Rev Tan Cheng Huat, Tan Siew Poh, Wilson Kwan, Elder David Ng Tah Wee & Rev Lawrence Yam’s Responses to NCCS’ Reply to Our Open Letters
& Rev David Liew’s Second Open Letter to NCCS (Dated 6 Nov 2021)
Response to NCCS’ Reply – By Rev Tan Cheng Huat
Dear Rt Revd Dr Titus Chung (President, NCCS) and Rev Dr Ngoei Foong Nghian (General Secretary of NCCS),
Thanks for your reply to my letter.
We are living in a very “accepting and ungodly” age in which false doctrines are even tolerated right within the church. This is a serious matter as Christ had pronounced severe judgements of suffering on the false prophetess and death on her spiritual offspring, and the Church of Thyatira won’t be spared too, because the church had tolerated the false prophetess, Jezebel:
“But I have this against you, that you tolerate the woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess, and she teaches and leads My bond-servants astray…” (Rev 2:20 NIV)
Be warned that just merely tolerating the spread of heresies by the leadership of the Church of Thyatira, will bring about such hefty judgements on the church by Christ. And churches better not fool around with what Christ is intolerant about – false teachers and false teachings, and they had better call out false teachers at the first instance whenever they find one.
The question is: “If a prominent false teacher is to be called out, who does this?” In the Singapore context, it must be the NCCS, comprising the denominational heads of every denomination. If not them, then who?
I’m not sure what’s NCCS’ definition of “Heresy” but my understanding of heresy is any belief or theory that is strongly at variance with established beliefs or traditions, in particular the accepted beliefs of a church or religious organization.
Historically, the major means that the early church had of combating heretics was to excommunicate them. Unfortunately, in the 20th-century ecumenical movement, most Protestant churches drastically revised the notion of heresy as understood in the pre-Reformation church.
The worrying problem is that if members and even Pastors encounter heresies in the church nowadays, few are prepared to blow the trumpet to warn the sheep about it. What is worse is that those who stick out their necks to blow the trumpet are castigated for upsetting the status quo and for being overly judgemental.
Paul wrote to the church at Rome, “I appeal to you, brothers, to watch out for those who cause divisions and create obstacles contrary to the doctrine that you have been taught; avoid them. For such persons do not serve our Lord Christ, but their own appetites, and by smooth talk and flattery they deceive the hearts of the naive” (Rom 16:17-18). The Apostle Paul’s challenge is “In order to protect the flock, we should expose them and minimize the spread of the gangrene.”
Let me quote from John Piper’s audio transcript on “Should We call Out false Teachers or Ignore Them?”:
“But for now, our job is indeed to do mouth judgment, writing judgment, behavior judgment – not a heart judgment, but mouth and writing and behavior judgment. When a mouth speaks unbiblical, destructive teaching, when a blog or an article or a book publishes unbiblical and destructive teaching, when a body – a human body, a physical body – behaves with unbiblical and destructive behavior, in all these cases, we are to be discerning. And according to Ephesians 5:11, we are to expose the error. “Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them.” “Censure them; show them to be wrong” is what the word elegchō means.”
So this appeal is for NCCS as the representative body of Christians in Singapore to not sweep this Joseph Prince issue under the carpet in the name of “Unity” but to expose him, according to John Piper. According to the Apostle Paul, the unity we Christians pursue is unity in the truth. Christian unity is more than shared truth, but not less. Everything is to “accord with Christ.” “May God . . . grant you to live in harmony with one another, in accord with Christ Jesus” (Romans 15:5).
Hence, the heretic, Joseph Prince, must be exposed. Rev George Ong has taken on the onerous task at great cost and risk to himself to explain the errors of Joseph Prince, communicated the complexities of his errors, and gave reasons for rejecting it.
Dr Roland Chia had also written a very good argument against Joseph Prince’s blend of semi-Calvinism, New Thought, Quietism and Sandemanianism Antinomianism.
Antinomianism, the core of Joseph Prince’s grace teachings is itself a false doctrine that many of our Church Fathers attest to. There is no doubt in my mind that Joseph Prince is an Antinomian and an Antinomian is a heretic.
Martin Luther was the first to coin the term Antinomianism to describe those who teach that since salvation is a free gift of God’s grace, the need to obey God’s moral laws is rescinded. This is exactly what Joseph Prince teaches.
