Is Joseph Prince preaching the Whole Counsel of God?

As Joseph Prince's influence continues to grow around the world, it becomes more and more important that we evaluate to what extent his message is worthy of full acceptance.

I began to do this with this article where you can see that Joseph Prince teaches salvation and acceptance with God without the need to forsake sin.

At the time of writing I understand that his broadcasts are reaching daily into 150 countries and he has a huge television audience. While some preachers and Bible teachers are "sounding the alarm" there are also hundreds and thousands of Christians who have become fans of the man and his message. Certainly, his message seems very uplifting and encouraging. It is all about the promises of God and the blessings of God – more or less with no conditions. The only condition for receiving, it would seem, is believing that Jesus has fully dealt with your unworthiness at the cross and believing that no misbehavior on your part could ever disqualify you from enjoying God's unmerited favor. Of course this message sounds very uplifting and it would probably put you in a good mood – but is it the whole truth?

It is not my intention ever to denigrate God's mercy and grace. In fact, every one of us, myself certainly included, absolutely depends on God's true grace in enjoy any favor with God, or indeed, to be able to DO anything worthwhile for God. Jesus said, "Without Me you can do nothing" and Jesus spoke the truth. Our eyes DO need to be upon the Lord Jesus and this IS the key to overcoming in life. One of the best ways we can keep our eyes on Jesus, since most of us do not actually see Jesus in the spirit 24/7, is to keep our eyes on His Word. Jesus is One with His Word. Once you start in your mind to separate Jesus and His Word, you are on the way to worshipping "Another Jesus" – not the Jesus who is actually Savior and Lord. So for this reason we would be wise to do what the Bible says – namely "Test all things. Hold fast to what is good. Avoid every form of evil." (1 Thessalonians 5:21-22). We need to evaluate things in the light of God's Word to do this.  If we effectively DESPISE or DOWNPLAY certain parts of God's Word, especially parts of the NEW TESTAMENT, we ARE in danger. These things were written for a reason. The many warnings written to Christians and disciples were written for a reason. 

Undoubtedly we as Christians can benefit from the kind of ministry which continually reminds us of God's kindness, God's promises, God's enabling, God's forgiveness, God's mercy, God's love, God's faithfulness and things like this. Joseph Prince does this and it is one reason people feel so uplifted and cheered by his ministry. You only have to look at his tweets on twitter to get a sense of this. What is at issue to me however is whether his overall message is faithful to the Word. By selectively quoting only the parts of the Bible you LIKE, or that appeal, you can construct a message and an image of God that is not truly reflective of the whole truth. And if you are wrong on the issue of eternal judgment, that really matters. If you encourage people that ARE heading for HELL that there is nothing to fear, there is no condemnation for them and so on, you are not really doing them a favour. You might get their ear, you might get some of their money, but you won't necessarily get their soul to the Kingdom by such an approach. Although it is a true that God's kindness leads men to repentance, all of God's apostles and Jesus Christ Himself all had plenty of warnings and solemn exhortations to give.

One way you can test a message is to get yourself very familiar with the ENTIRE tenor of the New Testament by reading the whole thing from left to right a few times. Compare the other teachings you read or hear to the teachings of say Paul and ask yourself, "Does this really sound like something that the apostle Paul would have said?" Or does it sound like something the apostle Peter might have preached? Would Jesus have talked only like this? If you answer "No" to this, there is a good chance that that particular minister is NOT preaching the WHOLE counsel of God. And that matters, because as Paul the apostle stated in Acts 20, the reason he was NOT GUILTY OF THE BLOOD OF HIS HEARERS and others is that he did not SHUN to declare to them the WHOLE COUNSEL OF GOD. This implies there are some things it is easier as a preacher to hold back from preaching, even though those parts are necessary to give the saving truth properly.

I refer you to Lance Goodall's critique of Joseph Prince's ministry. Quite a few very salient points are made.

A Case Study on the Approach of Joseph Prince

What Joseph Prince typically does is take a wonderful promise of Scripture, embellish it a little, and then take away all the parts that relate to human responsibility and conditions. This is his formula, and it makes for very encouraging messages that in many cases will result in final disappointment. I'll give you an example.

On February 13, 2013 Joseph Prince tweeted: God doesn’t need you to defeat the devil today. Jesus has already done that and given you the victory (Col 2:15). 

It IS true that Jesus has defeated the devil. However, we still need to enforce that victory. Colossians 2:15 says that Jesus defeated principalities and powers at the cross. It doesn't say say "and Jesus gave this victory to you so you don't even need to fight". That would be to read something into the Scripture that isn't there.

If you read the attached link above that came with the tweet, you'll see how Prince says "In Ephesians 6:10–18, the passage on spiritual warfare, the word “wrestle” appears only once (verse 12), while the word “stand” appears four times". From this he deduces that the only thing to do is to STAND and claim that you are already victorious. He downplays the part about wrestling – presumably because that part doesn't really fit into his philosophy of "effortless success". And so either Joseph Prince's teaching is more helpful than the apostle Paul's, or a major ingredient is missing from the cake.

I found that demonic powers are REAL and if you want to get a REAL result of defeating them, you WILL go through periods of wrestling and struggle. We don't want to LIVE in that place all the time, but sometimes it is UNAVOIDABLE. You can't just switch off and pretend that "there is no problem". You can't just make the devil go away simply by believing that he can do nothing at all.

The Bible says that "they overcame him [the devil] by the blood of the Lamb and the Word of their testimony, and they loved not their lives unto death" (Revelation 12:11). What Joseph Prince and other prosperity preachers essentially teach is that you can love your life here and now, have it all, and you can still overcome the devil by the blood of the Lamb and the Word of your Testimony ALONE – some sort of positive confession more than anything else I suspect. This is what I mean when I say that Joseph Prince removes the CONDITIONS and the STATEMENTS of the Word of God that hint at anything suggesting sacrifice, self-denial, suffering, martyrdom, renouncing one's own will and so on. He seems to do this with every topic he touches, and this is of course what our flesh wants to hear.

Joseph Prince's message contains truth because it contains God's promises, but it takes out all the conditional parts on the basis of his idea of "grace". All talk of curse for wilful sin, judgment for believers who rebel against God, falling away etc is denied or downplayed. Everything is upbeat and liberating. You can do as you please because you are already perfect in Christ. You can sin and still be ever so intimate with God. Nothing will affect your communion with the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit will never indicate to you that you have done the wrong thing. You are totally victorious regardless of your track record to date. And on it goes.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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About Michael Fackerell

Michael is the founder of Christian faith dot come, a site about Jesus. He came to save the lost. Bible teaching, Testimonies, Salvation, Prayer, Faith, Networking.

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