Joseph Prince’s False Accusation of his Critics for Rewriting the Bible when he is the Real Culprit & Not Teaching Prosperity in Luke 5:4-7 is Evil to the Core – By Rev George Ong (Dated 10 July 2022)
(This article was also sent to Rev Dr Ngoei Foong Nghian, General Secretary, National Council of Churches of Singapore (NCCS) office, and for the attention of the Executive Committee Members.)
when the apostle Peter met a crippled beggar who was expecting to get some pennies from him, in Acts chapter 3, did Peter say,
“No problem at all. Because I am a great recipient of Jesus’ 100-fold blessing, I could easily bless you with a portion of what I’m blessed with?”
Nothing of that sort!
On the contrary, Peter said:
“… Silver and gold have I none; but such as I have give I thee: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth rise up and walk” (Acts 3:6 KJV).
Joseph Prince’s False Accusation of his Critics for Rewriting the Bible when he is the Real Culprit & Not Teaching Prosperity in Luke 5:4-7 is Evil to the Core – By Rev George Ong
“(Luke 5:4-7) We caught no fish. We toiled all night. ‘You carpenter, we fishermen, experienced fishermen.’ ‘Throw your net on the right side.’ ‘Right side, left side, we tried every side, we know this lake. But because you say so,’ Peter said that. ‘I’ll throw the net.’ And this time, he threw the net, he cannot pull because there was such a great catch, throng of fishes. Until finally, he pulled it. The nets began to break. He never prepared the net that tight because he never could imagine a harvest that much. And finally, the guys finally get into the boats and other boats came to help. The boats began to sink at the weight of it. So that tells us how the Lord provides. I don’t how people who are against prosperity that God does prosper, preach that. God give you one fish. God supplies what you need not what you want. They rewrite the Bible.”
A Prosperity Gospel preacher, such as Joseph Prince, would say along these lines, as he did in the video,
“Isn’t it obvious that this passage in Luke 5:4-7 is teaching about prosperity? Just follow the instructions of Jesus and bang – a whole load of fish that the nets began to break and the boats began to sink. Just follow Jesus and you will soon get rich in the quickest possible way as Peter did when he got an overflowing abundance of fish. Just follow Jesus and your business will prosper with unending contracts that flow your way.”
So can you see how people can be so easily deceived by Prosperity Gospel preachers like Joseph Prince – as the passage seems to be talking about prosperity?
But is that what Jesus was teaching – about prosperity in Luke 5:4-7?
Joseph Prince is able to deceive many people because he is taking Luke 5:4-7 out of its context of Luke 5:4-11, particularly Luke 5:8-11:
Luke 5:4-11 NIV
4 When he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, “Put out into deep water, and let down the nets for a catch.” 5 Simon answered, “Master, we’ve worked hard all night and haven’t caught anything. But because you say so, I will let down the nets.” 6 When they had done so, they caught such a large number of fish that their nets began to break. 7 So they signaled their partners in the other boat to come and help them, and they came and filled both boats so full that they began to sink.
8 When Simon Peter saw this, he fell at Jesus’ knees and said, “Go away from me, Lord; I am a sinful man!” 9 For he and all his companions were astonished at the catch of fish they had taken, 10 and so were James and John, the sons of Zebedee, Simon’s partners. Then Jesus said to Simon, “Don’t be afraid; from now on you will fish for people.” 11 So they pulled their boats up on shore, left everything and followed him.
He tells you the half-truth about how Jesus prospered Peter and others with a whole load of fish in Luke 5:4-7, but he keeps from you the other more important half of the truth that the whole point of Jesus’ miracle of the fish, was not to make them prosper but to make them ‘poorer’ when they had to leave everything to follow Jesus in Luke 5:11.
If you read further in Luke 5:8-11, that when Peter saw the miracle of Jesus in Luke 5:8, was he overjoyed that Jesus had come to bless him with the prosperity of the fish, and he thanked Jesus for making him prosper? Did Peter rejoice and laugh with glee at this abundance of fish that Jesus came to prosper him, that he has never seen in his lifetime?
How did Peter respond in Luke 5:8?
8 When Simon Peter saw this, he fell at Jesus’ knees and said, “Go away from me, Lord; I am a sinful man!”
Why would someone who has been blessed with the prosperity of a mighty miracle respond in that ‘negative’ way?
So the first response of Peter was not one of marvel or rejoicing at the so-called prosperity that Jesus came to give him, but there was a concrete awareness of his own sinfulness.
He felt a great sense of his own sinfulness in relation to the power and holiness of Jesus to produce the miracle of the fish, whom Peter may have recognised by now to be the Messiah.
Next, Peter responded in fear and that’s why Jesus had to say to him in Luke 5:10b:
Then Jesus said to Simon, “Don’t be afraid;
The fear of Peter was probably due the fact that his sins would damn him.