As there is no need for me to reinvent the wheel, I’m going to highlight what esteemed Church Leaders and well-respected Bible teachers have said or written about Antinomianism, the heresy that Joseph Prince teaches; and all these are taken from Rev George Ong’s website:
John MacArthur said:
“Antinomianism is the notion of justification apart from sanctification. Luther himself coined the term for already in his lifetime, some were beginning to corrupt the doctrine he had rediscovered, claiming that justification by faith rendered unnecessary the preaching of the law, obedience to the law, or sanctification as evidence of justification.”
In ‘Paths to Power’, A W Tozer defined Antinomianism this way:
“Fundamental Christianity in our times is deeply influenced by that ancient enemy of righteousness, Antinomianism. The creed of the Antinomian is easily stated: We are saved by faith alone; works have no place in salvation; conduct is works, and is therefore of no importance. What we do cannot matter as long as we believe rightly. The divorce between creed and conduct is absolute and final. The question of sin is settled by the Cross; conduct is outside the circle of faith and cannot come between the believer and God. Such in brief, is the teaching of the Antinomian.
Charles Finney, a well-known revivalist and evangelist in the 1800s described Antinomianism this way:
“…as the opposite extreme to legalism. Legalists are all work, Antinomians no work. Professing to have yielded up their whole agency to Christ, they throw all responsibility upon Him (Christ) and do nothing. Under the pretense of being led by the Spirit and of waiting for God to reveal His will to them, they give themselves up very much to spiritual indolence (idleness).”
Rev George Ong’s comments: Charles Finney is spot on in his description of Antinomianism, the doctrine that Joseph Prince embodies. I’m sure Charles Finney’s definition of Antinomianism as a ‘do-nothing’ religion will ring a familiar bell to you about Joseph Prince’s teachings.
The Daily Bible Study Bible by William Barclay, The Letters of John and Jude, Pages 160:
“They were antinomians. Antinomians have existed in every age of the church. They are people who pervert grace. Their position is that the law is dead and they are under grace.”
In ‘The Message of Romans, under the Bible Speaks Today (BST)’, Page 204, John Stott wrote:
“Those antinomians, who say that our whole problem is the law, are quite wrong. Our real problem is not the law, but sin.”
In ‘The Message of Romans, under the Bible Speaks Today (BST)’, Pages 191-192, with regards to Romans 7:1-13, John Stott wrote:
“Antinomians (or libertines) go to the opposite extreme. Blaming the law for their problems, they reject it altogether, and claim to be rid of all obligation to its demands… Antinomians hate the law and repudiate it.”
In ‘The Bible Speaks Today (BST) on The Message of Romans written by John Stott’, Page 222, he wrote:
“Holiness consists in fulfilling the just requirement of the law (Rom 8:4). This is the final answer to antinomians… The moral law has not been abolished for us; it is to be fulfilled in us.”
In ‘Exposition of Romans Chapter 7:1 – 8:4, The Law: Its Functions and Limits’, Pages 156, Martyn Lloyd-Jones wrote:
“Another method used by sin – and this is one of the most terrible of all – is ‘antinomianism’… (Antinomianism teaches) You are a saved man, you are “under grace”, so what you do no longer matter.’ Antinomianism is one of the most blinding curses that has ever afflicted the life of the Church.”
In a sermon, titled, ‘The Law Given By Moses’ based on John 1:17, Martyn Lloyd-Jones said:
“This misunderstanding of the law works out what is called, Antinomianism. Antinomianism means this that you don’t recognise any law at all. And then you say in the light of that, ‘It doesn’t really matter what I do. I’m under grace. I’m saved. I’m a Christian. I’m now alright. Grace and truth came by Jesus Christ. The law is finished. We don’t talk about law any longer. We’re in the New Testament. Now, you don’t bring law in again. We’re under grace.’ That is sheer Antinomianism. Antinomianism is the terrible misunderstanding of grace which says because you are saved, you’re always saved, it doesn’t matter what you do.” “So you see a dismissing of the law leads to those terrible consequences every time… it always leads to a superficial, glib, lightly happy Christian life which has a false joy.”
