Andrew Tan Shares His Testimony about His 20-Year Journey with New Creation Church (Jun 2000-Oct 2020) & Joseph Prince’s False Teachings (Dated 17 November 2020)
George Ong’s Comments:
The friendly Andrew Tan and I met face-to-face twice. In our second meeting, I clearly remember telling him that he should not stay in New Creation Church (NCC) that preaches heresies any longer. He has to come out of it. Thank God that some time later as he sought the Lord, God finally convicted him to leave his Babylon after 20 long years. Praise be to God! It is a costly decision to make. Not only that, he has taken the risk of writing about his experience with NCC. May those who are currently in NCC take heed and follow Andrew’s brave example by leaving their Babylon of heresies behind. May more ex-NCC heroes like Andrew Tan arise to share their stories to expose the heretical teachings of Joseph Prince.
Andrew Tan’s Testimony:
Out of Babylon: Reasons Why I Left New Creation Church
“I attended New Creation Church (NCC) in June 2000 and left in October 2020, spanning a massive 20 years. I had no quarrels with anyone in NCC. In fact, I have made many friends there and I hope they will still consider me as their friend and brother-in-Christ after reading this article. My reasons for leaving are two-fold: the false theological teachings of Pastor Joseph Prince and the practices and modus operandi (mode of operation) of NCC.
A lot has been expounded regarding the false theologies of Pastor Joseph Prince by ex-NCC members on Rev George Ong’s web page. Rev George himself has written 10 volumes exposing the heresies of Pastor Prince’s teachings. You can view them on the website or download the 10 volumes using this link: https://www.revgeorgeong.com/joseph-prince-shepherd-or-wolf/. You can also view the many short videos (53 so far as of 17 Nov 2020) that he has produced on the same website. Therefore, it is not necessary for me to repeat them or re-invent the wheel. In this testimony, I will focus on practices, mission and modus operandi of NCC, with some mention of Joseph Prince’s heresies.
There is no doubt that NCC is a very wealthy church. The church now has about 34,000 members making it the largest independent church in Singapore. With such a large size of membership, its main source of income are the tithes and offerings collected from her congregations. However, what bothers me when I was a member of that church is how the funds are being invested and managed. This is not about financial misappropriation or fraud but how NCC uses its funds as a church organisation. The church conducts all its commercial dealings through its business arm, the Rock Productions. The Straits Times on 21 November, 2019 gave a detailed report on the church and its dealings.
In 2007, the church won a tender to build the 5,000-seat Star Performing Arts Centre costing $500 million. To raise this sum, the church asked for contributions from its members. In 2018 alone, it managed to raise $122 million in donations, making it the second most successful fundraiser pipped only by a NUS fundraising campaign in the same year. In Feb 2016, the church announced that the $500 million sum was fully paid after 9 years of securing the tender.
Then in Nov 2019, the church announced that it had acquired The Star Vista mall from CapitaLand for $296 million “to protect the interest of the church” should The Star Vista mall be bought by another buyer who could be less supportive of the church’s use of the premises for religious purposes. Unfortunately, the Covid-19 pandemic hit Singapore about 2 months later, with circuit breakers imposed in February 2020. Covid-19 is a game changer causing economic catastrophe worldwide. Businesses in Singapore are not spared, and many have gone out of business.
But, disappointingly, there is no news on how the pandemic has affected this transaction made by NCC. Does NCC have special immunity from the pandemic which we are unaware of? Business is based on a high rise, high return modality subject to cyclic trends and it is not recommended that a church indulge in business venture which is not its calling. In total, NCC has invested close to $796 million in commercial properties which has a lease period of less than 90 years.
In 2014, US-based entertainment website Richest Lifestyle ranked Pastor Prince as the 10th richest pastor in the world. It claimed that Pastor Prince had a net worth of US$5 million and drew a salary of $550,000 a year. The church has denied all these claims stating that his net worth is less than US$5 million as alleged without giving further facts about how much less. Due to the adverse exposure and unwelcome publicity, and from then on, Pastor Prince no longer draws a salary from the church. But as to whether he draws a weekly honorarium for his preaching every Sunday and, if so, how much he is paid weekly, no one seems to know.
It is also widely understood that Joseph Prince has other potential sources of income. A 2012 tax document obtained by The Sunday Times showed that Joseph Prince Ministries had a profit of US$1.7 million that year. Joseph Prince Ministries is incorporated in the US with its main office in Fort Mill, South Carolina in 2007, where its earnings are tax-free and the organization does not need to file returns to IRS since it was registered as a Christian organisation.
NCC members hero worship Joseph Prince. Whenever he is not preaching, the attendance on that Sunday will drop. They will clap vigorously when he comes to the pulpit to preach every Sunday and this is unprecedented in the traditional apostolic church. Imagine the audience clapping before the apostle Paul, Peter or John preached. His pastoral staffs tend to idolize him by imitating him in hairstyle and dress code. Instead of being embarrassed by all the adorations by members, Pastor Prince did nothing to stop them because he felt they are being respectful and as God’s servant he is entitled to it. It is dangerous for any man to receive glory and adoration that only belong to God.
