I’ve just discovered a teaching in some churches that is SO insidious and deceitful, I have to speak out against it. Some have correctly labeled it the ‘cheap grace movement’ and it is leading multitudes into hell. It’s the newest lie of the enemy. I gotta hand it to him; it’s pretty slick!
The idea is this: You don’t need to repent and ask God’s forgiveness when you get saved. All you need to do is ‘believe the gospel message.’ Once you do, you are under grace and all your sins, past, present and future are forgiven. And once you’re saved, you never have to repent of your sins because they’re all covered.
Well, HECK! Sounds like a deal to me! So, all I have to do is believe that Jesus is God’s Son, that He died for my sins and rose the third day and went back to heaven. Done! Easy-peasy. Now that ALL the sins I’ve ever committed or will ever commit are forgiven and I’m going to heaven, I can continue to live like hell, yet still be in like Flynn when I die! Sign me up! I like this Christianity thing!
This is the same thinking my homosexual reader “John” was trying to pass off. ‘I accepted Jesus into my heart and believe He died for my sins, so I know He now loves and accepts me and will forgive me for whatever I do.’ *MmmMmm* Uh, no. It doesn’t work quite like that! Cheap grace, indeed!
The main purveyor of this garbage is Joseph Prince, the Pastor of New Creation Church, one of the largest megachurches in Singapore, Asia. This man, wildly successful at 50 years old, is the author of several books, has a TV program shown in 150 countries and produces countless CD’s and DVD’s. He is a charismatic speaker and can whip up his audience into pseudo-spiritual paroxysms of ecstasy.
He was one of the featured speakers at the Grace & Favor Seminar held at Hillsong Church in Sydney, Australia and London, England in 2006, 2007 and 2008. In 2009, he shared the pulpit with *gag* Joel Osteen at the Two Days of Hope Conference in South Africa. I just watched a short You Tube video where he was a guest on some TBN (Trite Bull for the Naïve) talk show, appearing alongside *gag* Joel and *double-gag* Victoria Osteen.
He came out looking like a Donny Osmond wannabe reject with preternaturally white teeth and played up to the adoring, fawning, picture-snapping live audience. I half expected some middle-aged lady to throw a pair of panties onstage! It was ridiculous. The host went on to slobber his accolades all over this man, stating that his teaching was “filtering down through the Evangelical community.” Peachy.
Proverbs 13:20 “He that walketh with wise men shall be wise: but a companion of fools shall be destroyed.” We are known by the company we keep. Notice that Pastor Prince speaks at Hillsong, ecumenical Emergent Church headquarters, and shares the stage with the likes of the ever spineless, stands-for-absolutely-nothing, *gag* Joel Osteen. In case that picture isn’t clear enough in your mind, allow me to elaborate on this guy’s teaching.
I’ll try to refrain from the strong temptation to expose the blatant prosperity gospel of this Pastor Prince. Let’s just say that there is a good reason why his church is so huge. OK, OK, let me give you just one quote from his website: “We believe that God wants to transform, heal and provide for us, so that we can live blessed and victorious lives that will impact and help others.” Oh really?
Is that the kind of life Jesus said we can expect to live as His followers on this earth? Where’s the whole “take up your cross and follow me” command? What about John 16:33? “…In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.” I must be missing something.
Amazingly enough, this man adamantly teaches that the Holy Spirit does not convict people of sin and because of this, we cannot truly repent until we first believe on the gospel message of Christ. For this reason, people don’t need to repent and ask forgiveness of God when they get saved.
On page 134 of his most popular book, Destined to Reign, Prince states “The bottom line is the Holy Spirit never convicts you of sin. He never comes to point out your faults. I challenge you to find a scripture in the Bible that tells you the Holy Spirit comes to convict you of your sins.”
Seriously Mr. Prince? How about John 16: 7-9 “Nevertheless I tell you the truth; it is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come to you; but if I depart, I will send him to you. And when He is come, He will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: of sin, because they believe not on me.”
This is straight from our Messiah’s mouth! The Holy Spirit “reproves” the world of sin. The Greek for “reprove” is ‘elegcho,’ which means ‘convict, admonish and call to account.’
