Thoughts on New Creation Church – Man-centered or God-centered? Part One

[M]any people are willing to be God-centered as long as they feel that God is man-centered. It is a subtle danger. We may think we are centering our lives on God, when we are really making Him a means to self-esteem. Over against this danger I urge you to ponder the implications, brothers, that God loves His glory more than He loves us and that this is the foundation of His love for us. (Brothers, We Are Not Professionals)

[W]e have turned the love of God and the gospel of Christ into a divine endorsement of our delight in many lesser things, especially the delight in our being made much of. The acid test of biblical God-centeredness – and faithfulness to the gospel – is this: Do you feel more loved because God makes much of you, or because, at the cost of his Son, he enables you to enjoy making much of him forever? Does your happiness hang on seeing the cross of Christ as a witness to your worth, or as a way to enjoy God’s worth forever? Is God’s glory in Christ the foundation of your gladness? (God Is The Gospel)

Both the above quotes are taken from two books by John Piper. I’ve posted them here because I think they are extremely thought-provoking. The first sentence above is especially insightful I think:

Many people are willing to be God-centered as long as they feel that God is man-centered.

I believe a lot of evangelicals would agree with the above quotes. And I do think that they have a lot to do with the grace message of New Creation. That’s all I’ll say for this post. Free free to leave your comments, if any.

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15 Comments

  1. Dear A,

    Thanks for sharing your blog. As you seek God, may God reveal Himself to you.

    As a Christian, I do believe differently from you. I believe that Jesus is God and the one you’re looking for. But I don’t say this arrogantly. I acknowledge you’re truly seeking, but have not found. But I know that as you seek, you will find God.

    I’ve read a bit from your blog and I do understand some of the things you say. I have some similar questions too. Christianity is not perfect. The church is not perfect. I disagree with so many things and so many Christians. But I know my faith is ultimately not dependent upon God’s people – be they pastors or leaders or authors or whatever. My faith is ultimately in Jesus. And even then, I don’t understand many things and many of His ways. But I do believe from the bottom of my heart that He died for me and He loves me. For me, that’s enough. I know this world is fallen and therefore not perfect. The world and the church will only be perfect when He comes again!

    May God bless you!

  2. Hi stillhaventfound

    I’ve been thinking this week about what you’ve posted on “Many people are willing to be God-centered as long as they feel that God is man-centered”.

    Initially the above statement does seems legitimate. The reason why i attended NCC years ago was because of its ‘it’s not about what we have to do for God and what God wants and is doing for me’ kinda sermons.

    While it may seems like it’s man-centered, i realise it’s because of such sermons that makes me fall in love with my Daddy God. And the result of such sermons is, i became a ‘doer wannabe’. Because I love and respect and in awe of this Daddy God who loves that soooooo much, He becomes the center of my life. That whatever I do, I hope or strive (in the healthy sense) to be like Him. He became my example, my Daddy that I look to.

    Now, if sermons can make christians like that, isn’t that a good thing?

    I guess that’s the ‘specialness’ about NCC. It doesn’t focus on behaviour modification but rather heart transformation that brings about the behaviour/character change from inside out through the power of God’s grace in its sermon.

  3. From what I learn in NCC, the more I make no worth of myself but let Lord have His Glory. The more He manifest thru me to help others.

    Did I lost myself in the process? No, when I let God be God in me, He makes me stronger and healthy. He anointed me with more healing power for His Glory, nothing of mine.

    I dunno why you keep mentioning the imperfect of church nor pastors. What I know is Pastor Prince is very anointed to teach about Jesus. I get very good revelation of Jesus through him and thru others pastors that was invited to preach in NCC.

    My main purpose when attending church is to know what Daddy God is going to tell me via the pastors. Not about who perfect and not perfect. That’s for God to judge, not me.

    Shalom.

  4. Dear stilllearning and Stephanie,

    Thank you both for your sharing. I appreciate it. And I do think similarly to both of you which I’ll explain in a future post. My quoting of Piper wasn’t meant to mean that I agreed with what he said! :) I’ll follow up with Part Two soon. Cheers!

  5. Dear stillhaventfound,

    I stumbled upon your blog a few weeks ago whilst looking for answers regarding NCC teachings. I’m a young Christian and until just recently attended a conservative evangelical church in London which almost solely focuses on expository teaching. Whilst back in Singapore, circumstances were such that I visited New Creation, and found that Pastor Prince’s message on the blessings of Deuteronomy filled such a huge chunk of unanswered questions that I was facing: such as the ‘spiritual’ side of things as well as God’s providence with regards to our material lives. Are we simply tolerating our remaining years on this Earth or should we be prospering in them? Are the promises of the new covenant effective Now or Later? Whilst back in London I’ve been listening to Prince’s CD’s and have subsequently found my beliefs to be in conflict with those in my old church.

    Pastor Prince’s messages work on a very personal level and despite the simplicity of his language and anecdotes, his sermons are very deep and even though it’s easy to internalise what he’s saying, it’s very difficult to put it on paper and argue it out to someone else.

