A Personal Response to the City Harvest Case

“Ever since sharing the following pointers to a closed group at an Archippus Awakening KINGDOM101 meeting on 21 Oct 2015, this post has garnered quite a few views and its fair share of comments. I feel it necessary to point out and remind all readers that this post was written more than three years ago, posted on 27 Jun 2012. Even so, these personal – and I stress, personal – convictions remain the same and the points, relevant. This post is not a commentary of what has taken place nor does it seek to provide my views, opinion or evaluation of the verdict, or the persons involved. As clearly expressed, the social media is not the place for such discourses. To this end, whilst I welcome and respect everyone’s inputs and comments, in the spirit of what has been shared, contributions will be accordingly moderated. Thank you and may you be blessed and encouraged as you read this post and others on One Day At A Time.” Henson, 23 Oct 2015

This is not the first blog post about what has happened to Pastor Kong Hee and the leaders of City Harvest Church and it definitely will not be the last. In this day and age of the internet, everyone can share their opinion over cyberspace and I suppose that is also what I am doing here. Even so, I am mindful that I cannot control who reads this and how they will respond. As such, I will endeavour to be as careful and as responsible as I possibly can, so help me God 🙂

Also, I am fully aware that I am writing as one in fulltime ministry, as a dean of a school of ministry and as a pastor of a local congregation. In these capacities, I have already received questions from those I lead and I hope this post will provide a consistent response. My desire is thus to share my personal perspective and the lessons I am learning; that through this, others who are in agreement may know how to respond accordingly.

And should anyone choose to share this on Facebook or Twitter, my prayer is that it does not contribute to any controversy, but that it offers help and clarity to those trying to make some sense of the situation. There is definitely no intention on my part to speak ill of Pastor Kong Hee or any CHC leader for I do not know them personally nor is it my place to do so at all. To this end, the general observations presented hereunder apply to anyone who serves in ministry and any case that involves such a one who might have walked in error.

So here goes…

1. I am exercising restraint in my thoughts and my words. At this point, it is very easy to be caught up with what is right or wrong, whether the use or misuse of funds is justified, if it was to support a personal ambition or was it truly a ministry to reach the lost for Jesus. Tempting as it is to be drawn into such discussions, I keep reminding myself to hold back, even in my own thoughts and imaginations. No, I am not in denial at all and I most certainly have a point of view. I am merely exercising restraint, knowing how quickly I too can end up being self-righteous, prideful and judgmental. Without conscious restraint, I could be like some on the social media, openly airing my views and feelings. We are all entitled to say something and it has been interesting to read some of the comments posted so far. But I question the necessity of some, however scriptural it may sound.

2. I am hurting because the Body of Christ has been hurt. Without doubt, I am deeply saddened and troubled by what has taken place. But say what you like, these arrested and charged, and those belonging to CHC, are all brothers and sisters in Christ. It’s not “them” and “us” but we all belong to one body. What they are going through now is pain, anxiety and very possibly confusion. And when one part of the body hurts, the rest of the body is affected. I don’t really want to think about it, but I can’t help it. Since reading the first posting yesterday, the matter has not ceased to be on my mind and in my heart. And it has been painful for me as it is also for every believer who understands what community is all about.

3. I am thankful that the power of the Word of God is not constrained by the weakness of Man. I have heard many good things about Pastor Kong Hee and how he preached hard and without compromise. I believe the Word of God has gone forth and has blessed and built many at CHC. These all love and serve Jesus from the bottom of their hearts. That’s because biblical truths and principles still stand, even if the one who brings the message falls. God works through and is not at all constrained by Man’s imperfections. The power is in His Word not in Man. That is why, always, God receives all glory!

4. I am challenged to always check out the teaching of the Word. Understandably, some may be concerned and are questioning if they should listen to CHC messages anymore, especially those about money, tithing and giving. That is a valid concern, but don’t throw the baby out with the bath water. By this, I am not advocating that we accept every teaching blindly. Instead, we are to always check and test out the teaching of the Word. Do we accept the teaching because it appeals to our sinful nature? Oddly, the good news is good news because it offends our sinful nature that we may be convicted to give these up for what truly matters in the Kingdom of God!

5. I am duly cautioned that we are all one step away from falling. How did it happen? When did it start? These are just some of the questions on everyone’s minds. I don’t have the answers, nor should I even hazard a guess. All I know is that no one is exempt from the lures and temptations of this world. And the more I am blessed with, the easier it is for me to rationalize and justify why I do what I do. I could be fervent and zealous for the Lord, but I am just one step from compromising and falling. It happened to King David, a man after God’s own heart, and it could happen to any one of us.

6. I am convinced God is bigger than the situation and He does not need us to defend Him. Some years back, when charities first came into the spotlight and certain churches’ policies were being investigated, the prayer leader asked a believer to pray for the situation. This person prayed in the following manner … “Lord, please blind the eyes of the authorities to anything that is not right so that Your Name will not be tarnished.” Do we need to ask God to cover our wrongdoings so that He won’t look bad? The last I read in my Bible, God covers sin so He won’t have to strike us dead! In all other instances, God is in the business of exposing sin. Truly, God is not afraid of revealing weakness in His people. He has done that with Israel and He will do it with the Church. In that, He displays His righteousness and His holiness even as He demands the same in our lives.

