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New Creation Church

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New Creation Church
Country Singapore
Denomination Charismatic
Website newcreation.org.sg
josephprince.org
Clergy
Senior pastor(s) Pastor Joseph Prince
New Creation Church Logo.jpg

New Creation Church is a megachurch in Singapore. It was founded in 1984 and has a membership of 18,000 as of February 2009.[1] While it is charismatic in practice, it considers itself non-denominational and is not affiliated to any church overseas. It is a member of the National Council of Churches of Singapore. The official mission statement of the church is "to see Jesus in all the loveliness of His Person and the perfection of His work and to make Him known through the preaching of the gospel".[2]

Contents

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[edit] Missionary Work

According to the church's website, it has been involved in missions throughout the Asian region, and has sent pastors and leaders to countries such as Russia, China, India, Cambodia, Vietnam, Thailand, the Philippines, Indonesia, Brunei and Malaysia.[3]

The church services are broadcast in countries including Israel, the United States, the United Kingdom, South Africa and Australia on various cable television and satellite networks such as USA Network, ABC Family Channel, CNBC Europe, Middle East Television, Trinity Broadcast Network, Daystar Television Network, GOD TV, United Christian Broadcasters and Australian Christian Channel.[4]

10% of the church's income is spent on missionary work, amounting to US$4 million a year.[5]

[edit] Community Giving

The Straits Times reported that New Creation Church has given S$581,500 to groups and charities from April 2007 to March 2008.[6]

[edit] Place of worship

The congregation currently worships in the Rock Auditorium in the Suntec City Mall. A new building, called the "Civic, Cultural and Retail Complex (CCRC)" is being planned by Rock Productions, the business arm of the church,[1] together with CapitaLand in Buona Vista. The church will rent space owned by its subsidiary, Rock Productions, in the complex for Sunday services.[7] The building is envisioned as a "futuristic complex with restaurants, shops and a 5,000-seat theatre", and will cost nearly SGD1 billion.[1]

The church was reported to have raised SGD19 million for its new cultural and entertainment complex within 24 hours in February 2009.[8][9] and it also raised SGD18 million in one day in April 2008.[1] The church has so far raised approximately one third its SGD500 million share of the new building's cost.[1] However, after the news of the church's SGD19 million fund raising was reported, the Internet community erupted into a wild frenzy. In just one week, forums on AsiaOne and sgclub.com attracted hundreds of comments, which ran the gamut from praise to cynicism, anger and hostility.[10]

[edit] Joseph Prince

Senior Pastor Joseph Prince, born in 1963, is one of the founding members of New Creation Church.[11] He was born to an Indian father and a Chinese mother. He spent his primary school years in Perak, Malaysia. He eventually came back to Singapore and followed an aunt to church. He was then a young man dabbling in the occult but he said that 'supernatural experiences' opened his eyes to Christianity. He attended Commonwealth Secondary School in Singapore and went on to finish his 'A' levels at a private school, Our Lady of Lourdes.

In 1984, Mr Prince, then president of a youth ministry in a traditional church, and a group of friends were asked to leave the church, which didn’t agree with their open displays of worship. They then left the church and started their own New Creation Church. Before he became a full-time pastor in the New Creation Church, he was working as an IT consultant. While working as a consultant, he changed his name to the current one, Joseph Prince. His real name was never revealed but the last name was Singh. He is married to Wendy Prince and they have a daughter, Jessica Shayna. They are said to live in a classy condominium in a prime residential district and drive an expensive continental car.[12][13]

He has a publishing house, and releases books, CDs and DVDs, which are sold at the affiliated Rock Gifts & Books Centre, at secular bookshops such as the Times bookstores and the Harris/Popular bookstores in Singapore, Barnes and Noble in the United States, as well as through Amazon.com.[14] His latest book, Destined to Reign: The Secret to Effortless Success, Wholeness and Victorious Living, released in Singapore on 15 July 2007, contains teachings from his last ten years of preaching.[15] The same book was released in the US in October 2007 by Christian publisher, Harrison House. Six months after its distribution in the US, it was listed on Christian Retailing Top 100 Books.[16]

