Joseph Prince the Antinomian & the Abuse of Unity – By Dr Simon Chong (Dated 12 Oct 2021)
(This above article was also sent to Rev Dr Ngoei Foong Nghian, General Secretary, NCCS office, and for the attention of Executive Committee Members.)
Don’t miss Rev George Ong’s Elaborate & Important Comments at the end of Dr Simon Chong’s article.
As a Church of Christ, we have often prided ourselves in our Outreach efforts whether it be in Missions, Social causes as well as being a Haven for those who are suffering and in want.
Recent years have even been spent on the emphasis of Discipleship and Spirituality in the focus of becoming more Christ-like. Maybe that could be the trigger to a greater sensitivity to what’s true, pure, holy and righteous, and what’s not.
Yet sadly, we have left much of our backyard unattended, unkempt and open to break-ins. I wonder why?
Is it so difficult to clear up the mess, trim the hedges and cut the grass, and throw whatever that does not belong out of the backyard?
“…Is it not those inside the church whom you are to judge? God judges those outside. “Purge the evil person from among you.” (1 Corinthians 5:12-13)
Letters to NCCS written by the various concerned believers have acknowledged that for the last many years, the Church Leadership has simply not addressed our backyard and has thus allowed a Squatter to take up lodging and shelter there even though he doesn’t fully adhere to the laws and rules of the house, but instead allowing him to work from that space to further a doctrine that’s now quite popular that it seems like it belongs to the Landlord. Not only that, many are misled into it.
So why this position of non-activity?
Is it because of “Mercy”, “Love”, “Tolerance”, “Unity”, “Patience”, “Non-judgement” that we often use to justify our stance or is it just a cultural anomaly, being asians we are non-confrontational and so these jargons give us the perfect reasons to hide behind to qualify our non-action, and even a holier repose of “I’ll pray for you and for the Holy Spirit to convict you.”
I wonder if Paul wrote “to correct and rebuke” as an order to the Church or a request to the Holy Spirit to do it?
And when we are commanded to do it out of mercy and love, is that a form or method that is humanly conceptualised when the Bible is clearly talking about our heart motivations as we approach a wrong-doer with a rod or advice or counsel?
Or do we exercise patience for God to act on our behalf when the patience was meant to be exercised towards a sinner to repent?
Are we not judging thinking that we will then not be judged when the Bible clearly said to judge based on the Word and not on human traditions?
Are we trying to maintain and keep a form of unity that’s based on a “brotherhood” or comradeship (Protestants) rather than based on the Spirit and the Truth of God’s Word?
Unity forged in collaboration and compromise in order to keep peace disregarding or ignoring a doctrinal disharmony is both demonic and rebellion against God’s order which is to make peace and be united in His Spirit, in one mind, based on a consensus and unanimous agreement founded on His Truth/Word in Love (Philippians 2:1-2; Isaiah 30:1).
I believe all our loyalties have been misplaced! It’s always about preservation and peace-keeping instead of restoration and peace-making.
And it’s often Community directed first rather than most importantly God-focused. Subtle differences but massive implications to the Church. A reconciliation of earthly ideologies to keep an untenable relationship than to build one that is in holy obedience towards God.
So here we encounter an obvious heretic, such as Joseph Prince, in our midst who propose a gospel other than what we know and have learned.
What do we do? Let us first look at the definition of the word “Heresy” that has been bandied about a lot lately.
1. opinion or doctrine at variance with the orthodox or accepted doctrine, especially of a church or religious system.
2. any belief or theory that is strongly at variance with established beliefs, customs, etc.
From this definition, it clearly shows that you just need ONE or ANY belief that’s unbiblical to be clearly branded as a Heresy, and the proponent a Heretic.
Hence based on the voluminous evidence researched by Bro Rev George Ong, it is for Joseph Prince and New Creation Church to prove that they are not what they have been accused of, and that his doctrine isn’t clearly Antinomian in nature.
What is Antinomianism?
Antinomianism is conviction-less Christianity. It sees repentance as a single event, not to be repeated. Walk the aisle and then just wait for heaven. Sermons are no longer to expose our sins, allowing us to admit our faults and confess them freely. The Christian life is more about ignoring sin and resting on a foggy concept of grace. In the Lutheran church and Methodist church, antinomianism is a heresy.
