Joseph Prince, false-grace and the risk of millions falling away

Millions of current Christians are at risk of spending an eternity in Hell—and few are saying anything about it.

image thumb Joseph Prince, false grace and the risk of millions falling awayThe leading teacher of what I believe to be the most dangerous, widespread heresy in the church today is the extremely popular pastor and teacher Joseph Prince.

Understand, I am extremely careful when it comes to dropping names—the fear of the Lord is all over me even as I write this. In fact, I can’t remember another person I’ve mentioned by name in this fashion in the last several years.

As I said, the fear of the Lord is on me, and when that happens, it sometimes propels me into caution, and at other times into risk. I understand this message put me in the category of risk. However, it’s a risk that’s easily worth it since literally millions of people’s eternities are at risk. I absolutely believe the core message that Joseph Prince teaches will result in shocked, church going, professing Christians entering Hell one day. It’s that serious.

I believe the hyper-grace message could be the end-time deception that will cause millions of people to fall away from God. ~Sid Roth

Jude 1:3 Beloved, although I was very eager to write to you about our common salvation, I found it necessary to write appealing to you to contend for the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints. 4 For certain people have crept in unnoticed who long ago were designated for this condemnation, ungodly people, who pervert the grace of our God into sensuality and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ.

While we should desire to talk about unity, our common salvation, I don’t believe we can do so on this matter. False-grace is an eternity and salvation issue. It’s not minor, it’s major.

Regarding naming the name of Joseph Prince, Chace Gordon said:

When I first stumbled into the false grace teachings of Joseph Prince, I was deeply grieved over it and sensed a tidal wave of heresy coming to American shores. I felt America was blessed that he was from Singapore, or the pervasive deception would have been even deadlier in America than it currently is, because it gave us time to counteract the error by teaching the Word before he became an American superstar and the false doctrine would expedite the demise of church influence in preserving the culture. I knew of NO ONE (initially)who was speaking out against this false doctrine on a large stage, only quiet murmurings of resistance, or the typical grumblings of denominational critics who despise prosperity, big churches and the Word of Faith movement.

I do not know Joseph Prince personally (although I know many close to him and some of his elders before him, both living and dead), but I became intimately acquainted with his message, and within a few week period, I wrote a detailed refutation of his book “Destined to Reign” and submitted it to fellow ministers whom I have relationship with, and to friends who accepted his teaching and propagated it themselves. My notes eventually became widespread, not because I led a public campaign attacking Joseph Prince, but because it was being privately distributed by other ministers who were also greatly disturbed.

During that time, before publicly denouncing him, I even contacted Joseph Prince Ministries and submitted a copy of my notes to them for them to respond to or correct any false conclusions I may have come to regarding his doctrine. After the typical form letter response, I finally received an email from one of the associate pastors who responded to none of the content itself, only stating that they did not wish to debate for the sake of Christian unity…but none of the grave concerns that I had communicated were addressed or any of the blatant errors apologized for.

Finally, I started to get contacted by pastors who had received copies of my notes given them by friends of friends. I started hearing testimonies of church splits and the like; but I still knew of few who were publicly taking a stand against this message. I did, however, hear of numerous private confrontations by respected ministers, who challenged him on his doctrine but he refused correction. If anything, Joseph Prince dug in his heels and even increased his outlandish unbiblical comments.

It became clear to me that there was grounds here for marking him publicly, as the heresy was widely publicized, damage to the body of Christ was ongoing, even impacting people within my own church congregation, and repentance was refused.

On a positive note, I believe the tide is being turned. When I first became involved with the hyper-grace message controversy, I heard more horror stories than anything else. Now at least, I’m hearing some positive testimonies in the mix of solid grace teaching to counteract the false hope and empty promises of cheap grace.

This is what burns in my spirit day after day. I know I’ve been given a serious mandate to sound the alarms necessary to awaken people out of a slumber that will result in an eternity in Hell.

image1 Joseph Prince, false grace and the risk of millions falling awayI ask God often to keep reawakening me to the mandate that originated in an encounter I had with Hell 23 years ago. I will never be the same after that fateful night as the forces of Hell overtook me.

God said very clearly, “John, many in the church will be shocked to find themselves in Hell one day.”

Now, 23 years later, I believe we have stumbled upon a great end time deception that can in fact result in what God warned me about. Church going, hand raising, tithe paying professing Christians who are convinced through false-theologies that they don’t have to deal with their sin…wonderful people who will die in those sins if we don’t warn them.

The fundamental deception in hyper-grace is that all of your future sins are forgiven in advance. ~Dr. Michael Brown

I strongly encourage you to watch the interview of Dr. Michael Brown by Sid Roth here: http://sidroth.org/television/tv-archives/dr-michael-brown 

Reggie D. Byrum said:

“Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.” – Hebrews 4:16
In the view of the hyper-grace camp, why would we even need to do this? Why should we approach the throne of grace to obtain mercy, if past, present and future sins have already been forgiven, if God does not see the sins of a Christian and if Christians do not need to confess or repent of sin?

What is so sad is that people believe that dealing with sin is a negative issue. It is not! It’s glorious! What a privilege to serve a God who will get into our personal space and set us free time and again!

It’s not complex. If we sin and do not repent, we can’t presume to be in Christ Jesus. But, if we do repent, we are in Christ Jesus!

There are so many scriptures that make it clear that sin is a serious issue both before and after making the decision to follow Jesus. How much more clear could the following verse be? This is a salvation/eternity verse, and it’s applicable to Christians:

Matt 6:14 For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you, 15 but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.

It’s clear. If we sin (refuse to forgive) we cannot just ignore it. We ourselves won’t be forgiven. Sin will remain in us, and our eternities are threatened.

DESTINED TO REIGN BY JOSEPH PRINCE

Honestly, it’s extremely easy to see the clear heresy that’s in his book—if only we have eyes to see.

I’m going to include a lengthy study by Pastor Chace Gordon below. Before I do, read what he wrote to me earlier today:

When I first wrote the notes refuting Destined to Reign, they were circulated widely and did not have my name attached to them. I was contacted by an elder minister who received an anonymous copy after going through a church split over Joseph Prince. He tracked me down through the person who gave it to him, and told me the story of how he was on a pastors cruise with a handful of copies of my notes on Destined to Reign. He asked another respected minister who was on the cruise what he thought of Joseph Prince. The respected minister defended him adamantly, saying “I’ve know Joe and ministered in his church every year for 18 years! There’s nothing wrong with him!” After taking a look at my notes including quotes from the book, the respected minister exclaimed, “That’s heresy! I never read the book but I will now!” The rest of the story is that minister on the cruise ship went on to become one of the ministers who confronted Joseph Prince in person over these matters. Joseph Prince refused to listen; but this man of God is now an outspoken voice against the false grace message.

This was very interesting to me as a highly respected national leader and a good friend mentioned that senior Christian leaders had attempted to bring Joseph Prince under church discipline for his teachings, but he refused to comply.

A THOROUGH REFUTATION OF THE FALSE-GRACE HERESY OF JOSEPH PRINCE

by Pastor Chace Gordon www.cornerstoneworld.org 

Quotes from “Destined to Reign”

Quote #1:

“I distinctly heard the voice of the Lord on the inside.  It wasn’t a witness of the Spirit.  It was a voice, and I heard God say this clearly to me:  ‘Son, you are not preaching grace.’  I said, ‘What do you mean, Lord?…’Every time you preach grace, you preach it with a mixture of law.  You attempt to balance grace with the law like many other preachers, and the moment you balance grace, you neutralize it.  You cannot put new wine into old wineskins.  You cannot put grace and law together.  He went on to say, ‘Son, a lot of preachers are not preaching grace the way Apostle Paul preached grace.”

Excerpt from the Foreword, page vii

NOTE:  Paul taught grace and law side-by-side throughout Romans chapters 5-6 for the express purpose of preventing doctrinal confusion.  In fact, the book of Romans uses the word “law” 78 times while only using the word “grace” 24 times.  Hence, teaching the law is often necessary as a basis before one can even begin to teach grace!  The heart must be convicted and humbled with the law before grace can be received.

The word “law” is referred to in Paul’s epistles 148 times in 108 verses; the word “grace” was used in Paul’s epistles 99 times in 92 verses.  Thus demonstrating that his “grace preaching” was a doctrinal balance of both law & grace.

It is true that the apostle Paul had more to say on the subject of grace than any other New Testament writer.  It even states in Acts 20:24 that testifying to the gospel of grace was the purpose of his life and ministry; however, he, and other New Testament writers, went to great length to keep the grace doctrine from being twisted and perverted as we must do as well.

(See Jude 4, Romans 5:20-6:2; Romans 6:14-16; II Corinthians 6:1; Galatians 1:6-10; Hebrews 10:29-31; II Peter 3:15-18)

Here is a side-by-side comparison of “grace teaching” versus “law teaching” throughout the Bible:

Usage of words in whole Bible (KJV):

The Bible addresses the law approximately three times as much as it addresses grace!

The word “law”:  used 523 times in 459 verses

The word “grace”: used 170 times in 159 verses

Conclusion:  The Bible as a whole has FAR MORE to say concerning the law than concerning grace.

Usage of words in the New Testament alone (KJV):

The New Testament addresses the law nearly twice as often as it addresses grace!

The word “law”:  used 223 times in 172 verses

The word “grace:” used 131 times in 122 verses

Conclusion:  While the New Testament has more to say on the subject of grace than the Old Testament, the New Testament STILL has FAR MORE to say concerning the law than concerning grace.

Usage of words in the gospels (KJV):

The gospels address the law eight times as much as they address grace!

The word “law”:  used 41 times in 35 verses

The word “grace”:  used 5 times in 4 verses

Conclusion:  Even though Jesus Himself ushered in the dispensation of grace to the church, the gospels have FAR MORE to say concerning the law than concerning grace!

Usage of words in the Book of Acts (KJV):

The Book of Acts addresses the law twice as much as it addresses grace!

The word “law”:  used 22 times in 21 verses

The word “grace”:  used 10 times in 10 verses

Conclusion:  The record of the early church has FAR MORE to say concerning the law than concerning grace!

Conclusion to it all:  There is no Biblical precedent to suggest teaching the law undermines the teaching of grace.  They are complementary doctrines.  In fact, the doctrinal teaching of the law is foundational to receiving the doctrine of grace!

Quote #2:

“It is entirely His [Jesus] effort and His [Jesus] doing.  Our part is to believe on Him and receive all that He has accomplished on our behalf.  Sounds ridiculously simple, one-sided and unfair?  Well, my friend, that is exactly what makes grace, grace!  Grace is only grace when it is undeserved, unearned and unmerited.”

Excerpt from foreword, page x

NOTE: This statement is confusing on several points:

(1)  It confuses God’s grace with a distorted view of God’s mercy.  It also assumes that God’s mercy cancels out God’s justice.  There is nothing “unfair” about God giving us His grace; but there is something infinitely merciful.  How can an infinitely merciful God extend grace to the sinner and not violate His infinite justice?  Through repentance.

Repentance is the place where justice and mercy kiss.  Without justice, mercy becomes cruel.  If the president of the United States, as an act of mercy, decided to pardon our prison population and loose them on society, the innocent would suffer as a result.  However, if a wicked man is truly penitent and puts his faith in God, he can qualify for pardon because he ceases to be a threat to society.  Though the penitent, formerly-wicked man does not deserve pardon, he can receive mercy without compromising justice.  Hence, the criminal does nothing to earn his salvation; yet qualifies for mercy through genuine repentance.

While grace is not something we earn through good works, it is something we must qualify for through repentance. 

(2) It assumes grace is exclusively for the undeserving.  It is not.  According to Luke 2:40, Jesus grew in grace.  Under the above definition, we would have to assume that Jesus “growing in grace” as a child means He was sinful during His youth.  This is total heresy and an increasingly common heresy in today’s culture.  While this may seem to be splitting hairs, this small error could lead someone down the path to destruction.

(3) It assumes the operation of grace is the same as its initial impartation.  It concludes that since receiving grace was effortless on our part, walking in grace after it’s received must be effortless as well.  But receiving a free gift by doing nothing to EARN it does not automatically mean you do nothing to USE it!

Ephesians 2:8-9 tell us we are saved by grace and not by works; however verse 10 tells us that we are saved UNTO good works!  Which means, we don’t do works to earn salvation, but once we are saved, by grace—we do good works!  It’s not effortless!

The key difference is this:  doing good works on your own apart from God will not save you; however, after you are saved, you do good works because now you are participating with God!  Grace is what enables that participation.  You still have responsibility.  You still have effort.  The difference is, you are united with Christ and He gives you the strength, a.k.a. grace, to do alongside of Him, what you could never do on your own.

Quote #3:

“Do you realize that most people believe that one needs to work hard to achieve success in life?  The world’s system of success is built on the twin pillars of self-effort and diligence.  There are always some “laws” that you have to abide by, and some “methods and techniques” that you have to keep on practicing before there can be any results.  Most of the time, any result that you may get will start to fade once you cease to follow through with the prescribed methods and steps.  We have been taught to focus on achieving, on doing and on relying on our self-efforts.  We are driven to ‘do, do, do’, forgetting that Christianity is actually ‘done, done, done’.”

Chapter 1, Page 4

NOTE:  Grace doesn’t do away with the Biblical virtue of hard work (See Proverbs 18:9; 20:4, 13; 21:25-26; 24:30-34; 26:13-16; Matthew 5:16; 25:14-30; II Thessalonians 3:10; I Corinthians 9:19; 15:10; II Corinthians 6:1; II Timothy 2:15).  Diligence is still a necessary part of the Christian experience (See John 8:31; Hebrews 11:6; II Peter 1:4-10) and your results WILL fail when you stop being diligent!  (See Galatians 1:6-10; I Timothy 1:5-6, 19; Hebrews 3:6).  “Achieving” is not an evil concept especially when God has provided incentive and guidelines to obey (Deuteronomy 28; Matthew 25:14-30; Philippians 3:14-16; II Timothy 2:3-7; I Corinthians 9:24-27).  

The Bible tells us to “do, do, do” because though Christ’s redemptive work on the cross IS “done, done, done” Christians still have a lot left to do (see the Sermon on the Mount, the Great Commission, the Book of ACTS, the book of Titus (whose theme is GOOD WORKS) and the Book of James (whose theme is being DOERS of the Word)!

Grace is incompatible with works of self-righteousness (See Ephesians 2:8-9; Galatians 2:21; 5:4); but grace is also God’s power working THROUGH you and me because we are cooperating with Him!  (See Ephesians 3:7; Philippians 4:13; Romans 6:1-11; Colossians 2:6).

Quote #4:

“Under the new covenant, we don’t have to keep on asking the Lord…for forgiveness because He has already forgiven us.”

Chapter 1, page 7

NOTE:  While it is true that if you repent of something once, it is not necessary to repent of the same sin twice; however, if you sin again, you must repent—again. “The modern fallacy that judicial forgiveness covers ALL sins, past, present, and future; that God does not impute sins of believers to them; and that God never condemns a saved man for any sins committed, but charges them to the Lord Jesus Christ, is one of the most unscriptural and demon-inspired theories in any church…He will forgive all sins that are confessed to Him, but this does not give the saved man a blank check to continue in sin and live as he pleases without any fear of being held accountable for his sins after he has one time been saved.  Salvation does not include freedom to live in sins of all kinds.  It does not guarantee immunity from hell if one goes back into sins and dies in them.”

–Finis Dake

If Christians had a “blank check” to sin and never had to ask forgiveness after they are saved—why did God tell so many believers to repent in hundreds of scriptures, in both old and new testaments?  Why did Paul go to many of the churches that he planted, that he witnessed their conversions, and that he laid hands on to receive the baptism of the Holy Spirit—why did he go to these churches and admonish them to repent—if their sins were forgiven past, present AND future?  Why did John write to believers in I John 1:9 and encourage them to confess their sins if they stopped walking in the light (I John 1:7)?  Why does the book of Revelation warn that your name can be blotted out of the Book of Life if one-time repentance is a blank check for everlasting forgiveness?  Why did Peter say that if a Christian backslides into sin after being delivered—his outcome becomes WORSE?

The truth is grace does MORE than cover our sins or empower us to ignore our pesky consciences.  Grace empowers us to stop sinning and walk in the light (I John 1:7).  I suggest that we don’t sin when walking in the light—we sin when we walk away from it!

Here are several sample scriptures that are examples of how eternal life can be lost and that the saved die again when they commit sin

Genesis 2:17; Exodus 32:32-33; Leviticus 18:24-30; 26:13-39; Numbers 25:1-8; Deuteronomy 4:23-31; Joshua 7:, 10-12; Judges 2:1-23; I Kings 14:22; II Kings 17:1-17; II Chronicles 36; Isaiah 5:24-25; Jeremiah 2:5-37;  Lamentations 1:8-9; Ezekiel 13:1-23; Hebrews 12:28-29; Psalm 69:28; Revelation 3:5; Matthew 7:21; I John 4:8, 12, 16, 21; Galatians 1:6-8; Mark 11:25-26; I Corinthians 3:16-17; Luke 8:13; John 6:66; II Corinthians 5:17; Romans 11:16; Acts 1:20, 25; Colossians 2:8-19; Jude 12-13; II Timothy 3:8; Titus 1:16; Philippians 3:7-14; I Thessalonians 3:8; James 5:19-20; & II Peter 1:4-10.

Here are several other sample scriptures that reveal eternal life is not an eternal possession now and will not be until the end of a life of holiness:

Hebrews 6:4-6; 10:26-29; Mark 16:15; Matthew 12:31-32; Acts 5:3, 32; 7:51; I Corinthians 3:16-17; Mark 10:29-30; Luke 18:29-30; Matthew 19:28-29; Romans 2:7; Romans 6:21-23; Romans 5:21; Galatians 6:7-8; I Timothy 1:16; I Timothy 4:8; I Timothy 6:12, 19; Titus 1:2; 3:7; I Peter 1:5, 9, 13; 3:7; I John 2:25; Jude 20-24; Daniel 12:2; John 5:28; Matthew 25:46; Matthew 7:13-14; etc.

Here are several more plain scriptures that demonstrate men have to continue to the end to be saved:

Matthew 10:22; Romans 6:21-23; Hebrews 3:6, 12-14; 6:11-12; I Peter 1:5, 9, 13; Revelation 2:7, 11, 17, 26; 3:5, 12, 21; Hebrews 10:23, 35-39; Mark 10:29-30; Luke 18:29-30; Matthew 19:28-29; Romans 2:7; Romans 6:21-23; Romans 5:21; Galatians 6:7-8; I Timothy 1:16; I Timothy 4:8; I Timothy 6:12, 19; Titus 1:2; 3:7; I Peter 1:5, 9, 13; 3:7; I John 2:25; Jude 20-24; Daniel 12:2; John 5:28; Matthew 25:46; & Matthew 7:13-14.

Here are a few more scriptures that demonstrate the promises and covenants of God are conditional

John 5:14; John 8:31, 34; Revelation 2:4-5, 10, 13-16, 20-25; 3:1-4, 11, 15-19.

Here are several scriptures concerning faith and faithfulness to the end to be saved:

Acts 14:22; Romans 1:5; 16:26; Romans 1:17; Galatians 3:11; Hebrews 10:38-39; Romans 3:3; Romans 11:20-24; I Corinthians 16:13; II Corinthians 1:24; Ephesians 3:17; Colossians 1:23: I Timothy 1:19; 4:1; II Timothy 3:8; Hebrews 3:6, 12-14; 4:11; 6:11-12; 10:23-39; I Peter 1:5, 9, 13.

Here are several scriptures about saved men falling into sin and becoming lost:

Luke 8:13; Romans 11:11-24; I Corinthians 10:13; I Timothy 3:6; 6:9-10; Hebrews 6:4-6, 11; II Peter 3:17; Galatians 5:4; Romans 14:4; Jude 20-24; Romans 11:22; Acts 1:25; II Thessalonians 2:3; & Revelation 2:5-6.

Quote #5:

“John 1:17, KJV—‘For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ.”  Have you noticed that truth is on the side of grace, not the law?’”

Chapter 2, page 12

NOTE:  The point of truth being on the side of grace goes to show that grace must still be tempered with truth.  Are God’s laws “lies” because they were in the Old Testament?  Is “truth” sided AGAINST the law because of its connected usage with grace?  NO!!!  It only shows that LIKE THE LAW, GRACE must still be partnered with TRUTH!

Quote #6:

“Grace is personal and came as a person—the person of Jesus Christ.  The law is hard, cold and impersonal.  You cannot have a relationship with two pieces of stone.  But grace is gentle and warm.  Grace is not a teaching or doctrine.  Grace is a person and you can have a relationship with a person.”

Chapter 2, page 12

NOTE:  Grace—Jesus.  Law—stone.  Grace—warm and fuzzy.  Law—hard and cold.   Grace—person.  Law—doctrine.  Grace—good.  Law—bad.  Interesting use of metaphors; but however you try to distinguish the law from grace you must still recognize that Jesus THROUGH GRACE FULFILLED LAW, as opposed to through grace God looked past His state of lawlessness (how many modern preachers would foolishly characterize grace today).

Quote #7:

“Therefore, when you know and believe that Jesus has fulfilled completely the righteous requirements of the law, the devil cannot use the law to condemn you every time you fail.”

Chapter 2, page 15

NOTE:  The idea suggested here seems to be that a revelation of Christ’s fulfillment of the law removes condemnation; however, it also infers that this revelation will do nothing to prevent ongoing failure.  The main problem with this statement is it leaves the believer condemned to failure while promising a removal of condemnation for his failure.   Must we settle for such cheap grace?  Can we not believe for grace to do more than help us feel better while we fail?  Let’s instead believe God to not only remove the sense of condemnation, but to remove the failure that brings the condemnation!

Quote #8:

“I told my minister friend that I actually do not agree that grace should be a topic in a Bible school’s curriculum.  Grace is not a topic—grace is the gospel…Grace is not a theology.  It is not a subject matter.  It is not a doctrine.  It is a person, and His name is Jesus.”

–Chapter 3, page 24

NOTE:  (Sigh.)  Is this not a self-refuting paragraph?  Is this not a topical & theological book on the doctrine/subject matter of grace?  While there is nothing terrible or wrong with making an association of grace with the person of Christ Jesus, let’s go ahead and make the association of Christ Jesus and the Word made Flesh as well.  You see, studying the Word (even the Old Testament—GASP) actually brings us closer to the person of Jesus.  I suggest that a chief bi-product of this intimacy with the Word made flesh is sound doctrine concerning grace.  I would also suggest that a person who teaches doctrine without acknowledging it as such smells “fishy.”  Sort of like saying, “I am the great and powerful Oz so…ignore the man behind the curtain!” or “Since my doctrine on grace IS Jesus Himself—don’t doubt Jesus by questioning me!”  Nice catch-22.

