At dinner recently with family the topic of the teachings of Joseph Prince came up. First of all, I know the initial knee-jerk response from some will be – ‘here goes Tom again, criticizing some preacher because he doesn’t measure up to Tom’s standard’. I truly hope Christians move past these knee-jerk responses and learn to measure/weigh everything according to God’s Word alone – not any man’s standard. If I or any preacher is pointing to Jesus (the Bible) alone, then what’s the problem? – unless somebody doesn’t like Jesus and His standards – which are actually quite high. Scripture more than backs up the fact that many Christians today are teaching what is sometimes called ‘cheap grace’. One guy defined it as:
“The preaching of forgiveness without requiring repentance, baptism without church discipline. Communion without confession. Cheap grace is grace without discipleship, grace without the cross, grace without Jesus Christ.”
The teachings of multitudes of ministries are now stating that ‘no perfect people are allowed’ in our church (Google that and see how many show up). Many say ‘just come as you are’ but how very few correctly append to that ‘…but you can’t stay that way – you have to change’. This is the message of the gospel – we have to change. We just can’t cop out to some easy as pie, life is good, Jesus did it all for me on the cross type of existence – WE HAVE TO FIGHT A WARFARE TO BE MADE FREE!!! Is it any wonder why He says in Isaiah 30 “That this is a rebellious people, lying children, children that will not hear the law of the LORD: Which say to the seers, See not; and to the prophets, Prophesy not unto us right things, speak unto us smooth things, prophesy deceits:” and in 2nd Timothy 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 unto fables.”?
In contrast, the Bible clearly teaches us in Titus 2:11-12, that God’s grace has appeared (in the person of the Lord Jesus Christ and through the five-fold ministry gifts that He gave us as defined in Ephesians 4:11-12) to bring us salvation and INSTRUCTING us to DENY ungodliness, to DENY carnal desires, to LIVE discreetly, to LIVE righteously, to LIVE godly – even in this wicked and perverted world. This is how we can actually ‘do’ the Word of God and not just be ‘hearers’. Hearers of the Word just HEAR that Jesus forgives us of our sins by His blood but DOERS actually APPLY the blood to their lives by OBEYING what He says in scripture – and changing nature. Many say that there is no ‘work’ involved – that is a lie. So the ‘excuses’ become such like – well David fornicated and he was a man after God’s own heart. But David is not the standard. Is David the author and finisher of your faith? Elijah, wallowed in self-pity under a juniper tree – so does that mean it’s okay for us to do it? Elijah is not the standard. Is Elijah the author and finisher of your faith? The church of Corinth was in the grasp of perversion – the church of Corinth is not the standard. Peter denied Christ – Peter is not the standard. Jesus is the standard and his friend John told us that we can walk even as He (Jesus) walked – and God is no liar! They say that a sinner is a saint that falls down but scripture says that “Jesus is able to keep us from falling and to present us faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy” (Jude 24).
We have been so brainwashed/indoctrinated by the world’s Greco/Roman philosophies which teach us to elevate and exalt people based on numbers of followers, eloquence or charisma, or most of all – how much they ‘know’. This is especially dangerous in Christianity because many, many preachers and teachers (both true and false), know a lot of scriptures and they know a lot about the Hebrew and the Greek translations so therefore we tend to gravitate toward what they are saying because of a blinded persuasiveness rather than the individuals searching the matter out for ourselves – and to use our own noggins and to actually THINK for ourselves – and most importantly – to consult the Word of God and the Holy Spirit and compare what is being said to HIM for verification!
Below is a link to a message titled ‘The True Grace of God’, and I do hope you will take the time to listen. But why is it that so many times our first reactions to a gospel messenger that we have not heard before tend to be along the lines of things like this:
- Who is this guy?
- What church or denomination does he belong too?
- How big is his church or congregation/how many followers are there/how many YouTube views does he have?
- What is he: a Pastor, an Apostle, a Bishop, a Minister, an Elder, or just a Brother or a Sister – what’s his Title? Aside: (Even though Jesus clearly teaches us to call no man father, master, teacher, Rabbi etc., we keep on keepin’ on, wanting to give a person preeminence, which falls right into the trap of that Greek mindset – to elevate a man – I don’t care what anyone says, it is a subtle part of the Nicolaitane doctrine. The worse-case scenario is calling someone Reverend – Psalm 111:9 says: “He sent redemption unto his people: he hath commanded his covenant forever: holy and reverend is his name”. That ought to end the entitlements right there eh? Call me legalistic if you want to but don’t take my word for it – if you find out otherwise in the new covenant – please let me know – but it seems to me that our fore-fathers the apostles were on a first name basis with one another. Please hear me - my aim is freedom from every demonic yoke – I want to be free – I want you to be free. The spirit of the Lord is a liberator – and man, if religion hasn’t put on us the biggest yokes of all I don’t know what does)
- Where did he go to school – i.e. how many Masonic ‘degrees’ does he have?
