Former New Creation Church member shares how Joseph Prince’s feel-good teachings lead him to be a false convert on the way to Hell without realising it.
I was born into a poor family in Singapore and we practised Buddhism and Taoism. We worshipped these Eastern “gods” carved of wood and stone, fashioned in bright colours. Growing up, these gods remained a mystery to me because I could never fully fathom who they really were.
Gradually, I became a Taoist in name only since I could never understand those lifeless statues, but I also embraced Atheism which was not hard since in Buddhism, we believe in reincarnation and I embraced evolution taught in school. Yet beneath the Buddhist/Taoist/Atheist facade, my heart yearned for spiritual knowledge, so I took an interest in Numerology, Astrology, Palmistry and Face-Reading.
All these things were the main themes of my spiritual life, until the end of 2007, when my life took a huge plunge. In 2009, I was suddenly put out of job. I fell into depression and lost confidence in myself, to the point that facing people was difficult. Feeling like a loser in a fast-paced, overachieving and materialistic society, I felt defeated. I cried out to my Chinese gods but they could not answer nor help me. Driven by desperation, I dabbled into superstitious things until I was scammed out of a few hundred dollars.
I looked up to the thundering, rainy sky and cried out with all my heart in Mandarin, “天啊! 为什么…? 为什么…?? (i.e. God! Why? Why??) Why do all these things happen to me??” I was crying out to a God whom I wanted to believe was in heaven, even though I did not know who He was. Soon after and strangely enough, in December 2009, I applied for a job that I chanced upon in a newspaper advertisement. Coincidently, the ones who interviewed me were my good ex-colleagues and I got the job. Life was getting back to normal.
It was during this time that my wife (who was also raised a Buddhist/Taoist) started attending New Creation Church (NCC) by Joseph Prince (JP) and invited me to the Sunday service. Reluctantly, I agreed but was adamant with her that I would never be a Christian. We visited NCC Sunday after Sunday, but I was not moved, until one day, when the congregation sang and I paid close attention to the words of the songs, the lyrics moved me to tears. That was the moment of change in my life that I became a “Christian” and told people about it.
I would stay on in NCC for the next 4 years.
My life in NCC as a “Christian” revolved around Joseph Prince, not the Bible. Every single week, I would religiously purchase sermons from the previous week and listened to them. I loved those feel-good sermons because they spoke of a God who is extremely gracious and not only wants to alleviate us from the problems of this present life, but also wants to make us healthy, wealthy and happy. All these things were promised to us the moment we become believers, so says JP. Through positive confession and name-it-claim-it, we could speak blessings into existence. Health, wealth and happiness became the yardsticks to measure one’s faith. This was the infamous prosperity gospel that JP preached week after week.
Since one of the Taoist gods I used to worship was Cai Shen, the Chinese god of wealth, you can see it was not hard for me to embrace the prosperity gospel jesus, which in reality is the same demonic spirit behind Cai Shen. Seeing the church speak in tongues did not shock me, since in Buddhism and Taosim, tongues is also spoken and both gibberish languages sound exactly similar. I spoke in tongues at NCC, not because I could, but because it was easy to fake it and it helped me fit in the crowd.
I was in love with the grandeur of the size and materialistic achievements of the church and its entertainment-style music. I attended a care group and I served in the children’s ministry. I became a registered member of NCC and was water-baptised there.
Despite being a “Christian”, I hardly read the Bible. To me, the Bible was foreign and hard to understand. What’s more, JP kept rotating different Bible versions to fit in the agendas of his sermons, to the point I found the Bible even more confusing and tiring to catch up with that I just gave up, so I relied on and believed Joseph Prince 100% in whatever he said.
At the same time, I continued to go to the Chinese temple on occasions to pray to the deceased of my family, especially to my late parents who passed away early in my life. I did not know then that prayers to the dead is an abomination to the Lord or that the dead cannot hear the living (Isaiah 8:19, Ecclesiastes 9:5-6). No one at NCC corrected me about it. If JP had preached against necromancy, I would probably have stopped.
In fact, at NCC, hardly anyone gets corrected of sin. Even my care group leader never corrected anybody. Joseph Prince’s messages were non-offensive and ear-tickling. Sin and repentance were seldom mentioned and never defined or expounded on as the focus of his messages, since health, wealth and happiness take precedence. The same was true with the children’s ministry, where the 10 commandments were never taught, neither was sin nor repentance. There wasn’t really any proper Bible study in place for the kids, no expository verse-by-verse kind of stuff, not even at the care groups or at the adult services. I bought my son an NIV bible but he never flipped it once at any of the kids’ classes. It was more story-telling, games, fun and entertainment. After a while, we just left our bibles at home. We saw no point bringing them to church.