Quote #9:

“So when they [preachers] see sin, they preach more of the law!  That, my friend, is like adding wood to fire because the strength of sin is the law.  Sin is strengthened when more law is preached!  But the power to have dominion over sin is imparted when more grace is preached!”

Chapter 3, page 26

NOTE:  First, let’s properly understand the context of “the strength of sin is the law” taken from I Corinthians 15:56: “The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law.”

Is this verse in any way implying that the law makes people sin MORE, as the author suggests?   What is this verse saying?

First, let’s look at the first part of the verse: “the sting of death is sin”.  What is this saying?  Simply put, sin makes death painful.  No problem there.  The sting of death is sin.  Sin is the sting of death.  In short, sin stings.

Now the second part:  “…and the strength of sin is the law” or, in other words, “and the strength of [the sting of death] is the law.”  So…the law makes the sting of death, a.k.a. sin, hurt more.

Now, is this in any way saying the law makes people sin more?  No, it is saying the law makes people hurt more because the effect of sin is made apparent in their lives.  No different than spanking a child.  Does spanking a child make the child sin more, even though the scriptures recommend it?  You might make the case that giving a spanking provokes a child to sin (if not properly applied), but the purpose of the spanking is for the child to associate their sin with pain.  No more, no less.  The purpose of the law is the same:  to associate sin with pain.

So, preaching the law may be adding wood to the fire, in the sense that the person living in sin who hears it feels its pain to a greater degree, but the sting of sin must be felt before the salve of grace is applied to any purpose.  The law can be prescribed like pouring alcohol on an open cut:  its purpose is not to stop the pain, it’s to treat the wound.  The law and grace work together and this is a necessary partnership—because the greater problem of sin is not that we FEEL it; it’s that we keep doing it!  Grace is then applied and preached to restore the sinner AFTER the sinner not only escapes the pain of sin (felt more intensely through the law) but flees sin itself!  The law brings necessary pain to the unrepentant; then after repentance, grace converts the sinner and the pain of sin, condemnation, and the sin itself, is fully dealt with and removed from a person’s life!

Quote #10:

“They say that God gives you the gift of righteousness, on the condition that you keep the Ten Commandments for the rest of your life to remain righteous.  Now, is this a real gift?  Come on,  when God gave you the gift of righteousness, it was a real gift.  Stop trying to earn it with your own works.  God’s gifts to us are unconditional!”

                                                                                                                             Chapter 3, page 28

NOTE:  The gift God gave us was “righteousness” itself.  If you sin, you reject the gift.  It is a ridiculous and dishonest proposition to suggest that since we were given the gift of righteousness, we are righteous whether we are righteous or not (See the entire book of I John).  Obviously, God’s gifts ARE conditional in the sense that if He gives us the gift of righteousness, we should BE righteous, and not just assert that the gift means we have an unconditional claim on righteousness.

Quote #11:

“My friend, righteousness is a gift because of what Jesus has accomplished on the cross for you.  All your sins—past, present and future—have been washed clean by His precious blood.  You are completely forgiven and from the moment you received Jesus into your life, you will never be held liable for your sins ever again.”

Chapter 3, pages 28-29

NOTE:  Unconditional forgiveness.  Herein lies the root of error that leads to so many heresies.  All of this quote is true save one important point that makes the difference between a truth and a lie:  righteousness is a gift because of what Jesus accomplished on the cross for you.  All your sins—past and present—have been washed clean by His precious blood, and because of grace you don’t have to have a “FUTURE SINS TO BE FORGIVEN” category!  But if future sins happen, your prescription is not denial, it’s found in I John 1:9.

Quote #12:

“…when believers don’t understand that righteousness is a gift, and that it is about ‘right standing’ and not ‘right doing’, they will depend on their own efforts to earn this gift.”

Chapter 3, page 34

NOTE:  Right standing implies right doing.  The debate, I guess would be, is right standing compatible with wrong doing?  I don’t think that’s the kind of right standing God had in mind.

Quote #13:

“My friend, those who believe that God is sometimes angry with them are still living under the old covenant of the law and not under the new covenant of grace.”

Chapter 4, page 38

NOTE:  So the cross was to convert God the Father from his temper problem against sin?  There are numerous New Testament examples that God still gets mad at both sin and sinners, through Jesus example, through the epistles’ doctrine, and through prophetic warnings of the coming wrath of God.  One only needs to read the book of Revelation to know beyond a shadow of a doubt that God still gets angry; and if one reads Revelation 2-3 in particular, they will see that He still gets angry at church people from time to time, even among those He loves who live prior to the tribulation!

Quote #14:

“Schizophrenic teaching that tells you that God is sometimes angry and sometimes happy with you based on your performance is unscriptural and will make you a schizophrenic believer.  It’s time to get out of confusion and to start seeing your God for who He really is.”

Chapter 4, page 48

NOTE:  There is nothing schizophrenic about experiencing a range of emotions for people you love when they perform well or perform badly.  Evidently, the cross not only converted God from His temper problem it saved Him from being schizophrenic and acted as an anti-depressant for mood swings and anxiety.  Now He has only one emotion all the time (at least while the church is here, then after the rapture He will explode in uncontrollable rage after 2000 + years of happy, happy, happy.)

I realize no one would actually ascribe to believe the above paragraph; however, I’m trying to make the point that we sometimes go too far in our analogies about how happy God is with us that we begin to paint an illusion of the nature of God that is very different from His true Person.

Quote #15:

“Soon after the tragedy of September 11 had taken place, some believers publicly declared that God was judging America because of its sins…Come on, when Christians attribute such events to God’s judgment, terrorists would be the first to say, ‘Amen!  Preach it!’  Can you see that something is amiss when both believers and terrorists agree on the same thing?

Chapter 5, page 49

NOTE:  The devil believes in God and divine judgment, why shouldn’t some of his followers?  Can you also see that something is amiss when believers and secular humanists agree to scoff/belittle/patronize the notion of divine judgment?

Quote #16:

“Thousands of people died [referring to 9/11], and many families, friends and loved ones were thrown into grief.  How can that be the work of our loving Father?  Read the Bible for yourself.  It says that God is ‘not willing that any should perish.’”

Chapter 5, page 49

NOTE:  Reading the Bible is always sound advice…in fact, let’s start by reading the rest of the verse cited above:  “[God is] not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.”  This verse is in II Peter 3:9, which ironically, is a New Testament verse in the middle of a large passage of scripture dedicated to warning believers about divine judgment.  The theme being that in the last days many would scoff at the coming judgment of God, and that if men don’t repent, even though God wills to save, even though God wills that none should perish, men will still perish as part of divine judgment.

The classic argument being that these verses refer to a future judgment exclusively, and that we are in an interim period where God has (please pardon my crude theological paraphrase):  “lovingly decided to stop being judgmental because of the cross (but will have a relapse after the church is gone and judge again in the future).”

Nevertheless, one would be right in saying these verses refer to a future judgment, they do—but not exclusively.  So one must ask the question:  In this “Age of Grace” (or “justice-free Shangri-La” as the Age of Grace is often described), do men still perish?  They do.  Is the command to repent still applicable to us?  It is.  Did God decide to wink at us and ruthlessly judge everyone else by a different standard?  He did not.  In fact, I Peter 4:17-19 tells us that divine judgment not only still applies to us, it begins with us!

Jesus did not die on the cross so the Father would stop being judgmental.  He did not die on the cross to deliver us from consequences to bad behavior.  He died on the cross to provide a way of escape to those who would repent.  Though we repent, if we sin again (as II Peter 2:19-22 tells us) consequences are reinstated.

We cannot have a loving Father and an unjust one at the same time.  A loving Father punishes evil (or refuses to sanction it), to preserve righteousness in His children.  The Bible instructs natural parents to discipline (and punish, if necessary) their children.  Good parents do that.  Hebrews 12:5-29 tells us that God the Father chastens those He loves.  Revelation 3:19 tells us that Jesus rebukes and chastens those He loves.  I Corinthians 5:1-5 tells us that a church was to surrender one of their members to Satan for the destruction of the flesh that his spirit might be saved.  There comes a point when wickedness MUST be judged to preserve righteousness.

One might ask, “how can God be just and merciful at the same time?”  It is simple.  God is just in that He punishes wickedness.  He is merciful in that He forgives and pardons the penitent who turn from their crimes.  If they turn back to their sin, they must renew themselves through true repentance once again.  They are not given a lifetime pass.

Quote #17:

“I have also heard some believers pronouncing, ‘If God does not judge America for all its sins, God has to apologize to Sodom and Gomorrah.’ Well, let me say this with honor and respect: If God judges America today, He has to apologize to Jesus and what He has accomplished on the cross! My friend, God is not judging America (or any country in the world today).”

Chapter 5, page 49

NOTE:  Proverbs 19:28-29 says the following:

“An ungodly witness scorneth judgment:  and the mouth of the wicked devoureth iniquity.  Judgments are prepared for scorners, and stripes for the back of fools.”

Divine judgment is throughout the Old Testament and was a common theme in nearly every book.  That theme was continued through our Lord Jesus in the Gospels when He declared judgment upon men, cities, nations and churches who failed to receive Him.  In fact, Jesus rebuked the religious leaders in Matthew 23:23 for NEGLECTING to teach judgment.  Many of the judgments Christ pronounced took place long after the cross.  The epistles teach and warn concerning divine judgment as well.  Hebrews 6:2 lists “judgment” as a foundational doctrine of Christ, the MILK of the Word for babes!  Yet we arrogantly or presumptuously mock the importance of it and say, “Nah, it doesn’t apply to us!”  FOOLISH!

Quote #18:

“You will never find an example of God punishing a believer for his sins in the new covenant.”

Chapter 5, page 57

NOTE:  Please see the following examples of God punishing believers for their sins in the new covenant:

(1)  Ananias & Saphira—Acts 5:1-14(2)  The Galatian church—Galatians 6:7-8

(3)  The promiscuous church member at Corinth—I Corinthians 5:4-5; II Corinthians 2:6

(4)  Christian brothers who maintain certain sins—I Corinthians 5:9-13

(5)  Hymenaeus & Alexander—I Timothy 1:19-20; II Timothy 4:14

(6)  The younger widows—I Timothy 5:11-15

(7)  Sinning brothers—I Timothy 5:20

(8)  Believers who become lovers of money—I Timothy 6:9-10

(9)  Demas—II Timothy 4:10 (see also Colossians 4:14  & Philemon 24 for confirmation he was not only a believer, but a one-time preacher)

(10)  Huge segments of the seven churches in Asia (Revelation 2-3)

Also note God’s divine judgment illustrated in the death of Herod (Acts 12:23), Elymas the sorcerer being struck with blindness (Acts 13:8-12) and God’s use of civil government to punish evil (Romans 13:1-6).

Quote #19:

“Did Jesus die on the cross to free us from committing sinful actions or harboring sinful thoughts?  If He did, then allow me to conclude with reverence that He failed.  You and I know fully well that we can still be tempted with sinful thoughts and tempted to commit sinful actions, and there will still be times when we fail.”

–Chapter 5, pages 58-59

NOTE:  To be blunt, this is a most inflammatory, heretical & unbelieving statement which is contrary to all the Word of God.  Yet, it is what so many preachers believe without saying it so recklessly.

The simple answer is “YES”; Jesus DID die to not only free us from our sins, but from our iniquities (bent towards sin) as well (Isaiah 53:5).  He didn’t just forgive us for the sins we commit.  His grace delivers us not only from the sins we commit; but from the sin nature that accompanies sin.  II Peter 1:4-10 tells us how we can stay free from sin.  I John 1:8-9 says that if we have fellowship with God but continue to walk in darkness (continue sinning) we lie.  Then it also reveals that we are cleansed and maintain freedom from sin by walking in the light.  We don’t sin as believers when we walk in the light; we sin when we walk away from it.  In which case, we do as I John 1:9 instructs, we repent and get back in the light!

Let me also say that temptation itself is not sin.  Jesus was tempted and remained sinless.  Wrong thoughts or suggestions of the devil don’t become transgressions unless acted upon (James 1:14-15).  Wrong thoughts or suggestions of the devil don’t become iniquities unless brooded about and not cast down (II Corinthians 10:5).

Grace that merely “helps sinners not transgress as much as before” is just cheap.  You don’t need salvation for that, a monastery will suffice.  Grace that not only removes sin, condemnation, & the slavery to keep committing it is the only grace worth having!  Everything else is a cheap counterfeit!  God help our unbelief!!!

Quote #20:

“…I was told that the more I knew, the more God would hold me accountable, and my punishment for falling short of His expectations would be more severe than someone who knew less…I was also taught that the closer I drew to God, the more trials and tribulations I would experience…As I grew in the Lord, He opened my eyes and I realized that the teachings that I had received were not true.”

Chapter 6, pages 61-62

NOTE:  These teachings are not lies—they are common sense.  When a believer matures, more is expected of him (James 3:1); You expect more from adults than babies because part of maturity is taking responsibility (Hebrews 5:11-14)—and yes, the more you mature, the greater trials you will face!  Adults tend to have bigger trials than babies.  This is not a fearful thing though, because adults are equipped to handle it.  The premise here is that teaching these things causes believers to shun intimacy with God for fear of greater expectations upon themselves.  Don’t worry!  If a person chooses to stay a spiritual baby to avoid growth pains they can and will.  Personally, I prefer to grow up and tap into the destiny that God has for me.  I want God to trust me to rise to His expectations because of His grace and my partnership with Jesus Christ.

Quote #21:

“You see, faith does not come by simply hearing the word of God because the word of God would encompass everything in the Bible, including the law of Moses.  There is no impartation of faith when you hear the Ten Commandments preached.  Faith only comes by hearing the word of Christ…Only when Christ is preached will faith be imparted.”

Chapter 7, page 75

NOTE:  The complexities of doctrinal confusion in this statement are so vast it is difficult to give a simple refutation.  Nevertheless, it raises some important questions for Pastor Prince:

(1)  How is “the Word of God” out of harmony with “the Word of Christ” in your estimation that makes it necessary to make this distinction?

(2)  Since the Word of God encompasses everything in the Bible, but the Word of Christ does not, which words belong to Christ, and which do not?

(3)  If the law of Moses is God-inspired, why is it not Christ-inspired as well?  Is there strife in the Godhead, or did Jesus convert the Father/Holy Spirit at the cross?

(4)  Why do only the words of Christ produce faith, but not the words of the Father or the Holy Spirit?

(5)  If the law of Moses came from God, but didn’t produce faith in them that heard it, why did so many people try to obey something they had no capacity to believe?

(6)  If the law of Moses doesn’t produce faith, why did Israel experience so many revivals when it was taught to the people (II Kings 22-23; Nehemiah 8-10)?

(7) If the Ten Commandments don’t produce faith, why has our nation sunk further into spiritual darkness since we’ve removed it from our schools, courthouses and public places?

In summary, splitting hairs between “Word of God” verses “Word of Christ” is absurd since Jesus was called “the Word made Flesh (John 1:14)”  and was in the beginning WITH God AS God called “The Word of God (John 1:1).”  Nothing that Christ ever said is out of harmony with the Father or the Holy Spirit, because they are one (I John 5:7).   All of the Word of God contains and produces faith, not just words pertaining directly to Christ Himself (see Hebrews 11:3 & Romans 4:17 for examples).  All scripture is given by inspiration of God, is considered the inerrant Word of God and is necessary for edification of the believer (II Timothy 3:16-17; II Peter 1:19-21).  No scripture is subject to private interpretation, nor is it wise to sift through scripture saying, “this is the word of Christ—this is not.”  Hebrews chapter 11 lists many who are referred to as “heroes of faith” who knew no distinction between “word of God” verses “word of Christ”, yet received faith from God’s Word anyway. 

Just for clarification, it is right and proper to teach and preach based on a revelation of Christ (like Paul did, Galatians 1:11-12) and hearing the Word of God/Word of Christ IS the method that faith comes.  However, a revelation of Christ—or an understanding of the words of Christ—are not limited to a hand-picked selection of New Testament verses.  The Word of Christ encompasses all of the Bible and INCLUDES THE LAW OF MOSES!

Quote #22:

“I now know beyond a shadow of a doubt that a Christian cannot commit the unpardonable sin.”

Chapter 8, page 90

NOTE:  Here are several sample scriptures that are examples of how eternal life can be lost and that the saved die again when they commit sin

Genesis 2:17; Exodus 32:32-33; Leviticus 18:24-30; 26:13-39; Numbers 25:1-8; Deuteronomy 4:23-31; Joshua 7:, 10-12; Judges 2:1-23; I Kings 14:22; II Kings 17:1-17; II Chronicles 36; Isaiah 5:24-25; Jeremiah 2:5-37;  Lamentations 1:8-9; Ezekiel 13:1-23; Hebrews 12:28-29; Psalm 69:28; Revelation 3:5; Matthew 7:21; I John 4:8, 12, 16, 21; Galatians 1:6-8; Mark 11:25-26; I Corinthians 3:16-17; Luke 8:13; John 6:66; II Corinthians 5:17; Romans 11:16; Acts 1:20, 25; Colossians 2:8-19; Jude 12-13; II Timothy 3:8; Titus 1:16; Philippians 3:7-14; I Thessalonians 3:8; James 5:19-20; & II Peter 1:4-10.

Here are several other sample scriptures that reveal eternal life is not an eternal possession now and will not be until the end of a life of holiness:

Hebrews 6:4-6; 10:26-29; Mark 16:15; Matthew 12:31-32; Acts 5:3, 32; 7:51; I Corinthians 3:16-17; Mark 10:29-30; Luke 18:29-30; Matthew 19:28-29; Romans 2:7; Romans 6:21-23; Romans 5:21; Galatians 6:7-8; I Timothy 1:16; I Timothy 4:8; I Timothy 6:12, 19; Titus 1:2; 3:7; I Peter 1:5, 9, 13; 3:7; I John 2:25; Jude 20-24; Daniel 12:2; John 5:28; Matthew 25:46; Matthew 7:13-14; etc.

Here are several more plain scriptures that demonstrate men have to continue to the end to be saved:

Matthew 10:22; Romans 6:21-23; Hebrews 3:6, 12-14; 6:11-12; I Peter 1:5, 9, 13; Revelation 2:7, 11, 17, 26; 3:5, 12, 21; Hebrews 10:23, 35-39; Mark 10:29-30; Luke 18:29-30; Matthew 19:28-29; Romans 2:7; Romans 6:21-23; Romans 5:21; Galatians 6:7-8; I Timothy 1:16; I Timothy 4:8; I Timothy 6:12, 19; Titus 1:2; 3:7; I Peter 1:5, 9, 13; 3:7; I John 2:25; Jude 20-24; Daniel 12:2; John 5:28; Matthew 25:46; & Matthew 7:13-14.

Here are several scriptures concerning faith and faithfulness to the end to be saved:

Acts 14:22; Romans 1:5; 16:26; Romans 1:17; Galatians 3:11; Hebrews 10:38-39; Romans 3:3; Romans 11:20-24; I Corinthians 16:13; II Corinthians 1:24; Ephesians 3:17; Colossians 1:23: I Timothy 1:19; 4:1; II Timothy 3:8; Hebrews 3:6, 12-14; 4:11; 6:11-12; 10:23-39; I Peter 1:5, 9, 13.

Here are several scriptures about saved men falling into sin and becoming lost:

Luke 8:13; Romans 11:11-24; I Corinthians 10:13; I Timothy 3:6; 6:9-10; Hebrews 6:4-6, 11; II Peter 3:17; Galatians 5:4; Romans 14:4; Jude 20-24; Romans 11:22; Acts 1:25; II Thessalonians 2:3; & Revelation 2:5-6.

Quote #23:

“A believer has already received the gift of eternal life and will never be “subject to eternal condemnation.”

Chapter 8, page 92

NOTE:  See scriptures from previous quote.  Particularly the scriptures that reveal eternal life is not an eternal possession now.

Quote #24:

“…some of the words which Jesus spoke in the four gospels…are part of the old covenant.  They were spoken before the cross as He had not yet died.  The new covenant only beginsafter the cross, when the Holy Spirit was given on the day of Pentecost.”

Chapter 8, page 92

NOTE:  (Sigh).  The gospels are the foundation for the new covenant; not merely the capstone for the old.  Jesus didn’t come to earth to teach us about the old covenant.  He certainly didn’t prep His disciples, “Guys, I want you to record the things I say and do and then ignore it because after I’m gone—none of it applies to you anyway.  A man named Paul will come who will teach you what to believe about me.  For now, I want it to be a surprise, so just keep bumbling around like idiots until I’m long gone.”

None of the gospels were written so Jesus could propagate the old covenant!  The gospel of Matthew could probably be considered the most “Old Testament” of the four gospels because it was written to Jews; and yet, the subject of Matthew from the first chapter until the last is the kingdom of heaven (of which the church is a part).  Everything about this gospel is revolutionary, and was written to convert Jews to Christianity.  Why would this gospel be used to evangelize if it was merely an extension of the Old Testament?  It wouldn’t.

The gospel of Mark and Luke were written to evangelize Romans and Greeks.  Why would they need Old Testament teachings of Jesus?  I thought evangelizing Gentile nations was a mark of the new covenant, not the old!

For Pete’s sake, the gospel of John was written to the church!

Now Jesus DID say that there were things He could not teach them yet because they were not ready to bear it; however, John 14:26 said that one of the jobs of the Holy Spirit when He comes is: “TO REMIND THE DISCIPLES WHAT JESUS TAUGHT! “  We all need that reminder.

Quote #25:

“Not everything that Jesus said was spoken to the church.  Paul’s letters were written to the church and are thus for our benefit today.  God raised him up to write the words of the ascended Jesus…That is why, when it comes to reading the Bible, I always encourage new believers in our church to begin with the letters of Paul.  (Many new believers like to start with the book of Revelation or Genesis, without first getting a foundation in the gospel of grace through reading the letters of Paul.)”

Chapter 8, page 94

NOTE:  If Paul had all the post-cross doctrine and revelation we need, why would the church need Jesus’ pre-cross teaching?  Why did Paul say we have the “mind of Christ” if all we need is the “mind of Paul?”

The answer is:  our salvation starts with Jesus, not Paul (See I Corinthians 1:13).  Our doctrine starts with Jesus, not Paul.  Our chief example of compassion, ministry, authority and power is Jesus Himself—not Paul.  Paul’s ministry began with a revelation of Jesus, not Paul coming to self-actualization.  Christ showed us how we can live through His own example.  He taught us what to believe through His own words.  When Pentecost came, a foundation of the Word in new covenant terms through the Word made Flesh was already laid.  The disciples didn’t have to make up their own doctrines after Jesus left!  They taught the good NEWS—that is, what Christ Himself had ALREADY revealed to them!

