Thoughts on New Creation Church – On Christless Christianity, Michael Horton and John Frame – Part 1

Those who know a bit about me through this blog know that I came from the Reformed/Calvinistic Christian tradition. It’s a wonderful Christian tradition with a rich theological heritage. I will not say I’m Reformed anymore as I’m more eclectic in my theological views now, but I still follow a lot of what’s going on in that tradition as there is so much I can learn from there. This post is going to touch on a big debate going on in the Reformed circles now which I think parallels to a certain extent the big debate surrounding New Creation’s message on grace.

The understanding I have of grace and the law and gospel first came to me when I read about it from Michael Horton and his gang of friends at White Horse Inn about 10 years ago. Through my many blog posts on grace and New Creation Church, I’ve actually referred back to Reformed authors in defense of what Pastor Joseph Prince teaches on grace. Michael Horton’s passion for the gospel has a lot of similarities with that of Joseph Prince. I know putting the two names together would probably horrify many people, but take away Pastor Prince’s charismatic views on healing, prosperity and blessings and look at things a bit more objectively and you’ll recognize a lot of similarities there in their messages of the gospel of grace. Yes, there are huge differences in other areas, but let me quote from a review of Michael Horton’s recent book Christless Christianity in which those appreciative of New Creation’s grace message would say a hearty “Amen!”:

The focus of the message in the contemporary church now tends to be more about us and our activity versus God and His work accomplished in Jesus Christ… The new legalism, Horton argues, consists of sermons that focus in on principles, rules, steps, laws, codes and guidelines as the central application, that if followed will reap psychological rewards. Preaching of this kind, he calls ‘moralistic therapeutic deism’. But Horton does not merely critique, he also points to Christ as the solution. While this may outwardly seem simplistic, Christianity, Horton says, is news about what Christ has done for us (a divine rescue) not what we do for Him (a self-salvation project or steps to victory). In other words, the gospel is first about divine accomplishment, not human attainment (or principles for living). What we do as Christians is always as a response to the finished work Christ has already accomplished for us. If it is not preached this way in every sermon then Christianity cannot be sharply differentiated from any other religion ascending to God, rather than a message showing our utter helplessness and the need to God to descend to rescue us. This, Horton emphasizes is the key, not only to salvation but to Christian sanctification as well.

Horton’s tonic for the crisis is to focus on what God does for us rather than what we do for God. “Gifts do not go up to God but come down from the God who does not need anything that would obligate a return (Acts 17:24-35; Rom 11:35-36).” The Son of God did not come to be served, but comes to serve us – “we are the ones who need to be bathed, clothed and fed, not God.”

The current debate in Reformed circles is about Horton’s Christless Christianity book and I guess his views in general. I haven’t read that book and I don’t exactly plan to because I’ve read tons of Horton’s writings and he’s probably been the Christian author who has influenced my thinking the most. So I think I know what to expect from his book. I’m sure I would agree mostly with the book. Not everything, but I think I would certainly agree wholeheartedly with the general thrust of the book which is that preaching nowadays tends to be more about what we are to do for God, rather than what Christ has done for us – and that this should be reversed as the gospel needs to be central. Wonderful stuff. I like it and so would every New Creation member. Not only that, but great reviews from most of the evangelical Christian world.

And so in steps John Frame, who writes a scathing critique of Horton’s book, which sets the Reformed blogsphere on fire – for example, see responses to Frame’s review here, here and here. The interesting thing is that Frame is a pretty heavyweight Reformed theologian himself, and yet chose to write a very critical review. But perhaps it’s unsurprisingly as there’s a lot of history in all of this (i.e. the differences in viewpoints going back years), so I’ve read.

I haven’t read much from Frame, but I do like the stuff I’ve read. He’s the kind of guy who writes about a lot of things and makes you reflect. You may not agree with him, but he makes you think about things in a different way. He’s kind of a non-conformist too, not afraid to differ from what others say and stand up for what he believes in, which is another plus point in my eyes. I read his wonderful book Contemporary Christian Worship and loved it. In it he defends the contemporary / charismatic style of worship. That’s no big deal in and of itself but you must remember he comes from a tradition (Reformed) that’s generally quite anti anything that’s charismatic. The tradition is full of churches whose worship service is anything but contemporary in style. And the tradition has lots against contemporary / charismatic worship. And so he writes a book defending contemporary christian worship! What audacity! And in my opinion it was a great book and very balanced. Of course the majority in the Reformed tradition would differ from me!