The care group was just as bad. Even though it was not a pushy one, there was no emphasis on sin or God’s holiness, and it felt more like a social club where the talk was mostly about themselves and fleshly achievements masquerading as God’s blessings. It was all grace, grace, grace without any solid Bible study. I felt it was superficial, and it was obvious that they did not like anyone who thought differently from them or challenge their beliefs.
In NCC, sin was irrelevant once a person says the sinner’s prayer. To be “sin-conscious” as JP likes to point out, was that of the Devil and not of the Holy Spirit.
Once, after I learned about the horrors of hell elsewhere, I tried to look for a sermon on the topic of hell on Joseph Prince’s website but I could not find a single one. I also tried to look for a book on the topic of hell from the Gracehope bookstore (along Henderson Road), but I couldn’t find a single book. JP rarely taught about hell. He mentioned before that he believed in it, but he never bothered explaining further about it to the congregation.
Although JP teaches once-saved-always-saved (which I agree), salvation was nothing more than reciting a sinner’s prayer, like a Taoist mantra. As a result, I was never sensitive to sin and I did not know I was a false convert during my time there. I came to Jesus treating Him like a Santa rather than worshipping Him as my Saviour. JP’s teachings made me more materialistic and more wealth-hungry.
Like most NCC members, I would dismiss anyone who was critical of JP, since he was looked upon as an “anointed man of God” who could “do no wrong”.
Things started to change again in July 2011 when I left my job for a better offer, a decision I regretted. I was put to very difficult tasks and I had very mean bosses who would yell at me and threatened me. At the same time, my mother-on-law had 2 unsuccessful surgeries performed on her spine, which caused her to become bedridden. My parents-in-law moved to Singapore, and my mother-in-law was placed in a nursing home which cost us more than S$3,000 a month. Me and my wife brought my father-in-law to NCC, and he was won over.
In January 2012, I was once again retrenched from my job. The nightmare which haunted me back in 2009 returned to haunt me again. With added financial burdens, things became worse. But this time round, I told my wife with conviction that there was nothing I could do except to trust in God. It was not my battle to fight, but the battle belongs to the LORD.
Sometime between January and March 2012, things took a turn once again.
While looking for a job and praying to God, I had the opportunity to spend more time with my father-in-law who stayed with us. He was a new convert then. I told my wife to get a Bible for him. I told her specifically to get a modern version bible for him so that it was easier for him to read and understand. She went to NCC’s bookstore. Instead of the NIV or NKJV, she got him a King James Bible (KJV). When she got the Bible home, I was a little upset with her, but she said that the bookstore assistant told her that the NKJV bibles were out of stock. So perhaps in her eagerness to close the deal, the bookstore assistant told her that “the KJV and the NKJV are the same”.
To prove the point to me, my wife flipped open the KJV Bible and read out loud from the book of Proverbs. When the pure word of God came out from her mouth, I was stunned as if for the first time. I did not tell her of course, but I never heard such gracious words. Quickly, I dismissed those thoughts and asked her to stop reading. It was getting too much for me to bear. “Let me have that Bible”, I said to her and she got an NIV for her father instead.
By March 2012, again by grace, I got back into employment with a much higher pay. It was coincidentally helped by the same ex-colleague who helped me back to employment in December 2009. My faith in God increased. However, in this new role I had to travel to California for a period of OJT (On-the-Job Training), meaning I had to leave my family and I was unable to attend NCC for a few months. I was grieved beyond words, but for their sakes, I had to do it.
It was during my free time after work that I started to go to YouTube and search for things pertaining to Christianity. I wanted to find out more about God. I chanced upon some Christian teachings online that I never knew existed. I was particularly drawn to teachings about Creation and the End Times. I also noticed people arguing online about the controversial Bible version issue. This to me was something new because NCC preached from all kinds of Bibles, so to us in that sense, every bible is the same. I started to become curious.
I returned to Singapore after my OJT was over. We continued to attend NCC but I would still visit YouTube for topics on Creation, End Times and Bible version controversy because these things had piqued an interest in me.
