I think Joseph Prince is at least Free Grace friendly. I wrote an article about him many years ago, but I plan on updating it after reading some of his newer books, such as Grace Revolution: Experience the Power to Live Above Defeat. I think he has come closer to a Free Grace soteriology, but there are still some theological hang-ups, and stumbling over certain passages (e.g., 2 Pet 2:20 and Heb 6:4-6) that create inconsistencies with his grace message.
For example, in a section entitled, “Head Versus Heart Knowledge,” Prince wrote:
“It is possible for people today to accumulate a lot of head knowledge on this theology and that theology, and yet not have any heart knowledge that burns with love and passion for our Lord Jesus Christ” (Prince, Grace Revolution, p. 223).
Prince talks about the difference between head knowledge and heart knowledge. I think that is unfortunate terminology. However, beneath that bad terminology is a point worth emphasizing.
Let me strongly disagree that there is a difference between head knowledge and heart knowledge. There is not. The Bible uses mind and heart interchangeably. What you believe with your head, you believe with your heart, and vice versa. Knowledge is knowledge.
When preachers say there is a difference between head knowledge and heart knowledge, or between head faith and heart faith, it confuses people and robs them of their assurance. Someone who has read and believed John 3:16 and is rejoicing that he has everlasting life as a present possession will suddenly start to doubt, “How do I know if I’ve believed with my head instead of my heart? How can I tell the difference? How can I make myself do one instead of the other?” The simple fact is there’s no way to tell, so the person loses his assurance. He doubts whether he’s saved or not.
So, Biblically speaking, I reject the idea of a head knowledge vs heart knowledge, and I think Prince should, too. When it comes to believing, you are either persuaded that what Jesus promised is true or persuaded that it is not true.
However, I think Prince does raise an important point about love, and I want to commend him for that.
At bottom, what he’s saying is that you can have theological knowledge about the Lord without loving the Lord.
Understanding and believing that the promise of life is true (or that any other Biblical doctrine is true), is not the same as loving the Lord with all your heart, mind, soul, and strength.
There is a distinction between believing and loving, and a doctrinally sound person can find his love growing cold.
Think about the Ephesians.
In Revelation 2, Jesus said,
“Nevertheless I have this against you, that you have left your first love” (Rev 2:4).
The Ephesians didn’t abandon their faith—they still had Biblical knowledge, and Jesus praised them for their doctrinal discernment (vv 2, 6), but they lacked love. They drifted into cold formalism or intellectualism. And that can happen to any believer.
As Prince goes on to say:
“It is possible to enrich your mind or to study about this interpretation and that interpretation of the Scriptures, and still have a heart that is stone-cold when it comes to an intimate and personal relationship with Jesus” (Prince, Grace Revolution, pp. 223-24).
He’s right. Like the Ephesians, you can have much doctrine and little love, and you need to know God is not pleased with a loveless believer or a loveless church.
So what can you do when hearts are growing cold?
Lordship Salvation folk would say we need to preach law and works and threaten people with the possibility of losing their salvation or of being not saved at all. But legalism is the path to a cold heart, I think.
What’s the other option?
Once thing that I enjoyed about Prince’s Grace Revolution is his consistent argument that preaching God’s grace is the best way to promote holiness and love for God. That’s exactly right. Grace salvation is not a license to sin, but a motivation to love.