his eyes to Christianity.
Rising to cult status, Prince is the new “voice” in the world of TV preachers, bringing a breath of fresh air, teaching his version of “effortless” grace, and his panoramic view of God’s love. But is this really the breath of Heaven, or is it a new wind of doctrine; a form of grace for children desiring only milk, happy with cotton candy Christianity? (cf. Eph. 4:14; 1 Cor. 3:2; Heb. 5:12-14)
For a new “Christian” Prince’s teaching sounds wonderful. But anyone with even an ounce of biblical discernment would run from such teaching.
The Pop Prince
Joseph Prince’s Television programme, and his books are everywhere. Prince is the new Prosperity Poster Boy. His website boasts:
A highly sought-after conference speaker, Pastor Prince has impacted church leaders internationally by preaching the unadulterated gospel of Jesus with boldness. He is known for teaching God’s Word in a fresh, practical and revelatory way that always unveils Jesus. His humorous, dynamic and engaging style of preaching has also endeared him to a wide spectrum of viewers who tune in to his daily television programme – Destined To Reign. This broadcast currently reaches millions of homes across North America, Europe, Africa, Australia and Israel on both secular and Christian networks.
Pastor Prince is actively fulfilling the mandate that God has given him to preach God’s unmerited favour without compromise. Prince’s ministry continues to transform many lives, setting people free from the heavy yoke of the law, guilt and condemnation by pointing them to Jesus and His finished work at Calvary.
Pastor Prince believes the best in people and is committed to helping them discover how they can “reign in life through the abundance of grace and the gift of righteousness.” His desire is to help this generation of believers understand the new covenant…”
His messages are all about grace “to lift the heavy yoke of the law.” He is strongly into the “Word Faith” movement, meaning his message is based on health and prosperity. Prince has changed the basic premise from faith, to “grace,” which has far more appeal. Because he believes the best in people he doesn’t talk much about sin! He has just enough right teaching, mixed with wrong theology to be dangerous.
JP has been invited to preach at a number of churches in Australia, London, USA, Canada, Norway, Netherlands, South Africa and Indonesia. Notably, he has been invited to preach at many a Hillsong Conference, including this year’s (2012).
Prince’s TV program, Destined to Reign, is broadcast in more than 150 countries. His broadcast programme is also streamed online through Internet and podcasts. Yet he has never had any formal theological training.
Prince publishes books, CDs and DVDs. In 2007, he published his book, Destined to Reign: The Secret to Effortless Success, Wholeness and Victorious Living, which contained teachings from his ten years of preaching from 1997 to 2007. Six months after the book’s US release, it was listed as one of Christian Retailing’s Top 100 Books. In 2010, Prince’s latest book, Unmerited Favor, was published worldwide by Charisma House.
Joseph Prince was featured in the cover story of the June 2010 issue of Charisma Magazine , which covered his preaching and teaching ministry. [Christian Retailing, Charisma House, and Charisma Magazine are all divisions of recently renamed Charisma Media, founded and basically owned by Steve Strang; Charisma Magazine has published numerous articles excerpted from Prince’s heretical teachings and featured him on the cover of a recent edition devoted to promoting Prince, demonstrating yet once again how that spiritually liberal Strang and the entities he controls historically are on the wrong side of prominent spiritual issues impacting the Pentecostal/Charismatic stream. –Ed.] On October 29, 2011, JP ministered in the US for the first time at Lakewood Church (Where Joel Osteen is the lead speaker. –Ed.) in Houston, Texas.
There have been criticisms about the size of the salary paid by the church to its senior pastor [Prince. – Ed.].
On 5 October 2008, in an interview with the Sunday Times, JP, who is the executive chairman of the church council, acknowledged that he was well-paid but added that money did not have a hold on him. He dismissed the rumour that his salary was $50,000 a month.
However, on 30 March 2009, The Straits Times reported that an investigation revealed that the independent New Creation Church paid one employee between $500,001 and $550,000 in its last financial year of 2008.
Under the revised and updated recommendations contained in the Code of Governance for charities, all charities and non-profit organizations in Singapore are encouraged to disclose the salary bands of their top executives to the Commissioner of Charities. Even though the church did not confirm if the amount went to its pastor, Joseph Prince. It told The Straits Times that its policy is to “recognise and reward key contributors to the church and Senior Pastor Prince is the main pillar of our church’s growth and revenue”. The New Creation Church’s income was reported to be SGD55.4 Million (US$44.6 Million) for the financial year ended March 2008. On June 7, 2010, The Straits Times and Channel News Asia reported that Joseph Prince has not been on the church payroll since 2009.
