Saturday, October 18, 2014

My Review Of Joseph Mattera's Review Of "Destined To Reign" - Part 6

For the past year, Charisma Magazine has been running many articles against the grace gospel, labeling it "Hyper Grace". One of those articles was written by a regular contributor, Joseph Mattera  (JM). It is a short review of Pastor Joseph Prince's first book, "Destined To Reign" (D2R). Perhaps tellingly, the title of the article was not something along the lines of "Book review: book title" but a rather provocative "Is Joseph Prince's Radical Grace Teaching Biblical?"

Typical of a few reviews of  D2R which I have read, this review also follows the same pattern: "Well, D2R is generally OK, got some useful tips for new Christians BUT...", and these "buts" actually contradict the very essence of what Pastor Prince is trying to teach in his book. JM listed down 7 "buts" and I will deal with them one by one.

I have dealt with the first five "buts" in  Part 12, 3 (a,b,c,d) and 4 and 5. Today, I will tackle JM's sixth "but". To facilitate my review of JM's book review, I will reproduce excerpts (in blue) here but you can read JM's full article by clicking his article title (highlighted in bold) above. 

6. Prince Says God Is Not Judging Any Nation Because of the Cross  
Prince teaches that God did not judge Sodom until Lot was removed, thus making a case that God will not judge any nation that has a presence of believers in it. What Prince fails to realize is that the Old Testament is replete with illustrations in which God judged the nations of Israel and Judah by disinheriting them even though there was a remnant left who believed. (See, for example, Isaiah 6:13.) 
Furthermore, in Matthew 11:20-24, Jesus speaks about corporate judgment coming upon cities and towns because they rejected Him. Obviously it is difficult to subjectively prove post-biblically if God has judged nations and empires after the cross, since God often uses the militaries of other nations, natural disasters and their own foolishness to lay low people and nations. Furthermore, God judged the nation of the Jews and Jerusalem for rejecting Christ in A.D. 70, when the Roman armies sacked Jerusalem and destroyed the Jewish temple, as Jesus predicted would happen within one generation (Matt. 24:34; Luke 21:20) even though this was almost 40 years after His resurrection. 

JM says "What Prince fails to realize is that the Old Testament is replete with illustrations in which God judged the nations of Israel and Judah by disinheriting them even though there was a remnant left who believed.

Allow me to let Pastor Prince himself answer JM:
You need to  understand how to rightly divide the Word of God. God wants us to be able to rightly divide the Word. 
He wants us to be astute in rightly dividing and clearly separating what belongs to the old covenant of law and what belongs to the new covenant of grace. He wants us to be able to distinguish what occurred before the cross from what occurred after the cross, and to understand the difference the cross made. Many believers today are living as if the cross did not make any difference! 
God is not judging America (or any country in the world today). America and its sins have already been judged! Where? At the cross of Jesus! Sin has been judged at the cross!
Do you remember the time when Jesus wanted to enter a certain village in Samaria, but the people there refused to receive him? When Jesus' disciples saw that the people rejected Jesus, they said, "Lord, do You want us to command fire to come down from heaven and consume them, just as Elijah did?" Now how did Jesus respond to them?
Did He say, "That's a great idea! You are truly disciples who carry My heart"? No, of course not! He turned to His disciples and rebuked them firmly, saying, "You do not know what manner of spirit you are of. For the Son of Man did not come to destroy men's lives but to save them."
Bear in mind also that God almost spared Sodom because of Abraham's plea. He promised Abraham that if there were only 10 righteous men in Sodom, he would not destroy the city for their sake. If God would have spared Sodom for the sake of 10 righteous men, don't you think that the terms He would give today, after Jesus' finished work on the cross, would be even better? Even if God demands the presence of at least 10 righteous people, you would easily find millions of righteous men and women of God in America today because righteousness is a gift of grace from the Lord, and believers all over America are clothed with Jesus' perfect righteousness!  
(excerpts from Destined to Reign, Chapter 5, page 49-53)

JM quoted Matthew 11:20-24 as examples of "corporate judgment coming upon cities and towns because they rejected Him" but if you read the verses carefully, Jesus was speaking about the fates of those cities and towns "in the day of judgment"; Jesus was not calling down immediate judgment on those cities.

v22 But I say to you, it will be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon in the day of judgment than for you.

v24 But I say to you that it shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom in the day of judgment than for you.

Jesus again talked about "the day of judgment" in Matthew 12:36 - "But I say to you that for every idle word men may speak, they will give account of it in the day of judgment."

Similarly, Peter and John also mentioned about "the day of judgment" in their epistles:  

2 Peter 2:9 (NKJV)
9 then the Lord knows how to deliver the godly out of temptations and to reserve the unjust under punishment for the day of judgment,

2 Peter 3:7 (NKJV)
7 But the heavens and the earth which are now preserved by the same word, are reserved for fire until the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men.

1 John 4:17 (NKJV)
17 Love has been perfected among us in this: that we may have boldness in the day of judgment; because as He is, so are we in this world.

JM said the destruction of the temple by the Romans was God judging the nation of the Jews and Jerusalem for rejecting Christ BUT this is not logical; the temple would still be destroyed even if the Jews accepted Christ as the Messiah because the temple was no longer needed. 

Christ is the ultimate sacrifice for our sins and as Paul says in Hebrews 10:26, there is no longer any sacrifice left to atone for [our] sins; the animal sacrifices in the temple are no longer acceptable to God and hence the temple is also no longer acceptable to God. 

God had the temple destroyed to send the message that there is no turning back to the old covenant of the law; the only way to God now is through Jesus Christ.

John 14:6 (AMP)
6 Jesus said to him, I am the Way and the Truth and the Life; no one comes to the Father except by (through) Me.

(to be continued... Part 7)

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