On Joseph Prince & New Creation Church – Uneasy questions about Grace

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I was in the midst of writing a long post on an important issue regarding grace (which has been brewing in my head for some time – actually, over 10 years!) then decided to make this a series of shorter posts, which would hopefully progressively build on each other and interactions with my readers.

The title of the original long post was meant to be “More radical than Joseph Prince?”. This is in relation to the issue of grace, and yes, the title hints at the blasphemous thought that maybe Joseph Prince isn’t radical enough on grace, in particular when, in my opinion, he says some things which is maybe said in (too much) concession to his critics.

OK, don’t crucify me yet for saying the above :) We’re all still learning (myself definitely!) and I’d love your feedback throughout this series of posts. I think it’ll be a very thought-provoking, and practical, series. Practical because theology is always practical and I’ll touch on how some of these uneasy questions about grace actually affect the lives of some of the readers I’ve communicated personally with.

To start off, here are two quotes from this article (quoting and paraphrasing Joseph Prince’s teaching in his Unmerited Favor book). A simple question: Is there any contradiction between the following two paragraphs? If so, why? If not, why not?

1) “My leaders have no qualms about confronting people who attend our church but insist on living in sin. They do not back down from the gospel of grace even if these people argue that they have the right to continue living as they please because they are ‘under grace.’ In fact, my leaders would tell them outright that they are not under grace, because according to Romans 6:14, if they are under grace, then sin shall not have dominion over them!” (emphasis mine)

2) Explaining his teaching, he related the story of one of his church leaders who for a time stopped attending church services because of marital and drinking problems, hoping to resume church attendance after he resolved his difficulties. But, just as people take a bath to clean themselves rather than clean themselves up before taking a bath, so people with problems go to Jesus Christ to resolve them rather than attempting to solve their problems first, the pastor told his member. Today, he said, that member is a happily married, has a beautiful family and is one of his trusted, key leaders.

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  1. 1) i think on the first part, he was giving example of ppl living in sins, i.e extramaritial affair, and have no qualms of living in it.

    2) Refering to ppl whom has problem, but wanted to change situation but they know they cant on thier own.

  2. Just ‘stumbled’ upon this blog, and like your balanced, thoughtful approach to different topics.

    As for the question above, as ‘savebygrace’ mentioned, the difference perhaps lies in the willingness of the person(s) to proper counsel.

    Being under grace is like being under a huge umbrella. Our choices/actions can keep us under the umbrella or take us out of its shelter.

    Just my 2 cents.

  3. I don’t see any contradiction.

    In the first case, he’s talking about people who insist on sinning, who don’t believe that there’s anything wrong with what they are doing. Then, they hear grace, misunderstand it and use it as an excuse to justify their lifestyle. In my opinion, I don’t think these ppl are even saved becos Paul says that the believer doesn’t want to go on sinning. He has a new nature.

    This is very different from a person who is a believer but who has an addiction HE WANTS to get rid of but can’t in his own strength. I believe many of us (including myself) have been there.

  4. Thanks savedbygrace, Tim and Andrew for your comments. Yes, I expected people to see that there are differences between the two situations – mainly to do with the desire and willingness to overcome sin. However, I do feel uncomfortable and disagree with the way the first person (who supposedly has no desire to overcome sin) is treated, which I’ll write more in subsequent posts. Anyone else feels the same way, or is it just me? :)

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