James 2:1 My brothers, show no partiality as you hold the faith in our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory. 2 For if a man wearing a gold ring and fine clothing comes into your assembly, and a poor man in shabby clothing also comes in, 3 and if you pay attention to the one who wears the fine clothing and say, “You sit here in a good place,” while you say to the poor man, “You stand over there,” or, “Sit down at my feet,”
Often we dare not question the rich man, the senior pastor of the largest mega churches. They may be God’s anointed like King David, but we are called to be Nathans that the body of Christ may not fall into disrepute and being mocked as greater sinners than the World.
In the ongoing trial of the key City Harvest leaders, It is easy to blame City Harvest for lack of integrity and dishonesty, but with the millions they had, it is easy to trust in ourselves and not in God.
We are tempted to sin, when we do not exalt the grace of God in Christ Jesus. Instead, we had believed that it is by our own means, even by our great faith that we had succeeded rather than by Jesus and His righteousness. Pride enters in and the delusion of how good we are.
It is hard to trust in Jesus, for many in the GLBT community where often our emotions and pain overwhelmed us. However, even mega church pastors, people of faith are tempted to look away from Jesus to base on their own plans instead of resting in Jesus to do the work.
We see in Esther, the favor of God was with her and she became Queen to save her nation. Even when Haman her enemy was about to destroy her people, she waited upon God and for the perfect timing at the dinner.
When we go ahead of God, we will end up in our own strength, strong as we are, we are always short of the best. We live in a delusional world, thinking that we are good and the best, an inward looking faith rather than upwards looking to God’s grace.
The CHC Church leaders under trial in Singapore is a case where they were the best leaders, having the biggest church and pride came in and became their downfall because they wanted to crossover to Hollywood to conquer and become the best even in the world culture.
It was perhaps not God’s timing or season and they had to force their way through – paying large sums of money for doors to be opened instead of depending on God’s grace. With money, we reach the top dance hits with great effort and sweat. It would take even more wealth to bring in the best artist to kick start Sun Ho’s career.
They wanted to build God a house, but the walls were built by their own hands which when the storm comes came tumbling down. Did God ask Sun Ho to partner with the anti-gay Jamaican Wyclef Jean?
In going alone outside God’s open doors, they have done great damage to the name of Jesus because they were the representatives of the body of Christ, being the mega pastors of the largest mega church and not the pastor for example of a church of 100. It was a mega church of 33,000. With great authority lies great responsibility and trust in God.
The scene at the trial of the best Christian mega church leaders who were known to be excellent leaders knowing every single detail suddenly having a selective dementia was painful to watch. The court will make the judgement, but a large responsibility should fall on Love Singapore and the National Council of Churches (NCCS) in Singapore who should have voiced out their concerns when the warnings were so obvious a few years ago:-
- Sun Ho was good but they surely knew the church was the godfather. She must have had outside help from the church who refused to admit it. How could Sun Ho ever succeed? Where was the finance coming from? Did no one question the entire Crossover project costing USD 150 million (SGD 192 Mil) over 7 years to make Sun Ho a mega superstar.
- With Love Singapore being moral guardians, was the US Crossover wholesome shallowness? Why didn’t Love Singapore respond to Kong Hee’s unusually strong rebuke of other pastors on their criticism of China Wine in his article “Wholesome Shalowness”? when it was paid by the church as part of the evangelistic Crossover from the building fund.
Didn’t they find it odd, Pastor Kong’s strong open criticisms over a decade of New Creation Church Joseph Prince’s Grace message much like the sin conscious Pharisees criticising Jesus. Didn’t the Christian leaders sense the hidden skeletons in their Word of Knowledge?
- Large hole/shortfall – an A&B Building collection of above 100 million (2005-2009), yet the building fund was at 65 million. The remaining sum apparently in bonds were to unrated extremely high risk unsecured bonds in a small company. We now know that these “investments” went to fund Sun Ho in US resulting in losses. Why didn’t the church leaders in Singapore questioned them?
- Astronomical sums without full disclosures –The budget 310 mil in Mar 2010 had no detailed breakdown. Why didn’t NCCS suggested for full transparency? Few knew that it was for 20% of Suntec only @ 43 million and they had to still pay rental fees similar to Expo. The dividends weren’t sufficient to offset. Only after the investigation started in June 2010, when the full details were made public in the newspapers, that they bought an additional 19.2% stake of Suntec but have had to borrow SGD 50 Mil 2011 which was refinanced in 2013 at great cost.
- Failure to be the spiritual watch tower – Where were the charismatic gifts of the Anglican, Cornerstone, and AOG Churches of the gift of knowledge and word of prophecy in time and season to warn the church body in Singapore of the impending trials and sins within? They only had false prophecies that Gays were the greatest threat but failed to prophecy against the idol worship of one of their own!
The church is bigger than the few leaders and probably would survive by selling 9.2% of Suntec at 46 million as per the Freight links ROFL to pay the debts if it had to. But the disappointment and discouragement of the young Christians over this long duration of one year would create a cynical kind of Christianity. Irrespective of the outcome of the court case, the damage to the reputation and integrity of the churches would be profound internally and externally.
CHC was not particularly wrong in their teachings or theology nor was it much different from other churches in love Singapore and NCCS. Any other church could have fallen because we have such a Law/sin based theology in Singapore emphasizing on religious good works and the religious laws against sin rather than God’s love, grace and mercy.
This sin/law based theology was perpetuated by Love Singapore/NCCS anti-gay theology starting in the late 1990s till to-date. They were all good friends with City harvest to ever raise a question when there were real doubts. Instead, we head the Anglican South and went overseas to fight against an imaginary gay agenda as the greatest threat to Christianity.
The disappointment in young fervent Christians dismayed and broken in their faith and leaving CHC is the greatest tragedy for the churches in Singapore and not the six leaders under trial who have had a good life. May they find God’s grace to forgive their pastors to find God’s grace in their own lives.
PUBLIC INFORMATION FROM INTERNET AND NEWSPAPERS
Budget 310 mil (mar 2010) – 20% stake – 43.5 mil + 10 years usage. CHC raised $114+ million from 2005-2009. Only 64.97 mil building fund, Oct 2009.
Suntec 20% stake – UPIL 20% stake of Suntec for 43.5 mil (Mar 2010) from Building Fund.
Suntec 19.2% stake – UPIL 54 mil for 24% HPIL or 19.2% Suntec (in 2011). 50 Million Galaxy Loan Aug 11 to pay 54 mil. Repayment (3 years). 5 mil / 6 month. 25 mil final @ 3rd year. 10% interest. Fee – 3% (08/11),4% (08/11), 5% (Aug 13). Security – 36.5% HPIL or 29.2% Suntec.
Freight Links Loan – 45 mil to refinance Galaxy loan. Freight Links Loan (6 years). 3.75 Mil/ every 6 months? 8% Interest pa on outstanding sum. Fee – 13.5 mil (5 x 2.6 mil). Security – 49% HPIL or 39.2% Suntec. UPIL – ROFL 11.5% HPIL / 9.2% Suntec at 46 Mil (valuation 500 mil of Suntec)
Aug 2007 To June 2009 – Bonds 24 Mil Xtron 13 Mil (10 + 3) Firna 11 Mil.
Oct to Nov 2009. Alleged Round tipping – 26.6 Mil. Xtron 15.2 Mil (Advanced rental) Amac 11.4 Mil (5.8 and 5.6 mil) to go back into Firna.
Kong Hee – Wholesome Shalowness – Sep 23, 2009
In 2007, my wife Sun released a music video of the hit single, “China Wine,” the result of a creative collaboration with reggae wunderkind, Wyclef Jean. That video garnered a lot of attention on YouTube with more than two million hits over two dozen fan sites. It received rave reviews from industry insiders as well as youths who love dance pop the world over. Not surprisingly, the video also raised quite a few eyebrows within the religious fraternity who felt it was inappropriate for a Christian to be featured in a dance video.
At the turn of the millennium, as I began formulating my doctrine on the Cultural Mandate, challenging my generation to come out of isolation and engage the marketplace, I urged Sun to help me embody that message. In 2002, she launched her new career in Taiwan as a pop singer. Since then, she has done very well with more than four million units sold, five multi-platinum records, and over 30 number one songs in five different countries. Today, she is known in the Far East as a bona fide singer, entertainer and humanitarian.
[No mention that the support came from the church and church linked Xtron since 2003 or that it was part of the Crossover ministry. It was all as if Sun Ho did it by her own efforts]
Yet, in spite of all her secular and creative achievements, many conservative pastors find it hard to accept Sun in any role outside of church ministry. But the reality is that she is no longer a church staff or a gospel singer. She doesn’t work for any religious organization.
[No mention that the support came from the church and church linked Xtron and was part of the Crossover ministry of the church since 2003]
We are all products of our personal theological persuasions and convictions. Pop culture affects the lifestyles of the masses. Venturing into the realm of secular culture is certainly not for the weak or the fainthearted. What Sun is seeking to do is to show us how to be a modern-day Daniel or Joseph to our contemporary Babylon and Egypt. Daniel took on Babylon’s language, education, fashion, name and persona, and yet he didn’t compromise his own value system. According to the New Bible Commentary, Joseph was thoroughly “Egyptianized,” and yet he lived a great life of purpose. Esther, the super celebrity, was also similar. Sun simply wants to emulate these heroes of faith.
[Sun Ho had the church as a godfather! under the Crossover mandate whilst Joseph, Daniel and Esther had nothing to start with! except the Grace of God]
Can you remember John the Baptist questioning the authenticity of Jesus’ ministry when he heard about the latter’s working style? Jesus had become widely known as a friend of sinners, tax collectors, prostitutes and drunkards. He was even seen going to parties and events that the Pharisees themselves wouldn’t set foot in. John the Baptist was concerned that Jesus was becoming worldly, immoral and compromising—a bad example to the disciples. Our Lord’s reply to him was simply this: “Look at My fruits. Look at how the gospel is preached. ‘And blessed is he who is not offended because of Me’” (Matt. 11:6). The Greek word for “offended” is scandalizo, which means “to trip up, stumble, or be enticed to sin.” I would say the same to those religious critics who may be offended by Sun.
[I can’t see John Baptist doing China Wine in the middle of the desert! Jesus healed the sick, cast demons out, and preached about the Kingdom of God and salvation. China Wine was very different. How was the Gospel preached?]
So to the religious and conservatives who have used nasty, derogatory and expletive terms to describe Sun, my parting shot are the words of Jesus Christ from Matthew 21:31, “I tell you the truth, the tax collectors and the prostitutes are entering the kingdom of God ahead of you.”
[Jesus was criticizing the self righteous sin conscious pharisees who thought they were far more holy and sinless than the tax collectors and prostitutes. China Wine was linked to the church via the Crossover]