In a sermon, titled, ‘Christ; The End of The Law’ based on Romans 10:4, Martyn Lloyd-Jones said:
“We must never say that the law has been abolished by the coming of our Lord.” “We must never say that the law is being done away with and that nobody is being judged by the law. That is not the case. There is a teaching that says we are no longer judged by the law. We are simply judged by whether we believed or disbelieved in the Lord Jesus Christ. That isn’t true. We are still judged by the law of God. That is the eternal standard of judgement and always will be. And, indeed, we must go further and say this, that even though we become Christians, we don’t say farewell to the law. We still have got to keep it. It still makes its demands. It is still the kind of life which you and I should be living. And, indeed, one of the purposes of salvation is to enable us to live a life such as is demanded by the holy law of God. It’s a terribly dangerous teaching to say that a Christian has got a lower standard now. There are many who hold that view. They say, ‘You see the law is gone. We’re under grace now. And because we are under grace, the standard is lower. We’re forgiven no matter what we do.’ That is sheer Antinomianism. And it’s a terrible sin – Antinomianism.”
In a sermon, titled, ‘Not Under Law but under Grace’ based on John 1:17, Martyn Lloyd-Jones said:
“That is what is called Antinomianism which is the greatest curse imaginable. If grace doesn’t enable me to keep and to live the law of God, then it just means that the devil has triumphed over God. What the devil did in the fall was not merely to make man disobey God. He made a slave of him. He made him incapable of obeying God and honouring God’s law. Salvation means the works of the devil are to be entirely undone and nullified. It, therefore, includes this – man must be given the ability to live and to keep the law of God. Otherwise, the devil has succeeded.”
The small bit of resource that I have taken from Rev George Ong’s website, is enough to convince any Pastor and informed believer that Joseph Prince is a heretic. This is because if John MacArthur, William Barclay, A W Tozer, Charles Finney and heavy weights such as John Stott and Martyn Lloyd-Jones have all spoken against Antinomianism, which is the core of Joseph Prince’s Grace Theology, how can Joseph Prince not be a heretic? Remember, this is only a tiny portion of Rev George Ong’s humongous resources, containing 4,800 pages of notes, proving that Joseph Prince is a heretic.
Question is, has NCCS even read and studied a portion of what Rev George Ong has laid out on his website? For them to come to any tenable conclusion whether Prince is a heretic or he isn’t, NCCS must study what is contained in Rev George Ong’s website very seriously.
If NCCS really studied both of what Rev George Ong and Dr Roland Chia had written, without any preconceived ideas, I’m sure they would come to the same conclusion as I did – that Joseph Prince is indeed, a heretic.
If the leaders of the Singapore Church do not have the courage to expose and stop Joseph Prince, the heretic, from freely spreading his poisonous doctrines, he would in no time, ravage the flock, thereby destroying many more lives and sending them to eternal damnation.
Response to NCCS’ Reply – By Tan Siew Poh
Dear Rt Revd Dr Titus Chung (President, NCCS) and Rev Dr Ngoei Foong Nghian (General Secretary of NCCS),
Thank you for your reply to my letter.
Again, I’m deeply saddened and disappointed by your reply which is so general and non-committal that it is as good as no reply at all.
It seems to me that you have conveniently chosen not to address the concern in my letter to you. That is, my call to NCCS to make a stand on whether the teachings espoused by Joseph Prince is false and if so to call him out as a heretic.
This is fundamentally important because as an association of churches, would NCCS want to associate itself with a church that is pastored by a heretic?
Perhaps, NCCS requires more time to study the evidence before forming its stand in which case NCCS could offer some form of assurance or undertaking that it will conduct its own study and in due time share its findings and to take the necessary action. But no such assurance or undertaking was reflected in your reply. This means NCCS is clearly sidestepping the issue.
I have no doubt in my mind that NCCS can certainly do more than just sharing the letters with New Creation Church’s (NCC) leadership. The call of spiritual leadership is not to be a postman, passing the message from one (us) to another (NCC), but more importantly, to face up to the tough issues squarely and the courage and decisiveness to make the difficult decisions.
By keeping its silence and inaction, is NCCS endorsing the false teachings propagated by New Creation Church through Joseph Prince? I sincerely hope this is not the case.
Besides spiritual discernment which I strongly believe is not lacking in NCCS’ leadership, it takes great courage to expose false teachers in our midst. Again, I urge you to be courageous and do what is right and stand up for the TRUTH.
