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Archive for the ‘Kong Hee’ Category

kong-hee-look

 

This Youtube clip of Kong Hee, the founder of City Harvest Church is going around the internet.

2 Corinthians 8:9 states

For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sake He became poor, so that you through His poverty might become rich.

Note also Luke 9:58:

And Jesus said to him, “The foxes have holes and the birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head.”

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Among other things, John MacArthur’s Strange Fire Conference has touched on the false teachings of the Prosperity Gospel.  It’s influence among Charistmatic circles is huge.  Known as the Word of Faith/Name-it-Claim-it/Blab-it-Grab-it theology, the impact of such teachings has dangerous spiritual repercussions and even at it’s best is a distraction from the Gospel (though I would add that its focus on the wrong things actually undermine the message and priority of the Gospel).

Over the years we have documented on our blog some of the dangerous fruits of Third Wave Continuationists and the Prosperity Gospel; and the fruits are not pretty.

I’m convinced that at the root of the problem with the Prosperity Gospel is the issue of idolatry.  That is, it’s an issue of who it is that is one’s God.  The functional god of those who are preachers and “parishioners” of the Prosperity Gospel is not the God of the Bible: it is the idolatry of the Self.  Let me explain with this illustration:

Idol of Prosperity Gospel Preacher

Until one identifies the root that’s driving the bad fruits, one can’t fully repent from the Prosperity Gospel since they don’t know what they must be turning away from.

The prosperity Gospel appeal to the carnal self.  It is all about pleasing the self and seeking gains for the pleasures of the self.  As a result, one shouldn’t be surprise to see the following fruits:

1.) An Emphasis on Subjective “Spiritual” Experiences versus the Word of God.  It’s experience-based rather than expositionally-based upon the Word of God.   And within Charismatic Word of Faith paradigm, the more supernatural the experience supposedly is, the better.  It becomes almost like a drug, an addiction to the spiritual experience itself rather than God Himself.  For some, one goes on religious roller coasters, where most of their life is in a spiritual slump until they wait for the next big high.  I believe that most of today’s speaking in tongues, getting slain in the spirit, holy laughter, “prophesying,” visions and “healing” spawn from this.  This also explains why so many false prophecies made in Pentecostal circles often are forgotten by those who hear them, because they are already looking for the next fixing for their veins of new “word” or predictions.

2.) Prosperity Gospel.  Having it’s mooring away from the Bible, advocates and believers of the Prosperity Gospel now have their discernment down.  With the idol of the self, a message of health and wealth appeals to their carnal wishes.  It tickles their ears.  Plus it’s about experiences and the experiences of the here and now-so why can’t we have the best of our life now?  Oh, should one also be surprise at tales of corruption behind the profits of prophets of the Prosperity Gospel?

3.) Infatuation of entering the entertainment industry.  Having now become materially driven, one now wants to be as successful in acquiring prosperity as they possibly can reach for.  For the best of the best in the circles of Prosperity Gospel, the sky is the limit but practically the sky is Hollywood:  think of what other industry brings the greatest fame, recognition and temptation of riches and luxury?  So with the supposed cover of wanting to reach out to Hollywood for Christ on a bigger platform, worldly methods and values are adopted in order to be part of the missionary effort to the entertainment industry and worldly goals and measure of success are adopted as well.  All this, while a bit of generic non-confrontational spiritual “Christian-ese” is sprinkled in one’s twitter and Facebook page, packaged for the mass amount of consumption possible.  Matter fact, often times prosperity preachers began small, who in desiring to be famous for being famous, they see twitter and other social media as the training wheels for developing fans responding to their selfies.

4.) Sexual immorality.  It can begin “innocent” enough with little efforts at mimicking the entertainment industry.  Or what you wear to indicate your prosperity by their fashion.  But if you are already feeding the Gods of self by appeasing it’s appetite of health and wealth, and fame and game, why hold back and be tame when it comes to sex?  Should we be surprise at why preachers of prosperity gospel have such heinous reputation of sexual immorality?

Don’t we see this being true at level three or four with those who are in the show Preachers of L.A., Kong Hee, Sun Ho and Jaeson Ma?

If any one sees this as a description of themselves, and God is convicting them, be warned by the Apostle Paul in Phillipians 3:19:

Their destiny is destruction, their god is their stomach, and their glory is in their shame. Their mind is set on earthly things.”

See your sins for what they are, repent, surrender yourself so that Jesus would be the Lord and Savior of your life.  Jesus Christ has died on the Cross and His blood is the source of our forgiveness.  Have truth faith in God’s grace alone through Christ alone to save us.

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kong-hee-look

In Singapore, one of the largest Charismatic Church is City Harvest Church.  Its sphere of influence can be seen not just in Singapore but in its affiliated ministries which reach Malaysia, Indonesia, Taiwan and Australia.  Their founder and Senior Pastor is Kong Hee who himself is also very influential, being a popular speaker among the South East Asian circles of Christianity.

In June 2012, Kong Hee was arrested by Singaporean authorities for the misuse of church funds for personal gain.