In 2006, Prince was invited to speak at the Grace & Favour Seminar, at Hillsong Church[17] in Sydney and also to Hillsong London[18] to preach at its three Sunday services. In 2007 and 2008 he was invited to speak at the Hillsong Conference in Sydney held in July and the Hillsong Europe Conference in London held in October. He has also been invited to preach at churches in countries such as Canada, Norway, Netherlands, South Africa and Indonesia.[19] Video clips of his preaching sessions are available on the Youtube website.[20]

In 2009, he was reported in The Straits Times to be earning in excess of SGD500,000 a year. [21] During the same time period he was the Chairman of the church’s board while on the church’s payroll, an arrangement that was not in line with the revised and updated recommendations contained within the Code of Governance as objectivity and indepedence could be compromised[22] [23] issued by the Charity Council of Singapore on 26 November 2007, which encourages the separation of these two positions. The Church stated that it believed that the senior pastor being ‘ordained by God to lead the church...is the best person' to head and guide the board.[24]

The Commissioner of Charities (COC) has acknowledged that for religious charities, it is not always practical to “require the separation of spiritual leadership from leadership of the board”.[25][26]

[edit] Criticisms and controversies

[edit] Content and style of preaching

The content and style of preaching and teaching in the church are deemed to be controversial by some critics. One such critics, Rien van de Kraats[27], from the Back to the Bible Workgroup [28] (not to be confused with the US-based international Christian ministry Back to the Bible established in 1939 and led by Dr Woodrow M. Kroll), a group formed in 1994 [29] based in the Netherlands, which has been publishing letters discussing various contemporary church movements and leaders since 1995[30] (Rien van de Kraats stated that 'As of January 1994 this workgroup has been studying the teaching of the so-called "Faith teachers", by means of books written by authors who are in favor of this teaching as well as others who are against'[29]), after listening to the CD recording of Joseph Prince preaching in three (3) church services (Rien van de Kraats stated that he "heard some parts even two times to get no misunderstandings from Joseph Prince's sermons") [31], wrote an article dated 1 April 2007, in which he criticised that the senior pastor Joseph Prince "exceeds several times the limits of biblical decency"; "preaches biblical falsities, or rather things that are not written"; "frequently imitates people, who have questions concerning his message...[in a way that is] humiliating for the persons concerned and certainly doesn’t radiate pastoral compassion"; "comes across rather compelling... does this for example by always demanding from his listeners to agree with his message by calling the word amen...also lets them repeat his sentences frequently, as an affirmation that they listen to him and that his message is true"; "is manipulative and works toward a certain climax"; "apparently doesn't bring anything new concerning the biblical grace", and that "In the message of Joseph Prince the same sound rings through. He only adds something. He adds the prosperity message. He uses the good, biblical term of grace to lead up to his eventual aim: that is material blessings for those who live by grace. This principle occurs in all his messages. From his statements concerning grace he always comes back to prosperity, which should be conferred upon every Christian who lives by grace"; "it is no wonder he gets many followers". Rien van de Kraats further criticised that Prince preaches a "false gospel", that he "tears Old testamentical situations from their context - and mixes them with New testamentical statements", that he criticises some biblical characters including Abraham to the extent that is "serious and dishonourable to God". [31]

The article made this conclusion about Joseph Prince, "We do not think it is advisable to get the dogma of Joseph Prince in the congregation. We do not need prosperity preaching, but an in-depth preaching from the Word of God."[31].