Response to NCCS’ Reply – By Wilson Kwan
Dear Rev Dr Titus Chung and Rev Dr Ngoei Foong Nghian,
Grace and peace be upon you from God. Thank you for the reply that you wrote on 29 October 2021. A few points that I would like to clarify my position, with reference to the original open letter that I have written earlier on 19 October 2021.
1. While I do acknowledge some of the other open letters might have asked the Council to “act with courage”, I specifically ask the Council to “prayerfully consider”, in other words, seek spiritual discernment from the LORD. But of course, after we have prayerfully considered and sought instruction from God, we are to be like Joshua where God commanded – “Be strong and courageous, do not be afraid” and obey His commands. In Galatians 2, Paul wrote that he rebuked Peter “to his face because he stood condemned” (NIV) or “in public, because he was clearly wrong” (GNT), similarly, it is beyond reasonable doubt that Prince’s teachings are clearly heretic, all the more that NCCS should continue to seek spiritual discernment and act courageously like the Church Fathers before us.
2. After you mentioned in paragraph 1.1, Churches which accept and subscribe to Articles 3 & 4 in the Constitution may become a member, I went to read the specified Articles and found Article 3(i) “the Council is founded on a common belief… that the scriptures of Old and New Testaments are supreme standard of Christian faith and practice”.
As stated in my previous open letter, Person Two from New Creation Church (NCC) believes that the Old Testament and whatever Christ said before the Cross is obsolete; but do not take our word for it, read for yourself from Prince’s “Destined to Reign”, under “Rightly Dividing the Word”.
It is quite amusing to see how Prince misquotes 2 Timothy 2:15 out of context, using the archaic translation of “Orthotomounta” – “rightly dividing the word of truth” (KJV) rather than a fuller translation – “correctly handles the world of truth” (NIV). And then Prince built an entire doctrine to say that it means to rightly divide the Old Covenant and the New Covenant; whatever the Old Covenant (i.e. before the Cross) preaches is no longer applicable and I quote “the Ten Commandments have been made obsolete” (Emphasis by Prince in his book Destined to Reign, under “Am I an Antinomian”).
With that in consideration, NCC as a body, does not seem to subscribe to Article 3(i) and their membership should be called into question.
3. With regards to your remarks in paragraph 2 on Article 3(iv) –Each Church should determine its own policy and action, this is right; but each Church cannot determine its own doctrines that deviate from the teachings of Christ our LORD and still be called a Church of Christ. Like you have put it in the subsequent paragraph in your response, the Council “may advise a member church to reflect on its … teachings should it be a subject of controversy within the Christian community in Singapore.” With such irrefutable evidence that Prince is misleading others into believing a gospel that is different from what Christ preached and as I have testified in my open letter of the fruits of his teachings and my friends’ misunderstandings of the Church’s doctrines, I think it is high time for the Council to start advising NCC on how to correctly handle the word of truth.
4. With respect to your position on the open letter in paragraph 1, quoting Matthew 18:15-16, I do agree in that, as much as possible, we should rebuke our brother in private. However, I believe that has already been done previously with Prince by different groups of pastors privately, but false teachings continue. Since God is light; in Him there is no darkness at all, I am bringing this issue into the light so that we can walk in the light together as He is the light; and I hope that the Council can shed some light as the authority of Protestantism in Singapore, what is the correct doctrinal position that should be taught.
5. In response to your paragraph 1.2, the membership of NCCS is based on the church as a collective body and does not have provision to deal with the complaints against a specific member from another local Church. I do agree, but my request is not specific to an individual, rather, it is towards the doctrinal issues that are misleading many away from the Way, the Truth and the Life.
6. As I read through Article 3 & 4, Article 4(v) is of particular interest: “Through mutual consultation and action to form Christian public opinion …, particularly those which may affect the life and welfare of the people of Singapore.”
The doctrinal issues that me and the other open letter authors are writing are not only affecting the life and welfare of the people of Singapore, but also the rest of the world, not only the life and welfare in this life, but the next to come.
With that, I strongly urge the Council to seek spiritual discernment from the LORD and act courageous and obediently to His command. Joseph Prince claims to know God, but by his doctrines, it seems far from what Christ preached, hence I would prayerfully suggest that the Council and its members study Prince’s theology like the Berean Jews; After which, if the LORD prompts, exercise Article 5(iii)(b)(2) to determine if NCC’s membership should still be sustained.
