A Therapeutic ‘Gospel’ – By Dr Roland Chia (Dated 11 Dec 2021)


Rev George Ong’s Comments:


Let me quote Dr Roland Chia’s final 2 paragraphs of this article:


“Despite its deceptive veneer and a common vocabulary, this religion, as propounded by Joseph Prince and the new antinomians, is not orthodox Christianity but a dangerous distortion of it. The gospel that they present is a different gospel, a false gospel.


The gate through which it leads the followers of Joseph Prince and the antinomians is not the narrow gate, but the wide gate. And the wide gate does not lead to God’s kingdom. It is not the entrance to life, but to destruction (Matthew 7:13).”


First, Dr Roland Chia concluded that the gospel preached by Joseph Prince (and the other antinomians) is a false gospel. This isn’t the first time that Dr Roland Chia had made such a declaration.


Dr Roland Chia isn’t a fly-by-night theologian but an accomplished and credible Bible scholar. He is a Chew Hock Hin Professor of Christian Doctrine at Trinity Theological College and Theological and Research Advisor to the Ethos Institute for Public Christianity. He knows what he is talking about.


If Dr Roland Chia, who, besides his scholarly credentials, has also done a serious research and deep study into Joseph Prince’s Grace Doctrine, (as compared to many Pastors and other Bible scholars, who don’t), states again that Joseph Prince preaches a false gospel, how can he not be a heretic?


Yet, astonishingly, I hear of one Singapore Pastor, who was a former President of the National Council of Churches of Singapore (NCCS), and another, who was a former lecturer in a Bible College in Singapore and currently serving in the Executive Committee of NCCS, proclaiming that Prince isn’t a heretic!


Although one is a Bible scholar and the other, an experienced Pastor, these 2 spiritual leaders have not done an exhaustive, meticulous and an ongoing study about Joseph Prince’s teachings in the same way that Dr Roland Chia and I did.


As for me, from the beginning, I have gone beyond Prince’s books and majored also on what he teaches in his many videos and audios. There is a fair bit of Prince’s false doctrinal statements that cannot be found in his books but in his sermon videos and audios.


So, with their limited knowledge about Joseph Prince’s teachings, these 2 spiritual leaders have no authority and credibility, whatsoever, to proclaim that Prince isn’t a heretic. 


Second, Dr Roland Chia states that where Joseph Prince and the antinomians are leading their followers to, is not the narrow gate but the wide gate (Matt 7:13) that leads to destruction.


Indeed, Matthew 7:13-14, which talks about the true narrow gate and narrow road gospel that the Lord Jesus has laid down for the Church is what I will cover in the next update or in a future update. Conversely, the false broad gate and broad road gospel of Joseph Prince would also be exposed.


A Therapeutic ‘Gospel’ – By Dr Roland Chia


(This article was also sent to Rev Dr Ngoei Foong Nghian, General Secretary, NCCS office, and for the attention of the Executive Committee Members.)


In his fascinating book The Rise and Triumph of the Modern Self, the evangelical historian Carl Truman describes the culture of late modernity as a therapeutic culture energised by what he calls an ‘expressive individualism’. Emptied of the unifying metaphysics of past ages, postmodernity sees human existence and culture itself through the psychological lens.


Drawing from the American sociologist and cultural critic Philip Rieff – whose work deserves more attention that it has been hitherto given – Truman argues that postmodern culture has given rise to the therapeutic self. This has radically transformed how we see the world and understand the good. Postmodern man’s obsessive preoccupation of the self, Truman asserts, has meant that ‘the good is identified with what makes me feel happy’.


Truman does not only discuss Rieff in his book. He also examines the writings of two other important thinkers of our time: the Canadian philosopher Charles Taylor and the Scottish moral theologian Alasdair MacIntyre. Truman concludes that ‘All three would agree that an overriding desire for inner personal happiness and a sense of psychological well-being lie at the heart of the modern age and make ethics at root a subjective discourse’.


The acids of our therapeutic culture have also disfigured traditional religions such as Christianity. One manifestation of this deformity is what Christian Smith and Melinda Lundquist Denton have described as ‘Moralistic Therapeutic Deism’ (MTD) in their important study entitled Soul Searching, published in 2005.


Another striking manifestation of how the therapeutic culture has perverted the Christian faith is the new antinomianism represented by popular grace preachers such as Joseph Prince. The so-called grace revolution that Prince and others like him are trying to bring about is a religion that fits snugly into the therapeutic milieu of postmodernity.