Prince of Prosperity
Many are becoming aware of this man’s teachings. But not “all that glitters is gold,” as the saying goes.
Here is a quote from Joseph Prince:
I give thank(s) to God for my roots in the Word of Faith teachings. It is truly on the shoulders of great men of God like Brother Kenneth E. Hagin that we are able to see further into the Word of God today. Growing up, I learned a lot about faith from Brother Hagin who truly had a special revelation of faith from the Lord. I deeply honour and respect him for all that he has taught me.”
Prince’s background has certainly influenced his teaching on grace. In his sermon, Walking in the Undeserved Favour of God, he said:
Now I’ve been in the Word of Faith circle and I find that Word of Faith preachers know about favour. The thing that I wish many of them would say though would be this – to use that phase – undeserved favour… Now I didn’t learn amazing grace from Word of Faith though,… I had to learn that truly struggling on my own.
The following are gleanings taken from his book, Destined to Reign. This list is the crux of Prince’s teachings.
- Nothing but blessings for the believer (p.53).
- No longer a need to be concerned about God’s Judgment.
- Repentance and confession of sin is never necessary.
- Wealth is for all Christians.
- God is continually restoring “New Truths” to the church—-New Revelations (p.32).
- Prince’s personal revelation from God is: “More grace; less judgment.”
- Prince believes that God WILL NOT JUDGE America because of the cross (p.49).
- The Moral law has no bearing on Christians today; it was abolished with the Ceremonial law.
- Prince says that he never encountered anyone that said, “Now I can go out and sin because of grace.” (p.99)
- Repentance means “only to turn around” or a “change of mind.”
- Prince says he used to be conscious of sin (“sin-consciousness”), but he doesn’t focus on confessing his sin’s anymore.
Prince’s preaching on “grace” always comes back to blessing and prosperity. It’s no wonder he has so many followers.
Prince continually assures the Believer that, although he does not condone sin, all was forgiven when Jesus died for the Believer. On Page 53 of his book, Destined to Reign, Prince writes: “If you receive a word from someone which brings your sins to remembrance or instills an expectation of punishment for sins in your life, don’t fear it, just throw it out the window….”
On Page 45, he writes: “God took all your sins, even the sins that you have not yet committed, and put them all on Jesus. All future sins have been fully judged at the cross.”
On Pages 138, 233 and 99 respectively he states: “Believers are forever righteous, you cannot be under grace without becoming holy,” and that he has never encountered anyone who, after receiving grace, says, “now I can go out and sin.”
Really?? Don’t you know of those who truly served and loved the Lord at one time, and have returned to a life of sin, or at least failed the Lord at one point?
JP teaches that since all sins are already forgiven, there is no need to repent of them anyway. What we need instead is to be “forgiveness-conscious.”
On Page 103 of his book, he writes:
“Even when they (Christians) say a wrong thing, do a wrong thing or have a wrong thought….they see the blood of Jesus continually washing them….because they are forgiveness-conscious, they experience victory over sin.”
So every day, make it a priority to see yourself righteous in Christ. Don’t be conscious of your sins. Instead, be conscious of your righteousness….see Jesus with His pierced hands and side, which speak of His finished work. See all your sins forgiven, and you will flow with peace and joy. When you do this, you are seeking the kingdom of God!
Prince’s teachings may be about grace, but he is twisting scripture to make his point. JP’s message of grace is mixed with strange word-faith concepts. Many who were once biblical (sic), now completely accept Prince’s teachings!
However, many of his statements like the following are true, or partly true:
- The law is about you looking at yourself. The new covenant is all about you seeing Jesus.”
- Even though the law is holy, just and good, it has no power to make you holy, just and good.
- Stop trying to deserve and earn your own acceptance before God with your own works and efforts. It will only frustrate the grace of God and nullify the effects of the cross in your life.
Joseph Prince qualifies: “People sometimes ask me, ‘Pastor Prince, if you don’t teach the Ten Commandments to your church, what is going to govern them?’ My friend, the Lord Himself will govern them!” [Uhhh…the Lord is the Author of the Ten Commandments. – Ed.]
Joseph Prince has misapplied the leading of the Holy Spirit (cf., Jn. 16:13). The Lord also guides through His Word. His statements are clear indications that he teaches antinomianism.
Therefore, to him who knows to do good and does not do it, to him it is sin (Jas. 4:17).