It is my hope and prayer too that God will guide all parties concerned towards a self-reflection that will bring honour and glory to God whom we all worship and serve together as a body of Christ.
Worships at Faith Methodist Church, Singapore
Response to NCCS’ Reply – By Elder David Ng Tah Wee
Dear Rt Rev Dr Titus Chung and Rev Dr Ngoei Foong Nghian,
Thank you for your reply on 29 October 2021.
Regarding the appropriateness of the open letters and the way Christians should handle disagreements/accusations against another Christian, attempts have been made to approach Joseph Prince (“JP”) privately but to no avail. And regrettably, nothing else has been done by the local Christian community, resulting in JP’s emboldened perpetuation of his false teachings. Therefore, the days of private attempts to resolve this matter are over. Because it is not working.
I am also rather curious about your statement “This is quite apparent when some of the open letters called for NCCS to act with courage, instead of seeking spiritual discernment”. Surely acting with courage comes after spiritual discernment. I don’t believe anyone is suggesting that NCCS acts with courage without spiritual discernment.
I am glad you spoke about spiritual discernment. Regardless of the limitation under the NCCS Constitution, NCCS leadership has the spiritual responsibility to discern and ask two very basic questions:
1. Do they (NCCS leadership) see a problem with JP’s messages?
2. If they see a problem (I will be very surprised and shocked if they do not see a problem, after seeking spiritual discernment, of course), what are they going to do about it?
Very frankly, if there is a will to do something about it, there is always and definitely a way. Because ultimately, we are talking about defending the Word of God. Surely the Word of God is worth defending. So, there must be a way if NCCS leadership is interested in defending the Word of God.
Yes, it is also my hope and prayer that in all that we do, we bring honour to God.
Elder David Ng Tah Wee
Response to NCCS’ Reply – By Rev Lawrence Yam
To: The National Council of Churches of Singapore (NCCS)
Attention: Rev Dr Ngoei Foong Nghian
Dear fellow shepherds in Christ, as my subject matter refers, this will be my final response to NCCS’ replies to me dated 29th Oct 2021.
I am disappointed with the “politically correct” replies of NCCS to my request to investigate Joseph Prince’s brand of half-truth and pseudo gospel.
To cite NCCS’ constitution of neutrality and non-interference does not sit well as far as the sanctity of the gospel is concerned and being threatened.
May I respectfully ask the NCCS these pertinent questions:
Are you a custodian of the true gospel of Christ first or the custodian of the NCCS Constitution? Does your calling as the overseers of God’s Holy Word come first or does your stewardship in the office of NCCS come first? Last but not least, does your sacred duty to defend the gospel and sound theology come first or does your secular duty in the NCCS office governance come first?
My sincere request was a simple one, to investigate whether what Joseph Prince teaches about the Gospel is true or false in view of the ‘mountain’ of proof of false teachings provided by Rev George Ong on his website. Simply put, is Joseph Prince’s preaching and teaching erroneous and heretical? A simple Yes or No will suffice.
By stating neither, I felt that you have failed in your sacred calling as servants of God’s holy word. To whom much is given, much will be required (Luke 12:48) and that basic requirement includes the upholding of the sanctity of the Scripture first above all else! With great power comes great responsibility (Spiderman Movie). Mordecai said the same thing to Esther when she became the Queen of Persia (Est 4:14).
I will conclude my final response with a text in Revelation 3:15-17: “I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other!” – how I wish NCCS replies would be a simple “Yes” or “No”. “So, because you are lukewarm – neither hot nor cold – I am about to spit you out of my mouth” – I wouldn’t do that because I am not Christ but I am not sure whether HE will do that with your neither hot nor cold response to the many concerns openly raised by sincere members of the “universal church” of Christ? You say, “I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.” But you do not realise that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked. May this be never said of you and me!
Having said my final piece, should the NCCS still choose to remain status quo i.e. remaining neutral, I will humbly submit this whole matter to Christ, the ultimate Judge of the living and dead. As Christ’s undershepherd and custodian of His holy word, you and I are held accountable (double) to Him at the Judgement Seat of Christ.
My conscience is clear and my motive is pure.
Christ and Christ only I serve!
