The City Harvest Trial is heading for a conclusion after more than 140
trial days, and the twists and turns more than the China Wine video MTV.
During this period of 5 years, we have the background music of Love
Singapore/FCBC wear white group being the moral defenders of Singapore
but keeping very quiet when it is one of their own.It is a reminder of
Kim Davies in the US who refused to authorise gay marriage as a
government servant even though she herself is a repeated divorsee, Which
is more right? to get married or to be in divorce. When we see the
splinter in the eyes of others, surely one day someone will point out
the log in out eyes.
The prosecutions summary portrayal of the Christian leaders standing on
trial best sums it up:-
a) Senior Pastor Kong Hee – “A well practiced liar”
b) Deputy Senior Pastor -Tan ye peng – “Lies of a man without credit”
How could a key Christian leader in Singapore, a mega church of 20,000
strong, the former excutive director of the Festival of Praise, the
ex-committee member of the National Council of Churches be called not a
once off liar but a well practiced one? But that is what the evidence
laid out before the court in 140 days have shown notwithstanding the
mitigation and the state of mind defence.
Their greatest sin was that the teaching of the law, the 10 commandments
so widely emphasised in City Harvest Church has made them without
conscience. When we seek our morality from religious laws, we practised
to the letter of the law rather than the Spirit of the law. They thought
they were clear because the lawyers and the auditors “approved” it, and
it was what appears on the outside a legal bond investment. It was all
mahjong playing with money moved by seemingly professionals and not
amateurs. After all, these were leaders who had changed the face of
Christianity in Singapore for the last 20 years.
No one can conclude the judgement although the evidence is abudantly
clear, and the gains and the benefits also very clear. They could no
longer travel first class to the US, buyback tens of thousands of CDs to
make it seem a legitimate success, nor entertain the rich and famous in
Hollywood using building fund. They were all using church funds to pay
for sums owned to the church. The Hollywood theatre in Payar Lebar where
City Harvest was more innocent and pure in the 1990s became the
corrupted Hollywood in the US.
The ex-CHC pastor, Nathan Avidan claimed that the elders of the churches
in Singapore were also be blamed for letting these young pastors
go on with the Cross Over too far. He said correctly that there was a
spirit of perfection ie Kong was very detailed and controlling of all
aspects of the church coupled with excessive drivessness to be the best.
But Kong Hee was not young, he is 51 years old and not a kid. He had the
best leaders around the world to speak into his ministry including
Hillsongs. Secondly, he had the oversight by the Anglican Pastor Cannon
James Wong. But what can one say when the excuse used was “All accounts
are properly audited”.
We know that the leaders in Singapore must have voiced out their concern
leading to Kong Hee releasing a strong condemnation in 2009 via the blog
entry “Wholesome Shalowness”, where he again repeated that the ministry
of Sun Ho in Hollywood had nothing to do with the church and therefore
Sun Ho was a free agent and was very “successful” on her own accord
without help from the church for her secular “achievements” outside the
church. We now realised that these were at best manufactured results
with limited secular success. Did anyone repented and turned to Jesus
after seeing China Wine? Kong Hee even indirectly equated Sun Ho’s
detractors to “tax collectors”, and “prostitutes”.
So to the religious and conservatives who have used nasty,
derogatory and expletive terms to describe Sun, my parting shot are
the words of Jesus Christ from Matthew 21:31, “I tell you the truth,
the tax collectors and the prostitutes are entering the kingdom of
God ahead of you.” ….. Wholesome Shallowness by Kong Hee
Kong Hee was defending Sun ho, and essentially the Cross Over to the US
became centered on Sun Ho and less on Jesus Christ nor evangelism to the
lost. Sometimes what is seemingly good may not be in God’s timing. Paul
had to chose between going the Europe and Asia. If Sun Ho were to stay
in Asia and her concerts being partnership with churches with an altar
call at the end, perhaps it could be said to be a legitimate Christian
ministry for a secular outreach.
Jesus came the fulfill the demands of the Law. He became our sin at the
Cross of Calvary. For many years, Pastor Kong Hee thought against the
grace of God, claiming that it would lead to lawlessness. Ironically, it
is the Law, the 10 comandments that leads to lawlessness because we are
sinners by nature, by the first Adam. It is in receiving grace that
makes us righteous and not by our obedience to the law.
The CHC leaders are no more greater sinners than many inclusive
churchers. Some churchers and leaders that I know are simply
metaphorical and do not believe that Jesus is God nor rose from the
death, nor is there a salvation in heaven to come. Yet, by God’s grace,
City Harvest and many of the inclusive churches God has used to speak
into my life for God can use even donkeys. We are only vessels of God’s
grace, mercy, love through Jesus Christ.
The verdict will be out on 21 Oct 15. It will be a verdict also of the
church in Singapore who has for the last 20 years been so strongly
anti-gay whose condemnation has resulted in many friends leaving church
and many deaths. They wear white and their clothing properly audited and
they don’t see gay people as people beyond their sexual orientation. We
are also no less or greater sinner whether we are gay or straight. But
being gay is already a life time sentence in virtual prisons and a
condemnation which kills the spirit and soul.
A conclusion is in sight, but my prayer is that God continues to bless
City Harvest and may this time of testing and trials be a stepping stone
for real grace to be experienced so that truly they can be the Antioch
church of Asia. May God bless City Harvest and her pastors with abundant