|The church in the open court|
1 Cor 6:1 Dare any of you, having a matter against another, go to law before the unrighteous and not before the saints.
1 Cor 6:7 Now therefore, it is already an utter failure for you that you go to law against against another. Why do you not rather accept wrong? why do you not rather let youself be cheated
The trial of Pastor Kong Hee and five other leaders of City Harvest Church in Singapore is proceeding to the next tranche of one month of court hearings.
The ongoing revelations will result in lower church attendance hence lesser revenue in a time where the church is in debt of over 45 million to Freight Links Express Holdings and have had to pay high upfront fees and interests. Apparently it was to refinance another loan for the earlier purchase of additional stake at Suntec. If defaulted, they may loose Suntec.
The question of whether Xtron was a shell company of CHC was obvious for the bonuses of the staff were determined by CHC, and the internal minutes vetted by the church pastors.
The reply of "I don't know" by the Xtron director regarding the daily operations which were apparently run by CHC staff was perplexing.
A bombshell came when records showed Sun Ho receiving SGD 500,000 bonus and advances from Xtrom alledgedly controlled by CHC. The birthday gift of 30K alone seems outlandish. The bonuses were for the US and UK hits in 2005/06.
Why did Sun Ho needed the extravagant bonus if she was so successful secularly in year 2006 in the charts? and tape sales! It appears that the dance billboards hits reflects the airtime rather than translate in significant album sales reaching platinum.
The two relevant singles charts in the UK and USA during this bonus period were:-
Indeed, the two titles are prophetic having "Gone" to the "Ends of the earth", or Hollywood! It is ironic that Pastor Sun left Hollywood theatre in Payar Lebar where the CHC church services were held, to end up performing at Hollywood, USA at the ends of the earth! What a Crossover across the seas.
As the church goes to the law, it is going before the "unrighteous" to be judged. ie if the church is shown guilty then it will be deemed to be more immoral than the basic standards of worldly integrity. ie we are worst sinners than the world.
The situation is an utter failure as prescribed in 1 Cor 6:7 because it shows a church refusing to admit guilty with the dealings in the church exposed to the public. How can the church be exposed and the reputation for integrity and holiness compromised!.
Just as it is ugly for one church member to sue another in the public courts, it does not look good on the church with the large cache damaging email trails.
We may put a spin on the events including Pastor Pringle alledging that Pastor Sun Ho is vindicated of all charges by COC when they did not have enough evidence to charge her simply on being the receipients of ill diverted funds.
The reputation of the body of Christ in Singapore is at stake. But even worst, the legacy of Pastor Kong Hee will be questioned and the fate of the City Harvest church itself at stake if they go into financial strife.
The yoke of hypocrisy of Christians with a law minded theological approach is the issue and not the amount of bonuses - asking people to give to the last dime so that it can be truly be called a sacrifice in the guise of securing a new building when the money was spent lavishly elsewhere.
Pastor Kong said that "It was unequal amount but equal sacrifice", "You give your best. You give until your heart is broken", "You give until tears stream down your eyes". As the proceedings continues until end Sep 13, and then again in 1st qtr 14, it would be viewed with deep sadness for many who gave believing and trusting and yet being lied to perhaps not technically but in reality.
Yet, I believe Jesus will honor those who gave sacrificially to the right cause that they believed in that the Gospel will go to the ends of the earth. This is faith to give something much bigger than ourselves and I believe God will honor our faith.
As the pain continues for another month, the grave dissapointment for the many who gave till it hurts for the Arise and Build Fund in City Harvest. At the end, the greatest lost is the sincere faith, trust and hopes of those who had believed in their Church Pastors to do the right thing.
We have yearned to bring the Gospel to the ends of the earth, when the ends of the earth is our own city and not elsewhere.
We are reminded on the titles of Sun Ho's top hits - "Gone" "Ends of the Earth". At the end, we find ourselves at the end of our journey to the ends of the earth, a sinner by the religious law in desperate need of God's love, grace and mercy through Jesus Christ, Our Lord and Saviour.
Straitstimes - City Harvest Church trial: Singer Ho Yeow Sun received over $500,000 in bonuses, advances, 27 Aug 13
Pop singer Ho Yeow Sun received more than half a million in bonuses and advances, including a $30,000 birthday cash gift and an $80,000 "special performance bonus for hits in the US or the United Kingdom" in 2006. But to divert attention from some of these extra takings, leaders of City Harvest Church allegedly doctored documents to show that sponsors had given the money to her as "personal gifts". These details emerged on the first day of the second leg of the trial involving six church leaders accused of misusing millions of church funds. The high-profile trial had resumed after a three- month break. Yesterday, prosecutors tried to show that Ms Ho's former management company, Xtron Productions, was a puppet company controlled by the church's leadership, including founder Kong Hee, who is her husband.