So we have two authors here that I admire greatly, but for different reasons. Michael Horton and gang have taught me so much about the gospel, its centrality and the law/gospel distinction. His writings have shaped how I view God and the Bible. His writings have made me appreciate a church like New Creation that has got its emphasis purely on the gospel of Jesus Christ. John Frame, on the other hand, challenges me to see things from different perspectives and to keep things in balance and make sure truths are not out of proportion or carried out to the extreme or at the expense of other truths. As regards to where Frame stands regarding the gospel and law/gospel distinction, I’m on Horton’s side. Yet, I think there’s much that we can learn from Frame too.

Because most of my blog readers are not Reformed and probably couldn’t be bothered with an internal debate involving mainly Reformed Christians, the rest of this post (and the next) will be me basically trying to relate this controversy to the controversy surrounding New Creation and what we can learn through it. So here are some points:

1) The importance of the centrality of the gospel: One thing I’ve learned from Horton is that the gospel of Jesus Christ ought to be central in everything. By the gospel of Jesus Christ, I mean the fact that God in Christ died for our sins. The gospel is about what God did in Christ, not what we do for God. It’s about God giving to us, not about us giving to God. And this message ought to be central in the church and in the preaching.

Most churches talk more about what we ought to do for God and other people. That’s not wrong, but that just should not be central to the preaching we constantly hear and our faith. The reason many churches preach a lot about what we ought to do and little on what Christ has done for us is because many preachers think that the gospel message is just for unbelievers and believers have “graduated” from such a message and don’t need to constantly hear it proclaimed. This kind of attitude to the gospel message is what many others have called assuming the gospel. Many assume that Christians know the gospel message and understand it. The problem is not that that preachers today deny the gospel. It’s just that they don’t think it’s important enough to place it central.

Horton writes:

There need not be explicit abandonment of any key Christian teaching, just a set of subtle distortions and not-so-subtle distractions. Even good things can cause us to look away from Christ and to take the gospel for granted as something we needed for conversion but which now can be safely assumed and put in the background. Center stage, however, is someone or something else. (p. 20)

So the gospel message of Christ’s death and resurrection needs to be central. The message of what God has done for us on the cross ought to be more important and central in the church than what we ought to do for God. This has been Horton’s message for many years and all who attend New Creation know that this is precisely what New Creation is all about. The most important message of the Bible according to Paul is the gospel of Jesus Christ (1 Cor. 15:3-4; Gal. 6:14). And it is this message that is for both the non-Christian and even the Christian as it is understanding the goodness of God in the gospel of Jesus Christ that transforms us and teaches us to deny ungodliness (Rom. 2:4; Titus 2:12).

2) Using extreme language unnecessarily: Let’s go to Frame’s review. In the beginning he comments on Horton’s use of extreme language like “Christless” and “alternative gospel”. Frame reminds us, based on Galatians 1:8-9, that

It is time we learned that when we criticize someone for preaching “another gospel” we are doing nothing less than cursing him, damning him to Hell.

Frame’s concern is that we don’t use such extreme terms flippantly and that it doesn’t help when we use extreme labels when describing other Christians or sections of Christianity. Yes, sometimes we over-exaggerate to make a point. However, we also have to be sensitive to the implications of using such terms. By saying this preacher or that preacher is preaching another gospel is not something we should be saying lightly at all as we’re really saying that they are cursed.

I’m all for Horton’s call to place more emphasis on the gospel. However, we need to be careful and not describe those who don’t emphasize the gospel as much as we think they should as adopting or as being close to adopting a Christless Christianity or an alternative gospel. As Frame wrote,

We ought to discuss these matters in an atmosphere of brotherhood, charity, and civility. Certainly we should hold back on extreme language like “Christless” and “alternative gospel.”