As of October 8th, 2013, according to the Christian Post, “The trial of Singapore’s popular pastor Kong Hee, who is accused of spending $41 million of church funds on his wife’s singing career, has now gone on recess and will not resume until January 2014.”[1]

Even with all the scandal going on Kong Hee continues to pastor the church.

The courts and investigative reporters will do their job at uncovering the truth of the matter concerning his corruption.  Here in this post I wish to critique his message on a theological basis with concerns for the affirmation of the Gospel.

On September 21st 2013, City Harvest service was extended with the following time of worship.  Obviously, with the trials and the scandal one can imagine it’s a trying time for Kong Hee and his church which is the context to the following clip:

I watch the whole clip and I was sadden to see the lack of the Gospel in it.  You know, that Jesus died for our sins, that we are guilty before a Holy God and that we are saved by Grace alone, through faith alone in Christ alone.  One might say in his defense that he might have shared the Gospel before or after this clip.  I suppose one must be charitable but I also wonder if perhaps the Gospel itself should be even more paramount  during a time like this for the church.

All that aside, I must say however that I was most disturbed at what Kong Hee has to say beginning at minute 6:43 of the clip:

Look at the pastor for a moment.  You know it’s precisely moments like this, seasons like this, that our worship to God is so precious that we are letting God know that we love him not because of what we can get, we love him because of what we can give, we can give him our worship when it’s not convenient to come to church but we still come to church week after week, when it’s not convenient to pray and yet we pray for our leaders and we pray for the ministry of city harvest, when it’s not convenient to give and we keep on giving because we want to arise and build God a great house in our generation to bring him glory.”

(Minute 6:43-7:21)

This is at the heart of my concern.  It’s not just a circumstantial evidence of absence of the Gospel that I’m criticizing but the fact that his statement above is imcompatible with the Gospel in the Bible.  I’m not saying here he does not know the Gospel, maybe he does (I am going to listen more of him) and didn’t see through the logical implication of what he’s saying in relations to the Gospel but the logical minimum we can say is that the quote has serious theological error and one that the Gospel should correct when we start unpacking it.
First off, I want to be charitable.  One can see some truth to his statement, “we are letting God know that we love him not because of what we can get…”  To use the preachers’ cliche, God is not just merely a “Vending Machine” as a means to get something else more greater that we enjoy.  God can not be reduced to a Genie in a bottle so to speak.
genie-lamp
Secondly, the problem becomes evident when Hee starts explaining why is it that WE DO LOVE GOD.  And what he has to say lacks Scriptural support.  Note his words, “we love him because of what we can give…”  What?  We love God because of what we can give Him?  Now preachers can sometime say things they don’t mean accidentally ( I will always remember the time I preached and asked who here wants to go to hell tonight).  But I don’t think Hee accidently said something he didn’t mean because Hee, never missing a beat with the prosperity gospel of giving to God (Hee’s church) goes on to give examples of what it is we can give: “we can give him our worship when it’s not convenient to come to church but we still come to church week after week, when it’s not convenient to pray and yet we pray for our leaders and we pray for the ministry of city harvest, when it’s not convenient to give and we keep on giving because we want to arise and build God a great house in our generation to bring him glory.”  Where in the Bible can he (e) find the evidence that We love God on the basis of what we can give him?
Thirdly, I would also say that the Word of God clearly contradicts Hee’s claim that we love God because of what we can give him.  Note 1 John 5:9-10:

By this the love of God was manifested [a]in us, that God has sent His [b]only begotten Son into the world so that we might live through Him. 10 In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.”

Verse 9 clearly show that God does “give” to those saved as a way of revealing His love to us.  His love was manifested in sending His Son to give us life.   Jesus is “given” to us who are saved.  It’s only within this contextual flow of what God does first to initiate His love that we approach verse 10.  Note verse 10 statement of what that love means: “not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.”  The Gospel is really INSPITE of our love (“not that we loved God”).  I don’t think we should think so highly of our natural love for God but we should esteem God’s love first.
We don’t love God because of what we can give God.  We love God because of God’s love first.  Heed the words of 1 John 4:19:

We love, because He first loved us.

And of course logically “We love, because He first loved us” “We love, because of what we can give..”
Fourthly, I must add a greater problem with this we love ” because of what we can give..” is that it is man-centered and not God-centered.  God is the one that loves us on the basis of what He Himself desires to give to us.  That’s because we don’t deserve anything in of ourselves as creatures and sinners, and God being our Creator, Judge and Savior.  What is Hee saying, and what does it show about Hee’s hubris in his theology when we are saying we love God  because of what we can give?  Isn’t this rank arrogance?  Blasphemy?  The worst form of a gospel of works righteousness?

[1] Morgan Lee, “Pastor Kong Hee Trial Goes on Recess Amid Allegations City Harvest Church Leader Financed Wife’s Superstar Career,” The Christian Post (October 8th, 2013),  http://www.christianpost.com/news/pastor-kong-hee-trial-goes-on-recess-amid-allegations-city-harvest-church-leader-financed-wifes-superstar-career-106117/ (accessed October 17, 2013).

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