Examining Joseph Prince’s Theology (pt. 1)

Listening to Pastor Prince’s testimony of of his experience in his former church certainly aids in understanding his current theological slant. I have heard many friends who have moved from their previous churches and are now attending New Creation Church share that the reason they did so was because they found the preaching of “grace” liberating, whereas in their previous churches, they found it “legalistic”.

Without sounding judgmental, I believe there is substance to this. I do believe that too many churches portray Christianity as simply a list of dos and don’ts; all about the rules, nothing about the relationship. That is not biblical Christianity. And, on a personal note, I really do believe in grace. I have nothing against grace, I am all for grace. But here’s the thing: Grace is not the sum total of all the attributes of God. The God of the Bible reveals Himself to be so much more than grace.

My main critique of Pastor Prince’s theology is it’s too one-dimensional. Everything is viewed through the lens of grace, so much so that when there are passages in Scripture that do not fit his theological framework, it’s either ignored, or exegetical gymnastics has to be done in order for it to fit. Here’s an example of what I mean:

Do believers need to confess/repent of sin?
Pastor Prince’s answer to that is no. Therefore, one verse which many believers are familiar with, 1 John 1:9, has been interpreted to be referring to non-Christians (not good exegesis imho, just consult any leading commentary).

But there’s more. I once listened to a sermon where Pastor Prince declared that the entire 7 letters to the churches in Revelation (Revelation 2-3) were also not applicable to Christians. Why would he do that? Well, for one thing, because there were several calls to repentance (Revelation 2:5, 16; 3:3, 19) ! If Christians do not need to repent, how do you reconcile this with these verses?

The way Pastor Prince did it was ingenious. He basically said the letters were actually directed only to the “angel of the church” which referred to the pastor of the church. It was the pastor that God held accountable and not Christians. I was dumbfounded. My thoughts went between, “are pastors not Christians?” to “if pastors need to repent, how much more Christians?” But I digress.

My concern (again, I emphasise) was this was just bad Bible interpretation. The entire context of Revelation 1-3 shows the audience to be Christians, beginning with “John to the seven churches that are in Asia…” (1:4) to this repeated refrain “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches” (2:7, 11, 17, 29; 3:6, 13, 22).

There are probably many more examples that could be brought up, but using this one example, I want to highlight a danger. Some would say that this is a small matter of your interpretation vs. my interpretation of verses. I want to humbly submit, it’s much more than that.

You see, if Revelation 2-3 is applicable for believers, and you don’t believe it is, you miss out on hearing what the Spirit has to say to you (7 times in these 2 chapters, there is a related call to listen to the Spirit!)  Let that sink in for a moment. You can actually miss the voice of God, miss His heart, miss His will, because you don’t believe it was supposed to be for you.

My appeal to brothers and sisters who attend New Creation Church is to read Scripture without coloured lenses. More than just getting theology right, it is a matter of knowing God as He has revealed Himself. God bless!

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4 thoughts on “Examining Joseph Prince’s Theology (pt. 1)

    1. Tbh, I am Reformed in my theology, meaning I do believe in unconditional election and the perseverance of the saints. But I also am of the view that the sovereignty of God and the will/choice of man are not polar opposites.

      Therefore, hyper-grace to me is unbalanced in this way… Passages like Hebrews 10:26-30 are either entirely neglected or exegetical gymnastics need to be done to fit that framework. The danger in this is subtle but severe: we twist God’s word to say what it doesn’t.

  1. Dear Aaron,
    I have also written a review on one of Prince’s sermon, Law Demands Grace supplies at this page:
    http://www.jubilationlee.blogspot.sg/2015/04/alternative-culture-law-demands-grace.html

    While I largely agree with Prince’s comments on grace, I find it to be uncomfortable that he tends to jump from one Bible verse to another (without examining context) to support his points

    With your permission, I would like to link my blog to your blog.

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