The logical conclusion is “one must be aware of what is good to do it”; equally, “one must know what is not right, so as not to sin.” Prince keeps his followers in ignorance of what God requires. Like so many, he is preaching a “different gospel” — a “feel good gospel.”
Have you noticed that the law entered so that sin might abound? It clearly means that the more you preach the law, the more sin will abound. After all, the strength of sin is the law. Therefore, when…you preach more of the law, you are literally adding wood to fire.
On the contrary the Bible makes it clear that:
- The Ceremonial law was fulfilled in The New Covenant by the death of Jesus Christ on the cross. We have no need of sacrifices for the forgiveness of our sins. Christ was our Passover Lamb. However, nowhere in the Bible has the “Moral law” been abolished.
- It is still wrong to murder, steal, commit adultery, etc. We are still obligated to keep these laws.
You have heard that it was said by them of old time, you shall not commit adultery: But I say to you, That whoever looks at a woman to lust after her has committed adultery with her already in his heart. (Mat. 5:27-28)
Jesus magnified the law. In fact, Jesus raised the laws of the Old Testament to a higher standard. If Joseph Prince is correct; then why did Jesus make the keeping of the Moral law even tougher and stricter (cf., Mat. 5:22-44)?
“It is all about Jesus and His finished work! The law justified no one and condemned the best of us, but grace saves even the worst of us (Destined To Reign, p. 124) “Commandments Kill.”
Although correct as standalone statements, his emphasis is at the expense of a proper understanding of the Law. Paul referred to The Law as “a schoolmaster” (Gal. 3:24). It’s not grace replacing the law, but rather God’s grace given to fulfill the Law. Prince makes the “law” and “condemnation”—not our “sin”—the enemy!
While Prince makes some good points to accentuate grace, one needs to read many of his quotes in their complete context. Many times, his points may be true, but his application and solution are not. The main idea Prince is advancing is that: through grace, believers only receive blessings, they do not need to be concerned about sin, or God’s chastening. Grace has done away with the Law, with its judgment and punishment. Prince’s whole presentation is that:
This (grace) is the secret to effortless success, wholeness, and victorious living!” (Destined to Reign, p. 307); and “victorious living is effortless.”
If the path to God is effortless then why did Jesus say, “Strive to enter through the narrow door. For many, I tell you, will seek to enter and will not be able” (Lk. 13:24; ESV)
Strive, and not ALL will be able to enter! That doesn’t seem effortless grace, does it?
Prince of Dreams
To understand his position we need to learn how he was led into this teaching. Prince says in 1997 (notice early in his ministry) while on vacation with his wife:
I distinctly heard the voice of the Lord on the inside. It wasn’t a witness of the Spirit. It was a voice, and I heard God say clearly to me: “Son, you are not preaching grace.”
I said, “What do You mean, Lord? That’s a low blow. That’s a real low blow!” I added, “I’m a preacher of grace. I have been a grace preacher for years….”
He said, “No. Every time you preach grace, you preach it with a mixture of law. You attempt to balance grace with the law, like many other preachers, and the moment you balance grace, you neutralize it. You cannot put new wine into old wineskins. You cannot put grace and law together.” He went on to say, “Son, a lot of preachers are not preaching grace the way Apostle Paul preached grace.” He then ended emphatically with this statement that revolutionized my ministry: “If you don’t preach grace radically, people’s lives will never be radically blessed and radically transformed.”
That powerful word from the Lord jolted me, and I realized for the first time that I had indeed been preaching a grace message that was tempered with the law. I returned to my church with a strong mandate from the Lord….” (Joseph Prince, Destined To Reign, pp. vii-viii).
It sounds good doesn’t it?
Firstly, why are we relying [solely, without comparing it to the Bible; –Ed.] on “the voice of the Lord” to teach and expound biblical doctrine?
Jesus Christ supposedly told Kenneth Copeland (Word-Faith teacher) in the following prophecy:
“Don’t be disturbed when people put you down and speak harshly and roughly of you. They spoke that way of Me, should they not speak that way of you? The more you get to be like Me, the more they’re going to think that way of you. They crucified Me for claiming that I was God. But I didn’t claim I was God; I just claimed I walked with Him and that He was in Me.” Hallelujah. (cf. Mat. 26:63-65; Jn. 8:54-59)
This is Word of Faith teaching — plain and simple! Prince has admitted Kenneth E. Hagin is a strong influence, meaning JP’s teaching will deny essential elements of Christian doctrine, such as Christ’s deity! [Not sure of the author’s intent here. I am thoroughly unaware of any evidence in the entire record of the oral or written teachings of Kenneth E. Hagin indicating anything even remotely resembling denial of the deity of Christ, but rather only the opposite. –Ed.]
