Stone is a Picture of the Law? Ridiculous! & Joseph Prince’s Grace Theology is Predominantly Hyped (V120 Dated 2 Aug 2021)
Stone is a Picture of the Law? Ridiculous! – By Rev George Ong
In a Sunday sermon delivered on 1 August 2021 (yesterday), Joseph Prince said (click to view),
“By this time, she (Martha) says he (Lazarus) stinketh because he has been dead four days already. But there was a huge stone, a lithos (Greek word for stone) standing in the way. In this last days, I believe that God wants that stone rolled away. This is exactly what Jesus said. Jesus said ‘Take away the stone.’
… But you cannot see the glory of God until the law (referring to the stone in John 11:38-39) has been rolled away from your life.
… Before we see all that, we got to roll away the stone. You see, a lot of people, they are afraid. They say ‘If you remove the 10 commandments; if you remove the law from the lives of believers, sin will come forth.’”
In ‘Destined to Reign’, Pages 297-298, Joseph Prince wrote,
“… In the story of Lazarus (John 11:1-44), Jesus commanded the people to roll away the stone from Lazarus’ tomb… You see, even though Lazarus was alive, the resurrection life could not flow as long as he was bound behind the stone. The stone had to be removed for resurrection life to come forth. … Before resurrection life can flow, the stone must be rolled away! My friend, the stone (Jn 11:39 & 41) is a picture of the law. The law was written and engraved on stones, and as long as believers are under the law, the ministry of death and condemnation binds them.”
John 11:39-41 NIV
“Take away the stone (lithos),” he said. “But, Lord,” said Martha, the sister of the dead man, “by this time there is a bad odor, for he has been there four days.” 40 Then Jesus said, “Did I not tell you that if you believe, you will see the glory of God?” 41 So they took away the stone (lithos). Then Jesus looked up and said, “Father, I thank you that you have heard me.”
John 11:1-45, and in particular John 11:39-41, has absolutely nothing to do with the law (which Joseph Prince said is represented by the stone) that must be rolled away before believers can enjoy the resurrection life.
Joseph Prince is making a theological mountain of law out of the molehill of a mundane stone in John 11:39 and 41.
The word ‘stone’ is used many times in the New Testament. Let’s just take John 10:31 and John 11:8 as two examples.
John 10:31 NIV
Again his Jewish opponents picked up stones (lithos) to stone (lithazō) him,
John 11:8 NIV
“But Rabbi,” they said, “a short while ago the Jews there tried to stone (lithazō) you, and yet you are going back?”
If Joseph Prince can offer the view that the stone that was rolled away from Lazarus’ tomb represents the law (which was written on stone), there is nothing to stop another person from posturing the view that the stone that was used by Jesus’ opponents to stone Him in John 10:31 and John 11:8 also represents the same law.
But that would literally (and comically) mean that the opponents of Jesus were using the law (that was represented by the stone) to throw at Him! Can you see how ridiculous Joseph Prince’s teaching is?
Joseph Prince’s view of the stone as representing the law would be a laughing stock in the eyes of competent Bible scholars and teachers, as such baseless allegorizing of text is unmatched and totally out of context.
The context of the passage in John 11:1-45 has nothing to do with the law. The word ‘law’ or its equivalent is not even mentioned once throughout the passage in John 11:1-45.
According to the context, Jesus’ aim of raising Lazarus from the dead was two-fold.
First, He was using that incident to point to the Father’s glory and His own glory (Jn 11:4, 40).
Second, by raising Lazarus from the dead, He aimed to convince the people to believe His Messiahship and place their faith in Him (Jn 11:14-15, 25-27, 45).
That is simply the context of the passage in John 11:1-45.
If there was any vital lesson about the law that could be gleaned from the Lazarus’ incident, Jesus would have mentioned it, but He didn’t.
By forcibly reading the law into the passage, Joseph Prince has clearly gone out of context.
Time and again, Joseph Prince has broken his own rule of interpreting a passage in context. I can’t believe this – the error he keeps warning us to avoid is the same error he keeps committing.
What do you call a person who commits the same error repeatedly and unrepentantly that he is constantly warning others of?
A hypocrite – pure and simple!
Joseph Prince’s Grace Theology is Predominantly Hyped – By Rev George Ong
In ‘Destined to Reign’, Page 298, Joseph Prince wrote,
“People are afraid that if you roll away the stone of the law, you will give people a license to sin… The answer to sin is found in grace. It is grace that will stop sin… My friend, knowing that you are made God’s beloved by His grace will give you dominion in life to overcome sinful habits and temptations. Temptations cannot succeed when you have a revelation that you are God’s beloved. When you know how precious and valuable you are to God, and the depths of your Abba’s love for you, why would you want to waste your life engaging in sins that only bring destruction and death?”
There are many reasons why believers fall into sin and a varied number of factors that account for their eventual victory over their sinful habits and temptations.
There isn’t one single rigid formula or one fixed cure for the whole host of varied problems that beset people with different personalities and backgrounds.
For some, it is prayer. For others, it is the empowerment of the Holy Spirit. And yet for others, it is the sacrificial love that fellow believers have extended to the brother who is in dire need of help.
Or, it could also be a combination of all the above factors (plus many others that are not mentioned) that were responsible for helping the particular brother overcome his sinful habits.
