this post has been a difficult one to write. for one, i do not consider myself a social commentator or whatever, and very often i questioned my own motives and thoughts on this issue. i hope i do not come across as becoming overly defensive or offensive; if i do, please accept my apologies in advance.
for my australian readers, city harvest church (chc) is one of singapore’s largest churches. if i’m not wrong, they have over 20,000 members. in recent years, the church and its leadership has been embroiled in various investigations by the government for misuse of church funds, amongst other allegations. on june 26 2012, founder and senior pastor kong hee as well as four other members of chc were arrested “for alleged criminal breach of trust and falsification of accounts of the church.”
it has been some weeks since the news broke on pastor kong, as well as pastor tan’s arrest. i remember sitting on my bed, being dumbfounded for a good while before screaming “HUH?!” in confusion. i did not understand what was going on, and my immediate thoughts and prayers went to my friends who i knew are part of city harvest church.
my relationship with city harvest is an interesting one. like many singaporeans, i had a negative view of the church. despite being a christian and believing that the body of Christ should come together as one, there were aspects of the organisation that i disagreed with. i stubbornly held onto those disagreements, vehemently declaring i would never visit the church.
oh, but God has a sense of humour.
in november of last year, i decided to visit chc for the first time as john bevere (one of my favourite preachers) was speaking on his new book, relentless. sucking up any preconceived notions of the church, i decided to visit with an open mind/heart and was pleasantly surprised. many of my previous misgivings and worries were unfounded, and i continued to visit chc for the remainder of my summer holiday, gleaning wisdom from pastors phil pringle, canon j. john, dr robi sonderegger, and more. in my three months with chc, i personally felt pastor kong really has a huge heart for God and His people. his openness to the congregation as well as his Bible knowledge really stood out to me.
i also felt that his heart and vision for the church may not have been translated to the rest of his leadership. but with that also came the understanding that no church on this earth is perfect. the leadership can do their best to ensure their vision trickles down to the rest of the church, but there is no hard and fast way of making sure an organisation runs just the way you want it to.
on the issue of pastor kong’s arrest, i don’t want to claim to know the truth. i truly wish he is innocent, but i also know that he may be guilty. he has also released a statement saying he maintains his integrity.
what i do believe: everyone is innocent until proven guilty. i serve a fair and just God that will bring the truth – whatever it may be – to light.
on the church.
the bible talks of the church as the bride of Christ.
the church is not limited to a building; rather, it is the body of Christ that represent the church. i’ve written on leaving church; but i’m still an advocate of being part of a church.
the church is not limited to a building. the building crumbles so much easier than people do.
on strength in unity.
there are countless idioms and stories advocating strength in unity. the Bible is no exception.
in matthew 12:25, Jesus said, “every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation, and every city or house divided against itself will not stand.”
from this verse, i am then inclined to believe that a kingdom is one that has strength, power, and influence. a city is part of a kingdom; a house is part of a city. similarly then, the church is part of the kingdom of God; and as members of any church we are the church. therefore i think we have a responsibility to put aside our misgivings and assumptions, and pray.
pray for what? you may ask.
pray for strength in this time of need – be it for chc, their congregation, your own church, your unbelieving friends and family. pray for God’s wisdom, power and love to shine through all of this. pray that above all, none of us as the body of Christ lose sight of the truth: Jesus. He is in control; He has gone before.
pastors brian and bobbie of hillsong church in sydney have written an excellent article on maximising the strength of unity in the body of Christ. their wisdom obviously far surpasses my own and it is definitely worth reading.
thank you for reading a rather lengthy post with no images or videos to entertain you in between.
this is a very very touchy subject and i am, in all honesty, rather afraid of any backlash this post might receive.
if you’d like to share your opinions, do drop me an email. however, if any comments are harsh and uncalled for, i will not be responding to those. i hope you respect my decision on that.
have a lovely blessed day ahead (: