It has thus been widely said that the real tragedy is when we are afraid of the light, and if they choose not to come into the light they do so for fear that their deeds will be exposed, as they surely will in time. Judge See
For many, 21 Oct 2015 will become a day long remembered in Singapore where Pastor Kong Hee and five other leaders of the once biggest mega church City Harvest were convicted of serious financial related crimes of over 50 million. It is a sad ending but justice at last for those who were misled by Kong Hee into giving to the building fund with large stadiums being displayed but ended to promote Sun Ho China Wine videos.
Kong Hee’s life and ministry is effectively over. But so are many of my christian friends simply because they are gay. NCCS so quick to comdemn gays but are only saddened by the guilty conviction. Their self righteousness hides the sin. Kong hee is after all from the Anglican church.
Why were they guilty just because the judge said so rather than for righteousness sake!. Kong hee should have admitted his guilt without a worldly court declaring thus. If the church is more immoral than the world and is darker, how can we be a light to Christ?
There are of course far worst incidents in the bible with King David raping his general’s wife and had him killed to cover up. But David had a repentant heart. The tragedy became something good. In CHC case, there has only been remorse but no true repentance for ultimately, Kong Hee has sinned against God and God alone. It was a surprise to see them being shocked by the verdict in such an open and close case.
The real tragedy was that law based christianity advocated by love singapore and NCCS does not work. When the light was taken away, the true self hasn’t change for change comes by embracing and understading the grace of God in Jesus Christ. Lawlessness happens not when there is no law but when we do not see Jesus as grace.
This is not only a trial about Kong Hee, but a trial on City Harvest Church and Christianity in Singapore. It was about an abuse of absolute power, and a deep insecurity and a culture of secrecy hiding the truth. They asked the congregation to give to God but they became the gods whose actions are invisible. They operated with the old testament mentality with the pastor as the judge and the high priest rather than all being equal in Christ.
City Harvest lorded over the sheep and quite simply ate the sheep. Everything is tracked, how much you give and how often. A kind of peer pressure and guilt conscience is put on the sheep as if judgement and stealing from God. Indeed, their greatest sin is abusing the sheep under their care. It is spiritual abuse and blackmail where God’s name is blasphemed. It is Jesus and the lost sheep that Kong Hee should apologize.
The big winners are the lawyers with over 10 million spent and Hollywood, over 20 million spent with not even one album. Just like Jacob trying to con his brother and ended up being conned by Laban, there is always a greater con man. And Hollywood conned Kong Hee by giving a false impression of Sun’s potential. Ironically this is GLBT HQ!
It had been one of the longest court cases, over 5 years filled with drama and intrigue of the secrecy and ingenious ways to funnel the building fund into Sun Ho’s doomed foray into Hollywood. All the while declaring Sun Ho’s success was her own and that the church accounts are properly audited and any agreements to buy properties confidential because of non disclosure agreements.
There is now no moral standing for City Harvest Church nor the churches in Singapore. If we are already judged guilty based on the basic moral laws, how can we claim to judge others on God’s higher laws! Once the church goers are cheated, will the churches lose her moral standing.
After the verdict, in his followup letter to the church via facebook after conviction, Kong hee only mentioned that the judgement has been rendered. He didn’t even mention the verdict of the judge nor acknowledge any guilt. Was it the deep shame to come face to face with his own crime?
In the church service on 24 Oct 15, Pastor Kong bowed to the congregation to say sorry, but only sorry for the pain that he has caused them but not the fact that he misused 25 million of the building fund to support Sun Ho in Hollywood. He had the audacity even after convicted to make such confusing and misleading repentance to the very people he took the money from.
In the trial, Chew Eng Han had alleged that Kong Hee actually had the money to fund Sun Ho with his many homes but alas chose to use the church building fund. We are reminded that Kong Hee urged the congregation to give until it hurts! and some did sold away their homes whilst he upgraded himself to Sentosa Cove.
Hitherto, the churches, Love Singapore, and NCSS have asked Singapore not to judge and that they were innocent until proven guilty. Now that the sentence has been passed, the church still claims innocent, a matter of governance they say rather than pure theft. Sure, no money was lost by the church claims Rev Phil Pringle, but it was because another 25 million was put in to cover the loss of the first 25 million.
In fact, it would be difficult for Pastor Kong to admit guilt and say sorry for the 25 million taken to promote the wives pop star career instead of the building fund. It would mean that the church members have been lied to for one decade. All they had believed was a lie. In his letter to the congregation, even though convicted, he still called the 6 as the accused. This is no true repentance but regret that he was found out and the pain caused.
The final tragedy is a sorry which is not a sorry. The cry that we are innocent and no money was lost will be a fading echo in the jail cell. When the church members come to their senses, and see the light and the truth, they will walk out!. But it needn’t be so. All is needed is a humble and concrite heart with a true repentance. Under law, it is a life sentence. Will City Harvest finally come to an end of themselves and turn to God’s grace? Which is totally undeserved and unmerited. I rather have the full measure of God’s grace.