Thoughts on New Creation Church – The Gospel: One or Two Parts?

…modern American evangelicalism has clearly reshaped the gospel of Christ into a two-part message: what Christ has done (on the cross), and what we need to do to complete the transformation. The announcement of the gospel as the “one way” love of God that declares us righteous through the sacrificial death of Christ, completely apart from our participation or cooperation, is seen as narrowly one dimensional and dangerously antinomian, releasing Christians from the various spiritual disciplines necessary for the exaggerated progress that all followers of Christ are expected to make in this life.

Of course, nothing could be further from the truth, as the one-way declaration of our righteous standing before God propels us out of gratitude to love and serve him, and any addition to the once-offered sacrifice of Christ is the clearly the Galatian problem; nevertheless, to take such a stand in the modern evangelical camp will no doubt raise some eyebrows and possibly bring on some heat.

(Joseph Martin, Reformation Diaries)

The above is taken from the Modern Reformation website. Modern Reformation is a magazine of Protestant Reformation thinking and very respected among Reformed believers. The magazine, its articles and its authors shaped my thinking quite a lot regarding the issue of the Gospel 10 years ago.

The above quote focuses once again (as with the two previous posts in this series) on how when Christians preach the biblical gospel, they will be accused of preaching a dangerous and antinomian message. The preaching of the biblical gospel in New Creation Church has no doubt raised many eyebrows and brought on lots of heat!

I’ve still yet to touch on an extremely important question of whether the gospel actually promotes antinomianism. Of course it doesn’t and I’ll explain my reasons in greater detail another time. However, I think this is extremely important to note:

There’s a crucial difference between saying that preaching the biblical gospel will inevitably attract accusations of antinomianism and saying that the biblical gospel actually promotes antinomianism.

I’ve been emphasizing the former, but that doesn’t mean I agree with the latter. I strongly believe that the preacher who preaches the biblical gospel will definitely be accused of promoting antinomianism (if he’s preaching the biblical gospel). But the biblical gospel (i.e. the one-way declaration of our righteous standing before God) “propels us out of gratitude to love and serve Him”. The gospel does not result in licentious living – it does not promote antinomianism.

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7 Comments

  1. Thanks for your comments Stephanie. I agree that we shouldn’t focus too much time on defending any Church. If people have it in their hearts to attack New Creation or City Harvest or any other Church they don’t like, then there’s little point in wasting time defending the Church. There are more important things to focus on in this world.

    It is not my intention to defend Pastor Prince or the Church because they don’t need me to do that and I don’t agree with everything they believe anyway! To those who unfairly attack New Creation, God is more than capable of handling everything. However, I also know there are many Christians in Singapore who are genuinely seeking truth and have heard so much (pros and cons) about New Creation. I thus hope to provide some of my (fallible) thoughts on some controversial issues so that we can all discuss and learn from each other and be like the Bereans who examined the Scriptures to compare what’s being taught with Scriptures. God bless! :)

  2. I agree with stillhaventfound. I believe that Pastor Prince’s message of “Don’t defend me or the church” is intended for people who defend it with self effort, often leading to bickers about doctrines, and getting personal with other Christians. These people who are caught in arguments end up attacking one another, and defeat the purpose of discussion and discourse. In fact, it worsens the divisiveness of churches.

    I for one, have heeded Pastor Prince’s advice to stop defending the church, no matter how logical I think I am, or how I think I can lead peaceful discussions.

    If God has prompted in our hearts to provide a testimony or a discourse for the church, then I believe it will benefit the Body of Christ.

    I know that brother stillhaventfound not only has good intentions, but his writings of New Creation and Christianity has greatly blessed me and the friends around me to reach a greater understanding of the issues.

  3. Reg your logo…The kingdom of God starts within you, you don’t have to go searching for it. ;)

    The book of Ephesians clearly teaches us the importance of participation of man.

    Eph 1-3 speaks of what God has done

    -HE has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenlies

    -HE has chosen us

    -HE has predestined us to be adopted as sons

    -in HIM we have redemption through HIS blood

    -in HIM we have an inheritance

    -HE has deposited the promised Holy Spirit in us

    -HE has made us alive together with Christ

    -HE has destroyed the dividing wall of hostility between the Jews and the Gentiles and has created a new man out of the two.

    -There is just ONE God, ONE faith, ONE baptism, ONE Lord, ONE Spirit for both Jews and Gentiles.

    -God has sent gifts to men [apostles, pastors, evangelists, teachers and prophets] to equip the saints for works of service and to bring about this UNITY of faith

    However from the middle of Eph 4 we read what God expects us to do and that is

    -Not to walk in the futility of our minds, darkened in our understanding, or in ignorance, but to renew our mind

    – To walk in love

    – To be filled in the Spirit by speaking to ourselves in hymns, psalms and spiritual songs.

    -And thus being filled with the Spirit, our relationships fall in place.

    -Now we are asked to put on the whole armor.

    There is so much!

    Sidharth

  4. Hey Donkey, thanks for your comments. Indeed, my desire is to get us to think about the issues – and not to just react strongly one way or the other, which I think we all – including myself – tend to do. I think I have something to contribute to this discussion and I’m glad to know that you’ve been blessed by some things I’ve written.

  5. Dear Sidharth,

    Regarding Ephesians, I’m in agreement with what you said. In fact, I wrote about that 4 years ago here.

    There are hopefully going to be many short posts in this series and I definitely plan to get to that in future.

    I’m following your posts on the other site and am tempted to get involved but I’m not sure how helpful that will be. Maybe it’s because I think I know they will never change their minds and be open to any contrary view.

    There’s been a lot of abuse in Charismatism and that’s why there’s such strong judgmental and dogmatic reactions from so many Christians. And that’s sad.

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