Prince’s ‘gospel’ certainly identifies the good with ‘what makes me feel happy’. His version of Christianity exploits our culture’s ‘overriding desire for inner happiness and a sense of psychological well-being’. His is a therapeutic religion, tailor-made for the therapeutic self, and shaped by the therapeutic culture.




Orthodox Christianity, with its emphasis on holiness, is profoundly concerned about sin in the life of the Christian. The Jesus of orthodox Christianity constantly exhorts his disciples (and by extension, the Church) to ‘Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation …’ (Matthew 26:41).


The Jesus of the Gospels also said: ‘If your right eye causes you to sin, pluck it out and throw it away; it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body be thrown into hell’ (Matthew 5:29). Such is the uncompromising stance of orthodox Christianity towards sin!


The religion designed for the therapeutic self, however, will have none of this!


The reality of sin and the need to struggle against it is at odds with a religion that promises its adherents an easy and rewarding life, a life of happiness and bliss. Thus, in order for the new antinomians such as Joseph Prince to pander to the deepest desires of the therapeutic self, it must find a way to present a Christianity for which sin is inconsequential to the believer.


The ingenious way in which Joseph Prince and his fellow antinomians have sought to do this is to insist that all the sins of the believer are taken care of at the cross of Christ. At his conversion, when the believer repents of his rebellious ways and acknowledges Jesus as his Saviour, all his sins – past, present and future – are forgiven.


From that point onwards, the believer does not have to confess his sins. In fact, he does not even have to worry about sins anymore. In Unmerited Favour, Prince writes:


… how often do you have to confess your sins for Jesus to forgive and cleanse you from all unrighteousness? Only once! In that very instance when you prayed the prayer of salvation, all the sins that you would commit for your entire life were forgiven once and for all. You received the full redemptive work of Jesus on the cross into your life, and all his blessings, his favour, his health and his success became yours! Let me say this plainly: You do not need to confess your sins again and again to be forgiven. You are already forgiven! (emphasis in original).


The same emphasis is found in Destined to Reign, where Prince writes:


My friend, this is the assurance that you can have today: The day you received Christ, you confessed all your sins once and for all. You acknowledged that you were a sinner in need of a Saviour, and He is faithful and just to cleanse you from all unrighteousness. All the unrighteousness of your entire life was cleansed at that point!


Prince uses the imagery of the waterfall to depict the idea that the Christian is constantly and automatically cleansed by the blood of Christ. Every sin he will ever commit is instantly washed away – in the very nano-second they are committed. This is how Prince explains it in Destined to Reign:


The Bible is so rich and full of treasures! Did you know that even the word ‘cleanses’ in 1 John 1:7 is really beautiful? In the Greek, the tense for the word ‘cleanse’ denotes a present and continuous action, which means that from the moment you receive Christ, the blood of Jesus keeps on cleansing you. It is as if you are under a waterfall of His forgiveness. Even when you fail, this waterfall never stops. It keeps on keeping on, cleansing you from ALL your sins and unrighteousness (emphasis in original).




Since his sins are already taken care of at the cross and the believer need not worry about them ever again, the Christian life can be lived quite effortlessly. The believer in this therapeutic religion does not have to be concerned that his conduct might somehow compromise his status. Prince assures his followers of this in this extraordinary statement.


When we understand this verse [1 John 1:7], we realise that even when we sin, we sin in the realm of light! So, if we sin in the light, we are cleansed in the light, and we are kept in the light. This idea of us going into the darkness when we sin is not from the Bible.


The adherents of Prince’s therapeutic religion are therefore told repeatedly not to examine themselves for sins that they might have committed.


We saw earlier that the Jesus of orthodox Christianity exhorts his disciples to constantly ‘watch and pray’. In contrast, Prince explicitly instructs his disciples to ‘Stop examining yourself and searching your heart for sin’. Why examine yourself to see if you have sinned if all your sins are already forgiven, and sin itself is no longer an issue?


The Jesus of the Gospels explicitly teaches that the Holy Spirit will ‘convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgement’ (John 16:8). But Prince insists that the conviction of sin is not the work of the Holy Spirit.


Now, pay attention to this because it will liberate you. The bottom line is that the Holy Spirit never convicts you of your sins. He NEVER comes to point out your faults. I challenge you to find a scripture in the Bible that tells you that the Holy Spirit has come to convict you of your sins. You won’t find any! (emphasis in original).


On the contrary, according to Prince, it is the devil that will highlight the sins of the believer. He writes in Destined to Reign: ‘Only the devil, you yourself and the people around you will bring your sins to your remembrance’.


What about the moral laws of God? Are Christians still expected to obey them? Prince answers this question with an emphatic ‘No’!


The law is not for the believer, who has been made righteous in Christ! The law is not applicable to someone who is under the new covenant of grace (emphasis in original).


