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Devotional - The Prince Of Hyper-grace And The Importance Of Doctrine

Discussion in 'Thoughts for Today' started by anthony wade, Nov 19, 2013.

  1. Watch your life and doctrine closely. Persevere in them, because if you do, you will save both yourself and your hearers. - 1Timothy 4: 16 (NIV)

    It has become vogue in modern Christendom to look the other way in the face of false teaching. To nod and wink and call the false prophet a brother who may have some errors in his or her teaching. It seems in the realm of preaching that we can fall into the trap of being more concerned with protecting the preacher than the followers. Verses on unity are abused to support this end, while millions of people sit on the broad path leading to destruction singing kumbya. Please realize that this is not an exercise in personality or intent. We must start with the understanding that there will be many charismatic, genuinely nice people, who had the best of intentions, yet still led thousands upon thousands to hell.

    The key verse contains the words of the Apostle Paul to his protege Timothy. Note that possessing correct doctrine is directly correlated to the salvation of himself and those that would hear his preaching. Sure, you can get by for awhile under false teaching because rarely is everything false. There is always truth mixed in and with the more dangerous theologies there is a lot of truth. It causes the listeners to allow some of the leaven to pass by unquestioned. Enough leaven however eventually poisons the entire batch. The old Christian adage about eating the meat and spitting out the bones is a dangerous notion. First of all if the bone is rotten - why would you trust the meat? Secondly, we may catch the bigger bones of false teaching but eventually the smaller ones might get past us and we will still end up choking on them.

    So we come again to the guru of the hyper-grace movement, Joseph Prince. I have written about him before and debated many who fall on his side of the argument. Those arguments are usually always carnal however because Prince routinely departs from Scripture and solid hermeneutics to prove his gospel. I say his gospel because he is fond of saying that he has been given a "gospel of grace" by God to preach. The Lord is certainly grace but the Gospel is so much more. The real danger of Prince is the same dangers we see with topical sermonizing. When you start with a preconceived premise and then use the Bible to prove it - you are no longer allowing God to speak through His Word. It is an easy trap to fall into. The Bible covers every subject we can imagine so if we start with a subject we can find something in the Bible to support our position. That is not preaching however. That is using the Word of God to prove you are right instead of using the Bible to allow God to speak. I will give you a personal example. I once decided I wanted to write a devotional on righteous anger because I was angry about a situation at church. I did not approach the Bible however trying to prove my point but rather to see what God had to say. By the time the Holy Spirit was done with me, I had a devotional about how my anger was not righteous - it was all my flesh - and how high the bar is set by Jesus for righteous anger!

    Now, I had heard Joseph Prince misuse Scripture before to prop up his position on hyper-grace. I had in fact written about one such sermon. As I listened to others who supported prince I tended to stay away. Then I was flipping through what passes for Christian television last night and caught the end of a show on TBN where Prince was the guest and he was explaining his divine revelation on the famous lukewarm verses from Revelation.

    I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth. - Revelation 3: 15-16 (NIV)

    The first problem is Prince's propensity to claim divine revelation instead of simply expositing the verses. In order to pass over the actual meaning of the verses and arrive at support for his hyper grace position, Prince claims God is to blame. That this is what God showed him. Nonsense. On the show, Prince said that those that are hot are referring to those under the new covenant and those that were cold referred to the tablets of Moses and were under the law. Thus the "lukewarm" were actually those that insisted on mixing grace and law. This is a staple preaching point in Prince's hyper grace theology. To sum up, Prince said that Jesus would rather have you cold under the law because then at least it would drive you to Him or hot under grace but not mixing the two. This of course is a ridiculous assertion not supported in Scripture overall, let alone from these actual verses.

    Let me start by saying that if you are trying to base your salvation on any level of works then you are wrong. It is only by the grace of God through our faith that we have eternal life. This is the correct portion of Prince's theology. It is known as the grace of God. It is central to our faith. The problem is not grace but hyper-grace, where everything else is dismissed in favor of it. The law now becomes anathema to hyper grace teaching. For mentioning the law at all I have been called a "law preacher" - whatever. If I am a law preacher then so was Jesus Christ:

    “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. For truly I tell you, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished. Therefore anyone who sets aside one of the least of these commands and teaches others accordingly will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever practices and teaches these commands will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. - Matthew 5: 17-19 (NIV)

    Prince and the hyper grace crowd always insist that they are not encouraging sin but that is exactly what they do. I have heard Creflo Dollar, who is now on the hyper grace train, insist that Christians do not need the Ten Commandments! He must not be concerned about these verses from Matthew where Christ warns that anyone who teaches people to lay aside the law will be considered the least in the kingdom of heaven!

    So what is God saying in the lukewarm verses from Revelation? Prince said on the television show that people mistakenly think that this has to do with whether a Christian is on fire for God or cold as ice and slipping away. He then mockingly dismisses this in favor of his hyper-grace theory. In doing do however he threw away the truth. The key for Prince was why Jesus would say that He preferred the cold then if these cold Christians were back-slidden? Well, if he had relied upon the shoulders of those who have exposited the Bible he may have reviewed Strong's summary:

    Cold - ψυχρὸς [psychros] : “in mind: of one destitute of warm Christian faith and the desire for holiness.”

