When Grace beckons



10 Feb 2009, The Christian Post in Singapore published an article entitled "Biggest Church Taught to Resist 'Cheap Grace'", by Pastor Kong Hee of the largest mega Church in Singapore, City harvest Church, claiming that the greatest danger to Christianity was "cheap grace". Reference was made to the apparent use of this term by Dietrich Boenhoffer, a German Lutheran Pastor who resisted the Nazi movement. Quoting from Mat 24:12, Pastor Kong claimed that lawlessness will prevail in the last days as people depart from the teachings of the ten commandments. It was an indirect yet clear reference to the New Creation Church in Singapore who is known for its message on Grace. There has also been some stirring of this issue at the Payar Lebar Methodist Church where a cell group leader, Malcom Loh has been taken to task for preaching this message of Grace.

Pastor Boenhoffer was executed by the Germans, on Apr 9, 1945. He was stripped, led naked to the execution yard, and hoised using piano wire causing death by slow asphyxiation. The City Harvest Church remembers him, but there is never a mention of the 150,000 Gays brutally murdered at the Concentration Camps, just for being gays. It was the same church, making up 80% of the population, conservative Christianity, law abiding outwardly who committed the greatest crimes against humanity yet felt justified by the law and seemingly instructed by God to do so. They sang hymns, read the bible, and even thought they were obeying God's law by "killing the Jews", whom they see as murdering Jesus. They were to cleansed the Aryan Nation from the slippery immorality of the Jews and Gays. Indeed, the writings in "Mein Kaff" by Hitler states "I believe today that my conduct is in accordance with the will of the Almighty Creator", ie accordance to God's laws.

If Boenhoffer was alive today, I would imagine he would be upset with Pastor Kong misrepresenting him. His was a voice of Grace against a nation who called themselves Christians,a reminder of the grace by which they have been saved through the blood of Jesus, totally unmerited. Yet, the German Christians have made the Grace of God in Christ Jesus as if of no effect by acting and supporting, and conquering nations around them and killing 6 million Jews and 150,000 Gays. They had the Law, they had the 10 commandments and was zealous in loving God, just as the Jewish Pharisees were. They thought in their zealousness, that they were doing God a favor for killing the jews and Gays just as the Pharisees thought likewise by killing Jesus. They had one common characteristic, and it was their self righteouness and not the absence of the law. The Great Depression and the shame of defeat in WW1 have made the Germans feel justified by the Law to find a scapegoat to blame for the harship of the 1920s and 30s, and the minority groups, the Jews and Gays were perfectly to be blamed just as we blame gays for apparently causing a destruction to our straight marriages or corrupting our HDB heartlands

(Mat 24:12,13 NKJV) "And because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold. "But he who endures to the end shall be saved.

Pastor Kong clearly misinterpreted Mat 24:12-13 to suit his arguments. Lawlessness here, is the absence of self constraint resulting in the worship of idols. It is not the absence of the Law that leads to Lawlessness. When the Pharisees sent jesus to the Cross, in Mat 27:25, when challenged by Pilate that he could not condemn an innocent men they so insisted to be crucified by their Jewish Laws, the crowds proclaimed "His Blood be upon us and our children". They were so self righteous and confident that they were following the Jewish religious laws that they were saying, "if we were guilty, let the punishment be upon us", ie we will bear that which the law demands if an injustice is done. Jesus pleaded with God in Luke 23:24, forgive them, and as a result grace was given. They had 40 years of grace until AD70 when Jerusalem was destroyed with 2 million death. The law itself magnified the self righteouness of the nation, but Grace gave them a chance to repent.

The reply by the Jews, " "His Blood be upon us and our children" echoes their reply more than 2500 years earlier when Moses gave the 10 commandments and again the Jews out of their self righteousness claim that they are well able to follow the Law ( Exo 19:8). But when Moses left to the mountain of God for 40 days and 40 nights (Exo 24:18), they returned to idol worship in Ex 32:1 and lost self control and restraint. Therefore, it was not absence of the law that results in the lawlessness in worshiping the idols, but the attitude of ingratitude and lacking in humility of what God has done for them. It is the failure to recognise the Grace of God in taking them out of Egypt that resulted in lawlessness. The Jews entered into lawlessness by worshipping man made idols and gods, because they have forgotten God's Grace. The law simply proves that we were guilty and therefore deserving judgement. More than 1900 years later in Nazi Germany, lawlessness abounds because the Christians have forgotten that they were sinners saved by Grace and instead of worshiping Jesus, they worshipped themselves and the Pope, Mary and the Saints. They also worshipped the Nazi party and Hitler whom they considered as Messiah to return them greater Germany, and their pride and honor. Their love grew cold, that is their love for Jesus, because there were many idols taking that place of true worship. They became self righteous by the Law. They sent 150,000 gays to their deaths.

