Joseph Prince, Pastor of New Creation Church in Singapore, is becoming extremely popular in the Word of Faith movement. His popularity comes because of his teaching on grace. Even Word of Faith heretic Creflo Dollar seems to be jumping on the grace wagon lately.
The problem with Prince is not his teaching on grace. He teaches correctly that it is only the work of Christ on our behalf that saves, not our works. He also makes it clear that the Law has no power to to make us holy. However, there are huge theological problems with his teaching. The main problem is that he teaches the heretical Prosperity Gospel, mixing Word of Faith Theology with grace. The Prosperity Gospel is a false gospel. So even though Prince is clear when it comes to the work of Christ for sinners, he teaches that because of Christ’s work, the sinner is not only forgiven, accepted and loved by God, but is entitled, and should pursue health, wealth, and prosperity. This is heresy. This is mixing the Word of Faith prosperity heresy with the gospel. Not only is this a problem, but there are other theological problems with his teaching as well. Here are four that you need to be aware of.
1. The problem with repentance
In his book Destined to Reign Prince says this about repentance
“For all of you who feel that there should be more preaching on repentance, do you know what the word ‘repent’ means in the first place? The word ‘repent’ is the Greek word matanoeo, which according to Thayer’s Greek Lexicon, simply means ‘to change one’s mind.’ But because we have been influenced by our denominational background as well as our own religious upbringing, many of us have the impression that repentance is something that involves mourning and sorrow. However, that is not what the Word of God says. Repentance just means changing your mind.”
Prince is not being honest with the Greek word metanoeo. Here are the Strong’s definitions of the word
g3341. μετάνοια metanoia; from 3340; (subjectively) compunction (for guilt, including reformation); by implication, reversal (of (another’s) decision): — repentance.AV (24) – repentance 24;a change of mind, as it appears to one who repents, of a purpose he has formed or of something he has done
Notice the word compunction in the definition. Here is the English definition for compunction:
Webster -Compunction: a feeling of guilt or regret ( chiefly US)
1 a : anxiety arising from awareness of guilt b : distress of mind over an anticipated action or result 2 : a twinge of misgiving : scruple synonyms see penitence, qualm com·punc·tious -shəs adjective
So, to repent does not just simply mean “to change ones mind.” There is much more to it than that. The word that Prince used in his above statement makes this even more clear.
Repent: metanoeo: “to think differently or afterwards to reconsider (morally feel compunction) To change ones mind. To change ones mind for the better, heartily to amend with abhorrence of ones past sins.”
As you can see, this definition means more than simply “to change ones mind.
How did Christ define the Gospel?
Luke 24:45-47 Then he opened their minds to understand the Scriptures, and said to them, “Thus it is written, that the Christ should suffer and on the third day rise from the dead, and that repentance and forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem.
Christ makes it clear that repentance and the forgiveness of sins is to be preached. In other words, we must preach Law and Gospel. No one can be saved without repentance. A gospel without repentance is no gospel at all.
Examples of repentance from Scripture
Matthew 11:20-24 Then he began to denounce the cities where most of his mighty works had been done, because they did not repent. “Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the mighty works done in you had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes. But I tell you, it will be more bearable on the day of judgment for Tyre and Sidon than for you. And you, Capernaum, will you be exalted to heaven? You will be brought down to Hades. For if the mighty works done in you had been done in Sodom, it would have remained until this day. But I tell you that it will be more tolerable on the day of judgment for the land of Sodom than for you.”
Acts 26:19-20 “Therefore, O King Agrippa, I was not disobedient to the heavenly vision, but declared first to those in Damascus, then in Jerusalem and throughout all the region of Judea, and also to the Gentiles, that they should repent and turn to God, performing deeds in keeping with their repentance.
Matthew 12:41 The men of Nineveh will rise up at the judgment with this generation and condemn it, for they repented at the preaching of Jonah, and behold, something greater than Jonah is here.
Acts 3:19 Repent therefore, and turn back, that your sins may be blotted out,
2 Corinthians 12:21 I fear that when I come again my God may humble me before you, and I may have to mourn over many of those who sinned earlier and have not repented of the impurity, sexual immorality, and sensuality that they have practiced.
Revelation 3:19 Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline, so be zealous and repent.
2. The problem with discipline
Joseph Prince says that Believers are never punished for their sins
“You will never find an example of God punishing a believer for his sins in the new covenant.” ( chapter 5, p 57, Destined to Reign)
There is no tension between temporal and eternal punishment. The Scriptures speak of both. The eternal punishment for sins has been taken care of by Christ at the cross. However there are several examples of God’s discipline of His children in the NT.
Examples from Scripture
Hebrews 12:5-6 And have you forgotten the exhortation that addresses you as sons? “My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord, nor be weary when reproved by him. For the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and chastises every son whom he receives.”
“chastise” in the Greek means “to scourge”
Acts 5:3-6 But Peter said, “Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit and to keep back for yourself part of the proceeds of the land? While it remained unsold, did it not remain your own? And after it was sold, was it not at your disposal? Why is it that you have contrived this deed in your heart? You have not lied to man but to God.” When Ananias heard these words, he fell down and breathed his last. And great fear came upon all who heard of it. The young men rose and wrapped him up and carried him out and buried him.