In an article written in Dutch from a christian youth magazine in netherlands (Xist in Christ) published in Netherlands Daily (Nederlands Dagblad), it warns of the painful consequences of the 'prosperity theology' of Pastor Prince. [32][33] Other articles also published in Netherlands Daily (Nederlands Dagblad) were also criticial of Joseph Prince's sermons. [34] It was also reported in Netherlands Daily that a Christian based group named Generation Foundation had distanced itself from Joseph Prince[35]

Some of the ex-New Creation church members like Mrs P W Ling who decided to leave the church commented that, "They preach things like abundance and prosperity, which is okay and forward-looking. But now I think they are preaching prosperity for themselves." The disapproval was also echoed by Ms Mae Lyn Urquhart, a Singaporean magazine editor. She stopped attending New Creation Church because she felt that the prosperity message would set people up for disaster. She asked, "If you teach that things will be good if you have faith, and things don't happen, does that mean you don't have enough faith?" [36].

Others though, are more receptive to Prince's style of preaching and theology. According to a report published on 9 March 2009 in the Singapore's Edition of the Christian Post, World Revival Prayer Fellowship Senior Pastor Rev Kenny Chee "recognised the value that [Joseph Prince's] methodology has in refining and empowering the pulpit ministry in many churches today" and stated that "pastors and preachers can learn from Joseph Prince" [37]. Professor Gordon CI Wong, the Bishop William F Oldham Professor of Old Testament at Trinity Theological College, Singapore[38] suggested that "Prince's theology is generally acceptable - even commendable - except for a few finer points". [39].

According to the same report, the retired first Anglican Archbishop of Southeast Asia, Bishop Dr Moses Tay said that "keeping law and grace together has always been a major challenge for the Church" and that "the ministry of Pastor Prince, together with that of all the other pastors, are necessary to reconcile the two dimensions of faith". However, he also highlighted that "there was a danger of Christians veering to the extreme of simplistic grace and committing the error of dichotomising the period before the cross and that after and throwing everything of the former overboard."

Another article published in the Nederlands Dagblad reported that Joseph Prince received a warm welcome when he spoke at the Eurospirit 2008 in the Netherlands. Joseph Prince’s message centred on how only grace can transform lives. He stated that to live under grace is not an excuse to sin. While the law brings unrest, those who rest under grace can walk with God and will want to do what is right because they have received His love. [40][41]

[edit] Senior pastor's salary

There have been criticisms about the quantum of salary paid by the church to its senor pastor Joseph Prince. On 5 October 2008, in an interview with the Sunday Times, Joseph Prince, who is the executive chairman of the church council, acknowledged that he was well-paid but added that money did not have a hold on him. He dismissed the rumour that his salary was $50,000 a month, saying "It could have been $50,000 if I had not voluntarily taken all the pay cuts through the years. There was a system of payment that would actually enrich me greatly but as the church grew, I refuse to accept that system of payment."[12][13]

However,on 30 March 2009, The Straits Times reported that a check revealed that the independent New Creation Church paid one employee between $500,001 and $550,000 in its last financial year of 2008. Under the revised and updated recommendations contained in the Code of Governance [23] for charities, all charities and non-profit organizations in Singapore are encouraged to disclose the salary bands of their top executives to the Commissioner of Charities. Even though the church did not confirm if the amount went to its pastor, Joseph Prince, but it told The Straits Times that its policy is to 'recognise and reward key contributors to the church and Senior Pastor Prince is the main pillar of our church's growth and revenue'.[21][42][43] The New Creation Church's income was reported to be SGD55.4million for the financial year ended March 2008.[44]