Prince further states that the people who still think that the moral laws of God are relevant for Christians (namely, all the theologians, pastors and faithful Christians throughout church history), have simply been fooled by the devil.


‘So, who has hoodwinked us all this time and sold us a lie? Why is the body of Christ so wary of preachers of grace when grace is the antidote to sin?’, Prince asks. ‘Come on, church, it is time to see that it is the devil who benefits from all this. The devil is the one using the law to bring about death and condemnation, and to put believers under oppression!’


Now that the moral law of God has been rendered irrelevant and sin made inconsequential, Prince turns to the topic of righteousness to further enhance the attractiveness of his therapeutic religion. Appealing to the doctrine of the imputed righteousness of Christ, Prince puts all the weight on the positional righteousness of the believer and totally dismisses the idea of practical righteousness.


I reproduce his argument in full:


The devil has also succeeded in erecting fences around the gift of righteousness. Today, conventional theology teaches you that not only is there such a thing as ‘positional righteousness’. There is also something known as ‘practical righteousness’. They are saying that even though you were made righteous by grace, you now have to do right and keep the law to continue being righteous. They call this having ‘practical righteousness’.


My friend, this is something that Apostle Paul never taught! There is only one righteousness in Christ Jesus. Let’s see what Paul says about those who are ignorant of this righteousness. He said, ‘For they being ignorant of God’s righteousness [that’s what some people term ‘positional righteousness’], and seeking to establish their own righteousness [now that would be what they call ‘practical righteousness’], have not submitted to the righteousness of God.’. So it is clear that Paul is against any teaching that says that you have to earn or merit your own righteousness. You are either righteous or you are not. There is no such thing as first having ‘positional righteousness’ and then having to maintain that through ‘practical righteousness’. You are the righteousness of God in Christ, period!


In other words, because the adherents of Prince’s therapeutic religion are already made righteous, it is not necessary for them to ‘make every effort to supplement [their] faith with virtue’ (2 Peter 1:5). Neither should they train themselves in righteousness (2 Timothy 3:16; 4:7-8). And since they are already saved, why should they bother to ‘work out [their] own salvation in fear and trembling’ (Philippians 2:12-13)?




So, Prince has created a religion that is extremely attractive to the natives of the therapeutic culture. The Christianity that he offers certainly has the ‘appearance of godliness’ (2 Timothy 3:5). But scratch the thin surface, and we will see Prince’s religion for what it is: a religion that offers the blessings of forgiveness and salvation, but makes no requirements for obedience.


All this is surely good news indeed in the ears of people in search of a therapeutic religion. But Prince is not quite done! He has even more to offer that will tantalise the therapeutic self. God has even more goodies in store for them!


Unlike the other preachers of radical grace, Prince has cleverly knitted the health and wealth theology associated with the Word of Faith movement into the fabric of his message of radical grace. That Prince is beholden to the pioneers of this heretical movement is clear in the following passage in Destined to Reign where Prince writes:


I give thanks to God for my roots in the Word of Faith teachings. It is truly on the shoulders of great men of God like Brother Kenneth Hagin that we are able to see further into the Word of God today. Growing up, I learned a lot about faith from Brother Hagin who truly had a special revelation of faith from the Lord. I deeply honor and respect him for all that he has taught me.


According to Prince, then, God wants the believer to be healthy, wealthy and successful in this life. The believer should not expect anything less than that! He writes:


Religion will tell you that ‘God wants you sick to teach you character and patience. Religion will tell you that ‘God’ wants you poor, so that you will learn humility. It sounds noble, doesn’t it? But these are LIES from the pit of hell! (emphasis in original).


Except for persecution, all other forms of suffering are not for the believer, Prince insists. In his sermon on Job, Prince clearly states that Christians ‘don’t have to live afraid that [they] will be like Job’. Instead, Christians should ‘look forward to a future full of [God’s] promises, blessings, and protection …!’


Prince says that God has even given us the solution to the physical deterioration that comes with old age! The secret, Prince tells his followers, is the proper partaking of the Holy Communion. In his book entitled Health and Wholeness Through the Holy Communion, Prince writes:


As long as we are here on earth, our bodies are subject to the ageing process, which is part of the divine sentence. All our bodies are decaying every day. Our brain cells are dying daily.


The Holy Communion is God’s solution for us to offset the decay. And even your friends will see the results. They will begin to ask you, ‘Hey, why do you seem to look younger and younger? You never seem to age!’


One day, when we get to heaven, we will have brand new bodies that never grow old, never tire and never look bad. Meanwhile, the Lord’s Supper is how God helps us to offset this process of ageing and walk in divine health. Every time you partake, you are reversing the effects of the curse or divine judgement.