Prince may be fairly new to the scene, but the doctrine he teaches isn’t something new at all, nor is it a “New Revelation.” “Antinomianism” was what the Apostles came against in the Early Church.
Antinomianism is the teaching that under the Gospel, the Moral Law is of no use, nor are Christians obligated to keep it. Antinomianism, or legal irresponsibility, is an extreme version of justification by faith alone. It does not necessarily imply the embrace of ethical permissiveness; rather it usually implies emphasis on the inner working of the Holy Spirit as the primary source of ethical guidance.
Prince seeks to defend himself:
I have been accused of being an antinomian (someone who is against the law of Moses). The truth is I have the highest regard for the law….I am for the law, for the purpose for which God gave the law….God did not give the law for us to keep. He gave the law to bring man to the end of himself, so that he would see his need for a Saviour (emphasis added).
Although, the law was to bring an end to ourselves:
What then? Shall we sin, because we are not under the law, but under grace? God forbid. Don’t you know that to whom you yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants you are to whom you obey; whether of sin to death, or of obedience to righteousness? (Rom. 6:15,16)
He condemned sin in the flesh, in order that the righteous requirement of the Law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit. (Rom. 8:4)
According to Joseph Prince, a Christian can accept Christ and somehow live a life of sin and in the flesh (at least ignorantly) because he/she is already forgiven and there is no need to live “holy and blameless” as the Apostle Paul admonishes us to do in 1 Thessalonians 4:7: “For God has not called us for impurity, but in holiness. Therefore whoever disregards this, disregards not man but God, who has given us His Holy Spirit.”
Where is the need for repentance? With Prince’s teaching it seems there is none?
Of course, Prince denies this. Teachers like Prince are into political “doublespeak.”
There are many examples that show Joseph Prince has warped the truth to build his “unique” grace teaching:
…the power to overcome sin is found in knowing that you are righteous. When a believer is struggling with sin, it is a case of mistaken identity. He thinks that he is still a dirty rotten sinner…Believers are struggling with sin today precisely because they do not realize that they are righteous. The Bible says, “Awake to righteousness, and do not sin.” This means that the more a believer realizes that he is indeed righteous, the more he will start to behave like a righteous person. It is time to awake to righteousness!”
The Greek word for righteousness (dikaiōs) means right living. Prince makes the term some kind of word-faith confession.
I have to ask the question, did Paul, the apostle, somehow get it wrong, that we can now thank Joseph Prince for opening up to us this NEW truth about grace? If we accept Prince’s grace theology as true, then Paul wouldn’t have written most of the New Testament. He wouldn’t have expanded his writings to the churches beyond making clear to them their “position” in Christ.
Yet Prince tells us to “Feed on the letters of Apostle Paul,” in order to discover the Gospel of Grace. Prince says:
God does not leave you wondering whether you are saved or not. He tells you outright that you are His and that nothing can ever separate you from the love of Christ. Not even sin because His blood is greater than your sin!
Although he’s partly correct, Prince seems to forget that sin does affect our communion with God. The blood of Jesus Christ is applied when one confesses and turns from sin, just as in salvation. Love demands that we tell the truth to people when they have done wrong. God is no different. He wants truth, not just grace.
Joseph Prince states:
Colossians 2 tells us we are already made perfect in Christ. We don’t work towards perfection. Christ has made us perfect from the Cross. The minute you believe you are made perfect in Christ. You work from your perfection not to it.
In Philippians 3: 9-16, Paul teaches that he possesses “the righteousness which is of God by faith…”, yet he has “not already attained, nor [is he] already perfect” (v12). He is seeking to know more of Christ. Yet in verse 15 he concludes, “Let us therefore, as many as be perfect, be thus minded…” (cf. James 1:3-4;1 Peter 5:10).
Matthew Henry makes this point:
Those who think they have grace enough give proof that they have little enough, or rather that they have none at all; because, wherever there is true grace, there is a desire of more grace, and a pressing towards the perfection of grace.
Prince, it seems, is unable to reconcile such apparent contradictions:
The more they believe that they are righteous, the more they experience true victory over sin…. You see yourself righteous and this gives you the power to rise above the temptation.
Knowing that you are completely forgiven destroys the power of sin in your life now.
Knowing you are forgiven before you do something wrong can give you a “freedom” to do whatever you want, and here is where the accusations of antinomianism surface.