The Care Group which meets every fortnightly discusses the sermon preached by Pastor Prince on the previous Sunday. There is no systematic bible study conducted. The Cell Group is nothing more than Pastor Prince’s fan club because common and frequent utterances in Cell Group meetings are: “Pastor Prince said this and Pastor Prince said that” and seldom or never the “Bible says this, or the Bible says that”. The whole narrative is about Jesus Christ + Pastor Joseph Prince. It is not surprising to find that NCC members are not grounded in biblical theology. Joseph Prince discourages his congregation from attending Bible school or receiving teaching from other ministries because he tells them that he is providing them “fresh bread” from heaven, so sitting under his ministry is sufficient for their spiritual growth. In reality, Pastor Prince always repeats his sermons many times until they become “stale bread”. Of course, the real reason why he discourages his congregation from attending teachings from outside sources is that he is afraid that they would discover the truth and that the falsity of his grace doctrine would be exposed.
Some time ago, the only permanent mission or church planting NCC has carried out is the establishment of the Grace Revolution Church (GRC) in Texas, USA. The focus of NCC church planting is in the US instead of neighbouring countries in Southeast Asia. Why plant a church in a place where there are already many other churches and para-church organisations in the area? Texas has already 10 large mega churches. Shouldn’t we go to the unreached areas where the gospel has not been preached or is seldom preached?
Pastor Prince has received many invitations to preach his brand of grace message from churches in India, Sri Lanka, Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand and other churches in the third world or developing countries. However, to-date, he only accepted invitations to preach at churches in Australia, USA and Europe. To comply with numerous invitations, he has appointed an associate pastor (name withheld deliberately) whose main responsibility is to respond to the preaching requests from the churches in the third world and developing countries while Pastor Prince concentrates on accepting calls from the rich and developed countries. That pastor has since resigned with no replacement made to-date.
Why preach in areas where people are already enjoying the “fatness of the land”? If Pastor Prince believes in the truth of his Prosperity Gospel or Wealth and Health messages, then poor countries like India, Sri Lanka and others need to hear this message so that they will be elevated from poverty and sickness to health, wealth and youthfulness. It is easy to preach his brand of grace gospel in countries where people are already enjoying relative prosperity and a high standard of health, but try preaching at places with abject poverty and where diseases and sickness are rampaging. Try telling believers in Bangladesh, Congo and Myanmar, etc, that once they embrace the Prosperity Gospel doctrine of Joseph Prince, they would be delivered from their sickness and poverty. The truth is Pastor Prince wouldn’t dare to go to these poor nations to preach his Health and Wealth Gospel as the falsity of his Prosperity Gospel doctrine will straightaway be exposed.
The church tends to celebrate success and rides on the successes of its prominent members to showcase how faithfulness in tithing brings wealth abundantly. Only those who are successful are given the microphone. The rest, who have not yet achieved big success, will have to wait for their turn.
Testimonies given are always about answers to prayer for healings, career advancement, pay increase and other personal benefits. Hardly is there a testimony about conversion through true repentance (not a false repentance taught by Joseph Prince), or someone who is called to give up his riches and possessions to obey God’s call for the sake of Christ and the Gospel. The focus of these testimonies is frequently on what we can gain from Christ rather than what we can sacrifice for Christ. What does this tell us? This clearly indicates that Joseph Prince is preaching a Me-Centred Christianity (what I can selfishly gain from Christ) rather than a Christ-centred Christianity (what I can joyfully sacrifice for Christ).
The church strived on building up its membership believing that having more numbers is a testimony that they are on the right path. Pastor Prince once said in the pulpit that 32,000 (now it is 34,000) members cannot be wrong. He used this argument to counter-attack those who criticised the falsity of his grace theology, saying that 32,000 people can’t be fooled. This pride comes from confidence in the rule of large numbers. However, God measures things differently and the Bible says otherwise. Matthew 7:13 says: “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it”. Or to put it bluntly, “Fool rushes in where angels fear to tread”. The gate is narrow because few enter it and the wide gate in contrast has many people entering through it leading to eternal destruction. Yes, by God’s standard, the majority can be wrong. That is why in Biblical history God always sorted out the ‘remnant’ not the ‘mega’. And one must ask the question: what kind of people are drawn to Joseph Prince’s feel-good and cheap gospel, and one that panders to the flesh? True or false believers? What’s the use of boasting about having a gigantic church when many who attend may not be true believers? It is better to be the church of the few (Matt 7:14) who are headed towards glory land rather than the church of the many (Matt 7:13) who are headed for destruction.