Jesus didn’t die to save His own doctrine (or the plethora of other things in this book that are wrongfully attributed to the cross)!  He’s the same yesterday, today, & forever!

Quote #26:

“Listen carefully:  We don’t have to confess our sins in order to be forgiven.  We confess our sins because we are already forgiven…I’m talking about being open with God…So confession in the new covenant is just being honest about your failures and your humanity.  It is the result of being forgiven and not something you do in order to be forgiven.”

Chapter 9, page 104

NOTE:  There is no scriptural basis for this statement anywhere and there are literally hundreds of verses to the contrary.  The term “confession” is linked to the idea of repentance, and there is no example in scripture where we are told repentance is “about being open with God” and is not necessary for forgiveness.  This statement is just another way to substantiate an already bogus doctrine that misunderstands the work of the cross.

Quote #27:

“I took I John 1:9 to the limit and it nearly drove me insane.  But what does I John 1:9 really say and to whom was it actually written?…People have actually taken this verse and built a whole doctrine around it when in actually, chapter 1 of I John was written to the Gnostics, who were unbelievers.”

Chapter 9, page 106

NOTE:  The book of I John was written as one single, cohesive letter given to one primary audience.  It is cohesive and thematic throughout and to separate the first chapter from the rest of the book as having a different audience is either dishonest, willfully ignorant or naïve at best.

So the question arises, to whom was the letter written?  If the first chapter was written to the Gnostics, then the whole book was written to Gnostics.  If the first chapter was written to the Gnostics, and then beginning in chapter two it was written to the church (as Pastor Prince later suggests), then why is chapter one included in the same letter, particularly if his letter contained no original chapter divisions, and again if it was not intended for the audience of chapter two and forward?

(I think the reason Pastor Prince insists that the first chapter only is written to Gnostics, is because the rest of the letter is indisputably written to a local assembly of Christian believers that were intimately connected with the apostle John because of the frequent usage of the phrase “my little children” that begins in the opening of chapter two.)

It makes no sense for John to write a letter to Gnostics in the opening and then the church later on.  That would be like my father, Pastor Larry, writing a letter to a church that belongs to one of his spiritual sons in the ministry, and including in the opening paragraph an address exclusively for Mormons.

If Christians are to ignore the first chapter because it doesn’t apply to them, why did John open with it?  If it was necessary to address the local Gnostics, why didn’t John put it on the end of the book, and give a disclaimer:  “Oh yeah, will you send this SEPARATE note to the Gnostics, and remember, YOU don’t need to confess your sins, if you do, you aren’t believing in the finished work of the cross!”

Perhaps Pastor Prince meant that the Gnostics addressed in the first chapter were part of the same congregation/audience—odd, but perhaps.  But if that was the case, why didn’t John single them out, like Paul did in many of his letters, when he was addressing specific people or referring to a particular group of people within a church body?

Regardless, the evidence is overwhelming that the book of I John fits together beautifully and flows perfectly without having to switch audiences after the introductory comments of the first chapter.

Quote #28:

“If you really believe that you need to confess all your sins to be forgiven, do you know what you would be doing?  You would be confessing your sins ALL THE TIME!

Chapter 9, page 107

NOTE:  This statement just comes down to a misunderstanding of confession of sins.  I will explain in a couple points:

(1)  As previously mentioned, confession of sins is inextricably linked to the act of repentance (which is an inward and outward turn from sin).  Now, if your definition of grace is, “the power to continue to sin (less often) but free of the associative feelings of condemnation”, then yes, you would be confessing all the time because your faith is set on needing perpetual bailout from God.  BUT, if your definition of grace, at least in part, is “the power to stop sinning,” then no, you would not be confessing all the time because the power of grace keeps you from perpetual sin, setting you free from not only your transgressions, but your iniquities (habitual sins, and inclinations toward sin)!

(2)  Secondly, confession is more than parroting words.  It is also more than a ritualistic recitation of sin.  Confession, in the Greek is the word “homologeo” and it means more than a recitation of words.  It could be described as entering a covenant or binding agreement with God to renounce sin—aligning your thinking, believing, convictions and viewpoints with God Himself—talking the same language!  When you see confession as strictly lip service to repentance, you miss the point and power of confession.  When you see confession as a covenant with God to cease from sin and be aligned together with Him against sin, then you understand confession not only deals with the act of sin, it deals with the propensity to sin as well.

(I recommend you see the Strong’s Concordance and the Greek word studies of Rick Renner for a better understanding of confession).

Quote #29:

“Let’s not build a whole doctrine on one verse.  If confession of sins is vital for your forgiveness, then Apostle Paul, who wrote two-thirds of the New Testament, has done us a great injustice because he did not mention it even once—not once—in any of his letters to the church.”

Chapter 9, page 107

NOTE: First, we dismissed the Old Testament as relevant for doctrine; then we dismissed Jesus and the gospels as relevant for doctrine; now we dismiss the relevancy of John on the simple grounds that John is NOT Paul, the apostle of grace.  At this rate, we can eventually dismiss the whole Bible because we spend so much time disqualifying its relevancy of application from one portion to another, we might as well join the Mormon church!

Do we believe the Bible is the inspired Word of God or don’t we?  Do we believe the books of the Bible are flawless and in perfect harmony together or don’t we?  Then let us STOP suggesting that the vast majority of the Bible, including the gospels and other New Testament writers, are out of step with the Pauline revelation!

But for the sake of clarity, Paul taught the same doctrine as Jesus and John.  When we talk about confession of sins, we are talking about repentance.  This is not a separate and unusual doctrine that Paul omitted because it wasn’t relevant.  Paul taught and demonstrated the doctrine of repentance throughout his letters and the Book of Acts.  He referred to the doctrine of repentance as foundational doctrine for believers.  He categorized it as “milk”, as “elementary”, as “first principle” (see Hebrews 5:11-6:1).  There are plenty of both Old and New Testament verses that confirm the clear link between confession of sin and repentance.

On the same token, if confession of sins is NOT vital for forgiveness, then Apostle Paul, who wrote two-thirds of the New Testament, has done us a great injustice because he did not mention it even once—not once—in any of his letters to the church!  Of course, for him to do so, would have been contrary to all other scripture, and therefore, uninspired by God.

Quote #30:

“When there were people in the Corinthian church living in sin, he [Paul] did not say, ‘Go and confess your sins.’  Instead, he reminded them of their righteousness, saying, ‘Do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you?’  Notice that in spite of their sins, Paul still considered them temples of the Holy Spirit and he reminded them of this truth.”

Chapter 9, page 107

NOTE: Paul was not reminding them of their righteousness—they weren’t (Is this hard?).  He was reminding them of their purpose.  He was reminding them they were made to actually be righteous.

Quote #31:

“When we understand this verse [I John 1:7], we realize that even when we sin, we sin in the realm of light!  So, if we sin in the light, we are cleansed in the light, and we are kept in the light.  This idea of us going into darkness when we sin is not from the Bible.”

Chapter 9, page 108

NOTE:  The idea of us going into darkness when we sin CAME FROM THE BIBLE!

Let’s read the aforementioned passages together (including the skipped over verse 8):

“But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin.  If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.  If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”—I John 1:7-9

It says, “if we walk in the light as He is in the light…”  This means walking in the light AS CHRIST WALKS in the light.  Does Christ walk in sin in the light?  I don’t think so!  What are these verses saying?  When you walk in the light, you are cleansed by the blood of Jesus!  If you have not dealt with sin because you deny its presence (or a false grace teacher tells you to ignore it), you are self-deceived.  However, if and when you do sin, you are cleansed through confessing it (a.k.a.—repentance).

Quote #32:

“Did you know that even the word “cleanses” in I John 1:7 is really beautiful?  In the Greek, the tense for the word “cleanse” denotes a present and continuous action, which means that from the moment you receive Christ, the blood of Jesus keeps on cleansing you.  It is as if you are under a waterfall of His forgiveness.  Even when you fail, this waterfall never stops.  It keeps on keeping on, cleansing you from ALL your sins and unrighteousness.”

Chapter 9, pages 108-109

NOTE: Admittedly, I am no expert on Greek—especially Greek verb tenses.  However, I have no problem with the idea of the blood of Jesus providing perpetual cleansing.  I would even tend to agree with Joseph Prince that the cleansing in verse 7 is different from the cleansing in verse 9.  The problem lies in the notion that being perpetually cleansed means perpetually sinning.  I’m not sure “waterfall of perpetual forgiveness” is how I would describe this verse’s meaning either.

The best way I could describe the different types of cleansing here is: one type of cleansing is for falling into sin; the other type of cleansing is for staying free from sin.  Even though I believe through the power of grace I can stop sinning, I still live in a world corrupted through sin—and I need the blood of Jesus to keep me from falling.  I need to keep my mind renewed by the washing of the Word; I need to fellowship with God through prayer; I need to fellowship with people of like-faith; etc. etc.  We are cleansed people who for the time being, live in a very dirty environment that permeates all of the five senses.  We need the blood of Jesus to keep the filth out of our hearts and minds.  This doesn’t make us sinners; it just means we need spiritual maintenance.

Quote #33:

“In I John 2:1, John addressed the believers as ‘My little children’…and went on to say, ‘These things I write to you, so that you may not sin.  And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ.’  Notice that John did not tell the believers, ‘If anyone sins, make sure that he confesses his sins.’  No, his solution for a believer who sins is to point him to the finished work of Jesus.”

NOTE:  This is misleading.  Notice our Advocate is a Person, not an event.  Also note that Jesus did not die on a cross to save us from the act of repentance.

Quote #34:

“Did the cross make a difference or not?  Jesus Christ has already delivered all believers from the covenant of law which condemns.”

Chapter 10, page 117

NOTE: Jesus Christ did not die on the cross to save us from the Old Testament that God Himself authored.

Quote #35:

“For generations, the church has believed that by preaching the Ten Commandments, we will produce holiness.  When we see sin on the increase, we start to preach more of the law.  But the Word of God actually says that “the strength of sin is the law.”  It also says that “sin shall not have dominion over you, for you are not under law but under grace”.  So the power for the church to overcome sin is actually found in being under grace and not in reinforcing the law.  Preaching more of the law to counteract sin is like adding wood to the fire!”

Chapter 10, page 121

NOTE: Chapter ten is actually the best chapter so far at describing the differences between “law” and “grace”; however, many of the inferences concerning the law are not accurate.

Sample false inference:   “Since the law of Moses was referred to in II Corinthians 3:7-9 as the ministry of death and condemnation, THEN teaching the law will bring people into bondage, make them sin more, etc.”

A few additional points about the law (see my comments under quote #1 & quote #9):

(1)  While the law of Moses is no longer in force, the laws of the kingdom ARE IN FORCE! In addition, virtually ALL of the moral law of the Old Testament is included in the new covenant (with the exception of keeping the Sabbath which was ceremonial law—but even in the case of the Sabbath, the spiritual and moral principles behind keeping the Sabbath are still passed on in the new covenant).  Actually, in the New Testament we are given 1050 commands for New Testament Christians to obey!  (See Dake study Bible, under heading “New Testament Commands for complete list).  Therefore, it is a misunderstanding of the covenant of grace to believe the teaching of “law” brings bondage and causes us to sin more.

(2)  There is a vast difference between not being “under the law” and being “without the law”.  Being under grace does not mean we are exempt from obeying laws.  It means we are not under penalty of the law because grace enables us to KEEP the law!

It is not presumption to believe we can keep the laws God gave us.  It is presumption to believe God gave us laws we could not fulfill since He gave us His grace to fulfill them!

(3)  Even though the law of Moses is obsolete because a new contract has been written, the law is still used to convert the sinner before grace is extended!

  • Consider the words of Jesus to the Pharisees in John 9:39:  “…I am come into this world, that they which see not might see; and that they which see might be made blind.”  Why did Jesus add that last part about making those who see blind first?—Because if a man will not recognize his own blindness; he cannot be made to see.  The law is that which God uses to kill before new life can come!  (Also see Galatians 2:19)
  • Consider I Peter 5:5b:  “God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble.”  So if God Himself REFUSES to give the gospel/good news of grace to everyone; but ONLY gives grace to the humble, what does that mean?  It means that if pride is in your heart, God will not reveal His grace to you until you are made humble first!  What tool then does God use to humble the proud to find grace and repentance?  THE LAW!
  • Consider these quotes:
    • “The true function of the law is to accuse and kill; but the function of the gospel is to make alive.”—Martin Luther
    • “Although the law serves as a guide to genuine believers, its primary function is to kill and destroy self-righteousness.  All hope in our good works must be put to death if we are ever to depend on Jesus, who alone can bring life.  The law brings that necessary death.”—Kirk Cameron (even the guy from “Growing Pains” gets this!)  J
    • “The unsaved are in no condition today for the Gospel till the Law be applied to their hearts, for ‘by the Law is the knowledge of sin.’  It is a waste of time to sow seed on ground that has never been ploughed or spaded!  To present the vicarious sacrifice of Christ to those whose dominant passion is to take fill of sin is to give that which is holy to the dogs.”—A.W. Pink
    • “He that sows without a plow will reap without a sickle.  He who preaches the gospel without preaching the Law may hold all the results of it in his hand, and there will be little for him to hold.”—Charles Spurgeon
    • “You must preach the Law, for the gospel is a silken thread, and you cannot get it into the hearts of men unless you have made a way for it with a sharp needle; the sharp needle of the Law will pull the silken thread of the gospel after it.”—Robbie Flockhart

(4)  Knowing the law of the Lord (a.k.a. the Bible) helps us grow in our relationship with God and have better discernment for the spiritual battles we face.  As Paul told us in II Timothy 4:3 concerning the last days, “the time would come when men would not endure sound doctrine.”  Since one of the greatest tools of Satan in the last days will be deceiving people away from sound doctrine, can we not see the dangers of ignoring HUGE portions of the scripture because they talk about laws?  This is NOT studying to show ourselves approved (II Timothy 2:15)!  Must we continue to insist that people who stick with the scriptures for doctrine are “legalists”?  To quote a frequently used phrase from Pastor Prince, “Come on!”  Can we really better keep the spirit of the law by ignoring the letter altogether?

If David could wax eloquent in the Psalms about loving the law of the Lord, keeping His commandments, meditating on them day and night, etc.  Why can’t we love God’s laws too—ESPECIALLY in the age of grace!

(5)  II Timothy 3:15-17

  • The source of equipment for all end-time believers is the entire Bible
  • All scripture is given
    • Either the whole Bible is the Word of God, or the whole Bible is wrongWe cannot pick and choose and say that the writers of certain passages missed God, while the writers of other passages were right on!  That’s arrogance, deception, and frustrates the spirit of Grace!
    • The whole Bible is flawless in context and in perfect harmony, there are no contradictions, only misconceptions; it takes a man who doesn’t know the Holy Spirit to confuse something so simple and so direct!
  • By inspiration of Godevery book in the Bible was planned and directed of God
  • Profitable for doctrine—all Scripture interprets and supports all other scripture; there are no scriptures that are contradictory, only misinterpreted; all scripture forms the basis of our belief system; all scripture may be used to convince men of truth
  • Profitable for reproof—all scripture provides evidence of truth
  • Profitable for correction—all scripture exposes deception and wickedness, as well as lays out consequences and guides to righteousness
  • Profitable for instruction in righteousnessall scripture provides a guide for daily Christian living
  • Completion of the man of God—all scripture in proper application brings us to perfection
  • Full equipment for every good work—all scripture and its understanding will produce demonstrations of the spirit and of power

Enough said.

Quote #36:

“When dealing with any problem in life, we want to get to its root…The world has found that many sicknesses and diseases are linked to a root called stress…The world has also identified fear as the root cause of stress…The Lord showed me a root that was deeper than stress and fear…The Lord showed me that the deepest root is condemnation.”

Chapter 11, pages 129-131

The Bible teaches that there is an even DEEPER root than that!  For after all, what causes condemnation?  SIN!!!

            To quote something I heard my dad once say, “Condemnation is the ‘stink’ of sin.”

Ignoring the sin-problem to focus on the condemnation-problem is like spraying Febreeze instead of taking out the trash!

I don’t mean to belittle the problem of condemnation; but let’s examine the source of it as well.

Is condemnation a real problem in the church?  You bet it is!  I’ll tell you why in a nutshell:  cheap grace & ineffective altar calls.

Consider this quote taken from a theology textbook I researched at a local university:

“One of the most important changes in Evangelical life in the 20th century has been the consistent loss of the centrality of the experience of repentance.  Perhaps this is a point at which evangelicals have been influenced by the liberal tendency to downplay sinfulness and to emphasize the positive aspects of human ability, but 20th century evangelicals have tended to press unconverted persons to an immediate experience of conversion, in which there is little or no room for the extended period of repentance that characterized earlier evangelicalism.  Some evangelicals, concerned with the contemporary renewal of interest in Christian spirituality, have lamented the loss of the place of repentance in the way of salvation and have worked to restore a balanced understanding of repentance as significant to evangelical life.”

Christian Confessions by Ted Campbell, p. 230

In short, we’ve minimized the importance of repentance in our evangelistic efforts and are reaping the consequences from that negligence.  Our churches are full of people who struggle with condemnation primarily because our churches are full of people who struggle with sin.  Faith without repentance is nothing more than mental ascent—and mental ascent will leave you in a condemned state.

So how does one deal with the problem of condemnation?  It’s found in II Corinthians 7:9-11:

“Now I rejoice, not that you were made sorry, but that your sorrow led to repentance. For you were made sorry in a godly manner, that you might suffer loss from us in nothing.  For godly sorrow produces repentance leading to salvation, not to be regretted; but the sorrow of the world produces death. For observe this very thing, that you sorrowed in a godly manner: What diligence it produced in you, what clearing of yourselves, what indignation, what fear, what vehement desire, what zeal, what vindication! In all things you proved yourselves to be clear in this matter.”

           These verses are powerful!  They tell us two very important things:

(1) Godly sorrow leading to repentance is the antidote to condemnation!

(2) Conversely, rejection of godly sorrow is a major factor in why people lose their passion for God!  Which incidentally, rejection of godly sorrow is also a major factor in why people turn away from sound doctrine and run to “itching ear” preachers!

Quote #37:

“An evil conscience is one that is perpetually conscious of sin and failure, and typically expects punishment.  It is a conscience that is under condemnation.”

Chapter 11, page 132

NOTE:  An evil conscience is one that ceases to work, failing to recognize sin as evil, having been seared!  See the following scriptures that bring clarity to a good conscience versus an evil conscience: 

A good conscience:  Acts 24:16; II Corinthians 1:12; Romans 9:1; I Timothy 1:5; Hebrews 13:18; I Peter 3:16

A bad conscience:  I Timothy 1:19; I Timothy 4:2; Titus 1:15

Quote #38:

“ ‘But Pastor Prince, how can I differentiate between the Holy Spirit convicting me of sin and the accuser hurling condemnation at me?’…The bottom line is that the Holy Spirit never convicts you [a believer] of your sins…I challenge you to find a scripture in the Bible that tells you that the Holy Spirit has come to convict you of your sins.  You won’t find any!  The body of Christ is living in defeat because many believers don’t understand that the Holy Spirit is actually in them to convict them of their righteousness in Christ.  Even when you fail…”

Chapter 11, pages 134-135

NOTE:   Numerous scriptures bring clarity to the fact that the Holy Spirit, DOES IN FACT convict us of our sins and this is not the same thing as receiving accusations from the “Accuser of the Brethren.”  Consider the following:

(1)  The simple difference between the Holy Spirit convicting us of sin and the Accuser of the Brethren accusing us of sin is this:  The Holy Spirit is telling the truth and the devil is lying!  When conviction of the Holy Spirit comes, it is for the purpose of being liberated from sin and condemnation through repentance; when the Accuser comes, it is for the purpose of slandering the innocent.  So, simple rule of thumb:  if you have sin in your life, the devil has no need to slander you.  If you don’t, the devil has EVERY reason to slander and accuse you!

(2)  The Holy Spirit CLEARLY convicts us of sin for the following reasons:

  • Both the Father (Hebrews 12:5-9) and Jesus (Revelation 3:19) convict us of sin and the Holy Spirit is a witness for both of them (John 15:26).
  • The scriptures themselves convict us of sin (Hebrews 4:12-13) and the Holy Spirit teaches us the Word of God (John 14:26).
  • Believers are instructed by Jesus to carry out church discipline and a sinning member is “convicted” by two or three witnesses (Matthew 18:15-17).  If it’s appropriate for church people to do these things, then how much MORE appropriate is it when God Himself does it through the Holy Spirit?
  • Apostle Paul, by inspiration of the Holy Ghost (II Peter 1:21), instructed both Timothy (II Timothy 4:2) and Titus (Titus 1:13 & 2:15) to confront, rebuke, correct, and convince rebel church members of sin and false doctrine; therefore, if it is appropriate for conviction of sin to come through man by inspiration of the Holy Spirit, then conviction of sin is a work of the Holy Spirit
  • The human conscience is where conviction of sin takes place (John 8:9; Romans 2:15; etc.) and the Holy Spirit speaks to man through his conscience (Romans 9:1; I John 2:20); therefore, when man needs to repent, conviction of the Holy Spirit takes place
  • The Bible plainly states that the Holy Spirit convicts us of sin (John 16:8-11—Please see my notes under the next point for further clarity on these verses)

(3)  It is true—a work of the Holy Spirit is to convict us of our righteousness in Christ; it is not true however, that the Holy Spirit convicts us of how righteous we are WHEN WE SIN!   He may convict us of our PURPOSE for righteousness and our POTENTIAL for righteousness; but He is the Spirit of Truth and will not flatter us into a false sense of righteousness.

Quote #39:

“When He [Jesus] said that the Holy Spirit would come to ‘convict the world of sin’ [John 16:8]because they do not believe in Him, it is clear that He was referring to unbelievers because they are of ‘the world.’  And notice that the Holy Spirit does not convict the world of ‘sins’ (plural).  It is only one ‘sin’ (singular) that the Holy Spirit convicts the world of, and that is the sin of unbelief, the sin of rejecting Jesus and not believing in His finished work…So the Holy Spirit is present to convict unbelievers of that one sin of unbelief…”

Chapter 11, pages 136-137

NOTE:  Let’s look at John 16:8-11:

“And when He [the Holy Spirit] has come, He will convict the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment:  of sin, because they do not believe in Me; of righteousness, because I go to My Father and you see Me no more; of judgment, because the ruler of this world is judged.”