Romans 8:1-4 actually says there is no condemnation to those in Christ Jesus, “who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit” (cf., verse 4). In other words being obedient, yielding and submitting to God, putting to death your members, and living by the Spirit, are the keys, not by some blanket gift of no condemnation (cf., Col. 3:5; Rom. 6:15-19).
Prince gives us a formula for not sinning by repeating the phrase “I am the righteousness of God in Jesus Christ.” Clearly Prince is promoting some sort of Word-Faith “righteousness consciousness.”
“Righteousness consciousness” is a term coined by Joseph Prince [Beg to differ with the author in this regard; this term was evoked by a number of expositors long before Prince, and used correctly, it refers to a very valid, Biblical principle. –Ed.] to signify being conscious that you are righteous. The idea was taught by E.W. Kenyon and Kenneth Copeland, both Word-Faith teachers. “Sin Consciousness” was supposedly fostered by ministers who preached sin instead of preaching Christ and the new creation. Their “righteousness of Christ” is something that is not so much imputed to the believer but rather, it is something that is imparted to our spirits. Thus they view themselves as now righteous beings and not sinful beings who undeservedly have been granted to share in the righteousness of the Son of God. This is serious error and in fact heresy. [Again, I must take strong exception to the content and concepts of this paragraph, in that I wholeheartedly concur with the assertion that “the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus” is both imputed to believers with respect to their relationship with God and imparted by the Holy Spirit to our human spirits by virtue of His residence within our human spirits. Such teaching and belief is in no way error or heresy! The author is completely wrong on this matter. In fact, the author’s own quote from Martin Loyd-Jones below, states that the righteousness of God believers receive in Christ is indeed both imputed and imparted. Go figure. Perhaps this paragraph was inartfully written, and thus does not properly convey what the author was attempting to convey. –Ed.]
Where is the power of the Holy Spirit? Where is dying to self? Herein is the contradiction. At the same time he tells people to confess righteousness, he also tells people not to confess their sin, but the Bible explicitly states the opposite. JP says:
Beloved, confessing your sins all the time will only make you more sin-conscious. But knowing that you are under Jesus’ waterfall of forgiveness will keep you forgiveness-conscious…
It’s the acknowledging of our sin that brings God’s cleansing, and “he that is begotten of God keeps himself from sin” (1 Jn. 1:7-9; 5:18). Prince erroneously promotes that confession is only needed once at conversion. God somehow forgives us continuously and perpetually under “waterfalls of forgiveness?”
Again from his book Destined to Reign: “For generations, the body of Christ has been defeated and put under a constant siege of condemnation from the accuser because they believe wrongly that the Holy Spirit convicts believers of their sins.”
Here Prince explains what, in his opinion, has eluded almost all believers for centuries, that the Holy Spirit does NOT convict believers of their sins? The Holy Spirit came to convict of sin, righteousness, and judgement (Jn. 14:17;16:7-12). Without Him we remain in spiritual darkness. This in itself is clue enough that Prince is teaching error!
The New Birth is but a beginning; like a baby we must continue to grow:
Wherefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. For it is God which works in you, both to will and to do of his good pleasure. (Plp. 2:12-13; cf., Heb. 13:21)
Paul writes in First Timothy 4:7, “exercise (gumnazo, Gr.—a discipline, to train like a boxer, or an athlete) yourself toward godliness.”
Notice we work, and the Lord works in us. The Holy Spirit leads us to salvation and redemption, but will not do it alone. We must cooperate with Him. He wants us to participate with Him in sanctifying our lives. This is the communion of the Holy Spirit.
Therefore, brethren, be even more diligent to make your call and election sure, for if you do these things you will never fall; for so an entrance will be supplied to you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ – 2 Peter 1:10,11.
The scripture exhorts us to be diligent, giving heed, to add to our faith virtue. None of this comes automatically from grace. We have this instilled in us by the Holy Spirit, and we must cooperate with His work in conforming us to the [“image of His…” (Rom. 8:29) –Ed.] Son. These are added as we grow in both knowledge and faith. The Churches of Sardis and Laodicea are clear warnings against casual Christianity (Rev. 3:1-5,14-21). Many are building their faith on shifting sand, on Prince’s message of ALL grace, and no responsibility. [Albeit, Peter alluded to God the Father as “the God of ALL grace.” He is indeed the God of all grace, but who God is by nature, indeed does not absolve us of the personal “responsibility,” as the author indicates, of abstaining from all sin and walking in holiness. –Ed.]
Prince of Hyper-Grace
The missing element in Prince’s grace mantra is sanctification.