Rev (ret) Lawrence Yam
Baptist Pastor, Singapore
Second Open Letter to NCCS – By Rev David Liew
Dear Rev Ngoei (Gen Sect., NCCS), Rt Revd Titus Chung (President, NCCS), and Esteemed Members of NCCS,
As you well know, the Bible warns us that in the End Times, there will arise false teachers and prophets who will deceive many with their false teachings. In the end it will lead and contribute to a great apostasy. I’m afraid it is happening right now under our noses in our own backyard in our nation of Singapore. The question is, are we going to do something about it?
We are deceived if we think that this is a small matter. It is not. Thousands (and maybe millions) of precious souls are at stake. It is often difficult for the average Christian to know and understand the truth, especially for those who rarely read or study God’s Word.
We are deceived if we think that a heretic is only someone who openly and verbally denies who Jesus is and what He’s done. But do you know that a successful con artist gains mastery over victims by mixing truth with lies? Over a period of time people will succumb to those lies. The lies are not recognized because they have become so ingrained within them. Those who are deceived actually become angry with someone trying to point out the lies they now believe as truth.
We are deceived if we think that Joseph Prince is not a heretic just because he verbally exalts or quotes the name of Jesus. But is it the same Jesus that is described in the Bible? Definitely not! At the same time, Prince contradicts himself when he discounts all of Jesus’ teachings which are before the cross, while at the same time Prince’s teachings are diametrically opposed to Jesus’ teachings.
While it’s true that God can sovereignly use a heretic’s ministry to touch lives, we are deceived if we think the end justifies the means. We are deceived if we only look at the size of New Creation Church (NCC) and the good work they are doing. Huge cult groups around the world are also doing the same. The list can go on and on.
The Joseph Prince issue is like the proverbial “elephant in the room”. Everyone knows it’s a problem but nobody wants to talk about it much less tackle it.
Rev George Ong (together with many others including bishops, pastors and church leaders) has been very courageous in confronting the issue. He has painstakingly documented the evidences of Joseph Prince’s heresies on his website.
May I ask how many members of the National Council of Churches of Singapore (NCCS) (together with their representative pastors and leaders) have honestly taken time to examine the humongous amount of evidence before coming to a conclusion? Or are your minds already made up before examining the evidence?
Have you all read all the valid points put forth in the many open letters as well as the powerful and heartfelt testimonies of many ex-NCC members who have courageously heeded God’s call to pen them down?
I know the easiest way in handling a difficult issue is to brush it aside so as not to have to deal with it. This can conveniently be done by using bureaucracy with its man-made rules and regulations. But is that the right thing to do? In any case, the technical points raised regarding your constitution have been addressed by Dr Simon Chong and many others.
Whether we like it or not, part of the responsibility of the spiritual leadership of the church is to protect the flock. We need to make a clear stand regarding false teachers and false teachings. As God’s watchmen, God requires it of us to do so. We can’t and we mustn’t avoid this responsibility nor circumvent it with our preconceived ideas and human ingenuity. God will surely hold us accountable for the outcome of our actions and decisions.
Have you considered the consequences of not taking a correct stand regarding Joseph Prince and his false teachings?
I’ve heard comments from at least one pastor who said NCCS is like a toothless tiger without any power to do anything to Joseph Prince. Is that true? Is it because you want to be politically correct and not wanting to be seen to be intolerant that you have answered the way you did thus far (by evading the main issue)? By continuing to do so, you will be confirming the sad state and image of NCCS in the minds of many.
Worse still, New Creation Church (NCC) members (as well as those outside NCC and around the world) are watching for the outcome of this episode. If there is no clear decisive stand and action from NCCS against Joseph Prince, then Prince and those under his influence will become bolder and even more self-deceived than ever before.
Why? Because the indecisiveness of NCCS will lend credence to their belief that Joseph Prince’s teaching is okay and there’s nothing wrong with it.
Can you imagine what this will lead to? Not only will antinomianism (or lawlessness) become increasingly pronounced in people’s lives, but most tragically of all, the self-deceived believers will end up in eternal destruction in hell.
Is that what you want to see? If that happens, you would have contributed a huge part to this horrible situation.
I know there is an argument that says that we must have unity amongst Christians especially during this difficult Covid pandemic. They argue that this disagreement over “words” (it is actually doctrine that is of concern here) should not exist because it sends the wrong message to the world. The world sees Christians in disunity, and the lost are pushed away from God because of it. To correct this, leaders urge Christians to set aside theological differences and come together for the “cause” of Christ. The world then will see our “love” (contrived unity) and come to Jesus.