    Oops. So cold here actually means in the greek to be cold of mind. It has absolutely nothing to do with being under the law. In fact, it means that you have lost your desire for holiness - which brings us back to the law! Once again, this is what happens when you abandon hermeneutics in favor of pursuing your pre-decided outcome. So then what about the notion of lukewarmness? Beloved the only thing God hates more than a lack of faith is a hypocritical faith. That is what lukewarmness is referring to. Not some divinely revealed nonsense about mixing grace and law. The hot Christian is on fire for God but the cold Christian is at least not fooling anyone. The lukewarm Christian however can lead people astray, damage the witness for Christ, and stagnate a church. Remember these Revelation verses are from the letter Jesus is writing to the Church at Laodicea. They were so hypocritical in fact that they were believing they were the opposite of what they truly were:

    You say, ‘I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.’ But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked. I counsel you to buy from me gold refined in the fire, so you can become rich; and white clothes to wear, so you can cover your shameful nakedness; and salve to put on your eyes, so you can see. - Revelation 3: 17-18 (NIV)

    How many modern churches do we have like this? Rich in money but poor in the things of God. Thinking they are all that and a bag of chips but in reality they are wretched, pitiful, blind and naked. You see God wants the cold person to come back to Him but He wants the lukewarm person to stop being lukewarm, one way or the other. The lukewarm Christian does not feel the conviction of the Holy Spirit anymore because they think they are right. They think they are OK. They think they are rich. At least the cold person has a chance of deciding to come back home like the Prodigal Son.

    This was also not some random error by Prince. This is his formal doctrine. He presents the exact same argument in his book, "Destined to Reign." In his defense of this position he also states:

    "The more entangled you get with the law, the more the law will stir up sin in you." - Page 268, Destined To Reign

    What in the world are you babbling about? Our human nature stirs up sin in us - period. Even though we are supposed to be a new creation in Christ we still live in our flesh and all have fallen short of the glory of God. The law shows us our sin! That is not a bad thing - it is a good thing. It shows us where we fall short and need to repent! It does not stir up sin in us. That is absurd but again, this is the end result of approaching the Bible to support your own determined view. God is muzzled in favor of hyper-grace.

    Some believe Prince is simply someone with a fantastic revelation of grace but with some error in his teaching. The fruit simply does not support that notion. The fact is that his "divine revelation" appear to be carnal. If the ancillary revelation is carnal, I am willing to bet the primary one is too. An error is simply a mistake but false teaching is unrepentant error. These wrongs have been pointed out to Mr. Prince by far bigger names than I, yet he sticks with what he believes and believes he is right. By doing so he has left the realm of error and moved into false teaching.

    So what is the big deal some ask? Don't we need a revelation of the grace of God? No, I really do not think that we do. When I look out on American Christendom I do not see a body that is over burdened with the law. I do not see a body struggling to earn their salvation through works. I see the opposite. I see the Church at Laodicea. I see a fat bloated church that thinks everything is OK. That has the gall to preach about earthly prosperity when we are supposed to be pilgrims and sojourners. That has the gall to teach self help when we can't help ourselves at all. I do not see churches preaching the blood, sin, repentance, or any topics that might even brush vaguely against the law. No, instead I see that this is your best life now and five steps to a better you. I see the marketing of the blessings of God in exchange for money. I see Joesph Prince and hyper-grace selling ignorance to the law and kumbya Christianity that saves very few people.

    Jesus holds the keys to the doors of whatever blessing you need. And when He opens a door for you, no one and nothing can shut it!

    "Under grace, God is the blesser and you, the blessed. Can you simply take your place?"

    Cease from your toilsome labor and let God take over. He wants to bless you supernaturally and abundantly!

    Believe right—that Jesus’ finished work has paid for all the blessings you need—and see the power of God released into your life!

    These are just four of the Facebook statuses for this month from Joseph Prince. Do you detect the theme? Can you see the leaven running through his theology? Not every season is a season of blessing. The last one is just beyond the pale. That Jesus died on the cross to "pay for all the blessings I need." Beloved, I understand that he tickles the ears. I understand that a lot of what he says is true. There is an underlying leaven however that is not of God. His approach to the Bible is to prove that he is right, not to hear what God has to say. Maybe you are far enough in your walk and maturity to be able to discern what is the unspoiled meat amongst the poison but somewhere out there people are choking on the bones. They think that they simply have to take their place as "the blessed." They think that the cross is about their material needs being met. They think that lukewarm Christians are not hypocritical Christians but rather those that mix the covenant of the law with the covenant of grace. When you think about these people think long and hard about the words Paul said to Timothy in our key verses. False teaching may be dismissed with a nod and a wink but in the end the salvation of the hearers is always at stake.

    Reverend Anthony Wade - 11/19/13

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