Dr Roland Chia & Rev George Ong’s Articles Focussing on the Most Toxic & Serious of Joseph Prince’s Heresies (Dated 5 Oct 2021)
When Dr Roland Chia submitted his article to me focussing on Joseph Prince’s claim that all of Jesus’ teachings in the gospels before the cross are no longer binding on New Covenant believers, I had also already begun penning down my notes on the same topic to be featured. This is more than just a coincidence. Both Dr Roland Chia’s article and mine which are featured on this website are definitely guided by the Lord for such a time as this.
Though both articles are on the same topic, they are not a repetition but reinforcement of each other. They approach the same issue from slightly different angles.
In my opinion, this heresy of Joseph Prince is the most toxic and serious of them all. So be sure not to miss reading them.
Joseph Prince ‘Wipes Out’ Christ’s Teachings in the Gospels – By Rev George Ong
In ‘Unmerited Favor’, Page 97, Joseph Prince wrote,
“However, the new covenant does not actually begin with the four Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John as these books deal predominantly with the life of Jesus before the cross. In fact, the new covenant begins after the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Hence, the cross is our clearest marking point of where the new covenant begins.”
In ‘Destined To Reign’, Page 92, Joseph Prince wrote,
“The new covenant only begins after the cross, when the Holy Spirit was given on the day of Pentecost. I know that our Bibles are divided into the Old Testament and the New Testament, which begins with the four gospels. However, it is important to realize that the cross made a difference!”
In other words, Joseph Prince teaches that everything of what Christ spoke and taught in the gospels before the cross doesn’t apply to New Covenant believers because they were spoken and taught under the Old Covenant Law.
What this means is that all the blood, sweat and tears that Jesus spent in teaching His disciples (and us), and all that He did in His 3 years of ministry in the gospels, have all gone to waste as they are no longer binding on New Covenant believers.
This is unthinkable! This is an absolutely horrendous doctrinal heresy that must be exposed and demolished.
The attempt by Joseph Prince to dismiss the very words of Jesus, particularly in most parts of the gospels as under the Old Covenant Law and not under the New Covenant Grace, is probably the most disturbing of them all.
It basically ‘wipes out’ most of the four gospels from the Bible – since they are placed under the Old Covenant and are no longer binding on New Covenant believers.
Paul’s attitude towards the words and teachings of the Lord Jesus Christ found in the gospels is distinctly different from Joseph Prince, who states that the teachings of Jesus in the gospels are “under the Law,” and no more applicable to New Covenant believers.
1 Timothy 6:3-4 CSB
3 If anyone teaches false doctrine and does not agree with the sound teaching of our Lord Jesus Christ and with the teaching that promotes godliness, 4 he is conceited and understands nothing, but has an unhealthy interest in disputes and arguments over words. From these come envy, quarreling, slander, evil suspicions,
Where is “the sound teaching of our Lord Jesus Christ” which Paul talked about in 1 Timothy 6:3 found? Mainly In the gospels! Before or after the cross? Mainly before the cross during His 3 years of ministry with His disciples!
One probable interpretation of 1 Timothy 6:3 is that “the sound teaching of our Lord Jesus Christ” refers to the orthodox teaching of the Christian Faith as laid down by Jesus and passed on to Paul and His apostles. But such a view must also include the teaching of Jesus in the gospels as most of Jesus’ teaching of the Orthodox Faith are found there.
This reveals Paul’s commitment to the teaching of Christ in the gospels. Paul recognises the teaching of Christ in the gospels as under the New Covenant as he wrote it in a New Covenant book of 1 Timothy (1 Tim 6:3-4).
While Paul accepts the teaching of Jesus in the gospels, Joseph Prince rejects them as no longer applicable to us. This one text alone is enough to declare Joseph Prince as a false teacher.
This is because Paul declares that any doctrine that “does not agree with the sound teaching of the Lord Jesus Christ” (mainly in the gospels) is “false doctrine.” This means Joseph Prince is preaching false doctrine as he doesn’t recognise Christ’s teachings in the gospels as applicable to us today. Only a false prophet preaches false doctrine.
How can Joseph Prince claim to have learned his grace theology from Paul when he did the opposite of what Paul did – by denigrating the teachings of Christ in the gospels as no more relevant to New Covenant believers because he has placed them under the Old Covenant Law.
As with Paul, the Apostle John too upholds the teaching of Christ in the gospels.
2 John 9 NIV
9 “Anyone who runs ahead and does not continue in the teaching of Christ does not have God; whoever continues in the teaching has both the Father and the Son.”