Prince’s religion is brilliantly encapsulated in the title of a song released by the American musician Bobby McFerrin in 1988: ‘Don’t Worry, Be Happy’. Prince and his disciples don’t have to worry and can always be happy because:


·       God has forgiven all their sins, even the ones that they will commit in the future.

·       They stand under the ‘waterfall’ of God’s forgiveness such that as soon as they sin, that sin is forgiven, and they are immediately washed clean.

·       This means they don’t ever have to worry about sin anymore.

·       In fact, this concern about sin does not come from God, because the Holy Spirit does not convict Christians of it.

·       It comes from the devil, and therefore must be rejected.

·       Believers can live their lives victoriously every day, and they can do so effortlessly.

·       They are assured of health, wealth and success. Their lives will be free from sickness, poverty and failure.

·       And by partaking the Holy Communion, they can experience good health, and longevity. The ravages of old age will not be physically visible. In fact, they will look younger.


That covers everything that the therapeutic self needs. But there is one more worry that needs to be sorted out. Is it ever possible for the believer to forfeit all these wonderful blessings?




Once again, Prince has an assuring word for his followers. Don’t worry, he says, God will never be angry with you. He will never punish you.


Do you know why God will never be angry with us again? It is because of what God has accomplished for us! On the cross, God poured out all his anger on the body of his Son. Jesus exhausted all the fiery indignation of a holy God against all our sins, and when all of God’s judgment of our sins had been exhausted, he shouted ‘It is finished’ (John 19:30). And because our sins have already been punished, God, who is a holy and just God, will not punish us today when we believe in what Christ has done. God’s holiness is now on your side. His righteousness is now for you, not against you. You are his beloved, in whom he is well pleased because of Jesus’ finished work!


When someone tells them that God is angry with them because of their conduct, simply ignore them, Prince instructs his followers.


The next time the devil tries to rob you of your sense of being beloved by making you think that God is angry with you, just ignore him. Ignore him when he says, ‘How can you call yourself a Christian?’ You are a righteous, accepted, and beloved child of God! When you believe this, you will have the confidence to face every challenge with boldness, knowing that you have God’s unmerited favour on your side!


Even when they deny Christ, renounce their faith and commit the sin of apostasy, God will still be happy with them. They will not be alienated from God. They will not lose their salvation. In an interview, Prince said:


Righteousness is not something that you can lose. That is something I want to come on strong. All right? If you can lose righteousness, you can lose Jesus. OK? The thing is this: you know when you were a sinner, could you renounce your sinner-ship? The fact that you are a sinner … I can with my free choice … people say, ‘Well, pastor Prince if somebody just renounces it … you know, God understands and knows the weakness of people. Alright? He knows why they say what they say under pressure. We ought not to judge them. But can I as a sinner … I say, ‘I renounce the fact that I am a sinner’? Will that happen? But I’m using my free choice. Can a sinner use his free choice? I am using my free choice to renounce my sinner-ship. Will that happen? So free choice is not as powerful as we make it to be.


What’s going to happen when a believer under pressure or whatever, he renounces, you know, his faith or Jesus and all that. We don’t have to judge who is saved or who is not. The thing is that. Even if he renounces even his faith, does he become unsaved? If he can, then what Adam did is more powerful than what Jesus did.




In an engaging book The Royal Priesthood published in 1994, the Mennonite theologian John Howard Yoder uses the provocative term ‘bastard faiths’ to describe the corruption of Christianity by culture. Such deformities result from the miscegenation of the Christian faith with ideologies such as Marxism or cultural temperaments such as individualism.


The religion fashioned by the teachers of radical grace such as Joseph Prince, is a spectacular example of a ‘bastard faith’. It is a religion that panders to the most basic fascinations of the natives of the therapeutic culture. It is a religion which centres on the ‘I’, the human ego and its insatiable desires, a religion that feeds the chronic self-absorptions of the therapeutic self.


Despite its deceptive veneer and a common vocabulary, this religion, as propounded by Joseph Prince and the new antinomians, is not orthodox Christianity but a dangerous distortion of it. The gospel that they present is a different gospel, a false gospel.


The gate through which it leads the followers of Joseph Prince and the antinomians is not the narrow gate, but the wide gate. And the wide gate does not lead to God’s kingdom. It is not the entrance to life, but to destruction (Matthew 7:13).”


Dr Roland Chia

Chew Hock Hin Professor of Christian Doctrine

Trinity Theological College

Theological and Research Advisor

Ethos Institute for Public Christianity