1 Corinthians 11:28-30 Let a person examine himself, then, and so eat of the bread and drink of the cup. For anyone who eats and drinks without discerning the body eats and drinks judgment on himself. That is why many of you are weak and ill, and some have died.
3. The problem with suffering
Being a Word of Faith teacher, Prince has made, and continues to make numerous statements about God’s desire for Christians to be healthy.
The problem with this thinking is that Scripture is replete with passage that state the opposite. What about passages that actually promote suffering in the Christian life? There are also passages that speak of Christians suffering sickness.
Examples from Scripture
Suffering in general
Romans 8:16-17 The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him.
Philippians 1:29 For it has been granted to you that for the sake of Christ you should not only believe in him but also suffer for his sake,
James 1:2-4 Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.
1 Peter 2:20 For what credit is it if, when you sin and are beaten for it, you endure? But if when you do good and suffer for it you endure, this is a gracious thing in the sight of God.
1 Peter 4:19 Therefore let those who suffer according to God’s will entrust their souls to a faithful Creator while doing good.
Revelation 2:10-11 Do not fear what you are about to suffer. Behold, the devil is about to throw some of you into prison, that you may be tested, and for ten days you will have tribulation. Be faithful unto death, and I will give you the crown of life. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. The one who conquers will not be hurt by the second death.’
Suffering because of sickness
2 Timothy 4:20 Erastus remained at Corinth, and I left Trophimus, who was ill, at Miletus.
Why didn’t Paul heal Trophimus? Is it not God’s will that all of His people be healed?
1 Timothy 5:23 (No longer drink only water, but use a little wine for the sake of your stomach and your frequent ailments.)
Why didn’t the Apostle Paul have someone lay hands on Timothy to heal him from his frequent ailments? Also notice Timothy’s ailments were frequent.
Galatians 4:13-15 You know it was because of a bodily ailment that I preached the gospel to you at first, and though my condition was a trial to you, you did not scorn or despise me, but received me as an angel of God, as Christ Jesus. What then has become of your blessedness? For I testify to you that, if possible, you would have gouged out your eyes and given them to me.
Certainly of all people, the Apostle Paul could have healed his own “bodily ailment” right? Wasn’t it his handkerchief that brought healing to the sick in Acts 19?
Acts 19:11-12. And God was doing extraordinary miracles by the hands of Paul, so that even handkerchiefs or aprons that had touched his skin were carried away to the sick, and their diseases left them and the evil spirits came out of them.
What about our brothers and sisters around the world suffering persecution
Dozens of Christians in the village of Attagara, Nigeria, were killed in two separate attacks carried out by Boko Haram militants on June 1 and 3. Militants dressing in army clothing shot and slashed people while bombing and burning homes. One of the assaults lasted for more than five hours.
4. The problem with money
In chapter one of Destined to Reign, Prince states that God calls His people to enjoy wealth.
“You are destined to reign in life. You are called by the Lord to be a success, to enjoy wealth, to enjoy health and to enjoy a life of victory. It is not the Lord’s desire that you live a life of defeat, poverty, and failure.”
This is heresy. The Bible is against storing up treasures on earth, and seeking worldly pleasure.
Examples from Scripture
1 Timothy 6:10 For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils. It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs.
Hebrews 13:5 Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.”
1 Timothy 3:2-3 Therefore an overseer must be above reproach, the husband of one wife, sober-minded, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, not a drunkard, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money.
Matthew 6:19-21 Lay Up Treasures in Heaven “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
Luke 12:15 And he said to them, “Take care, and be on your guard against all covetousness, for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.”
Jude 1:11 Woe to them! For they walked in the way of Cain and abandoned themselves for the sake of gain to Balaam’s error and perished in Korah’s rebellion.
Keep in mind, Joseph Prince has no problem calling himself a Word of Faith preacher. Here are some of the heretical teachings of the Word of Faith movement.
1. Adam was created a little god.
2. God used the “force of faith” to create the universe, and continue to use the “force of faith” to accomplish His work on earth today.
3. Man sold his godhood to Satan when he fell, making Satan the god of this world.
4. Because of this God lost all control in the earth realm and is reliant on man. God needs an invitation by man in order to work out His plans.
5. According to Kenneth Copeland, this made God “the biggest failure in all the Bible.”
6. The reason it took Christ so long to come is because it took God this long to find people to cooperate with His plan to take back control of the earth from Satan.
7. Christ’s atoned for our sins in hell and not on the cross.
8. Jesus ceased to be the Son of God at the cross, taking on the nature of Satan.
9. Jesus was born again in hell, in other words, He had to be saved just as we do today.
10. Because God conquered Satan through the death of Christ, we are entitled to health, wealth, and prosperity.
11. The Christian is now a little god.
As you can see, these are dangerous teachings. Does Joseph Prince believe these teachings? I must assume so since he calls himself a Word of Faith preacher. Even if he doesn’t believe the majority of these teachings, he’s still guilty by association since he promotes and preaches in their churches.
Here is a PDF paper on Joseph Prince written by Lisa Cooper entitled ,”The Law is Holy, Just, and Good.” Lisa Cooper does a fantastic job showing through her extensive research how Joseph Prince is not only a Prosperity Preacher, but also an antinomian.