I love New Creation’s emphasis on the gospel of Jesus Christ. I’ve been to many churches and have sat under years and years of preaching in Singaporean churches and have never come across a church that emphasizes the gospel of Jesus Christ like New Creation. I wish all churches in Singapore would grasp the significance of the centrality of the gospel, just as Michael Horton and Joseph Prince have.

But let me say this. I hear a lot of preaching that touches on Galatians 1:8-9 (and other passages like that) that make it sound as if other churches other than New Creation (especially those which criticize New Creation) are preaching another gospel. The quote is about starting by grace but continuing by works. To Paul, this is about preaching another gospel. To Paul, people who promote such a gospel are cursed.

My point here, like Frame’s, is that we have to be careful with our words. I think that in an important sense, New Creation preaches the gospel of Jesus Christ more faithfully than perhaps any other Church in Singapore. New Creation is very clear on the gospel. Clarity is important especially as it relates to the gospel message. Many other churches tend to be less clear on the gospel, perhaps even confusing. But I would not even imply or hint that those who disagree with the way New Creation preaches the gospel are preaching another gospel. To do so is really to imply that all other churches or Christians are damned to hell.

Caution is also in order when we talk about the Ten Commandments. I’m solidly behind New Creation in their view that the Ten Commandments are not for Christians today. Other Christians from different Christian traditions believe the same thing. But there are many churches who still believe that the Ten Commandments are for today. We may disagree with that. But we have to recognize that these Christians are NOT saying that we are saved by obeying the Ten Commandments. We thus have to be careful with our criticism and refrain from saying that those who believe that the Ten Commandments are for today are preaching another gospel or preaching that they believe we have to obey the Ten Commandments to be saved, etc. Similarly, those who disagree with New Creation and other Christians who believe the Ten Commandments are not for Christians today should refrain from accusing these Christians of being antinomian or believing that we can sin all we want, etc.

Let me be clear. Scripture does use extreme words to describe those who advocate that we’re saved by works or by obeying the Ten Commandments. I’m not saying we should refrain from using such extreme language so we can all get along. No. By all means, use such extreme language if there are Christians and pastors who are advocating such deception. But as far as I know, no church or pastor does that. Some may preach a confusing message but that doesn’t warrant our extreme use of language to describe them or their teaching. I know what many New Creation members mean when they testify of how their view of Christianity was generally a legalistic one before they encountered the grace and freedom in New Creation. Their view of God was less than biblical because of what their pastors preached previously. I understand this because I’ve been in many such churches. A lot of preaching in many churches is confusing and gives the impression that we have to do good to please God. Furthermore, I know a lot of people do get the impression because of such teaching that God is angry with them and perhaps will not even save them if they do not lead good or godly lives. I’m all against such teachings. But talk to the pastor or leader about the confusing message and while his/her preaching wasn’t so consistent or clear, he/she will tell you that he believes we’re saved by faith alone through grace alone. Such preachers could learn a lot from New Creation about being clear about the message of the gospel and grace, but I would certainly not go so far as to say that they are preaching another gospel and are cursed.

This works both ways of course. Just as I’d like to see less preaching from New Creation that sets up an “us” vs “them” mentality implying that other Christians and churches (those not part of the “grace revolution”) are preaching another gospel, I’d like to see less preaching from other Churches which paints churches like New Creation as though they are antinomian or preach that Christians can sin all they want. Both sides need to be careful not to create straw man arguments and tear them down using the extreme language of Scripture.

To be continued in Part 2…

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23 Comments

  1. hmmm….I have read Horton’s “Putting the Amazing Back to Grace” and “Power Religion” and liked the former very much. Good reformed stuff, and clear and cogent.

    Blessed the peacemaker, and blessed are you!

  2. Does Mr. Prince believe in the third use of the law? That is the moral law is not only for the conviction of sin but it also instructs the redeemed?

    1. Joseph Prince has a few comments which you may wish to know:
      1. he spoke in Israel this year during his trip and aired thru CBN and his pet phrase:
      “If God wants all the glory, let HIM do all the work while you believers rest”
      2. 1 John 1:9 is meant for unbelievers and not for believers. You as believers dont need to seek forgiveness.
      3. You are not meant to work for salvation. After receiving salvation, you rest and not work.