Note the following points:

(1)The “world” does not and CANNOT refer exclusively to unbelievers in this statement and CAN ONLY refer to all men/all mankind for the following reasons:

  • Though the term “the world” can be used to refer to the world system characterized in unbelievers (I John 2:15), the term “the world” is used in other scriptures to signify all mankind (see John 3:16).
  • “Conviction of sin”, “conviction of righteousness” and “conviction of judgment” are three separate categories of conviction directed at ONE audience:  “the world.”  Why would the Holy Spirit EXCLUSIVELY convict unbelievers of sin, righteousness and judgment—and leave the believers “un-convicted” in these areas?  On the same token, why would the Holy Spirit EXCLUSIVELY convict believers of sin, righteousness and judgment—and leave UNbelievers UNconvicted and UNevangelized.  The only logical and biblically-consistent conclusion is that the world refers to all mankind.
  • Both believers and unbelievers experience conviction by the Holy Spirit in all three areas.
  • The term “the world” is used to give distinction to the idea that conviction of the Holy Spirit is for ALL men (Gentiles included), and not just an exclusively Jewish audience.

(2)  This verse is not implying the Holy Spirit convicts the world of one sin ONLY—as Pastor Prince puts it, “the sin of rejecting Jesus and not believing in His finished work.”  A believer/unbeliever can experience conviction from ANY and ALL sin—so what does this mean? 

The term “sin” is singular because it is ONE category that includes a MILLION-BILLION things!  This verse is not saying the only sin (or the only sin that matters) that the Holy Spirit convicts us of is the sin of not believing in Jesus!  It is saying all sin is ROOTED in unbelief.  The Holy Spirit convicts the world of sin “BECAUSE they do not believe in Me”.  In other words, it is not saying the Holy Spirit convicts us of the sin of unbelief and rejecting Jesus (though technically true); it is saying the Holy Spirit convicts us of sin BECAUSE of unbelief and rejecting Jesus!

Quote #40:

“If the Holy Spirit never convicts you the believer of your sins, then what does He convict you of?  Jesus says that the Holy Spirit convicts you “of righteousness, because I go to My Father and you see Me no more”.  Now who is Jesus talking about here?  Believers or unbelievers?  Clearly, with the use of the second person pronoun “you”, Jesus was referring to believers.  The Holy Spirit was sent to convict believers of righteousness.”

Chapter 11, page 137

NOTE:  Jesus is talking about believers AND unbelievers, as explained in the previous point.  The use of the second person pronoun “you” simply means “you the audience” are included in “the world” to whom the Holy Spirit convicts.

The Holy Spirit convicts both believers and unbelievers alike of sin (wrong-doing based in unbelief) and righteousness (right doing, right living, the vanity of man’s righteousness apart from God, Christ our Righteousness, etc.)  Jesus did not change audiences mid-sentence.

Quote #41:

“Today, there are some believers who believe that the Holy Spirit is in them to convict them not just of their sins, but also of God’s anger and judgment toward them.  This is just not true either…When Jesus said [John 16:11], ‘of judgment, because the ruler of this world is judged,’ who was He referring to?  Believers or unbelievers?  The answer is neither.  He was referring to ‘the ruler of this world’, as plainly stated in the verse.”

Chapter 11, page 143

NOTE:  The conviction of judgment is still addressed to “the world” (verse 8), not Satan.  (See notes on Quotes #39-40).  The context of the verse is not “the world is convicted that Satan is judged” either (though that may be part of it).  Again, the verse is saying the Holy Spirit convicts the world of judgment BECAUSE Satan is judged!  In other words, since Satan is judged, we must be convicted of judgment to not share his fate!

Quote #42:

“The accuser is an astute legal prosecutor who will not hesitate to use the Ten Commandments to condemn you.  That’s why the Word of God declares that the Ten Commandments are not just ‘the ministry of death,’ they are also ‘the ministry of condemnation [II Corinthians 3:7, 9]’…That’s why Apostle Paul said that the ‘commandment, which was to bring life, I found to bring death.  For sin, taking occasion by the commandment, deceived me, and by it killed me[Romans 7:10-11].’  Notice that sin ‘by the commandment’ deceived him and killed him.  What that means is that when Paul came under the old covenant of law, he too came under the ministry of death and condemnation.  The law always ministers condemnation.”

Chapter 12, page 145

NOTE:  With regards to the “accuser” condemning us with the Ten Commandments:

Let’s remember that the very nature of “the Accuser of the Brethren” is as a liar, one who slanders the innocent, not rightly condemns the guilty…and yes, Satan is an expert at twisting the Word of God into a weapon of deception (see Garden of Eden & Jesus in the Wilderness).

With regards to the Ten Commandments as a “ministry of death and condemnation”:

Let’s look at II Corinthians 3:7-9 for context:

“But if the ministry of death, written and engraved on stones, was glorious, so that the children of Israel could not look steadily at the face of Moses because the glory of his countenance, which glory was passing away, how will the ministry of the Spirit not be more glorious?  For if the ministry of condemnation had glory, the ministry of righteousness exceeds much more in glory.”

Notice these verses are contrasting covenants in the Old and New Testaments.  This is not a text that is critiquing the law as a tool of Satan for making us feel bad for sin.  In fact, BOTH covenants are referred to as “glorious”, and when the old covenant is referred to as “the ministry of death” and “the ministry of condemnation”, it is comparatively speaking.

However, the law certainly IS a ministry of death and condemnation to those who rebel against God (see Hebrews 3:7-19)—and this is JUST and RIGHT!  For if man will not receive the Word of God by faith and trust in Him, he will be condemned by the lawregardless of which covenant you live under!

Notice the characteristics of those who received the law as a ministry of death and condemnation as they are described a few verses later in II Corinthians 3:14-16 from the Amplified version:

“In fact, their minds were grown hard and calloused [they had become dull and lost the power of understanding]; for until this present day, when the Old Testament (the old covenant) is being read, that same veil still lies [on their hearts], not being lifted [to reveal] that in Christ it is made void and done away.  Yes, down to this [very] day whenever Moses is read, a veil lies upon their minds and hearts.  But whenever a person turns [in repentance] to the Lord, the veil is stripped off and taken away.”

So here we have an illustration that in both covenants, new and old, the law is a ministry of death and condemnation to those who stay in unbelief and refuse repentance.

With regards to sin deceiving Paul by the law:

Let’s look at Romans 7:10-11 for context:

“And the commandment, which was to bring life, I found to bring death.  For sin, taking occasion by the commandment, deceived me, and by it killed me.”

These verses are part of Paul sharing his testimony of his slavery to sin through the law PRIOR to being converted.  Notice the source of Paul’s deception and death:  it was NOT the law—it was SIN!  Because Paul was an unconverted sinner, all his attempts to be a good law-abiding Pharisee apart from Christ caused him to be deceived and condemned.

In fact, Paul makes sure to emphasize that he had a “law-problem” BECAUSE he had a “SIN-problem”!  (See Romans 7:13).

With regards to the law ALWAYS ministering death and condemnation:

(1)  Read Psalm One:  meditating in the law of the Lord leads to prosperity, health, vitality, blessings and fruitfulness.  None of those things sound like death or condemnation.

(2)  Read Psalm 119.  The law ministers a lot of things here.

(3)  Perhaps it is ONLY the law of Moses that is referred to as ALWAYS ministering death and condemnation?  It didn’t minister death and condemnation to Joshua and Caleb!  In fact, look at Joshua 1:7-8:

[God speaking]Only be strong and very courageous, that you may observe to do according to all the law which my servant Moses commanded you; do not turn from it to the right hand or to the left, that you may prosper wherever you go.  ‘This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it.  For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success.

Quote #43:

“The law stirs up sinful desires in man’s flesh.  Let me tell you that as long as you are in your current body, you will have the propensity to sin.  I did not come up with this.  It was Paul who said, ‘For what I will to do, that I do not practice; but what I hate, that I do.’[Romans 7:15]

Chapter 12, pages 147-148

NOTE:  Paul was illustrating the depth of his slavery to sin BEFORE CHRIST (Read the opening chapter of “Misunderstood Texts of Scripture” by Asa Mahan and see his exposition of Romans chapter seven).  The more Paul studied the law and tried to keep it apart from salvation through Christ, the more in bondage to sin he became.  He was not setting a template for typical Christian living!  He was describing the self-righteous man that he was, attempting to keep the laws of God without conversion to Christ!

            Let me tell you—NO!  As long as you are in your body, you do NOT have to keep your propensity to sin!  THIS IS NOT THE TESTIMONY OF A REGENERATED MAN!!!

Quote #44:

“Paul was faced with the same struggles that you and I are faced with today.  His lament is recorded in Romans 7…But Paul does not stop there.  He goes on to show us in the first verse of Romans 8 how we can counter the accuser’s attacks…There is NOW NO CONDEMNATION to those who are IN CHRIST JESUS!…That is it, my friend—no condemnation for those in Christ Jesus, period.  There are no conditions and no prerequisites…So the good news that he [Paul] was declaring is that even when there is sin, there is NOW no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.”

Chapter 12 pages 148-150

NOTE:  The reason there is NOW no condemnation in Christ Jesus, is because Paul is NOW talking about who he is in the present tense—a new creation through Christ Jesus—no longer a slave to sin!  In case there’s any confusion, Paul gives a COMPLETELY DIFFERENT testimony in Romans 8 than he just gave in Romans 7!

  • In Romans 7 he was under condemnation; in Romans 8 he has no condemnation
  • In Romans 7 he was captive to the law of sin; in Romans 8 he is free from the law of sin
  • In Romans 7 he faced  eternal death; in Romans 8 he was free from eternal death
  • In Romans 7 sin ruled in Paul’s flesh; in Romans 8 sin was condemned in Paul’s flesh through Christ Jesus
  • In Romans 7 Paul’s righteousness was unfulfilled; in Romans 8, Paul’s righteousness is fulfilled through Christ Jesus
  • In Romans 7 Paul was carnally minded; in Romans 8, Paul was spiritually minded with life and peace
  • In Romans 7 Paul is not spirit-filled; in Romans 8, Paul is filled with the same Spirit that rose Christ from the dead
  • In Romans 7 Paul was a sinner; in Romans 8 Paul’s body is dead to sin
  • In Romans 7 Paul is deceived and killed by sin in his flesh; in Romans 8 Paul has crucified his flesh
  • In Romans 7 Paul was walking after the flesh and not after the Spirit; in Romans 8 Paul is walking after the spirit and not after the flesh!

P.S.—Being IN Christ Jesus implies that you are not IN sin!

Quote #45:

“Let me give you a practical tip on how you can grow in this revelation of ‘no condemnation’:  Learn to see the Ten Commandments (the law of God) and condemnation as the same thing.  Whenever you read or think about the law, think ‘condemnation.’”

Chapter 12, page 151

NOTE:  You can’t make this stuff up folks.  Oh wait, someone just did.

Quote #46:

“‘But Pastor Prince, what happens when I sin?’  Well, does ‘NOW’ cover the moment when you sin?  Of course it does.  ‘There is therefore now no condemnation…’ is a ‘now’ verse.  The declaration is true every moment, every day.  It is true in the morning.  It is true in the night.  And when tomorrow comes, it is still true.  There is presently, continuously, no condemnation for you because you are in Christ!”

NOTE:  Wrong answer.  You are in Christ Jesus?  NOW you have no condemnation.  You just sinned?  NOW you are in sin.  Repent and get back in Christ Jesus!

Quote #47:

“Look at the parable of the prodigal son which Jesus shared…We see a father who runs toward his prodigal son to embrace him the moment he sees him from a distance.  Do you know that the father’s behavior is actually contrary to the law of Moses?…according to the law, if a man has a stubborn and rebellious son who refuses to heed his parents, that man is supposed to bring his son to the elders of the city, and all the men of his city are to stone his son to death, so that they can put away the evil from among them, and all Israel shall hear and fear [Deuteronomy 21:18-21].  That’s the law of Moses.”

Chapter 12, page 154

NOTE:  One major difference between Deuteronomy 21:18-21 and the story of the prodigal son:  the prodigal son repented/the stubborn, rebellious son who got stoned refused repentance even after chastening from both parents. While it may be true, the prodigal son may have DESERVED stoning, the repentance is key.  Even in the old covenant, God was merciful and gracious to the penitent who humbled themselves before God, turned from sin and cried out to Him.

Quote #48:

“We all know that the son was not returning to the father’s house because he had realized his mistake.  He was returning because he was hungry!”

Chapter 12, page 155

NOTE:  His hunger became a catalyst for him to realize the goodness of his father, come to his senses, resolve to repent, humble himself taking on the form of a servant, confess his sin, and return to the father.

This is an extremely presumptuous interpretation of scripture to overlook ALL that and INFER the prodigal was NOT repenting, but was in actuality, scheming for food.  There is no evidence whatsoever to accept this spurious and ridiculous interpretation.  If the prodigal was not truly repentant but just a hungry schemer, why did he plan such a far journey home and such an elaborate hoax when he could have just stolen some food from a neighbor?  Was his father the only means to obtain food?

Quote #49:

“Do you remember what He [Jesus] said to the woman who was caught in adultery?…’Neither do I condemn you; go and sin no more.’  Now, pay close attention to this:  Jesus gave her the gift of ‘no condemnation’ before He told her to go and sin no more…the reason people are shying away from churches…is not because they are rebelling against Jesus.  It is because they have not been introduced to the Jesus who gives the guilty sinner the gift of no condemnation.

Chapter 13, page 164

NOTE:  What we see in this account of the woman caught in adultery is God’s principle of “God resisting the proud and giving grace to the humble” (I Peter 5:5; James 4:6) at work.  The adulterous woman, clearly already humbled by her sin did not require the law to do its work to convict her of her crime.  She knew she was guilty in need of forgiveness.  This is the same reason Jesus was able to dispense MORE grace to “publicans and sinners” than to the Pharisees (see Matthew 9:10-13).

Once a person’s heart is humbled to repentance, there is no further need for the law to heap condemnation upon them, there is only need for grace because the heart is prepared to receive.  That being said, this is not a proof text that Jesus indiscriminately preaches a universal “no condemnation” message to guilty sinners everywhere and therefore, in our evangelistic efforts we must exclusively say things that make people feel good about themselves.  That is rubbish!

Look again at the FULL account given in John 8:3-11:

“Then the scribes and Pharisees brought to Him a woman caught in adultery.  And when they had set her in the midst, they said to Him, ‘Teacher, this woman was caught in adultery, in the very act.  Now Moses, in the law, commanded us that such should be stoned.  But what do You say?’  This they said, testing Him, that they might have something of which to accuse Him.  But Jesus stooped down and wrote on the ground with His finger, as though He did not hear.  So when they continued asking Him, He rasied Himself up and said to them, ‘He who is without sin among you, let him throw a stone at her first.’  And again He stooped down and wrote on the ground.  Then those who heard it, being convicted by their conscience, went out one by one, beginning with the oldest even to the last.  And Jesus was left alone, and the woman standing in the midst.  When Jesus had raised Himself up and saw no one but the woman, He said to her, ‘Woman, where are those accusers of yours?  Has no one condemned you?  She said, ‘No one, Lord.’  And Jesus said to her, ‘Neither do I condemn you; go and sin no more.’”

Notice that Jesus was surrounded by guilty sinners, but only liberated ONE from condemnation!  His message of “no condemnation” was not universal to His audience.  His message of “no condemnation” was one He gave to the humble who could receive it.  The MAJORITY, Jesus let walk away convicted of sin in their own consciences and He left them in their condemned state!  Why?  God resists the proud but gives grace to the humble.

The woman Jesus did not condemn, was liberated from condemnation but commanded to change course with her life (a.k.a.—repent/be converted) in the words—“go and sin no more.”  In the same scenario, a multitude of religious hypocrites were left in condemnation by the law!

What an excellent illustration of law and grace used by the Master in the same account!  This is TRUE evangelism.  If it seems hard, it could be that we have a false notion about evangelism that it is “salesmanship.”  It is not.  We are called to be WITNESSES for Christ:  making converts and disciples; not USED CAR SALESMEN for Christ: making temporary customers with marketing ploys and cheap grace gimmicks.

Quote #50:

“Now, let’s come back to the story of the woman caught in adultery.  Let me ask you a question:  Was the woman guilty?  Yes, she was, absolutely.  There is no doubt about that.  The Bible states that she was ‘caught in adultery, in the very act.’  But instead of condemning her according to the law of Moses, which required her to be stoned to death (the law of Moses always ministers condemnation and death, it cannot save the guilty sinner), Jesus showed her grace and gave her the gift of no condemnation.”

Chapter 13, page 165

NOTE:  Once again, Pastor Prince is attempting to put the Law of Moses at odds with Christ Himself.  (It is not necessary to portray Christ as an enemy of the law of Moses in order to illustrate we have a better covenant through grace).  Ironically, this is EXACTLY what the scribes and Pharisees were trying to do:   portray the words/doctrine of Christ as an enemy to the law of Moses (or portray Christ as a usurper of Roman authority, depending on how He answered).

It is true that a woman caught in adultery qualified for stoning; however, Jesus responded to their accusations referring to another law of Moses (see Deuteronomy 19:15-21), which required that in matters of criminal cases, two or three witnesses were required to establish a verdict.  In addition, the witnesses themselves were subject to inquisition based on the charge that they presented concerning someone else.  If they were found to be illegitimate, they could be subjected to the same penalty they were seeking for those they accused.

In Jesus’ act of compassion towards the adulteress, He violated no laws of jurisprudence.  Her accusers withdrew to save their own skin and the case was dropped!

Quote #51:

Anyone who is living in sin is not under grace and has not experienced the gift of no condemnation.  Grace always results in victory over sin!”

Chapter 13, page 167

NOTE:  This is TRUE actually!  It doesn’t negate the first 50 quotes of error bordering on heresy given in the first half of the book that suggest the opposite, but it’s something!

Quote #52:

“Let’s continue with what happened after the children of Israel murmured and complained.  In your Bible, it says that ‘the Lord sent fiery serpents [Numbers 21:6], and they bit the people and many of the Israelites died…All God did was that He lifted His protection when they murmured against Moses.  Remember this happened under the old covenant of law!  Praise the Lord that in the new covenant of grace that you and I are under, God WILL NEVER lift His protection over us.”

Chapter 15, page 200

NOTE:  Look at the admonition we get from Paul concerning what happened to those in the wilderness that were bitten by serpents:

“nor let US tempt CHRIST, as some of them [my emphasis added] also tempted, and were destroyed by serpents; nor complain, as some of them also complained, and were destroyed by the destroyer.  Now all these things happened to them as examples, and they were written for OUR admonition [my emphasis added], upon whom the ends of the ages have come.  Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall.”–I Corinthians 10:9-12

What about the “new covenant of grace”?  Consider Hebrews 10:28-29:

“Anyone who has rejected Moses’ law dies without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses.  Of how much worse punishment, do you suppose, will he be thought worthy who has trampled the Son of God underfoot, counted the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified a common thing, and insulted the Spirit of grace?”

There are tremendous blessings and benefits to the new covenant of grace, such as prosperity, healing, righteousness, peace, supernatural endowments, etc.  These are all part of the package.  In fact, grace enables us to do the works of Christ and live as Christ demonstrated for us to live.  That being said, whether we are talking about someone who lived under the old covenant or someone living today, the principle has not changed:  DON’T TEMPT GOD!

Quote #53:

“Three items were kept in the ark of the covenant.  The first was the stone tablets on which God wrote the Ten Commandments…So the ark of the covenant is a shadow of our Lord Jesus Christ, His person and His work.  Because of His blood, all our sins have been cleansed.  That is why it was dangerous for anyone back in those days to lift the mercy seat to uncover the sins and rebellion that God had covered.  The mercy seat was not to be lifted at any time and the consequences for doing so were severe…Nobody was supposed to even take a peak at the Ten Commandments.  God doesn’t want the law to be exposed because it represents our rebellion, and it will only minister death and condemnation.  The peculiar thing is that people have made the Ten Commandments into posters that are hung in homes today, when even in the Old Testament, God kept the law hidden under the mercy seat!”

Chapter 16, pages 208-211

NOTE:  There is no question that typology is throughout the Old Testament; however, building doctrine on typologies is the least reliable method of Bible interpretation.  While some of the typologies cited above may contain elements of truth, the doctrinal inferences concerning God hiding the Ten Commandments because they represent “rebellion” is a theological foundation built of balsa wood!  It’s weak! 

The above quote is an excellent example of the allegorical method of Bible interpretation.  Finis Dake had the following comments concerning interpreting scripture through the allegorical method:

“We should reject and utterly avoid all such foolishness.  The habit of these men [those who interpret the scripture allegorically as the primary method] is to disregard the common significance of words, the grammatical construction, and the literal intention of God in Scripture.  They force into Scripture any meaning their fancy chooses, and they make the interpreter equal to God and his interpretations even better than the plain Word of God.”

The Bible is full of allegory, typology and symbolism.  That being said, if you can’t find right doctrine given literally in plain scripture, the probability of you finding right doctrine by assigning mystical meanings to Old Testament passages is slim to none!

(See “God’s Plan for Man” by Finis Dake, chapter three on “How to Interpret the Bible” or enroll in “Peacemakers School of Theology” at www.peacemakersinstitute.com.)

Quote #54:

“The Lord showed me something a number of years ago…He spoke to me and said, ‘Son, study the journey from Egypt to Mount Sinai for this is a picture of pure grace.  Not a single Israelite died during this period although they murmured and complained’…Study the Bible yourself.  You’ll find that every time the children of Israel murmured and complained, it only brought forth fresh demonstrations of God’s favor…Because during that period, the blessings and provisions they received were not dependent on their obedience or goodness.  They were dependent on God’s goodness and faithfulness to the Abrahamic covenant, which was a covenant of grace.”

Chapter 17, page 221-222

NOTE:  The “period” of grace referred to where no one died prior to Sinai where the giving of the law led to mass genocide (I’m being facetious), was a period of  only 50 days according to the departure date from Egypt (Numbers 33:3) until the arrival date at Sinai (Exodus 19:1).  So we may see without question, that God graciously refrained from killing anyone for the first 50 days, a period of time that was actually SHORTERthan the period of time between the arrival at Sinai, the construction of the calf, Moses’ intercession for the people and the actual execution of judgment upon the idolaters who continued rebellion and REFUSED to be counted “on the Lord’s side” (Exodus 32:26).

Quote #55:

“…Something tragic happened right at the foot of Mount Sinai.  In Exodus 19:8, your English Bible says that the people cried out to Moses, saying, ‘All that the Lord has spoken we will do.’  In the original Hebrew text, this is actually a statement of pride.  They were saying, ‘All that God requires and demands of us, we are well able to perform’…So they effectively exchanged covenants, from the Abrahamic covenant which is based on grace, to the Sinaitic covenant which is based on the law.”

