In a video of a sermon excerpt by Joseph Prince, Prince tries to make the protection God provides his people in Psalm 91 all encompassing. In other words, a promise of 24 hour protection from every form of disease, pestilence, and destruction that God sends on the earth. Not only does he make “arrow” in verse 5 to mean missile (yep, as in military weapons) he also quotes John G Lake who said if one was born again, they were incarnate “I want you to hear what Jesus said about himself. God was in Christ, wasn’t He? An incarnation. God is in you, an incarnation, if you were born again. you are incarnate” (John G. Lake, His Life, His Sermons, His Boldness of Faith, 1995, Kenneth Copeland Publications).
Evidently Prince believes this and other blasphemous statements by Lake since he calls him a “great man of God. The point that Prince makes in this sermon is that Believers have the promise of God’s protection 24/7.
Suffering is ordained by God
What is not taken into consideration however, is that God does ordain suffering for His children. The Bible is replete with passages on suffering persecution, temptation, and various trials. Christ is even mentioned as our model for suffering- Hebrews 12:2 looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. Prince seems to be saying that Psalm 91 promises God will never allow any suffering to come upon His children.
What about our persecuted brothers and sisters in the Middle East?
Yet what about our brothers and sisters right now undergoing tremendous suffering in the Middle East? “I am gravely concerned about the physical safety of several minority groups in Iraq, including Christians, Shia, Shabaks, Turkmen, Yazidis and others who are being persecuted on the grounds of their religion and ethnicity”, said the United Nations’ Special Rapporteur on minority issues, Rita Izsák.
“Reliable information indicates that religious minorities are being targeted and their members subjected to abductions, killings or the confiscation of their property by extremist groups,”
Right now Christians are being killed and tortured all over the Middle East and other parts of the world. ISIS is beheading children, raping women, and killing scores of Christians in Iraq. They are also warning Christians to convert or be massacred. At the same time, ISIS jihadists are crucifying Christians and others in Syria, and the bloody civil war in Syria has left 170,000 dead and created millions of refugees fleeing for safety. Are these brothers and sisters being abandoned by God? Are they not under the protection of God like Prince says every Christian is? Yes this Psalm does promise protection, but often God allows, and even brings suffering and persecution into the lives of His children for their good and His glory (James 1:2-4; Phil 1:29).
The death of Peter
The death of Peter tells us three things about suffering:
John 21:18-19 Truly, truly, I say to you, when you were young, you used to dress yourself and walk wherever you wanted, but when you are old, you will stretch out your hands, and another will dress you and carry you where you do not want to go.” (This he said to show by what kind of death he was to glorify God.) And after saying this he said to him, “Follow me.”
1. The purpose of the way Peter was to die was for the glory of God
2. The glory of God took priority over the suffering Peter endured in death
3. Peter’s death was ordained by God
But the most disturbing statement comes at around the 17.46 min. mark of the clip where Prince states, “God is not running this world. If God were running this world there would be no hospitals. If God were running this world there would be no need for missiles and weapons.”
This is classic Word of Faith theology, which, in case I haven’t mentioned it before, is heresy.
The Bible makes it clear that God is running the world, contrary to what Prince and other Word of Faith preachers teach. Let’s look at some passages of Scripture that make this clear.
Psalms 115:3 Our God is in the heavens; he does all that he pleases.
In case someone would say, “Yes, but notice the verse says He does all He pleases in the heavens,” there’s Psalms 135:6 Whatever the Lord pleases, he does, in heaven and on earth, in the seas and all deeps.
Daniel 4:34-35 At the end of the days I, Nebuchadnezzar, lifted my eyes to heaven, and my reason returned to me, and I blessed the Most High, and praised and honored him who lives forever,for his dominion is an everlasting dominion, and his kingdom endures from generation to generation; all the inhabitants of the earth are accounted as nothing, and he does according to his will among the host of heaven and among the inhabitants of the earth; and none can stay his hand or say to him, “What have you done?”
Notice in this passage, that God does “according to His will among the host of heaven and among the inhabitants of the earth.” This means that nothing is outside of the realm of God’s control. He is sovereign over everything. This control even covers calamities including war.
The Prophet Jeremiah saw the destruction of his people by the hand of God through King Nebuchadnezzar and this is what he lamented:
Lamentations 2:11 My eyes are spent with weeping; my stomach churns; my bile is poured out to the ground because of the destruction of the daughter of my people, because infants and babies faint in the streets of the city.
Yet he saw where this destruction ultimately came from when he said:
Lamentations 3:37-38 Who has spoken and it came to pass, unless the Lord has commanded it? Is it not from the mouth of the Most High that good and bad come?
Amos 3:6 Is a trumpet blown in a city, and the people are not afraid? Does disaster come to a city, unless the Lord has done it?
We live in perilous times. War, famine, and pestilence is is all over the news. The first hurricane to hit Hawaii in 22 years is about to blow. A second one follows close behind. Earthquakes are being reported in various places, and the worst outbreak of the Ebola virus in History has taken some 900 lives in West Africa. Yet God is in control. He is sovereign over every event. Shame on Prince, and any Pastor for that matter, for not teaching the absolute sovereignty of God to their people.