Where is “the teaching of Christ” as stated by John in 2 John 9 found? Mainly in the gospels! Before or after the cross? Mainly before the cross during His 3 years of ministry with His disciples!
This criterion alone in 2 John 9, can confirm Joseph Prince as a false prophet as John says it starkly clear that “Anyone who runs ahead and does not continue in the teaching of Christ does not have God.”
This means Joseph Prince who does not continue in the teaching of Christ because he says the teaching of Christ in the gospels is no longer binding on New Covenant believers “does not have God.” One who “does not have God,” isn’t a believer to start with.
Next, our Lord Jesus Himself endorses His own teachings in the gospels. A related point is that just the use of common sense is enough to demolish Joseph Prince’s argument.
John 14:26 NIV
26 But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.
Our Lord Jesus said that the Holy Spirit will remind the disciples of everything of what He said.
So when did Jesus say those things? A large portion of what Jesus said must have been found in the gospels before the cross.
Why must the Holy Spirit remind them of those things that Jesus said and taught before the cross in the gospels if they are placed under the Old Covenant, and if they are no more relevant to them (and to us) as Joseph Prince falsely teaches? Does it make sense?
Jesus said the Holy Spirit “will remind you of everything I have said to you,” because the words and teachings of Christ in the gospels are critically important for New Covenant believers and He doesn’t want them to be forgotten by His disciples (and us).
If they are that important to Jesus that He doesn’t want them to be forgotten by His disciples (and us), it must plainly mean that they are still binding on New Covenant believers.
Furthermore, Jesus Himself said:
Matthew 24:35 NIV
35 Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away.
This was repeated 3 times in the gospels – that “Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away” (Matt 24:35; see also Mk 13:31 and Lk 21:33).
Jesus Himself said “my words will not pass away.”
What words? Words of what Jesus said while on earth during the 3 years of His ministry before the cross that were recorded in the gospels. These words will not pass away because they are vitally important to his disciples and to us too, as New Covenant believers.
Here comes Joseph Prince, with the daringness to devalue and ‘cancel out’ those words of Jesus that Jesus said will not pass away because Prince teaches that they are no longer binding for New Covenant people.
The Great Commission in Matthew 28:18-20 also disproves Joseph Prince’s view that Jesus’ words during much of His earthly ministry are not applicable to New Covenant believers.
Matthew 28:18-20 NIV
18 Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 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, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
Jesus categorically commanded His apostles to teach believers to obey all that He had commanded them. Every command of Christ is to be obeyed and not to be trifled with.
Since Matthew 28:20 commanded us to teach them “to obey everything I have commanded you”, ask yourself – where is the “everything I have commanded you” found? – In the gospels before the cross!
What is everything that Jesus commanded? All His teachings and commands during His 3 years of ministry that were recorded in the gospels, which were then reflected in the teachings in Acts as well as in the epistles of Paul and the rest of the scriptures.
This means what Jesus said and taught in the gospels will continue to be relevant in the lives of every generation of disciples.
If much of the gospels is no longer relevant to New Covenant believers, what Jesus commanded the apostles to teach them ‘to obey everything I have commanded you’, (and the everything is found in the gospels before the cross) would not make any sense at all.
Why would Jesus pour His whole life into the 3 years of His ministry, investing in teaching His disciples, and only for Him to undo all that He did by placing everything of what He said and taught under the Old Covenant that has no applicability to New Covenant believers?
Do you honestly believe Jesus would do that – that He would be that foolish in wasting all His 3 years of ministry, the only kairos moment He had on earth and throwing them down the drain?
Joseph Prince, by his teachings, is actually insulting the intelligence of Christ, who is God Himself – that He would do such a foolish thing by placing all He said and taught in the gospels under the Old Covenant, and hence, possessing little or no value to New Covenant believers.
Why does Joseph Prince want to reject the words, teachings and commands of Jesus in the gospels? The unmistakable and stark answer is that Jesus’ words and teachings clearly don’t square and agree with his Grace Theology. As a matter of fact, they are at loggerheads with each other. Jesus’ teachings in the gospels call for a serious commitment to deny ourselves and take up the cross, and His words demand costly discipleship, which doesn’t fit with Joseph Prince’s Grace Doctrine that “God doesn’t demand anything from you, and all you need to do is just believe, rest and enjoy the wealth and youthful looks that He has come to bless you with”.