I fear that the justification to debunk this and walk away from this issue would be to simply set up a human made-rule to define what constitutes to an acceptance into membership of the NCCS.
Maybe it is that it swears to the Apostles’/Nicene Creed or even anything biblically fundamental.
But is that enough?
I believe that any allegiance to the Creed or cardinal dogma/doctrines would have to be supported by what one espouses to consistently, and preaches coherently.
Otherwise, I could also declare that I believe in the Creed and be breaking the Laws and encouraging others to do so.
Believing Jesus is the Son of God yet twisting His teachings is tantamount to believing in another Jesus other than the one in the Gospel (and Bro George Ong has proven in his website how Joseph Prince has twisted the very words and teachings of Jesus on many occasions.) For even the demons believe that Jesus is the Son of God. Does that make them a lesser demon or not at all?
Neither is it excusable to be breaking a doctrine while keeping the rest for whoever keeps the whole law but fails in one point has become guilty of all of it. For he who said, “Do not commit adultery,” also said, “Do not murder.” If you do not commit adultery but do murder, you have become a transgressor of the law (James 1:10-11)
And finally, the time has come to upkeep the backyard. Are we going to do the right thing? Or are we just going to do things right? Keep peace and an earthly sweet fellowship?
And as we choose prayerfully, the essence of the call of Elijah to his people when he battled the false prophets of Baal on Mount Carmel still rings true today,
“How long will you waver between two opinions? Stop sitting on the fence! Choose who and what you deem is true and the other false! The evidence is there!”
And with that choice will come a consequence and may we not be found wanting like the Church of Pergamum & Thyatira:
But I have a few things against you: you have some there who hold the teaching of Balaam, who taught Balak to put a stumbling block before the sons of Israel, so that they might eat food sacrificed to idols and practice sexual immorality. 15 So also you have some who hold the teaching of the Nicolaitans. 16 Therefore repent. If not, I will come to you soon and war against them with the sword of my mouth. 17 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. (Revelation 2:14-17)
But I have this against you, that you tolerate that woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess and is teaching and seducing my servants to practice sexual immorality and to eat food sacrificed to idols…But to the rest of you in Thyatira, who do not hold this teaching, who have not learned what some call the deep things of Satan, to you I say, I do not lay on you any other burden. Only hold fast what you have until I come. (Revelation 2:20, 24-25)
There are many Balaams, Nicolaitans and Jezebels in the world today. They were there yesterday, and will be there in the days ahead as history has shown.
Every generation of Christians and Christian leaders will be faced with the choice of where their loyalty lies. If the Establishment is with God, then the decision is easy. But what if the Establishment isn’t, then they would have to make their own decisions where their loyalties lie and to arise to declare His Truth against falsehoods. That choice determines their legacy. I believe this is the time for us to make that choice in our generation. Question is what will we do about it?
Dr Simon Chong
Attending Faith Methodist Church, Singapore
Rev George Ong’s Comments:
I have 2 comments to make on Dr Simon Chong’s article. The first is about Joseph Prince the Antinomian and the second on the Abuse of Unity.
Joseph Prince the Antinomian
A simple definition of Antinomianism is that it is a theology that maintains that Christians are freed from the moral laws of God by virtue of grace. That’s exactly what Joseph Prince teaches.
Martin Luther coined the term Antinomianism to describe those who teach that since salvation is a free gift of God’s grace, obeying God is unimportant and, particularly, the need to obey God’s moral laws is abrogated. That aptly describes the teachings of Joseph Prince.
If you read Joseph Prince’s books and follow his teachings, his passionate pursuit is to teach that New Covenant believers, who are the people of grace, are no longer required to obey the moral laws of God.
To put it starkly, his hyper-grace or pseudo-grace is in essence, Antinomianism, pure and simple!
And anybody who says Antinomianism (which is the core of Joseph Prince’s Grace Doctrine) isn’t a heresy, must have his head closely examined.
Furthermore, it was Martin Luther who fought against the heretical doctrine of Joseph Prince’s theological forefathers – the Antinomians.
Martin Luther, in his commentary on Galatians, wrote,
“But Satan, the god of all dissension, stirreth up daily new sects, and last of all, which of all other I should never have foreseen or once suspected, he hath raised up a sect as such as teach that the Ten Commandments ought to be taken out of the church, and that men should not be terrified by the law, but gently exhorted by the preaching of the grace of Christ.”
