Joseph Prince Abuses Christ’s Finished Work to Promote a Suffering-Free Christianity – By Rev George Ong (Dated 29 Aug 2021)


In his article (click to read), Dr Chris Kang had written that Joseph Prince had covered only Philippians 3:9-10a and left out V10b (“about sharing in Christ’s sufferings and imitating Christ in His death”) in order to give a slanted view to his teaching. This is so typical of the half-truth teachings of Joseph Prince.


Specifically, Philippians 3:10b (NLT) reads:


“… I want to suffer with him, sharing in his death,”


Why does Joseph Prince highlight only Philippians 3:9-10a and hide from you Philippians 3:10b?


This is because he believes that Christians do not have to suffer anymore due to the finished work of Christ. Since Christ has taken all our sufferings on the cross, it would be foolish of us to expect and wish that we would go through suffering.


But the finished work of Christ or the finished work of the cross is primarily to give sinners, who are bound for hell, the glorious hope to be saved. It is never meant to be deceptively used and consistently abused by Joseph Prince as a convenient excuse for New Covenant believers to be excused from all suffering.


Christ’s finished work simply means that since His salvific work is finished (justification to those who embrace Christ), ours isn’t – and has only just begun (sanctification). The finished work of the cross merely points out that since His work of redemption for us is completed (justification), it’s now our turn as the redeemed ‘to sweat it out’ by working out our salvation with fear and trembling (sanctification, Phil 2:12-13).


The finished work of Christ has never functioned as a promise to excuse believers from suffering. On the contrary, it is expected that those who have experienced the finished work of the cross will go through suffering. This is so explicitly seen in the life of Paul.


Didn’t Paul say,


“… I want to suffer with him, sharing in his death,” (Phil 3:10b NLT).


Did Paul experience the finished work of Christ?


Of course, he did!


Did Paul say that just because he has experienced the finished work of Christ, he has been excused from going through suffering?


No way!


Conversely, Paul teaches that suffering is expected of believers in Philippians 1:29, and he desires to suffer for Christ:


“… I want to suffer with him, sharing in his death,” (Phil 3:10b NLT).


Furthermore, suffering is one of the key ways of knowing Christ intimately:


“I want to know Christ… I want to suffer with him, sharing in his death,” (Phil 3:10 NLT).


I suppose those, including Joseph Prince, who do not wish to suffer, are the same people who are not keen on knowing Christ at a deeper level.


They only want to know Christ at the Santa Claus level – what He can give – prosperity, health, wealth, youthful and good looks rather than what they must sacrifice and suffer for His glory.


The truth is, not only did Paul experience the resurrection power of Christ (in Phil 3:10a that Joseph Prince loudly proclaims), but most of all, he was even willing to experience the sufferings of Christ (in Phil 3:10b that Joseph Prince deceptively hides from you).


If there is anyone who knew what it means to suffer for Christ it was Paul.


He was imprisoned. He was severely beaten and flogged. He had gone without food and sleep. He was shipwrecked 3 times and spent a night and a day in the open sea. His life was in constant danger. He says in Galatians, “… I bear on my body the marks of Jesus” (Gal 6:17). Paul went through tremendous suffering for Jesus.


He was willing to go through so much suffering because his one supreme ambition is to know Christ more and more intimately. (“I want to know Christ… Phil 3:10a NLT). He knew too that the deepest knowledge of Christ can only come through suffering. (“… I want to suffer with him, sharing in his death,” Phil 3:10b NLT).


How do soldiers develop the deepest knowledge of one another and forge the closest bonding with one another?


It’s not during good times but tough times. It’s during tough times when they have to fight together in the trenches. It’s during tough times when they have to go through the same hardships and sufferings of fighting a war together that a certain camaraderie, a certain fellowship, a certain bonding begins to be forged.


It’s the same with knowing Christ. We developed the deepest knowledge of Christ and the closest bonding with Christ not when we are experiencing the power of his resurrection (healings, prosperity, miracles, etc) but most definitely, when we are sharing in the fellowship of His sufferings.


This is because a solidarity in suffering produces a solidarity in fellowship that nothing else can.


When a Christian suffers, he is in some strange way ‘sharing the sufferings of Christ’. He is in some strange way ‘sharing the cross that Christ bore and the death that Christ died’. 


Mysteriously, it is often through suffering that we are being brought closer to the heart of the Lord. Somehow, it is often through the pains and the trials of life that we will get to know Christ a lot better and deeper.


Paul knew that if he really wants the privilege of knowing Christ at the most intimate level, he must be prepared to suffer for and with Christ:


“… I want to suffer with him, sharing in his death,” (Phil 3:10b NLT).


If there was any believer in the New Testament who epitomised the suffering Christian the most, it was Paul:


23 “… I have worked much harder, been in prison more frequently, been flogged more severely, and been exposed to death again and again. 24 Five times I received from the Jews the forty lashes minus one. 25 Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was pelted with stones, three times I was shipwrecked, I spent a night and a day in the open sea, 26 I have been constantly on the move. I have been in danger from rivers, in danger from bandits, in danger from my fellow Jews, in danger from Gentiles; in danger in the city, in danger in the country, in danger at sea; and in danger from false believers. 27 I have labored and toiled and have often gone without sleep; I have known hunger and thirst and have often gone without food; I have been cold and naked.” (2 Cor 11:23-27 NIV)


The excruciating experiences that Paul went through in 2 Corinthians 11 would bring any one of us to tears. Yet, we have Joseph Prince, who flippantly, without any thought of what Paul had gone through, promoting to the whole world that Christianity is suffering-free.


By the way, there are many more of such tough and life-threatening experiences of Paul in the scriptures that I’ve not highlighted. What I have given is not even the entire list.


Joseph Prince, “Isn’t Paul, your mentor which you have always claimed? If so, why is your teaching on suffering the complete opposite of Paul’s? You, with your suffering-free Christianity, is undoing what Paul was trying to teach about suffering.” 


“Again, you have exposed yourself to be a liar – by telling the whole world that you have learned all your grace theology from Paul – when the truth is, you teach against many of his doctrines, of which suffering is just one aspect. But like I’ve said many times before, I do pray for you (intermittently) that you will truly repent before it is too late.”