Did Jesus say to Peter (and the rest),
“Hey guys, I hope you have now come to know me as the God of prosperity who has come to give you an abundant catch and supply of fish. From now on, I want you to continue your profession as fishermen, but the difference is that you will experience the abundant supply of fish more often than you would imagine?”
Jesus said to Peter (and the rest) in Luke 5:10b:
“from now on you will fish for people.”
Jesus said to Peter (and the rest) that from now on, they will not be catching fish anymore but catching men. Not only would their sins be forgiven, but they will be used as channels of blessings to get others to be forgiven of their sins by being fishers of men for Jesus.
Jesus has come not to affirm their continued role as fishermen but to direct them away from their present profession of catching fish to catching men.
Jesus seemed to be saying to Peter (and the rest):
“If you think I have performed this miracle to make you prosperous and rich with the abundant catch of fish that you have ever had, that from now on, you can always depend on me for your constant and abundant supply of fish (that Joseph Prince would say), then, you have missed the point, as my miracle is to switch your profession from fishermen to being fishers of men (Lk 5:10b).
And in obedience to my new calling for you chaps to be fishers of men, you must give up everything (Lk 5:11) – and that includes your fishing profession, and every fish that you have caught and will ever catch, including the netloads of fish that I have blessed with just a while ago.
Why do I allow you to experience the best catch of fish when I tell you to let down your nets (Lk 5:4-7)?
To bless you with prosperity?
To illustrate from the netloads of fish that you will have a mighty harvest of souls as you catch men (Lk 5:9-10).
But to do that, you have to give up everything to follow me (Lk 5:11).”
After Jesus had spoken to them about his purpose for performing the miracle, Luke 5:11 tells us,
11 So they pulled their boats up on shore, left everything and followed him.
So this story is not about how Jesus came to prosper Peter and how to get rich.
On the contrary, it is about how to free Peter and us from riches, possessions and prosperity by giving up everything in order to follow Christ.
It is not about how to enjoy a prosperous lifestyle but how to live a simple lifestyle – that when we give up everything, we have to make do with the barest minimum of not what we want but what we need in our quest of following Jesus.
So if one has not read the entire context of Luke 5:4-11 and dwell on only Luke 5:4-7 that Joseph Prince has craftily done and wants us to focus on, you will be deceived by him that this passage is talking about prosperity.
But if you have read the entire context of this passage in Luke 5:4-11, you will not be deceived about what Joseph Prince tried to make of this text.
You would realise that the purpose of Jesus was not to bless Peter and the rest with prosperity with the abundant supply of fish, but that He has really come to teach and empower Peter and the rest to win souls by being fishers of men.
If Jesus has come to let Peter enjoy the prosperity of the fish, why does Peter have to end up giving up everything, including the netloads of fish he had just caught when they obeyed Jesus to let down their nets?
Does this make sense?
In a certain sense, Jesus has come to take away things from us and not to add to them.
Not only had Peter to leave everything, his fishing profession and all the fish, he even lost his life, when he was crucified upside down (according to church history) (Jn 21:18-19).
So this passage is not talking about the Prosperity Gospel of getting everything that Joseph Prince is constantly pushing for, but about the costly discipleship of giving up everything (Lk 5:11), which Joseph Prince is constantly preaching against.
It is not about Jesus providing and prospering Peter with more than enough fish (or finances or business opportunities, etc) but about Jesus promising him that he will catch many people and win them to Christ ‘that the nets began to break and the boats began to sink’ (Lk 5:6-7,10).
It is not so much about Jesus promising Peter a netload full of fish but a netload full of souls (Lk 5:6-7,10).
It is not so much that Peter would continue his fishing career because Jesus had blessed him with so many fish, but that Peter would terminate and put an end to his profession as a fisherman and take on a new and higher calling to be fishers of men in Luke 5:10.
This is because the value of single soul is greater than a boatload of fish. When all fish have perished, our souls will continue to live on for eternity.
Peter and the rest can remain as fishermen and be focussed on catching fish, or they can be fishers of men, winning souls that last for eternity.
Peter had the greatest catch of fish in his life when he met Jesus. He had probably caught more fish in one day than he had ever caught in months.
With the abundant supply of fish, wouldn’t it be wonderful that Peter and the rest may not have to work for several months! Imagine the family vacations they could afford and the new houses they could purchase.
But Jesus had a greater and grandiose plan for them – not to continue in their fishing careers so they could win souls by catching men.
Despite the sacrifices, Peter and the disciples could not let go of such an important calling that Jesus came to give. So they forsook all, left everything and followed Him (Lk 5:11).
Chances are that they didn’t even pause to count the netloads of fish that Jesus gave them. They left everything, including their fishing boats and the netloads of fish they had just caught.