Luther was speaking of what he perceived as a satanic doctrine “as teach that the Ten Commandments ought to be taken out of the church,” that was invading the Church of his day.
Luther had to contend against the false Antinomian teachers who were the doctrinal forefathers of Joseph Prince who were taking the Ten Commandments out of the church, in the same way as Prince is doing today.
If Luther had ascribed Antinomianism, the doctrine that Joseph Prince teaches to Satan, how can he not be a heretic?
The second issue is about the abuse of unity.
The Abuse of Unity
Dr Simon Chong wrote,
“Unity forged in collaboration and compromise in order to keep peace disregarding or ignoring a doctrinal disharmony is both demonic and rebellion against God’s order…”
Unity is a beautiful and laudable concept if it is understood and applied correctly. It is taught in scriptures and we must uphold this glorious principle as much as we can. But when it is adulterated and abused, it becomes anti-Christian and even anti-Christ.
Unity has become a word, a slogan that is loudly but loosely spoken and thoughtlessly thrown about. Unity has become a convenient excuse and safe haven to avoid facing the tough issues and making the difficult decisions.
In the light of the Joseph Prince issue, there are pastors who have spoken about the need for unity. I’ve come across one pastor who said something like, “Though I have not really read Rev George Ong’s resources in his website, and I am also not that familiar with Joseph Prince’s teachings, not even finished one of Prince’s books… But it’s important to maintain Christian unity.”
This is unbelievable! I do sincerely hope that that is not the flippant and prevailing attitude of most pastors in Singapore. What? Largely ignorant about Joseph Prince’s teachings; hardly read even one of his books, and haven’t even reviewed portions of the resources in my website… and there he goes – joining the bandwagon in mindlessly mouthing the slogan, Unity! Unity! Unity!
Another pastor who is supposedly a competent Bible teacher said something like, “Joseph Prince isn’t really a heretic although I don’t agree with his Prosperity Gospel Teaching. But what’s important is to foster unity especially during such times as Covid-19.”
Wait a minute, Prosperity Gospel is only a part of his heresies. But there are plenty more of his other heresies that this Bible teacher isn’t aware of.
If these 2 pastors haven’t even grasped what Joseph Prince is really teaching and what I’m actually contending against Joseph Prince, how can they start to champion unity? What sort of unity are they talking about? A unity that is built on ignorance and make-believe? A unity even at the price of embracing heresies and heretics, such as Joseph Prince?
Unity with fellow believers? Yes! Unity with heretics? Abominable! But how do these 2 pastors know that they aren’t having unity with heretics such as Joseph Prince if they don’t even know much of his teachings and the bulk of what I’m contending?
Obviously, they aren’t even aware that Joseph Prince is an Antinomian and Antinomianism is a heresy (Dr Simon Chong’s article). They are even ignorant of the fact that Joseph Prince is preaching a different Jesus (Rev George Ong’s article, see below). According to Paul in 2 Corinthians 11:4, one who preaches a different Jesus is preaching a different gospel and a false gospel.
If these 2 pastors are representative of all pastors in Singapore, Singapore Church is in serious trouble. If they themselves are ignorant of Joseph Prince’s teachings, how could they ever protect their sheep from being devoured by him?
The real situation in Singapore has always been – that many pastors were deeply resentful for having lost their sheep to Joseph Prince over the past many years.
How do I know? Well, I’ve met plenty of them and these were their usual cries and complaints – that they were pretty upset that their sheep had crossed over into Joseph Prince’s fold.
Almost every pastor I spoke to had lost sheep to Joseph Prince. And their usual hope was that the Church must do something about his unbiblical teachings that were drawing away their sheep into his fold.
One pastor was saddened that he had even lost an elder to Joseph Prince. He told me his elder was thought to be the most unlikely to cross over to Joseph Prince’s church as he was very tight and conservative in his doctrines.
There was another pastor who was deeply concerned about the influence Joseph Prince had over members of other churches. Out of his deep concern, he challenged me in a positive way to do a deep study of Joseph Prince’s teachings and then to expose them. But this was about 7 years ago in 2014, and I couldn’t have done it, as I hadn’t received the call from God yet. The call to expose Joseph Prince’s heresies only came 3 years later in 2017.
The sentiments of these 2 pastors represented that of every pastor I’ve met – their deep concern over the hold of Joseph Prince’s teachings had on their church members.