Chapter 17, pages 222-223

NOTE:  The giving of the law at Sinai was not the chastening of God for Israel’s presumption of obedience.  If the Israelites were truly walking in the grace of God, they WERE WELL ABLE to obey the commands of God! 

Why would a just Lord deliberately give commands to His servants they could not fulfill, and then ADDITIONALLY PUNISH them for their predetermined and unavoidable failure?

Keep in mind that it was under the Abrahamic covenant (“which is based on grace”) that Israel backslid and went into captivity in Egypt for 430 years prior to the 50 day “period of pure grace” leading to Sinai.

If the Abrahamic covenant is based on grace and characterized by the unconditional favor of God, why are ONLY the last 50 days referred to as an example of this, and the 430 years prior completely ignored???

Quote #56:

“From that point onwards, every time the children of Israel murmured and complained, many of them would die.  Observe this:  Before Sinai, none died.  After Sinai, the moment they murmured, they died.”

Chapter 17, page 224

NOTE:  This is a legitimate point.  The law NECESSITATED a total consecration to God (as was required in every covenant).  But its greatest liability was it robbed man of his excuses.  Sin no longer had a place to hide.  Therefore, death was the result for those who remained in self-righteousness and were unfaithful to the God whose grace they so desperately needed.  (Yes, grace was available in the Old Testament as well as the New Testament—which is why not everyone in the Old Testament is in hell today.  See my book, “Grace Empowerment” in chapter two called “Old Testament Grace Economics” for more details).

It’s not that God did not previously expect anything from anyone before the law came, or even that He no longer expects things of us today! It’s that up to this point, man had never so clearly known what God expected of him.  Therefore, man’s true nature was revealed.

Revelation brought responsibility.  This is not Old Testament.  This is an eternal principle.  Consider the moral of Jesus’ parable of the unfaithful servant (Luke 12:42-48):  “To whom much is given, much is required.”

This does not mean the key to walking in grace is deliberate ignorance of the law!  For people die for the very opposite as well.  In Hosea 4:6 God says clearly, “My people are destroyed for LACK of knowledge” and goes on to say God’s people are also rejected for REJECTING knowledge!

Please understand:  knowledge of the law is not a hindrance to grace—it only leads to death when we ignore it, refuse it, deny it, or shun God Himself because we don’t want to abide by it!

Quote #57:

“‘But Pastor Prince, we have to preach God’s law and His judgment, or there will be no repentance from the people.’  My friend, God’s heart is never to condemn.  We want judgment, but God wants mercy.  The Bible says that ‘the goodness of God leads you to repentance.’…Nevertheless, there are still people who insist that we have to preach on repentance.  Well, I disagree!  I think that we should do it God’s way—preach the goodness of God to lead people to repentance.”

Chapter 18, pages 231-232

NOTE:  Herein lies one of the deadliest false teachings of modern times:  “we shouldn’t talk about repentance!”  Let’s break this apart to get absolute clarity on this issue:

    (1)  Concerning God’s heart to have mercy and not “condemn”:

Consider the verse from Hosea 6:6 that Jesus quoted on at least two different instances:  “For I desire mercy and not sacrifice…”  Now consider this:  Hosea 6:6 was written as a lament of God that though He desired to give mercy, He could not because extending judgment had become necessary due to the hardness of hearts in Israel.  Why was judgment necessary?  They refused repentance. 

Extending mercy is always PREFERABLE to God; nevertheless, we can find countless examples of God extending judgment.  We must conclude then, that though extending judgment is not PREFERABLE, it is not evil in and of itself—since God extends judgment so often. 

We must also conclude since God is merciful of heart, that when His judgment is extended, it is not cruel; but in fact, completely appropriate and actually carried out by the Author of mercy itself.  If then, it is appropriate for God to judge, then it is appropriate that we as WITNESSES for God not try to “market His ‘better’ qualities” but present God for who He is.

{I know that goes against popular thought on modern (failed, failing and perpetually failing) evangelism techniques, but Acts 1:8 says God gave us power to be WITNESSES for Him NOT power to be “used car salesmen.”}

Likewise, just as a merciful God extends judgment, merciful Christians teach repentance so sinners CAN AVOID IT!

(2)  Concerning the goodness of God leading men to repentance:

The preaching of judgment and repentance is not contrary to the goodness of God that leads men to repentance.

Look at Romans 2:4:

“Or do you despise the riches of His goodness, forbearance, and longsuffering, not knowing that the goodness of God leads you to repentance?”

This verse is not a proof text for ONLY talking about the goodness of God to lead men to repentance.  In fact, it is quite the opposite; because Paul (the apostle of grace as he’s sometimes called) is not PREACHING in these verses about the goodness of God—he is actually preaching on judgment and sin!!!  Here’s a sample of his sermon:

“who, knowing the righteous judgment of God that those who practice such things are deserving of death, not only do the same but also approve of those who practice them.  Therefore you are inexcusable, O man…But we know that the judgment of God is according to truth against those who practice such things.  And do you think this, O man, you who judge those practicing such things, and doing the same, that you will escape the judgment of God?  Or do you despise the riches of His goodness, forbearance, and longsuffering, not knowing that the goodness of God leads you to repentance?  But in accordance with your hardness and your impenitent heart you are treasuring up for yourself wrath in the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God, who ‘will render to each one according to his deeds’:  eternal life to those who by patient continuance in doing good seek for glory, honor, and immortality; but to those who are self-seeking and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness—indignation and wrath, tribulation and anguish, on every soul of man who does evil…”

–Romans 1:32-2:9

(3)  Concerning the ABSOLUTE NECESSITY OF PREACHING REPENTANCE!!!:

  • The preaching of John the Baptist concerning the kingdom:
    • Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand… ‘Brood of vipers!  Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come?  Therefore bear fruits worthy of repentance…And even now the ax is laid to the root of the trees.  Therefore every tree which does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire…His winnowing fan is in His hand, and He will thoroughly clean out His threshing floor, and gather His wheat into the barn; but He will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire…”      (Matthew 3:2-12)
    • “John came baptizing in the wilderness and preaching a baptism of repentance for the remission of sins.  Then all the land of Judea, and those from Jerusalem, went out to him and were all baptized by him in the Jordan River, confessing their sins.”  (Mark 1:4-5)
  • The preaching of Jesus on repentance:
    • “From that time Jesus began to preach and to say, ‘Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”  (Matthew 3:17)
    • “I tell you, no; but unless you repent you will all likewise perish”  (Luke 13:3 and repeated again for emphasis two verses later in Luke 13:5)
    • “…Thus it is written, and thus it was necessary for Christ to suffer and to rise from the dead the third day, and that repentance and remission of sins shoud be preached in His name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.  And you are witnesses of these things.”  (Luke 24:46-48)
    • Also see Matthew 11:20-21; 12:41; 21:28-32 Revelation 2:5, 16, 21-22; 3:3, 19
  • The preaching of Jesus’ disciples on repentance during Jesus’ ministry:
    • “So they went out and preached that people should repent.”  (Mark 6:12)
  • The preaching of Peter on repentance on the Day of Pentecost that led to great revival and mass salvation:
    • “‘Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly that God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ.’  Now when they heard this, they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, ‘Men and brethren, what shall we do?’  Then Peter said to them, ‘Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins…”  (Acts 2:36-38)
  • The preaching of Peter AFTER Pentecost:
    • Repent therefore and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, so that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord”  (Acts 3:19)
    • Repent therefore of this your wickedness, and pray God if perhaps the thought of your heart may be forgiven you.  For I see that you are poisoned by bitterness and bound by iniquity.”  (Acts 8:22-23)
  • The preaching of repentance by Paul in Book of Acts:
    • “In the past God overlooked such ignorance, but now He commands all people everywhere to repent. For he has set a day when he will judge the world with justice by the man he has appointed. He has given proof of this to all men by raising him from the dead.”  (Acts 17:30-31)
    • See also Acts 20:21 & Acts 26:20
  • Paul taught godly sorrow as necessary to repentance and repentance as necessary to salvation in II Corinthians 7:9-11
  • Paul listed repentance FIRST as one of six foundational doctrines of Christ (judgment  is also listed) that is necessary “milk” for Christians before they can mature as doers of the word (Hebrews 5:11-6:1)

(4)  Concerning the omission of preaching of repentance by false pastors, false prophets and false teachers:

Consider the “prophet wars” of the Old Testament.  Probably the two main themes of the TRUE prophets of the Old Testament (who wrote many of the books of the Bible) were “repentance” and “judgment.”  (Read their stories.  Find out what they had to say.  Don’t succumb to ignorance of the Old Testament because of cheap grace teachers who ignore it as irrelevant.)

What was the main theme of the false shepherds, the wicked priests and the false prophets?  We are fine as we are.  God is on our side.  We don’t need to fear God’s judgment.  Ignore the real prophets.

Now let’s take it into the New Testament to find out what God tells us preachers (through Paul) what we are supposed to preach:

“I charge [you] in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, Who is to judge the living and the dead, and by (in the light of) His coming and His kingdom:  Herald and preach the Word!  Keep your sense of urgency [stand by, be at hand and ready], whether the opportunity seems to be favorable or unfavorable.  [Whether it is convenient or inconvenient, whether it is welcome or unwelcome, you as preacher of the Word are to show people in what ways their lives are wrong.]  And convince them, rebuking and correcting, warning and urging and encouraging them, being unflagging and inexhaustible in patience and teaching.  For the time will come when [people] will not tolerate (endure) sound and wholesome instruction, but, having ears itching [for something pleasing and gratifying], they will gather to themselves one teacher after another to a considerable number, chosen to satisfy their own liking and to foster the errors they hold, and will turn aside from hearing the truth and wander off into myths and man-made fictions.”—II Timothy 4:1-4 [Amplified]

In summary of this point:  PREACHERS WHO REFUSE TO INSTRUCT PEOPLE CONCERNING REPENTANCE AND JUDGMENT ARE IN DISOBEDIENCE TO GOD AND ARE HARMING THE CHURCH INSTEAD OF HELPING THEM!

Quote #58:

“…many of us have the impression that repentance is something that involves mourning and sorrow.  However, that is not what the Word of God says.  Repentance just means changing your mind.”

Chapter 18, page 233

NOTE:  There is nothing wrong with defining “repentance” in simple terms; however, this is just SIMPLISTIC and a very poor characterization meant to belittle one of the most foundational Christian doctrines.  Repentance is an inward conversion that produces an outward change.  Speaking in terms of its application to the believer, it is inseparably linked to conversion.  It consists of four parts displayed over and over again in scripture:  humility, genuine sorrow, confession of sin, and turning from sin.  It means a reversal:  a total change in direction inwardly (different attitude, feelings, & way of thinking, a new heart condition and a change of will) with outward “fruits of repentance” (speaking and acting differently).

Perhaps one could refer to repentance as “a change of mind”; but that is really an inadequate definition considering how loosely we use that terminology today!  When I think of “a change of mind” I think of my wife picking out clothes.  That does nothing to help me understand repentance!

When the Old Testament prophets, or Jesus, or Paul, or the apostles, etc. were preaching “repentance”—they weren’t saying, “Hey!  God wants you to change your mind about stuff!”  NO!  They were saying, “HEY!  God wants you to CHANGE EVERYTHING by being joined to Him in total consecration!

Consider the following scriptural examples of repentance:

  • In connection to sorrow and mourning:  Isaiah 22:12; Ezekiel 18:31; Joel 2:12; Jeremiah 31:9; Matthew 5:4; Psalm 34:18; Joel 2:13; Luke 6:21;  II Kings 22:19; Ezra 10:1; Job 42:6; Jonah 3:6-8; Mark 14:72; II Corinthians 7:10; James 4:8-10
  • In connection with humility:  II Chronicles 7:14; I Samuel 7:3; Luke 15:18; I Kings 8:46-50; Psalm 34:18; I Kings 21:27; II Kings 22:19; Ezra 10:1; Job 42:6; Luke 15:21; Luke 18:13; Isaiah 66:2
  • In connection with confession of sin:  Hosea 14:12; Acts 8:22; Ezra 10:11; Proverbs 28:13; Jeremiah 3:13; I John 1:9; Leviticus 26:40; Numbers 5:7; Mark 1:15; Luke 5:8; Luke 15:18; I Kings 8:33-35; Ezra 10:1; Job 42:1, 6; Luke 15:21
  • In connection to both an inward and outward turn: Ezekiel 14:6; 33:11; Acts 3:19; Acts 26:20; James 4:8; II Chronicles 30:9; Nehemiah 1:9; Isaiah 55:7; Ezekiel 18:21; Zechariah 1:3

Quote #59:

“Believers are often exhorted to repent from sin.  However in the New Testament, we are actually exhorted to repent from dead works…It says in the book of Hebrews [Hebrews 6:1]that the first foundation stone of our faith is ‘repentance from dead works and of faith toward God’.  Now, ‘dead works’ are not sins.  They are the religious things that people do, thinking that by doing these things, they are gaining righteousness with God.”

Chapter 18, page 234

NOTE:  This is fascinating to me on two fronts: 

Front one:  Hebrews 5:11-6:2 is a fascinating topical study because within these verses are the core doctrines of both the Old and the New Testaments and the core problem of “dullness of hearing” regarding these subjects.

Front two:  The doctrine of repentance is listed of primary importance to conversion and its theme is echoed in hundreds of scriptures in both the old and new testaments.  In the hundreds of scriptures both old and new testament that this theme is echoed, it is dealing directly with the subject of sin. Yet Pastor Prince makes a fascinating and erroneous claim that dismisses the relevancy of repentance from sin as connected to this topic WHATSOEVER!

Herein lies the major question:  Is Pastor Prince’s interpretation of the doctrine of repentance from dead works having no correlation with repentance from sin correct?

I believe Pastor Prince’s interpretation to be spurious, reckless, misleading and completely FALSE based on the following points:

(1) The broader context

The book of Hebrews was written specifically to instruct Jewish Christians concerning the conversion of covenants from Old Testament Judaism to New Testament Christianity, so even though the verses may be clearly understood by Gentiles without doctrinal contradiction, many of the references carry extra significance to Jewish people.  Understanding this paradigm will aide in rightly interpreting Hebrews 6:1, as I will now illustrate:

Look at Hebrews 6:1-2 for the full list of what is referred to as “the elementary principles of Christ”:

“Therefore, leaving the discussion of the elementary principles of Christ, let us go on to perfection, not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works and of faith toward God, of the doctrines of baptisms, of laying on of hands, of resurrection from the dead, and of eternal judgment.”

These six items (repentance from dead works, faith towards God, baptisms, laying on of hands, resurrection from the dead and eternal judgment) are all referred to as “elementary principles of Christ.”  Why is this significant?  Because these SAME six items were ALSO considered elementary principles for making proselytes of Judaism in the Old Covenant!

For example:  “baptisms” (though it may have different connotations for us as Christians), was foreshadowed in Jewish practices—such as a one-time cleansing for Jewish proselytes converting to Judaism) and Old Testament teachings (Levitical washings, ceremonial cleansings, etc).

Consider this quote taken from the Bible Background Commentary:

“The writer [Paul] probably chooses these items as the ‘basics’ because they were the basic sort of instructions about Jewish belief given to converts to Judaism, which all the author’s readers would have understood before becoming followers of Jesus.  These items represented Jewish teachings still useful for followers of Christ [my emphasis added].  Judaism stressed repentance as a regular antidote for sin, and a once-for-all kind of repentance for the turning of pagans to Judaism.”

So, what was once considered “the basics” for converting pagans to Judaism, Paul is writing to tell us that these same subjects are still necessary for Christians and are now referred to as elementary principles of CHRIST!  Thus, what was elementary in the Old Testament remains elementary in the New Testament—repentance, faith, baptisms, laying on of hands, resurrection, and judgment!

In fact, look at the Greek word used in Hebrews 6:1 translated “laying again.”  It is the Greek word “katabollo”, and it means “casting down or overthrow.”

Let’s look again at Hebrews 6:1 with this new understanding of “laying again”:

“Therefore, leaving the discussion of the elementary principles of Christ, let us go on to perfection, not laying again [casting down or overthrowing] the foundation of repentance from dead works and of faith toward God”

What is Paul stressing here?  Don’t cast down or overthrow the foundational doctrines of verses 1-2!  They were foundational in the Old Testament but they are STILL foundational in the NEW Testament!

So, in the Old Testament, would the expression “repentance from dead works” include the idea of repentance from sin?  YES!!!  This hasn’t changed as foundational doctrine!

The broader context of this passage illustrates the error of dismissing sin as included in the subject of repentance from dead works.

(2)  The term “repentance” itself

Since repentance deals with the conversion of the inward man and is a foundational doctrine dealing with sin in both Testaments, it is fair to say sin would be implied already.  Repentance of dead works would still include “sin” even if not expressly stated.

(3) The usage of the term “dead works”

This term is only used here and again in Hebrews 9:14.  It is true, the term has a special connection to religious formalism done apart from God as Pastor Prince suggests; however, these are works committed in self-righteousness and are therefore sin!

In fact, look at Hebrews 9:14:

“How much more shall the blood of Christ cleanse your conscience…from dead works to serve the living God?”

If dead works do not infer sin, why do we need the blood of Christ to cleanse our conscience of them?

(4) The term “dead works” itself

The term “dead works” is understood as works/actions resulting in/deserving of DEATH!  Is sin a work/action resulting in/deserving of death?  Of course!  Therefore the idea of sin is echoed in the usage of both phrases:  “repentance” AND “dead works”.

(5) Hebrews 6:1 as it is translated in the Amplified Bible

“Let us not again be laying the foundation of repentance AND [my emphasis added] abandonment of dead works (dead formalism) and of the faith [by which you turned] to God”

Notice this translation gives special distinction to the doctrine of repentance itself and lists “abandonment of dead works” as complementary to the first, then reiterates again a third time the act of repentance implied in faith itself!

(6) The combined terms “repentance of dead works” are used together

Rather than the added phrase “from dead works” undermining the doctrine of repentance as it relates to sin, it only gives heightened understanding to the ongoing theme concerning repentance as it is used hundreds of times elsewhere: repentance is a change that is both inward and outward.

Quote #60:

“When the rich young ruler came boasting in his law-keeping, Jesus answered with the law. And the young man could hardly give a dollar to Jesus and walked away sorrowful.  But in the very next chapter, when Jesus gave no law but showed His grace, it not only opened Zacchaeus’ heart, it also opened up his wallet!”

Chapter 18, page 238

NOTE:  This is actually an excellent contrast between the law and grace.  However, rather than legitimizing abstinence from use of the law in evangelistic efforts—it actually shows that it is appropriate to use the law!

Why did Jesus use the law (not grace) when evangelizing the rich, young ruler? 

“Law to the proud, grace to the humble” as previously illustrated.  It is not that Jesus’ efforts at evangelizing the rich young ruler were unsuccessful—Jesus exposed his guilt with the same law he claimed to uphold!  This man was now closer to salvation than He had been previously, (before Jesus used the law to expose his guilt).  The man came as far as Jesus could take him, but would not humble himself in repentance to receive grace.

So why did Jesus NOT use the law when converting Zacchaeus?

Does this mean the only effective method of evangelism is through grace?  No!  It means the law had already done its work in Zacchaeus heart—he was now ready to receive grace for salvation!

ANY evangelist would ALWAYS prefer giving grace in evangelistic efforts!  That’s the EASY part!  Unfortunately, the LAW is the hard part that MUST come first—extending grace  to the unrepentant is casting pearls before swine.

Quote #61:

“You don’t have to worry about how your behavior will be governed without a consciousness of the law.  The Word of God says that grace will teach you—‘For the grace of God…has appeared to all men, teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts…’ [Titus 2:11-12]. Grace is a teacher…”

Chapter 18, page 239

NOTE:  If you have no consciousness of the law and are worried about what will govern your behavior—it is because your own conscience is telling you, “Hey you!  You need to know the law to rightly govern your behavior!”  If you REALLY want to test out this theory of grace teaching you without knowledge of the law, just put down your Bible (ignoring II Timothy 2:15), never read it again, never obey your conscience and ONLY listen to Stuart Smalley from Saturday Night Live:  “You are good enough; you are smart enough, and DOG-GONE it, PEOPLE LIKE YOU!”   Then send a testimony to Pastor Prince to tell him how things turned out for you!

You know how to RIGHTLY interpret Titus 2:11-12?  The grace of God appearing to all men (in the person of Jesus) CONFIRMS WHAT THE LAW ALREADY TEACHES!

Quote #62:

“In saying that ‘where sin abounded, grace abounded much more’, I am preaching the same message that Paul…preached.  What Paul meant…is this: Sin does not stop God’s grace from flowing, but God’s grace will stop sin…So where there is sin, God’s grace is in superabundance!”

Chapter 19, page 249

NOTE:  What Paul is teaching is NOT:  sin and grace share the same space and no matter how much I sin grace has got me covered!  He is saying that there is MORE THAN ENOUGH GRACE AVAILABLE to completely COME OUT of the dominion of sin in your life and NOT CONTINUE IN SIN!

Quote #63:

“When it came to wrong behavior in Corinth, Paul was cool and collected toward the believers.  He was able to handle their wrong behavior because he knew that the grace of God was able to take care of their spree of wrong behavior.  That is why he was able to speak positively to them…But when it came to wrong doctrine in Galatia, he rebuked the believers there because they nullified God’s grace by mixing it with the law.”

Chapter 20, page 258-259

NOTE:  First of all, the letter to the Corinthians was not exactly all “happy-happy” since it was primarily a book of correction; however, I would agree there IS in fact a greater degree of agitation in Paul’s letter to the church at Galatia because they had become backslidden heretics.

Secondly, what KIND of law were the people in Galatia practicing?

These people were not backslidden because they were preaching Christ and the Ten Commandments from the same pulpit; they were backslidden PRIMARILY because they substituted the ceremonial aspects of the law (man-made traditions, rituals, ceremony & pomp) for faith in God.

            Examples:

(1)  They had rejected the truth, turned from faith, and started justifying themselves by works (Galatians 3:1-5).

{This in itself is no more an indictment against the law than it was when Jesus rebuked the Pharisees and Sadducees.  This was an indictment against those who attempt to practice the law apart from faith in God (Christ).}

           (2)  They had begun to reinforce the ceremonial law (Galatians 4:9-10; 5:1-2)

The ceremonial law was completely done away with through Christ because it was a type and shadow of everything that Christ already fulfilled.  The laws of Moses are not applicable to us because we have a new contract through Christ.  Nevertheless, God’s divine laws are eternal and immutable.  There is no part of the new covenant that implies we are exempt from keeping God’s eternal laws of morality and faith.

(3)  They were imposing the circumcision to avoid persecution for Christ (Galatians 6:12-15).

Galatians 6:15-16 effectively sums up the gospel of grace:

“For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision avails anything, but a new creation.  And as many as walk according to this rule, peace and mercy be upon them…”

Are you or aren’t you a new creation?

This is true grace.  It does not mix with superficiality.  Whether that superficiality be cheap grace, ceremonial laws, or religious pomp.  If you are a new creation, the law is no threat to grace and you don’t have to ignore if for fear it will make sin stronger in your life.

Quote #64:

“Now would you like to know what Revelation 3:15-16 really means?  The two verses would only make sense when they are interpreted in the light of the mixture of covenants of law and grace in the church of Laodicea.  The Lord was saying that He would the church be cold—entirely under law, or hot—entirely under grace.”

Chapter 20, page 264

NOTE:  This is more allegorical preaching that pulls doctrine out of thin air.   But since Pastor Prince brought it up, mixing up covenants is a bad idea; teaching the law and grace together in their proper context is actually a GOOD idea.  That’s why it they are taught side-by-side throughout the New Testament (see response to Quote #1).

Quote #65:

“Paul told the Galatians, ‘Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace(Galatians 5:4).  This is the true definition of ‘falling from grace.’  Today, when someone sins, ministers say that the person has ‘fallen from grace.’  But Paul never told the Corinthians they were fallen from grace despite all their sins.  To fall from grace then is to fall into the law.”

Chapter 20, page 267

NOTE:  Falling from grace in this context simply means they reverted back to self-righteousness—thus, they fell into sin.

One can also do “despite the Spirit of Grace” by committing willful sin according to Hebrews 10:26-29.  One can twist the scriptures (or the teachings of Paul specifically) to their own destruction instead of “growing in grace” according to II Peter 3:15-18.   Or one can “fail of the grace of God” like Esau did in Hebrews 12:15.  Or one can invent their own doctrine of grace as a means to fulfill lust, like the ungodly men of Jude 4 did.  Either way, there is more than one way to fall from grace, whether we use this phrase or another.

Quote #66:

“The law makes everything of man’s efforts, while grace gives all the glory to God.  That is why Paul told the Galatians that the gospel is not a man-pleasing gospel.  He was essentially saying, ‘If I want to please man, I would be preaching the law.’”

Chapter 20, page 268

NOTE:  Paul was essentially saying he wasn’t a man-pleaser because he just finished saying let the other guy who is preaching a DIFFERENT gospel (the one this church just embraced), LET HIM BE DAMNED!  Paul had some grit!  I like him!  (See Galatians 1:6-10).

Quote #67:

“The question we should be asking is, ‘Did Jesus tell us to fast?’  Now, I know that when Jesus’ disciples were unable to cast out a certain spirit from a boy, the NKJV (as well as the KJV) Bible does record that Jesus, in reference to the spirit, said, ‘This kind can come out by nothing but prayer and fasting.’…But do you know that in the original Greek text, the word ‘fasting’ does not appear in that verse?  It was added by the translators!  And if you look at the NASB and NIV translations, you won’t find the word ‘fasting’ in that verse.”

Chapter 21, page 274-275

NOTE:  I don’t even like fasting J, but I feel compelled to respond anyway:

We have no way of saying that “FASTING” is not in the original Greek text BECAUSE WE DO NOT HAVE THE ORIGINAL GREEK TEXT!  What we have, are numerous copies of the original Greek text, most of which include the word “fasting.”  Which is more likely, most of the copies are wrong or a couple copies accidently left a word out?  Even the earliest copies which are considered among the highest in manuscript authorities have accidental omissions.  Nevertheless, we literally have THOUSANDS of early manuscripts to compare to determine with a great deal of accuracy what passages and words were in the original text.  Which is why it was overwhelmingly decided with very little debate from most theologians, old or new, that “fasting” should be included.  Besides that, if you believe “fasting” was a copy error, (later addition by fasting enthusiasts) in Mark 9:29, then you must make the case that “fasting” as it is recorded in Matthew 17:21 is a copy error/(later addition by fasting enthusiasts) as well.  Where does it stop?

The fact is, “fasting” was practiced by Jesus as well as in the book of Acts.  There is some dispute over its usage in I Corinthians 7:5 as well, but there is nothing unscriptural about taking a break from indulging the flesh for awhile to focus on prayer.

Quote #68:

“Now, do I fast?  Yes, I do, in the sense that many a time, I am so preoccupied with the Lord in prayer or with studying His Word that I forget to eat…I unconsciously miss my regular meals, and I even find myself forgoing sleep to be in His presence.  But I don’t consciously go on a fast, believing that fasting would get me my miracle.”

Chapter 21, page 276-277

NOTE:  So the short answer is, “Only if it’s accidental”?

Even though fasting is not something we do to try to earn God’s attention or answered prayer, it still can be beneficial to the New Testament believer.

For examples of the purpose an benefits of fasting, see the following scriptures:

Matthew 17:14-21; Psalm 35:13; II Samuel 12:16-23; Matthew 4:1-11; Psalm 69:10; I Corinthians 7:5; I Kings 21:27; Daniel 6:18; I Kings 21:27; Ezra 8:21; Esther 4; Acts 27:9; Acts 9; Matthew 6:16-18; Matthew 9:15 & Matthew 17:14-21.

Quote #69:

“When Jesus was baptized in the river Jordan, a voice from heaven said, ‘This is My beloved Son in whom I am well pleased…When the devil said, ‘Command these STONES to become bread,’ he was, in fact, telling Jesus to get His nourishment from the law that was written on STONES.  Now look at Jesus’ reply:  ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God’…What did God just say to Jesus before He entered the wilderness?  He had said, ‘This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.’  This is the word that we are to live by today as well!”

Chapter 22, pages 295-297

NOTE:  To the casual observer, one would assume that when Satan told Jesus to turn stones into bread it was because He was hungry after not eating for forty days! Evidently, it was because Satan wanted Him to study the law of Moses and come under death and condemnation.  Fortunately, Jesus outwitted Satan by responding with therhema word from God:  God loves me!  (The coded exchange used by both Jesus and Satan here is so deep; it is AMAZING that either one was able to decipher the other’s witty word-plays!

Quote #70:

“The Lord told me many years ago, ‘Son, your ministry is to roll away the stone.’  Let me explain to you what this means.  In the story of Lazarus, Jesus commanded the people to roll away the stone from Lazarus’ tomb…My friend, the stone is a picture of the law.”

Chapter 22, page 298

NOTE:  Book burning anyone?

The vision of theCore | One opportunity of many for significant end-time leadership at the Detroit Prayer Furnace

An end-time army of burning ones are coming together to serve with passion in Detroit!

image thumb3 The vision of theCore | One opportunity of many for significant end time leadership at the Detroit Prayer Furnace

Give leadership to the prayer movement in Detroit

The vision is hot and ready for you jump into. We want to help you understand the vision and what you can expect.

Habakkuk 2:2 (ESV) And the LORD answered me: “Write the vision; make it plain on tablets, so he may run who reads it.

The following is required for everybody who participates in theFurnace, theLab or theCore:

  • A high standard of holiness
  • Financial partnership (tithe)
  • 6pm Saturday War Room Prayer

Who is theCore for?

Burning men and women of God who are desperately hungry, disciplined and available to commit at a high level.

At the Detroit Prayer Furnace we have three specific opportunities for you to lock into a lifestyle of prayer and ministry. Is theCore right for you? Maybe and maybe not.

Here are the three ways you can connect:

image thumb4 The vision of theCore | One opportunity of many for significant end time leadership at the Detroit Prayer Furnace

theFurnace

If you simply want to connect with other fire-breathers and involve yourself in a fiery culture of intercession and prophetic ministry, theFurnace is for you.

theFurnace is an extremely important part of our culture, and some of our most effective leaders may land here instead of theCore. Why? Because we highly value marketplace leaders and others who have more limited availability due to their assignment in the workplace or their place in life.

Anybody can start in theFurnace at any time, and even stay there without ever participating in theLab or theCore. Simply communicate your desire to lock in with our team, agree to the minimum commitments (see above) and burn with us as often as you can each week!

image thumb5 The vision of theCore | One opportunity of many for significant end time leadership at the Detroit Prayer Furnace

theLab

theLab University is a school of fire that prepares people for Holy Spirit baptized ministry.

We strongly encourage everybody in our community to enroll in theLab University. This is a focused, intense training environment that will unlock your destiny and set you ablaze!

theLab will also instruct you in the core values of the Detroit Prayer Furnace, the vision and how to best engage in our unique culture.

Everybody interested in joining theCore, a team of 40+ leaders in the Detroit Prayer Furnace, must successfully complete one three-month session of theLab.

You can get more info here: www.thelabuniversity.com

image thumb6 The vision of theCore | One opportunity of many for significant end time leadership at the Detroit Prayer Furnace

theCore

theCore is made up of leaders and emerging leaders who have successfully completed theLab, and who have the desire to serve on a focused, consecrated and submitted team of end-time warriors.

The vision is white hot—this team will be locking arms with fellow soldiers in continual prayer, training emerging leaders, carrying the fire to the cities of the Earth and modeling Acts 2 unity and consecration.

theCore Commitment

Keep in mind, for the sake of continuity, unity and corporate strength, we have unapologetically and intentionally raised the bar of commitment very high for this team—with very little, if any, flex.

Our target size for this team is only 40. We consider theCore to be our primary leadership team who serve under our senior staff, and, with this in mind, the commitment is the same as senior leadership.

Most people at the Detroit Prayer Furnace will serve with joyful passion in theFurnace. Some will get equipped in theLab. Few will choose to participate on theCore.

theCore is made up of ministry leaders who are able to consider this commitment primary over employment and other endeavors. Keep this in mind as you chart out your connection plan at the Detroit Prayer Furnace. You may not be able to join theCore due to other life focuses, and that is OK! theFurnace is an excellent place for you to connect AND you can participate in nearly every ministry and event that theCore does—just at your own pace.

While the commitment at theCore will work best for those who don’t work at all, there may be, depending on the specific situation, enough flex built in to the schedule to allow for some outside employment if necessary.

Keep in mind that local travel is required when the team is involved in regional events. These events can take place at any time, which is a key reason extensive availability beyond our regular weekly schedule is required.

  • The full time commitment works out to be approximately 12-14 hours a week.
  • The part time commitment works out to be approximately 9-10 hours a week.

Opportunities for those on theCore include:

  • leading prayer watch teams
  • teaching
  • developing ministries
  • leading traveling teams
  • advancing the prayer movement

theCore team is firmly devoted to consecration and modeling the lifestyle of an end-time forerunner.

theCore commitment includes:

  • FULL TIME: Four prayer & ministry events per week
  • PART TIME: Two prayer & ministry events per week
  • A high standard of holiness
  • 5pm Saturday meeting
  • 6pm Saturday intercession
  • Monthly small group at John and Amy Burton’s home
  • Traveling locally (and further if available) for ministry events
  • Financial partnership (tithe)
  • Continuing education

If you want to join theFurnace, theLab or theCore, we want to hear from you! Please email us at info@detroitprayerfurnace.com TODAY! We will give you info on how to get started.

Of course, you don’t have to participate at any level! If you simply want to enjoy our events, come on out!

A raw, revealing, direct message from my heart | Troubler of Israel

I’m going to let it rip—this is one message you won’t want to skim.

Troubler of Israel

1 Kings 18:17-18 (ESV) 17 When Ahab saw Elijah, Ahab said to him, “Is it you, you troubler of Israel?” 18 And he answered, “I have not troubled Israel, but you have, and your father’s house, because you have abandoned the commandments of the LORD and followed the Baals.

image thumb3 A raw, revealing, direct message from my heart | Troubler of Israel Is there anybody out there like Leonard Ravenhill and David Wilkerson who is bringing attention to how so much of the church is following the Baals?

I told you I’m going to let it rip. Understand that I am not sending this out of frustration or because of a personal vendetta. This is a searing, troubling message that is consuming every part of me—and it’s time for it to come out with strength.

We need more troublers to arise! Why? Based on what we see in Elijah’s story, the prevailing culture is actually what is troubling the church and it’s the prophets of God that MUST stand boldly in the face of their accusations. Truth will prevail. God will answer by fire.

First, I want to directly address fellow pastors and leaders with both brokenness and boldness—open your mouths!

When people tell me that I have guts to say what I do in teachings, on Facebook, Twitter or YouTube, I am shocked! Really? They can’t be serious! I barely reveal even a small percentage what is burning within me. The messages are minor and obvious, yet somehow in our passive, ultra-sensitive culture they come across as sharp and risky. We have to open our mouths and deliver the troubling truth! No more messages designed to grow churches. No more sermons that result in us looking good, smart and polished.

If we are out to save face, we may do just that—as we ultimately lose our soul in Hell.

The raw, irritating, offensive messages of the Word of God must explode out of us with the full understanding that many of those under our care will revolt! That is true love based preaching!

image7 A raw, revealing, direct message from my heart | Troubler of Israel Just so you know—yes, I am extremely intentional with the messages I post, and they are meant to trouble and provoke, boldly and in love. They are meant to expose error and awaken people to truths they may have not considered—but that often has serious impact on their eternities. My posts are meant to trouble the spirits that are assaulting the church and the people who are entertaining them! We must be disturbed & wrecked by our mandate to awaken the sleepers & warn those falsely convinced of their salvation—and those at risk of losing it.

We can’t even call people to prayer today due to the fear that they will leave our churches! My God! How can we presume revival is near?

Over 340 Houses of Prayer closed their doors last year. I met with a house of prayer network leader the other day who said that people leave churches when leaders shift time, energy and attention from them to God. I’ve watched that happen myself, and it rips me up! In our church in Colorado we shifted from potlucks to prayer meetings and there was a mass exodus. We lost people and money. I had to get a part-time job. It was disruptive. It was heartbreaking that people ran from the call to pray.

Where are the ones who aren’t looking first for human friends, personal affirmation or a sense of belonging but who are seeking after every available minute to minister to God in prayer? The prayer rooms must be full—and the main prayer room in the American church is the Sunday morning sanctuary!

I heard about a pastor of a 1200 member church that shifted their culture to that of a house of prayer. 600 people left! That pastor is a true leader in the Kingdom!

And, don’t you even think of using the excuse that you need to create a non-threatening environment for the new Believer! Every person, young or old, immature or seasoned must be in the prayer room—and it must be their primary focus! What if the Upper Room was toned down in the hopes of drawing a bigger crowd and interested seekers?

MY REPUTATION

I told God one day many years ago that, if I responded to his call, I would lose my reputation. People would sever relationship with me and hurl accusations my way.

God said, “Good. My Son was of no reputation, why should you be?” I was rocked. It was that day, many years ago, that I stopped trying to look good and build a ministry and make people happy about running with me. Selfish ambition died that day. The moment we make decisions based mostly on attracting people, keeping people or raising money is the moment we have failed as leaders.

Philippians 2:7-8 (KJV) 7 But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: 8 And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.

I’m not trying to build a ministry—I’m devoted to obeying God and delivering the messages he has given me. I know these messages will directly hit theologies and ideals that so many hold dear. That’s the point. I crave people’s freedom from those harmful ideals! I desire the truth of Jesus to invade everybody’s life!

Matthew 10:34 (ESV) 34 “Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I have not come to bring peace, but a sword.

One reason I’m OK with this divisive strategy (that Jesus affirmed above) is that it clearly reveals who’s for and who’s opposed. I’d rather make the message clear and know who I’m running with then to tone it down and have those who are opposed to it in our camp (Have you ever had a witch infiltrate your ministry? I have, and it’s not fun!). So, we love and serve everybody in the camp, but we can’t get sidetracked from our mission for the sake of their comfort.

Trust me, the resulting remnant of burning ones will rejoice at such an atmosphere of clarity and fire! Those who are lukewarm today just may awaken and burn tomorrow—if we have the courage to preach the very difficult, costly truth!

There are some people thanking me for my boldness in delivering the messages God gives me. There are others who are vocally opposed to me. There are many more still who are silent but resistant—many of them friends in the past who I don’t hear from anymore. They sadly just disappeared from our lives.

I’m sure there are some who translate boldness and refusal to soft step issues as arrogance—but I do not apologize. Yeah, I know that sounds arrogant! The reason I don’t apologize is because I wrestle with the call to humility continually, and I check my heart non-stop. The possibility of pride and arrogance is there, without question, and I take that very seriously. I check my heart to ensure I’m humble and full of love. It’s wisdom to receive insight from your critics, at least to a point!

People that are close to me do know my heart—and they know I’m broken before the Lord. My call is to aggressively sound alarms, gather people around the mission of revival and call people to pray night and day. It can’t be a soft spoken suggestion if we hope to awaken a great end-time army!

Several years ago in Colorado, the Lord directed me very urgently to learn how to walk in extreme humility and extreme boldness at the same time. It was full year of intense prayer and discovery—a personal school of the Holy Spirit. In that school, I learned much, including this—I was not to attempt to appear humble, I was to be humble. Why was this important? Because the Elijah level boldness that is required to impact a region would often look like anything but humility. It would appear as arrogance and selfish ambition.

We are not in a season where we need to gather around a table and water down the message in the hopes of finding common ground that results in handshakes and smiles. The message of the hour will overturn that table with violence.

I endeavor to love every person deeply, but I refuse to affirm systems, methodologies, theologies and lifestyles that are an offense to the Word of God. I will, in humility and boldness, be relentless in provoking the sleepers to awaken and those given to a lukewarm life to be shaken. Prophetic threats against human systems and unholy altars results in accusation, gossip and resistance.

Judges 6:28-31 (ESV) 28 When the men of the town rose early in the morning, behold, the altar of Baal was broken down, and the Asherah beside it was cut down, and the second bull was offered on the altar that had been built. 29 And they said to one another, “Who has done this thing?” And after they had searched and inquired, they said, “Gideon the son of Joash has done this thing.” 30 Then the men of the town said to Joash, “Bring out your son, that he may die, for he has broken down the altar of Baal and cut down the Asherah beside it.” 31 But Joash said to all who stood against him, “Will you contend for Baal? Or will you save him? Whoever contends for him shall be put to death by morning. If he is a god, let him contend for himself, because his altar has been broken down.”

I know the accusations will continue, but you need to know that, if you are bold, you will provoke. You must be OK with that! Love people deeply, hate the enemy powerfully and know there will be a crisis in the middle as God, people and demons step into the ring. Don’t wrestle against flesh and blood! Be innocent! But, don’t presume a passive spirit is the same thing as a humble spirit.

FALSE UNITY IS NOT MY GOAL

Today I hear a lot about leaders, churches and movements in a region unifying for the sake of revival. I have been disturbed by that strategy for years.

First, it’s imperative that we honor people. That’s a heart condition issue that will either qualify or disqualify you from ministry. But, honor and unity are not at all the same.

I commit to serve all, but I refuse to strategically align with someone who is doesn’t embrace fervent prayer as a lifestyle, holiness as a principle and dying daily as a goal.

Today we have worship leaders who listen to secular music and go to secular concerts. There are pastors who are entertained in media by the very sins that required the death of the Jesus they preach about. It makes you wonder just what they are ministering to us!

I’ll say it plainly—we cannot align with those who are operating in the spirit of Baal. We must confront them in the spirit of Elijah!

Ephesians 5:11-14 (ESV) 11 Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them. 12 For it is shameful even to speak of the things that they do in secret. 13 But when anything is exposed by the light, it becomes visible, 14 for anything that becomes visible is light. Therefore it says, “Awake, O sleeper, and arise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.”

There is so much fear today that messages of holiness will result in accusations of legalism. I say, bring on the accusations! You have to be kidding me if you think it makes sense to lessen the call to purity for the sake of unity!

When preaching holiness results in accusation of legalism you can know darkness is increasing in strength in our culture—and in the church.

No, it’s NOT OK to watch movies that have cussing, nudity, violence or crude humor it it. It’s NOT OK to soak in secular music in one moment and with worship music in the next.

It’s so hard for so many to encounter God today—and this is the main reason! Media! Holiness! Prayer!

I have a high value for true unity and am looking for those in the Detroit region that will truly gather in a spirit of humility, brokenness, intercession and passionate, unhindered focus on the goal of God’s heart—revival that transforms a culture.

The call today is first for consecration, not liberation! First comes holiness and a resolve to be single-minded in our pursuit of a holy God—and then the power to set the captives free will come.

Joshua 3:5 (ESV) 5 Then Joshua said to the people, “Consecrate yourselves, for tomorrow the LORD will do wonders among you.”

Listen closely: the lukewarm, casual church must be shaken! Yes, the true church is one that is burning hot, in love with her Bridegroom. I risk offending a lot of people when I deal with this issue of fervency and costly discipleship as it’s an assault against their theologies and lifestyles. It is NOT OK to be casually committed, loosely connected and given to the apathy that is destroying the church. I’m calling awakeners to rise up! We must pray and burn non-stop! You can do this! There is no better way to live—and there is no other option!

I know this is why some don’t connect well in houses of prayer, or even in my own church—the call to burn hot is beyond what most are comfortable with. The call over the edge is unsettling for those who don’t even want to come near the edge. Listen—your eternity is at risk! Be fervent and radical in your love of God and commitment to his mission!

HELL

In the end, this issue is what drives me. It is my life mandate. Hell.

Why? If you would have had the same encounter that I had by being dragged toward Hell, you wouldn’t ask that question.

Many, MANY in the church will be SHOCKED to find themselves in Hell one day. I’m talking about seemingly alive people who lift their hands, live good lives and made a decision to follow Jesus.

Revelation 3:1-3 (ESV) 1 “And to the angel of the church in Sardis write: ‘The words of him who has the seven spirits of God and the seven stars. “‘I know your works. You have the reputation of being alive, but you are dead. 2 Wake up, and strengthen what remains and is about to die, for I have not found your works complete in the sight of my God. 3 Remember, then, what you received and heard. Keep it, and repent. If you will not wake up, I will come like a thief, and you will not know at what hour I will come against you.

I am grieved and shocked by the casual attitude in this nation regarding salvation. There’s such a quick and easy thought that “of course” we are saved, yet for MANY of those people, they are NOT. They WILL go to Hell when they die, and will be utterly confused as to why they are there.

This article is not at all meant to be a theological study. I’ve done that in the past and will do it in the future. This article is a raw eruption of the emotions of my heart—and my heart is sickened and broken over such terrible theologies that affirm the salvation of people in such a cavalier way. The attempt is to affirm the culture and encourage people in their lifestyles—even though it’s resulting in eternal tragedy! I’m concerned that the American church is working so hard at aligning with culture instead of irritating it.