7. I am certain many will be shaken through this episode and it’s ok. In fact, we are to brace ourselves for even more to come as the Bible warns that there will be a great falling away. Those who have a right relationship with God and His people, who are growing and maturing spiritually, will be further strengthened through such difficult and uncomfortable incidents. On the contrary, those who have put their trust and faith in man-made systems and structures will be sorely disappointed and disillusioned. Yes, God is shaking, but God is also building up His Church.

8. I am standing for the restoration of all affected. Our God is all for restoration. And by His grace, we know there will be another chance for those who might have erred in their weakness. Yes, we are to hold to His truth for we are called to be the pillar and the ground of truth. But as His people, and agents of His amazing grace, the Church is to provide an environment where restoration is possible. Not that we overlook the sins committed, but that we help one another overcome through love, through fellowship and in mutual accountability.

Indeed, there is much to be learnt from all that is happening. Over the next days and weeks, months perhaps, there will be a lot more talk and a lot more details that will be presented. We could join in the fray and contribute to the chatter. Or we could join our hearts in prayer … not just for Pastor Kong Hee and City Harvest Church, but for the entire household of faith in Singapore. On a personal note, I will be guided by what I have shared in this post. May the Lord Jesus lead and enable us by His Holy Spirit to stand as one that the world may know that we are truly His disciples.

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38 thoughts on “A Personal Response to the City Harvest Case

  1. Thank you for writing this post. Indeed… “God is bigger than the situation and He does not need us to defend Him.”

  2. Lets pray for Pastor Kong as a church that the mercy and grace of God be upon him and the rest so that the purpose of God and their callings and destinies maybe fulfilled when the pass this test.

  3. Thank you for sharing. Indeed it is so easy to join in with the social media to pass comments and judgments. I am guilty of that too. And I truly realised that its not our job to pass judgment nor defend God. God please forgive me. Instead of doing the unnecessary, I should be praying for the entire family of God. Thanks for the sharing and timely reminder.

  4. Indeed ,it is well written Henson.What really bitings is the youth.Its difficult to imagine what they are going through at this point of time.Your post is much welcome and should be shared.

    1. Thanks Jack. Indeed, many have been hurt and affected. Let’s pray for their restoration, and for them to encounter the Lord even more through this time. Blessings!

  5. “God is in the business of exposing sin. Truly, God is not afraid of revealing weakness in His people. He has done that with Israel and He will do it with the Church. ”

    This is exactly what is happening in CHC’s court case now. No excuses, no cover ups!

  6. Great gems and balanced perspective.
    However, there is a lack of “diagnosis” what went wrong and how the sheeps should be fed in future. These are much more important examinations and steps for any true church, which the scary thing is they are still in denials against the authority!
    I like to point out one such lack in today’s church trends, sadly.
    Today, people go to church just to listen to the pastor and don’t seek to understand directly from the Bible themselve! And when they read they did not ask the Author to help them understand. Then the whole reading becomes v clear, and not ‘be tossed to and fro..’
    http://bible.com/100/eph.4.14.nasb As a result, we are no longer to be children, tossed here and there by waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, by craftiness in deceitful scheming;”

    This is how the sheep will know the Truth from error.

    1. Please note that this post was written three years ago. Also, it is not meant to provide “diagnosis” but to serve as a guide as how best to respond. Even so, Pt 4 concurs with what you have written – we need to check the Word for ourselves 🙂 Blessings!

  7. I am heartened to read a Christian write as a good Christian- fully cognisant of the Glory of God, the Power of His Will and that He, The Almighty, is All-Seeing and All-Knowing. As a Muslim, reading your views has warmed my heart to know that true Christian principles are one and the same with Islamic principles. It also saddens me that few of our two faiths celebrate this connectedness and fewer still amongst us reach out to understand the other’s religion. Your perspective on Kong Hee should be read out at all churches. We Muslims need to hear the views of good Christians like yourselves too, and not tar all Christians with the same brush. May God guide us all to His Way, and shower Mercy upon us all. Aamiin.

  8. It’s funny how everyone believes they can be the judge of character, circumstances, and any piece of news in the media. What you have written about the Body Of Christ being hurt resonates with me, and I really don’t need to hear or read another joke about “cell groups” in Changi. In fact, the only Plaintiff in this case should be God himself, and the only people who should be able to offer an opinion are the head pastors of mega churches because only they themselves know first-hand about the temptations and the challenges involved with running a mega church and being stewards of a whole lot of cash. (And I think even these guys are keeping silent)

  9. I am hurting to read they were chatting and joking in court. Having a good time until the judge spoke. Does it look like somewhere in the OT ? Are they truly repentant ? Or are they mocking the most high God ? Will pray for God’s mercy and their repentance.

  10. Since they are found guilty…hopefully they will apologize, make amends, accept their punishment and start afresh. No need to keep quoting verses from bibles, or express disappointment about the judge’s verdict etc etc. If you are good, God will reward. If you are bad, He will punish you. That’s all, no need for any form of excuses or even pray that you will only need to pay a fine rather than go to jail or maybe a miracle that all of a sudden, you are innocent…In the eyes of the law, everyone should be equal, be it a pastor, police officer or the president of Singapore. Thank You.