  3. I’m advocate of grace teaching till witnessing the pitfall. adulterer hiding behind grace and believe he is forgiven and continue his sinner act..

    Does he still w/i god’s grace?

  4. with all do respect with what you and ncc believe; do you guys even use the bible anymore? it states that the ten commandments are given after the children of Israel came out of egypt not what they are in egypt.

    if it is not for today? does it mean that
    1. you guys can worship other gods
    2. you guys can build a carve image of other god
    3. use your god name as and when you like
    4. disobey yr parents;defy them?
    5. need not go to church unless its your favourite pastor
    6. murder and say that its okay to murder
    7. commit adultery with anyone and everyone
    8. stealing as a hobbie?
    9. bear false witness is a must
    10. covet everything someone else has.

  5. Cheers Blogpastor :)

    Glenn, Pastor Prince doesn’t believe in the 3rd use of the law if by the law you mean the 10 Commandments. He, like many other Christians, believe that the 10 Commandments had its purpose and time in the history of Salvation/Redemption and it is no longer relevant in the New Covenant the way it was in the Old Covenant. I intend to write a post on the biblical support for this position in the near future.

    Intriguer, I think you’re creating a straw man argument which is common when people attack NCC’s belief that the 10 Commandments aren’t for today. Just because NCC and other Christians don’t believe the 10 Cs are for today, this doesn’t mean we believe it’s OK to break them. Of course not! As mentioned, I’ll write a post on this soon.

    I don’t mind people disagreeing with Pastor Prince and others on this issue, but it’d be nice to understand their arguments thoroughly first. There’s no need to up the rhetoric and insinuate people who hold to such views don’t use the bible anymore or believe that Christians can sin all they want. I disagree with Christians who still want to go to the 10 Commandments for guidance but I’d never unfairly attack them and say that they are believing in another gospel or trying to justify themselves through obedience to the 10 Cs. Let’s not put words into the mouths of Christians we disagree with or unfairly attack them.

  6. Dear Intriger,

    We believe there are laws that God writes in our hearts today, as it is written in the book of Hebrews (8:10-12), a surety of the New Covenant.

    “I will put my laws in their minds
    and write them on their hearts.
    I will be their God,
    and they will be my people.
    No longer will a man teach his neighbor,
    or a man his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’
    because they will all know me,
    from the least of them to the greatest.
    For I will forgive their wickedness
    and will remember their sins no more.”

    In fact, Pastor Prince has a sermon titled “What are the laws that God writes in our hearts today?”

    We too honor the Law, the 10 commandments but we believe in what the purpose of the Law is: as a tutor. As it is written in Galatians 3:24

    “But before faith came, we were kept in custody under the law, being shut up to the faith which was later to be revealed.

    Therefore the Law has become our tutor to lead us to Christ, so that we may be justified by faith.

    But now that faith has come, we are no longer under a tutor.

    For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus.”

  7. Donkey,

    Your passages are taken out of context and made to appear as if they were related to each other. This is not so. It appears there is manipulation of scriptures to fit the theology.

    The passage in Hebrews is a reflection of God’s promise that a saviour will come to atone for the sins of man. No longer will man have to strive offering sacrifices to cleanse themselves of sin BUT a sacrifice will come once and for all for the forgiveness of sin.

    The Law which is being placed in our hearts is the promise of the Holy Spirit. To every Christian that makes Jesus Christ as LORD of their lives, God will give to them the gift of the Holy Spirit.

    In Galatians, the law referred to here was not the ten commandments but the laws the Pharisees invented (600 odd) and twisted for their own benefit to attain correct standing. Paul was challenging the Judaizers that there is freedom in Christ and that the twisted laws were not important anymore.

    Totally different context all together although New Creation Church makes it appear as if they were connected.

    My stand as a New Covenant Christian is that we do not have to follow the Old Covenant (ten commandments) unless they are repeated in the teachings of Jesus (New Covenant). Not surprisingly, the moral teachings of the Old Covenant apart from the sabbath are repeated in the New Covenant. So indirectly, most of the ten commandments still stand relevent to this day.