Pastor Kong Hee is no ordinary pastor. He represents the Evangelical Christianity in Singapore being a leader in the church and the senior pastor of the largest mega church. Whatever he says caries weight but also carries consequences. Yes, it true that the greatest challenge to the church is cheap grace, because we have not understood the depths of our sins and the continuing grace and mercy of God daily in our lives. We need more Grace, more of God, more of Jesus and less of ourselves and our idols. When Pastor Kong instead call for more law abiding to come against lawlessness, he is pouring oil to fire. In Lev 26:17, the law will only condemn us, and judge us, and Christians in Singapore will be proven guilty. Pastor Kong may have preached many a times against the Grace message in his church, but when it is preached beyond its walls and extended to the church as a whole, then there is double confirmation.

By the law we insist we could follow, by the Law, we hereby be judged by it. In Exo 23.1,2, we have circulated false witness against the Gay community, and have followed the majority and perverted justice and oppressed a minority group. Homosexual acts in the bible is clearly in the context of idol worship of foreign gods by straight men and not an issue of same sex orientation. Yet, we cannot even judge consistently with our own heterosexuality. Instead, we have closed the doors of the church and God against the Gay community. I had hoped that City Harvest would call for grace, for grace allows us to escape judgement and punishment by the law if we were ever to be wrong about gays. The Law has no mitigating circumstances, no buts. Grace gives allowances for our sins and errors in our theology. We need Grace because we are imperfect sinners. Grace gives us a way of escape if we were found to have committed great injustice against the gay community. There is no grace in the law, only judgement. Grace knocks at the doors of the Church in Singapore today, but found no takers. When we call for the Law, we are proclaiming our self righteous ability to follow the law, instead on a dependence on the grace of God, totally unmerited and not of ourselves.

When we call upon Grace, His Grace, our worship and faith then becomes rooted in jesus Christ and what He did for Us at the Cross, rather than worshiping the Idol of our self rigteousness. We make the Grace of God cheap when we insist on the law, and do not repent in the space and the opportunity given by grace to do so. There are many gays in new Creation Church even though it is not gay friendly. Why? because Gay Christians needed the fulness of grace to find in Christ Jesus, the grace to forgive the church and begin a healing process of their deep woundings and continual pain. It is God's Love that lifted me and not condemnation for how God intrinsically created their sexual orientation as.

The greatest threat to the Church is cheap grace when we insist on the law, for the law will automatically condemn us but the Grace of God forgives us because of Jesus Christ, His Blood is sufficient and more than sufficient for our sins, yesterday, today and tommorow. Grace is beckoning, and knocking at the doors of the church today. What say we? It was the same grace that knock on the doors 2000 years only onn a lonely night in Bethlehem. Yes, God could have come by the Law and condemn us, but instead He came in Love giving us Grace and mercy when He died for us. This is Grace, that He first loved us not that we loved Him. We have cheapen grace but His Grace was never cheap. May all Glory and Honor goes to our Lord Jesus and Saviour.

Spirit Touch Your Church

verse 1:
Lord, we need Your grace and mercy.
We need to pray like never before.
We need the power of Your Holy Spirit,
To open Heaven’s doors.

Spirit touch Your church.
Stir the hearts of men.
Revive us Lord,
With Your passion once again.
I want to care for others,
Like Jesus cares for me.
Let Your rain fall upon me.
Let Your rain fall upon me.

verse 2:
Lord we humbly come before You.
We don’t deserve of You what we ask,
But we yearn to see your glory.
Restore this dying land.

Spirit of God. Touch Your Church today - touch the hardened hearts of the leaders such as Pastor Kong Hee and Canon James Wong, may their hearts be softened to hear Your still voice. Though they deserved it not, Father God, may there be grace given and more Grace given for the Church in Singapore to be forgiven on the injustice and oppression against the Gay Community - for You desire Mercy and not sacrifices. Forgive Lord, this day, for the sins we have commited. Dear Lord, Forgive them, for they do not know what they have done.

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