  11. I’m also in the fellowship of Body of Christ Jesus. Sure, it paints me to know what’s happening to CHC and the leadership. Truly, it’s not the first and last of such episodes. Satan will continue to provide fodder for these to happen, again and again. But I do feel for the members of CHC who no doubt will be disappointed that their tithes and offerings, which they have no doubt worked hard for, were used in such fashions. Crossover Project? I struggle to understand it. The gyrations in the videos? I’m still in blur blur land. Anyway, I have to zip up now as my Senior Pastor had put a lid on us. Shalom

  12. I really like the article you have written. It has put a lot of my thoughts in proper perspective. I am not sure have you ever written an article concerning the teachings in New Creation. I would really like to hear your views. Our rather read your views.

    1. Hi Danny, just two posts if I remember correctly – “Out with the Ten Commandments?” and “The Age of Itching Years”. To go deeper, I’d like to recommend the book “HyperGrace” by Dr Michael Brown. Blessings!

  13. Patience, tolerance and forhbearance are commendable and right, from the viewpoint as Christians, or even simply as fellow human beings. Pity such Christian compassion is so rarely extended towards those convicted of other forms of transgressions?

  14. Thank you for writing this. You have articulated so clearly and honourably what I have been feeling and thinking but didn’t quite know how to put in words. Your post brought much comfort to me.

  15. Unfortunately, Grace, you don’t seem to be familiar with what went on as way back as 2002/2003 in the church, and how the couple tried to hide the fact from the congregation.

  16. While I agree that we should respond in love, I also believe that when a pastor preaches a different gospel and teaches a wrong doctrine, the larger church community (other church leaders) should speak up and correct him, rather than choosing to stay diplomatic and allowing him to continue deceiving the flock. It is also our responsibility to identify false teachers. If he refuses to change or accept correction, should he still be allowed to continue in his position as a pastor? Having done good in his ministry does not negate the fact that his doctrine is wrong.

  17. I really think it’s out in the open now, and the more we beat around the bush, the rest of the christian community is going to look like fools. God’s not on trial here. It;s the leaders of CHC.
    The more they say they’re doing this for GOD and that they’re blameless the bigger the stumbling block.

    As it is, the 6 charged have already been tried and convicted.
    The only snesible thing is for these 6 leaders of CHC and especially the current leader of CHC who’s the cause of this whole debacles ruining the lives of these 6 christians and their families , should all apologise, take the punishment, and truly repent.

    The rest of us are not casting stones. it’s too late. The Court have already cast 6 Rocks at these CHC Leaders.

    The rest of the Christian Community can only pray fthat they will come to realise what they have done and truly seek forgiveness from their church members, family members, the rest of the christian fraternity, to Singaporeans, to the World, and most of all to GOD.

    If all do not forgive, God Will and we all as christians should as well and move on…
    But the 6 leaders including the the 7th that caused this mess and is scott free must first repent and seel forgiveness.
    No more . No less. and No pussy footing this response whatsoever.

  18. Amen and Amen! Thank you for sharing Henson. I’m not going to repeat, but I’ll just say that every single point is so true. There is no doubt that this is the true faith of Christ.

    May the Lord continue to convict the entire household of faith in Singapore with this powerful message.

    Let’s unite as one and go deeper in His roots in adversity like this, just as your point 7 has pointed out.

  19. Thank you pastor for reminding us our places. We are forgiven sinners, in the process of being more like Christ along an uneven path, that only by His Grace we can stand, as the pull of this tempting World sudduced us from all angles, every second and minutes of the day.

    Thanks also for the reminder to pray for the hurting body.

  20. I can agree with this article. My prayer is that there will be genuine repentence (Godly sorrow)
    from the six. And our God of second chance will forgive and restore. I am sad to say that I do not see this genuine repentence in the statements made so far. Still I pray.

  21. Thank you for the refreshing POV that diverts from the usual bashing, judgemental ones. Appreciate your objectivity & i agree with you. God has prompted me not to judge them & pray for them too, because as you’ve pointed, we are all one step away from falling. God’s mercy had always been with me, so it does not give me any reason to condemn them any further.

    God is in control. If i trust that God has appointed leaders, then God had a reason for appointing this man. And God would know that this would happen. If God knows, God knows how to solve it too. We should let God be God.

  22. We are humans and we are sinful by nature, we are flawed and can never make it without jesus and god’s grace, we all make mistakes and sin no matter how hard we try to be perfect, no matter how righteous or perfect we seem like, we still will make mistakes and …its not okay but repent and learn from it, seek god’s help, ask for the strength , ask for forgiveness, let your father carry you on his back if its too hard for you! God is indeed …AMAZING! let us all heal together as the body of christ! Let us all encourage each other even when times are hard! This has blessed me!

  23. Thanks for your sharing. I have grown up in Chc for the last 23 years. We are strong and will continue to stay united in church. M very touch by your message. Thanks a lot.

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