  8. Dear meeple,

    Indeed there has been a lot of debate whether the law that Paul was referring to was the 10 commandments, or the laws that the pharisees created.

    At this point in time I do not think it is taken out of context. Paul preached several times about the Law in the book of Romans. Here are some of the excerpts.

    “Now we know that whatever the law says, it says to those who are under the law, that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God. Therefore by the deeds of the law no flesh will be justified in His sight, for by the law is the knowledge of sin.” – Romans 3:19-20 In this he is referring to the 10 commandments.

    “For sin shall not have dominion over you, for you are not under law but under grace.” – Romans 6:14 In this again he is referring to the 10 commandments. I shall illustrate why in the next passage.

    “What shall we say then? Is the law sin? Certainly not! On the contrary, I would not have known sin except through the law. For I would not have known covetousness unless the law had said, “You shall not covet.” But sin, taking opportunity by the commandment, produced in me all manner of evil desire. For apart from the law sin was dead. I was alive once without the law, but when the commandment came, sin revived and I died. And the commandment, which was to bring life, I found to bring death. For sin, taking occasion by the commandment, deceived me, and by it killed me. Therefore the law is holy, and the commandment holy and just and good.” – Romans 7:7-12

    In this passage, Paul specifically mentioned “the law had said ‘You shall not covet'”, to illustrate, he is referring to the 10 commandments, not the laws created by the Pharisees. In the whole of Romans, he presents one consistent argument. He honors the law, as we honor the law – that it is just holy and good. But at the same time, we know the purpose of the law – as expounded in Galatians.

    Moreover, in the preceding text to the verse from Galatians, it is written

    “Is the law then against the promises of God? Certainly not! For if there had been a law given which could have given life, truly righteousness would have been by the law. But the Scripture has confined all under sin, that the promise by faith in Jesus Christ might be given to those who believe. But before faith came, we were kept under guard by the law, kept for the faith which would afterward be revealed. Therefore the law was our tutor to bring us to Christ, that we might be justified by faith. But after faith has come, we are no longer under a tutor.”

    Paul says “We are kept under guard by the law”. Does he mean to say that we are kept under guard by the twisted laws of the Pharisees? No, he continues to honor the law that it is not against the promises of God, but has its purpose. He is not referring to the twisted laws of the Pharisees.

    I do agree with you on your last statement, and will like to extend that if we focus on the teachings and the transformational power of the New Covenant, the obedience of the 10 commandments will fall into place.

    I’d agree with stillhaventfound as well. That as Christians, we all love holiness. We all love righteousness. We fall out of love with sin when we discovered the love of Jesus Christ. We are only in disagreement on what is the path to holiness. I will like to honor people whom I know look to the 10 commandments but yet exemplify the love of Christ. In the same way, can those who live looking to the 10 commandments perhaps consider the possibility that Christians can be transformed into the same image of Christ be beholding Him?

    “Now the Lord is the Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord.” – 2 Corinthians 3:18

    It is hard to elaborate further, when you are talking to people who have experienced liberty from bondage (to addictions), breakthroughs in relationships (restorations), physical healing, and a heart to love & serve others.

    Once again, I shall say again, I am not saying that other churches are not experiencing these things. I believe we all are, and I absolutely honor the churches in Singapore who are full of love and grace. I believe stillhaventfound’s heart is calling for more understanding between congregations. We can agree to disagree at some point, but we are still one.

  9. Donkey,

    Before we go mumbling and jumbling scriptures together like rojak only because they all have the word “law” in common, let us look at a few things.

    1. Hermeneutics.

    Context of Galatians refer to a young church which Paul has established and has hammered into their heads that freedom is found by grace through faith in Jesus Christ.
    Jewish people of the Pharisee type did not recognise Jesus’ teachings and claimed that the path to God was not so simple. The truth path they claim is achieved via external measures. The two main ones were circumcision and food traditions. (we see this from the cross reference in Romans during the Jeruselam Council)

    Paul returns to the region of Galatia and is angry that the Galatians have strayed from his teachings and have reverted back to the slavery of following the laws of circumcision and food traditions. He in fact rebukes them… not a very pleasant epistle at all!

