The senior pastor of City Harvest Church and the spiritual head of more than 50 churches was sentenced to 8 years jail, a generous sentence much lower than the 11 to 12 years proposed by the persecution.
In a profound way, it is sad. I met Kong Hee in 1990 when i was at university. He was an upcoming pastor and Sun Ho, his fiancee. Imagine working all these 25 years day and night, in prayer, building the many churches, and preaching his heart out, to find that he lost it all. His fame, power and wealth led him to this stage, the same temptations Satan offered Jesus. Kong hee fell but so easily can each one of us without God’s grace.
Kong hee is not the apostle paul, the apostle of grace who went to jail because he preached the Gospel of grace to the religious judaist. This is the apostle of religious law, who preached the 10 commandments so much that he broke it all and is condemned under the basic laws of the secular state.
The sentence seems generous in view of the 24 million funneled to Sun Ho’s Hollywood foray labeled as an evengelistic cross over in a disguise for legitimacy. Scantily dress women belly dancing to twisted Jamaican tunes is hardly gospel even how progressive we are.
Amazingly the sentence shocked everyone, Kong Hee who still was thinking that he was not guilty and even a short jail sentence too much, and the persecution who thought that the accused were cunning unrepentant schemers who must be given a stiff sentence due to the massive scale of funds and as a strong deterrent. Kong hee still likens himself to Apostle Paul.
It is understood that Kong Hee is appealing for a shorter sentence and the persecution, a longer sentence. The risk is that a longer sentence is on the cards as there was a beneficiary, Sun Ho, his wife with the millions paid to generous producers, buy appearances at major events, airtime to ensure optimun dance billboard hits, Cd buyback, and living the life of a superstar. This is hardly the living by faith of YWAM missionaries that i grew up with nor that of the simple lifestyle of the real apostle paul
City Harvest is still living in a strange unrealistic world surrounded by supporters such as AR Barnard and Phil pringle who sees it as the church being persecuted for the Gospel sake. They respect the judgement but will not accept fighting till the end despite a bus load of evidence. When we have a law based theology so embbeded in our own self righteousness that we fail to have the heart of David, a contrite heart.
The prophet Nathan reminded David of the story of the rich man who had it all but resorted to taking the poor man who has little. Kong Hee had it all. The senior pastor of the biggest mega church in Singapore and well known in Asian. But a lot was taken from common people of faith, christians who didn’t have much and believed what Kong hee said at face value. He wanted to take the best from the lowly and lived the high first class jet setting, sentosa cove lifestyle with Sun adored in the hallways of Hollywood whilst appearing pitiful in public without a paid salary living on sacrificial faith.
Kong hee could have openly declared that Sun Ho would be fully supported by the church for the Hollywood foray even though non church related in 2005. But like Love Singapore wanted to appear white on the outside. What was done in darkness will have immeasurable damage to the christian walk of many.
The legal fight will now go to the High court. When will City Harvest stop fighting by her own strength and let grace comes it. Eight years the original sentence was already grace from God. They got the low sentence because the way the persecution had framed the case as not to focus on how each and everyone directly and indirectly benefited. As they chose to fight on, the icing will now be added as more dimensions to the case will be added.