Yup! That’s what is on the cover of a book I was given several weeks ago to read by a fellow pastor. The book is called “Destined to Reign” by Joseph Prince. Gee, I thought I was destined to serve – the living God and those who do not yet know Him – loving them so that they can come to know His love through me. Did I get it all wrong?
And have you ever met a successful person – no matter what their definition of success may happen to be – who would tell you that it took absolutely no effort to become successful? That’s what the dust jacket of the book promises – “The secret to effortless success…” Wow! Wish I had thought of it first then I could have build a large church, had a large television and radio ministry and be famous around the world and in demand as a speaker.
Wait, it gets worse – much worse. The author declares with great spiritual authority that the Ten Commandments are not for today. That under the covenant of grace we are no longer needing to keep the Ten Commandments or the moral law of God because that is the letter of the law and the law simply brings death. But under grace we can live free of the law and that we don’t have to do anything because God has done it all already and will work it all out in our lives for us. He argues very well for his point stringing scriptures together and making them back up what he is saying. His big point being that the law kills and the Spirit gives life.
Of course, he does not deal with a huge number of related issues – the definition of sin which is based upon the Ten Commandments, the fact that Christians still sin, or the fact that although we are a new creature in Christ that Paul (who the author quotes from liberally) still talks about the need for us to put effort into this thing called the Christian faith – that we need to put off (another place “put to death”) anger, sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire and covetousness” (Colossians 3:5) and that we need to consciously choose to walk in the Spirit and not satisfy the desires of the flesh (Galatians 5:16) and on and on.
The book goes on and on in the same vein, chapter after chapter. It is the teaching of “extreme grace” that many have preached before and that has destroyed many churches in the past. I have watched this “gospel,” that people are told is biblical, bring just the opposite to what is promised – bondage and not freedom – into the life of those who believe it. I have seen it destroy marriages and ruin ministries. It is not God. It is not a valid understanding of scripture. It is a “doctrine of man” at the best and, at the worse, a “doctrine of demons“. It is man-centered and makes us feel good and takes all basic responsibilities and obligations away from the believer leaving him or her to live in “freedom”. And, of course, Jesus came to preach truth and the truth will set you free. It is all so smooth. But then the Devil often is subtle and smooth.
This is not a new teaching. It is called Antinomianism and is an ancient heresy. Solomon did say that “there is nothing new under the sun”. But, what is new is how widespread and well presented this teaching is due to the internet, the ease with which books are printed and purchased, and the lack of discernment among believers – even pastors – today.
Wikipedia states: Antinomianism (from the Greek ἀντί, “against” + νόμος, “law”), or lawlessness (in the Greek Bible: ἀνομία,, “unlawful”), in theology, is the idea that members of a particular religious group are under no obligation to obey the laws of ethics or morality, and that salvation is by predestination only. Antinomianism is the polar opposite of legalism, the notion that obedience to a code of religious law earns salvation.
Ah! It hit the nail on the head – LAWLESSNESS. Truly there is nothing new under the sun.
The book is smooth and convincing. The message is subtle and well presented. The author is well known, in high demand and very successful. The publisher is a Word-Faith Movement publisher with a well established reputation. The Church where these messages are preached is large, fast-growing and already a considerable size (17,000+). But heresy is heresy and people – even naive believers – will look for teachers to “tickle their ears” and this one certainly does that well.
Very deceptive and demonic. Something for all Christians to avoid.
If you have read this far:
The book: Destined to Reign
The author: Joseph Prince
The Church: New Creation Church in Singapore
The Publisher: Harrison House in Tulsa, Ok.
The heresy: Antinomianism
The solution: Become discerning by learning to rightly divide the truth and be a good workman of the Word.