Our sanctification began when we were justified, but sanctification is a continuing work.
For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to good works, which God has before ordained that we should walk in them. (Eph. 2:10)
For this is the will of God, even your sanctification, that you abstain from fornication. (1 Thes. 4:3)
Yet Prince states:
You are either righteous or you are not. There is no such thing as first having “positional righteousness,” and then having to maintain that through “practical righteousness.” You are the righteousness of God in Christ, period!
The sad fact is this extreme heresy is spread abroad across our land today proclaiming a Saviour from hell, but not from sin. It preaches a salvation of forgiveness but not redemption from sin. It teaches a form of justification by faith but not sanctification by faith. It preaches, “You must be born again” but doesn’t teach the marks of true regeneration. It teaches that a man becomes a new creature in Christ, while he remains just the same.
Do JP’s disciples truly believe God’s grace can be this lopsided? Prince’s grace is hyper-grace—all of God, and nothing of us. Prince’s positive thinking, positive confession paradigm is what he propagates. JP claims that sin, law, repentance, conviction, are negative, so they are excluded, and rejected from his message.
And you, that were once alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now has He reconciled. In the body of His flesh through death, to present you holy and blameless and irreproachable in His sight: If you continue in the faith grounded and settled, and do not be moved away from the hope of the gospel…. (Col. 1:21-23)
Yet if Prince produced his own Bible you would read: He has reconciled us; “In the body of his flesh through death, to present you holy and blameless and irreproachable in his sight.” And that’s where it would stop.
To quote Martyn Lloyd Jones:
I need something further [than being delivered from guilt and punishment]. I need a positive righteousness [by living in accordance with God’s moral law]. I cannot stand in the presence of God by means of the forgiveness of sins only; I need a positive righteousness [an actual righteousness; and … this is the dominant use of the word righteousness in the Bible], the righteousness that the Law postulates [demands, requires]. The second element in salvation, therefore, is that I am clothed with the righteousness [the actual righteousness] of Jesus Christ. … In verse 3 [Rom. 8:3], the Apostle tells us how God delivers us from the guilt of sin [verse 3 definitely includes His setting us free from the authority and power of sin, from the kingdom of sin]; in verse 4 He gives us the positive righteousness, and how He will go on doing this increasingly through the work of the Spirit in sanctification until we are ultimately glorified, and free from sin altogether
Martin Lloyd-Jones continues:
In other words, the righteousness of the Law is fulfilled in us in two ways. The righteousness of Christ is “imputed” to us [positional, legal righteousness]; but, thank God, the righteousness of Christ is also “imparted” to us.
Martin Luther wrote: It is just as impossible to separate faith and works as it is to separate heat and light from fire! (cf. James 2:14 -23)
Prince takes the position that God actually made us righteous already [Which is a thoroughly Biblical and doctrinally-correct position. –Ed.], therefore sanctification is seemingly unnecessary. [The theological waters are made a little murky here by what appears to be some confusing convergence of the distinctive theological matters of righteousness, justification, and sanctification, which are far too complex to sort out here. Suffice it to say that the righteousness imputed and imparted to the Born Again believer is imputed and imparted before and separate from the sanctification that the Holy Spirit, the “Spirit of Holiness” (Rom. 1:4; cf., Rom. 6:19,22; 1 Cor. 1:30; 1 Thes. 4:3,4,7; 2Th. 2:13; Heb. 12:14), works in the believer. Believers cannot sanctify themselves by their own power and works, but rather only by yielding to the sanctifying power (workings) of the Holy Spirit who is the Sanctifier. Otherwise, believers would have to sanctify (sozo, Gr.) and therefore save (sozo, Gr.) themselves by their own works, which, of course, is entirely antithetical to the Gospel of Christ. Albeit, the point the author presumably is endeavoring to convey concerning the extremism and error of Prince’s extreme position regarding righteousness and that his it negates or abolishes the necessity of personal holiness achieved by abstaining from all sin is a valid criticism. –Ed.]
But you have not so learned Christ; If indeed that you have heard him, and have been taught by him, as the truth is in Jesus: That you put off concerning the former conduct the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; And be renewed in the spirit of your mind; And that you put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness. (Eph. 4:20-24)
The scriptures declare: “For you are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God. Put off the old man, and put on the Lord Jesus Christ” (see Col 3:3, cf. verses 8-10).
Instead, Prince is giving us a “replacement” theology of fancy catch-phrases and Word of Faith metaphysics. We need to understand there is a distinction between justification and sanctification. The following outline is taken from the writings of J.C. Ryle, on Holiness.