The greatest resistance I receive is when I talk about eternity. To be specific, the threat of living eternally in Hell. (People love to hear about Heaven!) There are great people who are living great lives who reject messages that focus on Hell—due to fear. The accusation is that I shouldn’t preach on messages that result in fear. My response? If you aren’t going to Hell, you have no fear! If you are in the love of God, you should have no fear whatsoever, no matter what is taught! If you are in fear, the issue is with you, not with the messenger, and I want to help you move out of fear and into the love of God, leaving any threat of Hell behind you!

This is the primary reason I am so violent against the false-grace message (http://www.johnburton.net/grace-message). I will not be silent on this matter. It’s not a minor theological issue that we can just agree to disagree on. It’s sending potentially millions of people to Hell—people that will be in maddening torture a hundred billion years from now just because they embraced this heretical teaching. I can’t stay silent, hoping to keep from making waves, trying to make friends and grow my church while every single day churched people shockingly live their first eternal moments in a tormenting fire they were convinced they were exempt from.

So, yes, I am violent and vigilant and brash at times because of the reality of Hell. Wouldn’t you be? Shouldn’t you be? Yes!

RAW, RISKY CONFESSION

I’ll admit, like Elijah (though I’m not pretending to be anywhere in the ballpark of the great Elijah!) I do feel extremely alone here in Detroit. But, I’m smart enough to know there are 7,000 who have not bowed their knees to Baal. (1 Kings 9:9-18)

I’m also blessed by the amazing friendships I have with some leaders, forerunners and intercessors in the area. But I’m so saddened by others who have disappeared from our lives—those I know had a calling to run as men and women on fire! I wrestle with anything I may have done to wound that relationship, that destiny, and I live in repentance and tears over it. I see so much destiny in people that it is crushing when I don’t get to see it come to pass! I get violent against the enemy that would attempt to threaten that relationship and that alignment!

I am EXTREMELY hesitant to share this, as I really don’t need to for my own emotional health. But, I do believe there is something that must be dealt with in this region, and in regard to church health in any region. A spirit of competition and distrust between pastors and churches just saturates Detroit, and it’s time for it to come to an end.

First, you’d be shocked at how easy (and wonderful!) it is for me to enjoy people who have disappointed us, wounded us or betrayed us. Really, it is! My message on being unoffendable really, really works! (https://soundcloud.com/johneburton/becoming-unoffendable) These are truly amazing people that I love!

So, my agenda in this portion of the article is not personal. It may be hard for you to believe that, which is why I’ve avoided dealing with this for so long. But, I’ve just met too many wounded people who are afraid to deal with these issues due the fear of accusation. I have no such fear. Lets do this.

Detroit

When I first started traveling to Detroit, the energy was electric. People were ready (or so it seemed) for revival in this region and the meetings and strategies I was privileged to be involved in had a level of excitement I had never experienced before.

Then, after moving from Kansas City to Detroit, something strange happened—I was awakened to the spirits of this region. There were giants in the land. (I discuss this more in my brand new book Piece of Cake: http://detroitrevivalchurch.com/2013/08/06/wondering-how-to-start-a-ministry-or-other-project-piece-of-cake-is-available-for-order/).

Every day I check my heart, as I shared before, to ensure I’m not driven by arrogance, selfish ambition, self promotion or other attitudes that would ultimate disqualify me from ministry. Humility is the only option.

I started hearing through the grapevine, almost immediately upon the launch of Revival Church four years ago, that some people were not happy with us doing so. It was a strange shock as we had been convinced that these people were running just as we were in Detroit for regional revival.

In fact, one church actually met with us (two of their associate pastors) and accused of of strategizing to steal their sheep. To their credit, they came to me, which both Amy and I really appreciated! However, that accusation was so far from the truth that we couldn’t even begin to imagine where it came from. We were extremely intentional about honoring other pastors and churches. It’s core to our DNA! We want other churches to grow faster than ours!

As an example, our primary plan when moving to Detroit was to launch a different church (before Revival Church) out of a local ministry. However, we predetermined to honor a local pastor who was connected to that ministry by refusing to launch it without his blessing. He didn’t bless it due to its proximity to his own church and other concerns, so we didn’t launch it. It was very important for us to honor him, and we still do to this day.

We continued to serve and bless that ministry even though we didn’t have an official connection with them anymore, and love those leaders a lot! They are great friends.

When we were released from that, we aligned with Barbara Yoder’s ministry and launched Revival Church.

So, in our meeting with the two associate pastors, we didn’t know where they were getting their information that we were attempting to steal people. I knew that it was simply the enemy that was spreading lies that were very easy to hear in such a volatile, competitive region.

Amy and I blessed them after that meeting.

I had another meeting with a leader in a nearby city who actually repented to me. He knew he was to connect with me and have me speak at his church, but someone there was speaking against me and he entertained her accusations. He knew it was wrong, and he contacted me to ask for my forgiveness. I love that! But, it shows how vile gossip and accusation can be, and, most importantly, how it absolutely disrupts the pursuit of revival!

I’m convinced revival should have broken out a few years ago! But, there was resistance against a 20+ day move of God in Dearborn. God was moving, but resistance came.

So, here we are in a strange new land looking for alliances with revival minded friends, but instead, we experienced quite a bit of resistance. It broke my heart, but didn’t nullify my mission. I’ve grown to understand that apostolic ministry will do that. It’s a ground taking, status quo shaking anointing and it will disturb those who don’t agree with that type of Kingdom advance.

Since that day we have experienced amazing growth and advance and have developed extremely important, key relationships with apostolic and prophetic leaders with regional authority. We have also experienced a lot of additional attack, which is not unexpected, but here’s the point I really want to make:

Church of Detroit, you MUST break off the spirit of competition, distrust and accusation that has infiltrated you! If we embrace a spirit of Accusation, that spirit one day will turn on us.  If we embrace a spirit of Criticism, that spirit will one day attack us mercilessly.

I refuse to shrink back on this out of fear that people will accuse me of wearing my emotions on my sleeve or that some may even resist relationship with us due to erring on the side of caution. I’m really not here to make friends (though I like friends!). I’m here to bless people and to sound alarms in a city that just went bankrupt and is dying! Now is not the time for diplomacy! I didn’t move here to let this city die and I know my revival minded friends in the city won’t let that happen either—not on their watch!

Honoring Leaders & Leaving Churches

When I wrote my book Covens in the Church I exposed what the enemy can do in churches through independent spirits of gossip and accusation. The book deals directly with how to appropriately honor your leaders, how and when to leave your church, processes and protocols, that must be followed, etc. I deal with the Absalom spirit that entertains gossip and initiates division. Detroit needs to hear this message!

I believe the principles in that book must be embraced in this city!

I teach those principles at Revival Church and in theLab University. There is a pattern that must be broken if we hope for revival to break out here.

Here’s the principle: Honor leaders and the mission God has you on by staying in position, through challenge and joys. If you feel led to move on, initiate a process with your leader and stay locked in as you walk through the transition together, ultimately leading to a blessing as you go.

It’s a tough call, and I understand that. It’s not enough simply to announce your plans to leave to your leaders (though even that would be a step in the right direction!) but we must bless them by asking them to partner in the decision making process. Give them the voice in the decision they rightfully have.

I love it when I have the opportunity to celebrate and bless people both privately and publicly when they move on from our church to another! It’s rare that I am able to do that. What results is improper transition where people are uncovered and independent, and, unfortunately, the pattern most often repeats itself. The church of the city is weakened.

This is not unique to our church, I realize that. But, I do want to initiate change! This region must discover the power of being surrendered and unified. Upper Room level power will result! The purpose of this entire article is to awaken a dysfunctional, sleepy church into its destiny—sooner than later!

The call? Honor! Stay connected! Stay locked in! You are important! Revival needs YOU!

Here’s a very interesting portion from my book Covens in the Church that explains exactly how the process should go:

An earlier version of this book was read by a couple who lived in another state.  They were feeling strongly that God wanted them to move to Colorado Springs to serve the developing House of Prayer movement.  They were extremely excited about the call and while they didn’t have all of the answers to their questions (when do any of us have it all figured out?), they we’re burning hot with the vision.
    So, during this process, they read this book.  I met them for the first time as they were visiting Colorado at a conference in Denver.  They shared their testimony with me there.
    In the midst of their planning and excitement they read Covens in the Church.  Both of them reported that they felt a great offense crawling up their spine as they turned through the pages.  It was hard for them to embrace.
    They re-read it and prayed.  Through the process they both felt God confirming that what they were reading was what they needed to grasp as they were getting ready to move into another important season of their lives.
    What they shared with me next absolutely floored me.  They went to their pastor and shared all of their dreams and plans to move away.  However, they told him this, “Pastor, we honor you as our God ordained authority–not in title only, but in function.  We want you to know that though we feel led that we are to go, if you tell us that you feel it is not the right move, we will honor you and stay.  You make the final call.”
    They saw tears start to roll down the cheeks of their pastor.  He looked at them and said, “I’ve been in pastoral ministry for fifteen years and this is the first time anybody has ever come to me like you just did.  You are the first people who have ever asked me to partner with you as you move on.  Thank you.”
    The result?  Their church prayed intently for Revolution House of Prayer every week.  We prayed for them and were excited about the new relationship that would soon follow.  It’s the healthiest transfer from one church to another that I’ve ever experienced.  This is the way it is supposed to happen.

An Amazing Update

    I am blown away at the lengths God goes to when confirming His prophetic insights.  I have been gripped by the content of this book since I first received it several years ago in Kansas City.  I, of course, am convinced at the supernaturally driven freedom that comes as we’re fully submitted in love to leadership, however one day very recently I was asking God to give me further confirmation.
    The very next day was the first day of the new internship that Amy and I are giving leadership to.  We met a couple from a house of prayer in the Michigan area and asked them if they knew this particular couple that I shared about above.  They said, “Oh yeah!  We know them very well!”
    We talked a little more and discovered something amazing.  God answered my prayer of just a day prior by actually bringing this couple’s leaders from the ministry in Michigan to  the internship I was directing!  They said they have never witnessed anybody leave a church or ministry with such excellence, integrity, humility and honor.  They we’re astounded at their maturity and decided then and there that they would also model their exit plan when they themselves left.  They did so and these leaders also departed in a mature and healthy manner and ended up running the race with me in the internship!  They will be teaching one of the tracks each session here–and I wonder if all of this might not have come together as it did if every party involved, me included, would not have been obedient and surrendered to the biblical blueprint for honoring authorities in our lives.  I’m still stunned.

There you have it. There is much broken, and we can’t just keep repeating the positive and hope that a head in the sand approach will work. The good news is that we can all go low, repent, love deeply and refuse to surrender to the spirit that is driving the region. It’s the Holy Spirit’s turn, and he is seeking willing hearts to move through.

So, what do you think?

Mike Bickle: 7 Characteristics of the End-time Praying Church

7 Characteristics of the End-time Praying Church

4:00PM EST 1/3/2013 Mike Bickle

Here’s another must read article… a repost of a message by Mike Bickle. You can read the story in its original location here: http://www.charismamag.com/spirit/spiritual-growth/13386-not-just-a-movement

image2 Mike Bickle: 7 Characteristics of the End time Praying Church

The end-time role of the praying and worshipping church

Right now, all across the earth, the Holy Spirit is raising up a worship-based prayer movement that will culminate in the second coming of our King, Jesus. This isn’t a new idea, but one rooted in history and, more importantly, in the Bible. This prayer and worship movement that we see exploding across the planet was prophesied many years ago, as recorded in the Scriptures. I believe that what we’re witnessing today, with the rapidly growing worldwide prayer and worship movement, is the beginning of the fulfillment of biblical prophecies about the end times.

This conviction that God is raising up a worldwide prayer movement that will precede Jesus’ return has strengthened my resolve to build a 24/7 worship community. We started on May 7, 1999, and for the last 12 years the International House of Prayer Missions Base of Kansas City (IHOP-KC), consisting of full-time missionaries who serve as worship leaders, singers, musicians and intercessors, has continued nonstop in worship and prayer. Our hearts are set on gathering corporately to worship Jesus 24 hours a day, seven days a week, every day of the year. Partnering with Him in intercession, we contend for an outpouring of the Holy Spirit and for the release of justice, both in our own city and in the cities of the earth. What started with 20 full-time missionaries has grown to more than 1,000 full-time staff and 1,000 students and interns in our Bible school.

Why do I mention this? Because if weak and broken people in Kansas City, Mo., can do this, anyone can! And that’s exactly the point God wants made. The Lord is determined to establish a culture of prayer in the entire body of Christ worldwide before He returns. Over the last 10 to 20 years, we’ve watched the prayer movement grow especially fast in Asia and Africa. Yet this rapid growth is only the first fruits of what Jesus is doing in His church in this generation.

I believe this is the hour in history when many of God’s people from a multitude of ministries, churches and denominations will align themselves with Jesus’ commitment to build His church. It will be in such a way that He Himself will call it “a house of prayer for all nations” (Is. 56:7).

The Scriptures describe several characteristics of the end-time worship and prayer movement that are involved in releasing God’s presence and power. When people pray, the spiritual atmosphere over cities and regions is changed. Demons are driven back from their place of influence, angels are more active, and the Spirit releases a greater measure of grace on our labors. Thus, the preaching of the gospel and the works of the kingdom become more effective. Jesus taught us to pray for God’s kingdom to be expressed on earth as it is in heaven (see Matt. 6:10). This includes worship—the Father desires to be worshipped on earth as He is in heaven.

The apostle John wrote more on the end-time worship and prayer movement than any other writers of Scripture. From two of their books—Isaiah and Revelation—we can define seven characteristics of this global movement.

1. It will be God-centered (Rev. 4:8; 5:11-14; Is. 24:14-16).

The worship order of heaven is decidedly God-centered. Night and day, day and night, those nearest God’s throne proclaim the truth about who God is and what He does. He desires that His creation would encounter His majesty, love and goodness and that, in turn, they would offer up their praise and adoration for all He is, all He has done and all He will do. Treasuring God and adoring Him endlessly is the priority of the prayer movement. It is the necessary and fitting response to His matchless beauty and immeasurable worth.

Worship is a witness on earth to the indescribable value of Jesus. The truth of His greatness must be declared in song and in proclamations because it is the ultimate truth on which the created universe exists. This truth of the greatness of God is powerful. God loves the truth, including the truth about Himself.

The power and supremacy of the grand truth about God demand expression on the earth. If the people do not worship our great God, Jesus said the rocks would cry out in our place (see Luke 19:37-40). The end-time worship and prayer movement will extol the majesty and worth of God as it joins the symphony in heaven, where the worshippers are forever crying out, “Worthy is the Lamb!” (Rev. 5:12). 

Our prayer life is best energized when we experience intimacy with God’s heart. The Father relates to us with tender mercy. Jesus relates to us with fiery desire as our bridegroom God (see Is. 54:5, 62:5).In Revelation 22:17, John prophesied that the Spirit and the bride would say, “Come, Lord Jesus!” This is one of the most informative and significant prophecies describing the end-time church. In it, John describes an end-time church in unity with what the Spirit is saying and doing.

What is the Spirit saying? He is speaking to believers about their corporate identity as Jesus’ bride. What is the Spirit doing? He is interceding for Jesus to come in power and calling thirsty people to come to Jesus, the bridegroom God.

In the end times, for the first time in history, the Spirit will universally emphasize the church’s identity as Jesus’ bride. It is not the Spirit and the family who will say, “Come!” or the Spirit and the army, kingdom, body, temple or priesthood. Rather, it is the Spirit resting on the church as a bride. Forever, we will rejoice in our identity as God’s family, body, temple, priesthood and more. 

As sons of God, we are to experience God’s throne as heirs of His power (see Rom. 8:17). As the bride of Christ, we are to experience God’s heart—His desire for us. The bridegroom message is focused on Jesus’ emotions for us, on His beauty, on His commitments to us (to share His heart, home, throne, secrets and beauty), and on our response of wholehearted love and obedience to Him. 

Understanding this message begins with experiencing His affections for us. Jesus delights in us, enjoys us, partners with us in the work of the kingdom and is committed to our eternal success.

Isaiah described the end-time prayer movement as deeply relational, a quality that would stem from the revelation of God as our bridegroom (see Is. 54:5, 62:5). In no way should “the bridegroom God” term conjure up images of our Lord and King as some sort of sensual lover or “boyfriend God.” That is grossly inappropriate and dishonoring to Jesus.

One reason people burn out in intercession and ministry to others is because they lack intimacy with God through encountering Jesus as their bridegroom God. The revelation of the church as Jesus’ cherished bride is essential for keeping our hearts alive through the years as we diligently do the work of the kingdom.

2. It will be continual (Rev. 4:8; Is. 62:6-7; Luke 18:7-8).

In Revelation 4-5, the apostle John describes the heavenly worship order around the throne. In His vision of God’s throne room he witnessed celestial beings who “do not rest day or night, saying: ‘Holy, holy, holy ” (Rev 4:8). As already mentioned, God desires to be worshipped on this earth just as He is in heaven—continually and unceasingly.

Moreover, the prophet Isaiah saw a prayer movement on earth that would not rest night and day until God’s purposes were fully established (see Is. 62:6-7). In these last days God is raising up a prayer movement that will continually worship Him and cry out to Him for His plans to be executed and His justice to be released (see Luke 18:7-8).

The call to 24/7 worship and prayer is not an invitation to organize it all under one roof. Continual prayer usually is expressed by the body of Christ together as prayer is offered up from many different buildings across a city or region. The call of 24/7 prayer is to build a prayer culture among God’s people across cities and regions so that Jesus receives continual, corporate worship from many different ministries and locations. Each does its own small part, but together all offer night-and-day prayer and worship.

I do not believe the Lord is calling most churches to start a 24/7 prayer ministry in their building but instead to build a prayer culture in their church. Unless the Lord specifically calls you to start 24/7 prayer in your congregation, it is best to view it as what will result from the collective efforts of hundreds of prayer meetings held in homes, churches, universities and businesses across your city.

3. It will be global (Is. 24:6-7, 42:10-12; Mal. 1:11).

The Scriptures are clear that the end-time worship and prayer movement will extend all across the earth, even to the most remote and difficult-to-reach places. Isaiah prophesied that even in the remote islands of the earth God’s people would sing to the Lord in worship and intercession (see Is. 42:10). He witnessed worship going forth in the wilderness, or desert places—even in Islamic villages such as Kedar in Saudi Arabia and Sela in Jordan—and that God’s people would worship from one end of the earth to the other until Jesus returns (see Is. 42:11, 13-15).

Simply put, the end-time worship and prayer movement will be in every place, even the hardest and darkest places (see Mal. 1:11). That means it will be international. King David had a continual, musical worship movement in Jerusalem. About 300 years after him, Isaiah said, in effect: “The worship moment will go far beyond what David did. David was limited to one location. The end-time movement will be global.”

4. It will be musical (Is. 24:14-16; 26:1; 27:2; 30:29; 32; 35:2, 10; 42:10-12; 54:1).

Some who lead prayer ministries struggle with the idea of prayer meetings being led by music, but the idea is biblical. One aspect of the kingdom coming on earth as it is in heaven involves music in our prayer meetings. This is seen in Revelation 5:8-9. 

When I first began having daily prayer meetings, we did not include music led by a worship team. We spent more time shouting at the devil than we did talking to God. It seemed like the mark of a good prayer meeting was exhausted and hoarse intercessors. Eventually I introduced music, and our prayer meetings became not just bearable but enjoyable! 

The end-time prayer movement is musical. The human spirit is deeply musical because we were created in the image of God, who is very musical. Few things touch the human spirit in the way that anointed music does.

5. It will be missional (Rev. 7:9, 14).

The end-time worship and prayer movement will be instrumental in ushering in the greatest harvest of souls in history (see Matt. 24:14; Rev. 7:9, 14). Jesus said in Luke 10:2 that we must pray for the Lord to release laborers for the harvest. Throughout the Scriptures we see a pattern in which communities, such as the one in Jerusalem in Acts 2 and the Antioch community in Acts 13, gather together in worship and prayer. From those prayer meetings, missionaries are sent out and evangelism movements are unleashed that result in a significant harvest of souls.

Jesus connected night-and-day prayer to the release of justice on the earth (see Luke 18:7-8). He spoke of this in the context of the end times, with specific reference to His second coming (see Luke 17:24-37; 18:8). John spoke of the end-time prayer movement as being deeply connected to the release of God’s judgment to remove oppression from the earth (see Rev. 6:9-11; 8:3-6).

6. It will be youth-oriented (Mal. 4:5-6).

The end-time prayer movement will consist primarily of young people. We know historically that most people who turn to Jesus do so before they are 25 years old. Most great revivals of history were focused primarily on youth. This will be the pattern again because the majority of the world’s population is under age 25.

Malachi prophesied that the Holy Spirit would turn the hearts of the fathers to a focus on the youth during the generation in which the Lord would return (see Mal. 4:5-6). This means spiritual fathers and mothers will focus on God’s purpose for young people in the end times. Thus, the end-time prayer and worship movement will comprise youth who walk in a spirit of humility and honor.

David spoke of a time when young people would declare the excellence of God’s name throughout the earth. This will happen, in the fullest sense, only in the generation in which the Lord returns.

David went on to prophesy of the power of this worship movement that would flow from the mouths of babes. He said that even through the youth God would release His strength to silence the enemy and the avenger (see Ps. 8:1-2). Jesus referenced David’s prophecy during His triumphal entry into Jerusalem. It was at this time that He declared His house would function as a house of prayer.

Matthew tells us that immediately after this the scribes were indignant at seeing children cry out in worship to Jesus. Jesus answered them by quoting David’s prophecy that from the mouth of babes God would perfect praise (see Matt. 21:13-16). David’s prophecy of young people worshipping God was so important that Jesus emphasized it in the context of calling God’s house a house of prayer. On another occasion, David prophesied about young people volunteering for the Lord’s end-time army at a time when God’s power would be openly manifested in the nations (see Ps. 110:3, 5).

7. It will be unified (John 17:21-23; Eph. 3:18).

In His high-priestly prayer, Jesus prayed and prophesied that He would pour out His glory, enabling His people to walk in unity and greatly enhance the effectiveness of the gospel (see John 17:21-23). The end-time worship and prayer movement will function in gracious cooperation because God has entrusted different aspects of His purposes and plans to separate parts of His body. Out of necessity, but borne of love, the prayer movement will be profoundly unified as the church experiences the fullness of God’s purpose by honoring and serving one another in relationship. This will be achieved by a supernatural grace that God will pour upon His body, enabling it to walk in love and a spirit of unity. For unity is the place where God commands His blessing in the greatest measure (see Ps. 133:1-3).