[edit] See also

[edit] References

  1. ^ a b c d e "Church collects $19m in one day for lifestyle hub" (in English). The Straits Times. May 19, 2009. http://www.straitstimes.com/vgn-ext-templating/v/index.jsp?vgnextoid=bd98403cd71ff110VgnVCM100000430a0a0aRCRD&vgnextchannel=cf70758920e39010VgnVCM1000000a35010aRCRD. Retrieved 2009-05-19. 
  2. ^ http://www.newcreation.org.sg/aboutus/mission_corevalues/mission_statement_corevalues.htm
  3. ^ "Ministries - Global Outreach - Missions". New Creation Church. http://www.newcreation.org.sg/ministries/global_outreach/missions2009.html. Retrieved 2009-06-09. 
  4. ^ http://www.josephprince.org/broadcast/schedule/broadcastschedule.htm
  5. ^ Thomas, George! (January 01 2008). "Singapore takes on a world mission". CBN news. http://www.cbn.com/CBNnews/326584.aspx. Retrieved 2009-05-19. 
  6. ^ "Church raises $178m for lifestyle hub". The Straits Times. http://mokumoku.5gighost.com/articles/178mlifestylehub.jpg. Retrieved 2008-09-21. 
  7. ^ Kang, Matthew (March 27, 2009). "Proposed mega mall not a church building". Asia One. http://www.asiaone.com/News/AsiaOne%2BNews/Singapore/Story/A1Story20090327-131426.html. Retrieved 2009-05-19. 
  8. ^ "Church raises $19m in 24 hours". http://www.straitstimes.com/Breaking%2BNews/Singapore/Story/STIStory_348208.html. 
  9. ^ "Church collects $19m in one day for lifestyle hub".
  10. ^ "Good faith behind $19m donations".
  11. ^ "Joseph & Wendy Prince". New Creation Church. http://www.newcreation.org.sg/joseph_wendy_prince/abt_joseph_wendy_prince/abtjosephwendy.html. Retrieved 2007-06-09. 
  12. ^ a b . http://admpreview.straitstimes.com:90/vgn-ext-templating/v/index.jsp?vgnextoid=2f0e3114209cc110VgnVCM100000430a0a0aRCRD&vgnextchannel=016fe84edfbf8110VgnVCM100000350a0a0aRCRD Church Pastors Like None Other - From stutter to charisma. 
  13. ^ a b . http://www.tmc.org.my/documents/pjp.pdf Scanned copy of The Singapore Sunday Times 15th October 2008. 
  14. ^ "Resources - Online Catalogue". Destined to Reign. http://www.destined2reign.com/onlinestore. Retrieved 2009-05-31. 
  15. ^ "Now In: Books → Destined To Reign (Hardcover)". Joseph Prince Ministries. http://www.destined2reign.com/onlinestore/pc-1276-5-destined-to-reign-hardcover.aspx. Retrieved 2007-08-17. 
  16. ^ "CHRISTIAN RETAILING TOP 100 BOOKS". Strang Communications. http://mokumoku.5gighost.com/articles/Christian%20Retailing%20Top%20100%20Books.pdf. Retrieved 2008-06-19. 
  17. ^ "Joseph Prince at Hillsong Conference 2007 Sydney, Australia". Hillsong Church. http://www2.hillsong.com/conferences/hillsong/default.asp?pid=1226. Retrieved 2007-07-05. 
  18. ^ "Special Guests". Hillsong Church London (Hillsong London). http://www.hillsong.co.uk/hillsongconference/index.php?content=speakers. Retrieved 2007-05-17. 
  19. ^ http://www.newcreation.org.sg/joseph_wendy_prince/speaking_engagement/past_events2008.html
  20. ^ http://www.youtube.com/profile?user=JosephPrinceMedia&view=videos&sort=d
  21. ^ a b "Church Leader gets $500K". http://www.straitstimes.com/Breaking%2BNews/Singapore/Story/STIStory_356328.html?vgnmr=1. 
  22. ^ http://www.straitstimes.com/Breaking%2BNews/Singapore/Story/STIStory_277387.html