Not only does Mr. Prince teach that people don’t need to confess their sins and ask forgiveness when they accept the pardon and salvation Jesus died to provide to them, he also teaches believers don’t need to repent and ask for forgiveness once they are saved. Let’s address the latter part of this thought—that believers don’t need to repent and ask the Lord for forgiveness.
There are so many scriptures in the Word that tell us that we need to keep ourselves clean before the Lord, even though we’re covered by the blood of the Lamb. For instance, The Lord’s Prayer: “and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.” Apparently, Jesus thought it important to teach his disciples to ask for forgiveness for our daily sins. This is not because we might lose our salvation if we don’t; it’s to ensure we stay in close fellowship with the Father. I’m not going to waste more time on this ridiculous notion.
What concerns me most is the teaching that all sinners need to do to be saved is ‘believe the gospel message.’ After all, as my lovely friend Dana pointed out, “Even the demons and satan believe, but I don’t think they’re going to make it to heaven!” In the 2nd chapter of Acts, Peter was preaching to a huge crowd just after the disciples were baptized with the Holy Spirit. He spoke with enormous courage and told them plainly they had killed their Messiah.
In verses 36-38 he proclaims “Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made that same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ. Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, ‘Men and brethren, what shall we do?’ Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.”
Did he tell them to just ‘believe the gospel?’ NO! If you notice, this passage says that once Peter preached the gospel to them, “they were pricked in their heart.” They were convicted of their sins and realized they needed to repent, or turn away from their sins, and accept the Lord’s pardon He died to give them.
Let me ask a simple question. Why would anyone go to the doctor unless they were convinced within themselves, that they were injured or sick enough to need medical help to get better? Do people normally drop by the Emergency Room just to hang out for hours with bored, screaming kids, glassy-eyed, sniffling sick people, and drink bad coffee for the fun of it? Of course not!
You go to the doctor or Emergency Room when you realize that your body is in need of healing that you cannot provide for yourself. Same thing with getting saved. What good does it do for someone to ‘believe the gospel message’ if they don’t comprehend their NEED for a Savior?? It’s ludicrous to preach that you don’t need the Holy Spirit to first convict you of your sins!
There is no mercy without genuine, remorseful repentance! Psalm 51:17 “The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise.” Joseph Prince’s teaching appeals to the pride in man’s heart. ‘I’m basically a good person and God understands. I believe He died for my sins to forgive me, so there’s nothing to be sorry for.’
Acts 3:19 “Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord.” Conversion, or being born again and made into a new creature in Christ, cannot occur without repentance. To teach that this step can be circumvented is to create feel-good, false converts!
Here’s a woe for you: WOE to you, Joseph Prince, you false shepherd; you wolf in sheep’s clothing! You teach lies and tickle the ears of your congregation in exchange for wealth, fame and glory for yourself. You have your reward. You are leading the ignorant, unsaved straight to the fires of hell with your fake, cheap grace salvation message. The Bible describes men like you.
You have NO fear of our Holy God who is not only a God of grace, as you preach, but is also a Consuming Fire! Unless you repent and teach the WHOLE Word of God, you have an appointment for your millstone fitting. Don’t be late!
These are certainly the last of the last days. 2 Timothy 4:3-4 “For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; and they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned to fables.” ‘Ooohoohoohoo, Pastor! Tickle my ears some more! Oooo! It feels SO good!’
*Sigh* The Bible is so true. That fact becomes more evident to the Bride with each passing day; a Bride who is still here, slogging through the cultural and spiritual sewer in which we live, trying desperately to keep her wedding dress from being spattered and soiled with the sludge of this world.
So what’s the answer? Back up a little in that same passage: 2 Timothy 4:1-2 “I charge you therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom; preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine.” No problem. Seeing this kind of offal preached in such a high visibility pulpit makes me shake with righteous anger.
People, the safest teacher you can have is the Holy Spirit. James 1:5 “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.” Pray for wisdom as you read your Bible for yourself, and He will open your mind. The Lord WANTS you to understand His Word! Stop relying on these charlatan, attention-seeking preachers for your spiritual food!