|Pastor Kong charged - Amazing grace needed|
"I have known City Harvest Church, Kong, Sun and Ye Peng for a long time. CHC is not just a local church in Singapore. It has 49 affiliated churches and 6 Bible schools all across Asia. It has impact on international ground, and it has proven through many years that it serves the global community, both spiritually and practically through humanitarian works...."The Gospel is the Good News and Christians are meant to share it. CHC has done this through the Crossover Project, which lies at the very heart of our religious beliefs." "Rev Dr Phil Pringle [CHC website]
"It has been suggested that the church has been cheated of $50 million. This is not accurate. The $24 million, which went to investment bonds, was returned to the church in full, with interest. We didn't lose the $24 million, nor did we lose 'another $26.6m' as alleged. The church did not lose any funds in the relevant transactions, and no personal profit was gained by the individuals concerned." Pastor Aries [ CHC website]
The charges against Pastor Kong and 4 other church leaders of financial irregularity of at least 23 million will impact not only CHC, but Evangelical Christianity in Singapore and in Asia. Pastor Kong is an institution, and one of the greatest evangelist in Asia. There are 49 affliated churches and 6 bible college impacted.
His arrest reminds me of the impact of Operation Spectrum in 1987 where Christians involved in social justice issues were taken to tasks. Much of the Liberal Christian movement was muted thereafter. If the charges against Kong Hee and his inner circle were proven correct, it would be a great drawback for the Evangelical Christianity.
The accusations if proven correct would undermine the morality and righteousness of the church. At the end, the Gospel message will be impacted.
The churches will continue but it will not be business as usual. They too have to answer the charges against Pastor Kong and give their reply in view of the churches almost zealous persecution of gays in Singapore. A contrast will be made. How we have judged is judged against us as a body. If we had remained humble and meek and charitable, there is much liberty that the world will give us.
At the heart of the charges were the investment bonds and the Crossover Project. It has its basis of a Prosperity theology of the Charismatic Evangelicals and an inclusive theology of the Progressives - a church without walls to impact the secular world.
The Government would not have likely initiated the charges and arrests if they did not have iron clad evidence because of the religious and political sensitivity. For the next few months, the evidence will be presented week and week, day by day, weakening the counter arguments.
I always wondered why City Harvest was so aggressive, almost personnal, in it's approach to obtain funds. When I was sick many years ago, I told my CG leaders that I could not afford to give them the tithes over a period of time for which they were very agitated. It seems to me that they cared more about money than about people. After I recovered, the incident made it easier to leave the church.
When a church is so money focused demanding for the last denarii to be given and imposing a very strict fiscal accountability on its members, there is a corresponding moral demand for every single cent that the church spends be accounted for. If they had given liberty, then there would be greater freedom in how they could use the funds. But as they have insisted on the letter of the law, judgement will come by the full interpretation of the law. ie they are morally bound by the strictest interpretation of the bible, and the Charities Act.
I was surprised by the statements by Christians to "let the law takes its course" ie to be judged strictly by the law. Instead as a Christian, I am seeking God's grace and mercy. I am not in favour of the law for I feel that they might be guilty and the maximum penalty of life very harsh. It is mercy that should be sought - ie not getting what was deserved by the full course of the law. It is grace that should be sought - getting a pardon when none was deserved.
If the church in Singapore had gone to Parliament in 2007 to plead for the rights of gays, it would have been a different sentiment by the public against them. Now that they have put themselves in the pedestal of righteousness and Holiness, with the NMP Thio pounding statements in Parliament, they also risk a big fall and negative public sentiment.
The events for the last decade on the financials at CHC is definately a demonic attack for Satan seeks out our weaknesses and uses them for our downfall especially when we are doing the work of God. An attack on a evengelical charismatic church would be very different than one on a liberal church! Perhaps Satan only chooses the largest to bring down the rest.
The public and media frenzy now surrounds City Harvest. The prowling lion stalks its wounded prey. We don't pray for justice or for the law to take its course or for the truth be revealed. We pray for God's hand of grace and mercy as we repent and seek forgiveness as a body of Christ.