Exactly. I thought I was the only one asking this question. Apparently, I am not. In the few times that I’ve listened to snippets of Joseph Prince’s sermons, I’ve found it difficult to understand how he gets airtime on TBN. Yes, he admits that he is a Word of Faith preacher like the rest of the TBN “cast”, but his sermons are different. You will not hear him out-rightly calling people to claim their inheritance and turn their faith into gold. Pastor Prince’s gospel is slightly different. The difference is so subtle that even I missed it for quite awhile. I admit, I am a grace junkie, and every preacher who teaches on God’s grace is bound to tickle my ears. I guess that’s what blindly drew me to Joseph Prince at first. He is an excellent communicator and a passionate preacher. Grace, or unmerited favor, is at the core of all his messages.
1. He Preaches a LONELY Grace
It is true that we are saved by grace alone through faith alone. Joseph prince admits this and even preaches this. However, he takes this “alone-ness” too far. Having seen the law of God as antithetical to the grace of God, he swings his pendulum to the other extreme. We are not only saved by Grace alone, but we ought to know nothing but grace alone. According to Joseph Prince, grace is the opposite of the law, Moses’ teachings are the exact opposite of Jesus’ teachings, the Old Testament is the opposite of the New Testament, the God of the Old Testament is always angry while the God of the New Testament is always happy…. and many other unnecessary dichotomies. He teaches that the Christian life needs no effort, that we do not need to repent of anything except our repentance, that we do not need the law to teach us anything because Grace is our new teacher.
So, how does all this fit in with the Word of Faith movement? Let Prince himself tell you, “Churches of faith know about favor. The thing that I wish many of them would say though would be this – to use that phrase – undeserved favor. Favor is good and the teaching of favor has produced tremendous testimonies but I would rather the Word of Faith preachers like myself use undeserved favor because that’s the true definition of grace.”
2. He Preaches an Effortless Prosperity
Among the Word of Faith circles, the prosperity (health and wealth Gospel) is at the core of their teachings. Yet, this prosperity in the wider Word of Faith circle has a catch: You must have enough faith. Poverty is linked to faithlessness or faith-less-ness. But then Joseph Prince steps in as the dissenting liberator of the movement. He says that prosperity is actually a free gift from God. Health and wealth are part of the “unmerited favor” from God. So, you do not even need to have enough faith to prosper. All you have to do is let go of legalistic faith. Let go of seeking to please God in order to get your blessings. The reason you are poor and sick is because you are trying to earn it. Don’t. Just let go and let Grace. While other prosperity Gospel preachers tell poor people that “you don’t have enough faith to be rich,” Joseph Prince steps in and tells them, “you’re poor because you’re trying too hard.”
Need proof of this? We don’t even need to get past the tagline of his book, Destined to Reign: “The Secret to Effortless Success, Wholeness and Victorious Living.”
3. He “Divides” The Word of God
No, I don’t mean that he does an exegesis of the word of God or that he explains the word of God in palatable terms to his audience. This is not what I mean by “dividing” in this case. I am talking about a “separating” kind of division. Joseph Prince says a lot of very true things. He teaches a lot of very true statements. But I can only call them statements because they fail to deliver the whole counsel of God. What do I mean by this? Consider these TRUE statements from Joseph Prince’s book:
“It is all about Jesus and His finished work.”
“Stop trying to deserve and earn your own acceptance before God with your own works and efforts. It will only frustrate the grace of God and nullify the effects of the cross in your life.
“Even though the law is holy, just and good, it has no power to make you holy, just and good.”
“People sometimes ask me, ‘Pastor Prince, if you don’t teach the Ten Commandments to your church, what is going to govern them?’ My friend, the Lord Himself will govern them!”
All these statements sound something that even I would teach. They are true and they are biblical. The only problem is that Joseph Prince only uses these statements to negate or oppose other truths equally valid in the Bible. It is one thing to say that we live by faith alone, it is another thing altogether to say that this implies we are not called to a life of active obedience. It is one thing to say that the Cross is the finished work of Christ, but it is another story altogether to say that this means we do not need to “work out our salvation.” That kind of preaching does not present the whole counsel of God. It pits God’s Word against God’s Word. It “divides” God’s word, and ends up destroying the faith of many in the process.
In case you were wondering, like me, what a Grace preacher like Joseph Prince is doing on TBN, I hope you now have your answer. He’s still a chip off the old block, and a fine one for that matter. Beware.
For the fame of His name,
1. “Thoughts on New Creation Church” <http://www.stillhaventfound.org/thoughts/progressive-christianity-theology/thoughts-on-new-creation-church/>
2. Joseph Prince’s Sermon “Walking in the undeserved favor of God” (3/28/2004)
3. Joseph Prince, Destined to Reign: The Secret to effortless success, wholeness and victorious living.