    For instance there are some especially ‘Pastor Princey’ terms that I notice many New Creationers are fond of including ‘Daddy God’ and very experiential and (to the layman) subjective ones like ‘anointing’, ‘revelation’, ‘rest’, ‘favour’ etc. which although even I can now make sense, based on the impact NCC sermons have had on my life, they seem to simply fly over a conservative’s head. Especially those who value expository teaching over experience, to a point of being wary of anything ‘spiritual’ such as the ‘voice of God’ or a supernatural ‘Revelation from God’ or the spirit, trusting instead in solely one’s intellectual understanding of the holy bible. After all, has the Holy Spirit not completed its ministry by finishing the scriptures? Were the miracles of Acts meant for the transitory period of the Church and are we now fully equipped with scripture to spread the word without these healings and miracles that Pastor Prince (and most charismatics) emphasise? Should a love for God be based on God himself rather than on his benefits? Is it not selfish to focus on blessings and prosperity, after all did Paul not suffer throughout his life?

    Anyway these are some of the questions that I’m having to deal with and I must say that a great many Christians are hostile towards what Pastor Prince is teaching. Mention the word ‘Prosperity’ and it’s as if you’ve just brandished a bomb. Furthermore most articles on the net favouring NCC seem to be statements (usually revolving around personal experience) rather than arguments (subjective studies on what exactly NCC teaches). It’s great that you’re exploring these issues subjectively and intellectually and I’ve used some of your arguments to, well, justify my new stance and even though it’s very difficult to ‘sell’ NCC teachings to other Christians who are missing out on so much, it’s been such an encouragement to myself personally. Keep it up! And God Bless!

  6. Dear Stephanie,

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts on this. I’m really glad that God is impacting your life through Pastor Prince’s messages. In the same way, I enjoy his messages as well which very essentially touches on the finished work of Christ, rest, no condemnation, the Father’s Love, Grace, and the new covenant. All these truths are part of the wonderful gospel that both Christ and Paul preached to liberate us.

    At the same time, I can testify that in New Creation, there are people who reflect the Love and glory of Christ. These are people who come in broken, and wretched, but allows the Love of Christ and the hearing of the Word to transform them from inside out. Praise God for His abundance of grace!

    Having said that, I will never ever say that Pastor Prince is perfect, nor the church is perfect. I believe Pastor Prince mentioned it as well. “Don’t try to find a perfect church. If you do find one, don’t join, you’d make it imperfect”.

    Pastor Prince has stressed that he is just a delivery boy of God’s Word. And he said somewhere along the line of, “Am I perfect? No. I’m just like all of you. Before God we’re all on equal footing. But we’re all covered by the righteousness of Christ.” Pastor Prince has made some decisions in the past as well which he corrected. Remember there was once where he only preached for the first 2 services? The 3rd and 4th services were videocast. Thank God for the wisdom of the Holy Spirit as well as the presence of discerning people around him to advice him!

    Another part that as a church we need improvement: realize after repeated pleas from Pastor Prince and Pastor Lian, people still leave the service during the altercall? I believe this is very inconsiderate to people who are responding to Christ. And most do not realize the sacredness of this time. It’s through the recognition of such “imperfections” that we can, in our individual capacity, try to encourage people around us to improvement.

    I believe stillhaventfound’s blog post is not meant to direct people to the imperfection of New Creation nor Pastor Prince. My personal opinion is that through these discussions, we recognise that all men, and all churches are imperfect, that’s why we need God!

    It will be worrying if you ask a hundred people from NCC “Do you agree with everything the pastor says?” and 100% of the people say “absolutely.” the late Kenneth Hagin has emphasized “Not everything I say will be God’s Word. If it is not from the Bible, throw it out.”

    I will never doubt Pastor Prince’s intentions on revealing more of the beauty and the Love of Christ each week. Bless his ministry, because the delivery of such the Word brings so much liberation! At the same time, I may not agree with everything he says – that does not mean I am against his ministry.

    It is because I love both New Creation and Pastor Prince, that I’d like to give feedback to help the ministry become better.

  7. Hi Donkey of Christ,

    The purpose of my previous post is not to condemn stillhaventfound on writing about this post.

    My purpose is to lead him to concentrate on learning about Jesus thru Pastor Prince. For John 10:4 says “When he has brought out all his own, he goes on ahead of them, and his sheep follow him because they know his voice” and Psalm 23:6 says “Surely goodness and love will follow me (hunt me down) all the days of my life, …”

    From these 2 verses, we are to follow Jesus, means to learn more and more about HIM. When you know how beloved Daddy God loves you, and how righteous He imputed to you, Lord’s blessing will come hunt you down.

    This was what Jesus said when being asked John 6:28 “What must we do to do the works God requires?” Lord Jesus answered, John 6:29 “The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent.”

    So, our part is to believe in the revelation of Jesus, learn more about what Lord Jesus has done so that you can know how much Daddy God has loved you.

