Today after CCA a few of us were discussing some interesting thought-provoking issues, then somehow the name “Joseph Prince” was mentioned, and I heard “Oh Joseph Prince, our church preached a whole sermon against his teachings,” and I quickly interjected with, “with regard to Joseph Prince I’m ready to agree to disagree,” that is, to agree that we may not agree with the topic, but that won’t stop us from having fellowship with brothers and sisters in Christ.
This topic stayed at the back of my mind for the rest of the day. I googled and the responses were somewhat vitriolic. There were name-shaming and devil-related accusations. I’m not offended because I don’t worship the guy and I’ve honestly heard all that there is to hear with regard to criticism of Joseph Prince. Later on, I discovered that more people publicly expressed leaving CHC and FCBC than NCC (granted I know of people who did, in fact, leave NCC), and many of them, unfortunately, expressed vitriol along with their disappointment.
From CHC, many felt cheated that their goodwill offerings were misused. From FCBC, many felt condemned as though nothing they ever did was good enough. From NCC, the people have heard all that there is to the grace of God and want to move on to other areas of spiritual knowledge. What broke my heart was not them leaving, but the vitriol and lack of grace in opining on the issue. There was much condemnation among Christians simply for not believing some of the specifics that they do. We all agree on the fundamental doctrines but differ in specifics, yet we let our minor differences disunite us from being a body.
It’s sort of related to the Catholic Church. Sure, they add on to the 66-book Bible and take close heed to their spiritual leaders. Their focus is a lot more doing good than the grace needed to do good. Yes, Mary is more significant to them than to the Protestant. Yet, because their doctrines are more-or-less aligned with the teachings of Scripture, I personally would be willing to have fellowship with them if we choose to help one another grow toward Christ more and more. To me, that’s the determining factor to whether or not we can have fellowship.
Perhaps many a time we don’t argue for truth (though we use that as a cover-up excuse) but actually to feel right. To justify our opinions over others’ and to simply win the argument. I’m guilty of that. Many times. I cared to win arguments. Over time, however, God corrected this wrong thinking of mine. NO point winning the argument but losing the soul. The reason to argue/discuss/debate is to build one another in Christ. My words have got to be edifying rather than scathing. It’s a learning process for myself, and something I’m learning to do. The same Joseph Prince accused of hyper-grace also ever said, “a truth spoken out of season is no better than a heresy,” and this saying, together with the wisdom of the Holy Spirit, have helped me apply my knowledge more wisely, to edify rather than to humiliate.
The bottom line is, we’re not perfect, and we shouldn’t pretend to be. We all need the grace of God to turn more and more into the likeness of Christ, and while we may disagree with elements within Christendom, we can always unite in Christ. I quote Ravi Zacharias on this matter: unity does not mean uniformity. As long as we all have that common goal of growing more into the likeness of Christ, I can have fellowship with a Catholic, Presbyterian, Methodist or Charismatic or any professing believer of Christ any day.