But this is not the model set for us in the Bible. Jesus, Paul, and others routinely disagreed with religious leaders who did not teach truth, and they did so out of love for them and love for truth itself. Jesus, Paul, Peter, and others in the New Testament normally met error head-on. As Christians, we are to do the same, in love, yes, but we must do what they did.
Jesus’ ministry is proof of this. Jesus’ words constantly divided truth from error – the sheep from the goats. It still does this today. Jesus Himself said He came to bring a sword, not peace (Matthew 10:34). Jesus is also called the Prince of Peace. How then should we understand His words?
Clearly, He was intent on separating truth from falsehoods; and those who continued to pursue falsehoods saw Jesus as divisive, an enemy, someone who needed to die. Conversely, those who came to Jesus and embraced what He taught would find eternal peace with God, though not necessarily with other human beings.
In light of Jesus’ letters to the 7 churches in Revelation, I wonder how would He address the Church in Singapore? Will He rebuke the Church in Singapore as a Compromised church and a Lukewarm church? Will He say, “I know your good works and your many wonderful good deeds, BUT you have tolerated the false teacher Joseph Prince and his false teachings among you! You have been lukewarm and not been decisive to put a stop to his destructive heresies. I will spit you out of my mouth! I will remove your lampstand!” I wonder if Jesus will say that to us? God forbid. I trust that God will enable you to come to your senses before it’s too late.
In this day and age where we talk so much about the new norm, I wonder if toleration is the new norm? There is a difference between Acceptance vs Agreement. We can certainly accept Joseph Prince as a person made in the image of God. But where his false teachings are concerned, we cannot agree with him and we must take a clear stand against it.
May I appeal to you and to implore you to do the right thing? May I remind you again that countless precious souls are at stake.
Let me end with an analogy.
Let’s say you as an observer see two evil-looking men drive a truck and park it beside a swimming pool. They drain the water out of the swimming pool and then fill it up with acid taken from the drums on the truck. To test the deadliness of the acid, they throw in a piece of metal. Immediately within seconds, the piece of metal dissolves completely. With a wicked laugh, the evil-looking men drive off.
Shortly, you see a group of children walking and skipping happily towards the swimming pool which has now been filled with acid. They are in their swimming attire and holding their floats. Clearly, they are looking forward to having a nice swim on a hot sunny day.
You, as an observer, see them moving closer to the acid pool. You know that when they jump into the pool, it’s not only going to cause grievous harm, but it will mean certain death. What will you do? What are you going to do? Are you going to remain silent and do nothing?
Unless you are a wicked person who couldn’t care less, won’t you go all out to prevent them from jumping into the pool? Won’t you raise a shout of alarm and try to physically prevent them from going closer to the pool?
This is what Rev George Ong and I (together with many others) have been trying to do.
While you may say that it’s a different context, let me show you that it’s not. For the children, when they jump into the acid pool, it will mean physical death for them. On the other hand, when people follow the false teachings of Joseph Prince, they will eventually lose their salvation and end up in eternal destruction in hell (spiritual death). Isn’t that far worse?
To take the analogy to another level. Let’s say, as an observer, you see an adult (guardian/parent) accompanying the children to the acid pool. Out of the kind intention of your heart, you raise an alert concerning the danger ahead. Instead of thanking you for doing that good deed, that guardian/shepherd denies that there is no such acid pool. Not only that, that guardian/shepherd derides you and mocks you and tells the children not to listen to you. What would you say of that guardian/shepherd? Don’t you think the blood of the children will be upon that guardian/shepherd’s hands? Don’t you think God will hold that person doubly accountable for his/her actions?
I’m sure you know that the devil is a master of delusion and thus every age needs watchmen. Every watchman needs two perspectives: first, to cry out against dangerous trends emerging inside the city walls, and then, to warn against dangers lurking outside the walls. Both threats are destructive and demand constant vigilance. When the watchman discovers a real concern, he has but one duty: he must say something!
As someone has said: “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.”
May you not remain silent. Instead, may God grant you the holy boldness to take a decisive stand against Joseph Prince and his false teachings for the sake of precious souls and for His Kingdom.
Rev David Liew
Retired pastor, The Methodist Church in Singapore