    When you know that, your faith and love for Daddy God will grow and Holy Spirit will come to lead you to the truth. Blessings comes after that, starts will health and then proceed to family happiness and wealth. My brother-in-law shop was greatly blessed after he accepted Christ and have strong faith in the Lord. Daddy God gave him the name, David. Praise the Lord!

    So, instead of concentrate on other issues, feed on the words and of course, read the bible and mediate on the verse to get the revelation. This will move you close to God.

    I could call God, Daddy because I have a good revelation of who He is. Lord is personally leading me in many ways. Christianity is about relationship with God after all.

    I didn’t imply that church is perfect, nor did I imply that Pastor Prince is perfect. I know we human, none of us is perfect.

    But I do know that thru learning more about Jesus, Holy Spirit come to lead us and blessings flows. I have seen them from sister, my friend, YC.

    My friend, WK, who used to get mixed message from ex-church n ncc n was confused. When she concentrated on learning about Jesus and read the bible to know God better, HS finally starts leading her too.

    Shalom!

  8. Dear Stephanie,

    I now understand your point and in fact, perfectly agree with what you just said. I am heartened and encouraged to see so many of your friends and relatives being blessed by the Gospel and leading lives that reflect the Love and glory of Christ. I too, had the best blessing of my life after being liberated from the message and focusing on Jesus.

    I apologize for misunderstanding your earlier comment.

    Having said that, I do agree that a certain category of people may not benefit from this blog post. In the sense, they interpret stillhaventfound’s blog as one to assess the church or the pastor. And that shifts the focus away from the living Word and the Gospel.

    I can see, whoever, people who can benefit from this blog post. Because a great number of people out there are still stuck with the notion that NCC is a church that preaches “Prosperity Gospel” and a number of people (praise God they are decreasing), are still labeling NCC as antinomian.

    We know the truth, that the leaders in the church have 1 focus – Jesus Christ.

    stillhaventfound, in his capacity, is bearing a testimony to the church, the people, the message to those outside the church. When Pastor Prince preaches, there are many people who want to believe but are affected by “outside talk”. stillhaventfound is clearing up these misunderstandings and answering the misconceptions the best he can.

    I have seen other blog authors who really just want to argue about theological issues and end up attacking one another’s doctrines, churches, leaders, etc.

    At this point in time I view stillhaventfound’s post having a different effect towards people who are genuinely searching for God.

    Have a blessed week sister!

  9. Dear Ken,

    Thanks for your comments! Good to see you here and I hope to hear your thoughts regarding the issues you mentioned in future.

    Stephanie, you have a wonderful blog and I know where you’re coming from. You have a simplicity of faith which is admirable. And I say this sincerely.

    Like Donkey has said, this blog isn’t for everyone. Some people are still searching (myself included) and I hope this series can be a place for Christians to come and share and discuss in love. You’re right in that it’s important to believe and trust in the Word. I believe that there is, however, also a place for discussing it and examining Scriptures like the Bereans. But of course, there’s a limit to that too. I don’t believe in forever discussing and debating and developing an overly critical attitude until all we do is talk and talk and not believe and do. The purpose of discussing and sharing ought to be so that we can believe and act on the Word.

  10. Thanks Donkey and Stillhaventfound for the explanation. Now I can appreciate this site better. :P

    Stillhaventfound, guess my faith comes from the wisdom Lord given me. Also if you read from my initial post, I came to Christ because of a big devil chasing behind me. So there is no way to run except to believe what was all said about my rights in Christ and used them to tell the devil. During that time, how I wished there was sermons daily. :P

    This was how I was delivered 3 months down the route of being a Christian. So, this believe comes from no way out…haha…Praise the Lord.

    Nowadays, Lord gives me the eyes to see the reality of it.

    Anyway, I dun condemn anyone for Lord did say that just because I am given the wisdom, dun expect the rest to be like me. I am still learning this part.

    Nice to meet you, Donkey and stillhaventfound, my brothers-in-Christ. :)

  11. Ok, I like to share something relevant to this post.

    Many months ago, when I learnt from Pastor Prince that all Glory belongs to God, I was wondering then where my glory gone..thinking from a natural human that mind more about our worthiness in the world.

    This was what Lord replied me that evening. He said on earth, God gets the glory, my glory is all stored in heaven. This revelation by Him released me from trusting my self worth and give all the glory to Him.

    Nowadays, I realised that even though Lord had anointed with healing power, come to healing people, Lord, who is in me, is the one doing the job, not me. So, there is nothing for me to glorify about myself, bec it’s all about Him and His work!

    I like to share the healing of 4 of WK uncle and aunties. It was so amazing that for 2 of them, Lord willingly healed them. But for 1 of the aunt, Lord wanted her to take holy communion instead. I want to put my fingers to 3 times per day but Lord in me stretched out the whole hand, wanting her to take 5 times instead. This experience let me realise who is the boss. Hehe…

    Shalom!

  12. Amen! :)

    Tks Ken, Stephanie & stillhaventfound for the sharing. It’s wonderfully edifying meeting like-minded siblings in christ ;)

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