But Joseph Prince has always been pushing the agenda – that his grace teaching (false grace) is the one rigid formula that is solely responsible for helping people overcome their sinful habits and temptations.
Such a view is not only self-aggrandising, it is also simplistic and reductionistic.
Joseph Prince is simply saying he doesn’t care
– how much prayer the church had put in interceding for the eventual victory of a brother over his sinful habits.
– how much fasting the brother’s wife had devoted to praying for her husband.
– how much effort the brother had put in, with the help of the Holy Spirit, to stay away from temptations.
– how much time the brother had spent in seeking God for strength to overcome his sinful indulgences.
– how much energy this brother’s pastor had spent in counselling him which helped him to see the folly of his sinful actions.
– how much love and patience fellow believers had showered on him to help him overcome his bad habits, etc.
All Joseph Prince cares about is that his grace doctrine (heretical grace) gets the sole recognition as the one and only factor that results in the brother’s deliverance from his sinful habits.
All Joseph Prince is fixated on is that his grace theology (Pseudo-grace) gets trumpeted to the whole world as the one and only cure to every problem.
This is so that who gets glory in the end? Not the Lord Jesus, but Joseph Prince!
Joseph Prince is misleading believers that all they need is just a magical dose of God’s grace and a mesmerising touch of God’s love, and everything will fall into a rightful place.
He is no different from a quack doctor who has oversold his grace medicine and overpromised on its results.
If the grace-medicine is so powerful that it can solve every problem, why isn’t it working for the grace-saved churches of Paul’s day?
If grace is truly so effective in keeping people from sin, why is it not working for the Corinthians, a grace-saved church who were committing grotesque sexual sins (incest) that were outrageous even to unbelievers?
If one were to believe that once grace is received, everything would fall into place, then why did Paul have to deal with so many problems, including sexual sins and doctrinal errors in the Grace-saved churches of the New Testament?
Wasn’t Paul the best and truest grace preacher who brought the message of grace to all the churches that he had been to?
Didn’t all the churches in New Testament scriptures receive the grace teaching from Paul in its pure form, unlike Joseph Prince’s brand of grace, which is a massive corruption of it?
Yet, Paul had to deal with the horrible sexual sins of immorality in the Corinthian Church that even pagans do not tolerate. He had to come down hard on the Galatian church that was delving into the false doctrine of adding circumcision to the pure gospel of grace.
Wasn’t John the apostle of love, the one whom Jesus loved? After having experienced the intimate love of the Lord Jesus and Father God, he must have exuded God’s love to the people he was ministering to.
Yet, why did he have to deal with issues such as hatred (opposite of love) which is equivalent to murder, not only once but three times in the epistle of 1 John in 1 John 2:9-11, 3:15 and 4:20?
If God’s love was so powerful that it was working for everybody to love Him back in return, why did John have to warn believers not to love the world but to love God in 1 John 2:15-17?
If an experience of the revelation of God’s Abba love can automatically succeed in keeping a man from giving in to temptations as postured by Joseph Prince, why did John have to warn believers about the reality and stronghold of sin in 1 John 1:8-9, 2:1-2, 3:4-10 and 5:16-17?
No one can deny the power of God’s love and His grace to deliver man from sin and bondage (the first half of the truth which Joseph Prince did tell us. Yet, one must note that it is his false grace and not the true grace of God that he is alluding to).
But, man is still finally responsible for how he would respond to God – and God would not violate man’s free will even if it is exercised to his own detriment and damnation (the second half of the truth which Joseph Prince has kept hidden from us).
There would be those who would respond in devotion to God’s wonderful grace and unsurpassed love, and we praise God for that.
But there would also be those who would stubbornly choose to go their own way, despite God’s patient love and marvellous grace.
If Joseph Prince’s view that all the world and the church need is an experience of God’s grace and love (to be accurate, his false theology of grace and love) is true, the whole world would be won twice over by now, and great revivals that would transform lives would be the order of the day in the Church.
Despite the fact that God has shown His matchless grace and incomparable love through His very own Son through His inhumane sufferings and horrible death on the cross, for the last 2,000 years, much of the world is still hardening their hearts by rejecting His love and grace.
Joseph Prince, by claiming that his grace theology can have much better results than the Apostle Paul (‘Apostle of grace’) and Apostle John (‘Apostle of love’) did, not only shows that he is placing himself above them, but it also exposes his arrogant pride.
Given the fact that New Testament churches didn’t experience the kind of overwhelming transformation which he claimed they would, even though the true message of grace and love was preached by Paul, John and the other apostles, the claim that his grace message (false grace) is now revolutionising the world is clearly overly exaggerated, overblown and even feigned.
If true grace didn’t work wonders to remove sin and strongholds for the grace-saved churches in Paul’s day, the claim by Joseph Prince that his version of grace (false grace) is now working wonders and making waves around the world is predominantly hype.
“Grace is not an all-cure pill for every sickness of every man but just one in a compendium of medicines to deal with the range of illnesses of all mankind.” (George Ong)
“While all of us should be Pro-grace and none of us Anti-grace, Joseph Prince is Super-grace – over-selling a grace-pill that can remove all sicknesses and over-promoting a grace-formula which can solve all problems.” (George Ong)