Monday, October 20, 2014

My Review Of Joseph Mattera's Review Of "Destined To Reign" - Part 7

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 six "buts" in  Part 12, 3 (a,b,c,d) and 4 and 5.and 6. Today, I will tackle JM's seventth "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. 

7. Prince Preaches an Individual Gospel That’s Disconnected From the Cultural Commission of Genesis 1:28 
Perhaps one of the biggest flaws in Prince's radical grace doctrine is that his dispensational belief doesn’t allow him to connect the gospel to the cultural commission of Genesis 1:28. Believers who embrace the original cultural commission God gave humanity through Adam and Eve (and reconfirmed to Noah after the fall in Genesis 9:1-2) realize we need the moral and civic law to understand how to disciple a nation (Matt. 28:19). 
The Ten Commandments were not just individual commands for piety and holiness but were primarily given as a corporate structure to disciple the burgeoning nation of Israel (Ex. 20:1-2). First Timothy 1:8-11 alludes to the corporate reality of the law when it says the law wasn’t given to righteous men but for the unrighteous. (There has been only one righteous man on the earth who didn’t need the law to know how to be holy—Jesus!) The fact that Paul deals with slave-trading and kidnapping shows that he was also dealing with systemic sin and not just individual sin in this passage. 


JM says that Pastor Prince does not embrace "the cultural commission of Genesis 1:28 God gave to humanity through Adam and Eve and reconfirmed to Noah  after the fall in Genesis 9:1-2". What is this cultural commission? What do the verses actually say?

Genesis 1:28 (AMP)
28 And God blessed them and said to them, Be fruitful, multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it [using all its vast resources in the service of God and man]; and have dominion over the fish of the sea, the birds of the air, and over every living creature that moves upon the earth.


Genesis 9:1-2 (AMP)
And God pronounced a blessing upon Noah and his sons and said to them, Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth.

2 And the fear of you and the dread and terror of you shall be upon every beast of the land, every bird of the air, all that creeps upon the ground, and upon all the fish of the sea; they are delivered into your hand.

Do you see anything about the "cultural commission" in those verses? No? Well, neither do I. How did this "cultural commission" thingy come about?

Perhaps Singaporean Christians are more familiar with the term "Cultural Mandate" rather than "cultural commission" (but they are the same thing) because this is the "mission" fully embraced by City Harvest Church led by its Senior Pastor Kong Hee.

I would like to quote excerpts from Kong Hee's article, "Our Cultural Mandate" to show you how they made the leap from Gen 1:28 to the "cultural commission":

THE CONCEPT OF CULTURE
When God created man and put him in the Garden of Eden, He gave him the responsibility “to tend and keep it” (Gen. 2:15). To tend the land means to plow or to cultivate the ground. But in the Latin, it is the word cultura, where you get the English word “culture.” Herein lies a very important truth: culture is God’s original purpose for man! It is not a concept from the devil. It is an idea from God.
God wanted Adam to “do culture,” taking the seed He has put into Adam’s hands and releasing its potential into a mighty harvest. Therefore, in its earliest and simplest definition, culture means taking the raw material God has given to man, and creatively nurturing it to its fullest potential. Because doing it requires creativity, each time we do culture we are actually reflecting the image of Elohim—the God who is creative.
In Genesis 1:28, God gave mankind its primary job description. The first phrase “be fruitful and multiply” has to do with people. It means develop the social world! Build families, churches, schools and cities. Establish governments and laws.
The second phrase “subdue the earth” has to do with nature. It means harness the natural world! Plant crops, build bridges, design computers, and compose music. 
As we develop the social world and harness the natural world, we are creating culture and building civilization upon the world that God has ordered. In theology, this is called the “cultural mandate.” As we do that, we are given the awesome privilege to be God’s co-creators! No wonder King David stood in amazement as he pondered on the whole purpose of man: “What is man that You are mindful of him, and the son of man that You visit him? For You have made him a little lower than the angels [more accurately, ‘Elohim God’], and You have crowned him with glory and honor” (Ps. 8:4-6).
Can you see it? This so-called "cultural commission" or "cultural mandate" bloomed from just ONE word, "cultura" in Gen 1:28... in LATIN! The Latin word is then linked to the English word "culture" and from there a full blown "cultural commission" is born.

However, this great leap is totally inappropriate because the whole Old Testament which includes Genesis is written originally in Hebrew! We should look at the Hebrew plainly and see its original meaning. I checked the Hebrew Lexicon and not one word in Gen 1:28 means "culture".

Let us now deal with 1 Timothy 1:8-11
1 Timothy 1:8-11 (KJV)
8 But we know that the law is good, if a man use it lawfully;

9 Knowing this, that the law is not made for a righteous man, but for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and for sinners, for unholy and profane, for murderers of fathers and murderers of mothers, for manslayers,

10 For whoremongers, for them that defile themselves with mankind, for menstealers, for liars, for perjured persons, and if there be any other thing that is contrary to sound doctrine;

11 According to the glorious gospel of the blessed God, which was committed to my trust.


Timothy said it very clearly in v9 that the law is not made for a righteous man! JM then says that means the law is meant for the church because "There has been only one righteous man on the earth who didn’t need the law to know how to be holy—Jesus"! This statement is so wrong!

Firstly, Jesus does NOT know how to be holy... Why? Because He IS holy!

Secondly, if Jesus had been the only man righteous on earth, then why did the Bible call Abel and Noah and Abraham and Lot righteous? 

Hebrews 11:4 - By faith Abel offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, by which he obtained witness that he was righteous, God testifying of his gifts: and by it he being dead yet speaketh.

Gen 7:1 - And the Lord said unto Noah, Come thou and all thy house into the ark; for thee have I seen righteous before me in this generation.

Gen 15:6 - And he believed in the Lord; and he counted it to him for righteousness.

2 Peter 2:7 - and delivered righteous Lot, who was oppressed by the filthy conduct of the wicked


Thirdly, we are righteous by faith, not by our conduct. Therefore, the law is not made for the church but for the "ungodly and for sinners".



(to be continued... Part 8 Conclusion)






2 comments:

ForeverEver said...

Joseph Prince receives a lot of money from book royalty. He owns private property assets. This makes him one of the richest pastors in the world. Hands down.

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