In what ways are justification and sanctification alike?
- Both proceed originally from the free grace of God. It is of His gift alone that believers are justified or sanctified at all.
- Both are part of that great work of salvation which Christ, in the eternal covenant, has undertaken on behalf of His people. Christ is the fountain of life, from which pardon and holiness both flow. The root of each is Christ. Both those who are justified are always sanctified, and those who are sanctified are always justified.
- God has joined them together, and they cannot be put asunder. Both begin at the same time.
- If you are a justified person, that person begins to be a sanctified person. Both are necessary to salvation!
- No one ever reached heaven without a renewed heart, as well as forgiveness, without the Spirit’s grace as well as the blood of Christ, without being ready for eternal glory as well as a title. The one is just as necessary as the other.
I am persuaded that one great cause of the darkness and uncomfortable feelings of many well-meaning people in the matter of religion is their habit of confounding, and not distinguishing, justification and sanctification. It can never be too strongly impressed on our minds that they are two separate things.
What practical reflections ought the whole matter to raise in our minds? For one thing, let us all awake to a sense of the perilous state of many professing Christians. “Without holiness no man shall see the Lord” (Heb. 12:14); without sanctification there is no salvation. Then, what an enormous amount of so-called religion there is, which is perfectly useless!”
Prince of Preachers
In closing, let’s have the scriptures speak for themselves:
For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world; looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ; Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify to himself a special people, zealous for good works Titus 2:11-14.
Notice what is the true grace of God that brings salvation? This is not the “grace” Joseph Prince teaches. Joseph, the Prince of Egypt knew suffering and humiliation, nothing that this fresh Prince seems to identify with. He believes it’s all about reigning now. Yet the Bible promises that “we will reign with Christ [then], IF we first suffer with Him [now] (cf., Gen. 39:20, 40:23, with 2 Tim. 2:12).
The pendulum has swung so far that it seems enough for us that our Christianity consists of having Christ’s righteousness accounted to us, without His righteousness being worked in us.
Prince’s odd position is what we may dub juvenilia justification, a youthful hybrid of Word of Faith teaching, and half a Gospel. He suggests a “simple prayer”:
Lord Jesus, thank you for loving me and dying for me on the cross… Your precious blood washes me clean from every sin. You are my Lord and my Saviour, now and forever. Because of your finished work, I am now a beloved child of God.
His message at its core is a sophisticated form of Universalism, packaged as God’s Grace; but it’s cheap grace, and harbours a false peace! Prince, ignorant of God’s righteousness, is establishing his own (cf., Rom. 10:3). Sanctification somehow happens through “righteous consciousness?”
Joseph Prince’s followers are asleep to real righteousness, right living, “destined to be ruined” by his grievous gospel (cf., Acts 20:29-30). Although on an evangelical mission, Prince is following the broad path of the Emergent Church, with its dubious doctrine and moral ambiguity. The only difference is his teaching is tailored to a more “biblically” familiar audience.
Prince holds to a gospel of Christ which makes God’s law of no effect: “believing” we are released from the necessity of being doers of the Word. This is part of the ancient heresy of the Nicolaitans, which Christ so unsparingly condemned in the book of Revelation (Rev. 2:6, 15-16). Prince is drawing away disciples through the success “franchise” of celebrity, prosperity and easy believism. No surprise really!
Hurricanes and Homosexuality
At the time of writing this article, Hurricane Isaac was bearing down on New Orleans on the eve of the seventh Anniversary (August 29, 2005) when Hurricane Katrina slammed onto the coast.
Prince said God would not judge America! Southern Decadence, the largest gay and lesbian street festival held each year in New Orleans (this year, August 29 – September 3, 2012) are planning to rave on regardless.
Although Hurricane Isaac cancelled remembrance ceremonies for those killed by Hurricane Katrina, one of the event coordinators, said that no hurricane was going to stop the festival.
When homosexuality begins to dominate a culture, it’s clear evidence of divine judgment (Rom. 1:27,32).
Isaac in the Hebrew means “laughter” or “He laughs.” I wonder who will have the last laugh (Psalm 2:4-5)?
The mission statement from Prince’s New Creation Church is: “To see Jesus in all the loveliness of His Person, and the perfection of His work, and to make Him known through the preaching of the gospel.”
Prince is preaching a different Jesus, another gospel, and although he’s articulate, charismatic, convincing, and preaching “grace”; he is a blind leader of the blind, leading astray the unlearned and unstable. He is at best a false apostle, and at worst a conniving HERETIC! (2 Cor. 11:12-15; 2 Pet. 3:16).
