|Pastor Kong Charged|
2 cor 8:7 But as you abound in everything—in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in all diligence, and in your love for us—see that you abound in this grace also.
[Pst Kong Twitter]The whole of today when I thought about God, all I could do was to pray, praise & worship Him. Jesus reigns ... about an hour ago
[Pst Kong Twitter] Tough day ... I trust in You, Lord Jesus ... Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done! about 7 hours ago
Pastor Kong Hee of City Harvest Church in Singapore together with 4 others will be charged after a long awaited investigation that many have thought would be dismissed as the outcome was slow in coming. The charge of financial irregularity of at least 23 million apparently used to support Sun Ho's singing career is very serious.
As the Founder, President and the Pastor of the largest mega church in Singapore (24,000 members in 2010), the arrest of Kong Hee is a significant blow to the Protestant church in Singapore. He was prominent in major Christian events such as the Festival of Praise in Singapore as its Executive Director.
Internationally, Pastor Kong is a very popular preacher and sits on the board of Dr. David Yonggi Cho’s Church Growth International. Pastor Kong used to sit on the executive committee of the National Council of Churches of Singapore (NCCS) in 1999 to 2004. This faith organization has been instrumental in their anti-gay crusade even insisting that gays be jailed.
Before the investigation in May 2010, I had attended a building fund service for the move to Suntec. Pastor Kong's greatest fear was not to dissapoint his flock. And the greatest impact is not the 23 million funds misused (if indeed proven guilty) but the faith of many who have put their trust in City Harvest and Kong Hee. They must find in their hearts to forgive and to give grace.
The charges against Kong Hee is a vindication of a very brave individual Businessman Roland Poon Swee Kay who had warned publicly that City Harvest was wrong to support Sun Ho so openly in 2003, to mix the sacred and the secular. He has had to apologize and to repent. But he stayed on because he had in his own words invested too much into the church building fund! which is now questioned!.
In reflection, many of us have paid much even tens of thousands into the building fund which had alledgedly been misused and so have a certain right to angry. But all I had felt was deep sadness at the news of the arrest for Kong Hee was a good pastor and one of the greatest evangelist in Singapore.
As the news of the arrest begin to sink in, stunned and silent, my mind wandered of to the incident a decade ago where Pastor Kong specifically singled out gays from the congregation in a special church service for men and said in no uncertain terms that gays were not welcomed and to be identified. I saw many gays left the church during that service never to return. Pastor Kong had put us in the spot and under condemnation for a sin we did not commit. Many lost their faith because they were forced to choose between christianity and something innate such as their sexual orientation. The scene of gay men walking out one by one from the church service haunts me.
The church has a whole has been condeming gays as the greatest threat to Christianity, expelling gays from the churches and causing grave harm. The church was under judgement her sins mounted to a high mountain when the ex-NMP Thio pounded the hallowed halls of Parliament condeming gays. What they reaped they sowed. They placed the bar of judgement so low that all their sins will also be exposed.
As gays were condemned and treated unjustly, the church was under judgement. Gays were not a threat but the lack of integrity and honesty. We have sinned by making a false testimony against gays. Our anti-gay aggenda hides our own sins and induced a sense of self righteousness of our own false morality.
Once we insist on the letter of the law in judging others for the slightest sin even that which they were born with such as their sexual orientation, we come under the judgement of the law in such a heightened scrunity that even the smallest sin will be made and be transformed to a mountain for all too see.
Pastor Kong will not be let off easily because in the court room, he will represent the church who has caused so many lives to be destroyed by their anti-gay aggenda. The blood cries out of those who have committed suicide because of grave loss and sadness. Their voices cries out for justice.
We are reminded why Pastor Kong was so much against the grace teaching and even called it "cheap grace", and antimonism. He claimed that the grace of God without the law would lead to lawlessness when actually the insistence on the law resulted in an exalted sense of self righteousness that negated the grace of God. Pastor Kong was so much against the grace teaching because he appeared to have made the grace of God cheap.
It is not for me to forgive Pastor Kong. When he called Sy Rogers from Choices/Exodus into the church to do gay cleansing, they were comitting a grave act of false witness causing the faith of many to stumble.
Hollywood theatre where City Harvest church rose hapidly is no more today, its walls torn and broken down. We wish we had returned to the good old days when life and faith was simple. But the past is no more there to return to and the age of innocense has been lost.
It's not a time to blame or to throw stones but a time for the church of Singapore to reflect and to pray for God's grace and mercy. It's not Pastor Kong alone but the church as a whole implicated in one way or another.
Pastor Kong is innocent until proven guilty and will have the opportunity to defend himself in court. In contrast, gays are considered guilty and sinners by default by being of the same sex orientation and many have suffered in their closeted jails for decades.
In the midst of deep sadness, may we humble ourselves and be of a contrite heart knowing that God will work all things out for His glory and honour. There is a time for harvest, there is a time for weeping.
Everything Has Its Time
Ecc 3:1 To everything there is a season, A time for every purpose under heaven: 2 A time to be born, And a time to die; A time to plant, And a time to pluck what is planted; 3 A time to kill, And a time to heal; A time to break down, And a time to build up; 4 A time to weep, And a time to laugh; A time to mourn, And a time to dance; 5 A time to cast away stones, And a time to gather stones; A time to embrace, And a time to refrain from embracing; 6 A time to gain, And a time to lose; A time to keep, And a time to throw away; 7 A time to tear, And a time to sew; A time to keep silence, And a time to speak; 8 A time to love, And a time to hate; A time of war, And a time of peace.