    Donkey, do you really think that Paul rebuked the Galatians because they tried to honour their parents, or lived a life of selfless integrity by not stealing or putting others first?

    I am quite astounded that you still insist that Paul is upset the Galatians have adhered to the ten commandments and that they have enslaved them. Perhaps the desire to best fit one’s theology is playing a major role here.

    2. Romans

    The context is that Paul is writing a CV to the church in Rome (which is Gentile at that time) to advertise himself such that they will fund him for his ministry possibly in Spain. He writes to them stating that if chosen, he would solve the problems between the Gentiles and Jews in Rome.

    The Roman church was initially Jewish in make-up. THe Jewish leaders maintained their Jewish traditions and managed to recruit Gentiles. When Nero ascended to power, he killed all the Jews and they fled for their lives!

    After Nero’s death, slowly the Jews returned (10 years later) only to find that the Gentiles had been in control of the church during the time. The Jews wanted the authority and leadership of the church back but the Gentiles refused stating that they had done a good job in the Jewish absence.

    So Paul is ironing out this difference to state that both parties are incorrect. The law in which the Jews are trying to force on the Gentiles is used in his argument to rebuke the Jews and the ignorance of the law is also used in the rebuke of the Gentiles.

    The law in this context not only refers to the 600 odd commands (not 10 commandments) but also the Torah.

    Again the exaltation of grace by New Creation Church is faulty. Faulty in the sense that it is highlighted to its congregation by downplaying or repressing law. The context of law by New Creation is also wrong as they assume that the law = the ten commandments.

    Not so! In various contexts, it can refer to the Torah, the 600 odd extension laws, the ten commandments, the law of the prophets etc.

  10. This website is getting more and more interesting now… because I can see that people are beginning to talk with sense and substance… I am still new here. So, I will say, ‘Hello’ again next time…

  11. Hey Stillhaventfound. Well written article but just some interesting points that sidetracks a little here. I do agree to some extent in Prince’s message though i find it a bit unbalanced in some areas. However, I have met many New Creation Church members and in all honesty, almost all whom i’ve met are very selfish and only cares about what they can get and not what they can give. They hardly show concern for evangelism, or unity in the body, or holiness or the fruits of the spirit. All they care about is the material stuff. That is the experience that i and many of my friends had. Thus, if these are the members that NCC is producing, i am wondering what kind of culture, message or environment they are creating.

    1. I know this is way too late for a reply to a post that was dated almost 2 years ago but just stumble upon this now.
      What do you expect from people who are told week after weeks that they are already saved, as righteous and holy as Jesus in the eyes of God, no need to do anything and God is as pleased with them as He is with Christ? They are just putting their faith in action by being selfish knowing that as far as God is concerned they are as selfless as Christ. They have already died for the world through their faith in the cross.

  12. Hi Daryl, thanks for your comments. We must catch up one day :) Regarding your point about encountering NCC members who do not show grace and love, I’ve heard a lot of this lately, even from people from NCC or who are pro-NCC. I’d like to address this issue in another post and maybe you can comment there.

    Cheers :)

  13. Yes, I agreed, I met some of NCC’s member, seems they are selfish to care only their gain & lost and interest, pretty much focus on the material things instead of inspirual excerise. They emphasize all the time how much God love them and the finished work had been done by Jesus for them and enjoy the “grace” of God, but rare to care others’ feeling or love or even providing help…if them, I am curious how the could feel grace from God…Even they saw other’s in challenge works, they would say, I was so blessed by God for not taking the tough task, Was it the blessing from God, not others?

  14. I think the most important thing is not God would mind us whether we are above or under the law after the finished work had been done by Jesus, the most important is we need to understand whether we need to exercise to make yourself behave be more grace, noble and helping and sharing others with loveliness heart. Relax is good, but we shouldn’t take the exercise as boundary. Just like we know “stolen” is wrong and would be punished but we wouldn’t do it even though we are absolved.

