Monday, February 8, 2010

New Creation Church Is NOT A Cult!

For the past few weeks, I have been playing Joel Osteen's DVD sermon, "A New Season of God's Mercy (Favour)", at my stall over and over again.  Last Saturday, a first-time customer saw the DVD sermon and warned me to be careful of his teachings. She learnt that I was from NCC and immediately gave me a disapproving look and told me to "be careful of these cults; their teachings are not based on the bible".  She also said that the preachers are promoting themselves only.

Despite she being my customer, I could not resist telling her off.  I told her that she can disagree with NCC's teachings but she cannot label NCC as a "cult".  It seems that the term "cult" is freely thrust upon any church that does not seem to conform to the preaching or theologies of mainstream/traditional churches, especially if the church in question does not belong to any recognized denomination. I'm sure that Methodists, Presbyterians, Baptists, Lutherans, Pentecostals and other denominations differ and disagree with one another on certain aspects of theology but you don't hear their church members labeling the other churches as cults.
  
Since 17 Dec 2008, I have been regularly attracting hits on my blog through google search.  Anyone want to venture a guess on the googled keywords? Yes, you've guessed right: "new creation church cult" (see picture, left) and the reason why google direct them to my blog is because of the article I posted on 17 Dec 2008 - "Is New Creation Church a cult?". 


In that post, I reprinted an article which described the characteristics of a cult, and I think it is worthwhile to reiterate the key points of that article here:

1. A cult, by modern standards, is any group that incorporates mind control to deceive, influence and govern its followers.

2. The mind control, or brainwashing, exerted by cults often take the form of at least several of the following elements:

a) A totalitarian control over the lifestyle and time of its members - Many cults tend to dictate exactly what its followers should read, eat, how and with whom they should spend their time, and even what they should do in off hours. This totalitarian control is necessary for the leaders to indoctrinate the followers in everything they do, and is also an attempt to separate them from anything not associated with the cult. This is why cults often live together in groups.

b) A charismatic, self-appointed leader with complete authority - Cult members are taught not to question the teachings, practices, or ideas of the leader. Many cult leaders truly are charismatic people, and are able to influence people to believe them. One very clear identifying element dealing with the leader of a cult is that the leader will always focus the attention and veneration of the members upon himself or herself. At the heart of a cult usually lies a very self-centered and self-seeking person.

c) A focus on withholding truth from non-members - Many cults teach their followers to be completely open and truthful within the group, while at the same time they are encouraged to be secretive and evasive when questioned by people outside of the group. Only specially-commissioned members are appointed to recruit members from outside. New members are usually encouraged to keep silent or even lie, especially to their families and close friends.

The three elements listed above are very successful ways to create a group mentality, an us-against-them way of looking at things. This is essential for any cult that wants to keep its members. The more afraid of the outside world the members become, the more strongly and faithfully they will keep within the safe fold of the cult.

I regularly attend New Creation Church's Sunday worship service together with my family and about 19,000 other people, and from my personal experience, I can tell that we are not a bunch of tightly controlled zombies worshiping Pastor Prince.  Pastor Prince himself has also encouraged us not to just blindly accept everything he says but to check his preaching with what we read in the bible for ourselves.     


Pastor Prince's sermon CDs are available for sale at the Rock bookshop and on the online store, and those sermon CDs, which date from the year 2000 and represent hundreds of hours of preaching, are easily accessible to any critic who wish to mine for any evidence of Pastor Prince preaching heresy or focusing the attention and veneration of the members upon himself.

Sad to say, many of these critics shoot their mouths off based on hearsay rather than examining the evidence at the source.  At this juncture, let me express my utmost respect for Pastor Kenny aka blogpastor who, in his blog post "Give Joseph Prince A Fair Hearing", said "Pastors should not just go by hearsay and what they read of others’ comments, but actually go to the source and give Joseph Prince a fair hearing: read his books or listen to his tapes. Put down your guns and set aside the warning label called “antinomian” for the time being, roll the sleeves, and do some honest research."

Without a doubt, Pastor Prince is a charismatic preacher but I challenge anyone to produce evidence of Pastor Prince preaching a sermon which promotes only himself.  Every Sunday, we hear Pastor Prince preach only Christ and His finished work on the cross.  Of course, not everyone agrees with all that he preaches, and over the years there have been people who left NCC because they could not accept his preaching but looking at how NCC has almost doubled from 10,000 members in 2004 to 19,000 today, it is obvious that many more have come than left.  However, my point is not to boast about NCC's church growth but to highlight the fact that NCC's members are FREE to come and go, which certainly is NOT the characteristic of a cult.

About 2 weeks ago, a customer patronised my stall.  I chatted with him and discovered that he also attends NCC.  He said, "Coming to NCC was the best thing that happened in my life."  He is not the only one to feel that way.  I also feel the same and hearing the testimonies read in church every Sunday, I know quite a few others from America, Europe and other parts of the world feel the same too. Again, my point is not to boast about NCC but to highlight the fact that for every critic out there who objects to and disapproves of Pastor Prince's preaching, there are many more whose lives have been transformed for the better because their eyes have been opened through his sermons.

Am I asking you to agree with Pastor Prince's preaching? NO! I am asking you to listen to Pastor Prince's sermons and read his books for yourself before you condemn him, NCC and its members!! Don't you dare call NCC a cult without producing any evidence to support your accusation!!!










13 comments:

stillhaventfound.org said...

Stanley,

As I was telling Blogpastor a while back, the most popular keyword search to my website is "new creation church cult"!