Joseph Prince repeatedly said that the cross is the dividing line between the Old Covenant of Law and the New Covenant of Grace. Again, what he means is that everything that Christ said and taught in the gospels before the cross is considered to be under the Old Covenant, and hence, it is irrelevant to New Covenant believers.
Do you know what that means? What that means is:
We can disregard the Great Commission to make disciples of all nations.
We can disregard Jesus’ command to take up the cross and deny ourselves.
We can disregard Jesus’ call to leave everything behind and follow Him wholeheartedly.
We can disregard Jesus’ teaching that we are to seek first the Kingdom of God.
We can disregard our call to be the salt of the earth and the light of the world.
We can disregard Jesus’ warning to avoid the broad way that leads to destruction.
We can disregard Jesus’s exhortation to love our enemies and pray for those who persecute us.
We can disregard Christ’s teaching that we are to love God with all our heart and to love our neighbours as ourselves.
We can disregard all the parables filled with profound and insightful lessons that Jesus came to teach us.
We can disregard the warnings of Jesus about greed and covetousness that would lead to destruction.
We can disregard Christ’s warnings about hell even to believers.
We can disregard Christ’s teaching that if we don’t forgive others, our Father won’t forgive us.
We can disregard Christ’s declaration that He is the resurrection and the life and all who believe in Him shall never die.
We can disregard Jesus’ claim that He is the way the truth and the life and no one comes to the Father except through Him.
For a Christian to disregard all these (and much more that is not reflected in the gospels) would be pure madness!
Why would any true Christian want to disregard the words, teachings and commands of our Lord Jesus? And isn’t denying Jesus’ words, teachings and commands also the same as denying Him as a person?
How can a so-called Christ-centred preacher like Joseph Prince ‘wipes out’ most of Christ’s teachings in the gospels?
Only an Antichrist like Joseph Prince would do that, but a Christ-centred person would always honour all the teachings of Christ, which are given in the gospels before the cross.
With all that I have shown and proven that Joseph Prince teaches against the Apostle Paul (1 Tim 6:3-4), the Apostle John (2 Jn 9) and the Lord Jesus Himself (Jn 14:26; Matt 24:35; Matt 28:18-20), regarding the relevance of Christ’s teachings in the gospels for New Covenant believers, how can Joseph Prince not be a wolf in sheepskin?
If Joseph Prince has the audacity to ‘wipe out’ all of Christ’s (who is God Himself) teachings and commands in the gospels before the cross, how can he not be a heretic?
What I have covered is only about 20% of the topic. For the rest of the 80%, you are strongly advised to read Volume 7, Chapter 3, Pages 128-193, “Christ’s Teachings In The Gospels Are Not Under Old Covenant Law But New Covenant Grace” by clicking here.
Rev George Ong
Not Meant for Christians?!! – By Dr Roland Chia
One of the most radical teachings of the new antinomians concerns the words of our Lord, Jesus Christ, as they are recorded in the Gospels. These antinomians claim that Christians should not take heed of everything that Jesus said – this includes his commands – because much of his teachings were not meant for them.
The clearest articulation of this peculiar view comes from the pen of Joseph Prince. In an article entitled ‘What Does it Mean to “Rightly Divide the Word”’, Prince argues that:
Whether interpreting the Old Testament, or the words which Jesus spoke in the four gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke and John) let Jesus and His finished work at the cross be the key to unlocking all the precious gems hidden in God’s Word. This means that we have to read everything in the context of what He came to do and what He accomplished at the cross for us. For example, some things that Jesus said in the four gospels were spoken before the cross – before He had died for our sins – and some were said after the cross – when He had already won our complete forgiveness and rightfully given us His righteousness. It is the latter that applies to us (believers under the new covenant) today.
This is a truly remarkable way of understanding the significance (or lack thereof) of the words of Jesus! If we apply Prince consistently, almost all the recorded words of Jesus in all four Gospels are irrelevant for Christians. Only the statements that he made after his crucifixion (which are very few) directly apply to new covenant believers.
According to Prince, the reason why the words Jesus spoke before the cross are not the concern of Christians is because they are meant for God’s people in the old covenant. Christians belong to the new covenant – the covenant of grace – and therefore should regard as significant only the words that Jesus spoke after his death and resurrection.
Joseph Prince makes this quite clear in his book Destined to Reign where he writes:
There is a lot of confusion and wrong believing in the church today because many Christians read their Bibles without rightly dividing the old and new covenants. They don’t realise that even some of the words which Jesus spoke in the four gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke and John) are part of the old covenant. They were spoken before the cross as He had not yet died. The new covenant only begins after the cross, when the Holy Spirit was given on the day of Pentecost (p. 92, emphasis in original).
