Fr. Dale Matson
A book was recommended to me. I ordered and read the book “Destined to Reign” by Joseph Prince. I always write the most important points of a book that resonate with me on the inside cover of the book. They are as follows:
1. Unveiling Jesus
2. Preaching the Goodness of God
3. Paul’s Gospel is the Gospel of grace, forgiveness and no more condemnation.
I believe there is a point however where Prince begins to distort things to make his case for what he claims is sound teaching at odds with the traditional church. It concerns me especially since he later states that “Wrong doctrine is worse than wrong behavior” (p.258) He states that repentance is simply “changing your mind” (p.233) and has nothing to do with contrition and confession. That is not the way the church fathers have traditionally understood repentance. It concerns me that Prince is so willing to dismiss the Law and to say that mixing the Law with grace is not balancing but perverting the Gospel of Christ. For example Lutherans have traditionally understood Scripture through the lens of both Law and Gospel.
This is what Luther’s Small Catechism has to say.
“1. Do you believe that you are a sinner?
Yes, I believe it. I am a sinner.
2. How do you know this? I know from the Ten Commandments, which I have not kept.
3. Are you sorry for your sins? Yes, I am sorry that I have sinned against God.
4. What have you deserved from God because of your sins? I deserve His wrath and displeasure, temporal death, and eternal damnation. See Rom. 6:21, 23. 5.
Do you hope to be saved? Yes, that is my hope.
6. In whom then do you trust? I hope in my dear Lord Jesus Christ.”
Prince tells us to “Feed on the letters of Apostle Paul” (p.94) in order to discover the Gospel of Grace. His emphasis on this is at the expense of a proper understanding of the Law. “Commandments Kill” (p.120) St. Paul also referred to the Law as a "schoolmaster" (Gal. 3:24). It would be useful for Prince to review Psalm 119 where the Law is mentioned 25 times and sounds a lot like the Gospel. Prince advocates for Grace and excludes the Law which he leaves behind on the journey of Sanctification because it is part of an obsolete covenant. “There is no more consciousness of sin” (Chapter 14) and “there is power to sin no more” (p.167) while “victorious living is effortless” (P.243) which leaves the normal Christian wondering what is wrong if his or her life is in the toilet. He talks about the “not yet” as if it were the “is now”. This is not the voice of faith. It is the voice of presupposition. His assurances create more doubts than they dissolve. It reminds me of Kenneth Hagin who took the faith of the Scriptures a bridge too far in the 1970’s. Hagin and the Faith Movement were taken to task in the book “From the Pinnacle of the Temple” by Charles Farah Jr. for similar reasons. Prince noted that he had connections to Hagin.
Finally, in his chapter on “Unearthing the deepest root", Prince claimed that the deepest root is condemnation. I would say that an even deeper root would be original sin but “wrong doctrine” is below ground somewhere around there too. I believe that attempting to elevate Grace at the expense of the Law is a disservice to both the Law and Grace.