Yet, now, ironically, there are pastors who are singing a totally different tune altogether. They say we must unite even with Joseph Prince, whom they once regarded with deep disdain and even a heretic.
Covid-19 has also been brought into the fray to support their change of stance. It is now used as a convenient excuse for them to now join hands with Joseph Prince. They say that we must unite as we have the common challenge of Covid-19 that confronts us.
Wow! Covid-19 can really do wonders. It can suddenly and instantly turn a heretic into a fellow shepherd – as the truth is Joseph Prince is still preaching the same heresies with reckless abandon today as he had done many years ago!
Why the sudden turnaround and change of attitude towards Joseph Prince?
The reason is the Singapore Church Leadership is now compelled to make a decision about Joseph Prince. I believe they are trying to pick one that causes the least damage to the Establishment.
If Joseph Prince is declared a heretic, that would mean all past Leaderships would be implicated – that they should have declared Joseph Prince a heretic during their tenure but they didn’t.
But if the present Leadership should decide to declare that Joseph Prince isn’t a heretic, that would remove all blame from past Leaderships.
(Remaining quiet is also another way of saying Joseph Prince isn’t a heretic, which is probably what they may do. But this is a rather rude way of pretending they didn’t receive all the Open Letters that many have taken the trouble to write and send to them. This would not augur well for the way how top spiritual leaders of Singapore operate and handle matters.)
(Of course, there are other reasons why they are likely to declare Joseph Prince a non-heretic, which I can’t publicly share at this moment.)
But at what price? At the humongous price of admitting a heretic into the fold and causing more damage to the flock.
Assuming if the Leadership were to declare that Joseph Prince isn’t a heretic, then, strangely, why did it take so many years for them to realise that Joseph Prince isn’t one. After all, what Joseph Prince teaches now is more or less the same as what he taught years ago. Moreover, the Leadership should have done justice to Joseph Prince and should have made this clear years ago. They should have told all Singaporean shepherds then, that if they were to lose their sheep to Joseph Prince’s church, no worries, he was a fellow shepherd and they had not lost any sheep as they were still found in God’s kingdom. So move on and don’t resent him.
But certainly, this wasn’t what pastors were told then. In fact, on the contrary, most pastors would have been told to be wary of Joseph Prince and to guard their flock from being polluted by him.
Interestingly, the vast majority of Singaporean shepherds don’t have any form of contact with Joseph Prince at all even today. They realise that Joseph Prince isn’t teaching the right doctrines and there is no reason for them to fellowship with him.
There was even a group of senior pastors who confronted Joseph Prince about his errant teachings some years ago (they met face-to-face) and I heard from credible sources that it became an open conflict and turned out rather ugly.
So why the sudden change of mind – to suddenly turn from no contact at all, deep disdain, open conflict, and one whom they perceive to be teaching strange doctrines, to now wanting to embrace him as a fellow shepherd?
Isn’t it strange for pastors who once begrudged Joseph Prince to abruptly now wanting to unite with him as a fellow brother in Christ?
Well, the reason is – all these may have been due to what has trickled down from the top end of the Leadership to the middle echelons, exerting an influence over the present thinking of these pastors and even their members. Well, if the big boss says this is the direction, the rest would have to follow.
And if the Singapore Church were to unite with Joseph Prince, it would have been, in the Singapore context, the greatest abuse of unity for the simple reason – believers have no business to unite with a heretic.
Christians in Singapore had better take note of what is already brewing and may soon be dawning:
“The chorus of unity composed by the Establishment and being sung by their lieutenants down the line will rapidly grow louder and louder until the ‘few’ brave voices that battle against heresy will soon be drowned out.” (Rev George Ong)
“Calls for unity for no other reason except to blindly toe the Establishment’s line is the worst form of self-preservation.” (George Ong)
“A form of unity that compromises truth to appease heresy is an abomination to the Lord.” (George Ong)
“If unity means opening a wider door to heresy, truth will soon be swallowed up.” (George Ong)
“Unity at the cost of giving heresy a foothold in the Church is treachery against God.” (George Ong)
“Unity that is pursued at the expense of truth is treason against Christ who is the embodiment of it.” (George Ong)
“A unity that isn’t grounded in truth but flirts openly with heresy is nothing but a perversion.” (George Ong)