It's a sad fact, but many people just base their impression of New Creation on hearsay. And there are too many heresy hunters out there! May there be more Christians like Blogpastor around :)

Onemansbeliefs said...

Got here by Google...

Just found out a word of faith church in the U.S. has taken Joseph Prince's materials out of their bookstore, because his ministry has become a cult. This is not a view I agree with.

My wife and I have been following Pastor Prince for over 2 years now and his teachings have greatly increase our understanding of what God has done for us through His Son and Grace...

I will come back to see more of your posts... Until then be blessed and keep writing...

Joseph Librero said...

I'm from the Philippines and I went to Singapore just to attend a service in NCC.:) It was really great. I learned a lot about the Holy Communion. I wrote a blog about Grace out of the outpouring of God's love for me.
http://graceexperience.blogspot.com

I believe that NCC is NOT a cult. I believe that Pastor Prince teaches the Bible.

Stanley Wong said...

I visited your blog just now bro :-)
Do come and visit us again when we move to our new venue at one-North!

Linda said...

Awesome blog! I love these teachings because Pastor Prince ALWAYS points to Jesus and His finished work.

I have my Bible out when I listen to him and check every Scripture. Then I read the context or chapter it is in. It isn't heresy or a cult.

Someone mentioned above that there are "heresy hunters" and I think they are all around. What we have to do is be careful how we argue with them. Man, if we quit showing love in order to get our point across, we are blowing it big time. This blog is very peaceful but I have been to others where the people defending Pastor Prince get angry and say hurtful things.

I get mad too. I wish people would quit throwing out names and attacking without doing any foundational research.

God bless you all and praise Jesus for all He has done!

Stanley Wong said...

Thanks, Linda :-) God bless you richly in your grace walk.

Melanie said...

i've been attending New Creation Church for 10 yrs. The pastors' preaching have always been in line with the Bible verses, nothing's added to it, nothing's taken from it. By God's grace and strength, and thru regular hearing of the Word (preaching) has transformed me into a much better person than I was 10 yrs ago, overall in character, in mentality and in wisdom. New Creation Church never makes anybody to tithe or give offerings. Giving is out of one's cheerful heart. Even if the offering bag was passed by someone who didn't make an offering, the usher collecting the bag would still smile and not frown. The pastors have always emphasised to the church-goers to tithe to their own home churches, if their home church is not New Creation. Comments by anybody on this being "a cult church" "money-loving" "brain-washing teaching" and what-not are not only unfounded and baseless; they are a result of lack of understanding and even, perhaps, jealousy.

Ray said...

In line with the word?http://www.newcreation.org.sg/one-north/introduction

Jesus entered the temple area and drove out all who were buying and selling there. He overturned the tables of the money changers and the benches of those selling doves.
Matthew 21:12

Stanley Wong said...

@Ray - In line with the word ... the temple is no longer a physical building ...

Don’t you realize that all of you together are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God lives in you? God will destroy anyone who destroys this temple. For God’s temple is holy, and you are that temple.
1 Cor 3:16-17

YuppieTalks said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
YuppieTalks said...

Stanley,
I moved my blog to TheRestfulIncrease.com .:)

In relation to this post, I just like to share that I listen to Pastor Prince's sermon very often and I know he is preaching the Good News of Jesus.

By the way Stanley, I'm planning to visit NCC 2x a year. I hope I can meet you one day there.


Thanks
joseph

Stanley Wong said...

Hi Joseph,
Look forward to meeting you soon :-)

David Tay said...

From an Ex-NCC member after having attended for several years...


In my opinion, Joseph Prince’s teaching will be good for :
a) The new believer
b) The born again Christian
c) The Christian who was yoked by the heavy burden of legalism
d) Christians who remain Baby Christians who do not mature in the Word (Focus only on SELF and not Others)
e) Earthly / Carnal Christians (those focused on Earthly Treasures as opposed to Treasures in Heaven)

His teaching is very weak in the areas of :
a) Contentment (e.g. 1 Timothy 6:6-7, Philippians 4:11-12)
b) Being a Slave to Christ and to Serve Others (1 Corinthians 7:22, Matthew 23:11)
c) Rejoicing in Sanctified Affliction (Romans 5:3-5, 1 Pet. 1:6-7)
d) Building Treasures in Heaven instead of on Earth (Matthew 6:20)
e) Giving Alms to the Poor ( Luke 12:33, Luke 16:19-31)

Joseph Prince’s church, like most mega-churches, emphasize mostly on earthly treasures and focus on SELF (very clear in Prince’s new book “Destined to Reign”) and all about earthly gain. There is little mention about “storing treasures in heaven”. It says in the bible to test the spirits and to see whether their works are of the flesh or of the spirit. “Destined to Reign” is all about earthly gain. Clearly, the book is a work of the flesh.

However, little is mentioned on Treasures in Heaven, carrying your cross and being SELFLESS towards others. The reason is obvious. MOST Christians prefer hearing how they stand to benefit for THEMSELVES, rather than to serve and help others (PS : That’s why Prosperity churches are usually MEGA Churches, because MOST people who don’t really care to read the bible are only interested in themselves). Moreover, the bible clearly says in 2 Timothy 4:3 “For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires (desires of the eyes, flesh and the pride of life – 1 John 2:16), they will gather around them a great number of teachers (e.g. Prosperity Teachers) to say what their itching ears want to hear.”

However, if one wants to mature as a true Christian, Joseph Prince’s teachings may not be helpful for mature Christian growth because little is mentioned on Treasures in Heaven, carrying your cross and being SELFLESS towards others and serving them (based on the 2nd greatest commandment to love one another – John 13:34-35)