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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

What do YOU think?

comments

About Michael Fackerell

The Christian faith is about Jesus. He came to save the lost. About Jesus Christ, Bible teaching, Testimonies, Salvation, Prayer, Faith, Networking.

Comments

  1. about taking that video down, maybe it was done because he decided the preaching was too sloppy and easily misapplied?

  2. I went to the sight that you indicated in your post. I read all of what Joseph Prince said. I read a good many comments as a result of his tweet. The comments I read were all favorable. I also read Ephesians 6:10-18. I saw the word “wrestle” in verse 12 and the verses pertaining to standing our ground against the devil with the armor of God. In addition, I researched the word VICTORY. This is one of the Scriptures I found.

    1 Corinthians 15:55-56

    55) The sting of death [is] sin; and the strength of sin [is] the law.

    56) But thanks [be] to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

    The believer has victory over the law and any consequences associated with the law, death being the main consequence—not just physical death, but spiritual death.

    Speaking of victory, this is some comments that Joseph Prince made at the beginning of his tweet. You quoted part of this:

    “God does not need you to defeat the devil today. Jesus has already done it and given you the victory. (Colossians 2:15, Romans 8:37) Your part is to enforce the victory by simply standing your ground, which is victory ground. In other words, you “fight” from victory ground by standing.”

    Now here are some comments from your post about Joseph Prince’s tweet.

    “It IS true that Jesus has defeated the devil. However, we still need to enforce that victory.”

    You basically said the same thing Joseph Prince did. Did you realize that? Then, you added this: “Colossians 2:15 says that Jesus defeated principalities and powers at the cross. It doesn’t 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.”

    Joseph Prince didn’t say you needn’t fight. Actually, this is what he said, “In other words, you “fight” from victory ground by standing.”

    Anyway, I’d like to end my comments with this song. I hope you will like it.

    VICTORY IN JESUS

    Words and tune HARTFORD, E. M. Bartlett, 1939

    Verse 1

    I heard an old, old story, how a Savior came from glory,
    How he gave his life on Calvary to save a wretch like me:
    I heard about his groaning, of his precious blood’s atoning,
    Then I repented of my sins and won the victory.

    (Chorus)

    O victory in Jesus, my Savior, forever,
    He sought me and bought me with his redeeming blood;
    He loved me ere I knew him, and all my love is due him,
    He plunged me to victory beneath the cleansing flood.

    Verse 2

    I heard about his healing, of his cleansing pow’r revealing,
    How he made the lame to walk again and caused the blind to see;
    And then I cried “dear Jesus, come and heal my broken spirit,”
    And somehow Jesus came and brought to me the victory.

    (Repeat chorus)

    Verse 3

    I heard about a mansion he has built for me in glory,
    And I heard about the streets of gold beyond the crystal sea:
    About the angels singing, and the old redemption story,
    And some sweet day I’ll sing up there the song of victory.

    (Repeat chorus)

  3. Hi there this is my first post in this forum, firstly I would like to thank you for providing an interesting place of fellowship and debate, thank you

    I have often wondered about Joseph Prince and have not really read enough of his sessions to make a comment. I certainly am not into the feel good doctrines of today, however I did not feel this article really provided a strong argument against this particular tweet that Joseph did.

    To Stand (taking a stand, firm, establish). His Title ‘Fight From Victory, Not For Victory’ tells us he sees it as a fight, and the fight is as if the victory has been established, our tools against the devil is to stand firm in faith, J.P. does not say sit around and hope but to ‘stand’

    If we look at Romans 7:15-25 Although the word stand is not used, it is obvious that it is our faith in Christ that takes us to victory. We stand firm in what we believe or surely we will fall. We are saved by Grace through Faith. Faith without works is dead, so yes we do need to stand or if you prefer wrestle personally I prefer to stand on faith as my flesh is weak.

    I do not believe you have proved this in the article “What Joseph Prince and other prosperity preachers essentially teach is that you can love your life here and now”; even if it is true. Again I have not read enough re J.P. to make comment other than what has been said here.

    • michael says:

      Hi wanelad,

       

      Thanks for posting and giving your honest feedback. I agree that I did not prove all my assertions in the post above. I think I could prove them once I take some time for that purpose.

      You need to know that the subheader of Joseph Prince's book "Destined to Reign" is the key to "effortless success". To me, no fight is really effortless.

      Again, the truth is mixed with error and the error here usually lies in what is downplayed or denied.

      Regarding "loving your life here and now":

      You will find these guys take an enormous amount of money out of their churches as personal renumeration, UNTIL they have used the church to build their own brand of "resources" which they sell for personal profit.

      One way to attract rich, successful and hard working people into a church is to set an example of buying expensive luxury items as soon as you are able to, and treating yourself to the best of everything this world offers. This makes people in the church feel good about doing the same. It is considered very "religious" to talk against this kind of luxurious living or suggest that there might be a better way. The thing that is taught is how we should "love life". It is true that God gives us things to richly enjoy, but this frequently equates in the minds of some to driving very expensive cars, living in the best neighbourhoods in spacious accommodation, flying first class all the time, staying in the best hotels, eating at the best restaurants and all the rest of it. If you can do all these things and not "love your life here and now" then you are pretty ungrateful. 

       

    • Joseph Prince says things too easily that can result in disaster. If one takes biblical Christianity
      as the norm, and reads Prince’s words with biblical presupposition correcting for his errors,
      you can interpret and apply his words in ways that are not that harmful. This auto correct will
      likely happen without thinking much and just assuming he doesn’t mean unbiblical stuff and
      you fill in the gaps or you may think, well, he has some weak points but ignore that and apply
      what’s good.

      Or, you may take it whole hog and get into trouble. I prefer old fashioned repentance and
      grace and beware of falling away, and if you do seek to get restored to Jesus and quit your
      sins type preachers, there is no ambiguity. It is possible for some to create despair rather
      than repentance and restoration of life in Jesus, and frankly I think pure Calvinism is a
      recipe for disaster in other ways. But Prince whatever the good potential, like figuring oops,
      I’ve sinned, I need to stop this and get back on track with Jesus and I don’t have to be
      rebaptized, the payment made for that sin applies now that I apologize to Jesus and stop
      the sin, the potential also exists that one might figure eh, no big deal, and keep on sinning.
      Or stop the sort that are obvious unloving abusive sort but go on with less obviously
      abusive and all sorts of worldliness and self pride and fleshly lust and even spend very
      little time praying to or thinking about Jesus Christ.

      While not as obviously dangerous and false as word of faith and prosperity teachers, Prince
      has a lot of negative potential. Their negative potential is not potential, it is actual, his is more
      potential. In some cases perhaps actural, this preaching in question is real shaky at best. There
      is a difference between assurance that if you fall you are not without hope, you can still repent
      and get saved again and go forward in God, and assurance you can do anything and it doesn’t
      matter.

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