- And probably the worst of all - who did he come up under? (TODO: insert puke face emoticon here).
I suppose the answer is in part because there are now so many voices in Christianity today and people are in a sense becoming weary (or leery) of just hearing another sermon without seeing demonstrated power! That will be changing soon because if you can see how the moral decay and corruption of society, culture and world systems is on the rapid increase then know without a shadow of a doubt – that Almighty God will respond. In the meantime, we are left with the quite simple fact that the Lord knows those that are His and His sheep know His voice. All we can to is continue to tell it and pray for the ever present famine of hearing the Word of God to end so that souls can be snatched from the clutches of Satan.
I for one, want to be free from any preconceived notions, or prejudices (pre-judgments) about anyone. It is true that you cannot judge a book by its cover – you have to open the book and start to read it. The Holy Spirit has quickened the Word with safeguards that are build right into the scriptures which, when properly discerned (rightly divided), will reveal God’s nature (or character) and that nature will continue to transform us (as we continue to allow him to). Therefore, when you see someone that has effeminate character traits (like Joseph Prince or T.D. Jakes or Paul Crouch or Marcus Lamb to name but a few), you will know that scripture says that the effeminate (and he must obviously be talking about men) cannot inherit the kingdom of God – so logically, if the effeminate cannot inherit the kingdom – how is it possible for the effeminate to represent the kingdom of God? And if you can’t see the effeminacy in most Christian presentations then you probably stopped reading this already. In Matthew 11:7-12, Jesus pointed to the ones that were living large in king’s palaces wearing soft clothes or skinny jeans or Beatle haircuts or tattoos or body piercings – OK he didn’t specifically say skinny jeans, Beatle haircuts, tattoos or piercings, but these things are revealed by the SPIRIT and they do not have to be contained in the actual LETTER – they are simply NOT reflections of the NATURE of God! So the thing is – warn the righteous, warn the wicked and pray for people to turn to the truth before it is too late. When we are truly contrite and broken, then when or if we do sin, even in thought let alone deed, we will be quickly convicted by the Holy Ghost and as our hearts are not hardened we will then quickly repent. One thing that I noticed in this True Grace message that I refer was that the speaker had others reading from scripture which made it hard to hear because the readers were not in close range of the microphone. Of course, my initial knee-jerk (emphasis on the word ‘jerk’) response was – ‘why is this guy not reading it himself – doesn’t he know that it’s harder for us to hear?’ I discovered the Holy Spirit saying – pick up your Bible and read it for yourself!!!
I pray that we all can begin to walk according to the Spirit and not according to the flesh as in the past – let God be true and every man a liar. It does not matter WHO brings the message – the question has to be asked: is it TRUE? The only way for Christians to come to this place of unity – one faith, one mind, one accord – is for us to forsake everything in this life and be truly be repentant and contrite in order to truly be born again in Christ. Proverbs 28:5 says that Evil men do not understand judgment – but those who seek the Lord understand all things. We can marry that old testament verse to the new testament in 1st Corinthians 2:14-16 which says that the natural man (the Evil man) does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him – and he cannot know them, because they spiritually discerned. But he that is spiritual judges all things, yet he himself is judged of no man (let God be true and every man a liar). For who has known the mind of the Lord the he may instruct him? – but we have the mind of Christ. At its core, cheap, false, vain and licentious grace teaches ‘you can’t judge’. Do you not know that the saints shall judge the world?
Again I say what scripture says in plain language – how can two walk together unless they are agreed? The only way for people to be ‘convinced’ of the absolute gospel truth is for them to be ‘convicted’ – that is the Holy Spirits objective – but only as the vessels are willing to yield to him.
1st Peter 5:12
Through Silvanus, our faithful brother (for so I regard him), I have written to you briefly, exhorting and testifying that this is the true grace of God. Stand firm in it!
Titus 2: 11-12
For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all men, instructing us to deny ungodliness and worldly desires and to live sensibly, righteously and godly in this present evil age.
2nd Corinthians 6:1
We then, as workers together with him, beseech you also that ye receive not the grace of God in vain.
For certain men have crept in unnoticed (unaware, in a stealth manner), those who were long beforehand marked out for this condemnation, ungodly persons who turn the grace of our God into licentiousness (a license to sin) and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ.