The entire Singapore has been engulfed in a flood of ‘spiritual’ awakening lately. Everyone and everyone suddenly has an opinion about the recent City Harvest Church saga. From taxi drivers, to pastors, to the aunties at the wet market, everyone has an opinion about Kong, his pop-star wannabe wife and the City Harvest Church.
So here are my thoughts.
Did Kong Hee and the other church leaders charged commit a crime?
The answer to this question is a very simple “We don’t know”. They have been charged, yes. But have they been proven guilty by the court? No. Although it’s true that the CAD must have substantial evidences against them, but they have yet to have a chance to tell their story.
What is the issue at hand?
Many members of the City Harvest Church (CHC) have much faith in Kong Hee, their beloved pastor. They say they can see the good work done by the church and they also have no problem giving money to support Sun Ho’s crossover project. The question and issue here is not whether the money was put to any good use. I am pretty sure that the cross over project must have done some good. The real issue is whether any laws have been broken. A man who steals say a million dollars from his office and then gives 100K to charity, is still committing a crime. Has he done some good? Yes, for sure! But he has broken the law. This is not the land of Robin Hood.
I can also understand why the church members are so supportive of Kong. Church members are generally very close. They also see the church leaders as people they look up to and their spiritual connection with God. They are like their brothers, and sisters and many church member are in fact closer to their church leaders than to their own family members. And I honestly think these church leaders are generally nice people. So imagine one day, someone accused your best friend/father/brother of committing a crime of fraud. What is your first reaction? Indignant? Shock? Disbelief? Defensive? All of the above? One might think “How could someone so close to me and who has done so much good be accused of a crime like that?” It’s a natural human instinct to side with those that we love. Again, I have no doubt that Kong and his leaders have done a lot of good for the community and for the church’s members. BUT it doesn’t mean they are perfect and they can do no wrong. We are only human after all.
Is City Harvest Church’s teaching sound?
I am not a member of the church so I can’t profess that I know all the doctrines in the church. But after listening to numerous sermons, accounts from past and present members, I do draw some conclusions. I am pretty sure quite a large part of their sermons and doctrines are good. They teach people to be good and to love God and to love people. But I feel there are two major problems with the teachings of the City Harvest Church.
First, the concept of prosperity preaching. For those who want to know more about prosperity preaching, please check out prosperity preaching. I firmly believe that the concept of prosperity preaching is against the word of God, which is the BIBLE. I have heard sermons from Kong Hee which he preaches about a ‘rich Jesus’, to give so that you can receive 100 folds from God, and that only the rich churches can do much more for God. I have seen him twist bible verses to suit his purpose and objectives for the church members to donate more and more money to the church. There are numerous passages from the bible talking about the evil of ‘the love for money’. Jesus even says “It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the Kingdom of God.” (Matthew 19:24)
The second issue with the teachings of the City Harvest Church has to do with this whole idea of speaking in tongues. For more information about speaking in tongues, you should check out speaking in tongues. Or you can just take a read of bible 1 Corinthians 14, which is a lengthy admonishment against falsely speaking in tongues by apostle Paul.
When the bible talks about speaking in tongues, it is basically an act of speaking in another language which the person has no prior knowledge of. It’s like an Indian suddenly speaking in perfect Mandarin. That is a real sign of a miracle. BUT it’s not speaking in gibberish which no one can comprehend, which is what the City Harvest church members (at least most of them) are doing.
I have spoken to a City Harvest leader many years ago about this, challenging him to the scriptures. In the end, he reluctantly admitted that speaking in tongues was more of a psychological thing than a real ‘gift’ from God. He went on to say that he still felt there was no issue. As long as this whole ‘speaking in tongues’ help the Christian to be closer to God, it was ok.
But it is an issue because a large part of the church’s walk with God would be based on a very big lie. Members believe that those who can speak in tongues are more spiritual and Godly. They are pressurized to be able to speak in tongues so that they are not looked down upon by the other members. So what you get is an entire congregation of people in some kind of trance, believing they are connecting to God when it’s just gibberish they are spouting.
Sure, they can get emotional when they are in that state of trance. They ‘feel’ a connection to God. But is it even real??? Emotions are a strange thing. They can make one believe in the strangest things or do the weirdest shit. But it would so interesting to see Jacelyn Tay and Jack Neo speaking in tongues in the church. That alone is worth the tithe.
Is Kong Hee a real con man?
Check out this picture of Kong Hee 20 years ago. What do you think?
Well, I believe that this guy first started the church with very good intentions. I really don’t think that he started out by wanting to con people. But who knows what happened along the way?
Kong Hee apparently got his masters and doctorate from a university known as New Covenant International University and Theological Seminary (NCIU). It seems that this school has no campus, no curriculum, no facilities, no office.
It does seem that NCIU is a diploma mill, with doctorates and master’s degrees for sale, where any incoherent, fatuous, and plagiarized essay qualifies as a doctoral thesis or dissertation.
If NCIU is indeed a bogus school, then Kong Hee has never taken any courses (not even by mail) normally expected of a pastor in a mainline Christian denomination.
Did Kong Hee’s probably bogus master’s degree help him in getting ordained in 1991?
What does it say about the honesty and integrity of Kong Hee and Pringle that they would seek to impress their flocks with probably bogus “doctorates” from an outfit such as NCIU? And most importantly, if the doctorate was fake, then is he even qualified to be the leader of the church? Does he know enough about the bible to lead such a big congregation?
http://exchersonesusaurea.blogspot.sg/2 … -phil.html
Kong Hee rich ok?
I have no problem with Kong Hee being rich. But the question is how did he acquire his riches? Was he transparent about his pay? Was he transparent about all the businesses he owns which links to the church? The church, as a charity, gets tax exemptions. Therefore, transparency and accountability are crucial in the governance of the charity’s funds. TT Durai, Ming Yi and Joachiam Kang have all fallen prey to the temptation of greed and power. What makes the church members so sure that Kong and wife will not?
Sun Ho’s career
I am not going to talk about how disastrous those mtvs are. They started this so called crossover project with the intention of reaching out to Hollywood and to people who might otherwise not have a chance to know God. First and foremost, there are about 83 percent Christians in America. If they had wanted to save more souls, shouldn’t they have ventured out to places like China, or India?
Secondly, aren’t there any better singers that can be used for this project? Sun is neither the prettiest, most talented nor the youngest. Surely someone from the more than 33,000 membership can qualify? Was she chosen on merit? Or was it just simply a convenient case of ‘God chose her’?
Lastly, is spending 28 million justified in the project?
I am just curious about how the court case will turn out. Will it turn out more dark secrets on the church and its leaders? Or would the leaders come up with such a strong defence that CAD would be forced to mince their words? Let’s wait and see, shall we?