  23. ^ a b . http://bschool.nus.edu.sg/Portals/0/images/CGFRC/docs/Code-20of-20Governance-20for-20Charites-.pdf. Retrieved 2009-06-09. 
  24. ^ http://www.newcreation.org.sg/aboutus/media_coverage/media-responses.htm#m1
  25. ^ "Seven major charities in Singapore pass governance review". Seven major charities in Singapore pass governance review. http://www.channelnewsasia.com/stories/singaporelocalnews/view/374967/1/.html. Retrieved 2008-09-10. 
  26. ^ "Charities review of seven religious groups". The Straits Times. http://www.straitstimes.com/Breaking%2BNews/Singapore/Story/STIStory_277387.html. Retrieved 2008-09-11. 
  27. ^ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Talk:New_Creation_Church_(Singapore)#Criticisms_by_Rien_Van_de_Kraats_on_Joseph_Prince
  28. ^ http://www.backtothebible.nl/
  29. ^ a b . http://www.backtothebible.nl/Eng01.pdf. 
  30. ^ http://www.backtothebible.nl/english.htm
  31. ^ a b c . http://www.backtothebible.nl/Eng_1-4-07.pdf Analysis of Joseph Prince's Gospel. 
  32. ^ http://66.249.89.132/translate_c?hl=en&sl=nl&u=http://www.internetbijbelschool.nl/htmldoc/prince.nd17-4.htm&prev=/search%3Fq%3DKoert%2Bvan%2BBekkum%2Bjoseph%2Bprince%26hl%3Den%26rls%3Dcom.microsoft:en-us:IE-SearchBox%26rlz%3D1I7GGLJ&rurl=translate.google.com&usg=ALkJrhjH8ZOweRA7BP_-cY9Xxk9XwL-SrA
  33. ^ http://66.249.89.132/translate_c?hl=en&sl=nl&u=http://www.nd.nl/artikelen/2007/april/16/kritiek-op-pastor-prince&prev=/search%3Fq%3DRien%2Bvan%2Bde%2BKraats%26hl%3Den%26rls%3Dcom.microsoft:en-us:IE-SearchBox%26rlz%3D1I7GGLJ&rurl=translate.google.com&usg=ALkJrhgBKHbfMsWuWbKgA_wreCR6dGku-g Tranlated with Google
  34. ^ http://66.249.89.132/translate_c?hl=en&sl=nl&u=http://www.internetbijbelschool.nl/htmldoc/prince.nd28-4.htm&prev=/search%3Fq%3DKoert%2Bvan%2BBekkum%2Bjoseph%2Bprince%26hl%3Den%26rls%3Dcom.microsoft:en-us:IE-SearchBox%26rlz%3D1I7GGLJ&rurl=translate.google.com&usg=ALkJrhilN4Qx_0kqE_iSospjKwHfbFtgOQ
  35. ^ http://66.249.89.132/translate_c?hl=en&sl=nl&u=http://www.internetbijbelschool.nl/htmldoc/prince.nd25-4.htm&prev=/search%3Fq%3DKoert%2Bvan%2BBekkum%2Bjoseph%2Bprince%26hl%3Den%26rls%3Dcom.microsoft:en-us:IE-SearchBox%26rlz%3D1I7GGLJ&rurl=translate.google.com&usg=ALkJrhhhk1IfRD0FhdcKK2xL6xKomXHAxA
  36. ^ http://www.fcbc.org.sg/fcbc_mediacenter_009.asp
  37. ^ http://sg.christianpost.com/dbase/education/701/9|16|19/1.htm
  38. ^ http://www.ttc.edu.sg/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=22&Itemid=30
  39. ^ http://sg.christianpost.com/dbase/education/701/9|16|19/2.htm
  40. ^ "Warm onthaal voor Pastor Joseph Prince". Nederlands Dagblad. http://www.nd.nl/artikelen/onbekend/warm-onthaal-voor-pastor-joseph-prince. Retrieved 2008-05-05. 
  41. ^ "Translation-Warm onthaal voor Pastor Joseph Prince". Nederlands Dagblad. http://mokumoku.5gighost.com/articles/Warm%20Welcome%20For%20Pastor%20Joseph%20Prince.pdf. Retrieved 2008-05-05. 
  42. ^ $500,000 pay for New Creation Church leader
  43. ^ Singapore church pays princely sum to leader
  44. ^ http://www.straitstimes.com/Breaking%2BNews/Singapore/Story/BgSty_277387_1.html Church's Income was SGD55.4million for year ending March 2008

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