Before leaders are appointed in NCC, they will have their tithing record checked before being appointed. They will have to show that they are tithing regularly to the church. Interestingly, Joseph Prince preaches grace and against law, and yet, he institutes such rigid ‘law’ to check people’s tithing record before they can be appointed to leadership. As far as I know, there is hardly any church that practices that. In the Bible, stewardship is more than money. It encompasses time, talent and other resources. The biblical qualifications for church leadership are found in Titus 1:5-9; 1 Timothy 3:1-7 and 1 Peter 5:1-4. None of them mention tithing.
In September 2019 a Christian friend introduced me to the ministry of Rev George Ong. I have read 100% of the 4,800 pages of notes on his website and found our theologies agreeable. He is the only clergyman in Singapore I know who has devoted a lot of time and resources in producing these materials for the benefit of the body of Christ. He has done a lot of research and written extensively against the theological errors of Joseph Prince. Rev George is not paid or commissioned by anyone to do this.
Unfortunately, with the exception of Rev George Ong, and perhaps a few others, church leaders seem to be keeping silent about the influence of Joseph Prince’s heresies that have not only permeated Singapore but also around the world. However, in the face of heresy, silence is not an option. To be silent when one is supposed to speak is a sin. In law, there is a maxim: “Qui Tacet Consentire Videtur” which means “silence equal consent”. By keeping silent, these leaders are consenting the ravaging wolves to fleece their sheep. Such church leaders are not fulfilling their true calling as the under shepherds of Christ by shying away from their responsibilities to guard their sheep from ravaging wolves.
Rev George Ong ranks amongst the few like John MacArthur, Michael Brown, Justin Peters, Paul Washer and Steven Anderson who stood up against the numerous false preachers like Joyce Meyers, Benny Hinn, Joel Osteen, Bill Johnson, Steven Furtick, Kenneth Copeland, Kenneth Hagin, Jesse Duplantis, Jerry Savelle and Creflo Dollar (aptly named by his greed).
It is dangerous to be complacent in our fight for truth. In the 1930s, Dietrich Bonhoeffer was fighting to prevent Hitler from coming into power. He tried getting the Christian churches in Germany behind him, but unfortunately, they were apathetic towards his effort. When asked why the church didn’t want to speak out, he said it was due to cheap grace being preached in the German churches. He said the teaching of cheap grace helped Hitler rise to power because of the sense of spiritual entitlement that Lutherans felt that God was in control of everything, and if Hitler was bad, God would take care of it. The church was muscle bound with its own self-congratulation and it was convinced that the good times were going to happen. Such a cheap grace teaching has largely contributed to the apathy in the church during Hitler’s time.
Today, cheap grace has permeated the contemporary church, and it is championed by none other than Joseph Prince himself, who guarantees believers a comfortable life, successful future and a life that is free from suffering. But this flies in the face of Christianity that there is the cross to bear before one can inherit the crown. In other words, costly grace is true grace and cheap grace that is preached by Joseph Prince is false grace.
One thing that may shock you is that in my 20 years in NCC, I have never heard Joseph Prince preach on the Great Commission in Matthew 28:18-20:
“Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
How could Joseph Prince who claimed to be Christ-centred not be preaching on the Great Commission, the greatest heartbeat of Christ for the church? The reason is simple. Joseph Prince does not agree with the Great Commission, which talks about discipleship and obedience. What is worse is that he even preaches against discipleship and he sees obedience to God as legalism. But he is crafty enough not to speak against it publicly. The best thing for him is ‘deleting’ the Great Commission from the word of God by not teaching it. Hence, the gospel that he is preaching is not the true gospel of Christ in Matthew 28:18-20 but his false and cheap grace gospel of health, wealth and earthly success.
In my 20 years in NCC, I have also never heard Joseph Prince preach a single sermon on suffering, persecution, sanctification or holiness. As such, many people attending NCC are not really bothered about how they live their lives, as long as they are justified and receive the righteousness of God, their place in heaven is permanently assured – which is falsely taught by Joseph Prince. They are also oblivious to the suffering and martyrdom of Christians in other parts of the world. This is because Joseph Prince preaches that suffering and martyrdom will never occur to believers, which is plainly false.
During the initial years, I was so sold by Joseph Prince’s grace message, that I literally bought his CDs every Sunday, read his booklets and books. However, many years later, I was led to do some soul searching and after studying God’s Word, I discovered that Joseph Prince is not preaching biblical truth and many of his teachings are starkly heretical.
After much prayer and consideration, I find myself in a spiritual dilemma: whether to leave or not. It is not easy to uproot oneself after spending so many years in the church one is about to leave. But leave I must because it is imperative to obey God rather than men. I can no longer stay in a church that preaches heresies. Let God alone be praised for empowering me to make this tough but necessary decision. I also pray and hope that those who are still in NCC would come to their senses and make the same tough decision by leaving the church as the heresies of Joseph Prince can literally lead one to his or her eternal destruction.”
Andrew C. Tan
Planning to Attend a Church that Preaches True Grace