Let me say at the outset that this view is preposterous! Not a single church father or theologian in the entire history of Christianity would endorse such a perspective as propounded by Joseph Prince. In espousing this view, the new antinomians (including Joseph Prince) have done even better than the ancient heretic, Marcion, who only excluded the Old Testament, but did not have the audacity to devalue the very words of Jesus.
As the quotation from Prince shows, the reason why these new antinomians hold that the words of Jesus before the cross are irrelevant to Christians is that the new covenant was enacted at the cross.
Throughout the history of the Church there has been no consensus on when the new covenant came into effect. Some theologians think that it is at the incarnation itself, while others are of the view that it took place at the institution of the Lord’s Supper or at the cross. Still others argue that the new covenant was enacted at Pentecost, with the outpouring of the Holy Spirit.
While this discussion is important, it has little to do with the authoritative nature of the words of Jesus and their relevance for Christians. The authority of our Lord’s teachings has to do with who he is, and not with when the new covenant came into effect.
Scripture is very clear about the identity of Jesus Christ. He is the eternal Word of God, the second person of the triune Godhead, God himself (John 1:1). It is through him that the world was created, and it is in him that everything that exists is sustained (Colossians 1:15-16). The Bible tells us that this eternal Word of God has taken up human flesh in Jesus Christ (John 1:14).
Jesus Christ is the Mediator of the new covenant which was inaugurated at his incarnation and firmly established in his death and resurrection (Hebrews 9:15). But Jesus Christ is also God’s supreme revelation, who is far superior to the prophets of old because he is the very Word of God incarnate. Thus, the writer of Hebrews asserts:
Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through who also he created the world (Hebrews 1:1-2).
As God’s supreme revelation and as our Saviour, Jesus is the Way and the Truth and the Life. No one can come to God, the Father except through him (John 14:6). To say that the spoken words of the incarnate Word are irrelevant to Christians is either to utter something totally absurd or something deviously deceptive.
When we turn to the writers of the New Testament, we find that all of them – without exception – were shaped by the teachings of Christ.
Even Paul, who did not directly quote Jesus in any of his writings, was deeply impacted by the Christ he met so dramatically on the road to Damascus. Writing to the Corinthians, the apostle declared: ‘I decided to know nothing except Jesus Christ and him crucified’ (1 Corinthians 2:2).
Other writers such as James are so profoundly influenced by the words of Jesus that we can find many echoes of the Lord’s teachings in their epistles. Here are a couple of random examples:
· ‘Count it all joy, my brethren, when you meet various trials’ (James 1:2). ‘Blessed are you when men revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so men persecuted the prophets before you’ (Matthew 5:10-12).
· ‘Do not speak evil against one another, brethren. He that speaks evil against a brother or judges a brother, speaks against the law and judges the law. But if you judge the law, you are not a doer of the law but a judge’ (James 4:11). ‘Judge not, that you be not judged. For with the judgement you pronounce you will be judged, and the measure you give will be the measure you get’ (Matthew 7:1-2).
Perhaps the real reason why the antinomians want to marginalise the words of Jesus is because they go against their entire approach to the Christian life.
Unlike the antinomians, Jesus does not create the false dichotomy between love and obedience. For in John 14:15, Jesus said: ‘If you love me, you will keep my commandments.’
Unlike the antinomians, such as Joseph Prince, who repeatedly exhort their followers not to be too concerned about their sins, Jesus takes sin very seriously. Consider these passages:
· ‘Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation’ (Mark 14:38).
· ‘If your right eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body be thrown into hell’ (Matthew 5:29).
And unlike the antinomians, such as Joseph Prince, who promote the false gospel of easy believism, Jesus demanded nothing less than total commitment and single-minded obedience from his disciples. Here are his words:
· ‘If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me’ (Matthew 16:24).
· ‘Not everyone who says to me “Lord! Lord!” will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father’ (Matthew 7:21).
Perhaps these words of our Lord are dismissed by the antinomians of our time as irrelevant because they simply sound too jarring in their ears. Perhaps they are rejected because they call to question their ludicrous claim that living the Christian life requires no effort at all.
And perhaps all this is really because these new antinomians want Jesus only as their Saviour, but not as their Lord!
Dr Roland Chia
Chew Hock Hin Professor of Christian Doctrine
Trinity Theological College
Theological and Research Advisor
Ethos Institute for Public Christianity