Wednesday, October 8, 2014

My Review Of Joseph Mattera's Review Of "Destined To Reign" - Part 3b

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 JM's first and second "buts" (which you can read here1 and here2) and will now tackle the third "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.

However, as JM's third "but" is rather long, I shall break it up into several sub points and rebut them one by one (you can read part 3a here).

3. Prince Doesn’t Clearly Define the Role of the Moral Law of God
Prince says there is no room for preaching the law of God in the church and that God only blesses the message of grace. However, church history does not back this up. Charles Finney was perhaps the greatest evangelist in American history, and he would regularly preach the moral law of God to get people convicted and then use the gospel to get them saved and consecrated. He preached the law of God to both saint and sinner. You can also throw Jonathan Edwards into the mix as a powerful preacher who used the law of God in his messages.  
Prince would probably say these men preached a mixture of law and grace. However, the fruit of their ministries shows that their work and message was greatly blessed of God and had historic results. I personally teach regularly on the law of God in the church with great effect and fruit. Prince would probably say I preach a mixture of law and grace—but if I stand in the company of Finney and Edwards, who used the moral law as a standard to convict sin, I will take Prince's criticism with a smile!

Pastor Prince does not say there is no room for preaching the law of God full stop; Pastor Prince does preach on the law of God, but in the proper context. In Chapter 10 of D2R, page 122 and 123, Pastor Prince wrote: 

"The truth is I have the highest regard for the law. And it is precisely because I have the highest regard for the law that I know that no man can keep the law. We have to depend totally on God's grace! 
I am for the law, for the purpose for which God gave the law. You see, God did not give the law for us to keep. He gave the law to bring man to the end of himself, so that he would see his need for a Saviour. The law is holy, just and good. But it is time to realize that while the law is holy, just and good, it has no power to make you holy. it has no power to make you just and it definitely has no power to make you good." 

Pastor Prince has mentioned before in his sermons that there were great revivals in the past, led by great preachers preaching a mixture of law and grace but these revivals eventually fizzled out. Yes, I agree with JM that preachers like Finney and Edwards achieved great results; even the apostle Paul says in 2 Cor 3 that such ministries do have glory; however such glory is fading away like that on Moses' face as he descended from the mountain bearing the law of God, it does not last:

2 Cor 3:7-11 (NLT)   
7 The old way, with laws etched in stone, led to death, though it began with such glory that the people of Israel could not bear to look at Moses’ face. For his face shone with the glory of God, even though the brightness was already fading away. 8 Shouldn’t we expect far greater glory under the new way, now that the Holy Spirit is giving life? 9 If the old way, which brings condemnation, was glorious, how much more glorious is the new way, which makes us right with God! 10 In fact, that first glory was not glorious at all compared with the overwhelming glory of the new way. 11 So if the old way, which has been replaced, was glorious, how much more glorious is the new, which remains forever!

What Pastor Prince is saying is that there is no room for the law in preaching the Gospel. Only the grace of God can save us, the law cannot. Only the Son of God can save us, the servant (Moses) cannot. Only the Son can reveal the Father to us, the servant cannot.
John 1:17-18 (AMP)
17 For while the Law was given through Moses, grace ([d]unearned, undeserved favor and spiritual blessing) and truth came through Jesus Christ.18 No man has ever seen God at any time; the only [e]unique Son, or [f]the only begotten God, Who is in the bosom [in the intimate presence] of the Father, He has declared Him [He has revealed Him and brought Him out where He can be seen; He has interpreted Him and He has made Him known].

(to be continued...Part 3c)

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