But Joseph Prince would definitely react differently. Prince is likely to count the fish one by one so he could justify his Prosperity Gospel Doctrine that Jesus had come to bless Peter with the oversupply of fish.
Though they had to leave everything to follow Jesus, they had nothing to fear. If Jesus could give them a netload of fish, He would certainly be able to provide for their needs when they made the sacrificial choice of leaving everything behind.
So they had the peace about leaving everything behind to follow Jesus as the value of following Christ, now mattered more to them than anything else.
Number 2, in relation to the netload of fish in Luke 5:4-7, Joseph Prince said of those who are against his Prosperity Gospel,
“I don’t how people who are against prosperity that God does prosper, preach that.”
Let me say to Joseph Prince,
“I don’t know how those, like Joseph Prince, who preach according to context in Luke 5:4-11, be able to preach that this text in Luke 5:4-7 is about Prosperity Gospel.”
Number 3, Joseph Prince said,
“God give you one fish. God supplies what you need not what you want. They rewrite the Bible.”
Joseph Prince is clearly saying that God does not give you what you need but what you want.
This is atrocious!
If you think that such teaching of his is only found in his recent sermon on 3 July 2022, you are sorely mistaken.
Please listen to the 20-second audio sermon of Joseph Prince, by clicking below:
(Source: Audio CD, How To Walk In the Blessings Of Abraham)
Joseph Prince said in the audio,
“You know, Jesus taught us to seek above everything else and to seek first and foremost God’s righteousness, which is a gift. And when you seek God’s righteousness, everything that you desire in life will be added to you, Matthew 6:33.”
Joseph Prince is quoting Matthew 6:33, but his interpretation of the verse is out of context.
What Jesus promises in Matthew 6:33 is not “everything that you desire in life will be added to you,” as Joseph Prince has said in the audio, but every of your needs will be taken care of.
It is not talking about your wants or desires, but your needs:
Matthew 6:33 NCV
33 “Seek first God’s kingdom and what God wants. Then all your other needs will be met as well.”
Matthew 6:33 NLT
33 “Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need.”
Let’s read Matthew 6:33 in the bigger context of Matthew 6:19-34:
Matthew 6:19-34 NLT
19 “Don’t store up treasures here on earth, where moths eat them and rust destroys them, and where thieves break in and steal. 20 Store your treasures in heaven, where moths and rust cannot destroy, and thieves do not break in and steal. 21 Wherever your treasure is, there the desires of your heart will also be. 22 “Your eye is like a lamp that provides light for your body. When your eye is healthy, your whole body is filled with light. 23 But when your eye is unhealthy, your whole body is filled with darkness. And if the light you think you have is actually darkness, how deep that darkness is! 24 “No one can serve two masters. For you will hate one and love the other; you will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and be enslaved to money. 25 “That is why I tell you not to worry about everyday life – whether you have enough food and drink, or enough clothes to wear. Isn’t life more than food, and your body more than clothing? 26 Look at the birds. They don’t plant or harvest or store food in barns, for your heavenly Father feeds them. And aren’t you far more valuable to him than they are? 27 Can all your worries add a single moment to your life? 28 “And why worry about your clothing? Look at the lilies of the field and how they grow. They don’t work or make their clothing, 29 yet Solomon in all his glory was not dressed as beautifully as they are. 30 And if God cares so wonderfully for wildflowers that are here today and thrown into the fire tomorrow, he will certainly care for you. Why do you have so little faith? 31 “So don’t worry about these things, saying, ‘What will we eat? What will we drink? What will we wear?’ 32 These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers, but your heavenly Father already knows all your needs. 33 Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need. 34 “So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today.
First, Jesus, in the context of Matthew 6:25-32, is talking about food, drinks and clothing – the basic needs of life, not the desires and wants of life.
Jesus cannot be promising everything you desire or want, as that would go against the context.
What Joseph Prince and the Prosperity Gospel preachers are ‘good’ at is taking a text about God supplying someone’s needs, and twisting it into justifying that you can now ask God for anything you want or desire.
That was exactly what Joseph Prince did to Matthew 6:33.
Matthew 6:33 needs to be read in context.
Jesus did not promise His followers that all their wants and desires will be met. But He promises that all their needs, such as food, drinks and clothing, will be taken care of (Matt 6:25-33).
Second, in Matthew 6:24, Jesus warns we cannot serve God and money. And those who do so are servants of mammon and full of darkness (Matt 6:22-24).
Since Jesus is teaching against covetousness for money, how can He tell us to be covetous for everything that Joseph Prince teaches that “everything that you desire in life will be added to you.”
The bigger message of Jesus in Matthew 6:22-33, is that His followers shouldn’t be covetous of money and that their needs will be taken care of.
Third, before Jesus promises His disciples that their needs will be met (Matt 6:25-34), He prohibited them from laying up treasures on earth (Matt 6:19-21).
