|Pastor Kong Hee and COC|
Hosea 6:6 For I desire mercy and not sacrifice, And the knowledge of God more than burnt offerings.
The Commissioner of Charities (COC) in Singapore has started the process of removal of Pastor Kong together with 7 senior leaders from City Harvest Church (CHC) as governing board members, trustees, officers, agents and employees of the Charity. CHC is a registered charity since 1993. A separate criminal proceedings against Pastor Kong and 5 other leaders will start in May 13.
As to-date there is no loud cry of indignation on the COC findings of serious irregularities against City Harvest Church by the defenders of morality in Singapore - Love Singapore, FCBC, National Council of Churches, and Cornerstone Community Church.
Pastor Kong is currently under a suspension order (issued 26 June 2012) for a period of 12 months. A further suspension was offered by COC until the criminal trial was over on condition that all the 9 under suspension agreed to the voluntary extension. Eight out of nine of the suspended initially agreed, but later during confirmation only five out of the eight still considered for suspension agreed. Hence the removal proceedings.
The CHC unity appears to be broken, from 9, to 8, and then to 5 agreeing to the extension when they would have acted in one accord.
There is a period of grace of one month by 13 May 13 to make a presentation to COC against the removal which is ironically just a few days before the start of the criminal trial although the proceedings are independent.
The removal proceedings were taken by COC to "protect charitable assets", after the COC had earlier concluded her investigations on CHC with factual findings on misuse of funds for the Cross Over project. ie they were already declared guilty against the charity act.
Co-incidentally, the courts have also rejected the appeal by gays to legalise homosexuality which is still illegal in Singapore with a two year prison sentence under statues 377a. The churches determination with representation to the Minister of Law to retain 377a, clearly sets a very low bar of judgement with very little grace nor mercy.
The churches in Singapore are so quick to defend the "innocent until guilty" stance for City Harvest Church, whilst insisting that gays are guilty as charged under 377a without even a court appearance. One is a deliberate and carefully orchestrated act whilst for gays, they are born with the same sex orientation.
There is nothing particularly wrong with the Cross Over project by City Harvest Church to cross over to the secular in terms of outreach using secular music and dancers. It has resulted in strong growth of new churches in Malaysia and Taiwan. Sometimes we try too hard when the door is closed for Hollywood and try to break down the door through illegal means.
Whilst we many may smiling with glee at the challenges at CHC especially some ex-CHC members who had donated much to the building fund, or be quick to jump on the recent joke on Joel Osteen abandoning Christianity, always remember mercy.
Whatever the court's decision will be, nothing is final and whether they are guilty or innocent, right or wrong, we trust that they will remain strong and come out of this saga with their faith strengtened. May the humbling experience bring greater love, compassion, grace and mercy within the church in Singapore.
The churches in Singapore have shown very little grace nor mercy to GLBTs, and many gay christians have abandoned their faith, came out of ministry, or even committed suicide as a result. Lives have been lost and love denied.
The closet has also resulted in the high HIV incidents which could have been avoided if gay relationships are supported by the church and the community. Many have died as a result.
Much harm has been done that cannot be undone, and the GLBT Christian community is suffering.
How do we feel any compassion for the trials of CHC for we too have suffered and are suffering because of the law orientated theology preached and still being preached at the Love Singapore, and the mega churches. We are gravely wronged, and for many a life long closeted jail sentence. There is no innocent until proven guilty.
But Christ showed us the way, the way of mercy. Be merciful, for God is merciful. Faith is about religious laws - an eye for an eye. But the Cross is about God's grace and mercy in Jesus' Christ. Sure we have been wronged, but Christ will be our redeemer and return to us what the locust have eaten.