1. – http://cetf.co/USC2AV The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air is an American television sitcom that originally aired on NBC from September 10, 1990, to May 20, 1996. The show stars Will Smith as a fictionalized version of himself, a street-smart teenager from West Philadelphia who is sent to move in with his aunt and uncle in their wealthy Bel-Air mansion, where his lifestyle often clashes with that of his relatives
2. – http://cetf.co/TfxMhA and http://cetf.co/RTj1zP
3. – http://cetf.co/USCRtF and http://cetf.co/TfxMhA
4. – http://cetf.co/TfxMhA and “Church Pastors Like None Other – From stutter to charisma.” The Sunday Times (Singapore). 5 October 2008.
5. – http://cetf.co/10bh0U5
6. – http://cetf.co/RTjwtx
7. – http://cetf.co/UeIGFb, http://cetf.co/10s6I16, http://cetf.co/UVBrUO and http://cetf.co/SaaYA1
8. – http://cetf.co/SdJxnb and http://cetf.co/T3CLiZ
9. – http://cetf.co/TPp8CK
10. – http://www.destined2reign.com/
11. – http://cetf.co/TXAp68
12. – http://cetf.co/SRwt5A and http://cetf.co/10bmVsf
13. – http://cetf.co/TXB0VA
14. – http://cetf.co/TXB0VA
15. – http://cetf.co/TbsxgP
16. – http://cetf.co/SdL78A and http://cetf.co/QY1QAb
17. – http://cetf.co/UeKwGc
18. – Destined to Reign: The Secret to Effortless Success, Wholeness and Victorious Living, Singapore: 2007, page 271
19. – Source: Jonathan Koh Thoughts on New Creation Church-and grace, faith, health and wealth
20. – http://cetf.co/UVFgt5
21. – http://cetf.co/Y1CZ1o and http://cetf.co/TXB0VA
22. – http://cetf.co/10QPDPn and http://cetf.co/117eNsd
23. – Destined to Reign p.196
24. – http://cetf.co/SbHobZ and http://cetf.co/WtWAB7
25. – (ibid. p.16)
26. – (ibid. p.305)
27. – Unmerited Favor, p.37
28.- Destined to Reign p. 249
29. – See http://cetf.co/Y1Ge92 – law and grace http://cetf.co/RgZk8e
30. – http://cetf.co/RTj1zP
31. – Ibid p.120
32. – Destined to Reign – ibid. p.243 http://cetf.co/Y1H6KP
33. – Kenneth Copeland, Take Time to Pray, Believer’s Voice of Victory 15, 2 (February 1987)
34. – http://cetf.co/WXm12H – http://cetf.co/UalMg5 http://cetf.co/Y1H6KP
35. – Ibid p.122-3
36. – ibid. p.138, 139
37. – ibid.p 94 , p.95
38. – http://cetf.co/Y1QONj
39. – Matthew Henry’s Commentary on Philippians 3:4-14. See also http://cetf.co/10QPDPn
40. – http://cetf.co/WtWAB7
41. – (ibid. p.244, 245)
42. – Destined to Reign, p.100
43. – (ibid. p.109)
44.- Destined to Reign p. 27.
45. – Romans Vol 7:1- 8:4 The law its functions and limits pages 302, 303 http://cetf.co/Vc58Be
46. – Ibid page304
47. – Martin Luther’s Definition of Faith: An excerpt from “An Introduction to St. Paul’s Letter to the Romans” source: http://cetf.co/WXsqv1
48. – j c ryle – http://cetf.co/Sc2x5S http://cetf.co/V4W23n
49. – http://cetf.co/V0KIVQ
50. – Destined to Reign – page 315 if numbered – end of book
51. – http://cetf.co/UWhJon – http://cetf.co/Y2c1GT – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nicolaism – http://www.triumphpro.com/nicolaitans.htm
52. – http://cetf.co/QoFcj3
53. – http://cetf.co/Wu87QI
54. – http://www.newcreation.org.sg
Lance Goodall and his wife Norilyn left the Australian church growth movement in 2009. They both have a concern for the knowledge of God and His glory. They carry in their heart, a love for God’s honour, for His Word, and for the salvation of the lost.
Related articles on Spirit Life Magazine:
- Hyper-Grace — Reformation or Deformation?
- Hyper-Grace Horror Stories
- A Dangerous and Deadly Deception
- Confronting the Error of Hyper-Grace
- The Problem with Cheap Grace Churches and Preaching
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