  15. Hi meeple,

    thanks for your insights on the Galatians and Romans. I’ve learnt a lot. However, I do have some questions on your statements on Galatians. You were saying the law Paul was writing about in the epistle, did not include the 10 commandments, but instead more on circumcision and food traditions. Nonetheless, if you were to read the whole Gal 3, verse 17 states “And this I say, that the law, which was four hundred and thirty years later, cannot annul the covenant that was confirmed before by God in Christ, that it should make the promise of no effect.”, Paul was expressly referring to the law given 430 years after the promise of Abraham, which I believe is the 10 commandments. Also, just curious, in verse 24, Paul was referring to the law as the tutor, before Christ. If he was referring to the ceremonial laws, I will like to know what does these laws (the 600+ laws given by the pharisess) teach?

    Furthermore, in the next chapter (Gal. 4), verse 21-31, Paul asked “21 Tell me, you who desire to be under the law, do you not hear the law?” to the Galatians. He went on the describe the law which the Galatians have unknowlingly went back under. You all know the story, how Paul described Hagar as the bondwoman and Sarah, the freewoman. In verse 24-25 “24 which things are symbolic. For these are the two covenants: the one from Mount Sinai which gives birth to bondage, which is Hagar— 25 for this Hagar is Mount Sinai in Arabia, and corresponds to Jerusalem which now is, and is in bondage with her children—”, he gives a picture of Hagar being the covenant (law) from Mt. Sinai, which to my knowledge is the 10 commandments.

    Given all these, I believe Paul was talking more than just circumcision and food traditions. The law he was talking about does include the 10 commandments, and he is disappointed that the Galatians wanted to be justified through the law again. Hence, the statement, “4 You have become estranged from Christ, you who attempt to be justified by law; you have fallen from grace.”

    Anyone who read this, let me know what you think. I’m happy to learn from you guys!

  16. With no malice or ill-intention whatsoever imputed, how Pastor Joseph Prince’s message reconciles with the teachings of our Lord Jesus in Matt. 19: 16-18 and Matt. 22: 37-40 where He emphasized the importance of the commandments. And He further said that He came not to destroy the Law or the Prophets but to fulfill them (Matt. 5:17) If the commandments are no longer relevant today, does that mean that as a result of God’s grace, believers can go against them without incurring His wrath and thereby receive no punishment from Him? As Christians, we will always try to please God by obeying His words and even when we fail to do so (as imperfect people) there is no condemnation for His precious grace is always sufficient for us to progress for obedience of His commandments. Here the Holy Spirit will be our guide and help in all circumstances.

    1. Ch, there is no ‘reconciling’, per se. You are either under the law or you’re not. “Jesus Christ was a minister of THE CIRCUMCISION for the truth of God, to confirm the promises made unto the fathers” (Rom.15:8). “God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, MADE UNDER THE LAW, To redeem THEM THAT WERE UNDER THE LAW” (Gal.4:4,5). We have to ‘rightly-divide’ the word for our dispensation, that is, Paul’s gospel (Rom.1:16; 2:16; 16:25; 2Tim.2:8). And, concerning the law, Jesus Christ through Paul tells us: “Christ is THE END OF THE LAW for righteousness to EVERY ONE THAT BELIEVETH.” (Rom.10:4)

  17. to comment on ch says:

    “19: 16-18 and Matt. 22: 37-40 where He emphasized the importance of the commandments. And He further said that He came not to destroy the Law or the Prophets but to fulfill them (Matt. 5:17)”

    This does not contradict to Pastor Joseph prince’s sermon. He here refered to Jesus, and he came down to die for us (sinners) to fullfil the 10 commandments (the LAW), because God is still a Just God, who will punish lawless deeds, but not on sinners’ body but on Jesus’ instead.

    If Jesus has born our punishment, what is most important to believers is to be reminded about the Love of God, not keeping the 10 commandments, and living holy becomes a fruit of being rightious in Christ and it will be effortlesly.

  18. I come from an Evangelical Free Church and once a critic of Pastor Prince until God open my heart to the gospel of grace.

    It changes my life, i love Jesus more and more and have been experiencing His love and power more then before.

    I do not agree with all Pastor Prince say(I don’t agree with everything my pastor say also) but that does not mean everything is wrong. I am very bless by him.

    Lets turn our eyes away from self towards JESUS. :)

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