The Holy Spirit is calling the church to rise up in unity as the end-time prayer movement to offer fervent, continual intercession and worship that flows from prophetic music and intimacy with God. From this position of strength we will work together to fulfill the Great Commission and bring in the greatest harvest of souls in history. And Jesus will respond to the voice of His bride calling out as one with His Spirit for Him to come in power, vanquish His enemies and fill the earth with the knowledge of the Lord.

Mike Bickle is the director of the International House of Prayer Missions Base of Kansas City (IHOP-KC) and author of several books. For more information, visit mikebickle.org or ihop.org.

What the Bible Says About the Prayer Movement

Revelation 22:17 speaks of the Spirit and the bride—the praying church—crying as one to the Lord Jesus, saying: “Come!”

No one knows the day or the hour of Jesus’ coming. But we do know that He will come in response to a worldwide worship and prayer movement beckoning Him to return. Check out all the indicators of this in Scripture:

  • Psalm 68:32; 96:1, 9, 13; 98:1-9; 102:15-22; 149:6-9
  • Isaiah 12:4-6; 19:20-22; 24:14-16, 23; 25:9; 26:1, 8-9; 27:2-5, 13; 30:18-19, 29, 32; 35:2, 10; 42:10-15; 43:26; 51:11; 52:8; 54:1; 62:6-7
  • Jeremiah 31:7; 51:8
  • Joel 2:12-17, 32
  • Zephaniah 2:1-3
  • Zechariah 8:20-23; 10:1; 12:10; 13:9
  • Matthew 21:13
  • Luke 18:7-8
  • Revelation 5:8; 6:9-11; 8:3-5; 9:13; 14:18; 16:7; 18:6; 22:17

5 reasons NOT to leave a church

People are leaving or changing churches at a record pace—when should we NOT leave a church?

image thumb1 5 reasons NOT to leave a churchUnity around the mission of the church is something Satan cannot risk. The moment people lock arms, take their positions and unify with the Great Commission in front of them, it’s over. He’s done.

Unity is so powerful that Satan used it as his primary weapon to build his kingdom on the Earth:

Genesis 11:4-8 (ESV) 4 Then they said, “Come, let us build ourselves a city and a tower with its top in the heavens, and let us make a name for ourselves, lest we be dispersed over the face of the whole earth.” 5 And the LORD came down to see the city and the tower, which the children of man had built. 6 And the LORD said, “Behold, they are one people, and they have all one language, and this is only the beginning of what they will do. And nothing that they propose to do will now be impossible for them. 7 Come, let us go down and there confuse their language, so that they may not understand one another’s speech.” 8 So the LORD dispersed them from there over the face of all the earth, and they left off building the city.

The unity driven plan, as impossible as it seemed, was on track to work—so God dealt a blow to what? Unity. It worked. The people scattered.

Now, in an attempt to turn the tables on God as he is building his Kingdom through unified people, Satan is attempting to scatter the church. It’s working.

A spirit of independence is convincing Christians that it’s time to take control of their lives and forsake the call to gather under leaders within the structure of the church. We must repent, and we must return to position and get ready to move as the alarm sounds.

While there are (rare) times to move from one church to another, I want to share five reasons NOT to leave.

5 REASONS NOT TO LEAVE A CHURCH

ONE.

When you don’t fit in. My three sons and one daughter would never leave the Burton family if they struggled to fit in, if they were misunderstood or if they were having a bad season of life. My wife wouldn’t either, nor would I. If we see the church as a part of the service industry like McDonald’s or Wal-Mart we will end up leaving if we don’t feel welcomed or served. However, God plants us in a covenant family, not a shopping center.

What most people really mean when they say, “I don’t fit in,” is that they aren’t enjoying themselves. Possibly, they feel rejected. I find it disturbing when rejection causes people to leave a church when rejection is what propelled Jesus to die and launch the church. Remember, the church isn’t to be there for us as much as we are to be there for the church. The mission of the church is demanding and not always enjoyable and we must be in position ready to work. I guarantee anybody who approaches leadership and offers to serve in the nursery or by cleaning the church would absolutely fit in. Their serving heart makes a place for them.

Acts 4:11 (ESV) 11 This Jesus is the stone that was rejected by you, the builders, which has become the cornerstone.

Luke 17:25 (ESV) 25 But first he must suffer many things and be rejected by this generation.

TWO.

When its easier for you to connect with God elsewhere. I know this may be a shock, but the primary purpose of the church isn’t to make it easy for you to connect with God. If we understand this, a million arguments against staying at your church will instant disappear. It’s our job, individually, to develop intimacy with Jesus. If we are dependent on a pastor, worship leader or others to nurture our relationship with Jesus, we’re in big trouble.

We should never arrive at church empty. We should be full of God and ready to pour out. If its easier for us to encounter God in our home or with a small group of friends, then great! That’s the way it should be! Then, take fire that you’ve cultivated to the critical corporate gathering and burn hot. Serve well. Get into position, lock arms, serve the leaders and advance the mission.

If we focus on personal edification and connecting with God as the primary purpose of the church, we can quickly forget the many additional needs that we have: Discipleship, challenge, discipline, accountability, maturing, giving, serving, and on and on.

Acts 14:21-22 (ESV) 21 When they had preached the gospel to that city and had made many disciples, they returned to Lystra and to Iconium and to Antioch, 22 strengthening the souls of the disciples, encouraging them to continue in the faith, and saying that through many tribulations we must enter the kingdom of God.

THREE.

The leaders aren’t doing things the way most people think they should. Many people believe leaders should make it easy for people to follow them. I disagree. Leaders are mandated to lead people into some of the most challenging, risky and costly missions the world has ever known. People should actually make it easy for leaders to lead them.

People made it hard for Moses to lead them into the Promised Land and they died. They made it easy for Joshua to do the same, and they dominated.

The demand of the people can be so strong sometimes that pastors and leaders forsake their mission. They end up pleasing the people instead of God.

Check this out. Jesus had just identified Peter as the church and made it clear that the gates of Hell would not prevail.

Matthew 16:18 (ESV) 18 And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.

Then immediately after this, Peter, the church, unwittingly renounced the cross. He removed the cost, the surrender, the sacrifice. Watch what Jesus did:

Matthew 16:21-23 (ESV) 21 From that time Jesus began to show his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and on the third day be raised. 22 And Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him, saying, “Far be it from you, Lord! This shall never happen to you.” 23 But he turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a hindrance to me. For you are not setting your mind on the things of God, but on the things of man.”

Peter (the church) was mindful of the things of man, not the things of God. Wow. The pressure of the people to steer the church in a certain direction can result in heeding their demands instead of the inconvenient and extreme mandate of the mission. Don’t be one of those people.

Hebrews 13:17 (ESV) 17 Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they are keeping watch over your souls, as those who will have to give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with groaning, for that would be of no advantage to you.

FOUR.

When another church has better programs for you and your family. We should never choose a church based on what we can get out of it. We are actually assigned by God himself to serve and build it.

My definition of religion is: Man’s attempt to use God to get what he wants.

When we expect to gain from the church ahead of sacrifice, we are embracing the same spirit that killed Jesus. The spirit of religion wanted to use Jesus for personal gain.

Consider the money changers. Right after the crowds were ‘worshiping’ Jesus by shouting Hosanna (which actually means, “save us now,”) Jesus dealt with that spirit. The crowds wanted Jesus to save them, to give them what they demanded. Then, the money changers, driven by the same spirit of religion attempted to use the church for personal gain.

Matthew 21:12-13 (ESV) 12 And Jesus entered the temple and drove out all who sold and bought in the temple, and he overturned the tables of the money-changers and the seats of those who sold pigeons. 13 He said to them, “It is written, ‘My house shall be called a house of prayer,’ but you make it a den of robbers.”

The sin of the money changers? The expected to leave the temple with more than they entered with. The used the temple for personal gain. We see this same spirit in churches around the world. The expectation is to leave the temple with less than we enter with. We bring a sacrifice. An offering. We serve. We give. We place no demands on the place of sacrifice, but instead honor God through the sacrifice of intercession for the nations.

FIVE.

When God tells you to. OK, I’m sure you are awake now! Have you ever played the God card? As a leader I’ve heard many times, usually through the grapevine, that, “God told so and so to move to another church.” Really? That’s odd. I was entrusted as their leader which is a very serious position and God just forgot to tell me about this? He left me out of the loop? Maybe Hebrews 13:17 isn’t what we think it is?

I hope you are getting the point.

We are called to submit to authority—even ungodly authority like judges, elected officials and our bosses at work. Certainly it makes sense that God would include our godly authority in a decision making process as important as leaving one family and one mission for another.

The point is this—God wouldn’t just tell you to leave without your leader being involved in the process. In fact, can I just be blunt? It’s extremely disrespectful, presumptuous, rude and self-serving to abdicate your responsibility in your current church by leaving without honoring the authority in your life. Your pastor has every right to participate with you in your process.

1 Thessalonians 5:12-13 (ESV) 12 We ask you, brothers, to respect those who labor among you and are over you in the Lord and admonish you, 13 and to esteem them very highly in love because of their work. Be at peace among yourselves.

What racial problems in Detroit? : The most important event

The most important event of the week is NOT our Sunday service.

slide2 900x580 What racial problems in Detroit? : The most important eventAs much as I LOVE Sunday night services at Revival Church (and, yes, I mean LOVE!), they are not the most important events of the week.

For those that are interested in city-wide revival, transformation and real unity there is no match for Friday night’s prayer events that travel the city of Detroit.

*Tonight is extremely special. After Catherine Mullins and Brian Simmons minister the fire of revival at The Crossing (the conference starts at 6:30pm), we’ll take over and continue in burning groans and cries of intercession!

10pm TONIGHT: The Crossing 31590 Grand River Ave.Farmington MI, 48336

theLab Friday Prayer Events—A movement unlike any other

theLab is an apostolic and prophetic movement in the Detroit region that is working WONDERS. In fact, it has been so powerful that a school of ministry has been birthed out of it! theLab School of Fire is shocking and rocking a lot of zealous, emerging history makers!

Since January, 2011 theLab has been in around 50 different churches in the Detroit region. That means that 50 churches have been rocked by the life and fire of the Holy Spirit in unusual fashion.

The grace that’s on this movement is remarkable. Astonishing. The call is for EVERY pastor, leader, intercessor, revivalist and burning man and woman of God in Detroit to gather together every Friday night from 10pm-midnight. This is a city movement of fire for the entire city church of Detroit. I’m sounding the alarm. Who will respond?

Joel 1:14 – The Message® (MSG)
Declare a holy fast, call a special meeting, get the leaders together, Round up everyone in the country. Get them into God’s Sanctuary for serious prayer to God.

What racial problems in Detroit?

Since before I moved to Detroit I’ve heard about the severe racial tension that plagues this region.

Since a growing team of burning revivalists and I have been traveling the city every Friday night for over a year, both in urban and suburban churches, my testimony is:

I sense no racial tension whatsoever. None.

We pray in fire together. We love God together. Black. White. There is unity. There is no division. NONE.

And, it’s extremely easy. No working things out. No focus on past racial violations. Just freedom.

Off the Radar

I know what you are probably thinking. I’m not seeing all of the other churches and ministries that are steeped in division and racial strife.

I know they are out there, but the prophetic word is this:

They are off the radar.

The next move of God that is drawing very near in Detroit DOES NOT include them—unless they simply repent, pray, humble themselves and join the movement of revival in Detroit.

Repentance will put them right back on the radar of God’s city church mission in Detroit. It’s that easy.

I will make this as clear as I can—division, jealousy, bitterness and resistance in any form, whether it’s racial, theological, relational or otherwise will take us off the radar. We will miss the outpouring. The fear of the Lord should be striking every one of us right now.

Those who are divisive and resistant are simply being replaced by a fresh army of revivalists and a new city church of power in Detroit.

I believe the days of attempting to unite the old guard in Detroit is over. Seeking cohesion between the pastors here is an honorable mission, but that season is coming to an end as a willing remnant takes their place. This simply means that the mission is switching from reconciliation to advance. It’s time to take steps.

The good news is that at any time, those off the radar can willingly step right back onto it. It’s that easy. But, the pillar of fire is moving, so they better do it quickly.

Seven common personal excuses that legitimately threaten revival

Revival is not a guarantee. In fact, the chances of revival breaking out are extremely low.

image thumb1 Seven common personal excuses that legitimately threaten revivalDetroit is marked for revival, yet revival is not here. It’s delayed. We have a problem. This is an issue not only for Detroit, but for the nations of the Earth. God has planned revival, but we have not.

First, I have to qualify the comments you are reading in this article. The driving force of my mandate is reformation in the church. As a prophetic messenger, a primary focus of my ministry is calling the church into the fire of revival. That fire will only ignite as the church becomes flexible and ready for momentous change. The church must agree with an inconvenient revolution.

A Corporate Mission

The first point we have to understand is that the pursuit of revival requires a corporate strategy. Personal desire, personal prayer and personal pursuit does not result in revival—unless it first spreads to a larger unified group of people. 

Acts 2:1 (NIV) 1 When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place.

This is why being together corporately and continually is so important. Satan used God’s principle of unity to start building the Tower of Babel, and God surprisingly revealed that they would accomplish their task—unless he attacked their unity and scattered them. Now, Satan is trying to pay God back by attacking the unity of the church and causing people to scatter. He has also been successful. What is maddening is that God’s strategy of Kingdom advance and revival would also be unstoppable if Christians simply gathered in unity. That’s all it takes!

Now, many Christians who are unwilling to battle through personal struggles are now convinced that revival can come without devotion to corporate gathering and unity.

  1. Inflexible focuses: We live in a society that is extremely independent, and this results in people locking into their own plans with little regard for the dynamic and demanding development of the church.
  2. Acts 1:4 (NIV) 4 On one occasion, while he was eating with them, he gave them this command: "Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about.

    Their leader, Jesus, invaded their personal space and their personal plans. He demanded flexibility and that they cancel their plans. Their ideas of ministry were challenged by Jesus and the call was to drop them. Jesus needed all of them to go in another direction, to cancel their plans, to respond even though the reason was not at all clear.

    Today, when leadership calls on the church to turn on a dime, to respond corporately, they are usually faced with unresponsiveness due to other personal life focuses. This is a threat to revival.

  3. Family: When confronted with the call to gather as the church, a very easy excuse is, “I have a family activity to attend.” Little League games, family fun, movies and other family activities are pulling people out of the corporate mission of revival. It’s often said that we are to put God first, family second and ministry third. I strongly disagree. That model leads to a separation, to division, when God is calling for unity. We don’t compartmentalize God, family and ministry. We involve ourselves with all three at the same time.

    There used to be a time when families would be in the church every time the doors were open. That was the model. God, family and ministry all happening together, all the time. The 24/7 church is coming, and we have to discover now how to implement this model in our families. We’ll be together most every day of the week. This is how it started, this is how it must be again. In fact, if you are intent on prioritizing these three focuses, check out Jesus’ viewpoint in the second passage below! If anything, God and ministry come before family.

  4. Acts 2:42-47 (NIV) 42 They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. 43 Everyone was filled with awe, and many wonders and miraculous signs were done by the apostles. 44 All the believers were together and had everything in common. 45 Selling their possessions and goods, they gave to anyone as he had need. 46 Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, 47 praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.

    Luke 14:25-33 (ESV) 25 Now great crowds accompanied him, and he turned and said to them, 26 “If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple. 27 Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple. 28 For which of you, desiring to build a tower, does not first sit down and count the cost, whether he has enough to complete it? 29 Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation and is not able to finish, all who see it begin to mock him, 30 saying, ‘This man began to build and was not able to finish.’ 31 Or what king, going out to encounter another king in war, will not sit down first and deliberate whether he is able with ten thousand to meet him who comes against him with twenty thousand? 32 And if not, while the other is yet a great way off, he sends a delegation and asks for terms of peace. 33 So therefore, any one of you who does not renounce all that he has cannot be my disciple.

  5. Time & energy: American culture has won. Or, at least it is winning by a huge margin. Cares of life have nearly destroyed any hope of people having the time and energy to fulfill their call as soldiers in the church. The culture of society is driving the church schedule. Churches have waived the white flag of surrender by cancelling and shortening services. This is absolutely tragic. The church’s warriors have willingly gone AWOL due to wrongly prioritized daily focuses. A worn out church body now uses the church for something it was not designed to do—be their servant. They are tired and they use the church to recharge. Only when we take dominion over our schedules, turn off the TV, shut down time and energy thieves and refocus on the main thing will we have the capacity to personally charge up so we can serve the church mission. Check out this powerful warning:
  6. Luke 21:34-36 (ESV) 34 “But watch yourselves lest your hearts be weighed down with dissipation and drunkenness and cares of this life, and that day come upon you suddenly like a trap. 35 For it will come upon all who dwell on the face of the whole earth. 36 But stay awake at all times, praying that you may have strength to escape all these things that are going to take place, and to stand before the Son of Man.”

  7. Church conflicts: It’s better to unify around an imperfect church vision than it is to divide & argue about what is the perfect vision. It’s common to pull back from our devotion to the mission of the church when we don’t fully embrace their strategies. We want it to be done our way, and if it’s not, then we have the option to lessen our commitment. That results in a weakened and threatened mission. In order for revival to come, we must understand this is an ‘all hands on deck’ level mission. We can’t use the church for personal gain, we must serve the church to ensure there is corporate gain. The church struggles because those who are called to serve it are making demands on it to serve them.
  8. I’ll wait and see: People who adopt this strategy are deeply loved by God, but will most likely miss the full thrust of the impact of the outpouring. The issue is not one of love and acceptance, but rather of function. If we presume that God is going to do the work, our perspective is flawed from the beginning. Our follow through will then also be compromised. Revival is dependent on our determination to initiate it. We aren’t waiting for God, he’s waiting on us. Revival is calibration to Kingdom life, and that life is marked by Believers doing the work. We heal the sick. We preach the Gospel. Not only do we initiate revival but we also facilitate it. We work and serve God as opposed to expecting ourselves to be served.
  9. Deuteronomy 23:21 (NKJV) 21 "When you make a vow to the LORD your God, you shall not delay to pay it; for the LORD your God will surely require it of you, and it would be sin to you.

    Psalm 119:60 (NKJV) 60 I made haste, and did not delay To keep Your commandments.

  10. I don’t fit in: If we understand the definition of ministry, we’ll find there is always a place for us. To minister is to serve. Simply serve and you will find acceptance! 

    When I was 15 I got my first real job. I was a busboy in a tiny country restaurant. I’ll never forget my first day. It was awful! For those of you who know me you’ll be shocked to know that I was tragically shy and not outgoing whatsoever. There were a few other workers there the day I started my job and I found myself just standing all alone presuming rejection from my new coworkers. One of them looked at me and said, “Hey, you don’t have to stand over there by yourself. Come on over here.”

    There are two takeaways from this story. First, I was disqualified relationally by myself, not by the restaurant. In fact, the restaurant welcomed me! Not only was I welcomed, I was hired! I wasn’t rejected, I was accepted! Second, and more importantly, I wasn’t there to develop relationships! I was there to clean dirty dishes off of tables so others could enjoy their stay. I was there to serve. So, the excuse that I didn’t fit in simply didn’t have any bearing on my responsibility. There was a job to do, people to serve and a mission to fulfill. The same is true in the church. Never let this excuse cause you to stop serving.

    If Jesus’ goal was to avoid rejection in the midst of his mission then he would have never made it to the cross, and you and I would be destined for Hell.

  11. Psalm 118:22 (ESV) 22 The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone.

    Matthew 8:34 (ESV) 34 And behold, all the city came out to meet Jesus, and when they saw him, they begged him to leave their region.

    John 1:11 (ESV) 11 He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him.

  12. I don’t want to: This is the most honest excuse. However it’s rooted in unbelief and a misunderstanding of the importance of the mission. If we truly believed that revival was the biblical norm for all of us, we’d give everything, every moment in the pursuit of it. An apathetic church is putting the mission of revival at great risk. It’s time to awaken to the call of God for fire to ignite in our nation.
  13. Ezekiel 22:30 (ESV) 30 And I sought for a man among them who should build up the wall and stand in the breach before me for the land, that I should not destroy it, but I found none.

    Haggai 1:4-11 (ESV) 4 “Is it a time for you yourselves to dwell in your paneled houses, while this house lies in ruins? 5 Now, therefore, thus says the LORD of hosts: Consider your ways. 6 You have sown much, and harvested little. You eat, but you never have enough; you drink, but you never have your fill. You clothe yourselves, but no one is warm. And he who earns wages does so to put them into a bag with holes. 7 “Thus says the LORD of hosts: Consider your ways. 8 Go up to the hills and bring wood and build the house, that I may take pleasure in it and that I may be glorified, says the LORD. 9 You looked for much, and behold, it came to little. And when you brought it home, I blew it away. Why? declares the LORD of hosts. Because of my house that lies in ruins, while each of you busies himself with his own house. 10 Therefore the heavens above you have withheld the dew, and the earth has withheld its produce. 11 And I have called for a drought on the land and the hills, on the grain, the new wine, the oil, on what the ground brings forth, on man and beast, and on all their labors.”

Special event TONIGHT at theLab : School of Fire begins tomorrow

image thumb Special event TONIGHT at theLab : School of Fire begins tomorrowThe fastest way to discover what this revival movement in Detroit is all about is to attend theLab Prayer Event Friday nights!

TONIGHT we will be in our brand new host church praying in fire from 10pm-midnight!

In 2011 we were in at least 40 different churches in the Detroit region. What a movement of unity and revival it has become!

I consider Friday nights to be the key to this movement…you could consider it our primary weekly service… and TONIGHT we’re at our home base in Madison Heights.

I’d like to invite THE ENTIRE REVIVAL CHURCH COMMUNITY to join us TONIGHT at 10pm!

LOCATION: Central Church 1529 E. 12 Mile Rd, Madison Heights, MI 48071



theLab School of Fire

I can’t wait! The engine that drives the Detroit revival movement is theLab School of Fire. We are back in session starting TOMORROW morning!

*Today is your last chance to apply. NEXT SESSION there will be no student or minister discounts, so you might want to pray fast and see if the Lord might have you jump on board with us now.

The cost is $500, and students (between the ages of 18-25) and ministers receive a 50% discount! This school is valued at between $1500-2500 based on comparisons to other similar ministries, and we will soon increase our tuition to match that. So, for $250, you can’t go wrong!

Head on over to www.revivallab.com/apply RIGHT NOW!