Jesus is teaching them to have an eternal and not an earthly perspective; to lay their treasures not on earth, but in heaven.
If Jesus wants us not to lay our treasures on earth, how can He say to us as Joseph Prince teaches: “everything that you desire in life will be added to you.”
Fourth, one must remember that in the same chapter in Matthew 6:11, Jesus teaches His followers to request merely their “daily bread.” So the focus is on having enough of your needs met, and not possessing the abundant desires that you want.
Hence, Joseph Prince teaching that “everything that you desire in life will be added to you,” in Matthew 6:33 is out of context and is a falsehood that is calculated to deceive.
accusation against his critics when Joseph Prince said,
“God give you one fish. God supplies what you need not what you want. They rewrite the Bible.”
Joseph Prince is falsely accusing those who are against the Prosperity Gospel and for rewriting the Bible when he is the real culprit who is guilty of it.
For Joseph Prince not to admit that he is one who is the real culprit of rewriting the Bible is bad enough.
But for Prince to go one lethal step further and falsely accusing his critics of the same deed that he is guilty of is evil to the core.
Rev George Ong
First, it is true that other passages of the New Testament do indicate that Jesus could perform a miracle of providing more than is needed. But they normally have more to do with displaying His sovereign power and purpose.
Jesus could give us more in abundance for His own sovereign reasons as He is the sovereign God and He could do anything He so wishes.
But in these 2 texts of Luke 5:4-11 and Matthew 6:33, as I’ve proven, Jesus is not teaching the Prosperity Gospel Doctrine of Joseph Prince at all.
Furthermore, there was never a miracle in which Jesus performed in the New Testament that could prove Joseph Prince’s Prosperity Gospel doctrine that every New Covenant believer can be as rich or wealthy as Abraham was because it is our covenantal right – which he said on audio.
I say again, not one miracle of Jesus in the New Testament, could prove Joseph Prince’s Prosperity Gospel doctrine – that every New Covenant believer can be as wealthy as Abraham was.
His strategy that through his qualification that prosperity isn’t equal to greed or materialism, is to impress you and then to distract you and take your eyes off his twisting and distortion of biblical texts such Luke 5:4-7 and Matthew 6:33 and for rewriting the Bible.
Third, in John 21:1-14, Jesus again gave Peter and the disciples another miraculous catch of fish. This time, they counted them – 153 fish in all.
I’m sure Joseph Prince would use this to loudly proclaim his Prosperity Gospel Doctrine.
Well, one has to read the entire context of the remaining verses in John 21:15-19 so as not to be deceived by Joseph Prince.
One key purpose of Jesus in John 21:1-19 was to bring Peter back to His first calling as fishers of men in Luke 5:4-11 – as both involved the similar miraculous catch of fish in Luke 5:4-7 & John 21:3-8.
Also, as we are all aware, Peter failed Jesus by not only keeping his promise of dying for Him and also by denying Him.
So another key message of Jesus to Peter was that his denial of Jesus was not the end of everything – only if he recognised his own failures and repented of his sins of denial.
That’s why Jesus had to take Peter through the difficult process of acknowledging his failures in John 21:15-19 even at the expense of hurting Peter to the core (Jn 21:17).
And when Jesus had taken Peter through, He re-commissioned Peter back to his initial calling to be fishers of men and as the shepherd of the sheep.
By enjoying the prosperity that Joseph Prince would loudly proclaim.
By giving Peter another chance of dying for Him, that which, Peter had at first tried to do so unsuccessfully, by his own strength.
Now Peter can gloriously fulfil his aim of dying for Christ:
John 21:18-19 NIV
18 Very truly I tell you, when you were younger you dressed yourself and went where you wanted; but when you are old you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will dress you and lead you where you do not want to go.” 19 Jesus said this to indicate the kind of death by which Peter would glorify God. Then he said to him, “Follow me!”
If one were to compare John 21:19 and Luke 5:10b-11, the text under consideration in this article,
Then Jesus said to Simon, “Don’t be afraid; from now on you will fish for people.” 11 So they pulled their boats up on shore, left everything and followed him.
one would be left without a shadow of doubt that following Jesus does not mean at all that one will enjoy prosperity, but that one may be called to the ministry of martyrdom, as many have been called throughout the centuries of the Christian Church.
Peter, as the multitudes of believers had done, had to literally leave behind everything to follow Jesus, including their earthly life (through martyrdom), in order to inherit the eternal glories that Jesus has come to give them.
So what must you do now with Joseph Prince?
You had better run from this fellow, who is a purveyor of falsehoods, and who is out to deceive believers with his ultimate feel-good teaching, that every New Covenant believer has the covenantal right to be as very wealthy as Abraham was.
Such a Prosperity Gospel Doctrine of Joseph Prince cannot be conclusively proven from a single text in the entire New Testament.