Sometime between 2013 and 2014, I chanced upon a channel by Pastor Mike Hoggard, who expounded on all these topics I was looking into. Drawn to his teachings, I was convicted to pick up the KJV once more and study it for myself. I searched it diligently every day and researched the topic further, and prayed to God to show me the way. Finally, I was convinced of the inerrancy of the KJV. It touched me deep in ways I never understood from the modern (counterfeit) versions.
Psalms 119:104, “Through thy precepts I get understanding: therefore I hate every false way.”
My new conviction made me hate “every false way”. Because of this new conviction, I was forced to take a stand. I had to choose between what the KJV said and what the false church of NCC taught, a blessing or a curse, just like in Deuteronomy 30:19-20, “I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live: That thou mayest love the LORD thy God, and that thou mayest obey his voice, and that thou mayest cleave unto him: for he is thy life, and the length of thy days: that thou mayest dwell in the land which the LORD sware unto thy fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give them.”
You see, that was the “seed” that was sown in my heart through my wife in a twist of fate. That “seed” took root and brought forth a new man in me that is “… not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.” (John 1:13)
“So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God (Rom 10:17).”
All my life as a Buddhist\Taoist\Atheist, there were well-intentioned people who came to me in the name of Jesus Christ, but I was not ready to receive the gospel. Even after I started to call myself a “Christian”, I never fully understood the gospel. I was proud in my heart. God humbled me through many of my circumstances and in the process, converted my heart. That was when my ears began to hear, and I was able to respond to the TRUE gospel with faith.
In chastening me by the stripes of men, God dealt with me personally like a father to a son. Many born again Bible-believing Christians will have heart-moving testimonies on how God has done great and wonderful things in their lives that caused them to repent and turn to the LORD.
I understood for the first time, through the passages of the KJV, what salvation really is, that it is by God’s grace alone that I was forgiven of all my sins. Sinful men cannot pay for the penalty for sin. The only way to settle the penalty is by way of a perfect, sinless “ransom”. That “ransom” was the Son of God and Son of man, Jesus Christ (r. Mat 20:28; Mar 10:45; 1Ti 2:6), God’s only begotten Son who is equal with God the Father and God the Holy Ghost. Sin is the transgression of God’s law (1 John 3:4). Only the perfect God himself can bear the penalty and be the ransom for us sinners.
Because of Christ Jesus, I was born again by the Spirit of God. I began to understand spiritual things – things that can be found in the pure word of God (1 Corinthians 2:14). I know it was God who gave me understanding when I pray for answers in life and things in the Bible, things I never once heard nor understood in my 4 years in NCC, where they mixed truth with errors.
God did a work of sanctification in me. Things in the Bible began to become more and more relevant to me. I began to hate darkness and love the light. I stopped going to the Chinese temple and I threw away every occult book that I had. I also got rid of my NIV, NLT and NKJV bibles that proved so much inconsistencies and made me confused during my time at NCC. I left NCC and persuaded my family to do the same, and threw way all of Joseph Prince’s sermon CDs and books that I used to love.
When I published my changed views on Facebook, I realised that some of my NCC friends had either blocked me or unfriended me. The rest of them remain friends, but we do not connect anymore like we used to. One ex-schoolmate of mine threatened anybody who dared to say negative things about Joseph Prince. This celebrity-pastor idol worship became obvious the moment I got out of NCC. In fact, it’s everywhere anytime I challenge the beliefs of anybody’s favourite preacher with the Bible.
The King James Bible has literally turned my world upside-down. Now I love the Word of God more than anything else when previously I could not understand nor appreciate it. I would commune with God daily with words from the KJV. Even after salvation, God continues to deal with me, as a Father to a son.
Life is not an accident. It is a mystery how things that happen in our lives culminated to the present state of where we are now, and now you are reading my testimony. But there is no mystery before God, and the Word of God is the best proof itself of a Creator, a Law-giver, a Judge, a Prophet, and a Saviour who loves you and gave His life for you. God gave his only begotten Son for you. The Son of God died to give us eternal life, to save us from the wrath of God in Hell to eternal life in Heaven. He rose from the dead as proof that God is true to his word, every single bit of it: from the Old Testament to the New Testament. God alone is the Author of the Holy Bible, the King James Bible. You have to taste it to know.
John 3:14-21 “And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up: That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life. For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved. But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God.”
Now is the day of salvation. While it is said, today if you will hear His voice, harden not your heart, as in the provocation. I pray for you, whoso will hear me. In Jesus’ name. Amen.